Confidence Comes From Action

Taking the plunge for the first time can be scary, but you'll never know how fun it is until you try.

Taking the plunge for the first time can be scary, but you’ll never know how fun it is until you try.

The Blogathon is over for this year. I had a great time writing and reading blog posts. My confidence has grown and I want to continue what I’ve started, just not every day of the month. I’m working out a schedule for posts and ideas to share. Stay tuned for updates.

I never thought I would be saying this, but for today’s post, you can find me at Discovering Ranch Life Photography.  

The first time I was asked to guest blog, I freaked out. I thought  “What in the world do I have to share with someone else’s audience.” But I did it anyway.

The next time another person asked me to guest blog, same feelings. What will I write. The funny thing is after I sat down and tapped out a rough draft, ideas became clearer, thoughts began to roll off my fingertips, and the nerves went away.

Confidence comes from Action.

Stop making excuses and take action.

Thanks for reading.

2013 Blogathon Wordle


Over the course of the last month, I have learned several things about blogging:

1) Plan ahead. Many mornings I would sit down at the computer to write a post and I had no idea what my post was going to be about. I spent hours trying to make each post unique and interesting. Sometimes I was successful, other times… not so much. The “theme” days were helpful in filling in the gaps.

2) Read other blogs and make comments. I found several ideas from reading other blogs. Ideas that I could use immediately, and some that I will be able to use down the road. Commenting on the blogs that struck a cord with me helped me to build relationships with people I would never have met outside of blogging. Now, I want to visit new places and learn more about the people who have already explored them.

3) Discipline. I had to make myself accountable for every post. It had to be something of worth, even if just to say, I’m still here. Through the Blogathon, I’ve come to realize just how much time must be committed to writing.

4) Have fun! There is a great reward in reading and writing humorous posts. Everyone needs a smile now and then.

Share what you’ve learned from reading or writing blogs.


Guest Post: Discovering Ranch Life

The best part of the Blogathon has been making new friends from around the world. Today, I have the honor of introducing you to Maria Northcutt, from Discovering Ranch Life.  We have a lot in common it seems. Take a look! Be sure to read all the way to the end for a special look at photos by Maria. Enjoy!

Taking your passion as a hobby photographer to the next level.

htm maria and baby on horse

I have a long love story with horses: a more than 30 year long obsession. I’ve always been amazed by their beauty and intelligence. When I was 6 years old my grandmother gave me my first camera (an old Hasselbladh), and I started taking pictures of them. I find great pleasure in capturing special moments with horses, and between horse and rider.

It took many years of manifesting my dream of a horse before I had the opportunity to have a horse of my own. In the meanwhile my Equine Photography was extremely important to me (I didn’t know the fancy word “equine” back then.) My photos helped me keep my dream alive.

At first they weren’t very good at all. I didn’t show them to anyone except my mom, my sisters and occasionally my grandmother. I never stopped practicing though.

Sometime after college I started to sell a photo every now and then. I didn’t have a fancy camera. The pictures I sold were more about a feeling, moments I experienced. Rarely I managed to capture them, but sometimes it happened. Since I knew it happened sometimes, I continued.

Last year when I was pregnant, living in a new country, isolated (more or less) on a ranch (in The Sierra Nevada‘s), with a husband that worked a lot, I found that I had a lot of time. Lots of time and lots of horses! What to do??  I experimented a lot with iPhone photography. Half way into my pregnancy I’d saved enough money to buy a good camera. After that everything became easy. The difference was huge. I took between 500-1000 pictures every day, (I still take several hundreds every day.) I practiced all day long and got to know my camera, a Nikon D5100.

I took online classes specifically for my camera. I took software and editing classes. I took inspirational classes. I connected with other photographers, both professional and hobby photographer’s. And I practiced, A LOT! I tried different stock photography sites. I started my blog, to share my work and get feedback. I searched the internet for wanted pictures, yes you can do that, magazine’s all around the world often search for specific photo’s.

After Hayley was born I started to call myself a photographer. That was an important mental aspect of it. I’m a photographer!

hw baby and dog in creek

I attended horse events, I advertised a little bit and got some customers. In the beginning my customers mainly were people who’s horses I used to train, before my pregnancy.

