Creating your own Peace

I’ve been busy with all things photography lately, and although at times it’s overwhelming given all of Life’s other daily tasks, I love busy. For me, with Autumn also comes purpose.

Autumn is my favourite time of year. There is something so magical when the leaves turn and the fields come alive with the harvest. Golden sun-kissed fields fill with rolling trails of dust that hang in twilight skies with each round of the combine.

As a kid, I loved visiting my Dad as he worked in the field. My Mom used to pack a big picnic blanket along with a home-cooked meal so we could all eat together along the field’s edge. My sisters and I would stand at the end of the swath and jump up and down to get his attention.  I remember sitting on that picnic blanket and looking up at Dad who sat on an end gate, precariously balancing a warm meal on his lap while sipping steaming hot coffee from a thermos. If I close my eyes and think back to those childhood memories, the vision of warm golden sunsets over wheat fields fills me with peace. Even today, all I have to do to get that warm fuzzy feeling from home is to turn off pavement and find a gravel road to drive down.

A detour down a gravel road, with the windows down and  Sting’s “Fields of Gold” playing in the background does wonders for my Autumn havest homesickness.

I was shooting a family session the other day at their beautiful acreage. She thanked me for travelling out to their country home, and I had the feeling she believed it was an inconvenience. In all truthfulness, I couldn’t wait for the harvest drive, I loved every scenic minute of it. On the way home I passed by this landscape…

Usually when I’m in the middle of a busy shooting season, I have no desire to take personal photos; however, I’ve focused on moments lately. Moments like these pass us by all the time. It’s up to us to see them.  I knew I had to turn around and take those photos. That whole scene which I appreciated so much at that moment would have been lost to me.

We are often in the business of waiting. We spend much of our lives waiting in lines, at doctor’s offices, the bank, and the grocery store. We wait for the next stage in our lives, and when we make it there, we miss the stage that just passed us by.

There is life within the waiting.

There is life within the chaos.

There is peace in this busy life at this very moment.

I am so grateful to realize that these moments in life that bring peace are all around if I would simply take notice. Not only take notice, but create and re-created them.

The other day I went for a run along trails of green, gold, and amber; the sounds of leaves crunching under my feet as geese flew overhead leaving the promise of winter behind. I knew I loved running in the Fall, but I haven’t made the time for it lately. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the overwhelming feeling of peace that an Autumn run brought me had I not created it.

 It isn’t enough to talk about peace, one must believe it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it, one must work for it.
 – Eleanor Roosevelt

What can you do today to create your own moments of peace?

Peace is just a moment away.  Why wait for peace to come to you when you can create it?

From my heart to yours,


Grandma’s Family Roots

My Grandma Dicke is an amazing woman. In May, she celebrated 94 years!

She’s kind, gracious, and extremely generous. She gives more than she takes (in fact, she rarely takes), and takes care of other’s needs before her own. She’s always been that way. She has a talent for knitting, and she lays out hand-made mittens and washcloths for our family to choose from at family functions…just because. She’s an incredible role-model for our large family.  We are blessed to have Grandma as the matriarch of our family.

I was thinking today that she must have learned so much about life in her 94 amazing years, so I decided to call her and ask her a few questions.

Chrissy (as she calls me): What is your earliest childhood memory?

Grandma: “Walking to school at 6 years old. I also remember driving the team of horses. I rode horseback to the school and the church which was on the corner. The church yard had a barn where we put the horses.  It was 2.5 miles from home. As soon as were big enough to sit up, we rode horseback.  “Freda” was my horse’s name.”

C: What did you do for fun as a young girl?

G: “We played ball at school: soft ball and foot ball. We had a swing, I loved to swing.”

C: What chores did you do on the farm?

G: “I  milked cows and drove horses. One year we had 4 horses, and another year we had 6 horses and a cultivator.  We worked hard, but we still seemed to have time to play. We had a big loft and Mom would send us out there to play so she had some time to herself.”

C: What was life like when you were raising a family in the early years?

G: “Things were pretty tough, we didn’t have much money. We had a lot of second-hand clothes given to us.”

C: Was it hard raising 6 kids?

G: “Yes, I was always tired! I worked hard in the field.”

C: Can you share an important life lesson you’ve learned through your life experiences?

G: “To be responsible for your actions.”

 C: What was life like during the depression?

G: “During the depression, it was pretty hard getting food.  We had a beef ring and we took turns once a week taking in beef. The butcher would cut it up and separated it into bags for us and we would pick it up on Saturday morning.”

C: What’s a Beef Ring Grandma?

G: “A beef ring is when you each raise beef and when it gets to be a certain size, you would take it in to get butchered and we would split it up amongst us. There was 20 of us neighbors that did this. Some people would have poor beef and you wouldn’t get much beef one week, and then sometimes a neighbour would have one with lots of fat, so we had lots of meat.

Life now is pretty different living in one-room. I read through my bible once a year and that keeps me strong.”

And then she laughed. The from-the-belly kind of laugh that works into your heart and mind and then lingers there for a while like a melody.

2010: Looking over old photographs at the 100 yr celebration of the farm
My Grandma and 4 of 6 of her Children at the 100 year celebration of the farm...The same farm land Grandma helped work.

I could tell she was growing tired, so I thanked her for all the interesting life stories, and we said our good-byes.  My Grandma continues to teach me so much today. I have no idea how fortunate and spoiled I am. I have all the modern-day conveniences which I take for granted.

As I was listening to my Grandma recall memories of her childhood, I realized something. The reason she’s such an incredible woman today is because of all she went through in her life. The good and the bad both form character, and Grandma’s character is something to aspire to.

I also realized how important it is to find out about one’s history ~ rich in knowledge, tradition, and wisdom. If we don’t ask questions and learn from our elders, that history can’t be passed down. Thank you for sharing with me Grandma. I love you!

From my heart to yours,