Hard To Find

This week, I got a chance to teach my daughter about how changing our thoughts can help us be better people. 

She was angry that a boy she once had a crush on (& later rejected for asking her to lie and sneak around to date him) called her an inappropriate name at school. Instead of confronting the problem, she displaced her aggression by lashing out at her sisters & me. She later told me it wasn’t fair that she couldn’t date like her friends (& this situation could have been avoided had she been allowed. I told her if that’s how he treated her for saying no, he needs to learn more about how to treat people & she deserves better) or pierce her nose & she kept focusing on what she didn’t have & how I’m mean. At the same time, my mom told me she lost $20 on the street. I told her it was no big deal. My daughter asked me how could it not be a big deal, we lost money & money is always tight @ Christmas. I told her that we have a home, our bills are paid, we have a loving family, friends are coming over for our annual Xmas party & life is good. It’s only money & the person who found that $20 might need it far more than we do. I told her when life gets hard, we always focus on what we have, not what we don’t. 

I felt the same when my ex husband ignored my text asking him when he wanted me to book his flight here to visit for March Break. I offered him an all expenses paid flight to visit, accommodations, food & spending money in exchange for him to spend a week with the girls as I was taking a long overdue vacation that week. I later found out from a friend who shares mutual friends that he wasn’t coming because he can’t afford it (even though I offered to pay for EVERYTHING) & he was bitter that I was going away and he’s struggling financially. Instead of seeing the opportunity to spend time with the kids he hasn’t seen in six months, he focused on the thing that he doesn’t have, the chance to go on vacation. Forget that our financial situations are different; I work, he doesn’t. I have a full time job that offers a great salary and commission structure and a second job freelancing that boosts my income. This allows me the opportunity to save up to go. This also allowed me to offer him a chance to spend time with the girls, but the focus on what he didn’t have cost him that opportunity.

My life is not perfect, but I have so much good going for me; wonderful kids, a loving partner, awesome friends that are all over Canada & the world, a talent I am proud of & a commitment to getting my fitness goals met. I have a job & a home. Many don’t have these things. So, when life gets super sucky, I choose to find positives. If I waste my time focusing on what I don’t have, I’ll never be happy. I want to own my own home, Seth Rollins to be my crossfit coach, and a unicorn. I want to work for Rolling Stone. I want to eat all the things & never get fat. But if I waste my life on what I can’t have, I’ll never enjoy what I do have. 

Like I told my kid, you can’t let what you don’t have spoil all the good. I used to do that & I was miserable. Now, I won’t sweat small things & I’ll commit myself to finding my wins, whether it’s that I made it to the gym on a day I had no energy or I made $200 in commission, I would rather focus on good things. That’s why when my last night shift of the week was an epic clusterf***, I chose to tell my kids that one of the managers I’m friendly with told my beau that my night was awful & he got up out of bed to drive me home to make me smile. When you focus on celebrating what life has blessed you with instead of what sucks, life blesses you with more good. I couldn’t possibly ask for more, life is good to me…well, maybe that unicorn. 

The lesson may not have sunken in yet, but if I keep walking my talk, maybe it will. I can show her how not to let harmful words influence her by not letting them influence me. I can show that we don’t need to worry about what we don’t have by doing it myself. And then hopefully, she’ll teach her own daughter to be grateful for every day, because the world needs more kindness & always will. 


The 2013 30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 26

Day 26: Name one popular notion that you think the world has wrong.

That people are too damaged to be loved.

Everyone says that. “Oh, they have too much baggage,” “they’re too messed up,” et al. I don’t believe that.

I think too often we cast aside some of the finest people in the world because they have baggage, they struggle. People suffer from depression, etc. Why do we then isolate these people and cut them out of our lives because “they’re damaged?”

We’re all damaged in one way or another and we shouldn’t stop caring about someone because they’re damaged. If anything, we should love them even more to show them that the things that make them feel “broken” don’t affect that you care.

I have a friend who’s son struggles with mental illness and she has made more sacrifices than anyone I know to make sure that he is cared for, but she has always been sure to draw him closer with love. In fact, that’s how she cares for everyone; with love. I would rather love someone 10 times more when they’re struggling, when they can’t handle things, when they’re gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles and can’t handle things than make them handle those times alone. Perhaps if they knew someone would understand and care enough to want to listen to them, maybe even support them, maybe they wouldn’t feel so damaged anymore and more people with mental illness would feel comfortable going to get help.

When someone has a physical ailment, we help them, but when they’re psychologically ailing or even just struggling emotionally sometimes, we pushed them away. We need to erase the stigma of mental illness so that people feel comfortable talking and we need to love people when they’re at their worst, so they can be their best.

