5 Years

5 years… A lot happens in 5 years… 5 years is 60 months… 260 weeks… 1,825 days… 43,800 hours… 2,628,000 minutes…

You can pay off a car loan in 5 years, obtain a college degree, have a son grow to 4 years old…

5 years….

For many, today is about church and egg hunts and Easter eggs and chocolate. For me, its about 5 years.


Five years ago today, I lost one of my best friends. For reasons I will never understand, my brother decided to end his life. I didn’t even know about the pain that he was feeling. I didn’t know that he was hurting, hurting so bad that he felt he had no other option. I wish, I have wished over and over for the past 5 years, that he would have reached out, that he would have told someone. That he would have found help.The grief, the pain that comes after experiencing the death of someone close to you is often times unbearable but suicide brings with it a pain that is indescribable. Only those that are a part of the club, a club whose membership I would wish on no one, can fully understand what I mean.

I was lucky. Five years ago today, I was pregnant, looking forward to having a new little boy to add to our little family. Without that, without knowing that I had a new little life dependent on me, I am not sure how I would have pulled through.

I struggled for a long time with how to deal with how I felt about my brothers death and often ended up bottling it up inside, keeping it hidden from the world around me. It wasn’t until I began my undergraduate program in art that I found a way to deal with what was going on inside my heart in a way that made sense to me and felt productive, like it was helping.

This series from a black and white film class is one that was particularly healing for me. The assignment was to create a series of photographs that went along with some form of text. When it was done, I felt like I had used my heart to draw the photographs. A little bit of me on the page and a little less pain in my heart.

We will be having time spent with family today, enjoying good food, Easter eggs, chocolate… all the good stuff. I just will have 5 years on my mind, on my heart, as well.

**If you or anyone that you know is thinking about suicide, please reach out. There are many people around you that care and can help you if given the opportunity. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline has folks on the other line waiting to talk to you, to help you, 800-273-TALK. Please, reach out.**


clay_tracey_art274_final001 There’s an emptiness inside of her, 
And she’d do anything to fill it in

clay_tracey_art274_final002 And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now, 
It’s more like cold blue ice in her heart

clay_tracey_art274_final003 She feels like kicking out all the windows

clay_tracey_art274_final004 And setting fire to this life

clay_tracey_art274_final005 She could change everything about her
, Using colors bold and bright
, But all the colors mix together
 -To grey-

clay_tracey_art274_final006  And it breaks her heart

Grey Street
Dave Matthews Band

Baby Cian

We were blessed to welcome a new little life the day after Thanksgiving this year.

He only came 4 days late (to a pregnant woman every day seems like 10 but I say only because my first was 14 late) but when he was ready he was ready! I started labor Thursday night but expected for the contractions to go away- I had been having them almost every evening for a couple weeks. Friday morning came and I was still experiencing contractions but they felt nothing like what I remembered with my first. My husband kept asking if we needed to go to the hospital and I kept saying they weren’t strong enough. Finally, we went in around 12:45 pm and imagine my surprise (and the nurse’s) to learn that I was pretty much ready to go! Except it didn’t end up being that easy… 6 hours later my little boy was finally born with his cord wrapped around his neck, twice. Thanks to such an awesome doctor and staff of nurses, all ended with a wonderfully healthy baby.

I have spent the past two weeks getting used to having a newborn in the house again. While challenging for different reasons than our first was, I have really enjoyed seeing our oldest just love and adore his new little brother. I can already tell that with the both of them I am going to have my hands full but my heart will be full as well.


Family Portraits

The beginning of October brought beautiful fall colors and the need for updated pictures of my little family… What a great mix!
My husband and I decided to adventure out in search of a great backdrop and try to capture some great shots of the little one.
Without a tripod (for more on that read this), we weren’t concerned with getting portraits of all of us together. I really just wanted to get some good images of my son since he is getting SO big! :)
I think we ended up pretty successful- please enjoy some our best shots!

