Linda JeffersIn a world of so many great photographers and writers, I am venturing into some unknown territories, leaving comfort zones, finally very willing to practice the art of seeing. By maintaining the practice of posting daily photos, I hope to continue learning about the possibilities that I trust are out there for the taking.

Come join me on my journey!

Slowing down to enjoy my gifted life.

I started this blog entry last Thursday, but forgot to finish it. (A friend emailed me asking if I was OK, as I hadn’t written a blog in the last 5 days.) My confession……………I joined FACEBOOK and have been so addicted to it; I neglected my blog (which doesn’t make me, or probably you, happy.)


Since having recently canceled my month long July backpack, I know I made the right decision. Backpacking isn’t doing it for me. Not to mention that backpacking is getter harder and harder for me every year. I have also resented not having enough free time for photography (and now golf that I am playing again.). Now I have the time. I am excited again.

Fortunately I have been gifted with this freedom that I am enough….meaning, I am not defined by the oohs and aws anymore that I’d get when I mentioned that I long distance backpacked. I don’t have to prove my worth to anyone anymore. All I want to do is do what “I” want to do…And, finally I’m learning what I like, what brings me joy, what is fun. Cupcake once wrote in his CDT backpacking trail journal, “Where is the fun in the day?” I really want to slow down to find and enjoy the fun in my days. Only I stop me. I’ve always been graced with a life I could live anyway I wanted. I think I’m finally ready to retire, just like my husband did 3.5 years ago. Yeah, I too deserve to retire from my own self imposed, quilt driven, work ethic (to prove to you all that even if I don’t have a job, I work). Ray used to comment on my life by saying, “Linda, it doesn’t have to be hard to be fun.” I have raced through my life trying to be enough.

Even my photos record visually how I race through life. Below is an email I saved from my photo teacher, written after we’d worked together over a year or more. The email reflects her initial perception of me, before she knew me, after initially having viewed my Gottago’s Adventure website photos before we started our relationship as teacher/student. So here is the email my teacher wrote after she’d had me in a number of her classes.

“You know what’s interesting, Linda, is that when you signed up for

your very first online class and you gave me your website address, I

could tell IMMEDIATELY from your pictures that you needed to slow

down, to take a deep breath and think before clicking the shutter.

Knowing that when I did, so early in the game, I feel I’ve been remiss

in not pointing it out to you often enough throughout the online

classes and in the two in-the-field workshops you’ve taken. Better

late than never, I guess, but yeah, I can remember the “this woman

needs to slow down” flash going through my brain from the very beginning.

This doesn’t just apply to you, however. We ALL need to slow down and

think before we shoot. Why are we taking this shot? What do we like

about the scene? What’s the light doing? Are there weird things in the

background? Are there ugly hot spots that will ruin the picture?

Where’s the movement in this scene? Am I including too much? Not

enough? Would this be better as a vertical? What’s my ISO? Is my

exposure compensation dial accidentally still set to 3 stops

underexposed from the last shot? And much, much, more . . . Sometimes

I’m amazed we ever get around to clicking the shutter!”

I need help in slowing down. It’s NOT easy for me. I just signed up for another online photography class with Carol Leigh. Hopefully this class with keep me accountable with taking time and seeing.


A video with a message that had me in tears and rapidly writing down some of these messages.

What an incredible message about attitudes, visions, perspectives. I always welcome an attitude adjustment and Dewitt Jones accomplished just for me that in this video he put together depicting what he has learned over the course of his career as a National Geographic photographer. This video is not about photography. The title of this video is what it is about: Celebrate What’s Right With The World. While viewing the video through tears I heard the message I try to practice yet presented in a little different way. Listening to Dewitt it is quite obvious he has had his fair share of psychic changes or spiritual awakenings. What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.

Thanks to you Dewitt Jones for making this very special video.

p.s. To my ladies who read this blog, please watch this video. Make time for this gem and let me know what you think.
p.p.s. Lane sorry you won’t be able to see this video or any other videos until you receive your new computer!

Celebrate What's Right With The World


I need a nap.

I had my regular Friday afternoon massage. I was relaxed and in a dream-like state when I pulled in to the Bed and Bath store.

On my way to check out, a man and woman passed. The man, looking at me, said, “I need a nap too.” His wife chuckled. I thought, did I just yawn? Why are they saying that to me. Do I look THAT tired? I was hurt. I was confused. Then I was mad. How dare he!

I thought to myself, let me remember to never say to someone “You look tired. Or, you must be tired.” I kept wondering why he thought I look so tired. I went on a trip in my head about how old and tired I must look to others anymore. I wasn’t a happy camper.

The lady at the check out counter handed me back my credit card. I was trying to fit the credit card back into my wallet when she said, “I need a nap too. That’s a great t-shirt.”

She had no idea why I smiled so broadly and looked so relieved.
Duh. That’s what that man meant.

I snapped off the photo below while waiting in line to check out of Bed and Bath. On April 7th Katya had posted this blog entry about muffin tops. I never knew what a muffin top was before I read her blog.

Once I bought a yellow car. From then on all I saw was how many yellow cars there were on the road.

Well, now all I see are muffin tops.


Karen’s first 5 K race!

Karen spent the night last night. She got up early and drove out to the start of her 5 K race in Palm Springs.

When she arrived home sometime after 9am she was smiling, holding her race number and exclaiming, “I ran a 33:36 minute first 5 K!”

Bravo Karen.

I remember the days when racing was all I thought about. I asked Karen to sit down and share every detail from the beginning when she arrived at the race, including her thoughts and feelings during, to the finish. She didn’t walk a step. After the first mile, she knew she could do the remaining two miles. She wasn’t even tired at the finish.

It was so much fun watching and listening to Karen talk about her race as she realized how much more she can do than she thinks she can do. Boy, do I relate.

She’s already got her second race, The Great Race of Agoura Hills, a 10 K picked out and even a possible marathon (before the end of the year!).


My courageous friend.

Photo of Debbie dancing at the 2nd Quinnenial Legacy Weekend.

What a beautiful blog Debbie is writing documenting her thoughts, feelings, fears and actions during this terribly hard time in her life. Debbie, is one of my sponsor Debbie’s sponsees.



I’ve changed my mind.

I lied. I’ve changed my mind. I am not going to be posting a photo a day as I stated on January 1st. Actually, I don’t know when I’ll post the next photo. How’s that? My life is so full (that’s short for unmanageable) I’m running from one thing to the next. I don’t have a job, don’t have children, and I can’t get done what’s already on my plate each day. I don’t get it. I’ve never tended to as many tasks as I do each day yet my to-do list increases by 3 or 4 new tasks by the end of the day.
I don’t want to just fit in taking a photo. I want taking photos to be a want to, not have to. Right now I haven’t a clue how to find dedicated camera time or dedicated anytime for myself. So I am scratching taking the photo a day Ideal off my New Year Ideal’s list. There. That feels much better.
I like being able to change my mind.
Now the question is how I start eliminating all the other unnecessary tasks I daily generate for myself?
Take tonight. I went to my GSR District meeting, quite clear that if I was asked to fill an open position I was going to say no. As the Secretary was going down the agenda she started asking people if they’d be willing to take on some of the long standing, unfilled, open service commitments. No one was offering to Chair any of these service commitments. I couldn’t believe people could just sit there without guilt and comfortably allow the silence to not motivate them into relenting, raising their hand and saying, “Oh, ok. I’ll do it.” The silence was awkward. My mind kept thinking about whether I should help out. Then I remembered that I wasn’t taking on one more thing. So, I sat on my hands like the rest of the GSRs.
Then I had the bright idea that I could help them out by asking the secretary to give a more complete description of the positions she was trying to get filled. You know, I was thinking people might raise their hands if they knew what was involved with taking on one or another of these service commitments. Before I knew it the attention was on me and stayed on me. Someone nominated me for District Committee Chair. I told them I am not here in the summer. . (I told them I am away in the summer hoping they’d think I was a snowbird).They said, “Well, just do the commitment until July.” Without any acknowledgement on my part, other than my open mouth and wide eyes, I heard them nominate me for the DCM West position. What was I to do? With all eyes on me, I must have given some sort of positive acknowledgement and they all applauded. They weren’t really applauding that I took the job, they were applauding because then they didn’t feel guilty for not taking it.
I just don’t get it. This commitment entails my going to meetings from Rancho Mirage on west to who knows where, talking up the importance of being a GSR, how a group isn’t represented if they don’t have a GSR.
I am powerless over saying NO, that my life is unmanageable.
I might just have to go back next month and tell them at the District Committee Meeting that I lied!


