Tag Archives: Beauty

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Hands + Happiness

Happy Hand


Marge, over at Inside Out Cafe has offered several invitations and challenges this year, and her posts about happiness have been intriguing.
Moi, however, has been so busy being happy offline, I have been quickly scanning e-mail, blogs, and such.
The first thing that came to mind when I read her happy posts was this quote, which I keep on my computer:
“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” ~ The Buddah

Life is filled with happiness. I am filled with happiness – so much that I feel quite happily explosive – in a good way. As I travel new paths, I have been noticing the love and the gifts, not in each week, or day or holidays… which have been warm and wonderful, but in each moment. Each moment of being in a state of happiness, creates more and then more.
Appreciating what is in each moment is bringing more… surprises, gifts, opportunities, love, joy to my humble door.
Are there setbacks or barriers? Yes, and not really. Switching to DSL from satellite, sped up my life… and for a minute, slowed it down… LOL! New e-mail address as required made for a lot of change! No problem. I wanted faster manifestations for my work!
Someone I love shows up on my doorstep, 3 times in a week, while I am super happily busy working, coaxing me to the beach for a sunset. The first night we were late, the second night was cloudy, and the third – a charm! We laughed, we played like little kids ~ with light and reflections and color and love and respect and appreciation for each other’s values and differences – which on many subjects often seem to be in opposition.
150 photos of this sunset… and 50 exquisite, useable, memorable. This one is a bit sentimental, and yet a simple reminder:
We hold our happiness in our own hands, appreciating the loving gifts of beauty we are handed each day. Sharing them, in the moment, is dessert. It is available to everyone, every day. Open hands open hearts, giving and receiving. What has that to do with photography? Everything and nothing?

My happiness is in my hands and when we offer each other our happiness, our joy, it is a gift passed on, shared, generous, expecting nothing in return.
The giving is the gift, receiving is the opening… or is it the other way around?

I need not seek happiness. It lives in me and I get to share it!

Namaste ~ StarBear

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Win My Heart! and the Winners are…

The original 22 hearts...

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest, read through my blog and waited patiently for the results and answers!

First to answer Question # 1 correctly was Paula with her answer of 9, which meant surfing my entire blog and counting the # of posts with heart images! Paula – Congratulations for your Perseverance!
Q 1 was “How many of my posts include heart images? Not hearts, posts.”

AND
Congratulations to Wendy Fedan for being the first to correctly answer Q 2: “How large did the the first Big Stone Heart measure?” Over 6 feet x 6 feet.

AND
Congratulations to Crowing Crone Joss for her very close guess of 658 stones in answer to Q 3, “Guess the total number of stones in the 22 hearts in the photo.”
The total # of stones in the 22 hearts is 720.

Please provide your mailing address by writing it in a comment, so I can get your prize mailed out to you! (Comments here are moderated and only I will see it, it will NOT be posted).

To everyone else who entered an answer or made a comment, Thank You!

In Sunday’s post I said “see you tomorrow” – and this is a day late. It seems I am very human and my body is reminding me of it. While out and about enjoying the sunshine, I took a very bad fall and landed on my backside ~ hard and creating a brief NoCZ. Taking care of myself included not sitting at the computer for the remainder of the day. So once again, I am sorry for the delay… and I am fine this morning… (Apple cider vinegar and Vitamin C didn’t help with this! LOL!)

Just for fun ~ the small green heart, which I call “Evergreen,” consists of a total 20 stones and contains 2 other heart stones, visible in this close up.

Evergreen


This image also gives you a pretty good idea of the actual sizes of the hearts. The small ones, like this, are 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ I will be writing about each heart over the coming weeks, as the heart series continues to unfold… slowly.

May all of your hearts be filled with love and joy!
Namaste ~ StarBear
Copyright 2012 Betsy Lewis

“Win My Heart” Contest Ends Today!

You have until 6:00 PM EST to enter the “Win My Heart” Contest.
This is fun! I regret not having done something like this sooner… and all is well.

The First of the Series...

