Lately I’ve been feeling very emotional, mostly for valid reasons, but I noticed that this negativity has been causing me to react rather than to respond to my emotions. I have begun to show that side of me, which isn’t the one that I like and often do my best to keep in check and to mortify. As I entered yet another day filled with this poison and in search of how to become joyful, I went in search of inspiration from members of various online communities that have proven successful for me in the past.

After searching the TED app to seek videos about inspiration, I immediately remembered that there was a talk by Brene Brown on vulnerability that I hadn’t quite taken the opportunity to watch yet. As I looked for the video, I came across an interview of Brene by Jonathan Fields on “The Power of Being Vulnerable” on YouTube instead. Why I chose Brene, I’m not sure, but I did find a silver lining and light at the end of my seemingly dark tunnel.

 

The interview included “what it takes to live a good life, vulnerability as strength, how people handle judgment, the intersection between human nature and entrepreneurship, how to decide whose opinions matter, etc…”. Needless to say, it was chock full of great stuff that reminded me to reconnect with myself and my beliefs.  Being vulnerable is the opposite of what I have been doing. My behavior has totally been out of alignment with my belief of treating others as I would want to be treated. And I must be a bit vulnerable and tender hearted, if I am to treat others with compassion.

I believe that a big part of my retaliation was due to the fact that I am not necessarily doing what my heart and mind goes to when it wanders. I feel that my daily life has become mundane and ordinary. It has been difficult to find the moments to relish that used to bring me joy.

Ever since completing my work with the Houston Arts Alliance, my eyes have been opened to many new and wonderful possibilities that I hadn’t considered before.  My hope has been to begin traveling and to explore new cultures in hopes to shed light on untold stories. Admittedly, I don’t have all of the details, but I feel that this is something that I need to further explore.

I want to be more mindful, compassionate, and loving, above all.

Watching the interview helped to remind me that “my life is not my own”. I have been taking my negativity out on those closest to me and I see that I need to be more compassionate and loving. I want to be more compassionate, mindful of how I treat others, and loving, above all.

When I think about traveling there is this intense passion that arises in me and a smile spreads wide across my face. The last time I felt this way was when I returned to doing photography. Of course, I’ll be doing photography as I travel, but there is no shaking this feeling that I have. After reading in a recent post from Michael Hyatt that stated “…by noticing what stirs us emotionally, this is a step in moving toward our destiny and becoming all God made us to be.”, my passion has only grown.

I know God will lead me in the way that I need to go, but there is also some action required on my part. I pray that I will be able to make the right decision – wise decisions – that will allow me to be vulnerable and to be open to all that awaits me. I don’t want to miss out on what God has for me because disobedience or fear.

Have you ever felt like this?

If so, what did you do to overcome your negative emotions?

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This morning as I was praying as I was pinning quotes on Pinterest and reading emails (sounds like they totally shouldn’t go together) , I can across this article from Unstuck in my inbox. The first line really grabbed me because just a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking that I really needed a routine.

I have been going about my days trying to get a “grasp” on things and to try to create a  routine. It’s been a complete failure, might I add. Of course routine has its place and can be very useful, but currently, I am not one who does routine well. I think of myself as a freer spirit than most and I have been looking for ways to get back to that now that I am working a full-time day job. Of course, I throw myself into my day job and do it to the best of my ability, but it has a weekly routine and there’s not much creativity involved (stay tuned for my post on the benefits that I have found on working a “9 to 5” job).

While reading the article on Unstuck’s website, I felt like I was reading my thoughts on the page, just without the actions to go with it. I constantly daydream about traveling the world and seeing all that God has created in this beautiful world, but I’m stuck on how I can do that with a husband and a teenager to take care of. I think that I’ll start small and begin taking local day or weekend trips and see what happens from there.

I hope that you will stick with me on this journey, besides life is always more fun when you share it with others!

Do you think that having a routine is necessary? Do you have a routine? If so, how has it helped you? If not, why?

In my last post about New Orleans, I shared photos from my visit there. I have actually had quite a few opportunities to visit New Orleans to explore all that the town has to offer. I don’t have photos of the night life because I always put my camera up because of the crowds. Maybe on my next trip I will brave the night scene and get some interesting shots. In this part I want to share some photos of one of the famous cemeteries there, right in the heart of the French Quarter.

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Faith. What is it, exactly? To me, faith simply means that you are making steps towards a goal, doing all that you can do while staying positive and hopeful that the end result will be as planned or greater. I ascribe to the Christian definition of faith also (Hebrews 11:1-Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.), but for these purposes I will go with my definition to keep things simple.

In my last post I mentioned that I had an epiphany which lead me to the conclusion that I need to write about what I’m passionate about if my blog is to be successful (by my terms). However, I didn’t mention what I was passionate about.

