For Emma

You’re a whole handful today, can you believe it? I called you last night to wish you an early happiest of birthdays because you were heading to your mom’s today and you made sure to remind me that yesterday wasn’t it. You’re birthday wasn’t until today. So literal, so honest. You get that from your grandma Julie and it’s just the tip of the iceberg of qualities that I’m so grateful you hold.

Emma bean, you constantly encourage me without even realizing it; to be the most true and authentic version of myself that there is. Because you are. You are unapologetically fearless in life and in essence. You both laugh and dance as if no one is watching. It doesn’t matter who’s around you, you are you. You’re not afraid to let people know when you’re hurting. You’re not cautious to let people see you giggle or act goofy! You inspire me every single day to live with a courageous and lionhearted spirit even though I’m not with you most of those days.

My wish for you is to never lose sight of that magic in your life; to never stop dreaming, never stop wishing, never stop living. I’m not sure you’ll ever truly grasp the magnitude of influence you have had in my life and in those you’ll impact as you age. But when I grow up, I really do want to be just like you and when you grow up I hope that you want to be just like me.

You’re my reason for allowing myself to find my worth in this world. You’re my reason for adventure. For running instead of walking. You’re my reason to trust and love and pray even when it feels too hard to do so. You’re my reason because I want you to know, without a doubt, your worth in this world is greater than you can imagine. I want my love for a life full of quality, strength, distinction, and sense of wanderlust to ripple tenfold from me to you.

I want to protect you from all the pain in this world but I know that’s not realistic and honestly I think people need to go through pain in order to truly empathize with others so I know it’s gonna happen. But I hope between all the hard stuff, you’ll feel the sprinkles of virtue and warmth. You’ll know that I’ll always pick you up when you fall and be the person you can run to when you feel like you have no one, because it will happen. I hate thinking about it, but you will have some really crappy days and I’ll be here to remind you that life doesn’t end when the crappy days begin. Every single day of your life, I hope that you continue to wake up and choose to be the good in the world.

I can’t imagine a day where I don’t encourage you to strive for the absolute maximum of what you deserve. I can’t imagine watching you come down on yourself so hard that you feel like you’re drowning. I can’t imagine you ever feeling unloved, unseen, or unheard in all the ways that I have. But I do I hope you’ll know how many life-preservers in the version of people disguised as angels you have to save you when you feel lost or broken.


Emma, today you turn five! You love unicorns and kitty cats and sprinkles and slime. When we take pictures together, your first instinct is to close one eye and stick out your tongue, like a real-life emoji. You get excited when things shimmer and your personality flourishes more and more each day. You like to write and to draw; you’re an artist by nature. You love to use your imagination and honestly, you’re probably smarter than I’ll ever be.

One of my very favorite moments of year four with you happened this past summer. We were at a park here in Fargo with your dad, Uncle Nick, and Auntie Katie. You were playing and you met this little girl named Remy. But you didn’t call her Remy. You kept shouting “friend! friend!” She kept reminding you that her name was Remy, as if you’d forgotten and I even recall saying “Emma, your new friend’s name is Remy.” And girl, what you said to me in return is something I’ll never forget. Your beautiful four-year-old soul of a girl turned around and said to me “I know her name is Remy but I’m calling her “friend” because I want her to be my friend. I want her to know that she is my friend.”


To close, my birthday wishes for you are for you to live a year filled with happy thoughts and sunshine. I hope you continue to be the reason people believe in kindness even when people show you how rare of a quality that is. I hope you never stop loving people even when they let you down. I wish for year five to be filled to the brim with unicorns and kitty cats, with 4-wheeler rides and grease-filled fingers after helping your dad and grandpa Kevin in the garage. I hope your days are jam-packed with jumping on the trampoline in the summertime and splashing in the puddles when it rains. I hope you continue to make your daddy smile everyday because not only did you change my life but you changed his. I hope you never lose sight of who you are. I hope to see all of the dreams that you don’t even know you have come to fruition, I hope to show you the world, and I hope to help you know how incredibly good God is.

Until I met you, I’d never experienced the ability to love someone so fiercely as I love you, Emma. You are my favorite blessing and my greatest gift in this world. I wish you the happiest of birthday’s on your actual birthday!

Love, Auntie Ori

Thirty-One

Thank you for all of the well wishes, calls, and messages yesterday! This years celebration was much more tame. I’d even dare to take celebration out of the mix completely and call it “just another day.” Though, it wasn’t just another day because I think birthdays are something special!

