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Monday, January 8, 2018

Nine Goals in 2018. Wanna join me?

In my previous blog post, I focused on 2017. Now that we are a few weeks into 2018, it's time to shift gears. 

Sticking to my "if I write it on my blog, I will do it" mindset, I announce my plans for 2018.

#1. Continue to be a blessing to our Compassion International Child, Beatrice. While the distance is great, enriching Beatrice's life is greater. I will continue to keep her in my prayers and lift her up. 

#2. Be a better example to my daughter. Show her by example that no one should bully or coerce her with putdowns, negativity, or "controlling" behaviors. Teach her that those who abuse their "power" can and will be held accountable. ALSO - - - > Yes, it is ok to "tell on someone" when that someone is completely out of line. 

#3. (This ties into #2.) Have a stronger backbone. 

#4. Walk through trials and challenges knowing that I do not walk alone. I have God and his son, Jesus. I also have people who actually WANT to support me. I need to accept that I cannot and should not shoulder all the stress alone. 
#5. Be kinder to those who continue to show me kindness. I take some of my biggest champions for granted. Time to stop that and show them the kindness they show me. 
#6. Don't pressure myself to enter art shows and jump through other hoops just for the sake of being a Photographer. To clarify, only do an art show if I want to and have the time to. Being in an art show doesn't make or break me as an artist. 

#7. Be kind to myself (enough said). 
#8. Find some new "plant-based" foods that don't make me gag. There has to be something out there for me! 

#9. Read More. Write More. 
I'll end it there. I think these goals can help me lead a pretty sweet life in 2018. As you know, I'll be checking in here from time to time to make sure I am keeping my word! 

What are your goals? 
Do you set a few to kick off each year? 
Feel free to comment or message me. 
Join me for the journey! 
Until next time,
M of MK Designs 




Monday, January 1, 2018

For the Record: BASHING the Previous Year is NOT Going to Make the New Year Better!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Ringing in the New Year in 2012 with my friend's son. 
I tend to spend the first day of the New Year on a trail. I love a "First Day Hike." However, thanks to an incredibly upset stomach and waking up to DANGEROUSLY low temperatures today, I have been homebound.
2014 First Day Hike. My Mom, me, and many others enjoying St. Francois State Park.
What does one do besides attack some to-do lists and ponder Star Wars fan theories for the follow up to The Last Jedi? 

Well, I look at social media. 

So, let's take a left turn here. 

I love how humans are creatures of habit. 
This hit home with me in December 2017. Excellent quote/thought!
We are nesters, schedule-keepers, and routine-makers. Even people who claim to be more "loose" and "spontaneous" have their own habitual rituals. 

(I love how that rhymes: habitual ritual!)

Now, back to where I left off with social media and our routines in life...

When did it become a trend for so many people to bash the previous year on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day?

I've noticed it more and more. 

When we turned the page to 2017, I saw lots of posts saying how HORRIBLE 2016 was and that 2017 was going to be a NEW START. Same can be said this year. Over half of my newsfeed is about how 2017 apparently was a total wreck, but 2018 is going to be DIFFERENT.
Did all the complainers forget the AMAZING 2017 Solar Eclipse!?
Really?

I don't think looking back at the "mayhem" that was the previous year is a good way to set yourself up for success in the New Year. Why not focus on the positive things that happened? 
I watched a snow and rain storm come in and out of the Grand Canyon in 2017. My mom took this photo of me when I saw a rainbow forming.

If you can't think of any, why not look through your camera roll to find a few? It's really not that hard!
My daughter's first flight was in 2017. We spent Spring Break in Arizona.
Also, I hate to add this thought into the mix, but has it ever occurred to people that changing the last digit on the year isn't how one is going to find a NEW start? 
Karlene making a friend in 2017 when we camped at Hawn State Park in Missouri. Nothing beats splashing in Pickle Creek!
For one, I know that in 2018 for me to "flip my script" that I have to face some shit (pardon the word, but it's the best I got for it) that I am dreading. I hate conflict, but at the same time, knowing who and what is worth taking a stand for is something that is going to be critical for harmony in my world in 2018. 
Karlene clicked this of me playing "tough" at Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota during the summer of 2017.
That process, for me, is going to be easier by not closing myself off to those who love me, but allowing them to be there for me as I walk this path. I have a habit of shutting down and turning inward when faced with problems. (Just ask my friend, Kris. She especially sees this in me!) Also, it means that I have to trust in my Faith more than ever. 

Afterall, it's His Grace and Love that makes for a better day, week, year, decade... LIFE --- NOT just the simple act of flipping a page on a calendar. 
We watched the sunset in Badlands National Park in 2017. God is an artist!
And, while we're at it, looking back on the negativity of the year before will certainly not help light the way towards a NEW and IMPROVED life. 
Checking out the Lake at Illinois Beach State Park. Summer 2017.
As I wrap up this blog post, I hope that some of this can help you out and that you'll consider the "camera roll" trick for finding the positives in the year before. I know I enjoyed the process:
Toured the SunDrop Museum in Wisconsin! YUM!

My daughter got to see DanTDM and high five him!


Karlene got into her school's Art Show.

I helped organize and run the second Journalism Summit for HS students at East Central College in September 2017. 
Sure, it was rainy - but took my friend Kris to see some amazing sights in Southern Missouri she had never seen before. That was a highlight to 2017!

Attended National Journalism Convention with two awesome students! November 2017.
This is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen! Watched this baby and mom (back behind the rock) interact in South Dakota during our adventures in the Black Hills.

Another beautiful road trip to Lesterville, Mo in October 2017!

The BEST blurry photo I have EVER taken for Lydia's Birthday!


"Sarah Day" Toured a few caves in Missouri with Aunt Sarah.


I wish you all the best and thank you for supporting MK Designs! 


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Staring at the Walls on a Saturday Night!

OK, so I said 2017 was the year that I was going to get off my a$$ and do things my future self would thank me for. 

For the first half of 2017, I really aimed for that goal. I explored with my daughter and made some amazing memories, especially when we visited South Dakota - a first for both of us! I also did things like this kitchen project pictured below:
Painting my kitchen and downsizing some of the collectibles made a huge difference. It feels more "open" and light. This is something that I am indeed thanking myself NOW for doing back then! 
The VERY pale blue (almost white) walls were not the biggest challenge of the project. Installing the old-school metal tin-type back splash was a unique experience to say the least! However, I am super-proud of how it came out. I am also pleased to say that minus watching some "how to" videos and borrowing some supplies, I did this all by myself. 
Beyond home repairs, I started off the year by buying walking passes to Shaw Nature Reserve. Thanks to my jaunts at Shaw, various State Parks, and the roads in and around my hometown, I really was starting to feel a whole lot better on many levels. 

Sadly, in September it slowed down due to more work obligations. From there it only got worse. Most of October and November I was home coughing and sneezing thanks to a prolonged Fall allergy season in Missouri this year. Walking, doing home improvement projects, or even updating this blog just seemed to fade into the allergy-induced haze.
It wasn't all horrible. I did get out on some drives to enjoy the Fall colors here in Missouri, but now I am sitting here realizing that for about four months, I've really slowed down and am missing the better physical and emotional health I feel when being active. 

So, here I sit on a Saturday night pondering it all. Clearly, I am kicking myself a little hard thinking about all the walks I did not take the past few months. I hope that before 2017 is over I'll make it on a few trails. 

And, I am looking at the walls in my front room. They are the last few in the house that need to be painted since I purchased the home a few years back. I have had the paint color selected since August. I hope to start on that project sooner than later, too. Lighten, brighten, and downsize some of the "clutter." (Honestly, do I really need this many things to dust?)

Perhaps now that I have put both items out here publicly for any and all to see - it will make me more accountable. Ultimately, the fact my Fall allergies aren't raging because it's starting to feel more like WINTER in Missouri could be the REAL reason the before-mentioned happens! But if you guys can hold me to it, that's really appreciated.

