the Boardwalk

Footprints left behind,

In the ocean of my mind,

Memories captured.

—Janet
Haiku #6

I’ve shared this image before, in Pier Madness, but it was severely manipulated and I don’t like that version anymore. The girl taking the iPhone pic is an old schoolmate, and our friendship was the inspiration behind the Haiku.

It’s still raining, and they say it should continue for a couple more days. I’m actually loving it (my comfort weather), but we’re keeping an eye on the news. Some of our friends live in areas that were damaged by fires recently, so you just never know what’s coming.

Balance

Rain taps the window,

Inviting us out to play,

Childlike dreams return,

Cares melt away in each drop,

Balance is being restored.

—Janet

Written for Your Daily Word Prompt: Inviting, & RDP Tuesday: Balance

Rain is like macaroni & cheese to me. It’s my comfort weather. The fire goes on, blankets get piled high, and I have an excuse to stay in bed with a good book (guilt free!). A day like that is a great way to restore balance.

I wanted to share some exciting news about school. After working as an unpaid graphic design intern for two semesters, I’m going to be official this semester. I will actually get paid for my work!

New Perspectives

Oftentimes I tell the people I meet about my transformation; how much I’ve changed since entering recovery and coming to believe. The way I usually describe it is that all of these changes are internal… they can’t be seen. Well, aside from the fact that you won’t “see” me drinking anymore.

Sometimes I refer to it as a “new attitude,” and other times I say that a lot of it has do with “gratitude.” Even so, I still find myself complaining or whining at times (especially when I play softball), but I’m able to recognize my behavior, pull out my tools, and work on fixing the problem.

While pondering the word angle—I realized that looking at life, myself, and others from different perspectives is probably one of the KEY factors behind my transformation. My new attitude stems from seeing things from new angles, and the ability to do so keeps me grateful.

One of the greatest things I learned in recovery was that I need to look at my own reflection when something is bothering me, because… as they say: No matter where I go, there I am.

It’s easy to feel discouraged, hopeless, irritated or angry when you believe that everything ‘outside of yourself’ is the cause of your condition. When you learn that YOU hold they key, and that you have the ability to change how YOU feel or react to these things… well… suddenly the world looks totally different!

—Janet

RDP Tuesday: Angle

Life is good and God is GREAT!

My Mind’s Eye

From where I was standing,

I saw beauty everywhere.

The gulls appeared to know me,

As if they recognized my stare.

My mind’s eye scanned the horizon,

Rousing dull shades into vibrant hues,

Melancholy grays,

Into sapphire blues.

Moving quickly,

I traversed the mud and the trash.

I saw snowflakes and crystals,

As I watched the waves crash.

The storm the eve before,

Left puddles, wind, and freezing air…

But on the coast that morning,

Not a surfer,

Nor I,

Had a single care.

—Janet

Inspired by the Word of the Day Challenge: Dream

Dreams in the Mist

I don’t know if anyone else ever falls into this trap, but I constantly find myself trying to turn my dreams—or the things I love—into some kind of product, as if they’re things I need to own. It’s like the person who loves to swim, who’ll never be satisfied until their backyard has a pool… or the occasional fisherman who believes he’ll find ultimate happiness ONLY after he buys a boat.

And you know what they say: “The happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day they buy a boat—and the day they sell the boat.”

Well, all of my hemming and hawing over my college major came to a wonderful close recently when I considered these analogies. I realized that I’ve been too fixated on the road… or the tangible outcomes (degrees)… and somewhere in the interim I lost sight of my dreams; the things I actually LOVE to do—just for the sake of doing them.

I made a decision to venture off the pathway this spring; I’ve enrolled in Creative Writing and Photography. I’m not changing my major—or adding a second major—and I really have no destination in sight.

For now I’m just going to listen to my heart, do what I love… and enjoy my dreams in the mist.

—Janet

Nova’s Daily Random Word #39: Dream

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

Flying Solo

It’s been tough for me to post lately. Considering the old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” I’ve come to a new and quite similar saying of my own – about myself and my writing – and I’m trying to live by it now.

“If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Actually, I thought about this while taking an English class over winter. Writing essays about emerging technologies and bullying on the internet, I found myself really questioning why it is I’m interested in writing, and why I found it so hard (or perhaps tedious is a better word) to write those essays. To make matters more confusing, I had also been pondering why graphic design was becoming less appealing to me after some of the projects I did for class.

It was the answer that came to me that I actually got excited about… in order for these things to work, they have to come from my heart.

That being said, I guess right now I don’t have much on my heart – well, except for complete joy and overflowing gratitude for this new sober life. And the fact that I still can’t believe I have this opportunity to go to school and experience the things I missed out on when I was young and confused. Sometimes I pinch myself to make sure it’s real!

Anyway, the good news is that I managed to get an “A” in the English class. I’m glad it’s over though! I also changed my major from Graphic Design to Psychology. Kind of a strange move, but for those of you who know me, it probably doesn’t come as a shock. I love to think and I love learning why we do what we do.

Graphic design is now my secondary field of study and I’m three classes away from getting a certificate. And I just started working for the Sports Department at the college, doing graphics for the sporting events through an internship, so it seems that everything is slowly falling into place!

