"I am alive and kicking"

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen! For your entertainment ...

It is so gorgeous outside, I couldn't resisit a little excursion to a lesser-known nature area on the north end of Mitchell Lake. 
Celia Kelley's Pines is a small trail system through a pine wooded area, rich with history. Celia Kelley helped found it in 1932 in order to better preserve the area around Mitchell Lake, which is a reservoir built in 1928. If you live in or around Mitchell, definitely check this place out. It's so peaceful. 

This sign explains the history of this secluded trail system.
(Photo by Anna Jauhola)
The trail system leads quickly to a small clearing with a couple picnic tables and rocks. It's wonderfully secluded and brings you today's post. 
Purely for your entertainment, I took some self portraits.Okay, so that's not entirely true. I wanted a new headshot and there's no improving this face, so I figured the great outdoors can only distract you with its rugged beauty. 
Below is the final shot I liked the best (with a little bit of editing).

Here's a great senior photo, at age 33, with help from
my notebook and cell phone that propped up the camera.
(Self Portrait by Anna Jauhola)
On a hilarious note, it took a bit of tweaking and moving around and adjusting the camera and settings and so on to get this amazing photograph. First of all, I had to remember how the hell to work the timer. It's not that hard, by the way, I just had to turn one dial. Doi
Then, I had to remember tips I learned from my photographer friend, which took a little more digging in my scrambled brain, but I remembered. 
Below, please enjoy some of my laughable outtakes. And, be careful, the pale glory of my skin may cause the following: Sunburn, eye irritation, uncontrollable giggles, bursts of laughter.

At left, I was just setting up, so I look like a complete idiot. At right, I totally did NOT focus the camera, nor did I even remotely have figured out where it was pointed.
Below: Yeah, I fogot to scale back the zoom. HAHAHA!

Here are two failed attempts at some decent self portraits. The one on the left can give you a great tan, or burn, depending on your skin type.
(In case you're wondering, I did NOT burn in my half hour or so at this park.)

Below, however, is a complete Senior Picture pose that doesn't look entirely horrible. It's a keeper -- for a few good laughs on my off days.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Forgive, but learn

Intent is all well and good, as long as you follow through.
"I intended to do my homework, but I didn't." 
Throughtout life, I've intended to be more understanding, more helpful, more forgiving. It's hard to be any of those things when I often lose sight of anything but the juggling act of doing things for other people and making my family happy.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about ordering a token from MyIntent.org
I received the token late last week, imprinted with my chosen word: 

This token now resides on my keychain. I see it every day, and it keeps me mindful
of letting go of my toxic attitude and remembering I am worth something. (Photo by Anna Jauhola)
Why did I choose this word? 
My life has seemingly been filled with failure after failure, with various people reminding me of these failures in different ways. 

I am my biggest obstacle.

When life doesn't go according to plan, I completely blame myself, which can have negative impacts on those around me. 
In recent years, forgiveness has played a large role in releasing guilt I should never have felt. 
But forgiveness is a lot more difficult than most can imagine, particularly for oneself. I anguish daily for the mistakes I've made in life, rather than focusing on the triumphs and joys I've found in being a mother, a wife and a writer. 
So, my word FORGIVE is to remind myself that I am good enough, I am strong and that everyone makes mistakes. Forgiving those mistakes gives me worth and creates my strength. 
My intent is to make sure the word "forgive" stays in my mind and that I use it often for myself, and for others - for to give ourselves a break from anger and resentment will help create a better world. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What's Your Intent?

On January 18, I blogged about befriending neighbors and briefly mentioned the MyIntent project.
Originally, I was going to write about the project, but couldn't get permission at the time to use a picture of the bracelets the project creates.
Today, I bring you MyIntent.org and the simple jewelry that is bringing people together.

Classic Bracelet
This is a classic bracelet from MyIntent.org. (photo courtesy of MyIntent.org)
According to the MyIntent website, the bracelets are meant as a way to introduce "meaningful conversations and positive energy." Each bracelet is hand-stamped with a word or two, chosen by those who purchase them. Many celebrities have brought this project to the forefront by purchasing bracelets and sharing them on social media, but it is meant for everyone. 
These can be a great catalyst for positive conversation. 
Although it looks like a jewelry company, MyIntent is actually a service project, raising money for various nonprofit organizations
Chris Pan founded MyIntent in 2014. It is based out of Los Angeles. 
When I first found out about the project, I watched a video on Facebook. I immediately sent a request to the contact email to use a picture and didn't hear anything back. So, I kind of forgot about it for the next several weeks, until today when I received a reply! 
The person who replied to my email apologized for not responding earlier and said they would be happy to have me blog about MyIntent. 
They also offered me a gift card along with their apology. 
I was shocked! 
Nevertheless, I plan to use this gift card. 
It would be great to have a constant reminder for what I strive every day, and what has gotten me this far in life. 
I'm not sure just yet what word or words I may choose. But stay tuned for an update shortly. I'll be sure to share with you my bracelet when I receive it!