Speaking of the Thrive Portrait Project, some news: I'm officially, no-fooling, working on a new book, and its genesis is this project! I can't tell you how excited I am about this. I'll be looking for people who are thriving: folks who are starting second, joyful careers, or who are doing something athletic, or who are returning to school, or even who have rich spiritual and/or creative lives. I already have folks in mind, but I'm always open and interested in connecting with even more people who live out loud.
So, are you one of these people? Do you know someone who is? If so, I'd love to invite you to fill out the form at the bottom of this post -- I may contact you/them to be interviewed for the book in the coming months! (Also please feel free spread the word by sharing this post -- the more, the merrier!)
Finally, don't forget: my new ecourse Advent of Light is now open for registration, and it's sale priced until November 15th. It's sort of a nonreligious, audio/visual "advent calendar" -- daily audio prompts and image downloads, and a date with your journal for 24 straight days in December. It's a commitment to being kind to yourself during the hectic year-end. Join me.
thrive book nominees
If you think you or someone you know would be a great candidate for my book on thriving, please feel free to fill out the information below. All information provided in this form shall remain strictly confidential, I promise.
Yesterday I had breakfast with my friend Indrani -- an author, coach and activist, with a passion for advocating for the rights of women and children. Her foundation, Indrani's Light, fights gender-based violence around the world, including India and our shared homeland, Trinidad.
I photographed and interviewed Indrani for my Thrive Portrait Project, but you'll have to wait until the film is developed to see her official portrait and read her wisdom. But now, an outtake: a test shot of her laughter while I was checking for light. And believe me when I say: Indrani is pure light.
My new ecourse Advent of Light is now open for registration, and sale priced until November 15th! It's sort of an audio/visual advent calendar -- daily audio prompts and image downloads, and a date with your journal for 24 straight days in December. It's a commitment to being kind to yourself during the hectic year-end. Join us.
This was a good week. Here's why:
• The weather's getting more reasonable, I had a great quick trip to Dallas, and best of all, I finally had a breakthrough with the creator's block I've been wrestling with while putting together my keynote talk for a photography conference next week. I'm SO excited about it, too. (Incidentally, the conference is in San Antonio, and there are still tickets available -- will I see you there?)
• My friend Jenny's new book debuted at #3 on the New York Times Bestseller list -- like there was ever any doubt! It really is a great book -- you should get yourself a copy (as long as you're not offended by profanity. If you're offended by profanity, trust me, this very hilarious book, with its nonetheless incredibly vulnerable look at mental illness, is not for you).
• My friend Taiye spoke at TED -- and her talk, "Don't Ask Me Where I'm From, Ask Me Where I'm A Local" has a lot of interesting food for thought, especially if you're an immigrant or come from an immigrant family. Really provocative stuff.
• For the math geeks among us: the fold-and-cut theorem states that you can cut any straight-line shape with just only one cut. It's a long video, but so damned cool.
• Getty Images has awarded its first Instagram grant -- here are the winners. Awesome.
• Finally, for today's soundtrack, actor Sean Hayes and his husband Scott Icenogle lipsynch to Janet Jackson's and Missy Elliott's song, BURNITUP. It makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.
Click here or on the image below to watch.
And on that wacky note, have a great weekend, friends. See you next week.
This was a great week. Here's why:
• My friend Luvvie was in town for work, and happily, had time for a leisurely lunch before heading back home. Surprise, spontaneous lunches with good friends are the best.
• It was Marcus' birthday yesterday! We're going to celebrate for the rest of the weekend, too.
• I've been saying for years that handwriting things is better than typing things -- and not just because seeing someone's handwriting is cooler, either. This article vindicates me.
• This guy criss-crossed the United States by train, and took photos. I'm thinking our family might have to do this before Alex goes off to college. Amazing.
• So charmed by Xanthe's mini time capsules -- 15 second movies of her days. Gorgeous.
