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How Love Can Change Everything…

Since it is Heart Day week, I thought it would be appropriate to share how love not only changed one little dog’s life for our fur girl, Victory, but our lives have changed, too.  Shown in the image below, you can see the distinct physical differences that Victory has undergone in a little over three years.  The image on the left is the image that was sent to us from the rescue’s foster mom (who cared for Victory) just prior to us meeting Victory and taking her home after traveling to Michigan.  The image on the right was taken this past Valentine’s Day, earlier this week!  Victory has come into her own and she has a beautiful fur coat.  (We were not sure if she would have a thick fur coat come in when we initially met her).  To name a few other changes — she has more confidence; she explores her surroundings more; and she enjoys play time.  We once thought we could never love another sheltie as much as our Biscuit, but we found love again with our Victory, an integral family member who is included in our activities as much as possible, including our vacations!  Victory is also extremely loyal through the inevitable myriad of twists and turns in life.  Most of all, Doug and I are the beneficiaries of unconditional love from Victory, for which we are forever grateful.

Spring is around the corner, and it could be a perfect time to consider rescuing and adopting a furry companion, if that is at all on your radar.  We highly recommend it.  Your life will forever positively be changed by helping an animal who really needs love and care.  Love can change everything.

Happy Friday!

 

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Happy Heart Day!

We can hardly believe that today is already our fourth Valentine’s Day with our little love, Victory; for Doug and I, it is our 13th Valentine’s Day together, but who is counting!  I am most grateful for my loves, Doug and Victory, who I am lucky enough to share my life with and who make life so much sweeter!  We celebrated Valentine’s Day, early, this past Saturday, and Victory got a new stuffie friend, a monkey, shown below!  In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Doug and I went to one of our favorite restaurants in Northern Virginia, where we had one of our first dates.  Doug was kind enough to bring a ‘doggie bag’ home for our fur girl, Victory, who gobbled up every morsel of her prime rib in no time!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” —George Sand

 

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Fun Friday: Lifting Spirits

It’s Friday!  Recently, we had a friend and a colleague both undergoing treatments and ‘Dr. Victory‘ sent along creative get well wishes, shown below, which helped lift spirits and bring smiles, during an otherwise very difficult time.  So, if there is anyone reading this that does not feel well, ‘Dr. Victory’ wishes you a speedy recovery!

To create this image — we repurposed Doug’s 2016 Halloween costume; purchased a large get well card; bought some multi-colored balloons; and, most importantly, we had a very cooperative and patient fur girl, Victory!

Happy Friday!

 

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Thoughts from Artists

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I have been working steadily to finally finish my long-term photography project, and I found the quotes shown below very thoughtful and timely.  Hopefully, it provides you with some insights as well!

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” —Pablo Picasso

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” —Diane Arbus

“An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s.” —J.D. Salinger

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are.  If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” —Oscar Wilde

“You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have.” —Maya Angelou

“Creativity takes courage.” —Henri Matisse

“It’s always been my philosophy to try to make art out of the everyday and ordinary…it never occurred to me to leave home to make art.” —Sally Mann

“An artist is always beginning.  Any work of art which is not a beginning, and invention, a discovery is of little worth.” —Ezra Pound

“The artist’s world is limitless.  It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.  It is always on his doorstep.” —Paul Strand

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” —Edward Hopper

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” —Edgar Degas

“Photography is an art of observation.  It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” —Elliott Erwitt

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it.  While they are deciding, make even more art.” —Andy Warhol

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.  So do it.” —Kurt Vonnegut

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” —Ansel Adams

“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” —Salvador Dali

“If you are willing to do something that might not work, you’re closer to being an artist.” —Seth Godin

“Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion…the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.” —Dorothea Lange

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” —Emile Zola

“One must go on working silently, trusting the result to the future.” —Vincent Van Gogh

Five Year Blogiversary!

Today is the five-year Blogiversary of www.biscuitsspace.com in conjunction with my photography website.  It is really difficult to believe that five years have already passed by so quickly!  Many things have changed over the past few years, but some things remain the same, fortunately.

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, which is so close to completion, 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 positive 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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Productivity: Finding the Time

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It is already near the end of January.  I have been working on finishing my long-term photography project for what feels like a really long time — almost four years this spring.  I am getting close to finally finishing!  However, the hardest part, for me, is finding enough time to finish this project.  Beginning this year, I have made a few changes, outlined below, which has helped me to complete this endeavor.

1. Identifying 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.

2. Getting up earlier: Several days a week I am waking up one to two hours earlier than usual.  I am most productive in the mornings and this time provides me with a quiet house, fresh eyes, and a clear mind to work before diving into the day.  It has really helped me, so far.

3.  Scheduling regular dedicated work time:  Often, the time escapes us very easily and, before we know it, the day is almost over.  To avoid this, I consistently schedule ‘work time’ devoted to my photography project, and I select times that will not likely have conflicts in order to make the work time possible.  I have found this scheduling really helps keep me on track.

4. Getting plenty of rest: I am able to do my best work when I have had ample rest, especially since this project requires significant concentration and focus.

5. Getting regular exercise: Exercise provides a reset, which is always helpful and, new, unexpected ideas often flow in during these times.

