Thursday, February 19, 2015

Staying In Touch

When I first began blogging, I really didn't have a plan, a mission or a vision. I only knew that I wanted to create a photo journal - a place to share my work.

I expected this sharing to be a one way street.

But I couldn't have been more wrong. Along this journey, I've made friends. And these friendships are sincere, deep and meaningful. Through these relationships I've come into my own as a person and an artist. My friends are encouraging and kind. They inspire me.

I am a very loyal person. I want the people I love to know how much I care about them. This is vitally important to me. If I'm with them, I want to tell them how I feel, and if we're apart, I want to call or write or e-mail my feelings. Staying in touch is an important part of my daily life. My whole family is like this . . . I call my mother and my sisters most every day just to check-in and see how they are doing.


And my blogging friends are good at staying in touch, too. They comment and e-mail. And on the very best days, they send cards and letters and gifts.

My friend Cathy blogs at ma vie trouvèe. Cathy lives in Singapore with her husband. She blogs about what it is like living abroad, her mixed media art and jewelry, flea market finds, photography, food and travel. Her site is a gorgeous travelogue. Cathy sent me a package of Chinese New Year treasures.  It felt more like Christmas than New Year's! Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festival in Chinese culture. It is celebrated on the new moon of the first month according ot the lunar calendar - which just happens to be today! Visit Cathy and read all about the Chinese New Year and the pussy willow tree.


My friend, Jennifer blogs at ripplespeak where she pours out the wonders of her heart. Jennifer's world is colorful and encouraging. She uses her art and photography to express the overflow of joy in her life. She is inspired by nature to make things with her hands. Her blog posts read like a song or a poem and she says that her heart sings. She is filled with hope. Her friendship makes my heart sing, too. Jennifer designs and publishes an e-zine, Ripplesongs . . . and I won my very own copy in her recent giveaway.




One of the greatest joys of being a photographer comes in looking at life through the lens of possibility. Finding friendships online is an unexpected detour for me, but one I am so grateful to accept.

Thank you!

31 comments:

  1. What a lovely post, Donna. I totally agree: the internet has paved the way for finding kindred spirits around the world. I am constantly amazed by the talent and passion that I find in other people's blogs - especially the amazing photographers such as yourself. It's a wonderful thing to connect with someone half way round the world who shares your passions and at the same time gives a new angle on things. You've found some fabulous friends with very interesting blogs that I'm going to check out too. Happy Chinese New Year! All the best, Bonny

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    1. Bonny, I do love seeing the creative works of so many wonderful friends - like your knitting and your many delicious foods. This I expected. What I hadn't anticipated was how much I would enjoy getting to know the whole person - the lovely way you parent your son, the parks you visit, the way you love history and story telling, and so much more. It's a joy to get to know you just for the joy of knowing - with no agenda other than the search for shared passions. Warm wishes, Donna

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  2. I can always feel your love and kindness in your words and comments. You are a very amazing lady, one with a very kind heart that is greatly admired by many. Blogging relationships are some of the best. I feel I have a great balance between a few awesome real life friends and some amazing blogging friends. I just wish I had time for everyone everyday.

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    1. Sarah, I couldn't agree more. I'm blessed with faithful friends in real life and many through the world of blogs, too. I'm looking forward to meeting a few of my blogging friends in person this year. There are so many demands on our time . . .There were times in my life when I thought I was just too busy to maintain friendships, but I was wrong. I'm working on putting first things first - and that means that relationships come before a lot of other stuff that, as it turns out, really don't matter much at all.

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  3. I have to say that every comment that you make on my blog is meaningful, thoughtful and encouraging and never comes across as fake. I can tell you are a genuine person and full of integrity. Email me any time at mscarletti (at) comcast (dot) com anytime! xx

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    1. Sarah, I feel exactly the same about you. You share on your blog in such an open and friendly manner - in the format of a letter to good friends or a shared conversation. Of course, I will email you - and this friendship will grow!

