Uncategorized, writing

Strong is the New Pretty

Grasshoppers-44I saw a book advertised on http://www.amightygirl.com today called “Strong is the New Pretty – A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves.”

Strong is the New Pretty.  What an awesome message to send little girls.  As I edited some photos from Wyokiddo’s final Pee Wee soccer game, I realized how far we’ve come, as women, in terms of how we view ourselves and how was ask others to view us.

I grew up a tomboy.  My favorite sport was soccer.  Across a league of more than 100 kids in my grade level, I’d say there were less than 10 girls in the league.  My best friend and I were two of them.  We played with boys and were coached by men.  Always men.  Same with baseball and basketball.  The girls were often treated as second-class citizens, usually plunked on the bench to wait for the boys to run up the score or shoved in the outfield because they boys had the infield covered.

I once asked a soccer coach if I could please play offense in one game.  He told me something like “I have to have girls on my team.  I don’t have to let you lose the game for us.”

Never mind that some of us were, GASP, actually talented, or HORROR OF HORRORS, actually better than the boys.

I knew I was facing an uphill battle.  I had wonderfully supportive parents that never forced their square peg daughter into the round mold society tried to dictate.  But my dad was upfront with me, telling me things like “A lot of men my age aren’t used to tough little girls that like sports.  They don’t think you can do it.  Keep working and prove them wrong.”

At first, the uphill battle didn’t bother me so much.  But after years of going to every practice, working my butt off and still not getting a chance, I sort of lost heart.  I knew I wasn’t as good as a lot of the boys.  But I also knew I was better than a lot of them, too.

Luckily, I found horses.  I had a strong, independent woman as a riding coach that didn’t take anybody’s grief.  In her and the other girls I rode with, I found my tribe.  I think that’s one of the reasons I loved riding and showing horses so much.  It didn’t matter if I was a girl.  I was judged on my abilities and performance, not my genes.  And everywhere I turned in the horse show world were encouraging, supportive, kind women and men.  We competed, but we were all a family, too.

Now, some thirty years later, Wyokiddo is playing soccer.  She has a team of six, and four of them are girls.  Her coach this year is a woman, and she is awesome.  Coach Kaitlyn has helped the kids improve some basic skills and introduced them to concepts like offense and defense and making stops.

I know there will come a point in time where Wyokiddo will be told “Girls can’t do that!” or not treated the same because she isn’t a boy.  But I love that her introduction to sports is filled with girls and women alike showing the world that yes, yes we can.  And that strong really is the new pretty.

Teresa

photography, Uncategorized, weddings, writing

Mr. & Mrs.

Storyboard.jpg

I had the wonderful honor of photographing the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends yesterday.

Sara and Brad were married in Sundance, Wyoming, where the couple met.  She was a beautiful bride.  He was an adorable groom.  They were surrounded by their family and several close friends. The whole affair was simple, understated and tasteful.

I loved photographing the details of the details of the day, from Sara’s vintage inspired lace dress and gold-toned hair comb to the bouquet of spring blooms and yellow roses put together by Serendipity Floral and Gifts in Sundance.

But my favorite part of the day was seeing how Sara’s children were involved, not just the during ceremony, but in the entire event.  Her 9-year old daughter made the wedding cake and the cupcakes.  Her son gave her away.  And Brad’s vows talked about how he wanted to be a role model and positive influence in their lives.  I know the smile he wore wasn’t just for his bride, but for the entire family he was gaining in the process.

Sara and I have been friends since college.  As such, I’ve known her as many things…a cohort in crime, a gambling partner and a best friend.  I watched her become a wife and a new mom.   Life threw a few curves at her, but Sara tackled them with her usual tenacity and steadfast commitment to her values and ideals.  She created a new normal and a new life for her children as a single mom.  It was a full life, filled with love and laughter.

