Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finding the light

The other day my sister called me to tell me that she saw an ad in our local newspaper for a camera club that's looking for new members. She thought that I might be interested & suggested I check it out.
So I went to their website & had a look. I was pretty impressed and decided to give it a try.
I soon learned that the first meeting of the year is scheduled for September 8th. The topic of discussion is "Best Shots". In May the club assigned a task for the summer. The group picked 10 categories & asked each member to submit their best shot from each of the categories for the September meeting. The photos must be current (taken between the May meeting & the September meeting).
I thought to myself "Well shoot! These people have been working on this all summer & I have 1 week to pull it off??? I'll never manage. I guess I'll just have to go and observe." but then I took a look at the categories and realized that many of my favorite photos from this summer fit the categories perfectly! I only had to come up with a few ideas. Totally doable!
I'm a little nervous about putting myself out there. I've never done this before and I'm assuming a lot of these people have quite a bit of experience (based on the photos on the website). However, I also know that I will never learn new things or make any progress if I don't try. So I'm trying. What's the worst that could happen? Absolutely nothing.
So my lovely loyal friends...here's what I came up with. Feel free to comment & let me know what you think. I'll post an update after the meeting tomorrow & let you know how it went!



Inside looking out

Purple
Speed or Movement
Hands
Shoes
Patterns
Smoke / Fog
Fences
Windows or Doors
Fabric

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Dream

A couple of months ago it suddenly became clear to me that I needed to move back home to Maine.
I've wanted to do it for years, but the logistics of making it happen always seemed too complicated so I never pushed very hard.
Then one night I was trying in vain to fall asleep & it hit me like a lightning bolt to the temple. I didn't WANT to move to Maine...WE as a family NEEDED to move to Maine. I didn't really know how it was all going to work out, but I knew that I had to make it happen. So I did.
It took a few (very frightening) weeks for everything to come together, but they did. My husband's company agreed to let him work from home and I had the all clear to quit my job & start packing up all our stuff. We had a place to live (at least temporarily), steady income including health insurance, and I was going to have the freedom to stay home with Ciara for the summer to get us settled before finding a job for myself.
Now the summer is coming to an end & it's time for me to be productive. I need to seize the opportunity that I've been given if this move is going to fully work. Which leads me to contemplate- What exactly IS my dream anyway?
I have developed a passion for photography over the last several years. I have never taken any classes and I'm very much an amateur but people seem to agree that I have a talent for it. So I guess the ultimate dream is for me to turn my passion into a career. BUT...I know that doesn't just happen over night. It's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to get there.
So the next question becomes- What can I do in the meantime to make money so that my family and I can have the life we really want, but still have the time and energy to pursue my ultimate dream?
The possibilities in small town Maine tend to be a bit limited. 
Except I refuse to allow them to be. I am an intelligent, capable woman. Surely I can convince others of this?
What am I good at? What do I have to offer my community? Where is there a need for me & my abilities?
Here's the amusing thing (well, amusing to me anyway)- various members of my family all came back with the same answer independently...SOCIAL MEDIA.
The businesses in my small city are only just beginning to grasp the benefits of using social media as a marketing tool. It's the perfect time to jump in and make a name for myself. If I play my cards right, use my connections and my wits, and work HARD, I really believe I can do this.
So for now, I guess my dream is this...
I would like to build my own business. I want to make my own schedule and be able to be there for my daughter. I want to be able to volunteer for field trips and to help her with school & extra curricular activities. I want to become involved in the community where I was born & raised. This is my home and I think that I have a lot to offer to help make it a better place to live. I want to study photography. I want to understand the science of a photo well enough that I can plan each exposure and not just luck into a few nice ones here & there. I want people to love my photos so much that they can't wait to hire me to take some for them. That's my dream. NOW...to make it my reality.
Stay tuned!

PS Here's a little sample of some of my favorite photos. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Coming Home

Wow. It's been a long time since I've done this. Not gonna lie...I feel a little intimidated right now.
I guess there's only 1 thing to do.
Jump right in to the deep end with wild abandon. Here goes!...
3 1/2 years ago I felt completely secure in my life. Everything was peaceful. Easy. Predictable.  I woke up every day knowing exactly how my day would go. I had a vision for the future. Sort of.
And then...I had the rug pulled out from under me. So long stability, hello crazy roller-coaster ride!  I'm not going to go into details because they aren't important.  All you really need to know is that everything changed and I suddenly realized how truly unpredictable life is.
The last few years have taught me some of the hardest lessons I've had to learn so far in this life.  They've been tumultuous and upsetting. Difficult and scary.  They have also been absolutely wonderful in a lot of ways.
I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I believe there was a reason that NKOTB came back into my life at exactly the same time that everything else was falling apart. My life was the perfect storm, and they were the lighthouse guiding me home.
I know that's super corny and I know it sounds dumb. They're just a pop group for crying out loud!
Except they aren't. Not to me anyway. They were once upon a time. Not any more. (I swear I'm not insane)
What began as a distraction has blossomed into something far more profound. Something I'll never truly be able to explain to anyone who hasn't been a part of it. As much as I'd like to, I really just don't think it can be done. There is no rhyme or reason, it just IS.
The other thing that's sort of hard to explain is that when I say NKOTB, I'm not just talking about 5 guys. I'm also talking about every person those 5 guys have brought into my life. There are too many to name individually and so it's just easier to group everyone together under 1 heading.
Anyway, these people have taught me a lot about myself over the last few years and helped me find a strength that I didn't know I possessed. It was always there, I just didn't know it until they pointed it out for me.
A few months ago my roller-coaster ride took a steep dive and I realized that the car was going to jump the track if I didn't take over the controls. So I did. It was terrifying, but thanks to my friends, I knew that it was going to be ok.
My family and I decided we needed to change tracks entirely. We left our old life in Illinois & moved back to my home town in Maine. Now we're here and I have an opportunity that very few people are blessed with. I get to choose my own adventure (remember those books?!)
It's incredibly exciting, but also terrifying! I have a dream for my future. I CAN make it happen... IF I work hard enough. It's all up to me. 
Wow.  How did I never see that before?


I hope you'll join me as I write my story. I'll try to keep it exciting. (but not TOO exciting...I'm ready to coast for a little bit)