Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thanks 2013!

I hope everyone is enjoying this interesting time between Christmas and New Year's. I say interesting because the "big" holiday is over, but there is still enough excitement left in the air with the arrival of a brand new year to keep us going.

Of course the highlight of my week was the short, but wonderful time spent with my children. One of the things I am most grateful for is not only do I crazily love these two, but I also like them!

On the day we picked our son up in San Francisco, we stopped at the Marin Headlands. We all share a love for this special place and I could not think of a better way to officially begin our "holiday".

A tradition we had even when they were young was to find a place to stop and watch the sun set into the ocean. While I am not proud of this, instead of simply being present I decided to record the setting of the sun, but my family had other ideas................

Here is a video my daughter put together of my failed attempts to capture this special moment................ turn your speakers on and if you don't see the video, click here: video

With Christmas behind me, I am eager to head into the new year. Before I do, I promised I would share the end of my "Project 52" images.

As a little present to myself (and because they were having a special "free week" deal) I rented a Nikon D600 from BorrowLenses.com. This camera has twice the megapixels of my D300 and since I am sometimes asked to make prints larger than I am comfortable with, I am toying with the idea of upgrading my equipment next year.

These last two "pics of the week" were made with this camera on early morning outings to the river (which includes the American River Parkway bike trail). I love starting the day this way!

Week 51

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Week 52

©2013 Dianne Poinski

I will be back in a couple of days with a more formal "wrap up" of 2013 and to share my "word" for 2014.... but for now I want to send out wishes for an amazing New Year!

Take this time to reflect without regrets and look forward without fear..........

May your new year be filled with peace, beauty, joy and gratitude!

Thank you 2013.......now make way for 2014!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Wishes...............

I am leaving in a little bit to pick my daughter up from the airport. On Sunday we will drive to San Francisco and pick up our son. The only time I turn my cell phone off is when I have both my children home, sleeping under the same roof (or when I am on an airplane, but that may change I understand...)

It has been a year since I had both of them home and I am incredibly excited while feeling incredibly blessed and grateful.

To make the most of this short but sweet time with them, I am taking next week off.

But before I do, here is a digital "holiday" collage I put together to share today. I photographed the ornaments against the red box last year, then using Photoshop added the other layers. Too much fun........

©2013 Dianne Poinski

I will be back on New Year's Eve with my final "Project 52" images and some reflections on the past year.

In the meantime, I am sending love and wishes to all of you for a beautiful and peaceful holiday and as I like to say............"celebrate with joy and gratitude".


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week 50??

I was pleasantly surprised last week to find tulips in the grocery store. If you follow me on my Facebook page, you have already seen this week's "pic". 

I adore photographing tulips and I placed this beautiful bouquet by the window in my office at home and watched them change their look and shape daily. I never knew what I was going to find in the morning!

While I played around with a few compositions, this one was my favorite. I put a piece of foam board behind the vase and shot this with my iPhone. I processed this version in Photoshop, adding textures and soft focus

Project 52 - Week 50!!

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Only two more weeks of this project! Good chance I am taking a year off from "projects" in 2014. But I could change my mind........................

Friday, December 13, 2013

Video Fun..............

I was having one of those days yesterday where nothing was getting done.  At one point I was in my studio and decided to make some videos. Random and not what I had planned to do, but inspiration struck and I went with it. 

Of course I thought a straight video would be boring, so I spiced things up a bit and went for the "old time" look.

The first one was made using the "iSupr8" app on my iPhone with music added in iMovie.

If you don't see the video, click here: Studio

This next one was shot straight with my iPhone, then uploaded to Magisto where the music and effects were added. 

My studio

If you don't see the video, click here: My Studio

Something tells me the next few weeks are going to be like this and I am ok with that.........I will let inspiration guide my actions.

Now just for fun, here is one more video I made last night after decorating our tree. Again, I used iSupr8 and I am listening to my favorite version of "O Holy Night" (sung by Nichole Poinski and Joe Thompson) on my iPad.

Click here if you don't see the video: Merry Christmas

To hear more music from Nichole and Joe, click here: "Christmas Time is Hear Ye"

Have a wonderful weekend and let's all try to have "inspiration guide our actions" (whenever possible......)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Week 49.................

I made very few photographs last week.................

I spent most of the week working hard on the project I shared about in my last post (which I am happy to announce has been ordered and should arrive in plenty of time!). This is the main reason why I have so few new images on my camera roll or on my hard drive.

