Thursday, October 30, 2014

Holiday Christmas Cards : made easy this year!

Graphic Designer, Allie Brown, of Allie Brown Design and I have joined forces to provide the perfect Christmas Card Package!

The package includes a 30 minute photography session, 30 edited images from your shoot, your choice from one of the 6 custom designs Allie has create for this holiday season, AND 50 prints of your cards with envelopes shipped to your door step!  The entire package is only $120 and will run all of November.

Christmas Cards are always so fun and exciting to share with others but can be such a hassle to organize and print and put together.  This year we are making it easy!  Just come to your photoshoot and a week later, your cards are ready to send out!

To purchase this package and book your shoot, contact me through

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Facebook Made Me Fat

Guest post from my husband's hand:

Every couple of weeks or so, I let my mind slip into deep thoughts about humanity.  If I get past staring at my hand as I open and clinch it, wondering how in the world I am alive and have this body that has 'skin' and 'organs' and can move and bend and hold fluid and get rid of waste; often I start to wonder why people do the things they do, or how they got to be the way they are. There are two topics that top the chart these days, and it's because I am encompassed by them daily, literally and figuratively:  Fat, and social media obsession.  They are actually closely related to each other.

I'm not talking about the fact that laying on the couch scrolling endlessly through photos and thoughts about other people's lives actually eats up so much of my time that, before I realize it, I no longer have a desire to 'go to the gym' or 'mow the lawn'.  While true, that's not the common thread to which I am referring.  I'm talking about the underlying structure upon which our modern society is built that makes these things thrive.  The imaginary 'American Dream' to which we all feel entitled.  The disease that has drained our bank accounts, tricked our hearts into unnecessary eruptions of drama, filled the empty spaces in our clothes, and has often killed progress dead in its tracks.  I'm talking about being spoiled.  "I want it now.  I get it now."

We can't even pretend that this disease isn't running rampant all around us.  We are quite literally addicts to the idea of now-ness.  I doubt there exists a person who hasn't heard a friend talk about their need to 'quit facebook', or 'wean off of Pinterest'.  We're not talking about crack or cigarettes here, so why are we even using these terms?  If there is no nicotine in Instagram, why is our shaky finger scrolling further and further down even though our wrist hurts from holding our phone in front of our face in the dark?  Because we have a natural desire to 'snoop', to get the 'down low', to see peoples 'private' lives, to be entertained, to see more- and we want it NOW.  Often not even an important meeting at work, a lesson during our day of worship, or a serious discussion with our spouse can get in our way.  Is the story about your cousin's child throwing cheerios at the cat actually important?  I daresay the answer will always be 'No', but the strange need to read about it will often beat out activities ten fold more important.  It's just. too. easy.

So how does this spoiled sense of entitlement make me fat?  Just as the technology industry has taken advantage of my insatiable and unexplainable craving for mind garbage, the food industry has lulled us into a mind numbing sense of satisfaction with stomach garbage.  Not a soul would look me in the eyes and tell me that sugar is healthy, or even good to put in our bodies for that matter.  We all know that it has no nutritional value and that it can cause serious health problems.  (We all read these words, nod our heads, and put the next oreo into our mouths as we continue...) See what happened there?!  It's like we are living in a false reality.  I literally will finish conversations with my coworkers about the negative and horrific effects of sugar, and within an hour I'm at Chick Fil A slurping out the last morsels of my oreo shake.  My mind doesn't care about consequences or nutrition- it cares about feeding the 'nows'.  

"Pffff.  I'll just quit when I need to."  Riiiiight.  Just make a simple little choice to 'quit' once you don't fit into any of your clothes and ache everywhere.  NEWSFLASH:  I reached that point and I didn't quit.  It's really, really, really hard.  How hard?  Well we know that sugar has similar effects on the brain as cocaine, possibly even more addictive... My wife and I just headed a '10 day Sugar-free Challenge'.  We had over 20 people on board and gung-ho about kicking this nasty additive that is in almost ALL processed food.  After 7 days we did a quick headcount... and the number of people still going strong could be counted on one hand.  What did those people have in common?  They were already basically on 'no sugar' diets.  I could have taken the responses from most people who dropped out and replaced the word 'sugar' with 'cigarettes' and I don't think anyone could have picked them out of a bunch of cigarette addicts.  The thing that kills me- ALL participants that lasted through the week lost POUNDS.  A few even LOOK better.  In 7 days.  How many times have I felt disgusting or depressed about all the weight I've gained since college.... and all I had to do was stop gorging myself on sugar?!  But... but... I want it!  Right now!  'It makes me happy!'  I can't even tell you the number of times I've heard people say they'd rather be 'happy' than be on a 'diet'.  I've said it myself.  Do we honestly think that we cannot be 'happy' when we eat food that nourishes our body rather than destroys it?!

