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Posts Tagged ‘new adventures’

I really appreciate all of the support that I’ve received in starting my own business, and that includes from readers of this blog. My amazing friends and family are already spreading the word, and every time I see that my page is shared on FB, I get a happy feeling. 😀

So why photography? Don’t get me wrong, writing is still one of my primary passions in life. But photography and graphic design is incredibly rewarding in its own right. When you learn how to post-process photos and add your own creative flair to them, you get amazing results. As I’ve played around with settings over the years, I’ve had fun watching my own personal style grow and transform. That’s part of your marketing strategy. Yes, there might be a ton of other pictures out there of the mountains or forests, but what makes yours unique? I guess my ultimate goal is that someday, people will be able to look at one of my photos and automatically know that it’s mine because it will be different enough from all the others.

While I still have a lot to learn (like night/astral photography for one), I’ve been fortunate to have access to the works of certain photographers who have helped give me some great advice. For example, I can now take a variety of pictures and know how to post-process them in a way that I never could before. I mean, I can take a photo like this:

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This was taken up at Smith Rock State Park, practically in my little city’s backyard. It’s one of the most visited tourist spots in our area.

And I can make it into something ethereal, almost other-worldly with its colors and effects:

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Does it look surreal? Sure it does. But that’s the beauty of photography. We are able to take something that seems too good to be true and bring people happiness whenever they get to see it. I think that’s part of what really drives me as a landscape/nature photographer. I love the idea of being able to capture an image for someone who might never get the chance to see that place in real life. And for the locals here who have gotten to hike this thing multiple times, it’s fun for them to recognize their own landscape on a greeting card or in a calendar.

To me, this is what makes both writing and photography such great professions. When I write a story, I want to take my readers to a whole different world, where they can forget their everyday life and enjoy seeing what my characters will do next. When I take a photo, I want to let people imagine what that place must be like and give them a little bit of peace every time that they look at it hanging on their wall.

Life is amazing, guys. After the hardships that I endured for so many years, I never thought that I could experience this kind of happiness in doing what I love for a living. It’s hard work. But it is oh so rewarding.

Follow your dreams. Do what you love. Never give up.

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Well, Hawaii was a blast. I mean, like there’s any other way to describe something so close to paradise. I will say, however, as much as I thought that I was going to be fine in the heat and humidity, I was actually a little overheated a few times. When I had gone there before, it was at Oahu, and it rained a lot. Not a very hard rain, of course, but enough that it actually cooled me down quite a bit.

This time we were at Kona, and while it was still a ton of fun, the side of the island we were on really doesn’t get much more rain than we do in Central Oregon. (Which isn’t much at all.) The muggy humidity and lack of rain got to me a few times, but thankfully it wasn’t too bad overall. I guzzled water like a freaking camel and never went anywhere without my trusty 32 oz. HydroFlask.

We packed a lot into just a few short days, so Brother and I were pretty tired by the time we got home. But we got to see the tallest waterfall on the island, watch a live volcano, and go inside the oldest church on the island. We drove all around and saw a lot of different scenery. Plus our last day there, we got to spend the whole day at one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen in my life. We made definite plans to go back someday, and now we have a better idea of what to do there and where we want to spend more time.

I didn’t get quite as many photos as I had hoped for, but I was still able to get some decent ones. Even a few that I will be able to use for marketing purposes.

Which brings me to my announcement.

I’m super excited (and a little bit scared) to introduce my latest project, Hawk’s Haven Photography and Design. Any of you who have read my book, Prince of Light, might recognize the name Hawk’s Haven. It’s actually a family name. My grandparents used to own this little one-bedroom cabin by a lake. There was no running water, no electricity, and nothing but a wood stove for warmth. But multiple members of the family used it for vacations (and even a couple of honeymoons). I was quite young when we used to go there, but I still have fond memories of it. We went there to get away from the stress of everyday life and just enjoy nature. Thus when I decided to pursue landscape/nature photography and use my photos for home decor, it felt like a fitting tribute to the name.

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Photo taken at the top of Black Crater in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Design by yours truly.

I’m so excited for this, guys. I’m still a writer and always will be. I’m also still working hard on book two of the Prince of Light series.

But there were a series of hardships I had to endure before I could continue working on that particular series. I know some of my followers have been here for a little while, and while I’m not sure exactly how many read my blog on a regular basis, they might have noticed some changes over the last year or so. I won’t go into details for the sake of the people involved, but last summer, I ended my marriage. In fact, this month has been a bit surreal for me, because the paperwork was finalized last October. It’s been almost one year exactly.

Believe me, you never think that you’re going to contribute to that statistic until you do. I never imagined that I would end up divorced. I mean, it’s not like you go into marriage with that mindset. I certainly didn’t. But the situation was an abusive one, and it wasn’t changing despite many efforts and time in counseling. Needless to say, writing a romantic storyline wasn’t exactly number one on my priorities, which is why the Prince of Light series had to take a hiatus.

