On a recent cold and windy winter day, my sweet, pick-axe wielding, pastoral beauty queen best friend Jayme invited me out to the dairy farm she was farm-sitting.
New baby cows had been born on Christmas Day and oh goodness, they probably wanted to meet me and my whole family! Load up that minivan and let’s go to Southeastern Nebraska!
It really was such a treat to visit the Chisholm Family Farm’s Orchard Hill Creamery. The cows, chickens, micro pot-belly pig, dogs, cats, and feral children all seemed well-treated and happy.
The creamery produces Certified Naturally Grown dairy products. I had my first tastes of raw milk, which DOES taste different than store-bought. Oh and the cheese, those delicious hand-made cheeses I ate! Those cows really must be happy to bring so much joy to my mouth!
Throughout the day at the farm, I was really vibing with my eldest niece, Jules.
When met with new and unfamiliar situations, Jules and I can often be quite similar—feeling apprehensive and frightened of the unknown. Let’s be honest, we all feel like this from time to time, right?
Watching Jules experience discomfort and fear reminded me it’s completely OKAY to feel like that sometimes. And then to see her make new friends, feed cows and pigs, climb hay bails, and sing at the top of her lungs, I realized, she just did what many of us forget to do quite often. She felt her feelings, sat with them, took a breath, and when she was ready, was so very brave!
Here’s a little video of Jules being awesome and making me smile on our trip to the farm!
Have a super idyllic day!
I spent the first 22 years of my life in the Midwest, never thinking twice about the cruel winters and the miserable summers. It’s all we knew—freezing winter mornings scraping the windshield and muggy, sleepless, bug-bitey summer nights.
Now that I live in Los Angeles, I’ve become a bit of a wimp. I’ve been visiting my hometown in Nebraska for weeks and I’m truly struggling to keep my mood up.
It’s not just the temperature, but everything that is made harder because of the climate—car-travel becomes a necessity for those who can afford it, fresh produce isn’t local since there is a limited growing season, spending much time outdoors becomes difficult, and for weeks on end the world is gray.
I am so in awe of my friends and family in Omaha who are making the most of the winter months. It’s bitter here, like don’t-leave-the-house-or-your-skin-will-actually-freeze bitter. Watching my friends remain warm and bright when it’s everything but, I notice some similarities in their wintry practices. So, with inspiration from the great people of Omaha, I’ve compiled my very own list of positivity tips to make your own winter (even if it’s just an emotional winter) a little snugglier.
- Make your home space cozy and comfortable, candle-light and blankets are huge
- Engage in meaningful work when possible, find fulfilling hobbies when work is a drag
- Organize large groups of friends together for funtimes, preferably singing and/or dancing
- Get outdoors and in nature as much as possible, proper layering is a must
Add to that list:
- Have many winter-time photoshoots with your weirdo friends, abandoned barns are a plus!
Mindful American is the name of my travel documentary series highlighting intentional and sustainable living in the United States.
But outside of the actual series, Mindful American is an all-encompassing project for me, a journey—to learn to slow down, become more conscious of my resources, work to build community, and to discover alternatives to my everyday decisions and habits.
Oh, and feel a whole lot more joy! I just want to grab the world with my two hands and wring it out til I squeeze every last drop of joy into my life. But in a totally less violent way than that analogy suggests.
I’m excited to share my journey on this site, so stay tuned for photos, videos, and embroidered pillows showcasing my adventures in mindful living!