January 3, 2021

Hindsight is 2020

This is the time of year for reflection...reflecting on the good, bad, ups, downs, positives and negatives of the previous 12 months.

2020 was definitely different, but I can’t say it was awful- at least not for our little family. We learned so much about ourselves over this last year, whether it had to do with the craziness of Covid-19 or not. We grew. We evolved. We figured out what and who mattered most in our life and what is worth putting in the work to keep around. Some things we waved goodbye to- alcohol, some friendships, and sadly, my waistline. As we waved goodbye to some things, we made room for others- a solid relationship with God, family-time, mother-daughter trail rides, motivation to work even harder, and a bigger drive to be better people.

I have always had faith and a relationship with God, but being able to share that with my spouse and have a solid relationship with God together is a whole new level of amazing. I found that in my worries, which...more often than not are ludicrous fabrications of tiny, little molehills that I have morphed into mountains...when I prayed or more-so expressed my concerns to God- I stopped feeling the worry I was originally overcome by and started feeling grateful. {Worry is just a lack of have faith...stop worrying about the unknown and be thankful for what is right in front of you.} 

Over this last year, I've been reminded that life is a lot like a horse pasture- it takes work to keep good footing. Without good footing, you're quite literally just stuck in the mud. {I relate every situation to horses- if you didn't know that, you must be new here. Welcome.} We have to tend to our life pasture, adding things to make it better each year. This year, we added a whole lotta Jesus to our footing and spent a little more time in our pasture. (If 2020 has awarded us anything, it is a little extra time at home.) 

For those who struggled during this previous year, 2020 was just a rock in your pasture. A new numbered year won't change the outcome unless you allow for it to happen...tend to your pasture, add to your footing- I promise, it is worth it.

Happy 2021!

December 8, 2020

The Keeper of the Dream: Don Bridge

I heard the news of your passing right before bed...and flashes of memories started playing through my mind like scenes from a movie.

It was Little Miss's first ever audition. We walked into the auditorium and she had all the confidence in the world right up until she saw the stage. She turned green. Don saw us and walked over, coffee in hand- as it often was.

"Which one of you is going to join us in Oliver!?" he grinned.

"I'm a little nervous," Little Miss whispered, with her hand in front of her mouth.

"I get nervous at every audition and I can't even begin to tell you how many I've been to in my old age! Hey...come on, let's do it together!" he said, grabbing her hand and dragging her onto the stage, before she could think twice.

The fear in her eyes melted away instantly. She smiled, they laughed, and she received her first acting role as an orphan in Theatre of Dare's Oliver.

I heard your words in prologue as my heart raced and the tears flowed down my cheeks.

Evening! Well, I see you’ve found your way here too. Don’t blame you at all. I
come out here myself...every evening about this same time…

“This can’t be real,” I thought, as I instinctively opened Facebook messenger.

Frozen, I scrolled through our messages.

“Where you at?” you sent me in the middle of the summer.

“The new world!” I replied.

We spent some hundred evenings under the stars together at Waterside Theatre. Any who have worked in theatre (or like me, are living vicariously through the acting career of their child) know that during a production, you have routines outside the actual blocking of the show. You may have 60 seconds to chat with this person before they go in for Queen’s Garden, then 3 full minutes to catch up with another before Big Battle, etc. Don and I had our routine and on this evening, I wasn’t where I was supposed to be to chat. (If memory serves me, there was a lost bum-roll in the children’s dressing room. There was always a misplaced damn bum-roll.)

Our nightly chats are a memory I will cherish for my lifetime. We often spoke about the spirits that live on in The Lost Colony...the dreams that live on from year to year in the sand.

“I can’t describe it- but…” I said once.

“If you get it, you get it. You feel it. You, Riya, your feel what we feel here- it is a spiritual place,” he stopped, tears filled his eyes, “I have to stop because I’m just a big softie and it is almost time to christen the new baby….hey, what do you think they’ll name it?”

Last winter, we joined Don in Theatre of Dare’s production of Mame. On evenings that I wasn’t at rehearsal, my phone would ding with videos and photos of Little Miss. He was as proud as I was to watch her grow, develop her art, and bring her dream of acting to the stage. One evening, before the show opened, he stopped me in the parking lot.

