Are You a Wildflower or a Weed?

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Do you think the weeds on the side of the road ever stop mid-bloom and think “Man I wish I was a rose…I could make such a difference in the world if I had just been born a rose.”  Personally, I just don’t think that happens.

A weed is just an unloved flower.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I think these misunderstood beauties believe in themselves…they know the Creator painted them with just as much artistic beauty and love as He did the most prized rose in a rosarian’s collection.

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Just watch the eyes of a child as he picks a bouquet of dandelions for his mother, all he sees is the beauty of the bloom.  These beautiful misunderstood flowers don’t compare themselves to the other “fancier” blooms.

What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues 

have not yet been discovered.

Ralph Waldo Emmerson

They don’t let society put a label on them.  They see their true worth and beauty all on their own, they need no one else to validate them.  They are content in their place on the side of the road, or in a field where cattle graze, or in a vacant lot…their ability to bloom is not contingent on their circumstance.  They thrive right where they are with infectious joy and abandon.

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And in doing so, they bring so much beauty to places that generally don’t see a lot of beauty.  In sidewalk cracks and crevices, beside dumpsters, next to broken glass and down dark alleys.

One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower.

Susan Wittig Albert

I want to be more like that kind of flower.  I want to bloom with abandon wherever God plants me.  I don’t want to compare myself to the other flowers, the prettier fancier ones. I don’t want to wish my soil was smoother and that my surroundings were more beautiful.

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I want to wake up each morning the single-minded goal of bringing glory and honor to my Creator.  To bring beauty and joy to my surroundings.  To not spend my precious few days on this earth wishing I was something more, something more significant.

The difference between a flower and a weed 

is a judgment.

I don’t want to let my self-worth be dictated by others.  I don’t want to wear the labels that others put on me; divorced, broken, useless, unwanted, sinner, unloved.  I want to be like these amazingly resilient beauties that keep their eyes towards the heavens because that is where their self-worth originates.

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This is hard in a social media-saturated world.  I see the beautiful award-winning gardens that others call home.  The meticulously cultivated soil, the perfect climate controlled greenhouse, and I want that world. That world looks much more exciting, sometimes much easier than the place God has planted me.  But it’s not.  Because no matter what I think on the hardest of hard days, the soil I am planted in is absolutely hand-picked and cultivated by my Creator to bring out the best blooms that I am capable of.  I am my Father’s favorite wildflower!

In a world of roses, she chose to be a dandelion.

Sarah Beth McClure

 

Self-Care Sunday…Victory Over Imposter Syndrome!

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Imposter Syndrome
the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.
Maybe you have heard of this term Imposter Syndrome, or maybe this is your first time hearing anything about it.  It has been around since the beginning of time.  Do you remember Moses?  I mean for the first of his life he was actually living the life of an imposter.  He was adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter as a baby and had to watch as his fellow Israelites were abused as slaves and act as if he was an Egyptian.  Fast forward a few years and enter God and a burning bush.  In Exodus 3:11
But Moses asked God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Who am I?  Oh my heavens, how many times I have said these very words time and time again.  God calls me to do something, and I know it is ordained by Him for me.  But God, who am I?  I love how God doesn’t sugar coat things in His Word.  Here are a few more references from Moses discussions with God on his lack of skills….
Exodus 4:1
Then Moses answered, “What if they refuse to believe me or listen to my voice? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.'”
Exodus 4:10
Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
Exodus 6:12
But in the LORD’s presence, Moses replied, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, then how will Pharaoh listen to me, since I am unskilled in speech?”
Exodus 6:30
But in the LORD’s presence, Moses replied, “Since I am unskilled in speech, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”
So many times I have heard the same words ringing in my head…”I am unskilled, not eloquent, slow.  What if they refuse to believe me or listen to me?“.
I am going to let you in on a little secret, every single time I sit down to write or go out to take pictures I feel like a massive fraud.  I compare myself to others and always feel like I come up short.  It is a paralyzing fear, one that many times keeps me from writing or shooting at all.  “You sit down here to write like you actually are a writer.  You have nothing to say that anyone wants to read.  Your examples are silly, and your words are hollow.  You are a hypocrite, a fake, a liar, a fraud.” 
The more success I have, the louder the voice seems to speak.  And apparently, I am not alone in this phenomenon.
It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going ‘Any moment someone is going to find out that I am a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I have achieved.’
Emma Watson 

Just reading and researching this very real problem has helped me come to terms with it in my own life.  It isn’t just me. It happens to people all the time.  Very talented people whose lives appear to be very together and whose skills would never be questioned.  These feelings are very real and very scary and need to be dealt with.  So I would like to share with you a few things that I am going to do moving forward to deal with these emotions and replace them with the truth.

