TMG Philosophy: Stronger in Waiting- Part 1

I am impatient. Though I resolve each year of my life to become more patient, I feel like the virtue slips further out of my reach.  With a toddler son now, and an infant daughter, I find myself surprised when my friends and family tell me I am calm and patient with the kids.  Most times, I feel frantic and flustered.  Most times, I feel like screaming while I roll my eyes dramatically when my son decides we need to stack the books AGAIN just as we are leaving the house; or he chooses to throw a level 12 tantrum with five minutes to spare before getting to an important appointment (level 12 requires at least 37 minutes to get through).  Most times, I feel like giving myself a time out in the corner and rocking back and forth.  Truth is, I am impatient, no matter how I SEEM to others.   I loathe waiting, whether it is in a line for food or for my kids, or for photos to upload.  I start twitching.  

It is exciting to think about where The Transmogrifier will go, how many people we can inspire to create and connect with through our photos and blog.  Trouble is, I, along with the other team members, have to wait. Probably longer than ANY of us want to.  I loathe waiting.  Whenever I hear myself drift toward this negative but very real part of me, I remind myself…



Ten years ago, if someone had told me I’d be stronger because of waiting, I’d have shown them the door.  I didn’t have time to listen to psychobabble about being refined through trials and patience.  I had a plan.  My husband and I wanted to start a family, and we were pretty sure it would happen pretty fast, without glitches.  We were so wrong.   One year, then three, then eight years went by.  People tried to support us.  People tried to love us.  I didn’t have time for that though.  I didn’t want to wait around and be comforted. 

My fervent pleading and prayers seemed unanswered.  Or maybe I didn’t wait for an answer.  I began to slow down.  My hope disappeared.   My courage vanished.  My strength dwindled.   I cried harder, pleaded longer, listened more intently, and waited for a “yes”.   But all my waiting got me was another year, another “no”.   I was done waiting.  I gave up. 

And then, one summer, some key people and a series of events changed me forever.    

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TMG Philosophy: Balance

Most people, seemingly, struggle to juggle life’s demands whether they are personal, social, family or work commitments.   We may even be pushing the limits of our daily time allotment to see how much can be accomplished in 24 hours.  Less and less down time is “scheduled” into our lives. 

Personally, turning “off” the go button for me has always taken great effort, and probably will always take extra discipline.  Though I’ve usually been aware of my fight to find balance, it hasn’t been until the last couple years that I’ve worked so hard to achieve that stability.  

Two years ago, I was an office manager who worked too many hours and days, had an amazing husband of 10 years, lived in a lovely home with our puppies, and yearned for a day we would become parents.  I didn’t hate my job, but I wasn’t happy.  My husband and I filled our calendar squares with working, camping trips, hikes, fishing and hunting trips, dinners with friends and family, movie dates, dinner dates, and alone time.  

Then came Nathaniel who will be 2 years old on Wednesday.  Then came a major work change from office manager to working from home doing something I get pleasure from every day at The Transmogrifier.  Then came Lyla, 7 months old.   So now, here I am, given an incredible gifts of my babies, being at home with them, and the opportunity to work with other creative people.  I get to do artistic and original work every day whether it is writing or photography and all that comes with it. 

Never before have I felt I’m where I should be.  Never before have I felt such happiness in all areas of my life.  Never before have I struggled so much to find balance.  Our calendar squares and the hours each square encompasses are filled with baby memories, field adventures, taking pictures, writing, picking, laughing, teaching our kids and learning from them.   Now the work that fills my squares brings me such pleasure I have to compel myself to stop.  Or, when I’m not doing it, I find myself pulling away from other things to focus on work. 

It occurred to me the other day that my work and family life/free time are no longer neatly compartmentalized, but are seamlessly becoming jumbled up together.  Our family vacations, field adventures, and road trips are full of image photography opportunities, blog entry inspirations and family memories.  To a multi-tasker like me, that seems pretty darn cool!  I get to check multiple things off my list with one event!  Win win win!  Or is it? 

That depends on me.  A few weeks ago on a field adventure with our babies and my husband, Chad, I realized with no small amount of horror that I was losing my balance.  Or maybe I had lost my balance.  We were out taking pictures, stopping at the San Francisco Zoo and the Japanese Tea Gardens.   Throughout the day, Nate kept tugging on me, beckoning me.  I can still hear his eager voice, “Momma!  Momma!  Momma!  Mom! Mommy!”.   Each time, I told him to wait.  Each time, I barely acknowledged him because I didn’t want to miss my shot.  I had work to do.  I couldn’t be bothered with the love and exuberance of my son.  

It wasn’t until I was lying in bed that night that I realized I hadn’t ever stopped to discover what Nate was so excited to show me.  Epic fail.  I then began wondering how many other times I had done this to him.  How many times had I dismissed him or my husband?  I was most certainly out of balance.  With renewed vigor and effort, I have begun the battle to regain some balance. 

Having a balanced life is different for each person as we all have different components that make up our wheels of life.   But I do really believe it is realistic to get to a balanced place, even if the glitches come.  The glitches will come.  It comes down to with what and how we choose to fill our calendar squares. There is that word again: choices.  We choose, for the most part, what and how much of what comes first in our lives.  Quality and quantity.  Obviously this fluctuates on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.  But we have a large say in how busy we are…and being busy all the time doesn’t mean we are more productive or more fulfilled, necessarily.  It might just mean we are busier.  And that might mean we are missing moments and opportunities, like I did with my son. 

RSWL: National Parks

Okay, the past few RSWL entries have admittedly been related to my recent road trip…and this one is no different!  I still have some residual fuel from that adventure!  If you read Nate’s Notes, you may remember we stopped at a few National Parks, National Monuments, and National Historic Sites on our journey to and from Minnesota.  We LOVE, not just like, National Parks.

It’s August! You may wonder what August has to do with National Parks.  Well, it just so happens the National Park Service turns 97 on August 25th!  Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their National Parks.  That’s 97 years of protecting land, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close-to-home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.  Together with volunteers and park partners, the National Park Service safeguards more than 400 places to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. 

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Since we here at The Transmogrifier are kind of number obsessed (i.e. how many photos can we take, how many photos can we upload in a day, how many brick textures can we amass…), I thought I’d break down the National Park Service by some numbers.

11,700,000,000 visitors
121,603,193 objects in museum collections
97,417,260 volunteer hours
84,000,000 acres of land
4,502,644 acres of oceans, lakes, reservoirs
2,482,104 volunteers
85,049 miles of perennial rivers and streams
68,561 archeological sites
43,162 miles of shoreline
27,000 historic structures
2,461 national historic landmarks
582 national natural landmarks
400 endangered species
401 national parks
49 national heritage areas
1 mission: The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

Preserving history, protecting nature, and creating opportunities for people of all ages to learn isn’t just some “Random Stuff We Like”.  It’s something we are extremely passionate about.   It’s something we support on every level.  Seriously.  That’s why our team decided to offer our images for free to National Parks, as well as State Parks, Non-Profit Museums and any other Non-Profit Organization whose purpose is to educate people about history or nature and preserve it.  That’s how much we believe in supporting these organizations. Seriously.

Have you checked out our Gallery of National Park images?  We have 16 of the 401 represented so far.   Never fear, we aren’t even close to done visiting, photographing and uploading our Nation’s parks and landmarks.  

So, bet you can’t guess where I’ll be with my family on August 25th!  Any guesses?  I’ll give you a hint:  It starts with “National” and ends in “Park”…and sounds like “Yosemite”.  **Big Smile** 


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