As I work my way through Jessie's posts that I missed, my mind shouts wonderful things and then my eyes rested on this quote-another moving and life affirming quote from Eleonore Roosevelt that I will now carry with me thanks to Jessie.

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face." ~Eleanore Roosevelt

and then these quotes from her next post I caught up on.....

"Here's some James Aurthur Ray quotes that have resonated with me (not to mention, they'd make good fortune cookie or Yogi tea quotes):
"It's already created. You just have to align with it" (53).
"Be the success you seek" (68).
"To have more you must be more. If your intention is big enough, then you must grow to meet the size if that idea" (66).
"It was Einstein who so wisely stated that we can't find the solutions to our problems with the same level of thinking that created the problems"(82).
"Take yourself and your desires seriously and live your values" (72).And my favorite:
"Don't wish for an easier life. Wish to be at your finest" (63"
After my miscarriage this March it seemed that all the grief from losing my mother 5 yrs ago and all my numerous miscarriages since compounded into this big mound. I couldn't seem to look at it, or give it any acknowledgement. I didn't want to fall hard like the March before when we miscarried at 13 weeks.

So I did what is easiest for me. I started a new project: portrait photography with gusto. Full on attention and near obsession to keep my mind so busy it couldn't possibly settle on the grief in my heart.

Now this coping mechanism a major flaw: it is impossible to keep up nonstop 24/7. I needed something to fill the gap-something that was mundane and easy to do when my brain was exhausted. I stupidly and idiotically picked up smoking. Yes my mother died of lung cancer. Yes it seems the stupidest most idiotic thing. My silly rationale-which really is not rationale is that she stopped smoking 20 years before being diagnosed. That she got the type of lung cancer that is less linked to smoking. That because I smoked from age 14-26 the damage is already done. Wow writing it out-so silly. No sense at all.

Also smoking was a way to punish myself-or to affirm that I am a failure-it was a logical reason to pull away from my husband physically. Less hugs and kisses that may reveal my disgusting habit.

In retrospect I see that all I wanted to do was block myself off from receiving love-I felt unworthy. I felt terribly flawed for miscarrying a second time for a random reason, when there are so many established risks related to me already and that were the cause of all my other miscarriages.

There is something about being a failure at this fundamental biological womanly task that rocks my core, and taps into all my insecurities and feelings of unworthiness.

I often don't see the logic or can comfort myself with rational thoughts, but it doesn't take away the inside pain that rests beneath the surface.

Blogging love and support also was blocked out by my consuming task master grief brain. Every spare moment was spent on portriat photography.

So what happened to bring me to this post? To writing about this now?

I can't point to one thing. I think it was a combo of a few things:

~ self awareness that I can change my thoughts and how I perceive things. That my happiness is linked to gratitude and my thoughts.

~ because I have been open to and have nurtured connections with family and friends, I miss it when I block some of them out.

~ because I have started to see my own worthiness the past few years it feels less right when I go back to feeling unworthy. This often leaves me in a weird middle place but it is better than staying in unworthiness.

~ because I have seen others lift themselves out of this place I have strong and forever nagging :) reminders that I do not have to stay here.

~ because many of my loving nurturing friends are also parents to my sons friends I have been unable to completely block myself off, thereby leaving a perfect bridge back. Having a friend help me see that I was completely consumed with photography-and that she missed talking about other things.

~ Having a husband who found a cig butt-respond with frustration and love instead of condescention, reprimands and misunderstanding.

~ Having a friend share her own courageous moves to being more connected.

~ Seeing my sister in law on her steady path to better health

and truly the list could go on and on.

So this am I ventured back ....and started to open up my heart again to all the beautiful souls I have found in blogland.

I am on day three of being smoke free.

My husband said I may want to try journaling to get through the quitting urges-then I read a post from Jessie about (Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo).

So maybe journaling here and on paper is a good way to work through this. I know it is definitely going to be better to pick up a pen than a cigarette.

So I am curious if any of you have : a) been hypnotized to quit something b) used journaling to work through something after long resisting journaling c) have any tips on how you resisted picking up cigarettes again after quitting.


Falling Slowly

I can't describe the hope that I feel watching Barack Obama speak. I have never felt so inspired by a political figure. Somehow he has ignited in me a fire to try to make a difference and an excitement for politics. I have often felt frustrated with issues I read in the newspaper, and until recently felt a sense of powerlessness, that nothing I could do would really make a difference.

Almost every evening I watch evening news programs on cnn, msnbc or fox. I am interested in knowing about what both the left and right are saying.

His campaign is the first I have ever donated to, twice. And this is the first time I have wanted to volunteer for a candidate.

This morning I got an email from my sister in law that made me beam, clap and do a dance. Here is a bit of it (M I just had to post it it made me so giddy)

"The concert was incredible and fun - the band and music were terrific. But the highlight of the night was when, during the song "Falling Slowly" (the one that won the Oscar for Best Song), Glen Hansard screwed up a lyric and kind of laughed it off, walking around the stage for a moment to re-group. Then he apologized and said something like, "I lost my focus because I got to thinking about how this song is particularly meaningful this evening. We have a special guest in the audience tonight, and I'd like to dedicate this song to him, and ask all of you to sing along. Barack Obama is here with us tonight, and I hope he gets the chance to take this sinking boat and make a change."