  • Realize that it is not just me.  Everyone deals with this at one time or another, and that it doesn’t make us crazy, it makes us human.
  • Realize that it is a distraction from action.  Many times imposter syndrome is the reason we quit early so that we won’t disappoint anyone.  It is what keeps us from fully embracing what we have a passion for.
  • Once we realize it is just a distraction, remember you have been given this challenging work for a reason.  Whether it is a boss giving you a new responsibility, someone asking you to do something out of your comfort zone, or a brand new idea and passion coming alive inside you, this is your why.  When you doubt yourself, go back to your why and remember why you are doing what you are doing.  Remember in the dark what you knew in the light.  And those self-doubts and self-loathing conversations going on in your head can get pretty dark….remember what you knew in the light.
  • Avoid comparing yourself with others.  Comparison truly is the thief of joy, but it also is the thief of self-confidence as well.  You have been uniquely gifted by your Creator with your very own set of strengths and talents.  It is a good idea to learn from others.  The problem arises when we beat ourselves up for not being them.  Instead of the comparison game, strive to be the very best version of yourself.  You bring something to the table that no one else is capable of bringing, embrace that fully!
  • And finally, don’t be afraid to talk about these feelings with a trusted friend or mentor.  I can promise you, just saying to words out loud takes so much of their power away.  And you will more than likely realize that everyone deals with this at some point in your life.  Bring it out of the shadows of your and shed some light on it, don’t allow these feelings to rob you of your creative joy any longer!

So let’s go forward into this brand new month with a new resolve not to allow these feelings to shame us any longer.  To no longer give the power to these feeling that keeps us from fully stepping into our calling.  When we are honest with ourselves and with others regarding our struggles and insecurities, everyone wins.  And that is a beautiful thing!  Have a great week!!

Sunday Self-Care…Life is a Special Occasion…​So Celebrate it!

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When my grandmother passed away, and we were going through her things we found box upon box of brand new nightgowns, housecoats, and houseshoes. They were still wrapped in tissue paper, and many of them still had gift tags on them.  As we moved through the house we found this situation repeated over and over;  napkins and table clothes still in their packages, bath towels and fancy hand towels still with tags on them.  And don’t even get me started on the fine china, silver, and crystal that only saw the light of day at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.  Perfume, powder and bath crystals that were never opened.  Purses that were never used.  Many still in the gift bags.

Start living now.  Stop saving the good china for that special occasion.  Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes.  Every day you are alive is a special occasion.  Every minute, every breath is a gift from God.  

Mary Morrissey

All of these beautiful things, things that were hand-picked for her by family and friends, things that she saved up to buy, and then only saw a few times a year, she never got to truly enjoy them.  To savor them.  To celebrate life in or with them.  Because she was saving them for a special occasion, for someday, for one day.  And then life happened.  The everyday, ordinary, run of the mill day to day life.  And because she didn’t see those days as worth celebrating the bags never got opened, and the tags never got removed.  And that made me really sad.  Many of those gifts were from me, or I was with my mom when she purchased them.  I remember how excited she was when she opened them, and how excited I was to give them to her.  But she never got to truly enjoy them.  And that got me started thinking, what things do I have in my life that I am not enjoying to the fullest?  Do I have items that I am saving for a special occasion?

Don’t save something for a special occasion.  Every day of your life is a special occasion.  

