Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Seeking Inspiration: Perspective

copyright ANTILIMIT
Several months ago I was using StumbleUpon and found a website titled ANTILIMIT. The slogan of this website is 'anything worth seeing.'

As you may very well know, I absolutely love photography. I not only love beautiful photographs, I love being the photographer! Being behind the lens of a camera can provide a very different perspective on an event or location that you can only really understand through experience.

Fortunately, photography is an amazing way to share that experience ... all you need to do is develop the photograph you took to show others the uniqueness that you saw while behind the lens.

It is not always so easy to share our perspectives with one another. It is commonly hard to accept the perspectives of those around us. Certainly how we view things is the only accurate way, right? Sadly, you are quite mistaken if you still regularly think this way. The good news is that perspective is something that can be learned by practice.

Take a look at ANTILIMIT. These photographs are absolutely stunning. I could look through them for hours, and possibly go back through them again!

What could possibly be so stunning about them?

  1. They are photos of the mundane
    Daily life can be quite boring, don't you think? People walking near you in a bustling city, old cars rusting away in a neighbor's rural field, weeds growing in someone's unkempt lawn ... how could these possibly be beautiful?
  2. They are at interesting angles
    How often do you tilt your head when analyzing something? It's a pretty common thing to do. It may even be a way to help us focus (as it is common when listening intently to someone).
    A better question is: how often do you tilt your head on a normal day? Odds are that you rarely utilize this unique form of focus and analysis on a regular basis. Is that something you should be okay with?
  3. Color captures the imagination
    Some are black and white. Most have glowing whites and strong contrast. Colors are altered to seem unreal and beautiful. Color and b/w and sepia are mixed together to create art.
These photographs display an intentional viewing of the world through the lens of art rather than mere reality.

Have some fun today looking at the world from a different angle. (No, that doesn't mean you have to walk around on your hands ... but if you can, that's amazing!) Paint a picture, write a poem, make a photograph. Enjoy the beauty of the mundane, and remember that God gave you these simple blessings.


In what ways have you tried to see the world differently? What do you think you have learned?
Did you make any art or write anything down while learning to look with new eyes? Please share! Either leave a comment below or email me through my Profile page.

Monday, May 30, 2011

To Honor a Memory

copyright Canon23 - Dreamstime
Today is a day to stop and remember. To set aside work and worries and troubles, and simply remember.

Today is Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is a national holiday intended to honor and remember the men and women who died in the service of our nation. This holiday was originally called Decoration Day, possibly in acknowledgement of the women who decorated graves of soldiers prior to the end of the Civil War. Throughout the world, the poppy has become a symbol of remembering the dead, and is often sold on or near Memorial Day (or other similar days of remembrance in other countries) in an effort to raise money for those families who were widowed and orphaned through such losses.

In December of 2000, a resolution was passed called the National Moment of Remembrance. This resolution requests that all Americans take a moment of silence for remembrance at 3PM local time on Memorial Day. This silence is intended both to honor the soldiers who died in service and be reminded of the true purpose of Memorial Day (which is not, in fact, to allow you a day off of work).

More information on Memorial Day can be found here.

If you see someone selling poppies today, take a moment to remember it's meaning. Are you willing to spare some change to help a family who has lost someone they love?

As you pause today to remember the sacrifice made by these men and women and their families, I would also like to encourage you to remember the sacrifice made by your Creator. He loves you, He died for you, and He lives so that you may also live. Take some time today to be thankful.

Want to do more to help others? Visit my Etsy shop or read this article to learn about one way.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Some Simple Joys

Here is another wonderful fact about me, your amazing blog writer!

I love to read!

Even if you are my friend, you might not know that fact. Sadly, I haven't had time to leisure read in over four years! (okay, so I've shoved a few books in there by speed-reading, but that's not the same!)

For me, reading can be a wonderful way to escape from the world and unwind. There are so many stressful parts of our daily lives that it's hard enough to break away for time to eat, sleep, and maybe even hold a conversation. Sitting down for an hour or more at a time just to read a book? Well, that's just getting ridiculous!

I'm serious! When was the last time you felt like you had a solid hour of your own? To do whatever you might please? To ignore the pressures of life and simply smile?

