This week’s topic is “sculptures, statues, carvings.”
This week’s topic is “sculptures, statues, carvings.”
As some of you may have noticed, I took most of the month of December off from blogging. It was partially because I was just so busy with work and the holidays but I also realized I’d lost my spark.
I was mostly down to personal and photography posts – and only one of those showed my full heart. Then something happened that had potential to out this little space of mine to people I know in real life and I realized I had to take a step back. So, that’s what I did – I took some time off from blogging, social media, and the internet in general (excepting Amazon of course, which I frequented a little too often…). I needed time to think about my purpose in continuing this blog and the possibility of starting another. There are so many things I want to write about that don’t really fit this space. But I’ve decided that for now, I don’t care. If I want to write about it, up it goes. Those who want to read it can, and those who don’t can skip over it. Maybe if any one topic starts to dominate I’ll reconsider my options, but for now I want to just let this space be what it will be without worry. Same goes for those in real life people – if they find me, so be it. I don’t want that to change how I feel about this space I’ve grown to love so much.
All that said, I have decided to begin a project that I’ve wanted to do for a long time now – a proper photography website/blog. It’s currently under construction, but I’m sure I’ll be sharing it in time. A lot of the content will likely overlap, but my plan is to feature more photography over there and more words over here. We’ll see how it works out. Can I just tell you though how excited I am about this?! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time but have never felt confident in my work or my ability to keep it updated properly. But it finally occurred to me that if I don’t try, then I’ll never really know – so try I shall!
The last couple of weeks have been spent mostly focused on this Ireland trip. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a trip since my first study abroad adventure – and that was over 13 years ago! (And can I just ask – where does the time go?!? Wow…) I need some time away and to myself. I’m excited about the photo potential, of course, but I’m most excited about having 7 beautiful days to do whatever I want as the mood strikes. No work, no social obligations, no normal responsibilities. I’m the only one I have to concern myself with, and as selfish as that may sound, it’s also something I desperately need. I see this trip as the ultimate self-care indulgence and I’m not the least bit sorry for it. (smile)
I’ve realized over the last several months just how important self-care can be – on all levels. Last fall, I signed up for an intuitive studies class. As an example of what that means, some of the classes focused on psychic abilities and others on mediumship – exercises for the intuition if you will. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I was a religious studies minor in college – any and all types of religion fascinate me – and I like to continue that education in any way that calls to me. All that to say, I stumbled upon this course and suddenly knew I had to go. Listening to my gut and showing up to class was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long, long time. Whether you believe in the details behind the practices or not, the class was a wonderful opportunity to get in tune with myself. I learned to trust my instincts and not discredit feelings in favor of societal pressures. It has been so freeing!! And on top of it all, I met an amazing group of like-minded individuals who I am so happy to call my tribe. (Trendy, hipster word that may be, but in this instance it’s apt so I’m using it.) As a result of all this, I’ve been undergoing a period of self-reflection, facing some hard truths, and finding monumental positivity through it all. I’d like to share more about this on here, so I guess you can consider this your fair warning. (smile) All I ask is that everyone keep an open mind – you never know what you might discover!
I’d say everything else is on par. I went through some scary moments with my health at the end of last year, but I feel like I’m back on track now with a better idea of how to stay there. I’ve decided that I’m perhaps better off not discussing work for the moment, so I’m going to leave those updates out for the foreseeable future. I go, it goes – that’s about all there is to say anyway. Life is an interesting thing…
This week’s photo challenge is “names.”
As much as I enjoy sharing my annual inspiration, I truly love these travel posts. (smile) There’s something about looking ahead at all the fabulous adventures that just makes my heart beat a little faster!
I did pretty well for my 2016 travel list. I did visit White Sands National Monument in New Mexico (see below), ventured on a South Dakota road trip with my family, and spent plenty of great quality time in California with my niece. Although I did not mark off all of my Arizona Bucket List, I did make it to a couple locations so maybe this year I’ll see the rest! I also didn’t make it to Santa Fe or San Francisco. One day…
What’s interesting is that I ended up in Iceland (see above) last year. Of all the places I had in mind while writing last year’s post, Iceland wasn’t one of them. But it turned out to be the perfect location to celebrate my brother’s 40th birthday. I’m still working on editing photos, but I will definitely be sharing more adventures on the blog this year! (In writing this post I’ve only just realized how far behind I am in travel stories 😕 )
Arizona: I really want to finish off that bucket list – namely the slot canyons (e.g., Antelope Canyon) and Chocolate Falls.
California: As always, I want to spend as much time with my friend and niece as possible, but I would also like to take some time this year to drive up to Big Sur. I hear such wonderful things about the area, I think it’s time to make it happen!
Alaska: My dad is officially retiring this year and has requested that we all join him on a family cruise to Alaska to celebrate. As I’ve kinda wanted to do this forever, I’m totally on board!
