Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Monday, 8 December 2014

Belonging and choosing happiness

Sol-y-Sombra Spanish Dance Company
It's December and things are winding down towards the end of year and Christmas, or is it winding up as we plan our Christmas festivities?

For us in Australia at least, this time of year brings with it the end of the school year, summer holidays and the closing of groups we belong to for the year. I belong to three groups: a writing group (once a month), photography group (once a month) and a dance group (once a week). I will miss these people, my friends through shared interests, over the break till we meet again in January or February next year. 

To read more please click on "read more" !


 It got me to thinking about how belonging to a group can be so important to our well being, both inside and out - whether it be a creative or physical activity, travelling with like minded people, or just sitting and talking - it is the belonging, sharing and being appreciated for the individuals we are.  For some people belonging to a group may be the only contact they have with the outside world. I wonder what do these people do when groups close up at the end of the year?


I know from my own point of view the members of the groups I belong to have really helped me through low points in my life, like the passing of my darling Dad a couple of months ago. The groups have helped me focus on other things. These people are separate to my family, so in some ways were able to help me in a way my own family could not. Just by being there and showing me that life will continue on and be enjoyed. To listen and to be there with a hug that was not tied up with my own families' grief. The people in these groups are really my family too. And perhaps I have shared with them tears and words that I have not shared with my biological family.

 So this post is dedicated to the groups I belong to. But of course, none of this would be possible without the unconditional love and support of my family.I thank them with all my heart. Without them I would be lost. 

My dear fellow members from South Side Quills writers group - thank you. You have perhaps seen and heard me at my most raw through my written words...
That's me second from the right....


The inspiring photographers at the Photography Group of Bunbury. You inspire me to look and see and be more creative with my photography.  Below are my awarded images this past year. I was given an "highly commended" for the black and white steps you can see in the middle of the images below here at the end of year.(unfortunately the process of putting them in a collage has cropped the images)


 The amazing dancers at Sol-y-Sombra Spanish Dance Company and School of Dance. Thank you so much Nicole and all the ladies and gent for your patience and encouragement. Flamenco is not easy to learn, but it is fun! Don't they look fantastic in these bright costumes.





And to my wonderful "ladies who lunch", a small group of friends who meet every week for lunch - we have been through a lot together over the last 16 years or so.  It doesn't matter where we meet - it is not the restaurant that matters - but the conversation and the sharing. We say it is "cheaper than therapy"!



Also thank you to Denise from lovely Lyndendale Gallery for your encouragement, for hosting my photography workshops this year, and introducing me to a wonderful group of creative people. 


And also to Eileen, my friend who I met through Sol-y-Sombra - you saved me with a hug and a bar of chocolate when I most needed it when I was creating my invitational floral art piece for the Floral Designer's Club exhibition "Blooming Art" - when my Dad was in hospital. Thank you.


Do you belong to a group and what do they mean to you? Perhaps you might like to share in the comments.

Perhaps you too can think about those people who do not belong to a group, or don't have family close by, or whose family situation has changed this past year, or for whom Christmas may be looked on with dread as they think about those they have lost, or indeed it stretches before them as a lonely space.

At times it can be very easy for me to wallow and be maudlin but this Christmas I am going to pledge to myself to "choose happiness" - not only for my sake, but for the sake of my family. For we have much to be grateful for. 

We have put up our Christmas lights - I still have to do the tree.  I wait till my Grandson has had his birthday which was yesterday 7th December. 8 years old already! I can hardly believe it.


One of my lunching ladies gave me an article from www.marcandalngle.com the other day. This is a summary.....

10 ways to choose happiness -

Choose to be the very best you can
Choose to be around the right people
Choose to focus on what you have, not what you haven't
Choose a good attitude
Choose to smile more often
Choose to take care of your body
Choose honesty
Choose to help others when you're able
Choose to let go when you know you should
Choose to embrace the next step in your life

You are the only one who can create your happiness. Love who you are inside out. The choice is yours. Choose happiness.










Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday


39 comments:

  1. Hello Jill, a lovely tribute to your friends.. I agree being in a group no matter what kind can be important. Your creativity has grown in leaps. I love your blog post and your wonderful photos.. Thanks for sharing, have a happy new week!

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  2. Wow, what a beautiful tribute to those who surround you with love and encouragement Jill. The groups that you belong to seem like a great reflection of you and it all rhymes perfectly with the person that I have come to know you to be. Now you must share what that is in that little pie pastry,,, that looks so wonderful. Groups...I live out in a rural area, and I would say my closest thing to belonging to a group is my neighbors, They are some of the dearest people ever. I no longer go out after dark and many of the photography and birding groups meet in the evening and so I miss out. I do have my Bible study group on Sunday mornings and that is a sweet blessing. For me, the people, the friends that I have made blogging is very wonderful for me and that would include you my friend~

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    1. am sorry to hear you don't get out as often Mary. But yes we actually have a lovely little blogging group going here Mary. I never imaged the people I would "meet" and befriend through blogging across the world. Wonderful really.
      As for the pie, I didn't make it, I ate it at one of our lunches, but it had a quiche filling. Blessings to you my friend.

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  3. A beautiful tribute to your friends and companions who support you. It seems appropriate at this time of year to be grateful to those folks. I also enjoyed seeing how busy you are and all the wonderful creative things you do!

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  4. I choose happiness which is why I started my new blog...and no I don't belong to groups ...now that I am retired I am basking in my solace for now...I know I will emerge and join in a group or 2 perhaps in spring. Love your images and your groups sound like fun! Such a great tribute to them.

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    1. it is good to be happy in your own company. I am looking forward to my retirement day so I can indulge my passions.

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  5. I agree that belonging to groups is an important part of a healthy well being and I noticed each of yours takes you in a different direction. The groups I belong to, other than bible study are all gardening related and I'm looking to change this and join in where some of my other interests lie.
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Jill, a lovely post.

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  6. Love those colorful dresses. We are in charge of our own happiness.

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  7. Yes what a lovely tribute to friends and groups. I love all the colourful photos of the Spanish dancers. Enjoy your break and your Christmas.

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  8. Love the photos of the dancers! So colorful. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving comment! :)

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  9. Hello Jill. This is a wonderful post about the importance of community in an individual's life. You belong to some great groups and I'm glad you found the support you need as you grieve your father's passing.
    Love those dancing skirts - what color and movement you've captured. So nice to see a photo of you as well.

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  10. thank you all so much my wonderful blogging friends. We are a community of bloggers too! It is amazing the support I have had over the years from people I have never met from the other side of the world. Thank you!

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  11. Community is so important, isn't it? Love all these vivid and exuberant photos.

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  12. What a wonderful assortment of photos and activities and groups. The dancers are so beautiful and exuberant! :)

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  13. My oh my, you must be one busy lady! You belong to all of those groups? I do a movie night once a fortnight, a walking & coffee group every Saturday and Yoga/Pilates a couple of times a week. I did try book club for a while but it became more of a discussion group for work and travel. I absolutely agree that belonging to a group does help you through some tough times and is good therapy. My girlfriends are very important to me. But happiness really does start with ourselves and maintaining a positive attitude to life. I really enjoyed this post Jill. Thank you x

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    1. well you belong to a few groups too Kathy. And yes you are right, happiness really does start with ourselves. I need to start doing what I am preaching!

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  14. You certainly have chosen some diverse and interesting groups to belong to, I can well imagine how they have all supported you in different ways during a challenging year. Your photographs are amazing.
    I belong to a club that collects French pottery and we only meet once a year!

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    1. French pottery! I have a set of old French bowls I discovered in the corner of an antique shop. I love them!

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  15. Wonderful action life shots ~ very creative!

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

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  16. What a beautiful and inspiring post Jill! I love the photo with you + your writing group (Quills ;) My husband has been pushing me to join groups (particularly a photography group) in Paris, but I haven't had the chance yet (or been too shy really)... but everything you said about the benefits of groups and how they help form bonds and community rings so true, and helps me realize that's better than feeling a bit isolated. Oh and your black-and-white stairs photo is stunning!