If it was recent, then I want you to take a moment and reflect on your life. God has truly blessed you with opportunities for a mere hour of peace. I hope in the days to come you remember to be thankful for those!

I am so excited to have more time to myself now that I have graduated from college. Sure, I need to job-search and cook for myself, and I can't be entirely selfish because I have a family to love and cherish (and a wedding to plan!), but I definitely feel a release in pressure and stress.

The type of reading I did in school just wasn't the same as the relaxing leisure reading I remember having during all of my summers leading up to college. To curl up in a chair for hours on end, with the sun streaming in through the window; or laying outside under the shade a tree with a book that transported me to another world! This is the kind of reading I truly love!

If I've enticed you to set aside some of your day for the joy of reading, you should definitely check out this website. If the online format of book-reading isn't your cup of tea (it's not my preference, either) and you have some time to browse around as well as read, I'd encourage you to visit your local library. It's amazing what treasures you can find!

Have a fun day reading!

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants to read a book. ~ G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Helping the Homeless: Rebuilding Haiti

posted on the Circle of Blue website: 01/28/2010

Author's Note: This post was supposed to be published on Thursday, May 12, 2011. Due to a technical error on my part (and the hectic life of a newly-graduated woman who is also planning a wedding), it is just now being posted.
Sorry for the delay!

One year and four months ago, on January 12, 2010, a massive earthquake turned Haiti into a pile of rubble. For months, people lived in increasing poverty, sleeping under tarps and doing their best to stay safe at night. They searched for survivors all day long, and cries of distress covered the streets. Many, many lives were lost.

Now, over a year gone by, little progress can be seen. They have given up on searching for survivors, but they are living in the midst of rubble in the depths of poverty. Haiti is considered 'one of the poorest and least developed countries of the world,' and as of April 4, 2011, reconstruction of the capital, Port-au-Prince, had barely begun. That's only one month ago.

To this day, millions of Haitians live under tents, surrounded by the rubble of buildings and roads that were hardly well-built to begin with.

There are many groups who are seeking donations so they might help relieve Haiti of many of their struggles. These include rebuilding roads and structures, providing long-term medical care, and offering humanitarian assistance. The NetworkForGood is considered a secure site for donation, and even allows you to choose the individual group you want your donation to go towards.

Remember: even $10 can help save someone's life.

Do know of a cause or charity that you would like to see featured? Donating of time, money, food, clothes, talents, etc. are all ways that we can show our love to the world as Godly men and women.

Want to do more? Check out my Etsy shop! All of the profits are donated directly TheStorehouse.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Seeking the Inspirations Around You

An adorable baby squirrel!

This week has certainly started out rather fun! Without school in the way, so many more things can be accomplished...

This last Monday I spent about an hour outside, sitting as still as possible, clutching my camera in my hand. By taking my seat I had scared off plenty of birds, a baby rabbit and two baby squirrels. What fun to wait for them to come back, and simply enjoy the beauty of the birds chirping while I waited!

As I once mentioned before, I absolutely love photography! Mostly of beautiful flowers, but pretty much anything will do. For whatever reason I have yet to understand, I find it to be so much fun!

Especially when those adorable baby squirrels meandered back! Sadly, I don't think I captured them very well with my camera; they were so fast! The experience, however, was well worth the wait, as I was able to enjoy watching them scamper about and dart past me up a tree! (So cute!!)

Those adorable squirrels, as well as the beautiful work of Vladimir Kush, have inspired me once again to try my hand at painting! Unfortunately, I don't have access to those materials right now, so we shall see if the inspiration still exists by the time I do have access. Until then, it is so fun and enjoyable to think of all the things I would love to paint!

What things have you been able to do this week? Certainly, life does not always seem very enjoyable, but there are always little things that we can find to brighten our day! (like adorable baby squirrels!)

I would encourage you to take some time today to enjoy the little things. I challenge you to make a list of five things you saw or experienced today that brought a smile to your face, and maybe even inspiration to your thoughts. Five is not that large of a number – I know you can do it!

How have you been inspired this week? I would love to read of your inspiration, and to see what you created through it! Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or send me an email!

Some inspiring things you can be looking for:
  • Smiles
  • Flowers
  • Adorable animals
  • A stranger's kindness
  • A few moments of silence during a busy day

There are so many more! Add to this (rather short) list in the comments below. :-)

Enjoy being inspired!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Your Mother is Beautiful

Discovering the essence of beauty...

