Context, connotation, voice inflection, tone, written word, slang, mood, personal standpoint, projection. These are but some of the tools we use or take in to consideration when we read someone’s words and interpret them. How many people have you agreed with because of words? How many people have you disagreed with because of words? Is written word costing us friendships and relationships?
How we interpret what we mean, and how others receive, process and understand what we write are two entirely different things. Sometimes, the disconnect in this equation can have disastrous results and repercussions. Listening, reading, and interpreting with no expectation allows us to respond openly and honestly. What happens when we feel that we convey our thoughts articulately, only to find the other person completely took your words in a whole different context? Do you examine your role and what you wrote more closely?
I recently wrote something to a friend, and the way they responded was very eye opening to me. Honestly, I thought, wow, they see me as a spineless, scared creature! And so I reread what I wrote. I saw where I could have been interpreted that way to some degree, and then I considered if they were seeing me at that moment, or how they have perceived me the entire time I have known them. I think it was the latter to be honest, and I think it influenced how my written word was processed, comprehended.
I realized my part, they interpreted my statement based on their witnessed history viewed of me, and what they knew of my history, which was a snapshot of where I was, not who I am. That was majorly eye opening. How many of us do that, make determinations about others’ words based on our history with them or what we know about them? Is this a fair assessment of their words, are we failing in this approach? Or do we feel like we are meeting the other person where we think they are standing, because we know no differently? Are we taking them at face value and nothing more, nothing less?
Do you think we interpret written word correctly? Do you think we interpret written word too much? Do you think we are looking way too closely at something that we can better see from the surface? What do you think? Let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Oh, and if you want to call me, drop me a line and I will send you my number.
I love when people can taste the love in food. My kids have always shared baked goods that I have made for school functions or home, and their friends say that these treats are extra tasty, to which my kids reply, “Well yeah, my mom makes it with a lot of love.” It really delights me that not only can my family taste it, but others can too. My friend Maria once mentioned someone’s food having no love in it, we both had sour looks upon our faces because we know there really is a difference in food made with love or not. Food made with love can be savory or sweet, and anything in between. Everyone is capable of cooking with love!
My husband, Bill, decided today was a great day for the comforts of Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and veggies. I offered to help, but was so in love with what I saw, I knew I had to capture it right away. There is always something exciting about making a family favorite, in a different way, and still doing it with love and letting your love of food and family be shown and enjoyed, felt, through your food!
Thank you Bill! Our meal was delicious and definitely made with love and care! This new way of making meatloaf is now my favorite way, and deserves the spotlight for this post! Do you have a signature dish or food that people always remark upon? Do you make it with love, intentionally or not? Tell me, I’d love to know!
I had a post all ready to roll out today. It was about journeys, mental health, self awareness, boundaries, respect, you know, important things. I wrote so much, it may have been the first chapter of a book, lol. And then I took my own advice I was doling out in the post, I paused.
And then I went on to Instagram and I paused. I read about 4 posts and I paused again. I read something that really resonated with me. It said “There are two rules in life: 1. Never give out all the information.”(@lawofwinning via @businessmindset101). And I found myself where I was before I took a social media break. Silent.
I was at a loss for words for a while, and then I decided to speak about things that mattered to me, things that I felt others could benefit from, things that others needed to hear. And I wrote my first blog post for 2021. And then I wrote that bookish type post I mentioned above. And then I paused.
I paused because I see where I struggle with social media. I forget that people don’t want to see or hear certain things, but want to see people living their best lives. When you start talking about real life, people tune out, they are not interested. And I too feel that way at times, so I paused. And I contemplated. And I gave consideration to all of it, so that is where I am at.
This space that I pay for here, to me, is about sharing life’s stories with the images captured. Perhaps for a time, I should just enjoy the pause, do what I enjoy doing most with my camera, just capturing what I see. Maybe when you see the images, you will pause too. Maybe we all just need to pause more.
Welcome to year 2021 at The Photographist Life! What a ride 2020 was, were you white knuckling it, or did you just say the hell with it and you rolled with all the throat punches the year delivered? I rolled quite a bit and delivered a few punches myself, I am adaptable that way! I recently set my last lunar intention of 2020, the cycle began in 2020 and is ending in 2021, and instead of saying bu-bye to 2020, I said a great big thank you. You all know I’m not typical!
