365 More People Pictures - Week 50

Hello!  

I'm sorry that I fell so far behind on the blog.  I've continued taking a picture of a person, every single day, and I post the daily pictures to Instagram. (you can follow me @missellanea)

I'm experiencing so many new life changes - some fabulous new developments, and some not-so-great. More about that soon, but in the meantime, I simply fell behind. 

The photo challenge is still intact. In real-time, I've finished the second "365 More People Pictures" project, and I'm currently working on the next project: "1,111 Photo Streak." The 1,111 Day Photo Streak is the combination of the first two 365 Day Projects, plus another 381 days added to the end.  When finished,  365 + 365 + 381 = will equal a total of 1,111 straight days of taking a picture of a person every single day.  

Here's week 50 of the 365 More People Pictures Project. I've discovered that since so much time has passed, it feels awkward explaining that things may have changed for the person since the time the photo was taken,  so I'm just writing this as though it were fresh. 

 

Day 343- Mimi

This is Mimi.  We met at the park.  The happiest thing happening in her life is meeting new friends, and being with family. Mimi recently moved back to the area.

Something about herself that she considers to be a success is that she graduated college.  It took several years and she accomplished it by taking just one class at a time, but she did it!  She managed to do so while moving all across the country because of her military lifestyle.

When I first approached Mimi, I thought she was Claire from the week prior.  These two ladies are both so interesting and personable, I hope by now the two of them have met.  I've bumped into each of them since taking their picture and now I look for them whenever I'm at the park.  

Mimi's recent act of kindness is that she accompanied an 89 year old woman who needed a little assistance on her vacation. 

I visited with Mimi for quite a while this day, but looking back on my notes to share with you - I discovered a lot of blank space in my journal.   Although I'm disappointed I didn't take better notes, I realized it was because I just set my pen down and allowed myself to be present with Mimi.  I allowed myself to just be.   Mimi is warm and welcoming, and she's had a fascinating life.  One thing I've learned in this project is that just about everyone has a fascinating tale or two, but we often fail to seek it out.

 

Day 344 - Devin

This is Devin.  The happiest thing happening in his life is his girlfriend.

Devin's recent act of kindness is that he bought a beer for someone he didn't know.

"To make other people happy," Devin answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

Something about himself he considers to be a success is his confidence.  "I didn't always have it," he explained.  It's funny the assumptions we make about people in just a split second.  I think most people would be surprised to learn that Devin struggled with confidence, just like the rest of us.  I'm happy he's found confidence in himself and his abilities.

 

Day 345 - Ken and Henry

This is Ken and his canine kid, Henry.  The happiest thing happening in Ken's life is that he just started a new job.

Ken tries to do little acts of kindness every day, but one thing that came to mind is that he recently gave one of Henry's play friends a new dog toy. 

"To enjoy it," Ken said, is his life's purpose.

When I asked Ken something about himself he considers to be a success, he answered, "I have a great career that I enjoy."

 

Day 346 - Sydney

This is Sydney.  The happiest thing happening in her life right now is that she just moved to Portland.

Sydney's job is actually an act of kindness. She's currently interning as a physical therapist. 

"To help others to heal," Sydney said, is her life's purpose.  I've noticed a common thread woven throughout this project after having met so many different types of people working in both mental and physical health care.  It seems those working in this field; therarpists social workers, massage therapists, nurses - have all recognized this calling to be a "healer."  It's not a field one just chooses.  It seems like they truly recognize their life's purpose is in helping others to be well.

I loved Sydney's answer when I asked her something about herself which she considers to be a success. "I should be way more fucked up, and I'm not," she said with a laugh.

Day 347 - Sarah

This is Sarah.  When I approached and asked if I could take her picture for the project, at first, she happily agreed.  After a moment, she started to reconsider having her picture published.  I could tell that Sarah wanted to help me, and she also liked the idea of the project and being included.  However, I could see she had big reservations.  Sarah then suggested that I take a picture of just a portion of her face as a way that we could accomplish both her inclusion in the project, and also allow her to have a degree of anonymity.  

After her brilliant idea, she was then extremely patient with me as I got all up in her face.  Having never really done a picture like this, I think I was actually more uncomfortable than Sarah!  She didn't mind while I took several pictures until we got just the right amount of her facial features.  

The happiest thing happening in Sarah's life is that she's been awarded a full scholarship to go to school for geology. 

Something about herself that she considers to be a success, is that she's fluent in two languages.

When I asked Sarah her life's purpose, she answered, "To be submissive to the universe and go with the flow in an organic way."  

I'm so happy that Sarah didn't just abandon the project, but rather she helped me push this a little and get creative.  In hindsight, Sarah's life's purpose is completely fitting.  Together, we just went with the flow. 

 

Day 348 - Jason

This is Jason.  The happiest thing happening in his life is that he just moved to Portland and was promoted at his job.  

Jason constantly looks for opportunities to perform little acts of kindness, mainly at his job.  Being the new guy, he keeps his eyes open for someone who may be having a bad day.  Jason then showers that person with a little extra kindness, attention, and smiles.  Awww, Jason sounds like the best co-worker ever!

"To inspire others," Jason said, is his life's purpose. 

When I asked Jason something about himself he considers to be a success, he answered, "making it to the West Coast, and being self-sufficient." 

 

Day 349 - Celeste & Skai

This is Celeste and her daughter Skai. We met at the 3 Days of Aloha Festival in downtown Vancouver.

"Having my daughter and being here," Celeste answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life.  Skai agreed, saying, "what I'm doing right now, and eating Kalua Pig." Great answer, Skai!

"To teach her good values," Celeste answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

I asked Skai something about herself she considers to be a success, and then simplified the question to ask something she's good at.  "I'm a good Tae Kwon Do student," Skai answered.

Here's a summary of the life's purposes of some of the subjects from week 50:

  • To make other people happy.
  • To enjoy it.
  • To help others to heal.
  • To be submissive to the universe and go with the flow in an organic way.
  • To inspire others.
  • To teach her good values.

Thank you to everyone who has let me take their picture for this project.  I appreciate your kindness and your time.  And, thanks to you for reading this and not giving up on me!  This thing is still going, and I'll be better about sharing it with you here on the blog, instead of keeping all of these amazing people as my own little treat. 

Thank you!

365 More People Pictures - Week 49

Hello! This is week 49 of my second personal challenge to take a picture of a person, every day, for a year.

This blog is actually a few weeks behind real-time.  I'm sorry I'm behind here, but you can follow along in real-time on Instagram, where I post daily.  My Instagram username is @missellanea.

 

Day 336 - Claire

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This is Claire.  We met in the park where I spotted her sitting on a bench, reading a book, and looking like she was just enjoying the day.  We ended up visiting for quite a while.  She told me a little about her life, and I told her a little about mine.  We discovered that we share many similarities and in some aspects, we're living (or about to live) parallel lives.   I love that this project has introduced me to so many great people. Visiting with Claire felt like I was talking with my mom or aunts.

The happiest thing happening in Claire's life is she's recovering from skin cancer, and she's also going to visit Spain and stay with family.

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Claire's recent act of kindness is that she gave bus fare to a girl who appeared to be in a bad situation and needing to get out.  Claire also gave a sandwich to a homeless person, along with a reusable bag for the person to carry their belongings.

"Being aware of life and understanding cultures," Claire said, is her life's purpose.

When I asked Claire something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "I think I'm a little clairvoyant, or I read people."  Perhaps she's both...the interaction we shared was one in which I really needed this day and I felt better having met her.  Hopefully she felt the same.

Thank you, Claire.

 

Day 337 - Sher

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This is Sher.  I love it when I ask people the happiest thing happening in their lives, and they're so positive and so many great things are happening, that they can't choose just one. (The only thing that makes me happier than this, is when someone is temporarily in a bad spot, but still manages to find happiness, or gratitude, in something...even if it is simply just being alive.)  Sher decided to give the answer that she's happy to be close to her daughter, and her relationship.

Sher was recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness, twice over, in one situation. She scored a great used washer from FreeCycle and her friend drove over 30 miles to help her pick it up!  (That's a great friend!)

"To bring more joy into the world," Sher answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Sher something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "I have a great kid!"

Thank you, Sher.

 

Day 338 - Nate

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This is Nate.  The happiest thing happening in his life right now is his marriage.  One surprising observation I've had during these past two years, is that men are entirely more sentimental and sensitive than what I've ever realized.  I haven't gone back to do an actual count of how many guys have answered that their relationship is the happiest thing happening in their life, but the number is surprisingly high, and actually quite touching.

Nate's recent act of kindness is that before we met, he had just held the door open for a large family.

"Life's just to enjoy it," Nate answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Again, Nate is another person who grounds us and reminds us that while we're in pursuit of our dreams and  fulfilling our mission in life, we must remember to also enjoy it!

"I'm pretty successful in my career," Nate answered, when I asked something about himself that he considers to be a success.  Nate has managed to find it all.  Happy marriage, successful career, and he's enjoying life too!   Thank you, Nate!

Day 339 - Parrish

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This is Parrish.  The happiest thing happening in his life is that he's been clean and sober for a while, he's getting back in the gym, and he's going to school for engineering.

"To do something to change the world for the better," Parrish answered, when I asked his life's purpose. I was happy for Parrish, and reminded him that simply by keeping clean, he's already changed his little corner of the world for the better.

"Being a father...the father I never had, and having a good relationship with my kids," Parrish answered, when I asked something about himself he considers to be a success.

Wishing you continued happiness and success, Parrish.

Day 340 - Becki

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This is Becki. You've met her before.  She's one of my oldest and dearest friends.  Although I didn't look up her comments from her first appearance in this project, we laughed because we're pretty sure she had given very similar answers.

The happiest thing happening in her life at the time of this picture, is that she had just returned from a great vacation with her family.

Becki is one of those people who pretty much performs an act of kindness at least a half-dozen times a day.  She's just that nice, thoughtful and caring.  She's also trying to instill in her kids to be of service to the community and to those in need, so her service-work is a family affair.  They volunteer with several different programs, events and organizations.  While on vacation, they saw a girl crying on the side of the road so they stopped to offer help. "I just need to get home," the girl cried.  Becki gave the girl all of the food they had left, water, and money for a bus ticket.

"Live each day to the fullest because you don't know if you'll be here tomorrow," Becki answered, when I asked her life's purpose.  Becki embraces this and truly lives it each day.  She survived a near-fatal accident just after high school, and because of it, she packs in about 3 days worth of living into each day.

When I asked Becki something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "my family...my kids." Her kids are smart, kind and loving and they're growing into exceptional young adults.

Becki, thank you for being the beautiful mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend that you are.  I love you.

 

Day 341 - Amber

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This is Amber.  We met outside of Hollywood Theatre.  I seriously did a double check, and then a triple check, to make sure she wasn't Cameron Diaz.  Amber is as nice and fun, as she is beautiful.  She was on a date and I just wanted to steal her away so that we could go make more pictures!  She's just so much fun in front of the camera!

When I asked Amber the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she answered, "this man right behind me," as she looked over her shoulder to her date who was patiently waiting for us to finish doing our thing.

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Amber feels like she's on both the receiving and giving end of kindness every day!  Recently, she lost her wallet and a stranger returned it to her!

"To meet and interact with people," Amber said, is her life's purpose.  She's living this purpose - I don't think you could walk past Amber without stopping to visit with her.  She radiates fun and friendliness, and she's someone you just have to talk to!

When  I asked Amber something about herself she considers a success, she answered, "my babies."

Thank you for being your bright and sunshiny self, Amber!

 

Day 342 - David

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This is David.  When I met David, he and his photographer/videographer friends were in a hurry, chasing light, on their way to go shoot one of the bridges.   We only had time for one question, but we exchanged numbers and we did the rest of the "interview" via text messages.

"To make other people happy," David answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

Below are the rest of David's answers from our text interview.  (I want to try this more often!)

Question:  What is the happiest thing happening in your life right now?

David's Answer:  I have been doing a lot of reflection and practicing self awareness recently in my life, and I'm finally finding my own way here in Portland.  I moved here a year and a half ago, for a job, and finally finding my way.

Question:  Have you recently performed an act of kindness or have you been on the receiving end of an act of kindness?

David's Answer:  I work for Willamette University's professional MBA program. On Wednesday, my coworker and I drove down to Eugene and back to Portland, delivering over 200 sugar cookies to a dozen of our students at their work. It was surprising for so many of our students who work full time, have families and lives and also take MBA classes. I am amazed by all of them. They're the reason it's easy to come to work everyday, so we do what we can to make them feel happy.

Question:  What's something about yourself you consider to be a success?

David's Answer:  My biggest success has been my personal growth since I moved here. I'm becoming the man I always wanted to be.  I used to cry at sleepovers, (in my own backyard) worrying about my family.  And [now] I find myself 2800 miles from home, away from family, starting and building a life for myself.  I even surprise myself sometimes!

I loved meeting David.  He's the type of person with whom you feel an instant connection.  We said we would do coffee some day, and so much time has passed, I worry he wouldn't remember me.  But, he's been on my mind and I definitely want to be in touch with him again soon.  Thank you, David.  I hope we can make that coffee date happen.

I loved our text interview.   Regretfully, I haven't used a voice recorder for this project.   I just jot notes in my journal as quickly as I can.  Some people are short and concise in their answers and I can easily write what they've said, but other people's answers are long, beautiful, interactions but I miss so much of their valuable significance and wisdom because I'm simply unable to note everything they've said.   I have to rely on my memory to fill in the gaps left by the hastily written notes in my journal.  And, I had no idea my poor little memory was going to get so spotted after 40-ish-something.  If I were to ever continue doing this, I think it's time to get serious and record the interviews. I've now even considered broadcasting the interviews live on Periscope.  (But I'm just way too bashful for that, and I think potential subjects would also shy away from an interview if they knew it would be a live broadcast to the world - or at least the few people watching live on Periscope.)   At the very least, I think it's time to dig deeper and learn even more about people's personal stories.

Here's the summary of the life's purpose of the subjects from this week:

  • Being aware of life and understanding cultures.
  • To bring more joy into the world.
  • Life's just to enjoy it.
  • To do something to change the world for the better.
  • Live each day to the fullest because you don't know if you'll be here tomorrow.
  • To meet and interact with people.
  • To make other people happy.

Thank you to every subject in this project. If you would like your picture, please don't hesitate to email me.

And, thank you for continuing to follow along. I'm striving to get back on track and will keep working at it until I do.

Have a great week!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 48

Hello! This is week 48 of the 365 More People Pictures Project.

In real time, I've actually finished this second 365 Day project.  I've decided to combine the first 365 Day Project, together with this 365 Day Project, add another 270 Days, and call it: "1KPhotoaday." I'm currently working on the last 270 photos, and I instagram those pictures daily.

I'm sorry I've fallen so behind on the blog.  Summer is peak season at my work and some big life changes are happening right now.  I've fallen behind and it's been a challenge to catch up.  Please know that I've continued to take a picture of a person every day, and if you'd like to follow along with the daily photo, my Instagram username is @missellanea.

 

Day 48 - Edward

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This is Edward.  We met at a rest stop along I-5.

The happiest thing happening in Edward's life, is his 10-year-old Son.

When I asked Edward his life's purpose, he explained that it changes all the time, but presently ,"it's my family...taking care of them."

"My career has been a success so far, and the raising of my family...that's what drives me," Edward said, when I asked something about himself he considers to be a success.

Thank you, Edward.

 

Day 330 - Deandre

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This is Deandre.  We met walking down the street.

"My children," Deandre answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Deandre's life's purpose:  "to add to life."

"Graduating high school," Deandre said, is something about himself he considers a success.

Thank you, Deandre! Wishing you and your children much happiness.

 

Day 331 - Neil

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This is Neil.

The happiest thing happening in his life is graduating college.  Neil looked so stylish and professional, I assumed he had already landed a job after college and had just finished work, but Neil explained that he had been out job-hunting all day.  I asked Neil what his dream job would be and he said working for ESPN.

"To learn and to educate others," Neil answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Neil something about himself which he considers a success, he answered, "it took 8 years but I finished a college degree while holding down a job and going to school."

Congratulations, Neil!  Wishing you the very best of luck in finding a job that both fulfills and sustains you.

 

Day 332 - Elissa

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This is Elissa. We met at the bus stop.

When I asked Elissa the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she said that she's happy when she's tending to the plants she's growing, or whenever she's outside, or riding her bike.

I asked Elissa if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of kindness.  On the receiving end, her co-worker had just given her a ride to the bus stop where we met.  The ride cut out a ton of travel time and a couple busses on her commute home.  On the giving end, Elissa found $10 and a receipt at the store.  She gave both the money and the receipt to the cashier, hoping it could be returned.

"To realize my gifts and to embody them, and to use, or be, them to the fullest," Elissa answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

Elissa's answer touches on why I even ask this question.  There are some pretty amazing people in my life, both personally and professionally.  The only downside of being around so many amazing people who have their shit together, is that it can really cause you to question and examine your own life, sometimes resulting in massive feelings of inadequacy.  Maybe "inadequacy" isn't the right word.  At the very least, amazing people who have their shit together, motivate you to want to get your own shit together too!

One of the common characteristics of some of the people I admire and who are of inspiration to me, is that they don't wander aimlessly in life.  They live with purpose and it seems like they've had definiteness of purpose nearly their entire lives.  Like Elissa, even if they didn't know that exact purpose, they didn't sit around waiting for purpose to find them.  They explored life, looking for meaning and their place in it.

Yes, I think it's probably apparent from this project and the questions that I ask, that I'm experiencing a bit of an existential crisis.  I would blame it on my age, mid-40's, but I think I've been this way my entire life.  I believe we're here for a reason, and as much as I've searched, I've not yet found mine. Hearing the answers of all of the subjects in this project is getting me closer to the target.   Even the subjects in this project who believe we really have no set purpose in life, ironically, seem to fill the purpose of reminding the rest of us to be easy, have fun, enjoy life, and that pursuing happiness is an adequate and admirable purpose in life.

This project has gotten me closer to my life's purpose than anything I've experienced so far...I know it is part of my purpose.  At least, it feels like the only meaningful thing I've done with myself in my 40-something years.  But, I'm not done yet.

Thank you, Elissa.  One of  your gifts is planting seeds...be it seeds of actual plants, or of ideas. You help things to grow.

 

Day 333 - Tiana

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This is Tiana.  We met on the street.

The happiest thing happening in Tiana's life is that she just moved to Portland.

When I asked if she had recently performed and act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she said that a friend drove with her to help her move from Nebraska to Portland!  What a great friend!

"To bear witness to other people's journey and to lead them gently back to themselves," Tiana said, is her life's purpose.  If you gathered from Tiana's answer that she's a social worker, you would be correct.

Thank you, Tiana! Welcome to Portland!

 

Day 334 - Michelle

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This is Michelle.  We met on the street.

The happiest thing happening in her life is her new job, and hanging out with friends.

Michelle's recent act of kindness is that she gave a BBQ dinner to her neighbor who has 3 kids.

"To care about others and to give to others whatever I can," Michelle answered, when I asked her life's purpose.   Michelle added that we always have something we could give, share or do for others.  We may not have unlimited funds, but we can always give of our time or of ourselves.

 

Day 335 -  Ryan

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This is Ryan.  We met on the street.

The happiest thing happening in his life is his new job.

When I asked Ryan if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness, he answered, "both."  Ryan collects jackets and clothing for homeless people and some of the local bars even help him in his collection efforts by setting out collection barrels to gather clothing.  On the receiving end, his bike got a flat tire and a complete stranger gave him a ride home!

"To serve, and to be the neighbor that everybody wants," Ryan answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

"That I'm still alive," Ryan answered, when I asked something about himself he considers a success.

Thank you, Ryan.  I would want you for my neighbor.

 

Here's a summary of the life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • It's my family...taking care of them.
  • To add to life.
  • To learn and educate others.
  • To realize my gifts and to embody them, and to use, or be, them to the fullest.
  • To bear witness to other people's journey and to lead them gently back to themselves.
  • To care about others and to give to others whatever I can.
  • To serve, and to be the neighbor that everybody wants.

