It is only FIVE more days until the CureSearch Walk, so I wanted to repost this. Please help if you can. And please pray; only God can really cure this curse.

Through The Lens

We have all seen them.

Ribbons for cancer. Pink for breast cancer, gray for brain cancer, yellow for bone cancer and lavender for general cancer awareness.

The one I wear is orange, for Leukemia, because that is what attacked my sweet granddaughter Isabelle Jade Ratclilffe a little over a year ago when she was just seven years old. The words, spoken through tears by my eldest daughter, were some that I prayed that I would never hear, “Isabelle has cancer.” That time was some of the darkest days for our family. My daughter Rebekah said it so precisely, “Christian and I have never slept so little, wept so hard, made more difficult decisions, questioned our faith so deeply, made such an effort to smile and laugh or worked so hard to keep our family together. But we also have never felt so loved or supported by so many. Family, Friends and…

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Weekly Photo Challenge 3: Near and Far

To be so near and yet so far away; the St. Louis Arch has been photographed so many ways, it was difficult to get a truly unique image. I basically stood with my back to the arch and bent over backwards to get this angle.

I love perspective photography.

Mainly because it is where photography truly becomes ART! I love my art photography; it is what makes me happiest.

I have a love affair with windows and doors, and at an old mission in San Antonio, I found many wonderful examples of both. In this image, I captured the remains of an old door far away through a nearby window.

But, unfortunately, art photography hasn’t made me any money (except that photo contest where I won $100). I suppose, while I was a photojournalist for a local weekly newspaper, my art photography made me money, but only because my editor loved to display my art on front page, so technically I made money then with my art. But for all practical purposes, I’ve only made a living with my wedding and portrait side of my photography business. Yes, it is true, that I give the business side of my photography a truly artistic touch, but it is not the same as composing a truly awesome piece “Through the Lens” and beholding what becomes of that composition.

So, when I saw this weeks photo challenge, I departed from my grandchildren (my favorite subjects) and decided to show off some of my perspective work taken in various places I’ve visited. Hope you won’t be bored! I also hope that I don’t have to die, before my art work becomes famous! 🙂

This is one of my favs; mainly because it reminds me of a really fun and productive road-trip to Beaver’s Bend in Oklahoma. This single red bloom looks much larger up close than its brethren farther away in the background.

At the Alamo, this image was of the long corridor connecting the soldiers’ barracks. A good example of leading lines and diminishing perspective.

You don’t have to have a lot of distance to get a Near and Far photo. This image was taken in the only working mission church in S.A. I pointed my camera from the bottom left hand corner up to the top right corner. The light and stained glass did the rest. Amazingly, this image is also beautiful in B&W!

Okay, it might be cliche to take photographs of the river walk while in San Antonio, but I did try to put my spin on it. I loved the way the light played off the water just as the boat came out from under one of the dozens of bridges.

I’m not sure this really falls into Near and Far, but I love the not so noticeable repetitious pattern of the arches in both the foreground and background. Add to that the juxtaposition of the criss-crossing shadows and this one has become one of my favorites. From a Spanish mission in Texas.

I also love really beautiful architecture and tall buildings, especially against beautiful skies.

Near Northeastern Oklahoma: Fall foliage so near you could touch, frames mountains too far away to seem real.

Glass spires stretch towards the pillow-soft clouds in the sky. Truly near and far.

I loved the receptive pattern of all these broken relics from the past lined up like forgotten soldiers in an ancient war.


We all face times where we need “Calm.”
I hope this brings you as much calm as it brought me – Darla

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Photo taken by a woman in her thirties who has major depression, anxiety, and is on the bipolar spectrum. She has been through countless treatments, including tons of medications, an army of doctors, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and most recently ECT.

About this photo: “Sunsets can be quite calming, and when you deal with mental health issues, finding calm can be important. This sunset helped me find calm on a particularly trying day. I was agitated and frustrated, but also depressed. I needed an escape and I found it in the form of a sunset and taking photos. I have often found that taking photos can help bring me back from difficult mood states so I can deal with whatever people or situations I need to deal with.


