Saturday, October 24, 2009

HUGS ~N~ SHRUGS: Slow ISP's & Light

I've been scouring the net looking for theme's that my fluttering, creative, photographic, OCD type personality could get along with and use blogging because frankly... I've been feeling the "How on earth? & What on earth? am I gonna blog about theme", too much. I mean hey... the main purpose for starting this blog was to share my photography, my life, my ramblings, etc. But just how much can one share while stuck in this house most of the time, while waiting for a neck surgery that I'm sick of thinking and/or writing about? Instead, I decided to find a couple theme's that I can use regularly to help keep me on task and that I won't become bored with. With that in mind I present to you theme #1: Hugs ~N~ Shrugs! As everyone who knows me will testify, I'm a very huggy person. I'm not sure what it is about a good hug but I sure do love 'em. Hugs say, "I'm here, I care, I'm a friend"... hugs impart strength and, in general, hugs just make me feel all good inside. Shrugs on the other hand, are my way of dealing with stuff that's frustrating, scary, stressful, doesn't work... things that won't make any eternal significance in the grand scheme of things... so why fret over it. Deal with it; shrug it off as best I can and move on. Or better said: "Shrug it off baby cause in spite of life's storms, God is still oh so good!" Quickly I must share, the inspiration behind Hugs ~N~ Shrugs came to me by a photographer whose work I absolutely adore, Jasmine Star. She also carry's some theme's throughout her blog one of which is: Kisses and Disses. Special Hugs go out to Jasmine, which I truly hope someday to share in person.

Without further a-do',
Shrugs to:
  • My ISP (Internet Service Provider) Dishnetwork Wildblue High Speed ~ Seriously most days I could hug my little satellite but more & more here lately the speed and general reliability has been a real source of frustration. Don't even get me started on their support... this too shall pass. Dish knows they have no competition since dial up isn't even an option and DSL only comes 2 miles outta town (I'm 4). Sigh & shrug it off, this too shall pass!
  • The ruptured disc in my neck, bronchitis, sinus issues, flu, waiting for surgery... need I say more?
Hugs to:
  • Jesus ~ My Savior; my Lord, my best friend, the air I breathe, my hope, my confidence... my everything! Simply sung: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
  • Coffee! Specifically Folgers Classic Roast Coffee ~ umm so good! I love a snazzed out star bucks just as much as the next person once in a while... but day to day I gotta keep it real with my Folgers :-)
  • The light! I have no masters degree in light study. I can't claim a groundbreaking knowledge or understanding... but what I do have is an intense fascination and love for light. My ponder of the day: As light is to darkness so is hope to a dream, the absence of either equals sight unseen.
  • Nell Berry who has agreed to proof read and edit for me. Oh my gosh... you have no idea how massive an undertaking this is... I am sooooooo bad. Today's post took two rounds and I'm quite confident I've still forgot a boo-boo somewhere... don't hurt me Nell, I love ya bunches! (Nell's editor note: The absence of Light is dark. There is no such thing as dark. It is the absence of light. Just as the absence of God is sin, or evil.)
I found this family portrait fitting considering the theme!

Mark Twain Lake, Perry, Missouri, family, portrait, photography, barn, americana, red, white, blue, photographer, Cynthia, Cindy, Utterback

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beeeeeep. please hold while I...

Don't you just hate, hate, hate it when a computer (or live person) answers the phone stating, "Please hold while I (whatever it is they randomly state)". You know immediately that hold could mean 2 seconds or 2+ hours ~ uggghhhh! In my case the last message was: "Hello, ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ thank you for your patience while we put your life on hold" and then the dreaded sound of your most despised elevator music… Uggghhhh! That message has been repeating over and over since July 31st at precisely 4 am when I ruptured a disc in my neck, and now I'm shouting in my end: "Hello... anyone, is someone there?… Please, I'm ready for the play button now!"