I did manage to sneak out to grab a couple of shots during a very brief fog appearance the other morning. It's been cold and if I wasn't running out to grab coffee, this probably would not have happened.............

So anyway, here is my "pic of the week".

Project 52 -  Week 49

©2013 Dianne Poinski
This was made with my iPhone and processed with Snapseed and Distressed FX

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Work in Progress.................

I have been busy at my computer this week putting together photos and souvenirs from our trip to Ireland with the hope of creating a book to give to my husband for Christmas. (I may be taking a chance posting this here, but he does not read my blog.) 

My husband actually sat down shortly after we got back and wrote down notes and dates of where we went and what we did in anticipation of making a scrapbook of sorts. Then he collected cards, brochures and ticket stubs and put them all in a large envelope and..........that was it! (In his defense, he is probably waiting for photos from me.)

A couple of weeks ago I took the notes and the large envelope, scanned everything and carefully put them back under the coffee table. I decided to make his notes the background paper for the pages on the right, and then blank lined paper for the pages on the left. 

I also found these photo corners here: CoffeeShop Photo Corner

My plan is to upload all the pages and then probably, (not 100% sure yet) have Blurb print the book. 

I thought it would be fun to share a few of the pages here.

I was caught off guard with some of the emotions I felt doing this. I shared previously my disappointment about the photographs I made while there, but reliving the trip this way has been good for me. It was a wonderful reminder of the experiences we had and all the lovely people we met along the way.

It's easy to get back from a trip and settle quickly into the busyness that is normal life and lose the feelings of wonder you have while away from home. If only we could hold on to that for a few more days (or bottle it for future use).

This is still very much a work in progress, but I need to finish it pretty soon if it's going to be under the tree Christmas morning...........

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I am back from my visit to Southern California, feeling rested and ready to enjoy this final month of the year.

We spent Thanksgiving with my brother and his family who live fairly close to where I spent most of my 20's. When I lived there, my brother was still living in Northern California, so I find it strange to be visiting him in my old stomping grounds.

One of my favorite places in that area is Descanso Gardens. It was also a place I went to frequently when I lived there. As a matter of fact, I went hiking in that very place a couple of days before I went into labor with my daughter. (We were a week past her due date and thought it might help speed things along.)

So...... I thought it was fitting that my "pic of the week" be from the walk we took the day before Thanksgiving at Descanso. There was still some fall color left, and I can't get seem to get enough of those oak forests.............

Project 52 - Week 48

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Project 52..............

I was reminded once more how lucky I am to live less than ten minutes away from the river. This urban bit of nature replenishes me every time I visit. 

I made a few trips this past week, including one in the late afternoon. Love that light!

Project 52 - Week 47

©2013 Dianne Poinski

I am taking a few days off to spend time with friends and family to celebrate with joy and gratitude, all the amazing goodness in my life!

Thank you everyone and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Back in March I wrote a post about one of my images being licensed to appear on a greeting card that would be sold in a fairly well known store. I have since had more images licensed for cards for them and others. If you want to read that post, click here: March 28th.

My first licensing contract was signed in 1999 and it was a great opportunity.......... that in many ways I let slip away from me. I shared a little about that in another post last year: Roses and Birthday Cakes  Even back then, I was fearing I would make the same mistake, and it almost happened!

The licensing business is tricky in many ways. For one thing the work is very speculative and it may take months and even years to see results materialize from time spent on a project. (A large percentage of the time, nothing will happen.............)

©2013 Dianne Poinski

During my first round of licensing opportunities, I was firmly committed to working the art festival circuit. It's hard not to be attracted to the possibility of coming home with some cash in your pocket. Instant gratification........... 

I am no longer on the circuit, but as many of you know, I recently made the decision to take a year off of doing workshops. I have also decided to limit the time I spend on other parts of my business in order to free up time to work on images for my agent. (I am lucky she didn't drop me after a few months of practically no new work from me!)

©2013 Dianne Poinski

I think you have to have a lot of faith to work this way, but I am going to give it a shot. The main thing I want to share however, is that I am having quite a bit of fun right now!

My agent  challenged me to have 100 greeting card designs for her to show in the next couple of months. These are not just images, but the entire card, complete with words! I am about the third of the way there............. (I have inside designs and words as well, but decided to sprinkle just the front images of some of what I have been working on  throughout this post.)

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Like most people, I do better when I am not scattered. When I have a deadline and a project to work on, I am extremely productive. Take that away, and I flounder like a fish out of water.

