Photo Walk: Queen’s University

On Friday I had the opportunity to take a digital photography class at Queen’s University with Nanine Hartzenbusch and I really enjoyed it. The class was a great refresher for me about compositional creativity, ideas on lighting, editing, and archiving your work. After the lecture, we walked around and photographed the campus. Here are some of my favorite shots:

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If you could do anything

At Charlotte/ONE this week author Allison Vesterfelt came to speak on dreaming. It was a powerful message that challenged and encouraged me so I wanted to share my notes from her talk.

If you could do whatever you wanted – what would you do?

First of all, you have permission to dream and you have permission to want something. Let that question and thought sink in and allow your dreams to come alive within you.

Five things that keep us from asking the question “if you could do whatever you wanted – what would you do”

  1. We pay attention to everyone else
  2. We think wanting is selfish
  3. We follow success, fame and money rather than listening to Jesus
  4. We are waiting on God to tell us what we should want
  5. We are terrified we won’t get it

The last two are the ones that gave me a gut check. I am 100% guilty of asking God to show me what I should want/pursue, but not being able to listen to know when God is answering me. I also haven’t allowed myself time to think, reflect and truly answer the question. I can give some ideas like traveling the world, dancing, photography and eating chocolate….but don’t know if those are true passions or just things I would like to do.

The last point Allison made that struck a chord with me, is that our idea of submitting to God is asking Him questions like “what should I do,” when instead we should put forth our best efforts, try our best, dig deep, research and provide God with our best and then submit it to Him to ask Him to help us to reach our desire.

Don’t think that once you start to pursue your dream that it will be easy. You will still stumble and make mistakes, but you will have a more fulfilled life!

Take-aways from DIsney Princess Half Marathon 2014

One week ago I was getting on a plane with one of my best friends to go to Orlando for the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon. This race was my 2nd Disney Princess half and my 3rd half marathon. To say it was a fairy-tale or magical, would not be an exaggeration. Disney knows how to put on a great event and here are some take-aways from a communicator’s perspective:

  • Event-planning skills and attention to detail is vital. Should be self-explanatory.
  • Have enough staff/volunteers so they can easily help guests with simple questions or even to take a photo for guests. Throughout the race course and expo, there were characters that had at least 2 staff members with them — 1 professional photographer and one staff member there to take a photo with your camera/phone.
  • Establish a #hashtag before the event  and use it to field questions and allow guests to know some faces that will also be in attendance. #princesshalf was used and was a great resource to field questions as far as timing, what to pack, other tips and to learn who else would be making the trip to the race.

A couple things I would have liked to see from Disney:

  • A thank you/recap email — I got one from my Disney Hotel, but not one from runDisney or about the race
  • Survey or opportunity to provide feedback about the race and expo –> I wish there were more princesses on the course of the race!

*Updated 3/4/2014 runDisney did send me a thank you/recap email

Renew Your Mind

Life update: 2014 is off with a bang. New job, new home, and new opportunities. First, I am running the Disney Princess Half Marathon in roughly 3 weeks. Also, I have the opportunity to travel with Operation Christmas Child to Rwanda to distribute shoe box gifts in April. 

This past weekend though, I attended another conference on success, dreams and leadership and it was incredible. The theme was “Renew -where the mind goes, the body follows.” As I sat, listening to success panels and various leaders on the team, I was definitely feeling renewed. Add in some awesome worship and great videos/photos, and it was incredible. Here are some take-aways from it:

• Know what you want and renew your mind so your dream is your “new normal.” You get what you expect, so you need to change your normal to be what you want, and then it will happen. Practice/rehearse your dream everyday. What do you see, smell, taste, hear? Visualize yourself accomplishing your dream. 

• There is no positive mental attitude until you have a terrible day. Everyone can smile and say positive words when things are going well…it’s when things aren’t that your real positive mental attitude is tested. Don’t react by your emotions, but remember that for everything you sow, you also reap. Be “harvest” minded. 