The positive side of this, I've discovered you can find lots of interesting and amazing stuff to do while on hold. As far as the phone goes, for real I just turn the speaker phone on and continue with whatever, (so long as the reception reaches). Now that life's been placed on hold, besides just twiddling my thumbs, making funky shadows on the wall and practicing Lamaze breathing (learned 22 years ago with my first child and since, discovered it's worth is of much greater value than simply childbirth… think stress, impatience, pain management), I've been reading a lot, joined the facebook and twitter universe, and I'm spending allot of time re-evaluating the photography business and the direction I'd like it to proceed, once I'm healed and the doctor gives the go ahead. With all that said, I guess hold hasn't been terribly bad as my mind likes to often perceive... I do miss my friends at WERDCC greatly and even more, I desperately miss holding my beloved camera in hand for an all day workout… yet in all this I'm thankful when I can get out for 1/2 hour here and there, to capture something beautiful and most importantly, spend time knowing and growing in my trust that my Jesus alone knows what's best and when... so I wait, on hold, and trust Him to help me as I continue down this winding road, stopping whenever the opportunity presents itself to enjoy the flowers as I go :-)

Yesterday the sun played peek-a-boo after hiding for over a week so I got out for a bit and captured this gorgeous clematis that's not even supposed to be blooming for another year.
Click the picture if you'd like to read the story.

Pink Clematis 'H.F. Young' - by photographer Cynthia Utterback, Inspiring Designs Photography

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inspired By Hope - The Child In Me

So what am I hoping for? What are we hoping for? An awesome photo opportunity (captured of course), financial security, stress free living, hmmm... how about running water that's pollution free, phones, computers, software and programs that work properly...
Or how about my personal favorites: a hot cup of coffee, a good nights sleep, laughter, joy, peace, health, the ability means and opportunity to enjoy life... :-D Ah but these are only a few snippets of some of things I hope for. Sounds pretty simple eh? Maybe ~ But not always nearly so easy to attain. Sad stuff, stress, sickness and the grown up adult self in me to often attempt to get in the way. More easily stated and as the popular phrase goes: **it happens.

It's in these moments that I must remind myself daily or even sometimes moment by moment to 'Let the inner child live'. To trust like a child, to think like a child, to be thankful and enjoy living... like a child. It's in these moments you'll often find me with camera in hand and / or mud between my toes capturing the simpler things in life that bring me pleasure. Sometimes I'll have the music cranked up and dance like crazy just because I can (okay so maybe I really can't but hey... Hopefully no ones watching :)

Please overlook the fact that I'm dirty, tired, wind blown and wearing my raggedy but 'oh so comfy' clothes in today's self portrait pics (yes… my first ever self portraits). I hope instead you'll see the child in me and be inspired to maybe, just maybe find your inner child as well.

My current fave song is: Bubbly by Colbie Caillat. Why? I dare you just listen... just see if you don't dance and start feeling all bubbly inside :-) If it works out correctly I've embedded the video below for you to watch... full confession: I'm still learning all this html, css, blogger, facebook and twitter stuff. If it works - Great! If it doesn't please try goggle until I have time to figure it out. Today I'm just to blessed to be stressed... I choose the child!

One of my favorite places to be is at home sitting somewhere near the stream just outside our front door! Glimpses of Heaven on earth :-)

Self portrait of Cynthia Utterback aka: IDPbyCU

Occasionally I even get to pet the goldfish ~ No, I didn't fall in this day :-)

Cynthia Utterback aka: IDPbyCU petting the goldfish by the stream in front of her house.

Mud between my toes ~ Total country girl at heart :-)

Self portrait of Cynthia Utterback aka: IDPbyCU with with mud between her toes

Ummm… yes that's a completely embarrassing goofy smile ~ Live and let live!

Cynthia Utterback's goofy self portrait smile... Gee.

