Views Through My Eyes
August 10, 2019
There are three sources from which I am inspired to create images specializing in Pet Photography. These include our own pets (and, yes, our grand-pets), shopping at antique stores, and the work of other Photographers.
The fact that our beloved pets bring so much joy to our lives, as well as offer healing therapy, is a good enough reason for them to be honored, and remembered, by printing images for us to behold during their life-time with us and, most importantly, after they are gone. Our very own Pets, as well as our grand-pets, are my immediate inspiration. Besides the Drool, Undesirable Behaviors, or Offensive Smells, each of our pets add value to our lives. Think of those times when we feel alone, going through a life challenge, or just not having a good day. Who is always there with a Smile? Who has no limitations for Unconditional Love? And who is always happy to share those cookies? Our Pets! With Pet Photography, it is delightful for me to be able to capture some of those subtle expressions or distinct “smiles” that animate the personalities of each pet. I so enjoy meeting other pets and learning about their particular talents and abilities and how their very existence shouts, “I Love You!” So much of today is hurry, hurry, hurry… and convenience. Take a photo with your phone only for it to be held captive in that tiny little device indefinitely, and often times, forgotten. It is my intent to Capture those Moments of loveliness from your pets and bring them to an Image for you to display in your home, work place, or to simply share with others. Now that I have explained a sentimental area from where I absorb inspiration, following is a fun source for igniting creativity.
Shopping at Antique Stores! Wow, I bet you didn’t see that coming. Yes, this is one of my favorite means to gain inspiration. As I’m walking through the aisles, I have various pets in mind and try to envision how I would set the scene. This helps me think outside the box and there are so many wonderful props. One example is that I found this fascinating piece of luggage. With this particular item, I remembered having a fun piece of raggedy-looking fabric at home and leftover purple yarn. In my mind I was able to create different photo-setups using these props. I purchased the luggage and brought it home to begin arranging a setup. If I don’t make a purchase, I may see an item that gives me ideas to create with objects I already own. It’s not always costly, but satisfying and innovative, walking through these antique shops. Other than being inspired by our very own best friends and shopping for ideas, other Photographers are a great source of my inspiration.
When I view the work of other Pet Photographers with which I like their style, I ask myself three questions: “What is it about this image that creates excitement?,” “Which part of this image makes me smile?,” and “How can I make it my own,?” I feel, when answered, those questions will help me define my own flair of Pet Photography. I desire to be unique, develop a distinct style, and have my work recognized without a signature. There are so many exceptional Pet Photographers all around the world. Inspiration is only a few keyboard-strokes away. Once I have acknowledged those Pet Photographers with whom inspire me, I Follow their work for continued motivation and creation.
Finally, with having our own pets for entertainment, those wonderful outlets for which I can foresee fun and unique photo set-ups, and the ability to observe and learn from other Photographers, there is an abundance of Inspirational sources available. In addition to Inspirational resources, I believe the following phrase, “Practice Often and Creations Will Begin to Flow” is a significant ingredient to grand results.
Business Inspiration, for me, is a combination of the following necessary components: 1) defining my own style, 2) developing a business plan which includes a Mission Statement, 3) Creating an easy maneuverable website, and 4) Like-Minded Connections.
Defining my own style may be the uniqueness of my photo processing or creating and initiating exclusive photo set ups, but should not be a limitation to new innovations for improvement. I believe a distinct, recognized style should always be considered a platform for something bigger. Dream Big, as they say, plays a big part in stepping outside the box of comfort and enthusiastically ready to take risks. I don’t ever want to be “comfortable” with a concrete Style and possibly miss an opportunity to enhance an area resulting in another unique form of a photo. And this is why I find inspiration when reviewing how I create and process images.
Creating a Business Plan is an important factor for a layout of your own expectations in the trade to which you want to succeed. This strategy allows for my ideas to be reviewed in a readable form of some type, whether it’s hand written or typed. I gain inspiration from re-evaluating my plan and determine if it continues to be accurate of my current expectations. As of this writing, I am contemplating my own mission statement for Pet Photography. I think a Mission Statement will help to streamline the focus of your intentions and to convey, in brevity, what you have to offer and why people should invest their trust, time, and finances, in your service.