The first heart in this series began as an experiment for photographs. After building the First Big Stone Heart on the beach in 2009 (and having it disappear in a storm, as expected, and after the physical death of my beloved big sister not long after) I wanted to find a way to express my love of the beach, of being at the beach, my gratitude for the Healing Waters of Lake Superior and the wonderful people I have shared it with in my life, and not least of all those who share my life! During the relatively short-lived existance of the that heart, which was about two months, a number of friends photographed it, with people they loved standing, sitting, dancing, lying on it… we had a lot of fun with it. I kept thinking about it… how could I make it available to more people – this fun, this love, this joy. Finally, in the summer of 2011, I made the first non-vanishing stone heart. Little did I know…

It took some time to figure out how to make it – and still allow it to look like stones hanging together the way beach stones cluster naturally, piling up on the beach. I watched stones, water and waves working together. I finally realized that as I watched nature at work, I was also learning from her/him, Spirit~ Art imitating nature in ways I never learned in an art class. I have used the lessons learned from watching the waves stack and organize stones… which I cannot yet fully explain in words. It is random and not random. It has to do with size shape, edges, textures, weight, water motion, weather and energy. Some days similar stones form groupings, in breathtakingly beautiful arrangements, some simple, some complex, sometimes mixing colors, sometimes keeping them monochromatic. I watched I listened I worked in the beach studio… I arrived at a possibility.

Stone Washed Heart!

Taking that first non-perishable heart back to the beach, I have taken many photographs of it, letting waves, sand and other stones wash over it. This one heart is NFS. It is in the photo from yesterday, one of the 22. (Contest Hint – you can count the stones in today’s photos.)

It was a simple experiment, which eventually pushed me into making many more, now somewhat refined, simplifying the process (with some missing from photo – already sold and gracing other lives). People saw that first one and started asking for their own! While at first it seemed an artificially contrived device, just for photos, the hearts express own my love for Nature and Joy in Life and are taking on a life of their own. Each stone represents a piece of my heart and the people I love and have loved, different, individual, similar… making a whole and happy heart… seems quite natural, now.

The original was almost washed away as I photographed it… more than once, since in Lake Superior’s big waves it is very light! Retrieving that first heart sometimes meant mad dashes into the Big Lake… laughing and keeping the camera held high. Listening to the rhythm of the waves saved my behind (and camera) on more than one shoot… after awhile one can hear a big wave approaching. That, too, is part of the lake learning or life learning and being connected to it all… listening.

Stones, Bubbles, Sand and Waves...

This work that I do, which some may call play, brought this song to mind today.

The recording is 40 years old, my hearts are young and made from ancient stones.
This work/play is part of my purpose in life, bringing joy to myself and others.
It makes me feel like a Natural Woman, deep down, in my heart.
Makes perfect sense to me… 🙂 Listening, watching, learning, loving… does life get any better than this?

Love Bubbles...

May your life and heart bubble with love… every day is Valentine’s Day!
Namaste ~ In Joy! Star Bear

Related Posts:
Contest
Big Stone Heart ~ Love from Lake Superior
A Little Heart Shared Cross Country
One of my Studios
Beach Work
Beach Dancing
Watching Washing Stones

Happy Valentine’s Day! Win My Heart! Really!

Having fun with Love on Valentine's Day!

To enter the contest read on ~ How to have a little fun on Valentine’s Day…

Valentine’s Day – a day on the Calendar created for Universal Agreement that to have a special person in your life, a lover, a special partner is the thing to do or … you get to feel bad, feel alone, be sad, feel left out, unloved? Blah, Blah, blah… I say Celebrate You and your love for yourself, your friends, your family. Celebrate being, Celebrate breathing, Celebrate this beautiful Earth – and being who you are and able to do what you love.

I get to “do” lunch with a friend I always have fun with, surprise a few other friends, wish my Granddaughter a Happy Birthday and sing a song to her on her phone. I get to go to a job I love and particpate in the NoCZ challenge…. and I get to post the progress I have made on my Stone Heart Series… 22 stone hearts. I loved making these. I loved gathering the stones from the beaches nearby on Lake Superior (on warmer days).
Each stone collected for it’s individual beauty, carefully selecting the stones for each heart, making little relief sculptures, and thinking of people I love or who were at the beach with me as I collected stones. I will love selling them, too…. as a way to share the beauty of stones, the energy of stones, the love the planet gives us in the form of beauty in the simplest things… stones.

