Feeling Invisible In A World Of Social Media

I am someone that loves being active on social media and I am a member of several different sites. Most of the time I hope to get a huge following that love the photos and art I create and share. And although I do have a wonderful group of family and friends online, the following I keep hoping for has not yet occurred.

My goal is to connect with people all over the world, make friends, and sell my work. I am so passionate about photography and art. I love to create things that I hope others will enjoy. But, I have failed. So many have expressed how much they love my work yet, no one is really buying. This leaves me extremely discouraged. Perhaps, I’m not really as good as I think I am.

Today, I am actually considering selling my Nikon DSLR 3600 series set. Not because I no longer want to take pictures, but because the income I was hoping to be making just isn’t happening and right now, I could use the extra income to build up my emergency fund. Don’t get me wrong, I am not struggling. But I was just hoping to have more build up in our emergency fund by now. Living on the road, you just never know when there is an emergency or a repair needs to be made. The income I was hoping to be making from my work was going into this fund. But, that hasn’t happened in even though I am slowly adding a little more each month to this fund, I am disappointed that I have not yet reached my goal. I’m not giving up, but I know some hard sacrifices may have to be made in order for me to reach my goal. Right now the toughest sacrifice would be my camera set.

But, I’m not quite ready to go that route yet. I love my camera and capturing the beauty of this world and I also know that many of my friends and family do enjoy my pictures.

As a nomad I am living my dream and I couldn’t be happier. But I still go through these moments when I just feel invisible and unimportant. I am but a grain of sand in a vast desert. I want to stand out…. but I don’t know how.

I am someone that has lived with a challenging mental disorder but I have never allowed that to define who I am. I share my struggle with Dissociative Identity Disorder so that people can understand what it is like instead of believing the myths, misconceptions, and misunderstanding that has plagued this disorder. But I also show a face of strength, intelligence, perseverance, and pride for the woman I am today. My disability does not define me at all. What does define who I am is the love and passion I have for photography and art.

Whenever I grab my camera and capture the beauty of a landscape, sunset, sunrise, or even humanity at it’s best, It fills my soulmeith so much joy that I smile at every click of my camera. Whenever I pick up a sketch pad, or canvas to create art, I feel as if I am creating the greatest masterpiece and it fills my life with a joy that makes me feel so complete. I love to create… simple as that. But I love to be able to share these passions of mine with the world.

We are living in a digital world where people become overnight sensations just being who they are. I’m not really looking for fame in that sense. I much prefer being popular in a much quieter sense. Perhaps this is why I feel invisible. Am I too quiet? Not aggressive enough? Or maybe I’m just not that interesting. Whatever it may be, I feel invisible in this world of social media.

Regardless of how invisible I may feel in this age of social media, it still doesn’t take away from the joy that I feel when I share a bit about myself and the world I live in with those who have followed me and my journey for years. I cherish those friends and family even more because through it all, they have stood by my side and continue to encourage me and my talents even if I’m not the greatest. That right there is the meaning of true love. So no matter what the struggle may be, I will continue to just be me. When this life of mine ends, all that matters to me is if I have made a difference to someone and inspired them to love who they are, then I have not done all of this in vain.

And who knows…. perhaps there is still time for me to become quietly infamous. Life is wonderful outside of social media. I am really not that invisible. Just look at what I can do.

Below, there will be a list of all the sites I am a member of. Feel free if you so choose to follow me in any or all of them. There is life online outside of Facebook. 😁

Be sure to follow me on this blog as there will be more to come you won’t want to miss. And join me on the following sites where I am the most active:

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What Being A Christian Means To Me

I don’t often speak about my faith. Not because I feel ashamed or worry about what other people may think of me. Their opinion of me is not my problem but a reflection of the kind of person that they are. I don’t normally speak about my faith out of respect to what others believe. I never want to sound as if I am preachy and my beliefs as a Christian does not fall into the normal idealism of Christianity. But I do follow what I feel God places in my heart. Many times it isn’t what other Christian’s believe, it is simply what I know is God’s message for me is and the life He has blessed me with.

