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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.

I came across a post on the “A Maverick Madness” blog about how everything is a remix. Nothing is original and it’s all been done before by someone else.  I was reminded of a post that I wanted to write about the same thing, only I first came up with the idea after seeing Chase Jarvis’s post on “How to Steal Like an Artist” based on the book “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. See how inspiration and remixing works?! We see something that inspires us and we in turn take that “idea”, add to it or subtract from it to make it our own. It’s the way of the world.  According to the Bible “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  See, we have permission to re-create what is already here to create new, better, and brighter ideas!

Here’s a video on the Elements of Creativity when “remixing”! It explains everything!

What are your thoughts on remixing and originality?

 

How do you cultivate an eye for photography? How do you change how you currently see the world and begin to pay attention to all of the details of life hidden in the everyday that you would otherwise miss? Like the ant carrying the corn chip that you almost stepped on or the ivy growing through the cracks of your neighbors fence? Simply slow down and you will begin to notice it. The small minute things of the world around you, that you wouldn’t have noticed even if your life depended on it, will begin to jump out at you and you’ll smile and marvel in it’s beauty. You’ll begin to smile more and to appreciate the “little” things in life and you’ll show just how grateful you are to others. Ok, that might be a stretch, but I’m sure you catch my drift!

When you slow down and really begin to take in your surroundings, you can’t help but think “How did I miss this all before?”.

 

image

“There’s been a nostalgic feeling in the air lately and I don’t know why. It’s been very familiar and I welcome it with open arms. It reminds me of the spring seasons when I was growing up in Cincinnati. Everyday I reminisce about a memory from long ago and the things that I would do on a particular day. It’s been quite calming, soothing and joyous. I have found myself smiling more and being more grateful, thanking God for the little things that make up our everyday lives. The little details that our memories are made of certainly have a way of flooding back with just a single familiar smell or sound.”

This is a post that I started a few weeks ago at the stay of spring about how it caused me to begin feeling nostalgic.  I don’t often feel that way, but I was definitely reveling in those moments because they didn’t last long. My days were sprinkled with these moments and it reminded me that spring brings with it a newness of life, hopes and dreams. Every year, I look forward to spring the most.

Now that summer is officially here (at least here in Houston it feels like it’s been here for weeks), I’ve been doing my best to live more mindful and aware these days, today is all we have & I’ve been trying to make the most of it, to be more thankful and to appreciate my trials & what I feel are the negative things that are happening. These are the things we learn from & help us to grow in appreciation to the simpler and less complex moments of life…

 

Share what makes you feel nostalgic or brings back happy memories in the comment box below, I’d love to hear from you!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted last and I’m hoping to get to a regular posting schedule during the summer while my nephew is away.  I have been getting used to being a “mother” to a teenager and it’s been keeping me pretty busy, to say the least. So, I hope that this fun list makes up for the time that I’ve taken away from the blog these last few weeks.

In honor of my 30th birthday tomorrow (June 2) and to welcome the coming hot summer, that seems to already be here in Houston, I’m going to share with you 30 things that I have yet to share on the blog about myself. I was inspired by Amy Clover’s post on her blog “Strong Inside Out” of her 27 things she’s hadn’t yet revealed on her blog. I thought that it was a nice way to add more personality to the blog and to give you a chance to get to know a bit more about me.

  1. I love breakfast food any time of the day.
  2. I love spontaneous outings and I’m always up for an adventure.
  3. I love herbal green tea and flavored teas.
  4. I came close to death while scuba diving for the first time in Cozumel, Mexico.
  5. As a kid, I wanted to be a computer animator, but didn’t really enjoy drawing.
  6. People that I meet think that I’m (way) younger than I am.
  7. I try to read the bible daily.
  8. I enjoy baking new desserts.
  9. I’ve never been to New York City.
  10. My newest hobby is knitting.
  11. I love to roller skate.
  12. My husband says that I ask too many questions.
  13. I have been bitten by the wanderlust bug and hope to travel the world (someday soon).
  14. I lived in Kansas City, MO for 6 months.
  15. Two of my favorite movies are “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “A Walk to Remember”.
  16. I observe the seventh day sabbath.
  17. I can see my purpose unfolding daily.
  18. I’ve discovered my immense joy of reading within the passed few years.
  19. I got married when I was 21 and I’ve been married for 8 years.
  20. I’ve lived in 3 different cities in a 2 year time span.
  21. I’m a runner at heart and try to run as much as I can.
  22. I love to sing (and I have a pretty decent singing voice).
  23. I love Italy although I’ve never visited.
  24. I attended a performing arts school from the 4th-12th grade and studied art for 8 years.
  25. Sweet crepes and ice cream are my favorite desserts.
  26. I studied computer engineering for 2 years in college.
  27. My favorite color is blue and I love bright colors!
  28. I’ve had a paper route as an adult.
  29. I would like to have a book of my work published.
  30. My guilty pleasure is watching America’s Next Top Model.

There you have it! I hope that you’ve enjoyed this list and getting to know more about me. I’d love to learn more about my readers also!

Introduce yourself: write 5 things you’ve never told me in the comments below!

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