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My Life Monday | What You Offer the World

Gift of Words quote

Ever think to yourself that you have nothing to offer….to anyone?  Or maybe you know you offer a shoulder for someone to lean on, but never really feel how much that impacts others so then you are still in the camp of people who feel as though they have nothing to offer the world.

I’m a deep thinker, if you haven’t gathered that about me or, if you’ve only recently started to read these weekly blog posts – which, have really gotten deep lately.

And I’m the type of person that needs alone time in order to recharge.  I actually crave alone time.  Weird, huh?  I also find small talk rather difficult, which often leaves me leaving a small talk conversation feeling like I was just misunderstood.  Because, when I meet you for the first time – I really would rather know you – tell me something of substance, of interest;  something that gives me an indication of who you are on a deeper level – what you stand for, believe in, or value.  And to get someone to share that side of them isn’t usually easy and especially on a first-time meeting.  They have to look into your eyes and trust you won’t judge them.  And most people just don’t feel safe doing that.  But, I think we all know someone in our lives who people just seem to spill their guts to;  tell their whole life stories to and we ask ourselves…what is it about them that makes people so comfortable doing that?

Over the years, my husband has been that person for many people.  Most of these people were met in passing, never to be seen again.  But he shared the many stories with me over the years.  I think sometimes people just want to feel heard, if even by a stranger.  And what a gift my husband has given others.  And maybe you’ve been in that situation too – where someone just spills their life story to you, where you don’t get word in edge-wise, but suddenly feel like you’re in a psychologist’s chair and this stranger is lying on your couch.  I know my husband doesn’t see this as any kind of gift, but I sure do.

What you offer the world doesn’t have to be this grand thing that yields tangible or monetary rewards.  And just because, what you offer others, doesn’t give you those things, what it does give you is joy…..if you choose to look at it that way.  My husband can choose to see these instances in his life as an annoyance;  an interruption in his day.  I don’t feel he ever saw it that way, but rather, just a brief time where he lent his ear to a stranger.

I know many people in my life who have a gift they don’t even know they have.  I know someone who knows their job is important, but may not really see the big picture that what she truly gives children is hope, who desperately need it the most.  To give anther human being hope – well, it’s a life-changer.  Makes me get choked up just thinking about it.

I know someone who is so unbelievably postive, you just have no choice but to be positive when you’re around her.  Just being around her makes me a better person.

I have many people in my life, simply by occupation, that have left an impression on me in some way.

I just wish more people knew what they offer the world, just by being here and existing.  Have you ever thought about this of the people in your life?  Deep, right – so likely not. But do this for me today and tell one person what they have given you or that you’ve seen them give others, on a deeper level that goes beyond a job title.

For example, a really great footbal coach gives young men the know-how on how to make plays happen – building on those technical skills year after year.  But what a great football coach really, truly gives young men is self-confidence, the ability for those young men to SEE their own potential, commroditry, and the ability to pick themselves up and dust themselves off.

If only more people saw what they truly offer the world…..

And that’s my deep thought Monday, formerly known as “My Life Monday.” lol!  Seriously, maybe I should change it.  In my life though, this past week (if you’re really curious),  I got to photograph my lovely and talented sister-in-law and the boys in her life.  Not to mention, had the long drive there and home to do what I do best – think.  Sneak peek will be coming tomorrow more likely on my Facebook page.  I even got their old-man cranky dog to look at me! ha!

Until then, think about what YOU give the world.  I know there is something – all of us have a gift to give the world.  You’re doubting yourself right now that you don’t – quiet your mind long enough and you’ll figure out what it is.  Also, bring to light something you see in someone else that they may not see in themselves and TELL THEM.  If you actually do this, I’d love to hear from you on how it made you feel and how that person reacted and made them feel.  More often than not, people have no idea the impact they have on others until someone tells them.  And children are not excluded.  A child who values themselves and what they bring to the world is priceless.  But they need to be told what that is.

For example, Xavier is a deep-thinker like me.  That boy is beyond his years.  He offers, even at the age of 9, a different way of looking at things.  He’s very accepting of others and has deep empathy towards all living things and people sruggling in the world.  Alexandra, our soon-to-be 8-year-old, is very thoughtful and loves creating and giving.  She is also very intuitive to the needs of others – even if it’s just a hug.  Jozlyn, our spit-fire 5-year-old, brings humor to everything she does.  She loves making people laugh and if it’s at her expense, she doesn’t care.  When she’s more serious – she very much cares for the well-being of others, even if it’s as simply as covering you with a blanket to make sure you’re warm or bringing water on a hot day while mowing lawn (both girls have done this for me without being asked).  And these are things I need to share with my own kids, today….not tomorrow, and not in 10 years.  These are things I love about them, that are a part of their character – who they are as individuals.

