It wasn’t big-time or anything, and I was a bit young at the time, but I studied and practiced and earned ribbons and trophies and I do believe they were well-earned. I rocked the 4-H fairs and the Warren and Sussex Country fairs like no other. I used to get up at 5:00am, which is dreadful now but was even worse then, and I once slept in a horse trailer. It was magnificent.
The first time I ever entered a horse show, in the first competition, I actually took first place. I didn’t believe I had, because I’m not one to know my own power and I certainly didn’t back then, but the loudspeaker called my name and I didn’t hear them. I was too busy leading the horse out of the ring. An employee came up to me with a trophy and a blue ribbon and asked, “Are you the winner?” “Nah, sorry.” I said. Meanwhile my mom and sister were SCREAMING my name and yelling, “You won! Yes, you! Tammy, you won!” Holy cow. Me? I won. I was bewildered when I accepted my trophy and ribbon. I won?
I’m not always one to know when things are going well. And I’m even worse when I know that things are going well because then I’m afraid to move the wrong way, or blink the wrong way, or step on an imaginary line, or find the spark and set it on fire, or lose the spark, or lose the mojo. What is it that keeps our spark alive? The best news is that it’s inherently in you, so if you trip the spark or lose the spark or eat the spark or set fire to the spark, it comes back in your hands – warm and alive.
Not many people know this about me, but I used to compete in horse shows until I didn’t anymore. Something changed. My mom said I discovered boys, but heck, I discovered them waaaaaay before middle school. I think I just did it for a bit, until I didn’t do it anymore, because I couldn’t do it all – or even halfway. Sometimes people are meant to do things. I believe I’m meant to write and take pictures with a spark and a magic. Last night at a golden hour shoot, I was looking down at the thumbnail photos on my camera to make sure I had taken the kind of photos I wouldn’t leave without taking. These are fourth or fifth time clients so I can let my guard down, and I said, “Aha, that’s where it happened. I remember the photo and the smile and the moment now. That’s the moment I finished warming up and finally found my spark.” I can’t go home without.
There are things that never produce sparks. It’s more like they produce non-starts, or worse, full-out fire. So then I have to delegate and outsource. I have to ask for help in ways I’m just learning about – how to ask, and how to receive.
I’m buried under a mountain of work. I’m underwater, nowhere near the surface. It’s my busiest time of year as a photographer. Blogging is heating up for the rest of the year. I’m still doing a 4-6 week long data entry project.
I don’t know if you’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” one of my favorite bloggers – Mrs. AOK – but she’s pretty much my twin. And I have a few of those. Are we triplets? She does a weekly “Thank You Notes” feature, referencing Jimmy Fallon (and sometimes The Cure). Some of these were written two years ago, but I’m revamping even those. Thank you…
..Cassidy, for asking how you can help with my crazy work projects, and really meaning it. Setting you up with data entry might be more trouble than it’s worth, but the culinary help you provide is much appreciated. It’s my bread and butter!
Thank you, Janine, for your blog design help. I think it’s already working! Thank you!!!
Thank you, Avery, for doing the complex Photoshop/InDesign stuff! Sometimes, I just take the pictures.
Thank you, Cloverdale Nursery School, for making Des look like this: (although this wasn’t taken there)
(written two years ago but still true) Thank you, to Des’ daycare. Childcare is a privilege for us, and not a necessity.. Mostly. I do need that time to work and he does need that time to explore the world a different way, but if we couldn’t afford it, we would make do. That said, with Des being two-years-old and totally ready to do something more than hang out with just me, day after day, it was time. The transition went better than I expected and it is a safe place for all of us. The toys kick a**, the other families are wonderful, and the “teachers” provide two healthy meals and a number of fun activities. When Des isn’t at daycare, he’s asking to go. When we pull up to their house, he screams with joy.
Thank you, iHelpers.NET (affiliate link alert!) for the best hosting for my two websites – photography business and blog. They were the only ones who could help me, one dark weekend, when both of my websites had connectivity issues and my old hosting company gave me the runaround. They were the ones to talk to me on the phone, like humans, and help me figure out what the problem was and what I needed to do. Also, did you notice how much faster my website got? It used to be so slow! Thank you, iHelpers, for the speed, the insanely good customer service, for being brilliant at what you do.
(also written two years ago)
Thank you, Scarlet’s school. Although we are not wealthy, at all, we do have choices. There are private schools and charter schools and homeschooling options and choices of other public schools in this town, and surrounding towns. We are very happy with the elementary school that will be in our lives for many years to come. And I know we didn’t choose Scarlet’s teacher, but she deserves mention because she very honestly made me cry once. In a good way. And there are good ways to cry.
..you guessed it. Two years ago.
Also, thank you to the other school moms and dads. From conversations about camera strobes to why women belong with other women, from whining kids and rude adults to people who annoy us, thank you for making me feel normal. Ish.
Yes, two years ago but still valid. More so. Thanks for snacks, drinks and friendship.
