In a Flash

I finally got around to deleting my calendar that was counting down the days to my 3 year sober anniversary. It’s about time, since the date flew by almost three months ago!

I’m officially on summer break now. I was going to take a couple of online classes, but I decided that my brain needed to rest and reset. My life has been whizzing by in a flash, and it’s time to slow down and enjoy the simple things for a while.

The image I’ve featured here sort of represents how it feels to race through life, full of wild excitement and eager anticipation. When you stop and look around, you realize that nature offers you something wonderful, even if it’s in the simplest of forms; colors, shapes or lines. That’s how I see it anyway.

That’s about all for now. I just wanted to say I am back!

I’m looking forward to a long, enjoyable summer—catching up on reading your posts, writing some new stories, and (hopefully) sharing some new images taken with my new Nikon. 🙂

Peace & Love!

Helter-Skelter

The midnight oil is burning. Scribbled words on shreds of notepaper litter the floor beneath my seat. I let out a yelp as the computer warns of pending doom: “Online storage approaching maximum capacity; purchase upgrade for more space!

Perhaps I shouldn’t write tonight.

Shuffling through images from my past, I contemplate long and hard about which ones to retain, and which ones to throw out. Some of the photos seem so sad, so grainy. I look beyond the flaws, and into the memories that they bring. Perhaps I should save them all, it’s so hard to let go.

Attempting to consolidate only creates more commotion, more chaos…

I’ll finish tomorrow.

Weekend Writing Prompt #91: Helter-Skelter
Word Count: 111

Word of the Day Challenge: Yelp

I don’t know if it’s cheating the 111 word count to go on like this, but I’m a rebel anyway so who cares. 🙂

I wanted to say something about my collage. I actually thought about writing a Haiku for this, because it reminded me of how little boys dream… usually about what they will be or do when they grow up, and how—once they reach a certain age—they tend to dream about being young again.

Anyway, my grandson and son are actually a part of this creation and I’ve shared both images in different forms. That’s what got me thinking. I worked on it for hours last night, and again this morning, and finally decided it was time to move on to the next order of business.

That’s all for now. Today is softball Sunday, so off I go……

Peace & Love Everyone!
—Janet

Keep Dreaming

My dreams are vivid, they’re bold and alive.

The colors run deep, as they spin and they jive.

Often they fade, to black, and to white—

Others appear in magnificent light.

Sometimes in shadows, or a dark silhouette—

They wait as I cling to the fear of regret.

One dream can splinter, into two, even three—

I’ll never stop dreaming of all I can be.

—Janet—

Weekend Writing Prompt #89: Silhouette

Word of the Day Challenge: Splinter

Well… in spite of the predicted rain, I’m heading to the beach tomorrow for a four day stay. I’m so excited! I’m taking along my camera, and dreaming of some great shots… but even a few mediocre ones will do!

Speaking of photographs, I have to mention something about my featured image. My son and I went to the Phoenix Art Museum years ago, and I’ve had this photograph of him for years. When I saw the word silhouette today, I decided it was time to get creative with it.

Not everyone wants to see “family photos,” but I’ve always loved this image so I wanted to experiment and transform him into a silhouette. With Sneakers. Ha! Today I am grateful for Photoshop, that’s all I have to say.

Have a beautiful week everyone—
Peace & Love!

Melting Time

I’m actually getting a late start on word prompts tonight. I really do enjoy those, but trying to fit multiple words into a poem or story is—to be honest—exhausting me.

I think I need a word for the “week,” so that I have time to digest it, and ponder what the word really means to me. That rush-rush to get it written in one day gives me a weird adrenaline rush!

Anyway, I thought I would give the mind a rest tonight—so I did an image for the word Segue: to make a transition without interruption from one activity, topic, scene.

It’s a bit abstract (duh!), but it’s a really cool tree that I visited at Christmas, with lights dangling from it, and fireworks exploding behind it in the night sky—celebrating our segue into the new year.

I’m actually happy with this one! If I ever had to settle on any specific style, I think I’d do more of these crazy pieces.

That’s about all for tonight! We have 2 hours to go here, and there’s a 50/50 chance I’ll still be awake to welcome in 2019.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!
(… and that’s the last time I’ll say that this year)

Peace & Love!
—Janet

Gazing Upward

I saw this sunset a week ago, just before my Thursday evening class started. It was beautiful just the way it was, but I wanted to do something with it. I feel like I need a ‘creative reprieve’ more and more these days. Not that anything is going bad, or I am stressed out or anything; I just think that sitting down to get creative helps put a halt to my overthinking. It’s like wordless prayer. It forces me to be still.