6. Taking breaks: It is helpful to take breaks when needed.  Breaks are essential and provide space and help provide a new perspective once returning to the work.

7. Avoiding interruptions: I have found it helpful to turn off my phone; email; and social media to prevent distractions.  It is amazing how small interruptions are very disruptive to making progress on a project.

8. Saying “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.  While I am trying to finish my project, I have found it is best to limit any additional commitments in order to preserve work time.

9. Being 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.

19. Keeping the Faith: Having faith is probably the most important component to wading through any large endeavor.

“You have extraordinary treasures hidden within you.  Bringing forth those treasures takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion.  We simply do not have time anymore to think so small.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

Alaska: Pet animals’ well-being now considered in court

While custody battles typically treat pet animals as property, H.B. 0147 has set a new precedent in divorce court.  This makes Alaska the first state in the country to require courts to take “into consideration the well-being of the animal” and to explicitly empower judges to assign joint custody of pets.  (This law excludes fish).

According to the recent Washington Post article, the Animal Legal Defense Fund called the well-being provision “groundbreaking and unique.”

Also, according to David Favre, a Michigan State University law professor who specializes in animal law, stated, “For the first time, a state has specifically said that a companion animal has visibility in a divorce proceeding beyond that of property — that the court may award custody on the basis of what is best for the dog, not the human owners.”

The former representative Liz Vazquez and the late representative Max Gruenberg, a Democrat and family lawyer, sponsored the Alaska amendment.

“Our pets are members of our families,” Vazquez, who lost her bid for reelection in November, said in a statement last year.  “We have to remember that we’re sent here to Juneau to represent people; real human beings, many of whom have pets they love as much as their friends and family.”

It is exciting to see the well-being of pet animals being considered in these types of cases, which are life-changing for the pet animals, too.  It will be interesting to see if any other states, in the near future, follow suit.

 

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Around Here: January 2017

Happy January!  We are finally getting back into the swing of things after being away for the Holidays, getting the Holiday decorations put away, and getting back to our ‘normal’ routine.  January is already flying by too quickly!

-continuing to work steadily on my long-term photography project — an image at a time — I am getting so close to finally finishing!

-picked my word for the year!  (Doug also picked his word for 2017: productive).

-reflected upon the last year and wrote my goals for 2017.

-making homemade dinners with Doug, while trying new recipes and old favorite recipes, too.

-enjoying date nights together!

-we are enjoying our new gym, and we are finally feeling back to how we felt before the Holidays!

-finishing and ordering the photo books I made capturing 2008 to the present.  It will be so nice to have many memories in book form.

-finished the third season of The Americans; and began the fourth season of The Americans — a really good series.

-started The Crown, and so far it is pretty good.

-saw Manchester by the Sea, which we enjoyed.

-we can’t wait to see this movie!

-enjoying many snuggles with our fur girl, Victory, who is doing well!

-getting rest and making more time for reading; I enjoyed this book somewhat recently, The Universe Has Your Back.

-listening to podcasts!

-achieveing 10,000 steps most days via my new Fitbit!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!  We are making progress — Doug has been really productive and true to his word for the year!

Happy Wednesday!

 

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Things I Love: Winter 2017

Happy winter!  While this is not necessarily our favorite time of year, we are taking advantage of the time indoors to be productive!

 

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1. Empathy Cards by Emily McDowell  – I love cards and I like sending cards.  Emily McDowell is an illustrator and she has a relatively recent new lines of cards, Empathy Cards, which are perfect to send to a friend or family member experiencing a terrible illness or loss.  Emily is a cancer survivor herself, which was the impetus for creating this line of cards.  So, if you need a card to show your support, when you may not have the words, these are wonderful cards to send.

2. The Universe Has Your Back – I recently read this book by Gabriel Bernstein over the Holiday break, and I really enjoyed it.

3. Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment – I have been using Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment over the past several months.  It works fantastically for chapped lips and for chapped hands.  You can order it here.

4. Cetaphil Lotion — Since it has become colder, I have been hydrating my skin, and this lotion works really well — it does not have a scent and it does not leave an oily residue.  I love it!

5. Celestial Seasonings Green Tea — I have been drinking more hot tea lately and I really love this green tea and it tastes really great with almond milk and honey!

6. Fitbit Charge 2 – Doug gave me a new Fitbit for Christmas, and I love it!  I usually am making 10,000 steps a day!

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Wednesday!

2017 Happiness Jar

Beginning in 2014, I decided to make and keep a happiness jar throughout 2014, inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert, where I first learned about the happiness jar concept.  In 2015, I kept a larger happiness jar, which I filled up during 2015.  In 2016, I used an even larger jar, which I also filled up.

This year, I used a similar sized jar as last year, shown below.  At the beginning of January this year, I began to write down at least one happy/grateful sentiment/moment at the end of each day and placed it in my new jar.  It is an easy practice and it truly helps cultivate more gratitude and create a way to remember snippets from each day.  There is always SOMETHING to put in the jar — even on the most awful days.  It is relatively easy and it only takes a few minutes, if that, each day.  I am also still using my wish ball!

It is also fun at the beginning of each year to pour out the contents of the previous year’s happiness jar and read through and reflect upon the happiest/grateful moments from the previous year.  I highly recommend this practice!

Happy Tuesday!

 

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