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Posts Tagged ‘friendships’

I’ve been sitting here for over an hour trying to write “something for the blog”.  Putting pressure on myself to say something really inspiring, or meaningful, or moving.  Attempting to craft a message out of the last 3 weeks of my life.  Three weeks full of big change.  

Slow down.  What you’re chasing may be trying to catch you.  ~Noah benShea

I read old emails and reviewed quotes, trying to recreate the weeks.  It didn’t work.  I had no clue what to write.  I was about to give up and walk away, until one of my “angels” appeared with a message.  A reminder.  It seems simple, the basis of the last 3 weeks, but we all know it is sometimes one of the most complicated things in life.  Belief.   

“You add something to the mix called life that only you can add.  Honor that.  Honor you.”  ~Angela Bear

I believed in myself, in that “something” I can add to life.  I honored my gift and I took a stand for me and my passion.  It started three weeks ago on a Sunday night when I somewhat randomly changed my Facebook profile and became a “photographer” instead of an “emerging photographer”.  It ended on Friday when I left my full-time job to focus on my photography and designs.      

I stepped beyond my comfort zone.     

I don’t mind telling you that part of me is really scared.  But, I don’t regret the decision.  Not for a minute.   

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new…for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. ~Alan Cohen

Before I knew it, a new kind of Monday morning arrived.  What should one do when they make a major life change like this?  Hide under the covers?  Crawl into a corner and cry?  Buy lots of lottery tickets?   

No WAY!   

I accepted support from friends who reached out and who believe in me.
I went to a trade show, met new people, and was completely inspired by artists and designers!
I took trips to Boston and Martha’s Vineyard with friends…and my camera.
I went to two Women On Fire Tea Parties and felt the passion, inspiration, and support of amazing women who validated my dream and my decision.
OK…yes…I bought a few lottery tickets…hey, you never know.
And, maybe a FEW times I hid under the covers. But, I didn’t stay long. It’s too hot to stay covered up and there are too many colors and photo ops in the world to hide away for long.   

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth.  Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again & again.  ~A.Maslow

So, what’s next?  Keep working the plan.  Take every opportunity that comes my way.  Learn to say “yes”.  A lot!  Learn to say “help”.  Surround myself with positive, supportive, inspiring people who believe in me and encourage my dreams.  Give others the same support and inspiration I’m receiving and share in the joys of their passions and dreams.  Keep gratitude in my heart.  Keep believing in myself.  Be kind and take care of me (I think these last two are the most important lessons I can learn now).   

I am living life.  I am maintaining focus on my goal and my dream and I am not going it alone.  I am following the path that makes me happy.  I won the most important lottery, I am living into the life I want and discovering who I am.  

Have you made a big change or are you thinking about one?  Do you need support?  I’m here.  I believe in you.   

I was once afraid of people saying “Who does she think she is?” Now I have the courage to stand and say, “This is who I am.” ~Oprah Winfrey

I am a photographer.  My Facebook profile says so, therefore it must be true.  

Maybe I should share a few photos?  That would make sense right?  I am a photographer.  

Here are a few of my favorites from Boston and Martha’s Vineyard.    

Studio Colors - Boston - Sean Boyce Studio ©Melissa McClain

Menemsha Sunset - Martha's Vineyard ©Melissa McClain

Owen Park Sunrise - Martha's Vineyard ©Melissa McClain

“There are angels all around you, and there is great care and love in this world for you.” ~Anonymous

I want to send out special thanks to my “angels”.  All of you have had an impact in validating and supporting my dreams and my passion.  Thank you for believing in me!  I am forever grateful and I hope that I can pay forward the love and care that I have received from you.   

Moments of Inspiration

Color…Color…Color!  I love color!  I was so inspired by my recent trips to Boston and Martha’s Vineyard.  The colors in the city and the colors on the Vineyard energized me.  Special thanks to Sean Boyce for letting me “run free” in his studio and capture the amazing colors and textures of his passion, painting.  I was so excited to visit Alison Shaw’s gallery while on Martha’s Vineyard.  She is an amazing photographer who captures colors and shapes in magical ways.   

I received an amazing gift of inspirational t-shirts from Devotion Clothing Co. I’ve worn them all weekend and can feel the words and inspiration. Check them out and put your inspiration on!   

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

Oh…I almost forgot…In the middle of all THAT, I ordered and received my first melissaAnne silk pillow samples!  That is a WHOLE other post for ANOTHER day.  Hey, I gotta create a little drama here…afterall, there’s not much going on in my life these days…   

Come Color With Me!

 

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I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I gave the blog some love!  Where has the time gone?  I’m sure everyone has been sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to see what’s coming next.   You are on the edge of your seat, right?  

A few weeks ago I travelled to Chicago to attend the Women On Fire Retreat at the Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Lakefront.  I was so excited to attend the event and to sponsor a gift to all the attendees!  This is by far the best group I have ever belonged to (OK…I don’t belong to a lot of groups, but there’s NO WAY any could be better)!    

Hotel Floors - ©Melissa McClain

My 3-day weekend in Chicago was amazing.  I had a room full of amazing ladies (4 of us sharing a room, just like the old college Spring Break days) and we stayed up late into the night enjoying girl talk, eating deep dish pizza, and bonding like only women can.  

Chicago Deep Dish Delight

 

“When you really have the fire you don’t have to tell anybody”  ~Stedman Graham

During the Retreat I was surrounded by more than 60 inspiring , passionate, and compassionate “Women On Fire”.  Women of all ages who were there to join each other in living full lives, supporting dreams, inspiring each other, and creating bonds.  It was incredible!  The Retreat kicked off with a keynote address from Stedman Graham who will no longer be “Oprah’s man” in my mind.  I now know him as a quiet, yet powerful and energizing force whose words inspire and captivate a room and who wears his heart proudly on his sleeve.  Oh, and I also know him as “The Sted-man”, my new little nickname for him.  I hope he doesn’t mind…  

Surrounded by Debbie Phillips, Founder of Women on Fire and Stedman Graham

 

“I rely on my support system.  If I didn’t have this web of wonderment around me, if I didn’t have support and utilize support, I’d be nowhere.” ~Holly Getty – Style Consultant

 There were so many other guest speakers during the event who touched me and changed the way I think about life, dreams, and passion.  I learned about discovering and following your passion from the beautiful Laurie Forster.  Laurie is The Wine Coach and we were treated to a fabulous wine tasting during the Retreat!  I was touched and inspired by Kacy Cook’s passion for writing and her children’s book Nuts.  I got to know one of my weekend “roomies”, Jamie Eslinger, better and hear her amazing story of strength and survival.   I laughed and cried as Janette Barber closed the event on Saturday with the powerful story of her life and her determination.  Janette is the funniest person I know and her humor this weekend was full of beauty, inspirations, and lessons that I didn’t even realize I needed to learn.  She touched me deeply and I am so grateful for her.  Please visit her Max Mouth website and watch the videos.  You will laugh a little, cry a little, and be touched deeply by her passion to help some amazing kids.   

We were a gathering of softness and strength, all standing together and ready to bloom brightly in this world! Photo ©Melissa McClain

Special thanks to Debbie Phillips, the founder of Women On Fire, for creating such an amazing organization of women with like minds and, more importantly, like hearts.  In the words of Debbie, “I’ve found my peeps.”  Thank you fellow “women on fire” for a wonderful, connecting weekend and the amazing friendships that have begun or grown.  You INSPIRE me!    

Chicago Urban Color ©Melissa McClain

I am energized and my passion is re-ignited.  I am inspired even more to keep moving towards my dream!  Since returning, I’ve been hard at work.  I designed a new product line based on feedback from the melissaAnne Inspire Cards I created as a gift for Retreat attendees and I expect to get samples in a few weeks.   

This week I found a manufacturer to print and sew my first line of pillows!  I think it’s finally happening.  I am beyond excited and can’t wait to see the first melissaAnne Home Collection pillows with images from my Water Colors and Urban Colors photography printed on silk and linen!  I promise to update you in early June after I have pictures taken in a very special place.  Get ready for some COLOR!  

   

Moments of Inspiration 

Yes, there is still MORE inspiration to share. 

