Tag Archives: Fall

Riders, Fighters, Fallers, Get-Back-Up-Againers …

It’s hard to know at what point in the history of the sport that someone scratched their head and said “hmmm… I think I’m going to see if I can ride that bull”.  I’m sure there were pals around that cheered them on as they tried, and likely failed, to ride a wild bull.  Maybe they were able to stay on and maybe they were trampled.  But whatever they were, a spark was ignited.  Rodeo has taken on a life of it’s own.  Bullriders and fighters don’t say they are going to a rodeo tomorrow or they went to a rodeo last week.  They say they “rodeoed”.  They took part.  They were part.  They were the rodeo.  It takes nerve, courage and good dose of half-crazy to be a bullrider or a bullfighter.  To put yourself in a position that you know may very well be the last thing you ever do takes guts.  It also takes an enormous amount of selfishness.  To think only of staying on the bull or outrunning the bull, forgetting family, friends and other important things takes a single-mindedness that is hard for the layman to understand.  I watch the riders as they are pummeled, thrown, stomped and dragged.  They know going in that this is a real possibility, but they do it anyway.  For what?  Simple.  For the thrill of beating the bull.   I can say over and over that I don’t know why they do what they do… and then I get way too close to the edge of the waterfall, go into the mountains looking for a family of bears, kneel down in the road a foot from a snake.  Why?  Simple.  For the shot.  Now that I think of it, everything I have said about the bullriding, bronc breaking, fighting, falling, riding cowboys, I could say about myself.  In that moment, when the shot has caught my eye and my camera is at my face, there is nothing else.  I guess we’re not so different, after all.

Spiritual Encouragement… we’re all on a journey to somewhere

Over the years, I’ve taken tens of thousands of photographs and created nearly 800 greeting cards; birthday, love, funny, serious, soulful, uplifting and more… but of all of them, the Spiritual Encouragement ones are my favorite.  They are thoughts and verses that have come from the ashes of the trials and difficulties in my life, the sorrows, disappointment and heartbreak… born of the refining that I didn’t realize was even happening.  I know that just as I stumble and fall, there are millions of people in the world I live in facing the same trials… hitting the same walls… struggling with the same demons.  During my own journey, with each refining came learning and the more I learned, the more I knew and the more I knew, the more I wanted to know and I started listening.  Once I became still and listened to what The Spirit was whispering to my heart and soul, it all started to fall into place.  Before I created a single card, spiritual encouragement or otherwise, there was a phrase that exploded in my mind and it was crystal clear ~ Through the Eyes of the Spirit ~  He was setting me on a path and I didn’t even realize it…

In the late winter-early spring of March, I felt compelled to create a greeting card for people who were struggling with the death of a loved one and the profound feeling of loneliness, sorrow and pain they would face that first year.  The words were there, and they were not mine, for there was a wisdom, though I had never experienced such a loss, of complete understanding and empathy. The photograph on the front of the card is one that was taken on a country road in the Fall, beneath a canopy of the brilliant colors of the changing leaves.  It was on the way to Bark Camp Lake, a beautiful lake park located in Northern Scott County in Southwest Virginia. Dad fishes for trout there and tells me how pretty it is and that he thinks it would be a good place to take pictures.  So in late October, Jim and I made our way up to celebrate our anniversary.  It was a beautiful day, the trees more beautiful than I had seen in years.  The sky, a perfect October blue, was dotted with fluffy white clouds and the wind rustled the leaves, causing an occasional windfall.  Along the concrete paths and on the wooden dock, fallen acorns, not yet discovered by deer or squirrels, lie among the fallen leaves.  Yes, it was a beautiful day…  And it was the last anniversary we would celebrate, but I didn’t know that.  Even so, I found comfort in the words, and after Jim’s sudden death a few months after, they sustained me with encouragement.  My sweet Jesus was, as far as I am concerned, speaking directly to me and His encouragement inspired me to encourage others, using the photographs and verse that I see and feel Through the Eyes of the Spirit, an incredible gift and a blessing that I cannot describe.  It consumes me.

For more Spiritual Encouragement cards from Through the Eyes of the Spirit, click the links on the right to open a new window, or visit the homepage of Through the Eyes of the Spirit by clicking on the photo below: