I’m half-a-century today! So here I am, reflecting on turning fifty by sharing some images and thoughts of what that considerable span of time has taught me. I share this as a birthday present to myself today….but my hope is that each of you will find at least one bit of truth that resonates with you and causes you to reflect as well.
The more I think of it, the less it really even means that much, it’s just a number, half of 100 or half-a-century! I used to think fifty was middle age. Well, I am feeling doubtful about living until the ripe old age of 100 so there goes that theory, I guess I already passed middle age.
But everyone says age is just a number and its all about attitude; well yes, and no, No matter how much my mind is over my matter, my matter is still turning fifty, and just like the weather, there’s not a darn thing I can do about that. But in all honesty, right now I am really okay with this.
(photo creds-Megan Ward)
I remember clearly the day I turned forty. As I was driving past a road sign that said 40mph, and as silly as it seems, I recall tears coming to my eyes at the thought of being that age…I felt uncertain about so many things. Am I doing the right thing? Am I able to start my own business? Am I raising my girls the right way? Am I being a good wife? Am I as healthy as I can be? Am I doing what God wants me to do? Am I serving my community?
Looking back, although I faced many challenges (both good and bad) as well as achievements in my forties, it has led me to where I am today. Whether it be my two miscarriages, chronic lyme disease, the death of a loved one, the declining health of aging parents, to launching my own photography business and starting up and leading a women’s ministry at my church. It is all very important to my story of who I am today. I can not only look at the good because it is from the darker side of life that we learn and grow. God has graciously placed the right people in my path at the right time and I have learned so much from this journey. It is amazing what the human mind and soul can absorb in one decade.
Today I drive past a road sign that says 50mph and I feel confident and at peace with my life. Regardless of the daily ups and downs, at this moment, I feel healthy. I feel blessed. I feel wise. I feel like I can do anything at this moment. I know so much more than I knew when turning forty. I know who I am. I know that God loves me. I know that I am the best parent, wife and friend that I can be at this moment even in my weaknesses. And whether someone disagrees with this or not, I still know it to be true.
I have to keep reminding myself to live in this moment, for our moments change like the wind. This moment will not feel the same in another decade, but I know that no matter what comes my way, I have been given the tools I need to push through both the good and the bad.
(Photo creds -Megan Ward)
I have been wondering how I should celebrate this half-a-century milestone. The only thing that I feel I want to do is relax and take it all in…right where I am. Maybe hike up a mountain, breathe in the sea air, soak up the sunshine. Pay attention to the beauty of nature around me. Hang with my husband and girls. Spend quality time with my friends. Appreciate all that is good and all that I have been given.
I do not feel that I need to do anything monumental to celebrate, because God has already blessed me in so many ways and given me so much already. That, to me, is monumental. I need to spend time with that thought and just soak it all in.
(photo creds-Megan Ward)
In honor of my half a century celebration, I wanted to share with you, some of my work from over the years that represents fifty things I have learned about life, through my lens. Some of these fifty images you may have seen before and some not. They are images put to words of how I see life through my lens. They depict either what I have learned or what I continually strive to be. Some of the images were taken with my cell phone and some were more planned out, but in no particular order.
Thank you to my husband, my girls, my family and my friends, for your support over the last 50 years and to my clients for their continued support as my business Sharon Ward Photography celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year.
Here’s to the next half-a-century!!
Through my lens: 50 things I have learned about life
1. Find a place that fills your soul, be sure to visit it often. (photo creds Megan Ward)
2. Be yourself, only YOU are awesome at it.
3. I wake up each day and see that I have all 10 toes. I can put one foot in front of the other and make a difference in someone else’s life
4. Beautiful pictures are developed from negatives in a dark room. If you see darkness in your life, be reassured that a beautiful picture is being prepared.
5. Memories from your childhood are imprinted in your mind like a silloutte. You may not always remember the details but it will be forever embedded in your mind and heart. It is your story and you own it. Accept it/ treasure it, use it as a way to enrich your life as an adult.
6. Life is like a camera, just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.
7. Listen to your elders, they have been on this earth longer than you.
8. The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
9. Surround yourself with friends who can make you laugh at life and at yourself.
10. “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward”
11. Don’t compare yourself to others, they have a different purpose on this earth. Comparison will steal your joy.
12. Hard work builds character (and no one works harder than a farmer).
13. If you ever feel like giving up, just remember there’s a little girl watching who wants to be just like you.
14. “Listening is the first step to peace; everyone wants to be heard” Mark Nepo
15. YOU must find your OWN balance in your life, do not try to keep up with everyone else’s pace in life.
16. Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.
17. Let kids get dirty, it builds character. The character remains forever, and the dirt washes off.
18. “There is nothing to prove and nothing to protect. I am who I am and it’s enough.”
19. Your wings already exist, all you have to do is FLY
20. There is no greater friend than a beloved dog.
21. No matter what, don’t look back with regret, just keep looking forward.
22. Simple joys are found in simple places, find your joy.
23. Find your passion. Discovering something you love to do has an amazing effect on your entire life. Whether your joy is in a hay field, in an office, or in the classroom, find it, it is essentially what will keep you going when times are rough.
24. It’s the little things in life that can give you “pure joy”.
25. Be careful what you wish for, it just may be more than you asked for.
26. The hill is steep but you will eventually get to the top by taking baby steps.
27. Find peace and strength in knowing that you are who you are because of your mother’s unconditional love for you. Every memory is tucked away in your mind for a reason, even if you cannot remember why.
28. Whenever you feel down, remember someone is always worse off than you.
29. Don’t judge a person by what they wear, their true spirit lies deep within their soul.
30. Be sure to stop and admire God’s creatures along the way.
31. Appreciate the work that goes into farm fresh food. It takes many months to harvest a good crop and many hands to pick it.
32. The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. the one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.
33. Great things will happen when you get up, DUST yourself off, and go after things with determination and courage.
34. Remember that someone may be admiring you so always do your best.
35. You can fly high for a moment in life….
…but you have to remember to land. The only person a big ego is appealing to is yourself. A humble heart will touch many lives.
36. A single rose can be my garden, a single friend, my world.
37. Love deeply, no matter how short, those memories will be with you forever.
38. Before you judge, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and see how easy it is.
39. Holding onto a grudge is like holding onto a frog, you have to let it go or it gets really slimy!
40. When you look into the mirror, smile at yourself, you have to love yourself, before you can love others.
41. It isn’t the farm that makes the farmer, it’s the LOVE, hard WORK and CHARACTER
42. Dance, then, wherever you may be, the whole world is a stage.
43. A strong Dad, makes for a strong daughter. Girls listen to their dads, they tuck their messages away deep within their hearts, and then one day, when they are ready to face the world, they pull it back out and that’s when it all makes sense. Dad are a critical part of their daughters lives.
44. A mothers’ love for her child is the strongest bond on earth, don’t mess with the mother!!
45. Enjoy the sunset in your own backyard before venturing out to someone else’s sunset.
46. We are all like a snowflake, all different in our own beautiful way.
47. Don’t forget to look up, you will be surprised at what you may miss if you keep looking down.
48. Hold onto things that are dear to you, you never know who will appreciate them later on.
49. When life gives you grapes…make wine!
50. Always be GRATEFUL Gratitude is the best way to find contentment. Personally I don’t think there is any way to find contentment without gratitude. It takes our focus off what we don’t have and onto what we do have. and…
…ALWAYS keep your eyes open to God’s graces.