Living simply in the wild

Real Reel

Just Keep Pulling: On Shooting Firearms and Empaths

I did not grow up around guns. In fact Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles were outlawed in our home. Perhaps that plays into the fact that i’m sensitive. Most the time, extremely sensitive.

The first time shooting firearms it scared me. No, it terrified me and shook me at my core. It wasn’t a little BB gun or a 22, it was a 40 caliber hand gun.

We were out in no mans land back in Chelan Washington. Up in the evergreen covered hills with a giant dirt mound as our backstop. Not a soul around for days. I was both equally excited and nervous as this was my first time shooting a handgun. I’d seen photos of friends at shooting ranges smiling next to their paper cutout sprayed with holes they’d just shot. It looked like they had a blast. I was with my husband who I trust completely and who has been firing guns since he was probably younger then our kids are now.


Ranger sat there carefully explaining the gun to me. He explained the parts of the gun, how it worked, how to hold it, how to stand, i’m pretty sure he covered it all. He was very thorough and precise with his instructions.

I only had 2 questions when he finally was done with his firearms lecture.

“How loud is it going to be?”


“Is it going to kick back at me?”

He answered with, “uh, It’ll be a loud pop, and it will only kick back a little”. I confirmed his answers as I wanted to know exactly what to expect. Looking back I shouldn’t have accepted such vague answers.

I took my stance. Legs apart, knees bent, elbows locked. I took a moment to feel my breath as I took aim at the piece of plastic that was about to meet its end. I held steady feeling my breath between my lips. 1….2….keep pulling….keep pulling….3….the gun fired.

Everything went silent. The world around me seemed to start a slow spin. I looked over at Ranger who had a huge smile on his face…until he saw mine. The world was muffled and ringing and for a moment I was completely lost. My heart was beating so hard I could feel each beat pounding in my ears. I stood there for a split second not knowing a thing. Not a voice, not a thought. The sound of the gun going off was enough to paralyze my hearing (and me) for those few moments. The power of the bullet flying out of the barrel was enough to make my palms sweat and go completely numb.

Ranger came rushing towards me and grabbed the gun out of my hands, I’m not even sure how I was still holding onto it. I wanted to drop it and bury it in the dirt right then and there. But my brain had not caught up to tell my hand to drop the gun just yet.

“No.” Is all I could get out of my mouth and I walked away quickly. Tears welled up in my eyes. I had no way to stop them, they just came. I was shaken to my core and needed time to breath. Breath….somehow my body remembered to breath, I think.

Truth is i had no idea I’d have that reaction. That wasn’t something you could predict. I can’t explain why it happened or why I reacted the way I did. I’m not the tough girl. I’m strong, but i’m not tough. There are things i’m incredibly sensitive to and sometimes those things surprise me.

With three boys in the house, one being in Law enforcement, I believe its incredibly important to know how to use a gun and to know the proper way to handle a gun. I did learn that. I also learned that shooting a gun is not something I enjoy. At all. Ranger took me out just the other week to go shooting again. I was prepared this time. I knew what to expect.

I gathered myself, I grounded myself, and breathed. I kept breathing and kept squeezing that trigger. I’d stop before it fired and breathed again. I relaxed my stance and said I couldn’t do it. I held my ground, aimed, and pulled the trigger some more. Yet each time i’d stop shy of it firing.

Keep pulling. Keep pulling. I had a great battle within myself that day. My brain was begging me, hounding me, to do something and I tried so hard to do it. But something within me stopped me every time. That day my brain was doing everything it could to keep me pulling that trigger tighter and tighter and something else inside was fighting right back just as fiercely.

It’s funny how that can be translated into life. There are things you know you should do. But no matter how hard you try to do them there is a force battling against you. Think of how hard it is sometimes to apologize, to say I love you, to say that the other person is right. It’s a downright battle at times!

I finally braced myself a little harder. Let out another breath slowly and kept pulling until it shot. It fired once and I just stood there breathing again. Tears welled up in my eyes, but not from terror this time. Well, maybe a little from terror. I’d done it, I had made myself do it. I had met resistance and I pushed through and I survived. It was scary. My hands were tingling and I handed the gun off as soon as I could. But i had done it.

