June 2010

While searching for today’s photos I felt an immediate smile break out as my eye quickly caught the photo below. I saw a grinning face winking. I decided to go for the humor, hoping you see it also.

Finding play and humor is part of what I am currently working on as I narrow down my coaching practice to supporting working Moms who are looking for creating deeper connections and communication with their young children (ages 4 to 5 to 10). At the same time they will be having expanded fun and joy during their togetherness times, with less or no guilt around the spaces when they cannot be with one another. One way of doing this is opening to the people, objects and scenes each party sees in different ways.

In addition I have also been meeting virtually with some other people doing exciting programs. See comments below on new programs. Also, should you be a Mom who might have an interest in learning about what I am developing, please email me, sheila [at] sheilafinkelstein.com, with subject: “Tell Me More about upcoming Moms’ Programs.”

Today’s Photos

Smiling Face in a Hub cap

hub cap smile - grey colored

Iron bars locking wood gate at Green Cay

The top two photographs are of a hubcap, on a car or van, in the parking lot of Green Cay Wetlands. The top is an untouched photograph with the bluish cast coming from early evening light.

For me the top one is more the attention getter with a little more of the unknown in feeling and my focus stays more on the upper two eyes. I included the second, with a slight adjustment using Photoshop Elements to remove the bluishe cast, to show you how color can make a difference.

In the middle photo, we already “know” more quickly the subject of the photo in part from the information given us by the colors. There also are more bright spots scattering our attention throughout the photo. I’ve included the bottom photo, simply to show what had the hubcap be my final picture of the day. On that particular late afternoon in Green Cay, I found myself photographing light and shadows and moved onto nuts and bolts. The iron bars anchoring the boardwalk gate were among the items that caught my eye.

If you are one who “personifies” photo images along with me, you might see the faces here, or simply view the bars as “guards”, or “soldiers,” or something totally different.

RE Art and Composition:
Holding the three photographs together in one presentation are the blues in all of them, the beiges in the bottom and the middle, and the similarity of curved lines in the wood grain on our right and in the hubcaps above.

Today’s Photo Story –
Once again the images in the photographs above lend themselves., at least for me, to the possibility of fun stories. I invite you to have play and make up some of your own.

Again, if you have children, or know any, I invite you to share these photos with them and listen to their observations and stories. And, certainly don’t neglect the “children” within the adults in your world. Please invite them to have fun with you also.

Self-Reflecting Queries –
Given today’s photos are a move away from the usual straight Nature photos, I’m wondering if there is a difference in your response.

Are you sitting with unfulfilled expectations? If so, what are they? How do you handle things when they are not what you expected?

Can you identify any patterns of behavior in your life when you are disappointed? Conversely, if you were excited and enthusiastic how does your behavior differ?

Was there a difference for you in the two top photographs when the colors shifted? If so, I invite you to be aware of times that colors may be having an impact on your perception. What other things can you shift to give your new perspectives?

Note: I put completing this issue aside overnight and find it interesting that the top two continue to bring out a quick, spontaneous smile to my face. Then I move down to the third photo and the feeling of sternness and rigidity put a halt to that.

As always have fun with these queries and looking/seeing. Also, please post your responses in the COMMENTS section below.

For Teachers and Parents of Young Children –
At the start of this issue I mentioned a new “virtual” friend. Her name is Rose Emery, a singer, performer and more who brings Nature, preservation of the Earth, and more to her audiences through perky songs and animation, plus.

I discovered her through Twitter earlier this week. As a result I have access to a quick uplift in my spirit whenever needed. I simply go to one of her web pages and listen to “I Saw Butterflies Kissing”. I start smiling immediately and feel myself starting to dance in my chair.  I invite you, too, to check out BUTTERFLIES While there be sure to follow some of her other links. They lead to some interactive pages and teachings to use with young children.

How about you? Any similar reactions on your end?

