Monday, November 30, 2009

Abundance from Ashley Thalman

"Because secrets do not increase in value if kept in a gore-ian lockbox, because one's past is either made useful or else mutates and becomes cancerous. We share things for the obvious reasons: it makes us feel un-alone, it spreads the weight over a larger area, it holds the possibility of making our share lighter. And it can work either way - not simply as a pain-relief device, but, in the case of not bad news but good, as a share-the-happy-things-I've-seen/lessons-I've-learned vehicle. Or as a tool for simple connectivity for its own sake, a testing of waters, a stab at engagement with a mass of strangers."
- Dave Eggers from A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

This post, along with the above quote, comes to us from Ashley Thalman, who is one of the most heartfelt and gracious people I know. She was my wedding photographer, and working with her was magical. She thought we would enjoy reading this on Pecannoot, and I couldn't agree more. For more from Ashley, check out her gorgeous photo blog, her personal blog, and her website.

I, like you, don't know what I'm doing all the time.
I, like you, cannot see this life from every angle.
I don't know how to do what I do sometimes and often after I do it, I don't like it.
Sometimes I surprise myself with work that I didn't know was in me.
I cringe when I think of everything I don't know about life and other times I feel like I know all I should right now.

I don't want to be boxed up so tightly that life and joy are kept out of what I do. I don't want to take myself, or my work as a photographer so seriously that I am more photographer than human, more business owner than friend, more editor than listener. What is the point in that? Is that really what we should be spending our time moving towards? To produce rather than to create? Is that why I left the cubicle? I want to make images that reflect something of love, tragedy, brilliance, and irony. I want to listen. I want my images to reflect intangible interactions and a part of life that my clients don't even realize is already gone.

*Thank you Ashley, for sharing your wisdom and joy with us.*

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving (& what I'm grateful for)

It's amazing to me that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and that means the holidays are officially here again. Tomorrow I'm going to Asheville, NC with my husband for a few days, and we're going to have Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant, which I've never done before. I'm a bit sad we won't be with any family, but I'm grateful to be able to go to a new place and have a brand new experience. I think it will be fun! And with any luck, I'll eat just as much as I always do on Thanksgiving, and I'll be lying on the floor in a half-awake state at the end of the night, moaning about how full I am, and then going to eat some more pie. :) Isn't that always how Thanksgiving goes?

Anyway, since Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, it feels appropriate to tell you all what I'm feeling grateful for right now.
  • My husband. I am so lucky to share my life with him. He's the best snuggler in the whole world, he believes in me to no end, and he can make me laugh like no one else.
  • My Spring ladies. (Our video post will be up later today or tomorrow!! I'll be sure to let you know when.) Wow, these ladies rock my world. Smart, sassy, opinionated, motivated, positive forces in the world.... I'm honored and grateful to be creating with them.
  • That I'm self-employed. The simple fact that I get to structure my days exactly as I please and do the work that I feel compelled to do is beyond magnificent.
  • All the people that read my blog(s), comment on what I write and draw and paint, send me words of encouragement and thanks and artists I might like... I could not do what I'm doing without all of you. You amaze me, endlessly.
  • That I have enough. Money, time, love, clothing, food, an apartment to live in, friends, family...
  • My life coach, Michelle Ward. She helped me to pull myself out of a funk and start being more grateful for my life and my world. And for that, I am forever grateful.
  • Everything that makes my life easier-- my car that runs well, my computer, my lights that turn on when I flip a switch, the refrigerator that keeps my food cold... I take these things for granted, but wow, life would be harder without them.
  • My warm bed. I love my bed so much.
  • My cat, Anika. She lights up my days and keeps me company when home alone working. She chirps when she runs and always wants a treat.
I hope you all have a terrific Thanksgiving and that you think about all you are grateful for!

Monday, November 23, 2009

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: keep out of the cookies (a new animation)

I can't believe I was able to keep this a secret for so long, but
I have something really fun to share with you this morning! I've been working on another animation (you might remember the first one)-- I've been SO EXCITED to tell you all about it, and it's finally finished and ready to be released! And excitement = abundance for me, so I'm making it fit the theme of Pecannoot. :)

So, there is a purpose to this animation, which you will discover by watching it. {It is Christmas-themed, and oh-so-silly!}

And after you're done watching the animation, CLICK HERE to see what the purpose of the animation is. Here's a teaser:

Curious? My etsy shop holds the answer.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wisdom for the brave: by Marie-Chantale Turgeon

Wisdom for the brave: by Marie-Chantale Turgeon

I think this work speaks for itself. Marie-Chantale Turgeon is amazing and inspiring.
Here are her links:

Have a gorgeous weekend, my friends!
(And if you are in Atlanta or close by, come see me at the Indie Craft Experience tomorrow!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

a sad story of abundance

Last night a dear friend of my husband's family passed away. She'd suffered a massive heart attack the morning before and wasn't going to recover.

