Happy New Year

Have you adjusted to writing “2019” on checks and forms yet? It always takes me a while to get used to writing a new year. So far, I’m embracing 2019 and have a focused resolution of self-care for the year.

After years of being a mother (daughter/sister/wife/teacher), it is finally truly clicking that I need to take care of myself in order to be the best mother (and person) I can be. I’ve always believed that in theory, but as many beliefs go, it’s more challenging to put into daily practice, especially when schedules are busy, we get sick, school is out…you get the idea.

I’m exercising more, eating healthier (the usuals), and for emotional health, I took a short break from freelancing this fall to recharge my creative juices. I think when you work in a creative field, you feel constant pressure to produce, submit, produce, submit, but in the process of that never-ending cycle, you can lose the passion that makes you good at what you do. Taking intermittent breaks helps me with this.

I did, however, take on a couple (okay, a few) projects– there’s nothing like doing something you love in moderation that reminds you why you chose to do what you do!

First, I wrote about a fantastic non-profit organization here in Minnesota, Hope Rides, which gives children and their families (who may be struggling with significant life challenges– mental illness, divorce, death, to name a few) a chance to visit a farm, spend time with horses, and receive welcoming guidance and connections from the volunteers there. I shone the spotlight on a special Hope Rides volunteer in my article, which appeared in the lovely Neighbors of Chaska Magazine.

 

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full hope rides article for chaska mag

 

I also wrote about a handful of great people and horses in the Morgan industry for The Morgan Horse Magazine. It’s always a pleasure to work with that publication, and it was fun to contribute to their huge Grand Nationals issue.

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Next, I wrote about a friend of mine, Michele Quattrin, who has taken many cherished photos of my family over the years with her own company, mQn Photography. She makes giving back a priority, and I wrote about her pro bono work for an upcoming issue of North Oaks Living Magazine (due out March/April 2019).

In one of her efforts, she partners with Tiny Footprints, where she takes high quality photos of families and their sweet newborns who are in NICU units. In her other effort, she contributes her time and talent to Spectrum Inspired, which pairs professional photographers with families who have children on the Autism spectrum. She’s pretty cool, right?

Last, I took on a fun passion project: two wonderful companies, Mamalode and Hyland’s Homeopathy, asked writers to share meaningful holiday traditions– both big and small– with their readers and followers.

I loved sharing the simple tradition I have with my daughter of making and delivering Christmas cookies. Writing about Motherhood is where freelance writing all began for me, and it feels decadent when it comes full circle and I get to indulge in the topic again.

 

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Read the essay on Mamalode.

 

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No, not everything is from scratch. The perfectly imperfect fun is in making them, spending time together, and giving them to our friends, teachers, and neighbors.

You can read the article here.

As for my private tutoring business, where I help improve the reading and writing skills of local children and teens with dyslexia and other learning disorders, I’m totally booked! This summer, however, I will have some weekday morning availability. If you are interested in getting on my schedule, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Things fill up quickly since I have such limited time due to my own children’s needs.

Happy New Year to all of you. I wish each and every one of my readers all the best for 2019!

~Julia

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Horses, Veterans, & You Do You

One of the highlights of my summer was the chance to spend a weekend at Patricia and Andy Brown’s farm in Stilwell, Kansas. It wasn’t just a friendly visit (though it was indeed friendly). It was an opportunity for me to witness War Horses for Veterans for an article I was writing.

War Horses, founded by combat veteran-turned horse trainer Patrick Benson and horse breeder Andy Brown, is a non-profit organization serving combat veterans from around the country. They use horses as a bridge to help the visiting vets heal, connect, and feel supported.

I was fortunate enough to write about the program and its employees, volunteers, and visiting vets for the The Morgan Horse Magazine, October 2018 issue.

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I am obsessed with the October cover.

Purchase a single issue (October 2018) on the Morgan Horse website to read my article and learn more about this incredible program.

