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Thankfulness Photo Challenge ~ Week 3

I've made it to Week 3 and still haven't missed a single day. There have been a few times this week when I thought about skipping a day and picking it up the following day but in the decided to stick with it and glad I did. It's hard to believe how quickly this month seems to have flown by, much like the rest of the year. Only 9 days left of the insanity of this challenge and while I'm glad I decided to do it also looking forward to completing it. This week's photos have been a mix of ones that were on the original list I started with and things that made sense to add along the way. For those of you who have been following along I hope you've enjoyed not only seeing the photos but getting to know a little bit more about me as well. And without further ado I present to you the photos from Week 3: November 15 - November 21...

Thankfulness Photo Day 15: Playing games

From a young age I've always loved playing games: whether it was board games, cards or even making up my own. Some of my favorite memories growing up are the times we sat around the dining room table playing Uno or Rummikub together and my siblings and I ganging up against my mom because she's a bit of a card shark. Playing Monopoly with my brother was always interesting and I had to make sure he didn't steal my properties and then sell them back to me. Sadly I fell for that more than once.

A few years ago we introduced my nephew to various games he loves to play them now too. He's outgrown the days of Candyland & Shutes and Ladders but still loves playing Yahtzee and is a smart little guy when it comes to Trival Pursuit. And earlier this year I finally found a group that was willing to take in a newbie and teach me the basics of Dungeons & Dragons. Granted still struggling a bit with that one but it's a fun way to get out of my comfort zone and hang out with people when I get the chance.

Here are some of my other favorite photos from Day 15:


Thankfulness Photo Day 16: Holiday Baking

I learned how to cook and bake when I was little kid, around 6 or so, and have always enjoyed doing it. There is something relaxing about getting in the kitchen and baking up a storm which is why I love the holiday season. I remember the last few years when I was in college I would bake during finals week to help deal with the stress. And the last few years I've made plates of goodies to share with some of our neighbors and others who I wanted to do something special for.

Mom had been asking me to make some pumpkin bread for a few days and last Wednesday I decided I'd go ahead and make some for her since I was going to a potluck that evening anyway and figured it would work well as a dessert to take with me. But I got special surprise when my nephew asked if he could help and I jumped at the opportunity. Originally my plan had been to make it myself and take photos of each step of the process but since he wanted to help I let him make it and I helped him out and took photos of him instead. Turned out really good and it went way to quickly so we will probably be making some more tomorrow when he's here.

While there were no nuts in the the pumpkin bread itself here are a few photos of the little nut who made it:

Thankfulness Photo Day 17: Chaos

I've never been a huge fan of chaos and usually do whatever I can to avoid it. Unfortunately it's not always possible. I crave structure and tend to function better with some type of routine but I've been learning how to handle chaos better. It's still a little weird, but I actually found myself thankful for the chaos. When I started the shoot for Day 17, I really didn't have a clear cut theme or idea for what I was shooting for so I decided to experiment a little instead. I started with a candle holder and tea lights I got a few years ago with the idea of taking photos of a floating flame. But as I was shooting the flame I noticed that the melted wax from the candle was dripping into the water creating a interesting effect and decided to experiment a little further with it. From there I decided to take out the India ink I have and some of my paints and drop it in the water to see who it would turn out. And then I decided to have a little bit of fun and work on trying to capturing the ink hitting the water and slowly dissipating. Not all of the photos turned out but I ended up with some really cool images in the end.

Here are some of my other favorites from Day 17:


Thankfulness Photo Day 18: Art

Photography is my primary medium but it's the only one I enjoy experimenting with. When I was little I would draw, paint, and enjoyed doing various other craft projects. When I was in high school I had an amazing teacher, Mrs. Linda Smith. When I was in high school I took art all 4 years and my junior and senior year was able to take it for 2 periods. She taught me how to improve my techniques with drawing and painting and she also introduced me to clay and basic sculpture. Sadly she passed away the summer after I graduated but she had a major impact on my life.

When I went to CPS training in December 2014, I met Sam Rapier and he introduced me to a wide variety of different techniques and rekindled the artistic spark. He is the one who has encouragement and inspired me to try to new things and see where it takes me. Granted, not all my experiments work out the way I want but its still fun.

