February 2010

As you most likely recall, roses were featured in the last issue of Picture to Ponder – “Perfections, Imperfections, Counting Blessings” (see post below this).

Although I had not intended a continuation of the theme or photos, I am in such awe of the beauty of several of the roses, now eight days older, that I simply had to share one of them here.

Today’s Photo

pink rose center - 8 days after Valentine's Day

I started adding another photograph and it felt that this one needed to have the total space. I invite you visit the page, Roses – 8 days Later. It has this rose photograph, plus five others taken at the same time.

Self-Reflecting Queries
Comments on the blog and directly to me had me revisit the theme of imperfections.

One reader wrote that she has frequently created rose greeting cards and realized, as she was reading and looking at the featured roses, that she often would pinch off the “imperfect” petals!!. This, during times she was teaching children to accept their “imperfect” pictures and stories.

As I mentioned above, today’s rose, and those on the Roses Page, were taken 8 days after I brought them home. Amazed at the remaining full-body-ness of several, I took more photographs in the night light.

I suspect that many of the readers here would have long ago discarded the flowers, seeing them only as shriveled up.

I invite you to look into your life. Can you identify a point in the life cycle when you discard flowers, objects, people – defining “life cycle” as the time period of usefulness?

Are there people’s statements that you automatically disregard, because they feel “old”, not “right”? What if you took another look?

Where can you find beauty today/tonight in something you usually ignore or slough off?

As always, have fun with this.


Today’s Picture to Ponder message relates to perfections and imperfections and finding the blessings in our lives.

On Sunday, Valentine’s Day, in the United States, I found myself feeling sad, missing Sam more than I usually do. It was interesting for me to observe this since he and I never really celebrated Valentine’s Day. I handled it by taking constructive action, for me writing, making a phone call and posting insights on my Writing for Healing blog. Bottom line I ended up being invited to dinner at my son’s home, which resulted in, among other things, receiving a beautiful bunch of flowers.

Once home I took an abundance of photographs, for some unidentified reason, focusing on the numerous roses that were part of the grouping. I experimented with different backgrounds and lighting with this issue’s roses being a small sampling. You can find more in the Rose Set in my FlickR account.

Before continuing, I do want to remind you of the SPIRIT AUTHORS Grand Opening on Monday Feb. 22.  I consists of  5 FREE webcasts with 18 leading publishing experts. See  SPIRIT AUTHORS.

Today’s Photos

Orange rose

orange rose close up

close of up dying pink rose

pink rose opening bud at angle

Self-Reflecting Queries
Today’s photos are, obviously, of roses, none of which are perfect. I was initially caught up in their beauty in color and/or patterns and shapes.

Then I saw the “imperfections”, the first pink one almost at the end of its time. This led me to querying, and inviting you do the same, “When you see something or someone, is your first response to see the imperfections or the beauty and positives?” If you miss, the imperfections at first glance, or two, are you able to accept them and stay with the beauty of that at which you are looking, or is something marred, with negative in the space? If the latter, do you stay with the negative, or are you able to create a shift for yourself? If so, how?

As I conclude, I realize that seeing the roses’ imperfections and choices we make are somewhat analogous to my Valentine’s sadness experience, staying in it or finding a way to see the positives.

For me, if you read the blog post, you’ll see, I ultimately chose to see the blessings in my life and wound up with even more than I expected – the flowers and the riches of that.

How about you? Are you able to see the blessings in your life?

As always, have fun with this.


In Session 2 of the current Through and from the Lens Point and Shoot Photo Course, I introduced the concept of Creative DNA and referenced my discussion to issues of Picture to Ponder five years ago.

When participant Deb Mallett commented on then-featured photo and imagery she had difficulty finding, I decided the article and photo were worth revisiting.

Thus Today’s Photo – (See below for a description of the imagery which I saw at that time.)

cropped pink bromeliad
An unidentified tropical flower from a local nursery

In 2005, I wrote: As I prepare the curriculum for the upcoming teleclasses, I’ve been reading THE CREATIVE HABIT: LEARN IT AND USE IT FOR LIFE by Twyla Tharp, dancer/choreographer. In it she speaks of “Creative DNA” which we may think of as our “creative hard-wiring or personality.”

She goes on to say, “When I apply a critic’s temperament to myself, to see if I’m being true to my DNA, I often think in terms of focal length, like that of a camera lens.

All of us find comfort in seeing the world either from a great distance, at arm’s length, or in close-up. We don’t consciously make that choice. Our DNA does, and we generally don’t waver from it. Rare is the painter who is equally adept at miniatures and epic series, or the writer who is at home in both historical sagas and finely observed short stories.

After reading this I had a “flash.” People have been asking me how I see and take photos the way I do. In attempting to find answers, I’m noticing that the pictures subscribers seem to be most responsive to are those where I’ve zoomed in and on some where I’ve gotten even closer by cropping.