Thank you for reading, and thank you to every subject in this project.  If you're happy with your picture and would like a copy, please don't hesitate to email me.

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 47

Hi there! These are the subjects from week 47 of the 365 More People Pictures project.

 

Day 322 - Zach

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This is Zach.  We met at a park along the Columbia River.

I didn't know when I approached Zach that he's homeless, although that's not the word he would use.  He described himself as being a traveler.  When I asked him the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he spread his arms out wide and presented the park, the river, the picnic table, and his friend and guitar nearby and answered, "this."  Whatever one would call Zach's situation, in that moment, I found it to be completely freeing and beautiful.  It takes a strong, faithful and fearless person to live the life of a traveler.

I asked Zach if he had recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Zach explained he's on both the giving and receiving end of kindness every single day.  He receives sustenance from the kindness of strangers who give him food and water, and when he receives too much, he shares with the other travelers he meets.  Earlier that day, he had also helped a lady in a wheelchair who was struggling to get across the street. Everyone else just watched her struggle, but Zach acted and helped her to cross the street safely.

"To be happy," Zach answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Zach something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that he's able to eat every day.  He knows his lifestyle isn't easy to understand, but in going without, he actually gains so much more than some people who "have everything."

Zach explained that because he doesn't have the luxury of being able to be on a smartphone at all times, he's able to observe his surroundings and connect with people, just like the experience we were sharing at that moment.  I'm grateful to this project and my desire to learn photography because it's forced me to put down my phone and look at the beauty all around.

Thank you, Zach. Safe and happy travels.

 

Day 323 - Mose

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This is Mose.  We met at the bus stop.  Mose spoke so eloquently and poetically, I failed to keep up.   I wish I could have paused and recorded him on video.  It turned out that Mose actually is a poet.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now is his process of self-discovery.

When I asked Mose if he had recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he answered that he tries to perform kindness every day.  He's always certain to express grace and appreciation.

The blog is behind real-time, and because of that, my memory has faded a bit.  As I mentioned, Mose's speech is poetic and fluid.  Imagine trying to write down every word Eminem says as he's rapping...well, it was like that with Mose.  No matter how hard I try to connect the dots, I've left too many gaps in my notes, simply because I was too slow to keep up.  I asked Mose his life's purpose and here are some of the quotes of which I can fully make out in my journal:

"Large scale empowerment."

"Celebrating our own achievements, the gift of life, and finding our own calling in life in their noble and sincere forms."

"Create loving actions, take it, share it, expand it."

"Find the extraordinary out of the ordinary."

"Get beyond survival, and self-actualize."

I know I'm missing out on the connectors which made this all a fluid and beautiful conversation, but I did manage to document the high points.  As you can tell, Mose knows.

When I asked Mose something about himself that he would consider to be a success, he answered, "celebrating every challenge...my brilliance is my resilience."

Thank you, Mose. It was such a pleasure meeting you.  I may have forgotten some of your beautiful words, but you, Sir, are completely unforgettable.

 

Day 324 - Kevin

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This is Kevin.  We met outside of Sam's Billiards.

Kevin is pretty amazing.  What's not pictured here in this portrait, is Kevin's wheels.  (His wheelchair.)  What's also not pictured is Kevin's sheer will, guts, determination and perseverance.

I had taken Kevin's picture and asked him the 4 interview questions and was basically  wrapping up and saying goodbye.  I wasn't going to ask Kevin about the wheelchair, but something just felt off.  It felt like failing to acknowledge Kevin's wheels would have been more disrespectful and awkward than it would be to ask Kevin his story.   It just felt right to ask more questions, and learn more about Kevin and his life.  Looking back, I understand that it was Kevin who put me at ease with his welcoming and friendly nature.

Kevin had Spina Bifida as a child.  His life expectancy was only a few years but against all odds, he lived to grow into an adult and was even well enough to join the military.  I asked Kevin if the chair was a result of combat.  Kevin explained that shortly after he finished active duty, he went on vacation in Mexico to compete in a surfing competition.  I know you can tell where this is leading...yes, Kevin was attacked by a shark during the middle of the competition!  The shark got hold of Kevin, and as a result, Kevin ended up losing his leg.

At this point, I had to ask Kevin if he was actually being serious, or if this was the story he told to strangers.  We both laughed and he said it was the real deal.  He didn't have to make up a shark-attack story because he actually lived through one.

 

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The shark took Kevin's leg, but not his spirit. Kevin feels like the shark attack was a wake-up call and now he's grateful to be alive every day. Kevin said that prior to the shark attack and before losing his leg, he was living a pretty fast life and he knows he wasn't always as nice as he should have been.

Kevin's situation has given him empathy and compassion for others and he has an entirely new perspective on people and life.  I got the feeling that Kevin, pre-shark-attack, most likely wouldn't have given me the time of day had I approached him on the street and asked if I could take his picture and ask him a few questions.  Had Kevin not had a group of friends waiting for him inside Sam's, I think this post-shark-attack Kevin, would have visited with me long into the evening. Kevin's outlook is so courageous and amazing, and he's clearly done a lot of work in self-examination.  Of course, we can't help but feel for Kevin and wish that he hadn't experienced this loss, but I truly feel like Kevin truly feels he's a better person for enduring the loss. He went so far as to say that losing his leg in the shark attack, quite possibly saved his life.  Kevin's positive outlook is an inspiration.

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At the time we met, the happiest thing happening in his life was that he was out enjoying good times with his friends.

Kevin's recent act of kindness is that he's been helping a friend whose wife had just passed away.  Kevin has just been trying to be there for his friend in any way that he can...which was mainly, just being there.  Kevin is able to be someone else's strength and comfort because Kevin has experienced tremendous loss and grief.

"Helping people," Kevin answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Kevin something about himself which he considers to be a success, Kevin answered, "living."

Thank you, Kevin. I didn't know you before, but the person you are now is a true class act.  Wishing you the best of happiness.

 

Day 325 - Jake

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This is Jake.  The happiest thing happening in his life right now is that he's going to art school.  Jake never thought art school could be a reality.

"To live my life to the fullest and create art," Jake answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Jake something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "trying to live my life as a good person."

Thank you, Jake! Wishing you luck and success in school!

 

Day 326 - Greg

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This is Greg.  We met at a fireworks stand near Hoodsport, Washington.  (The location of our little cabin in the woods, where I will most likely be living soon.)

When we met, the happiest thing happening in his life was spending the holiday weekend at home in Mason County. (Hoodsport.)  He's currently living in Mexico and was happy to be home.

Greg's recent act of kindness is that he gives money away.

"To not become like everybody else," Greg answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

"That I'm not like everybody else," Greg answered with a laugh, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Greg.

 

Day 327 - Shilo

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This is Shilo. We also met at a fireworks stand, one in which he owned and operated with the help of some of his friends.

If/when I do move to Hoodsport, I'm actually quite worried about finding subjects for this project.  The town is tiny, as in, itty-bitty.  Although the population swells to a few thousand people during the weekend, especially in summer months, I feel super embarrassed and unsure when approaching people in town. It feels like people are there to escape the city...not to have some weirdo asking them for their picture. The town is so small, once word gets out that there's a weirdo-woman who goes around asking people for their picture and an "interview,"  I'm afraid I will quickly become an unwanted pest.  I'm trying to be optimistic that instead of being viewed as an unwanted pest of which to avoid, I'll be received and welcomed as a quirky person with a fun little hobby, and maybe people will even look forward to the day when it's their turn to be in the project.

Luckily, for this first real trial run, there were quite a few people in for the holiday weekend and I felt comfortable hitting up the fireworks stands in search of subjects.

"Beer," Shilo joked, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Shilo's recent act of kindness is that he often gives away fireworks to kids.

"To be cool," Shilo answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Shilo's friend piped up and added that Shilo is the most well-known guy in town. "He's known for being cool," his friend said.

When I asked Shilo something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "just my life."

Thank you, Shilo.  Mr. Cool.

 

Day 328 - Ashley

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This is Ashley. You guessed it... we met at the fireworks stand owned and operated by Ashley and her family.  I showed up right at dinner time and at first, I don't think Ashley's family was too happy to see me. I think they thought I was inviting myself to dinner when I asked what was on the grill.

Ashley was celebrating her 8-year relationship when we met, and it was the happiest thing happening in her life at the time.

"To be with my family," Ashley answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Ashley something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she said that it was their business selling fireworks.

Thank you, Ashley.

 

Here's the summary of the life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To be happy.
  • Large scale empowerment.
  • Celebrating our own achievements, the gift of life, and finding our own calling in their noble and sincere forms.
  • Create loving actions, take it, share it, expand it.
  • Find the extraordinary out of the ordinary.
  • Get beyond survival, and self actualize.
  • Helping people.
  • To be cool.
  • To be with my family.

 

Thank you to every subject in this project, and thank you for following along.

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 46

Hello! These are the subjects from week 46.

In real-time, the project just ended this past Monday, August 10th.  The blog is behind a few weeks and I will continue to share the rest of the subjects from the 365 More People Pictures project.

I finished the first project and never really wrote a full summary as I felt I should have, but instead I just dove right into this second year.  As the end of this current project was approaching, I put enormous amounts of pressure on myself that I really need to write something spectacular...or at the very least, special.  I wonder if I allowed myself to fall behind on this blog as a way to force myself to spend time in reflection over all I have learned throughout these past two years?

All of these people, all of the wisdom they've shared...it feels like I was entrusted with this and now I need to do something with it. It needs to be bigger than what it is here on my little blog.  But when I think about that, about that possibility, it becomes entirely too overwhelming for me.  I shut down, and then all I want to do is keep on keeping on...just as things are.

I just want to continue taking a picture of a person every day.  I just want to force myself each day to be brave, talk with a person, learn a little more about them,  exchange genuine warmth and interest with another person, and through it all, hopefully capture them at the precise moment in which their sparkle, or their beautiful nature, becomes apparent to me. And I want to share it with you.

A better person could make something more of this.  A better person could assemble all of these beautiful people and their beautiful messages together and create a book.  Or at the very least, a better person could write some advice to photographers wishing to challenge themselves to a 365 Day Project. Although I'm lacking the knowledge to teach anyone anything about photography, I've learned a thing or two about perseverance.   I feel like I owe it to these subjects, and I owe it to the effort I've given this the past two years, to creating at least something which will help inspire or encourage others.

For now, I'll continue sharing the subjects for this project.   Perhaps I will be able to create some final words or something bigger to thank and honor these people the way they deserve to be honored and thanked.  I may not succeed at any sort of book, or any sort of beautifully written and inspiring essay...but this process, and every subject in this project, has changed me.

 

Day 315 - Kim

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This is Kim, my sister-in-law.

Even in its final days, I appreciated this project and process because were it not for this, I wouldn't have shared this moment with Kim.  We see each other only at special occasions and holidays when the family gathers.  I realized that Kim and I haven't really talked other than to catch up briefly on the happenings of our lives, which really only scratches just the surface.  You know how that goes.

Visiting with Kim and asking these 4 simple questions, the same ones I've been asking strangers, provided us both with the opportunity to get to know each other a little better.

The happiest thing happening in Kim's life right now is spending the summer with her kids.

I asked Kim if she had recently performed an act of kindness or if she had been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  She thought about it for a moment and remembered that one of her friends had just given her some plants. Kim was feeling bad because she couldn't remember a specific example of an act of kindness which she had performed.  I laughed as I had to remind her that less than a few minutes earlier, she had given me a surprise gift of a beautiful necklace she made.  (Check out Kim's necklaces here.)   She had completely forgotten the kind gesture she had performed just a few minutes prior.

I've noticed most of the subjects in this project have trouble thinking of, or remembering, specific acts.  I think we often forget because we've performed the act selflessly.   Although it's often difficult to think of a specific act we may have performed, it's been a common trait that nearly every single one of us strives to be kind and to do kind things for others.  We can be pretty beautiful creatures.

"To be a good mom, to serve God, to be a good friend to people, and to be a good wife," Kim answered, when I asked her life's purpose.  She does, and is, all of these things.

When I asked Kim something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "I have good kids...they're happy kids."

Thank you, Kim.

 

Day 316 - Rich

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This is Rich. We met at the park.

"My recovery," Rich answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Rich is celebrating close to 4 year, sober.  Awesome work, Rich!

I asked Rich if he had recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness.  Rich explained that he was on the receiving end of kindness in recovery and in the AA program, and now he's able to be on the giving end.  Through his work in the program, he wants to "give back to the next suffering alcoholic, the same way it was so freely given to me."  Rich had also recently paid for a guy's groceries at the store.

"To help others," Rich answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

As happens so frequently in this project, when I asked Rich something about himself which he would consider to be a success, the answer was the same for this question as it was for the first. "My recovery," Rich said, without hesitation.

Rich, wishing you the very best of luck and success in recovery and in helping others. Keep up the hard work. Keep up the good work.  Thank you.

 

Day 317 - Josh

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This is Josh.  We met at the bus stop.

The happiest thing happening in his life is letting go to a lot of his attachment to ego.

Josh was recently on both the giving and receiving end of kindness when someone reached out for some help online, and Josh was able to offer help to that person.  Kindness came full circle, when it was Josh who needed help with a situation. He put out a request online and someone was able to return the act of kindness and provide Josh with assistance and answers.

"Self-fulfillment, my spiritual quest, and discovering my true self," Josh answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  (I get it, Josh.  Sometimes I think it's the true reason I've found myself in this project.)

"Realizing that I'm something more than what I thought I was, detaching from ego," Josh answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Josh.

 

Day 318 - James

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This is James.  We met outside Hollywood Theatre.

"My son just turned 4," James answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

James' recent act of kindness is that he was treating friends to a movie.

"To be a good father and husband," James said, is his life's purpose.

Something about himself which he would consider to be a success is his family.

Thank you, James.

 

Day 319 - Arielle

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This is Arielle.

The happiest thing happening in her life right now is that she just moved to Portland, from Texas.

I asked Arielle if she's recently performed an act of kindness and she explained that she's hoping to become a volunteer at an arts center as soon as she gets settled.

"Helping people learn their full potential," Arielle answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

"I'm not a quitter," Arielle said, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  Attagirl, Arielle!  I love Arielle's answer and what I loved even more is that she didn't even have to think about it.  She answered quickly and confidently...and having been one to say that about myself, I think I have insight into her little secret.  When Arielle said the words, I think she was both congratulating and convincing her own self just as much as she was answering my question.  Keep it up, Arielle.  You're not a quitter. I can just feel it.

 

Day 320 - Joe

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This is Joe.  Although we met randomly on the street, I soon realized he was the same Joe with whom I had been working with on some personal business throughout that previous week!

The happiest thing happening in Joe's life is summer, here in Portland.

Joe's recent act of kindness is that he opened up his home to 5 friends who were on an epic road trip! Not only did he let them stay at his place, he fed them too! (And I would say he was also quite helpful and attentive to me as I was about to undertake something scary!)

"To make other people happy," Joe answered, is his life's purpose.

I asked Joe something about himself he would consider to be a success and he answered that it was being here on the west coast. He had set a goal for himself that he wanted to move here by his 25th birthday, and he just celebrated his 25th here in Portland!

Thank you, Joe. Welcome to Portland, and thank you for your help!

 

Day 321 - Erek

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This is Erek. He's my dear friend's brother.

It's so confounding.  One of my best photos ever taken was of Erek, but on this night, I could not make a decent image to save my life.  I was having some technical issues, but once that was sorted out, I should have done better.  Erik is a great subject but I just couldn't perform.

Until starting this project, I didn't have a complete understanding or appreciation of success and failure in photography.   I never understood that for one decent or good picture, there were thousands and thousands of others which weren't good, or which were actually pretty horrible. The downside of a 365 Day Project, at least the way I've approached it, is that I've had to share all of those off-days to keep the 365 day streak intact.  I've had to show everything...some of which actually make me cringe when I look at the photos. I've had to share every single mistake...the same mistakes I make day after day after day.  And then every once in a while, we have a decent picture.  I feel extremely vulnerable and naked in this project, but I wouldn't want it any other way. (For now, at least.)

The happiest thing happening in Erek's life right now is being a father.

I asked Erek if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Erek said that he always tries to be nice to everyone.

When I asked Erik his life's purpose, he said that 6 years ago, he lacked the direction to be able to answer this question but now he's certain his life's purpose is, "being a father and raising my son to grow up to be a good man."  I'm certain you're doing this, Erek.  You're a great dad.

Something about himself which he considers to be a success is that he's never tried any sort of drugs.  Although he's been around it,  he's never been influenced.

Thank you, Erek.

 

Here's a summary of the life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To be a good mom, to serve God, to be a good friend to people, and to be a good wife.
  • To help others.
  • Self-fulfillment, my spiritual quest, and discovering my true self.
  • To be a good father and husband.
  • Helping people learn their full potential.
  • To make other people happy.
  • Being a father and raising my son to grow up to be a good man.

 

Thank you for reading!

365 More People Pictures - Week 45

Hello! This is week 45 of the 365 More People Pictures Project.

 

Day 308 - Tamera

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This is Tamera.  We met at the park.  I spotted her sitting at a picnic table, reading a book.

The happiest thing happening in Tamera's life right now is that she recently learned she and her family will be staying in Portland.  They were facing the possibility of a transfer, but are happy to be staying here in the Northwest.

When I asked Tamera if she's recently performed an act of kindness, or if she's been on the receiving end of kindness, she told me about her tight-knit group of neighbors who are constantly performing kind acts for one another. It sounds like in Tamera's neighborhood, one day you'll find yourself on the giving end of kindness, but the next day, you will be on the receiving end of your neighbor's kindness.  They provide child care for each other, prepare and deliver meals to each other when one might be in need of a little extra help, and most of all, they provide friendship and a true sense of community for one another.  It reminds me of how we lived decades ago.

"To be as kind and loving as possible to the people around me, and to make the world a better place wherever I am," Tamera answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement.  Tamera added that her life's purpose is to care for her daughter.

Thank you, Tamera.

 

Day 309 - Angie

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This is Angie.

The happiest thing happening in her life is that she's settling into her new house.

Angie's recent act of kindness is that she donated to a group of kids who were fundraising.

"To make people laugh," Angie answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Angie something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered that it was that she was able to overcome financial burdens.  Congratulations!

Thank you, Angie.

Day 310 - Marie

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This is Marie.  We met at the bus stop.

"I'm just learning to be happier and more positive," Marie answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

Marie's recent act of kindness is that she helped one of her customers pay the difference when they came up short on their purchase. In general, Marie said that she always tries to be friendly and helpful at her job and wants to help make others happy.

"Trying to help others and help the planet," Marie answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

Something about herself which she would consider to be a success is that she's done well at her first job. She's worked there for over a year and is pleased with her job stability.

Thank you, Marie.

 

Day 311 - Trevor and Noah

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These are two complete strangers, hugging.  I wish that every day in this project could have been like this one.  I pushed myself a little harder and just happened to meet two awesome guys who were willing to push themselves too.

This is Trevor (right) and Noah (left).  We met outside Sam's Billiards.  I approached and asked which one of them would let me take their picture for the project.  They were both up for it!  Hearing they were both up for it, I knew this was going to be my chance to try something I've been dreaming about.  I explained to the pair that I've been wanting to do something with strangers interacting because I want others to experience the same joy and full heart this project has provided to me.  Again, they were up for it!

I asked the two if they would be willing to hug.  Obviously...they were up for it!  What I love most about this, is that the hug was solid and genuine.

The two let go of any fears and apprehension, and hugged a stranger with the love one would have hugged their brother they hadn't seen in a while.  I felt the love and positive energy just being an observer of this beautiful interaction.  This was one of the best days in the entire two-year project.

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Noah was just coming off the receiving end of 2.5 months of kindness. He had been touring with his  band and it's the kindness of others which propels bands from one town to the next.

