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Good Read: Inspirational Books

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I thought that I would share some inspirational books!

Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna NiequistSavor contains 365 daily readings, plus there are great recipes included throughout the book.  Each daily reading is short and poignant, and designed to help you pause in your day, to consider your everyday life, to slow down, and notice the beauty right where you are.  Each reading ends with a question or statement to ponder throughout your day.  Below is an excerpt from this book.

“I want to arrive.  I want to get to wherever I’m going and stay there.  That’s why I used to be such a ferocious planner of my life.  But I’ve learned to just keep moving, keep walking, keep taking teeny tiny steps.  In those teeny tiny steps and moments I become who I am.  We don’t arrive.  But we can become.  And that’s the most hopeful thing I can think of.  In the passing moments of our lives, in the small steps we take, we are shaped into who we are becoming.  What small steps have you taken recently?  How have they shaped you?  Who are you becoming?” –Shauna Niequist

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed: I love quotes, and this book is a collection of quotes and nuggets of advice and inspirational wisdom.  This book makes a great gift for women.  Below is one of my favorite quotes.

“The thing about rising is we have to continue upward; the thing about going beyond is we have to keep going.” — Cheryl Strayed

Outrageous Openness: Let the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver: This book is about opening up to life, intuition, and divine guidance.  Each chapter contains pearls of playful wisdom.  Silver urges one to be open and provides examples of what happens when we practice from that place.  This book focuses on putting one’s faith in the divine/Universe/God/life to bring us what we need, while bringing an attitude of curiosity, acceptance, and generosity towards ourselves and others.

A Year Without Fear by Tama Kieves: I first read this book, a collection of daily inspirational wisdom, last year, and I am rereading this book again this year.  Each day’s reading provides inspiration.  Below is one of my favorite quotes.

“Trust each moment to take you where you need to go.  You won’t always have the same feelings or thoughts or perspective.  One day you wake up and new opportunities become available.  Opportunities are like a carousel ride with colorful horses that sail around and around.  When it’s your time, you’ll see your horse.  You’ll jump and fly through the air like a natural.  You’re always a natural in the right time.  Today I remember that in the right time, I’ll see my opportunity.”  –Tama Kieves

Finding the Time…

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“How do you find the time?”  is a questions that I get asked I have been working away for three and a half years on my long-term photography project that is really important to me.  I think the simplest answer to this question is that if you want something badly enough, you somehow find the time, and you find the time in the most unlikely places.  There are many people who do not finish projects, let alone a long-term project that requires, a lot of work, effort, perseverance, and patience.  Below are some ways to find more time to devote to a creative endeavor with our limited and constant 24 hours per day.

1. Stay Organized: Staying organized is key.  The more organized you are, the more you are able to foresee space to carve out on your schedule and dedicate time to a project ahead of time.  It is helpful to keep a running list of items you want to accomplish.

2. Identify your Most Productive Time: Everyone has a time of day where they are most productive and alert.  Figure out what this time is for you, as it is best to carve out time during these optimal times and leverage these times accordingly.  The mornings are my most productive times, and I utilize these times, and wake up earlier to utilize this time.

3. Set Aside Time: The more you are able to set aside time on your calendar and treat it like an important appointment, the less likely you are to waste this time.

4. Prioritize: Instead of watching television or surfing the web, social media, apps, etc., use this time to get constructive work completed.  It is amazing how much time is needlessly wasted engaging in these activities, when this time could be used for more productive creative projects.

5. Avoid Interruptions: While you are working on your project/creative endeavor, to help maintain your focus, turn your phone off; turn your email off; and turn social media off to prevent distractions so that you are able to solely focus your attention on your project.  It is amazing how small interruptions easily get you track from the task at hand.

6. Say “No.”: It is really easy to take on more work and commitments; and then you find that the time that you have carved out for your project is gone.  It is best to not take on anymore commitments than necessary in order to guard and protect your creative work time.

Happy creating!

Victory: Ten Things…

Below are ten things you may not have known about our little fur girl, Victory!

1. She loves ‘play time’ right before bed!  We think it is her favorite time of day!  She jumps around, tries to get our hands in her mouth, makes noises, and she occasionally barks!  She is quite agile and can really jump and move swiftly!  I will have to work on getting a video of Victory in action!

2. In addition to loving riding in the car, she absolutely loves coming home in the car to her garage — it is so magical and exciting for our fur girl, Victory!

3. She loves going in her Ergo!  Who wouldn’t, right?  However, we save the Ego for when we really need it.

4. She loves almost all types of human food, and she enjoys coming into the kitchen and to the dining table for some treats in the evening!  She also loves to be fed while we watch television in the evenings!

