September 21st, 2017
June 14th, 2015
This year is almost over! We are half way through 2015 and I am reflecting on the past six months.
Winter and Cold Winds
Winter has always meant cold to me. Windy, bone chilling cold.
Forget the advice of layering to stay warm. You can only put on so many clothes before you restrict movement. Just watch a toddler bundled up in a snow suit. We've all laughed or giggled when seeing that cute two year old staggering around and maybe even toppling, his fall being softened by a powdery drift. And then there's the struggle to get back up without being able to bend his knees or elbows so he just sort of rolls around.
Are you picturing it? Didn't you at least smile?
An Arctic Blast of 25-30mph sustained north winds, barreling across two miles of open water is bone chilling cold. The lack of resistance tends to cause an increase in the wind's speed and strength.
Forget about the water moderating the surrounding temperatures. That wind is whizzing along over the bay too quickly to pick up any warmth coming off that water.
You walk outside and it hits you in the face. Bone chilling, cold wind. Piercing through your skin then numbing it.
That's when I want to bundle up in a warm, insulating winter suit --- and not go outside again until spring.
No.really. That's how I feel in the winter. A Winter Hermit not wanting to come out from under the covers.
For some people cold is painful both physically and mentally. Physical ailments can include back pain from shivering and joint stiffness and pain. Mental ailments include depression and frustration.
Do you experience winter as bone chilling cold and a painful season?
Was this past winter any different for you than past winters?
For me this past winter was as cold as ever. It was as windy as ever. But it was different. It was painful but different. There was grief, frustration and depression. But it wasn't the same as past winters. The desire to bundle up in bed for months was overpowered by blessings and gratitude.
An attitude of gratitude DOES make a difference. It made a difference this winter.
This past winter brought love, encouragement, validation, and opportunities into my life and I am very grateful.
And now it's spring. It's almost summer. It's warm. It is even getting downright hot!
The cold floor on my bare feet is refreshing instead of chilling.
And I, for one, am grateful for that.
September 21st, 2017
Starting in October I was viewing many images of fall color from all over the country but I was not witnessing it firsthand. Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast we didn't start seeing any fall color coast wide until the middle of November. And yet we had three freezes during autumn, one of them being a hard freeze. The brightest foliage color was just emerging right before that hard freeze and then the best colors turned a dull brown. I guess you could say that fall fell.
It feels like the season has fallen in more ways than one. One of my news releases stated that I was wearing two hats. Well, the truth is that I wear many hats. I am a daughter, sister, cousin, friend, girlfriend, sister-in-law, aunt, wife, daughter-in-law, great aunt, photographer and most importantly a child of God.
When I tried to write a new bio for my website, I was thinking about how many work hats I have worn in my 29+ years on earth. My work hats have been that of a waitress, salesperson (retail, advertising, mobile homes and more), Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienist, Youth Group Director, Realtor, Custodian and Photographer. That's a lot of hats to wear considering many of those hats were and are worn at the same time. Whew! Just thinking about wearing all those hats can make you feel like you are in the Autumn Season of life.
Just like the turning leaves fall off the trees, one of my work hats fell off during this season. I made the decision this fall to put my real estate license on an inactive status. That will leave me more time, money and energy to spend on my photography. My artwork is no longer just a hobby. It is my new career. I know it will take time and relentless effort to become successful (financially) but I am willing to put in that effort because it is the one career path for me that is very emotionally and spiritually rewarding.
Fall is a whisper away anytime from the official beginning of autumn at the end of September to the middle of January. Even when the calendar says it is winter, fall peeks in from time to time with warm sunny days. Until the middle of January. And then it's winter.
Fall fell. Changes took place. Life goes on.
What's next? Winter!
Stay tuned to read about our Mississippi Gulf Coast Winter in my next blog.
Until then, stay warm, well and full of wonder at everything God has for us to experience in nature.
September 21st, 2017
We've all heard the saying that time flies when you're having a good time. That saying is partially right. But sometimes time flies even when you're not having a good time. Grieving is not having a good time.
My mother said that the older you get the faster time flies. My mother's words were totally right. Imagine that..admitting that your mother was 100% right. Big smile on my face right now.
We thought the winter would never end but spring came and went and then in an instant it was summer. We left Ohio in May, just as spring rushed in, full speed ahead. Happy Acres was awash with apple blossoms, lilacs and violets. We left in the midst of spring and came home to our southern summer.
But now it's over. Where did this summer go?
The commercial end of summer was Labor Day Week End. The meteorological end of summer is still two weeks away. But we don't need a calendar or a Labor Day sales paper to know that autumn is visibly right around the corner. All we have to do is look around us and notice what is happening in nature.
