The Power of Music

Music is a universal language connecting moments in time.  Music takes people back and brings people to the present. Every song played connects you to a person, a raw emotion, a memory or time.

Music is therapy.

Music is power.

If there is one piece of advice I could pass on generation after generation it would be to learn how to truly appreciate music.  Music goes beyond emotions and is powerful enough to develop the mind and body.  Once upon a time, I wrote a dissertation on the scientific benefits of music and the effects it has on your brain and health.  Music is something that can be enjoyed and experienced in all stages of life.  A study done in 2015 lists not knowing how to read music or playing an instrument as the most common regret amongst adults.  It also landed as one of the Top 20 biggest life regrets amongst a study done in the United Kingdom.

Music is universal.  It is also never too late to learn how to read music or to take on a deeper knowledge and respect of all genres.   Challenge yourself.

It isn’t a secret that music has always been a large part of my life.  Thanks to my mama, a true love and appreciation of music began at quite the young age, singing with her at church functions and attending Christian artist concerts like Amy Grant.  In middle school, she FORCED me (yes, it’s true) to take up an instrument and am I ever glad she did.  Playing an instrument came naturally to me.  As an 11th grader from southwest rural Iowa, I auditioned and was accepted into the Omaha Youth Orchestra and traveled to Omaha weekly (thanks, mom) for rehearsals.  It was my first experience playing with high caliber musicians and set me up for my experiences playing at a collegiate level.   Playing an instrument is what I was good at… but not something I ever took terribly seriously.  It was fun for me.  An outlet.  With that said, had I maybe practiced a little more I wouldn’t have botched a few of my solo’s during my college senior recital.  Yeesh.  Nightmares.  Y’all, I LOVE to play, but I don’t like being the ONLY person in the middle of a massive stage, with a ballgown on, under hot ass lights, playing for an hour to a very, VERY large crowd.  You’d think those solo recitals that we had to play each semester for four years would have prepped me for that big moment.  It wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t something I ever want to repeat.

Anyway, I digress.

It’s not about being the best performer.  It’s not about even playing an instrument.  It’s about learning to appreciate and understand music at its core.  Feel the emotions, put yourself into the composer or writers thoughts and mind, feel the raw emotion embedded in the harmony.

After leaving the world of music teaching in 2011 I found myself yearning to get back to playing music again in 2017 and found myself at the door of the Nebraska Wind Symphony.  My first concert with them last Fall felt right.  The music repertoire isn’t near the caliber I had in college, but that’s ok.  It’s not about the challenge anymore.  It’s about feeling the music, having fun and feeling connected to something I deeply love, again.  I have a lot of hobbies under my name, but this is one that I left behind.   It’s nice to see it again.



Our last concert for the 2017-18 concert season is Sunday, April 15th at the Omaha Conservatory of Music.  Our music selection is surrounded by the sounds of spring and will leave you feeling light, happy and ready for sunshine and warmth.


The NWS is comprised of a broad spectrum of individuals.  From recent-ish college grads to retired lawyers, we make up the meaning of “music is universal”.



Hope to see you there!


2018 Motto | Are You Living Yours?

Oh hey there kiddies!  Welcome to March 2018 AND my first post in the New Year!

So, what gives?


Sweet Life.


The last word vomit I left you with surrounded the resolution trap and goal shift mentality.   Let me wrap up my long list of goals I set out for myself into what has become my 2018 motto:


Let Go Of The Bullshit.

Focus On The Real Shit.



Authenticity: Real Life application.

What is considered B.S. is going to differ from person to person.  Only you can decide and only you can act on it.  Each day provides an opportunity where you can learn from yourself and others and grow as a person.  As an INDIVIDUAL.  Evolve your authenticity.  Gut check, friends.   How authentic are you in what you put out to the world?

So, what are some things I have done to shift my mindset and focus on what is real to me?  I’ll give you a little insight and provide a few suggested takeaways, but not all.  Afterall, 2018 goals were to be a little less of a book and a little more of a mystery.  A bestie lives her life like this and I admire her for it.  My previous life REQUIRED me to be an open book.  And it was completely fine for that time.  Now, I think a little differently about what I share and how much.  I still share via social media (mainly my cats cuz I’m all about that #catmomlife) and I will certainly be sharing blog-worthy stuff once summer rolls around (hello… HARLEY LIFE) but shifting my focus of MUST SHARE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE to, will share what feels right to me OR others.   Again, life of authenticity.