 I have a really fun morning routine that makes my morning subway commute a little more inspiring.  Included in that routine is a daily email from Inspire Me Today.  It always gets my day started in a positive and reflective way and it’s amazing how often the message feels like it was meant for me!  Check out the website and if you need a little daily inspiration, sign up for the emails.  

 

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

Special thanks to Richie Frieman and welcome to visitors who found my blog from my artist feature in Pens Eye View on Friday and Saturday.  Richie has big dreams and is determined to make them happen for himself and others!  Thanks Richie for supporting and inspiring so many!  

Thank you for being a part of my journey.  Together we can reach our dreams and make the world a better place.       

I believe in us.  I hope you do, too!      

 

Enjoy some COLOR!   

   

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I’ll bring the melissaAnne journey to you!      

 

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Welcome to Linger

Last night was the opening reception for my Featured Artist Exhibit at Linger Cafe in Brooklyn.  Six pieces from the melissaAnne Water Colors and Urban Colors Collection hung on the brick and black walls throughout Linger’s modern, soothing space nestled on Brooklyn’s bustling Atlantic Avenue.  Friends and strangers alike made it out in the alternating rain and snow to enjoy the event.   

New Friendships Emerge Under Urban Colors Prints

Pictured above: Louise Holmes of Brooklyn, NY and Nile Nickels of Tampa, FL develop a new friendship and engage in colorful conversation under melissaAnne Urban Colors. 

Here is your sneak peek inside Linger to see melissaAnne Photography on display along with special background information on the images. Don’t forget to stop by to truly experience them and “linger” over a little food and drink!  

  

melissaAnne Photography Water Colors 

Water Colors Golden Dusk

Water Colors Golden Dusk was taken in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at a yacht club on Lake Michigan. I visited Milwaukee just a few months ago to see my best friend Nicki who, just a few months earlier, had a double lung transplant in her continued fight against Cystic Fibrosis. It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon and Nicki took me out for a Water Colors shoot. She graciously joined me on my hunt through the boat yard and the most exciting part for me was when Nicki started scouting pictures for me! Nicki really gets what is behind Water Colors and was seeing photo opportunities that most people don’t! Nicki is like a little sister to me so to have her relating so personally with my vision that she can now “see” it too was amazing and touching!  

Water Colors Sea Cave

Water Colors Sea Cave was taken in Lewisville, Texas during my family Christmas visit last year. The name came to me from the beautiful turquoise colors set against the beige. I saw a hidden sandstone cave with crystal blue water flowing through. Other people have seen skylines and statues in the image. What do you see?  

Water Colors Elegance

Water Colors Elegance is one of my favorite prints! When I look at this image I see a red high-heeled shoe gliding (or is it spinning?) across a red dance floor. It feels so alive and powerful, yet feminine…..elegant.  

 

melissaAnne Photography Urban Colors

I live in New York City and while there is a lot of water around us, boat yards are not always easy to find or get to. One day early this year I needed a “Water Colors fix” but didn’t have time to seek out a boatyard. I decided to go to one of my favorite photography neighborhoods in the city: DUMBO. The original desire for Water Colors (the colors, textures, patterns) made me see the elements of urban living in a whole new way. There are colors, textures and patterns all around us in things we normally just pass by or consider ugly. Urban Colors were discovered that day and depict things like graffiti, decay, and weathered structures in urban environments. 

Urban Colors Shine No 2

Urban Colors Shine No 2 is part of a series of images that remind me of stained glass windows and how the colors glow when the sun shines through. The images were taken from a very unique door frame in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. You can see more of the Shine set of images at melissaAnne Gallery.  

Urban Colors No 5

Urban Colors No 5 was taken in DUMBO, Brooklyn on that first Urban Colors photography day. I love the vitality it exudes! The abstract shapes look like a scene from a modern dance performance. It makes me want to raise my arms and dance with joy!  

Urban Colors Flame

Urban Colors Flame is so full of color, shapes, and imagination! I named it Flame because it evokes a feeling of warmth and fire. I envision the black at the lower right corner as the tip of a match and the wonderful orange, yellow and blue colors bursting forth as the flame is ignited. This picture can light any room on fire! The image came from an old piece of equipment in a salvage yard.   

