Showing posts from March, 2012

Lessons from my Yogi

Life is a theater. Invite your audience carefully. Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives. There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you let go, or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships/friendships.Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention. Which ones lift and which ones lean? Which ones encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill? When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse? Which ones always have drama or don't really understand, know or appreciate you? The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the front row and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.You cannot change the people around you but you can…

Unfamiliar Charity

I believe in giving credit where credit is due, particularly when a woman who barely knows me surprises me with an incredibly selfless gesture.
A few months ago I was in the Mojave Desert with a unit training for a deployment to Afghanistan. As with many locations overseas, the National Training Center has FOBs and COPs. The FOB where I stayed had pretty decent accommodations such as shower trailers and hot meals a couple of times a day. The Combat Outposts (COPs) offer far less appealing accommodations – often without showers, without too many hot meals and a water buffalo that if it runs out (and it sometimes happens because someone drops the ball) there is no water.
I spent most of my days at the FOB but did end up stopping off at a COP for the night with an infantry unit where I bunked with their Female Engagement Team.
My initial reaction as I stepped into the female’s tent was utter shock. It smelled good! These women were somewhere up to 8 days without a real shower and yet …

Cruel and Unusual

Has someone ever said something to you that was unprovoked and absolutely cruel? I crossed paths with someone who must have been having a bad day or maybe just a bad life.

Soldiers and I were conversing about nothing really ... just this and that. I mentioned the love of my life (I always do with pride) who is in Afghanistan. Long-distance relationships are tough but he's worth the effort because he's a wonderful man and I love him with every cell in my being.

One of the soldiers made the most outrageous comment about his safety. The comment was something like, "Yeah, he'll be fine until a PBIED comes in the gate."

PBIED = Person-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (aka dude w/ a bomb strapped to him)

I looked at him in disbelief. First of all, it's bad enough that I miss my honey every day. Secondly, I don't just miss him - I worry about him. I worry about his safety, if he's eating okay, if he's getting enough sleep ... I'm constantly thinkin…

The Hills are Alive with ... a difficult name to spell.

I must have one of the most difficult names out there. All too often I end up spelling my name for someone phonetically and still they add in letters that don't belong.

My parents gave me a name that has resisted American culture (as well as quite a few others) for years. Only people who like the "Sound of Music" know my name and yes many of them still have no idea how to spell it. Why would they?

What sense does L-I-E-S-L make anyway to an American/English speaker? None. It's tough to spell for someone and have them understand it. It's also the kind of name that I dreaded on the first day of school or any new experience. Someone would be reading names off a list and then stop when they got to my name. I knew they were about to attempt to say "Liesl."

A few years ago I started spelling my name with an accent on the "e" so people could have an easier time pronouncing it: Li├Ęsl. Accent on the "e" so avoid saying it "Lie-zl."

Lizard Poop

There are TONS of lizards where I live. I don't mind them - I mind snakes and alligators. But lizards are no bother to me ... except when they break into my house and my cat finds them first.

On occasion I will see a portion of a lizard (not sure where the rest goes but I assume it's in my cat's belly) and have to clean up that mess before I pour my first cup of coffee. No bueno.

The other morning I woke up to the sound of my cat dashing toward the bedroom closet. He crept down low and stared at the door intently. I'm sure he was trying to invoke the use of his cat x-ray vision .... LOL

I could only hope that what he was aiming to kill was a lizard and not a snake.

Eventually, I opened the closet door to see what we'd discover. The cat did lots of smelling but neither he nor I found the little gecko. I wondered where it went and when it would resurface.

Fast forward two days ...

This morning I was sweeping the area under my desk (it's the cat-fur collection poin…

Make time for yourself

How often do you get your hair done, buy a fabulous new outfit and get completely decked out? Then, when the time comes, you break out our camera phones and snap a picture. Often we take pictures throughout the night but often it doesn't come out looking nearly as fabulous as we feel. Why do we spend so much money looking absolutely stunning but don't often follow it up with a method of truly capturing the moment?

I'm putting an addition to the night-out checklist ... 

Whether it's you and your friends, you alone or you and your loved one, get photos taken before you head out to your special event. No matter if it is a 30 minute photo session or an hour-long session, let's do the night (and your looks) justice by capturing it with beautiful photography. 
The "You Are Beautiful" Campaign is currently running. Please contact me today to schedule your photo shoot - it can be either an on-location shoot (meaning your home, business, the beach, your favorite park…

Connected Warriors - uniting and healing through Yoga

Did you know that there is a growing network for Veterans,young and old, injured and healthy, that offers free yoga?!