Each Year a New Beginning.

This morning as I was comfortably seated in my bedroom, on my mother’s recovered bedroom chair and ottoman, while writing morning pages, when I caught sight of Ray in the bathroom, putting the finishing touches on getting dressed and ready for his day of golf. I took a double take. Ray looked different: in his posture, attitude, choice of clothing and body profile. Wow. It is clear Ray is losing weight. He says he can’t see it. But I can.

Ray and I have not eaten sugar or wheat product for 27 days. We have followed the HOW Food Plan where we write down all the allowed food we will eat for the day. We eat 3 meals a day (and two small 2oz protein snacks), email the listed food to a woman, and call 2 other women and ask how they are doing with their food. Oh, and we can’t weigh ourselves for 30 days! Not weighing has been the hardest part of this program for me. I have always let the numbers on the scale define me. And of course I am never happy with the numbers on the scale.

I’ve never felt so emotionally in balance, gotten more intentions accomplished, and continued working on things, without getting mad, even when I don’t understand them right away. I feel kinder to others AND myself, more patient, more tolerant and more understanding. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Hmmmmm. Eat sweets and bread? Or live in peace and comfort?

Well, for today, I know what I’m eating, and sweets and bread are not listed on today’s food plan for the day.

Each day a new beginning, each year a new beginning.

Happy New Year to you all.

I’ve got my list of updated 2008 Ideals and I’ve completed my 2009 Ideals for the New Year.

Much love and gratitude,


Here is the Ideal’s template I use (in case you are interested!):
Guidelines for Creating an annual Ideals’ List for the New Year.

~Every year since 1995 I’ve made a list at the end of each year for the upcoming year. This list contains, not resolutions, but ideals/desires of things I want to do, changes I want to make, principles I want to practice, etc. Throughout the current year I look at this list. At year’s end, I review how many listed desires I took action on. Looking back over the last 13 years since I started making these annual ideal lists, I found a pattern. I am now consistently accomplishing things I’ve always intended to do but never did.
A sponsee had requested I write up a template/guideline for writing out our ‘Ideals List’ for the upcoming year. My friend Cupcake took on this project of writing this Guideline one day while he was working for me. I then edited some of what he wrote. It may not sound like me, but the ideas behind Cupcake’s writing are mine.~
There’s no right or wrong way to do write an Ideal’s List, but I do have some suggestions. These are the thoughts that have made this tool particularly helpful for me.

• Be specific
• Review all areas of your life in considering what to include: Home, Work, Vacation, Family, Body, Spirit, Mind, Service, Attitude, Sleep, Driving.
• Dream big. You are not a failure if all the items on your list don’t get manifested in the coming year. I often have items that roll from year to year. Remember: learning about ourselves, rather than doing something perfectly, is what’s most important.
• Be realistic. This is where you get to examine the balance between reality and fantasy.
• Use verbs. Start each statement with an active verb, like choose, find, explore… For example, rather than “I want to go to Peru,” say “Travel to Peru.” The bulleted examples that follow provide other examples.

I have found that including the following topic headings (components) in my annual Ideals list very helpful: Projects, Changes, Goals, and Desires. Some components have several parts.
Sometimes a particular item may seem like it could be in one or more components. Trust your instinct or check with someone else. Don’t let confusion slow you down.
I personally place a high value on learning, and I encourage you to begin at least one line of each major component (Projects, Changes, Goals, & Desires) with the verb Learn… For example: Learn to be more forgiving, Learn to type, Learn what foods are bad for me.

