A few things I learned –
Having phone and Internet services cut off isn’t the worst thing that can happen. Despite its terribly frustrating inconvenience, it’s a rather silly little thing to get too upset about.
Pride too often stands between me and what I need to do. I’m learning to push it aside.
Letting go is sometimes the very best choice, and sometimes you have to let go of something you thought you wanted in order to open the door to something better.
If you really want something, you’ll make time for it. You don’t wait for the time to create itself.
Keep asking. Yes, this is an ongoing lesson.
A few things I saw –
A fur baby’s mama mourning his/her death on the side of the highway.
Shy students coming out of their shells.
What new marriage looks like — all shiny and happy and glowy.
My husband walking on ice (and then falling through, but no worries).
The leaving of a sweet mama and her beautiful girl, onward to bigger and better.
Snapshots of the month –
(I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as usual. A true indicator of how busy life has been as I tried to find my balance between school and work and life and writing…)
(Apparently I focused a bit on my lovely chunky old beagle this past month, too.)
In February, I wrote the following at MiddlePlaces.com –
And the following at Live-Brave.com –
Did anything amazing, exciting, or beautiful happen for you in February?
And I let it go…
Sometime between the moment I took a customer’s order and the time it’s taking to make their drinks, a man wanders in unnoticed, seats himself, and is then joined by his family. No one notices because we’re all running around in the midst of a sudden mini-rush of phone calls and carryout pick-ups.
Continued at MiddlePlaces.com –
Sometimes, when my daughter tells me how matchy-matchy I am in my matchy sweatsuit, I cleverly defend myself by saying, “It’s because I match!” Always leave ‘em wondering…
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When people ask me what I’m in school for and I answer “social work,” many make the same face they’d make if I said the word “bulldog.” They’ve heard of some bad social workers so all must be bad. That’s how bulldogs have been classified. Well, let me just tell you this: When I was a young girl, I was attacked by a bulldog. The scar you see on my lip isn’t from a lip piercing but rather a dog tooth. I’m happy to point out where the dog took my face into his mouth in an attempt to gobble me whole. However, years later, I owned a bulldog. I didn’t hold my attack against all bulldogs. Mine was the sweetest, gentlest dog you could ever meet. She was always judged by others based on her breed. But she was gentle and good. I truly believe it’s how you raise a dog. And I also think the same about social workers. Some will be bad at their job, but those who are trained right, those who are guided by those who have gone before, they can be gentle and good. So please, stop making that face when I say I will be a social worker. (Also? In many ways, I am already a social worker, only you don’t recognize me because it has a different name — volunteer/advocate/mentor.)
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That time of the year is coming again. Time to Live Below the Line. I will be participating this year to raise funds for BeadforLife (as the Somaly Mam Foundation is not participating this year). You can read how it all went last year starting HERE, and then go ahead and hop on over to the Live Below the Line site and make a donation, if you feel so inclined. I actually own a bead necklace made by the beautiful hands of a Ugandan woman (though through Amazima Ministries International instead), and I treasure it. Plus, I found it extra exciting that the BeadforLife organization is headquartered here in Colorado. And, in addition to eating on $1.50 or less per day that week (April 28 – May 2), I think it would be amazing to host a Bead Party! Details to come as soon as I figure out how that works. If you’re local to me, would you be interested? (Leave a comment or email me!)
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I have a new post up today at MiddlePlaces.com — “And I let it go…” — three vignettes from life…where letting go was the right decision.
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On the writing front, I fell behind in the 30 Days, 30 Queries course by Mridu Khullar Relph but I am still working through it. The course has been amazing and has really opened me back up to thinking like a writer again. I’m inspired beyond belief, and I still have several lessons to work through. I highly recommend the course. I currently have several queries out, have gotten one “yes” on a local query, and my confidence to make the big ask has soared. I feel very strongly that this re-build is going to be successful and I’ll be sharing news soon. (I started a new Facebook page to share my career info and such, so you are always welcome to join.) If you were considering Mridu’s course, get thee to her site and read more. Again, I highly recommend it!
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LOCALS — Please Save the Date!
March 22, 10:00 – 12:00, Ute Pass Cultural Center
Teller County Victim Assistance is recognizing Teen Violence Awareness Month with a two-hour event focusing on healthy relationships and featuring domestic violence survivor Angela Giles Klocke, who will share her personal story as well as awareness information. Teen dating violence, bullying, etc. Tips for parents and teens alike. Contact me with any questions or comments.