 

melissaAnne Designs

If you follow melissaAnne’s blog you know that my photography dream has expanded recently. My vision is to take melissaAnne Photography and expand the abstract images to my own textiles and product line. What better time to say YES to the dream than at my first solo photography exhibit opening reception? 

Surrounded by mA Designs Labor of Love

I spent the last week and a half learning how to sew piping and zippers so I could show my first melissaAnne Designs pillows! They were all made from test swatches so the upcoming designs will be bigger and better!  Jonathan Adler check these out!  Or maybe Kate Spade or Angela Adams

melissaAnne Designs Pillows Add Color and Texture

 

Gratitude and Miracles

I appreciate everyone who came out to Linger last night to help celebrate my birthday and opening reception! I had such fun with great friends!  The support from friends in attendance and those who sent me encouraging and inspiring messages all throughout the day was heart warming. I wouldn’t be here without all of you! Thank you!!! 

My Mary Tyler Moore Moment: "You're Gonna Make It Afterall"

Please stop by Linger Cafe between now and December 14th to see the Water Colors and Urban Colors images. I promise they will spark your imagination, provide a little color therapy, and lead to lots of conversation. I’ll be there next Sunday for Brunch with friends. Let me know if you plan to stop in, which is your favorite  print, and what you see!!  

Don’t give up before the miracle.  Your miracle is out there!
 
 
 

  

  

  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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This week was incredibly special!  Not only was I preparing for my first solo art exhibit, but I attended a Woman on Fire tea party, and I was profiled as the “Woman On Fire Of the Week” by Debbie Phillips the Founder of Women on Fire.   Ever wonder how the melissaAnne Photography Water Colors Collection started?  Debbie is a strong mentor in my life so I gave her some insider information to share.  Get the never before revealed story of my Water Colors discovery by visiting Debbie’s blog and see the Water Colors image that started it all.  You won’t get this insider information anywhere else!  While you are there check out Debbie’s book, her mission to support and connect women, and read all about the tea parties she organizes.

Attending a Women on Fire Tea Party is like walking into a room filled with the gifts of compassionate, inspiring women.  For 3 hours they share their lives, their goals, their achievements, their struggles, sometimes tears, laughter, and most importantly their support and encouragement for each other.  It is a magical experience you just have to see for yourself!  You will come away with an indescribable feeling of inspiration.

Visit the Women on Fire website and sign up for the Spark Newsletter and receive a free copy of Debbie’s CD “The 7 Secrets”.  This CD helped me put the journey to my dream in over-drive!  It also gave me my new daily mantra:  “Don’t give up before the miracle.”   I’m not giving up and I’m getting closer every day!

Thank you Debbie for this touching honor!

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Thanks for visiting my blog! If you’ve been here before welcome back and thanks for continuing to follow my journey. If you haven’t, well, I’m so happy to have you join me on this magical ride!! There are so many things going on right now with my photography and designs. I’m still waiting for Jonathan Adler to “discover” me. Let’s bring some attention to melissaAnne Designs! Please click on the link and visit Jonathan’s site!! Someone pays attention to where his traffic comes from so you just might be able to help me get on his radar! Plus, I promise you will LOVE what you see in his collection and you might find the perfect gift for the holidays! OH…and if you live in the Dallas, TX area…..he’ll be at Nest December 3rd so go visit him!! AND, feel free to tell him about melissaAnne Designs if you want. I don’t mind, of course.

I took a trip recently. I didn’t pack a bag. I didn’t board a plane. I spent the day with an old friend who until last year was a regular “travel partner.” We worked together for almost 10 years and travelled around the world working with companies to develop crisis management programs. We have a special relationship, some of it stems from responding to mass casualty disasters and the bonds that are formed in those experiences; but he’s also someone I look up to, respect, and can always call upon in times of need.

