Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Running NYC


I have decided to exercise more, lose this weight and get in shape (AGAIN for the 1000nth time since my tween years), gain flexibility and strength and hopefully staying strong. I know I am not alone in this what feels like a grueling battle against the inevitable aging process that will eventually win. My attitude could get negative, but, in my years of wisdom, I have also decided that any negativity is poison, and we have choices in life, and choosing positive words and grateful hearts is a choice.

Making that conscious choice each day to be grateful can begin today, and it is a daily choice for me to be grateful for the working healthy body that I have, to take care of it with nutrition and exercise and acknowledge it is my responsibility, and choose to work hard to foster strength and flexible muscles. This is my goal. To be grateful for each day and take care of what is here, it is a gift!

So, I fight, I run, making my way through the city, seeing the city and the people of the city working, moving, pushing this or that, pulling carts, and plants and dresses, and machinery, and so much more, its like a rhythm all on its own. If I were a musician, I would sit in the presence of it all and come up with rhythms on a drum or piano. What a great place to get inspired for music! (I would think).

Even when the weather is perfect, I still sometimes don't want to!! I know its going to hurt, and its going to be hard,  So, each day I am fighting against lazy attitudes, and choosing to run, walk fast, catch my breath and run again as far as my legs will go. The absolute cool thing about NYC is that I can pick a destination and ride the train home!

Although, be prepared if you choose to run in the city. Its like an aromas explosion and minute by minute it is a different smell especially on Mondays! So get ready to also give your olfactory system a good workout too. Smells of everything and anything will hit your nostrils eventually, particularly grilled chicken, hot pretzels, cigarette smoke, old fish, human urine, perfume, coffee, and absolutely not may favorite... a bit of garbage death, oh the horror.

As the pounding of my shoes hitting pavement creates a rhythm that I begin to breathe to, weaving in and out of humans all dressed up, eating their bagels and drinking their coffee, or on their phones, all busy and headed somewhere, I begin repeating over and over in my mind, "I'm still strong, I'm still young, I have a lot of life to live and give, and this battle hurts, there will be pain, there will be lots of pain! Fight through the pain to get the gain. Don't quit, don't quit because this is hard. Keep going, fight through the hurt you are a fighter. You can do this, this is your victory. This is hard, but good. Just keep going!!

One thing's for certain, a reoccurring theme in own my life is
"It is going to hurt if its going work."

Trying to figure out a reward system for myself, I've decided to visit one coffee shop each week designated "one of the best places to get coffee in NYC" and experience the "decaf" goodness ( only if I reach my goals). To start this reward system, I chose Birch Coffee on 27th in between Broadway and 5th. Rich flavor,  interior woodsy and raw metals, and I loved the colors and lighting and the handmade ceramics on the shelves. Felt very Brooklyn/ and what I have seen in Nashville recently. Really good coffee, people working there were very friendly, and for that I was grateful.

I will announce next week the next coffee adventure. 

If you have of any ideas of places to visit next.. You all can respond here. 

One of the greatest discoveries this week has been the Floral district. In Love! Brain creative overload. I'll leave you with some images snapped with thy iPhone after my run this morn! beautilicious!  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer Adventure: Raleigh, Tennessee, Michigan, Canada, NYC {part one}

As I took a trip literally in a big circle through the USA, through NC TN MI and Canada back to NYC, I will be sharing bits an pieces of the experience as I come across fun pictures that I took and remember stories. I am afraid with school staring and with deadlines, I am in no place to figure out how to relay it in any specific order, but this is where I will start, nearly at the end.

Memphis. Why did I have to go begin to like Memphis a bit again? I swore that even until my dying day I would never like this place ever again.
But after a trip to see my beloved brother, spending time with family, taking trips to the Rendezvous, Peabody, Metal Museum, Beale Street, the Arcade, and the cute little town center in Collierville TN, My heart was warmed up to the idea of visiting now way more often. Believe it or not, I am maturing and growing and feeling wiser in my 40's and people like Maya Angelou,  Martin Luther King, My pastors, and of course my king Jesus have lead me to a path of forgiveness and healing old places that once made Memphis to me detestable now through forgiveness of myself, others, and embracing me now have Memphis once again an enjoyable place, and I find it just fun to be there.

We explored like tourists all week and I marveled at my once prison of a city how it has become a great place to spend time having fun and making good new memories there.

One day after a fabulously fun photo session with a friend I knew from high school, my family explored the downtown area with a fresh set of eyes. Even my brother admitted that living all the way in Collierville, he rarely made it to the city.

