Taking a cue from the wonderful Susannah Conway...
A is for Artists. I would never have dreamed that I could be part of such an amazing community. To call myself an artist still feels foreign at times. I am so blessed to have made so many artistic friends, and to surround myself with their work in my home. I love knowing the people behind the pictures.
B is for Blessings. I have so many, I am such a lucky woman. I have a husband I love, a wonderful family, a home, food to eat. I hope I can find new ways this year to share my blessings with others. I truly believe that all gifts are meant to be shared, and I don't always make time to do that.
C is for Comfort. A warm hug from my husband, curling up under my favorite blanket, sipping coffee from my favorite handmade mug. The little blissful moments of life.
D is for Determination. Ok, maybe it had better be called "stubbornness". When I started this little photo biz six years ago, there was plenty of support from my friends and family, but plenty of well-meaning concern as well. However, I was (and am) determined to succeed. Not giving up, even when things are slow, even when it takes 3 years to make a profit (and when that first profitable year I made all of $20). Without determination I would never have made it this far. And with determination I will achieve my big dreams.
E is for Escape. Perhaps this is typical of artists, but I am a dreamer in a major way. I love to read fantasy novels, to watch Jane Austen movies and imagine myself in them... I love taking daydream journeys into someplace magical. And sure, this gets me in trouble sometimes, when "real work" needs to get done, but those moments of escape allow me to tap into the creative flow.
F is for Freedom. The freedom to be sitting here in my pajamas typing this sentence. The freedom to grocery shop at 2pm on a Wednesday with all the senior citizens. Even if that also means the freedom to be still working at midnight.
G is for Grace. I'm not perfect, and I've certainly had my share of bumps in the road. Knowing that Grace is there to support and assist me through life, no matter how little I might deserve the help, has kept me going through some really rough times. Particularly when struggling with anxiety, as I have been this past year. "There's so much grace in acceptance. It's not an easy concept, but if you embrace it, you'll find more peace than you've ever imagined." - Loretta LaRoche.
H is for Husband. Perhaps it is trite to say so, but it's true. My husband is perhaps the most important thing in my life. Love you baby.
I is for Introspection. Looking within, checking in with myself. Sitting and being with what is. It's a difficult skill to practice, and I may never master it.
J is for Journeying. I do love to travel. We've been so blessed to visit my best friend in England this past year, and we have plans to see Newfoundland this year. Traveling opens me up to new experiences: new food, new music, new cultures. And of course, traveling provides so many wonderful chances to use my camera!
K is for Kids. Namely, my niece and nephews. They allow me to play with legos, to make forts out of blankets, and to run around the yard playing tag, without other grown-ups judging! :-)
L is for Love. Is there anything in this world more important? The love of my husband, my family, my friends. Love for the suffering, the hungry, the cold, the sick. Love for the sea, the woods, the mountains. Love.
M is for Music. Music is a huge part of my daily life. Sometimes it's just background noise, because otherwise I'd be sitting alone in silence all day. Sometimes it's energetic, to help me get through the housework or a tiresome task. I listen to music to inspire me to dance or to run. I listen while editing photos, and am so heavily influenced by it that I started Song and Scene to document the images influenced by the songs. Right now, I'm listening to Antarctica by The Weepies.
N is for Nature. She is so beautiful, providing me endless inspiration and comfort. We all live on this earth, and nature helps bring us together.
O is for Openness. Without allowing myself to be open to emotion, experience, and vulnerability, there would be no way for me to grow. Sometimes it can leave me raw, but more often than not, openness brings joy into my heart.
P is for Pinterest. Oh, how I love it! Silly, perhaps, but true. I love the concept of visual and social bookmarking, and I am amazed at how many like-minded folks there are out there. Two in particular who really share my tastes are Irene Turner and Chasing Linneaus.
Q is for Quicken. Boring, I know! But I've finally gotten it set up and it is amazing for tracking my income and expenses. So long, complicated spreadsheets and tedious manual entry! Sometimes we little biz owners get excited about the mundane things too.
R is for Running. I've always had a fondness for running, but haven't really run since high school. I am now, with the help of a personal trainer, getting back into it, and I am in love with it again. The clarity of mind while I run, and the feeling that I'm doing something good for my body, are wonderful. And I have a particular reason to run. I'm training for a 5K to raise money for the American Cancer Society. My best friend's brother has brain cancer, and he has slim chances. I needed to do something for him, for my friend, for his family. So I'm running. And every step and every drop of sweat is a prayer for them. (By the way, you can sponsor me here, if you'd like.)
S is for Sunshine. Especially when streaming into my home in the morning. Of course natural light is best for photography, but sunshine makes working easier, makes inspiration come faster, and makes green things grow.
T is for Treats. Dark chocolate, red wine, aged gouda, and boy do the Italians know how to cure meat!
U is for Ukelele. The Uke was my nephew's first "real" instrument (a reward for completing potty training) and he still loves it. It's bright orange, and has slowly become covered in stickers and scratches. He's obsessed with music, and it makes my heart sing to watch him perform.
V is for Video Chats. It feels like living in a futuristic sci fi novel... one minute I'm chatting with my sister online, the next we're having a full on concert with my nephew and my husband over the webcam. I'm lucky that they live nearby, but how wonderful that on a whim I can see my family, especially the little ones, with all their energy and excitement.
W is for Working Out. I have never been a big exerciser. I had hobbies like hiking to keep me "fit", and I get some exercise during my day job. Then a friend opened up a personal training studio nearby. Thinking only to support the new business, I went to check it out. Life. Changing. Decision. I am now not only an exercise enthusiast, but an exercise evangelist :-) It really does all the things they say it will - improving energy, mood, quality of life. I say find a workout you love and dive in, it's so worth it. (See, there's that exercise evangelist coming out...)
X is for Xi. I'm frankly not even sure what that word means, but it's a Scrabble lifesaver, people. I love me a good bout of Scrabble! I play to win - it's one of the few things I get quite competitive about.
Y is for You. Plain and simple, you folks are the reason this blog keeps going. Thanks for being here and reading!
Z is for Zlatkis. As in Geninne Zlatkis. She's one of the most inspirational and talented people I "know". I treasure our online friendship, and hope to someday meet her in person!
Would you like to play along and create your own A to Z list? If you do, please let us know about it in the comments and on Susannah's original post. And have a beautiful day!