Saturday, March 6, 2010

I'm a Little Flower Bud

I've been suffering from a surfeit of writer's block lately -- not knowing what to write about, or where to turn my camera. All the snow, and some major cabin fever, were both getting me down.

I've also been thinking about my upcoming empty nest, and trying to see a way forward for the years ahead. It sounds silly to ask: "What will I do with the rest of my life?"

But I guess that has been on my mind lately, too.

I used to be a fitness instructor, but had to give that up for health reasons. I have also worked as a copy editor but that was so long ago it seems like another life.

What will I do now?

(I almost feel like I'm a flower in bud, waiting to feel the sun. Gosh that sounds stupid, doesn't it?)

I'd like to do something with photography, but I'm not sure that there is much money in stock photography sales, and I don't see myself starting a portrait business. I'm just not comfortable with my level of expertise in that area yet. Maybe with a little more practice...

So I've been thinking about creating an internet photography course for decorating and gardening bloggers. I have learned so much about that sort of photography in my years of blogging, and I think I might have some experience to share.

I'm actually a little nervous writing about it -- does it sound totally ridiculous? Maybe I should just go down to the local supermarket and fill out an application...

So, anyway, that's where my conflicted brain is right now. Anybody have any good advice?


Sorry about missing Mosaic Monday last week, but you can see what a mental wreck I've been... :) Please join me for Mosaic Monday next week. (March 8th) Mr. Linky will be up by 8:30pm Sunday. Looking forward to seeing your work! :)


  1. It does seem daunting to have to reinvent yourself. I so understand. I think a photography course for bloggers would be wonderful. It is so hard to take picture that show what you're really looking at and get the picture to look right. There are the issues of lighting and all kinds of things that just really are hard to master. Sounds good to me. Hugs, Marty

  2. No, it's not silly at all, they are around for so long and then suddenly, they are not. An internet course sounds wonderful, you have much to offer. Though I spent eleven years in a supermarket.....a pretty high class organic supermarket it has to be said and had great fun, but had to leave last November when we moved here!

  3. I think a photography course would be great. You are so gifted and I, for one, would love to learn more about photography.


  4. Mary,
    I think you would be fantastic at teaching a course...and I bet lots of people sign up! Go for it!


  5. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got” so try new things and see what happens!

  6. Mary~~~

    I was going through the whole empty nest syndrome last yeat when my youngest was leaving for college. Surprisingly, all that worry prepared me and I was fine. Somehow though, I have a revolving door and they all come back and that makes me really happy. I also went through the same mind boggling thoughts on what I would do with all my time and I am still stumped. I just take it one day at a time. I don't expect anything to drop in my lap, but worrying turns me into a zombie. I wish you much luck. I think the photography course sounds fantastic. You have so much to offer.


  7. Mary your not being silly at all! I've been exactly where you are right now. My Princess started college this last fall and I had to reinvent myself as well. I had been so many things over the course of years that for a while I had no idea what I wanted to be or who I was anymore. It took me trying several different things before I ended up finding who the real me was again. Rest assured you will as well.

    The photography course sounds like a wonderful idea.

  8. A year ago I retired as church secretary, after working there for 48 years. You can imagine what a change that was for me. I still miss the job alot; the people especially. It was the church I am a member of but it is still not the same. I am 71 years old so I am limited as to what I can do. But I do a lot of volunteering and I enjoy it. Your photos are beautiful so maybe that is the route you should explore. Don't get discouraged - but we need a reason to get out of bed every morning. As to the kids being out of house - enjoy it - you probably were a Mom for many years and now it's YOUR time. (They'll be back!) take care

  9. Mary,
    Your photography is breathtaking. It is also obvious as the years have passed on this blog, you have continued to get better and better. I use a camera as part of my job at a newspaper, but I am a writer with a camera. Your photography makes me want to try new things. You are an engaging writer and combined with the photography skills you have developed over the past couple years, I think you will be an amazing teacher. I would love learning from you!
    And ... the empty nest is hard at first, but it gets better. It really does. (I made an entire quilt, start to finish, in the first two weeks my youngest was off to college.) One day, after they have been gone awhile, they will all come back to visit, and you will look at the stuff they've brought with them -- pack-and-plays, diaper bags, skis, laptops, etc. and assorted big dogs (like my living room looks right now!) and you will say to your husband, "When are these messy people going back to their own house?"

