Mother’s Day

Mother . . . we all had one.  Mothers vary in shape, size, age, and race.  Some are shy.  Some are exuberant.  She was the one who gave us physical birth or adopted us. Perhaps the woman who acted in the role of a mother figure in your life is the one you really view as your mom.  Whoever she is/was, she is one of the most significant persons in our life.

Mother's-Gerber

Happy Mother’s Day

I never fully appreciated my mother until I became a mother myself.  Mother has been in heaven almost two years . . . I still miss her.  She shaped me.  She loved me.  She sacrificed for me.  She believed in me.  She was my champion.   I will always be grateful for the privilege of being her daughter.

 

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Playing Mrs. Astor

Memories of going to my grandmother’s house include a special treat she reserved for my sister and me.  She called it “playing Mrs. Astor.”  Her large home in the county (at least from my perspective as a child it was big) sat nestled among numerous towering trees, blooming shrubs and annual flowers on top of a hill.  An occasional car passed by on the road below.  More often you heard the call of mocking birds and sometimes the whisper of the wind through the trees.

“Playing Mrs. Astor” meant we took out the fancy china in order to eat off pretty plates and drank out of dainty cups.  Many years later, as an adult, I learned Mrs. Astor was a wealthy woman my grandmother never met, but someone whom she would have seen in a newspaper or a magazine.

Pink-Hat

Pink Hat

Last Easter, a friend wore this delightful pink hat to church.  It was perfect for her, complimenting her blonde hair and soft complexion.  I asked if I might  photograph it.  In a way it reminded me of “playing Mrs. Astor”.  We didn’t wear fancy clothes or hats at my grandmother’s tea parties, but she made this granddaughter feel special.  I saw the way other women on Easter morning admired this pink hat.  Inside every grown up woman I still believe there is a little girl that likes to “play Mrs. Astor,” to dress up in whatever was makes her feel special.

 

Including Less

I am on a journey to include less in my life so that it doesn’t hinder me from what is most important.

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Anna Ruby Falls near Helen, Georgia.

Reality is that neither you or I know the exact date or time that we exit this earthly life.  Two more days, a few months, six more years, or maybe several decades, only hindsight will reveal the length of our life journey.  Just saying only God knows the exact number of my days.  He formed me in my mother’s womb, He alone knows how much longer this part of the journey is.  (Psalm 139).

Rushing-Water

Rushing Waters

What’s most important in my life . . . well, somewhere along the way I thought it was having stuff, i.e. possessions.  I am thankful for what I have, but just not interested in collecting and maintaining it as I once did.  As the years progress, I see that possessions are not the things that share love with you. They are poor substitutes for relationships.  I have been very fortunate to have a loving family and loyal friends through the years.

At this point in life, I want to have more time with people and less with the possessions.

These photos were taken at Anna Ruby Falls, near Helen, Georgia. Anna Ruby Falls.  Recently, my husband and I joined my sister, brother and their spouses for a few days together.  As the youngest in my birth family, I know that we now face less future time together than what we have previously enjoyed.  So, at least twice a year we meet somewhere to enjoy being together, since we all live hundreds of miles apart.  Weekly phone calls and texts help, but are not the same as “face time.”

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Along the Path

 

Leaf

Leaf

Texture, texture . . . didn’t have my macro lens with me, but still looked for opportunities in the midst of huge boulders and overflowing waters.

What or who is most important in your life?  Pursue it, now!

Thanks for taking “A Second Look”.  More images available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.

Connect

Connected

Our second grandson at three months old. Sleeping peacefully on his mother’s arm.

In this fast pace age of social media, we hear the word connect often.  Connect with us on Facebook! Connect with me on LinkedIn!

Given what today’s technologies can do, it feels like the world is getting smaller, and on some level we’re more connected than ever before.

Sometimes those connections are deep.  Sometimes they only go just beneath the surface.

“Connect”  is the theme for Day 6 in the WordPress Photography Course, Photo101.  My interpretation of the word connect would have to include people.  Is is how I am wired.

This image, from my archives, best defines the theme connect for me.  Our youngest grandson is three months old in this image.  Now, he is four years old.  The little guy was very cooperative during this photo session.  He smiled.  He smiled some more.  This grandmother definitely felt connected to him!

He is resting on the arm of of his mother, our daughter.  She has been one of the greatest blessings in my life, ever since she was a small babe herself.  She is in a busy season of life now, grown woman, wife, and mother of two sons.  I was present in the labor and delivery room for the birth of each of our grandsons.  What a privilege!  Those two events will always be on the top ten milestones of my life.  Yes, my daughter and I are connected.

