Some kind words from two state representatives….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ever have one of those days when everything goes just right?  Kind of weird, isn’t it?  I had one of those days January 17, 2014.

After completing a restaurant review and photo shoot for Missouri Life magazine, I stopped by St. Peters Cultural Arts Center to locate my award-winning photo “Dear Kindred Spirit” hanging in an exhibition on the gallery walls.

While there, I stopped by Cindy Dubois’ office, Art Leader for the Center, to inquire about renting a room for a book signing.  Folly Beach Dances, my healing photography and poetry book is due out the end of February.

While speaking with Cindy, she interrupted our conversation and blurted out, “I just remembered something I was supposed to tell you something! Yesterday I received a called about you from State Representative Brian Spencer.”

“Really?”

Cindy riffled threw her notes, found his phone number, and suggested I give him a call.

On my way out, I stopped by the Warrior Wall to take a picture of my photo, and then headed to the parking lot.

Once inside my car, I dialed the number with anticipation. Representative Spencer answered on the first ring.

“Hi, Mr. Spencer, it’s Sheree Nielsen. You wanted to talk to me?”

“Sheree, I saw your story in Community News about the photography award you received.  I feel it’s really important to connect to people in my district, so I’d like to stop by in the next couple weeks and give you a certificate of recognition.”

“Thank you, that would be great,” I answered with surprise.

On the ride home, I thought about my conversation with Mr. Spencer.  I smiled a little.  Then I smiled alot.

As I steered my Equinox down our subdivision’s gravel road, I paused at the bottom of the driveway to retrieve the mail.

Once inside the house, I sorted the mail.  I noticed a small cream-colored envelope.  I flipped the envelope over, and the return address read “Chuck Gatschenberger, State Representative, District 13.”

I carefully opened the textured envelope, and read the hand-written note.

 “Sheree,

 A belated congratulations on winning 1st place for photography from the Humanities Council.  It’s truly a remarkable piece. 

Best wishes for continued success.”

Chuck

Kindred Spirit Congrats Rep Gatschenberger001

Another surprise.  Pretty cool!

This past Saturday, Representative Spencer stopped by the house to deliver the Certificate of Recognition to me.  I graciously accepted.

Comm News from Rep B Spencer001

Hubby, Mr. Spencer, and I talked for awhile about a number of topics. As the conversation came to a close, Mr. Spencer handed us two business cards, and said to contact him anytime we have concerns or ideas about Wentzville.  (He mentioned that Representative Gatschenberger was a pretty nice guy, too.)

The personal correspondence from two different state representatives made me change the way I viewed politicians.  They’re not all bad.  In fact, they’re pretty nice, compassionate guys.

Yesterday, it was no coincidence that our youth minister, Brandon’s sermon encouraged ”take the time to impact people’s lives… talk to people you don’t know. “

Which is exactly what Brian and Chuck did. They reached out, and it made a difference….

A Radish Lady, Coffee, and “A God Thing”

DSC_1721 cappucino art design 1 crop copry

This past October I taught a workshop titled “Every Picture Tells a Story” at the Jefferson Barracks Veterans Administration Hospital in St. Louis.  During the two classes, I met amazing veterans – one I will call Sally.

Fast forward to this week. The last few days brought me medical testing – CT scans, ultrasounds, and biopsies.  By Friday afternoon I was spent.

Although Sally’s week was just as stressful as mine, she sent an email saying, “I’m going to say a special prayer for you, and will continue throughout the day.”  That brought a smile to my face.

A friend of Sally’s gifted her a book,“Coffee with God”.  She mentioned that I should pretend the book was called “Cappuccino with God” (because cappuccinos are my favorite coffee drink.)

The author, Sarah Arthur, reflects with God, prays and explores ways God transforms us through our regular routines in a 365-day devotional.

Sally mentioned the book was instrumental with her New Year’s resolutions – she quit smoking.

The devotional for January 10 was titled “PESSIMISM AND WOBBLE”

I won’t go into detail, but the bible verse that Sally cut and pasted in the email references Philippians 4:6 – “Don’t worry about anything, pray about everything.”

That sentence hit me like a ton of bricks. Not because I was unfamiliar with this bible verse, but because it was my daily creed.  Whenever a friend is having trouble, I share this verse, recognizing it helps me through my trials.

I decided to go to Sarah Arthur’s website and read more about the book. I hopped onto her blog and noticed a comment she left on a particular day. That day just happened to be my birthday. Feeling like this was not a coincidence, but a ‘God thing’, I searched Amazon.com and ordered the book immediately.