  10. As you can see by the other comments we are all in the same quandry. I felt as confused and at loose ends as you do right now for the past two years. All I can say is, it helps if you forget your age and do what you want to do. Forget what that negative voice tells you,(no money in photography) and follow your heart. There are photos everywhere you look, visuals are needed in almost every business, advertisement, brochure, you name it. Why not do what you love!? Pretend you are the same age as your kids, what wild, fun thing would you like to do? Chances are, your life is more stable and secure at this age, and you really have less to risk than if you were just starting out like they are.
    Now it's time for you. You'll still be there for your kids, but they need you so much less. A friend of mine just asked me "Now my kids are all gone, what am I going to do?" My reply, "Get a life of your own." It's what I am doing, and it feels great!

  11. Not silly at all...I have been there and know what you are going through.
    Your photography is great and you have much to offer...sign me up :)
    Best of luck to you in whatever you decide to do...secretly I am hoping online photography class...sign me up...did I say that before ;)

  12. Mary....You don't sound stupid or ridiculous at ALL. You are immensely talented. Forget the supermarket. Do the online photography course. Keep costs low so a LOT of people can sign up! Also, offer to do a photography for beginners course somewhere in your community, like at a community college or at the Girls Club. USE YOUR TALENT. Last but not least, put a bunch of your drop dead gorgeous photos together and try to get a book published! At least try!!!!!! Do what your heart tells you. And guess what? I'm in the same boat as you....trying to decide what I want to do when I "grow up." One of my passions is writing, so, I started my blog in October! I'm writing and so happy even though it doesn't make me one cent. Maybe that will come soon. We must follow the calling in our hearts, Mary. Sincerely, Susan from

  13. I would take that class! I love visiting your blog. Your photos are always so hopeful and peaceful. Glad you're back. :)

  14. Mary, IF you go NEAR that Super Market...YOU are in BIG trouble!! :)
    No, it doesn't sound silly and all the things you are going through a lot of us have already been through. Me for example.
    Maybe I'm different but after raising seven lovely children..and they really were wonderful, life with them all out of the house was just great. There is a new and wonderful life ahead of you.
    I don't think your idea is silly at all. You know full well how I feel about your photography AND your ability. We have all told you so many times. Seems we are the only ones that have total faith in your ability to do anything you want to do and do it well. Now we just have to convince you. Your time is going to be yours now..Wow. I remember when I realized I was free. Of course you will always be "Mom" and needed at times. That's just the way it is..but for the most part..your time is going to be more and more your own. It's fantastic!! At first it was a rather empty and frightening feeling..but it leaves quickly. VERY quickly!
    I smiled when I read what you wrote.
    Love and hugs,
    Just read those comments, Mary! All of us Mom's go through it. :)

  15. Like you, I had much trepidation when facing an empty nest. Fortunately, through some networking I was able to find a job in an area that interests me, and am now out of the house 60 hours/week. This is a challenge, and frankly, my mind needed this!

    Many women find this is a time of life that is very fulfilling, where we can do what we WANT to do for ourselves, having raised our family. Nothing gave me as much satisfaction as being home when the children were growing up (worked part-time). Now that they are launched, with two out of college and working, and a third almost out of college, I am not "needed" as much by them.

    I am not much of a blog follower but do always check out yours. You have so much talent, both as a photographer and as a writer. You have a keen wit and amazing skills with a camera. Maybe start by giving a course at your local adult ed program, and see where that goes.

    Go for it Mary!

  16. Yes, I am thinking you could teach me a lot about photography. I think we all evolve and create a niche for ourselves. Do what your heart tells you to.

  17. Teaching photography would be a great niche for you. With so many places to add your own photos now on the web, I think alot of people would be interested...I for one would be! I love taking pics, but sometimes they don't turn out, then sometimes they are gorgeous! What I did different who knows. There is always room for improvement. But most of all follow your heart.
    We'll be here to cheer you on!!

