On Solid Ground

Be sure and put your feet in the right place…

…and then stand firm.

Abraham Lincoln

That’s a great quote for me today. I’m beginning to realize that sometimes “self-learning” doesn’t really teach me anything. Well, it does but it doesn’t.

It’s like that joke about men never wanting to ask for directions. I’ll spend hours on the computer—testing out tools— and never take a second to open up any form of instructional material. Obviously that joke applies to women as well. Ha!

What I’m really learning is that sometimes you learn a lot more when you look to others for guidance. That being said, I’m hoping to spend the next (school free) month looking at other blogs—and tutorials and such.

The man in this photograph is the same paddle boarder that was seen in Walking on Water —but on a different day. He was back on solid ground, and looking a little tired. That paddling must be exhausting! I gave the image a silhouette appearance because of the way he’s looking down. He seems humble.

That’s about all for now. Peace & love to you all. Life is good and God is great!

Yesterday’s News

What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.

—Author Unknown

I’ve been thinking a lot. That’s what happens when I have time on my hands (did I just say that in an earlier post?). What I’ve noticed lately is that—in certain areas—I’m a bit of a control freak. Nothing huge, mind you, just little nagging issues that bother me.

keep reading

The Man Cave

Boys & Their Toys

It started with skates,

Then a skateboard or two.

The toys just got bigger,

As the little ones grew.

A bike; then a car,

With a rack on the top,

To haul all these toys…

Oh, when does it stop?!

Toys for water and sand,

Three wheelers and such,

Soon the car had to go,

Since it didn’t fit much.

A board for the snow,

One for catching a wave,

The garage has been shrinking,

Now we need a Man Cave!

Horsing Around

I’m taking a much needed break from my studies this evening. Just horsing around I guess! There are 6 more weeks in the semester, and I’m SO looking forward to some rest and relaxation.

The photography class I’m taking right now does NOT permit the use of any image altering software, so this Photoshop fiend is going bonkers. I figured, at the very least, I’d do a black and white this evening to let off some steam.

During an attempt to do some street photography, I stumbled on this horse. I thought it was an interesting subject, and he was not what I had expected to find out there on the streets. I did an unusual camera angle for the sake of class experimentation (yes, I did that on purpose). This course is forcing me out of my comfort zone… and it’s scary out here! 🙂

Anyway, I wanted to check in, say hello, and send some love. I miss everyone, and I’ll be checking up on you shortly.

Peace & Love!
—Janet

Directionally Challenged

—I need a little direction right now.

First of all, I took this photograph yesterday while riding with my son. I noticed the yellow lines in the mirrors and the Which Way Photo Challenge instantly came to mind. I realize I’ve already used the “rear view mirror” idea, but I had to do it again because I really enjoy how the lines repeat, but they don’t line up.

One of the things I love about word and photo challenges is that they provide you with a little direction. The blank canvas isn’t quite so “empty,” because you’ve been given a prompt to draw upon.

read on

In the Distance

Turquoise Lake, Colorado

I think this photo was made for color, but I thought the lake and mountains in the distance were perfect for Cee’s Black & White challenge today.

Also… I found an interesting quote that I’m going to keep in mind when I go back to school…

The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.

Ansel Adams

Go With the Flow

Late last night, as I pondered what to write about in my next post, the question “what are you trying to accomplish here?” came to mind.

I thought about how my blog started—how I wanted to share the story of my recovery, and offer words of “hope” to other people who were still suffering—and then I thought about how the subject matter has twisted, turned, and evolved over time.  

I wondered if certain words that I’ve written were (or were not) necessary; whether or not they conveyed anything “positive or uplifting” to the person they might reach, or if they were just “filler.”

The bottom line is that I want to write words that matter, and I critique my words harshly… reprimanding myself at times for being hasty; not thinking things through carefully, or failing to do my very best. I think it boils down to two things: impatience and perfectionism. I always feel rushed—like there’s some ‘imaginary’ deadline I have to meet—so I zig zag around to get things done at warp speed and then, sometime later, I look back to question everything and point out the imperfections.

Needless to say, the only thing that emerged from all of my overthinking was a bunch of unnecessary stress.

As I laid down to rest, I did what comes naturally now…

I surrendered.

I listened to my music, turned everything over to God… and I allowed my body to relax… as the tears rolled down my cheeks. They weren’t tears of sadness or frustration, mind you; they were tears of peace, tears of joy, and tears of love. Surrender will do that.

For today’s Which Way Challenge, I decided to use this photo because it reminded me that striving too hard, or failing to surrender, is like trying to force your way through rush hour traffic. You can push and prod, change lanes frequently, honk your horn… and even shout obscenities, but the fact of the matter is you won’t really get too far. Plus you’ll suffer from self-inflicted stress, and probably piss off other drivers in the process.

Surrender, on the other hand, reminds me of my road trips. I know it will be a long journey, I know I’ll run into traffic, and I welcome the unexpected detours. I relax, play my music, go with the flow… and soak in the scenery.

And if anyone asks me which way I’m going, I answer “hmmm… I don’t know… wherever the road takes me…”

Peace & Love—
—Janet

Which Way Challenge: January 24th

The strongest position you can be in is complete surrender.

Ghost Town

Facades and foundations are all that remain,

Of the city from which her spirit once came.

Underneath the dust, and the rubble there lay,

Narrow streets lined with gold… least that’s what they say.

During one summer, when the moon shone just right,

A man’s said to have seen her,

There dancing at night.

It’s believed that their hearts were at once set on fire,

On top of that mountain, beyond the old mire.

Now legend it goes… that once every June,

Some see their shadows, up in the full moon.

