Tag Archives: family

Give Thanks

25 Nov
Silk Ribbons :: Ricketts Glen, PA

Silk Ribbons :: Ricketts Glen, PA

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -JFK

There is so much in our lives, both good and bad, that fill up our days that it can seem overwhelming.  I’ve found though, that a moment of gratitude can do wonders to give you perspective about what is important versus what is just “noise”.  It can drastically improve your mood and remind us to have some humility.

 

That being said, I want to take a moment to recognize the sources of joy in my life, and then encourage you to do the same. 🙂

 

Today, and every day, I am grateful for all of the blessings in my life.  I have my health, security, stability and opportunities to improve my life if I’m brave enough to reach for them.  I live in a place that recognizes my basic human rights.

The Hearts Overflows

The Hearts Overflows

I am surrounded by people who love and support me.  I was lucky enough to be born into a family that values things like compassion, kindness, and laughter.  I get to share my life with an incredible man who supports my dreams and enjoys making memories with me.  I literally have the best friends a girl could ask for.

Dreamsong

Dreamsong

I’ve seen enough beauty in this world to make anyone’s heart overflow with joy.  The power of nature, the rain, the wind, the lightning, the cold, the feel of the setting sun on my skin on a summer day, the colors of a dramatic sky, the smell of new grass and lilies, the sound of the ocean, watching children play and people love…

In Wildness

In Wildness

Adventure fills my soul, leads me to exciting places, introduces me to new people and enriches my life in a way that words can only barely describe.  I’m grateful to have wanderlust in my blood, to have had a family that nurtured it, and to now have the resources to follow its call.

Hope Rises

Hope Rises

The world is such a wonderful, frightening, beautiful place filled with an exquisite tapestry of human existence.  Every day I draw breath I am grateful that I get to be a part of it, grateful for the experiences that shaped me and the memories that sustain me.

We Are One

We Are One :: California

Thank you to each and every one of you for being part of my life.  Your support, your kindness, your smiles (or emoticons as the case may be), your love fills my life with so much joy.  You’ve all had a hand in shaping my life and I’m grateful for your influence.  It’s always appreciated when you take a moment to send me a note or comments.  I love the discussions and friendships that can be built from a photo.  And most importantly, you are a huge source inspiration.  Your perception and appreciation of my work is a humbling thing.  It’s incredible to think that my images can brighten someone’s day and my experiences (mistakes) help teach someone on the other side of the world.

 

Now, I challenge all of you to think about the blessings in your own life.  We all have our struggles, but perhaps focusing on the positives will help the negatives seem that much more bearable. 🙂

 

For those of you in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving week!  For my international friends, happy regular week! haha  Hope it’s a good one!

 

xoxo

Shannon

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Remembering My Grandmother

4 Nov
Autumn Falls

Autumn Falls

“Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.” – Rossiter Worthington Raymond

A little over a week ago, on October 25th, my grandmother lost her battle with cancer.  Generally, I’m a fairly private person, but she was an incredible woman and deserves to have a few words said about her.  So here you go.

I can’t remember the exact date that my grandmother was diagnosed with lymphoma…some time before July 2012, from what I can find…but I remember thinking it seemed impossible.  My grandmother was a vibrant woman, full of life and love.  I couldn’t imagine her being incapacitated by anything so devastating as cancer.

My whole life, I had known my grandparents to be adventurous and energetic people.  They had 5 children (my mother included), all of whom were spread out across the country and they spent a lot of their time traveling (driving in an RV, the ultimate on-going road trip) from state to state visiting family.  When they weren’t checking in on their children and grandchildren, they were keeping a busy social schedule, traveling between states to square dance (one of their favorite activites…yes somehow I inherited zero dancing skills.  I can’t even Zumba. haha).  It seemed as though my grandparents had been pretty much everywhere, both within the US and internationally.