Thomas S. Monson

I quickly realized the answer to this question was yes.  I had perfume I only wore on special occasions.  I had dresses that were too fancy for my ordinary everyday life.  Journals that were too pretty to write ordinary thoughts and feelings into.  Meals that I only cooked when company was coming.  Placemats and napkins that I just used when there were more than 3 people at my table.  And on and on it goes.  And that made me sad.  Life is such a beautiful and precious gift.  And the little family that God had given me to do life with is also a beautiful and precious gift.  What a gift it is to just be alive today.   I need to remember this is not a dress rehearsal, this life I have been blessed with deserves to be lived to its fullest.  And the people in it need to be celebrated every single day.  And you know what else?  I deserve to be celebrated every single day.  I am worth the pretty dresses and the sweet smelling perfume.  My everyday words and thoughts are worth all the pretty journals.  My life is worth living to the fullest every single day.  Because life is indeed a celebration.  How many times have I waited for the perfect moment, for everything to fall into place?  Ultimately life is made up of moments.  We can sit back and wait for them to happen or we can choose to create them.

The secret to being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every day.

It’s time to start using the good stuff.  Instead of storing family heirlooms I will use these treasures to create new memories around them with my own family.  I will burn the candles, I will use the good sheets, and I will wear the pretty dresses.  Would you like to join me in this pledge?

Always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge for a special occasion.  Sometimes the special occasion is that you have a bottle of champagne in the fridge!.

Hester Browne

Self-Care Sunday…Different and Blessed

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If you are like most people, myself included different scares you.  Different job, different route to work, different topping on your pizza, it doesn’t matter how big or how small the difference is, there is some degree of comfort in sameness. But I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of my biggest blessings have come from the times when I have taken the different path, made a decision that was out of my comfort zone and embraced the chance to be, well, to be different.  That is the time when different moves out of the uncomfortable and scary and into the exciting and blessed.  If I were to ask you for a picture of your friend group, your tribe, the ones that you get into the trenches with and do life alongside, what would that picture look like?  For a big part of my life, my picture looked a whole lot like me, very little difference at all.  But my life took a big turn about 7 years ago, a completely different way than I ever expected.  And with that new way came the chance to see situations, circumstances and people with fresh eyes.  God pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me so much during this time.  And my life has been enriched in ways I could never have imagined in the process.  When we intentionally seek out people who are different than we are, who have different points of view, different life experiences and challenges, whose family structure may look different from our own, our lives become more colorful and vibrant.  And we often learn that people who seem so different than us on the outside are actually kindred spirits on the inside…and that is when the blessing occurs.  So look for ways this week to embrace different and watch your life explode with color, just like the flowers of spring!  Happy Sunday!

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Self-Care Sunday…Kon-Mari Your Life

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By now you have probably heard of Marie Kondo and KonMari method of organization and tiding your home.  If not, let me share a few links to get you started!  Her website, which offers a wealth of tips and information, her first book, which was was a New York Times best-seller, and finally, the trailer to her new show on NetFlix, Tiding Up with Marie Kondo. She states her mission in life is to spark joy through cleaning and tidying.  Now before you roll your eyes and quit reading, hear me out.  I was very skeptical of this method at first.  As someone who has loved organizing and tiding all my life, I felt like I had a good handle on all of this and the last thing I needed was to learn a whole new method, the proverbial you can’t teach an old dog new tricks mentality. But after reading the books and most recently, watching her show on Netflix, I have changed my tune. This old dog is excited to report she is happily using new tricks and having great results!  Throughout the next few months, I will be reviewing the different aspects of this method and how it can help you make the best possible use of the space you have been blessed with. I honestly feel that whatever stage of life you are in, this method can benefit you, not only in organizing and caring for your possessions but in dealing with the mental clutter that plagues us all. When your surroundings are cluttered and messy, it affects your entire life. While the terms neat and clean are subjective, everyone performs better in an environment that has some semblance of order to it.  And the feelings of pride and self-confidence that come alongside getting control of your space once and for all are genuinely life-changing.

“The moment you start tidying, you reset your life.”

Marie Kondo

Her system is a daunting one, as you will see on the trailer for her show.  Most cleaning and organization methods have you go room by room, and what typically happens is you move one pile of stuff from room to room.  With the KonMari method, you are attacking one category at a time.  While this does make a bigger mess in the process, it is quite eye-opening to see all your things gathered in one place.  It will not only shock you, but it will also help you to realize how much you have to be grateful for in your life.  That is the ultimate goal of tidying up, to learn to cherish everything you have so you can achieve happiness within yourself and appreciate what you have. So take some time in the upcoming weeks to check out Marie’s new series, or check out her book (she has two books, but I highly recommend reading the first before beginning, it lays the groundwork for the entire system).  I can promise you that a decluttered home will help you achieve an uncluttered mind, and that is something we all need more off in our lives!

