Update!

Anyone who has followed me through the years knows I like to wander. It’s what I do. It’s  the core of my existence. So, what does this have to do with this blog + site? EVERYTHING!

I was going to delete this site and focus solely on photography (I even built a new site). However, after gaining some clarity while on vacation this past week I realized I have something good going right here. On this site and photography, travel, and writing endeavors can all be accomplished right here on The Wandering Pigeon.

To anyone who still follows this, thank you. And stay tuned for a facelift and slight re-branding.

Also upcoming in the next few months: an email list! There you’ll get exclusive content, tips, and life hacks. You don’t want to miss this! But, for now, keep your eyes here and on my social media sites!

Facebook: Brandy Nance Photography

Instagram: Brandy Nance Photography

Instagram: The Wandering Pigeon 
* This is my personal page.

In gratitude,

Brandy

The Gratitude Bridge

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The Gratitude Bridge

At the end of a farmer’s property, a gravel road narrows and gives way to a low-water bridge I have named “The Gratitude Bridge.” Each morning I drive on the gravel road part of the way to work just so I can cross this bridge.

Several months ago I bought a Jeep Wrangler, which allowed me to travel the gravel road each day. (That’s how I got started driving across this bridge.) Each morning I’d stop on the bridge when it still had water under it to look for wildlife. Some mornings I’d see heron, other mornings it was a snake or a feral cat and if I was really lucky a deer or raccoon was still out. This became my momentary pause before having to jump into my day.  Somewhere along the way, I decided to stop and also thank the universe for another day on this beautiful Earth. Each day I’d look for the wildlife, roll my windows down, and give thanks.

Slowly, as we’re in the middle of a drought, the wildlife disappeared, even the feral cats are elsewhere and the herons are long gone. But I still stop there each day, look to my left and right and leave my gratitude at the bridge for safe-keeping until the next day. Recently I began calling it The Gratitude Bridge. It might not look like much, but to me it’s where I leave my daily love note to the universe for giving me another day.

Peace and gratitude,

Brandy

Tipping hotel housekeepers

2EF112D3-CD4F-4023-AFF2-2311E63D69BAGratitude is so vital in this world we live in from taking time to thank the universe for another day to thanking everyone around you for their role in this beautiful world.

This week I was on a business trip in Orlando, Florida, and each night before I went to bed I set aside time to write a note to the housekeeper of the hotel and included a cash tip. Each morning I’d put it on the pillow with one of my gratitude cards.

Two days in a row I ended up in my room when the housekeeper was there turning the room. The first housekeeper said over and over to me “God Bless You” and the second also thanked us. Gratitude meets gratitude.

So, why tip housekeepers? First, many are barely making minimum wage. Second, your nice clean room doesn’t happen by itself. Below I’ll offer a few tips on tips for housekeepers.

  • Leave the tip on a pillow with a note so they’re sure the money is for them.
  • Amounts vary, but I left $5/day per person.
  • Leave a tip EACH day, not at the end of the trip. When we were there we had a different housekeeper each day.

Peace and gratitude, friends. Thank someone today!

 

Commencement weekend

IMG_0303This weekend I’m covering commencement for Emporia State University. It’s such a monumental milestone for each graduate, their families, and friends. As the room erupts in cheers and screams as the graduates file on and off the stage, it’s hard not to feel the immense joy that surrounds the graduates. As I work on my second masters degree, I am reminded just how far each and every one of the students have to travel on their educational journey. It’s hard work and a lot of sacrifices and that work should be celebrated!

If you know a graduate, take the time to congratulate them today — they put in a lot of work to earn that degree. Also, take the time to congratulate those around them — parents, significant others, and children. They made a lot of sacrifices too through supporting their loved one or through sacrificing time with their loved one so they could study.

And, if you don’t know any graduates, celebrate one another today. Thank someone around you or simply thank the universe for this beautiful life.

Gratefully yours,

B.

Where has the time gone?!

3ee69-253d253futf-8253fb253fsu1hmda0otitmjaxmtaxmjqtmdk1mc5qcgc253d253f253d-718564Gasp!! I haven’t posted since DECEMBER! Ouch! My poodle to the left says that’s not good!

A quick update: it’s been a busy semester! In addition to my full-time job, I had Advanced Poetry and Advanced Fiction this semester — stellar courses from incredible professors. I’m so grateful for the massive amount of learning that took place and for the work I was able to produce during my time in their courses.

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RIP, PJ

On a sad note, we said goodbye to our sweet PJ in January. He was nearly 13 years old and within a week of receiving a kidney failure diagnosis it was time to say goodbye. Losing a pet is so difficult. My other two pets, Chewie and Mayiah, also have health issues. It’s incredibly difficult to say goodbye. I’m so grateful I was able to be their pet mom.

In other news, I’ve spent a lot of this last year prioritizing my life and focusing on what’s really important (and grad school takes up most of my free time). I’ve eliminated a lot from my crazy life, and that’s included toxic people too.

I hope to start blogging more regularly.  Though I doubt that many people actually read this.  To those who do read this, I wish you happiness, joy, and gratitude.

B.

 

 

 

 

 

Four years ago…

11ABFD40-BF65-429F-8896-ADA624AF0D38Four years ago tomorrow, a fire took my father, Charlie Adams from us. Four years ago, my heart was broken in ways I could never imagine possible. There’s been a lot of living since then — a lot of ups and downs. I wish he was here so I could tell him all about them. Today I wanted to stop and honor him, to reflect on him and his massive impact on my life.

In honor of him — I’d like to share the eulogy that I wrote and read during his funeral. Thank you for reading.

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I had the privilege of calling this man we are honoring today, Dad.

He was the dad he didn’t have to be to us. I rarely refer to him as my stepdad — because he never once put the word “step” in front of my brother and I’s name. We were always introduced as his children. Never once did I ever feel like a stepchild.
Dad was a simple man — he loved and he loved deeply. He loved my mom with every fiber of his being. She was his world. He loved his dog, Twister — who we lost in the fire as well. We also lost their cat, Jersey in the fire. They are all somewhere — together.
Looking back I have so may wonderful memories of Dad. He helped me work on my Pontiac Sunbird — he wanted to make sure the speedometer was correct. So he drove beside me in his car on Kellogg and he help up one finger for 40 mph and two for 60. There we drove — on a FREEWAY in tandem. That’s the kind of man he was.
Then there was the time I scored two tickets to the monster truck show. We spent the evening cheering on our favorite monster trucks. He loved hanging out with us kids — no matter what it was were were doing. Again, that’s just the kind of man he was.
Looking back at family pictures, dad was frequently in them. My college graduations. Holidays. Birthdays. Life won’t ever be the same without him.
Dad knew no stranger. He would spend hours talking to people and telling stories of his life. He truly loved everyone and could bring a smile to anyone’s face. He was funny. Witty. Dedicated. And loyal. A truly amazing person.
I will miss his humor. I will miss HIM — the world lost a kind, amazing person. His life had a profound effect on mine — and on many others I’m certain.
May he rest in peace and run with his beloved dogs Twister and Flower. I’m certain he’s looking down while idly chatting someone’s ear off — telling them stories of his past and his family.
He wouldn’t want us to be sad. Or mourn him. But how can we not?
He will be missed deeply and dearly.

 

 

 

 

A ‘break’ from gratitude

imageToday I was reading through my blog trying to find an explanation of this project to send to someone, and I was reminded why I started all this. Today was day 1,113 of my gratitude project. To be transparent I did take a little break so it should be more than that, but we all need a break sometimes. But here’s a few things I learned on my “break” from gratitude:

  • I was less grateful (duh, should be a given)
  • I was less satisfied
  • I didn’t stop to appreciate things as much
  • I was less grateful (yes, I already said that, but I’m trying to make a point)
  • I didn’t say thank-you as much
  • I felt like something was missing (after all when you post for 1,000 days straight about something, you miss it after a while)
  • I was less grateful

I could go on and on. Gratitude has been a daily part of my life since 2013 and my little “break” just didn’t work out well for me. I missed it — a lot. Stopping to just be grateful for one thing each day — could be huge things, could be little things — really made a difference. It changed me in ways I couldn’t anticipate. I learned to give thanks each and every day, and especially on the easy days. Because those “easy days” taught me how to handle the hard days. When the hard days came around — the days where the losses were heavy — I turned to gratitude to find my way through it.

Gratitude changed the way I look at the world — if I’m having a bad day all I need to do is look around and find something to be grateful for. On the really bad days? Sure, you have to look harder. In the days following the fire that killed my father, I found gratitude in the kindness of others, so many people came through after that happened. This project was 15 days old when that happened. Gratitude got me through those dark days and through many other difficult experiences. And on the days where I’m feeling quiet, that’s the days when I need gratitude the most.

I hope this post finds my readers well. As always, I’m extremely grateful for each and every one of you.

Gratefully yours,

B.

Grateful for another year

Today, on my birthday, as the emails, Facebook posts, calls and texts roll in, I am reminded that I have so much to be grateful for — the people in my life are incredible, amazing warriors of people. I am truly blessed.

As I reflect on this last year and reflect on my goals for the upcoming year of my life, I am filled with joy and hope. The goals I have for the next year in my life are few, but major and I’m so excited to finally realize a dream I’ve always had. My apologies for being largely absent on this blog. I’m busy making my dreams come true right now. 🙂 IMG_4582

So stay tuned!

And stay grateful! Gratitude changed my life..I promise it’ll change yours too. (But that’s another blog post).

The passing of a pen pal

IMG_2736“Dear Brandy, I am sorry to tell you that your mail art friend Andrea, has passed away…”

Today, upon arriving home from work a letter was waiting for me. I’m sitting here at my computer tearfully typing out this post — a beautiful soul left this earth. Her wit, humor and creativity will never arrive in my mailbox again.

My first communication with Andrea was in 2009 when we were matched as pen pals on a letter-writing site. I remember how carefully I wrote my letter — all formal and stuff and then hers arrived a short while later, a colorfully-decorated envelope arrived from Andrea, who lived in Staten Island. Inside she had written on a series of six sticky notes and the letter started out like this “Dear Brandy, oh wow … a new pen pal! My God — Kansas! The only thing I know about Kansas I learned from the Wizard of Oz. I can’t even imagine Kansas!”

I knew right away I had crossed paths with someone truly special. We wrote back and forth from then on, exchanging life stories, tid bits about ourselves, all while supporting the United States Post Office through the art of handwritten letters. Even though we never met in person we were friends — and we learned so much about one another by putting pen to paper.

In one letter she inquired about living next to a corn field “I can’t imagine living next door to a corn field,” she exclaimed and she wanted more details about what it’s like to live next to corn. In another letter she sent me cut outs from a poetry book she bought for $1 at a church store — it was really bad poetry to which she captioned “holy shit!”

She had a dog named “loose fur,” because it was always shedding. I remember when Loose Fur died — how even she was able to apply some humor to Loose Fur’s passing stating that she was still finding his fur all over the place. It’s funny how you can share so much in letters.

A couple of years ago I received a postcard that she had Leukemia. Her wit even came through on that postcard when she ranted about the pharmaceutical companies and the cost of her medication. I had no idea at the time, that in less than two years she’d be gone.

Andrea wrote her own obit, according to her kind friend who wrote me. In that obit she wrote, “I wish I’d get a disease with an easier spelling.” Typical humor from her. She has a monument where she’ll be buried later, which reads “Wish you were here.” I can totally see her writing that.

My heart is heavy tonight as I type this. She will be missed so much by so many and I can’t believe I’ll never be able to write her again. I saved every single piece of mail I received from her and I’m truly glad I did.

Andrea Jay, 69. Teacher. Writer. Vegan. Mail artist. Friend. I’ll miss you.

P.S. I’m going to try that sesame seed tofu ball recipe you sent me in 2012 in your honor.

The power of gratitude

img_2288Thank-you note writing has become a way of life for me — therapy after a hard day, a way for me to focus on what’s good in the world. In a world that harbors so much darkness, writing a quick thank-you note for anything from the ordinary to the extraordinary is my way of spreading joy in this world.

Lately I’ve found myself overwhelmed between grad school, a full-time career and just life in general. To say things are busy is an understatement, so I haven’t been taking as much time to sit down and write my thank-you notes. And I can tell the difference.

When I stop taking time for gratitude — something that has become so integral in my life — I can tell the difference in my attitude and my outlook.

Gratitude helps me be thankful for what I have. After all, that’s what gratitude is — being thankful. Even on the horrible days, there’s always something to be thankful for.

So, tonight, I am writing thank-you notes. I’m taking a break from everything else that’s been going on and thanking some people. I can already feel the difference, I already feel lighter.

And if you’re reading this, I’m grateful for you! Thank you for being a reader!

Gratefully yours,

Brandy