Another Day, Another Chapter

I woke up early this morning to a beautiful sunrise… most of the leaves have fallen off the trees so I was able to see the mountain through the forest. What a mesmerizing sight! I get to see this tranquil view everyday from my front porch instead of the rush hour traffic that used to greet me. I can’t believe it has been over a year since I moved from living in a small rental house on a gravel lot next to the noisy freeway to this beautiful six acre property out in the country. Instead of traffic noise and exhaust fume, I get to listen to singing birds, and smell fresh mountain air.

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Besides my change of address, I also made another big change to my career. After 2 1/2 years of 5 to 6 hours of stressful daily commute to my even more stressful management job in Seattle — I decided to quit the rat race. Every day, I would wake up at 4:30 a.m. and leave home at 5:30 a.m. so I could catch the train or express bus to the city and then I had to either catch the slow street car or walk up the steep 1 mile hill to my office. Then, I spend the next 8 hours working with challenging staff and clients. Because of the chaotic traffic in Seattle, I don’t usually get home until 6 or 7 p.m.. I find myself physically sick and rundown constantly. I had no life other than sleep and work. What little time I had, I was too tired and depressed to do anything. Which explains why my last blog post was almost 2 years ago.

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I don’t know what happened to the city of Seattle… it is no longer the beautiful city I used to know. The city now seems very dilapidated and is full of unfriendly, unhappy people. Inevitably, I became one of those people. While I was afraid to give up the security of a  good income, when I noticed my physical and mental health was being severely impacted; it was time for me to move on. I decided to take the obvious opportunity with the property. I started a mini-farm endeavor — in addition to using my other creative talents to generate an income. I am so grateful that I finally have the means to pursue my passion of living off the land and enjoy this beautiful nature around me.

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It Was The Best of Times… It Was The Worst of Times… It’s Life.

As 2017 comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect back to the last few years of my life and how far I have come from the worst of times to the best of times. Those of you who have been following my blog for some time, have witnessed my struggles and celebrations. Thank you for your support and kindness.

The Best of Times…

Four years ago, just when I thought life would give me a break, I fractured my left ankle during the first day of my 7 day Hawaiian vacation. It wasn’t exactly the break I was looking for. At the time, all I could see were regrets and pain. If only, I wasn’t so eager to chase after that turtle! If only I wasn’t so clumsy… if only I didn’t take that step… If only… Oh the regrets that occupied my mind…

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That step took me down a hole so deep that I thought I would never be able to climb out. But somehow, I did. As terrible as that step was for me, I realized; I would not be where I am today had I not taken that slippery step. The broken and painful step took me on the path of living a purposeful life — where I can use my life experience to help other people who are still stuck in their own deep holes to see a way out. The job affords me the opportunity to live the independent life I had lost so many year ago.

For my 52nd birthday last month, I went back to Hawaii to celebrate my independence.

IMG_3426_resizedI finally fulfilled my dream to swim with the turtle after three years of waiting.

DSC_8226I rediscovered love with me, myself and I.  And found myself at the end of the rainbow.

IMG_1508Life Lessons learned: Things happen for a reason, good or bad. No regrets. Learn from it and move on. Have faith. The right opportunity will show up when you are ready to receive it. You never know where that next step will take you.

The Worst of Times…

After I got back from Hawaii, a very difficult decision was waiting for me to make. My beloved Max was having hard time walking. I took him to the vet and was given the bad news that cancerous tumors have invaded his entire body. I could prolong his life for a few months with surgery and chemo. Given the fact, Max was 12 years old; I decided to help him live the rest of his life as comfortably as possible. And hoping, maybe… by some miracle that he would get better on his own. Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks; I knew I was only being selfish keeping him. I did the inevitable and took him to the vet for his final check-up.

Now that he’s gone, I realized I took him for granted. Maximus Minumus, a true friend and companion who never complained, never hurt me or anyone, was always ready to play and most of all give unconditional love.

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DSC_8238This photo was taken two hours before I took him to the vet. Even to the end, he was ready to play; even if all he could do was to sit there and enjoy the the moment.

