Life in a Hard Place

Why is life so hard? Sometimes life grows out of a hard place like this tree growing out of rock up in the mountains. How can a tree survive the obstacles of light oxygen, cool temperatures, no soil for nutrients, and no sun exposure for most of the year due to cloud coverage? But this lone tree has done it and is surviving against the odds.

One of my sisters has been battling a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer this past year called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Her odds of survival are less than 50% and life expectancy of only 1 to 1 1/2 years. This diagnosis just slapped us in the face. How do we move forward? How do we deal with this as we are ill equipped? So many questions…

The road has been long and scary. The time has been long and the chemo treatments have been brutal. Yet…we keep praying and believing that she will beat cancer. Today was her 6th chemo treatment. These days come so very quickly. Today I am still trying to find something positive when life has given us something so cruel.

My sister lives in an area with some of the top doctors and I view that as a positive. She has a very rare and aggressive form of cancer so many doctors are aiding in her treatment. The chemo has been brutal and the side effects horrific. But somehow, she is like this tree growing out of the rock against the odds.

Today…was a great day! Today, she found out that the chemo treatments have kicked cancer’s butt. She has won this round. She is not out of the woods and has a long way to go, but the cancer is shrinking and she continues to grow in her determination to beat this. She is a real fighter and she is persevering and overcoming the adversity she has been given. But tonight…I sit here and reflect on this tree and how it has survived against the odds and I know that my sister will defy her odds and be cancer free by 2018.

A Moose on the Loose!

Happy second day of January! We are experiencing yet another winter storm in the Midwest. We have had over 50 inches of snow in December and now on day two of January we are supposed to be adding another 4-9 inches!

Lots of snow for my family of snowmobilers and they are excited about this new powder. I would just like to see the sun again! School is starting late again tomorrow morning due to weather and road conditions. This is just going to be one of those rare winters when there is nothing more we can do but learn acceptance for all that comes.

With this crazy weather we are experiencing, it seems like we are seeing a lot more wildlife around than in years past. Look at this guy that came around…a moose on the loose! These animals are so much bigger and more aggressive than they appear. I couldn’t help snapping a quick photo before he ran away.

I am grateful to have found some beauty amongst this otherwise gloomy weather. It does not help to complain or be negative about it. The lesson is to learn acceptance for things you can not change. Acceptance is a very hard thing to learn. Stay positive it is a new year full of possibilities.

Duggy, The Smile in the Sky!

013I ran across this beauty at the airport this weekend. What is this huge yellow Duggy?

“Duggy, The Smile in the Sky,” is the “spokesplane” for the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s SkyReach educational program.

Click on this link to the article about the Duggy, The Smile in the Sky.

***This first picture I took. The second picture belongs to the author of the above mentioned article.


Is it the Polar Express?

train over trestle valley minotAn awesome shot on a very hazy winter morning and along comes a train. The crisp cold air made the train sound so loud. You could hear the clanking of the wheels on the tracks, the surging of the engine, and the rumbling in the echoes that followed. Something so ordinary…looked and sounded so different today.

So I took a moment and embraced the grace of the hard working train onthis crisp cold morning. Sometimes you just need to take that minute to appreciate the every day things. Or maybe, just maybe could it have been the Polar Express?

Somewhere Out There…

outside of medora

I snapped this photo somewhere out by Medora this past spring. I snapped several pictures of wild horses, buffalo, and bluffs. It was a beautiful day and our conference ended early that day so we took a trip into the Theodore Roosevelt National Park to see what all the fuss was about. The landscape was beautiful, the wild animals were awesome, but I think the best part of the trip was spending time with my co-workers and laughing until we cried.

We spend so much time at conferences, there really isn’t much time to get to know your co-workers outside of the tasks of the job. It was a fun outing in a beautiful setting…but friendships emerged and that was the best part.

But if I had to choose one of the things I saw on this trip…I would definitely choose the wild horses. There is something amazing about the way they run across the bluffs…to be wild and free it just captured me body and soul.

Strong and Majestic…Simply Beautiful

treeA large majestic tree worth admiration. This tree is many years old and has overcome many storms across its path. It has weathered well and stands alone in the middle of an old abandoned farmstead.

The shade this tree provides and the branches that children used to climb just makes we wonder about the life this tree has lived and how many people remember this tree as an important part of their lives.

I imagine a swing on the lower limb where many people used to relax in the beautiful spring and summer weather. The views of the surrounding fields would change every year. I wonder what type of crop was the preference of those who would gaze out at the fields. I assume that the beauty of sunflowers, flax, or lavender would have been the preference. But around here this year it was planted as a wheat field. There is something simple yet magical about the way the wind cuts through the wheat and makes it dance.

I wonder how many kites would have got caught in this massive tree and how many birds have raised their babies in this tree. I wonder why the family left and why nobody else moved in…but I am guessing is was the phasing out of the little farmer to make room for the big farmer. I don’t know for certain, but I could believe this to be true. Many old abandoned farms can be found around this area. The school closed many years ago and the stores closed their doors as well. And yet…this majestic tree still stands strong.

I came across this tree during one of my road trips. So many things to take pictures of along the way…but for some reason this tree caught my attention and my camera lens. It is a simple picture of a simple tree…but to me it is simply beautiful.

Mount Rushmore…Have You Been?

mount rushmoreThis snapshot was taken a couple of years ago on a quick family trip. It was a long way to go…but it was impressive to see.  Just to think of the time frame in which this was built and the tools they had back then to work with…this is incredible craftsmanship.

The Thunder Rolls and The Lightning Strikes

Thunder and lighting connor picture

This picture was captured by my son on his ipod. What an awesome picture. The thunder rolls and the lightning strikes.

I found a quote the other day that ties in with organization and the inspiration of this photo that I am choosing to share with all of you.

“Electricity is really just organized lightning”      ~George Carlin

When Life Was Simple and Beautiful…

cherry blossomA short trip to Washington DC for work this past May was needed. It was full of sunshine and blooming flowers everywhere I looked. The smell of the Cherry Blossoms filled the air. It was simply beautiful…but work got in the way so I had to make the most of the short time I was given to enjoy the simple beauty of the area. It was a good trip and the conference was actually good as well.

I wish life was always simple and beautiful. Life throws you curve balls and you just need to either catch them or get out of the way! Take the simple things and appreciate them. Avoid the things that cause you stress and anxiety if you can. If you can’t avoid these things, find a good way to ease the stress and anxiety. I use organization to help me deal with stress and anxiety. If I can have some control over things that cause anxiety, I find that the things I can’t control is a little bit easier to accept and/or contend with. Life is messy…life is crazy…but life can be simply beautiful.

Take the Time to Stop…

Painted Woods CreekI was on a road trip today with my kids to see family members we haven’t seen in years. As we drove to our destination I couldn’t help reminiscing about growing up together.

Unfortunately we have missed things over the years due to them living in another state. I couldn’t help but wonder how life would have been different if we had seen them more often. I do wish they lived closer.

During this fun road trip, I asked my son to take out the camera and capture a picture of this bridge. I have driven past this bridge for 40 years and never took the time to stop. Today was the day to take the time to appreciate it for the wonderful craftsmanship, its purpose, and for the memories. Life passes so quickly and if we don’t take time along the way to stop and appreciate things, life will just slip through our fingers. So make sure to take the time to stop and appreciate the simple things.