Find Me...

Vimeo Channel


Join the Mailing List

Sign-Up Below to receive free textures, special offerings and the latest updates.

Receive Blog via Email

Enter Your Email address. 

Delivered by FeedBurner

Join the Community




FREE LR Catalog Class

Search the Site

« {Weekend Texture} Love, Light and Life | Main | Just a Little Love Note »

California Dreaming and Finding Gratitude

textured with 'oceanside' from the studio collection

This quote speaks to me. 

After visiting and falling in love with California, I've been struggling to find the beauty around me. I mean really, really struggling. In fact, I've had several little pitty parties....and grumbled quite bitterly about it on several occasions.

A few weeks ago I was out walking Ben and I wiped out on the ice...
Oh my gosh....did I let out a string of 'not so nice' words.... I then proceeded to tell John that I hated it here. I hated winter.... I went on for about 2 or 3 minutes. He helped me up....kept walking.....silent..... and when I was done, he said.... 'well let's sell the house, and move.'
Just like a man, he wanted to solve the problem. I simply needed to get it out of my system. Ya know?

It feels like there's still a part of me in California..... Slowly, I'm finding my way home. It's the strangest thing. I can't quite wrap my head around it. 

I must return...and soon! My oh my.... I love it there!

textured with 'empty page' from the studio collection

In the meantime, I'm very much aware that my 'bad attitude' has got to go. I must have a grateful heart.

It's imperative!


The other day I took my Nikon out on our walk. It felt good to see the world through my lens.... As I walked and watched the dogs romp around, I paused and really took in the true loveliness of our little world. I began to see the beauty again.

And for that I am most grateful.

I'm thankful for the wide open space....the snowy backdrops....for the unusually warm temps we've been blessed with this past few weeks. I'm thankful for our safe little spot on this earth.... thankful I can walk Ben in the dark around our town with no fear at all. 

I am truly thankful. 

pssst....look real close and you will see ben in the trees, looking your way.

Nope, this is definitely not California, but it's rich with blessings.... 'prairie blessings'.... and I'm so so glad my heart is rediscovering it.

Crazy really.... This quiet, home-loving girl, suddenly has an intense urge to 'fly'....

Just when you think you have it all figured out.... life has a way of shaking things up!

Do you ever struggle to find beauty in your world? 

Have you felt the tug of something new...something unfamiliar? Something different, something unexpected? Something unsettling?

Share with me today, my beautiful friends. I adore you! 


Reader Comments (35)

lovely post Kim, you are very expressive . . .
December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah
Wherever you are, stand up, close your eyes, turn around, point with your hand. Now open your eyes. You'll see that you are pointing at something to be grateful for. No matter how many times you do this, whether you are inside or out, it always works.. The grass is not greener on the other side, that is just a myth. We do have times when we just need to get things out of our system so we can see them and sort them out. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is my very favorite. But it I eat it every day, it won't be so special anymore.
December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Deal
Once California gets under your skin you'll always dream of going back.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie
As I grow older, I seem to spend more time looking at nature's beauty everywhere I go.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNadege
That's what they say about visiting California - you'll find a reason to go back.
I just had my first trip there in November... and it was magical.
Now, it's back to reality & below freezing temps.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbella
Way to hang in there Kim! I do understand the struggle we experience sometimes during the winters of our lives. Just remember it is a season; temporary. Spring ALWAYS comes. Keep your eyes fixed on that hope. Or maybe it's a time of rest for you. Maybe it's a time to rest the lens you usually pick up and pay attention to that one you rarely use. Maybe it's time for a different area from where you usually shoot. Have you ever shot with a macro? It's a whole different world in there! :) It is dreary here in KC in the winter, so I turn to still life.

I also turn to God. You asked us to dream and I had a hard time thinking of something. (So embarrassing!) My dream of dreams was to marry a loving man, and I've been incredibly blessed with a dream come true. I've been married 9 years now!! So I guess that's why I had a hard time dreaming. So I decided to ask God if He had a dream for me. Long story short, He reminded me of a dream I had 15 years ago. I've always wanted to create a worship movie with my photos and put music to it. I've got a huge body of art and the computer to do it. I will need to learn some movie editing software, but it's doable! I want to create a book with a DVD. Wouldn't that be awesome? Ideas are just swirling in my head all the time. Thanks for inspiring me to think of a dream. Many blessings to you and I know you will find God's beauty for you too!
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Legg Photo
What a lovely post with beautiful words and gorgeous pictures, Kim !
Thanks for sharing your feelings ... it sounds familiar.
Wish you a nice weekend,
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia
I too struggle to find beauty in my little corner of the world. It is a sprawling suburbia here without much terrain or scenery to speak of. I long to go to the mountains or beaches, but have a limited amount of time (and money) to take trips. When I get antsy, I will visit local botanical gardens, parks, nature centers, or indoor butterfly gardens on the weekend....just me and my camera. I find new beauty and new inspiration each time I recharges me.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
I never wanted to leave Texas until I visited San Diego. That was years ago and I am still in Texas and not just Texas but west Texas. Dry, burned over, drought, short trees but I love it!

