DIY Photography

Sometimes when I’m out taking pictures and I want to get my picture taken, or someone asks me if they can take a picture with me, I have to take the picture myself, which doesn’t always work. I end up cutting our heads off or they turn out really blurry…

I met a woman yesterday while we were listening to a local band, one of about six located around the festival we were at. She asked me if I could dance in the chair and the next thing I know, my calendar was booked the rest of the afternoon practically 😉 Life is GOOD!!

I took this picture MYSELF and am amazed how great it turned out. I didn’t even have to take two 😉 Hope you like it!!!


Caution: Jason’s Been Thinking

And I changed my mind about the book I’m thinking about writing. Oh, don’t worry I’m still going to write it, but I was lying in bed last night, staring at the ceiling, wishing I was on the lake and had an idea. I know, God forbid I actually get the idea when I’ve got pen and paper in hand. I’m the idiot who thinks of things in the strangest places…. it’s amazing the things I come up with sitting at the urinal taking care of business.

Get your minds out of the gutter and FOCUS!!! With all the crap I’ve been dealing with lately with my health (kidney infection, low iron and blood in my urine) and my amazing recovery, I’ve come up with a completely different title of the book and direction for the first chapter. I’ve also been inspired by a holiday Christians all over the world just celebrated, when Jesus Christ rose from the grave and came to live in the hearts of all believers.

I better stop now because if I say too much, like my last name will be part of the title, I’ll give everything away. You’re just going to have to wait and buy it at Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million or Amazon in a couple years. All I can say is wait and see!!!


Confidence can be a hard thing to come by in this day and age. We live in a culture where our worth is measured by how we look, our physical ability and by the extension of our intelligence. We judge people, not by their true selves or their true potential but by our estimate of their talents, abilities and intelligence. We base this judgement on their looks and the shape of their bodies. We even measure our own self worth by those same impossible and unrealistic standards. When we’re young we answer the question “Who am I?” by watching how others behave and react to us.

It’s no wonder, then, that we struggle with such poor self images and the resulting lack of self-esteem that confidence in ourselves is so low. We are constantly judging the person we see in the mirror by the perceptions of others and not by the truth that lies within.

There seem to be two main ways that most of us deal with our inner feelings of dislike and sometimes even disgust that we have for ourselves.

1)  We way over-compensate and present a super-confident “Everything is fine with me” image to the world.


2)  We crawl inside of ourselves trying to get through life unnoticed and, if it was possible, even invisible.

To my mind it is the latter that is the most difficult to live with because it holds us back from expressing what we know our true potential to be. Being overly aware of our physical appearance or condition we develop a fear of pushing ourselves forward, fear of ridicule and of expressing the beauty of who we are, preventing the sharing of our true selves.

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.”-Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

This may sound obvious, but if we are ever to realize the dreams we have for our lives then all this MUST change. We must develop a new positive self image, an image that sees the person in the mirror as – worthy, talented, beautiful and able to make a worthwhile, valuable contribution in the lives of others and the world. We need to see ourselves as worthy to have the good things in life, that dream home we’ve always wanted, the expensive clothes and the friends.

The real you and the real me

If we are to realize our dreams for life, (and that includes romance) we need to see ourselves as a potential mate, attractive to and worthy of the love of another. Put bluntly we need to see ourselves as sexy.

“What is an important aspect of inner beauty? Self-acceptance.’’ ~ Dr. Lori Shemek

We need to learn how to accept ourselves; we need to stop judging the person in the mirror and start loving. You and I are acceptable just as we are. More than acceptable, in fact. You and I are perfect. Right here, right now, there is no need to change in order to fit someone else’s mold. You and I came here to this life, in the form we did for a reason. The body we are each experiencing life through was chosen as perfect for what we came here to experience. Your body is fit for purpose, perfect for the job it was chosen to do. I know, most of the time it doesn’t feel that way. Nevertheless, I believe it to be true.

To accept yourself is to love yourself. First we must practice non-judgment of ourselves, not that we shouldn’t set goals and judge our progress, of course we should. I am saying, however, that we not see ourselves as a failure if we don’t measure up to some false idea of perfection. Once we stop judging and start loving the bodies we inhabit then we can extend that new way of being/thinking to all others.

