From Growth

Crisis of Confidence

Nathan Ingram, WordCamp Denver 2019

WordPress is an amazing tool. I first discovered it during a personal crisis of confidence.

Following an abrupt end to a 15-year run in the Art Department of my local ‘family newspaper’, my career needed a new direction. The BOCES ‘retraining’ provided through the unemployment office sternly informed me that my future was in the secretarial realm.

What?! NO WAY. I intended to transfer my skills from print production to web applications. There had to be a way forward toward the work that pleased me the most – DESIGN!

The WordPress Community

When I attended my first WordPress meetup, I realized I had discovered a great opportunity with the toolbox I desired. And the WordPress community offered a sharing of skills and information that was open and refreshing. My first mentor, Lynn Amos of Fyne Lyne Ventures, took me under her wing calling to me, ‘come off the edge’

As you may guess, it has been a steep learning curve – and at times my confidence has been in short supply. Seven years later, it is clear that the more I learn, the more there is to learn! An honest assessment is an important part of growth.

What gifts do I have to offer?

Nathan Ingram’s recent keynote address at WordCamp Denver (July 2019) was “How to Survive a Crisis of Confidence.” Through all his expertise, he has gained a valuable perspective, thus, his insight helped me adjust my attitude. Nathan is a veteran Web Developer specializing in Custom WordPress Websites for Small Businesses, Professional Firms, and Nonprofits. By his count, he has presented at 85+ WordCamp events in his rich career.

Here is a description of Nathan’s presentation:

“At some point, every freelancer has struggled with a crisis of confidence. For some, this ongoing battle has crippled their businesses. The symptoms of a crisis of confidence are not charging what you’re worth, having constant conflicts with worry and doubt, and a lack of satisfaction from your work.”

So, apparently, I am not alone… I am so grateful that the WordPress community speaks to this topic and offers a keynote such as this!

Nathan Ingram suggests four ideas to address the issue:

1. Be Realistic. No one is an expert at everything. There are 3 types of freelance web developers: Designers, Assemblers, Programmers. Pick one and be great at it!

2. Be Perceptive. Everyone is good at something. It’s easy to miss your area of greatest proficiency because you do it naturally.

3. Be Authentic. Pretending gets you nowhere. Be honest about your deficits. There is freedom in the phrase “I don’t know (but I’ll find out)”. Surround yourself with friends that will openly discuss their challenges. Authenticity breeds authenticity.

4. Be Helpful. We’re all in this together. Reach out to people around you on the elevator. Become a person it’s good to know. Helping others will build your confidence. Be humble as you help.

A 2016 version of this same presentation is viewable here. Definitely worth a listen.


The process of building a kick-ass website requires expertise in a variety of areas, including coding, SEO, email, social media, image management, and content development. Cooperation and a blending of talents lead to a superlative result.

MY SKILLS fall into Design and Assembling.

I love the intuitive process of deep listening, to learn about a client’s needs and talents.

My ability to organize content and reflect back what my clients do best helps to illuminate their gifts in a new way.

Selecting and creating impactful imagery enhances the appeal.

Lush colors enliven the viewer’s experience.


Here is a sample of my recent work with Rising Star, Sacred Space.

Cultivating rich, visual content and creating meaningful copy is what I enjoy the most.

What gifts do you bring to a project? I would love to connect and collaborate!

 

Nathan Ingram, WordCamp Denver 2019

Creative Procrastination!

Here’s an interesting idea… PROCRASTINATE.

According to author and artist Austin Kleon, there is a tremendous creative benefit to practicing productive procrastination! Austin suggests that the work we do while we procrastinate may be the work we should be doing for the rest of our lives.

Austin encourages one to devote time to hobbies … to take time to daydream … to refill the source of our creativity with curiosity. He even admits that he never takes his shirts to the cleaners because he gets good ideas while he presses them!  Whoa. I like this idea – and I find ironing enjoyable too … although, I don’t do it much unless I allow myself to be engaged in a sewing project.

I have never related much to people who claim they are bored. I have too many ideas floating around in my head. I have many “side projects” that interest me. I admit though, that I often feel it necessary to earn time off from “real work” in order to do what is “fun”.

What does it take to shed a pattern that no longer serves you?

One morning a while back, I was soaking in a hot spring on a beautiful day. As I gazed up at the cloud cover moving swiftly overhead, I acknowledged that I wasn’t present in the moment. While everything was okay in my realm right then, I was consumed by grief over the state of the world. This worry was overwriting my ability to be grateful for the gift of the being at the hot spring, cheating me of a much needed restorative day.