Dog days are over. We are still having oppressive heat during the day and the nights are humid. But the deciduous trees are already showing signs of color. A few Pelicans have come back to the Bay, cruising for food, perching on old pier posts to dry out and survey the meal situation. They will spend the winter in the Bay, bayous and marshes and will once again move out front to the sandy shore at the beach next spring. The dragonflies swarmed in August then virtually disappeared. I even saw two love bugs on the first day of September, one of the two months of the year that they swarm. These are all signs of the coming colder weather that nature shows us.
Both of my parents had a love of nature. They both gardened. They were good gardeners. They worked hard at it but didn't view their work as a chore. What I saw was two people working for the pleasure and beauty of gardening. We enjoyed delicious food grown in the vegetable garden and on the fruit trees and canned, frozen and cooked at home. There was greenery around the property even in the dead of winter from the purposefully planted Blue Spruce and spring through fall found Happy Acres awash with blooms.
I used to be a gardener. I haven't done that in many years, though. When we rebuilt and landscaped our property after Hurricane Katrina, we planted tree and shrub beds mulched with river rock. The only flowers growing on the property were crinum lilies that originally came from my mother-in-law's property and had survived the storm. No organically mulched flower beds like the ones I had planted and tended everywhere we've lived. No vegetables or fruit trees.
We have lived in different areas of the country over the years and we had collected flowers and shrubs from all of these areas. We would swap plants with my parents whenever we would visit. When I went back to Ohio in June to attend the auction of my mother's property, we dug up a few day lilies and brought them back to Mississippi. They were daylilies that I had previously brought from our property in Virginia and they had thrived under my mother's green thumb. When we dug them up the bloom stalks had just emerged. Re-planting didn't take place for many days and the plants were showing signs of extreme stress. But those blooms insisted on living even when the foliage dried up and died. And they bloomed. New foliage grew and new blooms opened.
What a blessing God bestowed on me through my parents love of nature and expertise in gardening. My outdoor plants have received better care this summer and my spirit is being healed by caring for them. I am not looking at nature through the lens of my camera as much as I am soaking it all into my inner being. There will be time to take photographs after I take care of more pressing needs. And even if there isn't time later to snap up photographs then I did what was most important these past few months.
Fall is right around the corner and it will provide different opportunities than these past three seasons of this year for both my personal and professional life.
Let's hope I don't go crazy again!
September 21st, 2017
My mother died.
I went a little crazy.
Just about the time the daffodils bloomed with a vengeance, the grass turned green and grew towards the sun and the lilac bushes budded out, my mother passed away. She missed it. She missed the warmth of the sun on her skin. She missed the smell of the freshly turned field up the hill from her house. She missed the fragrance and beauty of the lilac bushes in full bloom and a lonely tulip next to the porch bravely saluting spring.
I didn't miss it. I soaked it up like I never have before. I lived on that property for three years when I was a teenager before we moved south. I have never liked the house. I hate that house. But it is the most gorgeous piece of God's earth in that part of Ohio. The geography as well as the plantings on that property clearly show the difference of the four seasons, as opposed to our southern slip from one season to the next. I love that property. I have always loved that property. I had forgotten how beautiful it is there.
The day after my mother died we cleaned house, put the leaf in the dining room table, the dining chairs in the living room and a bright white fancy tablecloth on the now extended table. We were ready for visitors. There was plenty of seating in the living room with a side or coffee table next to each chair so guests could set down a cup of coffee or glass of tea. There was plenty of room on the dining table for the food we assumed would be brought in. And I went a little crazy insisting on a freshly scrubbed kitchen floor to welcome everyone who would be entering from the back door, which is the main entry in my mother's old country house.
As I was picking daffodils to fill every vase I could find I discovered that Mother had several small patches of coral colored daffodils. Coral pink was one of her favorite colors. I lovingly filled the smallest but prettiest vase with those daffodils and set them in a prominent place on the dining room table.
The house was ready. We were not. Several of us went shopping, trying to find the right outfit for the viewings, the funeral and for Easter dinner, too. Most of us were there from other states. We had left our homes the month before with winter clothing. Spring brought warm days but the nights were still cold. Our outfits would need to serve us for both situations.
My mother died during Holy Week. Her funeral was not able to take place until after Easter. I had told my nieces when we were shopping and when we had been looking at her jewelry that I didn't do pink. But I went a little crazy. I wore one of my mother's short sleeved sweaters, her jacket and her earrings on Easter Sunday. All in pink. I wore her pink possessions in her honor and it turned out just fine. It seems I look okay in pink---even when I'm a little crazy.