So with this new level of commitment to licensing, I am feeling energized and focused and I love waking up knowing what is going to get my attention that dayAnd like I said earlier, I am having fun with this..................

In honor of my favorite holiday, I would like give you all a little "Thanksgiving" gift. If you are on my email list, you already received this, but if not, click here to download a printable pdf greeting card of this image: Gratitude

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shadows and Acceptance.............

If you are "friends" with me on Facebook or a follower on Instagram, you may have already seen my "pic of the week". I decided to share it here as well because I learned a valuable lesson while making this image.

Project 52 - Week 46

©2013 Dianne Poinski

I was taking a late afternoon walk through the park the other day when I noticed the wonderful light hitting this tree and illuminating the root system. The quality of light in the fall, is in my mind, the best of all the seasons.........

Anyway, as I approached the tree I was a little bit irritated to see my shadow. I kept moving....... trying to get the shot without me in it. Eventually I realized that I not only had to accept what was, but also embrace it. So I made it my new Facebook profile picture...........

Notes - all iPhone. Used Snapseed to vignette and darken the distracting background.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Week 45...............

I have a dear friend that I try to meet and have dinner with at least once a month. It doesn't always work out that way, but there is something about having the intention that keeps us connected. We usually meet at a nearby restaurant, but last week her husband and son were out of town so she invited me to her house where she made an amazing meal, complete with dessert!

The intimacy of being in her home and not a loud restaurant led to some deep, honest and authentic conversation, much of it which helped me gain the clarity I needed to make some important decisions.

Like I mentioned in my post earlier this week, I am not going forward with my plans to launch an iPhone photography e-course.  If you are on my email list,  you also now know that I made the decision to take an entire year off of teaching live workshops as well. This is scary and exciting at the same time. My "having faith" muscle is working overtime right now. Workshops represent a good percentage of my income, but I need to open up space for other things and this seems like the best place to begin.

Given that the evening was so special to me, it was easy to pick this week's image.

While my friend was lovingly preparing our dinner, my eye caught this bench against the backdrop of fall color. With the light quickly fading, I grabbed my phone and went out to her backyard, only feeling a tiny amount of guilt for not helping in the kitchen.

Project 52 - Week 45

©2013 Dianne Poinski
As I have mentioned many times, I extremely grateful for all the connections I have made over the years through my work. While the online encounters are wonderful, I also love sharing my work and talking with people in my studio (and in my previous life....at art festivals).

A recent visitor to my studio was kind enough to write a little something about me in a blog post this week.

Tracey is a published and gifted writer and I am currently reading her book "Duck Pond Epiphany". Thank you Tracey!! #grateful

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Inspiration and Information.........

When I say I am going to do something, I usually do it.......... especially when I say it publicly. But as many of you know, I sometimes change my mind and today's post is about that. (My Project 52 post will come later in the week.........)

Since launching my online "Hand Coloring Photos" e-course I have been saying I was going to create something similar, only with iPhone photography. I even went as far as to record a few videos and organize the information I wanted to share.* Every week, "work on tutorials" made it's way on to my "to-do" list, and most of the time, nothing was done.

*Recent changes and updates to the iPhone's operating system rendered most of what I did useless information............oh well.

So last week, I made the decision to abandon the idea. There are a few reasons for this. The main reason is I have decided to commit fully to another project, which I will share more about in another post. Another reason is there is so much information already available.....and much of it is free. I would rather continue to share here and other places than set something up and charge for it. 

Beginning with this post..............

In addition to talking about the steps I took to create this image, I am also going to list some of the places I go for inspiration and information as well as a summary list of my favorite apps.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

This image was made on one of my walks. (Favorite hashtag #lookingup) I first did some cropping and made other adjustments in Snapseed before moving on to the next step...........

I recently discovered ScratchCam and downloaded it mainly for the "folded paper" effect:

After applying that, I played around with the color a bit in this app and then made a few more adjustments in Snapseed . (Starting with Snapseed and ending with it, is a normal part of my iPhone workflow.......)

Here is a list and links to many of the sites I have used to learn about different apps and techniques. I have shared about most of these in earlier posts, but I thought it would be helpful to have a summary list.