Friend Dates.  Each month of 2018 I have set dates (or vice versa) with friends.  In January I had 3 meaningful “dates” with different gals and in February I tallied up 4, whether it was an hour lunch during the week in the Old Market, a weekend brunch, a Jeep road trip or an adventure to a small neighboring town to watch the ever popular duck races, etc.

  1. I haven’t social media plastered all of it… with the exception of the duck race on Snap, because woah.  Y’all need to experience that redneckery.
  2. Instead, we used our time to focus on connecting about the positives in life, the truths of life, the HARD STUFF of life.
  3. One reconnection was merely about listening, reflecting, apologizing, understanding.  It was good for our souls.
  4. Most connections were just friends taking a REAL time-out for each other.  Not just social media shout-outs and tags (which are appropriate too, as long as it’s not the only means of connecting).
  5. I will continue to make these dates as the months continue on.  I truly have a lot of friends who I value for different reasons and want to continue making these meaningful connections.
    • Your Take Away:  Set up some friend dates.  Make it happen.  Even if just an hour of face to face time to reconnect.  Trust me, they will fill your cup up so full. ❤

Avoca, NE Duck Race Beer Tent: AKA the entire town.

Listening Skills

  1. The hubs work is demanding.  I don’t think anyone can truly understand what it means to be a business owner that is high profile and high demand with employees, partners and the like.  Add to that TWO businesses and I have an overworked, tired guy on my hands.  Literally never has a day off at home.  I promise you that.
  2. I am working really hard at listening and understanding but not providing as much commentary unless needed.  Being his outlet to vent.
  3. And Vice Versa… cuz LAWD knows my career (currently) is a wee bit high stress and he listens to it too.
    • Your Take Away: Talk less, listen more.  Truly HEAR what your spouse/Significant other is saying and be careful of what you say in return.  Maybe they aren’t seeking feedback.  Maybe you are a safe place for them to just talk.   So, listen.


  1. It’s challenging.  But, it’s a good challenge as long as I shift my mentality to focus on how the challenge is making me a better leader.   Each day I set small attainable goals to achieve that will assist in keeping my focus on the here and now.
  2. Working on trying to worry less about the stuff/people I can’t control and are life suckers.
  3. Don’t be one of those work-life suckers…
  4. Flowers on desk are a total bonus
    • Your Take Away: Career changing LEADERSHIP advice: 

Before you assume, learn the facts. 

Before you judge, understand why. 

Before you speak, think. 

Before you hurt, feel.   


Selfish PERSONAL changes

  • I decreased the number of fitness classes I teach.  Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE the formats.  I don’t ever NOT want to teach these people I ADORE: 
  • But…
    • I have also found another gym that I love for ME and provides challenges beyond what I have been able to do for myself the last couple of years
    • I feel like a total Effin Bad Ass
    • I need to continue down this path because it has been mind changing, body changing, confidence changing.  And I have met some seriously incredible people that I get to connect with through sweat, tears, smiles, laughs and major milestones.  No one knows the pain exhilaration of a partner workout consisting of battle rope jacks, tire flips, dead-hangs, hollow-holds, etc then your partner who is side by side with you… and probably the one making you hold that damn hollow hold so long because they are still working on their required number of battle rope jacks.  Growing stronger together.  Physically & Mentally.   THAT is my happy place. 🙂
      • Your Take Away:  REMOVE anything from your life that is causing an unnecessary level of stress or nuisance to your CURRENT situation.  FIND something that challenges you and KEEP DOING IT!   Doesn’t have to be a new gym.  It doesn’t have to be a physical challenge.  Make it a mental challenge.  Doesn’t matter.   

GROWTH will never happen if you keep doing the same shiz.


I am going to leave you with that.   Make decisions each day that catapult you to who you are, what you stand for and what you want to be remembered by.   Be YOU, whoever that is.   And live authentically.


And for goodness sakes:

Let Go Of The Bullshit.

Focus On The Real Shit.




A Countdown to 2018

In just a few hours many of us will be ringing in the New Year with the clinks of our cheap champagne glasses, kisses from our loves ones, hugs with our friends and family and new goals on the horizon.

If you have certain things you want to accomplish in 2018, I still stand behind the notion of letting go of the New Years Resolutions and instead focus more on goals and the experiences that go alongside them.  I laid out a few steps towards goal setting back in 2014 that you can read here.

In looking ahead at 2018 I actually find myself focusing less on specific goals and more on the bigger picture.

Focusing more on living a life of purpose and intent.

Being truly PRESENT.

Being more observant in my career.

Being MORE present for my husband and his business.

Allowing more time for myself to learn and grow in the areas that mean something to me, my self-awareness, personal health, well-being and my bigger purpose.

