photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

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Man Trouble

How a single girl like me (who doesn’t even have a Facebook- or a boyfriend) has man trouble is beyond me- but honey, I got ’em!

And I ain’t complaining. :)

Too much time alone isn’t good for the soul.

And on that note, today’s catch:
Is it just me, or is there an Indian’s face in those trees?

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For a Special Friend ♥ ╬ ♥

You know who you are! :)

I hope you like your little butterfly. (Or, mad rabbit, according to Mandy Tator Tots.) Made today from things collected on the back deck.  I know it’s nothing compared to the masterpieces you create without even trying- forever making art with your fingers absentmindedly- but all things considered, I hope you like it just the same. xo
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Dean’s List!

I’m in a ridiculously good mood: I just found out that I made the Dean’s List again this semester. SO stoked. In the past, I wanted to make the Dean’s List solely for bragging rights (I can admit to that), but now, I have to make the Dean’s List or there’s no going forward. When I begin working on my Master’s degree- just around the corner- there’ll be no such thing as “making a C”. If you receive a C in psychology at the Master’s level, you’re automatically expelled from the program. Yep; anything less than a B- and you’re considered a failure. So, I set the bar really high for myself every semester because I have to. But my semester’s finally over, and I have until July 7th to relax and enjoy my summer (and work on my photography & art). It’s OVER! :)

Digitally rendered watercolour on washi paper/ Bernheim Forest- Clermont, Kentucky
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The Crucified Way

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Never in a million years did I think I’d live to see the day when my Church would be divided. It happens to many churches. There are differences in opinions, feelings, ideologies, and ultimately, beliefs. So, church members branch off so that all people might feel included and have a place to go or belong. It doesn’t make the people who left “wrong” and it doesn’t make the people who stay in the original church “right”. Each person must decide for him or herself what is best in their lives.

I was born into a family of Pentecostals. My Church is Christ Gospel (Headquarters) and my Pastor is Rev. B. R. Hicks. She’s getting up there in years (in her 90’s) but she’s got plenty of fire left! :) I consider her my spiritual mother and owe her a great deal; I always will. I was raised in duality, however: when I lived with my Mom, I went to prayer meetings twice per week and church four times per week. We didn’t have a t.v.- didn’t wear make-up, pants, etc. (skirts/dresses only), and lived a pretty clean life, to say the least. (I remember once, becoming heavily convicted at 14 because I was reading “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Yep!)  When I lived with my Dad, however, it was AC/DC, loads of whiskey, beer, and pot, and I had free reign of my life. I was perpetually bouncing back and forth between my parents throughout my adolescence and I was the only one of my siblings who did. Both sides- the spiritual world and the carnal world- were well developed within me. I’ll always be grateful for that. Had I been raised “only in church”, I would have felt inadequate, or as if I were a perpetual sinner and could never measure up to my cohorts and peers. Had I been raised “without God/church” (only) I’m sure I’d be dead by now, as I’m rebellious by nature and like to live life on the edge. Having both sides has allowed me to “sin with the sinners and sup with the saints”, as it were. What it’s also allowed me to do is get to know people from all walks of life- judging no one.
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There’s a saying in my church that we call “the Crucified Way”. It’s choosing to focus on Jesus’ crucifixion and believing that all things go back to that: the Cross. As Christians, we pray and ask God to “crucify our flesh” so that our own carnal pride will become crucified- transformed- and cleansed so that rather than making something “about ourselves”, we make it about Jesus and His will. It’s no secret that we’re living in a self-fulfilling, hedonistic world where it’s all about “gaining followers”. I think though, we can become lost, chasing after a hollow goal if we’re not purpose-driven and sanctified- seeing the world through anointed “holy” eyes. Without that, it’s too easy to get caught up in “self” and “status” and “followers” and “likes” and on and on and on. But we all do it, no matter how clean we think we are- we all do it.
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But back to the matter at hand! Recently, my Church has become divided. Bro. Bill Hudson (whom I really like a lot) started a separate church and many people have left our home Church to join his. They call it “Return Ministries”. Keep in mind, I, myself haven’t been to an actual Church (building) in quite some time- but that has no bearing on my feelings and beliefs. I love my church- Christ Gospel- and always will. Whether I’m actually “attending the building” doesn’t add to or take away from my walk with Jesus- one bit.

