Uprooted Magnolia

“Mama Didn’t Raise No Quitter”

Posted in Home, Love, Photography by leahyetter on March 25, 2011

This week marks the one year anniversary of starting my new life here in big sky country. What can I say, I met a cowboy, fell in love with him and the land, and decided that my heart needed a change from the recent sadness I was experiencing in my hometown. Losing my mother to cancer 5 years ago left me with a crushed heart and a great deal of sadness. Life was gray and smiles were hard to come by. My photography lacked spunk and creativity as we just went through the motions together. Two years ago this summer, I came out here for an assignment with a great friend and writer, Jessica W. She was way more cowgirl than me and this type of assignment was right up her ally. Me, not so much. I had no clue what being a cowgirl was all about. But when I stepped out onto the dirt drive of the spacious ranch, the crisp, dry air carried the aroma of sage and manure straight to my head and ignited my senses. A smile appeared on my face for the first time in almost 3 years. The wide open spaces filled my eyes and immediately my camera and I became one again. When I met eyes with the ranch manager, I felt my heart actually skip a beat. Something inside me was brewing.

Jessica and I spent only a few days here documenting life on this working cattle ranch. Herding and branding cattle, cooking meals over an open fire pit, riding horseback and my favorite- a four wheeler ride through the Laramie Plains with Patrick. We woke up to ravishing sunrises and relaxed at the end of the day with the calming beauty of the sun setting over the mountains. I didn’t want to leave. And when I was finally home, I wanted to go back. So a month later I did. And then the next month, and the next. I was fortunate enough to sell my home quickly in the historic district of beautiful downtown Macon, Georgia, and on my 32nd birthday, packed it all up and started my journey across the country. My dad, Matilda and I squeezed into the over loaded 2 door civic and drove 3 days to my new home. I had no doubt that this was what I wanted to do. And I could not have pulled this off without the loving support of family and friends. Not to mention the support ofย  the fabulous clients that became friends in my 6 years of being a freelance photographer for Macon and surrounding counties and cities.

Before mom passed away, she told me that if a great opportunity comes up, different than the relationship that I had in my life at that time, don’t pass it up. Grab hold and don’t look back. Embrace change. Embrace life. And don’t ever quit what makes you happy. Time here is too short to wonder “what if”. Even though she isn’t physically here, her words have guided me to where I am now and I know she would be proud.

PS: Patrick is to thank for the title of this blog entry. It’s just one of the many cowboy sayings I’ve learned while out here. This one was a favorite among my girlfriends that sat through the recap of our first adventure in the wild west. It seemed like a fitting title for this entry.


Life was gray and smiles were hard to come by.

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33 Responses

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  1. Nancy said, on March 25, 2011 at 11:09 am

    So happy for you and Patrick, Leah! You deserve all the happiness in the world. (On a side note – a year? already?) Went to Sushi Zen last night and thought of you. Hugs, sweet girl.

    Like

  2. T. said, on March 25, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Congrats on your Anni! What a wonderful story.

    Even though it is hard for me as a Mom to have my kids so far away from me, I gave them the same advice as your Mom too!

    I am so glad you were brave enough to follow your heart and passion and that you have such wonderful people around you.

    You are an inspiration, this truly took courage. More power to you ๐Ÿ™‚ T.

    Like

  3. pinkunderbelly said, on March 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I too lost my mom to cancer 5 years ago, and I totally understand the greyness & l’m so glad you’ve found some joy. I’m also glad I found your blog; your photography is amazing.

    Like

    • leahyetter said, on March 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      Thank you for the compliment. I’m always glad to hear from you. I’m sorry about your loss as well. Finding strength in such sadness is very empowering and a great result of healing, so I’ve discovered.
      All the best!

      Like

  4. Nate said, on March 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Great photograph! I love the strength of the light coming through the trees. Sorry about your loss.
    Thanks for sharing the image,
    – Nate

    Like

    • leahyetter said, on March 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      Thanks so much Nate! Glad you like the pic. It was just another beautiful sunset through the trees in the hay meadows. I love laying on the ground and soaking it all in.

      Like

  5. bagnidilucca said, on March 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I’m pleased your new life is working out for you.

    Like

    • leahyetter said, on March 26, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks for reading. I hope to visit your part of the world one of these days. I will certainly be in touch when I do. ๐Ÿ™‚ All the best!

      Like

  6. wherewander said, on March 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    your mother was a wise woman.
    I loved to know this story, whatยดs behind the beautiful images that I enjoy on daily basis.

    Like

    • leahyetter said, on March 26, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      Thank you Ellen! I thought I should give more background to my loyal readers who weren’t completely aware of how I got here. So glad you are one of my regulars. It’s always so nice to hear from you. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  7. Katie said, on March 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    It must be something about men named Patrick! My hubby is a Patrick also – and it wasn’t just the change of scenery that made me move to be with him (from Colorado to Omaha – so just the opposite of you!) – but as you say – it was the change in my heart! I’m happy for you – and your photographs definitely show that happiness!

