Unusual? or Not? You Decide: Weekly Photo Challenge


Last week the theme for the weekly photo challenge was “Unusual.” I got around to posting this theme with “unusually” late timing, but that’s okay, I’m posting it anyway. 🙂 This photo consists of brightly colored balloons at a parade. I used the “Ocean Ripple” filter effect in Photoshop to create something I think looks delightful.

I love words. The ability to choose one, think about what it means and the different ways it gets used. With this week’s theme, it occurred to me that, often, what seems unusual to one person, could be perfectly normal to someone else.

That is how it is meant to be because even in the flaws, there is detail and beauty we often overlook. Think about a world where everyone, openly and unconditionally accepted the unusual in others. How often do we intentionally seek to understand another perspective without judgment? How often do we encourage others to do the same?

Years ago I had a friend who said he believed he finally found the answer to defining ‘normal.’  “Normal is the setting on your dryer,” he would say.

Exactly…..

Something to think about.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others. Have a great week and thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to leave a thought, question or note below.

Look Up: What Was Entrusted To You? Pay Attention


Philando Castile The System Is Broken
This blog post was inspired by “The Weekly Photo Challenge
Look up and see those who are coming from the north. Where is the flock that was entrusted to you, the sheep of which you boasted?” -Jeremiah 3.2
A Prayer and a Poem for #PhilandoCastile & Family

Look up and notice

with open minds and open hearts
Put yourself in the shoes of an opposing view
Pay attention and listen to those sharing their reality
They have something to say. Their experiences are real.
Their voices matter. They are suffering in despair
They deserve to feel heard. To be heard.

Are you listening?

Because when someone says “I am hurting
The only appropriate response is; “Tell me more, I am listening
Be patient; consider that the first story may not be the whole picture
Be open to new information, in a world full of endless possibilities
These things together will expand minds, hearts and our world

Look up and look around

We continue to see repeated patterns we know exist
Minimizing them torments our intelligence
The idea “if we don’t name it, it can’t exist” is excruciating denial
Inaction leaves us feeling stuck in perpetual wait
What are these patterns trying to tell us?
They are saying that idly standing by is no longer enough
They are directing us to take a stand and to do something
They are making it clear that we have so much more to learn from one another
When different views come together, they merge to create new knowledge, and that is a good thing. I have never known a time when we didn’t need ideas to continue to evolve

Entrust: to give someone the responsibility of doing something or of caring for someone or something  (Merriam-Webster)

  • Police officers are given the responsibility of protecting people, property and the law
  • Humanity is given the responsibility of being kind and compassionate to one another

Look Up2Lookup:  Today, Philando Castile, who was killed last week in Minnesota by a police officer, will be laid to rest.

Castile is not the first and sadly, will not be the last. The greater good in society happens as we work towards coming together and leaving our differences behind.

Pray for these families, because they are our families. Our families are hurting.

Pray for parents of young black men and women, who are faced with presenting a complex yet balanced view about systemic injustice, because the dialogue can be confusing for many. May they be given the words to adequately conduct constructive discourse in a loving manner so that it leads all of us towards the right solution, together. It is time to set our differences aside because we owe it to ourselves, and one another.

I want to hear from you. Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

Sparkles, S’mores and Land that I Love | Happy 4th of July


Smores Fourth of July NostalgiaI love the Fourth of July (or Fourch of Guly as I said when I was little), it makes me feel a bit nostalgic. One of my first 4th of July parades I remember being sad because I wasn’t fast enough at getting candy and I’m sure there were one or two thoughtful kids & parents who saw that and walked over to make sure I had some. Then there was the first parade I was in with my sister where we both wore costumes and tap shoes from dance lessons. My mom told us to march holding our batons with one hand lifting them straight up and down with each step and of course, we thought it was a great idea.

As we grew older, we were blessed enough to spend the first two weeks of July up north with my dad and dear friends at Crane Lake in Voyageurs National Park on the Canadian Border. The only way to get to the cabin was by boat. Imagine hauling 3-5 adults, 5-7 kids and a dog, 2 weeks worth of food, clothing and fresh water for drinking. Sometimes it would take 2-3 trips and the boat would be so heavy the waterline was about a foot below the top. While we did have a short wave radio to hear the closest weather reports and listen to the international time, we did not have phones or television and we actually learned to appreciate that.

