The thing about dreams

During part of our homeschool today, we read the fable about the Tortoise and the Hare.  Funny how I am still learning lessons that childhood teaches.

While reading we learned anew that it isn’t always the fast starting talent that wins the race.  The slow and steady tortoise teaches us that with focus, steady effort, and humility we can reach our goals.

Sounds good, anyway. While success isn’t promised to those who play fair, there is satisfaction in the right kind of focus and perseverance.

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I mean, really there is!  The thing is… there is a lot of nasty out there among photographers.  There are some that seek to derail the careers of others for their own gain through telling falsehoods, public bashings, and etc… There are those who steal and copy.  Like I said, a lot of ugly goes on.  Much of it seems rooted in desperation to be a social media kingpin rather than an actual photographer. It’s sad.  I’m thankful to avoid that behind the scenes mess, but I have watched others navigate this sort of thing.

But you know what? There is also real fellowship and camaraderie out there, too! There are those that want to see you make it just as much as they want to see themselves make it. They walk beside you.   If they are in front of you, its only to lead the way.  It shows in their work and the way they seek to inspire you to see what you might not have seen.  When you find that, it is gold.  When you can genuinely cheer on others walking the same path that says a lot about you.  If you have to destroy others to get where you are going, that also says a lot about you.  Like a ladder in your tights, it will show.

Like Dolly said:

You’re in the same boat

With a lotta your friends

Waitin’ for the day your ship’ll come in

The tide is not guaranteed to turn as she says but, trust me, it’s no gain to reach the top by trampling on others.  At the end of the day it should be about the art, not the accolades.  At least that is how I see it.

Find those fellow photographers that will encourage you to reach your potential through both cheers and constructive critiques. I have been blessed by this kind of community over the years.  Truly, there are some amazing women in my life saying, “Yes, you can!”

Stay slow and steady. Work with humility and grace. Let your work speak for itself.  Promote truth.  Keep improving.

The thing about dreams is that they come to life with hard work and the right support.  If you have to hurt others to win, you’ve already lost.

Linking with Songography| 9 to 5, Black and White Wednesday, and Wednesdays Around the World.

 

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Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday! In just week, Little Things Thursday will celebrate it’s one year anniversary.  I owe it all to you.  When I started this weekly link up I was a little scared that I would build it, but they wouldn’t come.  I really wanted to see Little Things not just be a link and run event.   I wanted to see a real community being forged here.  My goal for my first week was 10 links.  I got 8, but I was so happy!  Over the year, that number grew from 8 to roughly 40 links per week! I couldn’t be happier, but again it isn’t about the numbers as much as it is about community for me…and hopefully for you.

Because you make this a joy for me, I have a little kick-off-to-autumn-gift for one of you.  I wish I could gift everyone of you, but alas, that would make the hubs have to work a little harder than he already does for us.  And the anticipation of being a single winner is kind of fun.

Baking goods

Since autumn rekindles our love for baking, I’m giving away this Williams-Sonoma baking package…a $40 value.  Included are two packs of whimsical cupcake liners, chalkboard labels, and my very favorite baking help…a Silpat liner!  Well…maybe my stand mixer is my favorite, but the Silpat is a close second.  No more stuck on cookies, Friends!

To enter, I have only one mandatory requirement.  Link up with me this week.  Since we are celebrating community, it feels appropriate to make this giveaway for those who make an effort to be part of Little Things Thursday. Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to link every week, if you link this week, you are entered.  Just check off on rafflecopter that you linked.  I’m glad you are here, and welcome to new linkers!   I’m including one bonus entry which is Like Little by Little’s Facebook page.  I’m working to grow my page to 500 this year, and there will be a sweet giveaway when that happens!

Ok…I’m about exclamation marked out.  Those things should be doled out very carefully, and I have exceeded the limit for people over 12.  Let’s link! Gah…I did it again.  Winner will be announced on next week’s Little Things Thursday, September 5th.

