Oct 23, 2016

Create your own luck

Reflection in a puddle
This is Your Life. Claim it. Find your Passion and live it. Corporate life is not an end all to the work experience. Life is more than paycheck to paycheck.  Seek success by your own definition. If you love art, music, or writing, then go for it. Don’t wait until you are near retirement to fulfill your dreams. Explore this planet on which we live.  You will be surprised by the many wonders that are out there. Make a list of what you want to do, see, or feel and plan to accomplish as many as possible before your journey in this life is over.  Love deepCry sometimes. Get up and start again. Stretch your mind beyond the boundaries of culture and religion.  Someone’s opinion of you is just that, don’t let it define or defeat you. Dream big. Create. Everything you do begets something else. Inspire others to do the same. Create your own luck.

Jeannie Smith


Oct 15, 2016

Look to the Sky

Sometimes we have to look beyond ourselves for answers.  Besides, if we knew everything then why would we search to know the mystery that is called life?

Don't be afraid to live and to do it passionately. Love deep. Cry sometimes. Be thankful. Don't get upset over small things. Sometimes God is in the strangest places.

Oct 2, 2016

Sensitivity: The Untold Story, A review

A few days ago I wrote a post about sensitivity, especially highly sensitive people.  I ordered a movie called:  Sensitive The Untold Story and it arrived on Friday.  I watched the movie that evening and was thankful that someone out there understands people like me. 

Elaine Aron is the author of the book, The Highly Sensitive person, which I have just begun to read. This movie helped me to see that I am not alone. Whether we believe it or not everyone falls into some kind of category regarding their personality. 

Growing up, I remember biting my nails until they bled because life made me a nervous wreck. My upbringing didn't help my nerves at all. Chaos at home would make me scurry to my room for peace and quiet because I felt emotionally drained and needed a recharge in order to face the world again. Then there were times I would explode because my feelings were very intense about a situation I was put in. Watching horror or gory movies was never my thing. Loud noise makes me crazy. Touching coarse fabrics or paper gives me the creeps. After reading this paragraph makes me appear like an odd ball, but this is how my life is. 

I always loved music, art, poetry, and writing my feelings down in a journal.  I, also, notice details in my surroundings that others just don't see. When I love, it is deeply. I feel with the same intensity. 

High school was a place that I could become invisible among the throng and I liked it that way.  Once I got out into the world things were a bit more tough.  I ended up in jobs that made me miserable or had to deal with a brute for a supervisor. For the sensitive person it was hell. I had a hard time fitting in anywhere. 

If you know someone who is sensitive please have them watch this clip from the movie,  Sensitive The Untold Story. The clip is in English, so don't worry about not being able to understand. ( I am not sure what language is written below) Better yet educate yourself about the sensitive person in your life.  They would greatly appreciate it.  

Sep 27, 2016

My take on copying a painting

Have you ever seen a painting that moved you?  I am finishing up a Fine Art class at the local college and it has been challenging to say the least.  One of the assignments is to emulate a painting that you like with a modern twist. Well, I didn't do that. I wanted to see if I could try and make my image look close to the original.  I used the painting by Albert Lynch called Elegante. 

The woman is soft, elegant, with very fine features. I liked how the golden light illuminated her hair from the the side which made her skin look like porcelain. My version is below. 

I think that it turned out well enough for the first try. I would like to try another one and see how it works.   

Sep 25, 2016


Has anyone ever told you that "You worry too much", "You shouldn't feel that way" or "You cannot save the world?" I have struggled with it all of my life. Sensitivity. It is also labelled hyper sensitive or HSP (highly sensitive people).  It is not something that I really thought about until just recently as I was having a conversation with my nephew.  He mentioned that he thinks about things a long after an incident, especially when he feels that he said something that he thinks was wrong. The words roll over and over in his mind wishing that they were never spoken.  I, too, am that way.  It can be torture and you feel trapped by your emotions. If you are not a highly sensitive person you will not understand where I am coming from.

