Photo Contests!

Running on Empty for Seattle – Who will she be?


Our first Running on Empty contest for 2012! With Florida SOLD OUT and only a few spots open for Seattle and LA/OC, this is a very special gift for a woman who’s given her all.

It’s always a privilege to be able to announce this contest for a seat in Me Ra’s CONFIDENCE Workshop. We do our best to hold one seat aside for a special mom.

Do you know a mom who needs this kind of group and weekend getaway? Her own ‘play group’? A woman Running on Empty?  Nominate her today. Let’s start her year with a gift,  give her something to SMILE BIG about all year and lift her spirit!

If you know a MOM who is;

A. Running on Empty

B. Lives near the Seattle area or has mileage to spend

C. Can arrange for a sitter and get the weekend free, starting Friday, January 20th 7-9pm, for the Meet & Greet through Sunday evening, January 22nd, about 7pm.

D. Most importantly, has a PASSION for photography

Nominate her TODAY! Nominations must be in by Monday night, January 9th at 6pm PST.

We will announce the winner in time for her to jump in and make all the arrangements. So make sure your nominations are all in by Monday at 6pm PST. If you are not familiar with this contest, read Me Ra’s description below and see what it’s all about! Moms are one of the most beautiful parts of creation. This contest is all about acknowledging their beauty, even when they are Running on Empty and they sometimes know it least of all.

“Here’s how it works!

In honor of how wonderful moms are and all that they do and give, Brian and I keep one spot reserved in (almost) every workshop for a special mom like YOU! That’s right, you (or she) will get a free pass to the upcoming CONFIDENCE Workshop in the Seattle area! (Please note, we don’t provide room/board and travel.)

To nominate a mom, you must post a comment telling us about the mom who you think deserves a big break in life! If you are a mom, you’re probably laughing because we ALL deserve a serious break. But the moms we’re looking for are the ones who have had a ridiculous amount of stress in their life whether from trauma or things just not going her way this year. She is a mom in your life that needs a serious blessing to come her way. She needs a serious surprise that gives her empty tank some fuel. If she is a woman that has miscarried, she is still a mom in my mind b/c I know her heart became a mother’s heart the moment she found out she was pregnant. Don’t hesitate to nominate her too.

I’m proud to say that some of our previous winners stepped out on a limb and nominated themselves. Take courage in them and feel free to nominate yourself if you know you need a serious break. Who knows, you may have your house remodeled by Oprah!”

xoxo Me Ra


We’ll collect all the nominees, have a committee of wonderful moms vote, and then announce the winner in the next week! Being as wonderful as they are, it’s not an easy job. As one said recently, “After reading each story I’d say, ‘I’m voting for HER’.”  Each one of you is so deserving.

Nominate her today and turn her day around!  Oh, wait!  Don’t forget to let her know you’ve nominated her too! If I was a mom nominated I’d love to know my friends were thinking of me whether I won or not! Deadline for ALL nominations is Monday 1/9 at 6pm PST. Nominations MUST be posted as a comment on this blog post.  Nominations emailed, posted on other blog posts or FB may be overlooked. Please post all nominees here . Thanks! (A tip: write in Word or other program first, then cut and paste over – just in case.:))

What do past attendees say about the CONFIDENCE Workshops?  Take a look at Me Ra’s birthday post where over 100 women shared what a difference this workshop has made in their life.  CLICK HERE to read their comments!

May 2012 spark many moments of happiness in your heart! ~ Genie


We have limited spots left in our Seattle and Orange County/LA, CA Winter workshops.  Women only (sorry guys!).  Tampa, FL is SOLD OUT!  CLICK HERE for Seattle Details and Orange Country/LA Details!