Want to win a set of my hearts? Three people can win – just answer one of these questions in the comments:
1. How many blog posts on my blog include heart images? (Hint: the first one tells how and why I made the first Big Stone Heart and the second one is here – How and why I made the second small stone heart.) There are more posts – if you like playing detective, this one is for you. How many of my posts include heart images? Not hearts, posts. In the event of a tie, the first correct answer posted in comments wins.
OR
2. How large did the the first Big Stone Heart measure? (Statistical readers and researchers for facts may love this one.)
OR
3. Guess the total number of stones in the 22 hearts in the photo. Do NOT count the natural heart stones scattered between the hearts. Closest guess to the actual # wins – and in the event of a tie, the first entry posted in the comments wins! (Bean counters and mathamaticians may do well here.)

Please enter only once. One prize will be awarded for each of the 3 questions – for a total of three prizes.
What’s the prize? A set of 4 Heart blank note cards – a $15.00 value – using images from the series of heart stones. Entries must be posted in comments by Thursday, February 16th, 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. Winners will be announced and correct answers provided on Monday, February 19th. Good Luck and have fun!

Have fun this Valentine’s Day! Invite a friend to enter the “Win My Heart” contest, too.
There’s more than enough love to share!

After the contest, the stone hearts are for sale. The largest hearts are 6″ x 6″, the medium are 5″ x 5″ and the smallest are 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2 “. Before the week is out I will have individual photos and prices up for each. They are each handcrafted with sculpted finished backs, they are nice to hold in your hands. Feeling the stones feels good. They are wonderful to meditate with, look at, hold, get in touch with nature.

Namaste ~ StarBear

P.S. This is way out of my comfort zone!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Launch

Horse Launch

Continuing with my favorite photos, searching for weekly photo challenge images “Launch”, and to fulfill part of the Kreative Blogger Award guidelines of sharing 10 things about myself, this post has turned into a 3-fer! Whew! Multi-tasking?

Thank you, Jackie

Thank you, Jackie, for the Kreative Blogger Award.

About this photo: One of my favorite photos, Horse Launch, was taken at a Three Day Event in Michigan – Horses and riders launching themselves over big jumps, walls, into water. Horses and riders working in partnership, trusting and communicating. (This is not a photo of me – one of the “rules” I learned from great horsepeople is to only ride as fast as you could think and respond. My thinking and response time was faster with my camera than on this type of course or horse.)

10 things you may not know about me:
I love horses, have always loved horses, and somehow have been involved with horses for much of my life. At one time I was owned by a horse farm, lived, breathed, smelled, groomed, rode, jumped, nursed, mended, cared for horses. I also shoveled a lot of manure, taught riding lessons, judged small horse shows, trained a few horses and was always taking lessons, attending clinics, learning. I learned so much being with horses and horse people. I was owned by many horses. I had great partnerships with some of them, and those horses… well, we took each other on many adventures, launches, falls, leaps. I was probably a horse or horse keeper in a past life. I still own a Norwegian Fjord Horse, born at my farm. She has a job some ways away from where I live – as a therapeutic riding horse. We are both living our dreams!
Is that one thing or 10?
Living with horses was a dream, a goal, from the time I was little. It was a challenge, a joy, and I am no longer owned by a horse farm or horses.
New challenges arrive every day, and they are just as exciting and fulfilling as living with horses. They are different and so am I. Every day is a launch or a re-launch forward into life. When learning to jump with horses over big jumps, the trainer told us to “throw your heart out in front of you, over the fence and follow it”. I never forgot that lesson, and still didn’t always do it. (…and that was usually when I landed in mud or flat on my face! LOL!)

Yet, it seems good advice for life, too, don’t you think?

Namaste ~ StarBear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Winter ~ More Snow Color + NoCZ 2012

On the Road to Dreams...

On the Road to MyDreams in Frosted Snow Color

Closer to the Dream!

Further Along the Road to My Dreams in Frosted Snow Color

This may not seem like part of the No Comfort Zone 2012 Challenge, yet it is, for me.
I have avoided posting my best work online, for many reasons… and as part of my No Comfort Zone Challenge, I decided to share some of my best and favorite images. After all, if no one sees them, how can they purchase them? LOL!