Happy Mother's Day!
(Yes, I know I'm a little late.)

To all of the mothers out there, thank you for bearing the burden of giving birth to your children. Thank you for the times you have kissed bruised knees, given free hugs, and shown how much you care. Thank you for giving love even when life gets rough.

'Thank you' to my own mother, for the example she has given me of a patient, Godly woman.

Did you miss Mother's Day? Send your mother a loving e-card, and help other mothers around the world at the same time.

There are multitudes of women around the world who lovingly give of themselves to make others' lives more enjoyable. They give until they are spent, and then give some more.
How many of these women, however, truly believe that they are loved?
How easily can that simple thought be forgotten?

For one, the thought of being loved is not simple. For many women, to be loved is to be found beautiful.
I am not talking about physical beauty, although that certainly is a part of the definition.
In general, women desire to be beautiful in a sense that encompasses their entire being. We desire to be seen in that way by everyone around us.
We want to be beautiful.

A few days ago I had a slumber party with a few of my close friends (all women, of course). They are a part of my accountability group, so we talked about everything going on in our lives before diving into a chick flick.

For myself, I am in the process of planning a wedding, and just went through the crazy week called 'finals' where all of my projects for the college semester were due, along with plenty of tests to take. Needless to say, I was a little stressed. I started talking about some of my fears of the future. The pretty common ones that often arise, that is.
Will I be a good wife? What if I become a burden? What if the wedding is a bust and I let everyone down?
Certainly, these questions are pretty ridiculously. My fiance himself (he's so kind!) has already decided I would be a good wife: hello, he asked me to marry him! And he loves me with all that he knows how, so my problems could never outweigh his love. And the wedding could only be a bust if we somehow didn't manage to get married ... since that's the only truly important part of the entire day.

So, why do these thoughts even arise?

One of my lovely friends nailed the problem right on the head by asking a pretty simple question.
Do you think you are beautiful?
To be honest, right then I couldn't really answer. Mostly because the answer is both no and yes at the same time. Often, like many women, I don't consider myself beautiful. However, God has made me beautiful: which plays into why women desire to be found beautiful!
So, I know I'm beautiful, but I just don't see it.
Fortunately, many people around me do see it, and they have been so kind as to tell me so.

However, not every woman is so fortunate to have people around her that mirror her beauty back to her.
Not every woman has someone who stands behind her and tells her the truth: You are beautiful.
Pure and simple.

Yet not simple at the same time.

Take some time today to tell a woman the truth: that she is, and always will be, purely beautiful.
Then watch her face light up with a smile.
It is always amazing how the simplest things can change someones life for the better.

Please be aware that not all women are immediately willing to receive these words. Many people have used such words to abuse the hearts of women, leaving them suspicious of such truth. Be kind in your approach, and do your best to not appear conniving or otherwise distrustful. Thank you for your desire to help the women around you learn to love themselves, and to see their beauty through God's eyes!

Did you share these words with someone today? I would love to read your story! Please leave a comment below or send me an email.

Have a blessed Monday!
I would love to start selling prints of my photos. If you are interested in any that you have seen, or would like to see more, please email me! (You can find my email on my Blogger profile page.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Easing into May

A sunset mixed within the beauty of a flower...

It's three days into May, and a lot of things have happened!

For me personally, I am on my 'finals week' of college, where I have plenty of tests to take, essays to finish, and packing to accomplish (and yes, I haven't finished yet!). Each day I grow more excited about graduation, getting to see my family and my fiance again, and getting ever closer to start my life as a 'college graduate.' A part of me dreads how many friends I have to say good-bye to, knowing fully that there will be few opportunities to visit with them again. However, God is pulling my heart in the excitement of everything that is changing around me! He is making everything so beautiful!

What new things have happened in your life? The start of each new month is an opportunity to remember the ways that God promises to renew our hearts - and our lives!

I would like to encourage you to take some time over the next few days and really evaluate what God has been doing in your life. How has He been growing you? What miracles has He allowed you to witness? (and were there any that you forgot to notice and rejoice over?)

Even the littlest of miracles can be an amazing blessing from God.

Enjoy your May!