Monthly Archives: August 2009

the unlikely teacher | inspiration

It’s cold outside, she lays on the hard cold cement. Another person’s thrown away unfashionable, 2 year old blanket drapes over her frail forgotten body.

Is she breathing? Should I check? What if she talks to me? What if she attacks me? If she wakes, what will she want from me?

Maybe what she wants is something you need, but don’t realize. If you could look into her eyes, you’d see years of life. A life less than ordinary. A life like yours or mine. Days of sweet happiness like a warm cup of hot chocolate (with whip cream, of course); or listening to a child’s laughter; or a brief human connection of spirits as a passerby smiles at her. Days of disappointment like the door of opportunity shut for work or just the longing of a friendship. Moments of sadness; maybe a lost loved one; a failed career; or her souls absorption of a negative comment from another scared human being.

Regardless she has a fight in her. A willingness to live in this often seemingly unfair world. Something drives her to live, to breathe. We don’t know her story. We don’t know why she’s doesn’t have all the glorious important things in life, like a car, a house, a fancy blanket or the sometimes overlooked novelties such as a loved one, a daughter, a brother, a mother. But, we know she has a drive, a need, a want or she wouldn’t be here.  Maybe it’s her fault. Maybe it’s something she can’t control; an overwhelming battle with a force big than her; controlling thoughts, actions. But she continues to fight.

Throughout the last 15 years my sensitivity and respect for the homeless or those down on their luck has been overwhelming. Out of respect to my family’s privacy, I don’t discuss their personal issue here, but I can say that experiences within our family have made me realize that everyone has a story. Everyone has a struggle. Sometimes they make irrational spur of the moment decisions (we’ve all done that to different extremes). Sometimes it’s larger than life, a mental illness, neglect, abuse that leads them to an abyss of Dante’s Inferno; a black hole. But underneath all of this is the human spirit. A human being. Something that separates us from many other mammals. The need to have interaction, to grow spiritually, mentally, socially. Sometimes our expectations seem to exceed our abilities and feelings of desperation overwhelm our spirits.  Sometimes other judge us without knowing our story. Sometimes, the only descriptive word  to describe your plight is frustration. People not seeing you for who you are; your potential and your fight hidden from the world.

As Steve catches up on some much needed rest, I was wasting good daylight hours surfing the web today.  I popped over to Zack Arias Blog and found inspiration for this post. Even though Derrick isn’t homeless or fighting mental disease. He is a human, who may have made an irrational decision. He is a human that has a story that may have had 100s of doors shut on it. But, Zack decided to open the front cover and read past the introduction.

Have a look. It’s extraordinarily simple in a magical, everyday, could have unfortunately been ignored, but incredibly important way. Everyone has something important within them. Something equal to you or me. Something inspirational. And it all started with this amazing video, followed by this very brave email. See what listening to people’s stories can do. Three unlikely intertwined stories, making my the fourth or fifth or more (i’m sure these little acts of listening, sharing and braveness have opened many more book covers). You never know the impact it will have on someone’s life, especially your own.

What I thought was a waste of my time, web surfing, lead me to open the door on an unlikely teacher fulfilling a need that I had for spiritual positive motivation/growth.

**if you want to help support the soap man, go here.

***I should add that I’m not advocating random accosting of strangers. Just saying that a little smile or listening most of the time goes a long way.

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In three’s | The workshop

There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.

–Benjamin Franklin

Three is the magic number that it takes for the human mind to establish a pattern.  In science, DNA has a triplet codon system. In geology we have the 3 basic planes: Above- Surfaced- Beneath.  In astronomy we find the 3 types of galaxies:  ellipticals – spirals – irregulars.  Freud proposed that the psyche was divided into three parts: Ego- Superego – Id.  In Christianity there is the trinity. In Taoism, the Three Pure Ones. There are three main Abrahamic religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Some three’s are not so great:    3 strikes and you’re out;   In Vietnam, it is bad luck to take a photo with three people in it;   Luck, especially bad luck, is often said to “come in threes”;   It’s been 3 weeks since my last blog (bad bad bad)

Some three’s just are: The Three Stooges & not to be forgotten The 3 Amigos;   Three dimensions to an object: height, width & depth;   In Bowling, 3 strikes in a row = a turkey;   Life is in three, past-present-future.

