Welcome to Moments Photography by Sandy's blog about photography and creativity. Always on the prowl for ways to keep learning, trying, inventing and shooting pictures. I will share my adventures, addictions, and antics below. Come visit often and share what you will. Live abundantly, giving, sharing and loving. . .
Pearls or Cowboy boots is a statement not a question. Those two items were my go to items when I needed to be reminded that being positive in the midst of all that was going on was the best option. So I would wear pearls to work. Or I would wear my boots. And sometimes I wore both. It didn't matter what else I was wearing. I personally think pearls go with everything. Just like the image below of this precious "pumpkin".
I have my reasons of course. Boots just feel strong. I like the way they sound when I walk. They make me feel like I can do any kind of work and do it well. Peals are the epitome of something beautiful that was created over time by being an irritant. Just that small piece of sand that developed into a lovely object. And when I wear them I remember that these life events that might strain my nerves, will turn out okay if I remember to have a good attitude and "take the high road." And I did take this road less traveled. To get a good mental picture you need to know that I was a school teacher for twenty-six years. I always got long looks when I adorned my chosen objects but that didn't concern me much. What was important was how I acted and these two items helped me to stay on track. In fact I stayed on track so much so that someone gave me a sail boat. I named the boat Lizzy Pearl. (And later I adopted this as my stage name for my original music - fun, huh?)
Lizzy is short for Elizabeth, my favorite name (although I didn't use this to name my daughters) and in honor of the lizard I found on the boat after I got her home. It took me over a year to clean up the boat and recondition the wood, make new cushion covers, get new lines... you get the idea. But she is ship worthy and she is mine and it was a gift. After all those daily irritations, I got a boat. A sail boat was a gift from someone who worked with my husband. A boat? How incredible! I felt like it was my payback for doing the right thing all those many years. A sail boat that I can enjoy. Wow! I learned to sail as a young woman of 14 years. And I spent many summers on a friend's sail boat while my girls were growing up. Now I have my own boat to share with those same friends. And that means I get to be on the water. What beautiful thoughts!
Nay, is only what horses say. "So eat your oats!" I say. I'll admit that I'm not fond of the sugary oatmeal packages that are so convenient. It wasn't until I discovered the Steel Cut Oats that I became fond of oats. Now, I eat them every day and who knew that oats were so packed with good stuff enough to call it a SUPER food? I did not. And if you did not, too, read on. The links below have the information about oats.
Below the image is my recipe for Granola. I love granola. I don't love to pay the price at the store (and it's usually too sweet for my tastes) and this recipe will give you a tried and true formula that you can add or subtract from to make it anyway you might like. On the cell phone is my recipe for Power Bars that have oatmeal. You can find the recipe for that in my blog post from June 17, 2016 using this link:
18 oz. old fashioned rolled oats; to make chunks: grind 2 cups into a flour using a Nutribullet or food processer
1 cup dried fruit, any combination or selection
1/4 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or nut of choice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (boosts the metabolism, not enough to flavor it much; add more if you want a stronger taste)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. honey or half of a 1/3 cup of agave
1T - 3Tbs. coconut oil; If you want to have some granola chunks, double the oil and see the baking instructions below to NOT stir
1 tsp vanilla extract; Use the liquid, and add it to the coconut oil after it a cooled a bit or the powder to the dry ingredients
On the stove in a small sauce pan watch the coconut oil as it melts. Take the pan off the stove as soon as it melts. Add the honey or agave, and the vanilla extract if using the liquid. You can put small dried fruit like raisins in the pan to plump up - optional, makes them so yummy.
In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, fruit, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts of choice, cinnamon and salt. Add the liquid from the sauce pan to the dry ingredients little by little stirring until well mixed.
Place all of this in a cookie sheet with sides.
Bake at 275 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Stir and rotate the pan at 15 minutes if you want a flaky granola.
Only rotate the pan if you want flaky granola with chunks. Stir only after it cools.
Put granola in glass jars to maintain freshness.
