Sum Greater than the Parts

When the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Explaining synergy gets a little convulated, but basically, it amounts to this: you take two parts and together, they create something that’s worth more than the combined value of the two parts. Two plus two equals five.

I learned of a practical example of this the other day. A co-worker was telling me about his son, an accomplished photographer. While he has the same raw skills with a camera many of his peers possess, he has another skill, one that by itself likely wouldn’t take him far professionally, but enhances his photography skills: he’s a trained hypnotist.

He can help people relax, not by actually hypnotizing them, but by  giving them tips and cues to bring out their natural selves. This talent has brought him high praise, including what has to be one of the top compliments a photographer can receive: “you captured their souls.”

A recent assignment for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation had him shooting pictures of a young woman with that horrible disease for the foundation’s newsletter. The stunning results brought tears to her parent’s eyes, who know they will likely lose their daughter in a few short years. They will have these treasured images to remind them of who she was, inside and out, while here on earth.

I loved hearing about that set of skills and how they combined to bring so much joy to people. It made me wonder how many people out there have two seemingly unrelated talents that together would explode into a rich and rare ability.

In college, we focus on a career path, and that’s a good thing. Goals are important, and seeing into the future helps keep us moving forward. What we don’t know at that age is everything we’re capable of, or even the ways our quirky pasttimes might bring us more glory.

Synergy can happen at any point in our life. Horrible experiences from the past may have resulted in a mindset that opens up a skill we’ve been building on for years, but have hit a roadblock in developing further. There are countless examples of how the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts in our lives.

Keep your heart and mind open to possibilities, and never forget your interests belong to you, you have a right to them, and they may just save you in the end.

Photo Credit: (Diamond and Coal) © cherylvb –

Too Cool for School

It’s hard to find something that comes pre-printed with the name “Belinda.” But when I was 14, a t-shirt shop in Eastridge Mall would add your name to just about anything it sold — and that was quite a selection.

me-june-1974This shirt had five little chickies on it, tumbling, standing, waving (but not waving the finger, that was a different t-shirt). I loved it. The hat, I believe, belonged to my brother, and on the night after my junior high graduation, either he or my sister snapped this uncharacteristic shot of me.

Look at those shorts. Good grief. I believe the poster in the background had the poem “Desiderata” printed on it — or something similar. I’m not certain, but it’s quite likely “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was airing on the TV as the picture was taken.

But the best part of this picture? The shag carpeting, in various shades of orange and red. I remember raking that carpet.


Signs of Spring

So many of you are such wonderful photographers, I feel a little foolish posting these pictures, but I was challenged by a fellow blogger, Laura, from her blog, The View From My Window, to “bring out the beauty of what nature means to me” through my photography. She caught me at a weak moment, and I’m giving in to the challenge.

Sort of. I’m cheating here, and pulling out some favorite photos from a year or two ago, taken at the bed & breakfast I work at here in Bella Vista, Arkansas. It’s a wildlife preserve in addition to being a great place for a little getaway, and we have birds, oh my, we have birds…

Bill, one of the Inn owners, fills the bird feeders with various forms of gourmet bird meals (I’m sure they’re gourmet, Bill serves nothing but the best) just about everyday. Of course that means there are a number of plump squirrels waddling about, plotting their next move. Despite their girth, those squirrels remain very adept at climbing, leaping, swinging and other acrobatic feats necessary to get The Food.

goldfinch 1I sometimes wonder what my cats would think of this wonderland of flight right outside the kitchen window. I’ll never know, since cats are discouraged from the area around the bird feeders. They should be, for their own safety as well as the birds, because coyotes also frequent the neighborhood. Or so I’m told — I’ve never seen one, but I believe I’ve heard a few. (And after all, who brings their cats to work?)

Any of the rest of you interested in taking part in this challenge, check out Laura’s site. My approach admittedly is a little on the, how shall we say, quieter, side, but you avid photographers may want to make a more full-throttled job of it!

(Laura is only one of my blogging buddies whose photography I enjoy, in fact, she’s only one of my blogging buddies named Laura whose photography I look forward to seeing! Thank you all for your work and for bringing your visions to us. I’m so often inspired by your photos.)

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