I had a bout with one of my siblings recently and I cried for days afterwards, feeling it intensely. People have told me that I worry too much. I know that I do. But I haven't been able to get a handle on it. Or am I supposed to? Perhaps I am wired to be this way. Being sensitive is not that bad really; When things get to be a bit too much for me, that is when I tend to be emotional.

Here are some indications that you are HSP:

1. When you are expected to do a lot of things in a short amount of time it becomes overwhelming and you shut down. 

2. Crowds or places that have a lot of noise is uncomfortable and you have a hard time thinking. (Try eating in a place with metal walls, oh joy!) 

3.  Alone time is essential for recharging.  

4.  Are you in a bad mood because someone else is?

5. Do you try to avoid upsetting situations at all cost?

6. Constant change makes you rattled. 

7. Do bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics or sirens bother you?

8. Does music, poetry, or art move you deeply?

9. Do you notice details that others may miss?

10. Do you notice when someone is uncomfortable and try to make them feel at ease?

The list goes on and on. Did you know that about 15- 20% of the population is HSP?  I didn't know that either.  They are generally introverted, like the quiet, and tend to notice things that others seem to overlook. The really great thing is that a lot of the highly sensitive people are creative.  Van Gough and Michael Jackson, are just a couple of examples of highly sensitive people. Click here to take a test to see if you are highly sensitive. 

Sep 18, 2016

Falling Down: Rural America

It rained the entire 1 & 1/2 hour drive that took me to Weston, Ohio to photograph a little autistic girl in a horse show yesterday.  Instead of being able to photograph outside we were stuck inside under florescent lights, a photographers nightmare.

I was there to photograph the horse show last year at this time and I saw an old house that was vacant and crumbling down. The empty house must have been loved at one point. I was enamored with the fish scale tiles that were painted green but now were faded or nearly bare wood. There was signs of people having lived there in the not so distant past. A BBQ grill was placed by the front door with a mound of other things.  I wanted to take pictures of it then but I couldn't find it. So, this time, I made a mental note of the location so that I could photograph it when I headed back home.  But when I left it was pouring so hard that I couldn't safely leave the car without getting soaked. 

So, I parked the car and aimed the lens at the house as best I could without much rain getting inside. Well, I did get a lot of rain inside but you would never guess that it was raining from looking at the pictures. I tried a process on Photoshop called HDR toning. I moved the levels around until I found the look that I wanted.  I added a memories grunge to it that I found on line et voila this is the result.  I rather like it.  A friend of mine said it looks surreal.  I don't know about that, but I really am drawn to old crumbling down buildings. 


Sep 5, 2016

The Ballerina

She wore white, but it wasn't her wedding day.
The shoes were smooth and dainty. 
Around her tiny waist hung a tutu.
Hair was tightly coiled 
upon her head. 
Underneath a neck like that of a swan. 
On pointed toe, with arms spread like 
an eagle, the girl twirled. 

Jeannie Smith

Aug 28, 2016

Art in the Park weekend at the Old Fort

It was humid and hot today. But that did prevent the natives from getting out and enjoying the yearly Art in the Park two day display of fine art in the city. However, I spent most of my time at the Old Fort.  

Back in the 80's I used to go to The Fort and take pictures of all of the interpreters. This was the site of the original fort that was built in 1815.  I would fill albums with pictures from this place.  

Now it is only open on special occasions. I stood around a while and observed the interaction the interpreters had with each other. 

This took me back in memory of my trip earlier in the year to Colonial Williamsburg where the audience was actively involved in the presentation. I was ready to pack up and move by the time I left that day because I wanted to be around people that appreciate history.  

The Shawnee Indian tribe was represented  today. The interpreter traveled from Cincinnati, Ohio to participate this weekend. I made the mistake of asking him about his "costume" he grimaced and I had to change my word to "clothing". Then I was given an explanation of the skins that were used to cover his feet and legs and got a peak at his loin cloth. 

I, then, walked a few blocks to where the streets were lined with food vendors and those who were selling their creations.  Overall, I preferred the atmosphere of days gone past.  

Aug 21, 2016

In Search of my Southern Smith Connection

Downtown Morristown

My nephew and I drove for hours to reach a small city in Northeast Tennessee called Morristown located in the county of Hamblen. I was hoping to find where my great-great grandfather was buried in 1906 and any other information that I could find. His name was Pleasant Thomas Smith, a Civil War vet. 

Downtown Morristown

We traveled up and down hilly streets to reach the only library in town. I carried my two large binders inside that contained all of the information that I have on the Smiths. The library was small, so very small.  I asked if they had any newspapers on the microfiche from 1884 and beyond. There was some juicy information on a relative that involved a barn burning, jail, and a divorce that I wanted more information on. They placed me at a table in front of a reader and I began my search.  I looked through every date that I could muster but didn't come up with anything. It was then that one of the librarians suggested that I go to the archives at the courthouse.  I gathered my things and off we went. 

Morristown, upper level

The archives were located in the basement, which meant that I had to carry my binders down a flight of stairs and I was not looking forward to the descent. Once inside, I was greeted by two elderly women who were ready to research.  I was pelted with questions on dates, names, and locations. After a little while it was suggested that I go to the next county for research because we couldn't find anything on my ancestors.  Even though my great-great grandfather married his second wife in Hamblen County, they lived in Jefferson County before the county boundary changed. 

Morristown upper level with my nephew

Instead of going to Jefferson County that day we walked around downtown Morristown. Main Street was lined with flags and hanging flowers. There is an upper level with shops all along the top.  I have never seen anything like this before and I thought it was awesome. 

The next day we headed to Jefferson County to a little city called Dandridge (the second oldest city in Tennessee, Jonesboro is the first). I was here once before many years ago. There was a country restaurant in the heart of the city was all that I remembered. Today it is out of business. I did visit an old plantation house that was on a back road somewhere but was not feeling that adventurous on this trip. We repeated our steps from the previous day. But this time was more productive.


I met a man who has been researching the Smith line from the county and he was due to arrive early in the afternoon. Timing was perfect in this instance. His name was Ray, a soft spoken southerner with gray hair, smiling eyes, and a firm handshake ( I always judge a man's character based on his handshake). A retired professor who loves genealogy is someone that I was looking for. There was a large folder in the archives for the Smith's. I looked through the folder and found land records that I hadn't seen before. I was thrilled. At least I was going home with more than one piece of paper. We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses.    

Barn in New Market, Tennessee

Sadly, Tennessee didn't begin recording deaths until 1914. I came home with some information that I didn't have before with hopes of eventually finding my great-great grandfathers grave.  I am determined to find him and say that I haven't forgotten you or your life.  Pleasant deserves at least that much from me. 

Aug 15, 2016

Zoo: A habitat for unhappy (maybe) animals.

Yesterday,  I went to the zoo with my nephew, a strapping 22 year old with intense blue eyes that stands over 6 foot tall. He is a gentle soul and I wonder why he wants to spend time with me.  Anyway, we toured the large complex. We went on an African safari, hiked through the Indonesian rain forest, and enjoyed an Australian outback adventure.  Over the years the inmates at the zoo has dwindled down in size.  Where once there was a large cage for birds where visitors could roam around freely is now no larger than 14 foot square with only a couple of birds. But, still, there are plenty of animals to see. 

I know that zoos are well intended places for people to come and see animals from all over the world. At least, that is what I want to believe. I wandered the zoo and observed the animals.  How can a being be happy in such a place? Bars are everywhere. The Komodo Dragon lay listlessly on the cool rocks during the hot and humid morning, while I was drenched in perspiration. 

I had never noticed how beautiful a tiger really is.  The intensity of his brown eyes and the stripes that lay meticulously on top of the golden fur was almost too much beauty to behold. This beautiful cat lay on top of the wooden bench while its partner paced their area of confinement.  

I didn't mention that a little farm was included in the things to see at the zoo. These animals we see on a regular basis if we live close to farms.

By the time the tour of the zoo was over, I felt very much like the pigs and wanted to snooze.  

I am nearly done with the photography certificate program and a few of my pictures (hoping a few more) have been chosen to be on display at the local art museum in January. This is exciting news for me and confirms I am going in the right direction.