A beast of a beauty sounds like a judgment of a title. But what does it mean? These days beast means that the girl is strong. In this case, strong and attractive. Or would it imply that there is meanness packed into an image deemed pleasing to look upon? Either one might ring with some truth dependent upon the thoughts and actions of the person. We like to make comparisons and judgments. Our brains like patterns. Most everyone has some idea or opinion about what a female should or could act like and look like. This idea or belief system is learned. We can continue the passed down ideas or we find a different way to think about what we are being taught. I remember being taught to be modest and quiet. Both were not easy for me. I was taught to be giving. I was always good at being sweet and still have a tendency to be ruled by the heart giving others thoughtful attention. And yet, I was also taught that whatever I put my mind to, I could do. Dad always said, "IF you think you can't, you're right, you can't. IF you think you can, you're right, you can." You give it your all and you can call yourself a beast. It's not a matter of perfection. It's a matter of giving all of what you have, to the moment at hand. Being in the moment and giving of yourself is beautiful. Being in that place of trust where you can be vulnerable and show all that is you, is not for every moment nor every person. It is for those people who have earned the trust to see all of you. You are writing your own story. You aren't perfect. You aren't meant to be. But if you own your story of light and darkness, "you get to write the ending" (Daring Greatly, Brene Brown) It's what makes you who you are at a given moment in time. To use your mind AND your heart is what makes a balanced woman. The image says, "As one thinketh in his heart so is he." When you put it all together, the heart is the beast. Your heart speaks in feelings and knowings. The mind gives you words. Your thoughts become your actions and just as often, your actions become your thoughts. You make your choices. And your choices make you: beauty or beast, beauty and the beast, or beast of a beauty are some of the choices.
To soldier on means "to continue or persist, despite adversity or difficulty" by definition from Webster's Dictionary. And many men do this. We have this cultural expectation that at some point in a male's life the release of emotions is not thought of as "manly". Men must armor themselves with a facade so as not to appear weak or afraid. Feelings of sadness, worry, and grief, the "dark arts" are covered up. Like the rusty, chained suit of armor found attached to an abandoned building along the back roads, it remains unmovable. So like this "soldier" it rusts and remains unnoticed only to weigh down the individual all the more as it weathers over time.
Chained by the "unrelenting message: Do not be perceived as weak." (Daring Greatly by Brene Brown - this whole article comes from my interpretation and rewriting of her work on "How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead.") We want to see our men as knights in shinning armor riding high on horses of noble lineage. Really? Do we really want our boys, teenagers, men, and or partners hiding away the feelings of their heart so we can live in a world romanticized in books and movies? Or do we want to share in the stories that dwell within the human like the living book that they each are?
To share these stores we all must dare to be seen. We dare to reveal the person within that has emotions. These emotions are ever changing. In order to be seen, we must dare to be vulnerable. This type of courage shows less fear than hiding behind the mask of "being a man about it". This sharing and "owning our story" is not granted to all who would listen, as the cultural norms still exist. This book within needs only to open with another who's trust has been earned while living life in the small moments, as trust is earned over time.
Some sights make me stop and just watch. On this particular day I saw this extremely large gathering of black birds. I can't say that they were crows but knowing that a group of crows is called a murder, I fancy that's what this is.
A murder of crows, a gaggle of geese. a congress of baboons all describe a group of animals. We human animals have a tendency to gather in groups. We are hard-wired for connections. And getting together is what we humans do. Sometimes these gatherings revel in a "Control Drama" of the Ego which reveals that many people are still living in the most primitive flight or fight syndrome. With birds it's easy to observe. In the human animal the responses have more names for "the fight". According to Deepak Chopra these names are intimidation, confrontation, argument, indifference, stubbornness, and manipulation ("How To Get What You Really, Really, Really, Really Want" by Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra). Carlos Castaneda says that there are only three types of people in this control drama life. The people are nice, nasty or indifferent. If you don't want to live this way, you have to pull yourself away from "the good opinion of others".
If you want to go beyond these types of responses, you need to understand that you can create a space between the stimulus and the response. I first learned about this with Stephen Covey in his book "7 Habits of Highly Effective People". He called using this space "pro-active" and described it as choosing your response instead of responding instantly. Wayne Dyer calls this space "the witness". You look at the situation with the eyes of an observer. Deepak Chopra goes on to explain it as a way of looking without making labels, not judging it as good or bad, don't put any value on it or analyze it.
It's a practice that takes you away from the EGO (described as "Edging God Out" in the book "Lead Like Jesus"). Anything that isn't driven by the ego, is lead by the spirit. That makes this a spiritual practice that gets easier to do when you practice. Once you know there is another option, then you have to practice it to make it the default way of acting or reacting to any situation. Practicing Yoga or any physical activity where you are involved in the movement of your body and focusing on your breathing and activity will help your mind learn to slow down. Slowing or calming the mind is getting you to a place where you can observe, or witness what is going on, giving you the chance to really be in control of yourself.
Remind yourself: I choose ease. I choose peace. I choose joy. (Lesson from "Your Spacious Self" by Stephanie Bennett Vogt