One Word Photo Challenge is Emerald!

Thank you to all the readers who have been stopping by to have a look at my photographs from the challenges that I have been participating in. You all ROCK and you must know that you are making my days brighter! I’m discovering something about myself as I am sharing my passion for photography: photography makes me happy…really happy! I guess that it always has. So, thank you for sharing my happiness.

Here I go again, inspired by many of the photographers in my blogosphere, I am joining the One Word Challenge and this week the word is Emerald.

Big Glory Bay, Stewart Island, New Zealand

The grounds of the Hualapai Tribe at the Grand Canyon skywalk in Nevada


deeclarknz.comThe Clutha River in Albertown, New Zealand


Have a fabulous weekend!



Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Water or The Season of Winter

Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.
-Steve Maraboli

Anger is like flowing water; there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you let it flow. Hate is like stagnant water; anger that you denied yourself the freedom to feel, the freedom to flow; water that you gathered in one place and left to forget. Stagnant water becomes dirty, stinky, disease-ridden, poisonous, deadly; that is your hate. On flowing water travels little paper boats; paper boats of forgiveness. Allow yourself to feel anger, allow your waters to flow, along with all the paper boats of forgiveness. Be human.
-C. JoyBell C.

It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many things.
-Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
-John Lubbock

Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water.
-Christopher Morley

For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Water or the Season of Winter

Regie’s Blog: The Fine Madness (depression)

Today, I am reposting a blog my friend has written on the subject of depression. He shares his personal journey as news of Robin Williams death has rocked the air waves since yesterday.

We truly never understand the journey someone else is traveling and the fight they make to keep a balance toward well-being. We can never flippantly assume another soul has “it made” or that their struggles are not important…look inside your heart…the pain of your own struggle is not too different to the person standing near by -no matter how often they smile, laugh or even joke to hide the devastation they feel.

Please be aware that my friend uses language in this piece that you may not use and that I do not use in my blogs. I understand if you prefer not to continue from this point. The vulnerability he shares shows an inside view to the struggle for wholeness. Please visit Reggie’s Blog for the original posting.

I offer my condolences to Robin Williams’ family. I will miss his gift- he made me laugh and smile so many times through the years. He was one of my favorites. My heart is sad to hear of this loss and sad that his heart was so broken.

Over to Regie Hamm:
Posted : 08/12/2014 5:18:14 PM
The doctor looked across his desk at me and asked bluntly, “how many times have you attempted suicide?”

I just stared back at him.

“What are you talking about?” I replied, like a teenager trying to play off getting caught smoking in the bathroom.

He pressed, “Look, I know you’ve at least thought about it. But most likely you’ve actually attempted it. No one I’ve ever treated, with lithium levels as low as yours, has escaped it. Young man, you have very serious clinical depression …and you have had it for years.”

Finally, I broke down and admitted that I’d had the gun out as a teenager and I’d had the bath drawn and the blades ready in my early 20′s. But I’d never actually followed through. I backed out the first time because I didn’t want to hurt my mother like that. I backed out the second time because the pizza (I forgot I had ordered) arrived. It was literally THAT random.

I’ve battled clinical depression my entire adult life. When I was younger, people said I was “moody”. I’ve been called everything from lazy to arrogant, due to my penchant for disappearing inside myself and withdrawing from the world.

I was actually told once that I used “depression” (in air quotes) as an excuse to be an asshole. That one kind of stung …I won’t lie.

Depression is one of those words that is overused and one of those disorders that is all too often “self” diagnosed. “I’m battling depression” is an easy thing to say to get the world off your back, when maybe you just really don’t want to do something. I’ve never tried to use depression as an excuse to shut down. I find it annoying and kind of weak to do that. My grandfather didn’t have time or luxury to be depressed and self-absorbed …he was too busy laying bricks all day to feed his family.

But the truth is depression is real and it can shut you down. As much as I hate to use it as a crutch, I know when I’m “going in.” John Lennon referred to it as “the trough” …I know exactly what he meant. Those who think depression is a direct correlation to your circumstances don’t really understand what it is.

To be honest, my depression has been at bay for the last 12 years for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is MY LIFE HAS BEEN HARD for the last 12 years. Hard times don’t necessarily bring on bouts of depression for those who really suffer from it. Sometimes, tough situations call you into focus and keep you engaged in life in a very healthy way. I’ve found myself spinning into the trough during some of the happiest moments of my life …I never understood that.

I’m lucky, in a sense, because what I do for a living is sort of constant therapy for me. Some people have urged me to write more books and and write less music but the truth is music actually has a healing property for me. I need it to sustain. Making a living at it is just a by-product.

The weirdest things can set off a bout of depression. The way someone looks at you at the grocery store; a song on the radio; an ill-timed phone call from the wrong person. Often the progression goes something like this:

She walks up to me after a show and says, “I love your music. You’re so talented. I hope you make it big one day.” Normally, not one of those phrases will bother me. In fact, 99% of the time I’m completely humbled by any compliment. But that last thing she said gets me thinking, on the drive home …and the voices start …”I hope you make it big someday.” Doesn’t she know that I’ve made it big? Like a couple of times already? Of course not. She doesn’t spend her life following me and my career. Why should she? People don’t do that. They have lives.