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I love my Pastor very much because she’s taught me what it means to forgive and to love, truly. I’ll never forget what she said one day, “You can’t love people from a distance.” In other words, you have to “get your hands dirty”. DO something to show people you love them. Help them clean their house, give them food or a ride to the store- HELP them! Don’t merely say a hypocritical prayer that “God will help them or bless them” and leave them out in the cold…
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It’s because of my Pastor that I was able to forgive my offenders – 100%- and find healing in my life. She’s lived by example and has poured out her heart, soul, time and her very life to help other people (like myself), and I’ll always be indebted to her for that.

There are a lot of lies on the internet about her, and there are people who have set out to destroy her her whole life. But just as the Bible says, “The servant is not above his Master,” and just as they tried to twist Jesus’ words, they twist hers too and try to make her out to be all sorts of things she is not.

I’m only one person with once voice. But consider this (part of) my testimony and that I have learned from Rev. Hicks how to love, forgive, overcome, how to give to others selflessly, how to actually give thanks to God for hard times, and how to take my eyes off of myself and put them on Jesus. She’s an awesome person, in general, but she’s an incredibly awesome woman. 

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What I love most about her, though, is her refusal to “go with the flow”. She stands on what is in the Bible- 100%. In 2015- that offends a lot of people. People want conformity and change. Under pressure, Moses struck the rock (in the wilderness) so that the people would have water, but he struck it out of fear and to silence them. He didn’t strike the rock because God wanted him to. He did it because the people moved him to do it- but it wasn’t God’s will. He “went with the flow” so there wouldn’t be an uprising.

Rev. Hicks doesn’t “go with the flow to silence the masses”, and again, that’s one of the things that I love her for the most. People blame her for their own unhappiness, but if we don’t give others credit for our success, why should we blame them for our misery?

The single greatest thing I’ve ever learned from Rev. Hicks is this: “Nobody can push your buttons unless you allow them to.”

That statement literally changed my life. We each have the power and ability to choose LOVE. To choose peace. And to choose forgiveness. I’ll forever hold these precious lessons close to my heart, and I’ll forever be grateful for what Rev. Hicks has taught me. ♥

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Best Smoothie EVER

drinkNever mind the crap shot; this is the best drink I’ve ever had. I have to thank Cari for introducing me to what she and her family calls “poo juice” (because, well…”it makes you poo”) and I knew when I saw the neon green “stuff” in her blender, I’d have to try it. Cari uses kale, zuccinis, pineapples, ginger and a generous amount of water. Sounded deelish enough, but I wanted to cram as many veggies and fruits (replacing the water with 100% fruit juice) as possible and so I modified her version, creating what is definitely the healthiest and most delicious drink I’ve ever had. Some interesting things happened after drinking it! I peed about a gallon immediately afterwards, and within the hour, I was knocked out cold- sleeping the sleep of a newborn baby. For the record, I take Ambien because I’m a diehard insomniac and nothing knocks me out. (Except Ambien.) I can’t help but think that one or more of these ingredients acted as a natural diuretic but also probably kicked up the serotonin and maybe even melatonin levels. I still can’t figure out why I slept so well! I’ve been watching a lot of food documentaries on Netflix and have discovered that drinking fruit juice (without the pulp or fiber) is right up there with drinking a soda, because there’s no bulk to inhibit the juice from passing right on through the system, causing an immediate spike in sugars, culminating in fat production. But- when you include the skins/fiber- it gives the body enough time to break down the ingredients, shipping them to proteins and other “shipping and packing” areas of the body- bypassing the “sugar/fat” route. It’s so important to include fiber when taking in juice and it makes all the difference in the world.

Anyway, for those of you who want to try it, here’s the recipe and it’s absolutely delicious:

3 celery stalks
2 zuccinis (skins included)
1 cup of fresh baby spinach
2 cups of fresh kale
1 whole bunch of cilantro (acts as natural preservative, antimicrobial, and metals/lead detox)
20 red, seedless grapes
2 kiwis
1 banana
juice of 1 fresh lemon
3/4 of a fresh pineapple
2- 3 cups of (100%) apple juice (or, until everything is covered)

Blend like mad.

The results are super fresh, “zingy”, and out-of-this world delicious. Thanks again, Cari, for your inpsiration. :)

Two Days to Go

I spoke with my adviser today who confirmed that I have 25 credit hours to go before I receive my B.S. in Psychology. I need 120 total, and I have over 100 already, but my problem is that I need 36 hours of upper level courses in my major. So, I’m buckling down and preparing to finish up my final year. I have two finals to go (which I’ll take on Saturday) and then I get to take the summer off. I always feel so haggard by this point, as if I’m clawing my way through the finish line- one bloody fistful after the next.  We worked out my schedule for the fall; it looks like it’s going to be:

Personality Theory
Evolutionary Psychology
The Psychology of Learning
Statistics for Health Professionals

That’s a barrel of wild fun if I’ve ever seen one.

Time to veg out on some cooking shows with my culinary masterpiece: a baked pork chop with a can of cream of chicken dumped on top. Gourmet! Strangely, I get a sadistic thrill eating my lukewarm slop while watching those prissy chefs grate truffles over imported foie gras.

Today’s walk: Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 (Clearly still obsessed with dandelions)
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Black Seed Oil: Cures Everything but Death

There are 6 things I take, religiously, every day of my life:

Cayenne
Ginger
Lemon Juice
Milk Thistle
Evening Primrose Oil

and the mother of all oils: Black Seed Oil

Evening Primrose Oil is known to be an estrogenic oil which levels out estrogen levels and helps to maintain one’s overall mood. It’s also a great, natural source of GLA- gamma lenolenic acid- an essential oil that the body isn’t able to produce (or produce well) on its own, but it’s a key ingredient that our bodies need as well as acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) isn’t just for women though; it’s good for men too. It promotes shiny hair, strong nails and helps keep skin elastic and firm. Milk Thistle is my go to herbal detox cleanser. In fact, it’s the most powerful all natural liver cleanser in the world. I can’t express enough how good you’ll feel if you regularly take milk thistle. I take 500 MG per day, and when I’m feeling less than my bouncy, energetic self, I’ll take 1000 MG.

In laymen’s terms, milk thistle scrubs out the liver, ridding it of excess toxins. Imagine a Nerf football. Now imagine it being full of water. Imagine squeezing the (Nerf) football with all of your might. Afterwards, there’s still a good amount of water in it. Milk thistle sort of squeezes all of that excess stuff out. Not only does milk thistle detox the liver and the body of impurities and unhealthy toxins, it’s been known to actually reverse liver damage and help reverse what’s known as a “fatty liver”. I’ve been taking milk thistle off and on for 20 years and I can’t recommend it enough.

Cayenne and ginger are wonderful metabolism boosters. Ginger has natural antinauseant properties that settle the stomach and mitigate inflammation as well. it’s especially helpful if you suffer from IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. Cayenne cleanses the blood and is also an immune system booster.

As much as I love all of my daily “go to’s”, I’ve never encountered anything that tops Black Seed Oil. Black Seed Oil has been around for centuries and boasts a long list of healing properties. I take 2 500 MG capsules per day. Black seed oil has been known to single-handedly stop pancreatic cancer in its tracks. This isn’t to say it “cures cancer”, but it’s been proven to mitigate the devastating effects of many types of cancers, even reversing the damage.

One of the most incredible benefits of black seed oil (AKA black cumin) is that it’s a top “superbug” killer. It’s so powerful that it rivals amoxicillin and other antibiotics. Most people have parasites. Pretty gross. They’re microbial and live in the intestines. Because they’re adaptive, they mutate and continually “outsmart” newly developed anti-microbial and anti-parasitic medications. However, in recent studies, out of 144 strains tested (most of which were resistant to a number of antibiotics), black seed oil alone inhibited 97 of the 144 strains. That’s pretty incredible! Aside from being a powerful anti-carcenogenic aid, it’s also one of the few things on the planet that help prevent type I & II diabetes. That’s huge! And, it also has anti-obesity properties, is the most powerful anti-fungal available, acts as a natural painkiller, increases blood to the lungs thereby helping you breathe better, helps prevent rheumatoid arthritis, is the most powerful immune-booster in the world, counterattacks dementia, and is regularly prescribed in the Middle East for opiate addiction. There’s just nothing this stuff doesn’t do. I’m 45 and people ask me all the time what my “secret” is. Now you know. :)

Take care of the skin you’re in: MAKEUP  Good skin care starts on the inside!

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I could go on all day about the benefits of this incredibly healthy and powerful oil, but do yourself a favour and read up on (cold pressed) Black Seed Oil yourself and then go on out and getcha some!

Reflections: For Gav

Here’s another one for you, Gav. Helios 44-2 (one of my favourite lenses ever- imported from Romania)
ForGav>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 60 x 40 (customizable) Canvas/gallery wrap available for purchase here.

This is why I said your Puddle Tree reminded me of my work. :) (And it does, no?) I get so inspired by dreary days and rain, don’t you?

And on that note, I’m up with the chickens today and will be taking a photo walk down by the tracks behind my place. There’s a creek and some interesting foliage and such; I’ll see what I can grab down there. (Check back later!) As always, thanks for always being such an inspiration in the world of black and white and to all other monochromejunkies such as (yourself and) me. ;)

Kittez

Bob shows off his new earrings- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4
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