The day after my mother died, two of her best friends came by with food. It was delicious and didn't last long. We were staying there at the house and family was thankfully, always coming and going. Except for two more dishes brought in by a family member that's all the food that was brought in. And except for neighbors and family there were no visitors. All the cleaning and preparations for guests were in vain. In hindsight it seems that most of the cleaning, splitting up, organizing and boxing up of possessions was mostly done in vain.
It makes me think about how much of what we do in life might be in vain. And that makes me a little crazy!
After Mother's funeral we tried to go through a lifetime of possessions, including a zillion photographs and news clippings. My mother saved them all. At first I was excited to see pictures I had sent her that I had lost in Hurricane Katrina and I put them aside to take home with me. But as the pile grew I was beginning to feel burdened. That feeling was overshadowed as I went further back in time and found photographs of my parents that I had never seen. Photographs of them in their teens and some of them as children. There was no doubt in my mind that I would be taking those pictures home to pour over while thinking about them and to scan and save for future generations.
The feeling of being burden didn't take long to return. Have you ever tried to sort through a pile of photographs for family members---a pile that was over eighty years in the making? There's a pile labeled children, grandchildren, mom, dad and the largest pile labeled multiples. Those are the pictures with two or more different people in them---the ones that would need to be copied or scanned so each person in the picture can have a copy of that photo. The more we separated photos the larger that pile became. The larger that pile became the more overwhelmed I became since I was the one who volunteered to be in charge of all the photographs. I was also the one staying at the house so I chose to be the one responsible for cleaning up, organizing and boxing up possessions. And because I am the only Realtor® in the family I was in charge of deciding how to market and sell the house and possessions. I'm afraid I took the easiest and quickest way by agreeing to an auction. I'm not sure it was the best decision but I can understand why I did that. I was on information, emotion and physical overload. I went a little crazy.
Going through my parents possessions felt like going through the debris fields after Katrina. At first it is amazing. Look! That survived. Look! I remember that from my childhood. But just like going through the debris field after the hurricane, going through a lifetime of saved possessions can begin to gnaw away at your sanity and sense of reality. We packed up and shipped things home and then filled my Jeep with more things. It didn't take long after getting home and trying to find space for all of those things before I realized that I had kept too many keepsakes. Now our house, as well as my mind was cluttered.
Spring arrived and took over the never ending winter.
We came home.
And it was summer.
All the trees that were barren when we left were completely leafed out. The spring flowers were gone and summer blooms were taking their place. In the time it took to drive a thousand miles everything was different. Everything--the season, the geography and the way of life. There was too much change in such a short span of time for me to be completely sane and normal.
I am still a little crazy.
September 21st, 2017
It's been quite a while since I've blogged. Life has gotten in the way and internet access is limited for me at this time.
The calendar says it's spring but it still feels like winter, both weather wise and emotionally. My mother is not well and never will be. It's still cold and it has even snowed here three times in the last few weeks. I've said this before: that I think God wants to remind me where I've come from and how blessed I am that HE put me in the south!
We are staying at my mother's house while visiting, 1000 miles away from our home, as we try to make a plan for her comfort. She has spring bulbs planted around the property and the ones along the house by the porch have been up through the mulch since we first arrived, several weeks ago. There are now flower buds showing. But three times in the past few weeks those green shoots were pushing up through snow.
Everything looks dead. The grass here is still dormant. The trees here are still barren. I imagine that there are at least leaf buds on many of the trees at home.
Everything looks old. Old schools. Old businesses. Old buildings. Old houses. Old people in the mirror!
There is a natural sequence to life. As babies we are helpless and need others to provide for our every need. Then as we grow and mature we learn to do more and more for ourselves and for others as well. As adults, our bodies and minds, wind down and sometimes wear out. And sometimes, even as adults, we need others to provide for our every need.
Babies don't realize that they need so much help from others because it's all they've ever known. But adults have known what it is like to take care of themselves and others. That's probably one thing that makes it so hard to age, to be elderly, possibly frail, weak and maybe even sickly. For some people it is more than they can handle --- to admit that they can't care for themselves.
Mirror, mirror on the wall. What the hell happened! It hasn't been that long ago that I was still a fine looking woman. The transformation has been too quick. I've gone from wrinkle free to full of wrinkles in a few short years. If that is what's happening on the outside then that aging must also be taking it's toll on the inside, too. Just like my mother.
I have been told I am in that season of life where classmates, as well as parents, are dying. I don't like this season very much. It's too much like winter. Cold. Barren. Cold.
However, the good news is that even in this barren coldness I have seen beauty. I have been documenting some of it with photographs. I have also been documenting my mother's good days with photographs to share with family and friends.