Sometimes I don't really realize and appreciate what I have. I have looked at and read your blog many, many times, thinking, "I love her house." "What a great front porch." "Where did Kim find that awesome, chippy piece of metal?" "Look at all those followers!!!" "What do I have that could bless someone else?"

Thanks for your honesty! Thanks for sharing your heart and encouraging all of us (your followers) to dream and to follow our dreams. You are a blessing and I look forward to each of your posts.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathalie
Very beautiful post, Kim, and the photos are amazing as always... I do understand this feeling as I've been through this too. I've been living in Ireland for seven years now, and winters here.... Well, I've been complaining about it ever since.. Lots of wet and grey days, I mean really a lot of it.. And you know, I miss snow terribly, because at home we used to have white winters.. But things have changed, this year is different. I'm seeing beauty in this greyness, I try to take photos whenever I can. And I'm grateful for every dry day that we have, and if it's sunny, well, then it's fab :) I'm seeing the beauty of the landscape, because it is beautiful, and so many beautiful things have happened to me while I live here.. I am finally happy and grateful for being here, and photography helped me a lot in this. I'm seeing the beauty of my surroundings for the first time after all these years..
And I am grateful to you Kim, for all your inspiration..
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNeringa
What an interesting post about longing and finding proper satisfaction. It is hard -truly. My yearning is actually for what once was had but is no more - it's more regretable than wanting something that is simply on the other side of the plain (so to speak). We grew up spending most of my remembered time on a sweet little hide-away in the Amish-loving-land of Southwestern Ontario - where electricity was sparse, the home was heated with a wood-burning fireplace, everything was homemade and there was a garden. Not to mention the view of the farms across the winding river. It was - and remains - my safe place. I miss it so much. Even now there are tears in my eyes remembering it, longing for it. Every time we return to Ontario, I force my husband to go visit the place - drive by spying! Other people live there, the house is constantly up for sale and the 2nd half of the property has been sold so a great, grand monstrosity of a house sits where my oma's garden used to be. I hate the city. And suburbia is starting to clamp down on my soul too, getting so congested. I want space! I want nature! I want to travel and experience - then retreat in a safe little corner.

Totally understand.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMacrina
Excellent post! Very thought-provoking.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeannelle
I grew up in California, lived there till my mid 30's, on the beautiful Central Coast, loved it, however; anywhere you live is whatever you make it (we tried like heck to like the little town we moved to in New Mexico - whew, culture shock from the coast!) We are now in So. Indiana, it is beautiful here, we feel like we belong. We are a long way from what was 'home' but we truly love it here - maybe someone could bottle up the smell of the ocean for me! God is Good!
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDawn Meroney
I love the winter true. Winter has really come early for you this year!

I think we take what we have for granted sometimes, it's just human nature. But the trick is to step back and reflect on everything we do have and then be grateful for it. And that is just what you are doing here.

I've been struggling to find beauty in my world all year, mostly because things have been such a mess, both literally and figuratively speaking. But it's there, it's always there if you look hard enough.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkelly
Kim, beautiful post and lovely photos. Your words are powerful, as are the comments shared here by the others. As much as my camera is a virtual extension of my arm, there are times when my creative spirit dries up for a season and it's a struggle to find the beauty in my surroundings.

I have been in such a season for most of this past year, but am grateful for those times when the Lord has shone down onto that which is lovely and praiseworthy in my life. My membership and involvement here at the Cafe is part of that. Hearing your heart, learning from your creativity and sharing with the other members has been and remains a bright spot in my world.

Thank you for being real and genuine and transparent. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your textures and your tutorials. I am so glad to have found you and the Cafe and the other creative spirits who are a part of this "family."

Blessings on you, my friend -- kimB from Alaska
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterkimBinAK
California is beautiful and I see why you may be in a slump, but it sure doesn't show from your images in this lovely well written post. The snow is also very beautiful!
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynne
Sometimes that happens. When I visited "my" island the first time I fell in love. It's in the Pacific Northwest - closer to Canada than to mainland US. AT the time I was working at a very lucrative job in Dallas, Tx. I hated the heat and felt so far away from 'home' (I grew up in New England). I kept visiting the island and, each time I left, I became more and more depressed. I couldn't retire from my job - and it was the only career I'd worked in for 15 years. Of course, to make a long story short, I resigned my privileged position and moved with my cats to the island and had to immediately figure out how to reinvent myself. I had a variety of jobs at first and then settled into a County position 15 years ago. I am much more poor now monetarily - but I am happy with the views and lack of insane rushing every single day.