"The fact that I'm always trying to succeed," Noah answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

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The happiest thing happening in Trevor's life at the time, was that he was on vacation with his girlfriend...and deciding to play pool at a random bar.  (Which is where we met, and were now all hugging strangers.)

"Eat, sleep, fuck, and to be happy and to help everyone else around me to succeed," Trevor answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  "Hey, I'm an animal," he explained.  (Yes, a sweet, adorable, loving little animal.)

Thank you, Noah and Trevor.  Thank you for your kindness in allowing me to take your picture, and for being brave enough and loving enough, to hug a complete stranger.  You two are awesome.

 

Day 312 - Al

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This is Al.

The happiest thing happening in his life is his new girlfriend.

Al's recent act of kindness is that he helped pull a guy's truck out of the sand where he had become stuck.

"Surfing," Al answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

"I'm a jack of all trades. I can learn just about anything, fast," Al answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Al was such an easy-going person.  Throughout this project, I've often been so pressured by time (trying to get a picture before a subject's bus arrives) that I've sacrificed quality about 98% of the time.  Given the nature of this project and the way in which I've approached it, I've been forgiving of myself.  However, if you continue to do something incorrectly, day after day, month after month, you will train yourself in bad habits and any progress will be slow and in tiny little increments. (Exactly how it's been for me.)

It's like I continue to take "bad" pictures, knowing they're bad!   Sometimes they're accidentally bad, but most times I've simply not taken the time to make them better. I already feel awkward and weird asking a person for their picture. It feels like people would get annoyed or upset if I then take them over to a spot where the light or background would be better. They're already taking time out of their day for me...it feels like I'd really be pushing my luck to then ask them to go to a different location. (Not to mention, I might really creep them out!)  However, I could see the light was beautiful in this little corridor in-between two buildings. I could see it was there, but because I don't practice it enough, I was having a hard time finding the sweet spot. Al was so patient with me as we moved a few steps up, a few steps back, a few steps left, then a few steps right. I realize that had I approached this project with the same determination I had that day, the results would have been better.  Al was patient and kind enough to let me take my time so that I could try a little harder than usual.

Thank you, Al.

 

Day 313 - Chris

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This is Chris.  We met at the bus stop.

The blog is behind from real-time and things have changed from when Chris and I met.  I'll share the answers he gave at the time, and then the update we shared via e-mail.

"A fresh start - I just moved to Portland," Chris answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Chris had just come from a job interview when we met, and he was on his way back to his hotel.

I asked Chris his life's purpose and he answered, "to live as genuinely as possible and to publish a book that resonates with people."  Chris is a writer and you can learn more about his work at www.ahliterature.org

"I got here on my own," Chris answered, when I asked something about himself which he considers to be a success.  Chris packed up and moved to Portland, determined to make a new life here.

After meeting Chris, he immediately emailed me, explaining that he felt like a deer-in-the-headlights when we met, and that he would be more comfortable answering the questions in writing so that he could give them more thought and consideration.  I completely understand this.  If someone were to approach me on the street and ask me these questions, I would babble non-sensibly.  I would also much rather prefer to write the answers than give a verbal in-person interview.

I find written communication to be preferred over the spoken word.  I feel awful about this trait.  It's nice knowing others have this preference as well.  It's not that I dislike talking with people. I love it, actually.  It's just that communication is a puzzle for me.  Each word is its special little piece of the puzzle and when you assemble them correctly, a beautiful picture is revealed.  When speaking with another person,  it's like each word, or puzzle piece, has a helium balloon attached to it.  Trying to arrange the words in proper order to convey a thought is like trying to grasp at the words as they're floating away.  Once caught, the words continue to be mischievous and disobedient.  When speaking, I continually arrange the words incorrectly.  Half of the words, puzzle pieces,  still manage to escape my grasp and are lifted away by their little helium-filled balloon, never to return to my mind or my mouth in time to be properly aligned with the other words.  With all of those missing words, puzzle pieces, my thoughts, the picture, can never be delivered the way in which I intended.   And as I age, I've discovered that the puzzle pieces are now escaping my capture in the the written word as well.  It is one of my biggest fears, turning into reality, that words will continue to float away from me forever.  With all those missing words, those missing pieces,  I will never be able to reveal the beautiful picture.

Time passed.

Chris did get the job here in Portland but finding an affordable place to live proved to be impossible.  Chris returned home.  So much has happened since we met.  Time passed and so so did his mood, or at least the spirit he was feeling when we met.  Chris no longer felt like re-visiting the questions in order to provide written answers.  I'm so sad Portland was unable to provide for Chris.  He was so happy to be here.  He found a job immediately and loved our city, but we failed at providing Chris with a place to call home.

I'm just really bummed about this.  I enjoyed meeting Chris and was hoping to bump into him again in the future.  It's been over 20 years since I've been on the hunt for an apartment or living situation in Portland, and now I'm also experiencing this challenge firsthand.  It's now extremely difficult to find an affordable place to live here.

Chris, wishing you the very best of luck and success, and the completion of your book.  It was a pleasure meeting you.  Thank you.

 

Day 314 - Eddie

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This is Eddie.  He's another one of the most soft-spoken, sweetest people in this project.  His style screams to be noticed, but his calm and gentle nature is more of a whisper.

The happiest thing happening in Eddie's life right now is his work with bridle leather.  Eddie hand-crafts leather goods. I'm determined to find the shop in which he sells some of this things, and then I'll report back to you.

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Eddie's recent act of kindness is that he returned someone's wallet.  It was a bit of a chase, but he was able to return the wallet to it's rightful owner.

"I'm a nihilist.  I don't think there there is a purpose in life," Eddie answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Eddie went on to explain instead, "I'm an artist. I challenge myself to do different things, or to craft in a different way."

I've observed a beautiful irony in my friends and acquaintances who identify as being nihilists.  I've met a few people who are operating under the thought or philosophy that life is purpose-less, but those who I've met who live this operating system, are living some of the most purposeful, meaningful, beautiful lives of anyone I know.  They live lives filled with kindness, generosity, and determination.  Most of the nihilists I've met have been artists/creatives, born with gifts and talent that even the most dedicated person can never nurture from themselves.  They have been visionaries, and more importantly, they accomplish as much as they dream.

To me, it feels like someone who identifies with nihilism may feel like there isn't really a purpose to life, or in life, but the funny thing is, they're often living such a beautiful and purposeful life that it practically contradicts this philosophy.  It's as though their life's purpose is so hard-wired and so innate, they're not wandering aimlessly  (like some of us) in search of their purpose in life, or of life's purpose for them.  They are simply living it.

"My kindness," Eddie answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.   Eddie experienced a pretty traumatic situation just a few days prior to this in which he was caught in the crossfire of gang violence.  He was actually standing in the middle of gunfire as two gangs were shooting at each other.  Eddie is determined not to let this experience cloud his thoughts or feelings about people.  He's forgiving.  He will not allow himself to be led down a path and into the territory of discrimination or racism because of the violent acts of two small groups of people.  Eddie will not be hardened by this.  Instead, he is pretty much one of the most loving and accepting people I've met.

Thank you, Eddie.  You are amazing.

 

Here's a summary of the life's purposes and personal mission statements of the subjects from this week:

  • To be as kind and loving as possible to the people around me, and to make the world a better place wherever I am.
  • To make people laugh.
  • Trying to help others and help the planet.
  • I'm always trying to succeed.
  • Eat, sleep, fuck, and to be happy and to help everyone else around me to succeed.
  • Surfing.
  • To live as genuinely as possible and to publish a book that resonates with people.
  • I'm a nihilist.  I don't think there there is a purpose in life.

 

Thank you for reading along and thank you to every subject in this project.

365 More People Pictures - Week 44

Hello! So sorry for the pause.  I'm still taking a picture of a person every day and we're nearing the end of this second 365 Day streak.  The blog is a few weeks behind from real-time, but you can follow along daily on Instagram. My username is @missellanea.

Meet the subjects from week 44 of the 365 More People Pictures project.

 

Day 301 - Chris

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This is Chris, my boss/employer.  As I typed the words "boss/employer," it made me smile thinking about all of the times we've been out as a group, either professionally or for fun, when Chris humbly introduced himself as our "co-worker."  He rarely mentions that he's the owner of a successful business which he started as a kid in his parent's basement and grew into one of the strongest in our entire industry.

"Being in love," Chris answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Chris if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he was hesitant to answer.  "More than I can say," Chris stalled.  I could tell he was retreating to his mind in search of just the right words to say without breaking any sort of confidence before he finally answered, "grand acts of kindness."

Chris' success has put him in a position to be able to help people, but it's his heart that compels him to do so.  The company donates generously to hundreds of local organizations and events.  Having lost both parents to cancer, Chris contributes to several of the many organizations dedicated to fighting cancer, or those which help patients, survivors and their families to cope with the avalanche brought by the diagnosis of cancer.  I only know of a tiny little fraction of the kindness he's extended to our work family, and what little I know, has been massive and life-changing for many people.

"To employ people," Chris answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  This answer was preceded by an explanation that his life's purpose is evolving and that his life is for his family and his family's security, but that everything relates.

After leaving Chris, I continued thinking about his answer.  I've always known Chris to be a big-picture guy, and those three small words, "to employ people," have a much greater significance. Chris' life purpose is built on the foundation to care and provide security for his own family, but it's also providing for the lives of hundreds of other people.  He doesn't just employ a single one of us.  He is, in a sense, employing our entire family.  His decisions are based not only on the 125+/- people who come in to work each day, but more like the 500, or so, people in the families of those of us who actually punch the clock.  Chris is more like the big-big-picture guy.  Again, part of the grand acts of kindness he performs every day.  When I consider the giant web, or ripple, of Chris' three small words and how their reach extends even beyond his company's employees and our families, and spreads into the lives of our thousands of customers and their families, the impact and significance becomes enormous.  And, in seeing that enormous impact, I can just imagine the enormous pressures he must feel as a result.

One single life.  Three small words.  Thousands of lives touched.

"Holding my family together, in spite of it being broken 2-times over," Chris answered, when I asked one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success.  Of all the achievements Chris could have listed, I realized this was truly his finest, and his most important.

For 20 years, Chris has been teaching me about business,  and I've absorbed his drive and determination to be the very best at what we do.  On this day, he reminded me why we do it.  We want to be the very best at what we do in order to provide for our families, and the families of our customers.  Big picture.  Big-big-picture.

Thank you, Chris.  I don't tell you enough.  The tears flow as I'm writing this because the words are sincere, thank you.  Thank you for everything you are, and everything you do.

 

Day 302 - Dan

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This is Dan.   We met downtown, where he was on break from work.

"Sunshine," Dan said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Dan if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he explained that his job is to be kind.  I gathered that Dan is a server or bartender.  He explained that he can tell when his customers are having a bad day and he makes it a point to be friendly, and basically, befriend them.  He wants people to leave there happier than they arrived.

"Living, life experiences, meeting people, and seeing nature," Dan answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

Something about himself which Dan considers to be a success is that he's been able to meet all of his personal responsibilities and own needs since a young age. Dan has been on his own since high school

Thank you, Dan.

 

Day 303 - Cameron

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This is Cameron.  The happiest thing happening in his life right now is that he has a new girlfriend.  I loved watching Cameron as he spoke about her with his friend.  I could tell from the reaction of both of them that she's a real keeper.  She sounded like a great girl, and I'm happy for Cameron that she's in his life and also happy that he recognizes such such a special girl.  It's been so cute and touching to see so many men in this project reveal their sensitive side.

Cameron's recent act of kindness is that he gives money and/or food to homeless people.

"To make art and music more available to the masses," Cameron answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Cameron something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "that I continue to move up in the field I'm in."

Thank you, Cameron.

 

Day 304 - Forest

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This is Forest. The very first time I saw Forest,  a few weeks prior to this, he was juggling outside my favorite little Hollywood District coffee shop, Nectar Cafe. (You've already met several of the Nectar team.) I just had to take his picture back then.  I didn't end up with what I was going for, but we talked about someday going out to shoot him juggling.  This day, as I was wandering around looking for the person of the day, I looked over and saw Forest doing hand stands!  Again, I just had to take his picture so I asked Forest if he would be in the project.  Juggling, handstands...I'm not sure what Forest is going to be up to the next time I see him. Stilt-walking?  Fire-eating?

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The happiest thing happening in Forest's life right now is being in Portland.

"To live until I die," Forest answered, is his life's purpose.  Forest explained that every day, we should consider ourself as dead, or dying, and then live life like that.  The way he explained it wasn't at all morbid or depressing, but rather freeing and inspiring.  Imagine all that you would do, everything you would say, and all that you would experience if it were your last day.  Imagine all the worries you would dismiss and not waste a single moment fretting over, if you knew it didn't really matter.  Imagine all the love you would share, and receive.

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I enjoyed listening to Forest and asked if in addition to his life's purpose, if he also has a personal mission statement.  Forest answered, "to be as aware of my life as possible."  Forest explained he wasted a lot of time not really being aware of himself, his surroundings or the people around him.  He's fully present now, and I guess living like you're dying is one way of instantly grounding yourself in the current moment.  After talking with Forest, I really wouldn't be surprised if he were stilt-walking or fire-eating the next time I bump into him. That's Forest, living.

"Procreation," Forest answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  "I have children who are now good people."  Forest told me a story about how his son's teacher once asked how they raised such a great student and person. The teacher wasn't just being flattering. They really wanted to know the parental secret.   Forest's son grew up in a home without a television, and no real living-room furniture.  They didn't have a couch on which to potato.  Instead, Forest filled the home with mats and gym equipment, books and games and everything a kid could ever want. (Except for T.V. and a couch.)   The result was a child with an active body and and active mind, and now he's an adult with the same.  I wished out loud that I could force myself to make this drastic and unconventional lifestyle change and get rid of both the TV and the couch.    I laughed and told Forest that my husband wouldn't go for it, even though it would help us to accomplish so much in life.  I loved Forest's answer.  "Don't ask him, just do it."  I'm going to compromise and will plan on just being able to at least cancel the cable someday. (But it might have to be done Forest's way - not asking husband for permission, just doing it.)

Thank you, Forest.  Thank you for your energy.

 

Day 305 - Cameron

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This is Cameron.  Two Cameron's in one week and separated by just one Forest!  What are the odds?

"I'm surrounded by an abundance of things that cause joy.  I'm so lucky to have an abundance of friends and a supportive community, and I'm figuring out how to express love through my entire being," Cameron answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Cameron's recent act of kindness is that he opened up his home to shelter a stranger who was escaping a bad situation.  Cameron has also been on the receiving end of kindness in the process of founding a non-profit organization.  Most recently, 2 classes at PSU helped him prepare a business plan for the organization.  You can learn more about Cameron's work by checking out:  The Oregon Center for Human Rights, and Know Your City.

Cameron's life's purpose is the same as the mission of the Oregon Center for Human Rights, the foundation he's starting: "to shift the narrative about human rights in Oregon, by sharing stories of humanity."

When I asked Cameron something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "resiliency."  Cameron forgives and loves again, adding, "...and I smile through it all."

It was such a pleasure meeting you, Cameron.  Thank you for being in the project, and for being so kind.  Wishing you luck and success to you and your organization.

 

Day 306 - Deirdre

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This is Deirdre.  She was peddling down the street when we met.

The happiest thing happening in her life right now is that she built a tiny home and is now living in a stable place. She's enjoying her garden, her home, coziness, and privacy.

Deirdre's recent act of kindness is that she made root beer floats for her hard-working co-workers!

"To love and figure out how to be kind, despite impatience," Deirdre answered, when I asked her life's purpose.  I could relate to Deirdre and confessed to her I have the same objective, explaining that I've noticed over the past few years that my well of patience is no longer as deep as when I was younger.  This project, in addition to learning photography, has been one of the ways in which I'm seeking to reclaim and expand the patience I once had, which seems to have been damaged or altered by recent years.

"To have created a home for myself," Deirdre answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success. Having had zero experience in construction, Deirdre built her home all by herself, with the exception of electrical and pumping, which she needed help with in order to be properly up to code.  A tiny house. A huge accomplishment.

Thank you, Deirdre.

 

Day 307 - Horse

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This is Horse. We met near Saturday market, where he was singing and drumming with a group of Natives.  As I was about to leave the market, I could hear a faint heartbeat in the distance.  I couldn't force myself to leave.  I was drawn to the pulse and had to find where it was coming from.  I wandered till I found the drum circle and stayed there for a while, just soaking in the sounds and the energy of the culture I left when I moved away from home.  For a few moments, I was home.

"Living in my spiritual world," Horse answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Through his 12-step work, Horse has been on both the receiving and giving end of kindness.

"To teach people the right way," Horse answered, is his life's purpose.

When I asked Horse something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "living life good, and staying clean and sober so I can sing for those who can't, and for the Elders and Grandfathers above."

Thank you, Horse.  Stay strong and on the path.

Here's the summary of personal mission statements and the life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To employ people.
  • Living, life experiences, meeting people, and seeing nature.
  • To make art and music more available to the masses.
  • To live until I die.
  • To be as aware of my life as possible.
  • To shift the narrative about human rights in Oregon, by sharing stories of humanity.
  • To love and figure out how to be kind, despite impatience.
  • To teach people the right way.

Thank you!

 

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 43

Hello! This is the review of the subjects from week 43 of the 365 More People Pictures project. The blog is a few weeks behind realtime, but if you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.

 

Day 294 - Jason

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This is Jason. We met downtown at the first Instameet hosted at Compound by @portland and Portland Gear.

This was a pretty awesome meet-up and I can't wait for the next event! In attendance were around 200 photographers of all ages, all skill levels, and shooting with everything from their camera phones to set-ups that cost more than my car.

The Unipiper made an appearance and he filmed all of us for a promo video for the Goonies 30th Anniversary Celebration in Astoria. I loved that the Unipiper was filming us, as we where shooting him, filming us!  Search the hashtag #PDXMeet and check out all the photos and videos.

Can you imagine a group of 200 touristy-looking people on a photowalk of downtown Portland? It was the best! I went not knowing anyone but the host, and left there having met dozens of people who I can't wait to see again soon. Jason is one of those people. I love his passion for photography and want to surround myself with others who are equally passionate about photography. Being around other obsessed people helps fuel the fire for your own passions/obsessions.

"Focusing on my photography," Jason answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Jason's recent act of kindness is that he carries around bottled water in his work truck to give to homeless people.

"To provide for my kids," Jason answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Jason something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, " I have a strong work ethic."

Thank you, Jason!  Looking forward to hanging out with you again some day!

 

Day 295 - Rob

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This is Rob. He and his son were impossible to miss as they were happily walking down the sidewalk, eating ice-cream on a warm evening and making memories together.

The happiest thing happening in Rob's life right now are his kids.

When I asked Rob if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that he's in AA and he's of service to others in the program. He's able to give back what he's received in the program.

"To try to leave the world better, for me having existed," Rob answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Rob something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "trying to be open minded at all times."

Thank you, Rob. The world is already a better place for you having existed, and keep up your excellent work and service.

 

Day 296 - Dessa

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This is Dessa. The happiest thing happening in her life right now is dancing Tango. She was actually in a bit of a hurry when we met, as she was on her way to dance class.

When I asked if Dessa had recently performed an act of kindness or if she's on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she explained that she recently moved into a new place. Before moving, she found herself needing help and running out of options, she made a post on Facebook asking if anyone could help her move. She was so surprised and touched when a guy she hasn't seen since 8th grade, responded to her post that he could help her move. What a sweet friend!

"To bring healing to myself and others," Dessa answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Dessa something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she first answered that it was Grad School. She thought for a moment and added, "maintaining a relationship with my father during a difficult time."

Thank you, Dessa.

 

Day 297 - Nathan

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This is Nathan. He was waiting for someone on the street when we met. "Meditation," Nathan answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. Nathan added that the process of self examination or self discovery isn't always a happy one, but the outcome is.