My lunar intention for the last moon cycle of the year 2020 was to release all of what did not serve me, to be grateful for all of the lessons and positivity, and to usher in 2021 by being thankful for all of those things, as they only served my highest good. Gratitude is seriously underrated, in many aspects of life, even in the “bad” things, and it is often a contradicting concept. Got punched in the face by 2020? Say thanks because odds are you learned from it, you grew and at minimum you will change directions because of it.
You see where I am at currently with my mindset in this cycle’s intention, coincidently the last of the year, but where am I heading??? This year I am ADVANCING. This is my word for 2021. 2020’s word was ACHIEVEMENT, which I most certainly did, I embodied and rocked, but when I contemplated what my word would be this year, I questioned how last year’s word served me, how I could grow from that, did the word encompass enough of what I meant by claiming ACHIEVEMENT, and you know what, it did but it didn’t. How could I advance from achieving, what would that entail, what in particular do I even mean???
When you choose your word of the year, there should be thought as to the direction you came from and the direction you wish to go. I also think you need to have room for the ebbs and flows, as well as have some specific ideas about what you want to see or get done this year. So I did just that, I was very general in claiming ADVANCING as my word because I want more continued momentum and growth, but also knew that I could springboard growth and progress, lots of forward movement off of that word too.
I write year goals for my physical health, my mental health, my emotional health, my family, this blog, my photography business, my massage therapy practice and my SOUL. When you set an intention/goal, it should be something lofty, but also something that you can whittle down for manageability, or fine tuning, and at worst, something you can ditch now and pick up later. In the event you reach that lofty goal, you can add to your intention the next lunar cycle. The point is, aim high, don’t settle but be realistic that you made need smaller steps to accomplish the necessary steps to achieve that big goal…you keep ADVANCING, even if you have to step back from time to time, fine tune your steps, or bail altogether for this go round.
Want to know the goal that I have for this little blog of mine? It is to grow, to utilize this place as a tool of communication, to showcase my photography that I randomly capture just by living and to treat this place as a sacred space. I think that is all doable, but my first step is to just be consistent.
I have lacked consistency writing here, for a while I needed the blog to help me heal and learn so I could grow. I used my writings for that, but this space was never intended for that purpose, I am however grateful for the ability to be able to write to release and learn, I highly recommend journaling for that purpose too. I will be working not only on my consistency in writing, but my consistency of content. I would like to develop a bit of a schedule so that you may know what to anticipate. You will hopefully forgive me if and when I slip in this endeavor, but by being intentional, I hope the slippage is minimal!
So what do you have planned for 2021? Do you have a word of the year? Do you have a goal let alone multiple goals? Whatcha planning this year, whatcha want to get done? How do you want to learn, progress and grow? I love hearing about what you are doing/wanting to do, so drop me a line!
Growing up, I lived bedside my grandma. I could go to her house anytime I wanted, I could spend all day long with her, and many times I did. Our days almost always started the same way, with us sitting on her front porch, often times a bible in her hand. It was a usual occurrence for her to read me a bible verse and then we would discuss it, sharing our thoughts and viewpoints on what we thought it meant or what we took away from it.
Looking back now, I realize just how much that woman taught me about life, how well she prepared me to be a good adult, how she showed me to be a supportive, caring individual. And honestly, she gave me a guiding source that has helped me navigate life’s waters. I have strayed at times from what she has taught me, and every time I do, I realize something. When there is a trusted source, a tried and true method, you are a fool to not return to what you know works.
I have been on a deeply personal journey for a while now, and something almost two years ago struck me when I was at a New Year’s Day intention setting event at my favorite yoga studio. I had forgotten myself. I had betrayed myself. I had abandoned myself. I chose to allow someone else to dictate my life to me, for the reasons I now know are asinine, but reasons nonetheless. It was during prompts, meditation and quiet reflection that I heard myself say something to my grandma…”If I don’t think I’m awesome, who will?”. That was eye opening to have that come up at that moment.
I remembered that it doesn’t matter what face we put on for others, how we appear, what others think of us. What matters is what we think of ourselves, who we answer to and how true we are to ourselves in those things. We can look like the most put together creature on earth, but maybe we are screaming inside. And what good are we doing ourselves if we are choosing something that does not jive with us, for someone else’s sake???
Ironically, I equate peacock feathers with my grandma. She always had this large blue vase that she kept a bunch of the feathers in, and we(my cousins and I), would get one out to play with when permitted. The feathers look like they have eyes on them, as if they see you, like an all seeing eye. Peacocks are gorgeous creatures, but they let out the most awful screeches at times, but that is the peacock, they make no apologies for their dichotomy of painful sounding beauty. When I set my intention that New Year’s Day, I knew that it had to be, “Be True to You”, accompanied with a peacock feather and a heart.
We must love ourselves, in our truth. We must see what is for us in our truth. We must allow others to see us, in our ugly, in our beauty, in our truth. Not all will be able to witness you in your truth, and that is okay, but for those that do, they may be inspired and create something magical, something deeply resonating for them and for others, and for you.
My amazing friend Rachel did such a thing, and when she gave me my mug, I waved it around my neighborhood(no one was looking, lol), proclaiming that I was special because it had two feathers! I didn’t tell Rachel, but that was the most wonderful thing, two feathers, because that was one for me and one for grandma. It is a reminder that she is always with me, that the lessons taught are always there, that I am to always think I am awesome, that I must be true to me, and above all, that I am true to the one above because he has never failed me(even though I have felt like it), and putting my energy into my belief, can and has done wondrous things in my life.
Thank you Rachel for your friendship, for sharing your gifts, and for being an amazing magical soul. Be True to You. 🦚❤️
When I was young, I purposely decided to change my life. I did not like how my life was going, I did not like how I felt about it, and I did not like a lot of things I did either. Self awareness showed me that I didn’t like these things, and because of that, I could continue down the path I was on, or I could make some changes and redirect my path. This was not something I entered in to lightly, it required a spiritual perspective, some guidance from above, and some self discipline to get to where I wanted to go, because when you ask for guidance, it is given if you are willing to seek it.
Every day that you practice self betterment in spirituality, is a day you are wiser and kinder to others and yourself. This provides more opportunity for gratitude, also to self and others. This causes expansion of your heart, soul and mind, and in turn, it provokes you to look for others more along the same lines.
When I was in 5th grade, I was pretty depressed. At the time, I did not realize that was what it was, but looking back, I realize I was heavily depressed. I don’t remember much from that time, but a few things stand out, one of those was kindness bestowed upon me from another school mate. This person had, and currently has no idea what their kindness did for me at that time. At a time I felt pretty dark and bleak, kind words and kind gestures from them, are one of only a handful of things I remember from that time. This has always stuck with me, as this person always seemed kind to me all through school, and is still kind to this day.
I had the opportunity to get to know this person a little better as an adult. As kids we never ran in the same circles, but as adults, we have more things in common. Anyhow, this person still shows a lot of grace and kindness, not just towards me, but to so many people that we both know. I think it is safe to say that this person has not always had it easy, and has been through their share of crap in life, but it hasn’t diminished their kindness in life, perhaps it has made it grow, I will have to ask about that.
This person recently gifted me with an item, it was completely unexpected, it wasn’t because I was feeling down or anything like that, this person gifted me just because they could, and wanted to. This is humbling when someone does this for you, and it makes you pause and take your own acts of random kindness in to consideration, not in a keeping score sort of way, but more so in an inspirational sort of way. It asks you to look at what you can do for others, how you can help, or how you might brighten someone’s day, just because you can.
This mug, and token, are so much more symbolic for me than just a random act of kindness. “Teach Peace” speaks volumes about my soul and my spirituality. My massage therapy business is called “Inner Peace”, because I want to help people feel and find inner peace within themselves. This all harkens back to the changes I purposely made for myself when I was young. Just because we may not like ourselves or the things we do at some point in time, does not mean that we never get to like or love ourselves, it does not mean that we are irredeemable, it does not mean that we are destined to suffer for an eternity. No, it means that we can choose to work on these things, work on ourselves, we can live the lives that we choose and deserve because we are willing to show ourselves grace and kindness, forgiveness too.
I want people to feel lightened of their bodily burdens of pain and dysfunction, to know that they can move forward and make changes that are good for them mind, body and soul. I want people to feel they are unconditionally loved when they are in my presence, that they know that I will not judge them, but I will help them. I hope for people to make the choice to free themselves of the earthly burdens that they carry around, and to know that by doing so, they are inviting and accepting Inner Peace in to their lives.
