I promised grandpa I'd dedicate my first book to him a long time ago. A blog was probably beyond his imagination but I dedicate Illuminous Flux to my grandfather, Richard Lane.

Through discussion with my friend and guru, Laura Salvati, we got to the root of why we both hate bios and were really dragging our feet about writing them.  They feel false, incomplete, cold, thin, formulaic, lacking dimension or any actual important or heart felt information.  And yet, they do have a purpose.  There needs to be some medium to attribute the content on the site and anchor it in real live people.  So we are doing it weird because thats who we are.  Every contributor will be listed on this page followed by bios written by people that know them.  Not so much a list of facts but rather a tribute to their voice and the value of their perspective and a peek at the wonder of who they are as people.  And of course pictures.

First and foremost I would like to thank my husband, Robert Snyder, who did everything technical on this website.  He has listened to all my ideas and visions and made my dreams come true.  Anything is possible.  He does this all the time.

all my love sweetness xoxo

all my love sweetness xoxo


Nora Snyder

with my girl

“Mary Cassatt’s portraits depict moments of tenderness between mother and child, establishing an importance to a relationship previously relegated to fringe obscurity. Jackie “Moms” Mabley’s stand-up comedy routines tackled issues of racism head-on, obliterating ignorance with sass and humor. Dorothea Lange’s photographs ignited apathy into action by visually capturing the intense struggle of children and families during the Great Depression. These women made their mark by doing something true to themselves that was new in the world, embodying Georgia O’Keeffe’s line, “I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me.” So it is with Nora Snyder’s Illuminous Flux. Whether in spoken conversation or online, Snyder speaks from a place of truth and authenticity, teasing out ideas and concepts for your consideration that you’ve likely never entertained before. Her commitment to honest talk about real topics grounded in daily life invites thoughtful reflection. One minute, you’re stunned, mulling over a profound parenting question she wrote or admiring Salvati’s gorgeous elephant sketch, and the next minute, you’re cackling with laughter about her self checkout experience, all with a feeling that you’re in it together, and that you want more of it, whatever “it” is. Nora Snyder and her husband live in the Finger Lakes region of New York State with their four children, a pond, some cherry trees, and a menagerie of pets. ”

“Nora has a way of looking at you that is exactly a gentle tug. You can not be gazed upon by that woman and not offer something up in return. She teases out your specialness whether you want her to or not. I had no idea how important her friendship would become during my third pregnancy and through the first year of my son’s life. Her welcoming, coaxing way was precisely what I needed. And she’s still at it! With Illuminous Flux, Nora will continue to pull our stories out of us and we’ll all be the better for it”

“Nora is incandescent.  Radiating warmth and compassion. Igniting passion and curiosity in those around her. Illuminating the joy, beauty, and sheer hilarity of the world.  Fearlessly (or fearfully) casting her light upon her own darkness. Questioning, observing and elevating the human experience through small moments. A harbinger of personal epiphanies. She is connection, gently bringing people to the things/words/people they need in that moment. Like luminous ether made flesh. ”

“What can I say about Nora?  She’s wacky.  She’s vivacious.  She’s warm.  Her writing is honest and open, pensive, engaging, and thought-provoking.  She’s always consciously connected to her awareness of life, and she’s not afraid to face the truth and let us take a peek into her world.  She makes me want to laugh and cry and feel right along with her.  Welcome to the ride. ”

“The inner light of Nora Synder is not readily seen. She is quiet and polite. She smiles when spoken to in this sweet demure sort of fashion. Yet, upon further inspection, there is a glint, a spark of strength that is like nothing I have ever felt.  She is a fierce mama that protects her cubs by letting them run free and stretch their wings. She sees the world in swirls of light instead of linear shades that are known to limit. My only wish is that she spoke more often, so we all can learn to see the world from the journey she walks.”


