summer magic

Summer hasn’t been my favorite season since I was a kid. I loved it then for the wildness, the freedom. Being outside all day, every day. I can conjure memories of laying on freshly cut, soft green grass and staring up into the sky looking for pictures in the Michigan clouds. I remember swinging over a ditch by a willow branch. I climbed that willow tree and tested my fear. I remember what the sunsets felt like. I was developing my sense of nostalgia watching the colors burn the horizon. I remember running through a sprinkler, being out on the lake as often as I possibly could, water slides, firecracker popsicles, toasted marshmallows, sparklers. How could I forget?

I have the blessing of experiencing all of this with my daughter now. I see the way strings of lights reflect magic in her eyes. She uses a cardboard box to sail over imaginary seas, walking planks and plundering pirate treasure. She drinks from a hose, belly laughs, twirls ‘til she’s dizzy, floats with a brightly colored tube on the bay. She looks for dancing, dappled light beams in the corners of our home. She lives for tales of Neverland and Peter Pan, spends all day reading on her bed, sings at the top of her lungs, jumps into oncoming ocean waves in nothing but her underwear, creating the fibers of her own childhood magic.

Brought to us by summer.

on gratitude

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

Gratitude is FUNDAMENTAL for living a fulfilled (creative) life.

The more gratitude I have, the more I appreciate the work I’m creating. This in turn gives me that craving to continue to create.

It helps me to see the beautiful things in other people, the beautiful things in my own life, and to capture them with the filter of gratitude (which of course is a magical recipe all in itself!)

My driving force used to be photographing those things in other people that I wanted documented for myself. I would take a photo and think ughh! I wish I had a photo like this of my own family. But that lack of gratitude and coveting left me hungry, and the searching for meaning and creative fulfillment (along with lifelong fulfillment) was unsuccessful.

Now I feel thankful to be able to witness. To be able to have the opportunity to document. It’s part of my life, too. Your story now becomes part of mine, and I am so, so thankful.

I can only experience this transcendent goodness when I am actually HERE. Living this life. Sitting with myself, my thoughts, my heart. Aware.

I am not about the hustle. There are things that need to be done, sure, but it’s a quick way to get burned out and lose all the magic and feeling and meaning that was so strongly lighting that fire within yourself to do anything useful in the first place.

If I want to feel gratitude, feel like what I have is enough, I have to sit with myself. This is why you can find me at the beach at least once a week! I sit with the waves and my thoughts and my heart and watch the sky turn colors and I leave completely renewed. You might not live by a beach, but I’m willing you can find a forest! Or mountains! Or a quiet room, porch, windowsill, field, area with open sky, etc. What feels like church to you? What feels holy and evokes the absolute best out of you?

Whatever it is, find it. And sit with it.

Be. Receive. Give thanks.

on progress

I have arrived.

Sometimes that egotistical little thought pops in my head. It’s far from the truth, but I’m also really proud of the work that I’m putting out there that’s so different from the work I was putting out there not long ago. I had a 10+10 board (10 of my favorite images that I’ve procured, next to 10 images that inspire me. Again, if you haven’t purchased the goodness that is Yan Palmer’s Teethkiss Workshop, you really should!) that was so completely far from what I wanted my work to look like, it felt hopeless. I’ve been in business for 7 years now, and for some reason I could never catch up. What I wanted my work to look like didn’t match what I was creating.

I switched to film last year, and as soon as I dove in, there was no going back! I’m procuring art that makes me feel, photographs that I love. My work is where I want it to be!

For now.

You know that old over-used saying that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey? I cringe at cliches as much as the next girl, but this one happens to be true. Our whole lives are about growth, learning, bettering. What’s good to me now may not resonate with me in the future. The art we create speaks differently to each of us at different points in our lives.

It’s frustrating sometimes. The evolution. Sometimes I just wish I could stay content, always be satisfied. And yet, once I outgrow this cocoon, what lies ahead is sure to be beautiful! I never want my work to grow stagnant. I always want to be true to what makes me feel, even if it requires a lot of work and learning and sometimes uncomfortable growth.

only one

This post has been a looooong time coming. I’ve hesitated.

No. Don’t put your heart out there like that.

No, do it! You should say something.

But what about the repercussions?

So on and so forth. You get the idea. But if you’re reading this, then you can probably guess that the angel (or devil) on my shoulder spoke loudest.

I have an only child.

I get a LOT of feedback on that, almost daily. It’s gotten better in the past year or so, but it used to be that I couldn’t go to my mailbox without my neighbor asking me, “So when are you gonna give her a baby brother?”

Or hearing people chime in and say “But she needs a sibling!” or “Well you’ll want to hurry before there’s too big of an age gap” or my personal favorite, that “Only children end up dysfunctional”.

My life story is far from being fully written, but to anyone who might be concerned: I absolutely CAN have an only child! And so can you.

Who wrote the rulebook anyway? One is too few. Three, (definitely more) is too many. So two children is apparently the socially acceptable, normal number of children allowed to be had or else the world will cease to turn on its axis the way it’s supposed to.

Aside from the fact that this is absurd, and coming from a well-functioning person who was raised as an only child myself (with the exception of my half sister who is 18 years older than me), it’s extremely hurtful.

I know some people only truly care. I know they ask, comment, suggest out of love. But at the end of the day, it STILL hurts. What if I were someone who was struggling with infertility? What if I were someone who had other causes, stories happening behind the scenes that you weren’t aware of that did not allow me to have any more children? What if all I could think about all day, every day, all my heart yearned for was to have another child? To give my only a sibling? I have been all of these things at some point or another, but whenever I heard a tip from an unknowing passersby (or family member. or friend. or church member. etc etc) it felt like salt pouring into a wound.

Aside from that, what if I were someone who only CHOSE to have one child? What if I did something so crazy as to ask to not be fit in a box? I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am married. I do not have a big family. Those things can all coexist peacefully. I don’t fit into a box, and nobody else should feel they have to, either!

This post is also out of love, a call to awareness, a voice reaching out into the abyss hoping to reach an ear who may need to hear it. I am with you. You are not alone. It really, truly is okay to have only one child. It’s also okay to have many children. Or none. So long as you take care of those God-given babies, who am I to judge?

Below is my best friend (muse) and her family, who have chosen to have more than one child and I love them in spite of it ;)

long beach

My first ever blog post on my grown-up, real website is about Long Beach, which should tell you that this city means a great deal to me. But I’m kind of embarrassed to say it wasn’t my first choice.

Not even close.

Our family made the big trek from Michigan out to California four and a half years ago, unwillingly. We always said we would move ANYWHERE except California.

Then I thought I was going to have to leave California, and I realized then just how much I love it. (Why is it that with most things in life we only realize how much we love it if we’re going to have to lose it?)

We had some choices to make about school and work and what our next move was going to be. Long Beach has always been a contender, hypothetically, but it was never my choice. Then it was my only choice.

My heart has changed SO much in the handful of months since that decision was made, but everything fell into place for us in such a way that I know we are meant to be here. We came down to house hunt with only 3 weeks until we needed to find a place, and we only had two prospective homes available to see. We expected that the Los Angeles housing market would be pretty competitive, and I went into it feeling a little hopeless.

We were instantly accepted at the first place. Then the second. The decision was easy once we met our landlords, who are like surrogate parents/grandparents to us (we went with the second home).

I have adopted this city as my own instantly. It’s diverse, colorful, green, sunny, friendly, and close to the beach. Why would we ever leave?