This is what I DO know

I consider myself an expert of very little (maybe tarot) and a student of everything. This isn't a hardship; I LIKE to study. Always have... I'm a deep dive kind of person, if it holds my interest I must know everything. I read and research obsessively, which causes other people to consider me an 'expert' even when I don't feel like one. 

Now, that first paragraph is me building up to saying I'm just as confused about what's going on in the world as the rest of you. Seriously. WTF is going on? Now, please don't confuse that statement with thinking I'm Anti-Trump or Pro-Hillary or Pro-Trump or Anti-Hillary. I'm not. Nor do I wish for this post to focus on Presidential Politics. I don't. There are plenty of personal spaces where folks are writing about that topic. Go read their posts and click away. 

This is a personal essay. On my personal website. So, in the immortal words of the Finding Nemo Seagulls this is "Mine!Mine!Mine!Mine!Mine!Mine!Mine!Mine!Mine!Mine!Mine!."

And what's mine to share is this. Today is Wednesday, February 22, put another way today is 2.22. I already admitted I consider myself to be an expert in tarot so I'm sure you'll hang with me when I tell you the symbolism of the number 2: service and duty, diplomacy, balance, harmony, cooperation, consideration. So just for today - and let's face it - today is all any of us has anyway let's live those ideals. 

Let's live in service to our fellow man. Let's cooperate with each other. Let's be nice regardless of race, creed or how someone smells. Not sure how to do that? Here's a start: try holding the door open for the person behind you, smile at them. If someone holds a door open for you - say 'thank you.' Say 'please' when you're ordering coffee or lunch or grown up drinks after work.

I'm not joking.  I'm not being trite and anyone whose been in my company for more than 3 minutes knows I'm not a Pollyanna Sunshine. 

I'm a mostly ordinary woman. I'm a humble law abiding person who believes deeply in personal responsibility and accountability. I've picked myself up and dusted me off more times than I can count. Just me and my bootstraps. I'm not bitter for that, I'm grateful. know why? Because I know I know how and when you do for you - you hold the secret of the universe. 

I'm an honest lady so I'll say it's not always easy. It's not always fun. It is always worthwhile. It is always rewarding. It is immeasurably liberating. So... do it. 

Start small. Start with yourself and stop the gross displays of apathy and lack, bitterness and hate. Today when you're scrolling through posts on FB or Insta or Snap... check the urge to leave a bitchy comment. Better yet, log off your social accounts and be social in real life. Stop debating who won the election, stop complaining, stop whining, stop analyzing where the stars are.

Just. Stop. Breathe. 

Live well. Live happy. Live possibly. Do a kind deed. Count your blessings. Be thankful for what you have instead of coveting your neighbor's goods. Hang up the phone when you're on the checkout line instead of treating the cashier like an invisible minion present to do your bidding. 

It will make a difference. A big difference to you and to everyone you meet, even when you don't think it matters to them. Those actions will ripple out and impact more people than you can imagine - and it's a concrete, actual, factual good deed. 

Be nice. Do your best. Always. 

Polly and Petunia

 

I judge myself, like too many other women. I judge me harshly and often. The gremlin voice in my mind demands perfection. Her nickname is Polly and she can be a real bitch. Her frenimy is the gremlin voice in my head that promotes procrastination as a way to escape Polly's rants. Petunia means well, but, she messes with my ability to get things done. These chicks put me in a tough spot. 

As any regular reader knows my creative outlet is photography and the passion project that keeps me sane is Laughing Goddess Photography Heck, even in my worst days of writer's block (blog, er, what blog?) you could count on me to rally for Photo Finish Friday and the occasional Wordless Wednesday. Plus, there was the joy of instagram! Ah, the pure unadulterated bliss of sharing a neat picture. That moment when your eye catches something cool so you snapped it. 

And so I entered a world of photos. The joy of seeing what others saw that piqued their fancy and brought them a smile. Then I began to notice how perfect those photos looked. The spotlessly clean, bright white kitchens. The endless supply of flowers arranged 'just so' next to the teapot and cup (with saucer) on a precious tray. Gads these trays were everyplace. Perched on ottomans in gray walled living rooms, flanked by mountains of pillows on fluffy white duvet covers.  I was  (still am) mesmerized by the voyeristic moments peeking into a veritable stranger's home. I swooned with the best of them over the expanses of white marble countertops only to learnwhite quartz can 'look marble.' 

Suddenly, the happy gleam I saw in the donkey's eye at the petting zoo seemed dull. The rosy apples and charming racks of jams and spices were... drab. I started to photoshop ~ a lot ~ in an effort to produce the coveted, curated IG Feed. I mean, I spent more time and energy on snapshots than I did on client photos. My philosophic mantra of The World As I See It was compromised. The world, once riddled with moments of common beauty lost it's luster and I listened to Petunia as she suggested " We keep the camera holstered. Don't want to wake Polly."

The turning of the new year brought a time of reflection which in turn demanded nagging of this neglected space nagged be addressed. As I set about the clutter clearing rituals for a new year (and getting the paperwork from the year past in line for the tax man) I was realized I was no longer living for me or the moment. I had pumped the brakes ~ hard ~ and stalled. 

