3 x 3 Thursday & DIY Photo Display

3 x 3 heart leaves

I am going to turn things upside down here and start with a song.  And, deliver it in 3 flavors.  It’s like 3 for the price of one.  Except the suggestion is free, as always.  I recommend sampling the 2 Cellos song rooted in these lyrics first:

I’ve been roaming around,
Always looking down

at all I see…

use someday

Play the original, angelic or complex rendition and tell me which one wins the honor of your favorite.  Likely it will be three-way tie.  The Jansen cut is like a cupcake, all sweet and dreamy; while the 2 Cellos literally transform melody to ballet.  The Kings simply “own” the song and today when I listened to it, it was as if the song provided a portal to where my memories live.  I was transported to a long-ago class reunion where I was laughing with my friend Julie.

 –  –  -

In my last post I mentioned our recent visit to Photoville in Brooklyn.  Please stick around for the 3 things I didn’t have time to tell you about in my last post.

#1.) I feel in love, love, love with a photo.  I found it in the Instagram exhibit.  A little background…

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Source:  @Shineonyoucraydiamond via Instagram photo featured in Photoville

Source: @Shineonyoucraydiamond via Instagram photo featured in Photoville

Thank you @shineonyoucraydiamond.  Your photos are a pure joy.

#2.) I met photographer Tara Israel!  She appears in the photo below, far right, as she explained her photos to me!!!

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Doug Kuntz and Tara Israel photos featured at Photoville, 2014.

Doug Kuntz and Tara Israel’s “then and now” photos were featured in the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Stories exhibit.  (Don’t you love the title?)  It was ebb and flow:  Doug Kuntz’s  photos from 30 years ago sat next to Tara Israel’s current images.  The photos depict decades on the water with same subject matter: Long Island fisherman.

#3.) I found the diverse mix of methods for displaying photos inspiring.  The Faces of the Ferry exhibit motivated me to come home and try to create a little gallery of my own.

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Faces of the Ferry

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I started by printing 3 of my photos at Office Max (11 x 17 in black and white).  I also picked up a few supplies at Home Depot and found that the metal straps cost less than the super magnets ($4).  I added a little spray paint to the metal strips but mostly this was a light assembly project.

photoville inspired project

Put it all together and wallah…  a new method for displaying photos on a red blank wall in my house.  I can swap out the photos easily and for once in my life I didn’t use a hammer or nails.  It also enabled me to move a few more photos from my Mac to my life.  Try this inexpensive project and send me a message if you have questions!

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- – -

I will leave you with a bowl of accidental philosophy.  Think of it as 3 cups of wisdom, courtesy of David Millar’s sentiments on creativity.

Like a wind filtering through the trees,
it awakens one to an unknown awareness.
Left alone, it grows with abundance,
to analyze it suffocates its beauty.
 
It is not a conscious effort,
but an inspiration from afar.
Without love it is impossible,
with love it is immovable.
 
It is not the sum of one’s experiences,
but a leap of consciousness.
Without it there is no vision,
with it there is wonder.
To evolve we must harness it
because our lives depend on it.

Except, I can’t leave you just yet.  I have to tell you about the Chinese version of 3 because it is simply beautiful.  It’s pronounced as san but cleverly reads as 三.

You are once, twice, three times my favorite if you made it to this last sentence.

xo xo xo

Wanderlust: 10 Manhattan Moments, Version 2

wanderlust defined quote ordinary creativeIn a seize-the-weekend decision, we landed in New York last week.  I am all about intention (it is my word of the year in case I haven’t mentioned it lately) so I seriously packed a mission statement and  I shared it with the family.  You can read it below…

advenuture quote ordinary creative

Last year I shared my Top 10 Most Beloved NYC Moments list.  I am recycling the idea because of course, when in the city of David Letterman’s studio, it feels appropriate.  Please be patient and lower your humor expectations.  I didn’t fall while running in Central Park like last year and I still haven’t exactly mastered proper sarcasm.

Top 10 Manhattan Moments, Version #2

#10.)  The deep history of faith in NYC always fascinates me.  It seems there are many treasured hubs of sacred peace in the big city.  And, they welcome you to step inside.

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#9.) I love what unfolds as you walk the grid.  We walked everywhere but on one specific jaunt we trekked from Soho to Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Our route passed an elaborate photo shoot focusing on a very tall model wearing a stylish pink winter coat (it was 79 degrees).  We also saw a suitcase commercial being filmed and talked to several lovely locals.