Who you are is a gift to others in and of itself.  No grand exchanges, no frills or applause;  just affirmation that you matter to someone.  Just sharing those thoughts with someone is a gift.

Gift of Words quote

My Life Monday | we are all a work in progress

Sitting there in the second-to-last pew, shoulder-to-shoulder with women on either side I did not know, I thought to myself, would this many people show up for me? as I blotted my tears.

As a woman you blot — you know that mascara running down your cheeks just makes you appear like you just had yourself an ugly cry and you dont’ want that.  Because, as you are wiping the tears, you say to yourself – why am I even crying, this is just stupid;  as if to be shameful for feeling.

That first question I asked myself has stuck with me ever since David Gabriel’s funeral.  If we are truly on this earth, in this life, to prepare for the after-life, than what am I doing on a daily basis to do that?  Not enough.  Surely I have some self-work to do.

I think I can safely say;  however, cannot assume, but again, think it is safe to say that David didn’t think that way in his daily life.  And really, who does? But yet, there I sat, in a church filled pew-to-pew, with people standing in the back, for a man I knew only a short time, but somehow he made me feel (and you, if you’re reading this and knew him), even after one conversation, as if we had been friends for life.

Someone asked, “did he have a single enemy?”  From where I was sitting, it didn’t appear so.  Was he living his life the way God would have wanted?  Maybe not.  But I think we all could use a little tweak here or there in our lives;  no one is perfect.

We’re human.  It’s human nature to be selfish at times.  It’s human nature to get wrapped up and manifest our own daily dramas.  It’s human nature to walk by someone and maybe say hello, depending on our mood.  It’s human nature to feel as though you are completely alone in your own despair because no one has it as bad as you – so you tell yourself.  Why?  Because no one knows you better than you know you.  No one knows your life as well as you.  You have a front-row seat.  Everyone around you is just a part of your story. No one really knows your hurts, sorrows, or pains that trigger a side of you that you’d rather not face.

At some point in life, you may have to face and come to terms with (and take responsibility for) – the very things about yourself you’d rather hide from the world.  To yourself, you’ll admit to your own shortcomings, failures, what others or you yourself may see as “defects” of your human nature and personality.  You may choose to share what you discover with others or you may not.  You may choose behaviors that help you cope (negative or positive).  Or, by your own will of choosing, learn how to use what you’ve learned about yourself to become more of who you already are, at your deepest core, with all of your best intentions.  No partner, friend, or mentor can do that for you.  They can influence  or guide you, but you will have to do the work.

My hope for you, should that mirror of self-reflection present itself (and what a blessing it can be) — that which blooms from that discovery is a fresh perspective, a revised devotion to daily living, and a new promise to love and be kind to yourself.  Because, what you put out into the world, comes back to you.

In the meantime, have empathy.  After all, we are all a work-in-progress.

Inspirational words from Proverbs

My Life Monday | Living for today, Planning for Tomorrow

So, before I get into today’s post and what the title is all about, I want to chat a little bit about something that is so important, yet often ignored at the family dinner table.

Over the weekend, our community lost a very lively, happy-go-lucky guy.  You may have seen the story on the news.  My fondest recent memory of David Gabriel goes back to Halloween 2012.  Honestly, that was the last time I had seen him.  It’s funny how you can seem someone maybe once a year, if that, when they live so close.  It makes you realize, the phrase, “its a small world,” is one that only seems to apply to circumstance/happen-stance situations.  It seems you are more likely to run into someone local you know in Iraq (true story)  than someone you know that lives a matter of miles away, sometimes.  Crazy, if you think about it.  David came into my life very briefly compared to most around that know him.  The last conversation I had with him was him telling me that I should have dressed (for Halloween) like a naughty school teacher, as he apparently liked my glasses.  He was obviously a guy who loved conversation with anyone and everyone he met and had a zest for life.

Which brings me to what I want to talk about – when death is unexpected (or even when it is, really).  I imagine, the zest for life that David had, also probably kept him from planning for his personal matters, in the event he was no longer here to take care of things himself.  And it is something I know many people, in my personal life, that are guilty of the very same thing.  No one wants to talk in these terms and have those hard conversations.  However, if you have children/spouse, handling the planning stage is probably one of the greatest gifts you will ever give them.

