A guide to a constantly changing life through photography.

The Nuts & Bolts

I grew up a gypsy of sorts, often seeming to find myself behind the wheel, map in hand, then taking the road marked “not fit for human passage”.  I took it anyway.

I am a native Southeast Tennessee girl who grew up everywhere.  MY inspirational maternal grandfather, MoreDaddy, was my life.  He gave me the gift of inquisitiveness.  He talked of stars and skies, lands and plate tectonics, geography & geology, fossils and travels.  We camped and hiked and explored and talked.  He listened and put up with my constant barrage of questions.  I must have been a handful.   He always loved me.

We; mom, brother Ed, sister Kathy, MoreMommy & MoreDaddy & myself, traveled in my grandparents great old Dodge motorhome during every summer off from school.  They would come to pick us up as we waited, with little patience for their arrival, noses pressed to the dining room window.  They took us all over the USA and taught us to love and respect Mother Earth.

My mom, Judy, was a special ed teacher for 40+ years.  I was born with birth defects.  That woman had a heart so big she could never give all of her love away.  She seemed capable of being in 30 places at once and never getting tired.  She is my hero and has never let me down.  She has cautioned my craziness, supported my dreams and is responsible for my passion for art and creativity.  She too is an amazing artist.  Mom bought me my first camera when I was 13, a Pentax K1000.  I collected a dozen lenses, too many to count filters and accessories and she taught me to shoot, process and print.  I have her eyes.  She has my love.  I haven’t put down a camera since.  Everything gets photographed, everyone…

It’s no wonder I am who I became.  A passionate, goofy, love-filled woman.  A person who, between the ages of 16 & 39 lived in more than 30 places.  I had a car, a cat, a duffel bag, a dream. I had wandering feet and still so many questions and things to see.

I quit school on the high honor roll because I was bored.  I went to college and took writing classes.  I went to medical school so I could learn more about my disabilities.  Curiosity needs to be quenched and explored.  I had a small farm and raised sheep, pigs, goats, chickens among so many other things.  Even with 13 dogs, I still never had enough – like my mom, so much love and happiness to give.

At 39 I moved back home to Tennessee.  My grandparents long passed yet those mountains still held my heart.  Dark and purple, rolling and un-assuming…solitude.  I bought a small log cabin in the Cherokee National Forest and before I knew it 8 years had gone by.  One day I went to a local art festival with the intention of getting just one special thing.  Little did I know, that one thing I would find would be the love of my life.  Walking around the grounds, I spotted a leather worker, he was sitting with his back to me tooling a belt.  I walked up, somehow already knowing he was THE ONE, and said, “nice work”.  He turned and looked at me and smiled and said “thanks”.  I stayed right there in his booth for 2 days.  He called me the next day and said “I missed you all day”.  30 days later we were living together, 7 months and we were married, 3 months after that we sold my cabin and moved here to North Dakota.  The most incredible place I’ve ever been.  We are HOME.  Richard is every cliche`…soul-mate, keeper of my rib, the person who completes me, the yin to my yang.  No matter the term, we are one.  We laugh, we talk, we are quiet, we dream, we build, we plan…we love.  We are best friends and I thank God for my life with him.  I have known him in my heart and dreams my entire life, now it’s reality and beyond any love story ever told.

Second day photo at festival:


Now we are one.  He supports my photography, artwork, anything I dream up.  I am the same with him.  There are never any questions, it’s all a river flowing.  We grow together, realize our good fortune and appreciate every moment.

Now my story comes to the present.  that is where the blog begins.  Here at our new little North Dakota home, building our future on each day.  A simple life.  A great love.


2 responses

  1. Ed Smelly

    This is a great idea. I’ll subscribe to your RSS feed so I’ll know whenever you do an update!

    March 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm

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