this is me.

there comes a time when you have to stand up and shout:this is me damn it! i look the way i look, think the way i think, feel the way i feel, love the way i love! i am a whole, complex package. take me...or leave me. accept me...or walk away! do not try and make me feel like less of a person, just because i don't fit your idea of who i should be. and don't try to change me to fit your mold. if i need to change, i alone will make that decision. when you are strong enough to love yourself !00%, good and bad--you will be amazed by the opportunities that life presents you. - stacey charter

the other day, i so longed to shoot for me--to create images that emerge from my soul. with the goal of pleasing no one else but me.  selfish? i guess. needed? absolutely. as a portrait photographer, i'm commissioned by families, to shoot for them. while i always stay true to my style and a part of me is infused into each and every photograph, in the end, i'm still shooting for them.

so on monday, while the little ones were at gymnastics, kiele and i went to go find a location to shoot. thankfully she was game to shoot too. having a specific shot in mind, as i usually do when shooting for me, i desired a forest-looking location. we found one cool woodsy area, but not the right light. then behind a building, i noticed the perfect little spot--weeds, trees and great light. there even seemed to be a bit of a matted path, which made it easy to walk further into the woods. so i parked behind the building and began shooting kiele in the weeds. soon thereafter, i noticed these men smoking on the side of the building. clearly, they were employees. kiele and i followed the path a bit further into the woods when all of a sudden i hear,

hello. helllllooo. (whistle. whistle.)

hellooooo. (whistle. whistle.)

i'm not sure why, but my initial thought was that it was some kids and we needed to go. the keys were in the car, along with my purse...and everything else.

kiele. come on. hurry. come on.

of course, she couldn't hear me because i had put her implant in my pocket, while shooting. so pulling her in my hand and kiele with raven mask on, we appear from the woods and two men (aka DHL employees) are looking in my car (they had opened my passenger door). they told me that i'm not allowed to park on their property and i have to leave immediately. i had parked in the very back, right next to the woods, where there was parking spots, nothing.

i shared a few words with them and left, hoping that i had gotten what i longed for.

and i did. these make my heart happy.

p.s. my fav image of the three is the last one.  i'm planning to go out again to do different shots, focusing on the nest (no mask).  we found the nest at the apple orchard, while apple picking.  it had fallen out of one of the apple trees and was sitting empty next to a tree.  i love it so.

new friends

i'm honored.  and so excited.  recently, one of my photographs was selected for the center for fine art photography's 2009 international exhibition of fine art photography--an exhibition jurored by andy adams. the show, in ft collins, colorado, starts today and will run through october 31st.  i was hoping to attend today's opening reception but unfortunately i'm not able to...but still hoping to see the show sometime later this month.

you can see all the exhibition's selected photographs here.

words of wisdom

today has me thinking. i'm not talking about the thinking that i whined about in yesterday's post. this thinking is about passion, inspiring, exploring, discovery, freeing, supporting and really living. some of you might recall that i've mentioned maggie doyne a few times in the past, here on my blog.  today on maggie's blog, i read and want to share some incredible words of wisdom, from her mom, nancy doyne.

these words... Frankly, my desire was that each of my 3 daughters, connect to their own passion, so that their passion would drive their lives. To wake up feeling passionate about life, one's own life, and to feel life as an adventure with you directing the course.

It is a journey that includes introspection, and a willingness to be honest with oneself. Know yourself, and not judge. All 3 of my daughters were offered opportunities to unplug from the world including family, social, educational and mental expectations. To let all these drop away is frightening, yet freeing. Because as those structures come down, YOU as your own source comes forward, and helps direct your path.

To take some time out/off from the world, and live below the radar, and off the grid, and truly connect to your SELF is not something most parents are comfortable with. They become frightened of the short sight, and don't trust the longer goal/objective. But, there is an intention for this unplugging... not just a form of procrastination and sense of being lost.

