Getting To Know The Dead

by Richard Furleigh

“There’s two types of people in my life, those who I knew before Alyssa passed away, and those who never knew her.” – Kenneth Burleigh, father-in-law

Sadly, I fall into that second category. For those of you who may not know, Kristen had a sister, Alyssa. The car accident that took her life was on May 24th, 2009, and this reoccurring date along with her birthday are always an interesting time for me. I feel such a deep sympathy for Kristen and the Burleigh family, losing a family member is never easy, but at such a young age hits so much harder.

Her death at a young age also meant that, even though I met Kristen in college, I have never met her sister.

This person, who was such an intertwined part of my wife’s life, is someone I can never meet. It is an interesting thing that for someone I haven’t met, I can feel the impact she had on those around me. I hear stories of the fights Alyssa and my wife had about clothes when they were younger, hear the family recall working with her at Gone Bananas with them, and watch videos of her with my wife. There is a person who may no longer be here physically but still has a presence in Kristen’s, and in turn my, life.

In the beginning there was a detachment from it, the rituals that happen every year: balloon release, throwing flowers in the river. Over time they have started to mean more to me, and I think that is in no small part to the feeling that I, in some small way, have been getting to know her, the life she led. There is a delight now that I get in watching Adriana’s face light up as she begins to tell a story about Alyssa, or the way Kristen rolls her eyes in response to something Alyssa did years ago, or bringing our little star pouch with some of her ashes in it with us when we travel and leaving some wherever we go. Big and small these things have helped me come to terms with one of the oddest things I have ever attempted to wrap my head around; getting to know a dead person.

It would have been wonderful to have been able to meet her, to see if the stories live up, and to see what sort of relationship my wife and she would have had together. While that will never happen, I am extremely grateful and inspired by the people who loved her most, carrying on her spirit with them. It has allowed me some sense of who Alyssa was in such a peculiar situation.

For those who may know someone who has a similar situation I encourage you to not shy away from discussions about the departed, but to get to know them much in the same way I have learned to get to know Alyssa over the years. It can feel very odd and awkward at first, but there is a very real connection to be had to those people, and those that are telling you their stories will almost always appreciate a chance to relive the fond memories they have with them. Because it seems to me that those who may not be here physically still live on within those they have touched. Until next time Pengminions I leave you with Kristen’s rendition of Cam’s “Village” adapted in Alyssa’s memory.


Alyssa Was Here!

alyssaIn the spirit of sharing more YOU, I thought I would share a song with you all that I changed some of the lyrics to. For those of you that do not know, my little sister, Alyssa, died in a car accident at the age of only 14 in 2009. It is one of those things you don’t really think about until it happens. For me especially, I was the older sibling and we were both so young, death would come for me most certainly before her, so I never imagined out living her/living without her.

The call I got from my dad that day was and could possibly be the shittiest phone call I ever receive. I was living 9 hours from home at the time and was asleep when he called. At the time my dad never really called often so him calling so late was weird. I still remember, in a sleepy fog, the rush of thoughts that came flooding in as he started to talk. It is amazing how fast our brains can move. He was quick and direct which is the kindest anyone could ask for in that situation. I was on the next flight home. I didn’t know what or how to think about everything and the tears just wouldn’t stop. After the initial shock, as time kept moving as it does, my thoughts and feelings seemed to settle on the frame of mind that yes she is physically gone but I and everyone she ever encountered that are still here she is a part of us; she lives on in the lives that we live.

Which brings me to this song. The original song is by the country artist Cam and the song is called Village. She wrote this song to her little sister telling her what she would want her to remember if she ever died. It was inspired by the death of a best friend’s older brother who was like an older brother to her also. When I first heard the song I simultaneously fell in love with it and hated it. I hated it because it didn’t reflect my reality. I am not the one who is gone so it didn’t sit right with me the way it was written but the message of everyone we know living on inside of us fills me up! So I rewrote the song and recorded it for those who miss her and need a reminder that though she is not here; she is still here. As the song says, “The world outside seems different” and it definitely is but I think we can bring her on our journey and allow her imprint on our heart to be shared with others in choosing to live our lives well.