But my own inferior patterns keep me grounded in this constant struggle. It’s not about making it big. I don’t care about that. It’s about something I can’t seem to change about myself. I’m trapped in this shell forever. The weight …the alcohol …the things I will never conquer …they keep me in prison. I’m so tired. I wish I could re-set everything. But I’ll still be me if I do …and I’ll eventually mess it all up again. There’s no way out of this. I’m tired.

My wife and kids would probably be better off without me. I bring them down on far too many days. I can’t get out of this hole. I just want to lay in bed. I don’t want to brush my teeth. I don’t want to talk to anybody. I need space and time. No one knows the wars I fight. The terrible wars …in my own head. But those people and things I fight with are as real as anything I can touch. The voices won’t shut up. They keep goading me and telling me things I don’t want to hear. They wear me down until I’m numb.

Now, I can’t feel anything. That idiot who told me happiness was choice is full of shit. I can’t control the fact that I feel so heavy I can barely walk. My body actually hurts from trying to function. That over-zealous Christian keeps telling me to just “rest in Jesus”. I have no fucking idea what that means. It’s some kind of platitude I can’t actually put into action. Does it mean lay down and pray or get in a recliner and read the bible? I don’t know. This pain is almost unbearable. People say they “need” me but the truth is we’re all alone here. We’re all the stars of our own movies. I just need the voices to be quiet. I need the noise to end. I hate music. I hate my own voice. I hate my songs.

I can’t change any of it – I’m stuck in this body with this brain forever. Can I end it? Is there an off-ramp? Pills would be painless. I could just swerve over into the oncoming lane. It would be easy …

Then my phone rings …and I’m back.

That’s how easily an off-handed compliment can send someone with depression over the edge. You shouldn’t stop complimenting people. You shouldn’t stop being kind. The point is for someone with the chemical issue, anything and everything can be a trigger. Someone asking me for directions can be the breaking point. Ironically, someone telling me I suck usually has no effect on me whatsoever. See, I know I don’t suck so that’s easy to dismiss. It’s weird and hard to explain.

I obviously don’t know the details of Robin Williams’ situation. I don’t know what his triggers were. But I do know that clinical depression is real. I’ve managed mine with exercise, diet and an absolute passionate love for my children. At this point in my life I would never do something to them like committing suicide. But I completely understand someone getting so far inside that they can’t reason. If you add drugs and alcohol to that, you have a recipe for disaster.

Robin gave the world joy, but I’m certain he never gave it to himself. Most of us who create use it as a vehicle for escape. His great comedic genius was born out of some great pain somewhere …that will probably never be obvious to the world. He fought for a lot of years to manage it. Some people simply can’t turn off the dark voices and one day they simply listen one minute too long. In that moment, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a mansion, staring at your Academy Award …you will feel hopeless, useless and you will be powerless. Robin Williams, the man who knew all the right things to say, more than likely found himself there.

I am certain I will never kill myself. I’ve gotten to a great place in my life. I’ve had many, MANY conversations with myself about it. I’ve leveled out my chemistry in a lot of ways. I’ve leveled out my psyche in a lot of ways. I’ve been given the gift of some amazing causes to live for. It’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about Angelman Syndrome and adoption. I see a great design in my having been thrown into the deep water of both those things. In short, I’ve got some great reasons to live …and I intend on doing just that.

But for those who can’t quiet the voices, I urge you to call a friend. Go to a movie. Get out of bed one more time and take a drive someplace. Go to the humane shelter and hold puppies. Go to the maternity ward of a hospital and stare at newborns. Fight for another day. Turn this curse into a gift, somehow. Put down the sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Put on some running shoes and try to get a mile away from the pain. Do whatever you can do …and don’t let the bastard win.


Thank you, Regie, for sharing your journey. I appreciate the truth you have shared. Much love from my heart to yours!


7 Reasons For Having A Good Cry

I’ve been close to tears all day. I haven’t been able to put my finger on one particular reason…maybe there isn’t one. I was close to getting my composure until my Facebook notifications flashed a message from a dear friend asking, “Why does it still hurt? It’s been 32 years and I still cry”…and that was all it took to produce sobs…a shared pain due to loss.

I’m a crier. Tears come easily to me. I’ve cried every type of tear you can imagine; happy tears, sad tears, angry tears, sentimental tears, empathetic tears, fearful tears and sometimes no-good-reason tears…you name it, I’ve cried about or in response to it.

When I have needed a good cry and the tears wouldn’t come, I made a list of tear-jerking movies that I would pull out. Movies like Beaches, the Champ, The Notebook, Ghost, and A Message In A Bottle. By the time the movie was over, I was bawling! Sound strange to you? I read recently that there are clubs in Japan that get together to watch movies, TV shows or read sad books in order to induce a good cry. Maybe, I’m onto something? I’ve roped some of my friends into my own little tear-inducing club. My BFF and I convinced her husband to watch A Message In A Bottle with us once. As the three of us sat with tears streaming at the end of the movie, he vowed, never again.

