Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What to Read in 2016

Our family loves books, which is evident the moment you step through our front door and into our living room. As you turn your head slightly to the right, you are struck by the sight of four, floor to ceiling, every shelf full, mahogany-brown, wooden bookcases.

Generally though, you won't find me sitting at a desk in the middle of the living room, like a librarian waiting to check your books out. I took this self-portrait earlier in the year for one of Vivienne McMaster's self-portraiture classes, now I finally have a reason to use it.

The library bookcases were something we had long talked about investing in. Two years ago, when we updated the furniture and wall color, we made the commitment to purchase some aesthetically pleasing bookcases to house part of our vast collection of books.

The last few days I have been half-heartedly going through Susannah Conway's Unraveling the Year Ahead workbook, hoping as I answer the questions, I will find my direction for 2016. But after reading through the workbook,  I have not settled on a "word" to pin my hopes and dreams to for the year ahead. I always feel that somehow I let my word down every year, not living up the potential it saw in me. So I have bypassed those questions for the time being.

 A little farther into the questions about 2016, I came to one that had me scrambling around the house gathering books and quickly filling three pages of journaling in my Inspiration Journal...List three books that you want to read in 2016?

Only three? I had already gathered a stack of ten, and that didn't even include the books on my iPad waiting to be read, or the e-books I have stored in iBooks.

I love to read, and in 2015 I re-devoted time and energy to learning, most of all learning through reading. One reflection note from 2015, I have found I do best if I am reading one inspirational book and one just for fun book at the same time. I need the constant influx of inspiration in my life that reading creative related books provides, but I also need a just for fun book to read before bed. Each book I read tends to be a spring-board to another book that wasn't on my Goodreads "to-be-read" list, no wonder that list never gets any smaller.

Instead of choosing only three books, I made two piles of three books each. One pile for inspiration books and one pile for just-for-fun books. Here is what I have so far:

Inspiration books

Just for Fun books

I will start with these six and see where they lead me. Unfortunately there isn't any room on those  aesthetically pleasing, wooden bookshelves in the living room for these books when I finish them. Maybe we will have to start another library area downstairs in the family room. Oh wait there already are four, half bookcases down there, well...maybe the music room...

New Year's Bonus

Some fun facts about me and my reading habits

  • I prefer to lie down when reading, unfortunately more often than not, that leads to napping.
  • I have been keeping a list of all the books I have read since I was 20, in 27 years I have read 947 books. It really seems like it should be more.
  • I set a goal on Goodreads each year of how many books I want to read during that year. For 2015 my goal was 40 books. I will fall a couple of books short, but still not shabby. 
  • For 2016 I think I will set my Goodreads goal for 30, then I can read thicker books and not feel so bad.
  • I have a whole bookcase next to my side of the bed, filled with books I have not read yet... maybe I could open a library.
  • I am happy reading on my iPad or reading real, tangible books.
  • Real books photograph better though
  • I love bookstores, especially independent ones. 
  • Glen and I use to dream of owning an indie bookstore when we retired.
  • I always read when I am eating alone.
  • I must read before bed
  • The one advantage to throwing my back out is that I can lay on the couch for hours and read and not feel at all guilty. 
I would love to hear what you want to read in 2016. And if you are on Goodreads - let's be friends!

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Year of the Project

At the start of 2015, I had great aspirations and high hopes for a year long photography/writing project. I spent the final months of 2014 plotting and planning it.

My project, A Year Beside the Water, was going to be a documentation of photographs and stories gained from a year of weekly explorations to various bodies of water around my area. I had a notebook filled with thoughts and ideas about the project. I even started a new blog on Squarespace to house this life changing project.

On January 1st it started, and it started out with great enthusiasm, as most new projects do. I wrote stories about my youth, and about growing up on a dead-end, gravel county road that ended at a peaceful, winding river. I spent many childhood days exploring along the edge of that river, this is probably where my love of water and exploring began.

Shortly into the month of January the snow began to fall, which was not a surprise since I live in Michigan. I used my project to propel me out of the house to photograph landscapes of white, and ice instead of water.  My project kept me from becoming housebound during the winter months.

Spring came, I documented the melting of the snow and ice, and the return of color to the landscape.