**Visit Broken Light’s main gallery here. Currently accepting submissions.

*Like us on Facebook & Twitter. Follow below for…

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I loved this special road trip and wanted to share it with my readers seeing as I don’t get out much.

Writing Between the Lines

There is an old Irish folk tale about a father and a son who set out on a long journey.

“Shorten the road, my son,” said the father.  His son walked faster, to cut short their time on the road.  But the father rolled his eyes and went home.  The next day, they set out again.

“Shorten the road, my son,” said the father.  The same thing happened, and his father turned back.  On the third day, the lad’s mother whispered, “Tell your Da a story he has never heard, and you’ll no be back again soon.”   She was right.

My family and I have just returned from a journey of our own, but we already knew how to shorten the road.  In fact the North Central Library System hired The Baltuck/Garrard Family Storytellers to come tell stories on the dry side of the mountains.

Along the way we…

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Weekly Photo Challenge 2: Free Spirit

I don’t know if it is just the time in my life (grandma time) or what, but when I think of Free Spirit, I immediately think of my grandchildren.

Even though Ethan is the oldest, he has never lost his imagination or zeal for fun. A nerf gun, empty lego bucket and a towel can transform anyone into an evil space lord.

There is no greater joy than watching your progeny play, run or just having fun. And likewise, there is nothing sweeter than the sound of children laughing. It makes my spirit soar, it makes it happy. When I was younger, my mind would have gone to my own young children who took great pleasure in having fun. They are now in the time of their lives where they are very serious, so the mantra of the free spiritness is passed to my daughters’ own children.

Nothing brings out the smiles faster than snow and sleds. Mac is our second oldest and can find fun in the ordinary and not so ordinary things.

Even in the midst of chemo; Isabelle, our third oldest grandchild, could laugh and find fun in everything she did whether it was playing with a small toy or hiding the nurses stethoscope.

I have seven grands now and little more than double the fun as when I was raising my kids. But I think the reason I am so enchanted by their ability to grab life by the tail and enjoy simple things like empty boxes,  pom poms or dried locust shells is because as a grandparent, I don’t have to have the day to day worries that come with being a parent. The what ifs, don’t fill my mind nearly as much as they did when I was raising my own children. Simply put, I have more free space in my brain for the fun stuff.

One of the favorite pastimes of the grands is running the “loop” around the living room, kitchen and game room as Owen demonstrated last Thanksgiving.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t worry about them too; after all, I am the queen of worry. But when you only see them for short periods once or twice a week, you tend to gobble up all the fun moments instead of dwelling on the runny noses, torn clothes or unfinished homework.

Aeden is an entity all her own, she loves to play especially in water (or doing crafts). She is the oldest daughter of my second daughter and she is all girl!

Every child, without exception, will squeal and play to his or her heart’s content when paired with a kitten. Caera is no exception. Kittens aren’t as frightening as puppies, perhaps because they tend to run away instead of jumping on children. Plus they don’t usually lick. Notice I said usually?

Baby Chloe hasn’t really shown her free spirit side yet. Right now, she is just growing and letting her mommy know when she is hungry, wet or sleepy. But she smiles at you and makes your heart soar.

When Isabelle was sick, I got a re-taste of the frantic worry for her health and well-being, but not nearly as severe as her parents. This must be some release valve God puts in grandparents to balance out parent’s fears. That doesn’t mean the love is less intense, it is just how it is. Maybe it is more experiences, but I tend to think it is more by design.

In any case, if I am ever down or feeling “closed” in, a healthy dose of my grand babes will always make me feel alive, will always set my spirit free.

Why is it little girls love to dance in their birthday suits right after a playful time in the bath? Isabelle and Aeden twirled and danced to their own music just like their mommies did when they were this age.

My own girls about the same age as their daughters, just after they danced their heart’s out in the buff. 🙂

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