My 30th year wasn’t at all like I’d hoped it would be. I remember writing a similar post to this last year gushing about all the things in year #29 that made me feel so alive. (Read about it here because it’ll make you smile!) I miss that girl. The pre-pandemic, feeling-like-she-could-conquer-anything fearless soul of a woman. She is a hero to my present self and didn’t even realize it.

I’m sure I’ll elaborate on this more in my year end review but 2020 threw us all for a curveball, it wasn’t just me and it wasn’t just you. It wasn’t just the virus or the protests or the election or the fires. It was all of it, all at once, constantly. It was watching families and friendships disappear over DT vs JB, two old men that most of us will never meet. It was inserting COVID-19 into every single conversation instead of the weather. It was seeing how polar opposite people feel about the BLM movement, about the feminist movement, about equality. It was watching people you love lose their jobs, others getting sick, and even more having to postpone their lives because of these “trying times.” It’s really easy to focus on the shitty stuff of this year, it so is. And I’m not going to pretend this year hasn’t been crap because it kind of has been.

I’m beyond blessed to have been employed throughout this mess when so many people weren’t as fortunate. But it hasn’t been easy. I’m a single woman living alone and the majority of my social life revolved around the relationships I formed with people I see 8+ hours a day. That was taken away, gone, poof by transitioning to a work-from-home life. I hit a new type of low in my 30th year, even lower then when I went through the toughest year of my life. I often found myself sitting still watching the world spin around me with gushing love sentiments, beautiful marriages, and sweet babies cooing so far out of reach, it felt impossible. I started going to therapy for the first time ever this year.

I was sad A LOT, I am still sad a lot.

But that sadness, the frustration of the year, the dreams lost, the wtf is happening roadblocks that keep coming up.. I chose not to let it define my 30th year or my 2020. I think it’s really important to acknowledge the tough parts of life because we all fall into the trap of a filtered version especially on social media, myself included. But the good stuff has been really good too and if we all take time to truly evaluate our lives, I hope you have some good stuff to share too. And I hope that good stuff quite literally trumps all the things that made you sad.

In my 30th year, I traveled to Iceland solo, made it to Hawaii before the shutdowns began and learned how to snorkel. I celebrated my nieces 4th birthday by making cupcakes together and we painted pumpkins just a couple of weeks ago. She even learned how to spell my name without any help this year! #auntiewin I sent care packages to people and letters. I went on long hikes in area state parks, swung on swings for the first time in years, and called my grandma more than usual. I went tubing TWICE, joined a 16-week fitness boot camp, and (socially distantly) ran away to Montana for a week to find some quite in my very loud mind. I met incredible people from across the globe that may not have happened without a pandemic and one of my favorite people in the world (my brother) got married!

This year didn’t totally suck, it’s just really overshadowed by the dark clouds above us. I had to shift a lot of dreams in the way of cancelled trips and a limited social life but a lot of really fantastic moments filled my 30th year too. I know it’s not easy but there is a silver lining in an otherwise weird AF whirlwind and I hope you can see that. To quote the pre-pandemic, feeling-like-she-could-conquer-anything fearless soul of a woman from a year ago:

If you’ve made it this far in my ramble, I hope you’re living your best year yet and if you’re not, you deserve to be. If I’ve learned anything in life this far, I know that I was always the only person ever holding myself back from happiness. You have to choose it daily. I used to (and sometimes still do) let people determine my mood and my choices. Some days will suck but that doesn’t mean weeks or months or years have to. You’re more kickass than you give yourself credit for! Remember that.

Thank you again to every single person who wished me well yesterday! Thank you to my uncle who calls me and sings to me every single year, to my mom for a girls day on Sunday, to my birthday twin for sending me flowers. Thank you for lifting my spirits and for filling my heart with so much love. It’s incredible to see how we’ve had to adapt in a socially distant world but still have the ability to reach each other. Cheers to the next 365+ days and to health! God is good. ♥️

Pre-Trip Feels.

It’s the eve before my next big adventure and I’m sitting in an empty nail salon getting a deluxe pedicure sipping complimentary water, but I’m pretending it’s a glass of sweet wine. This is the life.

I leave for Hawaii in less than 24 hours, our flight is scheduled for a 6:15 a.m. departure from Hector International. Good luck self in getting up on time. Though, I do feel like a little kid at Christmas. I’m sure I’ll be up before my alarm patiently waiting for my brother and parents to pick me up before the 5 o’clock hour.