I know this is a small feat for most. Crying and being emotional over shooting a gun may seem ridiculous. Trust me, Ranger completely agrees with that! I can’t predict when floods of emotion will find their way into my daily life and spill over. For some reason when that gun fired it shook me. It rattled something loose and it took over a year to even think about shooting firearms again.

Just know that in life this happens and it’s ok. Especially for those of us who are extra tender. Those of us who feel with everything that they are. The empaths out there. It’s ok to feel, it’s ok to be scared. Just keep standing there grounded, breathing. Just keep pulling that trigger. Eventually things will fire and the dust will settle and you’ll see that you are still standing. Your feet may even be planted further in the ground then before.

Just keep pulling.



I sit down to write and this happens…

photo 2

I Sit down to write….and nothing comes out.

I Sit down to write…the dog needs to go out.

I Sit down to write….blank. blank. blank. blank.

I Sit down to write…”mooooommmmmm”.

I Sit down to write…scroll through social media.

I Sit down to write…Oh work! I need to create this thing for work.

I Sit down to write…nothing… nothing… nothing.

I Sit down to write… I need to quick pay the bills first.

I Sit down to write…didn’t I see something super cute on Pinterest?

I Sit down to write…youtube. A black hole.

I sti down to write…maybe I have a new email. Surely someone has sent something within the last 4 minutes.

I sit down to write…we have nothing to eat. Eating is more important, meal planning it is.

I sit down to write…doesn’t the garage need cleaned?

I sit down to write…We should definitly do some school lessons first. I don’t want my kids to be completely illiterate. I’ll want them to read my writings one day.

I sit down to write…I can’t write without a cup of tea. Put on the kettle. Forget about writing.

I sit down to write…research articles on writers block.

I Sit down to write…come on! Write!

I Sit down to write…”boys, stop fighting!”


I Sit down to write…11pm? Screw it. I’ll write in the morning.


I Sit down to write…nothing, there is literally nothing in my brain that wants to come out.


So I’ll just be quiet and still. It’ll come out when it is ready.

On Turning 10,957 Days Old

At 7,304 days old I entered into my 20s. Thinking this was the decade for me. I was finally out of my teenage years and I was so excited to see what my 20s would bring.



To be honest, it brought with them just as many, if not more, mistakes then my teen years. It brought love, joy, marriage, children, many many moves, heartaches, friendships, and so much more.

Feb 2010

I know turning 30 brings on a lot of resistance from many. Even Ranger had some pretty big apprehensions about turning 30. For me? I won’t be turning 29 over and over again. I’m actually happy and quite excited to be heading out of my 20s. While I had many amazing things happen in my 20s I’m looking forward to seeing what the 30s are like.


At 30 I’m feeling like I’m finally finding my place within myself, at least I’m heading in the right direction. I’m content with where I am, I’m not searching for the next. It truly feels peaceful here. Even though in my mind I still have a million things I would like to change and work on within myself, it’s the motivation that is different now. It isn’t this hungry frantic self clawing at being different and doing more things. It’s a peaceful tug in my heart, a gentle nudge in this direction and that. It’s far easier to listen when your heart is calm and easier to react to gentle nudges then the clawing beast telling you to change.


Maybe this birthday is more optimistic then others. I love numbers, not in the dividing, fractions, multiplication of numbers. But in the way that numbers align and bring calmness. It’s my golden birthday which I find to be so soothing. Turning 30 on the 30th just seems like good measure.

To be honest having a birthday so close to Christmas and New Years has never been my favorite thing in the world. As I’ve grown up I’ve let go of being angry about it, it’s a silly thing to be angry about. I’ve never cared about gifts for my birthday, being so close to Christmas I always new that people had just spent a lot of money on Christmas gifts and probably can’t spend much more for a birthday falling a few short days afterwards. I’ve just always wanted my day to feel special. What brings on that special feeling? I’m finding out that it should have nothing to do with others, but has everything to do with myself and my attitude.

I’m looking forward to the next decade, the next 3,652 days. Things I will learn, the things I will do and accomplish within myself. The 30s hold hope and excitement for me. I’m excited to create many more stories in the next 10 years and can’t wait to share some with you.

(ohmygosh I will have teenage boys in 10 years, I may have just gotten my first grey hair, oy-vay.)