And now Brad joins that life, making it richer and perhaps even a little bit stronger.  I don’t know him well, but I can see how that he softens Sara.  Where she is structured, he is smooth.  Where she is by-the-book, Brad is more spontaneous.  They are not opposites so much as complements, rounding each other out and setting off the other’s personality in wonderful ways.

Life is beautiful.  It is also messy and hard.  That duality can leave some of us beaten and bitter.  It takes courage to rise up from the mess, to dare to imagine yourself as something different.

I’m so proud of my friend for believing in herself, for rising up and finding happiness again.  I am excited to see where this new partnership leads, and what new roles Sara will take on as she, Brad, Madeline and Jameson begin their new journey together as a family.

Take care of her, Brad.  She is a treasure, now and for always.

Teresa

family, Kids, Uncategorized

Gifts from Little People

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“Happy Valentine’s Day, Mama. Sorry they’re dead. But uh, it’s winter, so…”

Wyokiddo @ 4  years old.  If I’m being honest, I’ve received far less thoughtful gifts from far less cuter humans.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Show the world how big your heart is today, and every day.

Teresa

country life, photography, Uncategorized, Wyoming

The Theatre, The Theatre

wyo-theater-drw

…what’s happened to the theatre?”

I can’t speak for Danny Kaye, but this Goshen County photographer thinks our movie theater here is pretty alright.  Every time I drive by this grand old building at night, I am struck by it’s beauty.  Last night, I finally stopped to capture that beauty in a photograph.  The Wyoming Theater in Torrington, Wyoming.

Teresa

nature, photography, Uncategorized, weather

Winter’

snowflakes

Freezing rain and snow
Folks falling on their butts now
Mother Nature laughs.

My contribution to WPC – Repurpose…Mother nature is the ultimate upcycler…from water to snow to water again…

This is my first attempt at snowflake macro work.  And haiku, for that matter.  I should probably just stick to photography.

Teresa

country life, photography, Uncategorized, Wyoming

The Blue Beast

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I went out to shoot geese and wound up shooting this beautiful beast instead.  This old guy hangs out just off main street in our small town.  I’ve driven by him a dozen times, but he’s never looked as magnificent as he did this day, blanketed in snow.

family, Uncategorized, writing, Wyoming

The Mother of Invention

We’ve got a house full of new toys Wyokiddo received for Christmas.  But for almost two hours tonight, she entertained herself with a box, straws, tape, beads, feathers and pipe cleaners.  Lots and lots of pipe cleaners.

She was creating an “invention.”  I’m not clear on what the invention will do once it is finished.  I don’t know that she cares.  Wyokiddo was all about the process, attacking the placement of each hole, each bit of straw, with a great deal of concentration and seriousness.

Wyokiddo is too young for New Year’s Resolutions.  But I think I’ll take my cue from her and work to find joy and purpose in the little things that surround me.

Teresa

 

 

Uncategorized, writing, Wyoming

The Kindness of Strangers

15288473_1336222559773643_4148337940582574606_oEarlier this week, a man Stephen C. Reiman died in a Wyoming hospital.  He had no visitors and no one to claim his body.  His nursing staff knew little about him, other than he was a Vietnam veteran and liked Bruce Springsteen.  Mr. Reiman had come to Wyoming via California, and had only been in our state for a few weeks.  No family could be found at first.  The Natrona County coroner arranged to have Stephen Carl Reiman buried with full military honors at the Oregon Trail National Veteran’s Cemetery, but feared no one would attend.  So the call went out via Wyoming news outlets for folks to attend this hero’s funeral and to give an unknown veteran one last great salute.

Wyoming answered that call, as did folks from neighboring states.  More than 2,000 people showed up to bury the sailor.  Fellow veterans, active-duty personnel, doctors, nurses, ranchers, business owners, law enforcement officers and every day citizens gathered in Casper, Wyoming, to honor a man they never met.  It was standing room only in the chapel, and folks lined the streets for the funeral procession.  They braved nasty roads and stood in the cold and the snow because they felt it was the right thing to do.

