They didn’t go away; they were just forgotten…

October 29, 2015

There is a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability. – Sharron Angle

There have been a number of recent TV news stories featuring special needs kids in high school settings. We get those stories every year, because the news department producers at the local stations know that they make for good, emotional TV.

So we see a story on the special needs girl who is elected queenHomecoming Queen and most recently the special needs boy who is a high school seniors and was allowed to catch a pass and run to score a touchdown in his last high school football game – all reported, of course, on TV.

Those are heart-tugging, feels-good moments and I’m sure that we’ll see many more. They do represent good TV and they show the good intentions that are in the hearts of the classmates at the schools involved. For those kids it was a great day. As children, most probably had their parents hovering somewhere in the background, doing for them all of the things that needed to be done, making decisions and helping with everyday living. But what happens next? Where is that prom queen or that football hero the next year or 5 or 10 years later. They didn’t go away, they just got forgotten.

Where do they live now and how do they get by when the adult caretakers in their homes are no longer there. There is almost no news coverage of their adult lives; no stories of them working as a bagger at a local grocery store or sorting items at a Goodwill resale shop. Who helps them with the challengers of day-to-day living, such as managing their money or dealing with illnesses? Who is there when they are ill? We take for granted our ability to make all of the decisions that day-to-day living demand, but what if those decisions were a big mystery to you and day-to-day life maybe a bit confusing or scary? What if mom and dad were no longer there to help with those things?

As a society we have largely turned a blind eye to the special needs of these people once they havedont see hear or speak grown out of childhood. Governments tend to want to just throw money their way, but not be responsible for any of the details of how their needed services are provided or by whom. The old mental institutions of the past were dismantled (which was probably a good thing) and the adults who used to be housed in them were sent out into the community to fend for themselves.

Sure, there are still government programs aimed at providing assistance, but many are largely funding sources and not sources of needed services. Those programs are the “compassionate conservative” way of dealing with our own conscious; sort of a modern equivalent of the phrase “let them eat cake.” The modern version might be, “here, take this money and go away, please.”

But they don’t go away. They are still here, living as adults in our communities and trying to fit in as best that they can. Most of us don’t think about them and how they get by or even what their needs might be. We’d prefer to look the other way, rather than look their way. Fortunately there are groups like Supportive Alternative Living (S.A.L.) that are run by people like Patricia Peters, Executive Director, who do care and do think about what they need and then go out and do something about providing for those needs. S.A.L. provides the kind of support and integration services and training that are needed by the helping handsspecial needs adults in our communities, to allow them to function better within the society. That starts with helping find them a place to live and goes on to making the lives that they are living as rich and rewarding as possible. S.A.L. is the embodiment of the phrase, “it’s not a hand out, but a hand up”.

From their Web site – – comes this explanation of the Mission and services rendered by the organization.

sal logo banner


Supportive Alternative Living provides the least restrictive environment possible to maximize the social growth of our residents. We assist each resident while they integrate into their community, and develop interdependence with people who are important to them. Relationships and support of a variety of people will continue throughout their lifetime with the involvement and support of this organization.

S.A.L. accomplished that mission through the services in its Supportive Independent Program, which they explain –

This Supportive Independent Program (SIP) was developed in September 1989 as a pilot program to enable developmentally disabled adults to move into their own homes and to live, work and worship in the community of their choice. Milford has proven to be a wonderful, supportive, and caring community.

We provide a variety of living arrangements for consumers/clients wanting to live a normal adult life, living in their own home, either with a roommate, spouse or alone.

Staffing is provided according to the individual needs required.  The role of staff is to teach problem-solving and give support.  Staff is trained to understand professionalism, confidentiality, and their role as teacher. We emphasize the importance of teaching the client how to discover resources for themselves.

In day-to-day terms that means that S.A.L. helps locate housing and helps manage the funds that might be available to the adults to pay for that housing and for their day-to-day needs. It also means helping them find appropriate work or ways to spend their time. Since the spectrum of what is covered under the term “special needs” is very broad, the range and types of services rendered must also be very broad.