You know how you get good vibes from certain people? Well, Nathan gives off good vibes, but more than that, he gives off a heavy vibe too. Heavy in a good way...like, it's time to get to work, or to get serious.

When I asked Nathan if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, Nathan explained that it happens all the time in the simple act of receiving a smile, acknowledgment or eye-contact from a stranger or in our everyday interactions with others. Nathan added that simply acknowledging people, or giving them a smile, is the scariest and bravest thing we can do, but it's also the kindest. It doesn't matter who the person is, it is amazing what we can do when we simply acknowledge another human being with a kind smile.

"Helping others help themselves," Nathan answered, when I asked his life's purpose. As if on cue, Nathan's client arrived and confirmed Nathan is actually living his life's purpose. Nathan is a personal trainer and his client explained that she has severe Scoliosis and could barely even move when she first started working with Nathan. With her hard work and determination, and Nathan's guidance, she's made so much progress that she just attended a yoga conference in Costa Rica!

When I asked Nathan something about himself which he would consider to be a success, his answer was completely aligned with his life's purpose. Nathan said, "helping people see the best in themselves."

Thank you for being you, Nathan.

 

Day 298 - Paul

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This is Paul. We met in a crosswalk.

When I asked Paul the happiest thing happening in his life right now, I could tell by the look on his face that I had just caught him at a weird time. He didn't even have to answer. I've learned to recognize the I-can't-believe-you're-asking-me-this-question-when-things-are-so-messed-up look" in someone's eyes.

Paul explained that he's currently going through a separation. I empathize with Paul and this sad and turbulent time for him, but Paul managed to find a positive spin on his current circumstances. "Figuring out what's next," Paul answered, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

It's now happened a few times that I've met someone and asked them the "happiness" question at the most inopportune time imaginable. But, maybe my timing hasn't been completely off. It is my hope that if someone I've met in this project has been momentarily consumed by thoughts or worry, maybe our interaction presented them with enough pause that they've been able to shift their thinking enough to change their perception about whatever was troubling them. This question has been been deliberate, and if the question has helped even just one person feel a little better, or at least provide little relief from some stress that was bothering them, then this entire project has been worth the effort.

"I helped someone at work who was falling to pieces, and in return, they've helped me," Paul said, when I asked if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.

When I asked Paul his life's purpose, he said, "to figure that out."

"Patience," Paul answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Wishing you the best, Paul.

 

Day 299 - Layal

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This is Layal. We met at Waterfront park.

When I asked Layal the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she answered that it was seeing her brother for the first time in 7 years.  Layal left it at that, but I was curious if she traveled to visit him, or if he came to visit her.  This opened the door for her to explain that she's from Yemen and only expected to come to Portland to visit her brother for just a short visit.

Since her arrival here in Portland, war has destroyed her city, the airport, and her family's home.   Not only is she unable to fly back home because there is no longer an airport, but if she could make the flight back, she has no home to which she can return!

Layal's parents are still there but they're on the move every day, trying to escape air strikes.  Her heart is aching for her country and her family, and she feels conflicted not knowing if it's alright to feel joy here where she's safe with her brother and experiencing our beautiful city. Right now, she's both grieving for her country and her family, but also planning to start a new life here.

Although Layal is sad and grieving, she's also filled with so much kindness and even happiness.

When I asked Layal if she had recently performed an act of kindness, or if she was on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she said she couldn't think of anything because she's just arrived here and really hasn't interacted with a lot of other people. Layal showed me great kindness in taking the time to let me take her picture and sharing a little of her story with me. (with us.)

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"To be a good lawyer," Layal answered, when I asked her life's purpose. Layal is trying to make the best of her situation, and is now looking into her options for Law School here in the U.S.

"I speak my mind, and stand up for others," Layal answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success. Layal's life and her experiences, as traumatic and tragic as they are, will give her insight and drive that others could never really create from nothing. Layal's pain will lead her to help others.

Thank you, Layal. Praying for you, your family and your Country.

 

Day 300 - Kelsey and Ashley

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This is Kelsey (left) and Ashley (right.) We met in a hotel in downtown, Portland. They were part of the fleet in town for the Portland Rose Festival.

I was staying in the hotel downtown in order to be close to a Rose Festival event I was working for the weekend. I was so exhausted after working all day, I returned to my room and fell asleep. I accidentally slept for about 4 hours and when I woke up at close to 10:30 pm, I was in a panic when I realized I still needed to find a subject for the day. I quickly pulled myself together and headed out to go in search of a subject. The beauty of staying in a busy downtown hotel is that I didn't even have to go any farther than the elevator before meeting Kelsey, and when we arrived down in the lobby, Ashley was there waiting for her.  I got lucky with two great subjects!  Wow! If only it were always this easy to find subjects!

"Being in the Navy and my family supporting me, Kelsey said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

I asked Ashley if she had recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Ashley explained that she secretly gifted someone a coffee at B Street Coffee, from "Navy Girl."

"To make people's lives better...I want to do something to impact people's lives for the better," Kelsey answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

"When I'm scared about something, I'm really good at forcing myself to do it and face those fears," Ashley said, when I asked her something about herself which she would consider to be a success.

After I finished taking Ashley and Kelsey's picture and returned to my room, I was struck with the thought that I had just met three very strong women in the past two days. I had met a young woman whose home has been destroyed by war, but is persevering and still finding reasons to smile and be happy, and then the following day, I met two young women in the U.S. Navy.  I'm inspired by the strength and determination of these three young women.

I consider myself extremely lucky to live in a Country in which I have the freedom to approach these women, learn a little about their lives and their story, and then share it with you. I was also struck with the thought that had I met Layal, Ashley and Kelsey on the same day, the four of us would have the freedom that we could have all sat down together in the park, coffee in hand, and enjoyed each others company as we talked and dreamed about our futures. Had the four of us met on the same time and under the right circumstances, we could have become friends.

Here's the summary of the life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To provide for my kids.
  • To try to leave the world a better, for me having existed.
  • To bring healing to myself and others.
  • Helping others help themselves.
  • To figure that out.
  • To be a good lawyer. I speak my mind, and stand up for others.
  • To make people's lives better...I want to do something to impact people's lives for the better.

 

Thank you!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 42

Hello! Thank you for checking in on week 42 of The 365 More People Pictures project.

 

Day 287 - Elaine

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This is Elaine.  She's been a family friend for going on 4 decades.  I first met Elaine when she and my mom worked in the same salon together.

"I feel happy every day," Elaine answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Elaine added, "I feel blessed...I feel at peace with life in general."

I knew when I asked Elaine if she'd recently performed an act of kindness, that we could have been there all afternoon if she'd listed everything she had just done in just the past week.  "I want to take all of my talents and use them to help other people," Elaine said.  Elaine's talents are many.  She can build anything, demo anything, she's a good cook, loves yard work and landscaping, she's a hair stylist and a mechanic. She's also just an all-around good person, and she's been a kind friend to my mom and family.

In addition to having just tended to the lawn care for a couple of her neighbors, she had also just fixed a neighbor's truck.  The neighbor had just paid over $1,100 to a mechanic to fix his work truck but when he went out to start it the next day to go to work, the truck wouldn't start.  Desperate to get to work and tapped out after having just paid all that money to a mechanic, he asked Elaine if she could take a look at the truck.  Elaine had a look, identified the problem, and then went to the parts store and paid for the parts to fix the truck. Knowing that her neighbor was in a financial bind because he had just forked over $1,100 to a  different mechanic, she paid for the parts knowing he'd pay her back when he could.

Elaine went to work on the truck.  Finished, and confident in her work, she instructed the neighbor to get in and start it up.  "I didn't say try to start it, I said, start it," Elaine said with confidence.  And guess what...it started right up!

"To serve God to the best of my ability," Elaine answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Elaine something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "everything I have set out to do, I have done...and then some."  Elaine is not boastful.  She recognizes and respects her ability to set her mind to do something, and then accomplish her goal.

Thank you, Elaine. Thank you for all that you do for us.

 

Day 288 - Peter

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This is Peter.  He was sitting outside a coffee shop on a bright and sunny day in downtown Vancouver.  I didn't know when I approached him, that he was actually campaigning for the position of Port Commissioner.

Peter agreed to let me take his picture for the project, so I joined him at his table.

"I wake up every morning to a wonderful woman, my wife, " Peter answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Peter if he had recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that he had just been honored for saving a person's life earlier in the year, by performing CPR.  Impressed and reality-stricken, I made a remark that you never really think that you're going to ever use what you learn in a CPR class, and that it was a good thing he had been paying attention in class.  In a great coincidence, it turned out that Peter is a CPR Instructor!  Wow!  For the person whose life Peter saved, it was their luckiest unlucky day to have a CPR Instructor near by.

"To make the world a better place," Peter answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Peter is living his mission, on a personal level, and as he seeks to become our city's Port Commissioner.  You can learn more about Peter, here on his website:  Peter Harrison for Port Commissioner

When I asked Peter something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that, "every day I get up and find something to be happy about."

Thank you, Peter.  Wishing you good luck!

 

Day 289 - Bette

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This is Bette.  In my search for a subject, I bumped into Bette 2 or 3 times as I was wandering around the Hollywood District. Each time, she was a little bit too far away until we just finally ran right into each other and I was then able to ask if she would be in the project.

The happiest thing happening in Bette's life right now is Love.

Bette performs acts of kindness all the time and is involved in a Facebook page, "Carry out Kindness."  The page is positive, encouraging and uplifting and if you're looking to hear more good messages sprinkled in all of the not-so-positive stuff that shows up on your Facebook feed, do give them a like.  Click here to link to the Carry Out Kindness Facebook page.  If you've been following along on this project, I know you'll like the message from Carry Out Kindness.

"To help people find their soul purpose," Bette answered, when I asked her life's purpose.  One way Bette does this is through the work she does with her company, Shen Men Feng Shui.  Her business card says, "I want to help you create your space where you believe you can accomplish anything."  I love this!  Bette briefly explained the importance of being happy in our home/living space, so that it helps us be happy and productive when we're not at home.

I loved visiting with Bette. Bumping into her so many times as she was walking her dog, reminded me that throughout most of this project, I've really had little to nothing to do with the selection process of who was going to be the person of the day.  It's been as though the majority of the people I've met and included in this project were not selected by me, but rather, just placed before me. It feels like everyone I met, was someone I was supposed to meet that day.

Thank you, Bette.  Thank you for spreading kindness to us all.

 

Day 290 - Melayna

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This is Melayna.   We met in Pioneer Courthouse Square, in Portland.  I'm pretty sure Melayna is the sweetest girl in Portland.

When we met, the happiest thing happening in Melayna's life was an upcoming trip to Europe with her family.  Melayna explained that she was going to surprise her Mom who had no idea that Melayna was going to be able to take the trip with her and Melayna's brother.  Melayna and her brother wanted to do something special for their hard-working mother and I have a feeling this surprise trip for their mom turned out to be one of her life's highlights.  Melayna spoke about her mom with so much love, it made me tear up listening to her adoration of her mother, because it's how I feel about my own mom too.

Melayna works at an optometrist's office and her act of kindness is that she goes above and beyond to connect with her patients.  "I live my life in a positive way," Melayna explained. Melayna gives freely of herself, her kindness, and her positive nature. You can see her warm spirit spilling out of her picture.

If I can't get a genuine smile from someone, it's become my preference to aim for a pensive, serious look. When I asked Melayna for a serious look, we both cracked up and totally laughed like we were old friends. We just couldn't do it.  At some point I realized there was no need to force a serious look when the person before me radiated such genuine happiness and positivity.  In Melayna's case, a more serious look would have been counter to her actual true nature. She is a little ray of sunshine.  Just look at her smile.

"I can make a difference in someone's life in just a few minutes by just allowing people to open up," Melayna answered, when I asked her life's purpose.  Melayna is in the process of transitioning from her job in the optometrist's office, to becoming a yoga instructor. Melanya's ability to instantly connect with people, combined with her kindness and positivity, is going to make her an excellent yoga instructor.  Soon, she will not only be influencing and strengthening others mentally and emotionally, but physically as well.

When I asked Melayna something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "Number 1, is my positivity - the way I see the world."  "There's so much beauty around us, in everyone and in every thing," Melayna added.  Melayna, you are the beauty!

Melayna and I visited for a little while longer before going our separate ways. Once again, I left feeling so grateful for the people I've met in this project.  We hugged before departing, and I was a little bit sad to say good-bye to the stranger-turned-friend that I had just met.

Melayna, thank you for your kindness and sweet nature.  You are one one amazing woman!

 

Day 291 - Stevzy, Dominic, and Josh

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This is Stevezy (left), Dominic (center), and Josh (right), and they are half of the band, The Sindicate.  (and their friend)  I first learned of The Sindicate last year at a free convert/festival in downtown Vancouver, called Couve Fest.  Portland is rich in great talent and great bands, but I had no idea there are also some great bands in Vancouver as well.  The Sindicate being one of them.

The guys were playing at an intimate spot, The Top Shelf, so I headed down to see them again.  I knew I also needed to find a subject for the day, but I didn't realize I'd get the chance to ask some of the guys to be in the project!

Stevzy was recently the recipient of an act of kindness when his neighbor, a stranger, saw that he was injured and brought him an assortment of knee braces to help him with his recovery.  Stevzy was actually wearing one when we met!

The happiest thing happening in Dominic's life right now is his daughter.

Josh's life's purpose: "I play music to connect with people."

You can learn more about The Sindicate, here on their website.  Catch one of their shows if you can!

Thank you, guys!

 

Day 292 - Bex

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This is Bex.  Her name is as cool as her style.

The happiest thing happening in Bex's life right now is her upcoming trip to Europe.  I thought back to Melayna from a few days before and thought how cool it would be if somehow Bex and Melayna ended up meeting, but their trips were spaced far enough apart that their paths wouldn't cross.

Bex's recent act of kindness is that she brought her co-worker a brownie.

"To positively contribute to the people around me," Bex answered, when I asked her life's purpose.  Bex fulfills this purpose in her job as a teacher.

When I asked Bex something about herself which she would considered to be a success, she answered with a huge smile, "I have two incredible cats. They are my success."  (And I think Bex's cat-eye glasses are a success, too!)

Thank you, Bex!

 

Day 293 - Cha Cha

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This is Cha Cha. We met at the bus stop.  Cha Cha is wise beyond her years.

"My spiritual journey," Cha Cha answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Her thoughts are becoming reality, she explained.

Cha Cha's recent act of kindness is that she gave her co-worker bus fare.

"To wake everyone up," Cha Cha said, when I asked her life's purpose.  I asked Cha Cha how she would set out to do that, and she explained it would be through her music and speaking events.  I believe in Cha Cha. The girl has a story to tell, and I can't wait until we hear it.  I hope she's successful in becoming our alarm clock. "Everything is everything, and we're all in one," Cha Cha said to me.  I've never been able to adequately articulate or express my thoughts and feelings about my own spiritual journey, but if we've traveled the same path, you will completely understand the significance in Cha Cha's words - "Everything is everything, and we are all in one."  Someday, I will learn how to better articulate my thoughts and experiences, but the feeling of enlightenment, and of both simultaneous awe and understanding, that happens the moment we recognize the connectedness of all humans, all beings, is what Cha Cha was explaining.

"My soul is a success...the fact that I'm grounded," Cha Cha answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  Cha Cha explained that she's letting go of ego, "I'm like a child, progressing."

Thank you, Cha Cha.  Safe travels.

 

Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To serve God to the best of my ability.
  • To make the world a better place.
  • I can make a difference in someone's life in just a few minutes by just allowing people to open up.  
  • I play music to connect with people.
  • To positively contribute to the people around me.
  • To wake everyone up.

 

Thank you to all of the subjects in this project, and to you, for following along.

 

Thank you.

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 41

Hello! Thank you for checking out week 41 of the 365 More People Pictures project.  This is my second personal challenge to take a picture of a person, every single day, for an entire year.  Each picture is taken fresh daily. I've not stockpiled photos.  The blog is currently behind a few weeks from realtime, but if you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.

Sorry we've fallen behind.  I just want you to know the project is still happening every single day and I'm working to catch us up!

 

Day 280 - Myra

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This is Myra.  We met at the Library.

"That I have God in my life," Myra answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Myra was beautifully dressed and I asked her if she had just come from church. She confirmed that my guess was correct.

Myra's recent act of kindness had just occurred in the library, when she gave a couple some money so that they could make photocopies.

"To teach, and to spread the word of God...spread the good news," Myra answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Myra something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered that it's her children.

Thank you, Myra.

 

Day 281 - Tom

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This is Tom. We met at a entrepreneurship workshop.

The happiest thing happening in Tom's life right now, is actually occurring because of a stressful situation.  Tom recently quit his job and is working toward starting his own business.  Tom found a silver lining in the stressful transition period of being jobless and until his new business is afloat, in that he's now able to spend a lot more time with his kids.

Tom's ride arrived before I could  ask any more questions.

Wishing you luck and success in your next venture, Tom.

Thank you!

 

Day 282- John

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"My daughter," John answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

John works in veterinary medicine and his recent act of kindness is that he paid for a treatment for one of his patients, a dog, because the humans who rescued the dog had already paid a lot of money for other treatments.  They were totally tapped out by paying for several other, very expensive, treatments and just couldn't afford to pay for this one last thing.  John paid for the treatment and took time off from work to care for the dog on his own time.  This story still fills my heart and makes me tear up just thinking about both John's kindness, and also the people who rescued this dog. They reduced the dog not knowing its condition or the medical costs that would be involved in caring for it. They proceeded to give all they could. Hoping the dog and its new humans will live a long and healthy life together.

"To translate thoughts and feelings through art," John answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  John is also a musician and you can click here to check out his band, Spirit House.

When I asked John something about himself which he considers to be a success, he answered, "raising my beautiful daughter."

Thank you, John. Thank you for being you.

 

Day 283 - Jennifer

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This is Jennifer.  We met near PSU.

The happiest thing happening in Jennifer's life is that she's going to graduate next year.

Jennifer's recent act of kindness is that she let me take her picture.  I love it when people realize their special gesture in letting me take their picture.  It's pretty amazing to find a person who will to take the time to stop, let me take their picture and then share a little of themselves with us.   Although I'm now very much in the habit of doing this every day and it's become my normal routine, nothing about this is normal.  I haven't, for a moment, forgotten that every single person who was willing to let me take their picture, gave me a truly special gift that day.  The people in this project are amazing.

"I just want to contribute in any way that I can," Jennifer answered, when I asked her impromptu personal mission statement.

When I asked Jennifer something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered that it was teaching her little sister how to read.

Thank you,  Jennifer.

 

Day 284 - Marc and Bobby

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This is Marc (left) and Bobby (right.)  Marc and Bobby have both been in the project before.  One of the best things to come from this project, has been meeting these two.  Before I finally asked them to be in the project, I walked by Bobby's shoe repair shop practically every day while I was on my search for the person of the day.  Bobby owns Portland Shoe Repair, on Sandy Blvd, in the Hollywood District.  I know he works so hard. I've seen him working when when I'm on my way into work, and I've also seen him working when I've had to work late!  Marc and his other family and friends are often in to help, or simply hang out.

Now, when I'm wandering the Hollywood District, looking for a subject, questioning my decision to do this, and sometimes basically feeling like a weirdo, I'll see Bobby and/or Marc and their friendly wave hello is a great reminder to me of how much I love doing this. It gives me a sense of community.

I had just started my search for a person this day when Marc and Bobby peddled past me on their bikes.  They waved hello and we went on our separate ways. A few moments later, they rode back to me and volunteered to be in the project again.  The timing was perfect, and of course I was happy to get them for a second appearance!

"I just love life," Marc answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. "Just making the best of every single day," Marc added. He couldn't narrow down the answer to anything specific...he truly does have a joy for life and people and I've loved meeting him.