Each time I read an article or see photos from this beautiful demonstration of humanity, I am brought to tears.

My state, and many of her citizens, have been labeled as deplorable during the election season.  But on this day, Wyoming proved it is anything but.  Our citizens showed their kindness, gratitude and compassion to a man they’ve never met.  On “Giving Tuesday,” the people of Wyoming gave thanks for the life of a stranger that served our country.  Mr. Reiman might have died with only his nurses at his side.  But he was buried as one of Wyoming’s own.

God bless you, Sailor Reiman.  May you finally find your peace.

Teresa

 

Uncategorized

The Great 50 Book Challenge

50 Book ChallengeLast October, I challenged myself to read 50 books in a year.  Why?  Because I read an infographic on Pinterest that said less than two percent of adults in America will accomplish that feat in any given year.   I’m not one to back away from a gauntlet such as that.  I was also finding myself using downtime to surf Pinterest and think about starting crafts that I have neither the talent nor budget for completing.  Reading seemed more educational and less wrought with the possibility of epic failure.

The catch to my challenge was that I was going to ask friends and family for suggestions and add them to my list of must-reads.  My own choices run to the mindless mystery or occasional suspense thriller.  You’ve seen those lists of “10 Must Reads for 2015!”  Nothing I read would ever qualify for those lists.  So I decided I should use this challenge to expand my literary horizons beyond Janet Evanovich and Stuart Woods.  If a friend suggested a book, I was obligated to read it.  I posted my goal on Facebook and discussed it with friends and family.  I compiled my list.  Then I started to read.  And read.  And read some more.

(The one exception I made was 50 Shades of Gray.  I will not be reading that.  But that’s another post altogether…)

It’s been five months, and I’m halfway through my challenge.  Completed books on my list include works such as the wildly popular psychological thriller, Gone Girl, the inspirational Unbroken, and the not-so-critically acclaimed but still funny Gator Bait.  I also threw in a western, a book on writing and some Janet Evanovich and Stuart Woods for posterity.  I’m currently re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and I’m quickly realizing the subtle prose and general brilliance of Harper Lee’s definitive work were completely lost on me when I read it in high school.

This literary journey has also been a journey of personal growth.  I’ve read books I wouldn’t have even cracked a binding on previously and am a better person for it.  I’ve discovered a passion for historical narratives (The Boys in the Boat) and an aversion to novels that promote hate and vitriol, however suspenseful (Gone Girl).  I’ve learned parenting skills (Bringing Up Bebe), cried over my old dog that hasn’t even died yet (The Art of Racing in the Rain) and laughed out loud (Wait for Signs).

I’m eager to see what the next half of my challenge holds and what nuances of prose and personality I will find among the pages.  So tell me, any suggestions?

Teresa

If you’re interested, here is my list of Books 1-25

  1. Takedown 21 by Janet Evanovich
  2. Terminal City by Linda Farestein
  3. The Flipside of Feminism by Suzanne Vanker
  4. George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution
  5. Stone Cold by C.J. Box
  6. Horses that Buck: The story of champion bronc rider Bill Smith by Margot Kahn
  7. Unbroken – the story of Louis Zamparini by Laura Hillenbrand
  8. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  9. Dust by Patricia Cornwell
  10. Cut and Thrust by Stuart Woods
  11. The Sisters Brothers by deWitt Patrick
  12. The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
  13. Windigo Island by William Kent Kruger
  14. The True Secrets of Writing by Natalie Goldberg
  15. Shots Fired by C.J. Box
  16. Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson
  17. Tip and the Gipper – when politics worked by Chris Matthews
  18. The Boys in the Boat
  19. The Time Between by Karen White
  20. Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs by Cheryl Peck
  21. Festive in Death by J.D. Robb
  22. Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly
  23. Gator Bait by Jana Deleon
  24. Paris Match by Stuart Woods
  25. Damage by Felix Francis