Family Reunion 2017

The time finally came.  A time to gather the family and enjoy some friendly competition, lots of laughs, and tons of reminiscing. Let me be the first to tell you, with a family that has many athletes on the court, in the arena, and on the field, a game of volleyball can get pretty heated but all in good fun.  Even after the grass stains, trash talk, and sore bodies we all enjoyed the time together.

It has been some time since we were all able to be together in one place.  So we all traveled the hours and put in the miles to meet in Durango, Colorado.  A place where we can escape the unbearable heat and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Just a few things we enjoyed along the way included—

  • Jeep rides with Uncle Tracy’s new toy
  • Volleyball, ping pong, and pool tournaments
  • Purgatory Alpine Slide
  • Durango’s Aquatic Center
  • White water rafting (Another post coming just for this. It was quite the excitement!)

All in all it was exactly what we all needed.  Finally getting to spend some quality time together and enjoying the great outdoors of Colorado.

I have been to Durango and other parts of Colorado many, many times.  But I found myself pondering the thought of what it would actually be like to live there.  After living in the valley of Satin’s heat for far too long I have been thinking of moving to someplace with seasons for quite some time.  I may have just found the spot.  A place where I can escape the heat, get away from all the people, and live the relaxing western life that I have always belonged to.

Here are just a few of the photos I was able to capture on all of our adventures.  The one with the mansion with green acreage near and far was a sight to see.  Definitely wouldn’t mind having a home like that but then I would have to clean it and that makes it less appealing. Haha

Barn - ColorBarnCowsCreek & SunFence lineField - HouseHouseLakeMolas LakeValley

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It’s Just Our Way of Life

It’s the quiet before the storm where the birds chirp a peaceful tune and the ground is waiting to shake with pounding hooves. Before the Cowboys are hollering and the stock is bellering. Some people might not understand the beauty of this alleyway, or the western lifestyle. But there is still the rare breed that have an appreciation for the dust billowing, stock running, and some days the smell of burnt hide.

The appreciation of the early mornings and late nights, the long days in the saddle, and the calmness that sweeps over you when checking cattle.  Some people might see that appreciation as more of a craziness than anything else.  I could say the same to some of their appreciations they have such as the fancy restaurants they like to visit.  But to each their own, as appreciation is in the eye of the beholder.  Their fancy restaurant is equal to the dinner when all the family gets a breather and can be together to enjoy the delicious home grown beef.

Corrals like this make up a part of me. They were a staple in my life from the very beginning.  I love everything about the western lifestyle and all it brings. There may be more hardships to the outside eye, but what they don’t see is how those hardships make us even more determined to turn things around and come out on top.  We may face adversity just like anyone else in this world.  But what might make us different is how we handle that adversity.  We use it as ammo to better the situation and not let it overtake us.  If we succumb to all the hard times this lifestyle throws at us, we wouldn’t be around long enough to see all of the rewards and happiness that it brings overall.

Fighting to be better and to keep a positive outlook is how we thrive.  It was bred into us.  It’s just our way of life.

Run Wild and Free

There is so much beauty that can be captured behind a camera.  A beauty that can be viewed in many different ways depending on the eye of the holder.  Since finding a passion with photography my view of things has become more intricate and unique.  Normally I would look at a mountain and say something along the lines of “that is pretty big” or “that is cool”.  Now I look at a mountain range and say “wow look at those beautiful colors and unique lines”.  Not only has photography allowed me to view things at a deeper level, it has given me the confidence boost I needed to let go of the what if’s and just live for who I am.

I used to worry about whether I was making the right decision based on what others would think.  That started to overtake my life these last few years and had me headed in the wrong direction.  After starting photography and letting go of the negative things in life, it has all started to come together and back on track.  I no longer care what people think of me because I am living for me and what I want in life.

I have this longing to be wild and free in a world that is so controlling.  I want to be able to travel the world and see what it has to offer.  I want to be able to live a life that is full of love, happiness, and spontaneity.

“But you belong where the four winds blow

Out where the untamed mustang roam

Like a sweet summer rain, passing through

Never seen anything wild as you”

Cody Johnson had some wise words in his “Wild as You” song.  Lyrics that hit me hard and made me realize even more that I am yearning to have this in life.  To be free-spirited and strong-willed.  To stand for what I believe in and to live for who I am and what I want in life.  To run wild with a free spirit that does not allow anyone to change who I am but to stay grounded.  To be able to appreciate the small things in life and not worry about what I cannot control.

So run wild my friends and live the life you want to live.  Because you only have this one life to live to the fullest.  Say goodbye to the negativity and the what if’s because you deserve to be wild and free.

Run with the wild horses.