When I asked Marc if he had recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he told me a great story of a circle of kindness that doesn't seem to have an end in sight.  A while back, he didn't charge an elderly man to put taps on his shoes.  The man doesn't speak English, but the kindness wasn't lost on him.  A few days later, the man came back into the shop with fresh-baked bread, from the bakery where he works.  The man continues to bring them bread and they've done a few repairs for him as well.  I just loved hearing this story, and imagining the elder coming in to hang out with the guys at the shop and gifting them with bread.

When I asked Bobby his life's purpose, he answered, "to live up to my parents expectations, and then to go past that."  I think any parent would be so proud of Bobby.  I hope he realizes that.  I think anything else he does, is in the pursuit of living up to the expectations he has of himself.  One thing I've learned while doing this project, is that parents really just want for their children to be good, caring, decent human beings. Of course they would love for us to have a wildly successful career and financial stability, but the one thing I've heard over and over in this project, is that parents are happy and proud when they know their kids have grown into good, kind, and loving people.  Bobby is good people.

"Being where I am in life, personally," Bobby answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  Both Marc and I anticipated that his answer would be something relating to the success of the shoe shop, but I was happy to hear that Bobby's personal life is fulfilling and successful.

Guys, thank you!  Thank you for always being so nice.  I'm so glad to have met you both.

 

Day 285 - Sunny

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This is Sunny.  We met on a sunny morning at the bus stop.

The happiest thing happening in Sunny's life right now is that she's alive and recovering from a recent stroke.  The stroke forced Sunny into early retirement and she's concerned about financial security, as she hadn't planned to retire this early.  Through it all, she's keeping an optimistic outlook and just celebrating that she's alive and now well enough to get out on her own.

Sunny had been a hair stylist for the past 20 years, prior to her stroke.  One of her acts of kindness is that she does hair for free, for people who can't afford it.  Sunny has just recently been well and mobile enough to be able to provide this service again.

"To help people," Sunny answered, when I asked her life's purpose.  Sunny feels that through her profession, she's able to help people feel better about themselves.

Thank you, Sunny.  Wishing you good luck, and that you'll continue to be well.

 

Day 286 - Alicia and Adria

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This is Alicia (left) and Adria (right.) They are my nieces.

The occasion was so bittersweet, as we were there for my Aunt's funeral.  Although we were sad and heavy-heated because of our Aunt's passing, it was also comforting and nice to be around family. This is the first time I've seen them both in far too long.

I've said hundreds of times throughout this project that I'm not a photographer. Until recently, I hadn't even taken a photography class of any sort.  However, when Alicia, Adria and I were trying to make a picture, their Mom (my sister-in-law) reminded us that when we were little,  I would LOVE to take Alicia and Adria's picture.  I had a little point-and-shoot film camera and my sister-in-law reminded me that Alicia and Adria were often my subjects. I really did have an itch for photography, even as a kid.  My only regret is that I waited so long to scratch that itch.

It's difficult for me to see this picture of my nieces.  In my mind, they're still tiny little girls, but now they're beautiful women, with not-so-tiny kids of their own.  They have grown into such strong and loving people.  Living away from home, it breaks my heart knowing that I've missed so much of their lives, and the lives of their kids. (my great nieces and nephews.)

"My son graduating," Alicia answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

When I asked Alicia if she had recently performed an act of kindness, or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she explained that she received an act of kindness when her parents paid for her Son's graduation party.

"To raise beautiful, confident, strong and independent children, who are also loving and caring," Alicia answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Alicia something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she explained that it was her transformation from being a very quite and shy person, to one who is outgoing, direct, and no longer afraid of people.  She now loves and enjoys talking with people!

"My amazing family, awesome support system, and a good job," Adria answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now. "I'm living a happy life," Adria added.

"To be a support for my kids and husband, and to be a planner and consistent person for our family," Adria answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

As I'm reading my notes to write this post, I realize that I hadn't asked Adria if she had recently performed an act of kindness. I think I subconsciously, yet deliberately, skipped that question because I already knew the answer.  Adria and her husband have been such a huge help to my mom.  I consider this a huge act of kindness.  I often feel pretty awful for living so far away from my mom, and not being there to help her with things.  The only thing that gives me slight peace is knowing that Adria and her husband are so close and they check in on her often, even if it's just a phone call to visit.  Were it not for Adria and our other family being there, I could never be able to live in Portland.  I can never express how much it means to me, knowing Adria is there, and that she's the loving and caring person she is.  Adria, thank you.

When I asked Adria something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "that I'm independent...I've been able to be successful with my job, and have a kid in college."  Adria added that it's a success that she didn't fall into a life of addiction.

Alicia and Adria, thank you for being in the project.  I love you both so much, and I think of you often.  We don't see each other enough, and that is entirely my fault.  Please know your presence in my heart is huge, and always will be.  I love you.

Here's a summary of the life's purpose and personal mission statements from this week's subjects:

  • To teach and to spread the word of God, and spread the good news.
  • I just want to contribute in any way that I can.
  • "To translate thoughts and feelings through art.
  • To live up to my parents expectations, and then to go past that.
  • "To help people.
  • To raise beautiful, confident, strong and independent children.
  • To be a support for my kids and husband, and to be a planner and consistent person for our family.

Thank you!

 

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 40

Hello! This is week 40, of the 365 More People Pictures project.

If you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.  (The blog is behind a couple weeks.)

 

Day 273 - Francisco

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This is Francisco.  We met at the bus stop at the mall.

"It's Mother's Day and I love my Mom," Francisco answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Francisco had just finished work at the mall, and was on his way to pick up a gift and then see his Mom.

Francisco's recent act of kindness is that he feeds homeless people.

When I asked Francisco his life's purpose, he said, "I usually ask myself that everyday."  He thought about it a moment and then answered, "to keep walking forward."

Something about himself that he considers to be a success, is that he's the first in his family to graduate high school, and will likely be the first to go to college! When Francisco told me this, I got a mental picture of his very proud mother.  Proud not only of his accomplishment, but of the nice young man he's become.

Thank you, Francisco.

 

Day 274 - Mila

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This is Mila.  She works at my favorite coffee shop in the Hollywood District, Nectar Cafe.  She's so sweet and nice, I can tell that some of the customers come in there as much to visit with Mila, as they do for the good coffee.

When I asked Mila the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she answered, "letting go of toxicity."  She's now turned to meditation, reading and learning about Buddhism.

Mila's recent act of kindness is that she reached out to a bunch of her lady friends to wish them a Happy Mother's day.

"To get to the point where I'm highly conscious, super aware of myself and my surroundings, to let myself be & let things be, and to be free of judgement," Mila answered, when I asked her life's purpose.   Mila then answered that she'd also like to be able to pass those traits on to her son as well.

When I asked Mila something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "sobriety...my journey."

I was so happy for  Mila, and hearing that she's started down the path of sobriety.  I'm excited for her re-birth, and the clarity with which she's chosen to live life.

Thank you, Mila.  You're a gem.  Wishing you the best.

 

Day 275 - Melissa

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This is Melissa.  We met at the bus stop and we only had time for one question before her bus arrived.

"My beautiful baby boy," Melissa answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

Thank you, Melissa.

 

Day 276 - Austin

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This is Austin. We met on the street.

"I just moved here," Austin answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  He then added that he and his girlfriend just moved here, and he's happy about that.  Austin has been living a pretty cool life for the past few years.  He spent quite a while living in a tent in the forest. After tent-living for a while, he and his friends then built a house-like structure out of recycled tires and other repurposed items and he lived there for a while too.  Tyler then built a tiny house, loaded it up and moved it to Portland, where he's decided to settle with his girlfriend.

Austin is excited and nervous to find out how he does in a big city, after living such an isolated life for so long.

I asked Austin if he's performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Austin said that someone gave him a slice of lemon cake the day before. He stopped in at a coffee shop, noticed and admired the cake, and the barista noticed him noticing the cake. She insisted he take a piece, her treat.

I first asked Austin his life's purpose.  He smiled, gave me this overwhelmed look, and answered, "you can't say those in words."  It was just too much at the moment and I understand how overwhelming the question is.  If someone had approached me, I would have said the same thing as Austin. I'm always amazed that people have been able to articulate an answer so quickly, concisely, and with meaning.

I rephrased the question, and asked Austin instead, if he has a personal mission statement.  He thought for a moment and then said that he thinks he has something appropriate.  Austin reached into his pocket, pulled out his field notes, thumbed through a few pages before stopping on a particular page and then saying, "to wax eloquently."  Austin does. He's the type of person you could talk with for hours.

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"My beard," Austin said jokingly/not jokingly, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  I laughed and told Austin that he was about the 3rd man in just a few weeks who answered that their beard is a success.  Austin put me on the spot.  He asked, of those men/beards, whose beard was the most successful?  I actually gave it some serious consideration. It's a difficult task, judging beards.  I explained that although his was the longest, I would have to give the award to a different guy/beard.  The other guy looked as though his beard was years in the making.  The other guy wasn't as naturally-gifted in beard-growing as Austin.  (Travis, from day 243, was the winner.)

Austin was happy to concede the win, realizing the other person had to work harder. But really, we should just celebrate all beards equally!

Thank you, Austin.  I hope Portland is good to you, and that you're happy here.

 

Day 277 - Brien

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This is Brien.  We met at the bus stop.

When I asked Brien the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he said he couldn't answer the question.  Brien explained, "I'm not a happy person."  I said to Brien that we could do the other questions and then circle back to this one.  By the time we were finished, Brien had listed several things that made him feel happy. Among them, his work and his co-workers. "I work in a positive environment," Brien added.  We were at the bus stop by the Hollywood Burger Bar and it reminded Brien that their breakfasts and burgers make him happy.  "And coffee!"  Coffee makes Brien happy.  (I'm pretty sure if you cut me, I'd bleed coffee.  I know it's not good to drink that much, but when everything seems so wrong, a nice cup of coffee can make it all seem ok. I can relate with Brien on this one.)

"Staying alive, so I can find one later," Brien answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Brien something about himself which he considers to be a success, he answered, "I haven't disappointed anyone gravely, that I know of."  What an excellent answer, and such a huge accomplishment.  If you think about it, how many of us can answer in this way?  How many of us have not disappointed someone?

I have to tell you something...one of the nicest things ever.  (besides the other person who did this too.)  Brien and I weren't quite finished with the questions when his bus arrived, but instead of cutting it short, he actually just passed on the bus and told me he'd catch the next one. He finished the "interview" and  we hung out talking for a little while longer.  I was so touched by this gesture.  For a person who says they're not a happy person, Brien really knows how to make other people feel happiness.

Thank you, Brien. Hoping you'll find a very long list of things that make you feel happy, and that happiness will truly find you.  Thank you.

 

Day 278 - Mono

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This is Mono.  We met at the park and ride.

We had to talk over really loud traffic, and work though our language gap between us, but when I asked Mono the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he answered, "my work."  Mono is happy to be working.

Mono's recent act of kindness is that he let me take his picture.

"To be a Christian," Mono answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

Knowing we were working through our language challenges, I simplified the "success" question and instead just asked Mono something he's good at. "I'm nice to people, he answered."  Yes. Yes he is.

Thank you, Mono.

 

Day 279 - Tyler

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This is Tyler.  He works at the convenience store I frequent.

I'm so addicted to black & white, but there are times I wish I could do better color.  Tyler is one of those instances.  He has the most beautiful ice eyes I've ever seen. (The second most beautiful eyes, next to my mother's.)  They're so pretty, I imagine it's actually sort of weird for him.  You can't help but to stare directly into his eyes when you meet him.  He's cool though, he knows his unique eyes are attention-getting and people can't help but to remark about them.

"I just moved here," Tyler answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. "Everything's a new adventure," Tyler added.   Tyler and a few others loaded up in a "hippie van," made the journey across country, and then settled in Portland.  I think Portland was a great choice for Tyler. He feels like Portland.

Tyler's recent act of kindness is that he just gave someone some money.

"To interpret everything I experience," Tyler answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

"My attitude," Tyler said, is something about himself which he considers to be a success.

Thank you, Tyler!

 

Here's the summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of this week's subjects:

  • To keep walking forward.
  • To get to the point where I'm highly conscious, super aware of myself and my surroundings, to let myself be & let things be, and to be free of judgement.
  • To wax eloquently.
  • Staying alive, so I can find one later.
  • To be a Christian.
  • To interpret everything I experience

 

Thank you for following along another week, and thank you to each and every subject in the project.

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 39

Hello! Thank you for stopping by to check out week 39 of the 365 More People Pictures project.

I've been taking a picture of a person, every single day, for the past 653 days. I'm not a photographer.  I completed my first 365 Day Challenge and loved it so much, I just couldn't stop.  I post each daily picture to Instagram and then post the summary of the week here on the blog.  I've fallen behind here on the blog and will catch up eventually, but if you'd like to follow along daily, my instagram username is @missellana.

 

Aunt Nancy

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In real time, I just returned from a trip to my hometown to attend the funeral of my Aunt Nancy.  You met my Aunt Nancy in last year's project.

When I took this picture of my Aunt Nancy, I didn't know at the time, that it would be the very last time I saw her.  I'm so grateful for the moment we spent taking this picture and talking with one another.   Were it not for this project, I know I would have missed the opportunity to share in this special moment .  Our conversation would have been different, were it not for the questions in this project.

The most beautiful photo slide show played at Nancy's service.  Seeing her life, captured in photographs, reminded me of so many good times, and also introduced me to her life as a young woman, before some of my cousins were even born...her life, before our lives.

If I had known this was our last time together, I would have asked more questions. I would have hugged her a little tighter. I would have told her again how very much I loved her.  I would have thanked her for being our family's rock, our glue.  I would have told her that her's was a life that mattered.

Thank you,  Aunt Nancy.  Thank you for your love and strength.

 

Day 266 - R.J.

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This is R.J.  We met at the bus stop.

We only had time for one question before R.J.'s " bus arrived.

"God is good," R.J. answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Thank you, R.J.

 

Day 267 - Tim

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This is Tim. We met on the street.

When I asked Tim the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he answered, "leaving a bad job."  After talking with Tim for a few moments, I got the impression that he actually just left his job, as in, just minutes or hours earlier.  When he answered, it was as though the realization hit him that he was truly happy about his decision, even though it was probably a difficult and scary one to make.

Tim's recent act of kindness is that he's been helping his neighbor, an elderly woman, who had a broken foot.

Tim is an animator and he moved from LA to Portland.  When I asked his life's purpose, he answered, "to take my art and make it talk and move within a year."  We talked about animation prospects here in Portland and I'm hoping he'll land his dream job.  We joked that that these questions could help get him in interview mode.

"Being able to talk to anyone from the janitor to the president," Tim answered, when I asked something about himself which he considers to be a success.

You can check out Tim's work here.  One of my favorites is the set of adult Valentines!

Wishing you the best of luck, Tim.

 

Day 268 - Joshua

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This is Joshua.  We met outside Hollywood Theater.  He was just so nice!

"Just this...today," Joshua answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Joshua's recent act of kindness is that he helped his co-workers, who weren't getting properly noticed, not only get recognition, but he also helped them to get promotions!

"To experience and enjoy life while we're here," Joshua answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Joshua something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he responded, "really enjoying life all the time."

I felt Joshua's energy and enthusiasm in just the few moments we hung out. I got the feeling that he was actually really having fun in that moment, and after we finished, it felt like he was going to move onto the next thing and enjoy it completely.  He's an in-the-moment kinda guy.  Wish I could be more like that!

Thank you, Joshua.

 

Day 269 - Omar

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This is Omar.  We met at Starbucks.  Again, I just invited myself to join him at his table after he agreed to let me take his picture for the project.  His girlfriend joined us soon after I sat down, and we must have visited and talked for a good half-hour or longer.  I learned so much from them both, nearly all of which I can't/won't share due to Omar's circumstances.

"My family is safe," Omar answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Omar is currently in the U.S. as a student, but the rest of his family is still in Iraq.  Omar is a poet and public figure on youtube, which is part of the reason he was forced to flee from Iraq.

Omar's recent act of kindness is that he helped his brother to get married.

"To help people, be nice, and do something good," Omar answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

Thank you for being in this project, Omar.  Wishing you success and peace.

 

Day 270 - Nickolaus

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This is Nickolaus.  We met on the street.  I kinda love Nickolaus' unicorn hair do.

The happiest thing happening in Nickolaus' life is that he had just made travel plans to visit friends.

Nickolaus' recent act of kindness is that he let me take his picture. On the receiving end, his employer is letting him take the time off to travel to visit his friends.

"To travel and see as much of this planet as I can while I'm here, and to experience as much as I can while I'm here," Nickolaus answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Nicholas something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he was having a hard time answering.  He pointed out the exact reason why I ask this question.  Nickolaus explained that he spends so much time being hard on himself that it was hard for him to identify something positive.  We joked about his beard and his hair style being a success, but I pushed for an answer, citing the very same reason he was having trouble thinking of one.  After much consideration, Nickolaus replied, "I'm an excellent house-keeper!"  Nickolaus said that his kitchen floor, sink and counters are spotless!

Thank you, Nickolaus.

 

Day 271 - Karmella and Gangsta

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This is Karmella and Gangsta.  Is it just me, or does Gangsta have the cutest little old man face ever?

Karmella was on  her way to class, so we only had time for one question.

"To make an impact," Karmella said, when I asked her life's purpose.

Thank you, Karmella.

 

Day 272 - Colin

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This is Colin.  We met at the park in downtown Vancouver.

"My daughter," Colin answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Colin was recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness when he discovered that his lunch tab had been paid for, secretly,  by a friend he had bumped into at the restaurant.

"To do good or to do better, and to make sure the next day is better than the last," Colin answered, when I asked his life's purpose/personal mission statement.

When I asked Colin something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that it was his job as a cook.  Some of his customers compliment him and tell him they come in to eat, specifically on days they know he's working.

I enjoyed talking with Colin.  We continued talking long after we were finished with the questions.  Again, I was just so thankful to this project for providing me with opportunities to talk with people who I would have otherwise never had the opportunity to meet.  Each person has touched my life in some way.

Thank you, Colin.

 

Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • God is good
  • To take my art and make it talk and move within a year.
  • To experience and enjoy life while we're here.
  • To help people, be nice, and do something good
  • To travel and see as much of this planet as I can while I'm here, and to experience as much as I can while I'm here.
  • To make an impact.
  • To do good or to do better, and to make sure the next day is better than the last.

Thank you to every person in this project, and thank you for following along.

365 More People Pictures - Week 38

Hello! Thank you for checking out week 38 of the 365 More People Pictures Project.  This is my second 365 Day Project in which I'm taking a picture of a person, every single day, for an entire year.  I completed my first 365 Day Project last year and I just couldn't stop.  Without missing a day, I continued on to year two.  I should mention, I'm not a photographer.  Until getting my first DSLR just a few weeks before starting the first 365 Day project, I had never taken any classes and I didn't even know how to operate my camera.  There's just so much to learn when it comes to photography, and I haven't even scratched the surface.

I'm not sure what the future holds after this current streak is finished. I've considered going for 1000 straight days.  1000 days seems impossible - but really, it would only be another 270 days after this project.

These pictures are taken fresh daily. I don't stockpile images. The majority of the subjects in this project are strangers and usually we only get to spend a few moments together.  Also included are a few family, friends and co-workers.

I post each daily picture to Instagram.  The blog is currently behind a couple weeks from real-time, but if you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.

 

Day 259 - Adrian

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This is Adrian.  We met on the street, and he was in a bit of a hurry.

"I just got a job," Adrian answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Adrian's recent act of kindness is that he had just bought a soda for a homeless person at the gas station.

"That's too hard, I'm too young," Adrian replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose.

When I asked Adrian something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that it was his success in school, and his job.

Thanks, Adrian.

 

Day 260 - Joe

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This is Joe.  We met at Starbucks, where I pretty much just invited myself to sit down at his table.  Have you noticed that I tend to do this often?  Wow!  I never imagined I'd live a life where it was pretty common to walk up to a stranger and then sit down to have coffee with them.   This project has been so amazing and I can't even imagine going back to living an isolated life where I spent my time lost in my own thoughts.