Much of the funding to provide for day-to-day living does come from various governmental programs; however procuring and managing those funds takes a lot of effort and is not something that the clients of these programs can do for themselves.  In addition, some of the funding for those programs has been impacted by government program cuts just like everything else. Unfortunately, the needs of the S.A.L. clients don’t donatechange with the political whims of those in office at any time. So, groups like S.A.L. try to make up for the funding shortfalls by writing grant requests and soliciting funds through charitable donations. You can donate to S.A.L. at their web site – and give as little as $10/month to help them continue their mission.

Supportive Alternative Living is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which allows deductions for federal income tax purposes.

So, if the story about the special needs homecoming queens or the football hero for a night tugged at your heart, take a moment to think about where they will be in 10-15 years and who will be caring about them and for them then. You can help today the women or men who were in those roles in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. They didn’t go away. They’re still here. You may see them on the street; but, you just don’t see them on the news anymore. You can still make their days better by supporting organizations like S.A.L. with your donations. If you want to do even more, there is information at the S.A.L. web site about how to volunteer or become “staff”; or you can call 248-685-2639 and talk to them about what you might be able to do. The key here is not to just think about it; but, rather to start doing something about it.

The hallmark of a healthy society has always been measured by how it cares for the disadvantaged. – Joni Eareckson Tada

Be the spark for someone today…

October 26, 2015

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitz

I’ve posted here a few times about being positive and helping others. I’ve talked about being the rainbow in somebody’s life. Recently I had series of posts that wandered off a bit into the dark side of life and battling back from that. I received lots of feedback from people who have been though depressions and from some for whom it is still an issue.

I was going to write a post about dealing with depression; but, I realized that I have no business trying to do that. I have no experience or personal frame of reference for the girl cryingfeelings of someone who is undergoing depression.  I’ve had my share of disappointments, times of great sadness, or loss and feelings of failure at something or thoughts of inadequateness; however, I’ve never gone further than to approach the abyss that depression can apparently become.

As I was reading on the topic of depression, I ran across many great quotes from people who have had personal experiences with depressions and made it back out (or who are in a recovery mode). Many if those quotes made reference to the darkness. There were also many well-meaning advice quotes, which  seem to have a recurring theme of looking for the light in the midst of the darkness. Many of the quotes written by the people who had experienced it or were still in a state of depression seemed to be saying, “Let me alone, I prefer the dark”. That just didn’t seem to me to be very helpful – to just back off and ignore the pain of depression, if one sees it in a friend. One quote that I found seemed to sum up the role of a true friend for someone who is depressed.

If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’tdark alley a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”  ― Stephen Fry

While I may never be able to understand the crippling impact that depressions can have on someone, I can at least try to be there for them when they come out the other side; hopefully to help rekindle hope in their lives. So, maybe our role is just to be there. To say, “Welcome back”; to prove that somebody does care and love them, even when they don’t love themselves.

Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, posted this piece of advice for well-meaning people who don’t understand or see depression as a medical condition that may require long-term medications to control.

“Since I am writing a book about depression, I am often asked in social situations to describe my own experiences, and I usually end by saying that I am on medication.

“Still?” people ask. “But you seem fine!” To which I invariably reply that I seem fine because I am fine, and that I am fine in part because of medication.

“So how long do you expect to go on taking this stuff?” people ask. When I say that I will be on medication indefinitely, people who have dealt calmly and sympathetically with the news of suicide attempts, catatonia, missed years of work, significant loss of body weight, and so on stare at me with alarm.

“But it’s really bad to be on medicine that way,” they say. “Surely now you are strong enough to be able to phase out some of these drugs!” If you say to them that this is like phasing the carburetor out of your car or the buttresses out of Notre Dame, they laugh.

“So maybe you’ll stay on a really low maintenance dose?” They ask. You explain that the level of medication you take was chosen because it normalizes the systems that can go haywire, and that a low dose of medication would be like removing half of your carburetor. You add that you have experienced almost no side effects from the medication you are taking, and that there is no evidence of negative effects of long-term medication. You say that you really don’t want to get sick again. But wellness is still, in this area, associated not with achieving control of your problem, but with discontinuation of medication.

“Well, I sure hope you get off it sometime soon,” they say. ”

woman in a bubbleI’m sure that the same dialogue would not occur if the discussion was about the insulin that a diabetic needs to live a normal life or the oxygen that someone with COPD might be hauling around with them. As a society, we need to think of the medications that help prevent or lessen depression with the same level of acceptance. It’s time we moved our thoughts about depressions and mental illness out of the dark places in our minds and become the enlightened friends that can really be helpful to those in need.