Self-Care Sunday…Listening, Empathy and Grace

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So this blog post is going to be a bit different from what I normally post.  I had a post already written, a happy little upbeat post complete with a pretty picture.  And then I woke up this morning to the news that a dear friend, someone that I looked up to and admired had ended his life.  The world would no longer be blessed with his amazing photographs, photographs that were so good they many times looked like paintings.  After enduring a very dark time in his life, a time where he felt like he had nothing left to give to the world, nothing worth sharing, he decided that he was too tired to continue. People who have never felt this darkness will not understand these feelings.  And that’s ok.  You don’t have to understand a person to show them empathy and compassion.  To quote the very wise Atticus Finch,

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

There are certain temperaments, the innate intricate way a person is created, that makes them more prone to depression.  People who have this bent have to work twice as hard as someone who is naturally more upbeat and positive to not feel the hurt and the pain of this world profoundly and passionately…in their very core.  I have always been a glass is half full kind of person, many times just thankful I even have a glass.  But there was a dark time in my life.  A time that I felt like the world was closing in on me.  A time when I felt like the people I loved more than life would be better off without me.  And those feelings were very real.  They were not something I could “positive talk” myself out of.  I couldn’t just read a great self-help book and those feelings just disappear.  They were overwhelming, all-consuming and very frightening.  And I was very ashamed and embarrassed to be feeling those feelings.  I never reached out to anyone.  By the grace of God, my suicide attempt was not successful, and I was given the gift of another day and another chance.  And I got the help I needed.  My friend didn’t get that chance, he chose a permanent solution to a temporary situation.  And my heart hurts because of that.  I had talked to him just days before and actually confronted him about my fears that he was considering taking his own life.  And others had reached out to him recently, checking on him, asking him to lunch, trying to get him behind the lens of a camera again, all to no avail.  When I first heard the news, I was hit with a wave of guilt that took my breath away.  I should have tried harder to reach out.  I could have stopped him.  The dreaded “shoulda, woulda, coulda” syndrome.  But after reaching out to some good friends and talking through these feelings, I realized that I couldn’t allow myself to dwell on these thoughts.  I did the best I could.  I wish with all my heart the ending could have been different, but I can’t let it keep me from reaching out to others.  I must continue to listen to others, to hear their hearts when their words fail them.  I must continue to feel empathy towards others who are in the trenches with this dreaded monster called depression.  To remember how it feels and how alone and isolated you can feel in the battle. And I must extend grace to myself in the process.  I am not called to fix people, only One Person can truly do that, and I am called to point people to Him.   I can not feel personally responsible for the decisions of others, because as we teach our children from an early age, the only person you truly have control over is yourself.  But I can continue to share my story, to share the lessons that I have learned throughout my journey.

And I will.

Self-Care Sunday-Fellowship Fills the Soul

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Fellowship:

Companionship; a fellowship of interest; friendship; comradeship; 

In today’s social media-saturated culture I find myself becoming more and more isolated.  And I don’t think I am the only one.  We feel like we are staying connected to our family and friends by reading short blurbs about their lives, but in reality, you are missing a key ingredient, fellowship.  Face to face, sharing life kind of fellowship. As human beings, we are created for relationships.  It is part of our DNA.  So to be the best version of ourselves, which is the very definition of self-care, we have to make sure this need for relationship is being met. Fellowship is a two-way street, and spending time with friends and investing in relationships will also contribute powerfully to my own self-care.  Is it always convenient?  Nope.  But the good things in life seldom are.