"My family is healthy and we're spending a lot of time together...good family time," Joe answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Joe if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he explained that he received community-wide support in coping with a situation at the organization he runs.   The community stepped up and gave support during a very difficult time.

When I asked Joe his life's purpose, he answered, "to help people grow."  Joe laughed and explained that actually, "I push. I push people to grow."  I'm glad for people like Joe.  Some of us are very good at accepting help from others, and some of us need people like Joe around who push us to grow when we think we're unable to.

"My drive," Joe answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  "I like the process of getting things done," he added.

Joe and I visited for a while longer while we enjoyed a perfect spring evening on the Starbucks patio.  I wish everyone could experience what I've been experiencing with this project.  It feels like every day I get to meet a new friend, and every day I get to feel a little more connected with this big city of ours.  If the subjects I meet each day feel even a fraction of what I feel each day, then I will feel like this mattered.

Thank you, Joe.  Keep up the excellent work in all that you do.

 

Day 261 - Chrissy Boo Bad

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This is Chrissy Boo Bad.  We only had time for one question before CBB's bus arrived.

The happiest thing happening in Chrissy Boo Bad's life right now is, "spiritual enlightenment and personal development."

Thank you, CBB!

 

Day 262 - Lilly

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This is Lilly.  The happiest thing happening in her life is that she had just spent two weeks in Mexico with her family.

When I asked Lilly if she had recently performed an act of kindness or if she had been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she explained that the trip was actually an act of kindness because her parents paid the for the vacation. It was hard for her, but Lilly accepted their assistance and generosity.

"I just want to be happy...that's the goal at this point," Lilly answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Lilly something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she said that she's successfully lived without a car for 4 years and counting.  She was on her bike when we met.  I admire the huge population of bike commuters in Portland.

Thank you, Lilly.  Wishing you happiness!

 

Day 263 - Sanjay

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This is Sanjay.  The happiest thing happening in his life right now is that he and his wife just adopted/rescued a dog from Poland.  The rescue/adoption process was quite the ordeal, and I'm so happy for Sanjay and his new little family.

When I asked Sanjay if he's recently performed an act of kindness (other than rescuing the pup) or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he told me that he works for Mercy Corps.  Sanjay's entire life is spent helping others.  Sanjay had just returned from a work trip to Nepal just a day or two before the devastating earthquake.

"To live by my principles," Sanjay answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

When I asked Sanjay something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I've come a long way."  He meant that figuratively and literally, explaining that he came from a small village in India, "and having been through a lot, I can now influence and help others all across the world."

Thank you, Sanjay.  Thank you for being in the project and for all the good work you do personally, and with Mercy Corps.

 

Day 264 - Manny

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This is Manny.

"I was sick, but I got better," Manny answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

"I always perform acts of kindness," Manny answered, when I asked if he had recently performed an act of kindness or if he had been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  He jokingly added that he let me take his picture!  I love it when people realize this.  Some subjects have trouble remembering if they've performed an act of kindness and they actually start to stress about it, not even realizing that they're actually performing an act of kindness as we're speaking.  When you think about it, it's pretty remarkable for a person to allow a stranger to take their picture and "interview" them.  It is an act of kindness to open up and take a few moments out of their day to visit with a stranger.

"To make a difference in at least one person's life...and make that person's life a little better," Manny said, is his life's purpose.

When I asked Manny something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he said that he's a College Graduate.  He's currently looking for work, but he's confident he'll find a job.

Wishing you the best of luck, Manny!  Hoping you find the perfect job!

 

Day 265 - Thom

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This is Thom.   He's one of the owners of the Hoodsport Coffee Co.   When we make the move to our little cabin in the woods, I'll be seeing a lot of Thom and Hoodsport Coffee Co.!

The happiest thing happening in Thom's life right now is the shop, and that he gets to work with his wife.

When I asked Thom if he had recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he said that he just purchased groceries for a woman at the grocery store who was unable to pay.  The woman and her children were in the check-out line ahead of him.   When she was unable to pay, Thom stepped in and paid for everything.  He didn't want the family to go without.

"To provide community here," Thom answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Thom is definitely fulfilling his life's purpose.  Hoodspoort Coffee Co. is the most happening place in town and what little time I've spent there so far, I've been able to gather that it really is the pulse of the community.  In addition to Thom and his wife, every time we go there, we always end up visiting with locals or tourists passing through.  The first time I ever went there, I felt that sense of community.    Someday soon, we will be joining this little community.  I'm grateful for Thom and his wife and the Hoodsport Coffee Co. for more reasons than just their coffee and friendly service!  When the time comes to move and if I want to continue this project or something similar, this is the best place in town to meet people!

Thank you, Thom!  Thank you for being in the project and building community.

 

Here's a summary of the life's purpose or personal mission statements from this week's subjects:

  • To help people grow.
  • Spiritual enlightenment and personal development.
  • I just want to be happy.
  • To live by my principles.
  • To make a difference in at least one person's life...and make that person's life a little better,
  • To provide community here.

Thank you to every person in this project, and thank you again for following along!

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 37

Hello and thank you for stopping by to check out week 37 of the 365 More People Pictures project. Happy Mother's Day to everyone who nurtures.  And Mom, thank you for being the best mom.  I didn't make it easy for you.  I love you, and appreciate everything you do, and all that you are.

 

Day 252 - Laura

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This is Laura. We met at the park.

"My children," Laura answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

When I asked Laura if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she explained she was actually the recipient of an act of kindness right then.  Her Mother-in-Law was watching her youngest so she was able to be out for a while.

"To be a Mom...I think I knew that since I was little," Laura answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Laura something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she said that she didn't really feel like she was there yet.  "I feel like I'm not done with school, not working...I'm just a Mom."

I've been thinking about Laura, and noticed that we have a tendency, when identifying our successes, to consider only past or completed achievements.  Some of our greatest successes are actually happening in the present.  A success isn't always a past accomplishment. Some of our greatest successes are simply the way we live currently and that which we're currently striving to achieve.  Finishing a marathon isn't so much about race day when you set out to do 26.2 miles and cross that finish line - it's about the months of training that you put in before that day.  The success isn't that you completed 26.2 miles, crossed a finish line and earned a medal.  Race day is more like thousands of people getting together in celebration of their months and months of successful training.  We can place so much value on crossing the finish line, that we  forget to celebrate that which got us to the start line.

Thank you, Laura.  You're a living success. You're a Mom.

 

Day 253 - Andy

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This is Andy.  We met on the street. I could tell he was in a hurry, but he stopped to let me take his picture and quickly answer the questions.

"My kids," Andy said, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Andy's recent act of kindness was that he reached out to a relative.

"Fulfillment," Andy answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Andy something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "balance."

Thank you, Andy.

 

Day 254 - John

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This is John.  We met walking down the street.

The happiest thing happening in John's life right now is that he's getting married in September.

John's recent act of kindness is that he mowed and aerated his elderly neighbor's lawn.  John is about the sweetest neighbor ever.  I wish all elders could have a next door neighbor as nice as John.

"To help others," John answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  John is currently going to school to become a doctor.  A Carhartt-wearing, lawn-aerating, neighborly doctor is pretty much the best kind of doctor in the world.  I think John is going on to do great things and help many people.

"My ability to put others at ease," John answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, John.  Best wishes to you.

 

Day 255 - Justine

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This is Justine.   We met walking down the street. She looked a little lost, but I found her.

The happiest thing happening in her life right now is her new job being a Nanny for a family she really likes and enjoys.

Justine's recent act of kindness is that she helped her overwhelmed roommate by doing her dishes. Justine knows how busy her roommate is currently, and she's been doing extra chores to help her roommate however she can. "It's small," Justine minimized.  But to her roomie, it's probably a huge relief!

"I'm just figuring myself out," Justine answered, when I asked her life's purpose or personal mission statement.  Like Justine, I think we're all just trying to figure ourselves out.

"I made it here from New Jersey," Justine answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  Have you noticed how many people we've met who have just completely uprooted and started a brand new life for themselves?  It takes a grand sense of adventure and faith to make such a bold move.  I'm inspired by Justine and everyone like her.

After we were finished, I asked Justine if she was lost, explaining she appeared to have been looking for something when I approached her.  She said she was looking for the shoe repair shop.     I walk by there every day and two of the guys have been subjects in this project, so I knew exactly where she wanted to go.  I walked with Justine down to the shop where we said our good-byes and well-wishes.

Thank you, Justine.

 

Day 256 - Johnny D.

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This is Johnny D.  we met at Mt. Tabor Park.

I regretted not having a recorder.  Johnny D's answers were all so poetic, but there was no way I could keep up to him with just a pen and journal.  He was special, and so articulate, I wish I could have done a better job of capturing his words.

"Music - inspirational music with great friends," Johnny D. said, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Johnny D. if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he answered, "I try to practice intentional and random acts of kindness."  Johnny D. explained that he's a "professional philanthropist, environmentalist, and justice activist."  Johny D.'s life's work, his job, is actually performing kindness.   "I'm just trying to make the world a better place," Johnny D. added.  Wow!

"To lovingly and ingeniously activate people to consciously celebrate, and make the world a better place through play,"  Johnny D. said, is his personal mission statement.

When I asked Johnny D. something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "the ability to balance wonderful extremes: work & play, discipline & improvisation, focus and release, and being able to dance with equipoise between the two."

Johnny D. is the kind of person with whom you just want to talk with for hours and hours.

Thank you for all you do, Johnny D.  Thank you.

 

Day 257 - Patrick

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This is Patrick.

"Meeting my goal physique," Patrick answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Patrick was recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness when the person in line ahead of him at a coffee shop, bought his coffee.

"Travel," Patrick said, is his life's purpose.

Something about himself which he considers to be a success, is that he graduated college in 4 years.

Thank you, Patrick.

 

Day 258 - Buggsy and Ozzy.

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This is Gary, but his friends call him Buggsy.  He was out walking his dog when we met.  His dog, I would guess to be a Bichon Frise, is named Ozzy. "After Ozzy Osbourne," Buggsy said. Buggsy is one of the few people who actually talked to me first.  He said hello as I walked near his direction, remarked about my camera and told me I would get lots of great pictures in the park.  Instead of continuing onto the park which is where I was headed when I met Buggsy and Ozzy, I explained the project and asked Buggsy if I could take his picture.  Buggsy was just an absolutely charming person.

"Being able to walk my dog, my health, and being able to say hi to people like you," Buggsy answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

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When I asked Buggsy if he's recently performed an act of kindness or been on the receiving end of kindness, he said that he enjoys meeting people.  He often walks downtown near the park and talks with homeless people. He tries to help them in ways that will keep them healthy and moving in a direction to help their lifestyle.  Buggsy said that he's aware he can't change their lifestyle, but he can help provide direction.

Buggsy then added that on the receiving end, he receives love and kindness from people.  As we were talking, Buggsy said hello to every person who walked by.  I gathered that he knew several people, and those he didn't, he greeted anyway, just as he had greeted me.  Buggsy gives so much kindness, if he receives back only a fraction of all that he gives, he would be a very rich man.  Rich in love and kindness.

"To be honest, fair and kind. I've done that in business and throughout my life in general," Buggsy said, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Buggsy something about himself which he considers to be a success, he dismissed success in business and said that his greatest success was his marriage of 44 years. His wife recently passed away, and now Buggsy and Ozzy are now doing their best to continue on without her.

Buggsy is another great and kind soul and I'm so glad this project has led me to meet so many beautiful people.  When we were finished, we said goodbye with a handshake and we both left with tears in our eyes. Well, I know I had tears in my eyes and I'm pretty sure Buggsy did too.  He repeatedly thanked me for visiting with him and taking his picture.  There was nothing I could say to make him realize that it was I who was grateful and thankful for him.

Thank you, Buggsy.  Thank you for being you.

Here's a summary of the life's purposes and personal mission statements from this week's subjects:

  • To be a Mom
  • Fulfillment.
  • To help others.
  • I'm just figuring myself out.
  • To lovingly and ingeniously activate people to consciously celebrate, and make the world a better place through play.
  • Travel.
  • To be honest, fair and kind.

 

Thank you to each and every subject in the project, and to you for following along.

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 36

Hello! This is week 36 of the 365 More People Pictures project. These are the subjects from a couple of weeks ago.  In real-time, I just wrapped up week 38.  If you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.

 

Day 245 - Clement

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This is Clement. We met at the bus.

Recently, I've been asking subjects to give me a serious look.  If I can't catch people in a genuine laugh or smile, then I've been aiming for something more pensive.  Clement was quite warm and friendly.  I didn't even have to ask him to give ma serious look a "serious" look. When it came time for the photos, Clement naturally just defaulted to this serious, stoic look and when I look at this picture, I see a determined person.

"I'm happy to work...I like work," Clement answered when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

We had a bit of a language barrier to overcome. When I asked Clement if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he asked me to explain. I re-phrased the question and instead asked if he's recently done anything nice for anyone, or if anyone has been nice to him. A beautiful smile came across is face when he said that he had just visited his Mom in Mexico.

When I asked Clement his life's purpose, we again worked through our language challenge.  At first I thought I may have made things even more confusing in my second attempt at the question when I asked Clement, "why are you here...in life?"  "I'm here to work...I want to have a good life," Clement answered.  It doesn't matter in what language it's said, we all desire happiness and a good life.  The puzzling part, is learning how to define "good".

Thank you, Clement.  Wishing you a good life.

 

Day 246 - Erika

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This is Erika.  We also met at the bus during quite a rain storm.

"Improved health," Erika answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

When I asked Erika if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she replied, "both...I try to practice daily."

"To help other people, women in particular," Erika said, is her life's purpose.

I asked Erika something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she replied, "I have a 19-year-old who is kind, sweet and giving."

Thank you, Erika.

 

Day 247 - Rob

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"Having the summer off and doing a lot of hiking," Rob said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Rob if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he explained that he makes that his lifestyle - he tries to make kindness happen as much as he can.

"I know it sounds cliché or stupid, but a good rule of thumb is to always treat everyone you encounter, as a person," Rob answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement. I told Rob it wasn't at all cliché.  It's quite perfect.

"I'm happy that I'm a compassionate person," Rob answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Rob.

 

Day 248 - Novalicious

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This is Novalicious.  We met on the street.

"I'm in the most amazing, caring relationship," Novalicious answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now. Novalicious went on to add that she's also happy because her work is great, her kitties are healthy, and her parents are healthy.

Novalicious' recent act of kindness is that she bought a meal for a homeless person she met around the food carts.

When I asked Novalicious her life's purpose, she answered, "to love and be kind and to wish everybody happiness, and when I'm not shown that kindness, to be understanding." Novalicious has it all figured out and I'm striving to be more like her.

I asked Novalicious something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she answered, "I survived!"

Thank you, Novalicious!

 

Day 249 - Katrina

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This is Katrina.  We met at the bus stop.

"I'm getting my girls back," Katrina answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

When I asked Katrina if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she explained that she's currently living in a program for women who are in the process of regaining custody of their children.

There are times when I've kept the confidence of the subjects I've met because I've felt like it was a special and personal interaction between us. In Katrina's situation, her story is a happy one and it's ok to share a little.

I wondered why Katrina had lost her children.  Knowing she was in the process of regaining custody, I read between the lines and gathered that Katrina may have battled addiction and must have made some positive life changes.  I asked if she was now clean & sober and she confirmed she was.  I was so touched by Katrina, her sheer love for her kids, and her excitement that she would soon be reunited with them.  I couldn't hold back the tears, but they were happy tears.  I was so happy for Katrina and the changes she's made in her life.  It's more like she's reclaiming her true self, rather than starting new.

"To be a good Mom to my kids, and to help others," Katrina answered, when I asked her life's purpose."  "First, I have to help myself," Katrina added, knowing that taking care of her own self, was critical for everything she's about to do.

When I asked Katrina something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "my recovery."

Thank you, Katrina.  Wishing you and your family success, love and happiness. You can do it!

 

Day 250 - Stephen & Michael

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This is Stephen (left) and Michael (right).

I asked Stephen the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "money!"  He jokingly added that he was buying his happiness.  Stephen recently came into some money and he shared that he's been having fun spending and indulging, and perhaps going a little wild.  I couldn't help myself.  I may have accidentally mom'd Stephen.  Ok, I totally mom'd Stephen and reminded/lectured him to also be smart with his newfound money!  I know, I know.  I couldn't help it.  Luckily, he was a very good sport and we all laughed about my mom moment.

I asked Michael if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and he answered that Stephen had just bought him a bike!  Joking aside, I thought it was pretty cool for Stephen to treat his friends to such nice gifts.

"To be awesome," Stephen said, when I asked his life's purpose.  The three of us laughed at Stephen's answer.

I asked Michael something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "my daughter."

Thank you, Stephen & Michael.

 

Day 251 - Cat

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This is Cat.  We met at the mall.

"My job," Cat answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

"I try to do nice things," Cat answered, when I asked if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.

Cat's life's purpose, "making people look and feel good."  I had guessed Cat was either a tattoo artist or hair stylist because of her awesome style.  Her answer confirmed that she's a hair stylist.  I love that Cat places value on her profession and that she sees the worth of service that she's providing.  When we're confident in the way we look, that confidence spills over and we really do feel better.

"I recently lost 40 pounds," Cat answered, when I asked something about herself which she considers to be a success.  Nice work!

Thank you, Cat!

 

Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of this week's subjects:

  • I'm here to work...I want to have a good life.
  • To help other people, women in particular.
  • Always treat everyone you encounter, as a person.
  • To love and be kind and to wish everybody happiness, and when I'm not shown that kindness, to be understanding.
  • To be a good Mom to my kids, and to help others.
  • To be awesome.
  • Making people look and feel good.

Thank you for following along on this project!  Sometimes I just get completely overwhelmed when I think about all of the incredibly kind and amazing people we've met. It feels like I'm not doing enough to convey just how beautiful people are.  I feel like I can't even find the right words to express how this has impacted me.  I feel like this has been a privilege and I'm ruining it by being an inferior writer.  At the very least, I just hope that maybe by reading about the people in this project, it will inspire you to be curious and visit with people you may have otherwise just let pass you by.

Thanks again.

365 More People Pictures - Week 35

Hi! These are the subjects from week 35 of the 365 More People Pictures project.

Day 238 - Sandy

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This is Sandy.   We met at the park, where he was out walking his dog, Henry.  Actually, I sort of approached Sandy and Henry at the very moment Henry was doing his doggy business, and for that reason, I don't think Henry was all that pleased with me.

"Henry went outside today," Sandy answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  I gathered from Sandy's statement that Henry is in training.

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Sandy's recent act of kindness is that he purchased shaving cream so that his daughter could swirl-color Easter eggs. (I'm running behind. This was Easter.)

"I'm really devoted to my wife and daughter," Sandy answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Sandy something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I taught Henry how to go outside."

Thank you, Sandy & Henry.

 

Day 239 - Erik.

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This is Erik.  We met at a restaurant where my friends had taken me for my birthday dinner. Erik was our server.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now is spending time with his 9 year old daughter.

When I asked Erik if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he answered, "my whole life I've been on the giving end."  Erik then explained that he was on the receiving end of an act of kindness when he got this new job.

"To be a good example for my kids," Erik answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Erik something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that he played in the NFL for 9 years. If he looked familiar to you, you were right!  This is Erik Wilhelm, quarterback.   Erik played for OSU and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.  He then went on to play for the Phoenix Cardinals and NY Jets!  You can learn more about Erik's football career here.  But, he's so nice, you could probably just ask him about it in person at The Top Shelf in Vancouver!

I thought it was pretty cool that a former NFL player was just an awesome, humble man who just wants to be a good influence for his kids.

I just never know who I'm going to meet in this project!

Thank you, Erik!

 

Day 240 - Alan

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This is Alan.  We met at the bus stop. Unfortunately, our interaction was quite brief because the bus arrived just as we got started.

"My job," Alan answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

It turned out that Alan is an acquaintance of one of my co-workers!  I love it when that happens!

