So first I must tell you, yesterday we finally found out that baby #2 is a…


I’ll have to share  some pictures from our reveal party, which proved to be such a fun way to find out with our family and friends. It’s still sinking in- I’m mom to two boys! Seth is going to have a little brother. I know it’s going to be amazing. Now we’re starting to discuss names, which is always interesting. At this point we seem far from any decisions.

In the midst of party preparations over the last few days, I never got around to finishing and posting my annual list on my birthday. Last year, I made a list and posted it here - things I wanted to do in the year to come.

Friday I turned 24, and as I looked back on that list I realized that one thing I’ve learned thus far in life is that flexibility is key. Plans changes, situations change, and rolling with it- allowing myself to be molded by change rather than resisting it- is a good idea.

So, here’s what happened with my list last year- 24 before 24:

1. Have a balanced and successful business — Well, I’m getting there. I feel like I’m definitely doing better than I was one year ago.
2. Go on a weekend getaway alone with my husband — Check! Some pictures here.
3. Take a family vacation somewhere cool — We had an amazing time in Key West in June. I shot it all on film. See here and here.
4. Make cardio exercise and yoga regular parts of my schedule again — I have been working on this, and getting back into now that a lot of the early-pregnancy sickness is over.
5. Take more pictures of the people I love — I have been, though I do want to be better about bringing my camera along when we go out.
6. Be a better friend — I hope so. So thankful for my friends.
7. Be more selfless and generous — A lifelong goal and learning process.
8. Grow technically and artistically as a photographer — I can definitely say I have this year. I feel good looking at work from a year ago and knowing I can do better now and that my vision is more refined.
9. Make Seth’s birthday cake from scratch — Well, it wasn’t totally from scratch, but I did make it. The cake part was from a box. Sometimes compromise is necessary :)
10. Get published — Yes indeed, in Palm Beach Woman Magazine. See here.
11. Travel to shoot a wedding — I didn’t. I’ve shifted focus to mostly portraiture. When I do shoot weddings they will be local for now, for the sake of my family.
12. Learn to make good bread from scratch — Going to have to move this one to my new list… :) I bought the book Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day- now I just have to try it out.
13. Bring Seth to the beach more often — Sure did! We’ve been loving it too.
14. Paint a mural on the wall of Seth’s room — Decided not to, but I do want to do some art for the kids’ room. See below.
15. Finally get Seth’s room all set up — We did, and now we’re doing an overhaul soon to make room for his brother or sister. I can’t wait to get it finished, with a crib and things on the walls.
16. Create a nice outdoor living area in our back yard — That is always a work in progress. We have twinkle lights on the fence now, and they make me smile.
17. Have friends over for dinner more often — We have a standing bi-weekly dinner date with a couple friends, and it’s been great.
18. Have more date nights with Manny — We try. Date days too.
19. Journal more consistently, on paper, just for me — Yes, and I’ve come to really need that again.
20. Take a dance class again — Hmm, someday I will.
21. Learn more Spanish and work on it with Seth too — I still want to, but it is so hard to find time devote to learning a language.
22. Read some of the books I’ve been meaning to get to — I did read more this year. It is such great stress relief/escape.
23. Start over with my garden and maintain it this time — Started over, yes. Maintained… well, can I blame it on 4 months of headaches and morning sickness? My basil is still doing great though! I think right now in my life, fairly low maintenance herbs are the way to go.
24. Use up some of my yarn stash with some fun crochet projects — I did a few projects, and I have plans for more as Christmas gifts.