Link up with Little Things Thursday::

      • Post your Little Things Thursdays on your blog. Link will go live at midnight on Thursdays for linking up.
      • Please include my Little Things Thursdays button or a link back in your post. You can grab it on the sidebar!
      • Submit the URL/permalink for your post, not your home address, please. Flickr entries welcome!
      • Visit other blogs and leave some encouragement! We all love feedback! Please visit as many others as you can.
      • Please do not submit giveaways, inappropriate content, or link more than one post per week, thank you!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Memories, Dreams, and Reflections 2012

2012 was such a great year.  I’ve loved every minute of this journey in photography and blogging.  Even the hard bits.

I’m linking up with Ashley to share my year in review through Memories, Dreams, and Reflections.

1. Me!

I’m so tired of this picture! One area I’m pinpointing for growth in 2013 is more selfies.  I have a wireless remote that I can’t get to fire.  I’m going to trouble shoot that and try to put a bit more of myself on this blog.  If you wonder why you see my feet a lot, that is why.  I would love to figure this out.

2. I love you.

I have some pretty amazing kidlets.  They have their moments like the rest of the kid world, but I am beyond blessed to have these 3.

3. Still laughing.

I shared this recently, but this is just pure laughter.  I often have to say little things to my kids when trying to get a real smile out of them.  I must have gone too far this time.  I got this huge laugh.

4. Winter wonderland.

Winter didn’t show up in 2012.  Living in the south can be wishy washy during winter.  We had mild temperatures all winter long.   This night was a balmy January evening.

5. Birthday.

We took Gracyn to downtown Atlanta for her 11th birthday this year.  She loves the city and requested to go downtown.  A girl after my own heart.

6. Friends.

I hope these two are always friends.

7. I was inspired.

2012 was the year I was inspired to work on macro photography.  My signature was/is a high key macro style.

8. Spring fever.

Early spring found me scouring my yard daily for little things to capture in macro.

9. Travel.

In June we took a week’s vacation on Hilton Head Island.   The kids loved fishing in the tide pools.

10. Summer days.

Boogie Boards were a hit this summer.  My boy couldn’t get enough.

11. A day in my life.

Most of my days are spent homeschooling my 3 kids.  It’s a wonderful challenge.

12. All smiles.

Aidan had a couple brackets put on his front teeth this summer to make space for two teeth that were too stubborn to come in.  He was all smiles to beat his sister to braces at the tender age of 7.

13. Autumn harvest.

I love autumn.  I love everything about the colors, cool air, scents, and activities.

14. Family or home.

One of the things I love to do to foster a sense of family and home is to cook for my family.  I want them to remember that their mom/wife enjoyed making good food for them.  I want them to remember that there was always something good coming from the kitchen.

15. Celebrate.

I got a new mini van this year which was great cause for celebration!  It is automated everything.  My life is so much easier with this sweet ride.

16. Let’s do it again.

I would love to spend more one on one time with my kids.  This was a little coffee date with Jasper.  I loved just getting him without distractions by siblings.

17. I miss you.

This one is deep, really deep.  I miss Coke.  We started watching our diets towards the end of 2012.  I’ve cut sodas almost completely out, except for the odd one once a month.

18. Beautiful.

Light.  I love beautiful light.

19. Dress up.

Hermione.

Captain America and Spider-man.  Did you see how I snuck that twofer in there?

20. Macro.

This spider was so tiny.  It isn’t the sharpest as I had to handhold this shot to get it, but I was amazed at how magnified this is!

21. Holidays.

Thanksgiving with sweet potato casserole.

22. My Favorite.

Not sure if this is really my favorite, but I do love it.  It is really hard to choose a favorite.

23. Don’t ever change.

Not showing favoritism here, but a mother really feels a tinge of pain when her last baby starts growing up.  My first two are beyond the “baby” years.  Jasper will be 6 in 2013.  6 feels like crossing a threshold that you can never get back.  Soon he will lose the baby face, baby teeth, and will stop sitting in my lap.  I’m savoring the remnants of the baby he once was.

24. Just because…so there!

Because I unexpectedly loved this image.

25. Hopes and Dreams.

Growing. Growing. Growing.  I love photography!!  I really do.  I love this little place.  I love my bloggy friends.   My hopes and dreams are just a simple one foot in front of the other.  Keep striving.  Keep dreaming.  Keep growing. Keep connecting.

Happy New Year!

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I’m thankful for…bloggers.

I hope my title doesn’t sound creepy and out of touch with life.  But…it’s true.  I’m thankful for bloggers.

I’ve been blogging for several years, mainly for myself and the handful of people who came by to read what I posted.  It’s just been in the last 11 months that I have had the desire to grow this little place of mine.

And you know what? Blogging is a hard gig.  If you blog, you know what I mean.  It is a lot of work, enjoyable work, but work all the same.  There is a lot of energy that goes into hosting a blog.

It is also therapy, a creative outlet, and community.

(What does this image have to do with blogging?  I dunno…but it is still autumn so…)

Today I had a run in with the thief of comparison.  It’s easy to worry about pageviews, reach, unique visitors, and blah, blah, blah.  Sometimes I get stressed about how my blog is doing out there.  That stuff is important,very important. But, I took a minute to call to mind Matthew 6:33…about seeking first His Kingdom…

After my perspective returned, I realized that this blog has grown over 2012.  But.  It isn’t really about the pageviews, and visits.  Those are nice-welcomed-appreciated.  Please don’t leave me!

Community is what I’m most thankful for. That’s the real growth, for me.  Over this past year I have gotten to know some bloggers, who are still unmet in real life.  And I really care about them.

I care about their children’s achievements, struggles, and activities. I care about the moves to other states. I love the glimpses into their cultures.  I care about the new teacher and her enthusiam for life.  I care about the homeschoolers. I care about their journeys to adopt. I pray with them over the things that need praying over. I love to see their photographs.  I look forward to reading their blogs, catching up thru Instagram, and Tweeting.  These ladies are inspiring, and they are helping me push myself to grow.  I care about helping them succeed too.  I want their blogs to be successful.  I understand what we are all trying to do.

Blogging is hard.

It is intimidating to reach out to other bloggers sometimes, but it is worth it.  I still struggle to say hi to some I blog stalk from time to time.

I’m humbled by those that have reached out or back to get to know me.  I humbled by those that come link up with me weekly.  I mean, really?  Thank you!!!  There was a lot of self-doubt in taking a linky party on.

My encouragement for the shy is to get to know the bloggers you visit.  It means so much.  Say hi.  Give a word of encourgement.  Don’t focus on what you are getting…give!  You may just find that you will receive unexpected encouragement and friendships right back.

So this Thanksgiving season, I just want to let you sweet ladies all over the world know that I’m thankful for you. I wish I could list you all by name, but I hope you know by my visiting you, that I mean you!  I’m thankful for your inspiration, talent, encouragement, and being willing to be known.  You make blogging fun!

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lately

It’s that time of year when I begin to feel swamped and overwhelmed.   Between being a wife, mother, housekeeper, teacher, photographer, friend and preparer of holiday memories, I start “feeling it”.   Don’t get me wrong, if someone suggested I let go of something, I wouldn’t!   I enjoy all of these things.  However, sometimes I have to remind myself that I can’t blog daily or participate in all the blog linkies that I really want to participate.  What I love about winter is the ability to slow down a bit and indulge in developmental type activities.  I’m looking forward to being able to work on my blog, new photography challenges and such.  I’m finishing up a few sessions I have had this week and then I am going to start diving into some of these things.  AND! Because of this busy time, I am now able to purchase some new glass!  I just ordered a nikkor macro lens!  I am going to work on macro photography this winter.  I should have my lens by Thanksgiving…just in time for the Christmas season and working with all the festive decor.  It’s an early Christmas pressie to myself.

I never had time to post a couple shots of my daughter with one of her BFFs that I took back in October.  This is Gracyn’s friend from our years in Thailand, and she is still an MK there.  We were able to reconnect during a mini-missions conference at our church.  A sleepover and zoo day followed.  I wish I had more time to do a planned photo session with these girlies, but time was a premium.