That’s about all for now. I’ve got all sorts of new thoughts and ideas about life – and the future… so I hope to share more as time goes on. In the meantime, I feel a little like that bird in my picture – flying solo and feeling free.

Life is good and God is great! And the journey continues…

In a Haze

Sois belle à ta façon

“Be beautiful in your own way.”

I thought this french quote was a beautiful pick for today’s image. I believe I’ve shared the photograph before, but I did something different with it today. I’m usually determined to darken contrasts or shadows, and to increase saturation and vibrancy in my photographs of nature.

I learned how to increase haze in Photoshop this afternoon and I am really liking it on this lake!

It is beautiful in it’s own way. I like that.

I finished my homework this afternoon and tonight is my recovery class, so it’s business as usual today. BUT, I’m looking forward to a fun fourth of July celebration tomorrow, with some of my friends from church and recovery.

Just Breathe

The poetry of earth is never dead. -John Keats

I needed to take a time out tonight and do something simple and relaxing. Believe it or not, I’m still archiving old images online and I found one that I love but haven’t worked on (or posted) yet.

This is Turquoise Lake, in Colorado. The clouds were awesome, so that’s actually what I was aiming to capture that day. It seems there’s a couple trees obstructing the view, but I like that you get the feel of what else was around me… a beautiful lake, blue sky, cool clouds, and lots and lots of TREES. That’s Colorado for you!

Anyway, I thought this photograph was perfect for my thoughts tonight.

About surrender.

A couple of weeks ago, someone shared their simple morning prayer. A surrender prayer. It’s actually a very popular one, but for some reason… on that particular day, it REALLY stuck with me.

“Thy will be done, not mine.”

I’ve prayed the same phrase MANY times before, but suddenly it feels a bit different. Each time that I say it I feel a pressure release- like meditating. It’s such a great reminder that I’m not the one at the controls, and all I really need to do is keep putting my best foot forward. And thank God for my salvation, sanity and sobriety, of course. 🙂

That’s about all for now. I hope that everyone has a beautiful, blessed week!

Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe, and have faith that everything will work out for the best.

Nature Therapy

The mountains are calling and I must go. – John Muir

This one actually IS a photograph that I took, back when I lived in Colorado. I read a tutorial this weekend about various ways you can make a photo look more like a vivid painting, and I remembered this image that’s been sitting in my folder waiting for something fun. The original was pretty bland. Too gray. So… I thought I would give it a try.

The area where I shot this is beautiful though! This is a peek at the Arkansas River, running through a small town called Buena Vista. It was about 35 miles south of where we lived. I loved going there because it was at a lower elevation, so you could escape the cold and snow for a day, and have lunch on an outdoor patio.

I also forgot to mention something about my last post. I had to chuckle when I saw the colors I chose, because they reminded me of the old Pee Chee folders. I think I have back to school on the brain. I’ve actually been pretty anxious about it. Not stressed or scared, just more ready than ever… and the days seem to be moving as slow as molasses.

Anyway, I wanted to share the River photograph. I think it’s kind of soothing, so I am sending out peaceful vibes and tranquility.

I found that quote by John Muir and started thinking… YES, YES… I do believe it’s time for a short getaway to the mountains. I miss my travels! 😉

That’s about all for now. Have a beautiful evening! (or morning, or afternoon) ♥♥♥

A Moment in Time

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis

Last night I viewed my previous image via my cellphone, and I felt a little knot in my stomach. It barely resembled the piece that I had looked at on my computer.

I can’t be certain, but I’m thinking that creating images that reflect our mood for the moment might be a bit risky. 😉

Anyway, I wanted to counteract that crazy color scheme this morning… with something simple, calm and serene. A dreamy view of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Pier.

Also… about the going back to school…

I don’t want to get ahead of myself (yet again), but I can tell you that when I decided that it was something I wanted to do, I had NO question about it. It was like one of those Aha moments, when you just KNOW that it’s the right place, and the right time.

Truth be told, I have a little vision in my head that is sticking with me… and I need to learn a few skills that will help me to help others. Doesn’t everyone want to make the world a better place? So… learning a little more about writing, and graphic design for print, fits perfectly into the mix and will help me bring my plans to fruition.

That’s about all for now. Have a beautiful, blessed day!! Love you all!!

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. -Edward de Bono

Pier Madness

Some people wait so long for their ship to come in, their pier collapses. -John Goddard-

I am checking another item off of the 55 things list; took a photo underneath a pier. In all honesty, it may very well be the first time that I even stood under a pier! That I can remember, anyway. We did lots of family outings at this beach when I was a kid, so it’s pretty hard to say.

What’s funny is that I took quite a few shots, but the lighting is terrible under there! This was the best I could find, but the only thing that was a little “off” about it was that it captured my friend taking her photo, too! I thought about cropping it, but it just didn’t seem right. Plus her being there is what makes it so special! A special memory indeed! So… this image is very personal to me. 🙂

Good times and crazy friends make the best memories.

There were too many straight lines for my taste, so I did a little distortion and made the colors more vibrant. I actually like this one very much.

Anyway, I’m going to slow down on the edits now. Do you know that I was looking at my numbers and in January I did 98 posts! That’s an average of 3.16 a day! No wonder I was feeling like I was in high gear!

Off to my recovery class now.

Peace and Love!!

Another Life Boat

Fish Out of Water!

That heading is from a book that I’m reading and I just HAVE to share about it. Yesterday was a really tough day. I met with my sponsor and we talked about my re-entry into the business world. At some point in the conversation I felt overwhelmed and started to cry.

Every time I talk (or think) about this upcoming job search, this crazy fear comes out in me. Fear of mental exhaustion is what I’ve been calling it. I haven’t felt ready to go back to ANYTHING full-time, at ALL. Not right now anyway.

After our meeting I felt a bit beaten, sad… and VERY tired. I felt myself sinking into a depression, BUT… I held on and did what she had suggested. I reviewed my resentments (which happen to pertain to some old business relationships), and my character defects… and read some of the A.A. prayers. One of those prayers is asking God to remove the defects that are standing in the way of my usefulness

One thing that’s been bothering me for awhile is this feeling that I just can’t seem to get OUT of myself. I feel like I spend so much time pondering, self-reflecting, thinking, overthinking, and then self-reflecting more. So much thinking! And I LOVE my solitude- which has also worried me- because isolation is dangerous for alcoholics.

For months now I’ve had this nagging fear that I’m just too self-absorbedand that it’s going to be a life-long struggle to break free from this bondage of SELF.

Shortly after the prayers were done, I was looking in my Kindle for a book to re-read. One of the “recommended for you” books caught my eye. I knew that I HAD to read it!

The Introvert Advantage: How to thrive in an Extrovert World, by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.

It talks about feeling like a fish out of water, and I thought about the years that I suffered from that dreadful teenage angst… and all the times since then, as an adult, that I’ve felt like that flopping fish, as well.

Anyway, this book is a gift to me from God. I’m sure of it. I’ve always thought that I learned this introverted behavior (from my mother, no less) and that I NEED to change this tendency to focus inward. What I’ve discovered, instead, is that it’s how our brains are wired. Introverts focus inward to get energy! And the ratio is one introvert to three extroverts, so YEAH, we DO feel like a fish out of water sometimes.

Our brains LITERALLY work differently than extroverts. And there are ways that we can monitor ourselves and learn to use our energy wisely- and not get so fatigued. This information is going to help me a great deal in figuring out what kind of work to pursue!

So a bad day turned into a great day! I also mentioned it in my meeting today and the woman sitting right in front of me had read the very same book when she felt that something was wrong with her. Crazy.

What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be. Ellen Burstyn

On another note… I did another panel tonight! Things went great. Not only am I finding out out how to conserve my energy levels, I’m also learning to condense my story, so I can tell a good share in less than ten minutes now.

That’s about all for now.

I hope that everyone is having a great evening, morning or afternoon! Peace and Love…

Positive Vibes

It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!

I think I’ve finally hit the last of the archived images I had saved. I’m sure glad I’m leaving tomorrow! Perfect timing. I may drive my sister crazy with the camera, but lucky for me she’s a very patient soul.

Anyway, I just want to send out a whisper of gratitude. I hit 300 followers and to me that’s a huge milestone. More than I ever expected! I’m saying my thanks to you quietly here… because I don’t want to jinx it. I appreciate all of you out there, whether you are one of the three hundred or not. I learn a little something from you guys each and everyday. Thank you so much!!

Here’s to all of you! 

What I Imagine

IF YOU LOSE YOURSELF in your work, you find who you are. If you express the best you have in you in your work, it is more than just the best you have in you that you are expressing. Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark

I thought it was rather coincidental (not) that my quote of the day email from Mr. Buechner was titled Work. I couldn’t wait to read it. His are usually a little longer, but this one was perfect for what’s been on my mind these days.

Every day I imagine more and more images that I want to create, and I’m finding that if I just keep doing that, I lose old worries as I grasp new techniques. It’s a win-win.

Anyway, the featured image is actually a combination of three images, four if you count the hand. The bird shots are from last week, at the L.A. River- so the water has been re-colored, to say the least. The hand was just my way of saying- No, this is not what was out there, but this is what I saw.

I think that makes sense.

Illuminated

No one regrets having changed a light bulb.

Gretchen Rubin

Well, I was experimenting with a light bulb and there’s good news and bad news. I’m happy with what I learned about layers, but given the fact that I really love how the lake came out inside of the bulb… now I wish I would have chosen a better light bulb before I started!

Darn it.

Rainy Days

Trees, by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast.

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair.

Upon whose bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

The Little Things

When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world. John Muir

I know I’ve done droplets already, but they never cease to catch my eye and amaze me, so I’ll probably photograph and share them again and again.

This camellia shrub is right outside the front porch, so it’s hard to miss. You can actually see a piece of it in A Peek Outside — between our window and the unsuspecting subject.

The sun is threatening to come out this morning so I’m hoping to get out. Yesterday I picked my grandson up from school, and the big event was 31 flavors ice cream. I’m not sure which of us was more excited.

Sometimes the little things are the biggest things!