I’m sure that you have already figured out that I’m passionate about photography. My relationship with photography is a perpetual on-again/off-again complicated cycle. I have my bad days and photography cheers me up and I have great days where I can get in the zone and be completely lost for hours. It makes me smile to even think about those moments!

The other thing that I’m passionate about is faith. Namely, sharing my faith in Christ with others and the stories of faith from other believers. I also like to explore what different aspects of my faith look like photographically. For example, truly experiencing the love of Christ while photographing a women’s retreat with other women of different faith backgrounds is priceless and has helped me to grow by leaps and bounds (post to follow soon). I like to dive in and get involved so that I can get the most from an experience.

I have many plans for the blog, but I am taking it one step at a time. Albeit that I have been dragging my feet a bit, nonetheless, I endeavor to complete what I start. I’m not saying that I will begin “preaching” and such, but I do plan to share stories about my faith that will help you to get to know me better and the faith-filled stories of others. I hope to have interviews, testimonies of faith, encouraging music lyrics from inspiring artists and musicians, photo projects that I may be working on, tutorials, the gambit is wide open. I see so many opportunities as far as what I can do by including faith with photography here on my blog. The two have been inseparable in my life, why should my blog be any different. I no longer want to deny myself from being whom I was authentically created to be. But, again, I’m taking things one step at a time.

I look forward to you taking this journey with me, you sharing your stores of faith, and for all that it has in store! Do you have any suggestions for what you would like to see? Let me know in the comments!

My blogging habits lately have been a constant work in progress. I have a close friend who let me know of her disappointment that I hadn’t written since January. I will earnestly try do better! Although my intentions are good, I’m sure that many of you have fallen into the trap of wanting to post but fail to do so also.

Recently I have had a moment of sudden revelation and insight, an epiphany, of sorts, and will begin working to change how often I post. This is always my aim and goal. I do truly enjoy bringing new and quality content to my readers (however many of you there may be left!). My epiphany was that I need to write about what inspires me, what’s dear to me, what excites me and what I’m passionate about. This sounds like a total no-brainer, right? Well, I have a confession to make. I was listening to the many so-called “blogging gurus” of the web and social media “experts”, and things got pretty confusing! I think I lost myself because I wasn’t being true to who I am. I wasn’t being my authentic self.

I have both heard and read that business blogs should be kept separate from personal blogs. This notion has caused me to search and search for a way to marry the very two things that I am passionate about in a way that wouldn’t disrupt my business. Big mistake! I caused myself much anxiety and stress, not to mention that many lack-luster posts may have been shared in the process. I was trying to please the imaginary “powers that be” and I didn’t even know who they were or why I should even care to listen to them…Still don’t!

I now see that I don’t have to separate my passions and I can do what ever I want! Why follow everyone else’s rules? One rule in photography is that you can “break the rules, but only after you know what the rules are”. Admittedly, I’m still learning about business, blogging, and social media, but I’m ready to throw the rules out the window!

I hope that you’ll join me as I venture down this new path. I know that it’s going to be an amazing journey! Just a heads up…there will be many changes in the coming months and I hope that you will stick around for them!

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Inspiration. It comes in many forms and from various places. Like many photographers, I visit the sites and blogs of other photographers to get inspirations or just to get a pick-me-up. We all have our days when we aren’t or don’t feel as creative as we would like to be. When I feel this way, I visit one of these 3 blogs to read of their latest adventure or to see a recent photo session or to simply see their beautiful images. The 3 blogs are all different and focus on different photography niches. The reasons vary as to why I find them so inspiring, but I hope that you’ll be able to see why.

1. Just-In-Time Travels

Paris © Tracy Zhang, JustInTimeTravels.com

Paris © Tracy Zhang, JustInTimeTravels.com

My husband and I have moved a lot over the past several years. Each region and state offers a demographic that is different from where we lived before we move. This allows me to explore an area of photography that I haven’t focused on before. Since moving to Louisiana, I’m still trying to figure out the best route for me with my photography. More and more I gravitate to travel photography because I have always dreamed of traveling since I was young and what better way to travel and to get paid for it?!!! Granted, this would be a big step and huge endeavor, but I’m ready to do big things this year! I must admit that I’m still dragging my feet a bit and trying to figure out all of the details of how to begin, but I assure you that answers will come soon! I keep feeling the push that I am here to do something bigger and now is the time to act! I don’t know what that will look like or how it will come to me, but I am ready.

What I enjoy most about Tracy is her willingness to go after what she wanted. She began traveling after she “discovered her passion for photographing the world.” Tracy’s love for travel comes across in her beautiful images and her great stories!

