Sheila
#Godisgoodalways Why DR Pix uses that hashtag . . .
JANUARY 26, 2024
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#Godisgoodalways . . . there are no truer words
     Today marks the ten-year anniversary of our online journey of sharing photos and stories about the adventures we find ourselves in behind the camera lens. It seems fitting to give a little background regarding the hashtag we include on everything we post. #Godisgoodalways.      Now if you are one that doesn't believe in God, I hope you will read this anyway with an open mind and that it may be a blessing to you anyway.      On January 26, 2014, I created my first online social media "presence," if you will, with the intent to post my photos and "journal" type entries as "Sheila's Maine." The artist / photography journey began long before that (more on that later), and I had been posting things on my personal page up to that time. At the prompting of my incredible hubby (and now full partner in DR Pix) and my wonderful father, "Sheila's Maine" was born. I continued to post on my personal page and fully intended to start posting in earnest on my new page.
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Tim and I on one of many adventures . . .
     Shortly after I started my page and before I could compose my first (what I dreamed would be inspiring post), my world would change in many ways and "Sheila's Maine" would be put on hold . . .     At the end of 2013 we were soaring high . . . Our daughter had informed us she and her husband were expecting their first child and our son had just gotten engaged to his sweet bride to be. We were renovating our barn into a new cabin for the two of us so we could sell our home to our son, we were planning a wedding set for the next year and excitedly anticipating the birth of our first grandchild. God's blessings indeed.     2014 rolled in with high hopes so why wouldn't we delve into this journey with my art/photography as a big goal?
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My dad with his great-grandson.

     On the same day . . . two polar opposite things would occur. We received a call from our daughter that she would be having a boy. Oh, the excitement. We were on cloud nine. Several hours later we would receive a call that my dad had stomach cancer and the prognosis didn't appear to be very promising.

  My dad, the parent I am most like . . . My dad, the spiritual giant . . . the one who was probably more excited than anyone that he was going to have his first great-grandchild . . . My dad, a great husband, dad, grandfather, pastor . . . the list could go on forever about who he was in all our lives . . . but to me he was a solid rock, and next to my husband, my biggest fan and unwavering supporter.

  I think in some way I knew that life was about to change . . . but I, like my dad, was strong and I knew God's will was perfect and no matter what that all things would be a blessing . . .

     It seemed like the challenges would start to fly into my life in rapid succession. Tim's job stress would ramp up to epic proportions, we were in the middle of our barn renovation, plans for family, a wedding etc. etc.  The list of "to do's" seemed quite large and looming.  In the midst of that I was planning to put everything, including my part time job and all my community volunteering positions on hold to travel almost a thousand miles away to be with my parents to assist with dad's stomach surgery and the beginning of his cancer treatment road. I flew from Maine to Raleigh, North Carolina, where my pregnant daughter met me at the airport, and we headed to the border of Tennessee for dad's operation.  We were told he most likely wouldn't have any of his stomach left and would need a feeding tube.  We needed to prepare for how we could help take care of him and assist

mom through whatever lay ahead.  It was a lot to take in, but in it and through it my dad kept telling us that, "God is good always." His attitude and his unwavering faith were a testament that would quickly become the truth I would count on and even set my very course on. 

     Any of you that have been down the cancer road or lost loved ones to it know that it's not always a pretty picture and sometimes it doesn't have the results you think it should.  Possibly even means saying goodbye to someone.  Add to that all the other things that are thrown into your life, both good and bad, and the vortex you are in seems to be swirling so fast that you feel as though your feet will never be on solid ground again.   What is your anchor point?  Where is the light or window to help you see through the vortex?    For me it was dad's words constantly telling anyone and everyone (nurses , doctors, friends, family . . . ) that God is good always.  In this world of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, good health or bad . . . pain or no pain, God is the ONLY good.  His promises are the only true promises.  In each moment the peace that passes all understanding will be there if, in faith, we trust in the one and only good, God.  This world is broken.  Everything is in a state of dying from the moment of birth so we must embrace the good and cherish each moment as though it were our last.   My faith goes way beyond dad's words and into what I really truly believe and stake my life on.  God, and God alone is the only good there is.  AND we can see that good all around us!!   His creation and the details of every living thing shows us that goodness.  Even in its dying state of existence.  God's mercy and His grace to save us from that death so that we can have life beyond is a gamble in faith worth taking.

     As to the rest of the story . . . my dad would miraculously have a little stomach that was saved in the operation.  There wouldn't be a feeding tube.  He would endure some grueling cancer treatments.  I would go back to Maine for a time and then end up traveling back south to be with my daughter for many weeks before our grandson was born while she endured early labor issues.  It would be a year that where finding "normal" was pretty much non-existent but in every turn, I would see God's goodness.  I would see my parents more in that year than I had in a long time due to our living so far apart.  I would see the birth of our first (of now six) grandchild.  There would be huge hurdles and challenges but through it all God would always make the glass full.   

     I wouldn't make my first actual social media "post" until sixteen months after going public with the page.  All through it though, God would give me photo opportunities (as He always does!!!) and words that would be scrawled in my many journals.  (I literally have a box full of journals . . . )  I would learn to savor moments and cherish memories made.  God chose to heal my dad that next year by taking him to heaven for a new body in a place where there is no more suffering or pain . . .  During that in between time we would all get time with him, and he would get to meet his first great-grandchild.  We would see God move in many ways and we would all learn how good God really was. Those journeys and rollercoaster events wouldn't stop there, but it was the beginning of really seeing what God could do if we would only focus on His goodness always. 

     My photography seemed to soar for me, personally.  I viewed every opportunity to capture God's goodness as something to really grab a hold of and promptly share with others.  Tim, was the most awesome "behind the scenes" encourager, supporter and "doer" in the Sheila's Maine endeavor.  He, like my Dad, has always encouraged me to see that God could, and would, do anything to show us His goodness ---- even in tough things.  Several years into our adventures, I handed Tim a new camera I had picked up to "dabble" into the video realm.  He was immediately drawn in.  God is good!  We were already adventuring together, but now it would be that much more special and would become a shared passion and dream. 

     In recent years to enhance the videography opportunities and to expand the sharing even more we changed "Sheila's Maine" to "Dirt Road Pix."  It is on the dirt road that most of our adventures are found . . .  it is on the corner of a dirt road where we make our home (and former farm --  now a Disc Golf Course -- more on that another time).  We love doing photos and videos of people as well as the nature and wildlife.  We aren't what you'd call "traditional" portrait style, but we love to capture moments as they happen and in their truest state.  It is in those things where we see how good God is.  

     God has opened up so many doors through photos, videos and sharing our lives that we absolutely know without a doubt that we would never see goodness aside from Him and He deserves every hashtag we could ever give . . . 

#Godisgoodalways

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One of the first photos that was popular on social media. Taken at sunrise on Chesuncook lake.

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