It was there we explored the chain of lakes where water is so clear you can look 15+ feet straight down and see the bottom. We learned how to water ski, responsibly shoot guns at targets, become great fishers and use a filet knife to clean and prepare our catch. At night, my dad would bring Crane Lakeout his guitar and we sang songs together around the fire, roasted marshmallows for S’mores and later hear the cracking and snapping of the fresh burning wood. Some evenings we would go out “on the rock” and enjoy the sunset, seen in the picture to the right. I would close my eyes and take in the fresh smell of the Norway Pine trees and burning fire. I would listen to the water lapping up on the shore, loons, seagulls or a boat humming in the distance. It was heaven on earth.

After fourth of July celebrations in the small town across the water, we would take the boat to the middle of the lake, cut the engine, watch the fireworks and have rich conversations about freedom, life or whatever was on our minds. It was there we discovered breathtaking views where stars are so clear you could see them sparkle right down to the horizon. In a good year, we could see the northern lights dance, displaying colors of green, blue and red.

I’m grateful for the people and all of those memories we created together. It shaped me in growing a deeper appreciation for this land where we live. Today, I think about so many people around the world who don’t have the same choices we do. At the same time,  we can not forget those who have gone before us and those still fighting for our freedom because they have laid much of the groundwork for us.

I also will not forget that there is still more work that needs to be done.

Regardless, I celebrate the fact that we are so fortunate to be citizens in a country where we have the freedom to express ourselves, choose to practice our faith, celebrate diversity, practice servant leadership,  be educated and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Wishing you a very happy Fourth of July. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences about how this day has shaped you. Please share below and thanks for visiting my blog!

“I AM” and “SPIRIT” In Sync With One Another #FierceForward


Fierce Forward - I AM and Spirit = Parters

I AM – two of the most powerful words you could ever declare to yourself. This is your declaration, your choice to stand in your power and allow your vision to come to reality/ #FierceForward

SPIRIT – Your truth. Freedom is found when you live your truth and let your spirit live out loud. Do not hide. Do not deny your truth. Do not let her stay quiet. Go forward, fiercely and let your SPIRIT lead the way. #FierceForward

Knowing who we are and being grounded in our truth are at the core of what teaches us to be great leaders and even better human beings.

These bracelets are handmade using African Trade Beads to support women in Africa. They are special because they support a worthy cause and they were an authentic gift from someone whose friendship means a great deal to me.

This post is inspired by The Weekly Photo Challenge themed: Partners: Whether two of a kind or ten, give us subjects that are in sync with one another – show us partnerships.

Learn more about #FierceForward at fierceforwardforlife.com

Time: Stop, Travel, Escape, Feel, Release | Weekly Photo Challenge



|  How to stop time:  kiss.  |  How to travel in time:  read.  

|  How to escape time:  music.  |  How to feel time:  write.

| How to release time:  breathe.


 MATT HAIG; REASONS TO STAY ALIVE

 How to stop time: Kiss

AKiss

anotherkiss copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to travel in time: Read

A-book_edited-1

READ

 

 

How to escape time: Music

piano2_edited-1

Dance

Piano2.1

 

 

 

 

 

How to feel time: Write

Write_edited-1

How to release time: Breathe

Breathe copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post was inspired by Lignum Graco who asks us to show him time as part of The Weekly Photo Challenge over at The Daily Post. Please feel free to leave any comments below and thanks for visiting my blog!

A Vibrant Picture – Weekly Photo Challenge


Today over at The Daily Post, Jen H asks us to share a photo of something vibrant as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge. Here, I show my interpretation of “before” and “after.”

A Vibrant Picture - Before

A Vibrant Picture – Before

A few years back on a whim, I purchased Photoshop because I was curious and wanted to see how I could get creative with it and what I could learn, so I began the process of exploring. One of the things I like best about it is I can take an image I am not crazy about and turn it into art.

I took this picture a few years ago at the Orchid Gardens in Singapore. It was extremely hot that day and as a result, orchids in some of the photos appear more wilted than I would have liked. In this picture, I used the impressionist brush tool to blur out the people in the upper left-hand corner and over to the right where we could see the sidewalk through the greenery. Next, in the filter gallery, I used the brush strokes and the cross hatch option to give it this look.Vibrant_edited-1

  • Stroke length =  12
  • Sharpness = 3
  • Strength =1

That is it. No sharpening or highlighting. I like it. It is definitely something that could be blown up and put on a wall. What do you think? Please share below and thanks for visiting my blog.

 

Monochromatic – Weekly Photo Challenge


Weekly Photo Challenge - Monochromatic

Monochromatic tints and tones reflecting a single hue.

Optical visions and a seeming distant view.

How is it that simplicity and complexity can co-exist?

Because the beauty of an image will continue to persist.

