Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

Can you hear me huffing and puffing after my marathon of a day?  I am finally now sitting down to take a deep breath and write...whew!!  However, in the whirlwind of this day (and actually, week), I have been thinking about a quote that I wrote in my journal a little while back...and just came across it again the other day:

"Closed-ended questions are made to be answered with a "yes" or "no".  John Richardson Jr., a professor of information studies at UCLA, states that closed-ended questions "discourage disclosure".  Such questions "can include presuming, probing or leading questions...can be leading and hence irritating or even threatening to the user, can result in misleading assumptions/conclusions about the user's information need."

"Closed-ended questions don't cultivate dialogue.  The asker has already answered the question for themselves and is only seeking to figure out where the other person fits within their own preconceived metric - either for or against...And the yes or no responses to those inquiries quickly trigger a predetermined set of thoughts, beliefs and rebuttals already in place for a yes answer - as well as a different set of predetermined thoughts, beliefs and rebuttals already in place for a no answer."
-Andrew Marin

This challenged me to think about how often I ask closed-ended questions to others...just to see where they "fit in my metric".  When truly...I don't want to be treated that way.  I want others to hear my whole story and not just a "yes" or "no" to a certain question.

May we all learn to ask open-ended questions and listen for more than just "yes" or "no".

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh Those Blue Eyes Again!! {Graham Baby Photography}

I waited a long time to photograph this little guy again.  Each time we were about ready to do a photo session, this little guy came down with some sort of ailment!  I am so glad that he was all better this last weekend and I got to hang out with him and his parents!!  Boy...was I glad to see those blue, blue eyes again!!

One of the things I love about photographing little ones and their families is catching them doing what they do best....playing!!

...and then having fun together!

One of the perks of my job is that I get to watch (well...photograph) little ones play and discover their world.  I really like the left picture of Bennett playing with a stick...such a little boy picture!  And that little smile on the right says, "What else is there to play with?"

Well....there is LOTS more to play with, Bennett!!  Knocking down blocks and putting them on your head is a great game to play any day!

Of course, so is reading....or actually turning the pages quicker than mom can read.  (At least it keeps his parents working on their speed reading skills!)

So glad to photograph you again, H Family!! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Little Ladybug's Birthday {Seattle Children's Photography}

I got to photograph a little ladybug's first birthday last weekend...OK, so she isn't really a ladybug, just as cute as one!  And this little ladybug's mom went all out on the details to celebrate this first year of life!!  

You can see one more detail on the door behind this cutie...I think that big "K" is wonderful!!  Of course, it let all the guests know that this was the place for Kendall's birthday!

Mom and Dad are totally in love with this little ladybug...and who can blame them?

A few friends came to play, enjoy cake and join the celebration!!  (Oh yeah...they brought their parents too!)

Kendall was so cute as her guests arrived!!  She smiled at them, waved at them and wanted to give kisses!!  She played a fun game with grandpa...pretending to share some snacks with him before she pulled them away and ate them herself!!  So....she is a sneaky little ladybug too!

Checking out the cake...a moment later, that little left hand came super close to grabbing a part of it!

Not to worry...Kendall soon got a nice big piece to enjoy!!

OK...I had to put these images in because I was so impressed with Grandma.  When Kendall was letting everyone know that she was all done with her cake, Grandma came over to help.  And Kendall took it as an opportunity to paint Grandma's face!!  I love grandmas....what might unnerve us moms, grandmas take all in stride out of a large heart of adoration for their grandkids!!

Happy Birthday, Kendall!!  You are the cutest one year old ladybug I have ever met!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

Ever notice how so many things around us expire?  I open my fridge and hope the milk that I want to use in my cereal hasn't expired....I take out a coupon to my favorite car wash and I hope it hasn't expired....I need to return an article of clothing and I hope the time period hasn't expired...

We put expiration dates on so many things - milk, eggs, cheese - and even the "best before" stamp tells us that an item will diminish after a certain period of time.  Expiration dates shed light on our limitations...and maybe that is what makes them frustrating at times!

What amazes me is that God's love has no expiration date.  There is never a point where it even becomes less in its intensity!  There is no point at which an individual gets to a certain date and God says, "That's have reached the limit of My love.  I will go no further."  He always pursues this motley crew called humanity!

I am so grateful that at least this one thing in my life has no expiration date, but I am also challenged by it.  If I call myself a follower of God through Jesus, then my love too should have no expiration date.  My love should look like His love....and oh, how much I have to learn in this area!!

May we all feel the intensity of this Great Love with no expiration date...and may we give love to one another that does not keep a time limit.

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sneak Peak {Seattle-Tacoma Baby Photography}

It has been a weekend filled with some cute, cute kiddos!!  I will have lots of editing to do this week, but thought I'd send out a little sneak peak of what you are going to see....really, don't you just want  to squeeze and kiss them?

Enjoy!!  See you back soon for some more!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

LOVE.  We like to throw around that word, don't we?  We love that show on TV; she loves her hair; I love fish tacos.  It is as if the word "love" is like loose pennies in our pockets - little trinkets of small value that we casually toss out with little thought.  (By the way, I speak to myself as much as to anyone here....go back through the blog and see how much I use the word love!)