Here is my version of the song Village you can listen to and the lyrics below.
Hey there, don’t you dare believe them
She’d never leave us alone
I’d been watching over her like older siblings do
Since the day she was born
I know it feels like She’s been left behind
But She’s still around

‘Cause each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And she’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope its a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well

Streets lined with cottages and cabins
The skies are always blue
She spends her days with ghosts who all love us the most
But no one quite like she does
And there’ll be days we need her by our side
And that’s alright

‘Cause each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And she’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope it’s a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well

Oh man, the world outside seems different
But one thing will never change
She knows who we’ve been and who we’ll become
And Alyssa is here with us always

‘Cause each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And She’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope it’s a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well

Each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And she’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope it’s a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well
And She knows we’ll live our lives well

I hope my sharing all this encourages you to live your life to the fullest with the time you have on this Earth, whether or not you have lost someone dear our time is limited and we never know how. Maybe it even inspires you to spend more quality time with those that matter to you. The comments are yours to share what you wish; we love hearing from you. Til next time Pengminions!

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Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

YOU Can Be the Key to Innovation

It is not always easy to be different but it

is important to embrace your different. No one has your exact story or your experiences in life. You should bring those with you on any project or any job that you do. You have a unique story so don’t forget to utilize your differences to bring something new to the table no matter what you do. We are all different but our experiences aren’t so far removed from someone else’s that they aren’t relatable on some level.

You could also be bringing a perspective that a particular group had not thought of, based on their individual histories, but would be important in order to reach more people or create a better idea overall depending on what you are pursuing. Innovation cannot happen without a ‘different’ thought.

Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products…”

You have to be willing to put yourself out there in order to help the collective. No one can share your story but you. No one knows your perspective if you do not share it with them. This can be in art, business, relationships, ect. In art, theatrical arts for me, we are story tellers. If we are not willing to give of ourselves the stories fall flat and become a hollow shell of the power that they could have had. Or we could miss out on creating the next Hamilton because we were unwilling to share our unconventional ideas. In business, that new product or service may never be thought up if we are not willing to change things up or share our experiences. In relationships, with any and all people we encounter, we could be missing out on new or deeper connections.

I know we talk about innovation in terms of business often but really I think the opportunity to innovate in all aspects of your life is endless and we are the key if we are willing to put ourselves out there and share who we are. I challenge you to stop doing all you can to blend in and not makes waves; MAKE WAVES and share your thoughts. Where do you plan to start sharing more of YOU? Let us know down in the comments. We love hearing from you. Til next time Pengminions!

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Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

Let’s talk internet security

-by Richard Furleigh

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Furleigh post for breaking news that may help our friends and those out there in the internet world. We want your online presence secured so I felt this important to share.

It could just be me, but if your Facebook feed looks anything like mine you may have seen a whole lot of “I got hacked!” posts or gotten some rather interesting messages from people you know. No, they aren’t in trouble overseas, nor is anyone royalty, and those incomplete links you got in your messages do go somewhere but it’s probably best if you don’t know where.There’s a lot of info out there as the reasons how these things become compromised so what we’ll be discussing today is a few basics and what to do when (not if) you become compromised and ways to help mitigate the damage.

Through social engineering, phishing, and monitoring unsecured wifi connections getting your online passwords has gotten easier and easier. Depending on what is compromised this can lead to a cascade effect of exposed accounts depending on the sophistication of the attack. Example: Your Facebook gets hacked. Well your facebook has your email address attached to it, so they try that password/email combination around trying to get in where they can. If they get in somewhere they will check that new account that was breached looking for more accounts, passwords, and eventually the motherlode of banking info, credit cards, and E-pay.

The problem is most people have only one or two passwords for everything, which creates obvious security issues. So how do you secure your info online without driving yourself crazy with a million passwords? Below is a short list that I use that has simplified it for me. Have a unique password for each one of these things will create enough seperation to mitigate damage should something happen.