Some three’s are good: 3 scoops of ice cream;   it’s 3pm and I’m in my pajamas (I’m kidding, maybe);   3 is a magic number;   Steve just finished cycle 3 of chemo, off to 4, 5 & 6.

Now you may ask yourself, why I am talking about 3’s (mostly it’s because I like to talk)

I’m sure most of you have heard of Jasmine Star. Well if not, you have now. She recently put on her 3rd workshop (yes i used the number three again). And yes, I tried THREE times to get in. And, as luck would have it, the 3rd time was a charm. And, let me tell you it WAS a charm. But, if I’m being honest (uh oh you say, here she goes…), I was a bit torn about attending due to recent events and my lackluster for pretending to be happy. Consequently, I was scared. Yes, me, I was scared.  The Chicken in me knew that Jasmine had such an upbeat personality and massive amounts of energy. How was I going to put a happy face on ALL day. (Luckily she doesn’t offer refunds for wimps.) I woke up that morning, slapped myself in the face a few times and Wahla/Viola,  I made that mental flip in my head. I promised myself to practice my own words of seize the day. It helped when I remembered that I’m not the only one. Who better to have as a mentor than someone that has been through a similar (hers definitely a different degree of scary) obstacle.

Even though I only have a couple of workshops to compare, I have to say the Jasmine Star Workshop was worth the wait, the time, the money and the mental energy. It was an all encompassing day, taught by an all encompassing woman. We covered branding and blogging, shooting and processing, client relations and networking. Professionally, I was, yet again, inspired by her work. Personally, I was inspired by just the very presence of her mother (thanks “mom” – you said I could call you that).  Romantically, I was inspired by the way she and J.D. care for each other – he constantly made sure she was hydrated. Nothing says true love like hydration. (J.D. thank you for lunch, ice cold water and your kind smile).

I was inspired. I am motivated. (I swear there are photos on this post somewhere, not just ramblings). I am thankful that there are those who not only teach for financial reward, but they pay it forward with 100% of their heart and soul. And even though it was hard for me to get up and go, I think I left knowing a little more of myself.

The Teacher: Jasmine Star

Venue: The Club at Woodbury

The Models: Melinda & Vern

The Flowers: Carissa of JL Designs – seriously see for yourself…

The Beauty: Vivian Tran of All Made Up – i have never seen anything like this before & she gave the girls a lil makeup gift!!!

The Dress: Monique Lhuillier


Seriously, Jasmine has a way of motivating the masses, all the while maintaining a wicked fashion sensibility.


Melinda and Vern. Yep you can see they are still in love after almost 2 years of marriage. (and they are hot hot hot)


She graciously shared her settings while shooting, nurturing “the talent” and motivating the masses. I’d say easy contender for top 10 multi-tasker.


Between the moustache and the sunglasses, need I say more about S*T*Y*L*E*


I don’t think I have even seen a dress this stunning. Yikes!


Melinda (who came to us via my ever so awesome friend Carlie, Go tell Carlie how beautiful she is) was stunningjstarworkshop_20090804_152jstarworkshop_20090804_29jstarworkshop_20090804_35-skinjstarworkshop_20090804_50jstarworkshop_20090804_57cone

I really don’t know how to express the simple elegance and amazingness (yes i made that word up) of both the flowers (check out the matching boutonniere) and hair (Vivian, can you come over everyday please and make me look whimsical!??!). I truly and honestly have Never seen such creativity. If you are a bride, these 2 ladies are your golden ticket. If you are a photographer, surround your clients and yourself with greatness, like these…jstarworkshop_20090804_591Jasmine, J.D. & Mom thank you again. Even though I was quiet, I had much contemplation, joy and gratitude.

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