I can’t imagine what his loved ones are feeling right now and my heart goes out to them.  But if you take anything away from this, take this:  we all know we are not promised tomorrow.  Do your loved ones a favor and bring up the hard talk of estate and personal matter planning.  And do your family members even know what you want, in writing, in the event you don’t pass but yet, are incapbable of speaking for yourself?

This is something my husband and I have talked a great deal about.  And honestly, there are a lot of things we have yet to get in writing.  We do have our plots, and do have, in writing, what should happen with our children in case we both pass on, and also have life insurancce.  When it comes to financials – it would be one huge headache though, combing through everything.  So, yeah – we still have work to do too.

Some here are some things to think about, off the top of my head:

  • What will happen to your children should you and your spouse both pass, or if you’re a single parent and the other parent is unfit?
  • What happens to your outstanding debt?
  • If you own a home/estate/land, what are your wishes?
  • Where do you want to be buried?
  • Do you have life insurance and enough to cover funeral expenses (on average $10,000-13,000 last I checked), in addition to a year’s worth to cover living expenses for a year, especially if you are the breadwinner?

There are so many what-if’s and you can drive yourself crazy just thinking about all the scenarios.  However, if you have children, own property, have a business – getting these concerns addressed, while you have a say and can take on that responsibility, is one of the most thoughtful things you can do for your loved ones, in my humble opinion.

Again, my thoughts and prayers to David’s loved ones.  His goofy nature and larger-than-life personality will be missed by many.  He seemed to view life as this big stage and he was the performer;  there to make you smile, in his own, David-esque way.

Now onto the update from last week’s post.

Nope, just can’t do it.  It just doesn’t feel right.  So, I will close it here for today. I’m also changing the title of the post from “Update from Last Week” to what it is now.  Next week I’ll share an update on the whole time-tracking thing.

Until then……

Thomas Wolfe Quote about the human spirit

My Life Monday | Unexpected Advantage of Time Tracking

Hello to another Monday and another season.  The year is nearly coming to an end and the final quarter of the tax season year has already started.  On a personal note, I didn’t meet as many of my goals I had hoped for 2014.  But, I know where I went wrong in several ways and look forward to taking the next couple months to prepare for 2015.  I’m considering some big changes, so we’ll see what the next few months bring.  Maybe the simple task of time-tracking will give me the boost I need.  So far so good!

This past week was so gorgeous.  I forgot there, for a few days as you probably did as well, that soon we’re heading for bare trees and chilly air.  The tree in our front yard is just about bare already.  I was outside enjoying the warmth this past week, doing some painting and taking Gizmo for walks.  Hopefully, you were able to enjoy it while it lasted as well.

Moving on, I want to share something I read recently that really resonated with me.  Are you feeling as though you keep spinning your wheels and don’t get anywhere?  Do you feel like you’re a hamster on a wheel going through the motions day-to-day without really feeling as though you’re accomplishing  much of anything?  All this does is build anxiety, make you feel terrible, shameful, etc..

So, what if all you really needed to do was track everything you do in your day for three consecutive days, right down to fifteen minute increments?  Is it really that simple?  What if it is?  If there is a goal you have in mind and just can’t figure out why you keep feeling like a hamster on a wheel – give this a try.  I’ve read, and you’ve probably read too, all sorts of things about mindset.  The thing is though, if you feel like you are at the top of your game, getting shiznit done and taking names, the mindset follows naturally, right?  How could it not?  So, sometimes it’s just a matter of getting back to the basics.  Once you get a visual picture of your day, in black and white, you will see where you’ve spent your time (i.e. what you value most).

I just started today and seriously, I’ve had more brainstorming activity going on than I’ve had in MONTHS!!  Like seriously – get you excited, can’t wait to move forward, kind of brainstorming.  The time-tracking has become a mini-diary of my day. Progress, my friends…feels wonderful and there just might be something to this.  It’s like a game of mentral trickery at its best.  lol!

Other than the whole brainstorming going on – I just wanted to share a couple images from some recent sessions.  I have other sessions I have yet to blog, so these will get added to the list, but until then…..

Rylan just recently had his ordering appointment and this is one of the family favorites.

senior guy with helmet and football

I recently photographed the Serr family and I KNEW this was going to be one of their family favorites.

