Mojo Monday ~ Rocking Chair Moments

When I’m 80 and sitting in a rocking chair listening to the Rolling Stones, 
there is absolutely no way I’m going to feel old or forget my younger days. 
~ Patty Duke

A friend of mine once described a particularly happy experience as a rocking chair moment. He said he knew that when he was old and sitting in a rocking chair that he was going to  think back fondly on that event.   We humans do have a tendency to reminisce and it can be fun to look back in time.  One of the things I also registered from the comment and realized is that we still had a lot more living to do and a lot more moments to experience that would become a part of our treasured history.  

Rocking chair moments don’t have to involve expensive vacations or life changing events necessarily.  Many of our most special moments take place because we are doing them with loved ones or simply participating in a favorite activity.  Talk to most parents and they will have very specific memories of their children growing up that stand out to them.  There are poignant moments during milestone markers, such as completing kindergarten, graduating high school, getting married, having a child, losing a loved one or achieving something meaningful, no matter how big or small.

One of the ways I like to track time and record special moments is through photography.  Photography is a favorite art form and also a storyteller.  Several years back I even participated in a photo blog group and for over two years I posted at least one photo a day. There were a few group leaders who would post the word of the day and the goal was to interpret or represent that word with a photo.  It was fun, creative and sometimes challenging.  It enhanced my tendency to look around myself with wondering new eyes.  I know the photographic project came easily to me because I already had a tendency to look around myself with artful eyes.  

Whether you are around the house, just going around town or away enjoying a summer vacation, look around you with the eyes of an artist and a photographer.  What do you see?  What do you notice?  What draws your eye?  What could you want to capture as an image?  What would you want to share with others?  

I recently went away on vacation with my husband and twin daughters.  We spent a few days in Monterey and then moved over to camping at Little Basin, near Santa Cruz and Boulder Creek.  Being on the coast and in the redwoods provided a smorgasbord of images to delight me.  


Here is a slideshow from the Monterey area and another of camping in the redwoods at Little Basin with more photos.

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I’d love to see some images delight you.  Consider what sorts of things make for rocking chair moments and photograph them, describe them in words or paint or collage them.  The creative options are wide open, so explore and have fun.

Mojo Monday ~ The Story of Time

Purely Pacific Northwest from John Eklund

“The Milky Way drifts across the sky. Aurora tumble and roll. 
Clouds flow like rivers or undulate like smoke.”

This video is photographer Oregon-based John Eklund’s time-lapse depiction of the Pacific Northwest.  John has this to say about his work, “I choose to shoot locations that appeal to the way I would like to interpret the story of time.”  “Here is the Pacific Northwest, there are endless opportunities to depict the magnificence of the world around us.  I have discovered that when time is the storyteller, a special kind of truth emerges.”  
The video Purely Pacific Northwest is composed of 260,000 shots John took of Mt. Shuksan, Crater Lake, Mt. Bachelor, Mount St. Helens, Oregon’s Badlands, Painted Hills, Cape Kiwanda, Mt. Hood, Lost Lake and Cannon Beach between July 2011 and August 2012.
I am in awe of this video.  There is something about nature, our planet, the stars, the cosmos above, that leave me with a sense of wonder and wow, but also a greater sense of peace.  It reminds me that we are all a part of something so much bigger and greater than ourselves.  It also gives me a comforting reminder of the way we are all connected on this planet.  

Connecting with the beauty of nature has always been a grounding touchstone for me.   Is the same true for you?     

Consider getting out, taking your camera and going for a walk in your neighborhood or a nearby park or if you have more time on your hands, take a little drive and go exploring to find some fall color.  Perhaps your adventure might even call for a hike in the mountains.  

Come back and share photos after your outing.  

Do they tell a story?  

How did you feel during the outing?  
Here is a photo slideshow from the world of nature my family and I have been enjoying the last few days in beautiful Northern California.  

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Mojo Monday ~ In Your Own Skin Project

What word or phrase would be
absolutely true about you;
but not obvious to strangers?

With her camera, body paint, and the quest to explore how people choose to show themselves to the world, Katheryn Trenshaw—photographer, documentarian, and artist— approaches total strangers and asks: What is true of you that is not obvious to strangers?
After conferring with Katheryn and consulting with their hearts, those who agree to participate choose a word (or phrase) that reveals something about themselves that is unknown to others. Katheryn then paints the word on the skin of the person and photographs them. The result is as moving as it is unexpected.
Her background in art, psychology, and language allows her to connect with her subjects on a variety of levels. This multi-layered perspective comes through to the viewers of her moving photographs. Over the past year, Katheryn has created nearly 150 portraits of subjects from more than thirty countries and all walks of life. Each photograph documents a personal story.