A lesson in the Laws of Attraction

I have never been more of a believer in the words, “We attract what we put out” then I am at this point in my life. Of course there is negativity everywhere in the world and you are bound to stumble upon it every so often, but if you find yourself amongst a world of negative people it might just be time to look inside.

Since moving to the Peninsula, which is what all the locals call this area…i’m just going to pretend i’m one of them for now and stick with the local lingo, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. I let fear take a hold of my life for a few weeks and it drove a spike down deep. I was afraid to tell people where we lived, what my husband does for a living, I wanted to shut the blog down and never put another piece of our life on the internet again. It felt as if we had moved into a bad movie where corruption ruled all.

During this time I pulled from every avenue I could, asking for help, opinions, insight. Someone had to have the answers! It was at that moment I realized how many amazing people are in my life that I can reach out to. The support, the love, the empathy, the advice, the shoulders, the ears, the willingness to listen. I thoroughly enjoyed reaching out to each and every person and being able to lean on someone else and not feel bad about it.

All the cosmic dust has since settled from that little storm and it has given me some new perspectives.

1) Drama is everywhere

Just don’t feed it.

2) You attract what you put out.

I have been actively working on bettering myself. As a wife, as a mother, as a person. I strive to hand out grace, patience and kindness where ever I go. Saying hello, making eye contact with strangers, helping an elderly lady with her groceries. I am trying to be more aware of the things I am putting out into this world. In return I have been blessed with meeting some truly amazing individuals. The kindness that seeps from their pours is truly heart warming and makes me want to try that much harder.

3) Surround yourself with people who will lift you higher.

Remembering back a few years ago to friends I had, the people I surrounded myself with. I remember feeling so weighed down. The gossip, lies, and negativity that I fed off of and fed into ultimately I had ended up poisoning myself. It took a few years of purging, many many mistakes and do-overs but I feel I have finally reached a spot in my life where I am deserving of the wonderful people i’m surrounded by. I never knew the impact of surrounding yourself with people who lift you up would be so powerful. When you surround yourself with good you want nothing more then to be good yourself.

Of course I still get grumpy, I loose my patience, I snap at my children and my husband, I have a bad attitude, I complain…of course those things still happen more then I’d like. But it’s these small moments when you have this euphoric sense of gratitude that completely consumes you and you feel it in every cell of your body, that is truly amazing. Even though those thoughts are still fleeting it gives you something to hold onto and want more of. It’s a strong enough pull that you are determined enough to make the changes in your life to be able to be filled with that much gratitude again and again.

Now to recap: really the whole point i’m trying to get across…

1) You do not attract what you want. You attract what you are

2) You are the people you surround yourself with.


It’s a wrap: Moving on

Our time in Chelan is quickly coming to a close. Just a few more days, a couple more boxes, a handful of strolls along the waters edge, and then we will be moving on.


Lake Chelan has been good to us. I don’t think we could have entered into this journey inside of a more perfect park. The Rangers and employees here have become like family to us and they did a wonderful job of showing us how a park should function underneath it’s skin. With bbqs and potlucks, bonfires and holidays. If we take one thing with us I hope it will be this facilitation of community inside the Park. Every Park is different. They all have different personalities and different voices, but one thing should remain constant: community. Community within the members running and caring for the Park.

I’ll never forget the day we pulled into Lake Chelan for the first time. The head Ranger came barreling towards us with a welcoming smile and a full tour of our home for the next year. We walked inside and a park aide was vacuuming up all of the deceased bugs around the fire place and wiping the spider webs out of the windows. There was even a toy train table waiting for the Juniors inside the garage, one that anther Rangers grandkids had out grown. We were greeted with cookies and we had help unloading our truck so we weren’t left doing it alone.

“This is what Rangers do” they said.

And that sealed our faith in this decision we’d made.

Outside of the Park everyone i’ve met here in Chelan has been oh-so kind and some incredibly generous. The people here are warm and you’ll receive a smile from just about any local you pass. It has been such an adjustment getting used to a small town but a year later i’ve settled into the town and have figured out it’s little quirks.

It has also been painfully isolating here as well. Most of the locals here are lifers and have a very close knit group of friends. They have their life they have shaped the way they want it and it is comfortable, they stick to it. Most places are like this i’m sure. But as an outsider coming in, i was in a position to see things under a new light.

