What’s Your Vision?

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It started with a picture. And a mountain.

2010: I started up Pike’s Peak for the marathon. Mile eight, I turned around, defeated and discouraged.

But, on the way home I bought a plaque, with a picture of a mountain and a saying. “Now is the time. Climb your mountain. Don’t wait for your dreams to come true …”

That picture and the inspirational saying were my first vision board.

Don’t know what a vision board is? It’s a way to manifest your dream life. When you make a Vision Board, you get clear on what you want to create in your life. Once you get clarity, you select images and words from magazines, and paste them on a big poster board. Seeing this board each day aligns your brain with the outcomes you most want to attract.

Even on the days when you don’t look directly at your vision board, even on the days when you are discouraged, your brain still registers those pictures, still on some level sees them as “true.”

It sounds pretty simple. And yes, there is a process to make your Vision Board more powerful.

So why doesn’t everyone create Vision Boards? Well, I once belonged to a small group of women who were committed to creating vision boards and guess what? Working individually, on our own time, it took us MONTHS — and some of us never finished. From talking to friends, I’ve realized that most of us never even start.

The truth is most people never make the time. Life keeps us busy and distracted — too distracted to make the changes that will help us get free of the rut we are in.

It’s time to change that. On Saturday, November 4, I am hosting the first ever Color Your Dreams Vision Board Workshop.

It’s a full-day immersion for you to dream big, focus on your authentic life and ideal outcomes, and also to get the support of other like-minded dreamers.

Due to the deep nature of the work, I’ve made only 10 spaces available. (They’ll fill up pretty fast.)

Here’s what I’d like you to do: if you would be interested in something like this, all I need is your name and email in the contact form below. I’ll add you to the interest list. I won’t add you to any other lists or email you every day or even every week! Because though I’m doing this to show off the studio and reach new clients, I’m not fond of unwanted emails.

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So what happened with my “vision board” picture?

The next year I didn’t qualify for the marathon (you have to post a qualifying time in a regular marathon to even enter Pike’s Peak). I didn’t qualify the next year, either. In fact, I just gave up.

But my subconscious kept seeing that picture, and somewhere in the background of my life things were moving to get me up that mountain again.

One day by “chance” I figured out a way to lose the weight I had never been able to lose. One day I “just happened” to get on the scale and I weighed 10 pounds less … then 20 … 30.

Things started falling into place. Despite my lack of formal marathon training, I became fit enough to complete a marathon in the qualifying time frame.

In 2016 I completed the Pike’s Peak Marathon and set a personal record. This year I set another PR. And I’m looking forward to more years of accomplishment in this race as well as others!

IKnow what? I’m looking forward to your accomplishments, too! If you have a dream you really need to fulfill, I’d love to send you the workshop info!

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And now, this is my favorite picture of a mountain!



I’m going to challenge you here with some truth.

I just saw the most ghastly family photo. I won’t go further than that, but it was obvious that this was some cheap drive-by type place that doesn’t bother putting out either a good product or good art.

Maybe it was one of those quickie church directory things and as such it was convenient. But that’s actually where I’m going with this.

Because this same person put a lot of thought, and money, and effort, into her wedding.

And yet all the time, when we talk about family photos, people find a reason not to invest.

Values. Value. We use it interchangeably with money. And it’s totally true. We put our money on what we value.

We put our money on the wedding, instead of the union, the relationship. We put our money on the ceremony instead of the family. We value pomp and circumstance, and not the day to day appreciation of the connections that make our lives meaningful.

Why did I stop photographing weddings?

You want to know, really? It’s disheartening. We want a big show, photos to share on Facebook, to impress our friends, to be “you’re getting married!” Most of my friends elope now, or have small weddings, and who can blame them? I’ve got to say I think they’re coming from the right place on this.