I am shocked. This woman held a wedding shower for me in her home in June. She and her husband helped Ryan and I with our wedding on the beach just below their home. She was one of the most generous people I've known.

So, while I'm obviously sad and confused, I also find myself wondering about what we're supposed to learn when someone dies. I have so many questions. Where is she now? Is she watching the people that she left behind? Can they feel her if she is there?

Is death supposed to teach us that life is so precious, worries are petty, and that we are meant to enjoy it and love as much and as deep as we can?

Is it supposed to teach us that there is more to life than what is available to our eyes? The universe is unimaginably vast, so much that it's impossible to comprehend. Where did we come from? If we came into being through the universe, which has always been here and will always be here, then doesn't that mean our energy just changes when we die, and remains in the universe? Does that mean we're eternal? Does that mean we are still connected to those who have passed, even though we can't see them anymore? What is the universe and where did it come from?

Where did we learn to associate sad feelings with being bad or wrong? What if we saw sadness as just another temporary emotion, and really allowed ourselves to feel it, knowing it won't last forever, but will change, just as all emotions do? I think I tend to resist feeling sad-- or when I do feel sad I tell myself that I "shouldn't."

Perhaps the purpose of sadness is to point us toward appreciation of the moment. Appreciating being able to FEEL.

What do you believe? I'd love to know your thoughts on all this, and I appreciate you allowing me this space to question. (big hugs to all!)

{image by, from The Little Chimp Society

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

happiness: by gal shkedi

If I could jump into Israeli illustrator Gal Shkedi's head for a few minutes, I'd search around for the inspiration behind this illustration, with which I am truly in love. I love the idea and the sentiment, and it makes me think: maybe we all have our balloon man in the sky, showering us with happiness and goodness, and all we have to do is look up to see him? (Or her?)

{If you'd like to see more of Gal Shkedi's work, please click on over to his website, his flickr page, and his vimeo page. He's super talented!}

I hope you all have a glorious Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Happy Book

I recently received a copy of this book, and it's just darling!
A journal to celebrate what makes me happy? Yes, please!

One of my favorite parts of the book is the "Spontaneous Happiness Generator" pages, sprinkled throughout the book. They are snippets of things that make people happy, in their own handwriting, and each one made me smile.

A few samples:

"Tea parties with my granddaughter- a cup of sugar water, graham crackers, + a sweet little girl."

"Waking up every morning and looking at trees."

"Daily good morning text messages from my father."

The book is terrific, because it's basically a place where you can document what makes you happy-- lots of room to write things down, questions and prompts to spark your happiness and get you thinking in a positive and fun way, and to discover and celebrate the special things that make you happy!

The authors say "you'll create your own personal pick-me-up that you can flip through whenever you want."

You can pick up a copy right here-- I can think of a few people in my life who I'd like to gift with this book-- the holidays are coming! Is there anyone on your list who would love The Happy Book?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Resurrections: by SooZeQue

It's not very often that I see something and think "wow, I've never seen anything like that before." But that is exactly what happened when I opened up my email to find these photos sent to me by SooZeQue, the woman behind these gorgeous creations. What other people see as treash, SooZeQue sees as worthy of resurrecting into a beautiful treasure. She works with a plasma cutter to cut through the metal, and says "I don’t have a long list of schools I’ve attended and degrees I’ve earned. I just have a love of working with my hands and the need to create art, whatever that might be." Amen to that!

Have you ever seen a wheelbarrow or a shovel so beautiful and intricate? I sure haven't.
You can find more of SooZeQue's creations on her website and blog.

Thank you, SooZeQue, for sending these to me!!*

Friday, November 13, 2009

if you have one goal...

What if we gauged everything by the level of happiness it inspired us to feel? What if every morning our intention was to feel good? What if we asked ourselves in each situation "does this feel good to me?" And if the answer was no, then we'd have a choice to change our thoughts, our behavior, our life, for the better. To feel good!