My website offers an explanation of why I am confident in handling pets, an abundance of photos that I have produced, and a description of a photo session process including prices. Often, I review my website to make sure it is current and that it always has recent images that were created. This website helps me feel accountable. It serves as a great inspiration tool because I want to make sure the look and feel always has a fresh, trendy, presentation.
While I don’t want to be exactly like my competitors, I am inspired by those in the photography business, particularly pet photography. For those relationships that feel like rivalry, I avoid, simply to maintain a positive atmosphere within my business goals. I am inspired mostly when we can learn from each other’s mistakes as well as Success experiences. As a Participant with the Two14Media Tribe, I feel this is a very safe environment. The fact that this group is formed with extreme varying levels of experience, we all learn something from each other. Inspiration?? Indeed!
Although the four components mentioned above are in the forefront of my list of business inspirations, resources for new ideas are always available. I’m fairly outgoing and welcome new concepts to consider. If my emotions are elicited, I tend to move forward with those thoughts. If not, I am patient and know that another opportunity for growth or improvement will come along.
St. Charles County, Missouri
March 3, 2019
St. Peters Rotary Dog Park – Membership Fee
(Located on the North end of 370 Lakeside Park)
Bark Park – FREE
Cottleville Trail, Cottleville, Missouri 63304
Dusable Dog Park – FREE
2598 N. Main St., St. Charles, Missouri 63301
Off-Leash Dog Area at Brommelsiek Park - FREE
4301 Wilson Rd., Wentzville, Missouri 63385
A Good Bath
February 6, 2019
Did you know that a deep cleansing bath on a canine that has two coats (sheds like crazy) can reduce the amount of shedding? Overall, a good bath can help your dog feel fresh and healthy. Everyone benefits from a clean smelling dog.
Depending on your dog, a bath schedule may be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Even if your pet is not emitting a “dirty” scent, it is still okay to bathe your canine.
Here are steps I use when bathing our own dogs:
1) Use warm-to-cool water (a dog’s average body temperature ranges from 101° to 102.5° F compared to 97.6° to 99.6° for humans.) If the water temp is too warm/hot, it will not be a comfortable feeling bath.
2) Bathe TWICE – The first cleansing helps free dirt from the fur or that has settled on the dog’s skin. The second bath will help remove remaining soil and assists with maintaining that clean, fresh feel and scent.
3) During the bath, be sure to focus on each part of your dog’s body, including the face. Gently massage every square inch of their body. Be sure and clean between their toes and pads.
4) If your dog’s skin seems dry, use a conditioner on areas requiring additional treatment.
5) It is very important to use dog-appropriate shampoo and conditioner products. Human products could damage the dog’s skin and even cause hair loss. Humans and canines each have their own tolerances to products placed directly on the skin. The Ph balance on humans is approximately 5.6 (which is on the acidic side) compared to canines where the Ph balance is approximately 7.0. The results of using human shampoo on dogs can cause the dog’s skin to become vulnerable creating a risk for parasites, bacteria, viruses, dry, and flaky skin.
6) A well-bathed dog doesn’t need extra perfume afterwards. That clean smell from the bath itself will last for several days. If you desire to use doggie perfume, my tip would be to spray onto a bandana for the dog to wear. This extra smelly scent is for the humans anyway - .
Most importantly, create a bath time environment as a fun and bonding time with your pet. Even those pets seemingly to dislike bath time will soon look forward to spending that special time with their owners.
Dog Grooming to Photography
January 23, 2019
Prior to becoming intensely involved with Photography, my employment was a Mobile Dog Groomer. The business name was Glamour Dog Salon. My husband was the Marketing Director and Bookkeeper. As Owner/Groomer, I handled what I called “the fun part” of the business. Although I adore all animals, my specialty included dogs under 30 lbs. It was fun handling all that furry sweetness and could be challenging at times. I thrived in those challenging moments, such as helping a dog feel calm and earn their trust, in order to complete a quality groom so that the pet could look and feel as awesome as they deserved. When I approached each appointment, I did so with confidence and professionalism. Every dog that I met was just as precious as the one before. The rewards were a joy, particularly knowing that I helped a dog feel fantastic! If those dogs could talk, I know they would say “Thank You!!”
