An unabashed 30 By 30

Some of my friends were surprised when 30 wasn’t a big thing to me. If anything, I couldn’t wait for it to get here, to see my 20s leave. I went through more in my 20s than a lot of people do by 40. If you followed this blog from its original place, you know my story, and today isn’t so much about that. It’s about what it taught me, about this world…and myself.

It’s “a thing” to write about the 30 things you’ve learned by 30. Trust me, it’s this whole thing. In fact, it’s such a thing that I stole that line from a blog I read a few days prior to turning 30! I grew up under the roof with an OCD mother so this is one I’ve known since I can remember, which is why I’m a fanatic about keeping my toothbrush behind a closed door.

11. For the love of all things sanitary: close the toilet lid BEFORE you flush. Every time you flush, it releases a spray of poo-air all over your bathroom. That junk is nasty and you don’t want it on your toothbrush. (Seriously. Someone needs to write this in the sky.)

Anyway, her list is brilliant, and I hope you’ll take the time to read it. I also hope, that regardless of your age, that this posts leaves you in some sort of peaceful or motivated place, or maybe inspired or forgiving. I hope that you’ll take the time to reflect on where you’ve been, and what those miles under your feet have taught you. I hope after that, that you’ll share with me. I’ve got so much to learn afterall. <3

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30 By 30 & a few days. err….weeks

#1. The loose skin that you can grab at the end of your elbow is called a weenus. Go ahead, join me in the amused band. I don’t, however, recommend googling why.

#2. Overuse “I’m sorry.” There’s nothing weak minded about it, and it’ll save more in every relationship in your life than any other tool in your toolbox.

#3. Overuse “I love you.”. Don’t wait for the other person to say it; say it every day.

#4. Worry is a place in your mind that consumes every single ounce of energy that you could be putting toward something good. It’s a natural cause of anxiety, depression, weight gain, and these falsehoods that do nothing but create ruin and demolition. Find a way to put it away…sing, read, sleep, journal…wait until the sun comes up the next day to decide if it’s worth it.

#5. Be overwhelmingly kind to everyone you meet. Smile at strangers, ask your waitress how you HER day is, donate, pay it forward. It’s unabashedly, nearly selfishly good for you.

#6. Take time to disconnect. Life is what happens when you’re looking at that smart phone, laptop, tv.

#7. Get uncomfortable. When an opportunity comes up to try something new on an obscure menu, if a favor is asked of you that pushes you out of your comfort zone….DO IT. Steel is forged by fire, GO BE FORGED.

#8. Leave a tip in your hotel room, especially if you’re staying more than one night, or are especially messy! As a girl that had to swipe your nose hairs out of your sink the next morning, wipe something questionable off of your toilets, and make your beds, I can tell you that nothing will appease them like enough of a tip to by herself some coffee with her coworkers over lunch!

#9. Eating alone sucks. Somebody told me once to make sure to do that once in my life, and I did, and it sucked. I pretended to find it empowering and awesome…nope, nope, nope. I mean, get you some “Me” time however you need to, but in a crowded, loud restaurant full of people having epic conversations? It sucks.

#10. You can never ever have enough pictures of anything ever. I’m a photographer and I’ve got regrets about what I didn’t capture before I didn’t have the chance ever again.

#11. Arugula is fancy lettuce that tastes like dandelion puke.

#12. “Finding yourself” is a bit of bullshit. I think it’s wildly important to discover yourself, absolutely, to find out what you love and like and hate and need (thus, this list!). But to think that you can’t love yourself for exactly what you do, where you are, and for exactly who you are? That’s just wrong. You’re created to be you, you’re where you are for a reason, and you’re going places you can’t even fathom. Stop searching and embrace! Being yourself and allowing others the same grace is your measure of strength.

#13. Nothing cleans like good ol’ fashioned bleach and ammonia. However, never everEVER should you mix the two together. Unless you’re not yet 30 and are very careful…so that you can put it on your list. Or my daughters. DAUGHTERS JUST TRUST ME.