Naturally if someone is abusive or hateful, then yes, you need to step back. But if someone just struggles or has emotional baggage, that’s not a good reason to leave them behind. If they have mental health struggles, that’s not a good reason either. If anything, you’ve validated their self loathing!

People are not disposable. We need to open up our hearts more, love more, protect more and not make people feel unworthy.

Reblogged: Teaming with No H8!

This is the article that I wrote about Andrew Freij & the No H8 campaign!


By: Mary-Helen Clark

Andrew Freij is more than just a pretty face, he wants to make a difference.

For many American young people, their 21st birthday is an excuse to imbibe to excess, and cause mayhem. But for the Livonia native, it was an opportunity to speak out for a very important cause.  The actor and model teamed up with the NO H8 campaign to support same sex marriage as well as LGBT rights and went on tour, visiting various cities across Canada and the US to promote tolerance.

“I didn’t want to go out and party, I wanted to support a cause,” Freij said. 

“I have so many friends in the gay and lesbian community and I wanted to support them. My ultimate goal in life is to use my career to change something, I want to make a difference and the No H8 Campaign is just the…

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Safe & Sound

“People where you live,” the little prince said, “grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for…

They don’t find it,” I answered.

And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water…”

Of course,” I answered.

And the little prince added, “But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”

One of my favourite books in the entire world is Le Petite Prince. One of my goals is to add an English and French copy to my book collection.

It reminds me of a very simple time in my life, when my young self read the French novella as part of a school project & I often told a dear friend that I needed her to “Dessine-Moi un mouton.”

The imagery speaks to me & I would say 80% of my blog’s ideals & content comes from this little French book (well, also Burton, random quotes on the Internet, ads on eBay, et al). Chances are, if I’ve sat & waxed about life, the search for happiness, etc. I’ve probably been reading this book…again.

I often speak of the heart knowing what’s best for us, which is the lesson found in Le Petite Prince

(Spoilers ahead)

The prince falls deeply in love with the rose, who seemingly rejects him, as she is quite vain. The prince travels to many planets & learns the lesson that men often lead hard lives & prefer to live alone and desolate. Finally, the prince learns from a fox that while his beloved rose seemed so common & pointless to the world, he had “tamed” his beautiful rose, loved & protected her & that’s what made her so special. His love for her made her special. It wasn’t until the Rose’s vain & flippant nature drove the prince to leave that she realized her true love for the Prince & was heartbroken that she felt her actions had forever cost her the person that made her whole.

“In those days, I didn’t understand anything. I should have judged her according to her actions, not her words. She perfumed my planet and lit up my life. I should never have run away! I ought to have realized the tenderness underlying her silly pretensions. Flowers are so contadictory! But I was too young to know how to love her.”

I guess it always struck a nerve with me that the prince saw something so amazing in such a common…thing. It was so beautiful, that someone could love despite countless rejections & be hurt so frequently, but his pure love remained. There must be some comfort in knowing that regardless of how common, or normal, or flawed, or vain, that someone finds you loveable. There must be some sense of joy in knowing that while the rest of the world sees you as simply a common…thing, one person sees you as their rose. While the Prince clearly loved his rose far more than she him, she truly did love the Prince. However, she allowed her vanity, her want to be admired by many, her inability to apologize for her hurtful nature push him away. When she was forced to finally face a life without the Prince loving her, even from afar, she was broken, even though no matter where he went, the Prince still loved her.

Because in the end, it was the Prince’s love that made her special, that brought out the good. This inspires most of my thoughts on love, what we look for, the idea that its the actions we focus on, not the words, as words contain so many lies, but actions are rooted in fact. You search for what you need, no matter how hard you pretend it isn’t true. Much like the Prince desperately tries to escape his beloved through running, meeting the Fox, his responsibility to her never waned & he always sought her out, humans always go back to the thing that makes us truly whole, even though we deny it. I guess it’s kind of funny that I have taken so many ideals from a children’s book, but perhaps the best lessons are childlike. Perhaps we should all look for our Petite Prince, who ignores our commonness, our vanity, our overall suckiness & simply sees the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen. Because once we have it, we’ll always long for it, as truthfully, we’ll know that’s what makes us whole.

“I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings.”

But, that’s me, the girl who takes all of her important thoughts on relationships from Burton films, French novellas & other random places. I guess I shall always just enjoy that sort of whimsy. For I don’t want to become one of the dreaded grown ups the snake warned me about:

“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.”


The 30 Days of Truth List

I like to steal ideas from Nikki. It’s cool for me.

Seriously though, this might be a good blogging project. It would give me a chance to write something new every day & maybe gain more insight. Maybe people will learn something new. Who knows. But I’ll start this March 1/12!

Mister Mama, Sir

I saw this blogging challenge over at Cogito Ergo Blog and found it really interesting – so I’m going to jump right in and have at it! Like Nate said, it is supposed to be something done consecutively for 30 days but I’m basically just going use it as filler and to inspire some posts between regular blog posts.

I’m going to link back to all of them here – feel free to play along!

Day 01 : Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 : Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 : Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 : Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 : Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 : Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 : Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 : Someone…

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Gleecap 09/28: Its Brittany B*tch!

Glee’s second season continues to hit the right notes.

(spoiler alert! If you missed Glee, stop reading now)

The Britney themed episode continued to move the storylines forward while keeping up the comedy. Spears’ influence was nuanced through the power of nitrous oxide, providing some hilarity. Meanwhile, New Directions & it’s mentor Will Schuester continued to deal with their romantic entanglements.

1. The Only Exception. Rachel & Finn’s adorable romance hit a snag this week when Coach Bieste allowed him (& Artie) back on the football team. Rachel’s fear of Finn leaving her prompted her to issue an ultimatum & a test involving Quinn. After realizing that Finn truly loves our neurotic heroine, she issued an apology & a serenade.

Meanwhile, Will continued his attempts too woo back Emma, despite meeting her sexy (& quirky) dentist beau Carl. Carl helps Will try to loosen up, and all his attempts backfire…hilariously. When Emma tells him he’s great just being himself, Will sadly tells her that just being Will wasn’t good enough for her, causing a collective “awwww” from Gleeks everywhere. There may be hope for fans of this couple: Santana has set her sights on Carl & Santana seems to always get her man.

Artie’s attempts to win back Tina may have stalled thanks to a Britney “Stronger” fantasy & his acceptance to the football team. Artie’s newfound confidence may help him move on.

2. It’s Brittany… Glee’s favourite dimwit Brittany S. Peers came to terms with her fear of Britney Spears through some nitrous inspired Spears fantasies. Fans finally got to see what Brittany could do in a spoof of Spears’s biggest hits. Not only was Brittany smokin hot, but she held her own well. As Brittany’s confidence level grew, so did her demands; “I want all of the solos in glee club”.

High note: the random Britney Spears cameos. They were well placed & subtle. How many Britneys did YOU see?

Low note: Kurt’s divatude. I understand that it progressed the Spears Homecoming performance, but it was so out of character for Kurt to lash out at his mentor. Mercedes would have been a much better choice.

Song of the night: Stronger. Artie’s football themed fantasy was hilarious & well done. All the performances were top notch, but this out of the box solo was above the rest.

Brittany quote of the night: “Its like a Jew cloud.”


Today is my youngest daughter’s first birthday party. It is also of course the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

I have taken a great deal of flack for hosting her party today. Some tell me it’s disrespectful, others tell me it’s a just a day & who cares. Really it was just the only day both my husband & I had off but the situation has left me with a great deal of guilt.

9/11 is a funny sort of day. While other tragic events have become footnotes in history books, 9/11 still haunts us. The anniversaries of Pearl Harbour, Hiroshima, & even the Oklahoma City Bombing have been reduced to photos in a text book, a fact to help us answer questions on Jeopardy. The loss of life, the stories are all lost & we continue to remove ourselves from the sorrow that our fellow man felt on those days.

I guess I’m glad I feel guilty because it means I still care about the events of that day. I think we should always feel a little guilty because it helps remind us how lucky we are to be here & to share in moments like birthday parties, video games, a friendly laugh or a romantic moment with one’s significant other. By having that one second of empathy, we can keep the memory fresh in our minds. No one deserves to have their legacy relegated to a glossy page in a textbook or a Trivial Pursuit answer card. Let’s not allow another tragedy to become a footnote. Let us always feel A little pang before we celebrate so we can remember to remember.

How to Follow ASH!

I know what you’re thinking, “Wow…ASH Multimedia is pretty freakin’ sweet. How can I tell my friends/family/co-workers/pets/support group/fellow pilots about it?

Well, make sure you follow ASH Multimedia on Twitter (@ashmultimedia) or on Facebook (ASH Photography). If you have any questions, or would like to suggest a photo of the week or story idea, please e-mail @ ash.multimedia@yahoo.ca.


Hi everyone!

Welcome to the ASH Multimedia blog!

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Mary-Helen Clark-MacKinnon. I graduated from St Clair College’s Journalism program in 2006 and since then I have had my work featured in various magazines, including Canada Social, City Crow, Up Front and blogs like BlindinglyBoring. I work full time and sometimes I feel like I’m in the movie Office Space but Journalism has always been my passion, so I have decided to start this blog. While entertainment is my genre of choice, I won’t be afraid to comment on current events and hot button issues. Of course we are affiliated with ASH Photography, so every Sunday I will be showcasing the ASH photo of the week. I hope you find my random musings engaging and will take time out of your day to read what I have to say.

With that being said, Welcome to my world…please enjoy your stay!