Kim - a question. Have you heard of any photography "photo-a-day/ week/month" kind of project for 2012? Thanks for any info.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarie Z. Johansen
Oh yes, I go through these same feelings often. I laugh because my husband would be happy sitting in the recliner and puttering in the yard and I say what next, what new adventure is there out there to discover. I do have to remind myself that I love where I live, but I need the adventure too. Being a girl from California I miss the sunshine at times too.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn
I really like the texture and process you used on the second picture it is almost like looking through a tinted brown window. I like textures sooooo much and love love love what you offer and do with your textures. In my own style I am finding that I love photos to retain the original sharpness and clean look, I am try to find ways to use textures and not lose sharpness and a clean look - like looking through old glass. Do you have any textures that come to mind that would work well with the style I am after?

Again, thank you so much for the freebies, the inspiration and teaching that you do! love it!!!
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
I love my four seasons. Right now it's muddy and icky on the farm. I am freaking out about Christmas. Will I ever get everything done in time? My anxiety level is intense.

Now that we have a bit of snow, the contrast between the blah browns and bright, white snow is amazing. The air is fresh and crisp. Getting out there for my walks is saving my sanity, mud and all.

I love the top quote Kim ... it is so true. Hang in there. Double up on the Vitamin D. Keep taking those walks and soaking it all in .... Hugs.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa F
It's all part of nature's rhythms, Kim. Just a Spring follows winter, gratitude and happiness follow the blues or the wishing for something different. As surely as the day follows night. That's a good thing and I too need to be reminded at times. Of course, you know all this too. Love your photos, always. And I'm so grateful for your lovely textures even if I am dabbling in others' offerings too.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLissa
I became infatuated with San Diego...but being there two separate times for a week each in the same year, infatuation is not the same as love and my heart and myself belonged at home for which my appalachian blood calls. I have come to believe that most beauty is often missed as it can be less obvious and overlooked. Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" continues my search for beauty on a daily basis... An example, my mother ails in a nursing home at end-stage Alzheimer's. While they will never make an advertisement for hand lotion or nail polish, there is nothing more beautiful to me than the hands of my mother which I am still able to hold in mine. All is grace...
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Powers Fabian
I lived in Saskatchewan until 2000. Miss the beautiful Prairies.Big sky with gorgeous sunsets,sundogs, and so much sunshine even when it's 30below zero !
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKat T
Dear Kim, your post are such a welcome site in my mail box. It feels like I am listening to a best friend. You are such a breath of frest air. And all the friends that follow seem to care and enjoy just as I do. As winter approaches, and it is harder and harder to get out and photograph, I am glad to have your positive messages to get us thru the season. Just had to say thanks, and Happy Holidays.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa Moore
I love this post because it is so honest. (Also what beautiful shots--just wonderful!). Personally, I love winter and actually since living in Indiana--which, though still gets its fair share of winter, is nothing like where I grew up in NY-- I've become quite nostalgic for 'real winter' and think I want to be in a place like where you are :) . . . I understand your longing to be somewhere else, though. I do the same thing with my job which I cannot say I love or even like much . . . but I have decided, I don't have to love it; I just have to appreciate it . . . when I got there-- to the appreciation for what I have, for what it is-- I have a lot easier time of it. To me winter is the same; there's a lot to appreciate; even if you cannot love it.
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie
Hi Kim,
Just want to punctuate that you certainly are not alone in your feelings. I have always been grateful for the fact that I have lived in many different places. Born in England of an English mother and Greek father, I have lived in England, New York, California, and B.C., Canada. There is so much to love and so many beautiful memories in all these places. The problems here lies in the fact that no matter where you are at present you always long for some part of your past and wish you were there. I now live in a beautiful rural area between the sea and the mountains and still yearn for my home in England, Christmas at Rockefeller Center eating roasted chestnuts, southern California beaches, etc., etc., etc., but in the end...THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. Hugs to you. I know you are grateful for your beautiful home and family. Your pride was just a little hurt when you took that tumble. lol
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranne hartman
You know what Kim, I've always envied your home, living near our city in the suburbs where houses are bunched up next to each other, your's is the one in my dreams. Yours with that big wide verandah up front to sit in and dream. It is a positive to have something or someplace else to dream about, that's what keeps us going, if we think we have reached our pinnacle then life would just be boring.

Sincerely from a very grateful girl who has been totally inspired by your words and images.

