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GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED:  Make sure to see the bottom of this post for the awesome gift bag of Heather’s favorite things and a Kelly Moore bag.  Just ask Heather a question in the comments and you’ll automatically be entered to win. Heather will be responding to comments or tell her one thing that you’re inspired by that she shared today!  
GIVEAWAY WINNER:  Commenter #66 Tracy Smith

meet heather

I would like to introduce you to my dear friend Heather Land. AKA: #thedirtyhippie

Heather is probably one of the coolest people I know. She’s a retired runway model, she home schools, she CrossFits, she has impeccable style, she raises chickens and rabbits and horses, oh, and she got a full arm sleeve tattoo at 36. She just cool.

Heather is one of those people that needs to be famous, but she does all these things for herself, not for social media, so she remains this well-kept secret.

Heather and I have been friends for years, but in the past year we have become even closer since I moved to her town. She’s a kindred soul when it comes to talking about food, cocktails, the world, how to raise kids, farming, and about 1000 other conversations that we start, but never quite seem to finish.

All this to say, I wanted to give Heather a little spotlight on my blog so that she can share a little of her life with us. She is one of the most thoughtful, interesting, intentional people that I know and she inspires me to be a better person.

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you have a wonderfully interesting history that I think is so fascinating.

Through all of that, what are three things you’ve learned that you want your daughters to know?

Ha! 3 things. I could fill a book with “three things”. …

 1.  Take the time to consider others. Nurture a need to know someone’s history and harvest a new perspective for them. Do not judge. Treat others how you want to be treated. (my kids would roll their eyes, I say this so much.)

2.  Do not be starstruck. We are all just people. If you are to be in awe of someone, let it be because they have done something awe-inspiring, not because they have x-amount of followers.
3.  Never say never. Don’t be afraid to go after something big and scary. This life is a privilege and you have been given the right to make of it what you will. Every experience is a good one if you take something from it.

3 1/2.  Stay hungry for learning. Listen with great respect to the words of others, but be mindful that you are responsible for the decisions you make. Better decisions come from those who feed off knowledge.

3 3/4. Here, I would love to say “Have no regrets” but that would not be real life, only a forced version of it. Instead, show yourself grace. allow yourself to feel regret, but take only what you need from it to grow and get rid of it.

4. hehehehe… Learn to be alone and love it. This is a great strength for the human spirit. Embrace who you are.

“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind. Let it be something good.” – unknown

Tip for you:  Try talking with your kids about one of these things each day this coming week

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your Instagram feed is beautiful, not just for your images but because of the way you pay attention.

What do you do to stay so present and intentional everyday?

Its funny. I look at other Instagrams and think how beautifully people photograph – how well their feeds flow – every picture somehow matching the one before it. Sometimes, if I get caught up in some new feed, I leave it feeling less-than as a “photographer”.

But it never fails, I go back to my own feed and look back through the last few years – it really never gets old – and I fall in love all over again. Not for the seamless flow (that doesn’t exist) or the breathtaking… well, anything.

Unless you are me. For me, it is breathtaking. (Nearly) every picture is a still shot of something – some moment, some time – I want to remember forever; I pray to never forget.

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My attention? It comes quite natural. It is an innate quality I have possessed my entire life – this awareness. I have, however, learned how to choose what to give it to and what to “sift” out. I love getting older if for nothing more than relaxing into who I am and appreciating how my mind runs – and runs, and runs.

I am what some books call a “highly sensitive” … I am not “quick” with words or reactions. I need time to take it all in and ponder. I am the one who always feels like “what I shoulda, coulda, woulda said was….” But I guarantee I pick up on moods, feelings, surroundings with great detail.

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It is both a weakness and a strength. It is this awareness that creates the atmosphere in which we do life – it is a playlist if you will. There is most always music playing in our house that suits the mood (my favorite Pandora stations – yoga, acoustic guitar, Elizabeth Mitchell, Ella Fitz & Louis Armstrong or Amos Lee) – at just the right volume, of course.

And depending on the weather, a fire crackling or the big doors are up. Our home is our creation and I am overwhelmed by the privilege of “running” it day to day. It makes us FEEL. And I always feel like “Is this real life????” Which leads me to the next word…

Aaaaah, INTENTIONAL It is the MOST IMPORTANT WORD in the parental dictionary for me. It is how I describe being a parent, homeschooling, living. It must all be done very intentionally. It is easy to judge someone with a grass-is- greener mentality, but the deal is, we are most intentional in the way we do life…

I am absolutely still learning – …everything. My life has taught me how to be present. The people I was raised around, that I have met, that I do life with, they have all made me WANT to be present. It should be a great fear of any human being to not feel an urge to be present in the fleeting moments of life – the good and the bad. (My very own words to live by!)