Making friends as an adult is incredibly tricky. There is a fine line between being friendly and looking like a stalker. When you’re a child and you ask someone if they want to be your friend or if they want to come over and hang out…that’s normal. As an adult, it’s uncomfortable. There’s rules and social norms you must follow, there’s a courting period. It can be complicated.

I have yet to figure out how to break into the inner circles. As friendly as people are, getting into the circle of friends is something they keep sacred. Pass someone in a store? A friendly smile and a warm hello. Bump into someone on a playground? Friendly conversations exchanged and a goodbye. Want to be friends? I’m sorry, I already have friends.

The way news travels here, I wish I could tell you. I never fully figured that one out. It seemed that most kid friendly events I always heard about them a day late. I’d hear the radio announcing what a great time was had and how many people had shown up. A personal sting each time it happened twinged through me. Each time another layer of isolation would build up pushing us further and further outside the circles.

Through the feelings of isolation and many tears I did find a few people here to be added to my tribe and I am so blessed to have come across those people. If we’ve shared a meal together, a walk in nature, a conversation that digs deeper then the weather, then know that i consider you dear to me.

One of the toughest parts about this journey is the connections. Most people are passing through or we are the ones passing though.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Real live Lifetime friends are extremely rare. If you’re blessed to have one you talk to and get to hang out with then hold those people close to your heart.

People that come into your life for reasons and seasons are the closest in my heart. I hold them so dear but their also the most painful. Someday I hope to perfect the art of letting go but I know i’m not there yet.

So we’re going to soak up the few days we have left in Sunny Chelan before we head over to the wet side. We have one foot in and one foot out right now and we are looking forward to digging into somewhere new, finding a new tribe, and forming a new community both inside and outside of the park.


The perfect mothers day isn’t Perfect

Mothers day, I should write something profound and wonderful about being a mother!

But frankly i’m not in the mood. Most days being a mother is hard work. It doesn’t matter if you’re kids are 3 or 33, it’s tough.

“Hey mom….hey mom….hey mom”. It’s like words on a chalkboard to me right now.

“Hey mom!”….great, I get to see you jump over 3 legos this time instead of just the one you jumped over 3 seconds ago.

“Look at you honey, wow, three legos. You sure jump far”. And he beams with joy. And I am still clenching my teeth from the 600th “hey mom” today.

“Hey mom, we found bones from Park Cats kills. Come check it out!”. Yes please, that’s exactly what i want to sip my morning coffee seeing. And for the record, i’m changing my name today. I no longer answer to ‘hey mom’.

A glass of wine in my hand amongst adults for once. Enjoying dinner and conversations. Soon enough a little child has slithered his way onto my lap and it now tieing my hair together in front of my face like i grew an instant mustache. Not long after the other one sees he’s left out of this fun activity and nudges his way onto my lap. Now there’s two with their spaghetti sauced fingers in my hair. Two boys scrunched together in-between the table and myself. I can no longer move my glass of wine to my mouth without twisting into some form a human isn’t capable of. So i sit there. Now their hanging spegatti noodles off their faces, giving themselves mustaches. I’m punched in the nose a few times by elbows and maybe even a knee, i’m not sure. Monkey arms are wrapped around my neck. My hair is being pulled. There is sauce everywhere.

“Awwww, look at those boys loving on their momma. Soak it up honey, soak it up.”

How much more of this can i soak up, my hair is currently dipped into my wine?!

Nothing will send you into a mommy guilt tail spin faster then someone saying you should be soaking up this moment that is driving you insane. All i’m wanting to do is pry free of these kids, run to bathroom and drink my glass of wine in peace. But we all know that no bathroom is a safe haven. There’s always a “hey mom” on the other side of the door, or worse, staring at you while your trying to sit there in peace.

So here i am soaking it up. Outside on my porch thinking about how crazy my kids drive me. And how everyones kids probably drive them just as crazy. How I should be having this sense of joy and fulfillment right now. Thinking thoughts like “There’s no where else i’d rather be….i’m so blessed”. Which I am. But those thoughts aren’t always on the forefront of my brain.

So right now, in this less then pleasant mood that i am in i’m choosing to be grateful for smaller things.

