Flooded with emotion

“We have to heal our wounded world. The chaos, despair, and senseless destruction we see today are a result of the alienation that people feel from each other and their environment.”
― Michael Jackson

My senses were shook loose recently. I received a request for a family photo shoot in Rocky Mountain National Park. The thing about this “job” is, that’s usually as much as we plan until we get there, so I get the pleasure of being surprised when I get there, meeting new people and creating conversation with those I’ve never met. It’s always, always touching. It scratches this part of my soul that I didn’t know I needed itched, and it cures every insatiable suffering I think I’m going through at the time. Self pity is put on the backburner, and my eyes are opened to how gorgeous the souls are that walk this earth with us every day.

Because I tend to go to a lot of the same locations, thank you comfort-zone, it’s not usually the destination that opens up that vessel of emotions first.

This time, however, was a much different story.

Last Fall, Colorado was hit with the most severe flooding in most of its recorded history. I could throw a rock from my driveway and hit homes that were under water, roads that were washed out. People were in fear of leaving their homes, worried they’d have nothing left to come back to. It touched my family, my farmers, my friends, and my neighbors. Food banks couldn’t keep up with the demand, and the media was knocking on our doors, rallying to help. Our canyons and tourist towns were shut down, living in a constant fear that they wouldn’t be rebuilt in time for the seasons that kept them alive.

Months passed, winter came, and the media started to move on to new stories. New tragedies happened. We began to rebuild. But that’s the thing. The rebuilding that has been accomplished, was just the beginning of what was needed. Houses up and down the canyon I drove last weekend are still fully furnished and barely hanging on. Roads are rebuilt enough to pass through, signs all over them thanking the “hard hat angels” for opening up towns.

They still need our help. They need volunteers. They need media coverage. Our state still needs our love and devotion and prayer and blood donations and financial givings. Colorado needs us to keep getting our hands dirty.

Just because the camera vans have left, doesn’t mean our kind souls that were left in devastation don’t need us.

The day continued to touch me, and there will be pictures posted of that incredible family later on, but please look at the pictures below, and if you’re as touched as I was, there is information at the bottom of this post on how you can help.

Yours truly,


PS! You know, there was a rumor that the best dam store in the universe was closed due to the flooding. But I can tell ya, their jerky tastes better than ever, and the views they have will take your breath away.

Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon  Big Thompson Canyon Big Thompson Canyon - Dam Store


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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. ❤


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! ❤
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! ❤



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 😀 *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,

Wordy Wednesday: #15! Emo & Pearl Jam Day

Today is a Pearl Jam day, which for some reason, always seems to go hand in hand with a deep-thought, emo, or angst day.

I’m starting to realize that life experience and hard lessons are what take us to a deeper level of understanding. It’s coming up from the bottom that shows you how to feel life. You might be really, really good at living life, making few mistakes, lots of friends, and one of the best crawling this Earth, but have you felt life? Maybe I’m wrong. I guess if you’re going through something really hard right now, it’s because you’re supposed to be learning one of those soul-aging lessons, someday, hopefully, it’ll pay off and you’ll be grateful for it?

Sometimes, people just want to be mad. and sad. and depressed. They don’t want to be cheered up. In fact, what I’m learning, is that if you can manage to meet them there in that place, and feel that way with them? It’s the best kind of therapy. Example: I call my friend Alicia whenever I have a good rant I just want to cry or scream about, and it’s rare that she doesn’t cry and scream back.
It’s all a girl wants, you know? It’s no wonder men find our species so confusing.

No offense, but if something appears generic on one of my Random posts, it’s because I don’t want to talk about it in depth.

Last night (the possibly maybe future mother in law) Cindy came over and folded our laundry while we ate dinner. And today, she took my oldest to lunch. Sometimes, I don’t recognize people’s efforts enough, so this is me, giving her a giant shout-out and thank-you, for all she does for us.

I’m actually looking forward to getting fat this year. As in, I’m not going to watch what I eat at Thanksgiving, and might even double the gravy on my stuffing. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish??

