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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer 2014 Blogger Challenge #20... Daydream.

#20. Daydream...

Funny thing about Daydreams, I have them OFTEN.

Most of my life I feel I have spent in several places at once. 

Started at a young age, too. Teachers telling me to focus, when most the time even though my head was elsewhere, I was listening to darn near everything happening in the room. 
Took this image near Lassen National Park in Northern CA. This sums up how I feel often. Just dreaming. Looking out towards the sky. Seeing what is on the horizon. 
My daydreaming REALLY ticked off a HS teacher when I ended up spending most of her class daydreaming, doodling, and napping... then finishing the semester with the highest percentage in the class and getting the "medal" at the awards day. (Sorry, it was SO BORING, and one of the ONLY classes I ever slept in!) 

Note: the medal was really just this goofy little pin for a letterjacket. ;-)

She was so angry, she gave a second medal to the runner up (who is currently my facebook friend, lol) because she "tried harder" than I did. (That's the riot act she read me alone in a room, AFTER the ceremony... letting me know she only awarded me because she "had" to, not because I "deserved" it.)

The thing is, even though I feel like so much of my life has been spent daydreaming, I do not feel it is wasted because OFTEN I am in the present even though I live in this duality and am in two or three places at once in my mind. 

I think it helped my creativity. It helped me set attainable goals. I think many of my daydreams have became reality... and will continue to in the future.  

So the other day, I had a very specific daydream as I walked the Katy Trail near Dutzow clicking pics. 
I took this in Mexico Beach, Florida & edited it in Missouri. It can belong to you, if you want it! Contact me about how to order this image, or any image you see that I have created. 

I thought, "What if I walked all the way to Marthasville... what if I had a backpack on my back with a tent and water and snacks... what if I had people on call along the trail to get me when my legs can go no more..." and the daydream was born. 

I could picture myself a little older (early 50s) and retired walking the Katy Trail as long as my heart, wallet, legs, and desire could take me... with people on high alert to come get me when I could do no more. 
Hermann, Missouri. Photo by me! :-) 
My daydream had me walking from Dutzow to Hermann... over a few days because even though my spirit is willing my chunky body ain't so into it. 

Then, after a break, my daydream took me from Hermann to Portland (Missouri). 

It was a lovely daydream that helped me lose track of the miles and nearly 2 hours I was on the trail in reality. 

Wonder if one day if that daydream will become my reality, or if I'll just be scolded by someone for having it? 

Until next time, 

with... MK Designs! Thank you for reading! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer 2014 Blogger Challenge #17, #18, #19: I am good at... Best Book EVER.. & the Weather

#17. I feel odd listing what I think I am really good at. So, I stepped outside of "my thoughts" and asked some people who know me what they think.

G. S. - She's known me for a couple of years. One of my newer friends. We work on "Experience Union" together and both enjoy Photography & being moms. She says this is what I am good at... 

- making people laugh 
- photography (duh! I know that's a cheating answer)  
- leading/leadership
- exploring
- looking at things and situations from different perspectives
- encouraging others

K. J. - She's known me since I was in middle school. In fact she was my English teacher "back in the day" but she was so YOUNG! Just a baby out of college! I really respect her, so when I asked her what I was good at and this was her response, I was very humbled. 

First and foremost, you a great at being a mom. 
You are great being a teacher and a mentor. 
You are good at photography. 
You are honest and faith-filled.

R.R. - He's known me a long time, but before we met, I loved listening to him on the radio. During my first years of teaching broadcast, I was contacting any and every person I could. He was kind enough to guest speak to my students for several years... and we've kept in touch. I still listen to him when I can on Planet Radio.

A man of many words, he actually kept it simple when I asked him what I was good at... 

Melding young minds. 
Being a mother. 
Being a hottie.

#18. Best Book Ever. 

#19. Weather! 

Goodness, what an amazing summer! 

I mean, usually by this point we are a hot mess here in Missouri and lately it's back to unseasonably cool temps that I live for. 

Windows open. 
Fans on. 
AC off. 
Electric bill NOT suffering. 

I went for a walk on the Katy Trail on the way home from seeing my friend Juli with Olive and Ash

Here are my 3 fave images from that stroll. 

I was on the trail over an hour, maybe longer! I lost track of time... it was THAT NICE outside!