I talked to many successful, and struggling photographer’s all along. My conclusion was diversity, I had to get income from different places; my blog, magazine, private photo shoot’s, events and I started an online store. I did a thorough research about online stores, and decided that I didn’t want to pay for my store. My store didn’t have to be my only income. I had time to build it up. My goal was to have a passive income, that slowly would increase. That’s what I have today. Feel free to contact me on my blog if you would like some mentoring on that subject.

trFotor052415446 horse tossing head

I love my life as an Equine Photographer! I get to travel, see amazing new places, enjoy nature, ride horses, meet people and make my own schedule (more or less). Since I’m a pretty decent rider I specialize in something not many photographer’s can do, I take extreme trail photos. That means that I tag along with people and their horses, often on one of their horses, to a beautiful, rugged, wild place, and take cool pictures of them. That’s the part of my job that I undoubtedly enjoy the most! It also makes it possible for me to spend a lot of time with my family, be there for my children and make my husband homemade dinner (almost) every day.

Lately I discovered that a lot of horse people also are interested in portraits of their dogs. Even non-horse people tend to want their beloved doggy family members on their wall, or in a beautiful photo necklace around their neck. That’s a new niche I’m entering right now.

I share my everyday magic with you for free through my photo-blog

On my stores (Equine Photography), and (Dog Photography), you can buy my prints, photo clothing and jewelry at very decent prices. All profit from my Equine Photography in my online store, goes towards our 13 rescue horses. You can buy high quality photo products, AND make the world a little better for abused horses.

The next step is having a private photo shoot for you/your friends/your horse. Canvas, prints, posters, necklaces..there are many ways to show your love! A photo shoot with your horse is only $50 + your choice of products (travel expenses not included.)

Ex. Products: Prints 8*10= $35,

High Quality Photo Poster 30*20 = $50,

High Quality Photo Poster 48*32 = $70,

Photo T-shirt $50,

Silver Necklace with your picture in it (starting at) $50.

rtt2 horse and rider on trail

Do you have a favorite trail, a magical place where you take your horse as often as you get the chance? I do Trail Photo Shoots in any kind of terrain. I’m always open for a challenge!

Are you hosting, or attending an event? I enjoy documenting all horse related events; from rodeos, parades, pony rides, endurance race’s, competitive trail riding, horsemanship clinics, to fun rides with friends.

Do you own a horse business? Breeding Facility? Trail Riding business etc? I’ll help you to show your business from its very best side; on your website, in prints, brochures, banners, profile clothing and on customized business cards.

I travel a lot and I might be in your area, I’ve been in 15 states this month (June 2013). Contact me for details, or to setup a date for your photo shoot!

I’m thankful that I get to do what I love, and at the same time spend so much time with my family. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and I hope I’ll see you again If you’re an aspiring photographer, best of luck to you. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. Maybe we can help each other?

Be well, Maria

I love visiting . Check it out, I think you’ll understand why.

b2Fotor0523112457 horse's left eye

REFRESHING FRIDAY: Great blog posts around the Blogathon

Bridge in Kentucky. Don't remember where, just remember being scared to death.

Bridge in Kentucky. Don’t remember where, just remember being scared to death.

The following posts are a round-up of many great posts around the blogathon. There are so many great posts, that I can’t possibly do the all justice. I hope you will check out WordCount 2013 Blogathon for more.

*Lazy Bones Running Just reading the subheading after clicking on the title is enough to inspire me to get out and run. Putting that one down in my journal to refer back to when I’m trying to talk myself out of running.

*  Two Hands and a Road Map I love this idea, might have to borrow it for July.

*Victoria Musgrave Victoria had the same idea as me, so I’m sharing her post here as well. You can never learn too much about blogging and staying organized.

Thanks for reading everyone.

Two days to go.


Refreshing Friday

I love having the time to read posts from the blogathon and other sources throughout the web,  something I don’t have when I’m teaching, or as in yesterday, watching the grandchildren.

What summer feels like.

 Their ages are 3 and 7, so I don’t expect them to be satisfied watching TV and playing video games for very long. I did manage to get about an hour and a half after lunch to work on a project.

This week I found three posts that were especially refreshing to read:

* The first comes from Barb Freda at Babette Feasts. I’m the first to admit, I am not the most domestic when it comes to cooking. Recently though, I’ve become much more aware of the amount of money I’ve spent on fast food, and how unhealthy my eating habits have become. Now, I have a great starting point for getting the rest of my nutritional needs in balance. Check it out:

* My second find this week comes a new favorite, Just a Backpack and a Rollie. I have a burning desire to visit Portland, Oregon after reading all the posts during this Blogathon, Here’s a fun reason:

* And finally, rounding out this week’s interesting posts, lesson from Ray Bradbury on writing. I aspire to be a published author, so I try to read as much about writing as I do about everything else I’m passionate about. This article gave me some insight on being a better writer:

Going for Gold: The Golden Olympics

[DISCLAIMER: This post was scheduled for JUN 01; however, technical difficulties created a delay in the process. OKAY! I was the technical difficulty. I procrastinated with doing the research, which put me late into the morning before getting started with the writing, and then my granddaughter’s ballet recital was at 1:00. After that there was shopping and eating; before I knew it, it was past my bedtime. So here I am at 6:00 AM on Sunday, trying to get two posts in before noon. I got this!]