Because I asked for help and guidance all those years ago, and I received grace of lifting my own burdens, I knew it was part of my purpose to help “Teach Peace”. This gift that truly encapsulated my life, astounded me. It was a bombardment of love, caring, kindness, grace and gratitude all at once. I was so overwhelmed by the thought of this friend, by the maker of this mug, by the way our world works in fates, by guidance from above, and most of all, by the way people are so connected in loving, caring ways, as displayed in the making, giving, and receiving of this one mug. Crazy good stuff. Thank you friend for simply being you, you are loved, valued, and appreciated. Thank you Rachel for not just making a mug, but for making a Movement too!❤️
In life, we will go through many transitions, and even transition within transitions. Some of these transitions will be joyous, some will be devastating, some will make us wonder how we got through and some will make us glad we had to change things. Hopefully though, we can see the beauty in any of these situations during or after, and that above all, we see the things that were required of us to transition and we marvel in our own personal strength.
We start life with the building blocks of our parents and loved ones taking care of us, and showing us the way. The people before us lay the foundation not only for the starting point of our lives, but the way in which we may go about and pursue life, even showing us what our possible expectations in life could be. As we grow, we see the things we like about those building blocks, that we want for ourselves, and other times, we realize there is opportunity for transitions to occur to change our lives or our expectations that differ from the previous generations for our own growth. Neither is wrong, neither is right, just one is different than the other. For some, this can cause great relief to make a different choice, to reach out and grab what is meant for them, and their life. On the flip side of that, it can also result in strained relationships of those that came before you, because it may feel insulting to them, even though you just seek different from what they know. One of the most important pieces of wisdom a lot of us have been told in our lives from elders and older generation loved ones, is to not forget our roots, ie, the building blocks. Sound and sage advice my father and grandmother gave me at different times in my life, and the way that they both told me was said with love and reverence and told to me in positive situations. Those words have gotten me through some rough transitions in life, because there is support, caring and love there I could rely on.
As we grow and mature, finding our way out in this life, we refer back to those building blocks but look to forging a new way for ourselves. We are eager to try new things, go on new adventures, we long for life to keep us on our toes possibly not knowing if we’ll fall or not…but that doesn’t keep us from having confidence in ourselves, finding some flexibility and rushing head long into new territory. For some of us, this could be marriage, children, moving away from our childhood homes and towns, embracing our true identities or maybe all of that and then some! Life transitions start with choices, forced or not, and we may be pleasantly surprised by what is yielded, either way.
We have made some choices, we have learned from the bad and relished the good, but we benefit from both. Good choices always look good at the time, and maybe they will always be determined as a good choice, time tells. We do however benefit from the bad as well as the good. Now, I can say that terrible things happen and sadly, we can’t do anything about that. We can’t alternately make any choices to change things that have already happened. We don’t always know why bad things happen. Sometimes we can see the choices that lead to the bad thing, but we simply cannot undo it and there isn’t a thing we can do about it. This is when we make do have the option to make another choice, do we attempt to move on, or do we collapse, fall and never recover enough to try anymore or ever?
Our transitions can be foretelling, they can look effortless, pitiful, awkward or down right crazy. They can look all of those ways, that all depends on perspective, to you and those observing your transition. New jobs, weddings, babies, new homes, new cars, accomplishing goals like graduation from all levels of education, are all great transitions that generally bring about joy for those personally experiencing it and to those that have been supportive and part of your journey. Even the folks not directly involved in these transitions are joyful when included in celebrating these happy types of life events. Unfortunately, not all transitions look pretty or are fun. Those on the outside may have an idea what has and is happening, and some of those people may hold space for us to travel along on our journey, helping us along the way in subtle or obvious ways. Some people have absolutely no idea what has occurred, how it has affected you and they only see you at a rough patch that is a result of a tough transition, coming or going, maybe in process. Ironically, nothing is permanent, so whether a good or bad transition, we should always provide space for people and keep our observations limited to what we see…seeing is believing, but don’t believe we see everything there is to see.
