Tag Archives: bozeman montana

When has a “Piece of Art” Touched Your Heart?

*Sometimes stories about how your art touches another are just too wonderful not to share. The following piece was summited by Rebecca Helms, a photographer from North Carolina. Thank you Rebecca! – Sarah Angst*



Hello, I am a photographer from North Carolina. I have spent the last 5 years working in Montana and North Carolina, six months at a time. During my months in Montana, I worked for Loneman Photography in Bozeman, photographing families and weddings. Owners Doug & Stana are art enthusiasts (as you would imagine) and during my first year working with them, they took me to the Emerson and other galleries during my off hours so I could get a feel for the culture of Bozeman and see some of Montana’s talented artists.

TART at the Emerson became one of my favorite places in Bozeman. I was fresh out of photography school – so suffice it to say, I had a very tight budget. When I first saw your piece called “Solitude”, it made my heart skip a beat and put hopeful tears of recognition in my eyes. I had never responded to anyone’s art so immediately. Instead of buying an original, I excitedly “settled” for 2 cards to frame… One for myself and one for my sister back home. We always bring each other a gift when we travel.

Rebecca Helms 4


“Solitude” symbolically represented both of our vastly different paths in life, me an artist and my sister a first responder. Both are paths that can be very fulfilling but, require a level of independence and stubborn determination to survive.

My family was raised in the south. It is a wonderful place filled with the aromas of peaches and pecans, porch swings filled with company and laughter, warm breezes, and rib breaking genuine hugs. However… it can still be a pressure filled place to marry and settle down.

When my Montana experience first began, I received lots of questions – steeped in loving concern and curiosity about why I was venturing off to Montana, alone, when I had no prior connections there. I was asked, “Why can’t you find a job here or just open up your own photography studio immediately and get down to business?” (I had gone through a similar scenario when I decided I was going back to photo school as soon as I finished my bachelors in environmental science.)

I pressed forward, regardless of the questions.

I couldn’t seem to explain that I was being drawn to Montana (I had been, since I was 14 years old!). I couldn’t explain this need to see the world – starting in Montana. This was going to be a dream fulfilled for me, a girl whose family had only traveled as far as Tennessee.

So I hugged my family goodbye, boarded my plane (first time flying alone!), to find myself a few hours later stepping off in Bozeman, Montana. I fell in love with it immediately. The people and town were wonderful and I got to travel much of the state with Doug & Stana while I worked. It was one of the best times of my life. Each year, for the next four years, I would buy a couple of your art cards to represented my time in Montana, and frame them to hang on my walls at home.

Rebecca Helms 2

Living the nomadic lifestyle was wonderful, but not financially sustainable for the long term. So I have come home to North Carolina to regroup, and I am sketching out a sensible plan that will help me accomplish the things that are important to me in life. It has not been easy, mentally. I miss Montana a lot. I haven’t found contentment in either place, but I am lucky to have tremendous friends and family who support me in both places and I am so grateful for them all.

Looking at your art on my walls reminds me of the places and people of Montana that I know and love while I am working on my next set of goals. It has been a year of interviews for new opportunities and dealing with the struggles of owning my own business. Your art adds a small piece of happiness to my day when I walk through my home.

Rebecca Helms 3

I wanted to share what I have done with your art, and say “Thank You.” I haven’t gotten to frame my cards from my final year out West – the Mountain Goat  (one was on the trail with me in Glacier last October) or the Fly Fisherman (my neighbor & surrogate grandfather taught me how to fly fish last year) –  yet – but they will be added to the wall collection. Each piece takes me mentally to a person and place in Montana that holds a special memory and place in my heart. They are ties to the past and hopes for the future.

Thank you for sharing your art – which means, sharing a piece of your heart.

Peek A Boo

*Blog Post Written by Rebecca Helms – www.beccahelms.blogspot.com


Filed under Guest Blog

A Wish & A Miracle


a miricle and a wish

Letting Go – A Wish and a Miracle

Life is crazy! Sometimes it throws in a twist so ironic that you can’t help but laugh, shake your head, and hold on for the ride.

My husband and I have struggled with infertility for more than 8 years. It was a roller coaster of doctors, injections, surgeries, emotional meltdowns, and years of hoping, praying, and waiting with no result. After trying everything, plus one failed attempt at IVF, we tried IVF a second time at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. It worked! After six years of trying to have a baby, I gave birth to our son Hayden in October of 2013.

He is now a happy, healthy two-year-old and I am now just a regular, happy, neurotic mother of a two-year-old. There is something about infertility that makes you think that if your wish for a baby ever does come true that you will be so grateful and none of the normal motherhood woes will ever enter your mind. That is not the case…at least not for me. Motherhood can be hard. It is a blessing and a gift, but even though you wanted it so badly there are moments after you get it that you wonder what you were thinking. It is also interesting that after all the struggle and emotional turmoil of infertility, once you have that baby a lot of those memories and feelings of despair just disappear.

When Hayden was about a year-and-a-half we still had one embryo left at CCRM and decided we were ready to try for a second child. My husband, Tim, and I have always wanted two children, so we decided to go through IVF in Denver again. Everything went smoothly, including my mother flying in from Canada to help with Hayden while I was on bedrest, and in March we found out we were pregnant.  I was incredibly nervous and anxious about the pregnancy and would analyze and agonize over every test and number. Things seemed to be going along well, until they weren’t. We had an ultrasound appointment when I was 10+ weeks along and they couldn’t find a heartbeat. No more baby, no more pregnancy, no more second child.

It was devastating. We decided to take the summer to think about things. Were we prepared to start the IVF process all over again from the very beginning? Could we handle it emotionally, physically, financially? As the summer went on I talked about it and saw a counselor about it. I thought about how blessed our lives were with a happy marriage, a happy, healthy son, and a career that I loved and was eager to find more time to focus on. Life was good. We were good. On a weekend trip to San Francisco to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary (our first trip away from Hayden) we decided we were done trying. We would be happy and grateful for what we had and now we could move on to the next chapter of life.

Days after we got home we were preparing to have some friends over for dinner. Hayden was refusing to nap and after I tried to put him down for the 4th time, I slumped to the floor outside his room exhausted. I was so tired I could barely move…was this what it was like to be 38 with a two-year-old? If so, I was screwed! My mind flashed to earlier that morning when I had sneezed and got a shooting pain in my abdomen. I was late too; I was supposed to start my cycle on our last day in San Francisco, but it had only been a few months since the miscarriage, so it could be off…right?

I called Tim who was at the grocery store. “How would you feel about buying a couple pregnancy tests?” I asked, along with the beer and wine he was buying for our dinner party. He got the test, and 20 minutes before our guests arrived, I found out that after 8 years of infertility with only 1 remaining fallopian tube and 4 days after officially deciding we would not be having any more children, I was pregnant.


I am still pregnant and due to have a baby girl in late May. How can this be? Why now? What crazy timing? It took me a little while to wrap my head around it. After months of convincing myself that one child was good, maybe even better, we could get on with life, we could travel more easily, I could focus on my artwork again, I was sleeping again! I am now excited we got pregnant, still a little nervous, but excited. Our wish for one child came true and now a miracle is giving us what we’ve always wanted, two children. Somehow we will figure it all out, there will be challenges I know, but it seems it was meant to be.

Dealing with infertility is so difficult, and I feel deeply for all those who are going through it. There is so much pressure to think positively, to not stress about it so much, to let it go, which is absolutely impossible to do in the midst of it. But there must be something to letting it go, to truly finding peace with whatever happens, and finding happiness in what you have. Shortly after finding out I was pregnant we were watching the 1996 movie Swingers and I was struck by the scene where the main character Mike is getting advice from his friend Rob about how he has to actually forget about his ex-girlfriend before she will want him back:

Mike: Okay, so what if I don’t want to give up on her?
Rob: You don’t call.
Mike: But you said I don’t call if I wanted to give up on her.
Rob: Right.
Mike: So I don’t call either way?
Rob: Right.
Mike: So what’s the difference?
Rob: There is no difference right now. See, Mike, the only difference between giving up and not giving up is if you take her back when she wants to come back. But you can’t do anything to make her want to come back. In fact, you can only do stuff to make her not want to come back.
Mike: So the only difference is if I forget about her or just pretend to forget about her?
Rob: Right.
Mike: Well that sucks.
Rob: Yeah, it sucks.
Mike: So it’s just like a retroactive decision, then? I mean I could, like, forget about her and then when she comes back make like I just pretended to forget about her?
Rob: Right. Although probably more likely the opposite.
Mike: What do you mean?
Rob: I mean at first you’re going to pretend to forget about her, you’ll not call her, I don’t know, whatever… but then eventually, you really will forget about her.
Mike: Well what if she comes back first?
Rob: Mmmm… see, that’s the thing, is somehow they know not to come back until you really forget.
Mike: There’s the rub.
Rob: There’s the rub.

And of course, once Mike finds another girl he really likes who’s also interested in him, his ex-girlfriend calls. This is not the first story you’ve heard about this, so there really must be something about letting go, about truly being at peace with not getting what you thought you wanted that then tells the universe to give it to you? These are the things that make you smile, shake your head, and hold on for the ride. It can take a long time to get there, but once you decide to let go you can find peace with any result.



Filed under Personal