8/52 of my self-portrait project.  I'm really tired of featuring my mug here every week, so this'll be the last one here on the blog for a while. However, I'll keep going every week with a self-portrait, never fear:  you'll be able to see them here. (Also, to be clear, the photo above was taken while parked in a grocery store parking lot, not while driving.  I may be stupid, but I'm definitely not crazy.)

I feel like I'm finally getting into a good solid groove since Alex has returned to school -- the days have been full (that Path Finder class is a lot of work!), but it's SUCH a good feeling knowing I'm creating something every single day. This, coupled with some really good dark chocolate I've treated myself to lately has made this week extra sweet.

(And as always, to see and read more about what I'm grateful for this week, please click over to my Bliss Your Heart gratitude blog over at Babble.)

Speaking of gratitude and things being sweet, I found the video below via the lovely Britt.  I think I see a new tradition in my future.

30 gifts to 30 strangers in Sydney from Lucas Jatoba on Vimeo.



Have a great weekend, friends.  May your coming days be full of sugar.  (The real deal, too, none of that fake stuff.)

5 best decisions

Yesterday, as I was having a cup of tea in my kitchen, it dawned on me that it's been about 10 years since Marcus and I went on our first date.  Ten yearsAlready.  In some ways it feels like it has flown by.

In others, it's sort of hard to imagine that we've packed in as much as we have in just 10 years.

So I was thinking how different my life is now from when, say, I was 21, just graduating from university.  There's no way, at that age, I could've ever predicted that I would be here, living this life, right now.  So I took to twitter:


The responses that started trickling in were amazing.  So I thought I'd share:

Schmutzie, a cancer survivor


Tanis, also known as the Redneck Mommy


Heather Barmore


KateAnon, another cancer survivor


 Kim of Prairie Mama


Nicole Blades of Ms. Mary Mack


My buddy Brené.


There were so many more people who responded -- thank you.  All of your responses really affected me.  And tell me I'm right:  if this doesn't illustrate the resilience of the human spirit, then honey, I don't know what does.

So how about you -- what are the 5 best decisions you've made in your adult life so far?


(And happy Love Thursday, friends.  Love your life today.)


SongYou gotta be by Des'ree

on recording

Early this week, I stopped in my favourite local coffee place, and treated myself to an iced coffee (my first ever -- where have I been all this time?) and a cakeball. (Aside:  every morning in Texas should start with an iced coffee and a cakeball.)  As I settled in to work, I looked up from my computer screen, and noticed the cupcakes on the counter waiting to be bought, backlit by the morning sun.  I happily realized that I had my camera with me, and I took the shot.

I've been thinking recently about why I took the shot -- what moves me to do so.  I mean, obviously I love taking photographs, and I love the technical aspect of trying to capture and manipulate light with my camera, but why do I record the moment?  Is it for me?  Is it for my daughter, for when I'm no longer here?  Is it for something else?

If you've been reading this site for a while, you know that I'm fascinated by journals, particularly art journals.  Yesterday, I came across this post, which pointed me to this artist's beautiful site, where she occasionally shares her journal pages.  I love that in addition to simple sketches of what's going on around her, she also tapes ephemera into her journals, representative of that moment.  Can you imagine coming across her beautiful journals years from now, and poring through them?


I guess I've always used my journals primarily as a way to express, with the actual recording being secondary; however, I'm becoming more and more intrigued by journaling as a way of archival -- to leave a footprint, I guess, long after I'm gone.

For those of you who journal -- why do you do it?


SongThinking about you by Norah Jones

scenes from a birthday celebration





Saturday night, Marcus and I dropped Alex off at the home of our friends Trish and Carl to play with their kids (under the supervision of a stellar babysitter), while Trish and I took the men out for a birthday celebration (Marcus' birthday was Saturday, Carl's is in a few days).

There were cocktails, incredible food, and a rude amount of chocolate.  And laughter.  Oh, the laughter.


Song:  There was also the singing of songs with ridiculous choruses.  Just a friend by Biz Markie.  Oh, baby, yoooouuuuu.... you got what I neeeeeeeeed.....


7/52 of my self-portrait challenge

Yesterday, my friend Liz said the following on Twitter:

"You know, it feels kinda nice when a homeless meth addict tells you your beautiful."