  1. vera says:

    I’d like to nominate my sister, Anna, for this running on empty contest. Anna is in her late 20’s and is the mother of two children, her son is 5 and daughter 2. Her husband is in the Navy and they have spent the last 3 years going through multiple separations as he was traveling for training and short missions, and most recently he was at sea for 9 months while Anna functioned as a single mom. She stepped up to the challenge and did great with her kids while their dad was away, but the daily stress adds up, not to mention getting her oldest ready for kindergarten alone!
    The family is back together again now, however they are heading into a new challenge, they just got their new orders, Germany. They chose to go overseas so that their family would spend the next 3 years together, with no deployments. This will be great for them, but it also means moving a 5 year old and 2 year old to Germany, and having no family near by!
    Anna does have a passion for photography and has recently had the chance to do some informal photo shoots, as well as shooting her own kids on a daily basis. They are currently stationed near Seattle and I would love to see her go to this conference!

  2. Taraneh Guidry says:

    I’d like to nominate my high school friend Hjordis Madsen Bower, she is a mom of two (ages 10 and 13) and has her own business. She loves photography and has done it for years, but she has been too busy with her physically demanding service business and taking care of her amazing kids and being a single mom- that she has had to put her photography on the back burner.

    Hjordis started doing photography in high school (20 yrs ago). I was one of her models! She has done weddings for friends, but hasn’t had the time to do photography as much as she’d like because of all of life’s interruptions.

    She is “Running on Empty” because of her service business, it really wipes her out physically and she has little time or energy for anything else. Also she takes her kids to soccer and cross country, so she is always putting them first. It’s time that she takes time for herself and learns how to release her passion, and put it to good use.

    She also is an amazing writer, wonderful friend to many, and is an amazing chef. Everyone is encouraging her to start writing and taking pictures more, and this would be a great way for her to make it happen.

  3. Megan Henson says:

    As soon as I read about your “Running on Empty” scholarship for the Confidence workshop, I knew exactly who to nominate. My sister-in-law, Sara, is an amazing working mom who works her tail off to help support her family and parent her adorable 7-month-old son, Liam. Recently the family all chipped in and got her a great camera—now she just needs the confidence to use it! Sara is one of those amazingly compassionate, but no-nonsense types of women; she is so encouraging, sweet, and supportive to those around her, in particular her husband. She works the long hours she has to work, all while striving to be the best wife, mother, and friend that she can be; she’s completely selfless. She’s constantly doing what she can do to support those around her, oftentimes neglecting her needs for rest or fun. This opportunity would come at the perfect time, after months of financial struggle and adjusting to the demands of a wonderful yet stressful life; the conference would be an amazing time of rejuvenation for a tired, deserving mom.

  4. Susan Adams says:

    I would like to nominate my sister, Deborah Roedell. Her kids are all in their 20’s, married and have small kids and babies. A couple of years ago they lost the home she had raised her kids in due to the failed construction business of her husband. A year ago they moved in to an older building where they have slowly turned half into a one bedroom apartment and the other into a photograph studio.

    Often times my sister has put her own home and needs aside to help out her kids. She is a drop and run kind of mom. She has done so much to take care of them all, giving up precious time and resources that could have benefited her home and business. She is a good photographer, but lacks the confidence to be great. Her passion is her family and her photography. Life has been very hard for her these past 5 years with little support and less income. Determination and strength of will is what has gotten her through.

    It is my sister dream to have a productive studio where she can express her creativity and love of the every present lens.

  5. Tina P. says:

    MeRa, I’d like to nominate a friend of mine, Cindi. Despite, all that Cindi has gone through in the past few years she’s shown tremendous strength and exudes such happiness to all she’s around. She’s really a bright spark and an encouragement to others!

    I’m nominating her for your workshop because she deserves some dedicated time for herself. In the past year, she has gone through a divorce and discovered she had a lymphatic malformation in her neck (which is usually discovered when you are a child) which caused tremendous pain and complications and at the same time she was the rockin’ working mother to two beautiful children and a friend to many! Surgeries, steroids, liquid diets, a numb tongue……yuck!! But she pushed through it!

    What’s so cool is that I can see her changing her life daily. On top of working a full time job, being a mom to two children, she’s also finding herself in whatever spare time she has. She’s getting up early to work out and pushing herself in Warrior Dash events. She’s picking up photography as a hobby (and taking photos of friends and family) and she takes some creative and fun photos! She’s teaching herself through online courses and I know she loves this hobby of hers. I love that she’s finding things to make herself stronger. I can SEE her smiling behind her camera in her pictures and I know she’s proud of herself. That’s what’s I love!

    I know I gained so much self confidence in your workshop and it is a memory I won’t ever forget. The smiles, the laughter, the self confidence I developed, the friendships I made, the peaceful and quiet nights sleep with no kids waking me up was just awesome! And I want her to have that! I want her to gain the fundamentals behind working a camera, seeing the light in a setting and just out right having fun for an entire weekend dedicated to her! I want that for her! Plus, there is a good chance she can out laugh you! 🙂

  6. Amanda B. says:

    I like to nominate my mom, Mary Ostyn from Owlhaven. I’m the oldest of 10 kids(age 7-23), six adopted(with more than one tough attachment time in there) so I know very much first hand how busy Mom is with everything. 🙂 Three of us are mostly/entirely out on our own now, but Mom still has 5 teenagers(3 thirteen yr olds!) plus the two youngers at home daily. In addition to taking care of us she homeschools, keeps the house running, the people fed, the garden tended and preserved away for winter, and somehow has managed to sew a zillion sweet baby diapers for me and my sister to use soon(plus lots of other sewing projects) write two books AND take up and teach herself about running AND photography.
    She stuffs her days full and frequently ends up staying up WAAAAAY too late at night (esp when teenagers always get the urge to spill their souls at 10pm) in order to get a few minutes to herself. I think all that adds up to some intense days that definitely merit a weekend away to RELAX and learn more about one of her favorite hobbies. She is incredibly giving and caring to everyone she knows and I definitely hope I can be as cool as her when I “grow up”, but wow, what a lot of work! 🙂

  7. Zanna says:

    I’m going out on the proverbial limb here…and I am not ashamed to nominate myself. I feel like “running on empty” has been a defining characteristic of the past year for me.

    2011 was our first full year in vocational ministry. My hubby is a small-town pastor, and I still scratch my head in disbelief that God would choose me to be in this role of pastor’s wife. It has been much harder than I could have anticipated, but also so very very rewarding. I simply cling to God, and trust that He who has called me will find me faithful.

    In January 2011, we started the journey to adopt from Ethiopia after 3 years of infertility. We are currently in what is often referred to as Waiting Purgatory…I guess it’s called that because it feels like hell to have your emotions hanging on by a thread as your life revolves around getting new wait list numbers each month & staying informed on the everchanging status of international courts and embassy’s. I cried myself to sleep the night before Christmas Eve because even though there were presents for our little ones under the tree, the house was disturbingly quiet & it hurt my heart to think that our kids could very well be spending the holiday on the otherside of the world without me there to wrap my arms around them.

    2011 was also the year that I went back to teaching full-time, had knee surgery, and went to more physical therapy sessions than I can even count. It was such a crazy, wild ride of a year that I kind of feel like I’m still catching my breath.

    I would LOVE to attend a Confidence Workshop! My hubby gave me a snazzy teal camera bag for Christmas that would be perfect for toting up to Seattle. I would love to learn more so I can take more pictures to fundraise for our adoption expenses. PLUS…it would be a wonderful way to celebrate my 31st birthday on January 21st! ;o)

  8. Kim Curran says:

    I find myself strongly compelled to nominate a stranger, I do not even know her first name. I became aware of her just yesterday, about the same time I saw your “running on empty” post, through a blog post on I HEART FACES. Her image is listed as a top 10 of 2011. The image stopped me in my tracks as tears welled in my eyes. I visited her blog, more tears.
    please see her blog post & “winning” image here, it will tel her story better than I ever could.
    I thank God for the blessings in my life.
    see you in HB/OC,

  9. Brian says:

    Hi there Me Ra – I’d like to nominate my wife and best friend, Erin – as she’s been running at full speed (and increasingly near empty!) for the last 3 years. During that time:

    She planned our wedding (mostly by herself) while I was deployed on a US Navy submarine for 7 months – returning only 3 days before the wedding!

    Moved from Virginia to upstate NY (despite Navy promises of Hawaii!) and nursed me back to health following a major hip surgery, all while she worked as a fund-raising director for a local low-income & homeless shelter.

    Gave birth to our first son, within only a month after moving back to Virginia so I could attend college full-time after getting out of the Navy – and he was born the first day of class!

    Gave birth to our second son the week I finished final exams, and then within a month packed everyone and everything up and moved cross-country to Seattle (and away from family & friends in Virginia) so I could start my first post-Navy job.

    And through it all, she’s become a budding photographer. We bought a DSLR before our first son arrived, and Erin has made our Christmas cards and Facebook pictures the envy of our friends & family! She’s worked really hard to learn more and more about exposure & composition, and I know that she would get so much from the CONFIDENCE workshop.

    As you can see, I’ve had the most selfless partner for these past 3 years, and the CONFIDENCE workshop would be a tremendous reward for her Herculean efforts, and would (I think) provide Erin the final nudge towards starting her own photography business (we’ve been talking about it for a while, but been so busy with the kids!)

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to nominate such a deserving woman!

  10. Venea Dahlgren says:

    I would like to nominate my friend Linda. Family, friends and relationships are so important to Linda. She loves capturing relationships in portraiture. She takes pride and centers her life around her family, and still finds time to take care of others.

    Linda and her husband tried for 12 years to have children, during which time Linda underwent acupuncture, herbal remedies, artificial insemination and embryo adoption, to fulfill Linda’s lifelong dream of becoming a mother. The last round of embryo adoption and implantation worked, and she was able to experience pregnancy, giving continued life to a baby created by another couple, but rendered unneeded by them after they attained their desired pregnancies. Linda’s joy was short lived as she suffered the tragic loss of the pregnancy a while later. Prior to the pregnancy Linda and her husband had opened their home to foster children and Linda was able to enjoy the responsibility of being a foster mom. Finally they were blessed with two beautiful children to adopt into their lives and home forever, now ages 5 and 8.

    Linda lives for her children, most days driving them the 25 miles to school herself. While the children are in school, Linda finds time to volunteer. When not working in her children’s classroom, she is also a volunteer member of the National Assistants League of Everett, Kitty Young Auxiliary, which is for Working Women, volunteering for several philanthropic projects. Among the many projects, Linda donates time to the NW Regional Learning Center for disenfranchised teens, and one of Linda’s favorites, Operation School Bell where Linda is basically a personal shopper, helping match up needy children in Snohomish County with appropriate school clothes and basic supplies.

    2 years ago when health prevented Linda’s mom from living at home anymore, Linda moved her father (now 83!) in to live with her.

    Hard economic times have forced Linda and her husband to have to weigh their expenses, through no fault of their own. They had built their dream house out of sweat equity and are raising their family there. Unfortunately, just prior to the economy crashing, they put their house as collateral and built an investment home, in an effort to further secure their financial future. The colossal drop in value of both homes has caused them to risk loosing their investments and their financial future. Linda is always exploring new ways to expand her photographic abilities to offer a means to provide for her family. She is working tirelessly to build a clientele to help ensure her family’s security.

    Linda could greatly benefit from a weekend of renewal. She got her first camera when she was 11 and I would love to see her advance and succeed. She is always doing for others and deserves a break for herself! In case you are wondering, I know she is available and I will gladly watch her children for her if her husband wants!

    As Linda has blessed all who know her, I would love the blessings be returned!! Thank you for your consideration 🙂