The project was going smoothly until the middle of April, roughly 100 days into it. I was preparing for a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to celebrate our daughter's graduation from college, and then we were packing her up and moving her back home. I continued to take pictures of water, but the ability to pen words to go with those pictures seemed to have gotten lost in the hustle and bustle of life.

Following closely on the heels of graduation, and the move home, was our first family vacation in a few years, a week long trip to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The only water there was waterfalls with tourists crawling all over them, not very inspiring to write about and impossible to photograph.

In June, home and settled for the summer, I picked the project back up again. I decided to make weekly visits to our local state park which is on the shores of Lake Michigan, and about a five minute drive from my house. I spent early mornings watching the sun rise, and wandering the pier where the fishermen set up camp for the morning (I am not convinced they came to catch fish, I think most of them came for the fellowship of other fisher people). I strolled along the sandy edge of the beach, empty of sun-worshippers at that time of the morning.

The project continued for a short while once these weekly visits began. Eventually though the words dried up all together, but my love for photography grew by leaps and bounds. I was soon making multiple trips to the beach each week, just to wander with my camera. By the end of June I had stopped documenting on the Squarespace blog altogether, I never returned to it.

I thought I had started the project because I wanted to document a year's worth of change to the landscape and to myself. But looking back now, I started the project because I needed a reason to get out shooting again, I needed to fall in love with photography again. And it worked.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Setting Boundaries

I have been thinking a lot about boundaries lately, especially as the new year approaches. I know some things that I want to do and some changes that I need to make.

As a self-proclaimed explorer I am always drawn to boundaries, precious things lie within man-made boundaries and that is why signs are posted to protect them.

So, if I know that precious things that need to be protected lie within boundaries, why do I have such a hard time creating boundaries to protect myself and my work?

"How can we expect people to put value on our work when we don't value ourselves enough to set and hold uncomfortable boundaries?"                                                                        
                                                                                            ~Brene Brown, Rising Strong

Most of my struggles with boundaries are related to protecting my time. Most people naturally assume that because I don't work I have lots of time on my hands, and that I would be delighted to help them with their projects, because I most certainly must be bored, and they are doing me a favor by giving me something to do. I, in turn, feel guilty because I don't have to work, and I should have the time to help them with their projects. Some truly are worthy projects, and I am delighted to help, making use of the photography and writing skills that God has given me. Other times though, helping out suddenly turns into me being in charge of the project, and way more time consuming than I signed up for. 

Once again my work, which I don't paid for, so it isn't really work - it's just a hobby, gets pushed to the far back burner. Once again I have let someone take advantage of my time. 

I have tried setting designated work days for myself in the past, and I usually hold to them for a month or two. Until there is a doctor's appointment that needs to be made, and their first available opening is on my work day, if I don't take that one how long will I have to wait for the next one. Or I set a date for lunch with a friend and the only day she can make it the whole month is on one of my work days. These little hiccups in the schedule seem innocent enough, but over time they keep adding up, and pretty soon I am not holding myself to any work days at all. 

Well, beginning January 5, 2016 this is all going to change. I am setting boundaries. I am going to have two designated work days per week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. No more appointments, no more lunches with friends on those days. Whether those days are spent writing, out on an adventure photographing, or processing photos from those adventures, that doesn't matter. What matters is that I am finally taking myself and my work seriously.

I am setting the necessary boundaries so that I can open the Etsy shop I have always talked about opening, so that I can start and finish writing pieces that I want to submit to various publications, so that I can process the hundreds of photos on my computer, and even get some printed to hang on my walls. 

Maybe someday I will get paid for my work, but then again maybe I won't, that doesn't make my work any less important than anybody else's work. If what I write or what I photograph makes a difference in even one person's life, I consider myself paid and paid richly. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What Lies Within

"There's no need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections."
I recently came across this quote in the large storeroom that is my inspiration/quote board on Pinterest.  I was looking for the perfect quote to go with this photo on Instagram...

 I instantly identified with the words, even if it might not be the perfect quote for the photo.

You see I am just coming off a ten-day e-course on conceptual photography with the amazing Catherine Just called Begin Deepening. While conceptual photography is not something that I plan to add to my current work, the course was instrumental in showing me some things that I knew, things I had even written down a time or two, but like they say seeing is believing.

