Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for wednesdays}

Last week one of my kids was off school for Monday and Tuesday and then the other one was off on Thursday and Friday.  This week we are on Spring Break.  The laundry is mounting, my bathrooms need to be cleaned, every time I move something downstairs the air is filled with dancing dust, and I am not sure of the last time I mopped my floors.  (Does that entice you to want to come to my house??)

I know I need to do some house work and some editing and take my kids somewhere exciting during spring break and go grocery shopping and, and, and....However, when a friend called to see if we were available on Monday, I told her to come on over.


She and her daughter came over mid-morning and our girls (who are 8 years apart) played and played.  We had lunch together, laughed together and most importantly had dessert together!  The girls continued to play through the rainy afternoon while we chatted over hot cups of tea and hot chocolate.  Plus, you know it is a good friend when you can start doing your laundry and she will help you fold it (and not be offended when she has to move it over in order to be able to sit on the couch!)  They ended up staying for dinner - actually cooking it for us - and left around bedtime that night.


After they left, I went to my desk and a bolt of panic went through me...something told me I hadn't really gotten anything done that day.  I should answer emails or edit pictures, or all of the above!!   But then I looked over at the pile of dirty dishes in my sink and remembered the day.   I realized some days should not be measured by "productivity"...but by the blessings, laughter and friendship they bring into your life (and maybe the amount of dishes they leave in your sink)!

 If I make that my standard, then it was a wonderfully good day indeed!!

"Breath, smile, and go slowly."  - Thich Nhat Hahn

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

...And Now for the Rest of the Pictures {Tacoma Senior Photography}

I photographed Ashley a few weeks back, but during our session we had a little foot injury.  The foot has mostly healed and we had a sunny day, so....here are some images of a gorgeous senior girl!!










I had a great time with you (again!), Ashley!!  Hope the rest of your senior year is AMAZING!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Little Ones: Chloe {Tacoma Baby Photography}

I was reading yesterday about a sweet tradition.  In Northern China, the birth of a child is celebrated with a Bia Jia Bei, or "100 Good Wishes Quilt".  Originally, the newborn's friends and family contributed the cloth for the quilt along with their words of good wishes.  

I like the idea of speaking sweet words to our children from a young age.  I am sure that Chloe has lots of Good Wishes from her family, but I thought I'd add a few of my own...to adorn these beautiful pictures of this beautiful girl!!

{love...dream...play...joy...fortune...strength...courage...laughter...rest...energy...passion}


Chloe's grandmother made this quilt for her, which I'm sure comes with a million good wishes...not to mention 10 million kisses and hugs!!
{family...traditions...loyalty...hope...vision...grace...faith...lots of color...fun...brilliance}


Chloe's dad has this great tattoo!!  It is actually his wife's family crest.  How appropriate...he has been marked by his wife's love and together they created this new little life!!
{the feel of being scooped up and safe in dad's arms...held tightly...knowing you are daddy's little princess}


{holding hands...giggling...sharing secrets...all with mom....knowing she is one of your biggest fans}


{time to just hang out...good friends...safety}

{solid ground to walk on....straight paths on your journey of life...the feel of grass between your toes}

{a strong sense of who you are...a community of people around you to uphold you}


{kisses...kisses...and more kisses}

{the knowledge of being loved just the way you are...believing you are beautiful}

These are my many wishes for you, sweet Chloe!!  However I have one more...{SLEEP} so mom gets some rest too!!

I had a wonderful time with you Z family!!  Many wishes are sent your way too!!




Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for wednesdays}

Inspire and Encourage...Breath and Heart.  To put breath and heart into someone (who may be unable on their own) takes intention, consistency and a louder voice than anything else around.



This last weekend we got to travel with our daughter's volleyball team to a tournament in Spokane.  It was a HUGE tournament and our team is...well...let's just say we are up-and-coming but not really great yet.  I didn't expect much but thought it would be a good chance for the girls to get better individually and as a team.  Plus, I assumed it would be a good time to connect with other parents.


What ensued on the first day of play was nothing less than a slaughter of our team.  We played horribly, the girls didn't communicate with each other, and I watched the morale become the consistency of mud with each mistake made and point lost.  The girls were frustrated and the voices in their heads of "failure", "mistake" and  "I should have..." knocked the wind out of them and stomped on their heart.

Breath and Heart...we need them to survive, but sometimes the voices of failure are louder.  It is in those times we need a strong voice from the outside cheering us on.

On the second day, we were lucky enough to be in a gym with only 1 court (the gym the previous day had about 10 or 12 courts!) and small bleachers for the parents to sit on.  As the girls warmed up, something "magical" began to happen.  I am not sure if it is because we had reached a critical mass of bodies or if we had some pent up aggression that NEEDED to come out, but the parents began to cheer, yell, hoop and holler!!  We made noise, so much that other teams' parents were kind of mad at us, and our voices became louder than anything else on that court...including the thoughts in the girls' heads.


Inspire and Encourage...Breath and Heart.  We chose to breathe life into them when they couldn't do it themselves and didn't let negative voices strip away their heart.  We got louder, and louder, and louder.

It was a different team that played on that second day.  We still lost almost every game, but attitudes were better, communication was better, the scores were closer and they were able to shake off the mistakes and give it all they had out on the court.  They played with Heart and full of Breath!!

On the third day, we were in the same court again and we parents were ready to give every last bit of energy to being the loudest voices our girls heard.  In one of the matches, the ref even had us switch sides at the end of a set (with our girls) because he needed to "balance out the ringing in his ears".  The girls played magnificently, giving everything they had out on the court...and we sat on the bleachers, giving everything we had to put some Breath and Heart into them.


Inspire and Encourage...Breath and Heart.  Eventually both of these things need to come from within us.  We need to be able to shake off the mistakes and failures, take a breath and have courage to continue.  However, until that moment comes, we need voices of inspiration and encouragement (breath and heart) that are louder than the ones that want to beat us up.

Our girls won their division that day.  They are still not a great team...they have MUCH to learn. But I am hoping they are learning to listen to our voices - the ones that inspire and encourage - instead of voices of failure.  As I left the tournament, I was exhausted and my husband had no voice left.  We were sweaty, tired and felt like we had played alongside the girls!!


And then I thought that this is how life should be!  I wondered who in my life was listening to the voices of failure and mistakes and needed a MUCH louder voice to shout words of inspiration and encouragement at them.  I realized that sometimes I need to be a loud voice in someone's life for a LONG time...and I'll be exhausted, sweaty, and spent in the process.  But, it is all worth it...when the voices of inspiration and encouragement go from being loud voices outside their heads to being THE voices in their heads, then we have done our work.  We leave hoarse and tired but delighted to see someone living from a place full of Breath and Heart!



Who needs to hear you cheering for them today?
 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Cutest Cupcake {Tacoma Baby Photography}

I was in downtown Tacoma at Hello Cupcake the other day and I got to photograph the cutest cupcake in the place!!  Margot and her Mom met me there for a little afternoon (6 month) sweetness.  

I loved this tutu that Mom brought and it put new meaning to the phrase "Pretty in pink".  Margot liked it too, but for different reasons as you'll see in few more pictures!




Cutest cupcake or sweetest piece of candy??  You'll have to decide because I can't.

I guess when we didn't give her any gum...she decided to try the tutu!!


Some days are full of smiles from little ones, and others are full of sleepiness.  I think this was more of a sleepy day for Margot.  Personally, I think she just needed one of those yummy cupcakes!!  (The Carrot Cake Cupcake is my favorite, by the way!)


At a local bookstore, we took a few minutes to read a story...


...and learn some chess....


However sleepiness hovered in the air and I knew we only had a few more minutes before it would descend upon this sweet little one.




And sleep finally sent little Margot off into dream land...


However, let me add one addendum to our story...the moment we got back to the cupcake store (because who can go to Hello, Cupcake and not buy anything?), her eyes shot open and she was awake again!  Ahhh...a girl after my own heart (I guess actually it would be more of my tastebuds, right?)


Just wait a few more months, Margot!!  We'll go back and whether or not your mom approves, we'll get you a cupcake.  However, you will always be the cutest one in the bunch!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for wednesdays}


I was cleaning up the other day and came across my kids special bears...Pooh Bear and Radar.  Pooh Bear was actually a gift I gave to my dad when he was dying because he had always told me Winnie the Pooh stories when I was young.  He would always start them with "Bump, bump, bump...down the stairs goes Winnie the Pooh..."  After he died, my mom gave the bear back to me at a baby shower for our daughter.  I put it in her crib when she was young and she just grabbed on to him.  Pooh Bear has been a constant member of our family every since!


Radar was a gift to our son from our daughter.  When I was pregnant with him, I took her shopping one day to get a special gift for her new baby brother when he arrived.  She was very firm on the fact (as only 2 1/2 year olds can be) that her brother needed his own bear.  And so Radar appeared on the scene.  He has had his fur picked out by little fingers and needed quite a few patches over the years.  We call those patches "love boo boos".  His tie has been twirled, rubbed against cheeks and stuck in ears.  It has fallen off so many times and has had to be replaced once.


I kept the original tie....can't you just tell all the love it has gotten???  I hope someday, if he gets married, to put it in our son's boutonniere.  It isn't just the bride that can have "something old".

Anyway...picking up these bears and putting them back in their places on their respective beds, I was reminded of some words from the Velveteen Rabbit...


"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day..."Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse.  "It's a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.  "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt....It doesn't happen all at once.  You become.  It takes a long time.  That's why it doesn't often happen to people break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."


As I type these words, I am reminded that it is often the messy, less-than-perfect, true to life events that are the parts of the story we remember.  And yet, when we go to take pictures, we want to match, look perfect, and have as few wrinkles as possible (spoken as one close-to-forty).  But what is Real?  Real is when our hair is out of place, our kids have a little lunch left on their faces, our husbands aren't wearing matching socks, and we have a few too many lines on our faces (that I swear were not there yesterday!). 

But those times are the exact times to capture in photographs.  They are Real...and real can't be ugly, except to those who don't understand!

"Breathe, smile and go slowly" - Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for wednesdays}

Give it a rest!!

Today when my body got tired and draggy and very low on energy, instead of grabbing the closest cup (or pot) of coffee, I went and took a nap. I left all my work downstairs, crawled into my bed and closed my eyes. And you know what? A wonderful thing happened...I woke up with energy, feeling better, and ready to face whatever awaited me on my desk and in-box.


It was a huge leap for me and might be for you...to give it a rest. It means you have to trust that the world will still continue to turn and function if you unplug for a while. It means you have to trust that giving your body a rest will actually be MORE beneficial than trying to push through the exhaustion and getting things done. It means we choose stillness and rest over frenzy and chaos.


It was not an easy choice for me, but it was one that allowed me to BREATHE!! So the next time you are tired and your body feels sluggish...listen to it!! It just might be telling you to give it a rest!!

"Breathe, smile and go slowly" - Thich Nhat Hanh


(These pictures, by the way, are from a trip I took to China where I was able to photograph the adoption of some beautiful baby girls and their amazing "forever families"!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rock Star Family {Seattle Family Photography}

OK...so this family ROCKS!!  Not only do they live in a very cool loft in the middle of Seattle, but Mom owns (and knows how to use!) a skateboard and Dad plays the guitar!!  I was so honored to be invited into a few hours of their life together...and to capture some of those Red Thread connection moments!!

This little guy, Gabe, is just ADORABLE!!  He greeted me from his crib when I first got there but let Mom and Dad recount the story of his 3 am wake-up that morning.  Isn't that always the case on the day of a photo shoot?  (However, he was a lot more pleasant than I would've been had I woken up at 3 am!)


Sometimes it is the simple and repetitive moments in life that need to be captured in pictures...


...and sometimes it is the whimsical moments that make life a piece of art!  (I love the light in this one..almost yin and yang!)  


Out for a little walk in the neighborhood...



(A different kind of family portrait!)


It was at least 10:45 in the morning, which means it was time for some ice cream!!  Gabe had his first little taste of the sweet stuff and I am not sure that life will ever be the same again!  (I *LOVE* the drool picture...and can you read the cup?  It says "caution contents hot".  That just made me laugh!)





LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this picture!!!  I am pretty sure this is how I would feel after getting up at 3 am!


Back at their house, we had to do a few Rock Star pictures!!  I just told Gabe that when he becomes a famous guitar player, he needs to give me a little shout out as the one who first took his picture with a guitar!


And of course, I HAD to end with this one!  What a perfect shirt to be wearing as Mom and Dad plant some nice big smooches on that boy!!

Miller Family...it was SO FUN to be with you!!  Your adventuresome spirit and playfulness made it a wonderful morning for me!!