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Currently Reading: The Unbreakable Child: A Memoir About Forgiving the Unforgivable by Kim Michele Richardson
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What’s going on in your life?
This week, the husband and I took a drive and went on a short hike. It’s been a little past forever since our last outing. The last several months have been hard and cold, and when you have little money for gas, you rarely spend it on a drive that is just for fun.
We loaded up the three dogs and headed down the Ute Pass to check out a trail I’ve been wanting to visit for a while, Seven Bridges. I had my camera in my lap as we drove, and for the first time in a while, I used it instead of my phone. I put my lightest lens on it to serve my need of practicality so I could attempt to shoot while being leashed to a dog (they lead me, typically, not the other way around) without it causing me much physical distress.
As we headed down a road we hadn’t been on in years, I felt an old stirring in my belly. This road was once brand new to us, and I remembered the excitement when we came upon the first tunnel so many years ago, back when Colorado was so new to us.
I quickly raised my camera to grab some shots, and I felt a second rush of excitement — the old love of taking photos simply for the joy of taking photos. For me, for fun, and maybe to share them, if I get around to it, but if not, it never mattered because I first took the photos for me.
Releasing the idea of going forward in business as a photographer has been more freeing than I could have imagined. I spent a great deal of my time wrapped up in the indecision of holding on or letting go, and when I finally sided with letting go, huge weights of stress lifted from my shoulders. It felt like I had traveled a long road that was not without its fun and excitement, but now I was ready to return to where I started.
Sometimes that’s just how it is. You look and look, searching in the distance for that which you think you want, and then you stop and look right in front of you. What you wanted was there all along. You just didn’t see it. You didn’t notice it because you didn’t listen to your own heart. The only words that carried any weight for the longest time belonged to everyone else. But now your voice is the one you hear, and it whispers “Come home.”
You see your life and goals with fresh eyes. They aren’t new, but they’ve been faithful, waiting for you to notice again, to see them in all their beauty, to appreciate them for what they are and have always been.
Waiting in splendid glory, holding on.
You thought you wanted something else. And then you got it. It actually happened. But it wasn’t all you thought it would be. It was so much more than you wanted it to be, in a bad way. But through it all, you could see your way back, the doors that remained open, waiting for you to come back.
So you stepped back and you made another choice. You made the original choice. You leaned heavy into the love you once had and embraced it, releasing the stress of do and do and do, and you know you lost money, but what is money compared to passion? And you know you lost time, but what is time compared to happiness? It’s like you have been driving through a tunnel and suddenly you see the light, the glory of what really is supposed to be waiting for you. Just a few more steps and you’ll be back, if only you don’t allow fear to embrace you and pull you back into the dark.
And so that’s how it happened. That’s how I let go of my photography business. And that’s how I also returned to college. My way. My original love. My heart speaking to me and me listening to me. Not to what others think. Not to “give it another year,” or to “not give up.” Sometimes you have to give up and go back to where you started so you can begin again.
While we were out hiking the other day, we totally missed the turn-off to the actual Seven Bridges trail. We turned back when our old beagle had had enough, and when I stopped to take the shot of the gnarled tree trunk (above), I just happened to catch a glimpse of the trailhead. I laughed that we had missed it, and we took a few moments to walk to the first bridge, but then we headed back to the car. And later, as I reviewed the pictures I had taken, I had to laugh again because in a series of shots of my husband with the husky, the trailhead appears right behind him. I missed it because we were having fun. And I realized, that’s OK. Because I’d rather have fun and miss the trailhead than to be so set on staying on course, we miss the fun.
That’s where I am now. Full circle. My focus is on enjoying this life more instead of constantly trying to stay on course for fear of failure, or not being able to keep up, or even someone else’s measure of my success. It’s been an interesting circle, but as I come back home, I feel at peace.
They wake up, check out all the snow, and sigh. Winter is a bit harder this year, and these two southern-born folks aren’t adjusting as well. Especially Mr. Troll, because he is the one who typically clears off the roof. (Also, I have suggested windows at least 52 times, but they ignore me.)
And then he shovels the yard. Don’t be fooled by the smile on his face, though. It’s a sarcastic grin: “Yay, more snow. I love shoveling. My life is great.” He does go on and on.