“You’ve got to slow time down. She’s growing up too fast on us,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye.

Time has gone too fast- and now your Final March has been taken. But the thing with us Colony-folks is...the Final March is never really final. Your dream, our dream, the dream lives on in each person you inspired...each person whose life you touched- your spirit will live on through them.

If there was ever a keeper of the dream, it was you, Don Bridge. The keeper of all dreams...big or small. We love you. You will be remembered.

“And down the centuries that wait ahead, there’ll be some whisper of our names, some mention and devotion to the dream that brought us here." -John Borden

November 27, 2020

The One with the Thanksgiving Chicken

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks- for the family sitting at the table with us, for the family recipes passed down from generation to generation, for the many blessings bestowed upon us from year to year. Inevitably, while sharing the many things we are thankful for (even in the year of a pandemic and murder hornets) the tales of 'remember that one year...' begin and laugher ensues.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories was our first Thanksgiving as a couple- Little Miss was away at her father's and I was excited to really cook my first Thanksgiving dinner on my own. Particularly since I hadn't exactly impressed my sweet hunting, cowboy during our inaugural hunting excursion- I was pretty sure I could redeem myself in the kitchen. I felt like I was a decent cook and I mean, how difficult is turkey, right?!

I made my detailed grocery list- turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, apple crisp, gravy fixings, etc. It was shaping up to be quite a meal and since it was just us, I didn't purchase a large turkey...just a small roaster.

"Roasters? I wonder why it doesn't say turkey...oh well," I didn't give it another thought, placing two birds into my cart. (Together with our list, I was also shopping for my aunt's Thanksgiving gathering.)

I properly seasoned the bird the night before and woke up early on Thanksgiving morning to go hunting. (Ironically, we didn't see anything this go-round either. I was starting to think I was bad luck- or perhaps, it had to do with my inability to whisper.)

We arrived home sans-deer and I got the bird in the oven and prepared our sides. It didn't take long before the whole house smelled ah-ma-zing. The roaster didn't take nearly as long as I anticipated- I noted that I didn't really understand what all the fuss was about with cooking turkey. It certainly didn't take any longer than cooking chicken.

My sweet man didn't say much- I figured he was still thinking about the lack of deer population in eastern North Carolina. 

We sat down to eat and I cut into my roaster.

"This is really...juicy. It's like chicken," I said.

"That's because it is chicken," my sweet, patient man replied.

"'s a roaster! It said it on the....body of the bird!!" I jumped up and began digging through the garbage. I had to prove it was a roaster.

"It says...roaster! It doesn't say...chicken...anywhere on here," I said, while desperately scanning the packaging for the world turkey.

"It's delicious. It's chicken. Thanksgiving chicken," he chuckled.

"So...this is chicken," I said, feeling much like Jessica Simpson in her chicken/tuna moment.

I was baffled.

"Well shit..." I said.

Talk about a party-fowl...#seewhatIdidthere 

Happy Thanksgiving!

October 2, 2020

Wrestling a Unicorn

They say pets resemble their owners...or owners resemble their pets- either way, Tristan and I share a lack of skin pigmentation, a love for overthinking, and if quirkiness + clumsiness were olympic sports...we would certainly win the gold.

I noticed an abnormal amount of itchiness in my big white fella in recent weeks. He tends to think he is a labrador and will snuggle his butt right up against you, turn his head and bobble, as if to say “You scratch the itchy...make it go away, Ma.” But lately, he’s been scratching on literally anything he can get next the point of busting through my chicken pen to release his feathered friends. (One of which is a real cock to deal with…#yourewelcome)

After chasing chickens around in my pajamas for the third morning in a row, I decided it was time to call in the higher-ups. Thankfully our vet does monthly visits to our township & the blessed day was upon us.

“So...he’s super itchy…” I say, as I walk the vet through the barn.

“And...umm...slightly overweight,” she interrupted.

Well, excuse me- that was rude. Covid has been rough on us all. But...I guess he could use a few pounds & maybe it wouldn’t be so easy to bust through the chicken coop. 

“I think he’s just got something in the atmosphere. Give him this skin/allergy supplement and 22 Benadryl per day...11 in the morning, 11 in the evening,” she says, after examining my fluffy, marshmallow pony.