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  4. indeed...the relationships that I have formed from others online is an unexpected treasure...creativity and inspiration abounds within this parameter of friendship. I too know of Cathy's wonderful blog and her adventures in exotic locations...I will have to check out Jennifer's blog - thanks!

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    1. Amy, One of my favorite things to do when visiting a blog is to read the comments and click on the friends of my friends. It's kind of like going to the library, telling the librarian of a book I like and asking her to recommend another author based on my likes. One friend leads to another. This is exactly how I found you!

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  5. It's so true, Donna. When I started taking online photography classes and then blogging, I could never have dreamed that I'd make lifelong friends. The real joy is when you get to meet them in person. Magic happens. There is an instant bond, you find them just as you imagined they would be, feeling like you've known them forever. And you scored some great snail mail!

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    1. Dotti, I'm hoping to meet at least 2 blogging friends in person this year! I'm so excited. I also met a very dear friend by way of my blog - and she lives only about 5 minutes from my home. Yes, it's like we've known each other forever! So happy to be getting to know you . . . love the pictures of your family in the snow!

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  6. Your post is so meaningful to me Donna, I've realized, as soon as I started reading your blog that you're a very generous, always happy, and open-minded person... I love the way you write such interesting articles every week and how you get us to open our minds too...
    I agree totally with you when you say that relationships count more than other (material) stuff... I've always thought and behaved according to that principle, too...
    I've been following Cathy's lovely blog for years, even before I met Kim and her students and I love the reports she and her husband give us from asian countries and her love of all sorts of ethnic fabrics and crafted objects...
    It can be frustrating at times not to hold a blog as Flickr is not the best place to develop ideas and feelings and start friendly relations... I've thought of having one but haven't been motivated enough to jump into it yet...
    Even if I have here very rich and varied relationships (friends, kids, relatives or colleagues), I've discovered that we can also build lasting, sincere and strong friendships with women all over the world... as soon as we have things in common to share and as we seem to have similar sensibilities... and as Dotti says, it's an unexpected and real blessing to realize that we can be friends even if we never meet physically...

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    1. I couldn't have said it better. Perhaps you are not ready to jump in and start a blog, but I can say with certainty that your words and images would be well-received. You are one of those special people that make each of us feel better about who we are - humble about your own accomplishments and supportive to others. Share in the way that works best for you - and I will always look forward to our exchanges my friend!

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  7. It's so true, Donna! We can built lasting and beautiful friendships with people we have never met in person. :) I feel a special bond with my online friends. Even if I've never looked into their eyes or hugged them (yet), I have been touched by their souls and I have felt the warmth of their being. I feel so lucky that I can share my passions with so many wonderful people on the net, and so blessed that I've found some awesome ladies like yourself. :)
    Oh, and your image of the hydrangea is superb! :D

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    1. Thank you, Kia! And if we are talking about images we love - I'll cast my vote for your feathered friends photograph. Your photograph brings to mind the Bible verse about the care God extends to the little birds - and by comparison the great love he shows to us. Your friendship brings such richness - not only to me - but to my family. They always ask if I have another Italian lesson for them!

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  8. How true your words are! I have been inspired by so many women through blogs, online classes and Flickr and feel a sense of friendship and support that I never imagined would occur. I learn, I enjoy, I escape and I am enriched.
    Love your photos!

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    1. Roxanne, I just stopped over to Kim's site and found your latest image - with the starfish. So delicate and yet bold. Love the dark background. I love to respond to comments and visit your PhotoStream and blog - if you set your Blogger profile to include your blog/website, I'll be able to find you more easily. I usually track you down by heading back to Kim - but I wouldn't want to miss you or your beautiful photography!

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  9. Oh Donna, what an amazing person you are ... just calling your mother and sister daily would be a dream for me ... my mom is gone, but my sister and I have drifted ... no arguments or falling out ... just drifted and I am sad about that. I adore that first image of the hydrangea with the tape - beautiful texture.