Faith is one of the things that can get temporarily lost for many who undergo such deep journeys into the darkness of depression. Yet for others it is their faith that helps them find the light and see the way out of the darkness.  Ann Marie Aguilar said it this way – “If darkness surrounds you, look for the light. If you can’t see it, raise your head up. You may be surrounded by darkness but it does not cover you on top. Let the light shine down on you andhand reaching for heaven let it lead the way out of darkness.”

One thing that turning to one’s faith can do is to provide a way out of the dark, one-way alley called “I’m not worthy.” Faith does not require you to be worthy; it only requires you to be willing to embrace God and receive the forgiveness and grace that was ransomed by His Son Jesus on the cross. Faith allows you to let go of the things that have been troubling you by allowing you to give up the fight to control things that you cannot control by saying “Not my will; but, thy will be done.” Faith allows you to love yourself and therefore to allow others to love you, too. Faith may also free you from guilt, so that you can seek the help that is available through modern drugs and psychotherapy.

caringHave a great week ahead. If you know of someone who suffers from bouts of depression, don’t turn away; be there for them. Be the friend that rekindles their spark of hope and pray for them to find their way back to their faith and out of their personal dungeon of depression.

Battling the enemies within…

October 21, 2015

Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer –  Sun Tzu

The attribution for that that little phrase is in some dispute. It is attributed by some to Sun Tzu in his book The Art of War and by some due to a bad translation of the letters of Machiavelli. Some even attribute it to the movie The Godfather. Wherever it’s from, I’d like to focus on a slightly different look at the enemy – the enemy within.

 “It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.”  (Sally Kempton)

In this little saying it is impossible not to keep the enemy close because the enemy is already in our heads, or at least has outposts there. What does that mean? Let’s assume for the moment that the enemies that you are trying to fight are prejudices or bigotry or any other pre-conceived notions about things that might lead you in a direction that you really don’t want to go.

How did the enemy, which rears its ugly head from time to time in your thoughts, get an outpost in your head?predjuices For most of us the answer lies in our childhood, in our homes and how we were raised. For those of us who are old enough to have lived through the racial ugliness of the mid-twentieth Century (or even earlier), you know that those outposts are there. They were planted by usage in the language of the time of derogatory terms that are politically incorrect today. But it wasn’t just the language. Also planted in those outposts were stereotypes, prejudices, and, in some cases, hatred. Knowing that they are there keeps one on high alert to not let those enemies escape the outpost and get out into your speech and your actions. These days there are new negative outposts being planted in our minds about such things as homophobia, stereotypes about recent immigrants or refugees, prejudices about religious preferences and more.

Other outposts which harbor our enemies within have other labels – fear, uncertainty, doubts, and anxiety. Many afraidof these outposts have names ending in phobia. Some phobia’s have such strong footholds in our minds that they can become debilitating. There are thousands of phobias that people might experience. According to the Web site, the top 10 phobias for 2015 are these:

  1. Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders
  2. Ophidiophobia – The fear of snakes
  3. Acrophobia – The fear of heights
  4. Agoraphobia – The fear of open or crowded spaces
  5. Cynophobia – The fear of dogs
  6. Astraphobia – The fear of thunder and lightning
  7. Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces
  8. Mysophobia – The fear of germs
  9. Aerophobia – The fear of flying
  10. Trypophobia – The fear of holes

There’s probably something on that list that you can relate to in your own life. I know that a couple make me squirm.

As debilitating as phobias can be the outposts in our minds that can lead us into depression are worse because they actually turn us against ourselves. We may have funny comedy skits about a phrase like “I’m not worthy”; but, that phrase, and the enemy outpost in the minds of many,  lead them to dark places. Feelings of being exclusionunloved, unwanted, unworthy can be as debilitating as any phobia. The writings of too many recent serial killers point to the enemies within those outposts taking over and leading the person to take actions that we cannot even fathom. From the outside we ask, “How could they do that?” From the inside the answer too often is, “I had to.” The enemy within took over from the outposts in their heads and made them outcasts in their own minds.