We are spoiled brats.  Modern society knows how weak we are and literally spoon feeds us garbage for our mind/body that they know we can't resist.  They know we want want want- now now now... and they give it to us.  Maybe we should just go along with it until it becomes a REAL problem- when the majority of our society is obese and having health issues, maybe even to the point of an epidemic- or when people start losing real communication skills because they only feel comfortable behind their electronic devices, and it causes conflict in their REAL relationships.  Wait a second....

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

the key to grief

it's a very strange experience
to miscarry a baby.

i kind of hate the word miscarriage. just like how i hate looking into the toilet now. just like how i hate my heightened sense of all pregnant women in public. just like how i hate cramps and the wave of fear it brings.

at a photo shoot saturday i unexpectedly found myself telling the mother and friend, "It's so very weird to go from being yourself and having your body to yourself, then surrendering all of you to something else."  It's a sacrifice you don't even, couldn't even, fully understand until you have unconsciously found yourself served up as God's instrument.   Your body isn't yours, really, any more.  (and it finally teaches me that it was never really mine to begin with.)  Your mind and body are occupied with creating this baby's life.  It makes decisions and coordinates functions and moves and prepares all without your choice.  i never knew it would feel like this.  i knew being pregnant would be cool but i didn't know.  i didn't really know how magical it is.

it is incredible, truly.
but it is so strange.

and how crappy i have thought it is to feel my body becoming "normal" and becoming mine again.  i ache to be pregnant again.  it's like i was ushered into a new, bright room, through a gate to a better place, then in one night---pulled from it and placed back into no mom's allowed room again to sit with my empty uterus.
maybe i shouldn't...but i feel like i've been demoted.

i mostly wanted to write today so that someday i could reread this piece and remember.
i was vacuuming a couple of days after i began the miscarriage.  (i cleaned a lot as part of my coping. distractions.)
i thought about how the grief of miscarriage uprooted a lot of my feelings of past experiences.  all grief i've ever felt... kind of came back, poking at me.  i thought about my struggle with grieving my brother's situation and considered how i didn't really tell anyone, really, what i was thinking and feeling during that time.  i guess, maybe God.  i prayed a lot throughout that experience. and i think maybe only God knew. He was the only one i was real with.  i don't feel like i knew what to do with grief when i was younger.  i tried to write about it, to address it.  then i tried healthy things to distract me and move on from it and took comfort in understanding God's plan for his children on Earth.

i kept vacuuming and wondered about others i knew that experienced grief, how did they deal with it?  how am i dealing with my grief now?  what is the best way?  is there a wrong way?  what should i do?  but really, is shop therapy really that bad??  but serious, how to people get over things?

i couldn't answer all of those questions, but i did decide on one thing that was helping me the most.
my husband.
i decided that when you grieve.  whenever that is in life, over whatever it may be.  you must have one person you can be YOU with.

in a room with anyone but my husband, i unconsciously put on a smile, faked it through being put together, and made jokes.  i told myself, and other's even told me, you can be whatever you are feeling... you don't have to put on a smile.  but my body wouldn't let me.
i think it is a fear of creating an uncomfortable situation.
i don't want to wail and collapse in front of others. what are they suppose to do? imagine the adrenaline that runs through them and makes them panic when i loose it in front of them.  let's talk about THAT awkward situation.
i fake it. to spare the awkward situation. and i remind myself to not fake it to myself at least.

so this is my life lesson learned : have someone (anyone) that you can be real with.  that you can still cry to even though its been weeks and you think you're suppose to be over it.  someone that you can tell how scared you are and what you're worried about and how you feel, all the real stuff.  someone that you can talk to about being sad and not feel like they want to run away from  your awkward pain.  someone that just lets you and doesn't judge you and accepts all of you.  you have got to have someone like that.

i think it's a key to life.
whether its a friend, or sibling, or spouse, or parent, or God or even a therapist.  we all need someone we can just be real with.  because who wants to travel through life hiding pieces of themselves and pretending to be happy?
hearts will heal if we will only let them.

i think its the only way i have survived this and had enough light to get out of bed each day and walk forward.  i am ever thankful for my husband for being this for me. it's invaluable to my healing and happiness.  and, oh, i wish it for everyone.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

 sneak peek for this California bride