Further Respite –

Banana Sky DVD header

“There is a lot of scientific study out there that says if we can’t be in nature, just looking at pictures of nature can have a soothing calming effect… For anyone who is undergoing any kind of stress/anxiety situations, this would just be a real gift.” Ellen Britt, http://marketingqi.com/


It is my intention for today’s message to be brief. When you scroll down and look at the two different photos you may wonder at their relevance to one another. Usually I look for a theme and, using art principles, I always attempt having them hold together and relate both visually and aesthetically to one another

Not wanting to intrude on your individual responses, I’ll expand further in my notes below the photos.

Today’s Photos

profile in the clouds at sunset from a balcony in Boynton Beach

Princess or angel in a wood knot

To give reference to the perspective from which it was shot, the top sunset photo was taken from the balcony of a penthouse apartment in Boynton Beach, FL.

Although she looks somewhat pained, I love the regal, queenly appearance of the woman in the clouds whom we see in profile facing to our right. If you enjoy exploring further, you might see the second much smaller profile face in her “neck.” It, too, faces to the right. Then there is the one on our left at the top of her full hat, facing skyward. I suspect you will find more.

The image in the lower wood knot photo brought a quick smile to my face when I almost stepped on it on the boardwalk at Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach. She looks like she is winking at us with the eye on our right. She has the feel of a “Greek Goddess and also an angel, though the wing we see is misplaced. It wouldn’t be attached to her cheek.
RE Art and Composition:
To complete on my thoughts from the introduction, what’s holding together the space that these two photos are occupying is that:

1. The subject of both is women, albeit imaginary ones, and

2. There is a bit of burnt orange in the wood that picks up on the orange in the sunset. Colors in the wood are also repeated throughout the sky and clouds in the top photo.

There is a similar linear pattern in both, though horizontal in the top and vertical on the bottom.

Today’s Photo Story –
No story today beyond what I’ve shared above in the photos and, as I see it, there is plenty of “juice” for many stories. Why not have fun and make up some of your own.

If you have children, or know any, I invite you to share these photos with them and listen to their observations and stories. And, certainly don’t neglect the “children” within the adults in your world. Please invite them to have fun with you also.

No more words on either. I invite you to BE with each, fully for a moment or two, less or more, and simply experience the images.

Self-Reflecting Queries
Today, I also invite you to reflect on your responses, or reactions, to today’s photos. Did you see the faces I saw? Did you have judgments on my observations on the photos, or other things I might have said?

If so, was your response, or judgments, part of a pattern that you can identify and match to other situations in your life? If so, is there anything you can take from it, remind yourself of, and/or acknowledge yourself for, to further empower yourself in those areas or others?

And, as I stated last week, and at other times, it’s all made up. What stories are you making up in your life today? Are they serving you? providing fun? openings for interactions with others?

Thanks for “playing.” As always have fun with these queries and looking/seeing. Also, please post your responses in the COMMENTS section below.


Thanks to my friend, Lynn Terry, in whose Elite Mastermind Group I participate, I learned about Gary Vaynerchuk’s book CRUSH IT! (Why “Now is the time to Crush It and Cash in on your Passion”). Based on Lynn’s review on her blog, I purchased the book. It came quickly from Amazon and I’ve been enthralled. It’s been a fast, powerful and empowering read. The thrust of the book is about learning “to navigate the digital waters of social marketing to build a business and promote a personal brand based around what you love most.” (p.14)

As I skim the pages now to look for my highlights I see numerous pink strokes on “personal brand” – “The thing that most people don’t realize is that in today’s world your business and your personal brand need to be one and the same…” (p. 28) So as I’m reading, I’m considering, once again, “What is my passion? Where is it?” I’ve done countless courses and reading on this and…. Then, Clunk!, I remembered the photo I took that I was so excited about the day before –

I sent this out to some friends, with the tag, “Sh*t Happens – Find the Beauty”, and I realized this IS my passion and my brand, “Finding the Beauty in Whatever Shows Up.”  As a young child my favorite books were those in the POLLYANNA series.  In later years, I came to recognize that it was her always finding the positive in any situation was what drew me in and quite possibly was instrumental, in part anyway, in shaping my future.

Thanks to Gary’s CRUSH IT! I feel like I’m standing in a more powerful place as I’m crafting/refining what’s next for me, at least in the speaking of it.  I’m not sure I’m comfortable in standing in “Sh*t Happens – Find the Beauty” as my brand in those words AND it’s something to play with – have fun with.

