Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

Went to the beach the other day.  The clouds had parted and let the sunshine reach through...and I just basked in the glory for a few minutes.  It reminded me of some of my favorite "beach quotes"....

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea.
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." 
~ C.S. Lewis 

"When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

"Stormy seas make weathered sea-men,
those who proved God in the deep....
It is a Yes to risky living..
The sea takes me where I do not know,
but I gladly go.
And I can only trust every word You say,
and obey."
~Celtic Daily Prayer (story of Brendan, one of the Celtic saints)

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Girl {My Family}

We had some sunshine the other day and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom!  Add a beautiful young lady to that mix and you get this set of gorgeous pictures!!

I love the "almost 14" sassy attitude!

Even a focus *mistake* can make a lovely, whimsical picture.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this beautiful girl!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh, oh, oh...Olivia!! {Port Orchard Newborn Photography}

Oh....welcome Miss Olivia to the world!!  Here she is, a full five days old!  

Olivia's mom and dad were such troopers!!  They cranked up the heat so this little angel would stay warm and just keep sleeping and sleeping.  They have this AMAZING old stereo (you know with a non-digital radio and a record player!!), so of course we needed to put this sweet little one on it and get a few pictures!

A first family photo....LOVE it!!

Oh how I love sleeping babies!!  

And kisses too!

This little girl flashed us a tiny smile!  I think this picture could melt my heart!

As far as I understand, Dad found this chair just as someone was about to toss it out.  I saw it in their house and knew we needed to get a picture in it!  I have a feeling as this little girl gets older she may want to sit on it and be spun around!  No spinning today...just sleeping!

I had to end with these last two pictures.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the top one!!  May you have many sweet moments like this, Z Family!!  And may you live "happily ever after".

Thanks for allowing me to spend time in your home and meet you new little girl.  She is absolutely amazing!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

This weekend, I got to witness a heart transplant.  Under a buzz from bright fluorescent lights bouncing off the reflective shine on the floor, there was a sense of anticipation felt in the room.  Sweat dripped from the brows of all involved...and tears too.  Tears flowed at times, each holding a story of their own.  But there were no doctors or nurses in attendance.  Just the donor, recipient and all of us onlookers watching life being poured out and heart being given.

No...I was not in a hospital or medical clinic.  There were no scalpels, IV's or medical equipment.  This heart transplant happened on a volleyball court.  The one giving her heart was our amazing new coach.  And the recipient?  My daughter's volleyball team.

Now on the third coach of the season, our girls headed into this weekend with skills and drills, but missing something.  They knew the rhythm of "pass-set-hit", but knowing it and dancing with it are two different things.  Our coach, not knowing the girls (or parents) all that well, played it conservatively for the first two games, trying not to overwhelm the girls and get a feel for their rhythm.  There was execution that lacked "spark"; there was unsuredness all around.  

On watching the second game, another coach from our club questioned our coach with, "Why aren't you bringing Kathy?  Be Kathy!!"  Those words must have settled in and brought courage because during our third game, that is exactly what happened.  And that is when the miraculous heart transplant occurred.

As our coach (Kathy) brought all she had to the court - tough words of constructive criticism, reassuring looks and gestures when the girls made a mistake, and huge, joyous celebration for well executed achievements - our girls began to bring all they had to the court too!  It was seriously as though I was watching a heart transplant in action!  Kathy poured out her heart, the girls picked it up, and began to play differently.  As Kathy brought her strength to the court, it radiated out to the each player (heck, I think it was felt by the parents too!).

It reminded me of the quote from Akeelah and the Bee:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are
powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually,
 who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the
 world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel
 insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make
 manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in
 everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people
 permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
When we bring our whole heart  - everything we are - to those around us, it "automatically liberates others" and "playing small" does nothing for those around us.  Living authentically and passionately is risky but it causes a change in others.  People see it, grab the heart that is being poured out and want to live like that too!
Living wholeheartedly doesn't mean that everything will go perfectly.  We didn't win as many games as we would have liked, but we came ALIVE!!  And as we watched one person (Kathy) give everything she had, the girls AND the parents gave all they had too.  (We even had parents from another team in our club joining the "heart transplant movement"!!)  We cried for joy because it is always amazing to watch LIFE happen!  We laughed because there is always a paradoxical lightness when someone gives everything they have.  We cheered because when one person pours out their heart, that is the response from onlookers.