Thank you to our favorite farm/restaurant/market/deli/butcher/orchard/ice cream/all-in-one. For the special breakfasts at the counter with whipped cream pancakes. For the egg and cheese sandwiches, apple orchards, and all-around great personalities. For the Easter Egg Hunts and fall hayrides. For the festivals and sunsets. (still valid)
Current me agrees with the last four or five points, and has so many other thank yous out there. I really needed help all this time! Who knew? So I don’t miss out on anyone, thank you to everyone ever who provides a kind word, a kind smile, a hug, a kiss, a potato knishe (what?), pie, extra sprinkles, expert advice, starting my car with its dead battery, paying for my food, hanging out in parking lots, LulaRoe leggings, my hair people, that girl who taught me how to raise one eyebrow (this needs a video, no?), vitamins, peanut butter cups stuffed with Reese’s Pieces, and a million little things, from my heart to yours.
This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “My life is so much easier due to..” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on any of the matters: HERE.
Bev Feldman @ Linkouture says
Ooh, I’m the first! See, waking up at 5:00 is TOTALLY worth it 😉
Mrs. AOK, is one of my favorite people in the world, and I love reading her thank you notes. And I loved reading yours today! And I’m trying to remember if I knew you rode horses. I made a new friend in middle school who was (and still is) into riding horses and invited me to her Halloween party at the place where she rode when we were in 6th grade. I will always remember that party and making a new friend. (And she later bought jewelry from me for her mom and future mother-in-law for her wedding!)
Yay for first!
The party was probably awesome and I remember some 4-H Halloween parties, and wouldn’t it be funny if we were at the same one!
I love that she still rides. I haven’t gotten back on a horse in over 20 years. Yeesh – it’s time.
Janine Huldie says
Aw, I literally just woke up a few minutes ago and your blog is the first that I am reading. You made me smile more than you know with this whole article. First off, I will always help you as we are friends, first and foremost. Second, I had no idea about the horse racing and loved that I learned that about you here today. And lastly, I am with you on being thankful to all who have helped me over the years as I couldn’t possibly be where I am today without that help. Still one more, I am better off and thankful for our friendship. Hugs!! <3
Aww, morning reading. Thank you!!
You have helped so much so this prompt couldn’t have come with better timing!! XOXO!
Someone who can swoop in and help when your website is exploding is a valuable, special, lifelong friend! So funny how frustrating that whole experience can be. I used to ride a bit, but no competing. I did attend the Sussex Fair one year when I was working for a start-up water testing business in Westport. I thought it was pretty neat:) Why is my life easier now? Well, my kids are living in their grown up lives… I miss them, but on a day to day basis, easier than it used to be.
Janine is a gem! I have called on her for website help a few times now. It helps so much!!
Ah, kids in grown-up lives. I can’t imagine yet, even though I do remember life before young kids. It’s probably so, so different, though. Perspective and all!
Super adorable kids!! So cute photos of them. I’ve only tried riding a horse once and it was just a guided tour. I was more scared of it than riding a zipline though. LOL.
I’ve been totally swamped with work too for the past few weeks, I was trying to finish all my tasks before I go on my trip next week. And here I am reading blogs as I probably can’t do it often for the next 2 weeks. So thankful for people who make our lives easier!
I think it’s probably more dangerous than ziplining! Ziplining is scary (for me) but at least it’s controlled. Horses.. shudder!
Thank you for reading my blog before the trip!! I’m excited for you!
Cascia Talbert says
I had no idea you used to ride horses. That must have been a lot of fun. Sounds like you are busy! I love your blogging friend’s thank you notes feature, what a great idea! It is important to recognize the people around us that help us out every day. I could name quite a few of them in my life. Have a fantastic weekend!
So busy! But it will calm down next month, luckily. I can’t wait to REST.
The “thank you” notes feature is something she does every Friday and I absolutely love to read it.
Have a great Sunday!
The Mad Mommy says
I can’t believe you used to compete in horse shows! I love it! I adore riding horses, but never even dreamed of competing!
Oh my god, I love Dean (Mrs. AoK), she is completely amazeballs. Just like you!
I never really got to that point of being very good – the potential was there, though! They said I had natural talent! So maybe my kids will take that somewhere.
Mrs. AOK is a favorite. So are you!
Finding Ninee says
I don’t know Mrs. AoK and now I need to! Love all of your thank yous and that Cassidy offers to help and means it. That’s huge. Cool that the kids are following in your tradition and learning to ride! Great photos 🙂
I can’t believe you don’t know her! You’re both some of my favorites.
Getting up at 5 AM… ugh. I am not an early morning person, and it’s one of my least favorite parts about being an actor. But, got to love Mrs. AOK’s thank you notes and your thank you notes, too 🙂
I was just telling Scarlet that I’m not really human until 9:00am and then I take a break between 3:00-5:00pm during the dark fall/winter hours. She was just like, “What are you talking about?”
It’s true, though!