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#8.)  Photoville! It was described in Time Out Magazine as one of the top five things to do in the city.  My enthusiasm #8 just might scare you.  I may not continue with the countdown. Take a peak…

Artist:  Ian Teh

Artist: Ian Teh

In case you haven’t heard of Photoville, it is a temporary pop-up photo exhibition (it ended on 9.28 but will be back next September). It included presentations, interactive workshops, and multimedia projections.  It’s cleverly based amid shipping containers on Pier #5.  Below is Instagram’s a giant floor to ceiling photo scroll, curated from the global Instagram community.

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My favorite container featured an exhibit titled, The Farmers.

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I am currently working on a project inspired by our visit.  Let me just say, it was a complete experience with gourmet food and well, you know… beverages.

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Brooklyn Brewery

#7.)  I know #8 was all about Photoville, but #7 is all about the view from Photoville.

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The Freedom Tower

#6.) What can I say?

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#5.) We didn’t have time to step into a drama or a comedy or any theatrical venue, but I read up and made a dream list (yes, I am list obsessed and I blame it on my word of the year):  This is Our Youth with Micheal Cera; every play on deck at The Manhattan Theater Club including the current show, The Country House with Blythe Danner, and The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper.  Oh, and every musical in the heart of Times Square.

#4.) Alan Powell and Caitlin Nicol-Thomas performed a few songs from their new movie, The Song.  They were in NYC for the movie premier and landed on a stage in front of us! They described the movie as a music-based romantic drama about things we all pursue—love and meaning. Can’t wait to see The Song and listen to the movie soundtrack (I just purchased it!).

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#3.) Still fascinated with the High Line, the elevated freight rail line that has been transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side.

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#2.) We did a little shopping at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets (outside the city in Central Valley).  We didn’t manage to step foot in the Tory Burch store.  Seriously, look at this line to gain entry to the store!  We did enjoy Vineyard Vines, Hunter, Burberry, Lululemon, Kate Spade, etc. but we didn’t buy much.  It is huge (200+ stores) and interesting to see many guests pulling suitcases!  I am not sure why.  Maybe to hold all the purchases?   If you have been, please enlighten me on the suitcases.

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#1.)  Best.concert.ever.

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I learned something new about live music: attend the last show of a tour.

“When the curtain falls for one last time and closes out the show.
Marching left, right, left, another step. Keep smiling as you go.”

Moving On lyrics, NEEDTOBREATHE

The “good energy” was completely contagious (see mission statement at the beginning of this post).   An expanded set list, song introductions that included in-depth back stories and musical perfection resulted in an epic concert.  It was awesome to see The Oh Hello’s perform (opening band)!  Serious joy in that theater, both on stage and in the audience.

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The Oh Hello’s and NEEDTOBREATHE; sharing the stage for a couple of tracks!

We met The Oh Hello’s after the show and learned they are from Austin, Texas and are an intentionally independent band.  Did I mention I caught the drumstick at the end of their set?  Now that is funny!

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I will leave you with some song suggestions….

1.) The Song (Awaken Love), Alan Powell, from The Song soundtrack

2.) Falling Like Stars, Caitlin Nicol-Thomas, from The Song soundtrack

3.) The Lament of Eustace, The Oh Hello’s

4.) Eat you Alive, The Oh Hello’s

5.) All NEEDTOBREATHE songs.  Or at the very least this playlist…

Needtobreathe suggested playlist

 I would love to hear about your favorite spots in NYC!

 

A Story… of Hope

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Earlier in the week I shared Jack and Annie’s story in honor of Gold in September: G9.  I ended the post with a plea for action and a request to hear your stories.  Shortly after publishing the G9 post, an email landed in my box from Cameron Von St. James and a spark of serendipity ignited.

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You see, Cameron’s wife, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; an extremely rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Three months after giving birth to a baby girl they named Lily, Heather and Cameron were delivered life-shattering news. Doctors predicted Heather would have 15 months to share with Lily.

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A life-saving surgery that included the removal of one lung altered Heather’s journey.  Today I am honored to introduce you to Heather in recognition of Mesothelioma Awareness Day (9.26).  Since Heather’s recovery (she is one of the few survivors), the Von St. James family has been dedicated to one mission: spreading awareness.

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Heather and Lily Von St. James.  Photo credit of Cameron St. James.

raindrop sunrise mesothelioma

 Did you know?

- The median survival rate for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma is about twelve months.

- Medical experts consider mesothelioma one of the most aggressive of all cancers. The latency period from exposure to onset of symptoms can be up to 50 years.

- Expect to see a higher incidence of mesothelioma diagnoses in the coming years due to exposures caused by national crises such as September 11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy. The Twin Towers contained 400,000 tons of asbestos, which was dispersed in the air of Manhattan when the towers collapsed. Hurricanes also spread large amounts of asbestos, exposing both victims and those helping with clean up.  Source for preceding facts: click here.

Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma cancer.  To learn more, visit Heather’s website, Dying to be Heard.

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If you are a new visitor: welcome!  I love to weave a song suggestion into every post.  Isn’t life one big mix tape (ok, playlist)?  Today’s song of the day: Heaven’s Here On Earth, by Tracy Chapman. The lyrics are poetic and powerful and they just seem like the perfect accompaniment for Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

“I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise
Of ordinary people leading ordinary lives.
Filled with love, compassion, forgiveness and sacrifice
Heaven’s in our hearts.” – Tracy L. Chapman

All photos courtesy of my iPhone during an early morning run last Friday: Sweet Serendipity!  (Actually that is another terrific song by Lee DeWyze).  Oh, and rewind to the photo of the raindrop please.  Did you see the sunrise resting inside that tiny drop?  Delightful outcome without intention (isn’t that the definition of serendipity).

 As always, thanks for tuning in! Embrace 9.26!

Go Gold! 10 Ways to Support G9


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Nature is going gold here in the heart of the Midwest.

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“A child’s giggle is worth one hundred pounds of gold.”
― Amy Leigh Mercree

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Let me introduce you to someone who has been inspiring me since I met her nine years ago.  Perhaps you have heard from her this month (I hope so!).  Please take a peak at this video; I promise it will be the best few minutes you spend online today.

Once you hear Annie’s story you will want to use these final days of September to take action in a way that is meaningful to you.  Let’s rally beside Annie and create a golden bridge of hope.

Annie quote Gold in September

The options for getting involved are endless, but here are a few ideas to support G9.

gold in september

  • Donate to a pediatric cancer charity in your area or consider supporting the I Back Jack Foundation.
  • Whisper (or shout) prayers of resilience for kids affected and then pray for their nurturing families.
  • Follow G9 on Twitter.
  • Pray for the medical teams providing treatment or conducting research.
  • Wear G9 apparel (available at goldinseptember.com or click here).
  • Write your representatives in congress asking for government’s funding of pediatric cancer research.
  • Support or launch a childhood cancer initiative in your backyard. As Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
  • Contact your local Children’s Hospital to inquire about items they might need (books?) or inquire about volunteer opportunities.
  • If you are able, consider donating blood. Or volunteer at a local blood drive.
  • Hop over to the Gold in September Facebook page and “like” it.  If only there were a “love” button!
jack NYC marathon 2006

Jack in 2006 after a dear friend and I ran the NYC marathon in Jack’s honor, raising funds for pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

In case you want to hear more about Jack’s story,

please visit the I Back Jack Foundation website at ibackjack.org.

Jack inspires me to action.  He always will.

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Let’s take action before the calendar flips and we welcome October.

In case you were waiting for it – yes I have a song tip.  Ok two.  Check out B. Reith and his epic track, How the Story Ends and Josh Wilson’s Pushing Back the Dark.

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I would love to hear your story in the comments.

The Heart of Life

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I was testing a new bubble recipe this week for a future project when this lovely bubble perched itself between a few blades of grass.  I ran inside the house to grab my camera and returned to find it waiting for me; shining more brightly with the setting sun.  I couldn’t believe its longevity – which enabled me to shoot about a dozen photos after retrieving my camera.  A splendid creation but of course it burst.  Perhaps a poignant reminder about fragility of life.  I hope you stick with me and find something in this message that resonates for you.

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I moved to the porch where I was typing on my laptop in zen silence.  A chirping bird caught my attention causing me to lift my gaze.  Hovering at eye level, was the most adorable hummingbird I have ever made eye contact with.  Not that I have had the pleasure of this type of encounter before. I told you about my owl eye contact: click here for that story!

My initial reaction was the bird was alerting me to the fact that the hummingbird feeder was down to a quarter of a tank.  I ruled out begging hummingbird and considered instead that it was sacred sign to write today’s message, a jumble of thoughts that have been hovering since April.  The bird triggered a flashback to my sister-in-law, Heather snapping hummingbird photos while in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, circa 2002!  I was in awe at how she captured their elusive wings.  After the hummingbirds, she proceeded to capture one my favorite photos of all time (below).  The photo rests on a candle with haphazard furniture tacks.

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The back story:  my youngest daughter, keen on vanilla ice cream boldly tried what everyone else ordered that day: chocolate.  When her tongue touched the ice cream, a meltdown of remorse ensued.  She tossed the ice cream and I swooped in to try to mitigate the tantrum while my sister-in-law documented the scene.  In the midst of the moment I didn’t know that she captured the chaos.  An authentic moment of sticky fingers and life delivering disappointment!

