Happy Easter! We're finished with week 36 of The 365 Day People Picture Project!
This week has been unique in that four of the subjects ended up being friends or acquaintances.
A heartfelt "thanks" to each of you who have been subjects in this project. I realize how weird it must be to share a part of yourself, especially if we're complete strangers, but in doing so, you've shared with us your kindness and wisdom and I appreciate you. We appreciate you.
Day 246 - Kacey
This is my friend and co-worker, Kacey. This picture was taken shortly after we finished the Race for the Roses Half-Marathon!
This was Kacey's first Half and she did awesome! Kacey and I have been training together the past few months and we entered as *just* walkers but a little over half-way through, Kacey turned into a runner and didn't look back! It was a pretty amazing experience to see someone you care about, dig deep down and pull something out of themselves they never knew they had. And yes, I witnessed it all from behind her! Haha!
Kacey had been pretty insistent that she's not a runner. We've discussed how much we would love to be able to run and we both admire and long to be runners, but we both have weirdness/issues when we try running. Something happened with Kacey, though. She took off running and kept running. (a little walking here and there, but mostly running.) She looked stronger as a runner than looked when walking! It was amazing!
I admire and appreciate Kacey. Our jobs are challenging and stressful because of the constant pressure of deadlines, but she manages to keep calm, no matter what challenges we send her way. When she's finished with a hard day at work, she then starts her other job as a wife and mother. In our training, we've had the opportunity to talk and share a lot of our personal lives and I've been blown away by her insight and how she always knows just the right thing to say as a mother. Her daughters are so lucky to have such a wonderful mom. Her daughters will grow up knowing how much they're loved and supported, but they're also not going to be able get anything past their mom!
"Finishing a half-marathon," Kacey said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now!
When I asked Kacey if she had recently performed an act of kindness, she simply said "no." I told her that's a "big fat lie!" Kacey is humble. She's constantly doing kind things for our co-workers and even strangers. There are too many to list, but I know she's given away her last few dollars, just to help someone who needs it. Kacey wouldn't realize this, but I think one act of kindness that she performs daily is that she's an excellent listener and counselor. Kacey is objective and straight-forward. She's going to tell things like they are and she manages to not coat things in so much sugar so as to make you feel like you're eating candy, but just enough sugar to help you swallow any bitter pills that need swallowing so that you can go on about the business of getting better.
I asked Kacey if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on-the-spot. Kacey replied, "one foot in front of the other." This is pretty much an expected answer from someone who had just finished their very first half-marathon!
Kacey replied, "being a good mom," when I asked about one thing at which she would consider herself to be a success. Yes, indeed! Kacey is an excellent mom.
Kacey was just a kid when we met. She started working this job in High School and just celebrated 20 years with the company. Although she's mature beyond her years, it's been a privilege to see her grow from high school student to an amazing wife, mother and manager. I feel so lucky she's a coworker and friend.
Day 247 - Jason
This is my friend, Jason. He's a big guy, about 6'4" or so, and heavily tattooed and pierced. He's an intimidating sight, but he's the gentlest teddy bear you'll ever meet. One thing that struck me when we first met, is that he and his guy friends (some of whom could also look intimidating if you didn't know them) always give each other hugs every time they see one another. It doesn't matter if they last saw one another a day ago or a decade ago, you can count on the fact that they're all going to share a big group hug, and it's often followed by, "I love you, Brother."
"My little girl," Jason said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
When I asked Jason if he had recently performed an act of kindness, he replied, "everyday." He tries to do something each day, and this day's act of kindness is that he helped an elderly lady get her shopping basket off the bus.
I asked Jason if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one and he replied, "push my own envelope and never stop learning."
"Being a Dad," Jason said, is something at which he would consider himself to be a success.
Day 248 - Phil
This is Phil. He and his friend were talking on the sidewalk when I approached them to ask if I could take their picture. Phil's friend was leaving but Phil agreed to be in the project.
"I quit smoking, finally," Phil said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
When I asked Phil if he had recently performed an act of kindness, at first he replied, "I don't know the answer." He thought about it for a while and then replied that he cooked dinner for his wife.
I asked Phil if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot, and he replied, "to love people." Phil is a musician at the Church where he works and he feels that through music, he's able to use his talent to help share love.
I've tried to introduce this question a few times but it's actually rather awkward. I haven't quite figured out the most succinct way in which to present this question so I've just fumbled through it a bit. As a result, the answers have been pretty broad. I asked Phil his dreams or ambitions, and he replied that he dreams of being a Dad one day.
I asked Phil one thing at which he would consider himself to be a success and he replied, "I'm an honest person. Authentic."
I enjoyed talking with Phil and when we finished, again, it felt like I had just finished talking with an old friend.
Day 249 - Carolyn
This is Carolyn and she's pretty awesome!
At 68 years young, 69 next month, Carolyn can do 35 push-ups in a minute! She works out several times a week and she's a paddler on a few different Dragon Boat teams. She's a petite woman but she's a powerhouse!
I jokingly said that we should take a picture of her doing push-ups in case there were any nonbelievers. She laughed, and said, "do you want to? I'll do it!" She then proceeded to drop down in the middle of the parking lot and do push-ups! I didn't want her to because I didn't want her to ruin her cute pointy-shoes, but she just went for it!
I asked Carolyn the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "Everything! I'm so blessed." Carolyn feels blessed with family, health, lots of friends and financial stability.
I asked Carolyn if she's performed a recent act of kindness and she said that one thing she likes to do is to smile at people who look down or unhappy. We talked about the huge impact that a smile can have on a person. I've noticed this at the grocery store. I now intentionally smile at people no matter how stressed I may be feeling at the time. I give other shoppers smiles because they may be feeling even more stressed than I. This is so easy to do and when you connect with a person, it's pretty moving to see their mood lift, simply because you cared enough to give them a smile.
I asked Carolyn if she has a dream or aspiration, and she said she has lots of "Bucket List" dreams, and she's pushing herself to be the best that she can be. She's trying out for Team USA Dragon Boat Team, and going to Italy for the World Championships.
"To always be open to grow, and listen to the lessons that the universe has for you," Carolyn said, is her personal mission statement.
I asked Carolyn one thing at which she would consider herself to be a success and she replied, "I'm not afraid to take a risk. I'm not afraid to try new things. I'm not afraid to fail."
In addition to being a sweet and kind person, Carolyn is an inspiration. After finishing with the picture and "interview," I thought a lot about the things Carolyn had said. Truly, the fear of failure is one of the biggest obstacles which prevents us from realizing our dreams. I thought long and hard before doing this project and I remember being nearly paralyzed from fear. I was so afraid of sucking as a photographer and not having the stick-to-it-ness to do this project. It wasn't until reaching that "so what" point, that I was able to begin this project. I let go of my fear of failure.
I'd like to add to Carolyn's mission statement by including; take a risk, try new things, don't be afraid to fail.
Day 250 - Lance
This is Lance. I met him walking down the sidewalk and asked if he would be in the project.
"I think I'm getting a new job," Lance replied, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I asked Lance if he's performed an act of kindness and he replied, "yes." I didn't want to pry, but Lance is a social worker so he's another person whose profession is an act of kindness. I don't know the professions of every person in this project, but it seems we have a high number of social workers who have been subjects in this project. I think that says a lot about them and the vibe they give off. I've somehow managed to gravitate to a high number of people who work in social services. I suspect I must be subconsciously picking up that they like people, and the likelihood will be high that they will let me take their picture for the project. Working with and helping people is their passion and their calling, so it makes perfect sense that I've been able to get a good vibe from them, even when just passing them randomly on the sidewalk. They're doing what they were meant to do.
I asked Lance if he has a dream or ambition and he replied, "I want to live a comfortable life and to be as present as possible." Lance decided that, "to be present," is also his personal mission statement.
One thing at which Lance would consider himself to be a success, "I'm good at helping people."
Day 251 - Josh
This is my friend and former co-worker, Josh. We didn't know each other when we were younger, but we're actually from the same small town in Southern Oregon and, coincidentally, we ended up working together at the same shop in Portland!
I've mentioned this several times, but taking pictures and "interviewing" friends/acquaintances has, at times, been even more challenging than when working with strangers. I get so nervous because I want to do a nice job and take a picture they'll love. The added pressure has caused me to blow it. However, I'm pleased with this picture considering the background we had to work with was the Burger King drive through.
"My family," Josh said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I asked Josh if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of something on the spot. He replied, "to help people to learn and be inspired." This is perfect mission statement to help guide him in his new job teaching screen printing. I can't think of a better person more suited to teaching people the art and science of screen printing.
When I asked Josh about one thing at which he would consider himself to be a success, he replied, "being flexible in life."
Josh had a hard time answering a few of the questions and I let him off the hook knowing that he needed to get home to his family. I asked if he could text me his answers but since he didn't, I'm just going to answer for him.
I think the reason he had such a difficult time answering the question about a dream or ambition, is because his life is now completely fulfilled. His family and new job are his dream come true. It makes me so happy to see that a friend is so happy.
Day 252 - Michelle and Brett
This couple is as sweet in real life as they are in this picture!
It's still quite a struggle for me to take a decent picture of a pair or group, but I'm determined to work through it. I just need to challenge myself more and approach more groups and couples instead of avoiding them.
"Our Baby," Michelle said, is the happiest thing happening in their lives right now.
When I asked if they had recently performed an act of kindness, they bashfully avoided the question. Their friend then jumped in, saying, "they always do!" Michelle then answered, "we give good tips!" Brett said that he also just helped his neighbor change a flat tire.
When I asked if they could think of a personal mission statement, they decided on, "Live. Love. Laugh."
I asked the couple if they had a dream or ambition and they replied they want to make lots of money for home, and to be able to take nice vacations.
When I asked about something at which they would consider themselves to be a success, Michelle replied, "being a mom and wife." Brett replied, "being a father and step father." Michelle also added to Brett's response, telling him that he's a good provider.
I love summarizing the personal mission statements of each subject. Seeing them all together is starting to form one heck of an inspirational message! This week, the subjects have taught us;
- One foot in front of the other
- Push my own envelope and never stop learning.
- To love people.
- To always be open to grow, and listen to the lessons that the universe has for you.
- Take a risk. Try new things. Don't be afraid to fail.
- To be present.
- To help people to learn and be inspired.
- Live. Love. Laugh.
This week has been another extra special week because I was reminded of the kind and great people I have in my life. It's been an amazing experience meeting all of the new people in this project, and I feel privileged by knowing the amazing people who are already in my life.
There are still a few months left in the project but my mind is really starting to get concerned about "what's next!?" For a moment, a very brief moment, I entertained the idea of a new challenge for next year. I thought about the possibility of next year's challenge to be a picture of a different band every single night for an entire year. I couldn't contain my excitement about this idea, and then reality set in and I realized what a huge, huge undertaking it would be. It would be an incredible and amazing challenge, but just not one I'm up for. Yet. Can you even imagine? It could be done, but I just don't think I'm the person for that job. We'll see.
Thanks again to all of the subjects in this project and thank you for checking in on another week of this project. It's been an honor having you follow along and I can't thank you enough for your support.
Wishing you a Happy Easter!
See you next week!