It is a blessing to get together with our daughter on a regular basis.   This is not a privilege I take lightly.  As an adult, I always lived hundreds of miles away from my mother.  She would have loved to share milestones with me, but those were most often done through phone calls, letters, and photos.   As a grown woman and later as a grandmother myself, it still warmed my heart to hear her call me “my baby” when we connected.  She is gone, now.  I miss her.  I miss that connection.

Connect . . . yes, for me that will always mean the people in my life.

Thanks for taking “A Second Look”.  More images available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.

Happy Birthday to You and You and You!

It’s someone’s birthday today or tomorrow.  Maybe it is yours!

I have always thought birthdays are special in a way that no holiday is.  There are probably hundreds of thousands in the world that claim that same date on the calendar with you.  When it’s YOUR birthday, somehow it is a day more special than the other 364 days in the year.

So, in light of that here are a variety of the birthday images I have created.  Two of the images include names on them to give you an idea how a personalized one looks.  Thanks for taking “A Second Look”

For:  Anyone 🙂

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For:  The man in your life – brother, brother-in-law, uncle, husband, son, cousin, good friend.

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For:  Your mom, sister, aunt or best girlfriend?

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For:  Anyone who like flowers.

Sunflower-Birthday

For:  That special little girl in your life.

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For:  The beach lover

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For:  The organic gardener, fruit lover in your life, or someone whose favorite color is orange or blue.

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web-Just-Picked

For:  The one who likes the uncluttered look.

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Most of the images on my website can be customized.  Many more images available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com   Contact me through my website if you are interested in ordering.  I ship anywhere in the continental United States.

A Tribute

There are reasons I have not posted anything in three months.  My mother went to heaven, late May 2014. Until now, this has been too close, too personal to share on the web.  I miss her voice, her touch, her smile. The photo was one I took of her hands quite a few years ago.  I call it “Hands that Nurture”.

It was my privilege to help my sister care for our mother her last two months in hospice. We saw God show up in so many ways. It was a difficult time, but one full of sweet blessings. I will always be glad I was there. My loving husband was so supportive in giving me the freedom to do this. Below is my tribute to Mother, that was read at her memorial service in June.  

TRIBUTE to MOTHER

Each of us leaves a legacy. Our choices and how we live each day, each year, leaves a mark on others.

Mother never finished high school. She never traveled far. She had no shelf on the wall full of awards. But when she went to heaven on May 23, 2014, she left a legacy of rich love and deep influence. She deeply loved others. She was deeply loved. By being faithful to God and who He designed her to be, she influenced others, especially me.

My brother, my sister and I never doubted our mother loved us. Her words and actions made it a question we never thought to ask. What a blessing to have such a mother! She gave each of us the freedom to be individuals and simply loved us for who were. The three of us agree, that we are who we are today, in large part because of her.

Mother was a woman of courage and perseverance. During her 92 years she experienced both deep heartache and decades of physical pain. Yet, she chose to not become a bitter woman. Instead she chose to love and do the best she could.

An excellent seamstress, she made most of my clothes when I was growing up. After I married and had my own home, she made quilts for me. The quilts were designed using scraps from the many clothes she had made me through the years. Each of her children and grandchildren also were given quilts crafted by her.
Hands-that-Nurtured, death, legacy
Every time I visited her, she always had selected something she wanted to give me. Before I left she always asked the same question, “Is there anything I have that you want?” She was a generous woman.

Many times, when Mother, my siblings, and I were in the car together, she would utter a loud unexpected cry. We thought she was in pain. No, it was just Mother’s response to beautiful flowers she had seen on the roadside. How that woman loved beautiful flowers! Don’t think Mother ever met a flower she didn’t like!

Strong and courageous she chose to do what was right (sometime at great personal sacrifice), yet one who retained her beauty, gentleness, humor and faithful love to the end. Of all the blessings God has given me, being her daughter is one of the best and most prized. 

Mama, I look forward to the day we will be together again. The miles will no longer separate us. We will sing and dance and worship Jesus together forever. I love you!

 
 

 

Is There Any Good News?

"Light of the World"  Christmas candle with greenery.Christmas is the celebration of the “Good News”.   What is this good news?  That in a world troubled by darkness, there is hope, there is light. That we can have an intimate relationship with God. He sent a Savior, His Son Jesus Christ, to meet man’s greatest need, forgiveness of sins!

The “Good News” is available to all, whatever your nationality, wherever you live.  You are loved by God, who made heaven and earth and you!  The best Christmas gift?   Beginning a personal, intimate relationship with Him.  If you would like to dialog about this possibility, send me a comment.  The conversation will remain private.  I will not post it.

Words on the candle are the words of Jesus.  Linked to this post is a video of one of my favorite Christmas songs.  “Mary, Did You Know?”

Merry Christmas!

http://www.uptv.com/blog/uplifting-video-mary-did-you-know-music-video

http://www.stephaniehalstead.com