  1. All Gmail accounts (can use the same one across all accounts since Google is very secure)
  2. Banks (a unique password for each one)
  3. Credit Cards (a unique password for each one)
  4. E-pay: Pay Pal, Amazon, Apple Pay, etc… (a unique password for each one is recomended, though you could use the same one for all of these options since they tend to have high and similar security measures.)
  5. Other e-mail accounts (depends? I recommend unique one if you use it for bills or anything personal. Also Yahoo’s security is garbage so if you use them have a unique one for them)
  6. Social Media (here you can use the same one across all your media, just know if one gets hacked you have to change them all)
  7. Forums, music streaming, other (least secure, and least important. Can have same password for all these since they contain relatively little secure/personal information. Want my 8Tracks listening history? I don’t care.)

If you get hacked: change the appropriate passwords IMMEDIATELY. Keep an eye on your other accounts for suspicious activity.

You can also help prevent these things from happening to begin with by setting up two step account verification. Available on most secure websites (Google, Apple, etc…) two step verification requires you to authorize any new login via your cell phone or a currently signed in device so that even if they have the right password they can’t get in.

Hope that sheds a little light onto an often murky topic. This is by no means an exhaustive list but should be a good start. If you have any tips for others I would love for you to help out where you can since I’m no expert, and if you have any other questions I’ll see what I can do to help! Let us know down below. Stay safe while surfing, until next time Pengminions!

Follow us on
Twitter: @findingfurleigh & @richardfurleigh
Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

Finding Furleigh: It’s more than a blog!

~Kristen Furleigh

In my previous blog I talked about Furleigh and how it came about. Since changing our name, which if you would like to learn about our process in changing our name please message us we would be glad to share with you, it has been an interesting journey. Come to find out taking a new name and making it your own is no easy feat. Especially for two who never thought they would go by anything other than who they were named at birth.

Finding Furleigh epitomises that for us as a trifecta: it’s a journey in finding who we are as individuals, who we are together, and where you can find us along the way. Whether it be in our everyday lives or off on another travel adventure we hope to encourage you to join us on our exploration of ourselves and this vast world. It is an ever evolving process that never ends as we grow and change over time. Our goal is to continue to hold each other accountable to this continuous work.

I caught myself just the other day writing Burleigh when filling out paperwork and it’s been almost three years since we changed our names! It is easy to fall back into old habits especially when you have held them for a long time. Writing the wrong name is trivial it is true, but falling back into the old and comfortable and staying there doesn’t facilitate long term growth. It takes making a correction even if in another direction entirely to find where you need to go. Exploration is key and that takes action, it takes doing, and it takes accepting failure along the way. Sometimes mistakes can give us just the fuel we need to keep pushing forward.

What our name does for us is it helps guide us. We found Furleigh and we will continue to find Furleigh as we explore the meaning and how it may change as we continue our lifelong journey. What guides you? Share with us your inspiration and your motivation. Let’s keep each other accountable! Til next time Pengminions! 

Keep up with us @findingfurleigh on Twitter & Instagram!

Hiatus….No More!


We are back…again! It seems we had fallen off the face of the earth but in truth that is not true. In fact we had fallen into a deep, dark routine of work. Our serving job had us working some variation of overtime each week at a nice lil tex-mex place in La Porte,  TX  for about 3 months and that was our focus.  For disappearing during that time I apologize. While we were away we did find some time for a few adventures like The Big Thicket, NASA, and wake boarding!

We are currently, as of today, back on the road. Heading up to Ohio to help out the penguy’s grandma to Chicago to pick up our things to Texas before the MOVE in November. Along the way we plan on a few stops during our road trip(s)….come along with us? 🙂

Til tomorrow pengminions..gotta set up camp!

The Day has Come and Gone….

We had such a wonderful day full of hard work, love, laughter, tears,
and the start to another unforgettable adventure.
Without further ado we present to you….
Pictures in the form of song!

Our Day we share with you…Enjoy!
The Furleighs

What is this about Pre-marriaging?

I am back again for a second time this week with…

More things all coupley:
Almost a whole week after our engagement shoot we spent 8 hours of a Saturday engrossed in Pre-Marriaging!!!
Something cool you soon to be married people/or those of you no where near engaged can keep in your back pocket for the future if you ever end up going down that aisle. (like “going down that road”, get it???) Anyway, the point being we were going to do most of our premarriage things on our own and they are going smoothly but when searching for information on a marriage license I stumbled upon this site where in the Houston area if you take this 8 hour course you get a certificate to waive the 72 hr wait period and for $60 off of your license!!?!?!? And we thought even if this is teeeerrrrrriibbblllleee we can basically get paper married for FREE! So we went in HOPING it would not be too this or too that and it was PERFECT! It was the complete opposite of a stale, stuffy, over rehearsed, book class. They had the most REAL couple leading the discussion for the day. They were well versed in their curriculum and used their own life as examples, the good and the bad, while also having us interact with them, each other, and the group.

The focus for the day was on Communication. Many of the skills learned can be applied in life period but there were a few things we took away that I think were absolutely wonderful when resolving conflict within relationships. Some things we already did but it was nice to have an outside perspective and something with a little bit clearer of a picture  that we can build on things we already do. They did not preach “this is how things are supposed to be done,” there was no shaming or finger pointing but helping by giving tools to use within each unique relationship and perhaps insight into things that may not have been thought about before. Every relationship is different and there is no cookie cutter way for navigating them. One thing that they said, I have known, and cannot say enough is that relationships are WORK and you both must always be investing in it for it to grow and be rewarding for you day after day.

There is so much more detail that I could put into this for you, so if you want to know more about the group class or want to know about the specific tools we learned don’t hesitate to reach out to us we would love to share with you!

Enjoy the rest of your day Pengminions! We look forward to next time.

Peace, love, and happiness,
Kristen Burleigh

PS: Invites are out…don’t forget your RSVP for April 12, 2014!!!!

And we may have worn our custom jerseys ;P


The ever delicate balance of relationships

Hello once more pengminions!

The larger of the two penguins, Richard (in case you’ve never actually looked at our photos) here with an issue that anyone in relationships hear and deal with on a regular basis.

Fairness, especially when it comes to relationships is a delicate topic for sure. Everyone wants to feel like they are being listened to and that they aren’t the only one putting forth effort into keeping the relationship running smoothly. Now, within the confines of any relationship these things always fluctuate one way or the other. Both in terms of who among the partners is taking the lead on any one issue or feels more adamant about a topic, and also how issues are reacted to and dealt with. Now no two people are the same, so no relationship will function exactly the same as any other. One week someone might be giving a little more of their time, understanding, or patience when dealing with their partner, and over the next couple weeks they themselves may need a little more of a delicate touch because of difficulties they are having with work, or their family, or anything else.

What I have come to discover more and more is that it isn’t always about being right, or needing to get your way all the time. It’s not the small issues that make up who you are. Let those go! If they want to buy an extra bag of chips when shopping or spends a little more time than you would like playing a game or on a particular web site try not to let it bother you. If it’s not affecting your overall relationship, how you function together, your communication, and as long as it’s not turning the other person into a complete sedentary slob, then have a little understanding. If all you do is bog yourself down in the tiny details of your life and relationship it becomes all too easy to lose sight of the big picture, to stop enjoying your life and relationship. Now in the same breath I’m not saying that you should ever feel like you’re being walked over all the time. Just as you should strive to be compassionate and truly listen, it is your partners responsibility to do the same thing for you. To let small things go and to make sure you feel as though your thoughts, feelings, and concerns are being respected as well. In a way, that is the key to making sure things are balanced, by simply discussing it. Having an open line of communication, letting your partner know your reservations and if you feel as though your feelings aren’t being given their proper credence is the pure and simplest way to make sure that you are feeling like an active participant and not just a passenger being drug along.

In the same vein of being an equal partner across a relationship I find myself not so secretly hating a particular phrase I’ve heard repeatedly since we’ve begun planning for our soiree reception.

The day is all about her!

Growing up in a society where this is a generally accepted truth makes for an interesting idea to fight against. In a world where little girls are supposed to grow up and think about their dream wedding and what dress they want and vows at sunset and… and……. and………. Where little boys are more concerned with, bugs, or something. For me however, looking at this screams as an exceptionally unfair situation. In a ceremony where two people are joining together as one for the rest of their lives in this mortal coil, it should be both of their days. Neither one of them should lord over the decisions and proceedings of the day. If you have been married then you likely know the massive undertaking that is putting together a wedding and reception. For those of you who haven’t let me assure you it is a gargantuan undertaking to iron out the thousand little details of when, where, food, music, clothes, etc… These details are compounded even further when you are in charge of making all the decorations, invitations, flower arrangements, food, and more yourself instead of paying to have it done for you (yay having a minuscule budget!).

This single event, the exchange of vows and the celebration after, is a kick start into the rest of your lives. It is a gateway for how the two of you will spend the rest of eternity together, and for one person to exert their influence over the other is something that I simply abhor. It is all a partnership, and in this case, with Kristen, I feel as though I care just as much about the tiny details, like which plate we will place with which napkin, as she does. We want to put on the best event we can and so only by working together to make our joint vision come true will we both be happy with the outcome. The more we enjoy the process of it, the more it will show through our work in a way that will make the whole day shine. So in this way, it will not be her day. It will always be our day

Well I will leave you with that for now pengminions as I step down off my soapbox. Hope you have a great week coming up, and make sure to check out my “shameless self promotion plug” this week and look at our What is Steampunk page for a brief discription and a link to our Pintrest page where you can get some inspiration for your outfit!

Until next time my friends! Keep sliding!

Richard F

Hello There! ;)


I am super excited. (I: being me, Kristen, the she of the penguin couple.) Alright now that that is out of the way….
I have soooo much to share with you all. Man, would I love to post shorter blogs much more frequently. (Your encouragement would be greatly appreciated).

So to back track a little bit… About 3 and a half weeks ago the two of us set off on a road trip. Leaving behind our beloved PARenFaire and wonderful friends. As we left the state of Pennsylvania we beat the snow as we headed for our first stop on our Grand Cross Country Adventure, Chicago, but when we got there we caught the first of it’s cold weather of the season. That being the case I was reminded of why the Windy City just might not be for me (it’s cold + Windy = 😥 Kristen face). We spent the next couple days with one of our Favorite Chicago couples, who most graciously invited us into their home. We used some of the time in the City to head to our storage unit and exchange/pick up some things we thought would be most useful to us with the upcoming Soiree in Texas. It did not take us nearly as long as I had thought it would considering how tetris like the storage and our lime kia soul (Hamlet) was packed. We also went to visit one of my favorite Chi~town places and former place of employment, The Second City, where I was able to catch up with more friendly faces and see the FREE improv set that the cast does every night (except fridays) after the paid show performance (great spontaneous after dinner date, js). Too soon it seemed we left the City of our first home together headed West bound.
My family lives there and we had some important things to be there for also some major hanging out to do!
The drive was a loooong one:
We didn’t really have a set plan but just to drive, switch drivers, sleep, repeat. Except for Salt Lake City. Stopping there was a must since I – 80 takes us right beside The Great Salt Lake but it was also 20 hours away from Chicago. After making good headway about 14 hrs of driving and stops for gas and leg stretching we stopped at a busy truck stop in Nebraska (which along with Iowa are written off as been there, done that states and have no interest in going again…there was NOTHING!) to try and sleep the worst hours of the night for driving (between 1am and 6am) together and get to moving again right before daylight. Unfortunately, it was much colder than anticipated and after about 2 and a half hours I got too antsy in the space and just could not sleep anymore. We decided to just keep trekking along after about another hour that we used to get out of the car, browse around the gas station, and just regroup, wake up, and refresh ourselves for the next half of this leg.
This was our sunrise from that morning
Once we got into Wyoming there was much more to see as we drove.
It was our first encounter with mountains this trip and that was just the beginning! 😀
In a timely fashion we made it to the Great Salt Lake and of course that was our first stop! Image
Maybe later I will post a video of my encounter there 😉 Yay things to look forward to!!!
Then we made our way to the cheaply priced hotel we found for around $60: King size bed, free WiFi, breakfast, and hot tub!
We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Outback Steakhouse that we used a gift card to cheap that meal. On both sides of our booth there were interesting things happening. A woman dishing out her drama filled life story on what seemed to be a first~ish or so date behind Richard and a cute lil blonde boy that ended up starting a conversation with me over the seats.
On a large, comfy bed we hit the lights and rested up for what was luckily only a 7 hr drive + a must stop pit stop
The BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS! (they race really fast cars here)

and then on to our next, for a while destination, RENO!
To be continued……. my Pengminion friends!

Sooo much love to you all ❤
Kristen <(“)