Something to SEA: Blizzard Day Clicks for 1/23/2016

20160123 Blog Photo New Fonts

Yeah, we’re in the thick of a nasty blizzard here in New Jersey.  It’s a terrible storm, and with the full moon, tides are expected to be much higher than normal.  I’m stocked with enough food and supplies, but am worried about what will happen if we lose electricity…it’s definitely getting wonky, and many friends have already lost power so I’m lucky right now.  The wind is picking up and I’ll admit I am concerned.  However, everything is out of my hands, and I am praying that we (and my family & friends) are safe throughout the storm’s wrath.

Here are some interesting links I found this week.  If you are in the Northeast and have electricity, today’s the perfect day to check them out.

Snowstorms in the 70s vs. Today – perfect post for today by Victoria Fedden

Message in a Bottle Dropped Off Jersey Shore Washes Up Across the Ocean – what a journey

Soul To Soul:  Celebration and Enlightenment – from Stephane Watanabe, “The Girl Who Knows”

It’s Your World Now (Tribute to Glenn Frey)

All The Things that Softly Kill Me – excellent post by Danielle LaPorte

Unforgettable Kindness Leads to a Dream Come True at Walt Disney Resort

Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl – short film by Danny Cook – a must see

5 Tips to Get Past the Post Holiday Blues – by Dani Dipirro

On Generosity – by Elizabeth Gilbert

That’s all for today, friends!  Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

Jill

Sea My Writing Space and Habits

20151109 Beach Photo

Lately I’ve been finding time to write more than ever:  during my breaks in the day, during the morning, at night…just a little bit every time makes a world of difference.

Typically, I like to handwrite in my notebooks and journals. However, I am also a wicked fast typist and sometimes my fingers can move faster than my brain. I enjoy the functionality of my iPhone, but always hated typing on it because the keyboard was too small.

However, that all changed one day last month when I watched a student typing right into her Google Docs app on her iPhone with a wireless, Bluetooth keyboard. I knew about wireless keyboards that were compatible with an iPad, but I never even considered that one might be compatible with an iPhone.  After doing some research, I purchased one for $15.99 on Amazon (Anker Ultra Compact Bluetooth Keyboard).  It uses two AAA batteries, which should last for over 200,000 hours according to the paperwork that accompanied the keyboard.

Well,  I’ve only had the keyboard for about two weeks, and it has already changed my approach to writing and saved me chunks of time.

I can now use my phone in the way I would use an iPad or a computer. The benefits about using my phone versus an iPad or computer is that it is more portable, has enough data, and I can use it anywhere. The keyboard is small enough to fit into my purse, yet large enough to be functional.  The feel of the keys under my fingers as I type is natural and soothing.

And can I say again that I can use it ANYWHERE!  I no longer have to struggle with fumbling fingers on the iPhone keyboard while my brain is racing away with ideas.

What a find!  I am writing this post using the keyboard, and what used to take me an hour on my iPhone now took me only 10 minutes.

As far as my writing space goes, I dream of having a writing room someday, but that day is not today nor in the near future.  I’m comfortable writing pretty much anywhere, but I prefer to be alone, if possible.  Depending on my mood, sometimes I will listen to music, and sometimes I’ll just write in complete silence.

One of my favorite places to write is at the beach.  Again, I prefer to be alone, and I’ll sit away from other beachgoers.  The only problem with writing at the beach is that I am easily distracted:  I’ll end up watching the waves, the surfers, the birds.  Usually I reserve beach writing for simple journal entries, not serious writing, because I know that I’ll soon find myself wandering in search of a piece of sea glass or a seashell.

What do I like to write about?  That depends on many different things.  Sometimes I am lost for ideas, sometimes I have too many ideas.  I’d love to hear YOUR ideas about topics I should write about.  What do you think?  Please consider filling out the form below to let me know.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

 

Something to SEA: A New Direction for Me

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

This week, I finally did it.  After hemming and hawing, weighing the pros and the cons, discussing it with treasured friends and family, I finally took action to alter the direction of my life, and I couldn’t be more relieved.

I spent almost 8 years as a part-time photographer, shooting weddings, portraits, events, parties, and more.  I always loved taking photographs, and I thought that the natural step was to take the plunge and go professional.  I had a good eye and people told me I was good, so why not?

I didn’t mind in the least giving up my weekends to document major events in the lives of my clients.  When I would get a new booking, I would be elated and share my joy with friends and family.  Sometimes there were over 4,000 images from a job to edit, yet I was excited while editing each and every one with care.

I thought I could do it all, while holding down a full time job as an educator (and with Lupus and Fibromyalgia in the mix, too).  I bought backdrops and lights.  I made sample cards and albums.  I joined professional associations and went to conferences because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.

And I did do it all, for a while.

But only for a while.

However, what nobody saw was how “photography” actually changed me for the worse.

First of all, I did not care for the business end of it.  I quickly learned that while I might have a good eye, I did not have the persona of a savvy businesswoman…and if you are a savvy businesswoman or man, may I say that I admire you!  My ethics and morals came before the prices I charged, and I always put my client before my profit, no matter what I had to give up.  Believe me, I know what other photographers charged for their work, but I could never bring myself to that level.  Perhaps it was because I didn’t feel worthy, or that my work was good enough.  Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter now.

Secondly, it became more and more difficult for me to properly do the job of a photographer because of my health.  What most people don’t know is that after every wedding I shot, I was laid up for two or three days afterwards and could hardly walk.  The sudden increase in activity, the stress, the long hours on my feet triggered my Lupus and Fibromyalgia symptoms terribly.  Thankfully, my health never resulted in me having to cancel a gig, and I always let my clients know of my condition and what Plan B was beforehand.  Even an hour long beach portrait session took a physical toll on my body.  Exhaustion, headaches, and leg pain are the norm on a good day, let alone on a day when I have extra activity.

