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From the beginning

I think the best way to start out is starting from the beginning.  Well, the beginning of when my life completely changed.

It was the year 2005, the worst year of my entire life.  The year I lost my best friend, my cousin, my soul sister, seriously my entire world and the breath around me.  She struggled with Lupus for years but just after turning 18 complications from Lupus took my cousin Andrea, brought her straight to heaven and dissolved all her pain she had dealt with for so long.  I was completely horrified by death, by the idea that He, God, anyone could take her away like that.  I couldn’t even be there to watch her pass.  I couldn’t deal with the hurt.  Now 12 years later I’m still mad at myself for that.  I will never forgive myself for not being there.  I hope she forgives me, I hope she knows why I couldn’t be there, but even if she forgives me I don’t forgive myself.

One year after her passing He decided it was time.  He could sense it in my heart, in my eyes.  He knew I needed her.  I needed her to heal, to move forward, to have a purpose to keep me going.  When I refer to “He”, I mean God and when I refer to “her”, I mean Jade.  I don’t put my healing on her, I don’t expect a child to heal me but she did it any way.

Jade came when my strength was failing me.  My day to day was just that.  It was a day to day.  It was days filled with education, part time work, the future needed a game plan.  I never questioned being here, only questioned what my purpose was.  I knew that if Andrea was here she would have many purposes and that I needed a purpose not only for myself but for her too.  Then came my biggest purpose yet.  I was about to bring a human into this world.  When my strength was failing, I was given the gift of healing via purpose.

Little did I know in that moment, that my life would be forever changed.

 

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Tales of a colicky baby

You give birth, you instantly fall in love with your new precious addition, you bring baby home and stare at her constantly thinking “I created that beautiful human”, you cuddle her as she sleeps peacefully most of the day and then it happens. Colic.

No one can prepare you for a colicky baby. Everyone will offer their suggestions and what worked for them but for some of us nothing works, and by nothing I mean literally NOTHING. You try everything, twice, and then you just pray.

I found myself in the bathroom sobbing, having a pep talk in the mirror while praying, please just let the screaming stop but it doesn’t. You feel helpless. You feel like a failure. What did you do wrong, you ask yourself over and over again.

The doctor tells you babies mostly grow out of the colic by three months and almost always by six months.

My baby started at two weeks and literally just completely grew out of it at seven months.

I’m not going to sugar coat things, when you have a colicky baby the first few months are a chaotic, emotional, blur that you don’t enjoy at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond thankful for my baby and wouldn’t trade her for the world but the first six months were not for the faint heart.

I’m here to tell you, although those months are long and difficult they DO get better and you DO get through it. I’m living proof. My seven month old is now my smiley, giggly, bubbly little BFF.

Coming from someone who tried everything with no success, I’m here to tell you the solution to colic…time. It’s not the answer you want to hear in the thick of it but I wish someone would have told me that right away.

So, to all the mommas dealing with colicky babies right now, just know that although it doesn’t seem like it, it will get better. Breathe, step away for a second when it’s safe, cry when you need to, find mommas to vent to, and tell yourself “this will pass”. The light at the end of the tunnel is a baby smiling so big it melts your heart and gives you happy tears.

The days are long but the years are short.

Breathe, give thanks, repeat.

Fall in Minnesota

Through life lessons I have become someone who appreciates all the little things life has to offer.  I take time for the things that may seem insignificant but in reality they are the most significant.

Fall in Minnesota is one of those things I appreciate immensely.

Colors are beautiful.  Trees are beautiful.  Landscapes are beautiful.  There is something magical about driving through the winding backroads on a crisp Fall day in Minnesota.

I went out yesterday just to explore and get some fresh air and I captured this:

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The is a calmness in the trees.  A beauty beyond words.  Moments like this I  will cherish forever.

When we take time for the little things like appreciating a pretty tree we become better people.

Simple is best.  Appreciating the simple things is best.

Stop to smell the roses, stop to admire the trees.

Regret

This will probably be the hardest post I will ever write.

Everyone deals with death differently.  There is no handbook you are given when you lose or are losing someone you love.  There is no way to prepare yourself completely for that moment, that process.

Thirteen years ago I lost my best friend.  My cousin.  My other half.  From childhood on we had been together nearly every single day.  I can almost say for certain if she were still here we would still be together every single day.

When she got sick I never really thought I would actually lose her.  I thought my life and everyone in it was untouchable and there was no way she was going to be taken from us.  Something would make her better, something would help heal her.  I was wrong.

I hadn’t dealt with death much at all at that point in my life and most certainly I hadn’t dealt with the loss of someone so close to me.  I wasn’t prepared to deal with death.  I wasn’t prepared for the process of losing someone.  I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye.

The day she left I wasn’t there.

I had been there for many of the terrible days.  I had been there on the other end of the phone when she called me terrified about her illness and what might happen.  I was there to see her decline and that is something my heart will never completely heal from.  But I wasn’t there the day I should have been there the most.  I wasn’t there holding her hand as she left us to be with God and that is something I will never forgive myself for, ever.

I wasn’t there because I didn’t know how to be.  I didn’t know how to deal with losing my best friend.  I wasn’t prepared to see her go.  I wasn’t okay with it.  I wasn’t okay with seeing her that way.  I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.  I wasn’t ready to give up.

Letting her go and trusting in God was what needed to happen and I just didn’t know how to be okay with that.

It isn’t okay, it wasn’t okay, it’ll never be okay that I wasn’t there.  I battle with this every single day of my life.  I wasn’t there because it hurt too bad but it hurts so much more now because I can never change the fact that I wasn’t there.  I know she understands, I know she would forgive me but I don’t forgive myself for not being there.