• Also charmed by Hula's photographs of her 20th wedding anniversary, where she and her husband returned to New Orleans, the city of their honeymoon. Make sure to get all the way to the bottom: the self-portrait of the two of them, recreating a similar one they'd done 20 years ago, took my breath away.
• You might remember that Alex participated in Girls Rock Camp this past summer, and she loved it. And I love their fundraiser: selling prints of girls recreating iconic album covers. So cool.
• Finally, today's soundtrack: I updated my playlist for workouts this week, and I included Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk (It's perfect for a quick-paced hike uphill on a treadmill, by the way). While I was listening to it, I remembered this video of ... well ... hands that sing the song. So it seemed like a perfect time to share it with you.
Click here or the image below to watch.
Have an amazing weekend, friends. See you next week.
Rising Strong Day, the official book launch of Brené's book, Rising Strong, was an unmitigated success: the day began with a trio from the Grand Ole Opry playing amazing bluegrass, and then Brené welcomed the crowd of about 800 (!) people, and gave an overview of her new book (to a standing ovation, of course). After lunch, I shared with the audience how my journaling practice helps me directly incorporate Brené's teachings into my life. The charming Miles Adcox, CEO of Onsite, spoke about trust and boundaries. The Grammy-award winning songwriter and Nashville native Josh Kear performed a few songs, many of which you likely know. And finally, the lovely Jenna Walker and Katie Thurmes of Artifact Uprising (the hands-down best company for printing photographs that there is -- I've been using them for ages), spoke about the importance of photography.
It was a beautiful, inspiring day. I'm so grateful to Brené for including me in her celebration, to Miles, Josh, Jenna and Katie for making it such a fun time, and to all of you who attended, especially those who made a point to come up and introduce yourselves to me. Your doing so made this absolutely one of the best days of my year.
Soon after my talk, a car service showed up to take me to the airport so I could head home. On the way, I mentioned to the driver that even though this was my second trip to Nashville, I had yet to actually see the city. "I've always been either at the hotel or working," I moaned. "And I hear Nashville's a great town -- yet I've never gotten to see it."
"Oh, that won't do," he said immediately. "What time is your flight?"
I told him.
"Okay, so you've got time. I'm going to take you the scenic route, down Broadway, so you can at least see the city. It'll only take you about 10 minutes out of the way, and you'll see where tons of famous country musicians got their starts."
And so said, so done. While I didn't have time to get out of the car and sightsee, I certainly did have time to stick my arm with my camera out of the window above the SUV we were riding in so that I could take a few photos.
Thanks to my lovely driver for the impromptu tour. And have a great week, friends.
Soundtrack: Josh Kear, performing one of those Grammy-award-winning songs that he wrote, Need You Now. Josh is a truly lovely soul, and I think it really shows here. Click here or the image below to watch.
So, many of you are probably familiar with my friend Brené Brown, a researcher and New York Times bestselling author on the subjects of courage and worthiness (if you've not yet been introduced to her work, her first TED talk is a great way to get to know her). Well, this week, I'm back in central Texas, attending training in her Daring Way™ curriculum on my way to becoming a certified facilitator in Brené's work in shame, vulnerability, courage and worthiness.
This is pretty exciting for me, since I anticipate that what I learn in this training is going to expand my own work on self-empowerment, self-determination and diversity in huge ways -- helping to further bridge my past corporate life as a lawyer and executive, and my current life as an author and creative, providing even more business workshops to executives and attorneys. Needless to say, I'll be updating you as my work expands and develops.
San Antonio might be my favourite Texas city, so I'll be sure to share some images of this lovely town on Instagram and Facebook during my time here. I also plan on blogging, so I won't be far.* But in the meantime, have a great week, friends.
* Incidentally, my every-other-week newsletter goes out on Friday this week -- have you signed up yet? It's chock-full of journal and photo prompts and inspiration that I don't share anywhere else online. Sound like fun? You can sign up here -- and take a peek at a previous one here.