— by Janet
Word Count: 91

Weekend Writing Prompt #88: Foundations

I’ve decided to make a commitment this month. I’m going to “write something every day,” and “work on things that I find challenging.”

Today’s Accomplishment: Write an Acrostic Poem (and I just learned what that was yesterday, so this was a challenge indeed!)

Peace & Love Everyone!

Which Way?

I’ve decided to make a commitment this month. I’m going to “write something every day,” and “work on things that I find challenging.”

Today’s Accomplishment: Post an Image for a Photo Challenge ( I do find that very challenging)

Which Way Photo Challenge

There are so many awesome photographers that I follow, and each time they post their beautiful black and white photographs (and color too) I get inspired… so for that I want to say “thank you!”

Your images brighten my day.

Anyway, I thought this photograph from my days in Colorado was perfect for this particular challenge. The sign is obviously confusing once the snow has finished thawing (Snuck the Word of the Day challenge in there too).

That’s about all for now. I’m going to work on the weekend writing prompt: Foundations, and that’s a great word so I’m going to take my time on that one.

Happy Saturday!!

Playing the Game

Well, I never made it outside yesterday (Boooo). Honestly… it is freaking COLD here! Not as cold as so many places, but in California these recent “extremes” are quite shocking to some of us natives.

Anyway, even though I made a silent vow to stay away from my archived photographs, this morning I remembered some images I took at the park some time ago, and this one seemed perfect for today’s thoughts. Par for the course, I played around in Photoshop to make it appear a little “dreamy.” I couldn’t help but wonder if this young boy was dreaming a little himself at that moment; feeling hopeful about his future in baseball.

I don’t know if I mentioned it before… but this past summer I played coed slow-pitch softball. I’ve now joined a winter league, and this weekend is our first practice game. A friend of mine—who has never played before—has also signed up, and this past Sunday the two of us went to the batting cages.

After showing her how to hold the bat, how to stand, and how to swing, I gave my friend the cage and watched her go at it. I found myself a bit baffled by her performance (and I hope she never reads this!). She seemed distracted—always watching the entrance to see who might be walking in—and when she swung it seemed “halfhearted” to me. It’s almost like she had already decided that she sucked at it, so she didn’t even want to try.

The good news is that eventually her bat started connecting with the ball that was being delivered to her, and we were both happy that she made some progress.

The reason I bring this up is because yesterday I spent the day brainstorming—thinking about my ideas, my dreams, and my goals for this year. I took time to write the important ones down… and then pondered how to break them down into little steps.

I felt really good after that. It’s like putting them on paper (well, on screen actually) made them appear more real to me, more achievable. When I was heading to bed I sort of imagined myself taking even more steps—getting out there and being intentional about my next moves.

That’s when the vision of my friend came to my mind… I imagined how she stood there; swinging that bat with what appeared to be “zero hope” that she would ever actually HIT the ball.

Something inside of me clicked, and I realized that sometimes the way I think and talk about my dreams is like how she swung that bat—with no real hope of actually making contact.

If I’m going to turn those dreams into reality, I need to get my butt out to that plate, stand there like I mean it, keep my eye on the ball… and swing that bat like there’s no tomorrow!  

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

Babe Ruth

Life is good, and God is great!
—Janet

The Enigma

This photograph has been in my folder for a while now, and I didn’t know if I would ever use it until I saw the One Word Challenge: Enigma. It’s definitely an odd little piece. I could tell you what it is… but then the mystery would be gone.

On another note, the long anticipated day is here… a fresh start to a brand new year. No matter what everyone says, and no matter how hard those resolutions are to keep, I’m still making my mental list—and even writing some of them down.

One of the things I’ve been avoiding—probably due to fear—is buckling down and learning more about photography. That is probably at the top of my list. It’s fun to use Photoshop, but sometimes I wish I could just go out, shoot a marvelous image, download it to the PC and post it. That’s something I’m really shooting for this year.

Anyway, I won’t go on and on about my list… it’s a new day, the wind is really howling here, and I think I’m going to “get outside” and see what the afternoon has to offer.

Peace & Love!

Timeless

Inspired by the Word of the Day Challenge: Infinity

After going through the photographs of my recent zoo trip, I’m a little disappointed with my “shooting” skills. Lights seem to be the hardest thing for me to capture on camera; even harder than moving birds.

True to form, however, I wasn’t going to let a few bad images spoil the bunch. I’ve wanted to do something to transform some of the not so bad shots into something better—and tonight I discovered the “radial blur” tool. What a fun discovery THAT was!

I don’t know… but I think it looks like light trails came in to visit us, straight from the 60’s. It also makes my tummy hurt a little when I stare at it; like I’m moving through infinity.

Anyway, there is still hope. Tomorrow night I’m going out to see more lights, I’ll have my camera in hand, and I’m going to give it one more shot.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

A California Christmas

Well, here are my feet in my favorite winter boots, standing in a very small portion of our fairly large yard, which is covered in yellow and brown leaves from the ‘giant’ Ginkgo tree.

When I saw today’s word challenge, I just couldn’t resist—and it seemed like the perfect setting to experiment with Black & White.

Peace & Love!

Inspired by the Word of the Day Challenge: Shambles

Mindful

Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive. 

Thích Nhất Hạnh

After last night’s post, I decided to commit to black and whites for a while. I mentioned that I wasn’t sure why I haven’t done more—since I love them so much—but after working on the image that I’ve featured here, it all came back to me; they aren’t easy to do, and they can be pretty tricky.

Actually, I think that’s exactly what was needed right now; something to challenge me a little and push me to learn. Continue reading Mindful