    Like

  8. […] This week marks the one year anniversary of starting my new life here in big sky country. What can I say, I met a cowboy, fell in love with him and the land, and decided that my heart needed a change from the recent sadness I was experiencing in my hometown. Losing my mother to cancer 5 years ago left me with a crushed heart and a great deal of sadness. Life was gray and smiles were hard to come by. My photography lacked spunk and creativity as w … Read More […]

    Like

  9. Heather Braun said, on March 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Leah – This is the first time I’m reading about your great romantic adventure, and what a thrilling ride it’s been! I could not be happier for you – finding your love and the nameless thing that ignites everything when you’re doing what you love. We miss you here in Macon, but I know everyone agrees this could not have happened to a better person. Please keep blogging and posting gorgeous photos of your grand new life. Happy Anniversary! -Heather, Chris, & Madeline

    Like

    • leahyetter said, on March 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      Hi Heather! Thank you for reading, even if you are a year late. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I do miss Macon and I’m so glad I have so many wonderful connections there. Feels like I have 2 homes now. Say hi to Chris and give beautiful Madeline a kiss for me. I’ve enjoyed her pictures on Facebook. See you soon–Leah

      Like

  10. misswhiplash said, on March 26, 2011 at 3:07 am

    I am new to your blog, having just read one from katie and continue with the link. How pleased I am to be here and I shall look forward to reading you everyday.

    I lost my Mother to cancer 42 years ago and it still hurts as much today as it did then so I know what you are feeling.She certainly gave you good advice.

    I saw a film once about a city lady who went on photographic assignment to a ranch to photograph wild horses, just like you, she also fell in love and went backwards and forwards until she realized where her heart wanted to be.Then like you in an old car she packed her daughter and all her wordly possessions and sailed off into the proverbial sunset.
    I am so happy that you are now settled and enjoying your life with Patrick.

    Love P

    Like

    • leahyetter said, on March 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      Thank you for stopping by. You’re right, it hurts like yesterday and I think of her all the time. But the severe pain subsides thankfully and being out here has truly been a great source of healing and comfort. I feel her with me everyday and I can smile about her without tears of sadness streaming down.
      Thanks for reading and I look forward to future visits. All the Best~Leah

      Like

  11. Vicki Mills said, on March 26, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Beautiful! I am so happy for you, Leah. You make a wonderful cowgirl and I am so proud of you for following your heart. I hope you can be here for Jessica’s wedding. If so, I will see you there. If not, I will know you are there in spirit. Stay happy sweet girl!

    Like

    • leahyetter said, on March 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Vicki! Thank you! So glad you stopped by. ๐Ÿ™‚
      I plan on being there for the wedding for sure, wouldn’t miss it!
      See you soon!

      Like

  12. Jessica W said, on March 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I read this with the happiest of tears. Even if I miss you like heck. That four-wheeler ride was just destiny. And somewhere out on the plains, is a little cell phone of your mothers, now a part of the land. That tricky little booger knew what it was doing. I am so glad we made that trip together. It freed both of hearts. And I can’t wait to come visit you again and shoot some whiskey from the hilltops! Love you, girl! You’ve now got more cowgirl cred than me! Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks . . .

    Like

    • leahyetter said, on March 31, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks J-Dub, you’re the best. I’ve got the bottle, you get your ticket! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Like

  13. Amanda said, on March 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Wow…. I’m so proud of you, Leah. I’ve always admired you, and after seeing how brave you were to uproot your entire life to move across the country to chase a dream… I’m way proud to call you family! I hope to come see the ranch one day! Love you and miss you tons….

    Amanda

    Like

  14. Victoria Bennett Beyer said, on March 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Beautiful story, Leah, and just the perfect photo to accompany it. I’m so glad you found Wyoming. It’s lucky to have you ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  15. melissakoski said, on March 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Thanks for sharing more of your story Leah! Your Mom was very wise and I’m glad you listened to her. I love learning cowgirl stuff through your photos! (:

    I lost my brother about 5 years ago and just now can smile knowing he’d enjoy whatever I was seeing or hearing rather than cry. I can’t imagine not having my Mom and am so sorry for your loss. I can bet she’d be so proud of you for following your heart.

    I always look forward to adding your blog titles and phrases into my daily lingo.

    Take care Leah,
    Melissa

    Like

    • leahyetter said, on March 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      Thanks Melissa. Losing a loved one is never easy. I wondered if i would ever stop crying. And one night I went to bed and thought, gosh, I didn’t cry today. It felt weird but I knew I was finally on the up and up.
      So glad you can incorporate our crazy sayings into your lingo. Too funny! You cracked me up with “searching and nesting”. I laughed for hours.
      I look forward to your blog every morning.
      All the Best,
      Leah

      Like

  16. Victoria Bennett Beyer said, on March 31, 2011 at 8:57 am

    We looked at a piece of property yesterday that had a very similar little patch of trees, and it gave me such a good feeling. I couldn’t figure out why until I saw this pic again on your blog today. There are no mountains in the background, but still – I think it’s a sign ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • leahyetter said, on March 31, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      Awe, I’m so glad. Hopefully it’s a good sign. Can’t wait to hear about the house hunting!

      Like

  17. notesfromrumbleycottage said, on March 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I am not sure which is better – the picture at the top of the post or the post itself. Both are excellent.

    Like


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