Over at the Daily Post, Jen Hooks writes; “This week, share with us your monochromatic images. Be calculating and creative in choosing your subject and focal point; resist the urge to simply take a photo of something with a single color range.”

Refracting Light Life | Kakie’s Corner


These pictures are from one of our first “free” nights in South East Asia, for the Global Business Systems Executive MBA Global Studies Course, Singaporecourse in the Executive MBA program. This evening four of us opted for dinner on the rooftop in Little India. I heard a calming sound of flapping water, came around the corner and this beautiful scenery, was what I encountered.

This week’s photo challenge asks that we show what “refraction” means to us. Refraction occurs when a ray of light is indirectly deflected by a wave of energy that passes from one medium to another, which causes the illumination to bend and become distorted. For example: water to light, air to glass etc.

I interpret “Refraction” as a metaphor for life. Read more of this post

Nighttime Web – Not of the Interactive Kind


As long as I can remember, I have loved the art of photography. Taking photos at night doesn’t come easy for many.  In this example, I find the complexity and structure of how a spiderweb is constructed as fascinating. Below is the original photo I took the other night on a tree in my back yard, using my Android. Someday I would love to get a professional digital camera, which has been added to my bucket list!.

I have been working with Photoshop Elements 10 for a couple of years now and thought it would be fun to take this version of The Weekly Photo Challenge Theme; “Nighttime” and see how I could transpose the same image to get different effects.

The only thing that will make it interactive is if you share comments, thoughts, and questions below. Here are my results;

Nighttime web original photo

Nighttime web original photo – Android

Adjusted color variation to add one hue of green

Adjusted color variation to add one hue of green

Nighttime web converted to black and white

Nighttime web converted to black and white

Nighttime web black and white diffused glow

Nighttime web black and white diffused glow filter

Nighttime web black and white using the photocopy filter

Nighttime web black and white using the photocopy filter

View from another angle

View from another angle

Thanks for stopping by, I’d love to hear from you!

Through Eyes of “Endurance”


The Meaning of Endurance

Embracing uncertainty knowing there is no “around, over or under.”

Having the audacity to do something unconventional, telling ourselves;

“I can, I will, I am, I believe, I trust it is time for something new and it is necessary. I will practice this until it feels normal.

Walking into the unknown with persistent fearlessness and a resilient spirit.

Forging ahead with integrity, courage, bravery, wholeheartedness, and guts.

Past those who cast stones of judgment, unkind words and misunderstanding.

They will not define us.

For we know the only way out, is through, and that something better is in store.

Our self-assuredness will take us there,

because it always has.

____________________________________________________

This post was inspired by The Weekly Photo Challenge: “Endurance. Show us what endurance means to you.

Read more of this post

Interpreting “Humanity” in a Click


As part of the weekly photo challenge, Thirdeyemom asks us to decipher the theme “humanityInterpreting

So thinking about what it means to be human, poses more questions than answers.

The plural definition; “humanities” takes on more complexity.

Merriam-Webster defines humanities as;

…”the branches of learning (as philosophy, arts, or languages) that investigate human constructs and concerns as opposed to natural processes (as in physics or chemistry) and social relations (as in anthropology or economics)“[1]

This photograph taken at the National Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC is a great metaphor for this week’s assignment. A young man’s image reflected in front of the wall etched with more than 58,286 names of soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam war for the sake of freedom. My challenge to you is to look at this picture, ponder its meaning and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did we get here?
  • What makes us who we are today?
  • What was life like for those who went before us?
  • How did they live?
  • How did they die?
  • How did they want to be remembered?
  • In what ways can we translate these questions to look inward and ask how we can be of service to others?
  • What is our purpose and how can we make an impact?

It only takes one person to make a difference. So reflect, and ask yourself how you will make yours?

And while you are at it, if you know someone who served, reach out and thank them.

I appreciate you visiting my blog, please feel free to make comments below.

Transition – Defining “Between”


Transitions - Adapting to ChangeToday’s post is about “between,” which comes in many forms. It made me consider the various ways we process and deal with change. Regardless of its application (professional, emotional or personal), the techniques for recognizing and approaching transition differs for each of us.

Sometimes it flows and feels natural, as captured in the photo for this post. A young man who is between testing for his next belt level in karate and receiving a new status because he is ready and has done the work. He has practiced learning the movement and techniques with precision and accuracy, and he knows that along with his sense of accomplishment come confidence and the long term rewards that follow.

In graduate school, we are taught that we should expect resistance when it comes to change in the workplace. The opposition is a natural part of the process during transformation and frequently rears its head when people do not understand why change is necessary, or there is not consistent support, repetition, and communication of the messaging. Read more of this post