All of my trips are special for differnt reasons but this one is dedicated to my dad. I’m not sure he’s ever really been on a proper vacation outside of weekend getaways throughout his adult life. I remember hearing a tale of a Mount Rushmore road trip in his youth with my grandparents but that was more decades ago than I am old. It’s time to venture out, pops.

My dad turns 60 this year, in October. Two years ago on his birthday, our family surprised him by telling him he was going to make it to Hawaii before his 60th birthday. I doubt he believed us and I’ll never forget his face when we told him.

See, he’s a truck driver. He’s been everywhere, man. Literally. Every state, including parts of Canada. He’s just missing The Aloha State, until now. I know he’s nervous, I’m certain I inherited my anxious tendencies from my father. But I know he’s super amped too. I anticipate “travel day” will be a bit stressful and draining for him and/or my mom but “hello sunshine!” and all the transportation woes will be a thing of the past!

Well, it’s time for my sugar scrub and 10-min leg massage. This is my favorite part of pedis so I’m going to leave you here while I try find inner peace for a moment or two. Have you treated yourself to some kind of self-care lately? If not, get on it girl! Or guy or dude or whatevs.

P.S. I had planned on ending my post above but I need to shamelessly plug Fantasy Nails on South 45th. I usually bounce from place to place for pedis but I’ve finally found the best one in all of Fargo. These guys are legit. The Deluxe Pedi (middle package) included all the usuals like a sugar scrub, paraffin wax, and hot towels but I had 2 hot towel sessions, an amazing cooling gel treatment, and not one but three 5-10 minute massages. While the wax was doing it’s thang, he stepped away for about 15 minutes and I was in a peacefully bliss quiet oasis of massage chair and meditation. Check it out and ask for Hersley (phonetically spelled, unsure of it’s accuracy, lol). A Deluxe Pedi is $40 for regular polish and $55 for gel. 👌

Lastly, here’s our typical night before, Bodhi-thinks-he’s-coming-with photo. One day, bud.

Does Heaven Have DQ Ice Cream Cake?

Happy Friday. I had chosen not to write this week because I ran into an occurrence where I got really frustrated with someone. Bitching it out to my sounding board wasn’t working and the only thing that let me free my anger was to write about it; which I did. Writing my anger out is a good release for me especially when I am aware that I am overreacting over something so trivial because the paper doesn’t judge. Or really, the blank page on the screen doesn’t judge. But..I didn’t post it.

enhanced-7872-1395329299-5I didn’t post it because I knew it was hate. I don’t want to advertise hate. And I know that I would probably get some kind of hate in return. Karma, I suppose. On the other hand, I wanted to post it because I saw a picture about writing the truth (see right) and I agree completely with it. But the way the post was constructed was absolutely absurd and I really think that if I re-read it right now; I’d feel like a complete asshole.

At some point, when I’m ready, I plan on digging out my demons and letting people hear what I have to say in the most true and raw sense but this blog, right here..it’s not the place.

Today is one of my guardian angels birthdays. She was one of the happiest and funniest people I had ever known. Thinking back to earlier this week when I had written such an ill-tasted post; I’m so happy that I didn’t publicize it. Although the situation really irked me, I thought about a couple posts I’d written in my old blog about Aron when I found out about her death. I talked about finding the good in people like Aron did and accepting everyone for who they were instead of what they stood for. If you’d like to check either of them out, I’ll post them below.

IMG_5154Aron was a trooper. Literally and figuratively. She was everyone’s role model whether they realized it or not. Her smile, her attitude, everything – it lit up whichever room she walked into. It didn’t matter if you were gay, black, fat, or ugly; she’d make you feel welcome. All that outside superficial bullshit didn’t matter to her. Billy Joel knew what he was talking about when he said “only the good die young.” It’s true, it really really is. I could only hope that I could find the good in people like she did. That I didn’t judge so easily and that I wouldn’t have lingering anger towards others. At the very least, Aron’s death has thought us all to hug those we love a little tighter, keep in contact even when time passes, and open our hearts to everyone no matter what.

Happy birthday, Aron. We miss you.

Click below to read more about Aron and the effect she had on the lives of the people that were fortunate enough to know and love her:

We Shouldn’t Have To Say Goodbye Yet.
I Want To Be A Better Person.