Fall 2019 Updates (hint: dogs, dogs, dogs!)

 

I love fall. It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful of all the seasons due to the incredible red, gold, and orange leaves filling the trees with a bright blue sky backdrop. Add to that the crisp air! The crunch of leaves underfoot! The start of school! Ah, it’s just a great season.

Plus, October is my husband’s birthday month, and our wedding anniversary month. And who doesn’t love Halloween to cap it off?

I’ve been busy getting ensconced with my new reading specialist job two days per week, and using the other days at home to write, take care of the house and pets, and do… all the other things required in life.

Here’s one fun article I had to chance to write recently for North Oaks Living Magazine. It highlights some of our great neighbor and their wonderful pets and nature projects!

 

I was also asked to write a blog post for the Minnesota Chapter of NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association), which my family joined after getting our first versatile dog, Sunny, last spring.

Check out the article, here. The dinner I write about, as well as the other NAVHDA activities I participate in, are an example of how we can open up our comfortable little worlds by trying new things and meeting new people.

Of course, Sunny, our now 8 month old pup, continues to inspire me, so I had to write an article for the Fall 2019 issue of Munster Tales, the seasonal newsletter for Small Munsterlander Club of America members and enthusiasts.

 

 

One other special pup I shone the spotlight on in a recent magazine article is Rosie, a rescue dog who now has a happy and posh life with her four totally pawsome hoomans.

 

 

I have a few other writing projects in the works; I can’t wait to share them with you once they hit the press!

In the meantime, I wish all of my wonderful readers the happiest of falls and happiest of Halloweens!

~Julia

.

 

Art Imitates Life and so on and so forth

If you had told me when I was 25 that I’d be more excited to write an article for a hunting magazine than a fashion one, I would’ve guffawed [as my son would say; he loves that word].

Have you heard the theory about how every ten years or so we can expect our careers to take entirely new directions? For me, it rings true, and I couldn’t have predicted the exact path I would take.

10 years ago, I was teaching high school English full time to students with various learning disabilities. Over time, I’ll just say it– I became good at it. With experience, passion, and dedication comes success, right?

But then I had my son, my very first baby, followed soon after by my daughter, and in the chaos & enormity of new motherhood, I took time off from teaching to be a stay-at-home mother. {and yes, for the record, it is absolutely a full-time job to be home caring for babies and toddlers all day long. It is an unpaid job that stay-at-home parents are expected to be “grateful for” at all times… but you should probably go visit my other site, Frantic Mama, to dig into all that}.

Thankfully, I found time to write in the small pockets of time I could manage.

I had always loved writing, and by starting my blog, Frantic Mama, I found a niche in the parenting/humor world. Blogging was a fantastic outlet during those crazy long days (and nights). I developed my voice, honed my writing skills, learned about social media, and gained a loyal following. Frantic Mama was a gift to myself and hopefully to the many new mothers out there who could relate to the very real, very unglamorous side of parenting I wrote about.

I soon started pushing myself to publish my work outside of my own blog, and that was a great experience too– turns out, there was a demand for moms writing about the real side of parenting. Not the Martha Stewart sh*t!

Slowly, writing became a professional pursuit for me, and it has since turned into a career for me.

Side Note: People often ask “how do you become a writer?” and it’s a huge concept with a somewhat simple answer: You start. You work. You write. You submit. You get rejected and you get accepted. Repeat. Nothing magical happens overnight for 99% of us. So my answer to aspiring writers is always the same, and I have to tell you, so few like my answer because it’s not a shortcut, but here it is: Start a blog. Try not to think about who reads it. Develop your voice. Keep at it. 

Anyhoo… With the addition of my one-on-one tutoring over time (because I missed teaching and I knew I had the skills to help kids learn to read), I found myself working almost whenever I wasn’t taking care of my children.

How, you ask? Many think because my car is in the garage, I’m home doing, well, I don’t know. What do people do?

