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First Peek of Spring!

“Spring, spring, it’s making me sing.” ~My daughter singing her first-grade music song

Ah, it really does seem that Spring is finally here! Rain and wind comes with that, but there have been some super days with sunshine and warmth. I like a smidge of chill in the air and sun on my skin. This week flowers started blooming in yards, trees sprouted buds, flowering trees began to show their beauty, and everyone seems to be getting outside again.

Love this season for its beautiful color and rejuvenation. I hope you enjoy the following glimpses of Spring I captured with the camera, along with my beautiful girls stomping around in the mud and lovin nature. ūüôā

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Malabar Farm’s Maple Syrup Festival in Photos

We had a super fun time this weekend at Malabar Farm, part of the Ohio State Park system and located in Lucas, Ohio near Mansfield and Ashland.¬† It was their Maple Syrup¬†Festival and my 11-year-old son wanted to learn all he could about tapping maple trees for tree sap¬†and making it into sugar and syrup. He loves the pioneer and native american historical demonstrations and anything that has to do with ecologically self-sustaining yourself. It was a lot of fun for the kids, and I thought it was a great opportunity for not only photos with my family, but for Breathe Beauty Art and Photography as well. Set back in the forest near Malabar Farm’s historical Pugh Cabin and Louis Bromfield‘s Sugar Shack, it was the perfect environment for relaxing and taking photos with nature. We also crossed Malabar Farm and went to the actual farm itself, something we do several times a year since my son is an avid conservationalist. He loves to learn about Bromfield’s life, check out the wind turbines, the solar compacting trash can, solar panels, the historical mansion. He is enthralled by care for the environment (you can find him on Twitter¬†@environmentlife) and the education that this Ohio State Park offers is incredible. If you’ve never been, check it out at www.malabarfarm.org.

I just love to go to take photos. I guess we all have our favorite things and mine of course is taking photos! Tim, my fiance, actually took some of these photos as well. View the slide show below to see photos of Malabar Farm, the Maple Syrup Festival, and my family enjoying the day. I think the girls’ favorite part was the maple sugar leaf cookies, maple popcorn, maple fudge, chocolate walnut fudge……

If you like my photos of Malabar Farm, please inquire with me at breathebeautyartandphotography@hotmail.com

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Rejuvinating Ocean Photography (Series 2)

Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war. 
~Loren Eiseley

The ocean certainly does give us a feeling of carefree wonder, where we can cast our cares and run with joy ins our hearts. Finding solace in the rhythm of the waves, the sounds of water lapping on the shore, the vastness that lays before our eyes all bring hope to our heart and a song to our soul.

Here are a few more of my ocean related photos to bring you a refreshing break to your day. Many of these in this Ocean Series 2 are taken in Jupiter Island and surrounding area and West Palm Beach in mid to Southern Florida. Some are in Fort Pierce, lower central Florida.

As it is almost mid-March in Ohio, and today it snowed enough my kids didn’t have school, I am missing my time in Florida. The warm, therapeutic sand, the hot sun, the cleansing salt water, the air of a calmer, simplier life. I hope you find as much center in¬†your life¬†from these photos as I do.

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Ocean Photographs (Series 1) to Inspire You!

‚ÄúJust as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.‚ÄĚ
~Albert Schweitzer  (German medical missionary, 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, 18751965)

¬†The weather looks to be finally breaking from all the winter storms. Almost 60 degrees today in Ohio is certainly giving everyone hope from their cabin fever. It is just making me miss Florida–the warm sands, therapeutic rays, saltwater, and its air of relaxation. Here are some photos from Florida that I took that I¬†love, maybe it will give you some inspiration today too!

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Love is Universal!

“The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love.” ~Henry Miller

The day for LOVE, more commonly known as Valentine’s day, is upon us. I try to not look at this day as “only for lovers” but make it about sharing love with many of the people in your life that your value and hold dear.¬† Of course, we should do this everyday, but planning it in is always a nice way to make sure we really are showing the ones we love that we care.

Below are some images that exude romance for the one that you truly love in your life….your spouse, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend. Let them allow you to meditate on that person and be reminded of your inner most love for them.