Thank you for taking the time to follow my blog. For more information about my work, like my facebook page, or click the link to see my website:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer 2014 Blogger Challenge #16: Home


Here are a few images to sum that topic up for the "blogger challenge" but like many topics on this list I could say so much more. 

Home is more than a place, but I do think the place matters. 

Home is who you are with, what you surround yourself with (not just objects but inspiration and the vibe once you open the door).

Home can be a bit cluttered and "lived-in" but for my purposes can't be totally trashed or I cannot relax. It puts me on edge and will send my allergies into a rage.

Home is knowing you can just kick back and relax... in your bedroom, shower, couch, yard, garden... 

I am sure you get the picture! 

I do not "have" the above images MK done, but I think this would be awesome to create! I love succulents!

MK Designs Photography / Fine Art and Portrait. July 2013. Thank you for visiting!  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer 2014 Blogger Challenge #15: Inspiration

All these photos (by me) above, were taken in moments I felt great inspiration! 

Today's post is supposed to be about "inspiration."

These bloggers and artists inspire me... daily... weekly! :-)

How do I even start to approach that?!

Quotes that inspire me... 

It's in rocks and trees, it's in scruffy guys who make great music - art - entertainment, it's in my child, it's in the land, it's in people, places... Inspiration is everywhere! It's in God's Creation.

Scruffy guys who make amazing movies, songs, photographs, and more.. 

How do I discuss inspiration? Well, I am going to do what Ansel says. (Yes, he's on this entry twice! * look above *)

The natural spaces that are in my own country inspire me...
These faces and places...
His great love inspires me... excited at each and every turn to see how His plan has helped me grow and become a better person, someone who tries to give to others, love others, and help kids find their passion in life - their calling.

I want to share some links with you to help you find a little inspiration today... Enjoy!

My weekly reading is here and has been for years. Some secrets are haunting, some are funny, some I can relate to, others I am thankful I cannot relate at all...

This place isn't just great wine, it's great views. I have taken MANY a beautiful photo here. One of the highest most unobstructed view to the west in Franklin County Missouri

While I do not attend EVERY Sunday, I am happy to be a member of this church and if you are ever in the area, let me know - I think it's worth the time. Bridge Lutheran Church.

The Digital Bible Society. His word is never far!

The Blonde Coyote:

My former student with Happy Lark Designs:

My friend at Olive and Ash Studio:

My friend at Slava Bowman Photography: 

My friend at Marcink Designs:

Thank you for following my "blog challenge" for caring about my work and random thoughts, and for simply showing you're invested in what I do. Photography is so important to me and without it, I am not sure how I'd be able to express my feelings of wonderment for God's Creation!

Have a great day! 
~ michelle of MK Designs

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer 2014 Blogger Challenge #12, #13, #14: Grateful, Nature, Dream Job.

My fortune cookie said "You will have a long and wealthy life." I have kept that fortune in sight since moving to my house last summer. I love it. It's a beautiful reminder my life is full of "wealth" and I have so much to be grateful for.
#12. Grateful. Family (the ones that actually check on me, etc). Friends (real ones). My daughter. Home. Health (not that I am perfect, but I could be so way worse off). TIME: time to create, to laugh, to lounge, to travel, to learn, to be one-on-one with people or places I adore. Awesome Career. Pets (furbabies). 
Not sure if this pillow would be comfy (burlap!?), but I think it makes a beautiful statement.
#13. Nature. Well! I could go on and on and on. Nature is my nature (get the pun?)! I love it. I know in my heart I need to get in better shape mentally, physically, and financially so I can be in it MORE. 
Photos of "nature" are all over my iPhone camera roll. I can't help myself. Photograph what you love! Well - I love my cats, nature, and my daughter! Funny how your camera roll can totally reveal your heart! 
By the way, I read recently how in Boston doctors are ordering parents to get their kids outside more. Really? I can't imagine. I get my daughter outside so much. It totally puts us both back in a calmer state of mind and helps us connect with God's Creation.
I like this and slightly wish I had this saying on a tshirt or something! What a wonderful mantra to promote! 
#14. Dream Job. I honestly have it. 

I'd like to do more portrait work, but that seems to have moments I am super busy and moments I can hear crickets. 

