INCREDIBLY STRONG MOTHER, WIFE, BLOGGER, ARTIST, PHOTOGRAPHER, JEWELRY DESIGNER and FRIEND THAT LIVES OUT LOUD AND IN COLOR! KELLY WEAVES HER LOVE FOR LIFE AND HER CREATIVE GIFTS INTO COMPASSION THAT CHANGES LIVES IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY. XO
What is my idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness involves finding a way to be happy with what’s right in front of me and living life in the moment. I think so many of us get caught up in a “someday” way of thinking. For example, “someday, I’ll find the right man…”, “someday, I’ll find the right job…”, “someday, I’ll finally get around to writing that story…” When really, I think every day is someday. Every day has the opportunity to be that special day we’ve been waiting for. I wrote about this on my blog here: http://happyshackdesigns.blogspot.com/2008/11/someday-was-today.html
What is the quality you like most in another person?
What I admire most in others are two things really. First, I most love others who can laugh at themselves, those who don’t take themselves seriously. I work in higher education, so there are a lot of PhD’s in my midst. But it’s not the PhD I admire. It’s the person behind the PhD who doesn’t take herself too seriously that I admire. For example, a new campus president recently took up the helm on our campus. I knew I liked her from the beginning, but what sealed the deal was when she responded to a group email that included several other administrators and me with “Yikes!” and a smiley face. She’s warm and funny and completely down to earth. And she often wears cowboy boots with her suits.
Another thing I admire in others is the willingness to take a risk on something new. I’m pushing myself to do that this year with a project I’m calling “Friends and Strangers.” The “friends” part is easy. My plan is to get out of the office at least twice a month and have lunch with a friend. The willingness to take a risk on that part will come from my friends, as my lunch date plans include photographing my friends. The “strangers” part will be my risk. Most people see me as a very outgoing person, but when it comes to people I don’t know, I tend to be pretty shy. As part of this project, I’m reaching out to strangers I come across, getting to know them and asking them if I can photograph them. You can see what I’ve done with the project so far here: http://happyshackdesigns.blogspot.com/search/label/Friends%20and%20Strangers
Who are your heros?
My heros are Pit Bulls and those who try to save them. Yes, you read that right. Pit Bulls. I share my photography skills as a volunteer photographer for our city animal shelter, Animal Care and Protective Services. We are what many in any city refer to as “the pound.” I first started volunteering with the shelter because I love animals, and I knew I had a skill that our shelter needed. I’ll admit, when I first started volunteering there, I had that same trepidation about Pits as so many other people do: vicious dogs that will attack without any provocation. Boy, was I wrong, and I’m so glad I learned that lesson. It took no time at all for me to see that it’s not the dog that’s bad; it humans who treat those dogs horribly that are bad. I’ve seen so many dogs come through our doors that have been beaten and abused, used as fighting dogs, used a bait dogs, but a dog’s capacity to love can overcome all that terrible treatment.
I remember the first time I really changed someone’s mind about Pits. I was shooting portraits one Saturday morning, and as I brought a dog back inside to his kennel, a family was walking through the run looking at all the dogs. The man said, “Wow, seems like all you have are Pits and Pit mixes. They are such mean and dangerous dogs.” I stopped right there and asked him to give me an opportunity to prove him wrong. I asked him to show me the dog on that run that he thought was the most “vicious.” He looked at me a bit strangely, but he played along. When he selected one, I asked him to hold my camera while I worked with the dog. I stood in front of the dog’s kennel and greeted him as I always do, and then I slightly opened the kennel door and greeted him again, and then …. I got in the kennel with the dog … and I shut the door. Immediately the dog’s tail started wagging into overtime as he showered me with kisses. I won that family over that day. Certainly, there are Pits who’ve been abused who are unfortunately past the point of rehabilitation. But it’s important to remember that those dogs were not born that way. They were made that way by the terrible acts of the humans who own them.
So yes, my other heros are those who work with those shelter dogs. Animal rescue can be incredibly rewarding work. And animal rescue can be incredibly heartbreaking work. We all have to accept the fact that we can’t save them all, no matter how hard we try, no matter how attached we may become to them. But we come back, week after week, giving our hearts and our time for those animals. Take a look at these two stories: The Part About Broken Hearts and For The Love of Two Dogs.
Follow along with Kelly’s latest adventures in living life to the fullest by choosing happiness on her blog at : http://happyshackdesigns.blogspot.com
Connect via website: http://www.happyshackdesigns.com