For the most part, I feel strong. I don’t hate men, and I don’t hate my ex. I forgave him a long time ago. Unfortunately, this was the necessary path for both of us, but I believe we will both be better for it. I have amazing family support and a brilliant church family that I can’t praise enough. I am BLESSED. It’s hard to work through some of the emotional things that come from enduring something like this. Yes, I have moments where I feel like a failure. Moments where I feel like damaged goods. Anyone who has been through this can attest to that. But they’re just moments. I know who I am, and I know what I’ve been called to do. And I’m ready to start writing again.

Part of my healing has come from starting Hawk’s Haven Photography and Design. I’m narrowing down exactly which products I enjoy working on the most, and I’m always looking to improve my craft. This has been my dream since I was in my early twenties, and to finally be able to make it a reality is amazing.

And the best part? It’s a brand-new season and a fresh start.

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Sneak peek at a design not yet available on my site. Lucky you!

Thanks for all the support, dear readers. I’m still going to post on a regular basis, but hopefully you won’t mind seeing some occasional pic-spam from my other projects. Plus, I’m always looking for good quotes that are public domain, so if you think of any that would look good as a print or greeting card, leave a comment.

Be blessed!

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Change Ahead

EDIT TO ADD: Holy moly, WordPress just informed me that this is my 100th post. Nice! Actually, it seems kind of fitting that I’m starting a whole new chapter of my blog while starting a whole new chapter of my life. 🙂

Original:

Well, it looks like there are big changes a-coming for this little author right here. As you might remember, Husband and I are currently in limbo house-wise. We sold our house back in October, with the anticipation of buying the house right down the street. That fell through, so we continued our house hunt with no luck whatsoever. Oh, there are many houses for sale in our area, but a lot of them were far overpriced. It didn’t seem prudent to pay more than a house was worth, since there was no guarantee we would be able to break even if we wanted to sell again later.

Sooooo…we waited. And waited. And looked. And waited some more. We put in a few offers only to have them fall through at the last minute, which meant waiting again.

Then Husband received a phone call one day, from a friend of his who works in various locations across the country. Husband had worked with this friend many times before on different jobs, ranging everywhere from Washington to Hawaii. Turns out that Friend’s latest job has been steady pay and is looking to be somewhat long-term, as there are a series of houses that need to be built or re-built, and he wanted to make Husband a permanent job offer.

In Monterey, California.

I won’t lie, I had (and still have, if I’m honest) no desire to live in California. It was simply never on my radar of possibilities, despite the fact that Husband was born and raised there, and he didn’t have any real desire to return there either. We both enjoy Oregon and everything it has to offer. We had looked in different areas within Oregon, since it’s such a large state with so many different landscapes. We’d looked at Idaho, Montana and even considered Utah at one point. (I absolutely ADORE the Rocky Mountains, so I was kind of voting for western Montana.)

But California? Hadn’t even considered it.

Life, however, has a way of taking to places that we’d normally never go, and after visiting Monterey for a short week, since I had never been there before, Husband and I had a serious talk.

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Part of the Monterey shoreline.

 

We prayed. We weighed the pros and cons. And in the end, Husband decided that he really wanted to take the job. It would mean steady work year-round and good pay. I have no qualms about moving to a different location. I’ve lived in the same small town my whole life and always knew I would end up somewhere else someday. Perhaps California wasn’t my first pick, but both of us know in our heart of hearts that our ultimate goal will be to get back up to Oregon. Doesn’t really matter what part of Oregon, far as I’m concerned, long as I can keep my roots there. For all its faults, I really love my beautiful home state.

I will miss my mountains. I love seeing our beautiful portion of the Cascade Mountain Range.

 

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Hard to see because it was cloudy this day, but from the left is the last part of the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, Black Butte and Three Fingered Jack.

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Mt. Jefferson, one of the higher peaks in our portion of the Cascades.

They’ve been a part of my skyline since I was born, and it will be strange not to see them there anymore. Our view in Central Oregon goes all the way from Mt. Bachelor in the south to Mt. Hood in the north, with at least seven other mountains in between the two. I still have a personal goal of being able to say that I’ve hiked up all of them at one time or another. (So far I’ve only conquered two, Broken Top and Black Butte. Still have a ways to go…)

I will miss my friends and family. I will definitely miss hiking, since I’ve recently discovered a whole mess of new trails that I didn’t even know existed until this year. But I won’t miss the snow, or the blazing hot summers. I’ve been ready for moderate temperatures for a while now, and I have to admit that I love the coast. We likely won’t be able to afford living directly in Monterey, but there are many surrounding cities that are just a lovely, and the coastline in this particular area reminded me greatly of Oregon. (I’m definitely biased, but I believe the Oregon coast is one of the most beautiful in the world. It may not have sandy white beaches, but the rugged cliffs and rocky ridges more than make up for the wind and rain that’s usually there.)

It’s a new adventure. A new chapter. We can either feel panicked that things didn’t go the way we planned, or we can embrace the change and live it up. I’m choosing to do the latter, personally, and who knows what kinds of stories might come forth from such a lovely place?

Onward and upward!

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