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It wasn’t until last year, when the girls and I started reading Wonder. I bought the set that came with Mr Browne’s Precepts. I had never heard that word, “precepts”, before, but quickly realized that this book would forever be one of my favorites. For years, I have surrounded myself with precepts – little snippets of life lessons. They remind me to stay alive, present & intentional.

In my humble opinion, some of the most important things you might learn – so simple yet so rich.

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I have been an old soul my whole life. I would prefer to write a letter and say something big with pen and paper. I love to tell people how much they mean to me every chance I get. I was a dirty hippie loooooong before it might have been cool to say so.

And to be honest, I am only living at about 50%. For me, a great balance. Any more and I might just have a reality show like the men who live in the forest like gnomes.

I whole-heartedly believe there are some really wonderful ways to live that are well worth preserving, regardless of how the majority lives.

“To create a beautiful life for ourselves and those we love may require a conscious effort, greater than we have yet made, to a build a framework of order within which love and creativity can flourish, and without which we cannot thrive.” – Stephen Bertman

Tip for you:  When you feel like you’re getting caught up in what other people are doing, social media, or comparing yourself to others, go to your own Instagram feed and see how blessed you are, be grateful for every moment, ever little thing you have in your life.  And then turn off your phone and go be with the people you love.

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you homeschool, what is it that made you choose homeschooling?

What do you see as the biggest reward and the biggest challenge?

For me, Homeschooling was a seed that dropped from the sky. Out of nowhere (that I remember) I was planning for it long before the girls were here. Though, now I look back over my life and see that it was almost inevitable really.

One of my favorite things growing up was to play school/teacher ALL DAY. Literally. Teacher’s Supply was like a wonderland. Yet, it was not until after I gave up modeling that I considered going to school to be a PreK/Kinder Teacher. Life derailed and I went with it. #gowiththeflow I never finished.

There are so many reasons. Again, this one could be a book, really. In all honesty, there is no simple way to sum it up. It is what I saw for our family.

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It is a lifestyle that goes along with who we are as a family and who we hope to see our girls become as humans – for themselves and for the world. We do not want to shelter our girls from anything, instead we hope to be the ones who walk beside them through life, answering questions, offering guidance, and most of all, observing them every step of the way.

I know them as individuals – their strengths, weaknesses – which for kids, I can say with certainty, changes like the wind. Why NOT homeschool if I was given the opportunity for that – the most important job I could ever have; yet, the most rewarding. I consider it a privilege.

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Disclaimer please: One of my greatest fears is insulting someone for them taking my passion out of context and “hearing” that it is the only way you should parent. NOPE. My passion is MY passion.

It became my goal and I began literally working my way out of the job world and into stay-at-home, just as our first was born. My husband was 100% supportive but not 100% convinced all those years ago. He is not ashamed to say so. But he will quickly tell you how onboard he is now. Our girls are pretty amazing.

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Biggest reward? Hands down, waking up and relaxing into their faces for the day. No crazy hustle and bustle. I cherish it. Every. Day.

My greatest fear is someone taking that away from us. I relish in waking up to them coming in for an extra snooze, or snuggle, or waking up to them snugged in a chair, reading. We do life in pjs. Messy hair, bare feet.

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Biggest challenge? Hands down, questioning myself. The world can’t help but seep into my mind. “Am I doing enough?” This is also my biggest challenge as a mother, in general. (remember? over-aware, present, intentional).

I simply go back through our intent. As a homeschooling mom it is very easy to feel pressure to uphold some expectations greater than parents who send their kids to school. I have learned to bend and sway. I remind myself that we get to chose how we do life.

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What do they need as individuals? Learning should not be looked upon like punishment. My goal is for the girls to WANT TO LEARN INDEFINITELY. I want them to keep digging and growing and changing and playing for the rest of their lives. People always ask if I think I will homeschool them forever. My answer is always this. “As long as they are thriving and I am sane. Yes.”

“I always thought anyone can make money. Making a life worth living, thats the real test.” -Robert Fulghum

Tip for you:  If you’ve been trying to decide if you want to homeschool…ask yourself if you’ll regret NOT homeschooling.  Let that answer be your guide.

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what are some of the ways you honor each of your children’s personalities?

Both as a parent and when you’re photographing them?