ND Family Photographer

Have a wonderful week, everyone!!  I have a ton of apples to peel, core, and wrap for freezing and tomatoes waiting to be made into salsa.  Yesterday, I got 8 jars of tomato soup made! That was a first for me but it sure turned out pretty tasty, thanks to a great recipe from a friend. :)




My Life Monday | We are our own worst enemies

September is nearly over;  cannot believe it and today is officially the first day of Fall.  I love the sights and smells of the Fall;  however, the chill that comes along with it can take a hike.

I honestly typed, deleted, typed, deleted on the title of today’s post several times.  I simply just cannot find the right words.  I’ve just had so much on my mind lately….with life, with business, worry, worry some more, mix in the pre-winter blues and you have a cocktail of someone not feeling too social.  Hence, the disappearing act on social media.  But you know what, I’ve come to realize that most people probably didn’t even notice.  Read on to the next paragraph and I’ll explain why I think that is.

I am, generally speaking, a private person, but I think sharing the motions of what has been on my heart lately will do me some good.  And what I’ve come to realize, is that what I may think others think, generally isn’t what they think at all.  Our perceptions of what others are thinking;  of what we do, what we say, what we wear, or how we go about our day, are just our own manifestations of our own [often negative] thoughts.  People are busy.  You are busy.  To top it off, it’s a very NOISY world in cyberspace and in your inbox.  It’s info-overload on a daily basis and you’re not paying much attention to those around you.  And that’s not to say you, others, or myself are being cold or disconnected, but rather, we often become just wrapped up in the chaos/busy-ness of our own lives, which doesn’t leave much time to give thought to the chaos/busy-ness in the lives of others.  Not only that, it can sometimes get  downright depressing to read all the sad stories shared across social media.

But when the air is silent, and we are left to our own thoughts in peace;  thinking about our to-do’s, what is left undone, what was left unsaid, those pants we couldn’t quite squeeze into that morning, the gray hairs staring back at us in the mirror – we are so quick to left-hook ourselves in the chin time and time again with our very own thoughts.  We would never tell those we love the very things we tell ourselves.  It becomes this vicious cycle that’s on rinse and repeat in our lives.

Such has been my life for several years, and even more so the last year, especially.  I have always cared what others think — too much, really.  So much so, I think it has created roadblocks in my own personal growth as a human being and as an entrepreneur.  At the root of all that though are two very tightly woven hurdles to overcome:  fear and lack of self-confidence.

If I would have blogged about all the things/ideas/beliefs/thoughts, etc., I’ve wanted to blog about over the years, or would have tried all those things/ideas in my business that I merely thought about trying but was too scared to, I cannot imagine what I might be doing right now, at this very moment, rather than talking in hindsight.  Not to mention how many people would not be reading my blog, or how many more might be.

Take a magnifying glass to your own life and examine – what is that one thing, that one nagging thought/idea you just can’t let go of?  Or, possibly, what haven you buried  so deeply but every so often something you hear/read/see reminds you, creeping to the surface, and you sigh quietly and tell yourself maybe next year or someday.

Several times over the last several weeks, I have heard the same passage from the bible, by two different priests (one time being at the funeral I attended yesterday, which honestly I’m left wondering – what did that have to do with anything?), and also read it in a daily prayer booklet I have.  Just makes me wonder if God isn’t trying to tell me something.

I know I’m being somewhat vague in this blog post but know this:  whatever deep-seeded thoughts you have in your pretty head, there are a thousand more, just like you, with their own deep-seeded thoughts.  There is something in all of us lying dormant.  We all possess a certain skill, knowledge, idea, a concept, or a gift that majority of us will never tap into.  I find that incredibly saddening.  Imagine how many more Einstein’s, Picasso’s, or Jobs’ of the world there could be.

I’m going to leave you with these words that hopefully will stir up something within you.  I’m just another person out there trying to find their way and figure out this one shot at life.  The way I see it, God-willing, I have about 40 good years to make some good shit happen.  At least, I’m hoping I can still wipe my own butt when I’m 75.

Hey, you know me – gotta mix a little humor in there, if even at the end (no pun intended). :D

And I realize I really didn’t share what I’ve been up to.  Basically, a personal project (which I may or may not get the guts to eventually share or put out in the world), some self-discovery work, a wedding album design (last year wedding), a pretty sweet surprise birthday party for a pretty awesome gal whom I wish I’d known years ago, canning, studio organizing/cleaning, and an amazing morning session with the Serr family.  Here’s a teaser from their session.  This one was for Ray (Mr. Serr).  He & I were totally on the same page for this one!  Love it when ideas meld together!