My mother, God bless her, made a statement recently that made me catch my breath. She told her friends, “My children are all Senior Citizens, now.”

seniors jogging


WAH? When did that happen?

Once I hit 50, I began to realize I was getting old. Mentally, I felt half my chronological age, but physically, I noticed the changes. I felt the onslaught of hot flashes (I prefer the term “power surge”), my skin began to sag and look dry, no matter how much lotion I slathered on, and my hair was thinning.

I was in denial for a long time. I didn’t bother to change my lifestyle. I kept doing the things I had always done: exercising sporadically, drinking alcohol more than occasionally, and maintaining my constant diet of M&Ms and Diet Coke, fast food, and fatty snacks. I was overweight, but not obese, so I figured when I was ready, I would work off the excess pounds and everything would be fine.

Recently, I made a post about setting goals and holding yourself accountable. I’ve been working toward those goals, but I’ve never had the discipline to actually be a competitive athlete until I began fulfilling one of my goals: to run a 5k in every state in the United States. In the past year, I have competed in two 5K road races, and plan to complete several more before the year’s end. It’s something I started doing with my younger daughter.

I’ve always been athletic, but never competitive. When I ran (more like walked) my first 5k, I had just recovered from a nasty sinus infection and bronchitis. My time for completing the race: an impressive (not) 47:00 minutes. Although I came in ahead of about 100 other competitors in my age group, I was still 300 runners behind first place. I swore I would train for the next.

While searching online for a training program, I ran across this list of rules for training for a 5K over at [source:]  These rules are flexible and doable.

The term “GOLDEN” got me to thinking. Since I am now a “Senior Citizen” (Thanks Mom), I qualify to compete in the Golden Olympics, the Olympic games for senior citizens. So I did some more research. Turns out, the minimum performance standard time for women in my age group is just under 25 minutes. For men, it’s under 20 minutes. I have a lot of work ahead of me. The rules from are a good place to start.

Simple rules for training:

1. Be consistent – I have been consistently inconsistent with my training, now’s the time to fix that.

2. Plan to peak – I have coached youth sports, so I know this to be true. Every athlete reaches a peak performance level, and then will plateau. You want to peak when your performance counts the most.

3. Train with gradual overload – this goes along with being consistent. Start light and work your way up to a slight overload of your physical ability. This will increase your stamina and strength without making you overly sore in the process.

4. Train all year – Enough said.

5. Set attainable goals – I can’t run a 5k in under 25 minutes if I haven’t been able to run one in under 40 minutes. So I need to set goals of trimming off a couple minutes every time I train, until finally, I’ve reached my ideal time.

6. Get basic nutrition right – This one’s been tough for me. I love junk food. But, I love being healthy even more, so I’m a work-in-progress where nutrition is concerned.

7. Take recovery seriously – There’s no shame in resting a day, or reducing the intensity of your workouts. Don’t make yourself sick trying to be healthy.

8. Train your weaknesses, race to your strengths – This one is tough. Basically, you need to train the areas that you need the most help in succeeding. If it’s easy, then you don’t need to train that aspect as often. If something is difficult, you need to spend more time doing it so that you can get better.

Aging doesn’t have to be synonymous with getting old. Sign up to compete in the Golden Olympics, meet new friends, and share your experiences about aging with those who have chosen to stay active in their senior years. 

Take action to become healthy. The sooner you do this, the happier you and your family will be. It’s worth the effort.

You are in control of your health; stop making excuses and take action!



For the month of June, this blog will focus on issues related to active senior citizens. Those who are around the age of 50 years (or better) chronologically, but have no intention of letting that number reflect who we are, or what we want to do when we grow old.

I will join roughly 150 or more other bloggers in an attempt to post every day.

I’m hoping to build a following from these post, a better idea of how to relate to those who share the same interests and aspirations as I do, and I hope to share information that will be beneficial to us all, from current events in the news, to interacting with grandchildren, to pursuing physical activities that keep young at heart. Please check in often to see the progress.