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Thankfulness Photo Challenge ~ Week 1

Every November I try to sit down each day and reflect on the things that I'm thankful for as I count down the days until Thanksgiving. This year I decided to change things up a little and turn it into a personal photography challenge instead. I wrote out a list of all the things I'm thankful for and then on November 1, I started at the top of the list and took photos to fit the theme of the day.

Today I completed Day 7 and decided I wanted to share my favorite photos from each day. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I've enjoyed taking them.

Day 1: Maximus Mut

Maximus Mut Croas, or Max for short, is more than just my pup he is also my furry teenaged toddler. He is the light of my life and also the official mascot of HNC Prints Photography. No matter how rough my day might be he is always there to make it better.

Here are few of my other favorites from Day 1:


Day 2: Personal Growth

I've had a lot of opportunities for personal growth over the last few years and this year has been one of multiple challenges. But the one thing that I've held onto is a quote I learned while I was at CPS training in December 2014, "There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone." I have often joked about how I no longer have a comfort zone and kind of miss it. But the truth is I'm glad for all the obstacles I've faced over the past year because they have given me the chance for a lot of personal growth.

Here are some of my other favorites from Day 2:

Day 3: Running

When I was a kid my mom signed me up for youth sports and I loved it. I started with t-ball and later played baseball and softball. Ran track one summer and even played football with the neighborhood kids in the street. But the sport I loved the most was alway soccer but the last time I was able to play was when I was in high school. It wasn't until a few years ago that I actually started to enjoy running though, even though I'm slower than a turtle going backwards through peanut butter I still love. Sadly in February I injured my right knee during a 5k and I ignored it until the end of March when my coach told me to get it checked. Found out in the middle of April that I had torn the meniscus and then a couple weeks later I got rear ended which caused further injury. I ignored it for as long as I could but eventually had to take a forced 3-month break to let it heal. The good news I was finally able to get back out there a couple weeks ago. And I might be slower it's getting better it's made me even more thankful than before to be able to run again.

Here are some of more of my favorite photos from Day 3:


Day 4 ~ Crocheting

When I was a kid my mom did a variety of different crafts, including crocheting but it wasn't something I was ever that interested in learning. But when I was a teenager she got really sick with a staph infection in her spine which left her with some physical limitations and she can no longer do it. She still makes some really cool stuff out of plastic canvas though, including some photo props she's made for me use and baskets she fills with toiletries and donates to the local battered women's shelter. A few years ago I decided to teach myself how to crochet and with a little help from a neighbor I was able to get the hang out of it fairly quickly. In 2012, when I was laid up after the surgery I decided to make hats to donate to the homeless to keep myself busy while I was recuperating. And I've been making them every year since. I've lost track of how many I've made and donated over the last 5 years but my goal is to donate at least 200 this year. I'm still a little short but I've made a 178 so far this year and confident I'll be able reach my goal.

Here is are a few more of my favorites from Day 4:

Day 5 ~ Racing

After the first surgery in September 2012, I got my life back. Before that I had lived with chronic and at time debilitating pain in my right ankle which limited my physical activity. But surprisingly even during the long recovery time the pain I had been plagued with was gone in spite of some post op discomfort. At the beginning of 2013, I began physical therapy to help regain the strength in my ankle and help improve the stability. I was told that I would be able to run again but I refused to accept that a few months later started training for my first 5k. Sadly I wasn’t able to complete it because of the monster hill on the course but it left my hungry to compete one which led me to making it my goal to complete at least one 5k (or longer) race a month in 2014. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to complete my goal because I sprained my left ankle on the last night at Dragon Con which lead to the second surgery in October of that year. I did however manage to complete 9-5ks, my first 10k and a 4-mile race between Jan-Oct that year. In 2015 & 2016 I came back strong and completed over 20 races each year which was why the forced 3 month break I had to take earlier this year so rough. This year I was only able to complete 7 organized 5k but I was able to convince my brother to do a couple virtual races with me which was kind of fun too. Next year my goal is to complete a 1/2 and my ultimate running goal is to complete the Dopey Challenge at WDW in 2020.

Here are few of my other favorites from Day 5:

Day 6 ~ Toastmasters

If you had told me a few years ago that I would be looking for public speaking opportunities I would have asked if you had lost your mind. But then something truly amazing happened, I finally decided to go to a Toastmasters meeting and find out what it was all about. When I started in March 2016, I was terrified of getting in front of the room and speaking but now I actually look forward to it. On May 23, 2017 I earned my Competent Communicator Award and last Friday I completed the requirements to earn my Competent Leader Award too. I also competed in my first speech contest in August and was beyond shocked when the announced my name as the winner of the Area 53 Humorous Speech Contest. Even though I didn't place in the Division Contest still glad I put myself out there and did it, especially because it lead me to joining Jokers Wild, and Advanced Toastmasters Club who focus on humorous speaking and teaches improv, which was something I had been looking for for over a year.

Day 7 ~ Plaster Gauze

A few years ago I figured out that I could you photography as a way to express myself when I couldn't find the words. Last year I found that I could do the same thing through other art mediums as well. I like to experiment so when I got the opportunity to learn how to make masks use plaster gauze I jumped at it. I made my first mask last year to wear for a performance piece I was doing with R2ISE Theater about stigma. This year I decided to create some as art pieces that could stand alone but would also be a part of a larger piece entitled, "Through Art I Found My Voice." The goal is to create at least 13 individual masks for the larger piece (each with it's own unique title and description) and to date I have completed 8.

Here are a few more of my favorite photos from Day 7:


Well that concludes Week 1 for the Thankfulness Photo Challenge. I hope you have enjoyed seeing the photos and learning a little more about me. Have a great week and hope you'll join me again next Tuesday when I share Week 2 of the Thankfulness Photo Challenge.

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