Katheryn Trenshaw shares this about the In Your Own Skin Project:
“Some years ago during a silent retreat I had an epiphany. I realized that the greatest treasure I hold is buried deep inside the thing I least want anyone to know about. Within this wound inside of me lay a rich treasure trove. I was a living paradox and the sooner I could learn to dance with this, the sooner I could unabashedly share my gifts.
I have been inspired by the work of many, especially Brené Brown. She comes from a social work research background and began wanting to know more about what makes us happy. She teamed up with neurobiologists and other researchers and basically discovered that if you want to look at happiness you need to look at shame. Happiness is directly linked with reducing shame, and this takes us to vulnerability, authenticity and ultimately to resilience in transition / changing times.
As an artist, I have specialized all of my professional life in the masks we wear, and am passionate about ritualistic mark making on skin and bodies. Breaking the Silence was a body or work I created consisting of 100 masks that toured the United States and Europe for over 15 years. It was all about revealing our true nature and looking at what we conceal and has had a huge influence on my subsequent work, life and respect for peoples traditions throughout the World.
I’ve always been fascinated with “shadow” material, the taboo that no one wants to speak about. I tend toward, what Robert Bly calls “our shadow bags”: Sex, death, money, and power. These more hidden aspects of ourselves hold great treasures and vitality when they are freed.
These elements combine to create what is now the In Your Own Skin project: A community multimedia art project, connecting us all by revealing hidden truths from around the world. With your participation we can create the powerful 1st documentary short to share the normally hidden wealth of wisdom that unites us all. And I have to say that I haven’t been so passionate about anything since the birth of my son.”

The overall project as described by Katheryn:

This In Your Own Skin documentary short is about nothing short of unlocking human potential and joy. I’ve seen the potential for human beings to share in such a powerful openhearted way. The further I go into this project, the more I trust our deep intelligence. I experience people being genuinely authentic. We are living differently now in these challenging times. We are living more and more in community and in ways that we really support each other.

Projects like this one and the others I have created ( like my Breaking the Silence Project) show that love always trumps fear.
I am passionate about this project! I love every minute of this mad and wonderful process: creating these ways to reveal and share our hidden stories with each other. I love how this process can weave into the every day aspects of my life, parenting, community and travels. I recently was reminded of the obvious… that the meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give that gift. Each of the In Your Own Skin portraits gives a gift and reveals a part of each of us. Now that is worth getting up for in the morning! I am so very grateful.

To learn more about the In Your Own Skin ProjectYou can visit the following web sites:

Kick Starter Fund Raising site –

Facebook Page –

The Self-Worth Project: Shedding Light On Shame

Yesterday my article called
The Self-Worth Project: Shedding the Light on Shame
was published in my column in the Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine.
Come on over to the magazine to learn more about
photographer Tommy Corey’s vision and his
inspirational photographic project that is
changing lives and bringing awareness
to how we are all connected.

Mojo Monday ~ Superhero Therapy

What if taking silly and wild photographs was the cure for lifting your spirits? What if creativity, a sense of humor and some good ol’ make believe could not only change your life, but also bring laughter and hope to the lives of others?

This is exactly what happened for 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother Frederika who had been feeling sad and bored. Her grandson, a French photographer named Sacha Goldberger, suggested that they shoot a series of outrageous photos in unusual costumes, poses and locations to cheer her up. She relunctantly agreed, but once they started, she has thoroughly enjoyed herself and proven to be quite the model.

“Frederika was born in Budapest 20 years before World War II. During the war, at the peril of her own life, she courageously saved the lives of ten people. When asked how, Goldberger told us “she hid the Jewish people she knew, moving them around to different places every day.” As a survivor of Nazism and Communism, she then immigrated away from Hungary to France, forced by the Communist regime to leave her homeland illegally or face death.”

Sacha Goldberger’s series entitled “Mamika” (or grandma in Hungarian), has proven to be incredibly popular and has even resulted in a book of photographs that you can view on his web site:

Mamika even has her own MySpace page, has been “friended” by thousands and receives messages like: “You’re the grandmother that I have dreamed of, would you adopt me?” and ” You made my day, I hope to be like you at your age.” Initially, she did not understand why all these people wrote to congratulate her. Then, little by little, she realized that her story conveyed a message of hope and joy.