When things are good, things are great. When things are bad, well, that is STC, Subject to Change(thank you EJ Harris for reminding us of this, always). Things can look good on the surface, but be bad underneath. Things can look bad on the surface, but be healing underneath. Things can look effortless, but take a considerable amount of effort. Things can be easy today, rejoice, buy a lottery ticket perhaps. Maybe things are constant and stable, and you are itching for a change, or maybe you are thankful for the stability. The point is, have a good foundation for yourself, be flexible, give effort, celebrate the good things, be kind to yourself if you fall, and if you have to take a minute to breathe, steady yourself again and be ready for the next transition!
Thank you to my good friend Maria Murray for creatively collaborating with me on this post, for always providing me space to be me, for encouraging all of her students to breathe, to be kind to yourself and to love one another. If you would like to experience yoga transitions in Maria’s classes, you can find her at http://www.rainbowyogastudio.com
Have you ever noticed that some things in life come full circle without your desire, or consent, for it to do so? I recently experienced this phenomena, and let me tell you, it completely threw me for a loop! Cheesy pun, anyone…anyone?
I recently took a road trip with my family, including my mother, to Kansas City, Missouri. I started the journey on a positive note, expecting us all to make some memories and have a good time…and then I got sick the day before our departure, strep throat! Not to mention my friendly monthly visitor, could this trip NOT start any better? The bad thing about once you have Bell’s Palsy, it leaves your system weak and open to some really whacked out occurrences. It magnifies the bad stuff when you are tired, sick, stressed or menstruating. Yay. Despite all of that fun stuff, I was still determined to make this trip a success!
Everyone was a lot of fun on the way out west, we drove the 10 1/2 hours straight, of course we made pit stops and ate dinner, but it was still an endurance test. I really am not sure how my husband drove all of that time and was still coherent and pleasant at the end when we checked in to our hotel, I know I would not have been, even on a good day. He did hit a wall at one point, but a little Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Child” perked him enough to finish out to our arrival.
People, there is a reason why Missouri is called the “Show Me State”. I have never seen storms, clouds, or sunsets the same caliber of gloriousness that Missouri showed us. These photos do not do the scenes justice, you cannot imagine what a bunch of tourists we looked like rolling down the highway in a Suburban, snapping photos with cameras and cell phones. We were so cliche as Missouri asked her neighbors to hold her beer, delighting us with her incendiary behavior, showing us her goods and not being bashful nor apologetic about it.
Back to that full circle. See, I know this is not my best work, so that makes me question, were we really seeing Missouri’s best work? I truly don’t know. But, I do know that what we were seeing was damn good, it was good enough for us to appreciate it, memorialize it, and appreciate it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all. This all translates to my own work. I can admit, it will probably never be good enough in my own eyes, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good enough, period. It may be a beautifully lit and captured image, but I will always see the flaws and things I could have done better. Does that mean the image is trash? Not by a long shot. It has redeeming qualities, some people will love it and appreciate it(thank you to the ones that do), and most importantly, it will spur me to capture better next opportunity.
Why do I always think I am not good enough? Well, I figured that out on this trip too. I am good enough, for anything and everything. I deserve the world. Oh yeah, I am feeling myself and it is about time. Am I exactly where I want to be? No, but I know my finish will rival that of a Missouri sunset. Freaking Glorious. I will strive everyday for a better me, towards an amazing finish, in the distant future. Catch a glimpse of me when we pass on life’s highway, I’ll pay homage to you too with a salute of recognition and well wishes.
Life has a way of teaching you and showing you what it wants you to see, what you need to see, permission or not. And that is okay. It is all okay. It’s actually all good because it is preparing you for something better, a better life and a better you for sure. Who isn’t good with a better life and being a better version of themselves? I know I am, and like Missouri, it can keep showing me all day long.
Things really have a way of being lit up when you are open and ready for it, even if you don’t know it. There is assurance in seeing what you didn’t think you needed to see, or what you simply weren’t seeing. We miss some of the best things when they are right in front of us, because we are looking, but we aren’t truly seeing. Like this building shown above, it was amazingly beautiful from my hotel window despite rain beading down the window in addition to a glare from the light, I still had to capture the building, but how. I drew the drapes and sandwiched myself between the faux sliding glass door, all while my husband lovingly made fun of me trying to get the shot. He said the real picture was me in that sandwich of glass and curtain, lol. It is in moments like that, I am truly blessed and thankful.