I have always aimed in this space to be as real and honest as I can. My life isn't just pretty pictures and thoughtful stories, there are fears, huge fears, tons of resistance, guilt, and lots of imperfection. In keeping with my nature, I thought I would share with you some of the things I learned about myself in this ten-day course. My hope in sharing, is that someone else will read the words and think "oh, thank goodness, she feels like that too."

Day 1

My secret is that I walk to escape, I walk to be alone. My truth is that I walk to find myself.

It is in that time alone that I have the space and the clarity to look deep inside myself and discover things about myself and my work. I love my family and friends, but I HAVE to have that time alone to find creative inspiration.

Day 3
Journaling/Mind Mapping

Through my already extensive journaling process, and Catherine's prompts, I built this rock cairn. The rock cairn symbolizes my blog; a place where I stack pretty pictures and words, one on top of the other, creating something beautiful. In theory there is nothing wrong with something pretty, until it holds you back from doing something. My blog like the rock cairn is a safe place,  a place where everyone likes me and gives me wonderful words of encouragement. Between the layers though, are shadows, in the shadows lives fear. Fear of failing, but even worse, fear of succeeding if I leave the safe place of my blog and put my work out into the wider world.

Day 4

It is time to start dismantling the cairn (don't worry the blog isn't going anywhere) and taking those precious stones that are my beloved stories and start sending them out in the world, sending them skipping out across the water, letting them land where they may, and start to make ripples outward.

Enough talk, it is time to take I am working on a story that I WILL submit to Bella Grace by the January 15 deadline. I would love some accountability, so...if you think of it, email me on January 14, 15 or 16 and see if I held true to my word. I am ready to face that fear that lives in the shadows, either the fear of failure or the fear of success, which ever it may be. Either way I am going to start skipping stones/stories out across the water this next year.

Day 10
Intuition Revisited

My journey over the last four years has been a long one and certainly not a straight one. Most times there was no clear end in sight, but the last few months have been a turning point for me. I now have a straighter path, and a clearer destination to journey towards.

Some of the other days from the course I am still digging deeper into, but I hope to share some of those thoughts before the end of the year. 

If you are curious about what a course like this could do for you, there is another one starting on Monday, November 30 with Henry Lohmeyer who has a partnership with Catherine Just. His e-course is called Still, check it out here. I'll be there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Traveling the Road of Curiosity

"Curiosity starts with the itch to explore"
                                 ~ Ian Leslie

I had already driven past the large wooden sign once. As I drove past, I could feel the strong tug of curiosity, I circled back. Now I was staring the sign in the face for the second time, and I was still prepared to turn my back on it and drive away.

"We spend our entire lives at the entrance of a cave, caught between the safety of the familiar and the yearning for novelty."
                                                                                ~ Ian Leslie 
 The sign pointed the way to The Kinzua Bridge State Park, four miles away. The yearning novelty of a bridge to photograph, or the safety of a paved, two lane highway headed towards my end destination, home. The yearning for discovery was very strong. What held yearning back was the fear of disappointment. More than once I have followed a sign that held the promise of great adventure or spectacular sights; a sweeping high bluff above a rocky shore, a lighthouse in the near distance or cascading wooden stairs going down to the perfect sandy beach. Instead I would find a playground filled with run-down playground equipment perched on a small spit of grass on top of the rocky bluff, no cascading wooden stairs to the sandy shore, only large amounts of trash stuck in every  crevice on the rocks below. I knew disappointment. 

Yearning speaks "They wouldn't name a State Park after a bridge if it wasn't something." Disappointment counters "It might just be a rickety wooden bridge in the middle of the forest, spanning a dried up creek." Yearning having grown tired of this internal debate, speaks loudly and clearly "TURN RIGHT". I began the four mile drive down the paved country road.

I had left my rental cabin early that morning. I had spent almost a week photographing blazing Pennsylvania fall foliage. It had been three hours since my departure from the cabin and I was ready to get out of the car for a while to stretch my legs, and satisfy my yearning for a photograph or two. I had already passed many splendid country landscapes dotted with the most eye-catching wooden structures that morning, but without the time or the space to pull my car to the side and get a few shots with my camera, yearning was restless.  

"Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty."
                                                                              ~Brene Brown 

Once I reached the entrance to the state park, the fear of disappointment reared it's ugly head again. The entrance was a muddy, rutty gravel mess. What possible good could be down a road like this? As I neared the parking area, there was more mud, along with high metal construction fences, construction workers and no sign of this supposed bridge. It couldn't be that big or that exciting if I couldn't even see it. But, I was this far already, I might as well follow curiosity all the way to the end. 