However, if love-in-words is spare change to be used with our fleeting whims, I think it is good for us to remember that the content of love is found in its action.  And love-in-action is the gold, the jewels, the treasure which anchors our souls.

Love-in-action is different from love-in-words; love in words only dreams, whereas love-in-action does.  Love-in-action gives substance and flesh to a love-in-words' fantasies.

Dostoevsky wrote,
"Active love is a harsh and fearful thing compared with love in dreams.  Love in dreams thirsts for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching.  Indeed, it will go as far as the giving even of one's own life, provided it does not take too long but is soon over, as on stage, and everyone is looking on and praising.  Whereas active love is labor and perseverance...."

What sort of labor and perseverance does this love-in-action take on? 

1.  It sacrifices - It lays down its life -and more difficult still, its desires - for the sake of another.

2.  It cherishes - It cultivates with care and affection; it harbors another in the mind deeply and resolutely.  The picture I see here is a gardener cultivating the ground of the relationship so new life will rise from it, or a cove that keeps a ship safe from the elements of the wider ocean.

3.  It grows up - Love in action sees its immaturity and faults and willingly decides to leave those behind.  

4.  It sees the other person - I actually never saw the entire movie, Avatar, but one of the lines that struck me from the film was the greeting, "I see you".   It was a sense of seeing the other person for who they are and deeply honoring that.

5.  It listens -  The phrase "Audi partem alteram" has been attributed to St. Augustine.  "Hear the other side" is a characteristic of love in action.

6.  It becomes a student - Love in action knows it does not know the full story of someone; it continues to be inquisitive about another; it learns about and from that other person.

I know that much has been written about love - from philosophers to psychologists to poets - and the above list is my drop of water contribution to a vast ocean.  However, I know what I know because love-in-action has found me so many times, in so many people, but none greater than the man I have had the privilege of being married to for almost 19 years.  The above list is an account of who he is!  He has chosen love-in-action over and over again!  And while I agree with Dostoevsky, that "active love is a harsh and fearful thing", I am so thankful to have been the recipient of love-in-action for so long.

May we all choose love-in-action (and all its harsh and fearful things) over love-in-words only.  May we sacrifice, cherish, grow up, see the other person, listen, become a student, and therefore LOVE well!

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Love is in the Air {Seattle-Tacoma Wedding Photography}

Since Valentine's Day is right around the corner and there may be some readers who are hoping to get a ring...and others who already have one, I thought I would do a look back at the 2010 weddings.  You've already seen each one of them, but I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite memories and ideas from each wedding!!

(above)....When I first met with Chad and Jill, I have to admit that I wasn't totally sure about a New Year's Eve wedding.  HOWEVER, because of the night, their guests showed up totally dressed up and didn't leave until the wee hours of the morning...since they were already at a party!!  It was a GREAT idea!!  I also loved the venue of Columbia Winery...the wine theme just added to the party!

(above)....Alisa and Matt had LOTS of little details in their wedding.  I loved how they decorated the cake with an "H" at the top (for their new family unit), but then set little pictures of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents cascading down the cake.  What a great way to celebrate and remember the families you come from!!  Alisa also had quite a few sweet, vintage details...from cut out paper hearts to the "Just Married" sign, they added a sweetness to the already amazing venue of Herban Feast!  I also LOVED the fact that she took her mom's dress, had it remade for her, but also displayed a picture of her mom in the dress next to a photo of her!  Plus, I think the feather she wore in her hair was just amazing!!

(above)....Emily and Jon also had their wedding and reception at Columbia Winery (love that venue!!).  Emily chose flowers that packed a punch of color, as did some socks and shoes for the bride and groom!  I really liked that Jon and Emily wanted to do something that was meaningful for them and so they created their own little wine ceremony during the service!  May I also say that Emily is my ONLY bride from 2010 to wear a veil over her face as she walked down the isle.  (I know it is not for everybody, but I still do like the tradition of it!)

(above)...Tori and Darrin chose the most "outdoorsy" wedding of 2010.  They got hitched at a friend's ranch - with an awesome barn and all!!  They were married in the friend's backyard overlooking a river (sorry, not sure which one!).  My favorite part of the ceremony was when a group of kids tubing down the river floated by and shouted their congratulations!!  What I think Tori did really well was she knew where she wanted to spend money on the wedding and where she wanted to save.  She and Darrin love rubber ducks and they knew they didn't want a traditional wedding they had those two cute little duckies as their wedding cake!!

(above)....Aimee and Stavros' wedding gets my vote for most "traditional" but don't think that means boring!  I LOVED photographing their Greek Orthodox wedding and learning about the rich symbolism during the ceremony.  Aimee was a pretty practical, down to earth bride that doesn't love a lot of "fluff", but let me tell these two people know how to throw a party!!  At the reception, there were bagpipes, amazing Greek food, and extended family of great dancers.  (I was even compelled to dance by one of Stavros' aunts!!)  I asked Aimee a few questions the other day about her wedding and she said she would share this with 2011 brides:  
What are you REALLY glad you did?
I'm so happy I had our wedding ceremony & reception at the same location.  It kept everything organized and guests were able to stay in one place and it saved a ton of money on having to rent to separate locations....
Did you do a "First Look", how did you like it?
 I did do a "first look" and I'm so glad I did.  I had mixed feelings about doing it but in the end I think it helped calm my emotions before the ceremony.... 
Best sources of information when planning wedding?
Friends were the best sources!  I had quite a few friends get married before me and they were the biggest help and were full of great information on do's and dont's....
Advice for next year's brides?
Just try and relax, with the help of all your friends and family, it will come together at the end.

(above)...Danielle and James get two notable awards from me...first for being the most flexible wedding and secondly, for being the biggest party that was just disguised as a wedding!!  I really have to hand it to Danielle...she had planned to have almost the entire wedding outside and what do you know?  The day turned out to be quite rainy!!  By the time we got to the venue, we were scrambling to make decisions about the ceremony and moving lots of stuff!  However, it did not take away from the fun, the friends, and the celebration of marriage!!  I LOVED that the guys brought their long boards with them AND that they didn't run me over as I lay on the ground photographing them.  Danielle had beautiful flowers adorning the tables (a family friend did them!)...and my favorite??  That After Party dress she had!!

(above)....Alyssa and Jake were my fourth wedding at Columbia Winery in 2011.  It was one HOT day in the Seattle area, but I love how they both kept their cool!!  Alyssa looked like she was straight out of a fashion magazine!  I liked how she wore her veil for the ceremony, but switched to a beautiful feather comb for the rest of the night!  Love, love, loved their party favors too!!  Those wine corks with their names on them were a great gift to their guests!!

(above)...Linda and Jeff get my vote for the best love story that lead up to a wedding (you can read it at the link above)!  Linda, who is a fabulous decorator, chose the details well, with charm and class!  Loved the center pieces (which she made herself!!), and the match boxes that said "I Do" on them with a sparkler slipped inside!  However, my FAVORITE detail was what she did with her bouquet.  Instead of tossing it and letting all the single ladies wrestle over it, she had it made to break down in to three different smaller bouquets.  Then, during the reception, she honored 3 different women with one of those small bouquets and some kind words.  Perhaps it just shows my age, but I thought that was so classy and perfect (plus it is much easier to capture as a photographer!!)

(above)...Jen and Chris closed out the summer wedding series with their Labor Day weekend wedding.  It was full of details...too full to mention everything here, but I will mention my favorites!  First, there are those SHOES!!  Ladies, since this is your big day, I say if you are a shoe lover, then go all out on your wedding shoes...and why not make a splash with color while you're at it?  They hung pictures of themselves and their families all around the venue (Tazer Valley Farm) for their guests to see.  I really liked how they used Scrabble letters to spell out different messages to their guests and how their party favor was "Spread the Love" huckleberry jam!!  One piece of advice Jen would give to 2011 brides would be to hire a wedding coordinator for at least the month of the wedding.  She realized during the day that, as the bride, you should not be the point person or having to make decisions...let someone else do that for you!

(above)....Crystal and Duane round out the 2010 Red Thread weddings!  Theirs was a mix of timeless elegance with lots of fun!!  LOVED their crown theme...and even if your last name isn't King, you could still use the crowns because, as a bride, you are absolutely queen for the day!!  One huge challenge for every bride, I think, is bridesmaids dresses.  You want to find ones that you like, but also look great on all the bridesmaids.  Crystal found these FABULOUS dresses that allowed each of her ladies to customize them as they wanted to (different ways to wrap the straps) so that each looked her best!  The Arctic Club is a wonderful venue...can't say enough about it....and was a perfect match for this classic, elegant wedding.  

Whew!!  It was fun to smile a lot as I re-lived each of these weddings!!  Hope you got some ideas...hope you get a ring for Valentine's Day (if that is what you are waiting for!)...and can't wait to see my new 2011 wedding couples!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Two Beautiful Ladies {Seattle Engagement Photography}

Who in their right mind goes out on a blustery, cold, cold, day to do engagement pictures???   Oh yeah...I guess that would be me!  The weather man told us it was going to be partly sunny, but I didn't see any sunshine, just lots of wind, waves, and beautiful smiles from these two!!

Jen and Ashley were AMAZING to work with!!  Not only did we laugh our way through this session, they took their jackets on and off and stood in the blowing wind while I promised them we were getting amazing shots (while my fingers were also starting to freeze!).  Here is a sampling of those great images:

I love this first set with the balloons!!  Jen and Ashley are so fun and playful with each other, it was a real privilege to get to capture their love for one another!!

Of course, I like their serious side too!!  

I love being out at the beach with couples...

....I also love it when I get to meet other members of the family!! I had to put this picture in because it shows what Jen and Ashley wore anytime I would let them!  As soon as I gave them the word, these nice warm jackets went on....this is truly a Seattle-in-January picture!

Of course, a blanket is always good for keeping warm too!!  (*LOVE* this picture!!)

Jen and Ashley, it was a privilege to photograph you two!!  I had a wonderful time and am so looking forward to your wedding this summer!!