I don’t know if you’ll ever get to Missouri, but I hope you will be shown what you need to see, and you realize that it is right in front of you. Don’t let the struggles of yesterday or today, obscure your view, look beyond. Hell, just look, that is a fine enough start as your cards will reveal themselves in due time. Thank you Missouri for all that you have shown me!
What do you see when you look at your reflection? Do you see all the things others think of you? Do you see things you THINK others think of you? Do you see the things YOU think about yourself? Are you objective as to what you physically see, as well as what is under the surface? Are you in tune with both the good and bad things about yourself? Do you know how to define “good and bad” about you, and is that even a healthy way to look at it?
When we see ourselves through others’ eyes, we are getting a very skewed and jaded, if not wholly inaccurate picture. This can cause us to judge ourselves harshly, unfairly, and most assuredly without love. Sure, at times, others’ views of us can help us grow because we aren’t seeing ourselves truthfully(YOU are Beautiful!), but I am not talking about that kind of perspective, through another’s eyes, I am talking about finding your worth, your magic, your beauty in yourself through loving yourself, the whole package.
When we look in the mirror, are we seeing the amazing things that make us, US? No one has eyes the same color as you. No one has hair or a head like yours. No one has a nose, mouth, cheek, chin, forehead, eyebrows just like you. And your body? That is only yours too! Does your body reflect the activity that you do? The hard work and effort you put in? Maybe your body reflects those donuts you ate? Or maybe your body looks like a donut? Whatever the case, do you love you just as you are or are you hiding parts of yourself from you?
That question can be asked of us both physically and about our psyche, our personality makeup. Perhaps you think you are too much of a pushover? Is this a problem for you? Do you berate yourself for allowing others to walk on you, because you are too nice? Or is it really that you care too much of what others think, and therefore accept being someone’s doormat for the reasons you deem acceptable from yourself? Why are you doing that to the person you love…YOU? What awesomeness are you hiding from yourself by not being bold and brazen and saying no? What made you think that you had to accept any sort of ugliness from this world, let alone yourself? What are you hiding from really and how can you view that differently when you look at yourself with a little bit of love and compassion?
By hiding, we are missing something truly magical and amazing, ourselves! We are missing parts of us that are strong, graceful, unique and lovely, and if we keep hiding those things, how are we ever going to know that we have wings to soar and glide with? How will we know that we are seriously freaking majestic creatures, that we have a lot to offer this world, and most importantly ourselves??? Well, maybe we should take another look at our reflection and see our complete selves, the whole package, ALL of US? Maybe, just maybe, we should look with love only for ourselves and cut that nonsensical chatter that doesn’t belong.
We can’t deny our unique majesty, yes we need to see the things we know we could work on, embrace those things with an unbridled self-love, an acceptance in our heart, but we can work on those light AND dark parts for growth, happiness and self acceptance. We can choose to let those aforementioned questions and thoughts go, wholly embrace the beauty, magic and amazing creature that we are, see ourselves as we truly are, as we were meant to be, us, free.
Once we start viewing ourselves with love and compassion, and no longer see our good and bad parts but just us, that is when we no longer hide, we no longer make apologies or let others’ thoughts affect us. That is when we see our own reflection!
I have been looking all around and haven’t seen a thing that has given me cause to write about it. Truthfully, this has been a reflection of me, and not the world around me. So, I stepped back and started taking better care of myself. One of my favorite things to do in this instance is to a walk in Yoctangee Park, and so I did one day with my youngest daughter, camera in tow.
This guy right here, along with his ladies, stayed pretty close to us, and kept crossing our path. He had a lot to say when he was near us, some quackery sure, but it resonated with me on a deeper level. He was challenging what I thought of as beauty. He knew that he, along with his ladies, although grotesque by some standards, were nothing of the sort. They are magnificent, extraordinary birds whose beauty cannot be judged from afar, nor overlooked because there is so much more to them than meets the eye.
This handsome duck taught me a valuable lesson that day. When I forget or get so caught up that I fail to notice the beauty around me, all I need to do is take a walk through my neighborhood park, and remember that all things were created with beauty in mind, I just have to see it. Are you seeing the beauty around you?