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But it is so worth it.   Fellowship doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive.  All it really needs to be is authentic and from the heart.  There is the satisfaction that comes from long term relationships that you have invested time in and done life alongside. And there is also the joy that comes from developing new friendships.  But with so many things competing for our time and attention these days we have to be intentional in making this a priority.  For the last 7 years, I have chosen a word that I want to investigate and live out in my life for the upcoming year.  This year I chose the word listen.  To myself, to God and to others. One way of listening to others is to provide an environment for people to come together.  A few weeks ago I posted an invitation for anyone who wanted to get together for some fun, fellowship, and food that my doors would be open. Was I nervous?  You better believe it, entertaining is not my strong suit. But was it worth it?  Absolutely!  I watched friends who hadn’t seen each other for a long time reconnecting and catching up.  I watched people who had never met begin to talk and share and realize they had shared interests and experiences.  I saw tears shed and hugs freely given.  I heard laughter and memories being shared.  And it filled my soul.  We need this. Every single one of us needs this.  I am making myself a promise, a promise to do this more often.  To open my home and invite people to come in and share their stories, their struggles, their victories, all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly.  To maybe create something, or teach others a new hobby or skill to try.  To inspire each other to be the very best version of ourselves that we can be, and it is going to be amazing!!!

 

Self-Care Sunday…Just Say No To the Snooze Button!!!

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We all have done it even though we know it is a horrible idea….somehow we think if I could just have 12.5 more minutes of sleep our life would be better….we know this is not the truth…we know we will not get good solid rest for those 12.5 minutes….that we will have those crazy Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans kind of dreams.  The snooze button…we think it is our friend, but in reality, it is one of the biggest deterrents to having a successful morning routine.  I promise this isn’t just me saying this. Hitting the snooze button repeatedly inflicts “cardiovascular assault” on the body and abuses your nervous system, a neuroscientist has warned. I don’t know about you, but the words cardiovascular assault makes me feel a bit anxious inside.  According to  Huffington Post

Why snoozing can be bad for you now: Like we said, the body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go back to sleep, your body thinks, “False alarm! I guess I didn’t need to do anything because we’re not getting up after all,” and settles in. When that buzzer goes off a second time, Pelayo says that your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in that groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain get (“So are we going back to sleep or not?!”), so you’ll probably feel more out of it even though you actually spent extra time in bed. What’s more, this type of sleep inertia can persist for up to two to four hours, research has found.

 

And I know that when I hit the snooze, I am immediately hit with self-deprecating thoughts.  Thoughts like “You are so lazy and worthless, you can’t stick to a routine for even a day.  You are a total loser”…and on and on it goes; a vicious and unrelenting assault.  And as an added bonus you are throwing off your internal clock.  Getting up at a different time every day confuses your brain.  Those stolen minutes are just not worth it, so make up your mind once and for all to just say no to the snooze button.  I know it’s not easy, but I promise it is so worth it.  Try putting the alarm clock across the room, where you have to get up to turn the phone off.  If you are a coffee drinker, try setting the timer on your coffee pot a few minutes earlier than your alarm…the smell of coffee brewing helps you wake some people up.  One thing I have found that helped me is to have something to look forward to when I get up, to do something I really enjoy doing.  For me, this is reading and journaling.  I have also found that if I have some sort of physical activity as soon as I get up, it helps keep me up.  Nothing crazy or excessive…think 10 jumping jacks or a few toe touches.  It’s that initial five minutes that is the hardest for me.   How about making a pledge this week with me, a promise to just say no to the snooze button, and see how your mornings go. You can do it, I believe in you!  I can do it, I believe in me!!  We are worth it!!!

Listen….​

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Listen

To hear something with thoughtful attention; to take notice of and act on what someone says; to concentrate on things around you

 

