The Mistake

The-GiftPhotograph by Sara B. Healy

A Bird Picture

This picture was a mistake. I was struggling to capture photographs of birds at my feeder. The minute they heard the camera, they were a blur of wings. I took a lot of photographs and thanks to digital, I deleted most of them.

When I looked at this one in the viewfinder all I saw was a blur and assumed it was just another mistake. I started to delete it, but stopped. I’m glad I saved it.

My camera and this bird created something magical and special for me. It’s not technically a good photograph, but there’s something unique about it. I see this mistake as a gift.

Making Mistakes

We all make mistakes; it’s part of life. Some are big and some not so big. When we make mistakes, it’s not the mistake that causes us problems; it’s how we react to it.

There was a time in our lives when mistakes didn’t exist in our minds. As babies, we discovered how to become human by making mistakes; we fell before we walked, we learned hot and cold by touch, and how things tasted by putting them in our mouth.

Unless someone constantly corrected us, these mistakes were simply learning experiences. They carried no particular emotional baggage.

As we grew older, things changed, as did the words that accompanied our “mistakes.” When we did something wrong we heard “Don’t do that!” or “That’s bad, stop it.”

Suddenly, mistakes weren’t just neutral ways to learn because there was a negative feeling attached to the learning. Later, we would discover that some mistakes came with punishments, further reinforcing that mistakes were bad.

Learning from Making Mistakes

We have a choice about how we see our mistakes. We can continue to see them as wrong, or we can choose to see them as gifts; like my bird picture.

Sometimes these mistake “gifts” create a new path of learning and opportunity for us in our journey through life.

A friend of mine was fired from her job and it upset her greatly. However, it gave her the momentum to go back to school and now she has a job she loves. In her case, a mistake gave her the gift of a career that she’d always wanted.

Some mistakes make it more difficult to find the gift, but it is still there. A member of my family was driving with a group of friends and they’d all been drinking. There was a car accident and one of the friends was paralyzed.

As the driver of the car, my family member was haunted by the mistake for years. He asked for forgiveness, which was not given.

This tormented him, but he made a choice to move on from it. He found a way to turn his life around. He stopped drinking, went back to school and had a family.

While he couldn’t get forgiveness from his friend, he found the strength to forgive himself. This was the gift of his mistake.

Mistakes happen and we can’t change that. We can change how we react to them. Next time you make a mistake, stop for a second and ask yourself “What’s the gift in this mistake?”

What about you?

Have you ever made a mistake that turned into a “gift” for you?

Picture Story: Celebrate Good Times

PictureStory1Picture Tells a Story

Remember this picture? This was my first Picture Story Challenge Post. At that time, I called it Story Photo Contest, which eventually evolved into a regular category called, Picture Story.

This post was published on March 30, 2009. The first line of this post was “They say a picture tells a thousand stories.”

I believe this. The Picture Story posts evolved from this belief that others would also see the “thousand stories” possible in a photograph.

Picture Magic

Evita, photographer and author of Evolving Scenes was the first blogger to prove to me that photographs can be seen as  something more than just a picture.

She once told me, “It is fun too to see how others see the world, and things. It never ceases to amaze me how two or more people looking at the same thing can see things so differently!”

I think these are wise words. They capture perfectly the reason why I do the Picture Story Challenges. I want to invite people who visit to look beyond the object in the picture and see something special.

I am also lucky to have some very imaginative readers. The Picture Story posts have always generated creative comments that never fail to surprise and delight me.

Picture Challenge Winners

I loved all the comments for last week’s Picture Story Post, Graffiti Artists in Switzerland. However, a special congratulations goes to the people who undertook Challenge Two from this post.

In this challenge, they answered all five questions used in the post, including making up a question of their own and answering it. Here they are:

Belinda, The Halfway Point

Hilary, Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Jannie, The Jannie Funster Blog

Lisa Newton, Travelin’ Local

Patty, Why Start Now?

SuZen, Erasing the Bored

Tony Single, Trottersville [note: Tony and Cassy have a new site — check it out]

Thanks to all of you! You amazed me with your imaginative replies:~) Visit the post and check out their comments!

Also, thank you to all of the people who have participated in my Picture Story challenges. You have proven to me that our imaginations are endless creators of magic:~)

Graffiti Artists in Switzerland

The-CreaturePhotograph by Sara B. Healy

You Gotta Love Graffiti

This is a picture of some cool graffiti that had been painted on the wall of the apartment building where we stayed while visiting Switzerland last year.

It was part of a contest where kids painted graffiti on the wall and in other areas around the apartment building. I was pretty impressed with their artwork.

What’s interesting about Switzerland is that you seldom see bad or messy graffiti; even on the overpass of a highway.

It’s like the Swiss kids who painted the graffiti had to take art lessons before they could go out and deface public property:~)

This picture was my favorite because I felt like this creature was about to say something to me.

Picture Story Challenge + BONUS

I’m offering a BONUS with this Picture Story Challenge.

If you answer all the questions I will highlight your blog in a list on my next Picture Story Post. Otherwise, just choose one that appeals to you.

Either way, please leave your answers in the comment box. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

1. If this creature could say something to you, what would it say?
2. What’s the name of this creature and how did it get its name?
3. What place did it come from? Share something about this place.
4. Is it a hero or a villain and why?
5. Make up your own question and answer it. Be sure to include your question with the answer!

I hope this picture will challenge your imagination. Have fun, be creative and enjoy:~)

The Right to Choose

grace-in-flightPhoto by Sara B. Healy

NOTE TO READERS: Today I am reversing my usual posting schedule. As you will realize when you read this post, it is NOT a Picture Story Challenge. I felt the need to write this and so I did. That’s what’s so great about blogging; you get to chose what you write. On Thursday, I will post a Picture Story Challenge.

Martin Luther King’s Birthday

Today in the US, we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday. When I think of Martin Luther King, I think of freedom and when I think of freedom, I see birds in flight.

Let me explain. For me, there’s something glorious about watching birds fly; the way they stretch their wings and navigate the currents of the wind makes me sigh with wonder. They always seem so free.

Birds were given the freedom of flight so they can lift themselves high above the dangers below. Flight can mean life or death.

For birds, their freedom of flight is instinctual; they don’t get to choose whether or not to fly. They do it because it’s their lifesaving gift.

Freedom Choice

Humans were given many gifts. In my opinion, the greatest one is the freedom of choice. It separates us from other animals and allows us to choose the actions and decisions we make in our lives.

Unfortunately, along with choice, we also have prejudice. Prejudice is part of our instinctual human nature. We, like birds and other animals, naturally fear what we don’t understand or what is different than we are.

This is why I believe we were given choice. Through choice, we can question our prejudice and then choose how we will respond to it. Therefore:

We can choose to fear people who look or act differently than we do OR we can choose to embrace their uniqueness.

We can choose to fight people who believe differently than we do OR we can choose to acknowledge the universal need people have to believe in something beyond them.

Make a Choice

To make a choice to face our prejudices is not always easy. As Martin Luther King showed, there are consequences to fighting prejudice, but we do have the choice.

Today, as we think about Martin Luther King, consider your own freedom of choice and how you can use it to fight the prejudices in your life.

You have the lifesaving gift of choice. Use it wisely.

What about you?

How do you use your freedom of choice in dealing with prejudice?

How do you recognize your own prejudices?

Have you ever been in a situation where someone was prejudiced against you? If so how did you handle it?