Portrait work from this past year. Winter 2013 to Spring 2014. I love these images. As you can see, I am a huge fan of WARM LIGHT in portrait work. Yes, I do portraits! Some years I am busy, other years not as much. I have noticed a trend of less and less Seniors getting their Senior Photos done, something I will blog about soon! 
However, let's be honest: I get to teach pretty cool kids awesome subject matter during the school year,  and I take photographs year round... it's pretty awesome. 

THE ONLY THINGS THAT WOULD MAKE THIS A TRUE DREAM JOB: better funding for the equipment the kids need. More supportive parents. Different hours. 

I didn't stutter, different hours. I am beyond NOT a morning person. I tend to perk up anywhere from 9 to 11 in the morning REGARDLESS of what time my rear hits the bed. So, if I had a teaching day that started around 9 or 10 in the morning and ended at 4 or 5 in the afternoon (I stay that late often anyway because that's when I am THINKING and ALERT)... that would be ideal. 

~~~ thank you for taking the time to follow me on this little "blog challenge" this summer. I am almost halfway there. My goal of finishing this by mid to late August may actually HAPPEN!

Please consider liking my photo page on facebook! Also, check out my website for more information about my photography: 

July 2014. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer 2014 Blogger Challenge #9, #10, #11: Winter, Travel, Clothing...

#9. Ask me about my faves when it comes to Spring, Fall, or Summer... I could go on and on... but Winter? That's a struggle, so I am going to "cheat" and let you go read this blog post if you want some answers about my thoughts on Winter...

#10. Dream Travel Destination(s). I will keep this simple and not as long as it could be...because if you know ANYTHING about me, this could be a list of nearly 100 places! 

I would like to drive & explore this parkway: Natchez Trace

I would like to float & explore the river I grew up playing in and around: the Big Piney River. 

Alaska! Enough said! 

As always, go back west to see more... but add in places I haven't seen yet like Arches NP, as well as Glacier NP and Yellowstone NP. 

And, after last night's travel show I watched: SPAIN!

#11. My fave outfit? 

I am not someone totally into how clothes LOOK, I like how they feel. I like cozy hooded sweatshirts and soft worn tshirts that fit loose. I like jeans that I have worn so much it is as if they were hand sewn just to fit ME. That's my typical attire. Comfortable shoes, tops, pants, etc. 

However, I can say - I LOVED my senior prom dress and my wedding dress. Those two dresses were actually comfortable and I felt very beautiful in them both. 

Apparently I like camo hats, too. Camo Hat #1. 
Camo Hat #2.  
T-shirt I regret not buying. I see a trip to Crane's to pick this up sometime in 2014!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer 2014 Blogger Challenge #6, #7, & #8: Draw, Today, Bestie...

Draw Something #6. 

Well, this is kinda easy... very recently my local Library had a contest to design a bookmark. My daughter and I both entered, and we both won! She won her age group, and I won mine. Pretty fun stuff. Here's my bookmark you can pick up this summer at Scenic Regional Library in Union, MO. 
My Winning Design/Drawing!

#7. What did I do today? Unseasonably cool temps and low humidty meant I slept like a rock. It felt great to sleep in no ac, in other words: no recycled air! I didn't start waking up till nearly 10:30. My kiddo - well, that was about 11:30. No "breakfast" so we did "brunch" - she helped me make French Toast because she is on a kick to learn more about cooking. Then, lots of work to do for my day job and volunteer groups, errands to run, places to go, people to see, ice cream to eat, and what not. We got home to make dinner for our guests (my parents) and to let the cats out on the deck for some lovely play time since the weather is so beautiful right now. We had dinner, watched a movie with my parents, and after they left - we went on a walk. The weather today is just amazing! Oh, and now I am updating my blog! 
Ice Cream, beautiful skies, happy kitties, and deck time...
Sweet Magical French Toast! 
Artwork outside my friend's business. 
I framed these in hopes to hang them in a business that has expressed interest in showing my work. What do you think? They are small - only 8X8, but I kinda like small. 
The view from the track at the school near my house. Beautiful night to walk!

#8. My "bestie" - THAT is a tough one. 

I used to have a ready answer for that. Now, I do not. 

I know what I feel a best buddy should do... and what they should be. I know I have had several people who fit the job come and go in my life. 

Right now - if I had to say who my BEST friend was, I'd say my mom. Without a doubt. 

As for a non-relative Best Bud? Emily Rose is and always will be one of my best friends. The same goes for Kris, in fact I think Kris and I are closer now than we've ever been. 

Terri is a great new friend I have made and I enjoy time with her. Plan on having some fun with her this week in fact! 