Since 2013 I have chosen a word to represent the year ahead.  Past years choices have been words like joy, create, bloom and nourish.  I usually don’t know the word I will choose until New Year’s day, but this year was different.  I knew listen was my word for 2019 in June.  It’s really not a very exciting word, is it?  Kinda the oatmeal version of words of the year….something that warms you up and sustains you….but gets taken for granted in day to day life.  So many times I am guilty of listening with my ears, with the intent to reply, to be heard.  This year I want to listen with my heart, with the intent to understand.  To listen to my Savior, myself, my family, my friends, my community and my world.  To pay attention with my ears, my eyes, and my heart.  To hear more than the words being spoken, to hear stories and the feelings behind the words.  I want to listen to people the way I want to be listened to, I guess it’s kind of like The Golden Rule of Listening.  I am so guilty of looking for a place to jump in the conversation, to preach or solve the problems being presented, instead of slowing down and allowing the person that has trusted me with their words to get their full thoughts out.  I will stop thinking about how I am going to respond, and start thinking about how I can be there for the person in front of me.  I will also listen to myself with grace and understanding.  Boundaries don’t have to be explained or justified to others.  If I need rest, then it is rest I will give myself, no questions asked.   I will listen to myself with the same respect and attentiveness that I am giving others.  After all, everyone longs to feel heard and understood, and this is a gift we all have the ability to give freely to the world around us.  Happy New Year!!!

Beauty From Ashes

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 For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with abandoned buildings.   But this fascination always came with a side of sadness…a melancholy feeling of sorts.  The thought of something that was once so vibrant and full of life left to stand in silence, all alone and no longer serving its intended purpose would make me feel a longing deep within my soul.  Looking back, I can also add another word to those melancholy feelings, hopelessness.  I felt that the purpose and plan for these places had passed them by somehow.  They had been created for a single purpose, and once that purpose had played out they were no longer needed.  I didn’t have the ability to cast a new vision for these places, to see them in a new light.  Beauty from ashes…

   I turned 51 in August.  As a little girl, I saw my life going in a very specific way, I had a plan and a purpose, and those words were all singular.  There was no backup plan, I didn’t need one. To say life hasn’t turned out quite like I planned is an understatement.  After 25 years of marriage, I found myself starting over with my 3 children.  I begin to question everything in my life.  My purpose, my plan, had it somehow passed me by?  Beauty from ashes….

   It was during this time that the way I looked at life began to change.  I felt a spark of excitement, something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.  I was not hopeless.  My purpose, my plan was being reshaped, remodeled and recast.  I began to see the beauty in what was and also the beauty in what was to be.  But more importantly, I began to see the beauty in the process; the very messy, uncomfortable at times, unable to be planned process.  And I fell in love with my life, with all the unexpected twist and turns, the imperfect edges and corners, the amazing chaos.  Beauty from ashes….

   As I began to fall in love with my life, I began to see things with different eyes.  Eyes that truly saw beauty in the broken and abandoned, through the lens of hope.  It was during this time that I picked up a camera for the first time and began to explore my city and photograph what I saw.  I began to see that the buildings that I remembered from the past, the ones that were abandoned, whose purposes and plans had passed them by, were, in fact, being given new life.  There were warehouses that had once been central hubs of commerce and community that had stood empty and forgotten for years being given a new lease on life.  What appeared hopeless and abandoned became loft apartments, cafes, medical clinics, office buildings, the sky was the limit.    All it took were vision casters, people who not only remembered the beauty of the past but saw beauty in what could be.  And it didn’t have to be what it had once been.  There was a good strong foundation, the buildings had good bones.  With a little imagination and a lot of elbow grease, it could become something completely different and perhaps even more beautiful than it had been before.  There were some buildings that had been neglected too long, the destruction and the damage to the original structure was beyond repair and had to be torn down.  But even in these cases, there was hope.  The land the building had stood on was still a good solid foundation and a new building was built there.  Many of the pieces of the old building were able to be salvaged and found new life in their new home.  As I looked through my camera lens all around me I saw hope, new life, and fresh vision.  Beauty from ashes…

I realized that I could learn a lot from the abandoned buildings that I loved.  I could learn lessons of hope, perseverance, and patience.  That the scars from being neglected and forgotten for so long could become beautiful when seen through the lens of hope.  That a good strong foundation, many times the part of the building that you never even see until a storm passes through, that foundation is more important than the beautiful parts of the building that you can see.  There is beauty in the hidden part because a strong foundation represents a strength of character that doesn’t fade away like outward beauty. I learned that people, just like buildings, can have many different purposes and plans throughout their lives.  That all the different purposes and plans are important in creating the rich history of the building and the person. But most importantly I learned to view things that appear hopeless and damaged beyond repair not with a heart full of sadness and mourning of what was, but with eyes of hope, anticipating what is to come.  Truly Beauty from ashes.