Many of today’s Christians have actually tainted what being a true Christian really means. Many who call themselves Christians, fail miserably at being a Christian. They live life in the judgment of others and believe themselves to be better than those less fortunate. They preach the word of God but fail in living the word of God. Instead of reaching out and helping someone in need or in distress, they tell them they should just pray to God for their needs. They fail to realize that God has already answered their need by placing that person before them. We ARE ALL a blessing to others… WE are God’s answered prayers for those in need. And when you walk away by telling them to pray or that you will keep them in your prayers, then you have failed as a Christian.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not true of all Christian’s. There are more who truly live by the Gods words than those who don’t. But like everything else in our society, it is the negative that is often on display and highlighted. Not one of us as humans are or ever will be perfect in this world. We all fail miserably to be the best that we can be at some point in our lives. But when you are finally able to rise up and see the good in this world, when you feel true joy by depriving yourself of what you need or what you may want in order to give to someone else what they need… that is the moment you have become the hand of God.

When you tell someone in need to pray because God will provide for their needs if they believe…. how do you know that it isn’t you that God has provided to be an answer to their prayer? Or do you believe the hand of God is going to come down from Heaven and provide for their needs? Come on my dear Christians… WE ARE the hands of God! We are Gods answered prayers to those who cross our paths and are in need. WE ARE the blessing God has provided. So why do so many of us just walk away?

I am by no means the perfect Christian, but I am aware of my downfalls and failures and I truly do my best to live life the way God wants me to live. I try to always follow what God places in my heart but sometimes I fail to understand exactly what it is He needs me to do.

When God first placed it in my heart to get rid of all my comforts and set out on a journey to live in a van without much of an income, I ignored it for a very long time. I was miserable and depressed, searching for a way to fit into a society that often rejected me because of my disability. But that urging continued in my heart and just kept getting so strong that I could no longer deny it. I took that leap of faith along with my fiance Scott and started living and traveling in a van with very little income. It has turned out to be the greatest blessing in my life.

I don’t really know what God’s purpose for me is living this lifestyle, but I know He has a purpose for me. We live with very little comforts and very little income, but I have never been happier in my life with the exception of the birth of my three sons God blessed me. I do know God has blessed me with the gift of photography and writing and perhaps it is His intention that I show people the beauty of this world He created for us. Perhaps, I am meant to bring people to Him by bringing the world to them and showing them how much He loves us by giving us this beautiful world we live in. No matter what His intentions are for me, I am just ready to follow wherever He leads me. Nope, I may not always fit in but…

I do love my God and believe in Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, but I am not going to preach about my Love and faith to you… I am going to inspire you to believe for yourself through this life God has blessed me with. Is it an easy life? Oh heck no! We are often hungry, have made many mistakes in figuring out our finances, physical pain is a constant, and there are always challenges to overcome. But, I truly love this life and the joy it has given me. To society, I am just a nobody but to God, I am somebody and I put my trust Him completely. Even as I write this article, I feel just an overflow of joy.

Everytime that I watch a sunrise coming up behind a hill, mountain, fields, or desert… I am filled with awe and amazement. Every sunset that I have seen I can hear God whispering to me “Good night my child, I love you and will watch over you” as I feel his kiss upon my soul. The beauty of our world is God’s gift to us if we can just slow down long enough to see it, to experience it and to feel it. I think I see this world with the beauty that God intended me to see it so I can share it with others. This is God’s gift to all of us.

As Christians and as humans with whatever higher power you believe in, the beauty and miracles that surround us everyday in this world should inspire us to rise above the greed, jealousies, hatred, and judgments that have become part of our everyday life. We all came into this world in the same way and let’s face it… none of us are leaving this world alive. But what we do with our life today I do believe will determine where our next life will be regardless of what your beliefs are.