One on one time. It is amazing how different they are one on one – when they are not vying for your attention and they can actually speak their thoughts freely without interruption. It never fails that I learn something about them I hadn’t seen before.
Avoid taking sides. See people from every angle.

The girls have never been trained to take pictures. I gave up on that with over achieving (ha!). They were both BIRTHED WITH A CAMERA POINTED AT THEM, yet that has never mattered.

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Funny thing is, I have never felt myself in front of the camera either. oh, the irony. Too aware. I am naturally better in real life – in person. And I prefer REAL LIFE pictures over staged or posed any and every day of the year.

We have had a few “family sessions” when they were young and I was dumb. And we have some great photos. But my memories from those photos are not fond, they seem artificial even; I was stressed because my kids wanted no part in them.

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Our life is both still and in full motion, pictures should be too. My kids aren’t dressed to the the nines – ever, really. That’s not who they are. I trust them to choose what makes them feel good, even if it makes me cringe at first.

Another funny thing… My own mom used to always say “Don’t look at the camera. Just be natural.” ha! So. True. Lola. I would be lying if I said that there weren’t a few direct eye contact shots that melt me – of each of the girls. But to be perfectly honest, I avoid “look here, say cheese” like the plague.

And its kind of crazy HOW MUCH you hear it when you don’t say it! I am ok that I don’t see their faces. Again, its the moments – real life and RAW – that I love the most.

* For years I have brainstormed my own ideal in terms of a session to offer. And ideally, it would be to spend a day with a family – real life – waking up until lights were out with all the perfectly imperfect in-between.

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For me, there has to be story for the photo to be worth taking. It is something to remember. So, as you can imagine, a posed session is much more work for me. I have to then create a story.

One of my most favorite shots of my girls… speaks volumes. I have even posted that as a photographer, I sometimes get so frustrated, but then the more I stare at it, the more it makes me realize they are real and I find appreciation for it.

Tip for you: Listen more as a parent and when you’re photographing

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 at one time you had a successful photography business.

What led you away from it? Many moms struggle to know whether to stay with a business they started or to leave it for a season and come back to it later. What factored into your decision? What advice do you have for women who are trying to make a similar difficult decision?

Photography was another life derail, go-with-the- flow kind of thing. It was a season of life that afforded me crazy-good time “work” with my best friend – the other Sue. Again, why wouldn’t I?!

For that season, we fed off of each others creative spirits, saw great potential for a lucrative business that moved with each of our tides. We could work together (which was really all we would’ve liked to have done – like playing with your BFF all day every day) or do our own things respectively.

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We tried hard to stay ahead of the game – constantly evolving and trying to avoid trend and instead create trends. it is one thing to do something because you know you can make money and quite another thing to do something because you know it is something special. And easy money is hard to pass up.

I am more true to my style of shooting now than I have ever been. I do not apologize for it, nor do I try to morph it. This is how I shoot. This is what my eye sees. This is what strikes a chord. Take it or leave it.

There was never really a finite. We had let the website go long before we actually gave it up – shutting down the site. In less than 10 years, we saw a huge shift in that peoples needs for pictures became driven by the demand of social media. They want now.

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They want files, not prints. Instant posts. Word of mouth was all we ever needed for clients; social media showed people what we had to offer. Our lives took precedence over “the business” – and with growing kiddos and active lives, we chose to let it organically de-compose, if you will.

We each still shoot when we want and when we can. We have clients we have photographed from senior to bride to mother over the years. And families who have gone from first child to fourth child. They call us to document their lives. I consider it yet another privilege.

Once a photographer, always a photographer. I never allowed myself to consider it an income; instead, a bonus. This way, the pressure to maintain was never present. I was always “a stay-at-home mom who happens to be a photographer.” As for Sue & Sue – BFFLs.

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Advice? If photography is a passion, it will always be a difficult decision. We naturally crave it. It is a love-hate animal inside of us. There is so much potential to create an income that allows you to be home – present and intentional – or like me, something to look forward to as my own way of giving back.

If you have the luxury of choosing, follow your heart. Assess what you want and what you need. My cravings are now fed by my everyday – I shoot my life. My bonus is filled by taking jobs as I see fit. Even only one session each month could afford myself a few luxuries – like lounge pants without holes from the horses’ barbwire fence.

Tis’ my current season though and I am all about needs, not wants. I need more time – always. I am not often willing to part with it for the sake of $ that I don’t NEED. But I always know that if life derailed, I would have my camera.