2017 isn't quite over and I'd like to get back on track.

Until next time, 
M of MK Designs
mkdesignsphoto.com


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Balance? What's THAT!?

2017 was supposed to be the year I got off my a$$ to walk and explore more. Up to the end of August, I was really doing well.
Then, it happened.

Heat and long work hours conspired against my best efforts.

I am hopeful to turn that around sooner than later. I feel more sluggish and less balanced without my time outdoors. 

In other news, I caved and my daughter finally won her hard-fought battle to dye her hair. I have to be honest. I love it. 

I think it's fun to watch her develop her own style. She recently asked me to order her a few shirts (see the picture) from an artist she likes on YouTube. WalkingMelonsAAA is an artist that my daughter really looks up to.

I have found some time to read, though. I find the act to be quite relaxing because I am not reading off a glowing screen. I find PAPER books to be my fave!

I just finished an interesting book titled An Unfinished Marriage. While it's not my typical read, I enjoyed this passage:

"We must be careful not to lose sight of our dreams in favor of the stability of day-to-day life. What's more, we need to hold back a portion of our days for each other, not just meal times."

Granted, I am not married, but this passage really hit home with me because lately I am feeling very unbalanced in my life. Work is dominating my world. I need to not forget my dreams and I must make more time for those I love (daughter, parents, etc.) beyond a quick bite to eat. 
While I know this juggling act is not easily mastered, lately I feel consumed by work. Something has to "give" soon. 

Hopefully the next time I post, I'll have some great "getting off my a$$" photos from a day (or weekend) of exploration!

Until next time, 
M of MK Designs





Thursday, August 3, 2017

Summer 2017: Lessons in Savoring the Moment

Today I took my daughter to register for the 7th grade. 

She's officially a Middle School student. 

We have jumped from this:

To this:

And, shortly after, we jumped to this: 
Because it is time to start a savings account for a sweet ride!

REWIND back to yesterday. I took my daughter, mom, and aunt on an adventure! 
We explored Meramec Caverns and Onodaga Cave. We squeezed another drop out of summer. 
What can really beat enjoying a hard-earned ice cream treat on a warm August day with the people who matter most to you? Not much actually. 
Summers fly by faster and faster each year I am alive. I remember them passing by slowly in my youth. 

I have memories of calling the school pretending to be my mom in order to find out who my teacher would be. (Sorry, mom!) Then, calling my friends to see if they would do the same. Would we all be in the same class? THAT was the big mystery to solve as we were twiddling our thumbs and counting down the days until we could see each other again.

I was always looking ahead, not enjoying the here and the now. Perhaps that is how it goes. Maybe that is what propels us towards adulthood? 

I just know that NOW I do my best to live in the moment and not wish it away. 

Because, before you know it, a beautiful moment is gone. Such as this one from camping and hiking with my daughter in 2013:
Now that I am on the flip side of it, days speed by. I can't have enough time off to enjoy moments with my daughter and other loved ones. 

This summer we had adventures in Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Illinois, Wisconsin and (right here) in Missouri. Not one second seemed to creep along slowly. They passed like a scene from the "Fast and Furious" movie franchise. 

However, there were some moments that did seem so beautiful that they slowed down just enough for me to savor them. Strangely enough, it reminds me of this scene from a Star Trek film I enjoy:
Time is indeed something we cannot control, but we can control our reactions to it. As for myself, all I can do is savor the moments where time briefly pauses for me to delight in what is in front of me. 

Watching my daughter walk in golden light near our KOA Campground in Spearfish, South Dakota

Marveling at the fact my daughter had no problem rushing ahead of me towards this view in the Badlands:
Sitting at a picnic table at our KOA in Onawa, Iowa...watching the wind and light upon my daughter's face, and thinking about just how beautiful she is:
Afterall, as the song goes, we "can't fence time." However, I do believe we can be more aware and recognize a moment that must be savored. 

Until next time,