Many of our trips over the years involved long flights, unknown places, and unique adventures. We both love photography and sometimes these trips were opportunities to do what we loved professionally and personally. This recent trip was not quite as exotic, it was in our own “backyard”, but it was definitely a new adventure. It was an escape from an ordinary day. It was an opportunity to recapture part of the past, live in the present, and look ahead to the future.
Jamaica Bay Nature Preserve was where our itinerary took us this beautiful, sunny, almost 70 degree October day. We were surrounded by nature, removed from my daily concrete surroundings, yet the big city I love was still in sight. This was our day to experience nature, reconnect with a trusted friend, and bond again through our love of photography. We set off on the trail through the preserve at around 10:30 a.m. with our cameras in hand. Well, I had MY camera “in hand.”

When we worked together, our professional styles were always very similar. We could finish each other’s thoughts, collaborate and develop industry leading programs and products, and feed off each other’s passion for what we did. From a photography standpoint, our styles (and equipment) couldn’t be more different. He has all the toys and bells and whistles for his Nikon. He talks about aperture, f-stops, and things I can never quite comprehend. I have my beloved Canon Powershot S5 IS and I just see and shoot. It doesn’t matter that we don’t speak the same photography language because we share the same passion for the experience.

Reaching For The Sky

Colors of Nature

As we make our way along the trail we stop to photograph different things. My friend likes birds and they are his favorite photography subject. I have a bit of a bird phobia so feathers, wings, and things that fly are not part of my portfolio. So we shoot. Together, but apart. Each capturing our own vision of the Preserve and highlighting the moments and things that speak to each of us. He looks up at the sky, I look around and down at the ground. One of us will fall behind, trying to capture something with our camera that we’ve seen with our eye, but we’re still together in the moments that make up this day.

Let the Sun Shine

Treasures in the Sand

Weathered By Time

We talk occasionally, about his new life in retirement, my new job, our families, and my plans and goals for my photography and textiles. But mostly we take pictures, the communication between us more of a silent passion that we share for the beauty around us and the desire to capture it perfectly. This is a new dimension to our relationship, which was previously based on verbal collaboration, but it’s just as strong and just as comforting.

Colors...Textures...Miracles!

Looking Past the Trees

We spend most of the day walking through the preserve, catching up to the one who moved ahead, talking about the moments and things we hope we captured, and moving the conversations along. As late afternoon approaches we take a seat by the pond and watch the ducks and swans swim, the planes on takeoff and approach to JFK, and the subway rush past. There is a world of activity surrounding us but somehow it feels serene to sit here with the comfort of an old friend, the beauty of nature, and of course my camera. It was another one of those moments that I have begun to cherish. A moment when I felt like I was complete. I was in my “place” in life. A moment in which I felt inspired to keep moving toward my dreams. One of those moments I didn’t want to end.

Reflection

Every Day Has Moments of Glow

We decided to extend our photo day and shoot the sunset but we had a few hours to kill. My photography days are never quite complete without additions to the Water Colors Collection so we take a drive in search of boat yards. After a few missed exits and turns (a comforting reminder of the old days when we were regularly driving around lost in strange cities) we eased into a small boat yard on the Bay and off I went. As enjoyable and inspiring as the whole day had been, these next few moments were exhilarating. I was in my zone. I was discovering new treasures and creating new visions. My own special visions that I enjoy sharing with others and hope someday to become the fabrics for my own design line!

melissaAnne Water Colors Collection

It was a quick visit to the boat yard and back to the preserve to catch the sunset. As we walked along the path, the setting sun blocked by trees, I was afraid the timing of our boat yard detour and my new additions to the Water Colors Collection would lead to missed opportunities for catching the colors in the sky. We reached the place on the path where the trees thinned and the water’s edge came into view just as the sun was setting into the horizon. The world before us turned brilliant shades of yellow and pink and it was as if this amazing day full of quiet self-expression and friendship was ending with an explosive, colorful exclamation point. It was a celebration of a passion and of friends coming together and creating new bonds and new memories, in our minds and in pictures.

Clouds at Sunset

My Dream Is In Color

I took a trip.  Part of the journey towards my dream.  I came back refreshed, inspired, and with new souvenirs and memories.  Moments, experiences and friendships like these are what inspire me to keep chasing that dream. One thing. Every day. One action to bring the dream a little closer. That is my mission. So, I might be waiting for Jonathan Adler, but I’m not just sitting around!  I’m making it happen.  I made my first melissaAnne Designs Water Colors Textile pillow recently. I LOVE how it turned out.