Heather Armstrong's blog, Dooce, was one of the very first blogs I read when I first started blogging 11 years ago. I loved her wry humour, especially since she was writing about mothering her brand new baby, Leta, who was exactly 1 month older than my brand new baby, Alex. I marveled at how openly she spoke about the ups and downs of being a new parent. I admired her photography. And I wasn't the only one: Heather was one of the very first personal bloggers to become famous for her words -- literally millions of people have come to her site to follow her life in Salt Lake City, Utah. So when I finally met her at a blogging conference a couple of years later, in 2006, while she is indisputably confident, I was surprised by how shy I found her, given that throngs of conference-goers followed her wherever she went.
Because of her shyness, out of respect I carefully kept my distance, and we maintained a cordial working relationship over many years. But then, a couple of years ago, we had the opportunity to spend some time together over a bottle of wine, and during that time our relationship officially morphed into friendship. It was also then that I discovered the word that would most come to mind when I think of her is this: Integrity. Heather is one of those honest and frank people who consciously wakes up every day trying to learn more and be better. There is no falseness with Heather: she is unfailingly true, down-to-earth, and what you see is what you get. This makes her my absolute favorite kind of people, and I'm so proud to call her a friend of mine.
Heather and I spent some time together at yet another conference a couple of months ago, where I learned that this year, she turns 40 -- and since I had my Hasselblad camera with me, I convinced her to be a part of my Thrive Portrait Project. So she sat for me, and today, two days after her 40th birthday, she sent me her words on what "thriving" means to her. They're beautiful, and you can read them here.
So, happy, happy birthday, dear Heather -- and thanks so much for sharing your beautiful words with me. And welcome to the other side of 40 -- you're going to love it here.
(Be sure to check out the wise words of all the other women who sat for portraits as well -- those are some wise women, right there.)
I wasn't much in the mood to celebrate this July 4th ... so we didn't. (Even Soca wasn't having it: Marcus took her outside for her evening walk just as the fireworks around our area were going off. Even though Soca hasn't ever batted an eye at some of the very noisy thunderstorms Houston is known for, one boom from the fireworks and girlfriend muttered "oh, HELL no" under her breath and dragged Marcus right back inside. She was not amused.)
But on Sunday, my parents invited us and our friends Trish & Carl and their kids to come over for a barbecue, and the kids spent 7 full hours in their backyard pool, stopping only to eat, and impatiently pose for the photo above. And it was very, very good.
Holidays are totally for family -- blood and chosen.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.
Soundtrack: Fireworks by Moby
Just like Asha, I've known Kelly for years -- we met back in 2006 at a blogging conference. I know that it has become popular to describe a woman as "fierce" (thanks, Tyra Banks), but that's truly what Kelly is: she's fierce in every sense of the word. As an assistant principal, she's fiercely protective of the kids in her junior high school, going to great lengths to ensure that no one is lost in the system, and that each of them feels cared for, valued, and most importantly, seen. As an activist, she's fiercely vocal about racial, gender and social injustices that she sees around her, both in the United States and internationally (she was actually one of my travel companions to Ethiopia, and wrote about her experience). And she's a fiercely loyal friend, who will do anything, up to and including fighting dogs, for anyone she cares about. (I've never actually seen her fight a dog. But I've no doubt she would, if called upon.)
Kelly has become a dear friend, and I told her many months ago that she had no choice but to be featured in my Thrive Portrait Project, since there are very few people I know who live their lives as "out loud" as Kelly does. (It's nice that she agreed to be a part of it; however, seriously, I wasn't kidding -- she really had no choice.) So back in April, when we were both at the Mom 2.0 Summit, she sat for me and my Hasselblad film camera, and last week, she shared her words with me about what it means to her to "thrive."
You can see her awesome face and wise words here. (And how about those eyes, amiright? Remind me to tell you the story one day about how she made all the men in Ethiopia swoon over her eyes.)
Also, be sure to check out the rest of the portraits. Those are some amazing women, right there.