Bridget & Shad | Sarchet Event Center | Colorado Wedding

Mid September brought the opportunity for me to photograph my beautiful sister-in-laws wedding. Leading up to it, I have to admit that I was worried. I had never shot something so big while pregnant before and I didn’t know how it would affect my ability to capture their day. Despite my fears of messing it up (Come on baby, you only have to last through one more weekend! ;) ) the day was beautiful, the couple was gorgeous, and the pictures turned out wonderfully. Their wedding was held in Platteville, Colorado at the beautiful Sarchet Event Center. It seemed like everyone pitched in to make their day truly special. Congratulations Bridget & Shad!


Event Details

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Sarchet Event Center
Officiant: Rev. G. Kent Robertson
Florist: Lil Flower Shop
Cake: Sharyn Spencer
Wedding Gown & Bridesmaid Dresses: Davids Bridal
Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Reception DJ: Gerry & Pat Moore
Bridal Hair: Ten Salon- Greeley
Bridal Makeup: Tiffany Romero

Colorado Balloon Classic

We packed up the family and took a trip to the Colorado Balloon Classic in Colorado Springs yesterday. We left about an hour later than we wanted to so I was worried the whole way down that we might miss it. Instead, we got lucky with finding parking spot immediately upon arrival only about a block away and made it just in time!

I went to this event, it must have been about 11 or 12 years ago, with my parents and my brothers and since then I have always loved watching hot air balloons. There is just something about them- like all your dreams and wishes could be bundled in their baskets to float toward the heavens and be revealed to God… That those in the baskets are in store for a great adventure… There is something about them that reminds me of coming home— That one could be because of the Wizard of Oz I suppose… ;)

Anyway, I was excited to share it with my husband and see the reaction of my son towards the big balloons in the sky.

I think that part of my attachment to this event in particular could be in part due to the fact that it is something that I experienced with my family- with my brother before he passed away 4 1/2 years ago. Standing there, watching the balloons float higher in the sky, I felt a calmness and a joy I haven’t felt in a long time. It was an hour and a half of truly being able to be in the moment, of enjoyment, of contentment.

Since my brother died, I try very hard not to place his presence in artificial things- I try not to grasp onto things that I just want to mean something because I miss him. I do that here too, but there is still the thought in my head that maybe he is watching, maybe he is there in those moments, memories we shared from what seems like a lifetime ago. Maybe he is the one looking at my dreams and wishes in the baskets of the balloons and that is why there is so much contentment in watching their liftoff and flight through the sky.

Independence Day

I know this is kind of a late post- but I wanted to post anyway because I am just so excited about these images.
For the 4th this year I decided I wanted to experiment with photographing fireworks. It has been something I have wanted to do for awhile so I decided, why not?!
I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get a great image of the ones around my home so we decided to pack up the family and head to Denver!
I found a great spot where you can see the skyline of downtown. One downside was that this wasn’t exactly a hidden or secret spot. We arrived early to get situated but by the time the show began the area was crawling with people, some not so respectful of other people’s space…

On top of that, right as I was taking my equipment out to get settled in, my tripod breaks! On leg broke clean off. Hm, Tripod= very important… Arg!
Honestly, all I could do was laugh. Instead of letting it ruin my night, I decided to try out the new ‘bipod’, HA!

Despite the hiccups, I think the images turned out pretty well… Let me know what you think!

Corporate Showcase!

I am so excited that my work has been chosen to grace the walls of the corporate office of The GBSP where they are for show and sale.
My husband was awesome and helped as I spent a lot of time getting the work matted, framed and installed and I am so happy with how it turned out.

It feels unreal to me that my images are on the walls of a corporate workspace- how cool is that?! :)

These pictures are just from my phone- so not the best quality. I didn’t think of bringing along my camera to document the hanging of my images… I will have some nicer ones I am sure as there will be an open house next month. Hopefully this will bring in some interest and sales!

University of Northern Colorado- Roots Project

I was recently given the opportunity to photograph an event that was a piece of the University of Northern Colorado’s Applied Anthropology semester project. The university students met with Greeley Central and Greeley West high school students whose families are immigrants or refugees to explore the ways that Greeley’s history connects with their past. The students spent some time visiting Greeley’s Centennial Village Museum, a living history museum, with their families, taking photos of anything that captured interest or reminded them of home. Using the photos as talking points, the university students interviewed the families about the museum experience trying to find connections built between Greeley’s history and personal experience.

You can read more about the project and view photos from the event here.