A Good Cause

One of the primary purposes for the Kansas trip that was featured in our previous photoremedy post was to join the families of Mary’s six brothers and sisters in participating in the 4th Annual Shane Hoesli Memorial Poker Run.

Clay Center, Kansas

Clay Center, Kansas

The event raises scholarship money in Shane’s name. Shane–a tremendous bundle of energy that brought smiles and laughter to his family and large group of friends during his all too short life–was tragically taken from us in a 2010 construction accident.Shane's Headstone 1j (1 of 1)

Shane had a large group of close friends and admirers, and many of them continue to honor him in the Poker Run and in many other ways. The fund raiser participants came on motorcycles, a short bus, and in a few “chase” vehicles. It started and ended in Clyde (Shane’s hometown), and involved stops in four other Kansas Communities (where participants received one card).

Clyde, Kansas

Clyde, Kansas

Those with the best “hands” at the end of the run received donated items; while the participation fees supported the scholarship fund. It was a ton of fun, and provided significant photoremedy opportunities of both the run and surrounding scenery.

Clyde, Kansas

Clyde, Kansas

Home on the Range

It’s been more than two decades since Mary and I packed up the kids and headed west to the Phoenix metro area. We love the colorful Sonoran Desert and the southwestern roots we have planted here, but it is always nice to go “home” to Kansas where we were both raised.

Railroad tracks near Aurora, Kansas

Railroad tracks near Aurora, Kansas in Cloud County

I particularly love the photoremedy opportunities presented when we visit Mary’s hometown of  Clyde. During the last few trips to the area, I rise well before sunrise and head out to capture the morning colors presented all around Cloud County. I even find myself returning to many of the same areas–both on the range and in resilient small communities–where I’ve snapped pictures previously. Different times of day, and different seasons, often put some of these favorite sites in surprisingly different light. Below is a sample of some of my favorite Cloud County and other rural Kansas pictures from this year.

I’m working on a couple of additional Kansas photoremedy posts, including one which features our daughter Amanda introducing precious Isabella to her first Sunflower field experience.

Sunflower fields near Waterville, Kansas

Sunflower fields near Waterville, Kansas

The Birth of Something New

As part of the ongoing photoremedy.me effort to encourage others to explore the “good medicine” that can be delivered to those who are passionate about the pictures they take and make, we occasionally share research or thought processes that support the healing nature of creativity.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch (fine art photography)

Today’s thought comes from Jan Phillips in her book, God Is at Eye Level.

We get so caught up in the flurry of our lives that we forget the essential thing about our art–that the act of creating is a healing gesture, as sacred as prayer, as essential to the HGR Pink Fower 1j (1 of 1)spirit as food is to the body. Our creative work reveals us to ourselves, allows us to transform our experience and imagination into forms that sing back to us in a language of…who we are, what we are becoming, what we have loved and feared. This is the alchemy of creation: that as I attempt to transmute a feeling or thought into an artistic form that can be experienced by another, I myself am added to, changed in the process.

As we center ourselves in the act of creating, attune to our inner voice, a shift occurs in our consciousness, allowing for the birth of something new. Our attention is no longer on time and demands and errands. It is caught up in the metamorphosis of one thing into another. What begins as a cocoon emerges a butterfly. What once was sorrow may now be a song.

All of the photos featured today are photoremedy.me originals, and were taken at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch. Like many of Arizona’s celebrated resorts, it is a great place to stimulate the “birth of something new.” It is a great place for photoremedy.

St. Francis and a Hippie Bus

St. Francis and a hippie bus? I can’t say I ever imagined those two fitting together in the same headline.

St. Francis of Phoenix (fine art photography)

St. Francis of Phoenix (fine art photography) – 111 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix

A recent trip to central Phoenix in search for highly rated Eggs Benedict, however, led Mary and me to St. Francis restaurant. We then followed up on our wonderful brunch–the eggs were top notch–with a little photoremedy that included the discovery of a couple of really cool vehicles (a 1957 Chrysler Imperial and the front half of a VW Hippie Bus).

Note: The photoremedy mission is to encourage those fighting chronic pain and other afflictions to consider using photography as a powerful tool to move their focus away from the pain. In the process, we strive to enhance readers’ ability to see beauty and experience elevated joy in their lives. There are many gifts that can accompany health challenges; one of the greatest offerings is it frequently forces sufferers to set better priorities for their lives and assists them in seeing the world in new and more meaningful ways. 

Staycation Vacation

Merriam-Webster defines staycation as “a vacation spent at home or nearby.” It’s not a complex concept; the word is simply a combination of stay and vacation. We first moved to Arizona in 1993, and we’ve been enjoying staycations ever since. Because we now live in Anthem on the northern most reaches of the metro Phoenix area, it is super easy to experience nearby amenities that are completely different than where we live. And, of course, such journeys inescapably provide photoremedy opportunities.

Ingo's Tasty Food - Arcadia (fine art photo)

Ingo’s Tasty Food – Arcadia (fine art photo)

Our most recent staycation involved a sojourn into the North-Central Phoenix area, and epicurean adventures to the historic, yet hip, Arcadia neighborhood.  We stayed in what used to be accurately referred to as a resort, and it still bills itself that way. Since it is a significantly “tired” facility, and not resort quality in my book, I refused to get my camera out to take pictures of the facility. Highlights of our otherwise wonderful trip included:

Great food

Good Wine

Fun Food Shopping

Ice Cream (the best I’ve ever had!)

Sweet Republic Ice Cream - N. 16th St., Phoenix

Sweet Republic Ice Cream – N. 16th St., Phoenix

Looking at an attribute list that features great food, good wine, fun food shopping, and the best retail ice cream I’ve ever had, it becomes increasingly clear that staycations will continue to be an important part of our future travel planning efforts. After all, sometimes there’s no place like home.

Back to School

Saint Augustine of Hippo, who has proven to be a fountain of knowledge that has watered seeds of wisdom for so many since the fourth century, is best known for his Christian and theological teachings.  He also proved prophetic when it comes to travel.

Augustine has been quoted as saying, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”  In my book, this doesn’t mean you have to be a world traveler; there are often gems we have overlooked in our own communities or regions. A couple of weeks ago, Mary and I added some pages to our travel book with a day trip to the Arizona neighboring mountain communities of Pine and Strawberry. Not only did we beat the heat, but we savored a great home style meal at Pine’s Randall House and snuck in bit of photoremedy.

Since we were not in a hurry, we also made a side trip to the historic Strawberry School. This diminutive log building is known as the oldest standing school in Arizona. It only operated as an “educational institution” between 1884 and 1916. School House Exterior jAfter largely sitting idle for more than a half-century, local residents restored the school and it was formally dedicated as a Historical Monument in 1981. Thanks to a great group of volunteers, the Fossil Creek Road structure allows visitors a nostalgic opportunity to momentarily return to the days that preceded the education related technological advancements featured today.

I’ve driven past the Strawberry School turn off dozens of times, but I’m extremely thankful Mary and I finally slowed down and took such a glorious step back in time. Next time you find yourself being overly entertained by technology or even bored, make time to write a few new pages in your book – whether this requires traveling half a world away or right outside your door.