The truth is, the snow is a bit much for them sometimes. I often find them trying to catch a lift out of here. This last time, I just stared at them for several minutes, slowly raised my camera to take a picture, and then shook my head and walked away. I’ve given them nothing but love and space and some Internet fame, and this is how they respond? Psh. I mean, the least they could do is offer to take us with them!
But instead I reminded them that better days are ahead. The sun will shine, the snow will melt, and spring will come. In the meantime, winter and snow can be enjoyed! It need not be despised. I told them to remember how much they loved it when they first experienced it, and before I knew it, they were out playing and laughing! They even built their very own snowman, which is quite impressive, considering I have yet to build one myself.
They were so into their fun snow day, they insisted I take a shot of them with their snowman.
And then Mr. Troll, who was probably dipping into the whiskey or something, suggested the snowman might come to life. And I was like, “OK, you done lost your mind. He’s an inanimate object. He’s not real. He won’t be coming to life like Frosty (who is totally real) because that’s just weird.”
They both just looked at me like I had no idea what I was talking about. Whatevs.
The reason I have never been good at things that require a certain day (Friday Five, Throwback Thursday) is that I can’t ever remember what day it actually is. So, Choppy Thoughts Today — how about THAT?!
I’ll tell you one thing for certain: I am definitely NOT stalking Jessica Naples Photography and DivineSkye Photography every day to see if they’ve posted new wedding pics. Nope, not at all.
I will be fasting from Facebook for the Lenten Season this year. However, though in years past I have removed myself from the site completely, this year I will need to modify this approach. Lent offers Sundays off from the fasting. I am modifying this further to change my “day off” to Fridays so that I may take care of online business and stay in contact with family/friends for whom I do not have any other means of contact. (I moderate the Middle Places page on Fridays, and I would like to continue that as well.) I do have a couple of pages that I will update throughout the weeks, but that will be done through a secondary program so as to allow me to avoid temptation.
In other news, I have opted to leave the photography business. I am returning to hobbyist status. A slightly longer announcement can be found on the Klocke Photography Facebook page.
1,000 Miles Challenge: I have the 200-mile mark in my sights, but it won’t happen before the end of the month. Given this IS a shorter month than others, I believe I could have reached 200 if this month had 31 days. Still, I’m pleased with my progress.
School is going well. I think I might finally have the hang of things. Kinda. I’m having a difficult time writing academically versus how I always write, so that’s been a challenge (turns out, English instructors do not want choppy thoughts or white space – ha!). I am definitely loving school this time around, and I love even more the news that I only have one math class to take for my social work degree. YEAH BUDDY!
Also, work back at Pizza Hut is going well. I only work a few hours a night a couple times a week, and that seems to suit me fine. Plus, the dim lights help keep away the tremors, so that makes me very happy.
Life has been better in recent days, and I’ll share more of that soon enough. Until then, ta!
Currently Reading: Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
What’s new in your life?
*Previously appeared at KlockePhotography.com
If you know me, you likely know that my passions lie in helping others. I am an advocate for victims, a mentor for teen parents, and I speak out against abuse. In more recent years, human trafficking has taken up a huge place in my heart, and I was recently honored to be able to work with a friend and shoot some awareness photos for the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado. The photos were used in a slideshow during their 6th Annual Symposium.
When people think of human trafficking, images of India and Africa and Asia pop into their minds. Our local organization, The Exodus Road, recently put out a book of the same name by Laura Parker (senior vice president) with her husband, Matt Parker (president and founder), which details their own journey into the trenches of sex slavery. It is heartbreaking and inspiring, all at the same time.
If you’re in the area, you should visit them and take a tour of their offices. (Join their Facebook page.)
And you do NOT want to miss the rocks. Go in and ask about the rocks.
So, it’s true — this horrific crime against humanity IS happening over there, but it’s also happening here, in our own backyard. It’s an EVERYWHERE problem, thus the push for awareness. And I’m sharing here because we as artists can take part in the process of awareness by using our time and talents to speak out.
There is also a misconception that when U.S. children and teens (and adults) are trafficked, they are taken off to other countries. The truth is, many are kept right here on our own soil, sometimes in their own states, sometimes in their own cities (or the nearest big city). The prostitutes you look away from? They might be sex slaves, owned by pimps, doing what they are being made to do.
Isn’t that hard to wrap your brain around? What about your heart?
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.” -William Wilberforce
If you didn’t know before, you know now. So the next question is, what will you do to help? Whatever it is, begin now. Someone is waiting for you to take action.