Life lessons I learned from Max:  Live life in the moment. Accept the good and the bad. Enjoy what you have. Give love and kindness even if the person doesn’t deserve it. Smile even when you hurt. Don’t complain. It’s Life.

May All Beings Be Happy and Peaceful… Happy New Year.

 

Wishing…

Wishing you a million…

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May you have a million moments of joy,
A million moments of love,
A million moments of pure happiness,
A million moments of good health and wealth.
In short…
May All Beings Be Happy and Peaceful!!

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My Daily Commute

Hello fellow bloggers! I can’t believe it has been over two years years since my last post. Many events have taken place in that time and I’m happy to say, mostly good. It has been a long and winding road but I finally found the way out of the detour and on to the right path… there were dark moments where I had my doubts that I would ever find my way out; it was also during those moments that I found myself, and the courage and strength,  I would need to take me back to the purposeful life I’ve been praying to God for.

In the last couple of years, I’ve been given the opportunity to have a purposeful job that allows me the financial independence I’ve lacked for so long… while the daily train commute is long, it gives me time to enjoy the beautiful passing views. These shots were taken with my Samsung tablet on auto setting.

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Nautical Discovery

A few weeks ago, I took the furry kids for our usual walk around the boat filled marina near where I live. I have walked around the marina many times — admiring many of the beautiful boats tied to the docks, and daydreaming about sailing. My mind filled with the romantic notion of sailing to different places and someday… perhaps I might even sail around the world. Sounds rather crazy when I don’t know how to sail nor do I know anything about sailing and I have never owned a boat. Okay, I did have a kayak years ago but I don’t think that count as a real boat.

For some reason on that day, I decided to walk down an unfamiliar path. I thought it would be nice to give the furry kids different places to sniff and to get me out of the comfort zone. As the furry kids and I walked by a nice sail boat, the owner with a friendly smile said hello to me. Since he seemed friendly, I stopped to say hello. We chatted about sailing, boats and other topics. Well, the path took me to an opportunity I didn’t expect to find. Sometimes you just never know who you might meet… that will change your life for the better. Pirate John took me sailing… 😀

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What an amazing day it was yesterday for my debut as a sailor. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the wind — just right for testing out my sea legs and I’m very happy I passed with flying colors. I didn’t get sea sick nor did I fall overboard. The biggest challenge for me was to hold my camera steady while trying to stand firm on deck. Thankfully, Pirate John was a good sailor and he was able to navigate well on the sea. Once I began to get my footing on the motion and bouncing waves, I was able to shoot with abandon to get interesting POV of the 40 foot sail boat. It was a wonderful day… after six hours of sun and relaxation; I felt my creativity rejuvenated to a level it hasn’t been in a long time. While the bright afternoon sunlight and moving motion made the shooting challenging, it was one of the best times I’ve ever had in years. I discovered my love for sailing isn’t just a romantic notion and that someday, I want to realize my dream of sailing around the world… ALOHA!

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Hello, World…

Hello everyone, I’m still here and doing well. It has been a while since my last post. I hope to get back into regular blogging next year, which I can’t believe is less than a week away. Where did the time go?? 2013 has been a year of surprising opportunities and rediscovery for me — both good and not so pleasant. But in the end, I try to learn from my furry kids, Evie and Max… live life in the moment and enjoy the good times regardless of its duration — for I’m grateful to be alive, healthy, and with my humanity still intact. Best wishes to everyone, see you next year…

“May All Beings Be Happy & Peaceful.”

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Cover Debut

Tomorrow will be the three-year anniversary for  Emily’s Photography Blog.  In the beginning, I wasn’t expecting anything great would come from blogging. I started the blog because I was unemployed and the daily blogging kept my mind busy.  However it didn’t take long for my expectation to change — especially after my tumor operation a couple of years ago. I realized that photo blogging did more than just keeping my mind occupied. The blog taught me about determination, friendship, selfless sharing, support and learning about life around the world through pictures. Most importantly, it made me appreciate and perfect my skills so that I can become the professional photographer that I am today. So my fellow bloggers. Just keep taking pictures, blog about it and enjoy the journey… because you never know who might be looking and want to pay you for your hard work.