Do I believe in Heaven? Yes, I do. But I also believe that God will reassign our souls back into this world in order to continue His message of Love. That is the meaning and purpose of every new life born into this world. We are God’s message of Love and His gift of life is an opportunity to bring the lost to Him by being an example of His love for us.

I am proud to be a Christian and will continue to live as an example of God’s love and grace for us. I will not preach it or force you to believe in Him. I can only show you His love the best way I know how to do. Two things we all possess that we can give away and does not cost anything is our love and our time. Money isn’t the answer to everything…. but love is. We all want to experience love, peace, joy, and happiness but it all begins with each one of us. Too often we allow fear, distrust, and misconceptions stop us from being a blessing to others. The cycle of human negativity can come to an end if we invest the time to make it happen. It won’t happen overnight as we are already conditioned to think and react in certain ways. But every small step taken will eventually lead to joy and love that springs up from inside of you.

I am a Christian of many beliefs. I am all about any religion that teaches us to love one another and live peacefully. I believe our soul is connected to this earth as we have been created from the very dust God gave man the breath of life. This is why I feel so much peace living out in nature. My soul is connected to this world God created for us. We are all connected to this earth through His love for us. But it is up to each one of us to find our way and help others find their way. This is my purpose, sharing God’s love for us by capturing the beauty of this world that He gave us. It is truly a beautiful world… It is God’s amazing gift to us.

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Sunrise Walks, Sunset Dreams

As the early morning sun rises, I rise with it.

There is just something so peaceful and so magical when you get up to greet the sun, watching the landscape come alive with color. The peacefulness and quiet that surrounds you just fills your spirit and calms your soul. There is a connection with nature that so few take time to experience in life. The earth overflows with so much positive energy and we are surrounded by it. You just have to slow down, breathe, look around and just feel. Allow your mind to block out humanity’s nagativities and immerse in nature’s possibilities and peace. It is all around you, you just have to be willing to see and feel this beauty.

The photos below are pictures I took past couple of mornings while camping in Ehrenberg, Arizona. We have been camping in this area for about a month now and I do love the beauty of this place.

As day begins to turn to night, sunset is just as spectacular in the desert landscape. It forces you to stop and take it all in with awe and amazement. I love the Arizona desert and how diverse it really is. The landscape changes with each region, some places rich in vegetation while others are rocky, and dusty with burrs that lie in wait for an unsuspecting step from a person or pet. But regardless of the region or landscape, one thing remains the same… the desert skies are fiery, bright, and breathtaking at sunset. It puts our soul to rest as it beckons us goodnight and sweet dreams.

 

 

 

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How New Year’s Resolutions Got Started

With the new year approaching, the most trending topic now in most social media sites are New Year’s resolutions. So it got me wondering on how this whole trend started and I looked up its history.

Turns out that this tradition has been around for about 4000 years but not exactly in the same way we see it today. The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions. They also seem to have the first recorded celebrations to honor the new year but for them New Year’s was not celebrated in January, it began in mid-March, when they planted their crops. The Babylonians held a large 12 day religious festival called Akitu where they would either reaffirm their loyalty to their reigning king or crowned a new king. They also made promises to the gods. These promises could have been the beginning of the New Year’s resolutions.

In ancient Rome they practiced something similar to the Babylonians. The emperor Julius Caesar changed the calendar and made January 1st as the beginning of the new year circa 46 B.C. which was named for Janus, the two-faced god that they believed lived in doorways and arches. January was special to the Roman’s because they believed that Janus looked backward into the previous year and ahead into the future. The Romans offered sacrifices to Janus promising to practice good conduct in the new year.

Early Christians traditionally chose the first day of the new year as a time to reflect on their past mistakes and resolving to do better. An English clergyman and the founder of Methodism, John Wesley in 1740 created was was called the Covenant Renwal Service held on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. This is also known as watch night services where they had scriptural readings and hymns. This is still practiced today in many church organizations.

Although New Year’s resolutions began with religious practices, most people today make resolutions only to themselves focusing primarily on self-improvement. According to recent research, about 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions but only about 8% are successful in achieving their goals. But as we know, that won’t stop folks from making their traditional resolutions each New year. I guess with 4000 years of practice, those who make New Year’s resolutions will continue to surround us especially now where we are even more exposed to people’s goals in the age if social media.

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Balloon Festival In Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Today was such a perfect day for a Balloon Festival. For several days the launching of the balloons had to be canceled due to high winds.  Scott and I got up early to try and capture these beauties that decorated the skies over Albuquerque, NM.  The traffic heading into Alameda was horrendous! We parked for a few minutes at a blocked off driveway so that I could try and get some pictures. I took some pretty nice ones from that location but most of my pictures were taken while Scott was driving back towards his parent’s place. Most of these pictures were taken from inside my van while we were going through all the heavy traffic in the area. Traffic in Albuquerque is always crazy it seems but even worse today because of this event. Here are the pictures that I captured in a slideshow. I chose this format because there are 22 images here and I felt for some of my fans that would take too much loading of individual images. Hope you enjoy!

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After leaving the Balloon Festival behind, I was admiring the beauty of the Sandia Mountains that seem to surround Albuquerque. So we drove up to take a closer look. It is truly beautiful and lush desert landscape. And of course, the skies personality shined through.

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A view of Albuquerque from the top.

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        I know that one of the most amazing pictures anyone can capture at a balloon festival is all the balloons lit up at night. Unfortunately, neither Scott nor I have good night vision and the traffic at night would be much more of a nightmare than in the daytime. Perhaps someday I will be able to capture a balloon festival at night. But for now, there are many other amazing photographers out there that have captured those images for you. I also know that some of the Youtubers that I follow have captured amazing video of the music of lights from balloon festivals they have attended.

In just a few more days, We will be heading to Arizona for the winter and we have a few places on our bucket list to check out. Arizona just has so much to see and do and so many places to camp. It will be our winter home this year and we will be sure to change the scenery of our backyard throughout the winter. HappyTrails everyone!

 

 

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It’s Mississippi Time!

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We have arrived in the beautiful State of Mississippi. My home for 28 years and where I raised my three Sons. We arrived into the State via the Natchez Trace Parkway which we started in Tennessee. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states- Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians. It is a beautiful, scenic drive of 10,000 years worth of southern history.

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We stopped for the night at a rest area on the Trace in Alabama. I am always in love with Sunsets and sunrises. I love photographing the southern skies because of their colors and activities. They are always expressive in some way.

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We made it to my Son’s house in Bentonia, MS much earlier than what we had anticipated. But the visit with him and his Fiance has been wonderful. The wedding day is this coming Friday on the 29th so this will be a week of crazy hectic activities. I am so proud of the man he has become and the choices he is making. By the wedding day I will be reunited with my other two sons as well and it will be the first time in several years that the 4 of us will be all together.

Yesterday, September 22nd, we spent the day at the Ross Barnett Reservoir in Ridgeland, MS. It is a beautiful and very popular area for all kinds of activities.

“Ridgeland is where water meets wonderful at the Barnett Reservoir. Named for the 52nd governor of the State of Mississippi, “The Rez” was created by impounding the Pearl River between Madison and Rankin Counties. Completed in 1965, it has 105 miles of shoreline and is bounded on the north by the historic Natchez Trace. The Barnett Reservoir creates a haven for many outdoor adventures. Boating, sailing, water sports, camping, fishing, picnicking or bird watching offer endless hours of pleasure. Visitors have the opportunity to view and participate in national and regional fishing tournaments, weekend regattas ,as well as the many festivals held at the reservoir.”
(Quoted from Reservoir Website: https://www.visitridgeland.com/attractions/ross-barnett-reservoir/)

Here are a few of the pictures I took of the reservoir. There was a lot of boating going on in the area where we were.

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Lot’s of young folks out having a good time!

 

There were even a few birds of a feather around enjoying the day.

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As the day went on, rain clouds started forming. I love to capture the beauty of the skies especially when clouds are present.

 

We all had a great time at the Reservoir!