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guinea pig photo shoot

My daughter is an animal enthusiast extraordinaire.  If it crawls, slithers, swims, flies, or scampers, she loves it!  Several times a week she brings in something and wants me to have a little photo sesh with it.  I can’t always oblige, but when she brings over a friend that we are more than acquainted with I will take a few photos.  Forrest, our neighbor guinea pig, came over today.  We had a small session.  Forrest is fairly aged and has lived well beyond expectancy in my understanding.  For that reason, he needs a a few pictures.

I’m not sure he would like being styled in the first image like that, but he looks cute.

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On the farm

We had an opportunity to join our friend, Erica, for a trip to a farm.   She was already taking her kiddos to visit their family friends to see the baby animals and asked us to tag along!  It was a treat.  Our first site was these little porkers.

I can understand why catching a greased pig is such a difficult and comical “sport”.  These piglets, while not greased, were on the move anytime one of us came close.   If anyone moved quickly toward them, they began to run en masse.   This was about as close a shot as one could get without a zoom.

A corn crib was located near the goats, and the owners of the farm graciously let the kids grab a few ears to feed the animals.   PJ and Missy were the lucky goats that were fed a bit much corn.

Gathering eggs was a fun task for the kids.  They worked together to collect a small basket.   Then, it was time to pull kernels off the dried corn cobs to feed the chickens.

This is Sherman, one of the farm dogs. 

The kids were helpers by moving the Poulets to the hen tractor, where they feed on fresh grass.

What farm trip would be complete without a tractor….err…4 wheeler with a trailer ride? Check out this lot.

There is another farm dog, Daisy, who has just become a new mum!

We saw her new babies!

Thus, ended our tour of the spring farm, where life begins anew!  Our hosts warmly sent us off with a carton of fresh farm eggs and a little education. 

Happy Spring Y’all!

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tea and sweet shot tuesday

Little girls and big girls alike love afternoon tea.  It’s such a balm to get together with enduring friends for girl talk over steaming cups of comfort.  Gracyn and I met one of my lasting friends, from high school, at Tea at Seven Springs in Powder Springs, GA.  This tea room is very close to my friend’s childhood home where we spent many hours being teenage girls.  This was our second time getting together with our girls for tea and hopefully, we will have many more!  This tea room is so fun.  There are hats and boas dotted around for decoration both of the room and for bodies.   Gracyn is such a hat girl and she tried on many, many hats. 

I brought my 35 mm lens today knowing full well that I risked distortion in portraits.  It was either that or poor lighting with another lens.  I opted for lighting and accepted the chipmunk cheeks.  Did I mention that I need a new lens? Bueller?

We all got our own pots of tea.  Guess what I had?  Yes, Earl Grey…it’s my tea of choice this year.  I love these pot warmers!

My friend and I had the light afternoon tea which comprised a pot of tea, soup, chicken salad sandwiches, a pasta salad sample, fruit, scones, Devonshire cream and lemon curd.  It sounds like more than a “light” tea, but it really wasn’t too much.  This tomato and basil cream soup was really good and fresh!

The girls had the children’s tea, which is adorable.  It comprised two sandwiches of choice, cut into butterflies with jellybeans on top, scones, fruit, and goldfish.  There were pansies for decorations, but my daughter knowing they were edible, tried those too.  So did Abby.

We enjoyed our time with our friends talking photography, homeschooling, family, and church.  The girls enjoyed giggling and budding friendship.  It’s a blessing to have a child play with the daughter of my childhood friend.  It’s a full circle moment.

Sweet Shot Day

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Trick or Treat!

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Bella comes to play

This is Bella, the Chorkie.  That’s half Chihuahua and Yorkie, for those not up on designer dogs.  Bella belongs to our neighbor, but thinks our yard is an extension of her world.  We don’t mind.  Bella loves Gracyn, and Gracyn LOVES Bella.

When Bella hears Gracyn in our yard, she whines for Gracyn until her owner consents to let her play.  So, Bella comes to play.

Bella loves Gigi, too.  Bella spends a great deal of time in a submissive posture with Gigi.  Gigi is very kind to Bella, and lets her invade Gigi’s space…and eat her food! No snapping, or rebukes.

They take in fresh air together…and yes, my dog always looks dopey with her tongue out.

She’s a sweet little pup.

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