#14. Speaking of THOSE; you’ll never ever love anything like your own child. Out of NOWHERE, you’ll stand in front of a charging grizzly, face your biggest fears to show them not to be afraid, and let something that’s less than three feet tall completely dominate your emotions, goals, time and relationships.

#15. Vacuum JUST to see the tracks in your carpet. It’s a cheap thrill nobody can take from you.

#16. Dishes can wait ’til morning. There’s no shame in swiping those counters clean and putting the rest off until you don’t have snuggling, DVRing after bedtime, or other MUCH more important things to not waste.

#17. Be proud of your opinion, stand strong in your faith, but be open minded and open hearted to those opposed. Peace isn’t found in the heart of conflict, but compromise.

#18. Go to bed angry, for the love of everything. Not for like…30 years, but a few days? We all have steam that needs to burn off. Don’t be hasty to fix something that isn’t as broken as your anger is convincing you it is.

#19. Learn to drive. Learn to drive a manual transmission. The hustle and bustle and high pressures to Get Places in this world have me astounded that there are so many that can’t do either. WHAT IF THERE IS AN EMERGENCY AND YOU HAVE NOTHING BUT A MANUAL PICKUP TO DRIVE ME TO A HOSPITAL IN? That, and it’s wildly empowering to grab gears, I’ll have you know.

#20. I have a real life fear of small, confined places. I’ve got 30+ FBI academy graduates that can attest to this fact, discovered in a packed elevator hundreds of floors up, right daddy? I think they call it public suffocation or something like that.

#21. I’m under complete belief that there are few things that can’t be cured holistically, and should always be a first choice. Western medicine saves lives, but can also be a terrifying crutch.

#22. Nothing is worth taking your own life for. I’ve lost too many, and I hereby volunteer to talk anybody off of that cliff. </3

#23. Friendships aren't to be taken for granted. The people that you bond with soul deep should be treasured this is the last day we've got together. You'll regret those burned bridges, they'll haunt you someday.

#24. Cry those tears, hug back on those hugs. Even the toughest people need to express themselves. Feeling needy, selfish, overwhelmed, broken, sad are all things that make you stronger. Punching them all down and pretending like you're tougher than any it just hurts more.

#25. It'd be a betrayal to myself to not include my most favorite "remember this, self” quote in this list:
“Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control. We can love and care for others but we cannot possess our children, lovers, family, or friends. We can assist them, pray for them, and wish them well, yet in the end their happiness and suffering depend on their thoughts and actions, not on our wishes.” —Jack Kornfield

#26. Be nice to farmers. Educate yourself on agriculture. It took me finding something that did it for a living to make this such a priority, but we all should. We can’t live without food, or even knowledge of it.

#27. Don’t wait until November to be thankful.

#28. I sort of believe that everyone should experience some sort of hot affair in their life. FINE PRINT THAT AIN’T SO FINE: “Affair” doesn’t mean “cheat”. If you’re already married (or practically), I am NOT giving you a reason or excuse to cheat in any way, or justifying those that do. But I can tell you, without shame (this part is a new development, PS.), that I learned more from one poor choice than from anything else in my 20s. What I’m trying to ungracefully say, is poor choices should lead to good lessons, not regrets. Don’t intentionally make poor choices.

#29. I am obviously, unabashedly (I really like that word.), ruggedly, less than graceful. Thus, point #28, the name of this entire blog’osphere, and my photography page.

#30. If you’re already late to work, you’re not so late that you can’t treat yourself to coffee. Slow down. It’s never too late, or early in the day to start over.

Yours Truly,
Nomz

Beaten off the path.

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Whoever said that “you get what you put into life.”, was full of it.

Whoever said that had never given their all in a marriage with somebody that didn’t want to give back.
Whoever said that had never been in a friendship where they were the only participant.
Whoever said that had never attempted every effort to eat right, only to have their body fight back.
That person had never been kind to the popular kids only to be bullied in return.
The person that came up with that saying had never loved a dog that had been run over by a car.
That person had never fallen for the wrong person, been broken by somebody close to them, lost someone that didn’t deserve to die, watered a garden in hard soil, or straddled a horse that operated unpredictably.
That person had never been the best player on the losing team.