Besides having endless amounts of energy (it seemed to young-Shannon, at least), my grandparents were the most caring, loving couple you would ever meet.  They were together 65 years, and without a doubt, it was a happy 65 years.  As most people do at the conclusion of a long illness, my cousins and I traded stories about our grandparents as a way to honor my grandma’s memory.  I remember visiting in September, and my grandfather had left a love note for my grandmother on the white board in their apartment: “I love you a bushel and a peck”.  One of my cousins from Texas brought up an instance about 6-7 years ago when she remembered watching Grandpa pinch Grandma’s butt.  Another cousin, from California, talked about how Grandpa never stopped trying to impress Grandma after all those years, and how Grandma always showed her appreciation for his efforts with a smile, and a sigh (read my cousin’s perfect tribute here, if you’re interested).  They were a shining example of how relationships should be….they were 100% open about their love for each other, always sharing kisses and smiles, and supported each other, good times and bad, throughout the years.  As Grandpa said this past January, when he talked about dancing with the woman he loved, “We need each other.  We hold each other up.”
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My grandmother’s love extended well beyond her relationship with Grandpa.  She was such a genuinely thoughtful and caring person.  Even in the age of email (and believe me, she was computer savvy.  I always joked I had to watch what I put up on Facebook, because both of my Grandparents were in my friends list!), my grandmother would be sure to send cards and letters, and photos…man, she loved her photos!…out to family.  Sometimes it was for holidays, sometimes it was just to keep everyone up to date on their latest adventures, and other times it was just to show she cared.  About 3 weeks ago, shortly before she was admitted to the hospital for the last time, I recieved a card in the mail.  It had a beautiful photo of a flower on the front, and in the inside my Grandmother wrote that she was sorry to hear the trip I had waited so long for didn’t go as I had planned (Peru) and she hoped the flower cheered me up, and that knee surgery went well.  She signed it the way she signed everything, “Love and Hugs”.

I’ve thought long and hard about my Grandmother, and decided two things.  I want to spend my energy appreciating the good memories I have of her and with her, and that the best way to honor her life is to try to live my own life in a way that mirrors the things she valued.  She was a smart woman, who appreciated the beauty of the world, she was an artist (she loved to paint), she valued family (did I mention the photos?  She had shelves full of photo albums and spent a lot of time working on a family history for us), she was frugal in a good way, a great cook (for my brother’s wedding, his only food request?  Grandma’s home made pierogi), she was bold and spirited, she loved to laugh (I can’t remember her without a smile on her face), she was confident and as my cousin said, “expected it from us”, she accepted people for who they were – quirks and flaws and all, she was supportive, she was loving, she was strong (my god was she strong.  She wasn’t going to let a little thing like cancer slow her down!), she was a rock for my Grandfather and for her children, and she impacted everyone she met simply by being herself.
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The photo at the top of this post was taken a few weeks back when my friend David was visiting from California.  We took a walk in the woods, appreciating Connecticut as it started to shed its greens in favor of some brighter colors.  The day was peaceful, and I remember enjoying my time with David.  We laughed, we supported each other as we worked to create beautiful images and the quiet of the woods was peaceful and soothing.  At first, I struggled a bit, trying to decide which photo to put up for my grandmother’s tribute, then I realized that this image, and that day is the type of memory that honored the way my Grandma lived her life.

Grandma was always completely supportive of all of her grandchildren, and although I do remember there were a few photos she pointed out here or there as favorites, overall she was outspoken about agreeing with my decision to pursue photography.  I am forever grateful to be part of such happy, loving, somewhat loud and crazy, accepting and supportive family and that culture stems from my Grandparent.  I am forever grateful to have had the best Grandmother a girl could ask for, to have learned the importance of love, of family, of laughter and of strength from the woman who set the example for all of us.

I’ll miss your smile, Grandma, but I promise I’ll never forget it.  Thank you for your love and the lessons you gave us.

XO
One of your many, many grandchildren

Words To Live By

12 Apr
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~ Mae West

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~ Mae West

This quote by Mae West brings so many images to mind of people living adventurously and loving deeply.  The one thing my mind kept going back to, though, was the opposite ends of the human spectrum – a grandparent and grandchild.  There is little else in life I value quite as much as family, whatever form that takes.  In my own life, my family has been a rock.  The love and respect we have for each other seems like one of the highlights of my own life, and characterizes what I think of as “doing it right”.

Unfortunately for me, my own grandparents live in another state. Haha  However, shortly after I began this quotes project, I had the opportunity to photograph a mother and her newborn.  Talk about an inspiring experience!  There is so much love between a mother and her newborn, and I knew that although there would be fewer wrinkles than I had originally envisioned, this was an opportunity to capture the spirit of Mae’s words.

I snuck this photo towards the end of the shoot.  I can’t tell you how pleased I was to show an obvious physical connection between the two of them, but also to include the wedding ring and the symbolic love between two parents as well.  In my mind, this truly captured the idea of having a full life.

What about you?  What do you think of with this quote?

We are still taking names for everyone who wants to sign on for our upcoming quotography project – all you need is a camera (any form), have a few quotes in mind to contribute, and a desire to stretch your imagination.  Creativity is the name of the game!  And best of all, it’s freeeeeee!!

If you’re interested in joining, send me an email seespotsphoto at yahoo dot com, leave a comment here or swing by my Facebook page and let me know.  We hope you’ll join us!