And what about our dog, Cookie? She is also getting older. And she has made this trip to the never ending winter with us. But she has been on vacation. An adventure of sorts. She has seen her first deer, cow, ground mole and snow. She doesn't like snow very much, actually she doesn't like snow at all. (Smile)
Cookie has kept us entertained and laughing. We have been blessed to watch her amazement of and reactions to these new creatures. She has also visited with Grandma in the rehab center. She growled at the nurses----not a wise thing to do, Cookie (Smile). But she has overwhelmed my mother with doggy sugar. What a blessing she has been in the past few weeks. Not once has she been a burden during this trip.
As I watch my frail mother sleeping, I think about these things.
I will try to keep my followers (all two or three of you!) updated again, at least by the end of this season---if it ever springs! Stay tuned..........
September 21st, 2017
December 31, 2013
It is almost a new year. A photography business started but not completely formed. New directions. New demands of time and energy. What will 2014 bring? It's a surprise! Stay tuned and we'll all find out as the new year unfolds before us............
January 4, 2014
With the help of a kind, patient nephew one more step has been completed in this new adventure. Thanks, Bruce!
January 19, 2014
The more things change the more they stay the same is an old saying that is true in some respects. But the changes at our home in the last two months are bringing even more changes than we expected.
I started the legal aspect of my photo business late last summer by forming my LLC and joining FAA. Plans were to devote all, if not most, of my time, money and energy to this new venture in 2014.
I have been taking pictures on and off since I was a teen but I started taking thousands of shots in the past several years after buying a digital camera. I bought the point and shoot camera because I became a Realtor® and needed to take pictures of my listings. I soon realized that God knew I would spend the money on a new camera and computer for my new career. In the process He re-sparked my passion for photography.
About a year into my new career I made the statement that I would quit real estate when I sold my first picture. Well, it didn't exactly happen like that. For several years I was focused on real estate and treated my photography as my hobby. All of my career plans changed in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina blew through, destroying our home and community. The majority of my time and energy was focused, first on survival and then on rebuilding our home and lives. All the while I was still taking pictures. It was a way to share my experience with my family and friends.
In 2013 real estate was basically "dead in the water" for me and I decided that I would devote 2014 to getting serious about a photography business. That all changed at the beginning of December when my husband was permanently laid off from his job. The plan of going inactive in real estate turned into joining a more active real estate firm and the plan to buy a more professional camera has been put on hold.
I have decided not to let that discourage me. I will continue to go through my files and upload the pictures that I have already taken. Ones that I like, the ones that friends and family have admired and maybe a few that I feel might appeal to others.
Okay.....I've started. Stay tuned!
September 21st, 2017
Did You Fall Back?
Daylight Savings Time.
Spring Forward or Fall Back.
Our clocks Fell Back an hour recently but what about our schedules? Do you feel like you have fallen back on your deadlines this year? I know I did.
I have been writing my blog seasonally but I haven't written a Spring into Summer or Summer into Fall blog. It's been a busy year with new opportunities and new challenges. And I have fallen behind!
Some people have already finished their Christmas shopping and I have not even started. My goal this year is to buy products Made In USA from people I know.
I bet each of you know at least one person, that has a small business that provides a service or product that someone on your list would be thrilled to receive. And many of those products are Made In USA.
Maybe you have a teenage daughter or granddaughter who loves make up. You can order from the neighbor who sells beauty products for example.
Got a reader on your list? Go to Amazon and type in Roberta Byram. She has two inspirational books you can purchase for that reader.
Got an outdoor lover on your list? Check out www.17sierragear.com for the most amazing hammocks and support a couple of veterans at the same time with your purchase.
Do you have someone on your list that needs a tote bag to be used as a travel bag, beach bag or stylish, reusable shopping bag? You will have hundreds of image choices for tote bags at www.keppenart.com or www.bertsworks.com.
Paper, canvas, acrylic, metal prints, greeting cards and more can also be purchased on either of those two sites. You will find thousands of choices for someone special on your list.
For those of you who are or will be on the Mississippi Coast or in the New Orleans area, you can save by purchasing some of my local inventory. Contact me to find out what images are available matted, printed on tote bags, metal and acrylic or as greeting cards. I have items that can be picked up locally saving you time and shipping charges.
I am challenging each of you to spend wisely this year when you buy Christmas presents. Purchase your gifts locally or online from people you know.
The importance of supporting each other: PRICELESS!
As this season flows into the next one I'd like to thank each and every one of you for your support and encouragement and I encourage all of you to live, laugh and love your way through this thing called life.