My creative DNA IS that close-up focus. So I became “true to my DNA”, pulled up the picture and cropped it. I’m thinking you get the strongest response to my work when I am being “truest” to myself.

tropical pink flower

The long view of the above photo which I cropped

Puzzling Imagery

In 2005, I stated wrote: “I see a woman [top photo] with her head at a 3/4 angle toward the right cradled and protected by the petals, one of which caps her head. There is also a bulging-eyed, pink frog on the left protecting her, where her knees would be. I could continue with the some of the other petals and didn’t. I suspect that some of you will now probably start seeing images also.”

In response to this Deb Mallett wrote:
“It took me a long time to see the woman’s face and the bulging-eyed, pink frog in that flower, but I stared and stared and all of a sudden they both were there. And it’s not an abstract woman’s face, it’s actually quite realistic. Now that I’ve seen it, I can’t understand how I didn’t see it before.”

Now, five years later, I immediately see the frog and have yet to see the “realistic woman’s face.” I’ve marked the “frog” in the photo on FlickR (scroll over the PICTURE there and a box will pop up) and may or may not have identified the woman by the time you click on the picture link.

Self-Reflecting Queries
I invite you to become aware of your creative DNA. As a pattern, are you looking at the world, people, situations, “from a great distance, at arm’s length, or in close-up?”

If you find yourself in challenging situations, are you in the true mode for you? If not, would shifting it make a difference to you and to the people with whom you are interacting?

Does it help to be aware that a person with whom you are attempting communication may have a different creative DNA when viewing projects?

Also, in relation to looking for the “face” and the “frog”, if you “played” the game and could not find one or both of the images, how did you handle your possible frustrations? My first inclination is to attempt to figure it out myself and then walk away if I can’t find the answer. Ultimately, I might ask for help and I am getting better at it. What about you?

Lastly, if you’ve read all of the above, are pondering it and, then, find that what I’ve related has some impact for you, I’d appreciate your sharing that in the comments below. It doesn’t have to be the “what” or the “why.” Simply knowing a difference has been made would be helpful and sufficient for me. Thank you.


Today’s Photo

pink cactus flower
Cactus flower in the Desert Botanical Garden in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As part of the focus and sensory expansion exercises we do in the Point and Shoot Through and From the Lens photo course, participants “place” themselves into a photo of an alstromeria flower and explore it from within and/or from the outside. As a follow up, there is a choice of two other photos with which to do this exercise between sessions.

When looking at the photo page the other day, before sending participants the Photos for Exploration link, the shiny light within the above cactus flower popped out at me. It called out to, once again, be a featured photo in Picture to Ponder.

Self-Reflecting Queries

Although the “spiny” needles surrounding the flower may be prickly, in the photo they appear to be soft and gentle. The light feels strong and bright, yet there is an overall sense of softness, conveyed in part by the pinks.

I invite you to do the exercise mentioned above, putting yourself into the photo, exploring the flower, the setting within which it resides, covering it from all angles.

Observe – “What size are you?” “How does it feel?” “Would you want to be a permanent resident in this space?” Check your responses. “Why ‘yes’ or ‘no’?” Do they point to similarities in any aspects of your life?

I also invite you to look further into your own life. Are there areas where you are feeling “prickly” places, perhaps ones you wish to avoid? If so, can you look beyond and find a bright light beckoning you? What could you be saying to “soften” them up?

You may also want to use your camera to photograph images that catch your eye and then do the same exercise with one or more photos of your own.

As always, have fun with this.

Programs I recommend for:
Authors – Published or Inspired to be ones –

My friend, author of GARDEN OF THE SOUL, is launching a new program with an exciting FR*EE Grand Opening Event coming Feb 22-26. She is hosting 5 days of webcasts with 17 other leading names in the exciting world of mind-body-spirit writing and publishing.

Lynn is presenting an exciting NEW concept on the Internet, combining coaching, learning, community and business-building in a creative, spirit-based environment.

If you’re an experienced author, a brand new author, or someone who is dreaming of writing an inspirational book some day, you’ll want to register for this fr*ee event.

Using Social Media – Developing an Internet Business
This weekend I was in Atlanta for the Niche Affiliate Marketing System (NAMS 3) program. It was a full, information-rich, people-connecting, inspiring weekend.

On Saturday, a recording, STRATEGIES 4 SOCIAL MARKETING, was made with a panel of 5 top Internet Marketing Experts sharing information and tips on effectively using social media for connecting AND building business. That hour session is now available in a downloadable MP3, with several bonuses, for only $17.

My friend Tomar Levine, not at the conference, wrote: “Thanks, Sheila. I bought it, listened to it, and took four pages of notes. Just what I needed to re-invigorate my social media, which I’ve backed away from of late. I got at least one brand-new piece of info which I will start using immediately.”

It is also possible, until Monday when the price increases, to purchase the recordings from the past three NAMS conferences, including this past weekend, for only $97 total. The above-mentioned Social Marketing recording is part of the weekend recordings, so you wouldn’t need both.

See NAMS for details and to purchase the full series, should it fit for you.