I blink slowly...knowing that dosing my 1500lb giraffe with 11 Benadryl twice daily is going to be quite a shitshow. (And considering the fact that the supplement smells like a fishhouse, he will probably refuse food completely- which...could be good for his diet, perhaps?)

Dinner rolls around and I mix a cocktail of applesauce, ground Benadryl, and the supplement into his food...and wait patiently. He takes two steps into his stall, not even anywhere near his food bucket, sniffs the air...turns his nose completely inside out and runs out of his stall like his ass is on fire.

I follow him. He looks at me like I have been possessed by Satan himself and am trying to poison him.

Do not come near me...not today, Satan-that-looks-like-my-mom. Not today!

For the next two hours, we did the catch me if you can dance. I would pretend I wasn’t hiding a halter under my shirt...he would pretend he was going to let me touch him...and just as I would get close, he would run like I was firing shots at his hooves. For.Two.Hours.

Once detained, the real fun began...I ended up mixing a new concoction of another round of ground Benadryl, the stinky supplement and applesauce- putting it in a large syringe to shove into said giraffe-horse’s mouth so I would be sure he would eat it all. (All because I’m trying to make him feel better….because I’m concerned for his well being.)

As soon as he sees me, he begins spinning circles in his stall- which is not the most roomy of spaces. I follow and/or am being dragged by him, as he spins...all while trying to get my bearings to shove a very large syringe in a very tall horse’s mouth, and get said concoction out of the syringe...all while it’s still in said tall horse’s mouth. (Also, without being trampled to death...small detail.)

Somehow at least half of it made it in his mouth...the other half went in my hair/eyes/down my shirt. He refused to eat his dinner, which all traces of said “yucky” medicine had been removed from. But you know, for good measure...he would sooner starve. #dietingwin

At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ve inhaled enough Benadryl dust to send me into a lovely slumber for many days. Don’t worry, I’m fine...the adrenaline from our small-quarters-rodeo seemed to have evened it all out. 

We are a few weeks in now...Tristan is still a little itchy but less than before and is holding strong on refusing to willingly eat his supplement/Benadryl. (Benadryl is now only as needed...and no, it doesn’t make him sleepy or calm in the slightest.) I am able to proudly dose him almost without a halter...which I will take as a win!

Plus, I think we’ve both lost a few pounds from our double dose of daily workouts.

PC: Little Miss, the future of BBP

(un)Social Media

Social media...the blessing and curse.

How do you use social media? To keep in touch with friends? To promote your business? Or more so, what is the excuse you tell yourself to check your social media multiple times a day?

I tell myself that I keep social media around for my business- and I do enjoy sharing photos I’ve taken and seeing the comments when clients post their favorite portraits online. I tell myself I would miss keeping in touch with out-of-town friends and family...but how much do I actually interact with them? How much of my time is simply wasted mindlessly scrolling through social media news feeds?

I love writing and being able to share my blog with the 6 of you who actually enjoy reading it. (Thanks, Mom!) But in recent months, I sit down to write and catch myself losing all motivation after scrolling through social media...which, let's be honest, will suck the creativity right out of your soul. I might post a funny meme or status here or there, but for the most part...I write things in my mental journal and they never see the light of day. Writing, like horseback riding and shopping for new boots, is therapeutic for me...and perhaps brings a bit of entertainment for others. #maybesometimes

A few weeks ago, we sat down as a family to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. It discussed much of what I just mentioned, and how most of the world is addicted to social media. We don’t realize it...but when we have 30 seconds to spare, or a program is taking 5 seconds longer than normal to load, we jump on social media and scroll through the newsfeed of 300 acquaintances to maybe see one post that may interest us. (Or a really adorable animal video...who can scroll past those!?) However, even though we mostly do not gain sufficient satisfaction in our scrolling, we will continue to check back in only to achieve the same results. (If you’ve ever studied addiction, you’ll recognize this trait. Addicts only achieve the “really good high” once...they spend the rest of their addiction searching for that high which they can never reach.)

So...I’ve decided to redirect my social media activity back to writing. (And yes...I’m writing this to hold myself accountable to writing weekly...instead of wasting time reading things that don’t really achieve positive results.)

Prepare yourselves for an abundance of stories that I think are funny...or noteworthy.