Laura Salvati

hey beautiful

“When Laura Salvati asks if you’re okay, you find yourself tearfully sharing about that baby you just served at the soup kitchen, even if you always keep those thoughts to yourself. When you go on a hike with Laura Salvati, you laugh about that potato chip story when you notice she’s suddenly taking a picture of a tree you’ve passed a million times and, No, you hadn’t ever noticed that strange, cool knot in the bark before. When you’re spelunking with Laura Salvati and your anxious daughter is paralyzed on the ladder, Laura’s encouragement actually coaxes your daughter to complete the descent. In one lap around the roller rink, Laura Salvati’s face goes from wide-eyed wonder swooning about maple sugaring, to a sympathetic wince when you slip, to a concentrated stare remembering the song lyrics, to a cheery smile as her daughter high-five’s you both while she whizzes by. Laura Salvati lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York State with her husband and their four children. ”

“Laura is a wonderful and unique human being.  She is a talented artist and photographer, a gifted writer a, a secret poet, and a voracious learner.  She is extremely perceptive and observant.  She likes to get down on the ground to watch the smallest things and high in the air to get a different perspective.  She has a brave and wild and irreverent side but also manages to be a rock, an anchor for so many.  She straddles both worlds beautifully.  She always knows exactly what you are trying to say.  She is always an appreciative audience for anything you share with her. The world needs more of Laura and her sweet, sweet smile.  It is an honor having her represented on these pages.”

Jennifer Schimmrich


“This is what I know of Jennifer.  Its not all inclusive, I’m pretty sure its only the tip of the iceberg.  But thats part of her charm, I always delight in discovering more about her.  She is quiet and reserved but with a subversive streak and a wicked sense of humor.  I am drawn in by her even though I’m not in her immediate circle because her interests and her intense private pursuit of them and keen appreciation for them.  She is smart, like scary smart, but totally approachable and generous.  And REAL.  Self-deprecating and modest and sweet but not THAT sweet.  A perfect amalgam of all good things.  Her drawings are so graceful and detailed, I am honored that she would consider sharing them here.  And if you want more, and you should, check out her art work on http://society6.com/search?product=prints&q=JoWoSo.”

“Jen Schimmrich (pronounced shim-ritch) prefers pencil as her art medium, which actually parallels a few things about her, personally. In the same way Jen’s pencil teases out three-dimensional depth and detail from paper, Jen brings thoughtful depth and detail to her conversations and dynamics with others. Jen’s art blends whimsy with structured features, in the same way her clever humor is informed by knowledge and experience. Jen’s drawings capture a moment in time, as if to engage the viewers’ curiosity and interest by inviting them to come up with a larger story around the image. Jen approaches the world in a similar way, from a place of openness, with curiosity and interest. She resides in the Hudson Valley region of New York State with her husband and their two children.”

Aryeal Jackson


“I have not known Aryeal for very long so this bio is far from all inclusive but Aryeal is the type of person that makes you feel like you’ve known eachother a long time. Aryeal is funny and outspoken in a very warm, compassionate way. You never feel outside of that big energy, you feel like part of it, fully welcome and appreciated. I am always happy to see her face because then its confirmed that whatever to come is going to be FUN. She is also the brave and articulate person who will say “this is wrong” or “this is how I feel” and really own it. Aryeal has a “can do” attitude, and she makes shit happen. Not many people encompass the vision, discussion, and the action arenas but Aryeal can. I want her on my team and I want to be on her team. Her writing is beautiful to read but also real and raw, again she’s got the spectrum going on. I am delighted to welcome her and her fantastic voice to Illuminous Flux.”

Lilly Murphy


It never fails to amaze me how a “kid” turns into a young adult right before your eyes, in just a matter of a few years! Lilly is a friend of my daughter Caroline. They both graduate from New Roots Charter School this year (2015) and I have had the privilege of getting to know Lilly in tenth through twelfth grades. She is smart and sweet and perceptive. And a wee bit snarky which is something that I appreciate and can identify with in a young girl. Lilly is someone you want to share your observations with. She is someone to go to for reality checks. She is someone you can share your thoughts with and not worry about sounding bitchy. She is loyal and protective. She sees beauty. I cherish her photography. I love to experience events through her perspective and the lens of her camera and join her in appreciation of people and nature and all the varied subjects of her work. This is just the beginning, I love being at the ground floor and cheering her on. Lilly has a blog of her work here, check it out and stay tuned in because this girl is going places: Lilly’s Photography

Teresa Mogil



“Teresa was one of my first Ithaca contacts and it was love at first sight (for me anyway). She is brilliant and funny as hell in this sly, quiet way that kills me every time. She is thoughtful, chooses her words carefully, and doesn’t draw conclusions too quickly. She has an even-ness and patience that is enviable. She keeps up with her sweet, spit-fire boys like a champ, showing them such tenderness and care that you just want to take her under your wing too. She is a gifted writer, photographer, knitter, and maker of things. Her blog http://livingithaca.com is a fantastic testament to her commitment to meaningful living and helping others. Many thanks to Teresa for sharing here on Illuminous Flux.”


Aileen Weintraub

“When I think of Aileen, I picture her in the share room of our CSA with her little curly headed boy at her side.  She is kind and re-assuring and she ushered me through Lyme disease twice (since I remembered her advice the second time).  She is part of my blur of toddler years as we kept reconnecting at various park dates, book clubs, mom nights out, community gatherings, and through the message boards of Hudson Valley Parents.  She has a twinkle in her eye, its impossible to not want to be “in” on her observations and the source of her infectious laugh.  She’s gutsy, present, and witty.  A brooklyn girl living in rural Ulster County.  A born storyteller with hopefully endless stories to tell in her  distinct, smart, and utterly relatable style.  Many thanks to Aileen for sharing here on Illuminous Flux, its truly an honor.”


Chris Lindhout

“I met Chris while traveling through Scotland over twenty years ago, and though we live on separate continents, we’ve remained good friends. He is a Dutch-based photographer whose work emphasizes nature and outdoor travel adventure. Through his lens, Chris has the ability to find uniqueness and beauty in small detail. His photography allows the viewer to peer into a world where even the ordinary shimmers. When Chris is not out exploring, he is working in his studio in a small village in the east Netherlands. Checkout his website http://placethatechoes.tumblr.com/archive  ”


Erica Chase Salerno 

- Hudson Valley Parents, http://hudsonvalleyparents.com
- Wyld Acres, http://wyldacres.com


” I’d been wracking my brain trying to come up with a description of Erica for a long time, so I consulted with a brilliant young lady (nope, not biased at all), my daughter Katrina. Katrina describes Erica as the woman with the flaming charisma. I could not agree more. She seems to know everyone, but more than that, she makes everyone feel good just by being near her. When you are speaking with her, you feel as if she really sees you. She is the most present, in the moment person I know. I am constantly astounded by the depth and breadth of her connections and knowledge. I know it must take work to pull everything together like she does, but she makes it seem so effortless. She seems a consummate juggler, smiling while keeping all those balls aloft. ”

“We don’t have anyone either!” Those were the first words I said to Erica while she was talking to another mom at Music Together. She was trying to compile a list of locals for support playdates and such that eventually morphed into HudsonValleyParents.com. The connections that we made (That many made) were because of her. Erica doesn’t say,”No”. Erica says, “How?” She is one of those people that makes things happen. Her curiosity, wonder and honesty are refreshing. The world is a better place because of her. I’m honored to call her my friend.

“Erica. Oh, man. There exists no more earnest, determined, open-minded, loving, ferocious, loving mama and friend on the planet. Be with her. Spend 10 minutes with her and you’ll crave the woman like most intoxicating vice you’ve ever had. There is a truth to her that is unmatched and that she is in my corner makes me feel like the cat who ate the canary.”

“I knew Erica before I ever met her. She is the founder of a parenting board called Hudson Valley Parents, which was my salvation time and again as I reached out to other mamas for advice, understanding, and new friendships. Erica is a dynamite in the Hudson Valley and our community is lucky to be graced by her amazing wit, her unique style, and her effervescent personality. She is someone you want to know and be around. She is a great organizer of both events and people, and her energy is contagious. Oh, and she’s a kick ass writer too.”

“Erica is one of the most engaged people I know.  Erica has an energy of positivity that she brings to everything.  She participates with all her being in life, in events in the community, in everything she does.  There is a curiosity about her that seems unquenchable, as if the reservoir of her knowledge will always need a little more, please.  Ever capable. Ever connected.  Ever sensible, yet ever fun.  Erica.  She has a playfulness about her aura that is almost tangible.  It might be the spiky hair.  It might be the infectious smile.  It might be the fact that she never holds back, and when she does something, she’s all in.  She’s always willing to help someone in need, and she’s always listening.  Whether it’s gathering toys for a family in need during the holidays, or giving a shout out for a local business, to know Erica is to have a finger on the pulse of the community.  Erica doesn’t just live in the Hudson Valley with her family.  Erica IS the Hudson Valley.”

Janie and Camryn Richmond-Lauffer
Janie and Camryn

“Janie and Camyn are the dear daughters of my friends and fellow homeschoolers John and Johanna from Red Hook NY. We’ve enjoyed their company so much throughout the years- Valentine’s parties, egg drop experiments, art classes, leprechaun traps, movie birthdays, and farm field trips. I’ve always been drawn to the girls’ personalities and fervent pursuit of self-expression and creativity. As they’ve matured, their art and photography and crafts have developed right along with them- they leave a sparkling trail of art footprints behind them. I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to keep in touch throughout the years and to include their work on Illuminous Flux.”

“Janie loves to sketch and create cartoons featuring dogs. She enjoys writing poetry as well and would like to create inspirational art posters for facilities that help children and teens who are struggling with mental health and self-esteem issues. Her message: Things really do get better. Love yourself and know you are beautiful just as you are! She is 14.”

“Camryn has done fundraisers and promotional videos for our local rescue organization, Perfect Pets, Inc. She loves photography, art, coming up with new craft ideas, creative writing, psychology and science. She particularly loves photographing nature but would like to use her photography skills to help shelter animals find homes. She is 12, 13 the end of this month. She is currently running a DIY club at the Red Hook Library.”

Grady Kane Horrigan
Please see Grady’s July show at the Mohonk Mountain House Barn Museum Gallery!

“When asked to share highlights from the day, Grady Kane-Horrigan will probably say something about the afternoon light on the trees. When he offhandedly comments that his name already sounds like Travolta mispronounced it, you snort out loud. Grady has a way of making the ownership of six cats seem normal. Mentions of his wife are consistently infused with deep love and pride. Grady laughs heartily at your family anecdotes, but his own stories about each of their three boys are way more hilarious. At some point you realize Grady’s a visual artist, but you kind of have to badger him incessantly to actually see anything. Writing matters so much to Grady that he helped me see how take it more seriously in myself.”

“I met Grady originally through the Hudson Valley Parents online community, with many subsequent connections through community events, birthday parties, homeschooling stuff, pet sitting, and lego club but really, I feel like I *know* Grady through his words. His sharp observations and spot on sense of humor, his poignant realizations, his sensitive and unguarded moments, his connections with his wife and three boys..these are the words that always got my attention. And always made me feel like I wanted to hear more. He’s real and he’s honest and I blush with his every support and compliment on this blog. I’m absolutely thrilled that he’s represented here on IF.”

Yael Saar
Self Kindness teacher and the founder/keeper of Mama’s Comfort Camp, an online safe haven and support network for mothers all over the world

“Yael Saar is the founder and keeper of Mamas Comfort Camp, an online support space for mamas that focuses on emotional support for the sticky moments in motherhood when you don’t need advice, you just need to be heard. What does that mean? It means that through her creativity and beautifully unique perspective on the world she has carved out a space for over 1400 women all over the globe to go, and climb into and feel heard and loved. And everyday she holds that space. She guards the door with love and poetry. Because in a world where the easiest thing to do is point and judge, she, with words and understanding says we are so much bigger and better than that. Women should move and grow together. Not against each other. And in that space we all become freer to be our true selves. Our best selves. Because when the mamas are happy. The world is happy.”

“Ah, let me count the ways…I love her bravery, her vision, her drive, her compassion, and her tireless commitment. Yael is truly a teacher and one that I was meant to connect with, she has taught me so much in such a short time. And delightfully, in addition to that solid and strong public face I’ve been privileged to experience the “behind the scenes” Yael. Full of mischievous laughter, a vulnerable tenderness, and and whimsical poetic soul. Her work, in all its breadth and brilliance, is a perfect reflection of her self.”

Pamela Willett

“Pamela is like a gift that keeps on giving. The more you find out, the more you love. And the more you respect. And the more you appreciate. And the more you want! When I get to talk to Pamela I find myself leaning forward. I have to remind myself not to interrogate her because I am so fucking intrigued by what she thinks and how she does things. Under that quiet and serene demeanor, there is SO much going on. Her thoughtfulness and her spark and her articulateness bring this richness to the surface but I have lean in. I love that I have that relationship with her. Everybody needs a Pamela in their life- to think differently, do differently, report honestly, and hold space for kindness and understanding. She is the world’s mother. She makes family.”

Doug Motel
Please visit dougmotel.com to find out more about Doug’s work and check out Doug’s new book TODDLER WISDOM: Five Powerful Things You Can Learn From Watching 2-Year-Olds.”

“From the calcium that makes our teeth white, to the iron that makes our blood red, we are right now, the Universe, that is alive with intelligence. We are the very universe that can look at itself and change itself.” I feel invigorated by this quote from Doug Motel’s one-man show, StarDUST: Adventures in Consciousness, and Doug personifies this concept of mindfulness and evolution throughout his own life. He creates wherever he goes! Doug’s playful connectedness makes it easy and enjoyable to spend time with him, whether sitting around a campfire at our children’s Wild Earth wilderness program, or watching countless characters emerge from his solo play, Shiva Arms, or listening to his performance of original songs like Unchained or spirit-filled covers like Dylan’s Forever Young. Being in Doug’s presence invokes a feeling of expansiveness and possibility, and his unabashed love for his wife and daughter inspire authenticity and closeness in my own relationships.”

“Actor, author, storyteller, business owner, etc. etc…..Those are many of the titles attached to Doug Motel. When I met him I knew none of those names. The names I knew were husband and father. Those are the 2 things I associate with Doug and if I knew nothing else about him just knowing those two things would be enough. A true parent, involved in helping his daughter create and build her life no matter what road this journey may take. A husband, that still lights up when his wife walks into a room. It’s almost as if everyone else disappears in his eyes except for her. Those are the things I think of when I think of Doug. Creative, observant, fun, loving and happy.”

“I first met Doug when he came to a food pantry meeting offering to donate a portion of the proceeds from his show StarDUST taking place at the Rosendale Theatre. I could stop writing here because this pretty much shows the kind of man Doug is, generous and sincere with an easy smile and such a good sport about our teasing and questioning about his name- Is that a stage name? Is there an actual motel? He has since become a talent and a person that I always like to keep tabs on. Meeting his wife and daughter in passing and hearing/watching Doug appreciate them and support them in his open hearted way is inspirational and I am sure this is great deal of the font where his creativity originates. Thank you Doug for showing your work on Illuminous Flux.”

Michele O’Brien

“Michele OBrien will take your cherry stem of an idea, slip it into her mouth, and spit back out to you a double knot of expansion or destruction of your original thought. While she waits for you to catch up, she’ll sip coolly on a Bacardi, glancing over her sunglasses and smiling at her husband splashing in the pool with their three incredible kids. As fire burns away gold’s impurities, Michele annihilates the nonessential in her experience of truth, from debating the merits of the ABLE act to providing compassionate care to a scared and exhausted teen mom on the labor and delivery floor. She has absolutely no idea how cool she is, and I hope you are lucky enough to be one of the lives in the world she touches.

“When I think of Michele, I think of strength and grit and vulnerability and compassion. She is so many things and has so many layers that even though we are close and I feel so strongly about her, I have difficulty writing this. She’s huggable yet untouchable. Her writing is a blessing to the world, a window into such a rich life with such a unique voice. With her every post, I look forward to what she puts her pen to next. Check out her blog “Real Is Good” and do it Michele style with a glass of malbec and a roaring fire.”

Milena Milani Barrett
Honor You Identity, Fulfill Your Dreams, and Reignite Your Passion with Milena on her blog http://beyourbestmom.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeYourBestMom
Twitter: https://twitter.com/barrettboys

“Milena and I don’t know eachother that well. I feel like I know her more through Erica, who always has nice things to say about Milena and her family. Her blog, Be Your Best Mom, has given me glimpses of Milena’s relationship with her husband and the lives of her sweet boys. She has always been on the periphery of the special needs and homeschooling community, so I’ve always felt a connection with her. I have so much respect for what she’s done with Be Your Best Mom and in fact she was only one of maybe three bloggers I knew before launching my own. I consider her a groundbreaker and an inspiration. But I always knew that beyond the reviews and giveaways, she had a lot to offer in a soul way. Ever since her piece about her son’s school bus troubles, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to get closer to Milena.”

© 2014 - 2016 Nora Snyder, Ithaca, NY. Contact: nsnyder9@yahoo.com
For problems, questions, or concerns with the site, contact: robscary@gmail.com