If you trust the person that said that, you believe that life owes you something. That you deserve all of the greatest things because of something you’ve done. But the person that said that, was full of it.

This life doesn’t owe you anything.
You are given only 24 hours a day, 8-10 of which, you dream away. 14 hours, at best, to impact somebody’s life. To think twice before putting something on the internet that could hurt or offend. To encourage, forgive, forget, surprise, challenge, listen to and love somebody. 14 hours to hug your kids, kiss your man, squeeze your pets, text your friends, smile at strangers, buy a cheeseburger for the man on the corner, listen to a co-worker, change a life.

You could live as if life owed you something…waiting for what is owed to you to come full circle…or you could be the change. Live the love. Realize that no matter how hard you try, sometimes life is going to suck everything out of you, knock you to your knees & break you. That usually, bad things happen to the best people. And that the more you play victim to this world, the more you miss out on.

My heart hurts today…but I won’t allow anybody else to take responsibility of that, or wait for somebody else to fix it.

Don’t ask me if I’m okay.
You’ve only got 14 hours today, AT BEST, to better this world. Go find a stranger for me today and hand them something that will change their world. A note of anonymous encouragement – leave it on their car. Buy their coffee. Get them a fast food gift card. THAT will make me okay.

Refusing victim status,
Nomz

With these hands: Pearce Baby & Family

Heidi and I grew up together, really. I was riding her ponies and being pushed out of trees by her older brothers, and twirling in homemade denim, and chasing cat tails long before Clay Walker came out with his biggest hits, and then he did…and we turned into complete girls about him. All at the ripe age of, what, 7?

I’ve got the fondest memories of her entire family, and while my favorite assistant and incredible teacher (hi mom!!!! captured these gorgeous shots, I had the honor of editing them. Happy new edition, Heidi and Ray!

Yours Truly,
Nomz

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Under This Ol Hat: An Engagement Story of Mandi and Steven

Mandi was my roommate in college at a quaint little apartment that was quickly named “Cowboy Central”. We majored in horses, the both of us, and connected on the third day of the equine program flinging crap into organized piles to cart out in wheelbarrows. It was fate, you see, for the two that got in trouble for laughing the most in class, giving the boys the biggest run for their bucks in our riding skills, and immediately being the most scowled at by the large group of females in our class. That, and we both needed a roommate and were on the hunt for the mysterious troublemaking that only freshman college girls can find.

Cowboy Central was tranformed from a basic upstairs apartment with weathered pink paint, to rooms full of horse trophies, rope lighting, and cheap cookware. Over games of hold’m, flip cup, and that horrible one where you keep all the cards a’top a can of beer we bonded, we laughed, we made memories we’d never forget.

Life, naturally, happened between us. Our roads took us in different directions, and after reconnecting on a Facebook a few months ago, she asked me to capture her engagement and wedding. 153 miles later, I arrived in Albin, Wyoming, where within meeting her fiance Steven was told both “You’re going to need more 4-Wheel-Drive than that for where we’re going”, and asked “Want a beer for the road?”, I knew that it was going to be one of those days I’d never forget capturing.

The road turned from pavement to gravel to two track to literally nothing, and we snapped some of the most favored moments I’ve been part of yet!

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Yours Truly,
Naomi

It’s the Wyoming state of mind.

Racing Trains

Racing Trains

Fifteen minutes, that’s when she’s due at my next photo shoot. And somewhere between the sign that read “Pavement Ends” and the lyrics from Miranda Lambert’s first album throwing lyrics gorgeously through my gold SUV’s factory speakers, that’s where she remembered to breathe for the first time in weeks.

In all the busyness of her hectic lifestyle, she forgets how to to slow down. The opportunity to come home, to drive windows down at 65, Wyoming wind throwing her hair back at County Road 215 and Railroad Road, that’s where she finds herself drawn to her deep roots of this incredible state. State of Wyoming; state of mind.

Ready for a slow down

Ready for a slow down

Somewhere, amidst the gravel crunching under her tires she realized she slowed down while driving faster. Breathing deep, finding the answers in the gusts of the plains. Puppy dog tails chasing her dust, amidst overgrown fields and cows shaking their ears at her passing annoyance, a pasture holding her retired gelding, tumbleweeds chasing lonely hills. That’s where reality came to a screeching halt and gave her a sense of peace of been longing so deeply for. At the yield sign of intersection 215 & 148, she pulled off to cry, listening to the quiet urge of “pull over and write”, answering the beckoning to leap at the opportunity to just be.

Clear skies, clearly Wyoming.

Clear skies, clearly Wyoming.

Be me; find that inner peace that comes only on dirt roads, mangled fence lines and billowy winds. Find the me that no matter how busy we get, how cemented I am in my new, exciting directions, remembering that her roots are firmly grounded in this place.

You leave home & change; you grow. But the memories of the places that healed you before, strong enough to heal that same exhausted spirit again.

Renewed, rejuvenated and absolutely blessed, she drives on. Flipping off sign 154 for good measure, southbound to her new home and newfound roots and nowhere to grow but up and fabulous; it’s the state of Wyoming state of mind. <3

Upward,
Nomz

HOLY WHOA. This is why we practice.

This is a re-blog, please, PLEASE go visit her site and read the whole post, and every post before and after. It’s for your SOUL.

“This is why we practice.

For times like these.
You don’t need to forgive until you need to forgive. You don’t need nerves of steel until you need nerves of steel. You don’t need to call on your reserves of compassion, or fortitude, or faith until you’ve used up everything else.

This is why we practice.
This is why, that even when life is ambling along nicely and there’s food in our spiritual cupboard, we still make sure that we get to yoga, or the reading group, or Sunday services.

When we’re healthy and happy we make sure to dance, we hit the court, we pick up the phone to check in, we drop by with something in hand.

When we’re believing in the fairness and the glory of human nature and the so-called Fates, we keep seeking, and meditating on reality, and praying for healing though nothing obvious ails us.

We keep standing up to make our art even when we could be predictable pedestrians.

Because the day will most certainly come, as it does whether you are a whole-hearted Lover or in denial of Grace, that you will be struck down or ground down by life. It can come in tiny tearing heartbreaks five times a day, just walking through your neighbourhood. It could come in the name of tragedy that could only happen once in a lifetime.

And you will need to withdraw the insights that you put into your heart’s escrow. And you will need to call on your people — the unseen and the ones right in front of you — to help you meet the day.” – Danielle LaPorte

More here: Danielle  LaPorte

Thanks for letting me share this bit,
Nomz

Ouuuuuuuch, my arm, my arm is being twisted.

It’s been aaaaages since I’ve blogged, right?! I miss you guys a lot, just so you know. It hasn’t been lack of inspiration, or lack of things to write about, or even a lack of wanting to tell you things! It’s a bloody lack of time and a horrible excuse at that! <3
Likely, that's why my best friend (ouuuuuuuuuch, it even pangs me to say it twisted my arm into splashing back into the blogosphere with a random blog. Random musings about life to get me back to rolling on my writing.

My window is open, I’m savoring some incredibly fresh fruit, I may or may not be halfway barefoot under my desk (sorry Christie!, but I mean, I’m not walking around or prancing with files in the bare toes!), and quite enjoying this hint of Spring we’re having today. All 53 degrees of it have my insides like !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ah hem:

-The same best friend that SHOVED me into writing this blog asked me why I love running so much. It’s going to be this gorgeous all week, and I can’t WAIT to tie on those rubbery soled laces. I love running because it clears my mind. CLEARS IT. It’s like my zen place. I leave the driveway stressed and come back like HAY GUYS BRING IT ON. I usually listen to music or just the pounding and crunching of my feet on the gravel and run until everything toxic is gone. Big bonus, is my waistline shrinks in like…6 days about it, too.

There is NOTHING like the casting of secrets and stress to the weeds and the gravel, and them throwing nothing but peace back at you.

-I feel like I’m finally getting my bearings in Colorado. I’m, after two years, fully active in my own activities, living my own path, and while absolutely still head over heels for that tall handsome man I moved down here for, I’m thriving in such a way that I can’t imagine ever being anywhere else. It’s this whole…farming and photography and accounting and mountains and plains and baby animals and fluffy dogs and being so close to the big city and yet soooooooo far away that’s so amazing. I’m officially a State Officer for Colorado Young Farmers (it’s like this really cool, grownup version of FFA…something I was never able to do, so I’m like FOR REAL THIS EXCITED ABOUT IT YOU GUYS!!

-Here’s the thing I learned about friendships recently. I’ve been wildly anxious about the comings and goings of friends in my life, the everchanging relationships, and the constant guilt over fault of it all. But I’ve sort of realized that A) that’s part of being in your 20′s, and B) friendships can be like Yoga. They can stretch and bend and change and in all of that, they can grow and develop and be different. I can love the same person I did 10 years ago at a different distance and with a different type of love than 10 years ago. People change. But I don’t think that means that you have to have a black and white answer on where your friendship is. It’s not all BEST FRIENDS OR HATE.

-I’m going to be 30 this year. We’ll come back to this soon.

-I want turquoise in my hair so bad.

-We’re taking our first family vacation this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My girls will get to get on their first airplane and SEE THINGS OTHER THAN COLORADO AND WYOMING. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not that there isn’t great things here, I’m just STOKED!!

-I’ve got two friends going through the trenches of really rough chapters and it’s so familiar to where I’ve been that I’m an emotional trainwreck about it. It’s like looking in a mirror six years ago. I know that’s part of the whole “everything happens for a reason” bit, but I’m not sure I’m ready to face it and use it.

-My photography continues to soar and I’m absolutely blessed with the best friends and family and clients. I never knew I could love a hobby SO much.

-I’ve got two new books on order and almost heeeeeeeeeere!! Black Heels to Tractor Wheels (isn’t that the greatest title you’ve ever heard?!) and The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories, a book one of my favorite girls insisted I read. I love the thrill of new pages coming to me! In the mail! Like tomorrow!

-I feel like…like…. if you’re afraid to be you, if you’re unsure of who you are and instead of seeking that out find peace in imitation, than you’re headed in the wrong direction. If you’re not true to you, you’re nothing.

-I want to start a garden this year I think! I’m a little nervous about it, but I just want like…three vegetables and a fruit, and a checkmark on the “Things I want to be able to do by the time I’m 30″ list. …more to come. My name is Naomi, I’m 29, and can’t grow a strawberry. Yet. Also, I live with a farmer? …awkward.

-Is there a sound affect for “I love this quote!!!!”? Play that sound in your mind, and then read this:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Apple Inc.

-I have SO MUCH MORE TO SAY. All the more reason to come back soon, right?! Fill me in on you! <3

Nomz

And JUST when you thought you were surrounded only by darkness, you notice the stars.

I still daydream.

I bet at least once a day I’ll find myself in a not-present state, and almost always, in a better place than reality. And not really in the way that I wish I were in Bali, even though I do, but in really obscure ways. Like, if I were to put away one dollar bill for a bookmark instead of using plastic ones, how many bills would I have collected over the years? Or, if the person that installed the papertowel dispenser in the ladies bathroom at work had sat down before finishing the job, my toilet seat wouldn’t be wet every day. Or, if all lotions had the smell of both dessert and the beach at the same time, like my new favorite, I’d be a lot more lotioned.