Kendall Patton says
I love how things get both easier and harder and also just right over time. For me, the boys are like that. Well, maybe not them, but the Motherhood part of them in my life. Also, with Hun. And sometimes even with myself. I live horses, never competed though wanted to. A good outdoor forest adventures is like this to me, too. Hiking is easier and harder and also just right each time. And travelling. Helping others. Those are the things I really throw myself into these days and I love and am so grateful for each one, every time! 🙂
It’s funny like that. The way it changes and never gets too too comfy.
Hiking is awesome. It’s my exercise of choice all the time!
That was me, by the way!
Kenya G. Johnson says
I was going to ask when you sleep!? But culinary help is BIG deal! That would make my life so much easier IF I could get the time back I spend on buying and thinking about at preparing what’s for dinner I might be able to enjoy some other things. OMG Christopher can eat. People warned me.
Des is only four and eats more than all of us. How much worse can it get????? I’m so scared.
I don’t sleep much during these times – maybe 12-7 a night. Then it gets better again!
Busy is good sometimes. And look at those smiles. 😄
I do love busy, and then I love the slow rests that follow. They are happy kids!
That Janine is amazing! I am so glad you have so many great helpers in your life. That is so important!
Janine is my hero!
Mardra Sikora (@MardraSikora) says
Beautiful and awesome and I wish I could wake up at 5:00 am. But…
sigh. I’ll keep trying to cram life in starting at 7:00, 6:30 if I can.
Oh boy.. if I can get away with 8:00 or even 9:00am, I’m so happy! I do not get up early well.
Amanda Love says
OK I can totally see you competing in horse shows and maybe your mom might be right, even though you might be in denial. 🙂 BTW Janine and Mrs. AOK are both amazing and I’ve had the pleasure of reading both their blogs and they’re awesome!
The horse shows are definitely intense. One of my best friends from high schools competed in them for several years (and still does). Sometimes you have to realize what works and doesn’t – it’s great that you learned that awareness at such a young age.
Aw! Precious gratitude! I love all your thank yous, T. And I love that spark message… And I also don’t know how you do it all. Seriously. Do you sleep? You are AMAZING.
Keep on blazin’ hun. You are on FIRE.
Well it’s two months later and I’m finally responding! So that’s how crazy it was. Some sleep, but not enough!!
I can’t wait to blaze again in the new year, after some baths, family time, and ZZZZZZs.
Sonya K says
I love reading Dean’s Thank You Notes too. She inspired me to start posting gratitude posts. The world is so much better when we show a little gratitude. I’m thankful that you have so many great people around you. 🙂
And thank you for writing this blog, and sharing your beautiful world with us. It always makes me smile!
Aw, likewise! I’m getting around to responding months later – because it was so nuts all fall! Winter is starting quietly.
Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says
You have a farm/restaurant/market/deli/butcher/orchard/ice cream/all-in-one??? I am so jealous. We love all of those things and we have a couple of places that cover several of those in one, but not ALL. Wow. 😀
Love your thank you’s and appreciation here. I sometimes think I don’t realize who or what in my life is working well or helping me do things until something isn’t working – you know? Can relate to many of yours and they are wonderful! Especially kids who are happy at school/whatever. Your part about fearing that we might lose that spark is so true isn’t it? It’s like we get afraid to be happy lest it slips away from us. I get it.
It also has a dog named Spirit! He mostly ignores adults, but LOVES kids. It’s like out of a storybook there.
Friday I’m In Love – one of my favourite songs ever.
Can you believe I spent my childhood and early teens in horse shows too? I mean I used to HAVE to wear cowboy boots — now it’s just for fashion and well because, yeah boots! I used to love sleeping in the horse trailer and hearing the sounds of the animals settling. Can you ask for a more idealistic childhood memory than camping out on a fairground with the scent of caramel corn and candy apples and fresh hay on the wind? Doubtful. I could never say enough thanks to my grandparents for dragging us all around most of the summer to those horse fairs. And all the practice times in between.
I haven’t worn cowboy (cowgirl) boots in decades, and I really think I could pull them off now. What say you?
With the right leggings? Hell yeah! I see cactus and horseshoes. 🙂
Kimberly M (@momgosomething) says
I am terrified of horses like oh so very much! I was bit by one when I tried to feed it and well – it’s a love hate relationship.
The school systems in America are intimidating to me. Maybe it’s just the area that we live in. We only have two choices: Public or Catholic. Well now they have the option of “hockey” school. Yes. Hockey school. C has to be 12 to enter. I’m sure he’ll be bugging to enter that.
School community is a HUGE part of growing up and we never realized it until our little man started to grow. We are thankful for the people when he started to struggle, when we struggled…when he had the douche teacher…
Mrs. AOK – her instagram makes me swoon like no other.
I love you.
Horses are huge, and can bite or kick. I really don’t blame you there! I prefer moose, even though they’re not so friendly either.
Wow about public or catholic. Here it’s public, private, charter, homeschool, farm school (yes, that’s real), performing arts school… and more.
I love you too.