Porta Potties that served as the restrooms lined one edge of the field. Sometimes you have to take what you can get, at least it wasn't a hot and humid day. Once safely out of the porta potties, I noticed the white paper signs taped to the high, metal construction fences - Bridge Skywalk - and an arrow pointing left.

I followed those white paper signs right to the most awe-inspiring sight...

The Kinzua Bridge was constructed by 125 men in a mere 94 days. The Kinzua Bridge was the longest, and tallest viaduct in the world when completed in 1882.

Standing 301 feet tall (24 feet higher than the Brooklyn Bridge) and 2,053 feet long, the span was billed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World".

On Monday, July 21, 2003, at approximately 3:15 p.m., a F1 tornado (wind speed 73-112 mph) struck the side of the Kinzua Viaduct. Eleven towers from the center of the bridge were torn from their concrete bases and thrown to the valley floor.

Today, park visitors can once again walk a portion of the Kinzua Bridge. Built on six restored, original towers, a pedestrian walkway (skywalk) leads to a 225-foot high observation deck that gives a towering view of the Kinzua Creek Valley. 

I am so glad that I chose to listen to the yearning voice of curiosity, that I chose to be vulnerable and risk disappointment. I know that there will still be times of disappointment when I chose to follow a large wooden sign, but there will also be times of unmeasurable joy.


Friday, November 6, 2015

The Artcation

Where would I go if I had a whole week to devote to photography? Honestly, I had never given that question much thought before this year. Before this year, I had neither the time or the opportunity to take a whole week away and devote it to photography.

Recently though, I spent almost a week in the Tioga State Forest area of Pennsylvania with my friend Andrea. Andrea and I have been friends for a few years now, we met in an on-line photography class. We had never met in person before this trip, our sole communication over the years was via email. We have talked many times about meeting somewhere for a week of photography. In January of this year we made the decision to make it happen, we would met for a week of Autumn photography in October. Andrea is from New Jersey and I am from Michigan, Pennsylvania seemed like a nice place in the middle.

I first heard the term Artcation while I was listening to the podcast Lenswork, narrated by Brooks Jensen, while on my two day drive to Pennsylvania. Brooks describes the Artcation as a vacation dedicated to your art, whether it be photography, painting, writing, etc. I had never taken an Artcation before, but that was what I was embarking on, a week dedicated to photography.

Andrea and I are very different people, which is probably why we worked so well together. Once settled in at our cabin, she pulled out her leather portfolio of maps of the area, things to see, and  her checklist of things she wanted to photograph that week. I, on the other hand, had my very large road atlas of the entire United States, two tourism guides on Ohio that I had picked up the day before on my way through Ohio, and my cell phone with Google Maps on it, the Google Maps app. that was rendered useless due to the fact there was no cell service in the valley where our cabin was. Thankfully our cabin owners had also provided a variety of travel literature on the area, and Andrea had things planned out for us to do the next day.

Every day we were out shooting. Sometimes early in the morning, hoping to catch a sunrise but generally getting misty fog, which was alright by me, I love fog. While Andrea had her checklist of things to photograph, I tended to shoot more like a starling attracted to a pretty bauble.

A week of dedicated photography and conversations about photography gave me time to analyze my work. What did I like shooting? What did I not like shooting? I kept coming back to the question that Brooks posed in his podcast - Instead of: where do you want to go on your Artcation? The question should be: what do you want to shoot on your Artcation? I came to realized that woods filled with colorful trees is not what I would chose to shoot. It felt too closed in to me, too much chaos. I came to realize that I like to stand on the edge of what I photograph and observe it, not be in the middle of it.

I prefer a muted color scheme, like the blues, browns, and grays of my summer photography at the Lake Michigan state park near my house. I do not like an abundance of color, again for me it creates chaos.

I loved shooting right near our cabin, where there were barns, houses, a horse in a pasture, fog for muted color schemes, and the open space of the rail trail that ran right in front of our cabin.

My favorite day of shooting was the morning we went to a marsh area, and set up in an enclosed, wooden structure out in the marsh. A structure, muted colors, and open space. Heaven.