What can we do to help ourselves and others fight off or keep under control these enemies within? Logic and rational thought can only take us so far. I suggest that we keep our friends just as close by giving them outposts in our heads, too. Just as you can have negative or ugly outposts in your head as the result of exposure to teachings and events, you can plant the good things to balance your life out by embracing faith and givinghand reaching for heaven outposts to the teachings of the Bible. You can start small and simply by giving an outpost to the Ten Commandments. You can build an outpost for The Lord’s Prayer and raise the flag over another outpost for The Apostles Creed. Add to that outposts for the messages that you receive when you read the Bible or pray and soon you will find that the enemies that have outposts in your head will keep hunkered down in the holes where they live, because they cannot stand up to the light of the Son.

As I’ve mentioned here before in several posts, one of the most important steps that one can take is to let go of the need to feel in control of everything. The frustration and sense of defeat that comes from not being in control of events in your life can become overwhelming. Let it go. Use the simple little prayer that I’ve offered up here several times – “Not my will; but, thy will be done.” You aren’t giving up. You can praying in different religionskeep trying; but realize that any and all outcomes must be accepted. It’s not your fault. I guess that makes the acceptance of God’s will the ultimate No Fault Insurance policy. Blast that over the outposts of evil that may lurk in your mind and those thoughts will keep their heads down where they belong.

Have a great day and keep building good outposts in your head.

Have the courage to listen and to speak and don’t be a dead fish…

October 20, 2015

“Some people should use a glue stick instead of Chapstick.”  (Pinterest) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Today’s little quote is somewhat judgmental about others, but makes a good point about shutting up and talking-2listening. Sometimes the best thing that we can do is to listen, to hear out the other person, before we jump in with our own comments or thoughts. One of the hardest human traits to break, or at least control, is the tendency to be so wrapped up in your own thoughts and opinions that you don’t really listen to the opinions of others. We just can’t wait to get their own thoughts into the conversation and, in so doing; we ignore or miss the thoughts of the other parties. Does that ever happen to you? I know someone like that and after she starts talking to express her thoughts, she often stops and says, “No wait. What did you say?” It’s as if her brain is on a 10-20 second delay about what you said somehow and it only catches up after she has started talking.

I like the way Winston Churchill put it – “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

I think what Churchill was getting at is the courage it takes to really listen and understand the other person’s point of view on things. Taking the time to listen might also better equip you to make a more appropriate response or,listening even better, to realize that sometimes no response is really needed. Is it more courageous to lash back at someone who has just made a hateful remark towards you, or to quietly say “I’m sorry you feel that way”, and go on with life? What do you gain by lashing back at that person? Maybe both you and they need some more time to think about the situation before anything else is said.

Sometimes, when you sit down and listen, you realize that the person making hateful or racist or homophobic remarks has no basis other than hate or fear for making the remarks, even if they try to mask them in the context of religious beliefs. Once you recognize the underlying ugliness for what it really is, your anger may quickly turn to pity. If you realize opinionatedthat something in that person’s life has happened to bring them to this hateful state, you might think, “How terrible it must be to be filled with such angry and hate; I’ll pray for you.” You’ll have to be the judge on whether saying that out loud would help or just further inflame the situation. Either way, say the prayer for them.

Many times, especially early in life, incidents may happen when you are among those whom you consider to be your friends. It is during those times that the advice of J. K. Rowling comes to mind –

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

It is not only the brave thing to do, but the right thing to do to stand up and say something, even to your friends, if what is happening is wrong. That is especially true in situations of bullying in school or invitations to do things thatfriends at school you know just aren’t right. It is true later in life when you decline to be drawn into gossip about others or to join in hateful talk or actions. There is great peer pressure at all ages to join others who may be for or against certain things or people or who are doing things that are wrong. The old phrase “go along to get along” was invented to describe the easy (cowardly) way to deal with those situations.

Many times the topic of conversation or of the actions at hand are not something that you may not have formed an opinion about one way or the other. Rather than having the courage to sit and listen and then make an informed decision; you just go along with the crowd, sometimes as much as anything on a dare. It’s as if someone has said to you, “What, are you afraid to cast the first stone?” So you go along with the crowd, even if it is going in an uncomfortable direction. At times like that, perhaps the advice of Jim Hightower will help –

“The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.”

dead fishHave a great day and have the courage of your convictions. If you don’t have convictions in any situation, have the courage to admit that to yourself and listen and think before you act or join in the action. Don’t be a dead fish going with the flow.

Do you hear the alarms going off?