Thank you, Alan.

 

Day 241 - Brenden

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This is Brenden.  We met on the street.  Does this picture make you think of the "Ponyboy" movie picture too? (The brunette Ponyboy.)

The happiest thing happening in Brenden's life right now was that he and his girlfriend just moved into their first place.  For Brenden, it's actually the first time that he's had a residence to call his own.  He's been living on his own since High School, but he's been staying on friend's couches and now he's happy to have his very own place.

I asked Brenden if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and he explained that he was recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness  when his boss gave him sort of a gift/bonus of $100 so that he could go to Seattle.  Brenden had never been to Seattle and his boss knew that Brenden really couldn't afford to go, so he gave him an extra $100.  Brenden loved seeing Seattle for the first time!

"To make people laugh," Brenden answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Brenden has aspirations to be a comedian.  It was tough choosing a picture to show you.  Given Brenden's aspirations in comedy, I thought I should share one of the more light-hearted, laughing pictures, but I chose this one because he did a great squinch and I just felt there was a lot more to Brenden.  This picture shows his depth.  And, I think it does remind me of Ponyboy.

"The fact that I'm still laughing," Brenden answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  Life hasn't been easy for Brenden, but not only is he still standing and laughing, but his life's purpose is to give laughter to others as well.

Thank you, Brenden.  Wishing you luck and success!

 

Day 242 - Tucker

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This is Tucker.  This was another short, too short, interaction as his bus arrived after the very first question I asked.

"I just got accepted into college," Tucker answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Thank you, Tucker!

 

Day 243 - Travis

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This is Travis. We met on the street.

"I have a girlfriend," Travis answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Travis had just been on the receiving end of an act of kindness just moments before we met.  He was riding his bike and accidentally dropped his seat cover which he had removed and placed in his pack.  Another cyclist picked it up, chased after Travis,  and returned the seat cover.

"Be kind," Travis answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Travis something about himself which he would consider to be a success, I read a look of complete satisfaction come across his face.  He reached up his hands, petted his beard and answered with a grin, "this beard."  Yes, that is a successful beard, even by Portland standards.

Thank you, Travis!

 

Day 244 -  Chris

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This is Chris.  We met at the convenience store where he was working. Chris saved the project which was 8 minutes away from failure!

This was not a good day.  An earlier trip to the dentist left me in so much pain that I didn't feel like going out in search of a subject. I decided that my husband would be the person of the day.  We only had a few minutes minutes for me to take his picture before he had to leave for work. Already pressed for time, my camera started doing some weird stuff I had never seen it do!  I've still only scratched the surface on how to operate my new camera and because it's several steps up from my first camera, it's much easier to really screw things up, especially because I'm still learning!  I wasted several of our few short minutes together, trying to figure out what I had done wrong with the camera settings.  I finally managed to get a picture.

I didn't sit down to process the picture and post it on instagram until after 11:00 pm.  When I saw the condition of the picture, I was pretty upset that I couldn't even take a decent picture of my own husband.  It was awful...probably the most unflattering photo of him ever! I've seriously taken better pictures of him when he's been sound asleep with the dog, and the dog is practically sleeping on my husband's head and smooshing his face into the pillow. (Any picture where a dog is asleep on another person's head is a good picture.)   I knew my husband would eventually get over me posting such a horrible picture, but I just couldn't do that to him. It would have been embarrassing for us both.

Still in terrible pain, I got dressed and headed for the convenience store nearest my house in search of a new subject.   It seemed like the only people there were under-age kids and with a few exceptions, everyone in the project has been an adult.  I asked the cashier if I could take his picture for the project, but he was beyond camera shy.  No amount of encouragement on my part, could convince him to let me take his picture. He would have made for a great subject, but he wasn't having any of it. I totally understand that some people don't want to be on the internet and I completely respect that and I don't push it when I sense that Ive met someone who is opposed to social media/internet. I just got the sense this guy was lacking confidence and that with enough encouragement, he would let me take his picture. Ultimately, I was hoping I'd take a great picture of him and it would help to boost his self-esteem.  I even explained that the fate of the entire project was resting on his portrait, but he declined.

I was hurting so much, I felt like I only had two options. End the project, or post the awful picture of my husband.  I decided to suck it up and consider a 3rd option...I could race to the other nearest convenience store and hope there would be someone there.  So, I did it!  I made it to the other store with less than 10 minutes before midnight.  I rushed through the door of the store, in pain and probably looking desperate. I quickly explained to the cashier that I only had a few minutes to take a picture of a person before midnight, for my 365 Day project. I asked Chris he would let me take his picture and he agreed, and he did so with a smile and kindness! I was so happy to have met Chris!

"Spending time with my son," Chris answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Chris' recent act of kindness is that he babysat 7 kids!  A friend of his was going into the hospital to deliver a baby and Chris watched her other children and the children of those close to her so that they could also go and support her during her delivery.  See, he is a great guy!

"To try to uphold my values and morals," Chris answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Chris something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "my time working here."

Thank you, Chris!  Thank you for your kindness and for saving the project.  You are awesome!

 

Here's a summary of the life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • I'm really devoted to my wife and daughter.
  • To be a good example for my kids.
  • To make people laugh.
  • Be kind.
  • To try to uphold my values and morals.

Thank you!

365 More People Pictures - Week 34

Hello! Thank you for checking in on week 34 of the 365 More People Pictures project.  I'm sorry I've managed to fall behind in the blog posts. I've still continued to take a picture of a person, every single day.  It's been a crazy few weeks and catching up has been a challenge.   I'll catch us up soon!  In the meantime, if you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.

 

Day 231 - Estrellalinda

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This is Estrellalinda.  We met at the park.

"The success of my career," Estrellalinda answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Estrellalinda is a chef at a local restaurant.

When I asked Estrellalinda if she's recently performed an act of kindness, she answered, "it's something I do on the daily."  The most recent act of kindness to come to mind was that she had paid a visit to an elderly friend who resides in the care facility where Estrellalinda once worked.  The woman just loved Estreallalinda's cooking, so  Estrellalinda brought her some treats, visited, and made plans to come back soon for another visit.

When I asked Estrellalinda if she had a personal mission statement, she answered, "don't fear, just live." Estrellalinda added that we have to take risks to find love and happiness.

"I'm starting to be a successful Mother," Estrellalinda answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  I didn't know when I approached Estrellalinda, but she was keeping a watchful eye on her daughter who was playing on the playground just a little ways from where Estrellalinda was sitting.   Estrellalinda's daughter probably felt like she had a little bit of space and freedom to spread her wings, but I could see Estrellalinda watching her baby bird the entire time we were talking.

When we were finished with the picture and the questions, Estrellalinda pointed her daughter out to me and I asked if she was friends with the other little girl she was playing with.  "No, they just met," Estrellalinda explained.  I then remarked how amazing kids are at meeting new friends and wondered when we, adults, lost our ability to go meet a new friend on the playground.  Estrellalinda laughed  and pointed out how we had just successfully struck up a conversation, just like the kids on the playground.  We laughed and visited more.  Estrellalinda confided areas where she felt she wanted to improve on being a mother, and I confided that the thought of being a mother was just too big of a challenge for me, so I don't have kids.  I am always truly in awe of parents, and especially mothers.

Estrellalinda said that going to the park was her daughter's idea.  In the past, Estrellalinda would have probably passed on the park in favor of just taking care of all of life's other busy-work, but she now stops to take the time to have fun whenever they can.  Estrellalinda gave the credit to her daughter, saying, "she's teaching me how to be a good Mom."

Thank you, Estrellalinda!  Best wishes of happiness for you and your daughter.

 

Day 232 - Gabrielle

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This is Gabrielle.  We met as we were crossing the street together.  Can you believe that Gabrielle doesn't actually like having her picture taken and she recently decided to get better about it.  I feel so lucky to have bumped into Gabrielle!  This is one of my favorite portraits. Gabrielle is a beautiful person, and somehow, we both made a good picture together.  It's just so funny that a young woman who doesn't like having her picture taken, and I, someone who can't even call themselves a photographer, managed to create a beautiful image, in spite of ourselves.  I love this picture and this fun little moment shared with such a lovely person.

"I'm starting a new chapter here," Gabrielle answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Gabrielle recently moved to Portland and she's happy to be "digging roots" here.  She feels like she's becoming part of the community.

"I feel like every day the universe gives me kindness," Gabrielle answered, when I asked if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Gabrielle added that she had given someone food the day before.

When I asked Gabrielle her life's purpose, she answered, "helping to empower people in the world, especially women."  Gabrielle works in alternate healing and she's able to help empower people through body work.  When people are well and feel good, they're empowered.

"My ability to fail," Gabrielle answered, when I asked her something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  Gabrielle explained that failures have provided her with the opportunity for growth. "I'm learning how to learn," Gabrielle added.   If she has a setback or failure, now she just picks herself back up, learns what she can from the failure, and moves on.  Such amazing wisdom from a young person.  It takes some of us several decades to view our failures as an opportunity for growth.

Very best wishes for you, Gabrielle. I hope we/Portland welcomes you and that you find your home here.

 

Day 233 - Nemo

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This is Nemo. We met walking down the street.

"Painting," Nemo answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  You can check out Nemo's work on his website or Instagram.  I couldn't stop looking!

When I asked Nemo if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness, he explained that he's been on the receiving end of kindness in the compliments he's received.

"Making things," Nemo answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

"Trying to make things," Nemo answered when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Nemo!  Keep making things!

 

Day 234 - Jonny

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This is Jonny.  We met at the mall.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now is the birth of his baby sister.

"I try to pay it forward," Jonny answered, when I asked if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Jonny is involved with the group, Tattoos Cure Cancer.

"To make the world a better place than when I came into it," Jonny said, is his life's purpose.

When I asked Jonny something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that it was that he's a friendly person, even though people could look at him covered in tattoos and possibly judge him to be otherwise. "Don't judge a book by its cover," Jonny added.

Jonny was a sweetheart and it's been my experience, at least with my friends and acquaintances, the more ink one has, the bigger their heart.   I'm not sure if it's the same feeling everywhere in the country, but at least in Portland, it doesn't feel like there's even much of a stigma attached to being heavily tattooed anymore.

Thank you, Jonny!

 

Day 235 - James

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This is James, a Portland Police Officer.  We met when he was on break at Starbucks.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now is that his daughter is getting married in New York.  Although he was so happy for his Daughter and her wedding, he was a little nervous about the trip to the big city!

James' most recent act of kindness is that he helped a person change a flat tire on the freeway.  This is such a big fear of mine.  Whenever I see someone stalled on the side of the highway, I get so nervous for them.  Something "minor" like a flat tire, can quickly turn into a tragedy.  Not only was James' assistance an act of kindness, but it's pretty brave too.

"Go out and do your job every day, even if you don't feel like you're making a difference," James answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement.

When I asked James something he does that helps to spread a little ripple of kindness, James said that lately he's been letting more people go with a warning instead of giving them a ticket!  Yay!   He added that some people need to get tickets, but when he can, he's just been giving warnings.

"My everyday life is pretty good...good wife, good kids," James said, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, James!

 

Day 238 - Meghan

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This is Meghan.  We met just walking down the street.

The happiest thing happening in her life is that she had friends in town, visiting from Boston.

Meghan was recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness when someone gave up their seat on the bus so that Meghan, who had a lot of bags, could sit down.

"To help people and help them actualize their potential," Meghan answered, when I asked her life's purpose.  Meghan does energy work.

When I asked Meghan something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "having the bravery to move across country."  Meghan and her sister moved from Boston, not knowing anyone but each other.  I thought it took courage when I moved just 235 miles from home, so I've always admired people who've had the courage to completely uproot themselves and re-plant themselves on the other side of the country.

Thank you, Meghan!  Good luck in Portland!

 

Day 237 - Mike

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This is Mike.  We met downtown.

"I'm healthy and my wife and I are happy," Mike answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Mike's recent act of kindness is that he helped his friends move.

When I asked Mike his life's purpose, he answered on behalf of he and his wife, "our goal is not to do anything bad while we're here on earth, and to travel, learn and explore as much as possible."  One thing that I noticed in talking with Mike, even for just a few moments, is that even though he wasn't with his wife at the moment, he answered several questions using "we" and "our."  I loved seeing the true partnership he shares with his wife, even when she's not in his presence.  They're truly one unit.

"I've managed to make and maintain a lot of great friendships," Mike answered, when I asked something about himself which he considers to be a success.  He still has friends from childhood.

Thank you, Mike.

 

Here's the summary of personal mission statements and life's purpose from this week's subjects:

  • Don't fear, just live.
  • Helping to empower people in the world, especially women."
  • Making things.
  • To make the world a better place than when I came into it.
  • Go out and do your job every day, even if you don't feel like you're making a difference.
  • To help people and help them actualize their potential.
  • Our goal is not to do anything bad while we're here on earth, and to travel, learn and explore as much as possible.

 

 

Thank you for following along!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 33

Hello! Thank you for stopping by to meet the people from week 33!

 

Day 224 - Oliver & Jaka

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This is Oliver and Jaka.  We met at the bus stop.

I've found it best to split up the questions when a group or couple is the photo of the day.  You'll notice that I still really shy away from couples and groups.   Before starting this project, I didn't pause to think about shooting a quick little snap of a group or couple. It was fun and you just want to capture the moment.  And really, it's easy to take a cute picture of a couple or group with a camera phone or point & shoot.  When you're first learning a DSLR, sometimes you'll want to throw up your hands, shouting,  "I give up! My iPhone is easier!"

One thing I learned quickly as I started to dive into educating myself about photography and when I got my first DSLR, is that it's actually very easy to take a bad picture or ruin a picture of a group or couple.  As you begin to learn more about composition, things that never used to bother you, become nagging challenges to overcome.  Little things such as differences in height or lop-sided gaps or negative spaces between people now jump out at me and I get bummed when I don't catch them during the shot.  It sticks out so much now, it can prevent me from enjoying a photo.  Now, I can't just simply shoot a quick little photo of my girlfriends and be happy about it.  Now, I look at the picture and see all of these things I should have done differently.  Of course it happens with single portraits as well, but with couples or groups,  the challenges are multiplied and for that reason, I've been a bit intimidated by couples and groups.  The only way to improve is with practice, so I'm forcing myself to rise to the challenge.  Plus, it's always great talking with a group of people!

When I asked Oliver the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he looked over at Jaka with adoration in his eyes and simply answered, "Jaka."  Awwwww.

When I asked Jaka if she recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she paused and then answered, "I think....you."  Yes! She was so right! I love it when people catch that they're in the middle of performing an act of kindness simply by taking the time to talk to me, a complete stranger, and allowing me to take their picture and share a little of their lives here with you.

I asked Oliver his life's purpose and he answered, "to write a film that will change at least one person's life."  It sounds like Oliver has been quite prolific and he's created several films.  The next step, which is even harder than actually birthing an idea and giving it life, is then figuring out how to share it with the world.  I wished Oliver good luck, and can't wait till we can all see one of his films!

When I asked Jaka something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "having an attitude of gratitude, and I feel that we're all equal."

Oliver and Jaka were such a sweet and loving couple and I'm so glad I set aside my fear of couples/groups and allowed myself to meet them!

Wishing you both love and success!

Thank you.

 

Day 225 - Deontae

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This is Deontae.  We also met at the bus stop.

I'm running a bit behind, but when I asked Deontae the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he answered that he was happy he would find out the following Wednesday, if he got the job for which he had been hoping.   Deontae was a great guy, and I hope he got the job.  Maybe I'll bump into him again and find out the good news!

I asked Deontae if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he answered that he gives money to homeless people. He explained that he's been there before and knows what a difference a few dollars can make.

When I asked Deontae his life's purpose, he answered, "to get married, have a family, move overseas, and pursue a career in architecture."   Deonatae's ambitions are both grand and simple at the same time.

I asked Deontae something about himself which he would consider to be a success and when he answered, his entire face lit up.  "Being happy-spirited...it's gotten me far in life," Deontae beamed. I loved witnessing his happy spirit and I just knew that if he shined like that in his interview, the new job is his!

Wishing you great luck, Deontae!

 

Day 226 - Aaron

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This is Aaron.  We met on the street.

The happiest thing happening in Aaron's life right now is his home, and building a garden with his partner.

When I asked Aaron if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that in general, he's a friendly and nice person.  Although you can't tell in the picture, Aaron has really long hair, and just as he was answering this question, another "fellow long-hair" walked by and made a comment and gestured to their matching long locks.  Aaron complimented the man on his hair and I cracked up watching the instant connection the two formed.

"To be of service to others," Aaron answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Aaron does this by bringing his Midwest hospitality to the Northwest and sharing his friendly disposition.  He really is a friendly guy.  When I approached Aaron, it dawned on me that once again, my memory card was at home in my laptop.  I usually always carry spares but I had been completely off-routine for several days and working out of three different camera bags. (which is just asking for trouble.)  Aaron was so cool and easy-going.  He explained he had time to kill before his movie started and would wait if I wanted to run to buy a new memory card at the Rite Aid across the street.  His chill demeanor helped me to keep chill too.  I walked back to my car to get my wallet and in the process of doing so, I remembered I DID bring spare cards!!  Hanging out with Aaron was just like hanging out with a friend who goes with the flow until things sort themselves out.  I was glad to have met Aaron.

"I don't suck at life," Aaron answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Aaron. Thank you for being so friendly.

 

Day 227 - Lou

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This is my friend, Lou.  Yes, you've seen him before in last year's project.

I met with Lou, and my friend Debbie, and by time we finished with what we were doing, it was way too late to go out in search of a subject.  Lou was nice enough to make his second appearance in the project.  Plus, I'm really glad he did, because now I can share some of his band's pictures too!

I asked Lou the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "a new venture!"  I'll share more about that in the future.

When I asked Lou if he's recently performed an act of kindness, at first he couldn't think of an answer and then it finally hit him - he and Debbie are responsible for our whole "Project Brown Bag" movement, in which we give out brown lunch bags filled with snacks to homeless people we see on street corners.  Were it not for Debbie and Lou, it would be really easy to slip out of the habit of carrying "brown bags" in our car.  (Sometimes weeks can go by before I refill my stock, but Debbie and Lou always send us away with more brown bags to hand out.

"When you leave the world, leave it a better place," Lou answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

"My leadership abilities," Lou answered, when I asked something about himself which he considers to be a success.

Lou just formed a new band, "Vasoline."  They do primarily Stone Temple Pilots covers.  Lou has been playing with his former band for several years.  It was mainly a bunch of guys who got together for fun.  I was bummed to hear they were moving on, but happy to hear Lou was starting a new band and he was going to be the lead singer!  Lou sang with his old band every once in a while, and he was good, but I didn't know what to expect with his new band.

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They had their first show just a couple weeks ago and I was completely blown away!  I was so happy and impressed with the band, and especially Lou!  I had no idea that he had a total rock star hidden underneath his laid back, low stress, soft-spoken demeanor.  He killed it!  They all did!  It was so awesome!  I got pretty wrapped up in taking photographs and the lighting, or lack there of, was a huge challenge so sometimes I was pretty engrossed in my camera.  Later, on my way home,  I got goose bumps just thinking about how great they did. The sound was excellent and you would never have guessed this was their first show!

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I was so proud of Lou and his new band, and can't wait to see & hear 'em again!

 

Day 228 - Courtney

 

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This is Courtney.  We met at Starbucks.

I love this picture!  When we attempted a "serious" picture, both Courtney and I cracked up and couldn't stop laughing and smiling.  This was one of the in-between pictures and I just love it!  Some of my very favorite photos are the "in-betweens" I've caught when I've just kept shooting in-between "real" photos.   Knowing this, I now know to keep shooting the "in-betweens" and I can just "feel" when an "in-between" shot is really going to be the shot I was looking for.