The book is full of concrete and specific ideas for using Social Media and other strategies to monetize and more.  I was familiar with much of it and there was some great information new to me.  Lastly, just before breaking to write this post, I read Gary’s suggestion to put our brands on t-shirts. “What fun!” I thought. “I wonder if anyone would buy and wear a “Sh*t Happens – Find the Beauty” t-shirt.” “What the heck,” I decided.  And I put the image on some T-Shirts in my Cafe Press Nature Art Gift shop.  While at it, I added another image and message – “Fish or Fowl? Change Perspectives” – Changing perspective is always big part of my message and, you can see, rotating the above photograph, 90 degrees, creates a whole different image and experience.

In the top photo, I saw the “bird” in the upper left, facing to the left. Then someone pointed seeing the same shape as a bird facing to the right going through the top of the head of the “bird” facing us.  I hadn’t even noticed that frontal bird until I downloaded it into my computer.  So, as I write, the top photo has 4 birds.  How many do you see?

Then in the rotation of it, as I prepared the photos for t-shirts, I immediately saw the “fish” (formerly bird) in the lower left.  For now, I’ll say the larger image is a fish also. What are  your interpretations?

Adding to my passion is sharing this with you, reminding you that there are many ways of viewing the same thing in our lives, both our interpretations and then those of others… none of which are “RIGHT”.

Here are the resulting images now on t-shirts.  You can find them at Nature Art Gift Shop

As always, have fun with this and enroll others in having fun with you.  Be sure to share your experiences with us in the comments below.

I’d also very much appreciate your thoughts on “Sh*t Happens – Find the Beauty” as the marketing brand for my work.  Many thanks in advance.


This past week Hank Kellner, Photographer/Writer/Former English Professor and teacher and a relatively new Picture to Ponder subscriber contacted me, acknowledging my photographs and asking if he could use one of my photos in a post on his blog. Needless to say I felt quite flattered, particularly after reading some of his background, especially when I saw all that he has done in English Education, including having a published book – WRITE WHAT YOU SEE: 99 Photos to Inspire Writing.

And, speaking of books and writing, my PICTURES TO PONDER, INSPIRED JOURNALING: Flowers Book 1, Photos and Queries from early issues is available from the publisher with FR*E*E shipping this month. More info below and on the site.

This week, on his English Education blog, Hank did, in fact, feature a tulip photo from Picture to Ponder with one of his own, the magnolia shown below, in his Poetry from Photos post. Along with a poem inspired by the photos, he wrote about emphasizing contrast in teaching writing. I decided to continue here and extend the “Contrast” conversation from last week’s Picture to Ponder.

Today’s Photos

purple and white pansy

A purple and white pansy that called out to be featured as I was going through photographs for today’s photo. I had already featured the purple
tulip Hank used. I’m thinking the purple in the above is what wanted attention, because of the tulip’s color.

White Magnolia flower photo by Hank Kellner

White magnolia photograph by Hank Kellner. When I clicked on the photo on Hank’s Blog, it felt huge and I wanted to jump into and explore, while at the same time being protected.

Today’s Photo Story –
I’ve pretty much covered the overall story in the introduction above. In relation to contrast, when I looked at the two photos enlarged on Hank’s blog I was struck by several contrasts. In addition to color, there was a difference in the size of enlargements between the two pictures. I commented there at the end of the post and put in a link to a larger tulip, so similar sizes would eliminate that variable.

Then I was very much aware of the difference between the openness of the magnolia, inviting me in, and the closed feeling of my tulip photo, though texturally – in the silkiness – there are some similarities.

Not wanting, as I wrote above, to repeat a recently featured photo in this issue, I went searching for another one, this time more “open”. The pansy is open, but certainly not embracing. And, it presents a whole series of different contrasts when studying it, including the very strong one between the flower and the ground behind it.

No more words on either. I invite you to BE with each, fully for a moment or two, less or more, and simply experience the images.

Self-Reflecting Queries
Last week, I invited you to look at contrasts in your life, particularly visual ones, and to look for things you ordinarily do not see. That, as you know, is an always suggestion with me.

