9 days into #theselfieproject

Today was day nine of the selfie project I decided to do on Instagram. Yesterday, day eight, was the hardest one yet.

When I started this, I wanted it to reflect my day in some way — either something I did that day or how I was feeling. Most of all, I want it to be authentic — and real. Not just a bunch of dolled-up photos for the sake of putting my prettiest face up there.

Yesterday was hard. When I finally remembered to take my photo, I had just gotten out of bed after trying to get rid of a migraine. I had no make up on, my hair was flat and I looked and still felt pretty much like hell. The portrait of a migraine. I took the photo and hated it. Was I really going to put this on for everyone to see?

Yes I was. And yes I did.

If you had seen me in person yesterday THAT is what I looked like. I didn’t have on my make-up or even a smile. Migraines suck!

Life isn’t always pretty. Selfies aren’t even always pretty. Days aren’t always pretty.

I’m going to to to commit to 30 days of this and see where it goes. Most people do 365 — we will see how long I last.

Magical snow

wpid-20150217_162601.jpgSo it snowed today. Beautiful fat, fluffy flakes. The snow came down quick and fast, coating the ground in a matter of minutes.

I was at an interview for work — I walked over since the interview was only a block away. When I came out, it was nearly a blizzard out. It was breathtaking. I trekked back to work, and was quickly cwpid-img_20150217_154033.jpgovered by snow. It was glorious.

There is something magical about snow. Even though, as a journalist, it usually means a lot of extra work, I can’t help but feel excited and energized when those flakes fall from the sky and cling to every tree, blade of grass and the ground. I find it incredible how the earth can go from one color to a brilliant white in a matter of a few minutes.

Here’s to a snowy Tuesday evening. Here’s to the wonders of this world.

More precious than the lottery

I admit it. When the Powerball lottery soared to an astronomical amount last week, I stood in line and purchased two tickets. I had big hopes and big dreams for that money.

Yes, I know that my odds of getting struck by lightening — twice — while twirling a flaming baton and chewing bubble gum, all while standing on my desk at work being cheered on by coworkers are better than winning the lottery. But hey, doesn’t someone have to win it? And three people did just that — won it.

But, it wasn’t me. I didn’t even win $1.

What was I going to do with the money? Lots of things. Lots of good things — not only for my family but for the community. But again, I didn’t win.

With all that said, life has a way of reminding me of what’s truly precious and I’ll tell you this — it’s not money. This week I received some wonderful, exciting news that isn’t shareable yet, but it reminded me of what’s truly important in this life — again, it’s not money. While money is nice, it should never be the most precious thing in this life. After all, you can’t take it with you when you die. Sure, it can be passed on, but if money is the real priority in life, have you really lived?

Sometimes you have to go back to the basics and remember what’s truly important. Here is my list I came up with:

^I have my health, my humor, my determination;

^I have incredible family and friends who I love with my entire heart and soul;

^I have my basic needs met including food on my table, safe water to drink, a warm, safe place to sleep;

^I have a job that provides me with creative freedom and I work with some pretty rocking co-workers to go along with it;

^I have the freedom of expression;

The things above are more precious than money. Some things above can be bought, but many can’t. I can’t buy family and friends — or at least people who truly know and love me.

A fact I read on Sunday really made me think: almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80 percent of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening, according to globalissues.org.

Reading that fact humbled me, and, I’ll admit, made me a bit ashamed I spent $4 on a lottery when many people in the world live on less than $2.50 a day. Think of what we all could do if we handed that same $4 to someone who truly needed it.

While I didn’t win the lottery, I’d call myself extremely rich in the blessings I have in this life. This moment right here is why I continue my daily thankfuls each day on Facebook. I’m up to day 468. Each day is a chance to stop and count a blessing. I hope you’ll join me in taking a second to look at your life and count the blessings you have. There’s always something to be thankful for.

—Brandy Nance is the online and news editor for The Emporia Gazette. Her blog, The Wandering Pigeon, can be found online at thewanderingpigeon.com. Brandy can be reached at brandy@emporia.com.

