Life Is A Carousel…

Life can be crazy. Life can be overwhelming. Everyday we try to juggle this and handle that. I heard someone say the other day that they felt like a hamster on a wheel running and running and always circling back to where they started. Hamster on a wheel, no way.

Life is like a circus, like a carnival. Full of vivid colors, squeals of joy mixed with trepidation, and feverous excitement that fills the air like static.  The pure and simple joy of spinning around and around on a majestic vibrant carousel, who’s characters have stood witness to the children we all once were and will embrace our children’s children as old friends some day. Life is just like a carousel, and   I could spin forever…

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These images and are available for purchase in my Etsy shop, please click here to visit. Follow along on Facebook, like Rebelle Photography here.

Western Rises: Kansas

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Stop. Think about Kansas. How often do you do that? It’s undoubtable that those of us with limited exposure, go directly to images of a petite brunette, with some killer shiny red shoes. Maybe you thought of tornados, and maybe you thought of OZ, or maybe you thought of both. The hard truth is when you think about Kansas, you don’t think of much.

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Whenever, I find myself driving I-70 through the vast flatness, I can’t keep my mind from wandering; “What the hell do people do here”? Some things are obvious, farm, farm, and farm. If they live in Wambego, maybe they work at the OZ Museum, and maybe they, um, farm.

Someone once jokingly told me that the reason people live in Kansas is because early settlers made it to the Rockies, saw what they were up against and turned around. Funny. Maybe true. The jokes about Kansas could go on as long as the drive through it does ( that’s a long, long time). But if you spend some time there, you’ll learn alot. You’ll learn that the people are exceptionally kind.  You’ll learn that nearly everyone works hard for what they have, and are proud of what they do ( which is mostly, farm). You’ll also learn that the landscape is a lot more than what it seems.KSTire

If you’re driving West on I-70 from St. Louis, and you survive the 9 hours across the state, along the way you’ll find a few small rewards; The Wizard of Oz Museum and Winery in Wambego ( free wine, yay!), and the Russell Stover factory in Abilene ( free samples,  double yay!). When you get to Oakley, take a break. At first Oakley, might look like another stop along the road, and in some ways it is. Gas stations, fast food, 80 million year old rock chalk formations. Wait, what?!VWrocks

In the flat lands, of the high plains tucked away in the middle of a farmer’s field are Monument Rocks, the nation’s first National Natural Landmark. The formations some reaching as high as 70ft. tall were formed millions of years ago when what is now Western Kansas was a vast inland sea. In the summer months, the rocks become home to thousands of tiny cliff swallows, who nest along the rocks. Stand among them for a moment, listen to the quiet, and stare up at their size, and for a few seconds, and you’ll be saying to yourself, ” I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…”KSROCKS2 KSROCKS4

On your way back to the highway, stop by the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center for a little local history, a friendly chat, clean bathrooms, and free coffee. Free coffee, yep. Worth the stop.

The lesson from Kansas: Step outside, get some air, and expect the unexpected.

Give Thanks

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Wow. It’s hard to believe it is already November. It feels like just yesterday I was traipsing through  Utah’s high desert, climbing mountains in Colorado, and playing in the sunshine on a salty shore. But it is, and for me November means, coffee shops, pumpkin everything, and reflection. Time to think back on the year that has passed.

I realize that it is cliche’ to say that in this of all months I find myself full of reasons to give thanks; we do after all have an entire holiday dedicated to it. But despite my desperate need to always go against convention, I am indeed, very truly grateful.

This last year just like any year has been full of ups an downs, the usual merry go round of emotions we all are riding. But even though the ride is the same, it seems that something has changed with the rider.  This year I started out on my own in a way I’ve never known before. This year I took less time for me and spent more time giving to others. This year I consciously chose to look at life differently.  Instead of focusing completely on my own success I stopped to think how I could help others succeed as well. Instead of worrying over my own troubles, I chose to focus on my victories. I pushed aside the negative, so there would be more room for the positive. This year I laughed more, gave more, and cared more. And the result was a funny thing. I succeeded more. I found allies in unlikely places.  I forgave those who didn’t or couldn’t understand. I accepted help when it was offered. And for the first time in a very long time I chose the path of least resistance, and along it I found, joy, love, and happiness.

The truth I discovered this year is that not everyone will understand you, not everyone will love you. But people are people. We are imperfect, every single one of us. We’re all a work in progress. So forgive those you can, and be grateful for all that you have, not lustful for what you don’t. The world is a truly beautiful place if you just take a look at it from the right angle. Just like in photography perspective is everything.  Adjust your focus you may be amazed at what you find in the snapshots.

If it weren’t for everyone of you. You who read my winded musings, you who “like” my photos, you who have invited my art into your homes, you with kind words, and you who silently support me my life would not be what it is. My dream would not have been reachable. From the bottom of my heart thank you. When I look back at my year, it is you that I see.

And so in the spirit of gratitude, thankfulness, and joy. I want to continue on my year of giving.  From now until the 22nd of December 25% of all sales will be donated to the Toys For Tots Foundation to help purchase toys for children in need during the holidays.  If you use the coupon code: HOLLYJOLLY2014 on the Etsy Shop you can save $10 on all purchases $30 or more. https://www.etsy.com/shop/RebelPhoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu

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Just a small way to say thank you to all of you, for your love support and genuine kindness. Happy Holidays, I truly hope you all had a year as filled with love as mine.