Supporting our veterans is not a partisan issue. Regardless of who you vote for, I believe we should always support those who have put themselves on the line– often leaving their families for many months at a time– all to keep us safe and to fulfill a commitment they bravely made.

On another note…

Next weekend I’ll make my first trip to Oklahoma City to for the championship weekend of the Grand National and World Champion Morgan Horse Show. I can’t wait!!!

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Grand National Arena. Photo courtesy of Grand Nationals.

Stay tuned for the fascinating human (and horse) interest stories that I plan to capture while I’m there.

Finally, be sure to grab your copy of the 4th anthology I’m honored to be a part of: You Do You, an all-female, multi-generational collaboration focused on encouraging and empowering the girls in our lives, edited by New York Times Bestselling author, Jen Mann. Find it on Amazon, iTunes, Nook, and more.

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Yours truly is a contributing writer for “You Do You,” an all-female anthology, published 09/2018.

 

Keep reading, keep growing, keep taking risks!

~Julia

 

Book Release

 

Ta Da!

It’s Release Day for my newest project, an all-female collaborative effort!

The book is called You Do You, and it’s edited and published by New York Times bestselling author Jen Mann of “I Just Want to Pee Alone” and “People I want to Punch in the Throat” fame.

 

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Here’s the big reveal: My essay is called… Be Your Own Damn Rock.

It’s all about taking ownership of our lives and our accomplishments, and standing on our own two feet. It’s a message I want to inspire in my daughter. I will support her in whatever endeavors she chooses, but she can most definitely achieve any of her goals using her own brain, effort, and determination. No one needs to do it for her, and she certainly doesn’t need to give someone else the credit.

So how can you support this effort? You can order a copy on Amazon or iTunes. You can choose it for your next book club pick. You can order some to give as gifts– think friends, sisters, neighbors. In doing so, you’ll be supporting all the wonderful ladies who poured their hearts into this uplifting, girl-powered book.

Order your copy today, from Amazon, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble.

In the meantime, You Do You— I mean it!

~Julia

Summertime Updates

Summer has officially arrived in Minnesota, and from the look of it, people can’t get enough. If anyone earns their summers, it’s us northern folks!

I’ve had a couple of recently published articles and some exciting announcements. Buckle up!

Last spring, I wrote about a Morgan horse breeding family, the Grundens of Grunden Ranch in Nebraska, for one of my favorite publications, The Morgan Horse magazine. I enjoyed learning about ranch life and about the breeding side of the horse industry!

 

Next, I had the opportunity to write about two mother-daughter equestrian duos who ride at Hardwood Creek Farm with me. This article appeared in the June issue of White Bear Lake magazine, a regional lifestyle publication.

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The black and white photo is by Lauren Mueller Photography, based here in Minnesota!

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And now for some exciting news about upcoming assignments!

My nonfiction motherhood-focused essay was accepted to be in the next installment of New York Times Bestselling author Jen Mann’s next anthology. This collection (due out September 2018) of female-written prose and poetry will be called You Do You, and the focus is on empowering our girls and each other. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Finally, one article I am thrilled to work will feature the incredible non-profit organization, War Horses for Veterans. The good people who started this program, Patrick Benson and Andy Brown, work hard every single day to give combat veterans not only an amazing weekend on a Morgan horse ranch, but also to provide these deserving men and women with an ongoing network and lifelong support system as they reintegrate into civilian life. Keep your eyes on a fall issue of The Morgan Horse for that one.

On top of my written work, my tutoring calendar is totally booked. I’m currently working on reading and writing skills with kids ages 9 up to 18! What a joyful challenge!

Thanks to all the readers who offer their continued support for my ongoing, ever-present quest to spread the joy and love of horses, animals, and kids (ha!) to anyone who wants to read about them!

~Julia

 

 

Horse Show Excitement

Spring has finally sprung in Minnesota! When I’m not running around outside with my kids soaking up the newly warm sun, I’ve been promoting the annual F.A.S.H. (Friends of the American Saddle Horse Show), taking place May 10-13th at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Warner Coliseum.

As part of that promotion effort, I had the chance to write about local legend and horsewoman extraordinaire Jean King, and feature her Saddlebreds, Ticket and Fox, in a recent North Oaks Living Magazine. She competed at F.A.S.H for years and still makes daily visits to the barn to visit her sweet “vintage” horses.

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On Saturday evening, May 12th, the fantastic non-profit This Old Horse (which I wrote about for Chronicle of the Horse), owned and operated by Nancy Turner, will be honoring a retired Saddlebred before the competition classes start at F.A.S.H. It’s free and  open to the public!

 

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I’d be remiss to not share a couple recent photos of my little girl taking her first riding lessons. Eventually I’d love to have to ride where I do, but they are down an instructor for the time being, so we found another great horsewoman to introduce my daughter to the wonderful world of horses!

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She loves trotting!

 

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Priceless moments.

 

Thanks for stopping by. If you are local, please stop by F.A.S.H. over Mother’s Day weekend! All the fun takes place at the Warner Coliseum at the fairgrounds. (For more specific information about dates and times, go to FASHHorseShow.com).

~Julia

Writing & Living

 

Hello and welcome!

This fall and winter were very productive for my freelance writing business!

I had the chance to write for one of my favorite horse breed magazines, The Morgan Horse, for their March 2018 trainers issue. The editors were wonderful to work with, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

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I wrote about the Wick Family of Hardwood Creek. That’s Alyssa Wick and Irina Shavlik on the cover.

I’ve also taken on a new pro bono project: writing content for the National Brittany Rescue & Adoption (NBRAN) website. It was one of those rare times when everything came together– there I was, idly surfing the net trying to figure out what type of dog we should [eventually] get, and when I fell in love with the Brittany, I stumbled upon NBRAN. Lo and behold, they needed a writer. Bingo!

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A sweet senior Brittany from the NBRAN site. Check it out!

 

I’ve also been busy helping promote an annual horse show here in Minnesota, called F.A.S.H, short for Friends of the American Saddle Horse. This year, it will take place May 10-13 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Come one, come all! It’s casual. It’s fun. It’s FREE! Find more information about dates/classes/times at www.FASHHorseShow.com.

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Hey, look at me, creating graphics and boosting posts like a real social media expert and all!

I’m also still writing for the local newspapers (when I can), and keeping up with my other blog and passion project, Frantic Mama.

My kids are getting bigger every day, and I’m always doing my best to balance my work life and my personal life. As we all know, there’s no magic formula for that, and no one size fits all approach.

Follow along for more fun on Instagram (where I post much more frequently!). Thanks for stopping by. Don’t hesitate to reach out with content requests for your website, blog, or publication.

~Julia

Inspiring my Daughter

It’s no secret I hope my daughter (now 5!) will join me on some equestrian fun as she gets older.

In this post, I’m sharing a few of my favorite informal horse photos from this summer.

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The Minnesota Horse Expo (May) is always a great chance to get some rides in.
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She preferred the full-sized horses to the ponies at the Expo this year. She’s getting bigger but still looks tiny on a horse!

 

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Running into the stable… that’s what I like to see! (Woodloch Stable in MN).

 

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This is probably my favorite photo. We have a Farm Fest in our neighborhood every fall. The highlight for me is the petting zoo and the pony rides. My daughter couldn’t wait to hop on this sweet pony.

 

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I took her to the F.A.S.H Horse Show at the State Fairgrounds in Minnesota last spring. There’s nothing quite like watching English Pleasure riders prance around on their gorgeous Saddlebreds and Morgans.

 

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Of course, I need my both of my kids to cheer me on when I participate in a horse show. Here I had fun letting them spend time with the handsome Morgan horse Gemini, from Hardwood Creek Farm in Minnesota. 

Thanks for reading! Happy trails!

~Julia