Last Friday night, my birthday month got kicked off. Normally, I celebrate once or twice depending on family/friends, but this year, apparently, it’s happening a bunch of times. I’d like to think it’s not because I need celebrated, but because I have so many people to celebrate with! My friend Prairie and her friend Amy took me out to this Johnny Cash themed bar, bought me martinis, fed me good food, and talked to me in a kitchen until a time of the night where I just felt GOOD about life.

My mom gave me homemade laundry detergent (I know, you want to be that crafty too. So do I.), awesomepossom lotion, shopping money, and got the family together at Chili’s (chips & salsa at Chili’s, is my favorite OMSOMSOMS…and about the best thing on their menu, right) for my birthday lunch!

I’ll keep you posted on birthday month. I don’t know what all is planned yet, but I know there are things BEING planned, and there are also cake pops in my future, so….

I had four photo shoots this last weekend! All went SO well, the pictures are turning out gorgeous, and I’m thrilled beyond words that my business is taking off (with or without me!)! To keep up with my work, “like” my Facebook page, Rugged Grace Photography, or stay tuned for my website (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)! I spent almost the entire day with one of my bestBEST girls, Ashley, and felt absolutely recharged because of it.

I don’t understand why Junkyards think so highly of themselves. I mean I just want to take pictures of and in and around junk, and you’re telling me you want to charge me $125/hour?! IT’S JUNK PEOPLE

I want a foot tattoo, officially It’s going to say “don’t stop“, and it was inspired by this video (and Brit!!!!!!!!)!

My ex has the air around me tasting bitter. And if it weren’t for my insanely strong support system (see: family, friends, new family (hiiiiiiiiii gramma!), new friends), I’d have lost my mind by now for sure. I hate that my girls are old enough to start feeling impacted when he creates a void. Encouraging them, without lying to them, is my biggest challenge as of late.

This blog was honest. And I hope not so strong that I hurt feelings, but I’ve found that the more I hold back, the less I write and feel like myself, and that’s not really an option anymore.

ok then,

My “Photography”…

I’m a photographer. I have an eye for the things that a lot of people miss by using both of theirs. I capture emotion. My camera isn’t anything too special, I don’t have photoshop, and I have no education under my belt except that in which my friends have given me (thank you, mostly, to my mom, Sara, and Sarah). I am, however, getting booked almost every weekend, which makes me think that my hobby could be much, much more.

Here’s the thing though, it’s not that I don’t have the time or interest in a business, I just don’t want to be like the next person out there that’s out running around calling themselves a photographer just because they’re good at taking pictures, and have the ability to turn a picture sepia. I want to be a photographer because I have something to offer that is unlike everything else you see. I want my work to be filled with passion, and emotion. I want people to see the world through my lens, and feel something different for it; something graceful and gorgeous that they would have missed otherwise. I want to find a way to combine my love for pictures, and my adoration of words.

I know it’s a competitive world to be in. I know that I’m lacking the knowledge to accomplish it if I were to start today. BUT if I start working towards it today, by this time next year…*ponder, ponder*

So, commenters out there, I have homework for you.

How do you get started?
What business steps did you take?
What education do you think is necessary?
If you know me, do you think I’ve got what it takes?
What is something you seek in a photographer, that you have a hard time finding; a rarity?

Next, make sure you stop by Facebook today and “like” my four favorites (again, you’ll have to copy and paste the links in your browser, WordPress wants me to make my own website, apparently):


Two of my prouder moments that I took this week:

^ That hand one is my favorite, favorite. It’s nothing extraordinary, it’s my favorite because when I searched for ideas for a single mom pictures, all I got were these awkward poses. This picture is of a single mom friend of mine, her youngest being the “peace” sign that closes up the heart. It’s the heart in the picture, not the heart, but the HEART in it


PS – I know that I’ve been talking about this for so long that half of you are going to be like OhMahGah, get off your ass and do it already!”, but you know, I have to talk about it a little more first.