Scriptures to ponder relevant to today's post: 1 Thessalonians 1:3; Matthew 18:3; Romans 14:17

Until Next Time ~ Never Give Up On Hope, Endure To The End!
May You Be Blessed & Inspired As Well As Be A Blessing And Inspiration To Others!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Inspiration & The Transform Video by Zack Arias

Yesterday if you've been to sleep ~ Today still for myself, was absolutely gorgeous outside. However true to the recent course it was another shall we say... interesting day. Tonight (or wee early this morning)... the house is quiet, most of the cleaning has been done, photo's are ready to upload the moment smugmug comes back on-line from maintenance and I've begun to ponder this blog journey I've decided to embark upon. How on earth will I ever come up with something to write about week after week or day after day? What could I possibly write about that others would want to read and why? Obviously I want to share my photography, build a network of co-workers, clients and friends... but I want it to be more... I want to connect... I want to inspire and to be inspired... I want what I do to make a difference, to be of good and value to someone… but… always that but... how do I do that at this point in life when so much that should be going right seems to be going so desperately wrong? Those of you who know me know exactly what I'm talking about… those of you who don't… just know we've all got life issues and no one not even you is in this life mess boat alone. But… What could I possibly write and photo blog about that others might want to read? Some days I'm so tired and weak... How can my life, my photography, my anything be desirable to others? Today all throughout the day I was reminded of this little big word called inspiration. Hmmm… Yes, my son Zachary broke his foot while riding the bigwheel motorcycle today/yesterday. Yes, one of our pom puppies somehow fell in the window well and almost died (I rescued him though and he's now quite perfectly fine). Yes, there were a few moments that this neck of mine with it's ruptured disks and my tingling numb arms and hands were hurting so bad that I almost cried... but many, many times today I was shown glimpses of glorious hope and inspiration in spite of this storm we live in called life. I was again reminded that just because some things aren't as I'd choose them to be, I don't have to be down, discouraged or even dismayed... I don't have to focus on me. I - have a choice! I can choose to be gloom and weary, or I can look towards inspiration for both myself and others. I can choose to let this aching neck and tingling numbing arms and hands get the best of me.... Or... I can choose to do whatever I can in this very moment to enjoy life and hopefully be an inspiration to others. When I drop things because my fingers and hands are numb… well I could fall to the floor in tears or I can choose to pick them up again and move on doing the absolute best that I can. Others who just like myself and possibly you, who are treading through this temporary yet often storm filled crazy raging maze we call living life each have a choice. What shall it be? What should I blog about?

Inspiration… Sometimes Just Watching The Goldfish
'Inspiring Designs Photography'

A Video Titled 'Transform' by Zack Arias

This past winter I encountered one of those awe struck inspiring moments that leaves you spell bound… an inspiring moment that rocked my soul to the core and blew my little ol' world away… all because I simply stumbled upon a video titled 'Transform' by Zack Arias (An Atlanta based editorial photographer). Whether your a photographer or not, I highly recommend everyone and anyone watch this video below. It's starts out a bit different if you know nothing about photography, photoshop and the like... But please… I beg you to stick with it… if you watch nothing else for the remainder of the year... just watch it. If it touches your heart like mine and possibly millions of others it'll change your life. It's not religious or even anything of that nature... it's about the same questions we all face and ponder... defining who we are, why are we here, why does it matter, why do we exist, is it even possible that we might eventually 'transform' becoming the people we each someday hope and dream to be. If I swore, I would have sworn he was speaking my thoughts. Had he been watching over my shoulder with my being unaware? Was he somehow reading my mind and projecting it onto the screen? How did he know how deep into despair the pit was calling me? I'm still trying to get out of the slump... somedays I still fight desperately to keep circumstances and depression from engulfing my mind and pulling me towards the pit. But... I'm one day closer to where I want to be... I'm one day closer to becoming the person I dare to dream… I'm reviewing and reminding myself to look towards inspiration... I am, Inspired! For myself the root of my inspiration comes from my personal faith in Christ and the hope that I will yet see good in this land that daily and sometimes moment by moment enables me to press forward. Maybe your in a slump... maybe your searching so hard to find anything hopeful or inspiring that you've just about given up. Please, please... don't give up. Lets fight the slump and gunk together. Maybe your the person whose inspiration is to the point of overflowing... (I love, love, love it when that happens) if so... share your inspiration and hope with others. I'm not saying preach about the source of your inspiration… I'm suggesting that we jsut be and live to be an inspiration. Look around you... people are hurting everywhere... hopelessness, despair… everyone is going through this life we call living. My brother Bruce sent me a text today that simply read: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I'm not sure if it was a quote he read somewhere or what or why… what shocked me was that he even sent it... it didn't sound like my brother... It just wasn't something my brother would normally say... but it spoke volumes to me and was one more reminder that even I am not in this life boat alone. BTW: While being kind to others… don't forget to be kind to yourself along the way... you, we, everyone in this life we call living… we're each so very worth it and if we can't be kind to ourselves... how can we be kind to others?