That's what these photos are ~ my way to capture the moment. They aren't perfect: some are blurry in the wrong places, some are grainy, maybe the light was wrong. Yet, something about that subject, that moment drove the impulse to focus, aim and snap the shutter. Those somethings are the somethings. The moments of joy, of sadness, silly faces, strutting peacocks being chased by children. Moments worth memorializing so long after the day is past they can spark the memory of that day.

That day the weather was perfect and we played in the surf and ate lemon ices.

That day the chickens staunchly defended their lunch plates from the pigeons and we laughed riding camels. 

It's the second to last Monday in January and I'm knee deep in Manifesto Making; less sure about somethings than I was when I began. What do I know?

I am The Laughing Goddess. Perfection be damned I'll be Disturbing the IG Universe one perfectly imperfect moment at a time all year. Join me if you dare!? 

 

Thoughts of a Thursday

 Smile more ~ a lot more
Say goodbye to negative people 
Transform negative thoughts
Say thank you ~ in writing
Write more ~ a lot more
Run
Make memories 
Remember 'Me' 
Create joyful memories 
Appreciate all the little things  

HAGRID. Yes, That Hagrid

My word for 2017 has found me. 

For a few days this week I thought my word was 'Yes.' A straightforward, honest reminder to be positive, patient, to dislodge my default to 'no.'  It felt a little forced, a little tight, but, no other word stepped into place. Until now. While sorting though photos late this afternoon I settled on a quote pinned to the board above my desk. 

What's comin' will come, an we'll meet it when it does. ~ Hagrid

Hagrid's famous quote in reply to Harry questioning the return of Voldemort. Hagrid, with his Yogi Berra-esq wit and wisdom; plain spoken, big hearted, ham handed... but always the best of intentions. Hagrid telling Harry live in this moment, live today... tomorrow, well, we will deal with tomorrow then... not now. 

It's an important reminder to me.

Be in this moment. Live this moment. Don't judge, don't fret. Deal with what you've got on hand now, not what you're imagining might come later. 

Hagrid. 

Welcome 2017. 

Photo Finish Friday: Take A Bite

Just a thought. 

Cheering for the President Elect to fail is an awful lot like boarding an airplane and hoping the pilot crashes. Let's love and support each other. Let's knock off the hate and violence. Let's be moderate and fair to all - we're all in this together. 

Second thought.

Find a Veteran and say THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE! For without their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families we wouldn't have the luxury of debating or voting or any of our freedoms.  May God Bless & Protect all members of our Military serving at home and in foreign lands. 

Laughing Goddess Photography is my passion project. It is where I share my brand of crazy creative with the world and raise funds for worthwhile causes and endeavors.

 

Mindful Monday: On Creativity

I never thought about writing. I was married young, I was still in college, as we did then, and I had two babies before I was 25, and I loved them, and I loved taking care of them, but I was a little bit cuckoo, staying at home and not having a creative outlet." ~ Judy Blume

Do you have a creative outlet? Something you do just for you, just for the fun of it? Cooking? Crocheting? Baking? Painting? Decorating? Sketching? 

Just about nine months ago I captured photos of a sweet newborn and her very happy older sister. It was a lovely day and the photos reflected that joy. About a month, or maybe six weeks later, a mutual person to me and the girls' mom casually asked why I didn't do more photo taking. Why, she asked, did I not make this a viable business, something more than an expensive hobby? My reply was simple and direct: "I don't want to." 

We talk, a lot, about doing what we love. Pursuing our passions as careers. We talk about these passions, as my Grandmother would say 'from both sides of our mouths.' We praise those who dare and succeed repeating the lauded words of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Oprah. We praise their empire building and remind ourselves it's never too late.  We excitedly point out that Tina Fey was nearly 28 before she was hired by SNL and - let's all gasp - Vera Wang designed her own wedding dress at age 40! Incidentally, that wedding dress was the first she designed.

We exhale, inhale and immediately begin cautioning others, loudly, about the conditions necessary to pursue and succeed at passionate paths. How often have you said or heard "well, you'll need to save more money before you quit and start this business" "are you crazy, giving up a job with benefits?" "what if you fail - then what will you do?" and on and on and on.

Here's my approach. Do it for yourself. No, I'm not joking. Do it for YOU. Do it simply because it makes you happy. 

I don't wish to be a wedding or newborn or family photographer. I don't want to chase sales and overprice snapshots to pay my mortgage. I'm keeping this just for me. Just for the fun of it. 

I study photography. I read magazines. I try new techniques, I fail and I delete the file. Sometimes a new technique is awesome - I print those and frame them. 

I publish the photos I love and sell them at a very reasonable price so others can surround themselves in affordable beauty. I make notecards on smooth paper - perfect for thank you and happy birthday and I'm sorry for your loss and I'm just missing you and thought I'd say hello. 10% of every profit is donated to charity usually St. Jude Children's Hospital, though when I started it was to bolster my family's Autism Speaks Walk Team. That makes me feel like I'm spreading love and joy into the world. Little ripples that touch others in a happy way in a world that can, at times, be too unhappy.