ND Family Photographer

 Want me to tackle a specific topic on my blog or have a question for me, I wanna hear it?  Shoot me an email at victoria (at) vlvphotography (dot) com.  It only takes 2 seconds to be brave. ;)

Are you finally ready for your family to be photographed (before the kids start their own lives and get their own families)?  Do you have an idea or a vision of what you want your family portrait to look like?

Book Session with VLV Photography

My Life Monday | Beets, Pickles, Pie – Oh My!

My husband must be worried….if, even slightly.  I’m turning into “Harriet, the Homemaker.”  No offense, of course, to all those out there named Harriet.  I happen to love the name;  however, I’m thinking my husband is thinking that I may have been abducted by aliens and brought back another woman.  Clearly, because baking (from scratch), canning, and making a new German dish….all in the same day, mind you – is not like me….at all.

When a  day like that comes around, I go full bore, as they’re pretty rare.  But, they have been more frequent, I must say.

We had a our local church Fall supper yesterday and as a member, I was to bring two pies.  I thought it would be an awesome idea to make my own pie crust.  I’ve never made my own pie crust.  Ever.  And not for one pie, but for three pies. One pie was the “trial pie,” so that if the crust was a total flop, I would then not take the other two and just buy two pies.

I used an old recipe I had gotten from my aunt Delores (age 87 and kicking as ever) and it really was easy to work with, once all mixed.  Once baked, I thought it tasted too much like Crisco, as did my husband.  However, now that it’s a couple days later, I think it’s actually pretty good.  The crust baked beautifully and I even made some fancy-shmancy designs prior to baking.  I did cheat on the filling though.   Next time, I’ll really impress the hubby and make a whole pie from scratch.  There are a lot of pie crust cheaters out there.  I know, I was one of them.  But when you just feel like having a little taste of “back in the day,” this is a perfect way to count your blessings for all of the conveniences we so take for granted.  Or, you could use your microwave….that would probably be easier.  lol!  The recipe?  I never thought you’d ask!

Perfect Pie Crust

Mix together:

5 cups flour

2 cups crisco


1 cup 7-up

1 tsp. salt

Makes about 6 single crusts.

perfect pie crust recipe

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! :)

In addition to the pies, I made an old recipe I came across just days before – honey cookies, courtesy of my grandmother, Bertha, who died when I was 8.  I didn’t remember eating these cookies until they actually came out of the oven.  The smell and how they looked, once baked, really took me back to my childhood.  Kinda like that Glade commercial whose marketing is spot-on, if you ask me.

They’re not sweet enough for my sweet-tooth husband or Alexandra though, saying “these would be perfect with chocolate chips.”   The rest of us like them and I know I will be making them again.  I have some new ideas I’m wanting to try in how I share information, so I do promise I will be sharing the recipe, just not today.  It’s kinda a “special” recipe to me. :)

Pies and cookies aside, I also did some canning.  I got several jars of regular pickles, bread & butter/refrigerator pickles, and also finally got my beet jelly made.  I will be sharing all of these recipes coming up, because, seriously – anyone can be canning.  I almost put “anyone can can” but that just sounds weird.  But really, if you can follow a recipe, you can can.  Okay, there I had to use it. :P  Aside from beet jelly, which, in my own admission, feels and is an all-day process, pickles are so easy.  The regular pickles are less involved than bread & butter, but still easy enough – just more steps.  I recently acquired some tomatoes and will be trying my hand at homemade tomato soup (if I find I have enough), or I may just make salsa – not sure yet.  I’ve never messed with tomatoes, so it will be a first.

So, there you have it – that’s what I’ve been up to.  I’ve also been working on a wedding album design from last year’s wedding of Steven & Crystal.  They’ve had a busy year, and I’m excited to get their album in their hands.  I surely could have chosen the images for them, but with my wedding clients I never did that.  Because, it is their album, not mine.

A lot cooking in the kitchen, figuratively and actually, and hopefully whatever you’ve been cooking up lately has also been bringing you joy.

And just because you and your girlfriends may be interested in, what I think, would be a great time and offer some great laughs…..if you do go, I want to hear how it was!  Since it’s a weekday – it’s not the easiest to get away for me.

Menopause The Musical

Happy cooking in the kitchen of life, my friends!