Making more time for meaningful conversations with friends.

Being quiet, listening more, saying less.

Canceling out the unnecessary noise that life wraps us up in and spending more time on the quiet.

Being less of a copy and more on owning my original.


Here’s to a great end to 2017.  I hope you grew, you learned and you loved.

Cheers to 2018!






Healthy Homemade Granola


If you are looking for a healthy alternative to traditional sugary granolas look no further.  This easy to make homemade granola is quick to assemble, uses all natural ingredients and is modifiable.  This recipe was originally seen at Cookie & Kate, I just modified it a bit to fit my needs.




  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups raw nuts (I used raw almonds. Other suggestions might include pecans, pepitas, walnuts)
  • 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup (honey can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries. Other suggestions might include blueberries, cherries, berries)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts, coconut, salt & cinnamon.  Stir to blend
  3. Pour oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well, until every oat and nut is lightly coated.
  4. Pour granola onto large rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer, keeping it loose.
  5. Bake until golden, about 21 to 23 minutes, stirring halfway.
  6. Let the granola cool completely on pan, it will crisp more as it cools.  Stir occasionally if you want loose granola or leave it undisturbed if you want granola clusters.

Enjoy on its own, over Greek yogurt, in milk with fresh fruit.  Possibilities are endless.




The Hobby | Biker Photos


It all started summer 2017 with this girl, this bike and a camera I had received as a gift nearly three years prior.

I didn’t completely know what I was doing, and I certainly still don’t, but I knew I wanted to try and capture a few photos of Liz with her bike.  And what started out as a fun night of unknowns, turned into a hobby worth exploring.

But not for reasons you might think.

I am connected to many influential, intelligent, beautiful, gracious and inspirational women.   Add to the equation a woman who rides her own motorcycle and you end up with a pretty powerful subject.



According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, the number of women riders in America is growing daily.  In fact, in 2015 female motorcycle owners made up 14 percent of the industry.   In 2003, an estimated 9.6 percent of the motorcycle owners in America were women, which shows us an increase of over 50 percent in 10 years.

Nice work, gals!

Women Riders Now provided us with an even larger breakdown:

  • Slightly more than 17 percent of Gen X owners (born from early 1960 to mid-1970s), and 17.6 percent of Gen Y owners (born in the 1980s and 1990s) are women.
  • Among Boomer owners (born between 1946-1964), women make up 9 percent.


We are a highly educated group as well!

  • 47 percent of us have a college or post-graduate degree.



As I said…







Before I knew it, one session turned into another and another, and with those sessions I started to grow in my confidence, abilities and knowledge.   Each shoot I critiqued and analyzed to find something new to take away, whether it was a new technique or studying the settings I had used to get the desired outcome.  I fully invested in studying aperture, ISO and shutter speed and how they intertwine.  The importance of angles and subject placement started to take shape.

The positioning of the sun and the effects it had on the shooting range was an eye opener for me.  Using natural light to enhance the subject while avoiding unappealing shadows or bright, nearly drowned out spots, can be tricky depending on the time of day and location.


I started to work on the concept of depth and subject placement in order to get the end result desired, whether it be a bold, loud full landscape statement, or a naturally blurred or bokeh effect background with the focus on the subject.


I have learned so much, and have so much yet to learn.  I don’t want to be a hobbyist who is a simple “point and shoot” type.   There are plenty of “photographers” out there.  Anyone with a fancy camera can wave their hand in the air.

Am I a professional photographer?  Absolutely not.  Do I want to be?  No.  Am I trying to be?  No.

I am enjoying learning a fun hobby while working toward producing products for people that have a look and feel of minimal effort, but polished and a semi-professional edge.


But, my dear friends… it’s more than that.

Those influential, intelligent, beautiful, gracious and inspirational women I am fortunate enough to know?  I want you to see them too.


And I want them to truly see it in themselves.




I want to help boost confidence in the individuals in front of my lens.

I want them to own and embrace what makes each of them unique.


I want to pull out the happiness and joy these girls exude and put it in print for the rest of the world to experience.


I want these girls to feel pride when they see themselves in print.


I want to help build self-esteem, self-confidence, pride, happiness and joy into each of my subjects

one shot at a time.


And with that,

I think I found my niche.


I look forward to the spring months ahead where I hope to hit the ground running with more opportunities to capture photos of not only my friends with their bikes, but also to the many other strong, powerful women (and men) out there riding their own.

When you are ready, so am I.











ISO versus Apeture vs. Shutter Speed  – oh my.