Happy New Year 2

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Happy New Year

15, 16 and 17

Let me warn you now, any good you see in me is really Christ because there is no good in me except for Him.

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15. I did not set out to do this, but as I looked back on it, I have to say I am impressed with God.  I did stuff for others and required nothing in return.  Atleast once a quarter I donated blood or platelets. It may have been more because sometimes  went when they called. But atleast once a quarter I gave so someone else could benefit.  This year I also reached out to my friends and we raised money for a family that adopted 4 children into their family of five.

16.  I learned to do new things on social media.  I started sharing my art on Instagram. It challenges me to see the world differently and use the things I learn. It makes me tell a story in a few shots.

I.love.twitter. There are some of the most wittiest and clever people I have never met. But there are also some of the most stupidiest. I have found hope and joy in the words of others. I have found laughter that almost stops my breathing. And I relish the moments I can join the fight.  There is absolutely nothing like when twitter goes in on a person. ( If they ever go in on you, shut up. Do not respond you will only feed the fire.) i.love.twitter.

 

17. I took some great photos this year and surpassed my goal. There was a good combination of families, individuals and events.  They all made me look good. Thank you.

Doing 17 things that I had not done before was not easy. Sometimes it was really hard to do things differently or step out of my comfort zone. I had to think about what I was doing because it is easy to do the same things you are comfortable with, but what does that really get you.  What new thing are you learning? How are you stretching your current skill set? Since next year ends in 18, there will be 18 different things on my list. I look forward to what the year brings.

I challenge you to look for 18 new things to do next year. As you accomplish these things, take a photo and share it with us.

Peace and Hairgrease.

11, 12, 13 and 14 of my 17

I attended some functions I have not attended in a while and others I had never attended before. Each experience was unique. So one of the things that make all of these special is that I do not like crowds.

11. I attended a comedy show with some of my favorite comedians. I love spending time with my sister and where ever we go, we laugh. And I learned why it had been almost a decade since I did that. The woman who sat next to me was very drunk and didn’t know who most of the comedians were.  And she was smoking.  Some of the comedians were funny, some were just angry.

 

12. I attended Congressman Marc Vessey’s townhall. I learned a lot about how government works, but the most profound thing I learned was that there were jobs available, but few people who wanted to learn the skill set to do the job. Congressman Vessey explained how there were blue collar jobs available but very few wanted to learn the skillset, so many of those jobs went to international workers who were willing to learn the new skill sets and make up to $100,000 a year because Americans turned them down. The room was packed, standing room only. But many of the folk wanted the government to give them something, they did not want to change how they did business, or move or learn something new. They wanted it the way it always was.

Life changes constantly. We can try to make someone or thing stay stagnant to please us.

 

13.  One of the best things I attended this year was Poets In Autumn. It is a Spoken Word Tour that uses a combination of live and recorded performances. I  loved seeing Jackie Hill Perry live!!! It was so encouraging and fun. I was introduced to this new form of performance and it rocked me. I am inspired!

9 Propel Women

14. This year a good friend invited me to Propel Women with Christine Caine, Beth Moore and Lisa Harper. It was a great blessing. I had never seen Christine Caine or Lisa Harper live.  I loved hearing Harper’s story of the adoption of her daughter. It was powerful. I enjoyed Christine Caine, but it was so great to see Beth Moore live.  It had been years since I seen her live.

 

This year I got to witness many talented people inform, entertain and inspire me. There were some great moments and not so great moments. But it was all a part of the adventure of life.Go live, learn and be inspired.

 

Peace and Hairgrease.

 

8, 9, and 10 of my 17

Here are some more of the things I accomplished in 2017.

8. I learned to create digital art.  This was not easy nor did it come quickly. I changed colors, added images, deleted images and even created some from scratch. More importantly, I learned to look at it as digital art. I worked with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

What I learned here is that you have to create your own path and don’t get side tracked by what other people can do. Do you.

 

9. At first, I was intimidated at the thought of creating light photography.  And my first few experiments did not work out. But, when it did work out, I loved it. Learning to do this photography was a blast. I enjoyed the experimental aspect of of itand trying to get the light to do what I wanted it to do.

 

10. I learned to photography with an Alien Bees Flash Unit.  This flash creates a flash of light that separates a subject from the background making the image very crisp. But the real learning happened when the Alien Bee didn’t work, but I still needed to created portrait studio quality images.  I learned to manipulate the settings on the camera to give almost the same quality of image. It broadened what I could do photographically.

 

I learned a lot in 2017. It made me a better photog and gave me the opportunity to take some amazing photos.  I also added new depth to my art.  If there is something you are really good at, look for some ways, maybe even unconventional, to add depth to it.  It will allow you to look at the world around you with new eyes.

Peace and Hairgrease

More of My 17 in 2017

Here are more of the 17 things I did this year. This time has a lot to do with broadening my artistic perspective. I learned some new things about myself and added some new skill sets.

5.  I learned how to develop black and white film. I have always been in love with the camera, but the journey to developing film was rough.  My fellow students and I used to joke about the chances of actually getting all of your film to develop correctly.   In the process of putting the roll of film on the reel correctly, then putting it in the right chemical in the right order for the correct amount of time always made it iffy about getting specific images. We learned a lesson in how to make due with what you have.  And a bonus was the sulfuric perfume of the chemicals that clung to your clothes for the rest of the day.