And the last 2 years at Dragon Con I've been lucky to be able to take some cool workshops including learning out to sculpt leather into masks and this year I learned out to create a resin sculpture starting with a wire base and building it out before applying the Apoxie Sculpt which creates a resin sculpture once it's dried. My first project was a baby dragon hatching from a rock. Then I created a special "action figure" for the chiropractor who helped me heal from the injuries I sustained in the car accident earlier this year and also helping with stupid knee. I was able to get a few pictures with my cell phone before I gave it to him but sadly didn't think about taking any with the camera. But lesson learned, and making sure I take photos of the sculpture I'm making my mom for Christmas as well as the one I'm working on for my running coach too.

Here are some photos of my other art projects I've been working on:

Thankfulness Project Day 19: Building Connections

One of the biggest challenges I face is a lack of social skills and difficulties with interpersonal communication/relationships. I've often to tried to describe it to people by explaining that it feels like someone has taken a variety of different jigsaw puzzles of different sizes, shapes, images, etc and mixed them together. Then taken away most of the pieces and handed it back to me and told me to figure how they all fit together. One of the things that helps, especially when I'm feeling overstimulated or anxious, is to find the patterns which is part of the reason I like math. For this I decided to try to illustrate what it feels like when I'm faced with talking to people, strangers in particular, in the hopes that people would gain a better understanding. But it's also because of one of the things I'm thankful for is that I've been able to find a few people who accept me for who I am and as a result I've been able to build connections with them. I've even been fortunate enough to make a few friends over the last couple years and while I may always struggle with understanding social boundaries thankful for the connections I've been able to build with people who are helping me learn how to navigate it a little better.

Here are a few other photos that I hope will illustrate what I'm trying to saying better than I can explain in words:

Thankfulness Photo Day 20: Photography

I figured out fairly young that art was a way I could communicate with the world, especially when I couldn't find the right words. And while I like to draw, paint, sculpt, etc. my favorite medium is photography. There is something magical about being able to freeze a moment in time with camera and provide people with a tangible memory and time capsule all-in-one. I still remember the first camera my dad gave me on my 8th birthday, It was just a simple little 110 camera but it was mine and gave me a chance to take my own photos. When I was in high school my dad gave me a point and shoot 35mm camera so I wouldn't have to ask him to borrow his all the time when I wanted to do photo shoots. Shortly before I graduated from college he gave me his old 35mm Canon Rebel SLR and I burned through multiple rolls of film shooting anything and everything. When I decided to start pursing photography as a profession I thought I had lost it but he had hidden it away for me and gave made sure I got it back when I came home for Christmas that year. The following July, my parents got me my DSLR (a Canon Rebel xsi) for my birthday which ended up getting replaced (thank you protection plan) with a Rebel T3 shortly after the first surgery. Then my dad ended up giving me his T4i for my birthday the following year and last Christmas my dad surprised me with some old film cameras that I can display once I have a place of my one, including a 110 Kodak similar to the first one he ever gave me. At the beginning of the year I was able to upgrade a full frame camera (5D Mark iii) which is super fast and came with a nice zoom lens too which has helped broaden my abilities. The camera is simply a tool but it's nice having a higher quality tool when I'm shooting now.

Here are some of other photos from Day 20:


Tonight I wanted to focus on recovery because it is something that I care very deeply about. I've had to overcome more than my fair share of obstacles but I've thankful for each of them. I've learned more about myself because of each of them and found strength I did know was possible by overcoming them. For as long as I can remember I've always been, "different" but didn't always want to accept it. Today I'm thankful for the fact that I am in fact living proof that recovery is real. Whether it be dealing with the physical challenges or the mental illness stuff I refuse to give up. This past year has been a rough one and it kind of surprises me at times with how well I've been able to cope with all the stuff that's been thrown in my path over the past year. Valentine's Day weekend I was doing a 5k and finished with my worst time. When I finally saw the finish line I was hurting like the dickens but was determined to finish strong which didn't exactly happen. As I hobbled across the finish line I was hit with an asthma attack which always sucks. Found out a few months later after I finally broke down and went to the doctor that I have arthritis in both knees and tore the meniscus in my right one. That was hard enough to cope with because running was my main coping skill and has become part of my life, so not being able to do it wasn't an option. At the end of April I was got rear ended, which thankfully I wasn't seriously injured but I did get banged up and still dealing with the aftermath. I've only been able to do a handful of races this year, which considering last year I did over 20 total including a 15k and attempted my first 1/2 has been hard to deal with. But somehow I've managed to keep my head above water and actually doing fairly well, even though still a bit stressed out over various things. Tonight I really wanted to focus the photos on aspects of both physical and mental health recovery because they are both a part of my life. Change is never easy but it is the only true constant in life if you stop to think about it. Neither is recovery but it's worth it.

Here are some my other favorites from Day 21:

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