I was encouraged that memphis had improved Main street with stores like "Life is Good" and many other little coffee shops, ice cream and art galleries.

this next picture is just for cuteness factor as we walked by a store front where this little guy was the guard dog to the entrance. I think it was more like hanging a cute balloon in front of the store to attract visitors.

One particular store I found adorable was this one called #RedVelvet on Main near the Arcade Restaurant. , I was immediately attracted to the turquoise doors. Me.want.doors. I swear At some point in my life I have to have a renovated barn with beautiful double 9 pane glass turquoise doors and a chalkboard out front. Don't ask me why.. it just has to happen.

Red Velvet catered to the young vintage inspired rockabilly hipster-esque type, but there is simply nothing wrong with this fashion-dated 43 year old creative young at heart and soul who couldn't pull off wearing a single thing in that place without making someone question my sanity for me to simply sit back and admire what the youth this day and age is embracing in wanting more elegant beauty and enjoy the creativity in their design.

I mean, really, When I was young enough to pull off this kind of style,  I lived in an era of poodle hair,  parachute pants, shoulder pads, sweaters tucked into acid washed high hipped pleated button front jeans. So, almost everything is an improvement from when I was young and my skin was still youthful and my legs didn't jiggle.

So, if you are too young to know about this, just watch Karate Kid 3 and you will see exactly what I am talking about.

I did find these old tires turned into ottomans particularly adorable and the guy who makes them also drives around in a pink caddie giving a vintage tour of Memphis in kind of a kitschy quirky way.

The man's name is actually Tad Pierson, and honestly, I think he has to be one of the most interesting people on the planet. Way to go Tad :

The young woman sporting a sleeve here was adorbs as well, and she is in a band. wishing I could find her business card which disintegrated in my suitcase somewhere. The clothes at this boutique would challenge any Brooklyn best and the prices would compete too.

My kids taller than me son and 544 Main which is nothing special, mainly because it was a closed gallery and I couldn't go in, but just a cool door and great lighting and a limited time where both kids were actually willing to look at me and stand next to each other without trying to hit, scratch, attack or kill the other sibling. A rare moment.

This is the Arcade. A staple of Memphis because it is the oldest restaurant that is still active and busy and has survived years of being able to hear a pin drop downtown. It is now enjoying the bit of revival in the area. Great for me to see.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Photo of the day #brooklyn

Today, aside from a very frustrating grocery store visit, I just sat, worshiped, prayed, read and painted. I intentionally tried to just enjoy making something even when I had no idea what to paint & as I got started, I didn't get disappointed that it didn't turn out quite like I hoped. Just excited to take One baby step at a time to get to a place where creation is fun and captivating and engaging again. Doing is way better than day dreaming about it. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

a Brooklyn moment

A Picture a Day for the next 100 days. #Brooklyn to #Tennessee to #Michigan and back again.

Brooklyn, a dog on a walk.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Recently I discovered or rediscovered my love of pictorialism, and how much it has inspired me and defined my style of image making way before I even knew what to call it. 

When I visit my friend in Tennessee, she has 4 little sweet ones and two of them which like to model for me. This visit, having a 18th century cemetery on their new property, we made some pics that had this eerie feeling
So for some reason when photographing a child, I love reaching into a deeper place of introspection and soul, behind the joy of childhood. Find what moves your soul.

Be creative!!! 

Do you ever feel like you are getting to know yourself better through your #Pinterest boards?

How thankful are you for this inspiration and this tool?

I used to keep tear sheets in a binder, and binders fill up so quickly, are heavy to move and expire!
So I just want to give a shout out to the designers of this amazing tool.  I cannot thank them enough for what they have given all of us who aspire to live a creative life.

I think if you really are reasonable with your time spent surfing and you do use it for inspiration to actually create or tackle a project, Pinterest is the most valuable tool for a creative. We inspire each other, we get to see into other people's studio's, we get to plan what we love to wear.. just amazing. And now, by sharing private boards, I am using it to plan photo sessions, get inspired and communicate with clients through these private boards.

too amazing.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Work as a Prayer

I heard something recently that took my breath away, and although having read most of the books in C.S. Lewis' Narnia series, I haven't gotten to this part just yet.

I actually heard someone speaking about this at a different time, and thankfully found it again on the Desiring God  blog when I couldn't remember the details.
Even though it wasn't always easy for me to be this transparent and share this vulnerable side of my life,  this journey I am on has been a bit like walking out on the water, and I am not sinking.