6. So the biggest challenge to making prints for me was fighting my aging body. When you reach a point in life where you need light to see, working in a darkroom can be troublesome.  Finding focus in the dark can be a challenge, but it is all so worth it.  I learned to use an enlarger to make prints from film I developed. It was challenging but expanded what I know about images and tone.

7. the easiest part for me was following instructions. I had never taken a drawing class so it was easy for me to listen to the instructor and do as he said. I did not have years of other instructors in my head telling me to do something different.  The hardest part for me was not being able to erase.  I learned how to draw what I saw, not what I thought I saw.  In meeting this challenged, I learned new things about myself and what I could do.

 

Some of these things were never on my list as things to do.  I am glad i got the opportunity to do them because they have opened up new worlds for me.  I see myself as a different type of artist now. It has been powerful.

In 2018 go find you power.

My 17 in 2017

Because of my friend Bridgette Brown, I set out to do 17 things that I have not done before (or in a long long time).  As I tell you of my accomplishments, I will break this up into several days.

1 FPU

1. One of the most profound things I did was attend Dave Ramsey’s class on how to manage your money.  This class changed how I viewed money and how I handle it.  I have watched people do all kinds of crazy things with their money and wondered “Why are they doing that?”  Dave Ramsey changed my perspective on money.  And that is the key. God taught me what He sponsors, He pays for.  If you have to jump through major hoops and you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, don’t sign up for it. Don’t do it. God provides for my needs. Not all the other crap I see that I want. I trust Him.

 

2 For the first time ever, I went to a Mardi Gras parade. With my friends and family, we went to Galveston to experience the parade there. It was an adventure for me as we walked pasted houses decorated for Mardi Gras. Some folks had music playing. It was a party atmosphere I had never experienced before. I also got to take cool photos. (It is also the only time I have been that close to the beach and not gone near the water)

3 Breakfast Klub

3 We had breakfast at the Breakfest Klub in Houston. (Uh yeah, we are foodies. We will travel across the country to eat at a restuarant) But if you have been following me long, you know that.

4 Camera Operator 1

4  At church they moved me to camera operator (during  the live production!).  It is so funny to me because I always remind them, I can’t see if it is in focus or not. (the struggle with growing older is you get much smarter with age, but your body parts start to break down and not function properly.) Who knew a volunteer position would stretch you? I love being a part of that team.

 

As you get ready for 2018, look at the world around you and ask yourself, how can you participate? How will you get better, learn something you never knew or get better at something you used to know.  Make yourself a list and look for those moments when God opens a door for you to step out of your comfort zone.

I promise you, it will be a blast.

 

Peace and Hair Grease.

 

Sometimes the thing you fear the most

is the thing that blesses you the most. I learned many years ago that when that thing you fear the most comes upon you, let it. It is in those moments you meet God in a whole new way.

Let me explain. I had been praying over some things waiting on God’s answer. Writing in my journal and waiting. Some of the strangest struggles I have ever experienced came upon me. Imagine all of the things you feared happening all together at one time. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is where your bible memory verses come in.

When your situation starts to deteriorated, you have to remind yourself of who God is.  You won’t always have access to your bible or the app when Satan starts reminding you how dire your situation is.  You got to know God’s word. Remind yourself of God’s character. He said he would never leave you or forsake you. (Heb 13:5)  He said He knows how to give good gifts (Matt 7:9-11) You must trust what He is giving you is good even though the world and people around you will tell you it is bad.

Because of my struggles this week, I got to spend time meditating on Lecrae’s new album, All Things Work Together. Wow. What an incredible young man and powerful prophet! I love how God speaks to us through vernaculars we understand. I could relate to his need to be “Black Black” and a “prophet who visits the chicken shack.”

God knows me well. He knows what gets my juices pumping and what inspires me. He knows my heart and how to reach it.  As I listen to the words of this album and hear this young man’s story I can’t help but say “God, you are so awesome!”  I can’t do nothing but praise Him.

More than anything, I found this young man’s journey compelling.  He shared his pain and his triumph. His rhymes draw a picture of a real life poured out to Christ.  He is not a fake smile who only wants to talk about Jesus, but a real person who dealt with depression, anger and doubt. And he took it all and ministered to us.  But God told us our sons and daughters would prophesy (Joel 2:28)

What I prayed over for months, He answered in a moment. He taught me through the words of a rap album.  A song said “Crooked sticks draw straight lines.” Sit on that, cause we the stick. We ain’t doing the drawing.

Sit down and let the Lord of the Universe draw. He gives us the grace to take it.

Once You Get You Some Learning

They can’t take it away from you. I learned about art and spent time with aspiring artists.  I learned to draw and process black and white film and create digital art.  It gave me different eyes to look at the world with.

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I don’t know what your 2018 will hold, but I hope you choose to do something that will change your point of view about the world around you. I hope it will help you look at the world though another lense.  I hope you will try to do something you never thought you could do.

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These are some of the 17 things I did this year that are different from what I have done in the past.  Each year of your life, that you are able, you should explore this amazing world that God has placed you in.

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My faith has been stretched in 2017 like it has never been before. I have had some of the best laughs of my life on Twitter. And I learned how to make an incredibly good grilled cheese sandwich.

It doesn’t cost anything to live life. Go

Peace and Hairgrease.