  18. Mary, Your blog is one of the first I started to follow. I only discovered the Blogging world a few months ago and I was in love! I got up the courage to start my own humble blog a couple of weeks ago and I love it but I can see where a course such as you suggested would be a wonderful idea for people like me. It's obvious from your blog that you LOVE taking pictures...if that is true then I think you would do very well...your passion would show through and we would learn so much. I wish you the very best...what ever your choice of careers is. Best Wishes....Maura

  19. A flower often has several blooms, so maybe it is time to blossom as a photography instructor! I am just amazed at your eye for light & composition. Many of us could benefit from your knowledge..look how you taught us to make mosaics!

  20. Sounds like you are going through what many of us do. But you have many talents and great creativity so I could see all kinds of things opening up for will fall together in time I'm sure. Really am enjoying your daily photos.

  21. Hi Mary! Your photography is so inspiring to me, being an avid garden photographer myself. I would love for you to share tips and tricks for better photography. Ah the empty nest, it is your time to bloom and do the things you've always wanted to do but didn't have time while raising a family. I can't wait to see what you decide.

    PS: Did you design your own blog? I'd love to have a makeover on mine but it so overwhelming to know where to even start.

  22. As I began reading your post and your "crossroads" of what to do, it was so obvious to me that photography would be your answer, and I think the internet photography course is perfect for you, and I see everyone agrees! You go, girl!

  23. Mary, I so understand where you are coming from! It seems in life we are constantly evolving and reinventing ourselves- if we are growing anyway! Your photography is lovely- I know you have much knowledge we would love to learn! I say "go for it"- what do you have to lose? We learn from everything we try!

  24. Oh I do hope that you explore the photography for that seems to be your passion... The grocery store? Not so much. The thrift store? Now maybe. One thing I'd also like to encourage you with...the next phase of your life is going to be very good. VERY GOOD. It's wonderful when the children are well on their own. Trust me. ;>

  25. Mary, I'm also a 50-something woman who often goes through these types of "dialogues" with myself. I think you're on to something with your thought of doing an online course. On your advice I'm signed up to take Amanda's course. I aspire to have a blog that's as beautiful as yours and know I could learn a lot from you also.

    Thanks for being "real" with us ... life is confusing sometimes but aren't we blessed to have so many options?! P.S. I love your music too!

  26. Go for it! You are a fantastic photographer. About not knowing how to fill the empty nest thing. Don't worry about it. Life adds new adventures every day in so many ways. Believe me I know. LOL

  27. Hey I'm writing for the first time on your blog but you must know that I love doing what I so if you enjoyed teaching fitness maybe you could try to take a course of tai-chi instructor(which is not as tiring as fitness) and try to live healthy and among new wonderful people?:)
    hope to hear from you sometime, take care and don't give up your dreams!

  28. Oh Mary this post touches me on many levels..from the empty nest, to wondering what to do now that life returning us back to the beginning where we started off, accept we are a bit older now!

  29. You will find your way. I think the idea of online instruction is an interesting one. There is certainly much you could teach a novice photographer like me.

  30. I feel your pain Mary. I have been suffering from writers block, career indecision and a dismal winter. As much as I feel conflicted about continuing my current gig ( which I do not even make $$) , I would miss the good parts, ie: looking aka snooping at houses. The empty nest part is actually wonderful, at least for us. Getting married with 4 kids had some tense moments, but now we are out the other side and are enjoying our time together and finally getting the house fixed up.

    I think your idea about a course might be great as long as it is really simple for us technophobes!

  31. I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on photography. I am totally an amateur but strive to do better. Valerie

  32. Mary my first time here and what a delightful blog! I am so pleased that I happened upon your
    creativity! I may just join in on your Mosiac Monday! Yes the snow, and some major cabin fever, can get most of us down during this time of winter's thaw...I'm sure you'll figure out a New beginning for yourself..perhaps what you need as we all do is the feeling of SUNshine on our backs as we dig deep and become inspired in our gardens!Wishing you peace and much inspiration!

  33. that sounds like a great idea!

    when corrie ten boom was fretting about something,
    her father told her not to worry about the things
    that had not occurred yet. he said that you give the
    ticket to the conductor as you get on the train.

    empty-nesting is not something you can imagine,
    you can plan for your future (photography, for
    example), but you can not imagine what it will
    be like for the children to be gone.

    you will have grace for that when it occurs,
    when you need it, and many wise women
    here who have walked through that to the
    joy on the other side.