Goldberger has since shared that his grandmother has never shown any signs of depression since they began their Mamika journey.

Take a look below at these fun and sassy photos and as you do begin to imagine your own supershero costume.

Describe what it looks like and how you feel when you wear it.

What powers do you have when you are wearing your supershero outfit?

Paint it, draw it, create it, sew it, photograph it, post it!

Sacha Goldberger and his Mamika

Mamika showing off her sassy side!

The Self-Worth Project

Photographer Tommy Corey

“The Self-Worth Project is a photo documentation of people expressing their deepest and most vulnerable fears and insecurities.  Through this project and our insecuritites, we hope to bring people together by showing you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.”

“We are all human, we all have insecurities, and through those we can start to form an understanding of one another, despite our race, gender, orientations, backgrounds and affiliations.”
“Specifically, the Self-Worth Project looks to open up conversations with young people about the increasingly hostile environment in schools today. Whether young people have felt bullied, ostracized, or ridiculed, SWP would like to recognize that this kind of derisive—and sometimes violent—behavior amongst youth is a growing problem. And while ending bullying would be ideal, the important message of finding help, feeling supported, and not being alone is imperative.”

A special showing of the Self Worth Project will take place on Thursday, February 10th, 2011 in Redding, California at the Cascade Theater.  Click here for theater information.

More photos from the project:

Grateful Monday

I am grateful for photography and the technology that makes it possible, to not only take photographs, but to share them so easily now.
Photographs let us capture moments in time, that otherwise might be forgotten.
I spent some time yesterday looking through old photo albums of mine. Then due to technology being what it is I was able to scan the photos and post them on-line for old friends and family to view too.
Here is a small sampling of the photos I shared:

Flower market in Aix-en-Provence, France where I studied French from 1993-1995.
A group of us in snowy Nice, France in February 1994 for Carnival.
Megan, Me, Nicole, Keziah and Adam posing crazy at a party.
Denine, me and Linda listen intensely to our French instructor.
A reunion in San Francisco of some of us former Aix students.
What are you Grateful for today?

Photo Monday

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” ~ Elliott Erwin

This weekend we had a Rainbow Birthday party for my twin daughters 4th birthday. I made a rainbow cake (the cake was actually a rainbow of colors as I had put gel food coloring into 6 different batches of white cake batter and then layered them in the baking pans) and then covered the outside with rainbow colored frosting too. There was a platter of fruit designed into a rainbow (strawberries for red, cantaloupe for orange, pineapple for yellow and so on….) So with rainbows on my mind I thought sharing a favorite photo where I captured a rainbow being formed by a large prism in a window of our home would be perfect.

Here is a little extra rainbow inspiration:

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
~ Dolly Parton

Eva Cassidy singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow:

Do you have a favorite photo you would like to share?

Or look around your space and see if you can find some version of a rainbow and share that too.

(Be sure to leave a comment and post a link to your site.)

Sundial Film Festival

Last night was the First Annual Sundial Film Festival. It was a nice change of pace for me and Nathan to go out on an actual date and to have a reason to dress up. I even wore my feathered red boa!

The organizers did a fabulous job with the event. The preceding gala reception was very swanky with a live band, people dressed to the nines, and a very cool ice sculpture of the sundial bridge. The award ceremony was really well done. There were some amazing photos. There was also the film category and they showed five of the films entered, including the one that took overall best of show called The Cart by Jesse Rosten, towards the end of the ceremony. You can check out more of Jesse Rosten’s work on his professional web site here or on his blog here. He and his wife are both incredibly talented. It was impressive to see what creative talents reside in this area and what an opportunity this wonderful event provided for artists to showcase their work.

I loved hearing Jessica Abbe, a documentary filmmaker speak last night too. She was raised here in Shasta County. She holds a BFA from New York University and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from UC Berkeley. She and her husband, producer-director Christopher (Toby) McLeod, have written and produced a number of documentary films about indigenous cultures around the world. She was funny and interesting and then she read a poem she wrote about growing up in this area. It was amazing, beautiful and so touching.

I think based on the numbers that showed up this year that this is indeed the first of many more festivals to come! Yea for Redding and the art community!

Here are the photographs that I entered.
Aubrey and Maya – The Photo that took Runner Up in the Beginning Still Life category.

Maya and the Cat In the Hat

Contemplative Maya