Anyway, I was sitting in one of those daydreams this afternoon, only I was quite present in it. I was in the Starbucks drive-thru picking up my favorite green tea, and noticing their building being exquisitely inviting. I noticed that my car didn’t smell as good as outside did and rolled down a second window. And I turned down the news because it was belching gun control news, just like 84% of my Facebook newsfeed. My mind wandered to that place that it does, and I thought of all the bad news lately, all the darkness in the world, all my fears that I keep closeted until late nights or early mornings when the silence isn’t enough to hush them. In the three and a half minutes I was waiting in line and not thinking of Bali, I was wildly processing all the horrible things that were happening around my reality and willing an answer of peace to wash over me.

Instead, my turn to pay was up. I handed the man my George Washingtons, taking note even, that they still say, “In God We Trust.” . He held up his hand and shook his head and brightly said, “No ma’am, that gentleman in the pickup in front of you paid for your order.” Despite my goal to do this as often as possible, I was speechless. The goodness of fellow coffee lover in front of me had just snapped me out of my lack of peace.
After pulling my composure out of the crack in my downed window, I told him I’d then like to pay for the lady behind me in line. I don’t know why, at 2pm on a Tuesday, that this beautiful Starbucks was so brilliantly busy, but I loved the opportunity to quickly continue to pay it forward, and did. He waited until I offered before telling me that I was the eighth person in a row and we both exclaimed about how incredible it’d be if it went on all afternoon. He also noted that not only that, but last week he was part of a FORTY EIGHT CAR LONG PAY IT FORWARD and none of them knew it.

As I sit here listening to the ingenious guitar work of Joe Satriani, I can’t but let my mind wander just a bit again. The stars aren’t so far out of reach in this dark world, friends. We just need to choose to see them. In faaaaaaaaact, what if you were to start a whole constellation of your today?


Cheers,
Nomz

Let It Go

Amidst a storm of things this week, I’ve found myself in this horribly, wallowy place of bitterness and anger and resentment. I was driving to work today with this goal in mind to punch those storms in the face with big fancy words to make myself feel better, uncaring of what it might do to the people on the other side BUT I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE WAY I FELT AND THEREFORE I NEED TO SAY IT.

For whatever reason, while plotting my emails and texts and phone calls to clear out my head (gosh I sound like a drama llama don’t I?), I looked to the west and saw the moon going down as the sun was coming up. And I realized that it could be that simple. I mean, I could just let it go.

The thing about anger and guilty and resentment and bitterness, is that unless you do choose to explode…it only hurts you. The longer you let it settle in to your bones, the more havoc it creates. The more it feeds your need to feel all of those things, and the more it empowers you to hurt somebody else. Has throwing stones based on any of those emotions ever made any situation better? Here’s what it does do: It sits in your insides and builds this warm cozy fire and prepares a bottle gasoline, and no matter who comes along next with a little bit of pain to throw at you, the fire gets bigger. Your resentment and bitterness for one person is now fueled by two or three or fourteen…and instead of making peace with what is ACTUALLY causing any of those feelings, we let it simmer until we pick one or two to take it out on.

The bitterness that you’re holding onto because of:
That person that hurt you years ago? let it go.
That email you’ve been meaning to send to confront your demons with somebody that has obviously moved on without you? let it go.
The man that chose to walk away from your marriage or relationship or child? let  it go.
The way you don’t feel loved enough by the right people? let it go.
The way you feel when he or she doesn’t believe your truth? let it go.
That person that hates your success and incredible life because THEY’RE cooking a resentment fire? let it go.

As the moon goes down in the morning and lets the sun come up with a clean slate of a day, let it go.
Pull up those cute galoshes and bust out that pink polkadotted umbrella. Storms are going to come and go, but how you choose to react to those storms is what makes you.

“Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control.
We can love and care for others, but we cannot possess our children, lovers, family, or friends.
We can assist then, pray for them, and wish them well, yet in the end their happiness and suffering depend on their thoughts and actions, NOT on our wishes.”

