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Reality Check

I'm not sure about you, but I'm a little tired of hearing about how great 'they' have it.

There are a few things that I've always tried to keep in mind when viewing others in order to keep a check on reality:  We all have good days and bad days.  We all have days where we wonder if we can continue on.  As silly as it may be ... we all go to the bathroom the same way and have some of 'those' days.  We all brush our teeth at night (hopefully!) before laying down for bed.  

We often put people on pedestals that no one could really ever live up to.  We tend to create these false realities in our heads about others, then we talk to our friends and family and spread those false reality as though they are facts.  And then we start to believe that Michael Jordan really can fly.  Sorry to disappoint...he can't, but he was an incredible ball player that practiced unendingly so that he would be the best at what he did.  Or how about Lady Gaga?  Don't you think she...the first time heading out to perform...maybe thought, "what are these people going to think of me?", but she went ahead and for all intents and purposes, made a fool of herself.  But look at her now! I still shake my head at some of the "works of art" she turns herself into, but no one can argue the fact that IT'S WORKING FOR HER!  Other artists: Prince, Elton John, Boy George (from back in the day)...were these people talented?  Absolutely, but ask yourself how much of it was talent and how much of it was choices that they made.  Lastly, how about Steve Jobs?  Look at what this man has done for Apple...incredible...but he is still human.  These people, however successful, are still just people.  My boss, and yours as well, are still just people.

So, what is it that is so different between the ordinary and the extraordinary?  What keeps you and I from being as great as we believe these others to be?  If they were able to achieve the incredible or seemingly impossible, why can't the rest of us?  There really isn't much standing in our way except for the choices we make and the way we think about the world around us.

One simple choice that I'm making, beginning today as I write this, is what time I choose to wake up.  I've always looked at the weekends as the time to get caught up on my lack of sleep...I don't know about you, but going to bed around midnight and getting up at 5:30am catches up with you.  But you know what, I won't get to where I want to go without making some sacrifices.  So where I used to sleep in as late as I could on a Saturday (not much past 8am if I made it that far), I'm gonna shoot to be up no later than 6:30am, if not earlier.

John Maxwell says "There is a surprisingly small gap between ordinary and extraordinary.  This gap can be narrowed daily by doing a few small things consistently."  The only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just that little bit extra.  So, if we simply do what we already do, but also continually push ourselves to do a little bit extra...we will be on that path to being extraordinary.

So, think about it.  What small 'extras' are you going to set in place to change the course of your life?





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Meetup's mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.



Frugal Friday - Vacation

Finding a family vacation destination that doesn't break the bank is tough these days.  Although Disneyworld, indoor waterpark resorts, amusement parks and cruises can be the ideal vacation to some, they can also be out of the budget for others.

Kevin and I love to camp, and our kiddos have followed us in our the love of the great outdoors.  Sometimes however, it's nice to be able to get away and not have to rely on an open campfire to cook our food, and to have such modern conveniences as indoor plumbing and microwaves!  Just a few weeks ago we were blessed with the opportunity to use the family cottage of my dad's cousin in Canada for free.  We had to supply the gas to get ourselves there and the food to feed ourselves, but otherwise the vacation couldn't have been any more frugal!  Perfect for a family on a budget.

We were blessed with this vacation opportunity because we swapped services with my second cousin (my dad's cousin) this past winter.  What a frugal way to relax and rejuvenate!  When on a budget, ask yourself: do I have services or abilities I can offer to others?  Do I own something that can be lent or used to save someone else money?  Budgeting for an extravagant vacation is very exciting and worthwhile, but in the in-between years it's good to be creative and enjoy your family without having to count every penny.  Get to it!  Rack your brain for ideas and ask those around you for some swapping suggestions.  It might not be a vacation you get out of it, but there are plenty of possibilities, to be sure.

Do you have any great penny-pinching vacation ideas?  What are some of your favorite budget-friendly activities?  Any swapping successes?  We'd love to hear what you do with your family.

And of course, here are some of our photos from the trip to Canada:

And you can't expect two photographers to go into the glorious Canadian wilderness (or cottage country, at least) and NOT take scenery pictures!  Kevin took the majority of these images early in the morning (between 5am-6am) - now that's some photography dedication to get up early on vacation!

And, of course, we couldn't miss out on the sunset and night time pictures either.

~ Heather



Frugal Friday - Sunglasses

I was on the road early the other day heading east on the freeway when I noticed something surprising and interesting...if I had to guess, I'd say that only about 25% of the drivers had sunglasses on.  Of the other 75%, about half had their sun visor either up and the other half down, but both were squinting to see where they were headed because of the bright sun light.  The thing I found most interesting...actually funny...was the fact that there were even a few people steering with one hand and holding the other hand up, arm fully extended, to block the sun from their eyes.  Why?  Sun glasses can be so cheap anymore and come in so many different styles.  Fun, funky, stylish and practical - why not invest in a pair?

Photographer or not, we are all pretty much left in the dark without our eyes, so we have to make sure we protect them as best as we can.  Be smart (frugal!) now and hopefully you will be blessed to miss the joy of cataracts later in life.

Of course any type of sunglasses will do the job.  There are fun ones... 

 Diva (or Divo) ones...

70's ones...

Heck, they can even be broken sunglasses (just ask Heather about her pair).

Just remember to protect them, God only gave you one pair.  Be frugal with your eyesight and take care of those eyes!

~ Kevin


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Power Trouble


How is your life thrown into a tail spin when the power goes out?

As much as we love rustic camping (and disconnecting occasionally from the electronic society that we all live in) sometimes it is difficult to give our day-to-day luxuries up. Yesterday we were expecting some pretty sever thunderstorms here in the Metro Detroit area.

We were out working in the yard right up until the storm was about to hit and we heard the tornado sirens.  Usually, this is the point where I run for the camera to get some cool storm cloud images (lol), however this time we decided to head inside.  Immediately the storm hit, the power went out, winds kicked in and the rain came...and then it was over...all within about 10 minutes.  The rain stopped quickly, the skies cleared, the winds settled back down,but the power didn't come back on. Now what?  I had promised the kids earlier in the day that we would play video games once the storm came, but that's a little difficult to do without power. Fortunately, their Nintendo DS's were charged and they were able to play for a while before bed - promise kept.

Of course, quickly after the power went out, Heather noticed her phone battery was about shot. And what can we as US citizens not live without?  Our cellphones! What do we for the Vagabond portable power system, by Paul C Buff, of course. :)

Typically this is only used for our on location strobes when our new Vagabond Minis are exhausted, but when times are desparate...we'll do what is necessary.

A bit later, Heather and I decided to catch up on Harry Potter movies and watched Order of the Phoenix.  We wanted to be up-to-speed before we see the final movie.  The problem was our laptop battery wasn't quite charged enough for the full 2 hour 18 minute movie. So what do we run for again?  The Vagabond of course!

So handy...

To end the night perfectly, as soon as the movie was over the power came back on.

~ Kevin


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