In the three years of blogging, I have received many requests to use my photos. I have granted all but one request for free. Normally, I’m okay without getting pay and would settle for a credit and link back to my blog. However, the one that I have turned down was actually someone who works in a famous hotel in New York City. The person was interested in using my photos for the walls in the restaurant. At first I was very tempted in letting them use it for free. After all, the hotel is famous. But then I thought, if I do that then I would only depreciate my own skills and the value of my work. It’s not as if they couldn’t afford the small payment I was asking. I wasn’t going to let my work be used by people who could afford to pay regardless of how much potential exposure I might get. I’ve learned long ago that I would rather get paid and get the exposure at the same time. If they want my work, they should pay for it. I’m sure they wouldn’t let me stay at the hotel for free.

Anyway, a month ago, I received a request to use my photos from the creative director of 1859 Oregon’s Magazine.  And on top of that, my photo debut made the cover of the magazine. When I received the check a month later, it was an amazing feeling to be compensated fairly for my hard work. I’m so glad I stay true to my values.  Thank you everyone for your support and wonderful comments. Your uplifting and kind words have helped me through these dark periods of my life in more ways then you’ll ever know…   🙂

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Good Things Take Time…

I’ve been trying desperately to find work since the closing of my restaurant in October. Yet, it was one rejection after another. I discovered the grass isn’t always greener somewhere else, especially in the desert.

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I was facing homelessness and was to the point of great despair about life when the generous support of a caring friend came to rescue me in time. I was given the opportunity to start over. Although, when I no longer have my restaurant to keep me busy, I knew the lack of diversity and slow pace life style in Arizona just wasn’t for me. I moved back to the place where my heart is.

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See Through The Forest

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After moving back in December, while I had a roof over my head and food to eat; I was still struggling to find work. Once again, it was one rejection after another. After three months of rejections, I was so disgusted with all the bullshit employment discrimination: too old, over qualify, not enough experience, too skinny, too whatever… when I was rejected for making sandwiches, I really hit bottom. I came home feeling so useless and sad but also angry. I just couldn’t believe that someone with my experience and qualifications was so unemployable.

After ranting to myself, I decided I wasn’t going to let these rejections get the best of me. I told myself that someone out there will find my skills and talents an asset. I just need to have faith that good things will happen soon… and wouldn’t you know, ask and you shall receive. The following week, I went from willing to be a sandwich maker for a minimum wage to being hired as a General Manager in charge of a rest stop building project by a multimillion property developer. The rest stop will be a destination place with a restaurant, a gift shop, a beer garden and a wine tasting room. And as if the new job wasn’t enough, a creative director from a well established Oregon magazine, saw the photos on my blog and decided to use some of the photos for a feature article in their next issue, including the cover. I was beyond elated by the turn of events. I mean, I went from unemployable to being a general manager and a professional photographer all in two weeks.

The other night as I was watching a silly comedy movie called Rat Race, one of the characters said this quote… “Good things take time, great things happen all at once”. While the movie isn’t exactly award worthy, the quote got me to think about all the great things that seem to happen to me all at once in the month of April. Yes, it took many years to build all the skills that I am now using for managing the rest stop project. And for the last three years, this blog gave me the opportunity to developed the photography skills to take photos that is cover worthy!! The magazine will hit the stores tomorrow. Yup, doing the happy dance… 😀

I Made It!

Hope Springs

Hello everyone! Thank you for all your good wishes and comments. I’m sorry for the lack of response. Since the closing of my restaurant, I’ve been on the move for a new life and all my stuff are packed away in storage, including my computer. Hopefully, I’ll have some good news to share in my next post.

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
— Andy Dufresne (quote from Shawshank Redemption movie)

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Living On The Edge

Standing strong and tall
Your beauty is eternal.
Surrounded by abundance and peace
Yet choosing to live on the edge,
Exposed to the perils of life,
For it cuts you like a knife.

Reaching out selflessly
Your strength is admirable,
And your courage is contagious.
For you know the storm will pass,
And the sun will shine again
Through the darkness…