As I began to think about posting these winter photographs, I realized that I have been afraid to post some of my favorite photos. Some of them are really wonderful. Some are incredibly beautiful! (Some, like “Snow Color” sell like hotcakes, when they are seen. LOL!)

I have been afraid that someone would take them and use them without acknowledgement, credit, paying for them… (F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real)
The Evidence? I have had numerous photos mysteriously appear on other websites without credit or payment, then a friendly neighbor even downloaded a set of 4, framed them, hung them in her home, then invited me to dinner. When I saw the poorly printed lo res prints hanging in her living room, I went ballistic. I felt so betrayed! Then I gave her a signed print for Christmas that year, because I didn’t want badly printed crappy work out in the world… and because she had been a good friend.

I had this THOUGHT: I can’t trust people, especially intelligent friends who disrespect copyrights. If a knowledgeable friend would do this, what about strangers, net surfers, those I don’t even know. So I have been afraid to trust people when it comes to my work. Not trusting one person can mean trusting no one. It can mean I don’t trust myself, either. Turning it around. I am afraid to trust others, including myself. Turning it around, others are afraid to trust me. Turning it around again, I am afraid to trust me. Turning it around again, if I can’t trust the people closest to me, who can I trust? Turning it around again, I am afraid to trust the person closest to me – me. It is kind of like being a little bit pregnant. You either are or are not. I either trust or I don’t. Yes or No.

False Evidence Appearing Real? Yet… many others love my work and want to see it hanging in their homes or offices or give it as gift. They are willing to buy it, wait for the prints or jpegs to arrive, send money, give credits, and when their art arrives with checks they include wonderful love notes like “Your images feed my soul.” “You see things differently than any one else.” “Please, keep sharing beauty with the world.” “Your photographs are so beautiful.” “You have such a gift for seeing.” “I love your images…” “Thank you for bringing such beauty to light.” “My friend will love this gift..” “You don’t charge enough…” “Your work, art work is a service to people…” “No one else photographs, captures that place the way you do…”

Just this week, another blogger Orel, who also has beautiful nature and snow photographs from Scotland, said: “Starbear, I think you just posted the most beautiful picture I’ve seen on wordpress so far. I mean it. This line is pure and perfect. Too bad I can’t enlarge it. I wish you a happy new year!” (Sensuous Snow Curve)

Sometimes I am afraid to let the good stuff in, and dwell on the stuff that is uncomfortable. Sometimes, I’m also afraid to let my good stuff out. This is the good stuff… and I am open to receiving the good stuff.
(Oh how we judge… good, bad, better, worse…)
That’s why posting these is an act of courage, for me. I trust. I trust myself to share my work. I trust others not to take it, and if they do? I can protect it by posting small images, add watermarks, add copyrights. Sometimes I do give it away, just because I want to, with love. Some people will take it without asking, some will buy it, others will say nice things about it, others will criticize it. Those who take it will not get the best. Those who ask, will. We can always work something out. I don’t like being mean. Trust me.

What I want is for people to love my work and respect my gift. What I want for me is to love my work and respect the gifts I have been given and share them and I also want more financial freedom to be able to give of myself freely, with love, and making loving choices. I have forgiven my friend; I have renamed her “Opportunity to Love.” We are no longer close. Lesson learned in the classroom of Life. If I can’t trust myself, who will trust me?

I will continue to post my favorites, some of my best. Stay tuned!
If you would love to purchase a print for yourself or as a gift, check out the SHOP. Almost all of the images on my blog are available as signed prints. Instructions for purchasing are in the Shop link above and at the top of the page.
Bottom Line: I trust me. If you read this far, I trust that maybe you found another beautiful gift here, too.

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Winter ~ Snow Color

Snow Color

Namaste ~ StarBear

Postcards from My Dream ~ Dark Storms and Rainbows

There are days with bright sunshine. They are lovely, warm, and comfortable. Then there are the days of Lake Superior’s Superior Storms.
Saturday (10/15/2011) was one of those days with multiple warnings: shoreline erosion, high wind, and hazardous weather – a perfect day for the beach!

