Family Fridays–“Goals–Disappointment or Motivation?”

Pumpkin PatchThis week there was a theme on my blog-goals. Earlier this week, I observed that as an artist failing to reach a goal can be disappointing and discouraging. In our families, especially as parents, we may experience a similar thing. Having goals and expectations, along with perhaps being perfectionistic with ourselves and our family members, may lead us to feel stressed if the end results are not always what we want. Can’t this actually present additional stress and add to problems rather than lessen them?

Instead of viewing goals as end results that must be achieved, perhaps goals can be set to use as a guide to help us move in the direction that we would like to go…an aid in seeing a vision of our families that we would like to encourage and strive toward. For example, instead of saying my child must make all A’s on their report card, a parent’s goal might be that their child will learn, develop, and gain confidence in their abilities as they grow as a person. Then, our goals become motivation with positive encouragement, regardless of the specific end results. In the end, this may lessen our disappointment and raise our confidence in meeting life’s challenges along the way.

I have not met all of my goals for the week, but I am working in the direction I’d like to go…How about you?

As the fall colors and warm days are here, enjoy the weekend!

Family Fridays–“Challenges…Creative Solutions”

Families are being challenged these days in many ways. On virtually every level, we are being affected in ways that require creative solutions. For example, I think of buying groceries sometimes as a treasure hunt or an investment…some of the once inexpensive staples, such as shortening or powdered milk, have become expensive.

Foods via Wikipedia

Returning home to NC in the summer thrills me, in part, because I can find fresh vegetables and fruits earlier than where we live…and at good prices! Near my mother’s home is a garden/pick-your-own strawberries business. It was great getting to pick beautiful fruit to freeze now and eat in the cold of December! We also pick blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries at a farm near our home here in Virginia. Finding ways to gather and put up food for later in the year, reminds me of how people used to prepare for winter by harvesting, preserving, and storing foods. This website talks about How to get the most bang for your buck at a pick-your-own farm.

Picking Blueberries
Picking Blueberries

Many of us live where large home gardens and growing our own food is no longer possible. Finding local sources is not always easy or affordable but good quality food is important to the health of our families. Shopping the weekly specials and comparing prices at several stores helps me lower the overall cost of food. Weekly farmer’s markets are available in many towns and cities. Many local communities also share resources with people through programs such as community gardens, food banks, and churches. An example of this type of program can be seen at

On-line recipes and information about food, nutrition, and health inspire me. At no time before have we had such instant access to information, including educational material on nutritious foods to help guide our food choices. For example, the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for health and nutrition can be found at The Mayo Clinic posts these guidelines to consider for healthy eating at

Finding different ways of gathering and preparing food requires extra time that may create an additional challenge to an already hectic family schedule. But, I believe using creative solutions to obtain food for myself and my family to eat well is worth the investment of my time and one way to meet life’s challenges…

*Do you have any favorite creative solutions for families to share?!?*  [I’d love for you to leave a comment!]

Image Credit: Foods via Wikipedia, Public Domain, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture.]

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Tuesday…In The Studio

As new pieces of art are finished, an artist needs to document each work by photographing it.

Purple Wings. Fused appliqué, free-motion quilting on cotton, 9 x 10". © 2008 Joni Beach. Private collection.

When teaching university design courses, I always scheduled a photo shoot of the student’s original designs at the end of each semester. In the past, slides were required for a professional portfolio and any time an artist submitted an application for a juried exhibit. The slide film was expensive and there was a waiting time (of several days sometimes) while a shop developed your roll of film. Finally, most venues now have changed to digital submissions and the ease of shooting, editing, and developing good images of artwork has greatly improved.

Lighting Stands

I have been attempting to meet some new goals as an artist/designer in the studio. A current goal is to improve my photography skills and equipment. While I have a newer digital camera, a Sony DSC-H20, my ability to get the lighting needed for clear color and sharp images was lacking.

Yesterday my husband was kind enough to build some new light stands for me, which you can see here beside the camera tripod, using the instructions from Holly Knott of Finger Lakes Art ( Holly’s suggestions for these light stands, light bulbs, and how to use them has given me better lighting conditions in my studio.

The next challenge?…To continue to improve my photography and to update my Portfolio and website with improved photos…

♦ Does anyone have more suggestions on what has helped you improve your photographs? I would love any further ideas to try!                                                        (Feel free to add your suggestions below by clicking on the small gray words, “Leave a Comment”.)

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