The series of events from the minute I met Sally, all led up to yesterday afternoon.  God’s plan was in motion long before I met her.

Here’s the string of events:

At the Missouri Writer’s Guild Conference three years ago, I met Deb Marshall from the Warrior Arts Alliance. Deb recommended I teach the “Every Picture Tells a Story” workshop at the VA Hospital. At the workshop I met Sally. The students asked hubby and I to return and teacher another class. Sally, hubby and I conversed after the workshop outside and joked about the parking situation. I gave her my business card. She emailed me. I emailed her. We kept a string of emails going.

Yesterday, her kind words and thoughtfulness lead to God’s plan. He reassures I’m in HIS care and grace.

My angel-messenger from above, Sally, despite her hectic life, took time to be caring, thoughtful, and positive. And isn’t that what we all should strive to do? EVERY DAY!

Thank you Sally for being there when I needed someone. I’ll try and heed the words from Philippians 4:6.

And by the way ‘Radish Lady’, you’re a fabulous writer!

Author interview on writRteachR blog

Fellow writer and author extraordinaire, Mary Horner, has a nice interview with me posted on her blog writRteachR.

Part one is posted; part two of my interview was posted on Wednesday.

Thanks Mary for supporting your fellow writer!

Go check out her blog for all things editorial.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

New Publication – Gateway to Wright – Missouri Life

Last fall, I sent a proposal to my editor at Missouri Life for an idea on a famous home.  I receive a contract for a feature story with photos for the Frank Lloyd Wright Home in Ebsworth Park.  A fan of Wright’s for many years, I was ecstatic to receive the assignment.

After contacting Joanne, the home’s board chairman, we set up a time for a tour.  Although I’d visited the iconic structure before with hubby and family, the second time around left me with a new found appreciation for Wright’s concepts and architecture.

Over the course of my assignment, my love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright deepened.  His Japanese-inspired influence, use of geometric shapes and natural materials made him all the more appealing to me.

Joanne mentioned I was only the third photographer allowed to capture the home’s interior, and the first photographer to have a published photo of the Cherokee Red gate at the entrance of the home.  I’m the first writer/photographer to do a story on the home fact-checked by the board chairman.

Joanne sent me a very nice email on February 8, 2013.

“Dear Sheree,
I was able to buy Missouri Life this week and saw and read the article.  It is outstanding!  The photography is amazing.  Thanks for taking so much time to hone the article and make it as interesting and as accurate as possible.
We are going to distribute the article widely to our friends and patrons.  It is a great tribute to your perception and to the house.
Thanks so much.”
Joanne

_______

Hope you enjoy the article.  It’s one of my proudest achievements.

With the exception of one photo, I used ambient light to capture the home’s essence.

Click on the link and copyrighted material below:

Mo Life Feb 2013 – LR FLW

Main Street Books, April 7, 2012 – Sheree Nielsen

Vicky Erwin has posted this on her Main Street Books newsletter calender.  Thank you Vicky!
Sheree Nielsen – Art Show
Start: 04/07/2012 1:00 pm
End: 04/07/2012 3:00 pm

Something a little different for us — an art show.

Come out and support local author and photographer, Sheree Nielsen on April 7, 2012 at Main Street Books from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Sheree, owner of Ocean Spirit Photography, will be displaying her inspirational messages and poems on original scenic and nature photographs, which are also for purchase.

Sheree won the People’s Choice 1st Place for Non-fiction Award in Storyteller Magazine Apr/May/June 2010.

Visit her blog at www.shereenielsen.wordpress.com and view her photography at www.oceanspiritphoto.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ocean-Spirit-Photography/145719078855595 .

Location:
307 S Main St, Saint Charles, Missouri, 63301
United States

Nurturing Paws Booksigning – Main Street Books, St. Charles, MO

Sheree Nielsen, Linda O'Connell and Faye Adams - Missouri Authors (back row), Customer and CHAMP volunteer Diane Peters (front row)

CHAMP Assistance Dogs helps out with the booksigning

Sheree Nielsen, Linda O’Connell and Faye Adams (back row) chat with customer and Diane Peters, CHAMP Assistance Dogs

We sold out!  Yes we did it!  Contributing Missouri authors Linda O’Connell and Faye Adams and I greeted customers at Main Street Books in St. Charles for the the Nurturing Paws Anthology booksigning on a lovely fall day.     Thanks for your support!  Sheree Nielsen