Sometimes we have to face pain, hurt, and heartbreak head on.  Sometimes we have to figure out a way to find strength in the toughest moments.  Sometimes we have to face our biggest fear of not being okay.

I can’t help but feel like I might have more closure if I were there that day.  I said goodbye to her in my own way in my own time but it doesn’t seem to be enough.  I can’t help but feel the regret that I have to live with for the rest of my life because I was scared.

This has taught me the biggest lesson so far in my life, be present, carry strength, and always face the tough things head on.  Don’t ever be too afraid that you might regret not being present in a crucial moment.  When it is time to say goodbye, be there, say goodbye the right way, do not hide from the pain.

My life has been very different since that day.

I am a different person since that day.

I learned life is short, life is precious, life isn’t guaranteed.  Each day we wake up we are blessed with another day.  Another day to make a difference, to do something important, and to be fearless within ourselves.  Each day is a chance to change someone’s life, to make an impact for someone, to face the tough stuff.  Each day do whatever you have to do to make sure you don’t have regrets.

Regrets are heavy.

Be mindful of your daily decisions so you have as little regret as possible when your time here is done.

 

Compassion for others

Things aren’t always what they seem.

•He came home with more than his bag, he came home with PTSD but kept it to himself in fear he will seem weak.

•She just left her third round of chemo, the doctor tells her the odds but she tries to remain hopeful anyway.

•He just lost his son to suicide. He rewinds the days in his head trying to figure out what he should have done differently.

•Her baby born healthy, has suddenly fallen ill. She asks herself what she did wrong.

•She is sitting on the bathroom floor taking her 20th pregnancy test, she prays while she waits. It’s negative again. She cries and asks God why.

•He is being bullied at school. It’s so bad he questions if it’s worth it but he doesn’t say anything.

•He just lost his wife of 60 years. How does he go on? He wanted to go with her.

•She looks in the mirror every morning and can’t stand what she sees. She sees fat, she sees flaws, so everyone else must be judging her too.

•He lost his job today. He is the soul provider for his family. He questions how he will feed his kids.

•She’s homeless, she doesn’t even know where she will sleep tonight.

When you walk by someone, whether they are faking a smile or they seem upset it isn’t our job to judge them, it is our job to be kind humans and treat everyone with kindness. Compassion, empathy, and kindness go a long way. So, before you treat someone badly or dismiss how they might be feeling, consider what they may be going through.

Each picture tells a story

I took this picture without much thought of meaning at the time.

Today I look at the picture and it tells a whole story.

We all have a journey. We are all given a chance to create our journey. We all have our walk through life. Although we are all given a journey, how we choose to use it is different for everyone.

I love that my pictures provide so much depth for me. I’m so thankful that I can look back at every single picture I’ve taken and remember the moment, the history, the story. I’m thankful I have something that does that for me.

Real life vs social media

You sign into Facebook and you have 400 “friends” who can see anything you have to say.

You sign in and you can essentially be anyone you want. You can make your life out to be picture perfect. You can share only the positive things and even talk them up even higher. You can leave out the bad, you can make it look like you have nothing difficult going on in your life, ever.

You may just be the type who doesn’t share on social media. You just pick and choose what you share with the world.

You may over share and regret it later once you feel completely judged and worse than when you posted it.

We often think we know someone because of what they share on social media but do we really know anything about them? Is Facebook even really a looking glass into the real world? Do the two worlds have anything to do with each other?

I’ve made it a point to be real, raw, honest, and genuine both in real life and on social media. I talk about the good but I also talk about the bad. I make myself vulnerable to judgement because I know someone out there can relate and it might make them feel better about their situation.

My life is FAR from perfect but isn’t that what life is? A series of beautiful events mixed with very difficult events? Death, loss, illness, all sadly a part of life. Births, marriages, children, all beautifully a part of life. Struggles? We ALL have them. Successes? We ALL have them.

When you allow yourself to be raw both in real life and on social media it shows that you’re human. That you’re full of feelings, emotions, strength, and flaws. Perfectly imperfect.

You have to remind yourself when someone on Facebook looks to have it all, they don’t. When their life seems perfect, it’s not. When the cards they were dealt are so much better, they’re not. When their grass is greener, it’s not. Facebook is only what people allow you to see and most do not allow themselves to show their vulnerability when they don’t have to. It’s a curtain that can hide anything you want it to, if you want it to.

We are all human. We are real. But sometimes everything isn’t always what it seems and Facebook isn’t real life and real life isn’t Facebook.

Need photography?

Aside from blogging my way of expressing who I am is through my photography.  Both have proven to be very therapeutic for me.

I have been taking pictures for many, many years but didn’t consider it much more than a hobby until a year ago.  A year ago I set out to see where the photography road might take me.  I initially started with sessions because that seemed like the logical path but I quickly realized that my personal sessions with just my camera and I were my favorite.  Days spent exploring and adventuring with my camera proved to be therapeutic, and exactly where I wanted to be.

Today, a year later, I still feel the same way.  I continue to go on personal sessions, frequently.  My personal sessions provide me with photos that I want the world to see.  Although I am still learning everyday about technique I feel like I improve consistently.  My camera is very basic and I have been self made since day one but I would like the world to see what I capture.

With all of that being said, this next year it is my goal to have my work noticed and used by others.  I would like to network with others to collaborate and have my photography used in many different ways.

Are you an author that could potentially be looking for photography for upcoming projects?  Do you need artwork for your website?  Do you have literature that could use beautiful pictures to catch an eye?  The possibilities are endless.  If you have a need for photography I would love to chat about it!

You can see my work at Nicole Farrell Photography on Facebook.  Give my page a “like” to follow new photography and updates.