Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

(On vacation right now and trying to take a rest before what seems to be a pretty busy summer...but thought I'd share some {breathe} thoughts with you.)
Right now I am back at the location I spent almost every summer of my life.  I woke up to the sound of waves lapping on the shore and the sunlight pushing its way through the cottony clouds.  It is here - from the lake, the surrounding nature, from the night sky - that I was first wooed by beauty to believe in a Creator.

On a walk the other day, I felt that wooing pull at my heart (and pull my lips up into a smile) as I stood amazed at the wildflowers that spring up on the forest floor.  They are tiny and delicate, but they stand tall in all their radiance.  Purples, pinks, yellows and whites explode from rocky ground, from the middle of tall grasses, or peek out from heavy undergrowth.  To those who slow down to really see them, they are magnificent!

But are these patches of glory wasteful - growing up in the middle of forests where few will ever see them?  Tiny white petals may blanket a hillside that will be seen by no one.  Does this make them less lovely because they are not "useful"?

It dawned on me that these are pragmatic questions, asked by a culture set on meaning, usefulness, and practical application.  But Beauty doesn't need a practical application.  It just is...and whether anyone sees those wildflowers or not, they still sing with beauty.  They do not need to "do" something in the forest, nor do they need to be collected to sit in a vase on the table.  They are created for beauty...nothing less.

So it is with humans too.  While yes, we introduce ourselves by what we "do", and we try to find meaning in how we impact others around us, we would do well to remember that we are very much like those wild flowers.  We are created by Love and created for beauty.  Whether we feel small and insignificant - whether anyone sees us at all - we are seen by a Creator who smiles with delight and declares us beautiful.

May we all be wooed by small bits of beauty.  And may those bits lead us to believe that there is a Smile that follows us - beyond any of our practical applications - and invites us to hear the words "You're beautiful".
Breathe, smile and go slowly.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Three Girls and a Boy After My Own Heart {Federal Way Family Photography}

I would like you to meet this amazing family!!  Sure they look sweet and calm, but just you wait and see!!!

All I can say is that is tough being the oldest... have to put up with all sorts of antics by your younger siblings.

This is Miss M and she was my daughter's first friend when we moved to the Pacific Northwest.  She is obviously gorgeous on the outside, but her heart is just as beautiful!!

Though I am sure they fight and have their moments at home, in front of my camera they were playful, fun and full of laughter!  (I am sure there was either threatening or bribery coming from mom...and I would know because that is how I get my kids to behave!!)

This is Miss P...she is QUITE the model!  (And I would like you all to see how much fun she is having here with me!)

This is the boy after my own heart.  When I asked him what was his favorite restaurant, he said, "Any one with food".  Oh..Mr. R, you and I can hang out any time.  I, too, just love food!!  (In fact one of my goals in life is to eat my way through Europe!)

Now all I want to know is when I stopped being fun for Miss P :)  Someone remind her how cool I am!!  OK...just kidding...this is when I know the photo shoot is close to over!

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one!!

The gorgeous organizer of this energetic brood...

Little Miss K...she likes to play!

Thank you N Family!!  I can tell we are done...(but to their defense, I did get invited to dinner by the kiddos!).

Seriously though, I had a wonderful time with all of you!!  I love your playfulness, laughter and love for each other!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

I realize I didn't do a {Breathe} post last week.  Sorry...I guess I was just trying to catch my breath as this school year was winding to a close!  And this week I was going to do something fun and my summer reading list...but I got a call yesterday that stopped me in my tracks.

On the other end of the phone was a woman whom I have photographed her little one a few times and I assumed she was calling about setting up another appointment for that.  I was all ready to let her know that I am booking into August now when she explained with a nervous chuckle for me not to roll my eyes at her.  She went on to tell me a story {I love stories!!} about how her brother was in town and it would be a great opportunity for family pictures if I had time in the next couple of days.  

I was about ready to say no.  Having traveled for a wedding last weekend, done a family shoot a couple of days ago, kids at home that need to be directed in creative (and productive) endeavours  and heading out for some summer holidays soon, I am pretty swamped.  But then she shared the clincher in the story....her dad, who has been battling cancer, is not doing well and this is possibly the last time they will all be together.  They want some pictures because the end looks near.

Well, that did it for me.  I rearranged some things and am going to photograph them this evening.  It doesn't matter how busy I am....those are pictures that must be taken.  Those are images that matter.

And more than a job to be done, it reminds me that imminent death gives us a different perspective.  It teaches us to see differently, stripping away all the frivolous stuff and getting down to what really matters.  It teaches us to laugh more with the ones we love; to hug more and linger over conversation instead of worshiping efficiency.  When death becomes real, it reminds us that relationships and people trump everything else we think is so important.

And couldn't we all use a dose of this reminder as we move into the summer?  Maybe if we keep this in the back of our minds, we'll spend more time swimming with friends or walking barefoot in the sand with the one we love instead of worrying if the house is clean or checking our email.  Let's play more, giggle more, wrestle more, lay down and look at the stars more...because the truth is none of us know when the end will come.