To have two part-time jobs and virtually zero child care except preschool and now (thankfully) school, I’ve worked 7 days a week. Not 12 hours in a row each day of course, but within almost every single day for the last few years, I’ve found time to write or tutor. Add in childcare, and well, I’m pretty much always working [laugh cry laugh cry].

Life is good that way, though. The harder I work, the richer life is. At least, for me it usually feels that way. I start to feel very unhappy if I’m not inspired to write.

This is what I begin to look like when I haven’t written anything for a few days:

debbie-downer
Yeah, that’d be Debbie Downer.

This year, I’ll be an in-house tutor at a small local school twice a week, so kinda sorta back in the classroom (are careers on a cyclical cycle for some of us?), and of course, a writer through and through the rest of the week, whenever I can have a peek at my trusty laptop. Does that mean fewer/less this or that? Yes! Of course it does. We must actively make room for our goals. Not everything gets 100% of us.

I’ll leave you with what I started with: a piece I wrote about stepping out of my comfort zone right along with my son, and our Sunny Girl pup. Yes, it’s a hunting magazine. And no, I don’t think there’s another place I’d rather see the piece than in this one.

 

September 2019, VHD (Versatile Hunting Dog) Magazine, published by NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association).

Read the whole article, here.

 

How the world turns! What will I be doing in another 10 years? What will you be doing? 

~Julia

Spring 2019 Updates: Passions Galore

No one is quite as passionate about spring as Minnesotans. It hits 40 degrees and the kids are in shorts, people are frantically outside running and biking again, and finally, finally!, it stays light past 5 p.m.

I’m beyond happy things are warming up in my neck of the woods, and I’m also happy to share some exciting publications I’ve had the chance to be a part of recently.

You might notice an unplanned theme in this post and in my recent work: Passion. It’s woven into everything I write, but in the following pieces especially, it really stands out.

In the May 2019 issue of Horse Illustrated, you’ll find an essay I wrote about how pursuing our own passions and interests (for me, one of those is horses), enables us to be happier, better parents in the long run, even if that means we are away for a couple hours a week and (gasp) spending some money on ourselves and our hobbies.

 

FullSizeRender-11

 

 

I also had the chance to interview and write about Michigan horse trainer Katie Mair for The Morgan Horse Magazine. Her passion for her career comes through as soon as you start talking with her. I wanted readers to feel her energy too, and I hope I accomplished that in the article.

 

Local Minnesota photographer, Michele Quattrin of mQn Photography has taken many cherished photos of my family (including the one of my family in the above Horse Illustrated article!) over the years, but she is also passionate about using her talents for good: despite her busy schedule, she somehow finds time to give back to some wonderful non-profits.

I had to chance to share her philanthropic efforts in a recent issue of North Oaks Living Magazine.

 

 

Last, be on the lookout in 1-2 weeks (early April 2019) for my newest anthology collaboration, Will Work for Apples! The book, published by New York Times bestselling author Jen Mann, features a collection of diverse essays about school, education, and teachers. One of my many passions (besides writing and animals!) is teaching and working with all kinds of students, and I’m honored to write about my own teaching philosophy for the book.

Will Work for Apples will be available in paperback and electronic versions from Amazon and other online retailers soon.

I’d love to hear what you are passionate about, what you are doing to carve out time to pursue that passion, and of course, what activities you are excited to enjoy in the warmer, sunnier months ahead.

~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.

wbl magazine 1
The black and white photo is by Lauren Mueller Photography, based here in Minnesota!

wbl magazine 2

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.

IMG_7574

 

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!

 

This Old Horse and FASH

 

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!

IMG_7438
She loves trotting!

 

IMG_7451
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.

march 2018 TMH issue
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!

nbran image
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.

FASH Boost Post
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.

IMG_2203
The Minnesota Horse Expo (May) is always a great chance to get some rides in.
FullSizeRender (27)
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!

 

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

 

FullSizeRender (33) copy
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.

 

E watching FASH
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.

 

getting ready black and white
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