barrel roof pergola kit

Photographing this barrel top timber frame pergola kit was a project I had so been looking forward to. I marveled how the arched barrel roof perfectly curved with the arch of the top window and kept the view. The deck, too, was designed to curve with rocks, both a masterwork well done.

While setting up my gear to take pictures, a beautiful, little girl bounced out to watch me. In all of her motions; from movements that felt somewhat like a choreographed dance to childish clumsy, she was delightful.

deck barrel pergola


Deck Stage w/Barrel Roof Pergola Cover

“This backyard was too hot to use during the day and now with this pergola we love it out here. We have had it for three years and we are out here all the time.” Rhett, the owner repeated gratefully throughout our conversations.

Rhett’s sweet daughter agreed with Daddy as she obediently went inside as he had instructed her to ready herself for bedtime.

At one point, before she had left her pergola cover deck stage she had joyously grabbed her ankle and raised her small barefoot to the side of her head, eliciting a smile.

Experiencing the pleasure of children in all their joy-filled ways is only natural but as I am inclined to be introverted what impressed me most was seeing her dance —without any inhibition in the presence of a stranger. 

Every Person We Meet

Every person we meet can teach us something about ourselves and help us to learn to improve ourselves as individuals. Being in the actual physically presence of a person —absorbing what they do or have to say— has potential to bring up something far deeper within you than is experienced from a video, or remote communications.

This thought hit me first and the deepest simply because it is the long held belief of people at Western Timber Frame™, that being in each other’s presence, face-to-face, brings people to a higher spiritual plane. If you have a moment, check out this powerful video of a study done with people looking directly into a stranger’s eyes for one minute. A few people are so emotionally affected they are moved to tears.


After this brief encounter I had these two predominate thoughts:

2. Dancing doesn’t have to involve complicated technique or footwork. It can be as easy as a spin, sway, or lift the foot above the head while balancing on the other foot. It is simply enjoying each step.

3. You don’t have to have permission or music to dance.

On the drive home I asked myself: “When was the last time you danced, carefree and having fun?”

When you were a baby you responded to music and danced before you even formed words. Dancing is an “innate part of being human.” says Brian Thomas, PH.D. “Children will readily clap, jump, and sway.” There are those who keep this momentum throughout their life. Others “grow up” and forget to keep dancing.

You Were Born to Dance

In the absence of any prompting, “babies are born to dance.” Research has also found, the more babies are able to synchronize to music, the more they smile.

As any exercise will, dancing stimulates and releases vital neurochemicals, such as dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin.

This lively, little girl inspired the best part of me to dance to the music inside my soul. Simply put, she challenged me to put a bit more heart into my daily habits.

grandmother baby shade pergola


I think of it like greeting a loved one after an 8 hour day of work as though I hadn’t seen them in 30 days. Most tiny kids have that kind of enthusiasm for others and do just that, every day. That’s why little kids are so much fun.

Just to clarify: NO, I wouldn’t do it quite like a kid does. I would be mortified to imagine an adult with that much energy coming at me. And yet, do those I love really experience gratitude for them and how valued they are?

It was a pleasure to visit with Rhett and to meet his little daughter and photograph their wonderful outdoor living space.  Since then, I have picked up a miniature trampoline —or re-bounder as some call it. This gives me an advantage of applying a little more effort –that fine line that turns ordinary into extraordinary— and enjoy a more energetic, enthusiastic me. Maybe not quite the same energy of a kid but it does give extra spring.

Health Activation

Motion, sunlight, and fresh air should be an integral part of our day for our health and mental well being. Listed here is a drop in the ocean, reminder, of the innumerable health activating benefits gained by an outdoor way of living.


Side Note: America’s first President, President George Washington loved to dance. He described dancing as “so agreeable and innocent an amusement.”

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Vivien Greene

“Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.” – Maya Angelou


Fresh air, the earth, sunshine and natural textures such as wood, increases dopamine and endorphin levels, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and refreshes the mind.


Enables you to breathe in more oxygen. It conditions your heart, lungs and muscles to function at a heightened level.


Being outside opens up your creative thought and problem solving skills. Your senses become more in tune to making new choices and ideas.


Being outdoors improves your circadian rhythm. This is the part of you that recognizes time, ensuring you get enough rest to perform at the highest level, while healing takes place.

There are other common practices that seem to naturally come to those who spend more time in the outdoors, especially connective conversations. Before television, radio and WIFI, telling stories were a common way people connected, gained wisdom, taught and entertained each other.

In some societies, if you go to a medicine person for anxiety or depression they questions such as: “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being captivated by a good story? When did you stop finding comfort in sweet silence?”

Questions to Ask Yourself


When was the last time you told or listened to a story?

When was the last time —even if you don’t think you can sing– you broke into song changing not just your emotional state but you physically felt better?

You may know this already but as an interesting addition as I just discovered it today: singing improves your posture.

When was the last time you calmed your racing thoughts, giving clarity to a sense of peace?

When was the last time (aside from regular exercise) you leapt, jumped, skipped, opened your arms and as some say: danced like no one is watching?

No matter how different our lifestyles may be, I hope if you read this far, you too, are inspired to deliberately put some livelier, rhythmic steps into your day.

wooden deck wedding

Get the Free Ultimate Pergola and Pavilion Guide