My Life Monday | Fall is Upon Us

A week into school and Labor Day weekend just around the corner; it’s that time of year when we start to say that Fall is upon us.  We slept with our windows open last night and it’s probably the best sleep I’ve had in several weeks.  Even Tony didn’t wake up, as he usually does, prior to his alarm.  The chill in the air today had the kids getting on the bus with pants and sweaters too. It’s a “brrrrrr….” kinda day today.  And it makes me think of Fall family sessions.  I’m starting to book in September, so if you’re thinking about a session, it’s never too early to book – especially if you’re needing a Saturday. :)

This past week just seemed to go so fast.  I thought my days went fast when it was Jozlyn and I and the other two were in school, but now it feels like noon gets here in no time and before I know it, kids are getting off the bus.  I am definitely getting more done, but I seem to make my lists longer now and it feels like I have so much left undone at the same time.

Since the kids have been in school, I have gone from not being involved with much outside of my kids and business to being on community committees, volunteering myself to the church, and really just putting myself out there more in the community, in general.  It’s felt good to feel like I now have the ability to devote more time to my area communities.  I’ve always shy’ed away because I have had a child in tow for so long.  It is nice now, to know, that should my help be needed somewhere, while the kids are in school, I can give more of my time to others.

In other news, this past Saturday was mine and Tony’s 11th wedding anniversary.  The elevator was closed due to the weather, so he got the day off, and it was also the 5th Annual Courage Against Cancer Walk.  Despite the weather, I think it was a good turn-out.  The ones who ran/walked, probably woke up not really “feeling it” or really wanting to walk/run, but I think we all who did participate (I ran the 5k) would agree that those who are fighting can’t quit or those who are fighting and who have lost, simply can’t run or even walk that far.  And above all, Joyce Scherr, survivor for whom this event was originally started, wasn’t sitting indoors with her feet up.  She has walked the 13 miles, rain or shine every year for the past 5 years.  It’s really a wonderful event, with great fellowship of community, a great meal, and for a wonderful cause.  I’m proud to be a sponsor for it as well.

My gal-pal, Lori, was my 5K running buddy.  Our mutual friend, running rockstar, Susan, ran the half-marathon.  Maybe one day I will….I think I would need a year of training before I would attempt that!  So, kudos to her, and Andy Nolz, who I believe, also ran it. And, of course, to all those who walked it.  Thirteen miles is no walk in the park! :)

Courage Against Cancer Half-Marathon & 5K

Tony and I did celebrate going out for supper in Mound City, which is always delicious, followed by evening mass.  We get a little crazy when we celebrate, I know. lol!  At this point in marriage, it’s really the quiet, and ability to hold adult conversation that you really learn to appreciate, regardless of an anniversary or not.  So, although it felt like any other day, we did manage to carve out some time for us and conversation.  But we don’t just do that on anniversaries, but on a weekly basis.  Kids ears are always listening, it seems.  And the best thing we ever did for our marriage was having a set bedtime for the kids since the day they were born.  It’s the one piece of advice I would give new parents too.  Create a routine and stick to it.  Routine has given us time – time to decompress after a long day, time to communicate, time to discuss important matters/issues the kids need not hear, and just time to enjoy each others’ company.  I really think, in this day in age where 1 out of 2 marriages end in divorce, that anything you can do to make time for communication, is key in longevity in marriage and your own sanity.  It’s definitely helped us in our marriage and to be better parents.

11 year anniversary date

And, while I’m blogging today – I want to say Happy 2nd Anniversary to Paul & Terisa!  Two years ago today I got to photograph a very important day in each of their lives.  I’ve also gotten to photograph their new addition, Nora.  I love that I have been able to photograph these very important moments in their life.  Cheers to two years and to many, many more (and maybe many more little fingers & toes too)! :D

love and parenthood

Well, I hope all the kids getting ready to start school after Labor Day enjoy their final week summer, although it may not feel like it outside.  And I hope all those reading have a blessed week.  Until next time…..

……….laugh with the ones you’re with…for laughter is the best kind of medicine. :D


Parent’s Prayer When Children Are Leaving Home

I read this today in my daily prayer book and I found it fitting for all the parents who will be sending off a little piece of their hearts off to college.  And even if they’re not going to college, they’re still having to let them go into the big, big world.  I have several years to go, but I can wait for those years.  Until you become a parent, you never imagine how you could possibly love another human being so much.  So, I feel for all those having to let go this week.  The worry and the love never ends…no matter how big your babies get.

Please share this prayer with someone who may need to read it.  I think it’s so beautifully written.

“Gracious God,

you blessed me with the gift of this child

and entrusted me with his/her care.

Now he/she leaves this home

and begins a new life apart from me.

Surround him/her with good people,

and watch over him/her each day.

