365/ week 39


It's been a short week, and I've got zero complaints. At least a short week in the office.  The thing about being a creative is that I'm working on and off throughout any day.  So the long labor day weekend had me still doing a couple photoshoots, but I was blessed to have the whole family tribe and we went up to North Idaho to hike and play.  It was overly long over due for sure! This summer has been off, and we haven't had time as a family like we usually do.  So getting some camping time in made all of us happy little clams.


Between this little getaway, and a couple hard ma'ma lesson's this week, I've really been contemplating the hustle of our day to day and how we teach our kids to move move move like their in army camp.  Hurry up and wait kids, that's just life.

I don't know, it just doesn't sit well with me.

I know deadlines need to be met...my clients wouldn't be thrilled with me otherwise.  But there's got to be a balance of embracing the chaos, of learning to roll with the punches.  To teach my kids the joy of life, not the drudgery of work.

This is just ramble's of thoughts of a ma'ma trying to figure out this motherhood thing.

When I was in school, the kids saw me doing projects, and studying hard for tests, and now with both of them in school...they both treat it like their in college.  And in a way I'm like "YAASSSS! They will be hard working students" but then I also feel bad.  Because let's be honest, no five-year old needs to treat Kindergarten like a Junior in college.

On that note, I'm in Portland to shoot an amazing wedding despite the horrible Eagle Creek Fire and I'm ready to keep finding the balance between creative, working, and being a mama.  

Any other parents out there have this struggle? Or mastered it? I'd love to hear what works for your little mini-humans!

With Grace and Guts,



365/week seventeen



what a concept.

for the last month i've been everywhere but home, and the past 7-days have been finally me back in my little dwelling, refilling the refrigerator with food, catching up on laundry, watering plants, giving our cat waffle's her demanded attention...etc etc.

after my little art rendezvous, i hoped back into the photographer saddles this week and did two heart warmer and fun photo sessions.  even though the weather was hit and miss, man it felt so stinking good to be back out there with a camera in my hand.

i've seriously had the worst diet this week, which i guess chalk it up to "eating what i want" off the list, but pesto pasta for breakfast and 2-cheese burgers later...I'm a happy camper.  Sometimes, you've just gotta.  Or at least, I just gotta.

work has been insane so my time in the studio this week was nothing but i actually spent time to read two magazines two nights in a row...one was from February and the other from march...I'm catching up.

i'm so grateful for all the goodness...and even all the crazy.  sometimes it's hard juggling all that i'm juggling and i drop the ball here and there (like Monday when i took the kids through the drive through because i just wasn't gonna cook that night - - or last night when every thing i asked my mini's to do went in one ear and out the other and i threw a total 2-year old tantrum because of it...wow i'm an example this week)...but i love those two mini's with all my heart, i love being a creative even though it doesn't pay what i'd like so i could buy all the shoes...this is life.  it's an adventure.

my 365-challenge wasn't ever meant to be law or a stresser...though i'll admit i beat myself up from time to time for not perfecting Italian yet or not even picking up a cello yet...but it was meant to keep me moving and moving in a way that encouraged who i am versus the 9-5 drone that society seems to gravitate to.  My life is making snack for my kids day at 6:30 am when I'd rather be drinking coffee hiding in bed - - but at least i get paid in snuggles.

i hope you all have a fabulous weekend, enjoy those in your life and all the moments.

With Grace+Guts,



who i am : abandon all else

To the fear, the anger, the beast that lives in me.
     A repetitive looping film of his hand up against my neck, pushing against my veins.
           His words of who I am, what I'm worth, what I will never amount too yelling, echoing,
                 whispering.... You Are Worth Nothing To Me Till Your Dead ...

But then...

But then I picked up a paint brush, even while his bruises were still faded from my flesh long after I walked away...I picked up a pen...I began to write, began to create, make...
     and I began to feel free...
                I began to understand that he was only afraid of me....of my


Now he has found the last way to control me...legality with our daughter.
     My sweet little daughter who's first kick, first breath, first laugh, first tooth, nightmare and
     dream he was not present for.
         And the courts started telling me all of a sudden what I could and couldn't do.  What jobs to
         have, what state to live in, what to do, where to go, when to be there...and I couldn't help
         but feel like everything I was working for, every dream that had reinvented itself after my
         awakening, my survival, was once again being torn, pulled, controlled by my abuser.


and people heard, and people saw my work, and people gave their sympathy, and then there was nothing...
       a void.
              what else could they do?

But then my foot laced up into boots hit a trail.  I climbed, I sweated my heart out, and at the top all I saw was...

I am more then nothing.

...if something like this existed in the world, then though I am small, every substance that makes
       up my body, makes up the earths body.

For weeks, months, years I've been furiously making work, writing pieces, screaming, yelling, praying someone would hear me...help me change the current...but up on that mountain I learned:


Photo 1-11.jpg


how can I not be with so much in this world?

So I will never stop screaming, pounding a drum for women, for victims, for children who have been wronged, who have been let down by our judicial system...it is a fire...a fuel that was ignited,
       ignited when he shoved me off the bed, when he never came home, when he told me to
       go back to the kitchen, when he locked our child outside, when he raped me of more then
       just 30-seconds of life.
             IT IS THE FIRE THAT BURNS, but also has found respit against the whipping winds
                                                              with pen stained fingers, with late nights in the studio,
                                                              with every step out in this world I've spent soaking it up.

But I will also celebrate the fact that I am


I have no idea what's next.  What I'll make.  How I'll celebrate first. 
And that's okay.
The robin doesn't know when it's next meal will come but it doesn't fret.
It finds respite in where it lives, where it flies, where it is free.
...this...this is enough for me.


after a thoughtful critique, after a day of contemplating, writing, running in the sun...
in honor of John Muir's birthday,
in every inch of my body flinging off of a cliff...I celebrate this place I call home...

The Pacific Northwest.

I am pacing myself, putting any + all work about my past up on the shelf,
and I am lacing up my hiking boots.


remembering "we are in the mountains...and THEY ARE IN US"


any given sunday.

A March Saturday | All Rights Reserved: Heather Woolery 2016

A March Saturday | All Rights Reserved: Heather Woolery 2016

Saturday's spent at home are a rare breed around my dwelling anymore.  Between my husbands military + job obligations, my art shows + schooling, my daughter's visitations down south and the random obligations that come with being a living human...getting to just be home is a beautiful, cherished thing around here.

So this weekend has been early wake-up call's by my little Kraken's (because they still have yet to realize what the term's "Saturday" and "sleep in" mean.  It's been a down pour of rain and us just re-potting indoor plants that have been sadly neglected over this winter of busy and rush. 

I was pleased though to see, in the small amount of time I spent outside this weekend, that my lavender plants are starting to bud...so down pour of rain be damned...spring is truly coming!  (chaco tan lines I'm coming for you!)

However, though there has been small little promises of warmer weather, I couldn't help while at the grocery store to grab milk, also grabbing a couple bunches of these daffodils that I polka-dotted all over the house.  The smell has brought a yellow cheery sense to this little dwelling.  

Recently, a lot of struggles + frustrations have seemed to pile up, this house being one of them, and yet in the midst of "doom + gloom" it's always surprising how some comfy overall's, fresh cut flowers, a hot London fog and some studio time or curled up reading a book can make the world seem so much more beautiful...alive.

The Nuart | All Right's Reserved: Heather Woolery 2016

The Nuart | All Right's Reserved: Heather Woolery 2016

On Friday, I went downtown for a meeting about an upcoming show for my "I Am The Man" project (you can see HERE) and as I locked my car, I looked across the street at our Nuart Theater, and I couldn't help but pull my camera out and snap this picture.  I walk by this building every week, I actually go to that building frequently, and yet, for some reason, the rain gave it a new feel.  I have this love for store fronts and old buildings.  I've always felt like bricks were sponges.  Soaking up time and memories and yet holding up for all that is to come.

Something that has recently become more important is music.  Now my iPod is a jumble of bipolar scrambled eggs and I have a deeper love for vinyl then most know about me, but my musical, piano playing past has started to creep back up on me.  As I'm rearing to the end of my college career (for now, I doubt I'll ever truly be done) plus orders on my etsy shop, upcoming art shows, and being an editor for a couple publications...my love for reading, writing + art have defiantly been consumed as my "lively-hood", my job.  So its of no surprise to me that my need for an outlet that hasn't been consumed in some work fashion took over my husband's little ukulele.  He had received it as a gift from his parents when they went to Hawaii while we were still dating...and he's maybe pulled it out twice.  Over last summer he tried to teach me guitar but my tiny body compared to his full guitar made me feel more like I was hugging Sasquatch versus playing something beautiful.  I then tried the ukulele and found that it's 'c' cord to be by far one of the happiest sounds in this world...and since then I keep teaching myself this happy little instrument. (photo credit to my 6-year old who has an obsession of taking pictures...I wonder who she learned that from lol).

Recently I've begun delving into Sally Mann's new book "Hold Still", first and foremost for my thesis research, but secondly it had been recommended to me it felt like a million time.  About two pages in, I was swooning over this woman's words and adoring that she had added pictures and scanned in artifacts of letters, report cards etc. into her memoir.  It's been such a beautiful read on photography + memories + childhood + becoming and most of all, living a life.

And I won't lie, I've spent a couple too late of nights and a handful of really early mornings to read this book...but as a mom...you take reading time when you can get it.

In a way, this blog post feels mundane, unnecessary, but then again, if felt necessary.  Over the week, I share so many beautiful moments and images on Instagram, and there is only so much of "me, myself + I" that I can put in the portfolio and I so badly want to share these small moments.  The story behind each image.  

But as much as I love these lazy weekends, I won't lie, I'm so grateful it's spring break, and I'm about to leave town to snag some beautiful shots, drink too much coffee, keep reading Sally Mann and get extra snuggles from my little Krakens.

If you don't already: you can follow all my adventures, coffee raves, motherly moments and making strives on Instagram @heather_woolery + now on Twitter @heatherwoolery.

I Survived. I'm a Woman. It's not changing.

For the most part, when anyone asks me about my daughter's custody case, I put on a smile and I tell them we're trooping through, that my daughter is a firecracker...because we are and she it. But no one knows the heartache, the monster's that still cloud my mind, the fear that I feel.

I'm told to keep my head up and to stay strong for my daughter.  Well I am, I'm giving up my life for my daughter and the courts requests.  I'm only a puppet of the court, and even though I was abused, hurt, broken, I'm supposed to suppress it all so my daughter doesn't fear the man who raped her mother and wanted her to be aborted.  I constantly feel like I'm lying + deceiving my daughter.

For the most part, when anyone asks me about my ambitions in the creative world, I smile and tell them I'm thinking about teaching...because that's stable right?  That's not bread winner, that's a good "mom job".  But in reality I have every ambition to travel the world.  I have every desire to learn so many languages.  To smash paint against a canvas when I'm pissed, and to finally sit down and write my memoir on being a young survivor of domestic abuse + mother.  I have every goal to still open my youth gallery + studio; Trailhead.  Every goal to support my husband in every job he aspires to and to be cheering my daughter at every dance competition and to snuggle the stuffings out of my son while he's little enough to.  I'm so exhausted of having to have to conversation of what it means to be a woman + mother + maker + working.  I never have caged my heart behind a white picket fence, so stop asking me to contemplate it.

I recently listened to Cheryl Strayed Dear Sugar new Podcast and I was in love.  While I sanded wood down for some frames, I listened intently, and it was something I think every single man + woman who works should give a listen to...even if their not in a relationship right now.

The bottom line is; I'm a surviver, I'm a strong mother fucker, one bad ass mother, a maker, photographer, adventure + thrill seeker.  I may be married, but I carry my own.  I love who I am. Even though I hurt every day because of past I didn't chose nor had a choice in.  It's made me the fighter who won't take shit from anyone that I am every single day I wake up.  From the moment I take that first sip of coffee to the moment my head hits the pillow...and even through nightmares...I'm fighting against the abusers and for those affected by them.

I found this post to be necessary with how many comments I've gotten on how great I'm doing considering.  Well the point is, you don't know, and you won't until it happens to you, and I pray it doesn't.

Donuts + Coffee + Mountains + Thinking About Color

Go Get Lost | Moscow Mountain, Moscow, IDAHO | All Rights Reserved Heather Woolery 2016

Go Get Lost | Moscow Mountain, Moscow, IDAHO | All Rights Reserved Heather Woolery 2016

Maybe its a cliche thing to do here in the beautiful PNW?  But there is something mentally revitalizing from filling your body up with delicious glazed carbs, too much cream creamy coffee and some fresh PNW air that does a soul so much damn good.  Not to mention it helps my wander prone soul to take a chill pill and get a mini fix.

There comes a point in the week for me, and I'm not sure if it's exactly at the crack of dawn on Monday or midway through Wednesday...but its the undying urge to go and get outside.  To climb something, trek something, and capture it with every form of film possible + not to mention bring my babes along.

Something I have found recently, is that I am so intimately aware of color when I'm outside. I'm aware of how the lighting is changing the color, and how the image will look if I edit it a certain way.  Color + lighting are constantly on my mind while I'm outdoors (even if there's no camera attached to my hand.)

Focus | Moscow Mountain, Moscow, IDAHO | All Rights Reserved Heather Woolery 2016

Focus | Moscow Mountain, Moscow, IDAHO | All Rights Reserved Heather Woolery 2016

The concept of color when it comes to my photography has been a constant struggle.  I love black and white photography.  End of story.  It's classic + crisp...it makes the viewer look at what is truly in the image.  However, color can be so powerful too!  I really faced this struggle while I've been working on the photos I took while in Guatemala...the culture, place, + people were so colorful...but the black + white photos made you REALLY look at the people which was really important to me.  So it was a 50/50 balance of what photos I kept color and which ones I chose to turn black + white.

But MOST photos I take of outdoors usually stay color.  Its an inner struggle that I'm not sure I want to confront just yet.  When I'm doodling, or playing with water color to just play hands on I am drawn to warmer colors like reds, oranges, and yellows but I also love me some Kelly Green's so my love for color is vast and strong in a lot of what I do.

While I was out on Moscow Mountain this past weekend, I gave my two own kids the same Fuji 35mm disposable cameras I had given my students this past week.  I told them the same guild lines as I had given my students...which was nothing.  Take pictures of what you deem beautiful, important to take pictures of and it became this wonderful morning adventure. There was hard lessons of not to take selfies with these cameras because you'll see blue and yellow dots, but there was also wonderful warm lessons of what my children found beautiful in the outdoor setting I myself was taking photos of.  I learned a lot from their small POV and I'm still channeling this in my note book to help me when I get all the cameras back from my other students I handed out last week.

In the pursuit of learning film + stitching it together I started filming my fam. tribes mini adventures and splicing them together into something tangible while also working on the little rocket ship project I started last week.  I've put them below so check um' out!

If you haven’t already follow all my adventures and creations both big and small on Instagram @heather_woolery + on Facebook: Adventure With Purpose
— https://www.facebook.com/adventurewpurposephoto/