If I listen to myself and only myself, instead of what is "supposed to" make me feel good, according to other people, isn't that the ultimate freedom? What works for ME, not based on what anyone else thinks?

Now that is something to practice, people!

{ps- I was part of the Design Your Life series on Jess Constable's blog Make Under My Life yesterday, and you can check it out right here if you're interested! There's a funny picture of me at the top.} :)

Have a terrific weekend!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

let go of what you think you know: by david plant

{by david plant, from advice to sink in slowly}

Oh man, what a life-changer this one can be.

This makes me think of letting go judgments. You know those times where you judge someone or something in a split second, and then your mind is made up and you've put that person/experience in a convenient box in your mind? Let go of that. Those things you believe are just TRUE, because that's what you've known and believed your whole life? Let go of that, too, because maybe it's an old belief that's not serving you anymore. Maybe letting go of what we think we know will just open our eyes a little bit to someone else's unique experience. Do you ever wish you could see the world through someone else's eyes and mind, even just for a minute or two? I do.

Maybe what you think is true and "the way that it is" isn't true for everybody. That's a doozy, too. You mean I'm not right? I just think what I think, and you think what you think, and it's all right and true, all at the same time? Whoa. Let it go and see what opens up for you...

{and a couple of links:}

*advice to sink in slowly website
*david plant's website

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

love: by aimee dolich of artsyville

You know what I think is amazing? That someone of I've never met in person (Aimee), who lives in Lawrence, Kansas, a place I've never been, saw this door with the word love scrawled across it as she was walking around her town, and she thought of me. Then, she took the extra step to email me the photo she took of the door, because she thought it was a perfect image for Pecannoot. WOW.

What would we do without the internet? There are so many people out there that I feel are my dear friends that I've never met in person! (Aimee is one of them, obviously.) :) And without the internet, the probability of my ever even knowing these wonderful people exist is pretty much zero. Amazing.

So, thank you to Aimee for sending this photo over, and if you don't already read Aimee's blog, Artsyville, I highly recommend it! It's one of the most colorful and inspiring places in blogland, in my opinion. (And if you remember from way back, Aimee did a fantastic illustrated interview for us here!)

*Big thanks and big hugs, Aimee! I hope to meet for real one day!*

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

SPRING: inspiration in bloom

Spring. Inspiration in Bloom.

I am so thrilled to announce this project that I've been working on for the last few months with 3 incredibly inspiring ladies:

*Michelle Ward
*Jess Constable
*Carolyn Rubenstein

Spring is about dialogue. We will be creating monthly conversational video posts and blog posts around specific topics-- topics that you want to hear about and participate in! That said, we need your input.

The theme for our first video, which will launch the week of Thanksgiving, is gratitude. What questions/comments/experiences do you have around the idea of gratitude? Through sharing our own experiences and tossing around ideas suggested by you all, we hope to inspire not only ourselves, but also you in the process!

Head on over to our
Spring website to learn more about the project and to leave us comments. (You can add comments here, too, or even email us if you want to!)

We have a badge, too, that you're free to put on your blog if you're inspired already:

We can't wait to hear from you and start exploring the topics that emerge!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Blissful Monday: week 3

Here we are again, on Monday morning. Some people dread Monday mornings. I really like them. Fresh week, fresh start.

I'm loving these Blissful Mondays, too, because it's a reason to focus on gratitude and positivity instead of being sucked in by the Monday morning blues.

So, my bliss list for this week:

1. I really truly took a day off yesterday, and I sat outside on the back porch and read a whole book! It was sunny and perfect, and wow did i feel rejuvenated afterwards. (Oh, and I took a nap on the couch somewhere in there as well! Bliss.)

2. I bought my first ever baby clothes-- my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are having a baby in December, and my husband and I bought the cutest things at the Beehive Co-op here in Atlanta! We bought a onesie by happy family that says "chillin' in my crib" and couldn't stop laughing about it-- it's so funny! (This one is hilarious, too.)

3. The most delicious bread ever from Whole Foods.

4. My new duck bag that I ordered from baggu. It's the perfect size to lug all my stuff around, including my laptop. Perfect!

5. Wayne Dyer. I think this man is beyond brilliant, and his books rock my world.

Now it's your turn! What's on your bliss list this week? What are you grateful for?