Let him/her know that I will always be near

whenever he/she may  need me.

Heal any hurts we may harbor with one another,

and forgive our failings as we learn to be in a new kind of relationship with each other.

And when the sight of his/her empty room

         pierces my heart with sadness,

may I find comfort in knowing that my child

         is your child too,

filled with your grace and sheltered by your love.  Amen.”

        – Diana Macalintal, The Work of Your Hands

My Life Monday | First Day of School

Happy Monday!!  For the first time in 9 years, I am childless, as my youngest, Jozlyn, just started her first day of kindergarten.  Her brother, Xavier, starts 4th grade, and her sister, Alexandra, starts 2nd grade.

The girls were nervous last night already…well, at least Alexandra was.  The lightening and thunder storm didn’t help, but the girls attempted twice to sleep in the living room.  This morning Alexandra asked Jozlyn, “does your tummy kinda hurt, Jozlyn?”  Jozlyn had said “no.”  Then Alexandra followed up with “mine does;  I’m nervous.”  I’m sure there was comfort, those first two years, for her, that her teacher was also her grandma.  I know her new teacher will calm her nerves today though and she’ll be just fine.

Here are a few pictures I took this morning.  Gizmo was whining, wanting outside, when we went out to take pictures.  Shortly thereafter, the bus came.  When I came back inside, there he sat….by the door whining.  It’s now been an hour and a half since the kids left and he’s been outside three times, and not to go potty.  I think he is lost without them. To him, those are his litter-mates;  he’s pretty attached to them. He’s been wandering around, seemingly unsettled.  After a few days, he’ll get the routine down though.  I think I’ll have to record the homecoming today as I think he’ll go pretty nuts! lol!

first day of schoool

Now that the kids are gone during the day, I will be able to get caught up on everything on my to-do list.  I still have a couple session images to finish up, some design work to do, and also some business things that have been put on the back-burner for a LONG time (including a sewing project I started this past winter)!  So, I’m excited to have the opportunity to do that – and without the guilt that plagued me when I did try to work when the kids were around.  Balancing parenthood with business has been the hardest  the last several years.

Which brings me to a special anniversary I would like to mention!  Today, is not only my brother & sister-in-law’s 2nd wedding anniversary, but also the anniversary of 5 years of being in business in this area!  Five years ago, my previous website officially launched and around the same time is when I officially and legally became a sole proprietor.

I accomplished what a lot of people thought I wouldn’t – and that is actually grow my business in a town with 80’ish people.  I had a lot of doubters or maybe those that just thought I was plain crazy and being a wishful thinker.  But a studio space actually developed from my growth as a business owner.  And to think….even after expenses, I’ve actually been able to earn a paycheck and help provide for our family too!  Photography has been my way of life and my livelihood and none of it would have been possible without the encouragement of my husband or those that really saw in me, what took so long for me to see in myself.  And ultimately, none of it would have happened at all if it weren’t for those who came to me for my services in the first place.

So, as I reflect on the last five years that seemed to have just flown by, as my youngest starts kindergarten, and what feels like a new chapter in my book of life begins, I just wanted to say “thank you” to those who have been supportive.  Thank you to those who have contributed to my passion;  not only by investing in me as their photographer and giving me a purpose, but also investing in their own lives through professional, quality photographs and keepsakes.

My business is very much my clients’ business.  The two go hand-in-hand.  It took me a while to realize that and many of the changes I’ve made along the way, have resulted from open communication with my clients.  I genuinely care what my client base is wanting/looking for when they seek out professional portraiture.

Although, what I offer, may not be what everyone wants/needs/values, I know that I am serving those that do want what I offer, and that gives me a great deal of satisfaction and ultimately very excited to work with each and every client.  Understanding that I can’t be the photographer for everyone has been thee hardest hurdle to jump in my business.  A lot of self-doubt creeps in when you are in a business that is not a commodity, like detergent , for example, that everyone needs, but rather offer something as personal as portraiture.

With all of that being said, I would like to celebrate in some way.  So, here it goes!!!  I look forward to giving back to one amazing client and to working with some new ones as well!   Will that new client be you?  Get in touch by 4:00 P.M. tomorrow!  I look forward to meeting and working with you! :D

5 year anniversary promotion

I wanted to offer something that I felt my previous clients would love to receive, even if it’s from a client session 5 years ago. Memories are memories, right?  And yes, I have a very hard time deleting images!  Although, I do only guarantee images to be on file a certain amount of time.