Possibly, you might just think of your parents, or your dear friends while taking a moment with the photos. And that’s ok too. There are many other people who we love in our lives. Love is universal and can be a language we all speak.

Love is intertwined emotion,
balanced by the sands of time,
ever increasing in meaning,
forever grasping life and soul.

Love is the reality for living,
it guides us like ebb and flow,
it is the only thing to save us
when the whole world seems to
leave us alone.

Love is the ageless friend,
always churning newness and hope,
our best assest for peace and giving,
our only real reason for living.
~by Erin Al-Mehairi, 02/11/11

 

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Small Factory Fire, the Day After Winter Photos

The kids and I walked down to the check out the remnants of a factory fire that happened in our small town, Ashland, Ohio. It was still smoldering, creating a lot of white smoke against the already white background. I just thought the icicles were so beautiful against the burnt-out windows.

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Walking in a Winter Wonderland….Time with My Son and My Camera

I hadn’t really been out of the house for days, with being ill and not being able to kick it. Plus, the weather has been just downright nasty with either rain or freezing cold that makes my nerves stand on end. I actually prefer when it snows lightly. Now that I am able to better appreciate the beauty of snow, I really want to be out in it. The wonder of each snowflake, the icicles, the formations all leave me in awe. I have missed my Fall walks with my camera. I wanted to see what I was missing out there in nature. The sun was shining and so I resigned myself to bundle up well, don the boots and hit the sidewalk at least for a few minutes. My son wanted to go with¬† me, and I really wanted his company. When he and I have time alone exploring as we do, I know it makes him as happy as it makes me. And we spent a lot more than a few minutes outside.

We wandered around and saw how beautiful the sun glinted off the snow piles.  We looked for icicles and saw absolutely gorgeous formations of them all around us. If we were driving by or walking by fast, we never would have noticed them. We saw all the berries left from Fall, and it was like they were almost preserved from the cold, some even encased in ice.

I was in wonder of the beauty God creates all around us. I appreciated the moments spent with my son as we talked about life and nature and what he planned to do when he grows up (which is a list of about 100 things, but all very nice assets to humanity). He had some things he wanted to show me by our local Ashland County Courthouse. I knew the architecture would be great of course there and I wasn’t disappointed. The trimming of the building are delicious.¬† He loves the old bell there, and the cannon, and he wiped the snow away from the plaque that told about the time capsule from 1976. He even plans to attend the opening of it, coming back to Ashland. I know it is driving him nuts what is inside it. He is such a treasure hunter. I watched as he wiped the cannon in various areas–brushing off the snow to find the manufacturer’s imprints, the years (1884), the little intricacies imbedded in it. He looked like a little museum curator. I stood and watched him, filled with love. His treasures are history, and though I too love history, I could relate even more as my treasures are finding the various photographic angles that are around us each day.

I know what it is like to be busy in life. I know what it is like to rush and work so hard that you never see your kids or go outside. Being on this side of that now, I certainly appreciate these moments even more. And I believe that my son, and my children, will certainly have better memories of their mom in their mind as well as in photos! I urge everyone that if you aren’t seeing these small things in life, appreciating the world around us, remembering history and appreciating it, that you stop what you are doing and figure out how to get it in your life without excuses. Nothing is more important than quality time with your children and the outdoors.

Here is a short slide show of some of the photos we took today, all which are available as prints for sale if you’d like a little piece of our adventure (please don’t steal my photos, they are copyrighted). Please leave comments and let me know what you think!

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My Top Ten Favorite Photos I Took in 2010

The year 2011 is officially underway and I hope to take more photos and improve my skills as quickly as possible. This year I was so blessed with being able to spend time in Florida as well as be able to see the glories in all the various seasons in Ohio.

Here are 10 of my favorite photos from 2010, I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think, or if you have other favorites!