• When it is easy you are benefitting from progress you have already made. When it is uncomfortable, you are taking on new ground. Challenge yourself to go beyond your comfort zone, so that next time you can go a little further. 

So dream big!

A Christmas Card.

It’s been a while since I blogged – so busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it just seemed to slip away. But that ends today. I have a fun story to share!

 

Yesterday, Christmas day, I was flying home from vacation so that I could get to work today. Since I was flying, that meant airline staff had to work in order for me to get home successfully. Therefore, I wanted to do something nice for the wonderful staff that sacrificed Christmas for me. Before heading to the airport I bought some Christmas cards and wrote notes for the flight crew (later I realized just how many people I forgot and how many more people work behind the scenes – like baggage and traffic controllers that I couldn’t reach with my cards). It only took a few minutes but what happened next repaid me 10 fold.

As I boarded the plane, I asked the first flight attendant I saw how many crew were on board. She replied six, so I handed her six cards in envelopes. Her eyes lit up and her smile widened. She said, “thank you and merry Christmas.”

I made my way back to my seat and couldn’t help but smile. Once I got settled in my seat, two flight attendants came up and thanked me for the card and again, I couldn’t help but smile and simply say “you’re welcome.” I thought that was the end of it and pulled out my book to begin reading with joy filled in my heart. 

That wasn’t it.

 

Soon another flight attendant came down the aisle and asked if I was the one who gave her a card. I said yes and then she said that I had been upgraded to first class for free. 

I was in shock. All I had done was take a couple of minutes to write Merry Christmas. I replied, “are you sure?” and she said yes and took my bag from under the seat to show me to my new seat. I have never flown first class before and it was wonderful.

 I received free drinks, free nuts, free lunch (which was much better than I thought it would be!) and a free chocolate chip cookie. The attendants and crew on my American Airlines flight were so positive and told me how uplifting it was to receive a card from a passenger.

I don’t mean to brag about my deeds, but really to remind people that a little good goes a long way and what you sow is what you will reap. You have the opportunity to lift someone up and to be the light in the world. 

It was truly a joy just to give the cards, but to receive ten times what I did was such an unexpected blessing. 

#BAD2013 Human Rights

It’s blog action day and this year’s focus is human rights. There are so many facets to human rights – read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here. I believe the foundation of justice, freedom, peace and respect are essential to all of humanity and every single person on this planet deserve these rights simply because they are people. No one is greater than another, we all need each other to survive and thrive. My heart aches when I think of human trafficking, forced labor, slavery, genocide and all the hate going on throughout the world. Here are some stats:

  • Approximately 27 million people are currently enslaved in the human trafficking trade around the world.
  • More than 300,000 children under the age of 18 are being exploited as child soldiers in armed conflicts worldwide.
  • One billion people in the world do not have access to healthcare. 

 

Some organizations that I support that are fighting for justice:

 

 

Paris, My Sweet

I just finished reading the biography, Paris My Sweet by Amy Thomas and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s about a woman working in advertising who takes the opportunity to live in Paris and enjoy the city of light and dark chocolate. What’s not to love about that?

Reading another woman’s journey of finding herself while living abroad made me really think about my journey in life. I have never been a “home-body” and always envisioned myself living abroad, but I obviously have not made that leap yet. in her novel, Thomas says that you have to live a place for a year to feel at home and rooted in your community. I fully agree.

After two years in the Queen City, I definitely have found my niche and feel comfortable in my space. I know my way around Charlotte, and really do love all the different neighborhoods it has to offer. It’s what I call a small-town, big city. It’s big enough to always have things happening, but small enough that once you know your circle of friends, you realize everyone knows the same people. 

Anyway, as much as I love Charlotte, I have been having the itch to travel and for adventure once again. With my 25th birthday looming (okay not exactly…it’s in January, but still!), I feel the need to do something big and celebrate!

So some places on my list to go within the U.S. include:

Chicago

New Orleans

Boston

Nashville

Miami

anywhere out west…..

Salt Lake City

Las Vegas