I began to realize the sacrifices I was making in order to record someone else’s life events, and I no longer wanted to compromise my health for someone else.  I no longer wanted to miss my family events to photograph someone else’s family event.  I wanted to live my own life, not document other’s lives.

Additionally, as the list of professional responsibilities as an educator has exponentially grown over the past few years, I had less and less time each year to not only accept photography gigs, but also to edit the photos, design albums, market my services, attend trade shows, and more.  I could not keep up with other area photographers who were able to pursue photography as their only career:  their marketing, their equipment, their editing, their studios were always superior because they had the TIME to dedicate to their craft, time which I did not have.

The personal frustrations of turning a loved hobby into a career, at times, resulted in me actually hating photography, something I never confessed before now.  But it wasn’t photography that I hated; it wasn’t putting the view finder up to my eye and capturing what I saw.  Instead, it was everything else having to do with the “photography” end of it.

And I gave into that hated and put my camera down for a long time when it came to taking pictures of people I care about, or of my own life events.  And at what cost?  Not having my own photos of, say, my father and I at Thanksgiving, or my father in law and I at Easter…photographs that can never be taken again because both passed away last year.

I hate that I let that hatred affect my life.  I hate that instead of real pictures, I have to rely on mental photographs of many people I love and care about who have passed on.

This week, like I said, I finally took action.  First, I deactivated my portfolio site, which hasn’t made a sale in over 3 years.  I cannot not justify paying a pretty hefty yearly fee in case someone might want to buy one of my photos for cheap.  Additionally, I deactivated the url address I used for my business.  Again, no hits in a few years, so no justification to keep it.

It was time for me to do this. And as I read both cancellation confirmation emails, I was filled with reassurance and contentment.

I am eternally grateful for the clients who put their trust in me to document their weddings, their milestones, and their events.  Words cannot express how flattered I am that you thought my work was good enough for you. I am who I am today because of all of you.  YOU are what brought me to this epiphany.

Today, I am MORE than just a photographer. And “photographer” is no longer my sole identity.

I will still photograph school events and get excited when, for instance, I capture a soccer player mid-air with a soccer ball pressed up against his head, the moment a baseball player makes impact with the baseball while swinging, or a cheerleader in a perfect layout more than two stories up in the air.

I will still educate my students about photography and techniques they can use to capture similar images.

I will still photograph my niece and nephews, from being silly and selfies to milestones and card-worthy portraits.

I will still take photographs of where I go, who I am with, and what I see.

I will still share my photographs with you.

Not because I am a photographer.

But because I love photography.

And I will photograph and document MY life as I live it:  MY travels.  MY celebrations.  MY sorrows.  MY days.  MY sights.  MY memories.

MY LIFE on MY TERMS.

What a sigh of relief.

20151106 Quote

 

 

 

 

Something to SEA: My Choice is To Write

In an effort to write more, especially here at SoulSEAker, I’m participating in a writing challenge.  My goal is to publish something every day based upon the given prompt that I receive via email.

As Elizabeth Gilbert writes about in “Big Magic,” I have to find the time to write, even if I have to sneak away for a few moments, like two lovers do.  They find the time, somehow, to be with each other, and I am now making it my choice to find time every day to write something.

Ironically enough, today’s prompt is to write a response to one of six words.  CHOICE is one of them.  Dedicating myself to writing every day is my choice.  I choose to let the day’s to do list sit idly for a while and energize my creativity by writing.  Even if nobody reads what I write, I am still encouraged and satisfied that I wrote.

I’ve had such a spark of inspiration for writing lately.  Not only here, with my blog entries, but in my journals, in some projects, and in my planner.  I have written more in the past week than I have in a very long time.  And there’s still the same hours in the day as before, when I couldn’t find the time to write.  Now I have found it because I CHOOSE to find it.  And what a difference that choice has made.

Another one of the six words for today was REGRET.  I almost chose to respond to that word instead.  However, after thinking it over, I changed my choice.  Someday, I’ll be ready to write about regret, but that’s not my choice today.

Thank you for sticking it out with me and for following me along my journey as I “seak” my soul.  Definitely, to be continued…

Something to Sea: Why I Write

IMG_1455

Prompt: Why do I write?

I write because I have always been very good at putting words together, whether for an assignment, a project, a diary, a hobby, or for professional or personal reasons.

Usually I have many different journals, diaries, and notebooks going at once, both written and typed, of all different types of writing: lists, dreams, memories, ideas, favorite quotes, and more.

A main reason why I write is to remember. As I get older, my memory isn’t what it used to be.  As such, I try to put what I want to remember into words. Photographs also help me remember, but words are different. Looking back, I’m glad I wrote about important times in my life, whether joyful or sorrowful. It’s great to relive the day my niece was born. It’s heartbreaking to relive the day my brother in law died. I’m able to relive these moments because I documented these events with my words.

Another reason why I write is to share my experiences with others. For so long, I thought I was alone in going through different times of trial. However, I’ve learned that many others have gone through the same trials and overcome similar obstacles. Just as some of my favorite writers have inspired, encouraged, and comforted me, I hope that my words will inspire, encourage, and comfort someone else.

Writing is important to me, and the more that I practice, the better I get. I hope that, next year at this time, I look at what I am writing right now and see improvement, while enjoying the memory of sitting here in the library with the sun shining through the window.