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Ashland University’s Miller Hall: A Rememberance

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As soon as I heard that my alma mater Ashland University, in Ashland, Ohio,¬†was going to remove Miller Hall from campus over their¬†Christmas break, I knew I needed to head over to take a few last photos. I’ve been on a mission lately with my photography to not only capture nature in all its splendor, but all the history that the outdoor world brings also. Another passion of mine is history, so coupling that with photography is natural.¬† The beauty of historic houses and buildings, finding the small pieces of them that exude vintage and¬†have remained fairly untouched over the years, is such a passion of mine. Photographs¬†¬†are the only visual window into our past and assists our memories in the future.¬† Something untouched now may be invisible tomorrow.¬†

I went to Ashland University, graduating in 1997. I really only ever had some business and economic classes in Miller Hall and a few English courses in the basement.¬† Mostly I walked by it every day and night on my way to or from the Arts and Humanities building, which housed many of my communications, art, and foreign language courses.¬† However, I thought about my mom, who went to Ashland University and graduated in 1960, all those older alumni who may have a more ingrained remembrance. I thought about the bustling of the campus in 1922 when the building was built and housed the library and some classrooms and offices.¬† I thought about the alumni’s memories of the campus and the beauty of the way buildings were built back then.¬† I imagined Ashland University in the late 1800s to 1920s and how the stone buildings looked spread over a larger area with lots of land.¬†

With Miller being the oldest building on campus, it still holds on to some of that history, with the stone above the front doorway, and the top turret.  In taking photos of the major historical parts of Miller Hall, a great nostalgia was preserved for life. 

This post is in no way written to¬†chastise AU for their decision. It is completely understandable when a building would take over $6 million to just renovate for usable classrooms, not offering a chance to even expand it. It will open up hopefully a great new space for a building to complement their wonderful art and humanities courses and professors.¬† I’m just glad that I took the photos to sustain its memory and offer little pieces of the building, immortalized in archival photo paper, glass and frame, to those who want to hold on to some part of its history.

With all this said, look for more post in the future talking about older buildings and houses and capturing their memory in word and digitally.¬† If you’d like to order any of my various shots of Miller Hall, please e-mail me at breathebeautyartandphotography@hotmail.com for options in price, size, and framing.

¬†To view ALL the Miller Hall photos, go¬†to the link below¬†to my Facebook fan page, you can still¬†view even if you don’t have a Facebook account, and if you are on Facebook please “like” my fan page.

Photos:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/updates.php?id=114104011984418&sent=1&e=0#!/album.php?aid=18365&id=114104011984418


The Domestic Violence Fight Must Continue!

Domestic Violence impacts 1.3 million women a year who are victims of physical assault by someone they know. Most cases are never reported to the police. It is time for women to stand up for themselves and for other women. There is no reason that any man should ever emotionally, financially, or physically abuse any woman. I know as women we tend to forgive, forget, and see the positive in anyone. In other cases maybe women are just scared, feel that they will lose their children, or fear not having any money and being homeless. However, if you are victim of any kind of abuse (and yes mental and emotional counts!) you will see that after the hard part of leaving is over, and if you find assistance from a shelter and/or a support group, that your life will certainly start to take on a new meaning. You’ll wonder why¬† you never left sooner. It will take a long time mentally to overcome the effects of emotional, physical, and financial abuse. I know this because I am a survivor of abuse. The trauma to your body (I have many health related problems including fibromyalgia, body aches,¬†and TMJ in my jaw from a punch) can be long-lasting and your emotional state can take even longer. Try to seek out only the most positive people in your life. Do not allow pessimistic or negative people to infiltrate your new life. Do not dwell on what has happened, but focus on growing a new life and finding yourself again because most certainly you have lost yourself. Please seek out help and restore your life before it is too late. If you have children, it is very important that you do this; however, please focus on also doing it for yourself.

In honor of all who  have fought or are still fighting domestic violence, I have created this original photo artwork and written a motivational quote based on my own thoughts as a survivor. It is being sold in my online store as a print, framed or unframed, matted, printed on canvas, or maybe a set of notecards to assist with awareness would be something you might purchase. Fifty percent of each sale will go towards domestic violence awareness efforts for women both locally and nationally.

For more information on domestic violence and to see the wheel of abuse, please check out this link below.

http://www.ncadv.org/files/DomesticViolenceFactSheet(National).pdf

Keep fighting! We are worth it!