Road Less Traveled

Have you ever come to a “fork in the road” situation in your life? The moment when you are forced to decide which road to take and which opportunities and consequences each will hold.  Some might find this decision an easy one while others have a hard time deciding what will be the best option.  I am the latter and have been through many trials in my life that started with just a simple fork in the road and one “simple” decision.

You know how it goes…Do I go left or right?  This past year has led me to more forks in the road than my entire life.  It wasn’t the point of how many trials I was forced to face but how I handled them and which fork I chose to go down.  After always overthinking everything in my life, I finally decided it’s time for me to do what is best for me and what I have always wanted and dreamed of doing instead of worrying about what everyone else would think or if I would get the best outcome out of this “fork”.

I gave up the relationship that I was always fighting for.  I gave up the job that I was always dreading going into every day.  I gave up the place I lived that I knew as home for the past three years.  I gave up the negative attitude and wondering why bad things always happened to me.  I gave up all of these things because I finally came to realize that I need to be better for myself and for my dreams if I ever wanted them to come true.  I needed to clear out all of the negative and bad things in my life if I wanted to get to where I always wanted in my life.  I couldn’t always count on things working out in the best way possible if I was allowing myself to be subpar and let others dictate my happiness.  Doing this didn’t come without great fear and a huge amount of doubt in myself and the decisions I was making.  But I knew if I wanted to reach my maximum potential not only for myself but for everyone around me, this needed to be done.

So for all of you who are at a “fork in the road” or are unsure if you are going to reach your goals and dreams…let go and believe you can do anything you set your mind to!  Let go of all the negative and bad people in your life that haven’t believed in you and haven’t pushed you to be the best version of yourself!  I know it can be the most difficult thing losing your comfort zone and everything you know as normal but you need to believe in yourself and focus on what’s best for you.  Believe that you will become the person you always wanted to be and your dreams will become reality.

Don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled.  I was always scared to do something others thought would be wrong or wouldn’t be what was best for me.  It was when I decided to finally take the road less traveled that my life started to change for the better and my outlook turned to the positive view.  Like Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”.  Doing what I thought was best for me and not worrying about what others opinions were about me has set me free, to be able to reach for my dreams and goals that I have always day dreamed about.

Be different.  Be the person you always wanted yourself to be and reach for the dreams you always day dreamed about.  Forget all the negativity and let go of the people who don’t push you to be your best.  Your circle may become smaller but it doesn’t matter how many people are around you but how many people support you and your dreams.  Be the best version of you possible because that is who God created you to be.

Lasting Memories

I may have missed my chance to get all the pictures in the world with my Pop, who taught me how to count by playing poker, who gave me my love for ice cream, and who taught me that being your quirky self is the only way to go, but I told myself I wouldn’t miss the opportunities life gives me now to capture those special moments.

Do you have something special in your family that everyone has memories about? We all do, right.  This picture shows the one thing that everyone in my family can remember all the good times that were had and the stubborn horses that were worked.  This saddle shed holds many memories that we all strive to hold onto after our fun, loving, and downright corky grandpa had to leave this crazy thing we call life.  Or as we all knew him and what his closest friends liked to call him, “Pop”.  Now if you knew him, you knew he was quick-witted and quite the funny man.  He could draw you a cartoon that would make you laugh hysterically and be permanently burned into your mind.

Now some things come and go and you have to accept that.  But it’s the things that impact you the most that you try your best to hold onto for dear life.  Whether that is taking pictures or even writing down your memories so you can look back on them in the future.  When I first started my adventure with photography I knew that I wanted to take meaningful pictures.  Pictures that meant something to anybody who looked at them, not just the person who took them.  I may have missed my chance to get all the pictures in the world with my Pop, who taught me how to count by playing poker, who gave me my love for ice cream, and who taught me that being your quirky self is the only way to go, but I told myself I wouldn’t miss the opportunities life gives me now to capture those special moments.

So here is the very first picture I took on my new adventure; upholding my “meaningful” standard on my photography journey.  This saddle shed holds saddles that my Pop grew up riding in, that he passed on to his kids, and then on to his grandchildren.  There are halters that hang in the shed that have been through hell and back with all the horses and the long journeys they endured.  There are branding irons that hang from the wall with some burnt hair and cowhide still attached.  There are chaps and spurs that hold so much meaning none of us can bear the thought of losing them.  There are even pictures on the wall of Pop and his beloved horses along with his cartoons he drew throughout the restless days on the ranch.  All of these things hold so much meaning to everyone that ever came in contact with my Pop, whether it be through his cowboy days or the neighborhood babysitter that later came with his old age.

We can’t hold onto the material things forever, but we can do our best to hold onto the memories and pictures that we will cherish and value for all the time to come.  Pictures that our children and their children can look back on and see who their Pop was and what he meant to everyone who met him.  A picture is worth a 1000 words and I am grateful I was able to capture something so meaningful.