Until next time ~ May you discover, know and radically
pursue to be inspired and to be an inspiration to others;
and may you be blessed and be a blessing to others!
With Love, Hugs, Grace & Peace

Monday, August 31, 2009

Smug School

Just finished WolfSnaps 1st Smug School Webinar. If want your own smugmug site or your a beginner smugmugger check out it out at

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Smiley Socks = Happy Feet and loads of laughter :-)

Check it out - Picked up these $2 socks in Vandalia while hanging out with Rhonda the other day. Not a bad price for loads of laughter and smiles! My family really rolled laughing when I began posing my toes for a photo. Okay so maybe 1 person rolled their eyes. Living life happily on purpose ~ here's smilin at ya!

Smiley Socks ~ Happy FeetHere's a pair of socks I got yesterday in none other than Vandalia's Dollar General. $2 wasn't a bad price to pay for a smile and several good belly laughs when I got home :-)  Of course I had to wear them today. Can't hold the camera up due to my ruptured disks right now, but put it on the tripod and snapped away with the remote - lol. Rodney laughed even harder when I asked him to help me set it up and again when I was posing my toes. His belly hurts! LOL! PAD DATE: August 29th, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Spent the day with my dear friend Rhonda!

Rhonda is such a dear. She took me to lunch, helped me complete some errands and then we just hung out relaxing the rest of the day talking about our visions, dreams, the future and of course the Joyce Meyer Conference we attended together last year in St. Louis, MO. This photo was taken with my cell phone during a break last year when we walked down to the Golden Gate Arch. Wow... now that was a great conference. 'Never Give Up!' We're both hoping and praying to go again this year. Yep... today was an absolutely wonderful day... I needed that :-)

Cell Phone Capture. Yes I use my cell camera phone 2 - lol!This very dear friend took me to lunch today, helped me with some errands and then we just hung out and had a wonderful time. {Thank You So Much Rhonda!}Captured during the Joyce Meyer Conference we attanded together last year in St. Louis, MO. See the Gateway Arch :-) SO... no it's not a new picture... but I was reminded of it today and all the fun we had together last year... sure hope we can do it again this year. I'm so very blessed to have such wonderful friends. PAD DATE: August 28th, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creating a seamless blog with my website!

I'm so tired. I'd planned to create a blog for what seems like ages but never found the time to do so. I'd start, get frustrated because I didn't want just any ol' blog... I wanted a seamless blog to interact with my photography website. Well here I finally am!!!

I'm currently recovering from an injury from my full time job (Correctional Officer) so I've lots of time to waddle back and forth catching up as this dreadful pain level will allow. Right now I'm just tickled to have finally started my first ever blog AND it's just what I wanted (it will be after some tweaking right :-) Right now I'd best rest up and let this neck heal. Have a great day everyone!!!