My business motto was “A Clean Dog is a Happy Owner.” And the icon was a STAR which represented the glamorous dogs that came through my mobile dog grooming van. Animals bring so much value to a person’s life, which is why our family will always have a pet. While I retired from grooming dogs, I continue to have opportunities for interacting with my lovely furry angels through Photography. In this journey of photography, one of my main objectives is to capture those unique expressions, behaviors, or simple beauty from pets that display gratitude toward their owners for creating a loving, caring, and trusting environment.
Photography and scripture are an exciting pair.
God's creations are truly inspirational. Below are a few heartfelt writings that, perhaps, may provide encouragement.
“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.” Psalm 119:71-73
“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered” Hebrews 5:8
Comforting Others ... You Will Be Blessed
October 24, 2017
There I was laying on the floor. Did I really fall halfway down the stairway? My cries bellowed from the pain which quickly confirmed the reality of what happened. The paramedics and fire department team arrived. Humor was among my rescue heroes. I remember asking, “which fire department are they from?” The response was “the goodlooking ones!” Surgery transpired about 12 hours after the fall. After two nights in the hospital, I was discharged to return home.
“May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.”
There were fears I had experienced during the first few weeks at home, but were replaced with Comfort. Some of the blessings and Comforts were that both my husband and son were there when the fall occurred, humor from the emergency rescue team, visit and prayer from Pastor James in the emergency room, and receiving communications from family and friends. A humble servant, and friend, shared words of wisdom. She held my hand and simply said, “allow yourself to cry and work through these emotions.” Those words gave me strength, reassurance, and great comfort!
“who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4
God provides resources for each one of us to comfort others. Those resources are healing tools. The time for compassion and demonstrating care for others is today. Do you know someone who is distressed? Don’t delay, make contact with that individual so that they may receive Comfort by Jesus through your serving obedience. In doing this, sharing the love of Christ, you are a blessing.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
September 12, 2017
One morning, while studying a daily devotion, I began writing each title of the books listed in the bible. I took a sip of coffee and when I proceeded to return the coffee mug on the saucer, a very large drop of coffee fell onto my nice clean page. In a matter of just a few seconds, I felt discouraged and wanted to rip that page off and start over. The area of the spill was wet and could easily tear. I rolled my eyes and huffed, saying to myself, “darn, that is annoying.” It was an accident and was not my fault. However, I could not help but think, “If only I could go back a few seconds … just a few seconds … then I would be more careful!”
I believe this to be a familiar response to life. We begin each day with a nice clean page. Routines and errands of each day are predictable and they are repetitively performed. Then, an unexpected happening occurs to disrupt our comfortable schedule. A phone call with bad news, a driver cuts-us-off, a rude individual at the store, someone hurts our feelings, a significant financial issue occurs, a friend or family member learns of a serious medical issue, or even a feeling of depression sets in. All of which are distractions and can easily be a stumbling block into sin and a foundation of how the remainder of our day could develop.
This minor distraction reminds me of the following verse which has greater significance than a simple coffee stain: “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:21-23
When the coffee drop fell onto my nice clean page, I was disappointed but after immediately composing myself, I walked over and retrieved a paper towel to blot the wetness of the drop. It very quickly began to dry with strength. At this point, my attitude changed and I was able to comfortably continue writing through the stain. It no longer had a negative impact, therefore, my day continued to move forward with joy and peace. For me, the coffee stain serves as a reminder that distractions and sin will occur in life. What is important is how we react to those interferences. The stain also reminds me that even though we experience things we wish had never happened and cannot change, we can proceed knowing God is a BIG presence in our lives and continues to love and care for us unconditionally.
