Show up.

A few things on my mind lately.

“You DO have something to say, we do have something to contribute and if we don’t because of fear, we’re letting people down who are counting on us to show up.”
                                     Seth Godin

And the other.

We all have something to give.  We’re all meant to show up.  As we are.  As ourselves.

I can do it.  You can do it.  Just keep showing up.

Summer Bucket List 2014

Each summer we sit down as a family and plan out what we’d like to do for the summer.  My kids contribute and then Mike and I fill in.  

I try to balance summer between work and play.  It’s nice to have a little extra time to teach them new chores and have them help a little more around the house.  Last week Jaida said “summer just means we have to do more chores.”  And I added “it also means we get to have a lot more fun”.  But yes, I do expect them to help more around the house.  It’s good for them.

We also try to use summer as a time to challenge them a little.  Get them to do more things that scare them (stuff behind the boat) or they think are too hard (hiking).  Say Yes to adventure!  And spend as much time as possible together as a family.  

I print off the summer bucket list and hang it up where we can all see it.  My kids keep me accountable to make sure we do the things on our list.  There are usually a few stragglers on the list we never get to (like food fight–they keep adding this every year and we’ve never done it).  But we do our best to fit in what we can.

Here’s this years list if anyone needs some ideas.

If you need a little extra motivation, you can join the Summer Bucket List challenge that my friend does and win prizes for completing your list.

“We create to find out what’s true”

Let it be known, writing articles for this blog is not always easy for me.  Sometimes, it’s actually quite hard.  And super uncomfortable.  

I grew up not sharing many emotions.  So doing that on this blog doesn’t come naturally or easy for me.

But I’m trying to embrace being intentionally uncomfortable.  Because apparently it’s good for growth.  At least that’s what people keep telling me.

Writing in a space like this can be risky.  People seem to think that commenting on facebook, or a blog post doesn’t hurt people when they say something mean.  Or maybe they do know it hurts people and they do it anyway.  Regardless, writing, especially about things of the heart, is a vulnerable adventure.  

I fully recognize I may not always be right.  But I write to find truth.  And in the moment I write something, that IS my truth.  In that moment.

Each day, sometimes each moment, I change.  And become someone new.  And writing helps me grow.  Writing helps EVERYONE grow.  Whether you share it with the world, or keep it to yourself.  Writing seems to make things more clear.  It helps me find truth.

I read the following quote about writing and it was a perfect nudge to keep on doing what I’m doing.  Because I believe in building a community of people around this blog who want to live intentional lives and create better life stories.

“Don’t waste your time, energy, and heart defending yourself.  Not because your’re not wrong, but because of course you’re wrong.  Anybody who doesn’t know that we are most certainly all wrong is a little scary to me.  

Luckily, art is not about right and wrong.  We don’t create to find out what’s right, we create to find out what’s true.  Right now.  Not forever, right exactly now.  And what’s true is whatever was born inside your moment of creativity.  Create your true thing and then let it loose into the world to do what it will….

Every moment I’m someone new.  This is why we writers never stop writing.  Not because there is new material–but because WE are new material”
                                                          Glennon Doyle Melton

Everyone’s a writer.  And everyone is a “creative”.  Whether you know it or not.  So if you’ve considered it, give it a whirl.  It may just change your life.

Create a better story for your family. And photograph it.

I’ve been working crazy hard on the content of the “Tell My Story” intensive two part course.  I believe in the message.  And I believe in the importance of the message.

The first time I taught a photography class, it was because someone asked me to.  Now that I have found the real message of the class, I teach because I feel compelled to share something that directly impacts the course of my family story.

The next “Tell My Story” photography class will be on THURSDAY, MAY 15th.  It will begin at 9:45 am and will be over around 2:15 pm (depending on the amount of questions).

The course has TWO parts.   The first portion of the course will be completed online where you can work at your own pace before the live portion of the class on May 15th.  The theory behind this goes along with the Khan Academy where we’re essentially flipping the traditional classroom model and you will do your “lecture” at home, and then come to class to do the “homework”.  (You can see Khan’s TED talk here)

The online portion of the course will cover all things related to “better” photos.  Both technical and emotional.  We will also talk about CREATING a story for your family.  Ways to be an intentional parent.  And then how to photograph that story so it is documented and continues to fuel our memory and hearts.

After completing the online portion of the class, we will meet together and use that foundation of knowledge in an interactive, hands on class where you will learn how to be in control of your camera, get consistently “better” photos, and intentionally create and document your family story.

You can read more about what you’ll learn at the “Tell My Story” course HERE.  

And as always, e-mail me with any questions!  [email protected]

You deserve this!  And so does your family.

“Photography fuels memory….
and memory fuels the heart and soul”
Mitchell’s Journey

Picture Display Movement. Step 2. Load and Back up.

{Click here for Step 1 of Project Picture Display}

After I am focused on taking more photos, the next step is to get them on my computer.

I’m really good about doing this with my dSLR, but horrible about doing it with my phone.  Some pictures sit on my phone for months before I ever put them on my computer.  And a lot of the pictures I take these days are with my camera phone for convenience/logistical issues.  (I’m still busy just trying to keep track of the four little humans I usually have around me and all the “stuff” that seems to accompany them).  And without that handy camera phone, I’d miss pictures like this.  Of my kid hugging a mannequin.  Not weird at all.

Here’s the key to the rest of The Picture Display Movement.  There HAS to be a system and it has to be SIMPLE or it will never get done.  So find a system.  Schedule a consistent time to do it.  And keep it simple!!  We schedule time to clean.  Time to do laundry.  Time to exercise.  We should DEFINITELY schedule time to organize, print, and display our photos.

Here’s the system that works for me.  This will have to be tweaked for each family just like chore charts have to be tweaked for each family (still working on fine tuning our chore/money system), but find something, anything, that works for you and stick to it.

I load my photos directly into iPhoto.  When I plug in my camera or phone to my computer, iPhoto automatically pops up and the pictures go straight in there.  The pictures automatically sort by date.

Once the pictures are loaded, I make sure they are backed up onto an external hard drive.  You can get those at Costco.  I just bought a 3TB external drive (most people won’t need one that big) for about $120.  Worth every penny if my computer hard drive crashes.  This is a step that should never be skipped.  It’s not hard and only takes a few extra minutes.  You can just drag and drop the photos onto the icon for the hard drive and it copies them to the hard drive.

2015-05-14_0001I also back up my entire computer hard-drive to an online site.  I researched several online storage companies and finally settled with Backblaze because it is unlimited storage for a really affordable price ($5 per month) and it allows me to back up all my external hard-drives as well (as long as I plug them in every 30 days).  I have 7 full external hard drives and a nearly full computer hard drive.  I see the “your startup disc is almost full” message more times than I care to keep track of.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 5.23.43 PMI need a lot of storage space.  Backblaze backs up my entire hard drive (photos, documents, music, etc.) so if (more like when) my hard-drive crashes, I know everything is backed up on Backblaze.

When deciding on an online storage company, I wanted something that was:

1. affordable

2. I personally knew someone who used the company to recover photos

3. unlimited storage including external hard drives

So after looking at and comparing several well-known companies (and talking to several photographer friends), I decided on Backblaze.


If your photos aren’t backed up, I can not emphasize enough that you NEED to do this step.  Even if your photos are a big hot-mess right now.  Back them up.  Then worry about organizing.  Trust me on this one.



Step 2.  Load ’em and BACK THEM UP!!!

Click here for Step 3.  ORGANIZE those Photos.

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