The other day I received a message on my Facebook about a website called Yoga for Vets. I'm a Vet I love yoga so it was like offering a fat kid some cake -- I was all over it!

I scoured the website and began plugging in yoga classes on my calendar. A Monday class here, a Friday class there ... I might as well sample the goodies and see what this is all about. There's no such thing as bad yoga in my book so doing a little sampling is a win-win for me.

I went to my first class tonight. I had called ahead because I didn't know if there was a class limit, sign up requirement, interrogation, records check, DD 214, pop quiz ... yadda, yadda, yadda. Turns out the only requirement was to show up.

Caroline, the instructor, greeted me and then offered me a Connected Warriors yoga mat (yay!) and a lil tank top. The tank top was even my size AND meant for a woma…

Celebrating Individuality

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.” 
― Bernard Baruch

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” 
― Mark Twain

“Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck.” 
― Joss Whedon

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” 
― Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

“I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” 
― Augusten Burroughs, Magical Thinking: True Stories

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dir…

Love what you do.

I've often turned to e.e. cummings for inspiration. His words have carried me through my less bright hours and have been an inspiration during the happiest ones.

He once said, "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."

For me? I was meant to live in the creative realm. The 9-5 job just isn't conducive to good health or my soul. I need the freedom to work when I want and work as long as I'd like. I can lose days in front of the computer working on photos and can easily lose track of time from behind the lens. That being said, there are also times when I need a break so I don't get burnt out.

What I love most about photography is having the ability to show people how I view the world. Sometimes people are shy when I take their picture but if I think they are beautiful, they'll see that through the photos and agree. It's such a blessing!

I'll admit that the amount of photographers (professional or otherwise) make the career field a…

Photography Request Form for Girona Consulting

Daughter from Danang, Product of America

The movie Daughter from Danang produced by Gail Dolgin and co-directed with Vicente Franco is one of the most depressing movies I've seen lately because this beautiful story didn't have to end so tragically.

Here's the official summary ... 
A heartbreaking documentary that upsets your expectations of happily-ever-afters, Daughter from Danang is a riveting emotional drama of longing, identity, and the personal legacy of war. To all outward appearances, Heidi is the proverbial “all-American girl”, hailing from small town Pulaski, Tenn. But her birth name was Mai Thi Hiep. Born in Danang, Vietnam in 1968, she’s the mixed-race daughter of an American serviceman and a Vietnamese woman. Fearing for her daughter’s safety at the war’s end, Hiep’s mother sent her to the U.S. on “Operation Babylift”, a Ford administration plan to relocate orphans and mixed-race children to the U.S. for adoption before they fell victim to a frighteningly uncertain future in Vietnam after the Americans…

KONY 2012 - what it really means

The internet and every single method of social media is making our world smaller. Somehow, someway we are all connected. Facebook, Youtube, Google +, Tumblr, Twitter ... there are endless avenues of how we can now connect in real time with people across the globe about issues we collectively care about.

Do I care about KONY 2012? Yes and no. 
"Yes" because people who commit crimes against humanity, partake in human trafficking, murder, kidnapping, etc., don't deserve to live a free life. Kony is a disgrace to our most wonderful human capabilities and has destroyed thousands of lives. 
"Yes" because I respect and support the efforts to bring to light what has been hidden for years. We have countless avenues to receive information and education about the world around us and yet so often it's left up to the mainstream media to tell us what is important. I absolutely support this movement and what it means to our world as a whole.

"No" because Kony is …

Quit while you're ahead

I believe we declare "war on" too many things. An email I received tonight from a congressman/woman exemplifies how absurdly commonplace this expression has become.

Here is the opening from the email (verbatim):
There is a“War on Voting” in this country and, wherever you live, you need to be paying close attention. The Constitution protects voters from discrimination, but that protection is being challenged in states across the nation, and making it harder for people to vote. I'd paste the rest but you'd probably get bored and forget my point. (LOL) Why are politicians so good at BS anyway?
I digress ... 

Is there really a "War on Voting" in the USA? At what point in time did we begin going to "war" with everything in the dictionary? Can't we focus more on the war we are actually engaged in? You know ... that one in Afghanistan, for example? Just a thought ...

I am so tired of hearing there is a war on everything. I googled "war on" a…