I have design ideas for the next few swatches and hope to get them made very soon!  I am excited to be the featured artist at Linger Cafe and Lounge in Brooklyn December 1-14! I will have about 8 prints on display during the show and December 5 will be a big celebration of my art and my birthday! What a great present to be able to share my visions of color and texture and be surrounded by my friends!! I can’t think of a better gift (well, maybe if Jonathan Adler showed up at the party…you know, he has a new store just down the street! You didn’t know? OH! Well go visit on your way to Linger).

Do you have a dream? Are you taking action? Leave a comment and tell us how you stay inspired and what steps you are taking to get there. You might inspire someone else or help someone take a new step toward their own dream. We can’t do it alone! We need each other, so let’s do this together.

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I have been working on a blog post about a recent adventure and I’m really excited to share it with you. I planned on coming home tonight and posting it but I’m compelled to share something else with you today. I have bad days. I have days when I don’t feel whole. Days when my passion just isn’t there and the day seems endless. Days when I daydream about big changes and drastic moves. Do you have those days? I had one today and from it I had an amazing experience of relationship and rediscovery of self.

I am so lucky to have a new relationship with a wonderful, supportive woman at work. She’s going through some tough stuff and I’m honored that she trusts me and feels she can talk to me. I am glad I am there and I want to support her. A few days ago I asked her what I could do to help her. She initially didn’t know and we ended our discussion. A few minutes later she came back and said “I need to take a walk. Every day. I need some fresh air and change of perspective. I need a push to make that happen.” I felt so elated and useful and applauded her for saying what she needed. We decided on a daily time and I immediately set it up on my calendar with a reminder so I wouldn’t forget. I am there to support her!

We’ve walked twice now. Today, in the midst of my own struggles I showed up like clockwork, determined to hold up my end of the bargain and be there for her regardless of what was going on within me. I could return to “my stuff” after the walk. So we walked and a funny thing happened. The walk and my colleague supported me! It was just a 4 block walk. But a new direction out of the building and a spontaneous turn of the corner on a never before traveled street revealed a few exhilarating photo opportunities! With my iPhone in hand I used the camera to return to the spirit of me that I love, that I feel so empowered by.

Madison Square Light

A Guiding Star

Bridge To A Dream

"Take My Hand" -Andrea Hylen

Each photo calmed me, soothed me and led to laughter and dances (literally) on the sidewalks of Manhattan. We shared something today and learned that the relationship developing is mutually supportive and empowering.  It started with a simple question and a simple answer.

“What can I do?”
“I need to take a walk.”

Is there someone in your life who needs to hear a simple question?  Don’t let the moment pass.  You might get just as much from the answer as they do!

I returned to this street alone after work with my camera in hand. I hadn’t completely rid myself of “the day” and knew I needed a little more time with my camera and the visions I still had in my head. Dusk had arrived and the lights were coming on. It was still the same street and the same photo ideas, but they were different now.  There was am emerging glow, and I felt a glow growing stronger in me too.

Suspended Beneath the Glow

Suspended Beneath the Glow

Shining Star

A Shining Star

I was in my place. I was where I am happiest. I was with my camera. It is amazing to me that just holding it in my hand creates a shift inside me. I carried it in my hand all the way to subway. Feeling the way it fit my hand and focusing on the changes I felt in my emotions and in my body. I didn’t want to put it away, I wanted it to guide me home.

A Shining Star

My Guiding Light

I am so thankful for this gift I have been given and my new appreciation of what it means to me. My camera is my change agent. It’s my second language. It’s the thing that takes away all the bad, all the fear, and all the uncertainty and replaces it with happiness and purpose.

I learned a lesson today about helping others (and helping yourself), relationships, friendships, the power of a passion, and how a simple “walk” can be so much more. You know…..it was just “one of those days.”

We all have our “camera”. It may be a furry puppy or a nuzzling cat. Maybe it’s the written word, yours or someone elses.

Tell me, what’s your “camera”?

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