I am blessed that at work Kathy Allen was my friend for YEARS and now Juli Schuster has sorta slid into that place for me since Kathy retired. Both of them are so unique and special in their own different ways. However, they are both small (way smaller than I am!), beautiful women, who are two of the most fierce and loyal mothers I have ever encountered! :-)

I am very blessed to have a lot of different friends over the years, some have stayed - some have gone... others have had gaps in communication with me, but we pick right up where we left off... 

It's just hard to answer, "Who is your BEST friend," when there are many out there... so I will stick with the constant in my life, my rock, my strength: my mom. :-)


Words/Photos, etc. by ME! (aka MK Designs) July 2014. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer 2014 Blogger Challenge #4 & #5: Special Memory & Fave Quote

#4. Special Memory

This one is difficult. Why? Well, it's not for a lack of special memories (that would be horrid!)... it's from an abundance of them. To simplify the process and to keep myself from writing a full novel, I'll just pick the first random 6 that comes to mind. 

1. Sitting with my Grandpa Johnson as a child at their house on a porch swing watching the clouds. I clearly saw cartoon characters, and when I showed him - his face lit up and he saw them, too. 

2. Mom and I taking a "selfie" this past June at a light house. I told her to push the button. I think there was a real communication issue of what "button" meant. We giggled a LOT like school girls. Made me happy to see her so happy and free. :-)

3. First time I saw Yosemite National Park in person in 2009. I wept. I realized finally for once and for all, after years of going back and forth - God is real. 

Photo by Me. 2009. 
4. What started as a "business connection" last summer, resulting in photography work and website work, and promotional work... and a friendship...I remember watching her at a Summerfest last summer thinking "That's that crazy massage therapist!" (note: not crazy like "insane" but happy crazy. good crazy. the best kind of crazy.) 

5. This beach with these girls for my teaching job... actually the WHOLE trip! My staff took First place at Nationals for our TV show, we saw amazing sights, visited the WHOLE time (hardly had a phone out) and bonded. One of them just gradated from NYU. One of them is still navigating school and life and figuring out what she wants to do. One of them is engaged and wrapping up school. One of them is becoming a teacher and just sent me a funny photo of herself on the 4th of July. Beautiful girls are now beautiful young women. 

I didn't tell them to do this. Tha'ts how good of an experience we all had on this trip for school. This was about 4 or 5 years ago now... maybe more! ha! Navigating along Oregon and Washington State with four crazy girls running around calling me "mom" - it was awesome. People don't understand why teaching is so amazing, this is just ONE of many reasons!

6. My daughter... as we are in the ocean this week going up and down with the waves... she gives me this big hug and says "Mom, I have had an amazing trip. Thank you." Then, she proceeds to give me the most slobbery kiss on the cheek ever. 

Now on to Blog Challenge: Favorite Quote (#5)

Is this possible? I mean, really? I love quotes. I have so many rolling around in my head. Picking one is like picking a favorite student or favorite ice cream flavor, etc. How? I love so many!

So, I am going to put out my favorite bible verse instead. It's my blog, afterall! I hope you get a blessing from it... 

MK Designs. July 2014. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer 2014 Blogger Challenge #3: Favorite Thing to Do

Naturally I could say that my favorite thing to do is take photos or travel... or this... or that...but I won't. 

The reality is this: right now my favorite thing to do in my world is be with her (My Daughter). 

“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood - finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.” ― Jodi Picoult

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” ― Donna Ball

“Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors.” ― Khaled Hosseini

“The only love that I really believe in is a mother’s love for her children.” ― Karl Lagerfeld

“Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.” 
― Robert A. Heinlein

“Accept the children the way we accept trees—with gratitude, because they are a blessing—but do not have expectations or desires. You don’t expect trees to change, you love them as they are.” 
― Isabel Allende

Camping at Council Bluffs Lake in the Mark Twain National Forest. 
A fancy dress for a fancy wedding we attended for a former student of mine.  The cheese was heavenly! 
Her first "big kid" job of helping mom install a rock flower bed at our new house last summer. 
Picking out a dish to create/cook and making it together! Pizza Monkey Bread! Yum. 
MK Designs. July 2014. Please don't copy... but feel free to link up our blogs for the Blog Challenge this summer! Comments and feedback welcome!