We live in a society that will have a huge ceremony celebrating a relationship, but catch that couple out at dinner two weeks later and they are both on their phones not talking seeking connection outside the relationship. We have a big deal surrounding the event that supposedly starts the family, then we don’t take pride in the little details of life that truly make a loving family environment.

When I photograph you my tools are connection, joy, love, appreciation. Come back to your relationship, I say. Look into your spouse’s eyes again. See that little smile that made your heart leap the first time you saw it. Watch the lowered eyelashes instead of watching your TV. Put down the video game and feel the clasp of a hand held in yours.

Look at your children’s faces, their tiny hands, their chubby baby cheeks, their pouty baby lips. Listen to what they are trying to tell you.

Now, do you want a photo of them squirming and squinting for the camera while you hold them still and the photographer grumbles because he’s not getting to his next clients fast enough? Because cheap means he has to stack up someone else 20 minutes behind you? Is this really what represents your family?

Is this the memory you want?

I’m not going to tell you what to answer. It’s up to you to decide.

What do you value?

Forty Things to Do When You’re Feeling Low

It hasn’t been a great week. I’m tired. I wish I was in the forest, running. I spent too much time in the forest running, all night, and I’m sleepy. My ex has been difficult to deal with. My saving grace is that my kids are with me this week … which makes me want to stay up late, snuggling them and talking to them, but also means I have to get up early, so I can get in a workout before taking them to school.

Thursday, and I’m finally on my way back up. Solving some problems. Making some moves. Getting some motivation. And I KNOW I don’t want to be here again.

It’s time for a list, a handy reference for the next time I’m in this place. Feel free to steal, borrow, or create your own:

  1. Get rid of crap.
  2. Phone a friend.
  3. Write.
  4. Photograph for fun.
  5. Play with Legos.
  6. Daydream yourself as the person you want to become.
  7. Make homemade bread.
  8. Go for a walk.
  9. Look at pretty leaves.
  10. Love on your pets.
  11. Doodle.
  12. Smile at strangers.
  13. Learn something new.
  14. Straighten up something that needs it.
  15. Write down five blessings.
  16. Feel the wind on your face.
  17. Write down a dream.
  18. Pretend.
  19. Dance.
  20. Listen to a child.
  21. Listen to an old person.
  22. Pay someone else’s parking meter.
  23. Stretch.
  24. Write an encouraging note.
  25. Write a Thank You note.
  26. Eat chocolate (a little bit).
  27. Look at art.
  28. Listen to music.
  29. Look at the stars/clouds.
  30. Fold a paper airplane.
  31. Listen to your body.
  32. Take a nap.
  33. Open up to someone.
  34. Smell the flowers.
  35. Look up and feel the rain on your face.
  36. Sing. Loud.
  37. Go to a playground and swing on the swings.
  38. Look for a four-leaf clover.
  39. Look at old pictures.
  40. Ask for help.

One Year Later

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Photos by Marathonfoto.com. Buy your race photos! Pay money for them because it ain’t easy sitting at 13,000 feet for 10 hours. Plus, they are worth every penny!

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A year ago I ran Pike’s Peak Marathon and was so very proud of my accomplishment.

I ran the marathon once before I got married. I ran it with my new husband the year I got married, and we ran together. I ran it the next year and we ran separately.

Then a lot of stuff happened. Job troubles, a miscarriage, two babies, weight gain to a new high.

A lot of things happened emotionally too. Marriage was supposed to be ‘wedded bliss’ but I was in a worse state emotionally than I had ever even known was possible.

In 2010 I attempted Pike’s Peak and failed. I felt abandoned and unsupported before the run. I was physically with my family and yet I was more alone than I’d ever been in my life. I’ve since come to realize that wasn’t “just me imagining things.”

Marriage isn’t easy, and virtually all marriages have troubles. When both partners are willing to work on things, those problems can usually be solved.

Without going into too much detail, that turned out to not be the case for me.