There have been times in my life when I didn’t think that I would get the tears to stop flowing. I was heart broken over a series of events but was ill-equipped to deal with the pain my heart was feeling. One event began to pile on top of the previous. Unable to cope with the emotions, I would suppress them until they erupted into a fountain of tears.

If there’s any constant to crying as a result of painful experiences, it may be a search for a return to balance, an equilibrium. Whether a baby sobbing for its mother, or a teenager weeping at a friend’s betrayal, or a woman mourning her dead husband, the common thread is a longing for happiness once had but lost. Tears are our response to life’s unfairness. We cry to try to make things right.

An employer once told me that I needed to get my tears under control. He witnessed appropriate tears (my marriage break down), inappropriate tears (meetings with him that began by welling up to the point that I could not speak), and down right weird tears (when pulled over by a policeman for a broken tail light). He was a kind man who wanted me to feel strong enough to handle life situations with confidence.

I accepted his advice and…went to the other extreme. I refused to cry. Once again, I was suppressing the emotions I was feeling…the result was an eruption of anger.

This was not working!

As I’ve learned emotional coping skills, tears are manageable but I still enjoy a good cry at times. Tears are one way I release stress and pain. I watched a video a friend posted this week about an adult slapping, pinching and utterly tormenting a defenceless infant- I could not control my tears. I was angry and outraged. Another time, my daughter texts me a congratulation on my success of raising her and her brother-I wept with joy and gratitude. I’m proud to say that I can now speak to a police officer without melting into tears but am also thankful that my heart remains empathetic enough to cry with a friend or family member who is broken hearted. I will, also, well up with tears when my heart is full and satisfied.





I find tears comforting and cleansing.

However, when tears begin to roll, they can ignite the atmosphere with a great deal of tension. Let the water works begin to flow and people can become confused, uncomfortable, or scared.

Reactions to tears range from “stop that or I will give you something to cry about!”; to “PLEASE, don’t cry! I’ll do anything if you just stop crying”; to jokes and shaming or edging away with a look of panic in their eyes. Most people are uncomfortable with their own emotions; dealing with someone else’s expression of emotion can be unbearable.

There are scientific theories that state tears release stress-related toxins from the body. It has also been proven that stifling emotions is can be dangerous to our physical well-being. The key is to find a healthy balance. The ability to manage and work with emotions helps us maintain healthy emotional well-being.

Crying is as critical a part of emotional well being as laughter (and in my case sometimes tears) is in response to joy and happiness.

I’d like to share 7 reasons for having a good cry:

1. Vulnerability brings you closer to others. If you are not ok, don’t say that you are fine. Although you may not be able to cry with everyone and in every situation, opening your heart and expressing your true feelings brings us closer to the people we care about.

2. Confronting what you feel can help you move on and move forward. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. A good cry can be a step to help you release your past. The sooner you confront your past, the quicker you can move toward a better future.

3. Expressing emotion can increase creativity. Do you realize how much creativity evolves out of emotional situations? Think of the songs, movies, books, dance and other art forms shared from personal experiences that inspire others.

4. Tears can help end your suffering. While crying won’t end your troubles, it can help you come to terms with them.

5. Crying can reduce stress. Crying is a release. Even when you don’t know why you feel like crying (just as I didn’t understand today), the tears can lead you to a reason. Once you find the source of what you are feeling, you can begin to work on a solution to what is causing you stress.

6. Tears can make you feel better. There is a Jewish proverb that says, “What soap does for the body, tears do for the soul.” I don’t always know why, but tears make me feel cleansed and refreshed.

7. Tears can make you stronger. You might think tears are a sign of weakness but really being brave enough to cry is a sign of strength. It shows that you are unafraid of facing your emotions. “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving

When was the last time you had a good cry? Have you been holding back the tears attempting to hold your life together? Is your heart broken, desperately longing for emotional healing…

Then give yourself permission…to cry…

Don’t worry, your smile is not too far away and will be waiting for you when you are finished.



Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Metal/Autumn

Cee has offered another fun challenge for this week. This is my contribution for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. I would also like to thank Cee for highlighting my contribution to last week’s challenge.. I have enjoyed participating and thank the blogging community for your kind comments!





These are the turbines from a New Zealand wind farm. One thing we have an abundance of in New Zealand is wind. We were able to watch a wind farm develop near us and I was amazed at the massive size of these turbines. Amazing!

Enjoy the photos!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Earth/Harvest

i am joining Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge again this week. the theme this week is Earth/Harvest. She states the color of Earth is yellow.

harvest is a great picture of the process we journey in relationships.
at first glance, the potential may appear small, insignificant and uncertain. hope of what could be ignites a commitment to give it a go.

the tender seedling is nurtured with compassion providing the care necessary for it to build strength and stability.

as it grows, the preciousness becomes more apparent as well as the effort required to encourage more growth.

labours of love producing…

a sweet, satisfying place for the heart; warm, safe, comforting, delightful…

a bounty of love, acceptance and belonging.

have a great week!