Ireland: This is the year of the solo tour. I’ve traveled all over the world, but never have I ever traveled totally by myself. Someone’s either been with me from the start or I’ve met someone at my destination (even if they were total strangers). I’ve wanted to go solo for some time now, but it hasn’t worked out for one reason or another. This year, however, is my year. I have a nice little cottage on the coast all booked and ready to go and I am unbelievably excited! Here’s to a week of peace, quiet, and breathtaking landscapes! (smile)
What are your travel plans for the year??
This is one of my favorite posts to write each year (the other comes on Tuesday!). When I initially sat down to write this one I had the worst time getting started. Then I realized that yesterday’s post had to come first – a proverbial clearing of the air. An old year has ended and a new year has…begun.
theme battle-cry resolution is “BEGIN.” Unlike previous years, this one didn’t come immediately, but rather after much thought and a bit of reflection. I was looking for motivation to finally finish all of the things I’ve been meaning to do forever, so my brain was circling around words like end, complete, finish, etc. But I just couldn’t shake the feeling that those words would set too negative a tone for the year. Since thinking didn’t seem to be helping the feeling, I decided to go with my gut and the word came immediately. Clearly my heart knew the answer all along – every end is really just a new beginning.
There’s something very hopeful in a beginning, a feeling of infinite possibility that doesn’t carry the feeling of obligation or sadness that an ending sometimes does. There’s more excitement and less pressure – exactly what I’m looking for in this new year! So instead of trying to finish all those crazy things on my never-ending list, I decided that it’s time to simply begin them.
I understand that some of those wonderful beginnings will first require some painful endings. I just don’t want those to be my primary focus – because I know myself well enough to admit that I would use the fear of the end as an excuse not to begin. I know that because, in a way, that’s what I’ve been doing for some time now. Enough now. Looking back, I can see the value in waiting, however impatiently and unwillingly, these past few years. I’ve grown in ways I’ve only recently learned to credit; but it’s time now. Time for excitement, challenge, facing truths, facing fears, letting go, and being present. It’s time for change, for staying true, for living. Above all it’s time to begin and let the adventure unfold from there.
What’s your word for 2017??
In preparation for tomorrow’s post announcing my “word” for 2017, I was looking back over similar posts from previous years. In doing so, I was struck by an interesting commonality – each was positively focused on the year ahead, but also quite dismissive of the previous year as “not great” or “uneventful” or (worst of all) “unfulfilling.” I love the fact that I could manage the positivity for the new year, but I’m also a bit distressed by my lack of appreciation of growth, no matter how spectacular the previous year may or may not have been. This observation was particularly poignant given that I had every intention of repeating the pattern again this year.
I believe I’m not alone in saying that 2016 was not a banner year – personally or globally. I did not accomplish all of the goals I set for myself and somewhere along the way I lost sight of my wordy reminders I’d so cheerfully set in January. But taking a deeper look at 2016, I can see a lot of personal growth that makes me proud.
I learned a lot this year. I took classes that taught me new skills, but more importantly, exponentially increased my awareness of the world around me. I faced physical, mental, and emotional challenges and lived to tell the tales. I persevered in activities that, in my youth, I would have tossed aside in favor of a new distraction the second they lost their shine. I find, in truth, that overall I’m much less inclined to seek out distractions. And just typing that sentence brings tears to my eyes – it wasn’t all that long ago I could not have imagined being comfortable just being. I’m not 100% in that yet, but I’m grateful I’m on my way!
2017 is going to be the year that all those changes I’ve longed for and lamented in prior years come to fruition. I can’t tell you how I know it, but I do. Looking back, I can see now that there were lessons that needed to be learned, skills that needed to be acquired, and confidence that needed to be rediscovered. 2017 scares me…but it excites me even more.
So, perhaps I won’t look back upon 2016 as “my year,” but I also won’t bind it up and put it away on the shelf. It’s a year to be remembered, even if those memories come hard. Good things happened and need to be appreciated. Bad things happened and need to be learned from. Each lifetime is so finite, it seems a shame to purposefully forget or live only in the future. I may have a long battle ahead with reconciling with my past, but I find my present pretty okay these days, a proper balance of good and bad. And as many enlightened beings will tell you, that’s the best achievement you can strive for – the present as a present.
Good-bye 2016. You’ve earned a lacking reputation, but I’ll forgive you for it. May you rest in peace.
2017, I look forward to our time together. (smile)
After much consideration, I’ve decided to take the rest of the year off from blogging. I have so many ideas for this space, but I need a break. I plan on spending my time catching up on my reading instead, both on- and off-line, so I’ll still sorta be around!
I wish each and every one of you a wondrous holiday season, no matter where you are or how you celebrate – may the end of 2016 be the best part of the year! 🙂
This week’s photo challenge is “magic.”
This week’s photo challenge is “tiny.”