So, how can you/I change your/our self-image?

Fill your life with positive images of people who, against all odds and despite the negative advice of those who claimed to have “their best interest” at heart, still went after their dreams. Study the lives of those who, after being told by the “experts” that they did not have what it took, decided to live their dream anyway. Why? Because if they could do it, SO CAN YOU!

Deep down, deep inside yourself you know what you are capable of, you know who are. That dream you’ve had for all these years is more than possible. You can be that person, and you are that person. You would not have that dream if it was not possible for you to live it. Even if you have a disability of some kind the same principle still applies, you would not have that dream if it was not possible for you to live it. Now, if you do have a disability, not only would you have the physical difficulties to overcome but you have all those around you who constantly remind you of what they believe you can’t do. My advice is, IGNORE them!

To start building that confidence you have to not only see your dream as possible, you also need to see yourself as both capable and worthy. Imagine yourself as confident living the life of your dreams with all of your heart’s desires fulfilled. Call it meditation or daydreaming, call it whatever you like, but spend time each day deliberately feeling the emotion of joy that would naturally come from a fulfilled life. Believe/feel, for you have received.

Of course the most effective method to build confidence is to take a deep breath and head out into the world. As scary as it may be, experience is the fastest and best teacher. Yes, you will have days when your confidence will take a dent but believe in yourself. One step at a time YOU WILL GET THERE! Don’t try to do it all in one big leap. REMEMBER: One step at a time YOU WILL GET THERE! 

To quote our friend, and owner of this blog, I don’t need to use his name, do I?

“I struggled with self confidence….but thanks to the job it’s through the roof.”

Finally, and maybe I should have started with this, the reason I decided to write about self-confidence is that I have struggled with a lack of confidence my whole life. You see (this will be the first time I have shared this online) when I was born (in 1972) I was not breathing. I have spent my life having to cope with cerebral palsy. While I am able to walk, getting around is still a challenge. I would describe myself (for most of my life anyway) as the kind of person who would “crawl inside of myself trying to get through life unnoticed and if it was possible, even invisible.”

So you see I have some experience with this. I have been so self-conscious of myself, so lacking in confidence. Believe me I know how debilitating it can be, stopping the real me/you from shining through. It took me so long to decide to share about myself in this post, but I believe it’s time that I shared a) because it will help those who read this, and b) if my friend, Jason can live his life as an inspiration, so can I and so can you!


Editor’s note: This is a guest post from a great friend and guy, Jason Carl Owen. I “met” Jason on Twitter a few months ago and am always inspired by his tweets and his outlook on life. Thank you Jason for inspiring us with your story and for encouraging all of us to live our dreams!!!

Team Bring It!

Wednesday night, my sister and I went to UGA Day in Rome, one of several chances every year for fans to come listen to the University of Georgia’s head football coach Mark Richt and head basketball coach Mark Fox discuss their expectations for the upcoming season. I’ve been to UGA Day the past three years, this year and 2010 and 2011 in Marietta at the Cobb Galleria, and this was one of the best yet.

I’m going to do a longer post about the entire UGA Day experience later this summer after I go to UGA Day in Marietta, but wanted to mention something that let me know the Dawgs are for real this year, despite what the media says.

While Coach Richt, or as he’s known in Dawg Country “CMR,” was talking, he mentioned that the Missouri Tigers are one of the newest members of the SEC, and Georgia’s conference opener is against Mizzou at their place on Sept. 8. CMR seemed to be really pumped about this year’s squad, despite the suspensions and players leaving to pursue more playing time, and he said something like, “When we play Missouri, all I know is we’re gonna bring it and try to welcome the Tigers to the SEC.”

Welcome to the SEC boys!!!

By the way, while I was mingling, taking pictures before the festivities kicked off, one thing I noticed is the SEC has BY FAR the most beautiful women in the country. Don’t believe me, maybe this picture will change your mind 😉

Re-Post: God, Autism and Acceptance

In celebration of National Autism Awareness Month this April, I’m honored to be able to re-publish this amazing post by Chelsea Budde, an amazing mother and friend I met several months ago on Twitter. I hope you enjoy it.