The thing I learned most, was that this trip to Pennsylvania was necessary in so many ways. I had to discover what I didn't like to shoot in order to finally put my finger on what I do like to shoot. Also I learned how wonderful it is to share an almost week with somebody else who has a passion for photography.

So where would I chose for my next Artcation?

  • Circle Tour of Lake Michigan
  • Maine, along the coast
  • Covered bridges in Indiana
  • US 2 from Michigan's U.P. to Montana
  • Ireland (saving that for my 50th birthday)
This doesn't mean that I don't want to go other places, I love traveling. Each trip I take, no matter where, provides valuable experiences. This Artcation provided extremely valuable experiences for both Andrea and I.

You may be wondering about the term "almost week". Unfortunately Andrea had a slip and fall accident on Wednesday afternoon and broke her leg. She went back to New Jersey that night in order to see an orthopedic doctor on Thursday.  Sadly our week ended too soon.  I stayed another day by myself, but then packed up and headed for home, it just wasn't as fun without my friend.


Lenswork Podcast Episode LW0910 The Artcation

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Through Her Eyes - The Writings of a Photographer

The Idea

The idea first came to her on a gray, washed-out Friday afternoon while sipping hand-crafted cocktails with her daughter at a new distillery in the city.

The morning had been spent shopping for necessary girl items, followed by an early lunch of shareable delicacies such as: charred eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, and the best shrimp cocktail she has ever sunk her fork into.

After lunch they prowled some nearby antique shops. Neither of them needing a single thing, but always on the lookout for that unique treasure they couldn't live without.

What she had been waiting for all day though, was their visit to the distillery. Her daughter had been there a couple of times for work events, and raved about their unique, hand-crafted cocktails. Being still fairly new to the hand-crafted spirits world, she was eager to continue to expand her horizons.

The distillery is located on the city's west side, a section she had never explored before, at least not yet. She had only, in the last couple of years, mastered the east side of the city. She found there, an endless array of things to photograph and write about, including her favorite coffee shop. She had settled in there quite comfortably. But she had a feeling that was all about to change, as they drove along streets that she had always been curious about, but had only ever viewed from the highway overpass.

She easily found a parking space behind the distillery, it being only mid-afternoon, it was a little early for the after work crowd. Entering through the side glass door, she was greeted by a modern, open space, filled with warm tones in the polished wood floor, and wood tables and chairs. The warm wood contrasted beautifully with the modern black metal trim. There was an overall cozy neighborhood pub feel.

She and her daughter seated themselves at a two seat, high-top table near the large plate-glass picture windows at the front of the restaurant. She loved all the soft, diffused natural light coming in through them, it was her favorite kind of light.

Their server was soon over with the speciality drink menu, and the happy hour appetizer list. With so many choices, she defaulted to her daughter for suggestions. Finally she settled on one that sounded like her, Oliver's Ocean, maybe not the Oliver part, but definitely the Ocean part. The drink consisted of gin, fresh squeezed that morning grapefruit juice, lemon, rosemary, and a salted rim. Oh how she loves a salted rim, her tongue can flick out, capture a few granules of salt, and be back in her mouth before anyone knew it. While her daughter ordered her drink, she pondered the appetizer menu, she was afraid the eggplant, heirloom tomatoes and shrimp they had for lunch might not be enough to stand up to the hand-crafted spirits, and she had to drive home yet. So she added to their order a tempting mushroom spread.

While they waited for their drinks and appetizer, she turned her attention to the world outside the plate-glass windows. Across the street was a small, square, brick 1960's building housing a BBQ joint. At the large, front window counter sat a man and his son, each simultaneously taking a bite of their bbq sandwich, and then each wiping their mouth with a white paper napkin with their right hand. There was a story there.

Next, she noticed the older teenager sitting on a bench inside the plastic bus stop enclosure in front of the BBQ joint. He held an iPhone in his hand and had ear buds firmly planted in his ears. There was a story there.

Suddenly around the corner of the distillery building comes a hi-lo bearing an enormous plastic bin filled with a sloshing brown liquid. Her daughter spots the hi-lo as well and states that they make all their spirits for the distillery here on site. There was a story there.

The final image before she turned back to the table, and their soon to be arriving drinks, is the image that ignites the idea. A weather-worn man in a tattered, gray tweed overcoat rides past the window on his bicycle, heading the opposite way of the automobile traffic in his lane. Behind his bicycle he pulls a laundromat-style wire basket on wheels, inside the basket is the fine wire frame of a once ornate chandelier. There is a story there.