  1. iPhoneart.com - on this and other sites like it, many of the artists share what apps they used to create their images. I have learned a ton by looking at this! It's a great place to go for inspiration too...........
  2. Tutorials on The App Whisperer site. I love the interviews too! An excellent, all around resource.........
  3. The iPhoneArts.com - Egmont is one of the hardest working iPhone artists out there and he freely shares his knowledge..... much of it coming after hours of experimentation. 
  4. Instagram - A sharing/social media site (You can also use the camera function in it as well...) Pay attention to the hashtags that people post. Many times these reveal the apps they used to create their images. (I am on there as dpoinskiphoto)
  5. Photojojo.com -  great site for accessories for the iPhone, but inspiration and information can be found there as well. 
  6. Skipology.com - Paul (known as Skip to friends), is a prize winning iPhoneographer from Lincoln, England and a very generous resource for technique and inspiration. 

My favorite apps:
  1. Snapseed -  this is usually the first place I go with an image. Many times this is the only app I use..............
  2. PureShot Camera  -  This is my default camera app. Love it!
  3. Hipstamatic -  my second favorite camera app
  4. Distressed FX -  be sure to try the "birds" filter..........
  5. PhotoFX - I use a lot of the soft filters that come with this.....
  6. ScratchCam - mentioned this one above
  7. Vintage Scene
  8. Image Blender and Tiny Planet  - I posted a tutorial with a video on my "Photo Artistry Workshop" site where I used both of these apps together. Click here: iPhone Fun

Like I said, I will continue to share what I learn about iPhoneography as I go along. I will post here on my blog and also share information as part of the "Free Tutorials" section of PhotoArtistryWorkshop.com

Please share your favorite sites and/or apps in the comments section below and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me!

Side note...........while the decision to not go forward with my original plan was a difficult one, the relief and freedom I felt after making it has opened up space and possibilities and a deep feeling in my gut that it was the right decision.  #yay

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

At the River...............

I took a quick drive down to Clarksburg last week, hoping to catch the vineyards in fall color, but I was a little disappointed. Instead I stopped to photograph these back lit leaves against the water of the Sacramento River.

I applied a little texture and added the Japanese characters that spell out "Gratitude", which is what I am feeling these days................... 

Project 52 - Week 44
Nikon D300 & Photoshop

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Friday, November 1, 2013

Another Experiment...........

Back in June, in my post "Handcrafted Photography", I wrote about my desire to do more "hands on" work with my images.  I adore digital photography but I also love the challenge of creating "one of a kind" pieces.

That post was all about image transfers. I included directions and samples of some of the pieces I had worked on up to that point.

Something else I have playing with is hand coloring on "Moenkopi Washi Unryu" paper. This is a very thin rice paper type of inkjet paper. I loved the look of the texture but wasn't exactly sure how I was going to work with it.

Since I am always on the lookout for a way to minimize or eliminate mats and frames entirely, I decided to try gluing the paper onto board then hand coloring it. Here are a few photos:

This is the black and white print before I did anything (the paper has a warm tone which doesn't come across too well in some of these shots)........

I used "Liquitex Pouring Medium" to glue the print onto a Ampersand Claybord panel........


I folded the paper over the edges to give the piece a more finished look......

Then using PanPastel Colors, I hand colored the print........


After spraying it with Lascaux Fixative, it's ready to hang.

If you visited my studio in the last couple of months, you may have seen me working on this piece or a couple of other ones I did. These will all be offered as part of the "Archive Sale" some of us are having next week. In addition to older images and a few "slightly damaged" pieces, my main contribution to this event will be my "experiments".

 If you are local, click here for more information about this private reception: Studio Visits (A few things will also be available on my website for those of you not able to attend......stay tuned.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Week 43...............

Feeling back in my groove................

I mentioned in my post last week that I just got the iPhone 5S and my "pic of the week" is one of the first images I made with it.

It had been awhile since I set up some flowers to photograph so I was happy to see that these Trader Joe's blooms had not faded too much. 

I shot this using only window light and processed it entirely in Snapseed. One of my favorite filters to use is the "Grunge" filter, but I like to bring the "texture strength" down to "0", which is what I did here. I also used "Center Focus" to blur the edges.

So here it is: Project 52 - Week 43 (unbelievable!!)

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lessons Learned.............

In October of 2007, I was in the mountains of North Carolina enjoying the fall colors shrouded in fog. Photography heaven.............

I had borrowed a friend's Nikon D200 for the trip because at this time, the only digital camera I owned was the Infrared D80. I had traveled with a tripod and a camera release, determined to capture crisp, sharp photos of this scenic wonderland. I set the ISO at 200, and because of the precautions I had taken, did not worry too much about the slow shutter speed.........that is of course until the wind picked up.