I couldn't help but smile.  Of course, it feels nice -- it doesn't matter who tells you you're beautiful, you know?

So I replied, saying as much.  Then Robin, who'd witnessed the exchanged, tweeted the following:

"Reminds me of when a precious 91-year-old told me I was the prettiest thing he'd seen. Found out later he was legally blind."

I laughed.  But then I responded to both of them:

"There's your proof that beauty is more than just something you see. It's something you feel."

Don't you agree?

* * * * * * *

In other news, I've had a lovely week this week, one that began with a complete stranger paying me a compliment out of the blue -- a kindness for which I'm very grateful.  And as always, you can see what else I'm grateful for this week on my gratitude blog over at Babble.


With that, have a great weekend, you beautiful people, you.


(P.S.  I read this, and decided that I need to get this book.  Tell me this isn't the sweetest thing you've seen all day.)


Song1 2 3 4 by Feist

random thoughts: giving

I love giving gifts.  I mean, I really love giving gifts.  I love giving gifts so much, I feel guilty that I'm possibly getting more enjoyment out of the gift-giving than the recipient of my gift is, which feels a bit self-serving, right?  And then I think, well, perhaps I shouldn't give any gifts if I'm doing it just to feel good about giving, but then I think that's stupid, because what's a world where gifts aren't given?  No world I want to be in, that's for sure.

And then I think maybe I should switch to decaf.


(Happy Love Thursday, friends.)


Image:  One from the archives.  Photographed with my Nikon D300 and 35mm lens.  aperture 2.8, shutter speed 1/40, ISO 1000


Song: Bliss like this by Ani DiFranco


10 things you can do to honour world peace day

I just learned it's World Peace Day!  Here are 10 things you can do today to celebrate:

1.  Buy a single grocery store flower for someone unexpectedly.  Trust me, they're not going to care that you got it from the grocer's.  They'll be completely charmed.

2.  Fly a kite late this afternoon, approaching sunset.  Nothing says "peace" like flying a kite.  And you'll make your neighbours happy when they see it.

3.  Send an email to someone who you haven't spoken to in a while.  It doesn't need to say anything more than, "Hi -- you've been on my mind.  Hope you're doing well."

4.  Buy the coffee (or pint) for the guy behind you in line (or next to you at the bar).  Smile at them, and then go on your way.

5.  Pay someone a compliment.  Mean it.

6.  Join the Hopeful Revolution.  Write a note of kindness, and leave it somewhere unexpected.

7.  Leave an encouraging comment on a blog you love, but have never commented on before.

8.  Find a book you've recently read that you've enjoyed and found inspiring.  Stick it in the mail to someone who you know will feel the same. 

9.  Send a postcard.  If I might be so bold, here are a few.

10.  Watch this 20 minute video by Jeremy Gilley, the founder of World Peace Day.  Be astounded by what one man can do.



And spread the word, friends. Have a great day.


SongPeace, love and happiness by G. Love & Special Sauce


scenes from st. paul & thoughts while being surrounded by creative people




Hope's journal. I love her work.


The Creative Connection Event (the conference in St. Paul that I attended last week) was sort of mindblowing. While I've certainly attended conferences of creative people before (it's hard to go to social media conferences and not be surrounded by creative people), this was different.  These are people who make things.  With their actual hands.  Every time I asked someone what their art was, they'd answer something like, "Oh me?  I don't do anything much.  You know, I take used coffee filters, and make baby clothes. But I'm thinking of branching out.  I've developed a way to take old car parts, and make running shoes and hair ornaments ..."

I exaggerate.  But not by much.

It could've been intimidating, but it really wasn't (and not just because one of the lovely women I met, Katie, actually took time out of her schedule and taught me how to sew a cute little bag).  Instead, it was really affirming:  being with all these artistic people was just further evidence that we're all wired to be creative -- some of us with paints and fabrics, of course, and other art supplies -- but you know what?  Also with software code. And medicine. And accounting. And architecture.  And yes, even law. 

It was a reminder that we all have natural gifts -- each and every one of us.  And when we identify and tap into this creativity?  Well.

There's just no telling where we all can go, is there?


Song: Where it's at by Beck