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    1. Barb, Thanks for the comment on the hydrangea. I don't often take photos like this one - and for some reason it felt really right. I know what it feels like to have a relationship that doesn't sit right - one where you don't feel really known or appreciated or one where old hurts (perceived or real) keep rearing their ugly heads. But ultimately, we do our best and leave the rest. You are a treasure - and those who drift away are missing a real gift in you!

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  10. I admire your loyalty, Donna. It is so rare these days even within families. It is obvious from your posts and comments on my blog that you are an authentic, warm and caring person. I am blessed each and every time our paths cross. What lovely gifts you were blessed with this week - thank you for sharing them with us!

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    1. June, I will say the same about you - authentic, warm and caring. I appreciate how you share your faith without judging or preaching. You share your heart and your wisdom . . . and by doing so you are Jesus for me.

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  11. I think staying in touch must be a gift. I struggle with it. My family is disjointed and it has followed me. You are blessed.

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    1. Roxi, I am blessed, but there are two sides to staying in touch. Staying in touch can be a way of seeking to control (especially among family members), a way to complain or guilt or nag . . . just as it can be a blessing and a gift. Don't be hard on yourself or your family - we all show our love in different ways and we all have our own path. Your art is a powerful way of reaching out - and I've seen how much love you shower on your family in those pictures!

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  12. When Facebook entered the scene, lots of people dropped their blogs. And I still hear rumblings that blogging will go the way of the rotary phone, but I don't believe it. Too many people can connect on blogs and develop a relationship. I suppose you can do it on FB, but FB seems so random to me. Update your status and count the friends who "liked" it. A blog like yours takes time and effort and it's worth it, as evidenced by your new friends and followers.

    P.S.: I called my mother every day, too, and she only lived three miles away. I called her at 4:00, after my work day was done and before we both started fixing supper. When she died, I reached for the phone at 4:00 and sometimes I still do, even though it's been 26 years.

    From your friend five minutes away . . . equally blessed.

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    1. Staying in touch with a five minute away friend is even more important - because it's so easy to take for granted the people that are closest to us. It's easy to think you'll always be there, just down the road. It's easy to think you'll be my friend even if I don't tend the relationship. But, it's just such carelessness that leads to the withering away of a friendship - and so I will happily stay in touch - with you. Thanks for helping me to break free of cabin fever yesterday - no more snow, please!

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  13. THANK you, Donna, for such kind and generous words:)
    I really appreciate:) I love blogging for all those reasons, too.
    So love this journey we get to share,
    Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer, It's my pleasure to share the news about your blog. The thing that strikes me most about your art is our honesty. You seem so comfortable in your own skin - confident - and yet open to those of us who are not so sure. You bring together artistic elements to create such gorgeous collages - in art - and in life - bringing out the best in us all.

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  14. Donna - I feel honored to be part of your post on blogging friends. I have sat for several days trying to capture a way to write a thank you ..... as beautifully as you write on your blog... as elegantly as the sweet, meaningful, encouraging messages you leave so many of us on our blogs. You truly have a gift. But alas... I may be here for weeks, so I will simply have to say Thank you! Thank you for being my friend..... I am happy our paths have crossed and I look forward to meeting you in person in 2015!!

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    1. Cathy, Thank you for being my friend, too! You've shared so many adventures with me by way of your blog - and you present every culture from your travels with such respect. You don't skim through life; you immerse yourself - being precisely who you are - connecting us in a universal way. You are a sweet blessing in my life!

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  15. beautiful photos... beautiful gifts....amazing friendship......

    so lovely... xo, Kim

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  16. and that topped taped hydrangea.... Oh my.

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    1. Kim, I wouldn't even have the vision to make this picture were it not for you! Your inspiration and instruction help me to see photos where I once thought there were none. Always a treat when you stop by!

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