What I failed to remember was this was not film! I could change the ISO at anytime and in doing so, increase the shutter speed. (This important and wonderful feature of shooting digitally was one that would take me awhile to remember and get use to.) This glaring mistake was obvious when I uploaded the files and noticed the blurry leaves on all the trees! I managed to salvage one or two photos from the trip, but every time I come across these images, I feel the pang of lost opportunity.

I have never laid claim to being a knowledgeable "technical" photographer, but after all these years I have managed to learn a few things about camera operation..........especially the operation of my Nikon D300 which I bought shortly after that trip.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I think I sort of screwed up.............

Back in August, I wrote a post about my visit to Washington and how I was thinking about renting a "mirrorless" camera for my trip to Ireland. The idea was to bring a light, small, but high quality camera and leave the tripod at home. I received quite a few encouraging suggestions about which camera to take (with the advice to try them out beforehand), but then the whole idea moved onto the back burner.

I felt pretty certain I was going to stick to my tried and true Nikon until late one night, six days before I was flying out. On this particular night, while trying to fall asleep after a caffeined fuel day, I started imagining the freedom and fun I would have traveling around Ireland, shooting with a camera that gave me the flexibility of my beloved iPhone, but with more megapixels. 

The next morning I logged onto BorrowedLenses.com and found myself forced to choose quickly if I was going to receive the camera before I left. 

A week or so before I made this hasty decision, a friend of mine stopped by the studio with his Olympus E-PL5 and let me play with it. It seemed pretty straight forward. The reviews I read were positive so I quickly decided to rent the next model up, which was the Olympus OM-D E-M5, with a 12-50 mm lens. One of the features I was most excited about was the ability to shoot using a high ISO with the promise of reduced "noise" (or grain....which is how I still think of it).

In order to avoid making this post the length of a bad autobiography, I will cut to the chase........taking a camera I was not use to was a bad idea. 

There I said it. A couple of things did not go as I had hoped. First, I think I pushed it too far. Wanting to avoid what happened in North Carolina, I set the camera many times to a very high ISO 1000, 3200 and even on one occasion........4000! You combine that with my dependence on auto focus with a lens I was not familiar with, and what you get are very "noisy", very soft images that had me feeling a little sick after I uploaded them to my computer.

Of course, not all is lost. I am extremely grateful that my style is already soft and textured. Things could have been much worseI am happy with many of my compositions and the light was beautiful most days, but I am not sure how large I will be able to print any of these images. In addition, having sharp clear photographs to begin with makes processing easier, so working with what I have is going slow.

I don't believe any of this is the camera's fault. I am sure it is a fine piece of equipment. I take full responsibility for what happened and you can be sure I won't make the same mistake again.

The other piece of this that makes me feel a little bit better is......this trip was not intended to be a photo excursion. It was a vacation with my husband (an extremely patient one at that....) 

I am thrilled and grateful that we were able to share that experience and a few "less than perfect" photographs cannot take that away.

With that said, here a few of my favorites images which look pretty good at this small size.................

.©2013 Dianne Poinski

.©2013 Dianne Poinski

.©2013 Dianne Poinski

.©2013 Dianne Poinski

So that's the story I have been wanting to share. It took awhile because I needed to sort through it first. It's all good..... I have quit kicking myself and will probably have a few more images to share in future posts. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Project 52 Saved.................

Last week I thought I was going announce today that I had abandoned my "Project 52". Given up...........jumped ship, whatever you want to call it. ("Failed" came to mind more than once, but I try to avoid using that word.)

The reason for this was, lately my "pics of the week" have been "less than creative". I have been busy, tired, and at times discouraged and frustrated. Too much has been going on since I got back from my trip and I have been longing for space and quiet.

The activities "peaked" this past Friday and I am relieved!

After making the decision to end my weekly "Project 52" posts, I took myself out for a long walk along the American River on Sunday. This was the final outing with my iPhone 4S and I needed to spend time alone, simply taking photos. (Many of you know that I just received the 5S and fired it up on Monday.....)

Sometimes I forget why I love photography. I will share more about this later, but my photo making experience while in Ireland left a lot to be desired.

I already knew this, and I have talked about it here more than once, but I thrive while on my own and those couple of hours out on Sunday proved it one more time.