Even before my firstborn was diagnosed with autism in 2002, I knew he was unlike toddlers his own age. His differences were never embarrassing or heartbreaking to me, but were certainly challenging and confounding. I just wanted to know what was “wrong” with him so I could “fix” it. Oh, the naïveté of a new mother – the overconfidence in my abilities and my underappreciation for God’s sovereignty.

While my five-year-old son was in the throes of intensive in-home behavior therapy, my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter was exhibiting some symptoms that caused the supervising clinical psychologist to ask, “When are we going to do an evaluation on her?”. Since my husband and I had spent half of her young life wondering what disorder we could attribute her developmental differences to, there was a certain relief when I realized her behaviors also were consistent with an autism spectrum disorder.

“I know how to do autism,” I thought to myself triumphantly.

But what was I really doing? The vast ocean of theories and speculations dotted with research and anecdotes regarding autism was waxing by the second, and every wave crashed on the shore with unsolicited advice. A mother could feel as if she were drowning.

Thankfully, a crisis of health prevented a crisis of faith. While my husband and I are devout Christians, we had lost sight of God’s goodness throughout the journey. We were so busy attempting to determine what was best for our children that we managed to miss the whisperings of God through the storms of our kids’ lives.

And this was shaping up to be quite a storm. After spending the better part of a Friday between a hospital emergency room and the pediatrician’s office because my son had abruptly lost his ability to walk, we were admitted to our local Children’s Hospital. Our son lay in a hospital bed with what was believed to be Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a sometimes-fatal auto-immune response. As I was packing a weekend bag, pleading with God to heal our son and give us the strength we needed to get through another diagnosis, He communicated to me that our children would go through some trials in this life. Yet my job was to be concerned not about their health or their happiness, but their holiness.

Somehow, this released me from the self-imposed burden of having to “fix” my children. After all, weren’t they made this way by their Creator? And wasn’t He able to prevent harm and cause cure if He wished? And did He not promise both me and my children that He would never leave or forsake us? I was free to accept them just the way they were, shifting my energy from trying to craft who they would become to demonstrating His great love for them.

This move toward acceptance found its way into my professional life as well. After spending seven years as a stay-at-home mom, another mother of a child with autism suggested to me that we make a film teaching elementary school students about autism and how they could be good friends. In a matter of months, we were on our way to incorporating a nonprofit organization, researching and developing curriculum, and producing our first video. First, we focused on creating autism awareness, teaching acceptance of differences and fostering empathy for students with autism in elementary school. Last year, we started taking steps to modify the message for middle school audiences.

Along the way, we’ve met dozens of families with children with autism. We’ve noticed that the families most cooperative with what we’re trying to accomplish are those who’ve accepted their children in the context of their diagnosis. Whether their faith played a role in that acceptance is beyond the scope of our interactions. But it is clear that children raised in a culture of acceptance are more likely to enjoy their peers’ acceptance.

So I urge all parents of children, whether those children are young or grown, to trust in God’s goodness and accept His creations just as they are. You will find the blessings He intended when you see them with His eyes. And as they sense your acceptance of them, they will be more understanding of His plan for them – and so will you.

About Chelsea Budde

Chelsea Budde has lived in Waukesha, Wis., since 2001 with her husband and their two children, ages 13 and 10.  She graduated from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., in 1995 with a B.A., and worked in public relations for several years before leaving to care for her family.

Her son’s and daughter’s special needs have kept her engaged in the community as an advocate and a resource for other parents and professionals.

“Parenting children with autism, mood issues and medical challenges is nothing I would have hoped for, but has turned out to be greatest blessing of my life,” she says.  Her faith in and reliance upon God have sustained her these years, as have the prayers and support of her many friends and family, both in southeast Wisconsin and throughout the country.

As president and co-founder of the nonprofit organization Good Friend, Inc., Chelsea has delivered Good Friend’s autism awareness-acceptance-empathy® message to more than 15,000 people since 2007, including through presentations at six major conferences.  The script she wrote for Good Friend’s “Choosing To Be a GFF [Good Friend Forever]” middle school film contributed to its earning the 2011 Autism Society Media Excellence in Video, Print or News Award, and being named a 2012 ALSC Children’s Notable Video by the American Library Association.

He is RISEN!!!

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”