So now here I am, and I’m continuing this new chapter. When you’re doing something like this, when you’re in upheaval, anniversaries become important. They are markers of where you are, of what you’ve achieved.

So what is different this year? And what have I learned?

Last year I was just beginning to get to know the friends who are now my life support system. The compassion and support shown by my running buddies brings me to tears sometimes. I don’t say this to them because it would probably be embarrassing for everyone concerned, but maybe I should. Hey guys, you know who you are. Near and far, I couldn’t do without you. Thank you for being you.

Last year I was nervous about doing everything perfectly. Not just on the run, but “behaving” and abiding by rules during my trip. I felt like I had to justify every action, every decision, to my husband. This year I let myself have fun and maybe make a few mistakes (like climbing the incline at Manitou Springs on Friday!)

Last year I was anxious coming home. This year my homecoming was peaceful. There was actually a light on for me! (Because someone who loves me — me! — left a light on!)

And that was the kicker. Walking in the door, actually being able to see my way to the staircase, all those dark nights came back and then washed away. You can fail. You can make mistakes. You can let go.

You can move on to better things. Failure is just a rock in the trail. It might trip you up but you can’t let it stop you.

Here’s to a beautiful year passed, and a beautiful year to come!




Nimrod (“Nimi”) the Dog

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Nimrod was a puppy when he was rescued from a gas station near Lake Nimrod.

Only three days after he was found, he was playing on the rural property where his new family lived, and came back with a fish hook in his lip, requiring an extra trip to the vet.

So, he got the name “Nimrod.”

“But, it’s appropriate,” says dad Robert. “Nimrod also means ‘hunter,’ so it’s a good name for a dog like him.”

That was about 12 years ago. Robert says he has been a great dog — after a trip to obedience school as a rambunctious puppy.

“Nimrod loves everybody, especially kids,” Robert says. When he is with his dad’s running friends, he makes the rounds to get petted by anyone who will pet him.

“He’s protective. We had somebody break in the house one time when we were in the country, and he happened to be in the house. The door was partially open, and they took nothing, and Nimrod was sitting in the door when when we came home. He did not let anybody else come in, obviously.”

The first thing in the morning, and the first thing when Robert gets home, he has to have his hug. He doesn’t calm down until he gets his hug and a good scratch, but then he’s fine.

Now he and his dad are two guys living by themselves and Nimi is there every day at the end of the day to greet Robert. He’s a great companion. “He’s always got love for you, always got attention,” Robert says. “I love this dog to death.”


Know an amazing rescue dog that ought to be part of this project? Keep reading!

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I See You

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“I see you.”

The text came through from my friend as I was driving to see him. “I feel you because I see you.” Like some of my wonderful empathic friends can do, he had managed to somehow divine what I was doing at that exact moment.

It made me feel amazing and wonderful and loved. And then it made me want to turn around and drive back home. As I was driving home, after my visit, I started to want some time “away.” I stopped to hike, to disappear into the woods.

I wanted to be seen. I’ve wanted that for years, but I then I wanted to disappear. Why?

We do all want to be seen, but there’s something else that pulls us back into hiding.

What if I’m not good enough? What if I show my rawest, most emotional side and I wind up being rejected? What if I bare my heart and it winds up being torn out and trampled on?

What then?

I think many of us long to be seen, but our instinct for hiding comes in strong. We are worried that we aren’t wonderful enough, attractive enough, strong enough. We’re not “enough” of something. This creates all kinds of problems as we attempt to compensate in one way or another: we become a workaholic so we can have enough money; we have eating disorders so we can be thin enough; we spend too much on clothes so we can be fashionable enough … and on and on and on.

But what if we were seen for the person that, deep down, we know ourselves to be? What if all the wonderful parts of us came together in one story, that we could return to every day.

This all came to me as I’m putting together The Portrait Event. It’s a campaign of sorts and while of course I have to market it, it isn’t a marketing campaign. It’s a campaign of seeing, of acknowledging the wonder in the individual.