In a fabulously hard place where God is "making me lie down in green pastures," requiring me to be still ad know, to trust, to be quiet, to listen for his voice. He has a purpose, an authenticity he wants me to uncover through it all. Not to say this journey isn't amazing too, I am just saying when it comes to finding an authentic voice, and work, I am and have been made to lie down, and the old dragon skin is being ripped off as I speak.

Hopefully by sharing this with you, at least one person's eyes will be open that we need to be on this journey together. A journey to an Authentic Life, living with core convictions, understanding that we should have joy in our work, to be creative because it is just the way our life should be, and to trust that the outcome is in "good hands."

So back to the story that took my breath away. If you see Aslan as a representation of Jesus, fully trustworthy, and fully fierce & unsafe but Good, then you will understand what is needed for true transformative change, and it doesn't sound pretty or easy!

"In mercy and compassion, Aslan arrives, and leads the dragoned Eustace to a garden on top of the mountain, and then to a well at the center of the garden.
A Gash of Grace
“You will have to let me undress you,” says Aslan the Lion. So desperate was Eustace, even his fear of Aslan’s claws was not enough to stop him from laying down flat on his back. Laying anxious on the ground, here’s what Eustace felt. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. . . .Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off — just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt — and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me — I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .
After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me . . . in new clothes.

Was able to get my baby "fix" the other day when I met this new little one. So sweet! Working is such a delight, I will never ever take it for granted ever again! As I work, it is really my prayer. I think slowly I have decided to take a few clients in photography for now and do some more odd jobs to fill in the blanks while I am working on my painting show. Love and miss photographing children so much it literally hurts, but this time of creating and playing with a new medium has been extremely refreshing. Hopefully fruitful soon. 

As I paint, I am wanting to set some real goals for the end products I have accumulating here, so I vow to have a very colorful art show in Nashville Tennessee, hopefully this summer and hopefully with Kristi D. McDougal. Setting goals helps me take this painting thing to another level and see it as a way to work, and love what I do!  Also, I will be showing my new paintings at the Slope Suds in Brooklyn in about 5 weeks! 

As far as Photography goes, I am definitely looking to sing up a limited number of new families for newborn sessions and child Urban colorful Spring sessions in the Brooklyn area or Manhattan of course. 

Plans to come back to Raleigh  so do sign up for your spring photo session too. ( very limited number of sessions available) 

Got to hang out with this little sweet baby today and snuggle! She has such a great big sister!

Painting, I am just letting it all out. Sometimes it turns into mush. But that mush usually begins me thinking about what I want again. The best thing about painting, it there in no limit to how many errors that you make, just paint over it. Hardest part in painting though is letting go of a good part because it is not working in the overall life and profound statement the painting is trying to make. 

Next, I want to paint from the inspiration of birds and butterflies and dragon flies wings, mixed with dreams, texture, patterns, and some subject matter and landscapes. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Long over due Creativity NYC Update


Adventures in New York City.

As you can imagine, the past few months have been Filled with just trying to survive the winter!!  We've been hit by snowstorm after snowstorm, walking miles in the freezing cold. 

My Southern friends gasp at the thought of it, although It really isn't so bad with the right gear. Being outside in the middle of 'doing' is so tactile & exhilarating, way more than the cozy warm car. 

Probably what really prepared me for this was when I had gotten a glimpse of what we are capable of around 8 years ago in MI, in the freezing cold. This Southern girl got off the sofa and trained for a 1/2 marathon in way below freezing temps. The feelings I had then I had never had before in my life. It was like being imortal or flying or something that humans just couldn't or shouldn't do, it took me by such surprise. Being at home under the warm covers was what I used to think was the better deal, especially if the sun wasn't up and extra especially if it was freezing or below.  Now, since I got that glimpse into what could be,  being at home cozy and warm was definitely not as fun as being out experiencing the sunrise over the frozen lake, seeing the ice crystals floating in the light, breathing so much steam that my eyes would fog. 
So all of that is to say, I kind of like being in the outside, even if it is cold and snowy. Engaging the senses keeping me present, always tactile and raw, i think is far better than car culture any day. 

So much for even getting to the car 1/2 this winter though. 

One Year and Two months has been so full of adventure,  wonder and self examination, with plenty of faith growing and maturing opportunities (which I need desperately). I have a brand new understanding of people, of how a city thrives & for God to allow me to be apart of this amazing story even if it is in a minute way, I feel very blessed.   

Having been Graced with participating in another program through the Redeemer Church's Center for Faith and work / artists. I am humbled by this experience as well, wishing you all could come be apart of it too! Once a week sitting amongst of some amazing people who are musicians, improve specialists, NY Times pick of the week play-write, actors, and visual artists, i am humbled to be there amongst such talent! We are helping each other in the maturing process by stretching each other's understanding of Christ, Grace, Repentence, and how our work is interwoven with our faith.  