5.  She loves her Fromm wet and dry food and eats her breakfast and dinner in no time flat on the sofa, no less!

6. During the night, she loves to lay on pillows above our heads.  Some nights, she snuggles her head right up against mine (or Doug’s)!  She rarely snores and she loves having a flush headboard.  We discovered during our vacation, last year, that she only likes flush headboards as opposed to non-flush headboards, as she slept in between us and we could hardly move!

7. Whenever Victory is nervous, she lifts her left paw up.  She can become easily stressed in new situations that are unfamiliar.  However, once she adapts, she does well.  She loves the routine and predictability.

8.  She does not enjoy bath time, but she is getting a little better, with time!

9. She sometimes will stop dead in her tracks while we are out on a walk if she sees someone!  This can makes walks difficult, at times, in our neighborhood.  However, in unfamiliar places, she constantly is moving, making walks easier!  This is why we like to try new places to go for walks!

10. She loves to lay by my feet while I am working at the computer, she is a very faithful companion who keeps me company while I work!  We are so fortunate to have our fur girl!

Happy Friday!  We hope that you have a great weekend!  We are going to get together with friends and also see Kung Fu Panda 3!



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Four Year Blogiversary!

Today is the four-year Blogiversary of in conjunction with my photography website.  It is really difficult to believe that four years have already passed by so quickly!  The blog has, fortunately, come a ways since I started the blog four years ago!  My favorite part about the blog is the header, featuring Biscuit and Victory!

If it were not for our beloved Biscuit, I am not sure I would have ever started blogging and I know that I would not have started my long-term photography project, for which Biscuit and Victory are my inspiration.  Biscuit was such a blessing and gift to us.  Biscuit permanently changed our lives in so many ways and Biscuit sent us our precious little rescue sheltie, Victory, who we adore and love, shown below!  And, coincidentally, Victory is as old as the blog!

Thank you for reading this blog for however long or short you have been visiting!  I truly enjoy creating content for the blog to share with all of you, and I hope that you continue to enjoy visiting and reading the blog!

Thank you so very much!  xoxo


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2016 Happiness Jar

This post is a little late this year.  However, starting at the beginning of 2014, I decided to make and keep a happiness jar throughout 2014.  In 2015, I kept a larger happiness jar, which I filled up during 2015, pictured below, which I sifted through after the Holidays.  It is nice to have the ability to reflect upon the past year through tiny pieces and snippets of paper.  

This year, I bought an even larger mason jar for my happiness jar in 2016, shown below.  At the beginning of January this year, I started to write down at least one happy/grateful sentiment/moment at the end of each day and place it in my new jar in order to create and cultivate a way to remember snippets from each day and to foster more gratitude this year.  It is easy and it only takes a few minutes each day, and there is no simpler or less demanding spiritual practice.  I highly recommend this practice.  I am also still using my wish ball!  

Happy Monday!


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Wading Through A Large Project

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I have been working on my long-term photography project for over three and a half years now, and I am still working on this project and I plan to finish by the end of 2016 — there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel, as they say!  Also, since we have been snowed in the past several days, I have taken advantage of the extra time to work on my project.  Although no project is alike, below are some tips that have helped me keep going on a large and long-term undertaking.  Hopefully, these tips will help you if you are in the midst of working through a large project or if you are considering beginning a large project.

1. Stay Organized: Staying organized is key to getting through any large project.   Without my spreadsheets and lists of everything outstanding to complete, I would literally be lost and I would needlessly waste a lot of time looking up information, etc.  To stay on track, I keep a current updated lists of outstanding tasks in order to have a visual to easily see what is still outstanding.

2. Break Your Project into Sections: It has really helped me to break my project into main parts, which helps me not to feel as overwhelmed, and within those main parts, I have smaller projects/tasks to complete comprising each main part.

3. Set a Work Schedule: I have found it easier to set a work schedule specifically for this project, which helps keep me moving forward.  I set a work schedule, and I do everything possible to protect and guard this time.  Everyone works differently, but I have found setting work hours each week is very helpful to ensure progress is made.

4. Set Target Dates: Due to the nature of my project, I have set general deadlines/target dates.  Sometimes I meet these target dates, and sometime I do not.  However, my main mantra is to keep working each day in order to continue to make progress.  Even minimal and steady progress adds up over time.

5. Back Up Material: When you are working on something for a long duration of time, it is always a smart idea to back up your work.  I back up my work in at least three places to help ensure my work is not lost after spending countless hours creating work.

6. Reviewers: While working on a project for a long period of time, I find that it is helpful to have someone/people you trust to review your work along the way.  I find that it is helpful to receive feedback periodically while working to help improve and/or refine the body of work/idea.

7. Take Breaks: It is helpful to take breaks when needed.  Sometimes there are times where I am too tired or need some time to step away from the work.  These breaks are essential and provide space and help provide perspective once returning to the work.