  34. Loved your post, I'm in a similar boat, and this is what I'm discovering: this is it, one go-round, we can't turn back from the path to an authentic livelihood that springs organically from our talents and makes us want to hop out of bed in the morning. To that end, I've been working with a life coach. She's helping me to get reacquainted with myself, find clarity and take action, all with a dose of therapy and lots of practical tools to keep the journey moving. Action is the key. The Internet class sounds like a great idea, and you certainly have a wonderful gift for photography, but even if your initial idea isn't the "it" your looking for, it doesn't matter, it's the moving forward that ultimately gets you there. Enjoy every step, it's all a matter of perspective. Thanks for your wonderful blog.

  35. Mary,
    After reading your blog, I remembered a scene from the movie "You've Got Mail" where Meg Ryan's character just announced that she was closing her book store. Her friend said an amazing thing: "Closing the store is the right thing to do. You are able to imagine yourself doing something else with your life." I encourage you to follow your dreams!

  36. Mary, When my daughters left the nest I had to find out what my passions were. I found 2 passions, gardening and quilting hence my blog name Empty Nest Gardens and Quilts. I have also taken rowing classes and did volunteer work. Now none of this will pay the bills but it sure helped to occupy my mind. The skys the limit...go for it girl!!

  37. Don't you dare go to the supermarket and fill out an application, Mary. I think it's a grand idea for you to host an online course.
    I can totally relate to your feelings about having an empty nest. But really, it just turns into a new kind of normal is all.
    Do what your heart tells you. Do something you love.

  38. I would certainly sign up for any photography course you offered!

    I'm also in a similar spot as you...empty nest and presently not employed but babysitting grandchildren often...and still trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up:)

  39. Mary, as one door closes, another one always opens. I retired from the part-time job I worked at for 32 years that helped pay the mortgage, put daughters through university and cover two weddings. I finally quite from burn-out.
    I love gardening and starting writing articles for free for a couple of years which evolved into a paying job (not much but lunch money with the girls every so often) and I enjoy my new occupation as a free lance writer immensely.
    If money isn't an issue, think about what you like to do most and how you can share your expertise and knowledge and it becomes a gratifying way to spend time. (you've already indicated a possible choice)
    Wishing you luck in the path you choose next.

  40. It's always daunting but exciting too when it's time to reinvent oneself. Take your time and you will find what it is that you are supposed to do next. Listen to your heart.
    But just in case you do decide to start the photography course, I'm in!

  41. Sound like a great idea. I say go for it:)

  42. Hey Mary:

    Told you people would be interested! Something wonderful will unfold here! :0)Tara xo

  43. Mary I worked til I was 70 albeit just one day for 2 years, but when my job (Intake RN) was taken into the city. I just had to give it up. I was lost. Part of my identity was gone. My self-worth was tied up into being an RN, professional. I just gave it time and got hooked on blogging. At first I kept looking for ways to bring in income, not that I particularly needed it but as I said, self-worth. Now 2 years into that forced retirement, I just do what I want. No deadlines. I love to paint and could probably sell some paintings, but don't think I want to even fool with it. There would be deadlines etc, things I am glad to be rid of. Just give yourself time. Blessings

  44. Such beautiful blog! Thank you! Much love and light in your life!

  45. Dear Mary
    Our kids have all been gone for 8 years and I still have not found my niche! I think you'll find some fulfillment in doing something with your photography talent.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  46. I think an online photography course would be a good thing.... I could be interested it if included styling and setting up for a photo.

  47. Like all of us who have found our nest empty you will find your life blossoming in new ways that you can not even imagine in what is, embrace new things as they pop into your mind It's so exciting to see what our days will hold, they have been consumed by children for so long...sometimes we just don't fully know until the day is over how it got filled with joyous things. You encourage celebrating life through your Mosaic Monday meme...what a wonderful gift that is for all of us. It is hard to imagine the nest empty but I LOVE being back to just my hubby and I...sweet, sweet, sweet.