My Son Christian, and his Fiance, Shannon

My Little super dog Wally in his chair.

 

Scott going for a swim

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My Son and Me
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And even Gypsy Rose seem to be enjoying the view

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It really was a great day and there will be many more to come. Getting ready for a wedding can be a bit stressful. But when there is love all around mixed with good times and endless smiles, you are ready for a day that will overflow with Love, Peace, and Blessings.

Hope you all enjoyed this trip with me. Remember there will be many more great trips to come.

 

 

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A Spiritual Journey At The Flight 93 Memorial

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On September 11, 2018 as we were traveling through Pennsylvania. We decided to visit the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.  As we arrived to the turn that leads to the entrance, there was quite a line of cars waiting to get in. It took us about 30 minutes to get in and then we had to park in the overflow parking area. From there. I was able to catch a shuttle to the Visitor center and the memorial wall.

The primary reason for all activities and chaos on this day was not just because it was the 17th anniversary of that 9-11 tragedy, but because President Trump was at the Memorial on this day. Of course he was already gone by the time we got there, but there was quite the craziness left behind from his visit.

Now I have to tell you, This place is absolutely beautiful and so intense. It is so peaceful and at times, as I walked through the small hiking trail that leads from the Visitor center to the Memorial wall, you can just feel the spirits of those who lost their lives at that crash site.  It felt like a sacred place that was being overrun with news media, the family members of those who lost their lives, visitors who were there to honor them…. so much going on and yet through it all you can still feel the peace of this final resting place.

These are the photos I took from The Memorial Wall and Visitor Center.
The walk that led to those tall walls at the visitor center had the marks of when each plane was crashed. It was quite haunting to see those times and the flight numbers. Inside the visitor center they played videos and memorials from that fateful day. There was so many people there it was pretty difficult to really capture everything.

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Below are the images from the Memorial wall. The Wall of Names is the most memorable feature of the Memorial, made of 40 individual slabs, each engraved with the name of a Flight 93 passenger or crew member (the four passenger/terrorists are not included). The wall follows the flight path of Flight 93, although its exact trajectory when it hit at 563 mph may have differed slightly.

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Below: Servicemen and family honoring those who lost their lives at the rock which is a marker to spot where the plane crashed._DSC0264_DSC0265 (2)_DSC0267_DSC0270
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Below: A ranger on duty at the Wall of Names. You can see the impact boulder in the weedy field beyond it, but the Gate is only opened for VIPs. The closest an average visitor will get to the crash site is about 200 feet away._DSC0272

A view from below of the Observation deck by the Visitor center. It is located at the end of the path with the dates and time of each hijacked plane. _DSC0274_DSC0276_DSC0282_DSC0285

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The serenity of this place should also be displayed. I captured the beauty of the landscape and flowers that adorned the fields and met us with whispers of its spirit.

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One of the things I really wanted to see on this trip was the Tower Of Voices. Unfortunately, because of all the activities due to the President having been there, they had it closed off so I did not get a chance to see this structure up close. We did catch a glimpse of it from a distance as we were being told to keep moving so that the traffic continues to flow and not back up again. So I did not capture the image of it. But you can read all about it and see this magnificent tower at this link below provided by The National Parks. Click on the image.

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To say that I was touched by this place is an understatement. You can’t visit this site and not leave there untouched. You take within your heart and memories every heroic soul that gave their lives so that no more had to die. You can truly feel their spirit and their energy as you take in the beauty of the surrounding rolling hills, farms, fields bright with colors of wildflowers. They are all there, embracing every visitor that comes to remember them. You will feel sadness as well as gratefulness for their actions on that day. I highly recommend taking time to come and see this place and allow it to touch you and fill your heart. It really is hard to put into words exactly how you may feel. It is a personal journey and not everyone will feel the same things. But I am sure it will leave you breathless from the experience of just being there.

 

You can also view all these images with music on my YouTube channel:
Flight 93 Memorial- My Personal Journey

 

 

 

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