  • Like the smell of the lilacs that have recently opened up.
  • I’m grateful that other people are in a good mood and i can hear their laughs and smell their campfires.
  • Greatfull i thought to bring a pillow to sit on the chair outside so it’s a bit more comfortable.
  • The bright moon in the blue sky.

I wish I could say that mothers day is going to be centered around every single mom and they get spoiled and they feel the appreciation their kids and spouses have for them.

But it’s mothers day. We’re going to wake up to dishes in the sink. Laundry on the floor. Kids fighting. Problems arising. Husbands working. Yet despite all that you will see plastered all over social media tomorrow pictures and quotes and “i’m so blessed”. It will be everywhere. Gratititudes.

Breakfast in bed, homemade cards, spa treatments, or a freshly cleaned house isn’t in the works for most of us. But we can choose to have gratitude despite all the less then ideal situations.

I try take my mothers day served in smaller dishes, through out the whole year. The self portrait of myself the 4yr old drew. The sharing of my favorite chocolate they got in their Easter basket. The out of the blue “i love you mom, you’re the best”. Them clearing my dishes after every single night, without being told. The “will you marry me?”. The slopping good morning kisses. The little day to day moments that you will look back on and they’ll fill your heart with joy, and pain at the same time.

Where ever you are, however you wake up, keep your gratitude’s close by today. And everyday at that. Life isn’t perfect. Kids aren’t perfect. Mothers aren’t perfect.





Mothers day isn’t perfect.

Except for this momma Robin…she laid the perfect colored eggs.

The problem with Childrens Organized Activities AKA ‘Organized Distractions’

I have this guilt. It’s a total mom guilt.

My kids aren’t in any Childrens organized activities. They don’t play organized sports. They aren’t in Church meetings. They don’t meet up in groups with other kids. It’s pretty much just the two of them…and us.


I’ve searched down every avenue, asked anyone that would listen, and dug the deepest holes to try to find something that would be suitable for us. There just isn’t much in this small community, and the drive into town can be long.

We came from a large city that had just about anything you could think of. Martial arts, YMCA, sport teams, group play dates scattered around the city on just about any given day. It was easy to find organized activities.

So what’s wrong with childrens organized activities?  

What if their all just distractions.

These organized activities; sports, dance, playdates, meetings.

Maybe their all just distractions. Things to keep us busy. To keep us from thinking about the rent that is late, the car that needs new tires, the “i’m sorry” that needs said, the selfishness that needs addressing, the mask that needs peeled off.

What if we just BE. I mean really BE. Be in the moments, be here, be now, be calm, be still. Can you just imagine how life would float by? Calm like flowing water, hugging the crevice of each rock that it passed. Kissing the fallen trees and wet river banks. Lapping up leaves to bring with it on its journey.


But instead we race. We race past the day as if we were sliding into home plate. We sprint towards the new activities while passing other opportunities along the way. But we don’t see them because we’re too rushed and too busy to even notice. Too distracted.

What if they are all distractions? To keep us preoccupied so we don’t have to think about the things we really need to address. The hurt, the pain, the sorrow, the mistakes. Even worse…what if it distracts us from love and joy. From acceptance. From peace.

Have you ever sat? Literally that is all you did was just sit. Nothing else, nothing more. No facebooking, no TV, no reading, no thinking. Just sitting. It’s love and joy. It’s acceptance. It’s peace.


So I sit…accepting. Accepting that it’s ok if my sons aren’t in soccer camp. It’s ok they don’t go to group story time. It’s ok they think a group of kids “are being too loud”. It’s ok that I can’t find a playgroup for them to be apart of.

Their outside filling flower pots with water making mud pies. Their learning how to argue with each other and work through those problems. Their sitting in the branches of trees carving their hiking sticks. Their playing zombies in the garden and survivor man in the backyard. Their learning it is ok to be. They may not be sliding into home plate. But their learning their limits, their fears. Their learning what brings them joy and acceptance and peace.

childrens organized activities

Does this mean we will we keep them out of childrens organized activities or groups? Absolutely not. But making myself mad trying to find groups to put them in will no longer be a priority. The longer we are quiet and still the more we can really soak up what life has deep within it. The Juniors will grow, they’ll find their place and their passions. And they will do this regardless of our input. Right now they are learning to be….

I am learning to be.