A project has more than one task/action. Anything that can be broken down into smaller tasks/actions can be made a project. It takes some time and effort to get a project done.
If you are having trouble with a particular task/action, like writing a letter, consider making it a project, and then break it down into more manageable tasks.
For example, you could break down writing a letter by:

1) Scheduling the time,
2) Getting the materials (pen & paper),
3) Buying a stamp,
4) Finding the address,
5) Creating an environment free of distractions, and
6) Writing the letter.

Examples of Projects:

• Learn Spanish
• Clean out the garage
• Find that photo of Mom and Dad from the 50s
• Visit my sister in Chicago
• Track my exercise on a daily basis
• Paint the inside of the house
• Find out what in everyday life makes me happy

Creating a clear list of changes you’d like to make can remind you of what changes (in behavior, attitude, body, mind, spirit or whatever) you want to be working toward.
Sometimes changes can be a modification of existing patterns or something entirely new.
Examples of Changes:

• Spend more time with my kids
• Think about one positive aspect when I think of a negative aspect
• Arrive early to work one day a week
• Change a frown to a smile, even if it feels forced
• Find someone who would enjoy going to the movies with me
• Define the number of sponsees I am willing to sponsor.

Goals help you become the person you have always wanted to be. Be clear. The more specific your goals are, the more likely you are of having a goal be met. Setting and meeting a goal is something you will feel good about for a long time, maybe even the rest of your life. Some goals should be small and some large. Goals should feel a little harder than Projects.
I encourage you to include one goal that you KNOW you will meet and one that you know you are capable of but probably will not achieve in the next year.
Examples of Goals:

• Visit Hawaii
• Run a marathon
• Paint the inside of the house
• Pay all my bills on time so I have no late fees or penalties
• Learn how to use a digital camera
• Find my brother and try to talk to him
• Get a new car (Year/Make/Model)

Desires are a mix of what you want and what you know you should want. In naming desires, we list what changes we know we should make, but have been resistant to making. Naming desires is also the place where we identify what we would choose to make our lives fuller and more pleasurable.

The purpose of listing what we should be doing for our own good, yet we don’t quite get around to is that we have a written reminder to help keep us on track.

Examples of Desires

• Drink 4-6 big glasses of water each day, more when I exercise
• Eat less cheese
• Buy new underwear and throw out any underwear I don’t like
• Spend more on running shoes with more support
• Have a doctor look at my back
• Be more accepting of my faults
• Get a massage once a week or once a month

Completing the following statements can help you understand more about what you want for yourself. This is another way to express your desires. Answer each of the six bullets below with one short phrase:

• I wish I were:
• I wish I had:
• I wish I could:
• I want to have:
• I want to be:
• I want to do:

These guidelines are here to help write about our intentions for the coming year. I encourage you to use the topic headings/components if they work for you. If you choose to leave one out, add a different one. If you’d rather choose your own, feel free.

Concept IX p. 40 – “Now we come to the all-important attribute of vision. Vision is, I think, the ability to make good estimates both for the immediate and for the more distant future. Some might feel this sort of striving to be a sort of heresy, because we ___s are telling ourselves, “One day at a time.” But that valuable principle really refers to our mental and emotional lives and means chiefly that we are not foolishly to repine over the past nor wishfully to day-dream about the future.

As individuals and as a fellowship, we shall surely suffer if we cast the whole job of planning for tomorrow onto a fatuous idea of Providence. God’s real Providence has endowed us human beings with a considerable capacity for foresight, and He evidently expects us to use it. Therefore we must distinguish between wishful fantasy about a happy tomorrow and the present use of our powers of thoughtful estimate. This can spell the difference between future progress and unforeseen woe.

Vision is therefore the very essence of prudence, an essential virtue if ever there was one. Of course we shall often miscalculate the future in whole or in part, but that is better than to refuse to think at all.”