The crowd went crazy. We couldn't see him, because he was up in the balcony and we were on the floor, under the overhang. We had noticed tons of security earlier in the concert hall and thought it was a little strange, given the nature of the crowd/concert.

So then they finished up the song, and everyone sang along to the lyrics:"

"Take this sinking boat and point it home

We've still got time.

Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice

You've made it now."

This is a post from Obama's site blog:

Raise your hopeful voice
By IA for Obama ☮ - Feb 26th, 2008 at 9:52 am EST
Also listed in: Irish and Irish Americans For Obama | Irish for Obama
Comments | Mail to a Friend | Report Objectionable Content

If you watched the Oscars you may remember a young woman, Markéta Irglová, who came back out after a commercial break to give her acceptance speech for her song, Falling Slowly. She spoke about how HOPE connects us all. The movie, "Once," holds a special place in my heart, as my uncle produced it, but it stands out for its singular beauty and inspiring message. It was made by people who didn't have much else besides HOPE and talent. Below is Markéta's speech, the lyrics for the song (written by Markéta's partner), and links to their video, their speeches, and their perfomance. I hope you enjoy it, and that it inspires you as well while you raise your hopeful voice.

Yes. We. Can.

Markéta: "Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this, it's just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along way. Thank you."

Glen Hansard - Falling Slowly Lyrics
I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along

video with clips from film


video of their Oscar perfomance


Oscar acceptance speeches



How to shrink yourself in ps and how to get screen shots in PS

So I have often seen people look super skinny in photos when in fact in real life they are slightly larger.

I always was curious about this trick-especially since I am still 10 pounds heavier than my old "oh geez-I better clean up my eating this minute i can't believe i weigh this much" weight.

Well folks after watching a few you tube videos and playing around, I think I may have figured it out.

Do you want to see?

Now this is also helpful when you get a bad angle of one person and you want to make them look like they really do in person. This is what I did with this prom pic.

Ok I just searched and searched online to find out how to get a screen shot. As usual, I found a few little tips but had to play around and explore ps to figure it out. Play folks. Always play around in PS. You will learn so much more this way. By the way-to get a screen shot in PS fill your work space in PS with the image you are working on. Then press the print screen button. Now go to File>New and just let it be the size it says. This will be the size of your work space. Now go to Edit>Paste and the screen shot will paste right into the new document. Then save for web. Viola!

Ok, once again I now see I did a few things in weird order but I don't have time to go do it over.:

Open the photo you want to work on. make sure you are in brush mode-with 100 percent opacity. With this one I used a soft brush which means when you click on the brush drop down menu-the hardness is all the way down. This blurs the outline. You may want to try this with hard and soft brushes. I had some weird lines left behind in this process that may have not been there if I used a harder brush.

Now go to the quick mask icon (circled here in red) and paint over the area you want to pull in or pull out:)

I have been including the surrounding area as well a bit. I think this lessens marks being left behind as long as you don't move the outer lines when selected. You will see. Ok now when you have the area painted- go back to the mask icon and click it again. You should now have marching ants around the outside of the image and the area you painted. Go to Select>inverse Now the ants should just be around the area you painted.
Now you need to duplicate the background layer. You could have done this in the beginning as well. just be sure that you are working on the background copy.

Ok now go up to edit>transform>warp

You should get this grid over the selected area.
Ok now you will use your mouse to pull parts in. pay attention to the boundaries carefully-that they match up with the unselected parts.

So for this photo I made sure to pick the cheek and neck to pull both in a teeny bit.
Then I made a selection of both arms including the outer waist on both sides up to the top of shoulders and including the right side of her neck. In that next one I had a remnant of her arm left behind on his suit so I went back when done. I clicked on the dropper tool-to click on his suit for the right color. Then I used a small strong briush to paint over the remnant.

What do you think?



I started a business blog with the intent of keeping this blog for more personal things and then posting about business there. The one conflict I am having is that my portrait clients will be visiting that blog and something felt weird about posting this there.

I found these awesome actions-absolutely perfect for portraits

Here is one sample of what they do. Mind you he didn't have bad skin but it gives you a great idea.I used mcp touch of light and dark to lighten around his eyes and to darken their clothes.

Then I used the healing brush for the few imperfections in his skin that were more obvious. Then I used mcp magic foundation and mcp eye dr. I also made other adjustments in between of my own.

oh and for eye glass glare I found these two tutorials. I still have a lot of practice to do on it but it may be an issue I need to master.


It is going to be 95 here today and our air conditioner is broken. I am never good in the heat. I get pretty crabby and quiet.

Is it hot where you are? How do you fare in this weather?



I have to go pick my son up from school, so I will be back to write more later.

Just wanted to let you know I finally got the tutorial on how to make resin photo jewelry and my supply list up for sale.

I am also going to hold a raffle this coming Wed for a free tutorial. To enter the raffle you just need to mention my tutorial in a post on your blog and include a photo of one of my pendants with the mention. leave me a note or send me an email with a link to the post to thea@theacoughlin.com and you will be entered in the raffle to be drawn at midnight Wed. June 11th.