Kids in Kansas

Traveling to Kansas this summer, as always, provided ample doses of photoremedy. In addition to connecting with some of my favorite rural areas and participating in the Shane Hoesli fund raiser that were featured in previous posts, I also had a chance to snap some pretty important toddler photos. Amanda and Stephen’s Isabella got to meet–and spend some quality time with–her Great Grandpa Bill (my Pop).

Amanda, who has always loved the Sunflower State, got to let Isabella go for a run near a spectacular sunflower field.

I was finally able to take some pictures of Cecily – my niece Katy’s and her husband Chris’s precious daughter.

Isabella got to spend quite a bit of time with Colton – Erin (another one of my nieces) and her husband Jason’s son. The two tiny tots were a little shy with each other at first, but eventually bonded and were especially adorable when they spent time with the animals at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.

We’ll wrap up our Kansas photoremedy in our next post by taking a look at a few more favorite pictures; we will also offer a step back in time with a photo from just across the border in a charming Missouri village.

Farley, Missouri

Farley, Missouri

Sunflower as High as an Elephant’s Eye


The legendary 1943 Broadway  musical “Oklahoma” featured the magical Rodgers and Sunflower-to_Sky-1 (1 of 1)Hammerstein hit song Oh What a Beautiful Morning, a tune later made famous by actor/singer Gordon MacRae when the play was adapted into a 1955 Academy Award winning movie.

Even though the play and movie soundtracks predate me by a number of years, they were still popular when I was a youngster. Some of the movie’s most famous song lyrics–“the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye”–keep coming to mind, ironically, when I step into my backyard this summer.  That’s because a sunflower seed I tossed into the garden outside our master bedroom window in February has now grown into a plant that is roughly as high as an elephant’s eye.

Oddly enough, I planted the seed in an attempt to bring a bit of Kansas (the Sunflower State) to Arizona. Because of our family’s Kansas roots, most of the Arizona Gilstraps love sunflowers. The cover photo of our travel book, Being Amanda in Europe, even featured Amanda and a bushel of sunflowers.untitled (295 of 11940)

3 Sunflowers-1

I just didn’t anticipate this spectacularly beautiful annual would grow so exceptionally well in the Sororan Desert. Our sunflower plant is now roughly eight feet tall. If it keeps thriving, we’ll look for it to provide ongoing photoremedy, and even PhotoArt, opportunities.

Two Sunflowers PA-1

PhotoArt by Greg

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.