So… I hit another ‘month’ anniversary; 2 years and 8 months sober as of yesterday. It’s not like I count the days or anything, but when I see the calendar hit the 7th each month I make a mental note—thinking about where I was then compared to where I am now. What a difference 977 days make!

Anyway, that’s about all for now. Have a beautiful day everyone! Remember to stop and smell the roses… enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend… or gaze up at a beautiful sunset.

Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing. Dr. Seuss

Life is good and God is great!!

A Song in my Soul

What I have in my heart and soul — must find a way out. That’s the reason for music. Ludwig van Beethoven

Today has been such a good day! It felt like there was a little celebration going on inside of my soul, and I wanted to burst out in song! Believe it or not, I actually wrote that before I found the Beethoven quote. How perfect is that?!

I mentioned before that I was done apologizing or explaining what went wrong with my images, but I have to be honest and say that this design wasn’t exactly what I envisioned. I love the rust tones though, so I decided that it was time to call it finished. It’s funny, sometimes when people ask me what my favorite color is, I wonder if they think it’s strange when I tell them rust, or brown. I just love those earthy shades!

I used some clouds and an old moon shot to start it out because today I was able to withdraw from my Biology class (which was killing me!), and I found the perfect replacement course that starts in two weeks; Astronomy.

Instead of peering through a microscope at bacteria, I’ll be gazing up at the moon and stars! My soul has been singing all day!

Life is beautiful… and God is so, so good!

The earth has music for those who will listen. Reginald Vincent Holmes

Happy Anniversary!

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. Oscar Wilde

Would you believe that today marks exactly two years for me here on the blog? Another week and I’ll also reach two years and seven months sober. Praise God for that! Time flies when you’re busy making plans, that’s for sure.

Speaking of making plans, I had an epiphany recently. One of the students in my English class mentioned something about changing how society views a certain subject. I can’t remember what it was she was referring to, but that’s not really the point anyway—it’s what happened after. Grinning, our professor reminded the class that they were young, and that they had their whole lives ahead of them to change the world.

At first, I felt a little sad. There I sat, surrounded by teens and young adults—the oldest probably 26 years old—and I was… well… somewhere in my fifties. Somehow his words just struck me. It’s not often that I get discouraged, but the realization that I’m getting a really late start on a few things kicks in every now and then, and this was definitely one of those times.

A few days later, as the professor’s words drifted in and out of my head, I felt a little envious of those fortunate souls who “have their whole lives ahead of them.” That’s when I had the epiphany—or maybe it was that small, still voice that speaks to my heart—and I realized that no matter which way you look at it…

…I have my whole life ahead of me too!

We all do!
—Stay encouraged—

It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

Urban Oasis

Big Leaf Designs

This summer I went on an interesting hike with my son and daughter-in-law. My plan was to stroll through Ferndell Nature Trail which is basically flat, covered by shade trees, and brimming with plants from all over the world. I guess you could call it an urban oasis.

I shot this Elephant Ear there, and finally got around to working on it. I didn’t get as many photographs as I would have liked because my cohorts had other plans (unbeknownst to me), and my leisurely stroll turned into a 2 mile round trip hike up the hill to the Griffith Park Observatory and back.

Anyway, tomorrow I have a Biology exam. I’m learning about cells and photosynthesis (yawn), so plant leaves kind of fit into the mix today. After a full day of studying, I really needed a breather—so… I decided to add a little magic to the image and make the giant leaves look a little less real. What can I say, it’s Hollywood!

Peace and Love!

I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic. Andy Warhol

Dream Chasers

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. Colin Powell

In visiting some images from my past, I stumbled on this photograph I took of some of my friends taking surf lessons. I thought it was a good representation of my thoughts lately; about hard work and determination.

One of our math assignments last week was to read an article by Carol S. Dweck—the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University—about fixed mindsets vs. growth mindsets. What’s interesting is that in doing so, I learned a little something about myself.

A person with a fixed mindset believes that intelligence levels, talents, and abilities are fixed, that we inherently have what we have (basically what we are fortunate enough to be born with), and that’s it. A person with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that intelligence levels, talents, and abilities can be cultivated through effort and education; they are potentials that can be realized through learning and practice.

I’ve always had a tendency to bounce around when it comes to my passions, interests, and pursuits—I can’t always stick to one thing—and I’m now realizing why that is; I have a bit of a fixed mindset.

Whenever I hit a wall—when something becomes too difficult, or too challenging for me—I simply change my direction. I automatically assume that I must have been on the wrong track to begin with, and that I don’t inherently have what it takes to continue on the path that I’m on. I guess you could say that I believed I had reached a plateau; a point where I could never go higher in that particular realm. That was a fixed mindset.

A person with a growth mindset would have believed that they did in fact have the potential to go higher, beyond those plateaus that are actually momentary and temporary obstacles. A person with a growth mindset would believe that they could do it, but that the process would require something of them: 

Effort and hard work.

I’m not saying I’m not a hard worker. What I’m saying is that when I DO work hard I tend to want to work at something that comes easy to me. Something I already understand or know how to do well. That’s not growth; that’s repetition. In looking back at my old business, I recognize this. I did what I did for a living (and for so long) because it came easy to me. I could do it with little effort or thought!

So, now that I’m aware of this I’m going to work on changing my beliefs. No more fearing or running from things that are difficult or challenging. I also thought this was good information to share because I’m sure there are other people who may be stuck in a fixed mindset; believing that they aren’t cut out for something.

It really IS possible, it just takes determination, hard work and practice.

Don’t sell yourself short!

If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. Frank A. Clark

Bringing Out the Bold

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. Carl Jung

It’s been a battle between intellect & creativity for me this week. Right brain vs. left. I needed to do something playful because I wasn’t having much fun with what I’ve been doing—still tweaking the blog. O.C.D. much?!?

I know they don’t get seen much, but my intellect’s been telling me to delete the posts that are too irrelevant, remove old images that seem weird or boring, fix those accidental double line spaces, and edit some things I said in the past that now sound silly (Hey, this isn’t twitter! I can do a re-do, right?!)

So, speaking of silly; I mentioned that looking back on my story was a great gratitude exercise for me, but there’s something else that I noticed that’s been really eye opening for me. In every other post—be it a story or an image—I was constantly explaining myself and apologizing!

In introducing images, the opening line would read something like “well this didn’t really turn out like I wanted but…” or “I know this isn’t the clearest image but…” and if I was writing my thoughts—I said things like “well, this probably sounds silly but…”

When I took that short Writer’s Boot Camp course, I actually did that once with my instructor and he jumped all over me. “Never introduce your work by downplaying it like that. Your reader will have formed a negative opinion before they’ve even read what you wrote!” He said that when you do that it means that either your work actually DOES suck, or that you really DO think your work is good, but you’re fishing for compliments. There was a third option though; you have no confidence. In that case—he said—you probably shouldn’t pursue writing.

I’m not sure that hearing him say that ever really sunk in—in fact I’d forgotten all about it until now—but when I started going over the past I was shocked at how often I’ve done that! Almost every time!

What’s awesome about this is that I haven’t felt compelled to do that after coming back from my long break. I think that I’ve found some of that confidence that was missing before. That’s not to say that anything I write or create has improved—in fact I’d say that my skill levels are exactly where they were when I left off last year. Nothing has changed. Nothing… except my confidence!

It was so exciting to learn that this past week, and something that’s definitely worth sharing. Just keep on the path—turn it all over to God—and you see changes, growth, and transformations that you didn’t even expect!

That being said, I wanted to create an image that expressed my mood right now. Something with movement, something a little crazy & wild, and something abstract—that I’m not going to explain or apologize for.

I guess you could say that I’m bringing out the BOLD.

Life is good and God is great!
—Stay encouraged—

A Handful of Dew

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop were not there, I think the ocean would be less by that missing drop. Mother Teresa

Greetings Everyone! It’s been a couple of months since I opened up any of my Adobe programs, so I thought I would give it a shot today and see if the right side of my brain still works. I took this photo of an orange and dew drop when I was in my photography class, so today I added the hand and used scale and some paint effects to make it look larger than life. I thought it was fun.

My second year of school starts in two weeks, and once that’s finished I’ll be just one class shy of earning my Associates Degree in Psychology, so this time next year I should be finishing up and planning for my graduation and University transfer.

I’ve been contemplating what I want to do with my blog these days. I seem to be at a place where the only thing I have to talk about are my day to day activities; not exactly exciting material, but today just happens to be my two year and five months “sober anniversary,” so that’s something I thought was worth mentioning. Time just keeps flying by!

Once I figure out a more concrete direction for the blog, I hope to be posting more. For now, I’ll just keep checking in to say hello now and then, and share any photos or art that I drum up on my days off.

Peace and Love!