In addition, today I invite you to reflect on and explore “open” and “closed” contrasts in your life. How do things look, how do they feel when they are open? when they are closed?

Check with another person, or two. Is it the same for them? For instance, I could say that the pansy is presenting somewhat of a “wall”, blocking me/us from moving very far in it or beyond. On the other hand, I could interpret it as being welcoming, inviting me into the small opening in the center of its being.

And, it’s all made up. What stories are you making up in your life today? Are they serving you? providing fun? openings for interactions with others?

Thanks for “playing.” As always have fun with these queries and looking/seeing. Also, please post your responses in the COMMENTS section below.

“I bought your eBook earlier today and not only is it well written, the pictures you chose are lovely. The reason I waited so long to purchase was because I’m trying to curb my addiction to books and the clutter they are causing.

The BOOK! – Pictures to Ponder: Inspired Journaling – Print Edition or downloadable eBook – your choice
This morning I read the 10-page preview [link under photo on each of the description pages], and since you were offering it in a eBook format, I just had to indulge one more time. I know this will be a very successful for you. Congratulations!” Eva Macie, Artist

flowers in the book
Click Above to  See Larger Image

GIFT Yourself with the Photos and Queries – Click on eBook to purchase immediate downloadable access

FR*E*E June Shipping for Spiral Bound Book. Choose a flower for the day and prop on your desk for daily inspiration and/or write in the book.

Purchase the eBook and you get a link to download the PDF file which you can print out or simply leave on your computer to pull up whenever you want a lift or inspiration.

At any time you can open up one of the beautiful flowers in PICTURES TO PONDER: Inspired Journaling and fill your screen with it, giving you the ability to “step into” the image.The high resolution, set for printing, has the photographs capable of maintaining their quality at magnification as much as 300%. And, of course, the queries that went with the flowers are here also.


For this issue of Picture to Ponder I am simply combining images reflecting decor and reflections with one photograph of nature.

lantern light in Delray Beach

sink pedestal

rhythmic needlelike leaves

Today’s Photos
The top photo is looking inside a lamp in a restaurant in Delray Beach. I love the contrast of the sharp vertical lines of light with the softness of the reflections in the glass.

The middle photo is the pedestal of a glass sink in a small bathroom in the home of one of our subscribers whom I had the pleasure of visiting a few months ago. I was captivated by the reflections in it. Thank you Beth for allowing us in your home. You can see the sink by clicking on the photo or clicking BETH’S SINK.

The bottom photo is, I’m thinking, of leaves from one of the varieties of palm plant.

Today’s Photo Story –
There is no particular “story” around today’s photos. The lower two have been cropping up for a while as ones wanting to be shared and the top one “surfaced” today.

Although quite a contrast between man-made and Nature, they hold together in presentation through similar colors, light and shadows and linear movement.

I will say, as I consider the third photo, I think of Peggy one of our subscribers who has written to me about my featuring “dead” flowers. I now wonder at her response to these leaves. See Last Issue COMMENTS.

For me, generally the first thing that catches my eye is texture, then whatever form of movement there is relative to line and/or repetition of patterns and colors.

I’d love to hear from you in the COMMENTS section at the end of today’s post on the blog, what your responses are when I feature photos of items that are “past their prime.”

Self-Reflecting Queries
Today, I invite you to look at the contrasts in your life, be they in the physical world, in your activities and/or in your interpersonal relations.

Are there one or more commonalities that hold them together? If you start noticing this for the first time, can you what you find as threads for other situations?

I also invite you to simply be more open than usual this week to seeing things that you do not ordinarily see or pay attention to. What is it that attracts your eye? In noticing, can you relate that to anything else in your life?

With regard to paying attention, I suggest that you remind yourself a couple of times a day to simply open your eyes and look. Sitting in a chair, this morning, I glanced out into my backyard and noticed the brilliance of the lights and shadows on the wall of high plants. There was nothing different than usual AND by my looking only in that direction for a moment or two I experienced an unexpected pleasure.

As always have fun with these queries and looking/seeing. Also, please post your responses in the COMMENTS section below.