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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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A Slight Rant

I try not to rant very often on this blog, because I believe in positivity and making the world a better place.

However.

Even I have to shake my head sometimes and take a moment to say, “What the *bleep* were they THINKING?”

Today’s moment of stupidity comes directly from my home state. It’s one of the states that happens to be on fire at the moment. (Half the country is flooded, the other half wishes we could pipeline that water directly onto our forests.) Every year, Oregon gets a few wildfires. It’s just what happens. We’re a part of the high desert, which means that it’s extremely hot and dry. We get very little rain here, unlike the small pocket of our state up by Portland. Most of us have common sense when it comes to that. You take proper precautions when you go camping, always use safety when dealing with any sort of fires, and don’t go driving on grassy lands.

And up until a few days ago, all of the major fires that happened here were of natural causes. We had some decent thunderstorms come rolling through, and dry lightning sparked the huge ol’ wildfires that quickly took control of our beautiful state.

Then this happened. (Pardon the bits of language in it. Unfortunately, in this case I’m inclined to agree with the author.) Yeah. Some teenager decided to set off fireworks in the middle of the forest. FIREWORKS.

In. The. FOREST.

I feel like there’s a life lesson in this somewhere. Our words (and actions) do affect other people, whether we realize it or not. One person caused 153 hikers to be put into danger because they became stranded due to the sudden flames. (Thankfully, all hikers were accounted for and able to make it to safety.) Our poor firefighters, who are already so tired from trying to contain the other thousands of acres of burning forest now have another fire to wrestle.

People’s homes are being evacuated and threatened. And the trickle-down effect continues to even people like me. Not only are we having to deal with ash and smoke choking us, but actions like this still can cause damage to people in my new line of work. I’m focusing on becoming a landscape and nature photographer. I rely on being able to get out and get pictures in order to have an income. Sure, it’s small change compared to the poor people who are losing their homes, but the point is that it affects everyone and there are a ton of people who have to deal with the aftermath of this.

Now, I’m sure the kid who started this whole thing feels pretty darn bad about it. At least, I would HOPE he does. That’s a tough way to learn life right there. Yes, son, your actions do cause a reaction. Because science.

However, getting back to my other point, I kind of feel like our words and how we live are the same way. One negative comment or action can cause a wildfire of emotions in someone else. One spark was all it took for the forest to burn. A few words might be all it takes to send someone over the edge. We need to stay positive. Speak life. The world is already full of death. Bring it to life instead.

See? I managed to make it a mostly positive post after all. 😀

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