Through this journey in faith and art, I have begun to paint again and open my heart up to working in multimedia. 
To discover painting again for me is much like running into a distant relative where once there was a warm close relationship which unexpectedly had grown so distant, eventually becoming nonexistent, and to have that relationship suddenly revived, restored, and good again and with all the joys that brings!! 
A lot in the same way, meeting this once before person which was me at one time, who i thought was gone, has been a quite unexpected yet a very welcoming and joyful journey.

Who would have thought this part of me would reappear? My longings for a life lived with authenticity are coming to the surface. 
All my prayers for God to break down the walls around my heart are being answered.  

Will this be a step that leads me back to  trust? Am I willing to risk being hurt, or rejected again? 

The beautiful part of this story is that God is doing what he does best. That is He is restoring, resurrecting, replenishing old places that were broken, empty, rotten, Dead in me & He's breathing new life in all of those places, making all things new.

This is bigger than just me, He's actually in process of doing this for all who are believers.  

Fear and lack of faith and no solid understandings, immaturity and hardheartedness, anger, bitterness jealousy and total lack of trust were ruling all of my heart for too many years. 

Me, yes me. You wouldn't know it, but it was why I hid from being fully known by anyone for such a long time. 

What does all this seemingly irrelivant information have to do with art? 
Creating is scary. To Create you have to be in tune with your authentic self, and where jealousy or bitterness rules, the temptation to compare yourself to others is too great and will destroy the process before it begins. Believe me I know from experience. 
Why am I sharing this personal journey? Because God is in the business of restoring and truth. 
Art is One of our creator's greatest tools that he uses to touch and open hearts all over the world. 
Think about it, You might only be overcome with certain emotions when a screen play moves you to tears, or you discover a new social cause to fight for through someone else's art. Or what about a photograph that brings to mind a forgotten memory or even triggers emotions once numb to. Those are windows into your heart, touching you with a new language that only your spirit can understand. Art is so valuable like that. 

To risk,  to create and put it out there raw and in the open. Will it be good enough? Will people want it? Will I have any other ideas ever again? Can I sustain being creative? Will there be provision, shall I be tempted to run back to safety

Then, I remember, there is a well where I go, where I get my water, it always satisfyies and it never runs dry. 

Now, for as long as i live here in NYC, for as long as God allows me to endure this trial, Each day I am committed to dive into beauty, creation, details in nature, to learn how to be as skilled as I can, trust, jump into safe arms, believe that this is where I need to be. 

So go Be creative

My daughter's work ethic has taught me a thing or two. 

1. Draw anything and everything often. 
2. Create all the time, doesn't matter which tool you are using to create with .. Paint, collage, photography, keep creating just because it honors God and He is pleased 
3. Work until your butt hurts from sitting too long. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

A step toward freedom

Welcome to my battle ground.  

I have decided to try an experiment and write down 12 observations during the day that capture my attention.  Not any of the negatives, but only things that captivated me, like beautiful things or something I overlook and take for granted on a regular basis. 12 simple phrases and descriptions every day for a year. My overall goal in this commitment is life intentionally focused on the good, allowing the awakening my longings and senses and start being receptive of this moment right before me.  

What a great dramatic day to start this journey!!! I've had many grumbles today & the temptation to complain, but I've intentionally zeroed in on the good for a purpose. 

First, We all woke up extremely groggy from staying up much of the night due to sickness in the house. We were excited to wake up to a foot of snow outside our door, And found out at 5 am by a courtesy call from the school that all schools were closed! Yay!!! a sick snow day! When jarred awake suddenly by this call, my son passed my room moaning that his ear was bleeding and  it appeared he had ruptured his eardrum. We needed to get to the doctor. 

True story continues... Bundled up for temps in the teens... We walked a 1/2 mile in the snow (which was way better than trying to dig my car out and drive in this mess) to get to the doctors office. 

We then proceeded to walk 2 blocks to the train and then walked about five blocks in the freezing uneven snow to Trader Joe's on Court, Only, we arrived to empty shelves. Their truck never arrived!!! 
My feet were frozen To the point where I had to find a radiator at in the bathroom and stand next to it to warm up my toes. 

After a long walk with grocery bags and a bus ride home, Ellis was so weary! I watched him get weary as his Ear discharged bacteria and infection and blood all day. 

What a great day to start Annihilating the sins of ingratitude, entitlement and complacency and grabbing onto truth and gratitude! 

I realize this is do or die. 

Its a start, a shaky start, but a start.