Jessica x
December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
I too have been California dreamin' (infact i wrote those words over a self portrait the other day, but didn't share it). There is beauty everywhere, it's just our vision becomes cloudy at certain times, i think it's just the ebb and flow of life, and I feel lucky that I have my lens to help me when things don't feel beautiful. I can't imagine how much tougher it would be without that. Love this post dear Kim x.
December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterXanthe
Here in South Africa, I am blessed with the most amazing sunny , warm weather all year round. I live on the coast and have the beautiful sea at my doorstep and the African bush 2 hours away , abounding with wild animals, - yet I look at your pictures and wish I could have the chance to have your beautiful snowy winters and the photo opportunities it presents. We are all so lucky to experience different lifestyles and weather. You are an inspiration to us all Kim. lots of love
December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEv
Ahh California,
I lived in Long Beach California when I was in junior high school and always thought I would go back...I am now 57 (YIKES) and have not been back yet. I have grown to be a New England girl through and through, yes, cold, snow, short summers, no spring to speak of and fabulously breathtakingly beautiful autumns! Visiting a place is much different than living there, as I have sorely found on several occasions... Remember my sweet friend, visits to California are not impossible, plan trips there every once in a while to get your warm weather, green everything fix and then go happily back to your beautiful home and friends and art. Maybe make an art journal of your visits taking tons of photos and then fill in your journal once home with all those fab photos to go along with the words and perhaps sketches you made on your visit.
I could not ever live in a crowded space again, I live in a converted 100+ year old barn on 37 acres of woods - those photos of yours actually reminded me of my road to my house! I agree with Deborah who made the first post... in essence, there is beauty and something to be thankful for everywhere we look! I have a quote on my blog, "What you see depends on what you are looking for" Kim, I hope you get through this funk you're in soon! Know that there are lots of us that adore you and are thankful for you everyday, for bringing the beauty of the world uniquely through your eyes to ours...
Beth P
December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Pollock
Such a lovely post and photos Kim - I am on the verge of something new...something unfamiliar...Something different, something unexpected......In 25 days I will move from Brussels to Singapore - were I will never see snow or the change of seasons...just hot hot hot every day. I am very excited about this move - but I know I will desperately miss Brussels, Belgium, where it has been my home for the last 4 years - a home and life I have come to adore. So I can appreciate what you are experiencing and know I will have some of the same feelings. Thanks for a thought provoking post Kim!
December 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercathy @ ma vie trouvee
Kim, first I want to say that your winter images with your beloved dogs are beautiful. I love the snowy winters. Images like this are so pure, they show the bare bones of life. I've discovered that this year. Why I love the beauty of almost bare trees in fall and totally in winter. There is such a beauty if you can see past the drab, darkness. When there is snow, it makes up for that dark feeling we are overcome with this time of year. I think I've been hit hard this year with it because we haven't had snow - too warm but it's wet and gloomy. Each year I get more and more scroogey about Christmas because 1) it's too commercialized. I actually recented hearing Christmas music the weekend before Thanksgiving at Meijer's, it felt so cheap! 2) being divorced from my kids dad, and they being grown and on their own, it's depressing because I don't have a tradition of my own. This year I've decided it's time to do just that. We finally have a 'local' grandchild on the way (step-grandchild to me) but I embrass her mother as my own as she was living with her Dad when we married 13 years ago. My daughter is now working on having her first and it sounds like my son might be getting married soon - he plans to propose on New Years and she is much older than him and needs to have her kids SOON! So I see so much change in my future that is beautiful, this winter gloom cannot bring me down! I am desperately trying to finish several projects and lessons so that by New Years, I will start anew!
You live in beautiful country. It is a place I so want to visit. By the way, I love the four seasons. I've never been to California, would like to visit one day. Pacific Northwest - now that looks like a heavenly vacation, especially for photography and lavender.
I'm glad you're finally landing back home and seeing the beauty around you and sounds like a husband to embrace with all your heart. I embrace your generosity in spirit and love.
Many hugs to you, Laurie
December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie
I love the beauty and the quiet peacefulness of snow...but I try to get away to the sun for one or two weeks each winter:)
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGailO
All I can comment is thank you for all that you do, and I've often thought from your posts what a lovely place you must live in when you post your photography. It is hard to wonder if change would be good, and only you know yourself, but life is short and if you have the srong urge for change, I would say go for it. It is hard to know when to settle and when there should be change. I've always been a bad one for being on the fence and taking the safe route. Happiness to you no matter what you decide about your life changing decisions.
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeabea
ah Kim....I live in CA and believe me...we have our own set of problems Kim. I always want to live in Hawaii after I visit. But I was given some very good advice about that....I was told I saw hawaii through a tourists/visitors pov where everything is perfect....that's whats so awesome about vacations. Maybe you can plan your vacations here in CA and keep it special that way. You have such an uplifting spirit....and beautiful photos to share with us in your special part of the world.
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.