Power outage anyone?

wpid-img_20150215_234234.jpgIt’s exactly 12:10 a.m. Monday morning.

Normally, I’d be warm, cozy and sleeping well.

Enter power outage. Enter a journalist’s work.

Car hits power pole. Pole splits. Equals no power.

Equals a really annoying electronic device that is buzzing by it’s battery life.

Sleep anyone? I won’t be needing any tonight!

The selfie project

So, I’ve decided to do a selfie project on Instagram. Yes, I know, I know. I’m almost 40 years old. Too old for that. It’s self-centered. Blah blah. But I’m going to do it anyway and I assure you, it’s not all about being vain.

I have been following a couple of people on Instagram recently who have done selfie projects — and the results are incredible. People’s appearance changes from day to day — from mood to mood.

I looked back through my own Instagram account — and was stunned. Just a few years ago I weighed over 70 pounds more than I do now. The difference in my appearance is incredible.

For me, this project is all about transformation — not only from day to day but over time. This project will be a diary of sorts. How I’m feeling, what’s going on that day and the like.

And since I’m growing my hair out (in a pre-40 defiance), it’s a good time to do a selfie project.

My plan: one selfie a day — more if I prefer, but I don’t want to clutter Instagram. And I’m keeping it strictly to Instagram. If you should be curious, I’m autumnpath. Give me a follow and I’ll follow you back.

‘Gravy mode’

Give me a minute: I have a confession to make.

I live for “gravy mode.” What is “gravy mode” do you ask?

Let me explain.

A few weeks ago I finSONY DSCally got a Fitbit, after a lot of encouragement from my friend, Susan, and my coworker, Jessie. Finally, I made the investment. And they were right — it’s a ton of fun. My favorite part about having a Fitbit is the daily showdown challenge and the workweek hustle. Though, come on Fitbit, how am I ever supposed to get ahead of my friends when you tell them i’m coming to get them? It’s pretty funny and a great encouragement to get out of your chair to keep up with your friend.

But, back to gravy.

I set my step goal at 10,000. I had already been doing 10,000 a day, only I had to carry my phone around EVERYWHERE to get those steps. The Fitbit has saved me from having to take my phone even across the room. I was once at work and I started to walk out to my car. It was a cold day — really cold. And I got halfway out of the newsroom and I walked back in to my desk. I told my coworker, Jessie, “I have to get my phone, I’m getting credit for these steps!”

Yes, it was time for a Fitbit.

Oh, but back to gravy. Remember, the pigeon likes to wander. I love pigeons.

Gravy mode: all steps after 10,000. When my watch buzzes and the light show flashes across my band — that’s when I’m officially in gravy mode. I’m addicted to gravy mode.

After all, who doesn’t like gravy?


A frozen landscape and a dose of perspective

We started the day today in the 30s — and by sundown it was all of 14 degrees. After nearly 24 hours of steady rain, the sudwpid-img_20150201_210615.jpgden cold weather was such a beautiful gift, transforming the world from a slick, wet reflection to a frozen, depth-filled landscape.

Today also provided me with a much-needed photo opportunity and much-needed perspective. For me, photographs are an expression of freedom. I am free, no matter what situation I’m in or what is going on in the world around me, to see the world how I choose to see it. I choose what lens to look through.

Photography is a way to relieve stress and a way to share with others the beauty I see through my lens of choice.

Today I woke up with this attitude: today is the day before Monday. Tomorrow I start the work week hustle. Again. Naturally, this brought some anxiety about all that needs to be accomplished tomorrow and the next five days.

By the end of the day, however, I chose to look through another lens — today, Sunday, is a gift. A frozen tundra-like world full of beauty and potential.

Frozen foam from a lake

Frozen foam from a lake

At any time, any of us, are free to look at the world however we please to perceive it. That perception can be negative or positive. Today is Sunday. The day before Monday and another busy week. OR: today is Sunday, what a gift I get to be on this Earth another day! Let’s go out and explore it!

Thank you, Mother Nature, for providing these amazing photo opportunities and reminding me to change my lens.