So overall I feel like I accomplished quite a bit. I’ve been jotting things down for a few weeks now for my new list…


25 before 25

1. Have another beautiful, peaceful homebirth.
2. Continue to work our way though the Total Money Makeover plan to financial peace.
3. Learn to make great bread from scratch.
4. Continue to see growth in my business and perfect my practices as a business owner. {Including but not limited to: mastering in-person order sessions, refining my client experience, being more organized, and marketing better}
5. Continue to grow in my craft and become a more skilled photographer; continue to refine my unique vision and voice, and shoot with authenticity.
6. Find a balance and rhythm as a mom of two and family of four.
7. Go on a family trip, hopefully to Maine. {This is somewhere I have literally always dreamed of bringing my family- it is such a special place to me.}
8. Have our family captured by a photographer I truly admire. {I have someone specific in mind, but I don’t want to name names until I know it’s going to happen.}
9. Seriously declutter and organize our home.
10. Express gratitude for the specific gifts I am given each day.
11. Acquire and master some new photo gear. New lens(es), and a medium format film outfit I hope.
12. Spend more time outside, especially during the cooler months.
13. Make the majority of the Christmas gifts we give this year, and actually get them finished before Christmas.
14. Be more present for my family on a daily basis- learn to be less distracted when it’s time to focus on them.
15. Do art projects with Seth more often. So worth the mess :)
16. Make habits of the things that make me feel healthy, like being active and avoiding the foods that make me feel crappy.
17. Write more often.
18. Shoot for myself regularly. Document my family. Remind myself that photography was first my passion, then my job.
19. Overcome my intense shyness and fear of people, and make deeper connections.
20. Become more involved in our church and get to know some people there.
21. Relax more. Combat my tendency to worry and stress with the peace that’s already within me.
22. Go for more walks on the beach. Also downtown, at the park, etc. Just lots of nice walks :)
23. Go see a band/musician I like live. I seriously didn’t do that at all in the last year, which was the first concert-less year in my recent memory. Not acceptable.
24. Put together a sweet room for my kiddos to share. I never got to do any type of “nursery” for Seth since we lived in a little one-bedroom apartment for his first seven months. SO this time I’m looking forward to reveling in the creative nesting instinct :)
25. Waste less time online. Life is too short, too precious- I want to live it actively.


My husband made sure my birthday was really special, with a surprise prenatal massage in the morning, a great lunch out, and then dinner at a fabulous Indian restaurant! It was so nice to spend a relaxing day with my boys (all three, it turns out!). I’ve also recieved some really special things from family, including a Nook reader from my parents and my dad’s vintage Nikonos underwater film camera. I’m definitely feel super blessed in so many ways.

Last, but not least, Happy Halloween! : ) Have a wonderful day, friends!


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Last Friday I spent the evening with an amazing bunch of artists and art lovers at a little coffeeshop in West Palm Beach (by the way if you are local and haven’t been to Harold’s, you’re missing out!) This gathering is called Lyrical, Ink. and it happens every month. I’ve known about it for a little while now, but last week was my first time going because getting away on a Friday night when you have a two year old is not quite easy. But now I’m determined to make it happen, every month if possible.

This night fed my soul in a way I needed so much more than I realized. The creative energy was palpable and alive- poets, musicians, actors, and visual artists- all in this safe environment trying out new material and sharing works in progress, and just sharing our love for the art and the process. I sat there surrounded by these people and just felt content, like I’d gotten back in touch with a part of myself that can be easy to forget in the midst of the million other things that life swirls around us every day. Oh yeah, while I adore my roles as mommy and wife and organizer of this home, etc., there is another part of me. And it is still there. It is the artist, the girl who is a creative being and has a need to connect with similar souls. We as humans have an intrinsic need for community, and I think we need it in different forms, too. For me, those forms are close family and friends, spiritual community (something I’m still kind of searching for), community with other moms (found in our great playgroup), and then last Friday night I found a piece that had been missing: creative community. I am so thankful.

I’ve posted more photos I took that night over on my photography blog, so do go check those out when you have a minute. Also, go like Lyrical, Ink.’s Facebook page, and if you’re in the area make plans to come to the next one, on October 21st!