The idea finds oxygen and bursts into flame. She has grown bored and uninspired within the safe confines of the coffee shops. The experience, with only slight variations, was basically the same no matter where she went. What if instead, she sat at the lunch counter in the big front window of the BBQ joint, wiping her mouth with a white paper napkin after each bite, and recording what she saw from that side of the street. What if she sat on the bench inside the plastic bus stop enclosure and wrote about what she saw, and maybe even be brave enough to take a ride on the bus. What if she sat at this very same table by the large plate-glass window, inside the warm, wood-toned distillery and captured life as it rode by outside. There are stories here.

She makes no promises, there will be no numbered editions, only the stories, as they come to her.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Podcasts - A Source of Inspiration

I first truly fell in love with podcasts when our daughter decided to go to a college that was eight hours away, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We have always listened to podcasts on vacations, but then I always had new and interesting things to look at out the window, so I tended to be only half listening.

In the Upper Peninsula after you cross the Mackinac Bridge, you are rewarded for a little while with beautiful winding vistas along US 2, and occasional peeks of Lake Michigan. Once you turn off of US 2 though, and head into the interior of the Upper Peninsula, the only vistas are pin-straight country highways, bordered by pine timber forests on both sides. Usually, one or two of the four trips each year, the view consisted of pin-straight country highways, timber forests and snow which covered everything. About an hour and half into the three hour crossing of the U.P. to get to Marquette, I am fighting with all my might to keep my eyelids open. This is where the podcast has become a life saver, literally, if I happen to be driving. I will scroll through my husband's iPod options for podcasts, of which there are many, and pick something that I know will engage my mind for the next 30 minutes to an hour. My favorites are: This American Life with Ira Glass (I love Ira Glass), Stuff You Should Know with Chuck and Josh (always good for a laugh), or The Moth Story Hour. Occasionally I will try something new, but I always return to my favorites.

Recently, I found myself alone in the car for two days of driving to Pennsylvania to meet my friend Andrea for a week of Autumn photography in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon area. I could have done the trip all in one day, but I decided to split it up for the sake of my back, my legs, and my sanity.

Knowing that I would have a lot of time in the car alone, I begged my daughter to borrow her iPod for the trip. Her's has our whole library of music and podcasts on it, my iPod Nano is a bit more limited. So thankfully she agreed, and we traded iPods.

I had recently discovered Elizabeth Gilbert's new podcast series Magic Lessons, based on her new book, The Big Magic. I had listened to all twelve of them while doing the mundane chores related to housework, but I wanted to really be able to focus on them without the drone of the vacuum cleaner. I was halfway across our state before I pulled out the iPod, having stopped at a rest stop for a rest room break. Excited to get inspired by Liz and her various guests, I scanned through the podcasts, found her's, and pressed play. Much to my disappointment, I found that only the last episode of Magic Lessons had loaded. Thankfully though, it was the episode of her interview with Brene Brown. I listened to that interview twice through, which killed an hour of my remaining four hours of travel time.

Done with the second listening of that episode, I was feeling very inspired and eagerly sought out any other creativity podcasts that might be in the queue. As I sat in the second rest stop parking lot and scrolled through the podcast list, my eye caught one in particular, Lenswork --Photography and the Creative Process by Brooks Jensen. I had subscribed to this podcast over a year ago, but had never listened to a single episode. I am not exactly sure why, but I am a firm believer in that nothing ever happens out of the blue.

I started with the latest episode and worked my way backwards. Since I had a year's worth of material, they kept me going for quite a long time. Each episode is only 5-10 minutes in length. Before I knew it I had listened to more than a dozen episodes. Eventually I had to shut the iPod off for a while, my mind was overflowing with inspiration and ideas; ideas for my work, inspiration for things to photograph, and best of all ideas for blog posts.

As I work through these podcast episodes more slowly, now that I am home again, I am taking notes and jotting down creative ideas. I plan to share things that have caught my attention in upcoming blog posts. I am excited to share my thoughts with you, and I would love to hear your thoughts as I delve into these various topics. Maybe I will finally start that FaceBook page I have always pondered starting for the blog, because I would love to connect more with my readers and get some conversations going.


This American Life
Stuff You Should Know
The Moth
Magic Lessons

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon