Thanks for popping by. I want to let you know that at this time, all of my energies online are now being spent on my breast cancer blog/journal at brendajohima.CA … I am also very active on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
This brendajohima.com website has had to take a backseat (temporarily) until I am well again.
I got diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2014, and just today, I completed my 4th and final round of chemotherapy. YAY! It has been a rough road, but I have been surrounded by tons love from people online, and social media support has been incredible. I have been shown the kindest people online, and the best of humanity possible. I am extremely grateful.
I have a long ways to go yet, in fund-raising (I haven’t worked since April and have been advised I am still unable to work at this time) and also a long ways to go in treatment. Next, I have 3 weeks of recovery from chemotherapy, and then I commence radiation for almost 4 weeks. Then hormonal therapy.
Then begins the real healing and recovery, getting my energy and stamina back, building back my physical fitness, and beginning to look for a job and to create revenue again. A move away from Fanny Bay is in the works also. A BIG set of changes coming up. Overwhelming, and Exciting.
So please join me at brendajohima.CA and support my breast cancer journey if you can? Also there is a YouCaring fundraising site set up by friends. If you can spare even $5.00, it all adds up and DOES make a difference. I need to get though at least to the end of 2014, and ideally, to include January 2015 financially. THANK YOU to all of you who have already donated funds. I am extremely grateful for anyone who has donated any amount.
I am working on this brendajohima.com artist and photographer website in the background, re-building it as a smorgasbord of multi-talents. I am also working on johima.CA as a pure photography portfolio only.
But my main priority is to KICK Out Breast Cancer! Forever! … and to get well and to THRIVE.
Sending my Love,
I’ve been up since 4 AM. I’ve learned to go with the flow with insomnia.
I write, plan, think, meditate, contemplate, look at my day ahead. I always get great ideas at 4 AM, or reminders of things I wanted to do but haven’t tried yet.
Sooooo, today, I’m looking forward to trying out a new-to-me, photo-art technique just for fun. I learned about it many years ago but just haven’t got around to doing it.
Today feels like the right day. Thank you 4 AM.
“The morning garden heals me, with colour dripping wet.”
I let a bunch of other competitive “professional” photographers (in an organization) squash me, silence me, crush me. I regret that. I got bullied. I took less and less photos. I went into hiding. I quit. I let friends and family tell me I could not be a photographer. I broke their hearts by taking better images. I got bullied. I listened. I could not handle breaking the dreams of others who had wanted to pursue photography but didn’t. I quit. I let a group of dog trainers and dog professionals gossip and try to destroy my dog photography Facebook page and phoDOGraphy business. They spread the word in a small town that I cost too much. (I had charged too little and went broke doing so). I quit. I got cancer. I immediately changed all my social profiles and removed “photographer” and “iPhoneographer” and “travel photographer” (wanna be). I couldn’t see how I could travel and be a photographer on the road and have cancer and be in treatment. I quit.
All this crazy thinking and shrinking thinking smaller behaviours and quitting to please others has lead me to …
Today. Lesson learned. I begin again.
xxoo Brenda Johima
I have a new opinion of what a “professional” photographer (which I have never called myself) is … they don’t bully other “wanna-be’s” as they call it, into submission. They encourage, they motivate, they inspire, they remember where they came from when they began, they know that their words and actions displayed to those starting out, ARE their brand and affect their own reputation. They know that anybody may refer them work and clients … even possibly the “wanna be” that they bullied.
It’s been over a year since I have posted to this blog.
I told myself that I would never be a blogger who blogs just because you are “supposed” to.
Writing … and life, has to have meaning for me, and … especially if you are putting it out to the entire world to read.
So I have waited and waited for something to light enough fire under me that I felt it was worth writing about. It was a long, long break.
Now, I write again. It’s time.
I’ll be blogging about my breast cancer journey over here: brendajohima.CA (note the .ca)
I’ll be back to fill you in on what’s upcoming on this website! This space will remain a creative smorgasbord for all that I do … I write, I paint, I speak and teach, and make photos with mobile devices (mostly iPhone) and also my big girl cameras, my DSLR’s. My focus and niche, is 150% whatever I am immersed in, at the moment, and I love it that way!
For the purists who only want to view my photography, I’m launching a separate portfolio website where you can view and purchase images.
Stay tuned, and I’ll be back soon!
(Warning: Those who know me well, know that I don’t post nasty or negative posts online, ever, however, this story and incident in my life broke my heart SO much, I want you to know about it. I also so strongly believe that the public must be warned about this, so I am posting this one and only post, which I DO hope saves others from getting their hearts broken like I did)
So here we go. But What is the Good News? The Happy News? Happy Birthday!
May 18th, Xena the (black merle moyen) poodle was born. May 18th, 2013, today, she’s one year old. HAPPY Birthday Xena!
You are in my heart forever and always. I miss you deeply.
I’m not one to give up dogs. Ever.
Dogs are forever to me, and that is how Xena came to my home, as my forever dog, who would only go back to the breeder, IF and when she MIGHT be bred, only after the age of 2, after health testing was to be completed by the breeder. This type of arrangement in the purebred dog world is called “fostering” or a “guardian” program. I hadn’t heard about it before, until I fell in love with Xena.
I am warning the public to NOT participate in these “foster” programs with (un) “professional” breeders of purebreds for profit.
This beautiful little girl Xena, came to live with me on August 27, 2012, and she changed my life for the better. I got out more, became more social, exercised a ton more, was happier and I was filled with JOY. Yes, that’s how much she did change me and my life.
Sadly, not by my choice, I had Xena for only a short few months.
I worked from home, so Xena was with me 24/7 and I trained her on every command possible, at her young age, socialized her to the max, took her to new and different places every day. EVERYBODY loved Xena. She got all the walks any dog/pup could dream of, and lived in paradise. We went to puppy obedience class, I taught her to scramble up and over and along long logs on the beach. She LOVED agility, climbing on anything. I gave her, her start, making sure she was safe, with no big jumps … letting her run along the big logs, and gently lifting her to the ground, over and over again. She loved this game. Her natural wooded back yard forest was an agility practice spot for her. She could run like the wind. The safety and security of Fanny Bay (no vehicle access) allowed us the perfect place to practice long distance recall/come commands. She LOVED doing this. I think she had wheels for legs she was SO FAST.
This blog post is to celebrate and to acknowledge Xena for the time I had her in my life, so I will make this next part short.
Long story short, I took her to my veterinarian to get a (possible) serious health concern that I noticed, addressed. (I witnessed what looked like head tremors) My veterinarian recommended further (neurological) testing. As I was under contract with the breeder, I had to let her know that Xena had been to the vet and further testing was recommended.
What happened next?
Shockingly, instead of allowing me to work with my own veterinarian, the breeder demanded I deliver Xena to her immediately, so she could take her to her own vet.
I thought I would get Xena back after she got checked out by her veterinarian. The breeder literally took Xena from my arms in Horseshoe Bay, and I have never seen Xena again. (until the breeder posted on her website 2-3 weeks later as a “future Mom to be.”)
She even had the nerve to post photos of Xena on the breeders website after I had PAID a professional groomer for a groom of Xena out of my own pocket. Then they post her as a “future Mom to be” … all fluffed up in a show stance, stacked.
I fully expected Xena would be coming back to my home, after being examined by the breeders veterinarian, as I had a contract to keep Xena as my forever dog (other than times to be away from me for possible breeding).
The breeder breached my contract and unfortunately I did not have funds to pursue legal action, which I would have … THAT is how much I loved, and still love, this dog. She removed her from a loving home without just cause. Fact.
My heart was broken in a million zillion pieces, and will I ever get over it? Not likely ever. Will I move on and move forward? Of course. We all must. But the bond, our forever bond, cannot be taken away. Although I have loved all of my dogs deeply, once in a lifetime, a “soul dog” comes into your life. Xena was, is that for me.
I never, never, never gave up Xena in a million years. She was taken back from me by a breeder against my will 🙁
I miss you little Xena.
P.S. The moral of this story? I am a very very smart woman, and I got scammed. I made a very painful and heartbreaking choice (mistake) to get involved with a purebred breeders “foster” program. These programs are very different than saving the life of a foster rescue dog. I support that.
I now do not ever support, or recommend that anyone take part in purebred dogbreeder “foster” or “guardian” programs. I foot the bill for all medical and veterinary costs, and food and crates and toys, vaccinations, the works (hundreds of dollars) which I had nooooo problem with. Anyone with a pet knows that it is part of owning a pet. However, Xena was presented to me as my “forever” dog and my contract was breached by the breeder. This means, I paid all of those costs, am out of pocket, but more importantly, I lost a true love. If I were rich? Absolutely I would have done anything in my power to get little Xena back.
So here is the moral of the story. If you love dogs as much as I do, and don’t want your heart broken as happened to me, I am warning the public to avoid these types of breeder “foster” programs, which are based on profit, and the breeder owning more dogs than they can deal with on their own property, and it is not based on LOVE.
*** I also REGRET sharing so many cute photos and videos with the breeder while Xena was in my care. I did so, because I LOVED her and wanted to show off everything we did together, Xena and I, and all the daily training I was doing with her, and did with her. When I saw Xena as a puppy, I wanted Xena not only for her personality, cutes, and I was in LOVE with her, but I wanted an agility dog, and obedience dog, and was so looking forward to participating and competing in agility and obedience with little Xena once she was old enough, bones and joints developed.
I REGRET sharing videos, especially one video, where I took Xena out into Fanny Bay to train her offleas on a long distance “come” command, and she could RUN LIKE THE WIND … I am pretty sure that the breeder saw dollar signs and ribbons in her eyes, and ever since that video, things were never the same. So if you see videos and photos of Xena out there, yes, mine, up to the age of 9 months old. I took them. Xena was in my home living with me, forever, I thought 🙁
Xena was just built to be a champion. I knew that … well then … breeder should NOT have given her to me and to my heart, only to take her away for her own selfish use, instead of for the LOVE I was giving Xena in my home.
Would it have mattered to me if she were a champion agility / obedience / show dog or not? NO. Of course not, I was, am in LOVE with this dog. Xena was PURE LOVE.
Guess who Xena is competing with in agility and more? Yes, in the breeders care. What a HORRIBLE and cruel breeder, incredibly selfish, all out for money, ribbons, trophies and glory, rather than keeping with legal agreements made. *** (p.s. you will never find me calling people horrible or cruel online, but there are no other words, so I give myself permission this one time, to use words that are fitting, for a person, a breeder of such poor character to remove a soul dog from my home. IF there were a good reason and legal that she removed her, I would never be posting this blog post, ever)
*** I hope that by sharing this with the public, that I save someone else the heartbreak that I went through.***
P.S. What did I LOVE? What do I LOVE about Xena? Everything!
She was the sweetest doll of a pup, in looks and in temperament. She had these big eyes that would look right into me, melt my heart. She had the most unique coat of colours that I LOVED as an artist. I LOVED brushing her and grooming her, and taking her to the groomers also, for a multitude of styles and looks. Xena LOVED everybody. Everybody LOVED Xena. Everywhere I went. She was eager to greet people of all ages and sizes, good with all other dogs (she was even used as the demo dog in puppy class) … what I LOVED most, is Xena made me feel SO HAPPY. We went everywhere together. She could run like the wind, she also was soooooo sweet, all curled up in a tiny ball when she would sleep. She was the FIRST dog I actually let sleep on my bed! Yes, when I was growing up, no dogs were allowed on the bed. I kept Xena clean, and she didn’t shed or have any odor … but most importantly, I LOVED being close to her. She loved being up on the big bed with me.
I cried buckets. I was in shock. I was shocked. I grieved for a long time, I slipped into a horrible depression after the loss of Xena. I cried on and off for weeks. I still tear up. It was one of the worst things I have ever been through. Also the worst? The breeder to this day, has lacked the courage to speak with me on the phone or in person. She simply took the dog. Poof!
Once in a lifetime, we meet a SOUL DOG. Xena, is that, my soul dog. I’ll miss you always, Xena. You are in my heart forever. You’ve always got a home back here with me. Yeah, I still hope for that. I would take you back in a heartbeat, no matter what. xxoo P.S. Teddy would love you too. You would have a great buddy in Teddy, my new dog. He’s a sweetie too.