  48. When my mother died, I was at a loss where to go, what to do. My son gave me a bracelet with a charm on it. A little tag says "follow your dreams" and the charm is a little box that has a compass in it. It gave me comfort and it shows me my true north consistently. You'll find your true north.

  49. I would be very interested in an online photography course. What a fabulous idea!

  50. I faced an empty nest three years ago. Then our grandsons came to live with us about 7 months ago, and they just went home last week. Now I'm looking at that empty nest again! But I have an etsy business, a house to decorate (we just moved here 5 months ago), and a garden to grow, so there's lots to do.

    You obviously have a talent with photography, so I say go for it!


  51. Hi Mary -- When my younger daughter Anne toddled off to college in 2005, I felt cheated --- when the girls were tiny, why didn't anyone point out to me that the custodial part of mothering (which I really enjoyed) was a temporary gig?

    I remember thinking, "Now I have to figure out what I want to do when I grow up."

    All my professional experience was so OLD and my chosen profession had passed me by -- that was not an option. But then, along came caring for my parents; I would have had a hard time working.

    So -- I am still looking for my answers! I think your photography course sounds good. You do take the most amazing shots, and nearly all of us are clearly clueless!

    If you find the magic answer let me know. I do take comfort (some) in knowing that other 50-somethings are feeling the same way. AND talking about it! I think that's really important.

    Meanwhile, when the kids DO come home, I love to see them, but golly -- they take up so much ROOM!

  52. Feeling like a flower in bud waiting to feel the sun does NOT sound stupid!

    You take such beautiful photos - ones that capture an essence as well as an object. I feel like I'm right there enjoying the beauty myself.

    I know that bloggers could learn a lot from your experience and I think sharing what you've learned would benefit them and might do you a bit of good as well.

  53. Mary,

    If you start the class - sign me up. Empty nest is ok. Life goes on. You will be fine.


  54. Great idea! You have a talent with the camera and sharing that with others would be wonderful. I believe it would also give you a sense of helping and feeling needed, which empty nesters definitely struggle with.

  55. I could have written this post a few years ago myself. We've all been there. Believe me. I wish you would teach the internet course. I'd sign up for it in a heart beat. You a talented photographer Mary. Best I've seen in a while. You have it! The skills, the eye! Eyes go dry every now and then. We wouldn't be human if they didn't. Sometimes a good cry wets them literally and figuratively. You're wrestling with a lot ~ no worries though ~ you will prevail. I have faith in you and your talent.
    Paula Grace ~

  56. I love your blog and would seriously take an online course with you! Go for it!!

  57. I totally see you creating an online course. You are talented beyond belief! Can't wait to see what unfolds for you!

  58. You've received lots of wonderful thoughts.
    ..Follow your heart and you'll find what you're looking for.♥

  59. Your photos are so beautiful, your blog shows you're so talented, I would love to learn from you.
    Take care,

  60. Mary I think you would be a great portrait photographer. However, I love your still life photography. You should put a porfolio together and for home photography or food photography. I think you would be killer!

  61. Dear Mary,
    I hear you loud and clear. I have been stumbling along myself with what shall I do next. I attended a class at a seminary nearby, and the Pastor said "Your passion is the thing that you just can't stop doing." I loved that, he also said that our passions evolve and change.

    Isn't it wonderful though, that we have this wonderful place in The Land of Blog, where others are going through similar chapters?


  62. You are singing my song, my friend...and I think you should definitely do a class. Hugs, Lauren

  63. mary . i will have an "empty nest" as well . it is an emotional time as it unfolds here .

  64. In my very late forties, I left my job with no plans and no ideas;just got tired of the commute, hectic pace of the job. I spent about six months, wondering if I totally lost my mind. Then one Sunday in February, I found a post in the "want ads" for a gardener. To make a long story short, I took the job, pay was pretty low, the work was hard. OH, but the reward was tremendous.I worked for the landscape company for 17 years and would still be there, if we hadn't moved. I loved the work and never would have thought about this type of work if it wasn't in front of me.I guess my point is, just when you least expect it, something will rise to meet you eye to eye and you will know that it's right. As far as the empty nest, it's another chapter and trust me you will love it. Thanks for sharing part of your life. Hugs.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love to hear what you have to say!