October 16, 2015

“A guilty conscious is a faults alarm.” – from the Graffiti cartoon

It’s amazing how many cartoonists also turn out to be pretty good philosophers. Most of them occasionally use the simplistic characters and story lines of their cartoons to explore some very weighty moral issues or to make moral points. There was great advice for life to be found in the fun that was drawn in Pogo, or Peanuts, or Calvin and Hobbs. The Graffiti cartoon uses only words (as they might be written or sprayed on a wall) and they are used sparingly; however, it often hits a moral issue or judgement dead-on. The brevity and cleverness of the little sayings of Graffiti often makes you stop and think. Sometimes you have to decipher and expand the little saying to understand its meaning, but there is always meaning.

whining childToday’s little saying makes the case that our faults often result in having second thoughts, remorse or regret later for something that we’ve said or did. The fault is obvious – not being enough in control of ourselves to stop the remark or action before it occurs. Does that happen to you? I know that I have a tendency to sometimes blurt out things, either in judgement of someone or something or in reaction to something or someone’s remarks to us. Yes, I hear the alarms and realize that they go off all too often.

Sometimes the “fault” might actually be found in not saying or doing something when the situation requires it. Lowering your eyes or turning your head to avoid eye contact in situations when the right thing to do is to push back or challenge or rebut are also faults that also leads to a guilty conscious. Not standingtimid up and helping the kid that is being bullied is just about as bad as being the bully himself. Not pushing back and sticking up for yourself when being bullied is also wrong. Letting the boss or the co-worker continue to get away with inappropriate behavior that makes you feel bad or insecure or even frightened, is not “going along to get along”; it is just another wrong and only adds to the problem. You may say, “It’s not my fault; however the fault of not doing something about those things that you know are wrong is yours and yours alone.  Is that a nagging little alarm going off in the back of your mind?

The point of all this isn’t to send you into a weekend with a guilty conscious; but maybe to suggest that you listen to those little alarms that go off in your head, often in “real-time”, as the incident is occurring. Rather than reflect alarmlater on the faults that may have allowed you to act or react badly. Listen to the alarms as they start going off in your mind and pause to think before you act or react, before you blurt out a response or hit the send key on that flamming email. If the alarms going off are telling you that you’ll regret this action later, don’t do it.

That’s a tall order for anyone and requires a self-control that few have naturally. It starts by realizing and admitting to yourself that you have that tendency, to go off half-cocked or with only half of the story or that you sometimes act too hastily and get yourself into trouble or make the situation worse that it was. Think back on situations or incidents where you didn’t exercise that control and ask yourself why you did or said what you said and why you regretted it. Perhaps that will serve as motivation to develop a new personal habit to stop and think before you react – whether it’s stop and count to ten or to bite your tongue. Both of those pieces of “folk advice” are essentially artificial and mechanical ways to just get you to stop and think before you act.

If you can get yourself into the habit of stopping and asking yourself a few quick questions, such as – Do I understand what just happened and why? Why do I feel a need act or react? Do I have enough information to make a wise decision about what to do or say?   Is what I’m about to do or say likely to resolve the issue at hand, calm the issue at hand or make the issue at hand worse?  While that seems like a lot to think about whenthinking woman you read it here it really takes only a few seconds of thought time and could save many hours of remorse later. Snap judgements and the actions that we take based upon them are wrong all too often. Stop and think. You’ll make fewer mistakes and have less to regret later. It will also be much less noisy in your mind, with fewer alarms going off.

Have a great weekend. Practice your new habit of stopping and thinking before you act and that will help you when you  get back to the more hectic work world.

Turn the page, or…

October 14, 2015

There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.”  (Goodwill Librarian) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write about reading.

I’ll take a different slant on this little saying. I get involved with a lot of divorces, through my work in real estate. It divorceseems to me that those are cases where it was time to close the book. Many couples start out oblivious to each other’s faults or foibles, perhaps due to the hast with which they rushed into the marriage or perhaps they were blinded by the initial satisfaction of the physical attraction and activities. Some go into the union with the thought in mind that they will somehow change the bad behavior of their partner, correct their bad habits and live happily ever after – the stuff of fairy tales. Turn the page.