Psalm 103:12 reminds us of the kind and loving God we have, “as far as east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” There is also great comfort in 1 Corinthians 10:13, which states, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
The ultimate stain that God has blotted-out for us is found in John 3:16 – “for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The stain of sin has been removed by God’s Son, Jesus, so that we have a clean, new day … everyday. As daily challenges interrupt our routine, and cause unwanted “stains,” we can pray to our God and He will blot those stains for us. Some stains will remain and may serve as reminders of how God was present during those trials. The most noteworthy result is that when we start each day, God is ready to take on life’s happenings with us and we can move forward with Hope, strength, and peace. God is faithful and He will never leave us as we are reminded in Deutermonomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
"Let us not become weary in doing good, For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." - Galatians 6:9
With the recent storm, Hurricane Harvey, that hit the Gulf Coast comes much devastation. There are one-too-many families, directly and indirectly, affected by this tragic weather condition. This storm has made a historic appearance and will not soon be forgotten.
The hurricane has settled but the consequences from its anger procuring destruction throughout miles and miles of land and property has just begun. It is during this type of situation people regain an enlightening sense of priority. The loss of memorabilia is disheartening but is quickly inferior to the joy of human safety.
Deep within each one of us are love and compassion. This is how we were created. “Let us not become weary in doing good” implies fatigue can consume our energy, both physically and mentally. Also, it can be understood that Doing Good is an act which reveals human kindness from individuals. We see this kindness manifested as the news journals people helping each other by volunteering time, effort, and sacrifices without even a second-thought to those conditions which, typically, divide our relationships.
“For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” God is Good in that His promises remain true. We can trust that during, and after, calamities we will manage to bravely survive in spite of destruction. It is the desire to overcome foul circumstances that engage humanity in ways that are genuinely gratifying by both Receivers and Givers.
We are blessed to know that our family and friends in the path of this hurricane are all safe. For some, their properties are ruined from an aspect of this storm. Others, outside of our known loved ones, have lost their lives. We pray for those families who are enduring this experience and are deeply sorry for their loss.
May the God of Peace be in your presence.
Protector, Defender, and Guardian
In our backyard, there are a variety of birds that come to visit, including Bluejay, Eastern Bluebird, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, American Goldfinch, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Dark-Eyed Junco, and more. Within this diversity of birds comes a hierarchy known by each individual. For instance, when the Red Bellied Woodpecker or Starling flies-in, the others step off the feeder and allow them to feed alone. On the other hand, we have observed a Mockingbird that seems to rule over all varieties listed above.
In the beginning, the Mockingbird was simply in the mix with the others. But, after a few months, there was a substantial diminishing of bird activity in our backyard. After long observation, it was noted that this Mockingbird will perch all day watching out for others to enter “his territory” and immediately chasing them off. At first, I was patient and wanted to see how the other birds would react. Slowly, though, it became annoying and disappointing. From that point, when I would see this Mockingbird, I quickly opened a door or knocked on the window so he would fly away. I wanted him to know that I am here, I exist, I am watching, and I am bigger than him. Knowing the Mockingbird was being fulfilled with ample access to the feeders, my intention was to protect, defend, and guard the others so they are at peace returning to their safe environment and food source.
So it is with the human community. We all go about our routines and getting along with each other. It is understood there are others who require further respect to their position of authority such as police, government titles, or those chosen to make community decisions on our behalf. However, when there is disruption causing chaos, confusion, and disturbance in our peace, God is there making sure His People remain safe. God wants to see that our actions, and reactions, are pleasing and in line with His teaching. In Romans 12:2 we have a definition for true worship, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.” However, when it is overwhelming and we seem to be consumed with misperception, God will quickly open a door or knock on a window to let the deception or aggressor know that He is there, He exists, He is watching, and He is bigger. Psalm 121:7-8 reminds us of God’s passionate desire to care for us, “The LORD will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
My Friends, know today that as you go about your routines and daily activities, God is with you. He is there watching over every step you take and He sees every moment of happiness or disruption in your lives. When this is realized, Peace settles within our hearts and we can continue through challenges and hurdles knowing that God is our Protector, Defender, and Guardian who will “step in” when necessary.