Deliberately turning my awareness outward, I watched as a soft mist coursed across the sky. I felt small, reminded of bigger forces like love and forgiveness that can overcome the despicable acts of human cruelty that pre-occupied my awareness.

Recognizing the beauty of each day is an essential part of navigating the edges of reality. Putting harsh thoughts aside is necessary to regain balance and to find the strength to move on. So I will remind myself to daydream a bit more … and give my mind and heart a break.

Just “messing around” is my new goal for creativity. When I hit my limit on one thing I will allow myself to shift gears and do something rewarding.

Working solo during the course of my day, I hit roadblocks. So, put the damn phone down, walk away from the pulsing, flickering monitor. Walk around the lake. Roll on the floor, stretch, breathe. Listen to some calming music, and then return refreshed and to start anew.

My Passion = My Purpose

Right Livelihood.

My passion is my profession and my vocation and my mission.  I love what I do. And what’s more, I welcome the opportunity to create quality imagery for my clients.

That said, in order to stay fresh and inspired, we all need to find a balance between economy, efficiency, and creativity.

This article from Tricycle points out that it is a good thing to be “in two minds” about our work – to strive to maintain high standards yet also to be objective. Good work depends upon trust and honoring the time and patience that produces quality.

There is no question that friction arises. Keeping clear, open communication is critical so that our work is

“ …fully understood and rightly conducted, with all its tensions.”

My goal is to maintain a sane relation to my work life and to deliver the highest quality results.

 

Why Right Livelihood Isn’t Just About Your Day Job

 

Thanks to Hustle+Grind for the infographic that lives on my bulletin board. 😉

A Wildflower Wedding

Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book

Bookmaking. An honor indeed!

In September of 2012, Jesse’s friends, Caroline and Jared, were wed on a glorious autumn day in Madison County, New York. The subtle colors of early autumn dappled the landscape. A soft breeze rippled the cool waters of Lake Moraine. There was a festive atmosphere at Mitchell Point, as friends and family gathered together to honor the union of a very special young couple.

As their wedding photographer, Jesse captured the most delightful images of a charming afternoon, A Wildflower Wedding, along the shores of Lake Moraine.

Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book
Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book
Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book
Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book
Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book
Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book
Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book
Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book
Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book
Bookmaking – The Dart Wedding book

I had the pleasure to recapture the day in this book, custom-designed in Adobe InDesign and printed via Blurb. This unique, 60-page hardcover contains more than 100 photos (only partially loaded in the viewport below). It portrays the continuation of a loving relationship and a joyful, trusting step into the future.

Threaded through the images are the lyrics from one of Caroline and Jared’s favorite songs, “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty.

You belong among the wildflowers, you belong somewhere close to me. Far away from your trouble and worry, you belong somewhere you feel free.

 

Evolution of The Healing Home

A new beginning, Lifting the spirit

My long-term position in the Art Department of a local newspaper ended abruptly in 2008. The east coast building trade was compromised as well and Nick’s opportunities were dwindling. Our savings and our livelihoods were seriously threatened.

The truth is, we bottomed out. We had held on as long as we could, but the future did not look good.

growth and challenge

When faced with challenge and disappointment, what do you do? Above all, you hold your loved ones close, and dig deeper into your inner resources. Over time, we felt the lift of momentum, a blush of something new.

When my work opportunities dimmed, I crammed and studied web design. I transferred my print-based skills into web applications. As we looked for a new creative direction, Nick and I brainstormed an integration of our skills. The idea of a website emerged. This site would offer a combination of practical home design ideas, holistic philosophy, and lots of imagery, maybe poetry… who knew where this might lead?

Suddenly, Nick’s pen flew across the page in his flowing, handwritten style. I typed the first drafts and we edited. We dove deeply into our treasures trove of photographs, sifting and sorting to hone a new concept. As Nick wrote essays, I created visuals to illustrate the ideas.

My first venture into the world of WordPress was born. TheHealingHome.me is a repository of many interesting ideas, and I am pleased with it.

A few years later as our work evolved, I built a second variation called HealingHomeDESIGNS.me. In this new template, I went deeper into a visual format with fewer words to portray the concepts.

infuse it with light

Across all disciplines, the foundations of home design are based on balance, proportion, color, and utility. Discovering the optimal blend of these characteristics creates a harmonic that is tangible, an ephemeral and sought-after ‘value-added’ essence. These ideas apply to web design as well. I always aim to take a design project one step beyond – to infuse it with light.

Throughout rough times, we, as a family, have always managed to carve out time for rest and reconnection. The banner image captures one of those times, our children hold hands walking a path on Block Island.