Super Superior Storm

The Beach Studio was not a safe bet, with trees falling right and left. Not wanting to be trapped in the woods on a two-track, alone with no chain saw to cut my way out, I ventured to a “safe” beach on a safe road, and WOW! I’m so glad I did.
In a period of 2 hours, I was able to shoot a Super Superior Storm including sunshine, monster waves, and was even blessed with a rainbow!
West winds howling at 60mph, I leaned with my back to the wind, booted feet planted firmly, listening for the sound of cracking trees while finding the sound of the rhythm of the waves in order to move out of the way quickly. Yes! I love these storms and am not afraid to embrace them. The energy is incredible and I become incredulously one with the storm. At the same time, protecting lenses and camera from the blowing sand and spray, unable to even shoot into the wind… Yes! Exhilarating! Yes, rewarding! Yes!

Risky? Maybe, and yet caution to the wind while knowing the boundaries, standing on the edge, aware of the logs and trees being tossed about like toothpicks, retreat plan in place. Yes! Changing light settings every other minute as the sun and clouds played tag with light and dark, becoming a human tripod in the wind, capturing sand blowing, a lone brave or foolish seagull struggling in flight, the spray on the waves, reflections on wet sand, dramatic skies. 250+ images. Fast. Did they all come out? Of course not. Some are incredible. Some are dramatic. Some are beautiful. Some are incredibly, beautifully dramatic. Just like Lake Superior when Mother Nature offers fury on the wind.

Dark Sky with Superior Rainbow ~ Lake Superior

These are dark images from a dark day. To brighten them would totally change the mood, the feeling, the heaviness of the clouds. A storm that washed the beach clean of stones, covered them with sand… a storm full of magnificent energy.

May you always be able to dance in the wind and rain of your storms ’til the rainbow appears!

Namaste ~ StarBear

Lake Superior 3 ~ Energy

Sometimes almost literally sweeping me off my feet... and I love the storms...

Sometimes Raging...


Sometimes words are inadequate to describe energy.
Lake Superior is pure energy, given in so many ways.

Sometimes raging
Sometimes quiet
Sometimes resting
Always creating beauty.

Sometimes taking lives
Sometimes moaning
Sometimes laughing
Always joyfully giving an abundance of beauty.

Perry's Landing

Sometimes quietly starting my days...

Lake Superior Sand Drawing with Stones

Always giving ~ Simple Beauty

May your day be filled with beautiful energy!
Namaste ~ Star Bear, who is off to start another beautiful day of gratitude for this place and time.
Copyright 2011 Betsy Lewis

Post-a-day 2011: ~ Full Moon

Full Moon #791... and counting!

Full Moon #791

“I see the moon, the moon sees ME.
God bless the moon, and God bless thee!”

…A poem I learned somewhere along the way between 1 and 791 full moons. Many moons ago, my children and I would sing-song this as they were being tucked into bed, covers pulled up with a kiss goodnight on the forehead.
In the witnessing of 791 full moons, I have learned much, about life and the moon… Men have visited it, and no women that I know… and yet this full circle of feminine energy shows up every month, year after year to illuminate the planet, the universe. Predictable, on schedule, radiant.
This simple image is a note to myself. It is not photogenius. It is the moon over the woods near home, a moon shared by all. How does one capture an image of moon energy? Is it possible? When I revisit this note, I will not remember the hordes of mosquitos and other biters attacking me as I waited patiently for moonrise. I will remember this moon, these wispy clouds, the muted colors of day turning to dusk turning to night, quietly. I will remember the beauty of a warm July night. I will remember loving friends who lift me up and who I lift up… along with those who are strangers. I will reflect this gentle beauty back to everyone I meet over the coming days. So with this imperfect, perfectly blurry image of tonight’s full moon, I offer you a simple note of reminder. This moon, this energy is ours to enjoy, to share, whether we can see it or not. Every person on the planet is a recipient of this marvelous energy. Isn’t that amazing?
Sometimes my kids and I would change the words and say:
“I see the moon, the moon sees ME.
God bless the moon, and God bless WE!”

I hope you count your full moons, count your blessings and have a good night and a beautifully illuminating day!

Namaste ~ Star Bear