Heather taught me to photograph hearts in nature (her last name was Hart).  This practice kept me breathing after suddenly losing her at the tender age of 36.  You might recall other posts about her, recently this one, where I describe found hearts as the universe providing a symbolic reminder that love is all there is.

Today would have been a milestone birthday.  In her honor, I gave my collection of heart rocks a home after staining this wooden crate.  I used tacky glue to attach the rocks.  Try this simple method to display one of your collections!

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With every new school year (she taught first grade), I think about the children that are missing out on her wisdom, kindness and heart.  But the silver lining finally started to emerge for me in April.  What is this little epiphany I speak of?  Her legacy continues with all those touched by this heart-hunting practice.  Nearly every week a photo lands in my phone from a friend or family member sharing their found hearts.  And, when kids send me photos, I melt.  Every single time.  Take a peak.

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(photo credit: A.S., age 6)

kristie heart Collage

Photo credits: A.S. age 14, M.S., age 12 and E.S. age 8.  Sister heart-hunters!

Photo credit: N.H., age 13.  He found a yellow M&M!!!

Photo credit: N.H., age 13.                         He found a heart M&M!!!

I will leave you with these lyrics, courtesy of John Mayer.  I especially love the blue lyrics.

The Heart Of Life*

I hate to see you cry
Lying there in that position
There’s things you need to hear
So turn off your tears
And listen

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won’t all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good

You know, it’s nothing new
Bad news never had good timing
Then, circle of your friends
Will defend the silver lining.

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood
But I know the heart of life is good
I know it’s good

Writer(s): John Mayer
Copyright: Sony/ATV Tunes LLC, Specific Harm Music, Goodium Music

If you aren’t familiar with the song listen here.

Seize the Day: Red Rocks

seize the day

On a complete whim last week, I made a carpe diem decision.  I hit the pause button on obligations and deadlines and traveled to the mountains.

IMG_3345Do you spy the tiny heart recessed in the red rock above? Holy serendipity! This rock is appropriately name Creation Rock.

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Red Rocks!

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I followed my heart to Colorado and relished my favorite songs like Let’s Be Still (The Head and the Heart) and Flightless Bird (Iron & Wine) under the most amazing starry night of the summer of 2014.  The sound was pure perfection in Mother Nature’s amphitheater.

I think a mere song can be classified as an artful masterpiece.  Some songs speak my language and pierce my soul.  Perhaps I put too much value on this art form.  But maybe not if you agree with these observations…

“If music be the food of love, play on.” – William Shakespeare

“Where words fail, music speaks.” – Hans Christian Andersen

“Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel.

Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel.”

Hunter S. Thompson

plato quote on red rocks photo

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Hiking heart: Idaho Springs, St. Mary’s Glacier.

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In the rhythm of the week I also found the motivation to re-love my old J.Crew t-shirt (it had a large hole on a front seam making it too shabby to donate but too endearing to toss).  Without further ado…

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I hope this pillow inspires you to up-cycle!

But my wish for you?  Seize the day, my friends, seize the day.

Tune in to the ordinary and make your days extraordinary.

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Brave Hearts

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Dear Brave Hearts,

These are the days.

I want to send you an ounce of courage and a slice of bravery.  Not the version of BRAVE with capital letters (that is just arrogant); just a regular ol’ ordinary cup of soulful brave.  The authentic lower-case brave.  When I walk bravely to the ledge, I am never sure if I will leap or teeter back to the safety of my comfort zone.

What helps you leap versus retreat?

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I just started reading The War of Art by Steve Pressfield.  Have you read it?  He says, “Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of the resistance.  Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that the enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.  That’s why we feel so much resistance.  If it meant nothing to us, there would be no resistance.”

I have to share this thought from the book: resistance encourages you to take it easy and be ordinary!  According to Pressfield, resistance is the reason so many people place a basket over the brilliant candle that shines within.

So my wish for you… shine a light on the passions in your life.  Or simply, begin with tiny brave steps:  initiate conversations with strangers, open the door to new and perhaps unlikely friendships, say yes to giving and receiving, begin to forgive or let grudges dissolve, pick up a paintbrush or say yes to an idea that keeps surfacing.   

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So I wrote it on an old t-shirt.  Don’t laugh.

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I wanted to try my textile medium which transforms acrylic paint into washable fabric paint!  You simply mix one part textile medium with two parts acrylic paint (the details are on the bottle).   I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut a template, but you could free-hand paint if you don’t have a Silhouette or similar device.

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Same technique on a dish towel.

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*These Are the Days, recorded by Natalie Merchant & 10,000 Maniacs.

Have you heard Courage Is by the Strange & Familiar? The lyrics alone read like a poem, but layered with music and vocals, this song soars. For a preview, please click here.

Courage Is lyrics

I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Blessings, brave hearts…

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