My daughter Kate worked on an organic lettuce farm in Hawaii. My daughter Libby just took a semester in New Zealand. Most parents and families are only comfortable when children follow the dotted line of social expectations. I have always felt the decade of the 20's was a time to connect your Self to the world, and to explore. This can be done cheaply, especially when there are no committed relationships and no obligations. So, keeping yourself free, allows time to be a little 'selfish' in a healthy definition of selfish. No debt, and working to save some money that you value is important. Clothes Labels are not important in our house. Being comfortable with the 'unknown' and being a good judge of healthy risk vs stupid risk is a must in the journey of 'self discovery'. It is almost like being an entrepreneur of your own life.

Start with taking long weekends, and going hiking, backpacking or some other form of inexpensive adventure, that reconnects you with nature. The natural world allows your soul to remember and to commune with you and your mind. Go to the library, and read some books that inspire and support you.

Stay drug free and be careful of surrounding yourself with people who are into drama and victimhood. Like attracts Like, so surround yourself with people/places that inspire you.

1000 people on 1000 different paths all going in the same direction..toward love and light. Connect to and trust your own instincts.

My daughter Kate has a wonderful blog. She has a different style than Maggie, but read the archives, and she will give you additional courage to BE YOURSELF with all the ups and downs of being the artist of your own life. She may help inspire you as well as Maggie.

It is truly a GREAT time to be young. Stay away from news/news media and TV as much as possible. It is a brain dead megaphone. I hope this helps.

My very best wishes, Nancy Doyne.

these words of nancy doyne blow my mind, in the best and most powerful way. you see, once steve retires (in nine years), our plan is to buy a sailboat and sail around the americas. we're planning to do so for at least a year...maybe more.  we're going to make stops and give back, wherever and whenever we can.  the little ones, who will no longer be little (13 and 15 years) will come with us. kiele, who will be 21, will have the choice, although she has already shared that she wants to come too. we're doing this for a couple different reasons: 1) steve flat out loves to sail and 2) for the exact reasons that nancy doyne writes about--a journey of living without constraints. a journey of not only connecting with nature and the world around us, but also connecting with ourselves and one another. a journey of living and being free. of teaching and inspiring. of giving.

steve has always said that he doesn't care if our kids go to college and obtain a bachelors degree. maybe they have some natural skill/ability/talent that doesn't need a four-year degree or any degree for that matter. and while i haven't always completely agreed with him...he is right!  in the end, it's about teaching our children about passion and what's possible, not what the majority of society has deemed as successful.

i wish i could be as free as nancy doyne, but i'm not. i do get tangled up in having a nice house and nice things. i wish i didn't. and that's why i can't wait for the day when we can pack up 99.9% of our belongings (our nice shit!) and just go and be free-- to take some time out / off from the world and live below the radar, off the grid and truly connect (nancy doyne).

thank you nancy for your incredible words of wisdom.  i look forward to the day when we can read more from you.

and i encourage everyone to read maggie doyne's journal. she is one inspiring young woman doing incredible things in this world.

there's no place like home

i long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever i find myself.- maya angelou

well, i survived the two birthday parties last weekend.  and now we're on the brink of another weekend.  how did that happen?  another week came and went and i didn't keep up very well. damn. and now, only 11 days remain for us here in san diego.

but, but, but! the super exciting news of the moment... after a few counters back and forth, we are in contract for this house (photo taken by realtor, not me).  

yep, we are.  if all goes through with our pre-approved loan, we will live in this home by the end of the month.  our home. together in kansas.  even if it's only for a year.  no wait...11 months. it will be ours, all ours.  after that, we will rent it.  to others, just like us--but not as daring or risky or crazy enough--to buy, when only living there for umm...less than a year.  you see, my husband has this entrepreneurial spirit and that includes real estate investing. one day, he'll even own a he continues to share with me.

i nod my head, yes honey.  but you watch.  he will.  i guess that means i will too.

so hell yea to 2500 square feet, four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a two-car garage and hopefully a linen closet (forgot to check on that). and we will say good-bye to a 1500 square feet of house that has been good to us and taken care of us for the past 3 1/2 years (we've actually been here 4 1/2 years but cat pee, gopher, rat, maggot and fly infestation (left to us by the previous home owners) caused our relocation from our first san diego house, after a year).

we will miss you dear betty street house.  you have taken such good care of us and left us with so many wonderful memories.  and i thank you for that.