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    1. I know it can be isolating when you move to a new city - and you are the outsider - particularly I am sure if you are from another country! but what a great way to experience a different way of life! I am envious of you in a way - and of course you are in Paris - and the photography you are bringing to us at Communal Global is enthralling! I love every image. thank you Catherine for stopping by.

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  17. Thanks for the reminder of the choices we have Jill, they are spot on. That's what I need to do 'join a couple of groups' to experience new things, I definitely am more comfortable with a small group of friends and family and need to broaden my horizon so to speak. Thank you also for visiting us at pret-a-vivre.com, have a beautiful weekend ahead.
    BiTi

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    1. the hardest thing is taking the first step when you join a group where you don't know anyone. But it is worth it!

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  18. thanks so much everyone for stopping by and for your comments. It seems that we all feel that belonging to a group helps with our well being.

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  19. Beautiful post! I'm waiting until my little one grows a little bit more to take some time to be part of a group... I used to attend to a sewing course and a pottery course before having the second daughter.. Now I'm looking for some yoga lessons!

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    1. yes I know what it is like to have little ones. I was in a once a week crafting group when my boys were young, and they were looked after in a crèche. My son told me years later that he hated it!

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  20. an impressive post. Thanks for sharing. Love the dancers :)

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  21. I think it's great to belong to different groups, to belong different 'communities' --for company, for support. It's wonderful that you are part of different interest groups. Hahaha, the "ladies who lunch" group --we do that, too, though not weekly.

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  22. a lovely eclectic mix of groups Jill and I'm sure all special-to-you in their own way. I love studying and so most of the groups I belong to are in a learning capacity. Languages - Photography - History - it's like being back at school and our end of year Break-up-Parties are always shared with a tinge of the bitter/sweet.

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  23. Wow, you are so busy. How do you manage to fit in all those groups, lovely as they are? Well done you. I'm so happy that I have been part of one of the groups, which I shall miss, big time :(

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  24. Nice post! I don't belong to any formal groups right now except online, and of course my somewhat scattered family. I enrolled in a class this semester but it was cancelled. Need to start looking because it's time to register for next semester.

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  25. Jill, I was so sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. I was afraid to write anything about it because I didn't want to be too intrusive during what must have been an awful time for you and your family. But your post has made me realise the importance of acknowledging both the good AND the bad. It's also easy to be a blog 'visitor', but being a blog 'buddy' requires a little bit more. I value you as one of my blog buddies - your encouraging comments, wonderful blog posts and caring emails make you one of my valued blog buddy 'group', informal though it is. Thank you for connecting with me, and I look forward to continuing our 'buddydom' next year! Have a great Christmas full of happy memories, and a FABULOUS new year!

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    1. thank you so much Red. And thankyou too for your support over the year - and for having me one of your Redz guests! Looking forward to much more and continuing 'buddydom' - you've just invented a new word Red!
      I never expected when I started blogging that I would develop "buddies" and gain support through the world of blogging.
      Happy travels in 2015 Red.

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  26. Oh, what a sweet post. My groups are so precious to me as well. I am new to attending a Wednesday night book/talk group that meets by the fireside of my church. They are an intellectual group of ladies who accept you where you are at. We visit for at least the first half hour, then read and discuss what we are reading. I have a group that I have met with for a few years, we take care of our mothers, there are three besides me, and two of us lost our mothers this year. They kept me sane with a disease that is can drive you crazy.
    With the holidays, I am remembering my mother often. In the Christmas china she bought me, in the angel made from stained glass at a church that was bombed near her. I too am choosing happiness, or joy. Joy is the sweetest word in the entire language I think.

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  27. Wonderful blog with processed extraordinary that give great beauty.

    Best Regards from Gran Canaria - Canary Islands (Spain)

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  28. I agree, being part of a group is important and really I miss it. I need to get out more and be involved, you remind me of this. Christmas can be a hard time but that list is exactly how we should be. Those cherries look delicious by the way. Enjoy the end of year festivities.

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  29. I'm going to write the 10 ways in my journal this morning! Happy holidays my friend! Hugs, Diane

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