When my dad died years ago, I found a quote written at the front of his bible:

When death becomes becomes rich.

The family I am going to photograph tonight knows this to be true.  My dad knew it.  And I want to know it too.  I want to see the richness of life and to create moments that matter.  
And that starts now!

May we all have many rich moments this summer - with family and friends.  May we really enjoy them and leave all the peripheral stuff behind.

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Marry Me: Erin and Kevin {Phoenix Wedding Photography}

I recently got to travel to Phoenix to photograph this AMAZING couple's wedding! It was a few degrees warmer than in my home town, but these two were fantastic to brave the heat!!

Erin was not only a gorgeous bride, but a very relaxed one as well...

...she showed me her powers of flexibility during her make-up appointment. Although she had a set appointment for 11am, her hairdresser finished early so we ventured to the mall to see if anyone had an earlier appointment. We asked around to a few places until we finally found one...but all the while, Erin was calm and collected. She never worried or tried to control the situation...I knew it was going to be a great day!! (Don't you just love those shoes, by the way?!?!?)

The groom (pretty calm himself) awaiting his bride... any of you who follow the blog know that I absolutely LOVE when the bride and groom choose a "First Look" - to see each other before the wedding in a secluded place. Those moments are always so special, as they get to interact with each other very differently than they would seeing one another for the first time during the ceremony.

I hope you feel the tenderness and love that I felt in that room...

OK...I LOVE this picture!! (My second shooter, Amy, took it. Way to go, Amy!!)

Erin had a little retro vibe going on...and I adored those flowers (which, by the way, you won't see much of because we didn't want them to wilt in the 100+ degree weather!!)


This was a fun bridal party as well...and brave too since they braved the heat as well!! I had to put the top picture in because it is just classic. We were in the middle of pictures and of course there were sports on TV and voila...all attention gone!! (Oh boys!!)

The ceremony, held at their church, was beautiful and full of meaning. The only thing that threw me off was that kiss in the middle of it all. I almost missed it! (You should have given me a heads up, Father Chris!!) It was good thing that Erin and Kevin like each other and lingered long at that kiss!

After the ceremony we headed back downtown for a few more pictures. We had some time to kill (or time to kiss, whichever you prefer) and it was a little cooler. We headed into the convention center for that picture on the right...lots of reflections!

Erin's parents were our chauffeurs on this picture adventure and so we got to capture this picture of Erin with the two most important men in her life.

(Once again, thanks to Amy for the two pictures on the right. It is fun to have a second shooter to get a different angle of the same thing!)

Erin and Kevin will begin married life as urban dwellers (ie. they will live downtown). What a great picture for the beginning of life together!!

Thank you to Amy Kaylor, my second shooter!! You were amazing to work with and have a great eye! (One funny thing...when I first met Amy, she looked at me and said "You are shorter than I thought you would be". I don't think, until I looked at this picture, I realized just how much shorter I am!!)

The reception was at the Sheraton in downtown Phoenix. The room was breathtaking, the food delicious, and the staff absolutely wonderful!!

It was such a fun reception!! I loved that they did a couples dance...where all the couples go out on the dance floor and then as the DJ announces a certain number of years of marriage, they leave the floor. The "last couple standing" (so to speak) was Erin's grandparents!! They have been married for almost 60 years!! What a legacy to pass on to a brand new married couple!!

Congratulations Erin and Kevin!! It was a pleasure to be at the wedding and to get to capture so many moments of the day!

(There are a couple more pictures on the Red Thread facebook page...)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Prom Night {Tacoma Event Photography}

So these guys were not only beautiful and handsome on Saturday night, they were super flexible as well.  We had planned on a fun, downtown photo shoot before they headed off to dinner and prom, but as fate would have it, timing got all messed up!  We only ended up with a handful of minutes....but they stuck in there with me and we got some great pics.

I am posting this one here, and you can see the rest of the sneak peak on the Red Thread facebook page.  ( is just a quick look....!!!) 

Hope your prom was AMAZING!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kiss Me: Rachel and Jason {Des Moines Engagement Photography}

As I edited the pictures of these two, the song "Anchors away, my boys...anchors away" kept running through my head!  And in some ways it is true.  These two are about to set sail on the most amazing adventure of their lifetime!  However, before their July wedding date, they decided to do some engagement pictures down at the marina where Jason has his boat docked.  We had SUCH a great time...and these two were really fun to photograph!!

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this image!!

Both of these two are so classy and beautiful (handsome), but they were also so playful and full of joy with one another!  It is moments like these on the blue wall that I could capture all day long!

How could we resist???  The ball and chain were just laying there, beckoning us....

Rachel was also a VERY good sport!!  She let Jason push her in this cart and as you can tell from her expressions, it was a bit of a wild ride!!

Some silliness mixed with seriousness make for good ingredients for beginning (and continuing) a marriage!

Caught them dancing!  I love how much fun these two have with each other!!

Again...I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this image too!  There is something so amazing about Rachel's smile and laugh....and I am sure Jason agrees with me too!

Rachel and Jason, thank you for the pleasure of photographing you and your love for each other!  I am SO excited for your wedding!!