Chuffed. Innit.

My first blog was because of a photographic competition that I was wanting to enter. [Taking photos in Africa was the blog’s title.] Well I did it. I entered. I wrote a kick ass little essay on food security and then came up with my idea for my photo essay. 5 photos only. Not the easiest for a photo essay. I am pretty happy with the results. It’s not quite what I thought I would do at the beginning, some of the core elements are still there, but with time and energy restraints, kids and sickness all factored in I think it all came good in the end.

The deadline for entry is midnight on August 1st….not tomorrow, the day after [or ubermorgen as the German say.] The actually trip to Africa isn’t all that far away either….. there’s a briefing session in Sydney mid August and then Kenya and Zimbabwe for 2 weeks at the end of August….. eeek that is closing in fast.
But I like that it is all whirlwind-y and such. Not too much time to let the rational mind in. Just f  king go for it! I had to get a new passport too….. which is yet to arrive. Hopefully this week.

So regardless of the outcome I am pretty chuffed with myself for getting it done. Feeling inspired, being creative and enjoying the process. I reckon there’s plenty more where that came from – might just need a deadline or two to get [and keep] this butt in gear. What’s that saying about diamonds and pressure…..?

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Creativity and Children

Being creative is all consuming. Having (small) children is also all consuming. Mixing the two and getting the recipe “right” is a difficult task that changes in both ingredients and their measurements by the second. Just as you start getting your flow on, something or other comes along and sets about trying to derail you and said flow.

I have a memory of my sister in law and I having a chat about a book that was written about artists and the ways in which they “steal” precious moments away from family. The struggle they face on a daily basis to balance their creative needs and the needs of their dependents. I am feeling this at the moment. I might need to give that book a read (if only I could remember it’s name) and help remind myself that even though it may feel like it, I am NOT the only person who is experiencing this. It’s always helps to know you are not alone.

You are not alone. You are loved and taken care of.

[Just in case you had forgotten that lately.]

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Even writing this involves “stealing” moments away. If I didn’t indulge myself in my creativity and the pursuit of it I would, quite likely, be a grumpy lady. A grumpy mum also. So I do “steal” moments away. Sometimes it’s when they’re in the bath. Or when they’re watching a movie.Or when they’re playing one of their fantastic imaginative games. Sometimes I arrange to have time to myself where their dad looks after them whilst I’m doing whatever it is I need to be doing. All in all it is a very necessary process and one that I have learned not to feel guilty about. The reminder of my potential grumpiness helps keep those guilty feelings at bay.

As my children grow I find myself with more and more moments that haven’t needed to be “stolen” and I am sure this will only keep increasing. I want them to have a mother who follows what makes her happy, and lets them know when she needs the time and focus to do so. Some days they get it more than others. And some days I know they need me and my creativity is just going to have to wait. And then there are days when it all aligns magically. (Those are tops!)

To creativity and beyond!

Get it done!

Life certainly is like a box of chocolates. One never knows what one is going to get. We might think something is exactly what we want, only to find out later that it is nothing of the sort. I have realised lately that using these “moments/experiences/circumstances” as stepping stones to get to where you do want to be, is far more beneficial than getting caught up in downward spiral thinking.

Life can be hard. Staying positive in the face of challenges isn’t an easy task. I’m reading a book called “Curious?” by Todd Kashdan at the moment in which he stresses the point of learning to deal with these moments rather than trying to simply wish them away. It is an inspiring read. I am beginning to implement these tactics into my day to day life.

I recently quit a job that wasn’t serving my general well being at all. I would arrive home often with a headache; bringing the stresses of the office home with me. I am glad I realised that it wasn’t worth it anymore and actually did something about it. I want to live a creatively abundant life. I want to write and take photos and not bring unnecessary stress home with me. I am in the process of applying for recognition of prior learning for a tafe course I started many years ago when living in Melbourne in my early twenties. I have also, since quitting, been approached to do some photo work locally. The universe is giving me little hints that I am heading in the “right” direction. It is nice to have these little reminders as we often do not give ourselves a real chance or our dreams a real go.

The below quote I have blu tacked to the wall by my desk –

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:That the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man (or woman) could have dreamt would have come his or her way.”     – William Hutchinson Murray

This is how I feel about quitting my job and starting on the things I have been pondering for years.

Just do it. Go out there and live this life. Inspire others to do the same!

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In bloom
Copyright Ketakii Jewson-Brown

Taking photos in Africa

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There is a competition – a photographic competition – and the winner gets the opportunity to take photos of farmers and communities ActionAid Australia and AFAP Action on Poverty work with in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Part of the selection criteria is that the applicant preferably have some blog writing experience so as to be able to blog whilst in Africa. SO this is my blog writing kick up the butt, so to speak. I have had this account open for a few months and written nothing. So here goes…..

I love writing. I love taking photos. I love Africa. (Well there are many more things that I love but for this post I’ll keep it to those 3). I would love to travel to Africa and take photos of farmers and their communities on the road to food security. I have traveled to Africa twice in the past 6 years. My husband is South African. Most of his family live there. But this is not remote Africa, this is urban Cape Town. By no stretch is it remote like other parts of Africa. I would love to get a glimpse of that remoteness. I would love to photograph that remoteness. There is a different light in Africa. It was one of the first of many things I noticed on my first visit to South Africa. I want to experience it once again.

As part of the competition I am required to write about what food security means to me, as well as create a photo essay based on the same question. There is a big difference in what food security means to an Aussie girl and what it means to an African woman living in remote areas. I am going to try and find some underlying similarities. Hopefully more than the fact they are both female….

I might not win.Though I could possibly…. No matter the outcome I am grateful that this competition has sparked my inspiration, my curiosity, my creativity. (Though I would probably be pretty stoked if I did win).

Diego – Flirtatious South African Rooster