8. Be Persistent: Even though it is a great undertaking, which takes several years to complete, it is important to keep at it and finish the project.  There are definitely days where I feel burned out and wonder how I will finish, and wonder how it will all come together.  However, no matter what, I always know that I must finish.

9. Be Open: While you are working on a long-term project, the work and direction often changes.  It is therefore important to stay open as these projects take on a life of their own, and this is where the ‘big magic’ happens.

10. Keep the Faith: Having faith is probably the most important component to wading through a long-term project — to work on something for an extended period of time takes faith and trust.  You must have faith to carry you through any large undertaking and you must show up each day and push through and move further than you think that you can go with your work.  At times, this is terrifying, but I have learned to lean into it to get through it and to trust the process…and eventually, the work will be done — the most rewarding part of this process!

“It seems to me that my fear and my creativity are basically conjoined twins — as evidenced by the fact that creativity cannot take a single step forward without fear marching right alongside of it.” –Elizabeth Gilbert

Victory: Photography Project — 81

Beginning in January 2014, I started a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog this year!  My goal is to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories, while capturing moments of our everyday.

We had a long snowy, blizzard weekend!  We are finally dug out after six hours of shoveling over the weekend.  Doug and I are both quite sore.  Victory helped “supervise” while she sat in the trunk of the SUV watching us work, while making sure that no strangers encroached on her territory!  Isn’t she just adorable!  We made our way to a “Blizzard Party” on foot at a neighbor’s house, which was fun!  In a way, it was kind of nice to be snowed in; it was very peaceful and we are getting caught up on some projects along with having a cozy extended weekend!  Although, we are glad to be done shoveling!

A few images from this weekend are shown below!

Happy Monday!


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Victory: Snow Time

Happy Friday!  We are in for a big snow storm beginning later on today through tomorrow.  Doug and I plan to cook some new recipes, watch Neftlix, and get caught up on some projects.  Most of the grocery store’s shelves were bare yesterday, but we managed to get what we needed for the weekend.  Our little Victory has all of her winter gear; however, she would prefer no snow, if she had her way!  Pictured below is our fur girl during one of last year’s snow storms!

Have a great weekend and stay warm and safe!

“The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.”  -Margaret Atwood


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Dogs: Organizing & Designed Indoor Dog Spaces

I love organizing.  I try to keep Victory’s clothes, toys food, and supplements somewhat organized so we don’t waste time looking for something that we need.  These baskets and jars, shown below, help us keep things together in a somewhat organized way!  The  baskets are from Target and Ikea; and the jar is from Target.


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These organizing and storage ideas got me thinking about neat, designed indoor dog spaces that are fully integrated into homes.  Below are some neat ideas, courtesy of Pinterest, to fully integrate your furry family member into your home, while simultaneously creating dog-friendly spaces in your home.  People have even incorporated dog-sized showers into their laundry rooms/mudrooms!  Perhaps in our next home we can create a dog-centric space — I really love the modern dog shower since we are always bathing Victory each month!


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Happy Thursday!

Around Here: January

Winter is really here!  Our walks are much cooler these days.  I do not love winter, as there is much less light during the day, however, I enjoy the changing seasons.  I am using this time to work steadily on my project, which I hope and plan to finish this year!  There is finally some light at the end of this tunnel I have been wading through for some time!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in January!

-continuing to work steadily on my long-term photography project, and one portion of the deliverable remains to be completed!

-celebrated Doug’s recent well-deserved promotion!  Yay!  I am so happy for him.

-working with my Mom to finish planning the final details of my sister’s baby shower!  (I found the most adorable baby shower invitations!)

-helping to plan and coordinate a fun summer family trip together near the water.

-burning candles all over the house!

-enjoying date nights with Doug!

-enjoying cooking with Doug and trying new dinner recipes using our slow cooker.

-still enjoying my yoga class!

-I am reading Sally Mann’s memoir, Hold Still Sally Mann.  It is a fascinating read, and I enjoy learning about the lives of artists I admire.  If you are interested, here is an interesting interview with Sally Mann about her new book.

-started the documentary, Making a Murderer.  (Here is the trailer).

-started the final season of Downton Abbey.

-watched the second season of Transparent.

-enjoying playing Mexican Train Dominos.  (Doug is really good at this game!)

-started using my new Fitbit and I’m aiming for 10,000 steps per day, and making this goal most days.

-finished outlining some of my personal goals for 2106.

-decided on my one little word for the year for 2016.

-finished making my Happiness Jar for 2016.

-continuing to make more progress on our ever-growing to do list!

Victory is pictured below during our 2.6 mile walk together at a park near our house this past weekend!  She was a trooper and she walked the entire way!  We are making progress!

Happy Tuesday!



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