Recently, I tried to shoot a large family portrait and even deliberately set up an "in-between" shot by staging a fake posed shot, followed by a pause before the next "posed" or deliberate shot.  During the in-between, if you can manage to say something funny or get people to do something silly, or ridiculous, the in-between will likely become the money shot.  It wasn't working for my large group photo, probably because I tried too hard.  With Courtney, we were genuinely having a fun time and I was lucky enough to capture it.  She's a beautiful girl, and I was just happy to spend a brief moment, on a warm sunny patio, talking to a complete stranger who felt more like talking with a friend.

"My daughter," Courtney answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

When I asked Courtney if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of kindness, she gave me a what-a-coincidence-look and held up the book she had been reading.  Courtney is going to school and has hopes of becoming an art therapist. Kindness will be her profession.  On the receiving end, she recently received help completing all of the necessary paperwork for her to be able to return to school.

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"Letting go of resentments and accepting that we are all one,  to be the best mother and person that I can possibly be, and to leave a positive imprint," Courtney answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Courtney something about herself which she considers to be a success, Courtney answered, "I think I give good advice, and I'm a loyal friend."

Thank you, Courtney!  Wishing you the best of luck and success in school and with your daughter!

 

Day 229 - Scott

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This is Scott.  We met walking down the street.  Scott was in town, from Michigan, for a Martial Arts convention.  This is a deliberatly serious-looking picture, but when I stopped him, I could immediately tell that he was pretty much a teddy bear.  Scott was in a hurry to find the studio hosting the event, but was nice enough to stop and give me the time to take his picture.

"Being a Dad," Scott answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Scott if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he said that he gave money to a homeless person, and also that he bought his kids presents to bring back home to them.

"Be a good dad, be a good person," Scott answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Scott something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that he recently got and accepted a job offer to teach full time.  "Teaching is what I'm best at," Scott added.

Thank you, Scott!  Good luck!

 

Day 230 - John 

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This is John.  We met on the sidewalk. I think he had just gotten off work.

The happiest thing happening in John's life right now is that he's met a lot of new friends at WSU.

When I asked John if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness, John explained that he works at Starbucks and he feels like serving coffee is one way in which he's also able to serve the community.   John gives kindness in his friendly service and he feels like he's the recipient of kindness on a daily basis.  John explained that some of his customers are now more like friends.

"To bring laughter into the world," John answered, when I asked his personal mission statement.  John loves to make people laugh because it gives them an outlet to express a side of themselves that they suppress.

One thing about himself which John considers to be a success, is "being diligent with college."  John explained he was the first in his family to graduate from High School and go onto College!  His family must be so proud!

Thank you, John!  Good luck!

Here's the summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week.

  • To write a film that will change at least one person's life.
  • To get married, have a family, move overseas, and pursue a career in architecture.
  • To be of service to others.
  • When you leave the world, leave it a better place.
  • Letting go of resentments and accepting that we are all one, to be the best mother and person that I can possibly be, and to leave a positive imprint.
  • Be a good dad, be a good person.
  • To bring laughter into the world.

 

Thank you to every subject in this project!  Thank you for sharing yourself with us.  Please remember, if you'd like a copy of your photo, please drop me a message and I would love to email it to you!

And thank you for following along!

 

Have a great week!

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 32

Hello! Thanks for stopping by to check out week 32 of the 365 More People Pictures Project.  If you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.

I'm currently a week behind in the blog post, but I'll catch us up soon!  I post the daily pictures on Instagram.

 

Day 217 - Richard

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This is Richard.

"Everything! I'm pretty happy with everything. I'm content," Richard answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Richard's recent act of kindness is that he presented a report in his Sociology Class on preparing a budget for a single parent with M.S., who is raising three children. Richard's experience working with the family taught him to live in gratitude and thankfulness.

"You are condemned by the way you condemn others," Richard answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement.

One thing about himself which Richard considers to be a success is that he's extroverted.  Because of this trait, he feels he's met lots of friends and people in the community. Richard feels he's had opportunities he wouldn't have otherwise had, were he not an extrovert.

Thank  you, Richard.

 

Day 218 - Jack

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This is Jack. We met at Starbucks. I didn't realize at the time, but Jack was studying and he still allowed me to sit down with him and interrupt his studies to take a picture and ask him a few questions.

The happiest thing happening in Jack's life right now is that he's a new Uncle!

Jack's recent act of kindness is that he bought someone a meal.

"To help people heal and live better in their day-to-day lives," Jack answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Jack is currently in medical school.

"Being in school is a success," Jack answered, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  Jack also sees patients as a student so maintaining his studies, attending class and seeing patients keeps him busy and he feels it's a success even having made it this far.

Wishing you lots of luck, Jack!

Thank you!

 

Day 219 - Luke

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This is Luke. We met at the bus stop.

"My wife," Luke answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Luke was having trouble thinking of an answer when I asked if he's recently performed an act of kindness. I reminded him that he took the time to allow me, a complete stranger, to take his picture and ask him a few questions.

When I asked Luke his life's purpose, he answered, "to entertain people."  Luke is a musician - he plays bass and is a singer. He just moved here from Australia a few months ago, when he married his wife.  Their story is so cute! Luke met his wife, a girl from Oklahoma, at a show.  Luke said that she hated his band, but her dislike of his music wasn't enough to repel her from Luke. The two started dating and maintained a really, really, long distance relationship.  After visiting her in the U.S. a couple times, they decided to get married.  They both uprooted and re-planted themselves in Portland.  Luke is just settling in and isn't yet with a new band, but I hope we'll see more of him soon!

"My music," Luke answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Luke! Wishing you and your wife lots of love and happiness here!

 

Day 220 - Dan

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This is Dan.  We met on the street, near PSU.

"I think I'm starting to figure it out...life, myself, happiness and contentment," Dan answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Dan if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he answered, "Every day!"  Dan thinks it's the little things we do for one another which can have a huge influence on one another. Simple little things such as smiling at a person, or being friendly to strangers.  Dan feels it takes courage for people to put themselves out there and open up to another person and he's receptive to it when others talk to him.  I found this to be so true!  When I approached Dan to ask if I could take his picture, I didn't even have to explain the project before Dan agreed.  He instantly made me feel comfortable and happy I had stopped him. He's just one of those super friendly and outgoing types.  It was like I had the courage enough to approach him, so he responded with the courage to be warm, inviting and friendly!

Dan and I spent quite a while visiting.  At one point, Dan made a comment about how amazing it is for two people, complete strangers,  to end up in the same place at the same moment, and share in a great conversation and exchange energy with one another.  I had known that night I was going to meet someone extra special because I had gotten lost.  I had just worked a 12 hour day and still hadn't found a person yet.  My last opportunity to find a person would be if I stopped downtown before heading home for the night.  I lived downtown for a few years and know my way around, but things have changed so much, I ended up taking several wrong turns before getting to my secret little parking spot which is always open.  I was starting to get frustrated but then I reminded myself that I always meet someone particularly great when I end up having to go through several challenges to meet them.  Dan was that person. Although I will most likely never see him again, for a few minutes that evening, he lifted my spirits and I had hoped I was able to do the same for him.

"To allow myself to be the guide for others, whenever or wherever that situation may occur," Dan answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.  Dan actually constructed his mission statement on the spot, explaining that he's always had a sense that he was meant to be a guide.  As he explained this feeling to me, he was then able to articulate his personal mission statement.

When I asked Dan something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "that I haven't given up on myself."

Thank you, Dan.

 

Day 221 - John

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This is John.  We met on the street.

"Life is pretty good," John answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked John if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose, John said that he didn't really believe in a life's purpose.  John explained, "if there is a point, then do it to it's fullest. Live every moment like it's a work of art that you could do time and time again."  John's point was that we should find our passions, and we know it's a passion when we can do it over and over again.  We talked about photography as the example, and that now that I've discovered photography, it's something I could do, and want to do, every single day for the rest of my life.

Although John technically doesn't believe in a life's purpose, I like his thoughts on the pursuit of identifying that which makes us happy and ignites us from within, and then for us to continue to fuel that fire daily.

When I asked John something about himself which he would consider to be a success, John explained that some people live with so many regrets, but John feels like everything that has happened in his life and everything he's done, has created the person he is. "I Like who I've become.  I'm happy. That happiness is a success."

Thank you, John.

 

And then this happened:

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I was tempted to give this its very own post, just so I could talk about it and my feelings and hopefully write it out of my system.  I've decided that I'll just tell you the Cliff's Notes version here.  A person attempted to car-jack me this day, Thursday, as I was on my way home.

It was still early after I met John, so I decided to stop off at a thrift store near my house and see if there were any treasures to be found. I left the store and was on my way home.  As I was driving down the street, I noticed an SUV stopped in the middle of the street and in such a way that it telegraphed to me that someone or something was about to dart out into the middle of the road.  We weren't at a crosswalk but I was thinking someone was going to run right out into traffic to get to the other side.  Seems like someone makes this bold/stupid move at least once a week, so I try to be hyper-aware.

I stopped where the SUV had stopped, expecting  someone to rush out in front of me to cross the street, and then we would all be on our way.  A person didn't run out in front of me as I had anticipated, but instead, someone came walking from around the SUV and toward the front of my car. Obviously drunk or high, I waited for them to make their way to the center median so I could then continue on about my way.  The person didn't go to the center median.  Instead, he came walking around the front of my car, saying something I couldn't make out, and then he walked right over to my driver side door.  The man reached for his pants like he was going to pull out a gun, opened my door, and told me, "get the fuck out!"  It was somehow moving in slow motion, yet all happening so fast!

Until that point, I had been feeling generally happy and in a great mood.  I think the fact that I headed into that situation feeling great, helped me to be calm.  Had this happened the minute I got out of work and while I was still totally amped up, stressed out and tense, the outcome could have been different.

I started to surrender my car to the man, thinking that's what I was supposed to do.  My mind was flashing to a collage of television news stories where reporters speaking of convenience store clerks who have been robbed, always add a little commentary saying that when in the position of being robbed, you're supposed to give the robber what they want and not fight.  So, I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do and began to surrender my car.

As I started to get out of my car, I had two competing thoughts at the same time.  I feared that if I looked at the guy wrong, or if I didn't move in a way in which was satisfactory to him,  he was going to shoot me anyway.  I had started to accept the fact that I was going to get shot and even calculated all of the spots on my body where I could get shot and still have a chance to live.  It was the only time in my life when I was actually glad to be carrying around more weight than I should.  I can remember making a mental assessment of all the fleshy spots on my body and thinking, I have lots of good places to get shot.  

At the same time that I was ready to relinquish my car and brace myself to be shot, I had this gnawing thought that my purse/camera bag was in the trunk and no matter how nicely I asked,  there was no way the car-jacker would allow me enough time to get in my trunk and get my camera before he drove off with my car.  The thought of him driving off with my brand new camera, pissed me off just enough to fight back.  HE WAS NOT GOING TO GET MY BRAND NEW CAMERA!  NO WAY!  I then realized that I didn't just have to take this.  I still had options.

I slammed my car door as much as I could. He was all up in my business, so I couldn't slam it shut completely, but I slammed it hard enough to startle him. He was still holding onto my door and ran after me a few steps as I floored it to get the heck out of there!

I drove a little ways and then stopped to see if he was still there.  I wondered if he was hurt or ran over as I drove away.  When  I stopped, I realized  I was still way too close to him and he could come running after me and kill me.  I drove a little further away, and although there's no way he could have run that fast to get me, I was still terrified that I was too close and he would come kill me.  I drove down the road even further, and pulled into the coffee shop where I knew I would be safe. They helped me to calm down enough to call the police.

Everything else happened perfectly.  The police captured and arrested the man and I had to drive down the road with the Police to identify the person.

I didn't know it at the time, but between what the 911 operator and police told me, and then a little blurb in the news paper the next day, I was able to figure out that people had already called 911 before I was able to stop to call police. The car-jacker had already robbed two other businesses and attempted to carjack another car before coming to my car. He must have been in the process of attempting to car-jack the SUV when I happened to pull up along side them.  Although I hadn't seen a gun, the police told me that other witnesses said the man had a gun, and they were going to search the area to see if they could recover the weapon. I never did find out if he actually had one.  To my brain, it didn't matter. I had to act and react as though he had a weapon and that's the fear my mind and body were responding to.

I was pretty "calm" during the incident. Perhaps I was too calm.  It took the thought of losing my brand new camera to give me just the kick I needed to have the courage to fight. After it was over and I was home safe, I pretty much lost it.

My body and mind went through hell in the hours and days following.  I was afraid that I was going to be too afraid to continue the project.  I decided that if I felt scared, I would just ask my friends and co-workers to be subjects for the next few days, or as long as I took me to work through the fear.

 

Day 222 - Michael

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This is Michael. We met at the store.  When I saw Michael, I could tell immediately that he was a sweet person and that everything was going to be fine.  I didn't want to let what happened the night before, prevent me from continuing this project. I love getting to meet people, and hope that together, we've been able to spread a little love and positivity.

"I really like my job," Michael answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Michael if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he smiled and told me that he had just done so, when he let me take his picture. Yes!

"To be a good person and hopefully leave a positive impact on the world," Michael answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Michael something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "all of my friends."

When we were finished, I told Michael how much it meant to me that he had let me take his picture. I told him briefly about the night before, and that he was the first person I approached since the incident, and it gave me back the confidence to continue with the project.

Thank you, Michael!

 

Day 223 - Josh

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This is Josh.  We met at the park.

"Life is going well," Josh answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Josh's recent act of kindness is that he bought a plane ticket for someone so they could go visit friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

"To live," Josh answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Josh something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he explained that he considers it to be a success that he's never done heroine, even though it was all around him.  So glad for Josh that he never fell into addiction.

Thank you,  Josh.

 

Here's the summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • You are condemned by the way you condemn others.
  • To help people heal and live better in their day-to-day lives.
  • To allow myself to be the guide for others, whenever or wherever that situation may occur.
  • If there is a point, then do it to it's fullest. Live every moment like it's a work of art that you could do time and time again.
  • To be a good person and hopefully leave a positive impact on the world.
  • To live.

 

Thank you for following along!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 31

Hello! This is week 31, of the 365 More People Pictures project.

 

Day 210 - Mike

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This is Mike.  We met at a little restaurant in Lilliwaup, Washington,  where my husband and I had stopped for lunch.

"I'm happy with myself and my life," Mike answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Mike if he's recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he explained that he tries to be friendly to people, and added, "I'm trying to be kind to myself so I can be kind to others."

"To make the most of my journey, whatever that is," Mike answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Mike something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "learning more about myself and having more compassion for others."

My husband and I are seriously considering a move to a little cabin in the woods, near Hoodsport, Washington.  I've been worried that if we move, I may not be able to find enough willing people to sustain a new project, should I decide to keep going after completing this current 365 day streak.  After meeting Mike, I'm a little less worried.  Yes, the population is a fraction of that of Portland/Vancouver, where I live currently, but moving to Hoodsport/Lake Cushman will be a completely different lifestyle.

Although there are fewer people, there isn't going to be a shortage of friendly folks who would enjoy taking a moment out of their day to share a little about themselves and let me take their picture.  A couple sitting at a different table joined our conversation when they overheard Mike and I discuss this project and my possible plans to move to Lake Cushman.  They assured me there are plenty of people in the neighboring towns, and they convinced me I'd find the familiar spirit of Portland also exists in Port Townsend, Washington.  If everyone is half as friendly as Mike and the other couple at the restaurant, I know we won't regret our decision to move.

 

Day 211 - Rus

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This is Rus.   We met outside of Velo Cult, where he was out testing a bike he was working on.

"I'm alive," Rus answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Rus if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he answered, "Every day!  Fixing bikes and making people smile!"  I had only just met Rus but he had already made me smile by this point.  He's just one of those people who makes you feel a little happier, simply by being around him.

"Take life one day at a time," Rus answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement.

When I asked Rus something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I have a lot of success - I have a beautiful daughter."

Thank you, Rus!

 

Day 212 - Tara

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This is Tara. We met at the bus stop.

The happiest thing happening in Tara's life right now, are her kids.

I asked Tara if she had recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and she answered that on receiving end, one of her customers had bought her a birthday cake. On the giving end, she turned around and bought a T-shirt and cap for that same customer!  She went on to explain that she and that customer have sort of adopted each other.  The customer lost his wife and daughter in a car accident and if that wasn't devastating enough, he then faced several other challenges that stemmed from the accident.  I was so glad to hear the man had such a nice person, Tara, in his life.  We can find some of our best friends in people who on the surface, seem like unlikely matches.

"Being a Mom," Tara answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Tara something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "being a mom!  My kids are awesome!"

Thank you, Tara.

 

Day 213 - Joseph

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This is Joseph.  We met at the bus stop.

Joseph is a gentle giant.  He's the most gentle, soft-spoken person I've met.  His gentle nature caught me by surprise because he's packaged in a football player's body.

The happiest thing happening in Joseph's life is that he's going to be a Father soon!  His baby is due next month!

"I always help homeless people, and help the people downtown," Joseph answered, when I asked if he's recently performed an act of kindness.

When I asked Joseph his life's purpose, he answered, "I want to be a hard worker, to be able to pay back my parents for what they've done for me."  I'm just guessing here, but I bet Joseph's parents are already so proud of the man he's become, and the father he will soon be.

When I asked Joseph something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he was having a hard time thinking of an answer.  He asked me for examples of what other people had said, and after listing a few of the responses I could remember off the top of my head, Joseph then got a great big smile on his face and answered, "I'm a good cook!"

Thank you, Joseph!  Wishing you and your new little family the best of luck, and a lifetime of love and happiness.

 

Day 214 - Rachel

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This is Rachel.  We met at Mt. Tabor Park.

When I asked Rachel the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she answered, "the time change, so that I can get off work and go walk in nature and read."  I whole-heartedly agreed with Rachel and told her I welcomed the change as well.  It was my first day back at Mt. Tabor, after our long and dark winter.

I asked Rachel if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's received an act of kindness and Rachel explained that she's a teacher, so she feels like her days are spent both giving and receiving kindness from her students.

The strangest thing happened when I asked Rachel if she has a personal mission statement or if she could make one up.  Rachel gave me sort of an unusual look and then told me that she had just written one a few minutes ago, while she was hanging out at the park!  Wow!  What are the odds that after you had just penned a personal mission statement,  that a complete stranger would then approach you to ask if you have one?  I think we both appreciated the synchronicity of our encounter.  Rachel's beautiful and poetic personal mission statement:  "I want to be dirty and strong. And grounded and compassionate. And knowledgeable and capable. And gentle and creative and intelligent."

I've been asking these questions hoping that the conversation could help the people in this project to identify and define what they want from life, and what they want their contribution to be.  But, I've also known that I've been searching for direction for myself.  In Rachel's words, I had found what I had been looking for.

When I asked Rachel something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered that she's had a successful teaching career.

Thank you, Rachel.

 

Day 215 - Jason

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This is Jason.  We met on the street.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now are his grandchildren.

Jason's recent act of kindness is that he helped a stranger pick up their shopping bags when they had dropped them.

"Life's too short to be angry," Jason answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

When I asked Jason something about himself which he considers to be a success, he answered, "my daughters."

Thank you, Jason.

 

Day 216 - Becca

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This is Becca. We met at the bus stop.

The happiest thing happening in Becca's life right now is her daughter.

I asked Becca if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  On the receiving end, Becca's co-worker worked for her when she had been ill, and on the giving end, Becca worked the schedule in such a way to be able to give more hours to a co-worker who needed them.

"To teach people and to inspire," Becca answered, when I asked Becca her life's purpose.

When I asked Becca something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "I'm intuitive, and teaching peole."

Thank you, Becca!

 

Here's the summary of personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To make the most of my journey, whatever that is.
  • Take life one day at a time.
  • Being a Mom.
  • I want to be a hard worker, to be able to pay back my parents for what they've done for me.
  • I want to be dirty and strong. And grounded and compassionate. And knowledgeable and capable. And gentle and creative and intelligent. 
  • Life's too short to be angry.
  • To teach people and to inspire.

Thank you for following along!