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

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!

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

There’s no “I” in Team

But there’s a “Me” in Mentor.

First of all, I wanted to share at least one of my school projects here. I’ve butchered it now, but before I made the edits it was the backside of an album cover I created. I haven’t been too thrilled with many of my projects thus far, but the good news is that taking the classes helped me figure out that I needed to go in a completely different direction. And I’m so happy I did—so it’s all good!

Secondly, I thought I would elaborate on my idea—my vision—about a program for people who are in recovery. My initial thoughts about it started when I was trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my (sober) life. My passion for photography and art —or anything that entails creativity really—was where it all started. I imagined an art gallery of sorts, with walls covered in various pieces done by people who are new to recovery, who are trying to get their lives back in order, and are in need of a creative outlet. Or even people who are looking for new ways to fill their time; time that they used to spend on unhealthy habits.

The first thing I wanted to do—and felt was absolutely necessary—before I even considered making this dream a reality was to get really good at something. I figured that starting up some kind of Creativity Center would require me to be an instructor at the facility, or at least teach newcomers how to use the computer programs. So… I made my way to school with the intention of learning some serious skills that I could pass on.

I started realizing that me and graphic design weren’t compatible partners, but—unfortunately—that’s what I had signed up for. In the meantime, however, I was learning things in my other classes that were pointing me in the same direction, but with twists, turns, a little morphing and some expanding.

The-Eye
One of the kickers was when our Pastor spoke about mentoring. He talked about how others had been mentors to us in the past—our parents, teachers, our friends (Gil), and so on—and how now that we are all grown-up, it’s OUR turn to be mentors. I know “grown-up” sounds odd, but many of us there are in recovery so it’s fitting—if you know what I mean.

Anyway, his lesson helped me understand that mentoring is about providing someone with emotional support and guidance. It means helping your protege discover his or her own gifts and talents—and encouraging them in their process (Gil). I guess that’s when my vision started changing the most. I started seeing that limiting it to an art center would be too restrictive, so it morphed into a place where people could do all kinds of things. A place where they could focus on phase two of their recovery. The living sober part.

And photography, writing, and art would be a huge part of it, too. Of course.

So that’s where my thoughts are right now. Up until now it’s been simmering safely in my head, but I read that if you want to take your visions seriously, you have to talk (or write) about them. It makes them more real.

So… talk I will!

Shady Dreams

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. -John Barrymore

I found this quote not long after I wrote my bit about TIME. It sure makes sense! It doesn’t exactly fit with the featured image here, but considering I’m still dreaming of cooler places, the dream theme kind of works for now.

I’ve posted images of this location before. I finally googled it tonight and found out it’s Deerwood Arboretum and Nature Area in Brentwood, Tennessee. From the 2011 road trip. Boy, it’s time for another trip so I can get a new stockpile of images!

Anyway, I did a light paint effect, and added a lens flare just for the heck of it. The way the sun was shining on the water made me think of that little addition. I thought this place was lovely. I think this image kind of looks like a jungle!

I’ve worked on several photographs for my new series, but so far I haven’t like any of the results…

But, I’m working on it.

I hope you are all doing well! Blessings, Peace and Love!! ♥♥♥

A Ton of Bricks

Devote yourself to an idea. Go make it happen. Struggle on it. Overcome your fears. Don’t you forget: this is your dream.

Read, read, read… I’ve been doing that a lot to learn new techniques in Photoshop.

And I’m back to my sketchy images. The featured image is Bricktown, Oklahoma City. I took this during the road trip with my son. I absolutely LOVE brick, so I must say that I really enjoyed this place!

Anyway, I thought this was a great photograph for a sketch. I really like the baby blues, and slightly turquoise tones that seem to pop out at you. I also thought it was a good day to share some positive thoughts. I enjoy anything that drowns out doubt, and reinforces positive thinking.

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” -Winston Churchill

Vivid Dreams

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. Henry David Thoreau

I suppose this image and quote could be misleading. I’m not a golfer, nor do I dream of ever being one! These were photos that I took over the past few days. Both were shot from a distance; the golfer at the edge of the lake, and the background is actually the top of a palm tree that was blowing in the wind yesterday.

And midway through writing this post I decided to add one more element to the golfer…

A personalized golf ball!

Are You in There?

Sometimes I look in the mirror and say… “where did my personality go?!?” 

Well… maybe I don’t look in the mirror and say it, but I DO wonder what’s up with me lately. And I don’t mean it in a horrible, sad, woe is me way either. It’s just that I get to the point (now and then) when I realize it’s been WAY too long since I’ve had a good laugh. I still chuckle, but I don’t LOL like I used to.

I had a dream last night that I was drinking. How bizarre is that?!?! It was weird!

I don’t even think about drinking, at ALL, so I have NO idea where it came from. I hope it’s not because I’m back in the A.A. circuit and listening to all that talk about alcohol… absorbing some kind of subliminal messages or something?

The meetings really ARE going well though.

Also, I’m emailing my sponsor my resume and we’re going to work on finding me a part time job. Finally. I haven’t given up on the photography and writing- but for now I’m cool with just having them as fun-time hobbies. I haven’t even been out much with the camera lately- which is why I am pulling out archives these days.

Life is good and God is great!!

The Dancer

The music begins as I close my eyes.
I feel the wind,
as the curtains rise.
To my partners arms,
I approach with grace.
I feel his hair brush across my face.
Caught in the moment,
only we exist.
Heads all turn,
as our bodies twist.
He lifts me with ease,
and I touch the sky,
imagining clouds are drifting by.
I’ve choreographed this scene on the stage,
we stop in time,
as I search the page.
A tear finds its way,
things aren’t what they seem.
My eyes are now open.
it was only a dream

Art: A Great Read

I’m sharing someone else’s words today.

“An old silent pond.
Into the pond a frog jumps.
Splash! Silence again.”

It is perhaps the best known of all Japanese haiku. No subject could be more humdrum. No language could be more pedestrian. Basho, the poet, makes no comment on what he is describing. He implies no meaning, message, or metaphor. He simply invites our attention to no more and no less than just this: the old pond in its watery stillness, the kerplunk of the frog, the gradual return of the stillness.

In effect he is putting a frame around the moment, and what the frame does is enable us to see not just something about the moment, but the moment itself in all its ineffable ordinariness and particularity. The chances are that if we had been passing by when the frog jumped, we wouldn’t have noticed a thing or, noticing it, wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But the frame sets it off from everything else that distracts us. That is the nature and purpose of frames. The frame does not change the moment, but it changes our way of perceiving the moment. It makes us notice the moment, and that is what Basho wants above all else. It is what literature in general wants above all else too.

From the simplest lyric to the most complex novel and densest drama, literature is asking us to pay attention. Pay attention to the frog. Pay attention to the west wind. Pay attention to the boy on the raft, the lady in the tower, the old man on the train. In sum, pay attention to the world and all that dwells therein and thereby learn at last to pay attention to yourself and all that dwells therein.

The painter does the same thing, of course. Rembrandt puts a frame around an old woman’s face. It is seamed with wrinkles. The upper lip is sunken in, the skin waxy and pale. It is not a remarkable face. You would not look twice at the old woman if you found her sitting across the aisle from you on a bus. But it is a face so remarkably seen that it forces you to see it remarkably, just as Cezanne makes you see a bowl of apples or Andrew Wyeth a muslin curtain blowing in at an open window. It is a face unlike any other face in all the world. All the faces in the world are in this one old face.

Unlike painters, who work with space, musicians work with time, with note following note as second follows second. Listen! say Vivaldi, Brahms, Stravinsky. Listen to this time that I have framed between the first note and the last and to these sounds in time. Listen to the way the silence is broken into uneven lengths between the sounds and to the silences themselves. Listen to the scrape of bow against gut, the rap of stick against drumhead, the rush of breath through reed and wood. The sounds of the earth are like music, the old song goes, and the sounds of music are also like the sounds of the earth, which is of course where music comes from. Listen to the voices outside the window, the rumble of the furnace, the creak of your chair, the water running in the kitchen sink. Learn to listen to the music of your own lengths of time, your own silences.

Literature, painting, music — the most basic lesson that all art teaches us is to stop, look, and listen to life on this planet, including our own lives, as a vastly richer, deeper, more mysterious business than most of the time it ever occurs to us to suspect as we bumble along from day to day on automatic pilot. In a world that for the most part steers clear of the whole idea of holiness, art is one of the few places left where we can speak to each other of holy things.

Is it too much to say that to stop, look, and listen is also the most basic lesson that the Judeo-Christian tradition teaches us? Listen to history, is the cry of the ancient prophets of Israel. Listen to social injustice, says Amos; to head-in-the-sand religiosity, says Jeremiah; to international treacheries and power plays, says Isaiah; because it is precisely through them that God speaks his word of judgment and command.

And when Jesus comes along saying that the greatest command of all is to love God and to love our neighbor, he too is asking us to pay attention. If we are to love God, we must first stop, look, and listen for him in what is happening around us and inside us.

If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces, but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.

In a letter to a friend Emily Dickinson wrote that “Consider the lilies of the field” was the only commandment she never broke. She could have done a lot worse. Consider the lilies.

It is the sine qua non of art and religion both.

—originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words, Frederick Buechner

Isn’t that beautiful!?

 

Dreams

I have another little side note today. First of all, I’m halfway done writing Part Seven of the Confessions series. I’m so excited! But… what I wanted to say is that I watched a movie the other night, called High Strung (from 2016, not the older movie by the same title).

Oh my goodness!! Be still my heart! Dancing!!

I felt emotions that I haven’t felt in a long time, and I realized that dancing was probably the first thing that I ever dreamed of when I was young. I wanted to be a dancer. Dance was the only class in school that I ever cared for. I’m not sure if the emotions I felt were feelings of regret, or joy, or WHAT… but I came to realize that you MUST follow your dreams.

It’s unfortunate that I’m a little older now, but who knows? You may just see some posts from me in the future… about me dancing again.

It’s never too late, and it appears that dreams never die.

The Big Picture

So, I was reminded of something while reading a fellow blogger’s post (thank you Rob) this morning. It’s something that actually helped me a great deal not too long ago…

Looking at the BIG picture.

Being new to Christianity, and fairly new in the program—the first things I had to face were my defects. My wrong thinking. My sinfulness.

I had learned, early in life, how to dodge my fears by becoming someone that I was not. You know…a people-pleaser. Give them what they want. Tell them what they want to hear. Be who THEY want you to be. The problem here is that now I’m not even sure who THEY were. My peers when I was young? Well, that’s not what I want to dwell on. I’m getting sidetracked.

The point is that once I looked in the mirror and faced the bad head on, I lost complete sight of all the positives. I almost couldn’t remember the good things I’d done in life. That might be why a lot of my posts are about my memories. I’m finally starting to recall, and embrace, the great experiences that I’ve had. Things I’d almost forgotten!

Some months ago I came across a book on learning to love yourself. What the author taught is that we’re not defined by any one quality, or character defect for that matter. For every negative, there’s an equally important positive. Making a list of ALL of your traits, and looking at THAT, is what allows you to see yourself as a whole.

Maybe I overthink, but after I mentioned procrastination last night I started thinking that I wasn’t being fair. Yes… I sometimes procrastinate, but I also have a lot of ambition. I’m not going to leave things on a negative note. For every downside, there is an upside.

Anyway, after I pushed publish last night I decided to challenge my procrastinating tendency, and I went on to browsing frame ideas online. I have some wonderful, creative visions dancing around in my head. I’m excited!

Tomorrow is HERE, and I’m moving forward. No excuses. I’m holding myself accountable. I guess you could say that I’m not chasing the wind today…

I’m chasing my dreams.

(The featured image was taken in downtown Denver, when I was living in Colorado)

Just Do It

Well, I’ve been thinking again. I’m seriously considering the idea of writing (and doing photography) professionally. I never HAVE pursued my dreams in life, except for my business. But that’s because I already knew HOW to do it, and it paid the bills. It was convenient. Plus I was confident that it would work—so I kind of made it my dream—but I never LOVED it.

I guess you could say I’m on the verge of a new pursuit! But it’s a good one this time. It’s not about a destination either, it’s about following a dream and just doing it!

Next on the agenda: Game plan.

Stay encouraged!

(My middle grandson is featured in my photo today)