I am so grateful to have been watch the girls become a different watch Kathy being Kathy...and to be able to witness a heart transplant!!

May we all live life so fully that it inspires others to live too!  

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

reinvent []:  to remake or make over, as in a different form (verb)

So I have this theory that only one person at a time in any given household should be able to reinvent themselves.  This would make the reinvention process so much smoother and less tumultuous - with a band of stable, self-aware people surrounding the one being reinvented, it would provide a safe place to emerge into whatever that person is becoming.  Then that wonderful circle of on-lookers would fully celebrate the new person before them. 

Of course, all this sounds wonderful in the pristine, sterile laboratory where theories abound and are applauded with no regard for the messy, dirty real-life world outside the "idealism" space.  

Practically speaking, this means that through a child's teenage years, mom and dad must be thoroughly mature and there had better be no mid-life issues either.  Also, if there is more than one young adult in the family, they had better discuss who will do the reinventing first and who will wait for their sibling to be done.  It also means no job changes, no change in economics, no births or deaths, no commotion, and certainly no emotion at the reinvention process.  (Are you laughing yet??)

Truly, that is not the picture of my life, my household, or life as I know it.  The reinvention of one person causes the reinvention of another...and it is not always a totally creative process.  There is destruction, confusion and letting go involved too.

Even on small scale things, reinvention is a process that forces us to see what we are attached to and why we won't let it go.  I am in the process of "re-branding" my logo, and my graphic designer (lovely as she is!) is pushing my buttons!!  Why?  Because she is revealing to me the concepts I need to let go of - that have served me well to this point - in order to embrace a new "look" for myself.  (And this is just about fonts, and lines, and much more difficult is it to face this on the larger issues in my life?!?!)

I actually imagine as people of growth, movement and change, there is reinvention happening on the small scale all the time in our lives.  But it can be difficult because it can cause destruction and leave an empty place before anything starts to grow again.  I remember as a kid, our family spent a good amount of time in Hawaii.  When we were there, I always wanted to go see the volcanoes.  The steam, heat, and flowing lava impressed on me that this was a destructive force to be respected...but as lava dropped into the ocean, it was also creating a part of the island that had never existed before.  That is both scary and exciting all at once...and so is a time of reinvention inside of us.

I think Lewis Caroll had it correct when he had Alice have a conversation with the caterpillar:

Caterpillar: Who... are... you?
Alice: Why, I hardly know, sir. I've changed so much since this morning, you see...
Caterpillar: No, I do not C, explain yourself.
Alice: I'm afraid I can't explain myself, you see, because I'm not myself, you know.
Caterpillar: I do not know.
Alice: I can't put it any more clearly, sir, because it isn't clear to me.

Sometimes we cannot explain ourselves because the change happening is so quick that it isn't even clear to us what is going on.  Sometimes the change (or reinvention) is slow and feels like trying to walk through a field of thick, spring mud...and it still isn't clear to us!  But reinvention and growth are good...and difficult...and amazing...and fear-producing all at once. It forces us to let go of things we hold too tightly to, see a creative destruction, and to walk in mystery. 

May we allow change and reinvention to come to us as we walk through life.  May we not fight or fear it, but endure its hardship for the greater creative process happening in us.  May we be OK saying "I can't put it any more clearly...because it isn't clear to me."  May we smile at the mystery.

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

Today, many people around the world will be marked with a simple mixture of ashes and oil.  A cross placed on the forehead reminds them of their mortality - "remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return" - and the promise of a new life in Christ.  Today, for many, the markings begin a 40 day journey of the soul - inquisitive about its condition, seeking transformation.

Whether you will be "marked" today or not; whether this cross is even part of your belief system, I think journeys of the soul are good for us.  They help us see what needs to leave, what needs to stay, and what practices need to be added.  Plus, we all, at one time or another, come to a place where we think about death...and therefore about how we want to live.

Over the next 40 days, I plan to take journey of the soul and practice living more fully right where I am.