I hope you have a beautiful start to your beautiful week!

{ps- this is the same post that I have over at Treasuring this morning. I figured instead of just sending you over there, it might be wise to post my Blissful Monday posts here as well!}

Friday, November 6, 2009

duality: a new illustration (by me)

I read something recently that I thought was pretty cool-- it was to consider that where you are and what you're feeling/thinking RIGHT NOW is your path. You're supposed to be here. You won't get to where you're going without being here. Literally! Where else could you be but right here, right now?

You know how so many times we think something is wrong? We don't have the right hair cut, the right friends, the right job, we don't know what we're doing or where we're going.... well, what if all of these things are our path, and they're actually our exactly right things, and they're meant to help us learn the lessons we are here to learn? And we have to experience the things we maybe don't like so much in order to recognize the things we do like so much?

Like, the idea of duality-- you can't know what light is unless you also know what dark is. Up, down. In, out. Maybe this is the part of your path where you're learning about darkness, so you'll know what the light feels like. Maybe you've experienced dark, and now you're reveling in the light. Maybe if we accept how we're feeling,whether we're judging it as good or bad, we can just experience life as our path, whatever that means?

I like this. It takes the pressure off. I'm supposed to be right where I am, for reasons that the universe knows, and if I trust it, then I'm on my path, wherever it takes me. And everyone else is on their own path, which means I don't need to compare myself to anyone. Oh, big sigh of relief!

Just some thoughts for the weekend. ;) I hope it's a good one for you!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Everything Will Be OK: by Ari Moore

Ari Moore lives in Ithaca, NY. Ithaca is a very cool town (I know, because I went to college there), which makes me think Ari is probably a really cool chick.

I love this piece that she made that's a reminder that she made that everything is, in fact, OK. It's easy to forget that sometimes, isn't it? I was out walking in my neighborhood yesterday and I happened to look up in the sky and saw a group of birds flying through the fading light of dusk, and it gave me that satisfied feeling of everything being OK. It was so beautiful, and I remembered that this is my life, right now. And everything is really ok right now, isn't it?

FInd more from Ari on her flickr page and many other places. (Seriously, click that last link to see the huge number of places where Ari and her partner, Shira, are online!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The True Living Project: Sabrina Ward Harrison

I just watched the most beautiful thing. Sabrina Ward Harrison's True Living Project. If there is one thing you do for yourself today, please let it be spending 6 minutes and 37 seconds to watch this beautiful and touching video. I wanted to post it here but wasn't able, so if you just click here you 'll go directly to her site to watch.

These are some still images from Sabrina's portfolio that were part of the video. Sabrina somehow put into image and sound form the way I want my life to feel. Connected, touched, wondrous, miraculous, free, grateful, joyous.... It's incredible.

And here are some words about Sabrina's work, taken from her website:

Sabrina Ward Harrison makes images that collaborate with this living world - working with it, seeing into it, being inspired by it and creating for it. The landscape of our living is what she presents –- a landscape that unfolds through color, culture, depth of field and slanted light.

These images are created by collections of detail from the subject's surroundings –- details and specifics that define who they are and search for their essential spirit. Intimate details and pieces of life, all in harmony with each other - at times glorious, sometimes discordant but always whole.

The essence of Harrison's work is a search for the living human spirit –- a quest she undertakes with her hands, her eyes, and her intuitive sensibility. Her work allows a place to unfold, a place to build, a place to reveal and essentially cries the poetry of life.

Harrison creates a sense of openness and breath, light and history. Her images are imbued with a power that is both accessible and universal at their core. As you observe her work, time moves with you and you find yourself in a place where moment and memory meet. The work of Sabrina Ward Harrison invites liberation and inspires a thriving life.

Beautiful writing, beautiful work, beautiful life. Wow.

Again, click here to watch The True Living Project. (And enjoy it!)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We Are Indestructible: by Jeff Garban

We are all indestructible. We are strong, we are wise, we don't receive more than we can handle from the universe. Even when we think we can't, we CAN. We are infinite. We are here, then, now, forever.

{photo by Jeff Garban on flickr}

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blissful Monday

Good morning!
I'm going to send you over to Treasuring again this morning, for Blissful Monday. Hope you don't mind!

Please add your own Bliss Lists to the conversation if you feel inclined-- I love reading what's inspiring you and making you feel oh-so-good. :)