A change in the seasons and in life

Wind and fall color_Staats 7154We are in the glorious midst of fall – the change of seasons from summer to winter.  One day we have bright sunshine and the next day is cool and cloudy, and throughout them all the colors of our landscape continue to change.  So too I’m reminded of the changes in our lives.  It was a year ago that my father passed away and that was a change I was not prepared for.  But I’ve come to realize that change is the one constant in life.  With three deaths in the family, a change in jobs, a kitchen remodel, and a different car, I sometimes wonder if I recognize my life anymore.  But I’ve learned something with each change, and I know that the best way to honor my father is to live the values that he helped to instill in me.  He laid the basis for my sense of adventure and my joy in being outdoors in nature – two of the traits I enjoy so much in my photography.  As I was photographing this slough the air would be still, and then the wind would come up.  It caused the water to ripple across the surface and the cattails to dance in front of me.  The movement and the colors of the trees were all a glorious celebration of change.

Life lessons learned from a death

Swans in the sun 52836_StaatsThis past week has been a time of reflection.  The sudden and untimely death of my sister-in-law has remained fresh in my mind.  I appreciate all the comments and emails, the cards of concern, and the thoughts and prayers;  they’ve been helpful and comforting.  I’ve struggled with what lessons I can learn from this death and many things have come to mind:  (1) live a full life, each and every day, (2) plan for tomorrow, but live today, (3) don’t take anything or anyone for granted, (4) say “I love you” to the people you love, (5) extend a prayer of gratitude each morning for the grace of seeing the sun rise on yet another day.  I have a magnet that I have kept on the refrigerator door for the past 15 years.  So many days I don’t even notice it, but the words ring so true now:  “Live with intention.  Walk to the edge.  Do what you love.  Live as if this is all there is.”  – Mary Anne Radmacher

Thanks to my father

Dad & me 1960_StaatsHappy Father’s Day to my dad.  I’m so fortunate that he’s been one of my biggest supporters throughout my life.  This photo from 1960 brings back memories of love, caring, adventures, and great times.   He was the one that built a great playhouse for me, complete with French doors.  And he was the one that bought the old upright piano that I first took lessons on, and even took the time to strip all the paint off and refinish it.  Dad took me ice skating, developed my love of the outdoors through camping and fishing, took me canoeing, and even bought me a horse when I was a young teenager.  My dad persevered with me trying to overcome my barrier to math story problems; for hours he kept his patience and worked with me until finally the light bulb went off in my head. So many experiences I’ve had, and so many lessons I’ve learned from Dad, and continue to do so even today.  Happy Father’s Day, Dad – and thanks for helping to shape me into the woman I am today!

Thanks to my mother

Mom and me 1960_StaatsIt’s Mother’s Day and I’m thinking of my mother;  how lucky I’ve been to have her in my entire life, even today.  I look at this photo from 1960 and I can see her love, her support, her caring, and her pride.  I’m guessing it was Easter-time because of the frilly dress and hat and patent-leather shoes.  What were my mother’s dreams for me?  And have I lived up to those?  I’m living a full life, surrounded with family and friends.  I’ve had my mis-steps in life like everyone and I’ve managed to pick myself up and keep going, learning in the process.  I’ve gone to school to be educated and I’ve learned life lessons outside of the classroom that I’m carrying with me each day.  I’m developing the artistic heritage that my mother has passed down to me; her artwork inspires my photography and her sewing lessons (along with those of both my grandmothers) have carried through to my quilting and even into my photography.  I approach each day with a positive attitude, open to the possibilities of great and beautiful things that can happen.  Her love has remained steady and she’s one of my biggest fans and supporters.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom – today and everyday!