Jan 20, 2015

Inveraray: The place of all things Campbell

Picture came from here
My mother was a Campbell. Unfortunately, she didn't live long enough for her oldest daughter to discover the vastness of her clan and their importance in the communities in which they lived. Did you know that Clan Campbell is one of the largest clans in the world?  In 2013, I traced the Campbell's back to 1728 in Bedford, Virginia to my 8th Great-grandfather Archibald. I have been emotional about this accomplishment on more than one occasion. And yet, I am still searching.  It was then that I decided to join the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). Joining the group was the icing on the cake for me being able to trace my family back to the Revolution. In all honesty, I really just wanted the pin. But there is so much further back in my lineage that I can go.  The Campbell's have been traced to the 1200's. Isn't that amazing?  I am just praying for a break through with my current brick wall. 

Picture came from here

Today, I came across a wonderful episode on PBS called Great Estates Scotland (please click on the link to watch) featuring the present Duke and Duchess. They both seem very down to earth and humble.When I saw the Duke standing at the counter ringing up sales, I nearly laughed out loud when he told a customer that he was the Duke while donning a apron that had his title written on it. I was thrilled to see the estate and especially the castle. Even though my family may not be a direct link to this Campbell line, at least I know approximately the part of the country from which my clan comes from. I watched with envy at the vast expanse of the mountains, valleys, and streams that surrounded the place, imagining myself walking the land.  It was there that I came from with an inner longing to return. I think that it is in my blood.

Picture came from here

When the Campbell's came to America they were looking for a place to live that reminded them of home, so, they settled in Virginia. I have yet to see this state, but I am told it is beautiful there. This summer, if things go as planned, I will make a trip to Virginia to search for documents that will lead me to my link across the pond. Who knows what discoveries I will make. Then the next goal will be Scotland. I am going to renew my passport so that the Universe knows that this is what I want to accomplish. A few prayers won't hurt either. 

Jan 19, 2015

A new lens, ice skating, and horses

A few weeks ago, I invested in a new lens.  It was quite expensive, actually cost twice as much as my camera, but purchased it for half the amount of retail and it was still more expensive than my camera.  It is an "L" series, which is more along the professional line for Canon. I went to the ice skating rink and played around with the settings on the camera.  

I captured some lovely pictures such as the one above that I called Concentration or the one below of a man with lovely blue eyes.  

Then there is the beauty with her hair in a bun wondering why I was taking a picture of her. (below)

But today I went to the country to do a little shopping and on the way back home I stopped at an Amish farm and took pictures of the horses.

The beauty of a horse is hard to surpass.  All of my life I have admired these beautiful creatures.

Their strength is daunting to a weakling like me. 

Then there is the kiss that made me laugh.  The horses stood there cuddling for a long time.  

To me it is capturing these special moments that makes life seem tender and sweet. I think this lens is a keeper because I didn't have to work so hard to get lovely pictures. 

Jan 13, 2015

Authentically You!

We are surrounded by people, six billion to be exact and counting. And with those people come challenges.  Each one thinks that his way is right and most everyone else is wrong.  Which can lead to frustration. As humans we tend to lead lives that are copies.  Instead of trying to take our own path we seem to follow the same road as everyone else.  Religion is passed down from each generation without thought and to question, well, it is considered sacrilegious or worse. Whatever the next fashion fad is most want that new look.  And yet, we're afraid to wander from the path to individuality. What if a 54 year old woman wanted to wear flowers in her hair?  And I do. People would point at her and say that she is foolish. Or whatever it is that we want to do so that we can speak out our uniqueness to the world. We were not created on an assembly line. So, why then should we live like we were made in a factory? 

I recently came across a poem that Rumi wrote which touched my soul:  

For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself. 
From within, I couldn't decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.

The Rumi Collection by Helminski

Jan 10, 2015

Stone Stacking Artwork

I  have always had a fascination with stones. The smoothness or the roughness of the stone is intriguing.  There is almost a kind of spiritual connotation when in a fountain or a river. The calming sound of water lapping onto the stones.  You can close your eyes and be lulled away into a peaceful state.  Man has been stacking stones for a very long time. 

I am drawn to these semi alters whenever I see them. While photographing at the graveyard, I have come across lots of them. The stone "art" need not be straight up and down in form but can be whimsical, unbalanced, yet unwavering and beautiful. Michael Gard turned stacking stones into beautiful artwork. Watch his video below.   

In a few months we can begin to create wonderful spaces outdoors. I think that this year I am going to transform my backyard into a peaceful place for reflection and meditation as well as beauty. 

Jan 1, 2015

The Year of Letting Go

This past year has been one of appreciating, especially my sister. Unfortunately, she had three operations within a short period and at times I felt scared for her. The last hospital stay I reminded her that it wasn't like going to a hotel.  They hurt you in those medical places.  Besides, not one time did I see a hot tub or a bar, which would have been nice. Over the course of the year my love for my sister grew exponentially.  I saw her in a new light. The viking queen needed tenderness and care of an older sister, which I willingly bestowed on her. 

The darkness of winter spurs us forward to hope of new life that spring brings with it and a rebirth of sorts.  I become introspective and jot down my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and disappointments into my journal where I do a lot of my soul searching, and it is a keeper of secrets. There are times that I struggle inwardly with insecurities and days I feel utterly stupid and useless. Then the sun comes out and the struggle is over until I have overcast feelings again.  

Each year I try to name the year and put the label inside the front cover of the journal. There was a year named "shattered dreams." The next year was the "year of healing."  The following year after that was the "year of rebuilding,"etc...This coming year my motto will be the year of letting go

We cannot control others, especially the way they think or do things.  Family or friends can wound us so deeply we feel that recovery is not possible. I realized recently that I can only control myself. My happiness is an inside job. I have to make myself happy and let them go.  The thought of it is hard but I must do it or otherwise be miserable.