Posted in nature, Oklahoma, Photography

Adding Beauty to Life

What can you do today to add more beauty to your life? 

That question was posed to me this morning while journaling. One of the ways I find beauty is through photographs. The photos below were taken early this foggy Autumn morning.

I love how the leaves burst with color. The fog provides an eerie glow in the background.

Fall Morning (2 of 1)
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

I am the first to admit that what I capture through the camera lens cannot compare with what I see with my eye. With a little editing using Adobe Lightroom, however, I can come close.

Fall Morning (3 of 1)
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last nearly long enough and life gets to busy too really enjoy it. Now that it is November,  there won’t be many more days before the weather turns cold and the leaves turn brown and drop.

 

Fall Morning (1 of 1)
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

I hope you find a little beauty in your life today, no matter where you are.

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Posted in CFFC, Photography, Travel

CCFC – The Letter J

It’s Saturday morning and although I have a million things I need to do, I took some time to have a little fun with Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. This week is Letter J. The rules are the photo subject must be least 6 letters long. The “J” can be anywhere in the word, and using an adjective to extend the length of the word is perfectly OK. I had lots of ideas but couldn’t find time to photograph so I had to settle for some vacation photos. There is always next week.

Many thanks to Cee’s Photography for providing the opportunity to play around with photography in a creative way.  If you are interested in joining Cee’s Letter Challenge, check out this link Challenge

My first ‘J’ photo is Alligator Jaws. This was taken in Belize. 

Alligator Jaws

The next “J” is beautiful Jamaica. This was taken from the top steps of Rose Hall, the home of the famous ‘White Witch of Rose Hall’. 

Jamaica (1 of 1)

My last ‘J’ is Juneau, Alaska and the Mendenhall Glacier.

Glacier Juneau (1 of 1)

 

 

Posted in Just what I think, Oklahoma, Photography

Slowing Down

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Photo credit: Susan Spaulding.

I remember a family vacation when my children were young. We were traveling from Oklahoma to Colorado and about three miles down the road, a small  voice from the backseat asked, “Are we there yet?” At the young age of five, my son had already learned to focus on the end result. Patience was not his virtue

This is expected of children; they don’t have a good concept of time or how long things take. They lack experience, which is the building block of judgement. Over time they learn basic truths about time, such as the school year is too long and summer is too short;

We adults know better, except when it comes to change. We understand change takes time but we don’t have the patience to see it through. Our five year old self questions how long it will take. We tire of the questions, so we give up.

How we view time is part of the problem. In Western cultures, time is viewed chronologically as a straight line.  It reminds me of a Gantt chart:  we plot our lives from birth to death, with milestones in between.  Other cultures view time as Kairos; things happen at the right or opportune moment. Time is circular, which means no more missed opportunities. Life will present what we need, when we need it.

One of my mentors, James Clear, says that when we decide to change we should not focus on the end result but rather on the process itself. For example, most of us focus on the scale when we attempt to lose weight and can become very disappointed when the scale doesn’t move. Instead, our focus should be on doing the things that will lead to weight loss: tracking what we eat, tracking our exercise, checking in daily with ourselves or others. If we place our focus on what we need to do, we will eventually get the results we desire.

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

The ancient concept of detachment is one I have been trying to embrace, especially in my writing. In the past, when others did not find what I wrote excellent or inspiring, I would get discouraged. Now, I release my writing and ideas into the world and do my best to let go of how and when they are received. I’m not perfect at this but I strive to be better.

 

 

At five years old, my son (and I am sure myself) were impatient for life’s next great adventure to arrive. At 60, I am more content to take life a little slower and let the adventure unfold on its own. Life will give me what I need, when I need it.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit   

 

all photos are the property of Susan Spaulding and cannot be reproduced without permission.

 

 

 

Posted in CFFC, Oklahoma, Photography

Cee’s Foto Fun – The Letter E

This week is Letter E – Needs to have two E’s in the topic word (needle, elephant, geese, peek, jeep, eye, etc.).  For my photo subject, I chose  ‘Weeds’. A weed is any wild plant that grows in unwanted areas. We do have a lot of weeds in our yard but some like the ones below add a natural beauty. So maybe they aren’t really weeds after all.  

WRP2 (3 of 5)
© Susan Spaulding

I am not sure what the one above is; below is the dandelion weed. Every child’s favorite.

WRP2 (5 of 5)
© Susan Spaulding

The next one is the remains of Black Eye Susan’s. They bloomed in late summer but are starting to die now.

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© Susan Spaulding

This one is called White Prairie Aster

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© Susan Spaulding

This one is a type of foxtail.

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© Susan Spaulding

 

Posted in Just what I think, Photography

Unanswered Question

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photo credit: Susan Spaulding

I wonder who I would be if I were not someone’s wife, mother, sister, friend, employee? Who am I, in the purest sense?

These were questions Eve asked herself one quiet morning as she sipped coffee from a mug with the words World’s Greatest Mom barely visible from the many cycles in the dishwasher.

She listened for an answer.

She heard the ticking clock on the mantel and the silent hum of the refrigerator.

With a heavy sigh, Eve went upstairs and woke her children up for school.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

This story was also posted on my sister blog My Million Words.  

Here, I ask the questions philosophically… who are we when we remove the masks from the roles we play?

There, it is just a flash fiction.

Take your pick.

 

 

Posted in Oklahoma, Photography

Oklahoma Spring

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In spite of my splitting headache due to either allergies or a sinus infection, Oklahoma spring is almost here and I am glad.  Dingy browns from dead leaves and barren ground is being replaced with pops of color from blooming redbud trees and yellow jonquils. The days are mildly warm and with the change to daylight saving time, longer as well. A perfect excuse to get out there and enjoy life.  I am ready for spring cleaning, resuming my diet and exercising more. I want to take day trips, sleep outdoors and catch fish.

Spring does come with its share of risks. Lack of winter rain and hot days are the perfect combination for wildfires and strong thunderstorms can spawn killer tornados. But Okies are resilient when it comes to nature. We pick ourselves up and start all over again.

I am concerned that our state budget is in such bad shape that our legislature will actually close down 13 of our State parks. The park system provides a wonderful way for families to enjoy the outdoors, free of charge in most cases. I can’t imagine the savings from closed parks is going to do much to solve our budget woes.

One of the things I enjoy during the spring is yard sales and the Farmer’s market. The Farmer’s market is a great way to support local business and get something good to eat in return. Yards sales are just fun. It’s like rummaging though my grandparents old sheds when I was a kid. They kept everything.

Spring doesn’t last long in Oklahoma. Soon it will turn too hot to really enjoy being outdoors. Unless you like standing in front of an oven door, because that is what it feels like on hot windy days.  All the more reason to enjoy spring.

 

Posted in nature, Photography, Photography 101

Triumph (Day 20)

1-DSCF5571-001Participating in Photo 101 has given me a new perspective on photography. Gone are the days of a non-thinking ‘point and shoot’ mentality. Going forward, the photos I take will be more thoughtful and deliberate. Although I wasn’t able to create a new photo for every assignment, just going through my old photos with a specific theme in mind helped me see them in a new light.

In contrast to my old self , I triumphed by not giving up on this class on the days when I could not go out and photo something new; by not putting this off because there was something more important (and less challenging) to do; by giving this my best shot and  putting myself and my photos “out there” for comment.

I also triumphed by finally getting a photo of a woodpecker that frequents my bird feeder.