What if we were seen? What is we got the chance to be who we really are, for a few moments: our best selves, and kept getting to return to that over and over?

Would the fear leave us? As more and more people saw that photo on our walls, as we shared it with more and more people, wouldn’t we become more of that wondrous person?

This is a human campaign, a campaign to do my little part in pushing you forward towards your good. Want to join? Here’s the form:


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Anniversaries and Beginnings

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Today is new.

Today is the beginning.

Your beginning. Mine too.

Today is also an anniversary, for me.

Today is a beginning because I’m restructuring the blog. It’s something I’ve been saying I was going to do for a very long time, but now I’m doing it. Stories need to be shared, and lots of people have asked about mine. I tend to get shy about sharing things, but there are just things that need to be out there. I’m going to go ahead with it, not worrying about what other people think. I know there are those (my ex) who don’t want me to talk about certain experiences. But this is MY experience too, and someone might benefit from me sharing it. I’ve weighed the potential benefits against the negatives and concluded that I’ve been silent for too long.

In fact silence got me in a mess. The mess I was in two years ago.

Sitting in a hotel room. Wishing a person could really die from grief and pain and despair. Because I would have died, that night.

I was hopeless. I was being emotionally abused, systematically, and with a giant case of “frog in a pot” syndrome I had come to accept it. Except for days like that day, two years ago, when the little bit of FIGHT still left in me reared its head.

There were always consequences to this, understand. And the consequence on the previous day had been that I was viciously attacked, until I was really ready to jump out of the car.

Which was a moving car. 60 miles an hour. On the Interstate.

The horrified look on the faces of my kids brought me back to sanity. But I knew I would pay for this, too. That, though he had driven me to this move with his attacking, he would still say I was crazy, that I was mentally unstable. That he would hold the threat of that over me, the possibility that I might be separated from my kids, to keep me stuck in the marriage.

Why tell such a personal thing? Because someone else is there, right now. Someone else has this same kind of situation going on. Someone else doesn’t acknowledge it as abuse, because there’s no hitting, no name-calling, no locking you out of the house or threats. Just a relentless verbal attack, implied threats, maybe a bit of economic power thrown in.

So now I’m going to tell you where I got to, so you know there’s a happy ending. The scope of my story in the coming days and weeks will cover the journey, from that day to this and onward. And while some of it will be honest and raw, like this, I promise some of it will be funny and light. Hopefully most of all it will be inspirational.

Today I’m happily single, enjoying my life, in better shape than I’ve ever been (even as a teenager). Things have fallen into place, at this point seemingly effortlessly. I don’t fear life any more. I’m not anxious. I’m free. I have shared custody of my amazing kids. They have a better relationship with me, and with their dad.


I lived. I had a friend two years ago who was also in despair. We connected in that space. She did not survive. I’m doing this for her, and all of those like us who get to that hopeless place. I’m doing this to say that there is one real guarantee: life will change. There is always the possibility of something better, something created between you and the Universe that will take you in the direction of your dreams.

So let’s go.

Love you, C.




Mississippi Photo Sessions

Would you love a photo experience in which each person is represented as his or her unique and beautiful self?

Do you desire personal and careful planning where you are allowed to reconnect with your loved ones and guided through the photography experience to create something that will be a treasure and heirloom in your family for many years to come?

A Mariposa Studio photographic experience is coming to you. May 31 I am opening up only three session times in Brookhaven, Mississippi. You save $200 with the entry-level investment for this experience priced at only $250, which includes planning for your session, the session fee, two signature matted prints, and a personalized design consultation where we will assist you in creating something incredible to grace the walls of your home and give you joy for many years.

Please note that after purchasing you will be redirected to our contact page. You MUST fill out your phone number so we can begin our planning to assure you the ultimate photographic experience!

To book the 9:30 a.m. time slot:

To book the 1 p.m. time slot:

To book the 4 p.m. time slot: