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Posts tagged “Garden of the gods

Forever and a Day

I can hardly believe it’s been seven months since I last posted! Life has been super crazy and I’ve been trying to get all of my ducks in a row. I feel like I’ve been stuck for the longest time- spinning my wheels and going nowhere. I’ve been out of school for a year and a half now…free falling into nothingness. Days pass with minimal actions and reactions; sometimes it feels like life is passing me by and I’m watching it ride off in the distance. I’m just not entirely happy unless I’m doing something and getting things done.

The last time I posted, things were at a standstill, academically. My undergrad. college was holding my transcript hostage until I paid my balance (of $1,200) down completely. The chances of that happening were right up there with me learning Chinese overnight- it just wasn’t happening!

Bless my Mama’s heart. I explained my situation to her- she’s been my champion throughout my entire undergrad. studies- year after year, cheering me on, relentlessly and lovingly. I share what I’ve learned with her in the area of psychology and self-help and she shares in my joy. In a strange and neat way, we’re doing this school  thing together. So when I let her know just how dire things were, she texted Josh to tell me that she had the entire balance- all $1,200 waiting for me to pick it up at her place. I just bawled my eyes out there in the hallway. She truly is my hero.

And so now, after much time doing absolutely nothing with my life, I’m able to get back on track and begin work on my Master’s degree soon. After much contemplation, I’ve decided on becoming a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor. It’s not going to be an easy road, but I’m up for the challenge. I’ll need to study for 3 or so years, and of course, there’s internship/practicum (560 hours) and as the years go on, I’ll need to put in 4,000 or so hours to be a CADAC II and eventually CADAC 4- CADAC being a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor. Being certified and licensed are two different things, particularly in the area of reciprocity. (One pertains to remaining within one’s state only, and the other allows for the practice in various other states.) But first things first!

My plans are to work on the education part, and then as time goes on, intern as a mental health tech. in a rehab. facility for 1 to 3 years, so that I can gain the necessary field experience to have a very good job down the road. With a Master’s in Substance Abuse Addictions Counseling + 4,000 hours of experience, I’ll be able to secure a job of $45,000 or so, starting out. Now that may be peanuts to some folks, but for me, it’s more than enough. I’m in the process of cleaning up my credit, so over the next 5 years, I should be in a very good position to work on buying a home (at a fairly low mortgage rate) and be right on track in most areas of my life.

I’ve officially been accepted into my Master’s program and am SO thrilled to begin school on October 3rd. That gives me a good month to clean my house. 😉 Josh and I are still trucking along- he’s the love of my life, truly. We’ve been each other’s heart beat for 11 years now! Where does the time go?

Brian and his gal, Gabby, have moved out so Josh and I finally have the place to ourselves for the first time ever. I wish I could say we’ve been sad, but um…we’ve been running around in our underwear hooping and hollering and acting like it’s a frat house! 🙂

I feel the grey clouds rolling out and everything’s starting to take on a vivid, golden hue. When I was a child, I never imagined that I would become a counselor when I was older. My dreams are literally coming true, and I am so happy. ❤

Rim Rock Trail- Garden of the Gods, Illinois- Helios film lens/manual-Aug-2017

Rim Rock Trail Aug 2017

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Black and White

I’m thinking about setting my camera to monochrome and not shooting in colour (or allowing myself to) for one whole year. I know it sounds crazy but that’s the kind of thing I like to do. When I look out into the world, I see in black and white. I see lighting mostly- shadows and ranges of exposure- tonal ranges. I can stare off in a room full of people and be in my own little world (I’m sure it looks like I’m deep in thought) but really, I’m converting a branch, a table, a moving mouth into monochrome and watching the shadows and lighting change places in my mind.

This is what my creative eye is doing no matter where I go or who I’m with and I rarely deviate. When I went to Southern Illinois with Josh, he wanted to fish, so he fished; but I wanted nothing more than to run up into the hills with my camera. Blossoms were opening up everywhere and colour was shooting to life all around me but the most beautiful thing I saw was a stark branch, unadorned and unassuming.

I painted it black and white in my mind and it was so very beautiful. I gave it a pretty pink coat in Photoshop, but I shot it in monochrome in natural lighting- all manual, naturally.

I call it simply:

 Blush

ImageI love the dancing bokeh in the background.

Specs: 50 MM 1.8 II/manual focus/manual exposure/natural lighting
Shot in monochrome/Canon Rebel T3i/Sh. sp.: 1/800th sec
F/ 1.8/ISO 100

I was inspired by the cranberry hue after seeing my friend, Ingz, from Redbubble (THE most amazing fine art site in the world- don’t waste your time at Fine Art America/FAA)  do the same in one of her pieces. She’s an amazing artist- so clean and elegant. I’m expecting some new equiptment soon- particularly another Lensbaby and this time, it’s coming with the pinhole/zone plate. I could just cry. :0) (Thanks again for all of your prayers in that department, Soul Walker. XO)

Maybe I’ll accept my own monochrome challenge.
(We’ll see.)


Trees. Water. Sun. Cabin. Exhale.

ImageMy daughter-Brianna/Deam Lake/50 MM/natural lighting/manual exposure/manual focus

I’ve managed to book my favourite cabin in the world: “Coyote Hollow”. It’s a charming place tucked away in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest- located conveniently just around the corner from the Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois. It comes with an oversized screened in porch, firepit, rocking chairs, ready-to-go grill, large private yard and surrounding woods- a fully equipped kitchenette; it’s your standard luxury cabin in the woods. (DVD player and popcorn already there and waiting.)

I’m so overdue for a “mid-week getaway”. I’m looking forward to it even more because Josh will be going with me. [Insert big grin here] Although we’re no longer “together”, we still enjoy each other’s company. Besides, he’s the best model a girl could ask for. He just looks good on film. 🙂

I was prepared to go alone (and was actually looking forward to it) but dang it- I need somebody to build the fire while I pour the wine!

We’re bringing fishing poles too and I’m completely expecting utter mayhem. What the hell could go wrong out in the middle of nowhere with fishing poles?! You’d be surprised. My life is nothing short of a circus, and I’m hoping that it’s the most hum drum, uneventful time of my life. I need utter stagnation for a while.

I’ll be gone until Saturday and I have a feeling that I’ll be coming back with a few stories to tell…

(but let’s hope not.)

Hasta la vista.