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As a young child, I was always creating.

I grew up on my family’s 40 acre ranch in Arizona, and without other kids nearby, I spent my days looking for natural treasure: white quartz and black mica. Green palo verde sticks that bifurcated to look like arrows. To me, they were all beautiful, and to my mother’s chagrin, they all made their way inside to my bedroom. Behind closed doors, I arranged and stacked and created beauty. Somehow, the ordinary desert looked magical indoors, especially when I added drops of water, and the dull sun-bleached rocks revealed their color in glimmering depth. It felt like the desert was sharing her secret with me: beauty in the unexpected, and potential in the overlooked.

This land that I was so fortunate to grow up on was my grandfather’s. After he helped develop the surrounding town in the 1950’s, his goal was to turn his personal property into a guest ranch, complete with gardens, livestock and citrus. He began, but health issues cut his time short. Nonetheless, this rural Arizona upbringing shaped me. It grounded me. It yielded perspective and taught me how to see hidden beauty and feel the unspoken. I left my desert home for Maryland 20 years ago, but the lessons of the desert never left me. I continued to look for quiet beauty in the everyday, and on weekends, took trips searching for that same overlooked potential in cast off items and vintage pieces.

Fast forward 10 years, and somehow, amidst the chaos of our swirling world, the silent call of the desert beaconed. Something inside me told me that it was time to go home and sprinkle water on those desert rocks again.

Twelve acres of my family’s 40-acre ranch remain. My children are the 4th generation of this land. Now, neglected citrus orchards lay dormant, sun-baked horse stalls splinter in the sun, and a rusting windmill sits chained. My goal is to breathe life back into the ranch and transform it into a place that the community can enjoy; Continue the story that my grandfather started 70 years ago. Plant new trees, bring back the animals, and maybe, just maybe, with a little care, bloom flowers in the desert.

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