Now, I also believe that all relationships require that we have the ability to “turn the page”; to forgive and forget and move on with life. No one is without faults. I don’t espouse putting up with spousal abuse; but putting up with many other little things that we may not like or prefer from a partner is part of the contract and represent pages that need to be turned. There’s also no Cliff’s Notes for life, so things between partners must be worked out, even if it is hard or takes time. Turn the page.

The choice to close the book on a relationship is one that should not be made lightly. It is not and “Oh, well” moment. It is also not a moment that was arrived at solely due to the actions of the other party (unless, again it involves things like spousal abuse). It is a time for some reflection upon the roles played by both parties; not for reasons of self-recrimination, but rather as a learning experience and as a last-chance opportunity to see a woman readiing bookdifferent outcome through making different personal choices. It’s that last minute opportunity to explore the “coulda, woulda, shoulda’s” of your relationship before you close the book. It’s the last chance to Turn the page.

If the time comes to close the book, it is important emotionally that you do not quickly insert a book marker as you close it. If you did all that you could do, then close that book, that chapter of your life and reach for a new book. Don’t look back and wonder what the next chapter in that old book might have held for you. You already know the answer. The plot was very clear and the characters well known. The only thing that might have changed in the next chapter of that old book is how long and under what circumstances the pain or disappointment or suffering or arguing might have occurred. Close that book and move on with life.

Pick up the new book that will be the rest of your life and with a sense of excitement and anticipation of better things. Welcome to the Women reading book 2adventures of the new you  –

Turn the page.

Chapter 1 – “It was a great day, today.”

Get real…get a pro

October 13, 2015

The rapid acceptance and use of smart phones has had dramatic impact on our society, not the least of which has been felt in the areas of photos and videos. The availability of the tools with which anyone can take a high quality picture or shot a video has turns a few worlds upside down – the snapshot photography business and the nightly news to name two that have been most dramatically impacted.

Let’s be honest, the advent of the phone-based camera was the final nail in the coffin of such companies as Kodak, who were focused upon providing film for amateur photographers. Sure, they provided film for commercial applications such as medical imagining, but the sweet spot for them was the amateur home photographer. Everybody switched to digital very rapidly, including their commercial customers. Even the professional photographers switched, because they could see early on the advantages of the digital world.

What was sometimes lost or overlooked in the rapid transition from one media to another was the fact that the value add of the professional photographer was not (and is not) to be found in the technology of his equipment; but rather in the photographers “‘eye “, experience and skills. There is a technique in setting up the perfect photograph that does not come from running around with your smartphone and snapping shots of everything that you see.

memorable moments headerTo paraphrase an old saying – “In the land of selfies, the man with a photographer is king.”

No matter how many pixels your cell phone camera has, the pictures that you take with it will never come close to the results that you get by using a professional photographer. Sure, they use digital cameras these days, too; but did you ever see what goes with that high quality camera on a professional photo shoot? You would probably see backdrops or special lights and reflecting sheets or umbrellas and you might recognize the special, high-quality lenses and filters on the camera.

But, what you can’t “see” are the the years and years of experience at work, making sure that the lighting is just right, that your head is at just the right angle and all the other skills that go into composing a picture.

What you won’t see in the pictures that professional photographers produce is just as important – bags under your eyes, smile lines or acne blemishes or even distracting background objects or people. It’s called touching up and all pictures need some amount of it. What differentiates the pros from the amateurs is that fact that they actually know how to use the important touch-up tools like Photoshop and others to get great results – after all, it’s their job.

Professional photographer Bill Abram brings over 30 years of experience and know how to every session. Even better is the fact that he brings the sessions to you. There’s no need to visit a studio somewhere. Bill will come to your home or business or meet you on location. Bill’s expertise extends across several specialty areas such as business and family photographs, wedding photographs and albums, product pictures, real estate pictures and professional head shots for models and business people. Bill also does sports shots, either individual athletes or team photos. Bill also specializes in glamour or boudoir shoots, which produce results that will thrill you and your partner. You can see examples of Bill’s work at

So get serious about your pictures of family or your senior picture and get real about your product photos. If you just want another silly picture to post on Facebook go ahead and do a selfie of yourself; but, if it is important that the pictures look really good or professional, and not just goofy, put away the Selfie Stick and call a professional.

Call Bill Abram today at 877-640-8150 and set up an appointment for him to come out and talk to you about your picture needs. When the impression that you want to make with your pictures is serious, get a serious professional. There will be time enough later for more silly selfies.