I am reading a book right now called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I've just started the book, but have been super challenged by a premise she puts forward in the first few chapters....We live with books all around us trying to tell us how to live a more full life - books like 1000 Places to See Before You Die.  Those books are not bad (and truly, I would be the first to sign up to go see those 1000 places!!) but they subtly teach us that LIFE is to be found outside and in a different place than we now dwell.  Voskamp asks the questions, "Isn't it here?  Can't I find it here? The wonder?  Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it?...Who has time or eyes to notice?"

Her answer emerges, "The only place we need to see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now."

She then responds to a dare from a friend, which will become my dare for the next 40 days as well...could she write a list of 1000 things she loves?  One thousand GIFTS that are all around her everyday, but she doesn't have time to notice?  A list of gifts...."not the gifts I want but of the gifts I already have".

And so this dare not given to me, becomes mine.  It becomes mine and my family's.  We will spend this Lenten season (the next 40 days) looking, seeing, finding gifts that are all around us...and writing them down to remind ourselves.  The preparations for this journey have been made...I took all the pictures off my fridge and put butcher paper up on both sides.  Across the top, I wrote 1000 Gifts.  (I chose the fridge because NO ONE in my family can miss the fridge!  We all use it multiple times a day and therefore our "1000 Gifts" will be in front of us multiple times a day!)  

I figure that for a family of 4 over the course of 40 days, we each need to come up with 6.25 "gifts" - blessings we see and are grateful for - per day.  Surely we can do that!  Do I not think there are more than 7 wonderful things in the course of my day?  And these gifts that we see do not have to be huge...they can be small enjoyments like sunshine coming through a window, or a fuzzy brown blanket that keeps me warm in the chilly air.  The point is to SEE the gifts, write them down and give thanks. 

I don't know what my fridge will look like at the end of this journey, but I do think our souls and hearts will look different. Voskamp notices that the in these common things "maybe I don't even know they are gifts until I write them down and that is really what they look like.  Gifts God bestows.  This writing it down - it is sort of like....unwrapping love."

Wouldn't we all like 40 days of unwrapping love?  Maybe you would like to join me in this journey of gratitude.  Maybe you will use a journal or post-it notes or some other creative medium I can't even fathom.  Maybe you would never be marked with a cross of ashes, but surely we can all learn to be marked with an attitude of thankfulness!

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails {Tacoma Children Photography}

I always hope that my families have as much fun as I do on a photo shoot!!  I totally enjoy watching moms, dads and kids explore the world and play with each other!!  I got to do that with the S Family the other day...and every time I photograph their little guy, he gets cuter and cuter and cuter!!

Is there even a better place to photograph a little boy than around trucks, trains, and heavy machinery??  Obviously, Kellen is enjoying this...even sitting in a tool box!

I have to say that one of parts of my job I love is photographing kids with dad....

...and then with mom.  (Different types of play, but both so necessary!)

Could this little guy's eyes get any bluer??  Could his cheeks be any more kissable?

I know I've said it before but I really do find it fascinating to watch little one's explore what is around them.  Something as simple as a chain (or rocks) can be so intriguing...I could watch them for hours!

Each time I have photographed Kellen, he has brought along Blue Dog ( helps with that!).  Last time I think he bit Blue Dog...this time it got a little more love.

Beautiful, beautiful family!!

Kellen wanted to be sure you all got to see his muscles!!

Mom also brought these blocks along (from our original photo shoot).  Oh the difference a year makes!!  Give him another year, and he'll be building a house out of the blocks.

Ever want to know when a photo session should be done??  
(I don't blame him...he was hungry, ready for his next nap, and this lady wasn't letting him put rocks in his mouth.) I can't end with a sad picture.  This was Kellen just moments before the tears.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the hat!!

Thanks S Family!!  So great to see you all again!  Your little guy is amazing!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

One Beautiful Lady {Seattle-Tacoma Headshots}

I've been photographing a bunch of volleyball lately and am hoping that the weather begins to clear so families will come out again to play!!  However, I got to photograph this beautiful lady the other day and thought I'd put up a couple of pictures from our session...(they are headshots for her business)

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!  So glad to get to photograph you, M!!