Woohoo! Stat counter hits 10,000 views.

I started this blog September 23, 2007. Today the stat counter reads 10,000 hits. I must say I am surprised and delighted that you would find what I choose to blog interesting enough to come back and follow along on a consistent basis. Thank you. I’m sure many of you have no idea about the fear I’ve always had of others reading my writing.

The first time I ever had the courage to allow my writing to be viewed online was when I hiked the PCT in 2002. I hand wrote daily trail journal notes every night. In towns I mailed off the notes to my sponsor Debbie, who typed up and posted them to a website I started just for the hike. I was terrified everyone would find out I was a terrible writer. My motive for writing and posting these online trail journals was twofold: First, to keep all my friends and family apprised of my whereabouts and happenings. Second, to help future hikers like previous online backpacker’s journals had helped me. I was ok after a while knowing others were reading my journal entries because this writing was for a purpose while hiking.

I first started keeping another online blog, not this one, (just for fun – i.e. – for no purpose) It was December 11, 2004 when I started this secret online blog. No one knew about it. The blog was for my eyes only. I still had way too much fear of what others might think to allow anyone to read my thoughts on the page.

Then on September 23, 2007 I started this current blog you are reading.

Recently went online and took a peak at that old private online journal, the journal I kept before this current blog. I found the last entry I wrote on that site before I changed over to this public blog journal.

Here is a portion of the last entry I wrote at 10:32pm, June 20th, 2007:

I‘m almost 20 years in my program. The 2nd step suggests I come to believe in a Power greater than myself.

This next year I have high hopes I will experience physic changes as the result of possibly seeing some pretty ugly embarrassing things about myself. I’m hoping I’m on my way to finding and relying on a Power greater than myself. Then, I do want to try and live according to how this Power wants me to live.

I’m tired. Tired of trying harder. I want to learn to relax, learn to enjoy my life, not try harder to be better, do more-All so you will think I have value.

I’m done trying to make you see me a certain way so I will feel accepted or feel I have worth…….. So I’ll feel ok with myself and you. This over dependence on what you think of me is exhausting and it’s none of my business. I have to keep raising the bar in what I do to impress you.

Here’s my pledge: from now on – what I think of me is all I’ll care about……. From today on and forever.

Fun. That’s my ideal for living. To learn to have fun and relax. What do I want, what do I think, how do I feel?

Do I like and enjoy my choices in a day? Am I doing something because I believe I’m expected to do it? Am I doing it because I want to, for me, or for you? If for you, is it a good motive, is it to be helpful and to give…or is it a bad motive….to get…..to influence….to impress so you’ll like me and want to be around me…

I’m so done thinking about how I come off to you on a daily basis so I’ll feel ok. Done.

Really done.

Well, something has happened since this writing in the private journal entry in 2007. I do feel freer. Less self conscious. Believe I deserve. Know what’s good about me. Worry more about what I think. And………I believe a lot of this change I feel in myself is the result of doing what I’m afraid to do, like writing in this daily blog.

One day at a time, I’ve written. I‘ve posted my photography work. I have no secrets. You see it all on the page. I’m not hiding anymore and the sky hasn’t fallen. Actually, I’ve never had more self esteem and less fear. Who’d have thought change would come as the result of doing the things I fear.

Thank you readers. Thank you so much for your kind words, continued support, compliments and fun comments.

Much love and gratitude,


p.s. During my morning walk, wearing 2 layers of fleece and full rain gear in this atypical strong rain we are having, I took the photo above. Look at the view of our condo from the other side of the lake in the photo. What a great place we live in.


Katie’s boyfriend, Rick

I had the pleasure of hiking the Bump & Grind the last two mornings at 6am with Katie and her boyfriend, Rick. I’ve heard a lot about Rick, but had never met him until we hiked yesterday and today. He’s down here visiting Katie for a week or so.

Having some new “blood” on our morning hikes made for interesting conversations. I really like Rick a lot and have enjoyed our hikes.


Just when I didn’t know what I was going to post today…….

Just in from my friend Carol.