I started out on the main bike trail at the river, but many times ventured off on to dirt paths, many of which led nowhere. I didn't care, it was the thrill of the hunt that had me celebrating. This was the best I had felt in weeks!

One of those paths led to a cluster of trees where I found this tiny flower blooming. It was only one of three blooms and they seemed incongruent with the warm autumn colors all around.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

Another path took me to this beach which I didn't even know existed before.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

My "Pic of the Week" however, is this image of the welcoming light and apparent open arms of the trees that led me down the bike path at the very beginning of my walk.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

So for now, I am going to continue my "Project 52". I have already taken my iPhone 5S (32gb!!) on a couple of adventures and we are getting to know each other. It sounds strange, but trading in my first iPhone for this newer model made me a little sad. We had been through a lot together and I give it some of the credit for reigniting my passion for photography...........but it was time.

I know I am not the only one who needs solitude in order to regroup and find center, but I would love to hear how others deal with times of disconnect, fear and longing for a different approach to living.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Project 52 - Week 41

Note to self: Do not schedule events to happen right after returning from a major trip!

Another week has gone by with barely a photo taken. I spent most of last week preparing for a show I am in with three other extremely talented women. While I had the foresight to get the files to my printer before I left, there was still a lot to do to prepare for the opening. 

Most people are not aware of how much time goes into properly hanging and lighting an exhibit. Even with four of us, it took pretty much all of Thursday to finish the job. 

Before that were emails and social media posts announcing the show. Throw in the fact that I am still catching up on basic home and business activities, and what you have are very few images to claim as my "pic of the week".

So here it is........a photo of my "wall". You can see the other walls by clicking here: Facebook.

Project 52 -  Week 41

Design Elements
4 Artists / 4 Mediums
Now showing at the ARTHOUSE upstairs gallery

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Light For John..............

I FINALLY slept past 5:30 this morning and it feels great! Traveling to Europe is wonderful, but that eight hour time difference kicks my butt every time! 

But.......this post is not about my trip to Ireland (soon, I promise......) Instead I want to share about something that happened last week.

I began wondering as early as Tuesday, if I was going to have a "photo of the week" for my Project 52. I was tired and I had just been to a beautiful country that was so full of photographic possibilities that overwhelm set in the moment I began uploading photos to my computer.

While I was away, I made the conscious choice to be "offline". One of the reasons was to refrain from advertising the fact that my house was vacant, but I was also being extremely frugal with my "data usage" and did not want to rack up international charges if I didn't have to.

I was also feeling the need to disconnect from the noise of social media and instead chose to stay present and soak in all I could from my travels. I can easily get frustrated and impatient with online activities, but something happened last week that showed me the power and beauty of the global possibilities the internet provides. This experience shifted my perspective and filled me with gratitude to be living in such a world.

A few months ago, Kim Klassen, who writes one of my favorite blogs, revealed in a post that her husband had been diagnosed with leukemia. I have never met Kim or her husband in person, but have come to know and be constantly inspired by Kim's writing, images and the occasional email exchange.

Having lost my mother and a good friend to this undiscriminating disease, I was filled with sadness when I heard this news. I know first hand how a diagnosis like this affects everyone. (I am sure most of you do too........)

I wasn't aware that her husband was scheduled to have a stem cell transplant until while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across this post by Kim's friend Myriam Joseph:

I immediately grabbed a candle and then spent ten minutes looking for matches. This really was the only photo I made last week, so of course it is my:

"Project 52 - pic of the week".

The point of all this is, here I was feeling a little "snarky" about social media when it was brought to my attention the power of the online community. Of course I wish deeply I could do more than light a candle and this won't cure any disease, but sensing the energy this simple act was creating, made me pull back, count my own blessings and send good thoughts through the universe for a friend and her loved ones.

This is a small sampling of the 193 posts made with the hash tag "LightForJohn". 

Before I end, I just want to thank all of you for being part of my community. This includes my online friends and those of you I am lucky enough to be able to engage with occasionally in "real time". Participating in social media through this blog, Facebook and Instagram has definitely enriched my life and broadened my experience of the world. While it's not always perfect, I now have a stronger sense of the important role it plays in our lives and I am grateful.

To read Kim's eloquent account of this experience, click here: Friday Finds (You will quickly discover, if you don't already know, she is an inspiration to many and I am so grateful I came across her work and her words when I did......)

PS You can still post with the hashtag "lightforjohn". While the surgery was a success, they will continue to need our support in the weeks and months to come.......