“The most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” – unknown

Tip for you: If you’re trying to decide whether to leave your job/business behind, if you don’t need your photography business income, follow your heart.  And even if you do need the income, maybe rethink that if you’d be happier having the time and not the money.

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you have a lot that you juggle everyday with homeschooling, farming, parenting, and more.

What are your tips for keeping things simple when there’s so much to do?

Priorities. Mine are quite different from most of the free world nowadays. I guard our time as a family with great pride. The girls choose one thing at a time to pursue – save for the exception I made for my 8 year old to also play a 6 week season of basketball for the first time.

Speaking of knowing your kids as individuals… She was really feeling like she wanted to be a part of team. This one loooooooves kids. She loves to meet new people and would just assume play with someone all day, every day. Those 6 weeks filled her up. Otherwise, it would be easy to feed the machine and buzz around from one place to the next – everyone annoyed, tired and way over stimulated by the demands of someone else’s schedule.

We don’t commit. And I don’t apologize (for it) anymore. I choose wisely. I know when we need time apart, time for ourselves, time as a couple, one on one, etc. – I look for it.

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We eat our meals together – REAL FACE TO FACE TIME – free of media, phones, etc. Even at restaurants where patience is tried, we make it priority to have conversation or even giggle with some MAD LIBS.

Recently, our youngest came into the kitchen where we were eating (because it was later and she was singing in the shower to her animals forever) and was in tears that we had eaten without her because “Momma! That’s where all the best conversations happen…” job. done. Thank you.

We welcome, host and adore visitors here at the farm whenever we have the chance. But we cherish our own time alone as a family.

I constantly start over. If there is disconnect, I analyze what it is we could stop doing and instead, start doing. Pick up a book – read a funny poem. Or take walk and breathe. Make a Mess! It takes a mere 5 minutes to change the mood in the house.

Some days are just overwhelming and I have to steal what I can.

Tip for you: Ask yourself what you can say no to and say no to it right now.

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how do you get through a difficult day?

I take a deep breath (or a hundred) – slow and steady. I grab a kid or both and I hold them, smell them, and love them with my eyes closed. My heart is full.

And usually, every afternoon I take an hour to myself and CROSSFIT. Taking care of me takes care of everyone else too. Me-time is a MUST. I fought against “needing” it for the first few years and realized it is what keeps relationships healthy.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – unknown

Tip for you: Find a way to have a little time for yourself everyday, whether it’s closing your bedroom door and reading while everyone stays in nap time or quiet time, taking a walk, giving a best friend a call, or listening to your favorite music…give yourself breaks you love often.  It doesn’t have to be a full hour to start off with.  Plan 5 minutes and then keep building up your time over time.

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what’s your favorite part about being a mom?

Suddenly everything in my lifetime makes sense. Everything I have done. Everything I have learned has prepared me to walk next to them when they need me to, watch them from afar and see how far they go alone and even let them lead me. They have such great perspective to appreciate.

I feel with greater purpose and a deep sense of worth, like it was what I was created to be. (But make no mistake, I am still learning how to walk and talk – not sure if I will ever drive with the cruise control)

“What else changes person but the living of a story? And what is a story but the wanting for something different and the willingness to work for it? – Donald Miller

Tip for you: Think about why you love being a mom.  Keep it in your heart and mind and concentrate on that and keep coming back to it when mom days are hard (because we all know that there are some tough mom days).

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what kelly moore bag is your go-to bag? why?

There is no one answer for me.

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Aaaaah, the TwoSues and not for obvious reasons – it really is just that well thought out. Wait until you see the new version!!!!!

 

 

 

 

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My camera is about to take up permanent residence in the Luna!! Mainly because it will house it comfortably and will look great sitting on my countertop day in and day out.

 

 

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I never go anywhere without my Kelly Moore wallet.  It’s simple and it serves its purpose well.

 

 

 

REMEMBER!

Enter the giveaway for this awesome gift bag of Heather’s favorite items + a brand new Kelly Moore Bag from the beautiful, new Classic Collection!  To enter, ask Heather a question in the comments or tell her one thing that you’re inspired by that she shared.

 

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1.  “100 Gathered Thoughts for My Dear Friend” – Paper Tablet by Sugarboo Designs

2.  The Best of Mad Libs

3.  “365 Days of Wonder – Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts” by R.J. Palacio

4.  “Mess – The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes” by Kerri Smith

5. Bare Minerals HOT MAMA kit – eye brightener, all over glow color, mascara, lip gloss

6. “What are you glad about? What are you mad about?” Poems by Judith Viorst