It's all at your finger tips.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
- Jack Canfield

I’d say I’m both fearless and fearful. 

Everyone is, right?  We all battle between fearlessness and fearfulness and figuring out which situations each is most appropriate.  Walking down a dark, shady alley in the middle of the night in the worst part of town? Fearfulness is probably the wise choice. It prevents you from doing something that could potentially harming you.  Talking to strangers at a conference? Fearlessness is the trait to have so you can meet and connect with people. 

A lot of times I’m fearless. Sometimes I chalk it up to youngest child syndrome, growing up with my parents and five older siblings always taking care of me, leaving me with very few worries.  OrI think back to losing my job and the perspective I gained from realizing God’s plans for my life were far better than anything I could dream up myself. Whatever it is that made me fearless, I’m grateful whenever I choose it.

It was fearlessness that propelled me to go to Alt Summit without knowing anyone, then eventually pitching a class idea to them and teaching the following year.  It was fearlessness that compelled me to build up my blog and reach out to brands for collaboration.  I chose fearlessness and so far it hasn’t let me down.  But it’s really not that easy. I can recall just as many instances when I missed opportunities because I let fear get in the way. The time I didn’t talk to the photographer I admired because I was too scared he’d think I was crazy.  Or the time I didn’t submit a wedding to a publication because I was scared it’d be rejected. Fear can be a real enemy to our happiness. 

That’s why I love that quote by Jack Canfield so much, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” We can’t let fear keep us from our dreams. I see a lot of colleagues and friends who are crippled by their fear of the future.  I sit there and watch as they stay stagnant, my own imagination dreaming of all the amazing things they can do.  But then I see something in them, a glimmer of hope and I see them slowly gripping the strength of fearlessness. I see as they choose fearlessness, then they choose it again, and again, and again.  And I see their lives change before my eyes.

See, when you choose fearlessness, you choose to open yourself up. You open yourself up to God’s plans for your life.  You open yourself up to your dreams.  Ultimately you open yourself up to your own happiness.  You must let fearlessness win!

Choose to live a life of fearlessness! Grab hold of your dreams. Charge forward. It’s all at your fingertips. 

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. June 18, 2015 | Canon Rebel XSN + Fuji s-400 processed by Richard Photo Lab

BLACKOUT

Last night was an adventure. 

Lance and I are headed to California tomorrow (yay!). But we each have so much work... like an insane amount of work.  Yesterday we hadn't even started packing when the power went out.  Turns out 88,000 customers in Northern Alabama were experiencing power outages due to the storm, and lucky us, we were one of them. 

Of course, just when I needed the power to get work down and bear down on my long to-do list the power goes out.  I was stressed a bit at first. How I was going to finish everything before out trip?  How was I going to work? How long would the power be out?? I was silently freaking out inside.

Then Lance showed me the twitter of Alabama Power (which powers a most of Alabama).  Alabama Power's twitter feed was filled with witty and kind tweets from "Toni".  People were complaining left and right, and she just kept calmly responding.  If you have a chance, you should read some of her tweets. They're hilarious.  Their tweets helped me embrace this little adventure of ours.

A bit more relaxed, I took advantage of the blackout. I rested and read and just let myself enjoy this break.  It was good. When we finally got power back I got so much done! I was refreshed and ready to work.  I'm still trying to tackle my to-do list, but that blackout got me in such a good mood.  It was so great to take a break. 

See you soon, California! 

p.s. Here's an interesting post about the benefits and reasons for taking a break

 

Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee. June 17, 2015 | Fuji x100s

ALWAYS BE PREPARED

For the past two weeks I traveled through six different states, and now it's about time to be home for a while.  I collected stories from the most random of experiences so I'd like to share some with you so you can be prepared the next time you travel!

the best blanket A couple years ago I sprung the $20 for a lightweight travel blanket at one of the kiosks in the airport. Up until then I relied on whatever coat or sweatshirt I brought.  Sometimes I'd even bring a bulky fleece blanket.  But this blanket has been a lifesaver! It balls up pretty small.. about the size of two fists. It's very thin, yet very warm.  Sometimes I'll even use it as a scarf.  On this trip it saved me from some cold flights, restaurants and car rides.

packing your checked luggage You really can never trust the people who handle your checked luggage, so much so that a lot of airlines do not protect you if jewelry or electronics are stolen from it.  So never pack anything of value in your checked bag.  I always keep my computer and camera equipment with me at all times.  Also, try not to check anything you couldn't bear to lose.  Recently I flew home from California, then Lance and I were going to drive to Tennessee.  Turns out they lost one of my bags.  In it was a bunch of stuff I was bringing back from dad's house to Alabama.  I could have lived without most of the items in the bag, except a teddy bear from my childhood that my mother bought me.  The thought of losing that bear made me so sad.  Thankfully they found my luggage, but it was a good reminder not to put anything, even of sentimental value in checked luggage. P.S. When I came home from backpacking through Europe, I found my pack on the luggage turnstile at baggage claim, ripped open and missing a bunch of my belongings.  You just never know.

keeping occupied Everyone who has a kid knows you need things to keep occupied. I'm like a kid.  While I can sit still for a while, keep me waiting in line for a flight for an hour or three hours on a layover and I get stir crazy.  My flight from San Francisco to Houston was delayed more than an hour, then I missed my connection.  When I got bumped to the next flight, that flight was delayed about two hours.  So I had a lot of time to kill on that trip.  It's really good to have a backup plan, especially if you're traveling by yourself like I was.  I brought five books with me to my California trip and six to my Tennessee trip.  In my carry-on I had four books, so I was very happy to fill my time with reading.  Checking the internet gets pretty boring after a while.  Besides, it's refreshing to read in your down time.  Try it! Reading is power.

candy & snacks to rescue This probably goes without saying. Bring snacks! When I went to Ireland with Karen I realized I've got a mean case of "hangry", meaning I get really mean/angry when I'm hungry.  She figured it out when we were walking around in the morning, and I told her I felt angry and upset but I didn't know why.  She figured out I needed some food, and when I did those angry feelings went away.  So now I'm a bit more aware that I need to be fed.  I stocked up on a bag of candy at the airport that save me on our long drive to the Smokies.  I was so hungry after our hikes.

a needle and floss Believe it or not, a needle and floss can save a lot of situations.  When my suitcase ripped apart on a trip to Louisiana, I used a pack of waxed floss and a needle to fix it.  Waxed floss is surprisingly durable.  In addition to my suitcase, I've patched backpacks, purses and sandals.  It's good in a crunch because needles are small enough to store and I always have floss with me anyway.  Good dental hygiene for the win!

 

"Awesome View" Cabin. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. June 16, 2015 | Canon 5d markii 50mm 1.2L