Reading between the wrinkles…

October 10, 2015

“Your wrinkles either show you’re unpleasant and cranky, or that you’re always smiling.”  (Carlos Santana)

I’ve written here before about smiling, even if you have to force that first smile. Most of us do not have a smile on our faces when we have our “at rest” face on. That’s the face that the world sees when we are totally oblivious to how we look – the face that is just there when we aren’t trying to put any particular expression on it. Both frowning and smiling tend to wrinkle our faces a bit, especially around the eyes and mouth, and sometimes the forehead.

I guess over time those wrinkles settle in and become a part of our natural look. I, for one, would certainly rathersmiling older fce be known for always having a smile on my face; rather than being thought of as unpleasant and cranky. If I’m going to get wrinkles that may as well be happy wrinkles.

So before you go out into the world today, take a little time to think of something that makes you smile, maybe a happy time or event in your life or someone that you love and love to be with. Not only will that get a smile on your face, but it will put in you in a great frame of mind; because –

“If you smile when you are alone, then you really mean it.”  –  Andy Rooney

Just be there…

October 9, 2015

“Sometimes we need someone to be there.  Not to fix anything or do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported.”  (From a picture of Charlie and Snoopy) That little saying was forwarded to me by Pastor Jack Freed from Jack’s Winning Words. Jack is a big fan of the Peanuts cartoons, assnoopy and bird am I.

For me, today’s little saying conjures up memories of snuggling on the couch in from of a fire on a cold winter night. No words are needed and there is nothing wrong or needing fixing; however, just being there together makes us both feel that all is right with the world. There are just times when having your life mate at your side or in your arms provides a very warm feeling of completeness and contentment. I think that is what Charles Schultz was thinking about when he wrote that little saying in the Peanuts cartoon.

What memories do you have of those kinds of moments? For some it might involve memories of being cradled in our mother’s arms. For others it might be time spent with a nest friend or a loved one. Whatever the moment, cherish those feelings and save them to bring up again and again as needed, when things aren’t going as we would like.

caregiver handsSometimes we play the role of the person who is there to provide the feeling of comfort and safety. Cherish that also. It is one of the most important roles that you will have in life. Caring and supporting others, especially in moments of need is a privilege and an honor, which we should take seriously. There is vulnerability and trust on the part of the person that you are supporting that must be protected and honored. They have let you into their emotional inner-circle, which is a place that few probably get to see. Be kind. Be gentle. Be respectful. Be the person that they believe you to be and play your role, even if it is just sitting there in silence and holding them. Don’t try to fix everything , just be there for them.

Have a great and caring day.

Make the right choice today… smile

October 8, 2015

“You’ve got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.”  – Steven D. Woodhull

Sometimes it’s hard to put a smile on your face right away in the morning, before you’ve even had your cup of coffee; but maybe you should keep these thoughts in mind – you woke up again and it’s a new day – both are better than the dumb blob guyalternatives, so smile. You’ll be surprised what a great, positive impact seeing a smiling face can have on people; even if it’s just you looking back at yourself in the mirror. Perhaps seeing yourself smile will conjure up all of the reasons and things that you have to smile about. That just reinforces the positive attitude that your smile belies.

Sometimes you may wake up a bit down, perhaps from some left-over problem from yesterday. A smile will still help and you should consider the words of Paul Ian Guillermo – “If you feel happy, smile with all your heart. if you’re down, smile with all your might.” Putting on a smiling face when you’re hurting or sad or frightened or angry is hard; but it is probably in those moments that forcing yourself to smile might help you the most. One positive impact is that people will be more likely to welcome you and converse with your if you are smiling. Many people try to avoid someone who is frowning out of anger or “down in the mouth” due to sadness.

A secondary effect of smiling is that it is not a natural things for most people, so it takes a bit of focus and work. That smiling dogeffort can take your mind a bit off whatever might have been troubling you or it can turn you ambivalence into a positive attitude.  Manoj Arora offers this little tidbit – “Be like a duck, paddling and working very hard under the water, but what everyone sees is a smiling and calm face.”

So, what choice will you make today and tomorrow? Start your days off right by choosing to get up with a smile. Don’t worry as much about “What’s in your wallet” as about what’s on your face. Let that be a smile.