2. Ami Vitale

©AmiVitale

©AmiVitale

I am inspired by Ami’s cultural photography because she goes beyond the traditional story to share the stories of others who may never have a voice to be able to tell it themselves. Being a cultural or humanitarian photographer would allow me to find the hidden beauty lies within the people, cultures, traditions and landscapes of others across the globe while bringing awareness to their plight with dignity. I believe that by sharing the stories of those who have yet to have a voice can make the world a smaller place and we can all see how truly connected and close we really are!

3. Jamie Delaine

©Jamie Delaine-jamiedelaineblog.com

©Jamie Delaine-jamiedelaineblog.com

What I love most about Jamie is her genuinely authentic voice and writing style, her great photography (of course), and the fact that she’s not afraid to share her faith and love for God. She is fitly transparent in her writing, meaning, she shares just enough without sharing too much (although she wants to at times).

Who or what inspires you?

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA

As 2012 came to a close, what I was most looking forward to was exploring the cities and towns surrounding our new home here in Louisiana, namely New Orleans. We planned a trip to NOLA to ring in the new year and to explore the rich history there. Waking early to get on the road afforded us the opportunity to see the sun rise and enjoy the morning’s beautiful changing light.

The scenery and imagery (post to come soon) was very inspiring and brought to mind many thoughts about what I would like to accomplish in this year as the sound track playing takes me back to my teenage years and all of the hopeful aspirations that I once held for myself. Even amidst the setting for wonderful creativity, I couldn’t help but meditate on the fact the God has blessed us with so much within the last year. I kept trying to go one way in my train of thought, but my mind returned to how rich I am! Not necessarily in money, but in love and in meaningful relationships and friendships.

Each place that we travel to, we never leave without friends that undoubtedly become part of our growing family. To me, this speaks volumes to the type of people that we are and our character. At first glance, it may not seem like much, but once you dive deeper, it’s something that can’t be bought.

Speaking of blessing, one of my blessings as well as a goal that I had for myself last year was to not be “in my head” so much. You know, over thinking and dissecting every little thing and being such a perfectionist? For me, it had been really difficult not to read more into everything and think about it until nothing was left, but I am very pleased that I was able to stick to this goal.  The result?

Less stress!

This year I want to continue on this path of not being “in my head”, but add to that finishing what I start.

I have several other goals for myself this year, like to travel more (more to come on that) and to be more consistent in my blogging, but these are the main two that I want to focus on.

Here’s to a new year filled with much travel and new relationships! Happy 2013!

What are you looking forward to most in 2013?

Share your thoughts in the comment section.

“Give thanks for what your are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow.”

In the spirit of this season of giving thanks I’ve compiled a list of 30 reasons that I’m most thankful (in no particular order). This list doesn’t just begin and end today, but rather extends into my everyday life. I hope you enjoy it!

1. The Holy Spirit
2. My wonderful family
3. Food to eat
4. Clean water
5. A warm home
6. The ability to do what I love
7. Waking up this morning
8. A loving husband
9. Best friends that are there for me
10. Beautiful photographic images
11. Flip flops when it’s hot
12. Cold weather to remind me to be grateful for hot weather
13. Seasons & changing leaves
14. Beautiful light
15. Opportunities to travel
16. The beauty that lies in hearing the stories of others
17. Dreams & goals
18. Courage to go after my dreams & goals
19. Being able to be a mom to my nephew
20. To know the truth of God
21. My husband’s job
22. Ice cream
23. The ability & desire  to run
24. Great music
25. Natural hair
26. God’s protection
27.  The freedom to learn
28. Great hugs!
29. The ability to adapt to new situations
30. Embracing everything that makes me unique

What are you Thankful for? Share in the comments below.

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As we begin to somewhat settle in our new town, I’m beginning to realize that I am exactly where I need to be at this point in my life. We’ve relocated several times before and I always explore within the first couple of days to find out what I could possibly use as inspiration. I wasn’t always as inspired as I thought I’d be in Houston, sad to say, even with the plethora of resources. I think that when you place limits on your resources and set parameters (not always by choice), it forces you to be creative and use what you have more effectively.

Since being here I’ve been inspired to draw (see above-it’s not much, but it’s more than I’ve done in a long time), which I haven’t done in years, to interact on my social media outlets more (twitter, Facebook, & pinterest) to write more. Not just in my journal, but here and here and Honey Speaks Blog where I actually share my personal feelings. I am very much a private person, but I feel that by sharing my story and life situations I can inspire and encourage others to hold on and to continue on their path.

I don’t feel the best here in our new city, yet, but I’ve learned that life isn’t about feeling, but about doing-taking action. Being in my new home will force me to take action and to do the hard things that I’ve been putting off for so long. I can see that the hard and difficult things need to be done in order for me to reach my ultimate goals. Besides, change is never comfortable.

I welcome the challenges that lie ahead of me, not necessarily happily or with open arms, but I hope to get to that point one day soon. The difficult things are what give us character and bring out the best in us. Here’s to being the best I can be and fulfilling my life’s purpose.

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