I also wanted to offer a great incentive for those that may have thought about booking me but just needed a kick in the pants, or even previous clients that would love another session with me.  Either way, you have 24 hours to book.  And tomorrow, one lucky client will be notified they will be receiving all of the digitalfiles from one of their sessions in the last five years.  If you’re a client who has had several sessions, your name will be put in the drawing for each session you’ve had with me!  This drawing excludes all weddings and most engagements, however, as those clients received their digital files, as well as sessions that have not already placed an order.

So, be on the lookout for the announcement tomorrow morning.  I will be posting a recording, I think (if I get it to work), of Jozlyn drawing the winner! :D

Enjoy your Monday, everyone! :)





My Life Monday | Shots, Frogs, oh my!

One more week until quiet from 8ish to 3:30ish and I am one excited mama.  Is that terrible to admit?  I may have to get a side job just to keep myself entertained and not bored. lol!  I’m usually one to stay busy, or at least try to.  There’s always something to do or to be done.  I am excited though, to work more on my business rather than in my business – and there is a difference.  There are many tasks that need to be completed with each session from start to finish, and more often than not, I feel guilty doing those things when my kids are around.  So, to actually work in my business on top of those other tasks, has been a challenge all these years.  I don’t get much quiet time to think, create, and implement business ideas, so it will be nice to have the quiet within the day to really push things up a few notches, once the kids are in school.  One of those things is social media.  I am so terrible at it and really find it challenging, as I would rather have a face to face conversation than feel like I’m talking to myself or just sharing things no one really cares about in the first place.  I go through spurts but maybe, with more business time in my day, I can be more consistent with it.  I hope, anyway!

Here’s a photo of Jozlyn (previously shared on my FB and personal pages, so sorry if you’ve already seen this) just before her kindergarten shots.  She dressed herself. lol!  She’s my goofball – by far!!  She took her shots like a trooper – in both arms and never cried.  She didn’t even flinch!  Although, the nurse was pretty experienced in that department and had some pretty good tricks!


So, how are you spending this last week (or maybe a few, depending on where your kiddos go to school) of summer vacation?  My kiddos are finishing up their swimming lessons, which were rescheduled from last week due to weather.  Other than that, working in some appointments, taking some back to school portraits, and spending some more time at the pool while we can before they close for the season.  Jozlyn has really made considerable improvements in her swimming skills this summer.  She will even dive down to get a water toy!  Last year, during lessons, she would often sit on the side of the pool to wait her turn.  It’s amazing what confidence can do for a child.  And to see it as a parent, makes me so happy.  The adults I know, who don’t know how to swim, regret never learning.  You just never regret learning how to swim and I’m glad there is a wonderful program available so close to us in Herreid.

One of the things me and some girlfriends like to do is get together and we have our friend time, while the kids have their friend time.  It’s been a win-win this summer and we’ve all really enjoyed it.  The last time we all got together, the kids went on a frog hunt and holy moly did they find the frogs – a bucket full!  Jozlyn is not squeamish at all and neither is Alexandra.  But Jozlyn usually is the dirty one in the bunch.  She’s definitely our tom-boy!

I hope you all enjoyed the weekend.  The kids and I went out camping with family and although the weather was off to a rocky start on Saturday, it turned out to be a pretty awesome day.  The kids were (again) catching frogs, and there were some frogs that were so tiny, and according to my brother-in-law, they are often tree-dwellers.   I had to take a photo of one of these unique little creatures.  We hadn’t seen them before.  And if you ever see my daughter, she’s likely wearing just what you see her wearing because the kid wears the same thing over and over. :/  And who do people think never does laundry?  The mom of the household.  Although, I give my husband all the props because I can’t remember the last time I really did laundry.  If I do laundry, it’s usually in the washer for several hours and starts to get stinky before I remember.  Which, begs the question – why don’t washers have bells and dinger-things, while dryers do?  Seriously……good question – isn’t it?  I thought so too! :P
tree frog

Well, I hope you all enjoy the rest of summer vacation, before your kiddos go back to prison, as my 9-year-old son would say!  He is looking forward to seeing all his classmates again – even got teary-eyed one night at the dinner table just talking about it.  Makes sense, considering he’s spent his summer seeing his sisters day in and day out.  I can probably see why it makes a brother emotional with joy!  lol!  I can soooooo wait for the teenage years!!!!!!

Have a great week, everyone!! :)

“The healthiest relationships are those that breathe — that move out 

and then move back together.”

 – James Dobson

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