Love,
Nomz

*sssssssstretch*

I was watching a comedy this week, and it’s killing me that I can’t remember which show…but the girl was writing a blog and somebody asked her why she did it. She said that bloggers are people that wish they could be what they wrote about. Most of them are bipolar hypochondriacs living in basements, or people that want to better their life but can’t so they blog about it instead. Do you think that’s true? I don’t. I write blogs in hopes of bettering somebody else’s, to give fresh perspective, and maaaaaaybe to vent from time to time. Writing is an outlet for me, and doing it publicly keeps me in check.

That being said, I find there’s no better way to reconnect with my writing than to kick it off with a random note full of word vomit and wild opinions and advice, or the begging for them. A lot of these are tidbits of inspiration from conversations I’ve had on Facebook this week, so I’m sorry if it’s repetitive. I want to remember them though.

I’m against “Wellness Coaches.” There. I said it. I think that everybody deserves that title that takes it upon themselves to be a good friend, to seek success and happiness – and share the things learned with those that are stumbling. I don’t think that because you’re good at advice, and have had the time to read all the right books to hand out that advice, that you should get a fancy title and come with a fee. Happiness and wellness is something everybody deserves and if you hold keys to that, share dammit.

Does going to church improve your life?If you’re going for selfish reasons, no. I don’t think so. If you’re going to learn something about your faith, morals, and to be tested on both? Absolutely. Having faith in something has saved me from myself more times than I can count – but it means surrendering your selfishness.

My first grader came home with the sight-words “Tough” and “Though”, and asked me to explain why they sound different. I told her even THOUGH we’d like it to, THOUGH isn’t TOUGH enough to make the FFFFF sound :D *takes a bow…falls off stage…lets teachers take over*

Is the word “bully” overused? I feel like we’re getting too sensitive. Too fragile. Too breakable. And because of my heavy involvement in a suicide prevention program, I see the affects of both the increase in fragility in our society – and the bullying. People are mean. Kids are mean because people are mean. It’s starting younger and it’s problematic because defending yourself is considered out line. I’m walking a fine line between telling my kids to be tough and stand up for themselves, and avoiding trouble by telling them to tattle. I gave a friend advice this week, encouraging her that we have to start from the ground up and teach them that love battles meanness, that self confidence battles humiliation, that a safe home battles a mean classroom. But when faced with it with it in my own kids, it’s an emotional trainwreck. My want to protect them tends to overpower my ability to follow my own advice. At what point do we call it “bullying”, and when do we know it’s the right time to tell them “get up, brush it off, and tell them to kick rocks.”?

I hate neglected friendships. Everybody says that losing friends is part of the journey. Everybody changes and a lot of friendships break because you change as people – blameless. I have a hard time with that. It’s sort of like saying that because trees get bigger and thicker and leafier and branchier that you have to cut it at the trunk at some point. If it’s groomed, it lives forever. It withstands droughts, neglect, change.
I’m at that point with a friendship, where there’s only so much of a void that I could probably continue to neglect it and we’d go on being buttom-rung friends, or I could cut if off and move on – plant new ones and learn from my mistakes…or nurture it back to health. It is amazing the pain that comes with limbo-voids. It seems fear driven, threatened by honesty. And too easily we take the easy way out.

I love my second “job”! On a much lighter note, my photography has really taken off, thanks to some incredible clients and friends! I can’t WAIT to start a section on this blog about some of my recent sessions! I hope I never ever get used to the fact that people like my work enough to pay me for it. It makes me feel all awkward and blush-y, but it also has me yearning to learn more, the most that I possibly can, to continue to deliver THEIR captured moments. It’s the most humbling thing I’ve ever done, and the first thing that’s really shoved me in a direction. What a thrilling ride, that. Here’s a couple of my favorites (and you can see the rest on my photography page: Rugged Grace Photography!

I feel like my writing just did a fancy yoga pose. It felt good to stretch these fingers across a keyboard again, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this stuff! It’s amazing how much we all doubt and stumble, it’s MORE amazing to see us all better each other.

Yours always,
Nomz