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Back in June, I posted a bit about my spiritual journey. You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned it since. It is not for lack of things happening in that area, I assure you. It’s more that I’ve been unsure about how much to share, and how to put it into words.

In short, God is doing something in me. He is pulling me back to Himself in a way that is so undeniable, even to my sometimes slightly cynical self. In my search for what was actually true in the universe, I ended up back where I began: God. {Specifically, the Judeo-Christian God who has made Himself known to humanity since the beginning of time, and who became human and sacrificed Himself to mend the relationship that we broke in our attempt to be independent from Him.}

How I came back to this belief can only be explained as divine intervention, because I can tell you that at first my logic fought it kicking and screaming. God was patient with me. I began to be confronted over and over with that message that He wanted me back, that He is who has said He is, and that no I didn’t “blow it”. At first I told myself that it was all in my head, and that it sounds nice so of course I want it all to just be true. But the pull became incredibly strong, and the messages so “in-your-face” despite that fact that I was trying for a while to ignore them. Once I allowed myself to entertain the possibility of it being true after all, I prayed (talking to God directly for the first time in a few years) that He would help me to see the truth and to believe it, whatever it was. Then a floodgate of understanding opened up- understanding of what faith actually is, and understanding of how crazy His love for me is that he would pursue me and reveal Himself to me despite my stubbornness. But really, that is basically the common theme throughout the entire Bible- stubborn people being pursued by a relentless God, humbled and changed by His love and overwhelmed by His truth.

It can be difficult to accept, but I think there are some things that can simply never be grasped by the human mind- that will simply never make total sense to us. That is why faith has to be the foundation of a relationship with God. Faith… believing in things for which there is no proof. It’s the reason some of the more intellectual, scientific types think that “religious” people are crazy, brainwashed, misguided, uneducated, or simply buying into fairy tales. It’s the reason that in the midst of studying the Bible at a Christian university, I stopped believing it. I wanted everything to make sense to me- I wanted to understand it myself before believing. I wanted proof and logic. But I’ve come to understand that if my human brain could wrap around God and all his intricacies and vastness, He would not be a God worth following. Essential to His very nature is the fact that He is so beyond our comprehension.

The Bible says that now it’s like we’re looking “through a glass, darkly”. Our vision is obscured, and we lack the ability to see clearly. Studying and learning is definitely of great value, but we have to always keep in mind what faith means and how utterly important it is. Trusting that God is Truth and Love and that we can fully trust Him with confidence despite the fact that He’s beyond our mental ability to explain- that is Faith. That is how a relationship with Him works. If we choose to accept that, He with show us more of Himself. He will confirm our faith in so many profound ways- large and small- that trust becomes easier and deeper. His love for us becomes so much more than simply a concept- it can be felt and known. It becomes part of you and overflows into that way you live and think. That is a Christianity based on faith and relationship- not rules or doctrine or rituals, but faith and love and the hope they bring.
That is the only Christianity I want in my life.
And the fervor with which I desire it (desire God in my life) grows every day. It takes me by surprise, and I find myself aching for Him in a magnetic kind of way- craving that relationship, more closeness, more knowledge of Him, more Faith.

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The Real {on TCM today}

Today I’m over at The Creative Mama with some thoughts on real life. Join me.

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Real life

I have been at a loss for words when it comes to this blog lately. What to share? I’ve tended to be so introspective, even withdrawn. This pregnancy has been hard on me physically and emotionally. I envisioned this vibrant, active time, and instead I have been sick and in pain (with migraines) practically every day for the last few months. It is discouraging. And my mind fills with worries, about being good enough for these two souls I’ve been entrusted with. About being enough, and having enough. I’ve been in such a delicate place that I tend to fold in on myself a bit… self-preservation.

And so I have written little, and my camera has sat almost completely unused when it comes to personal work. There has been the same roll of film in my F5 for weeks and weeks. I wonder if I’ve lost my creativity. My mind feels dry. And I miss the creative flow so much.

I know it is temporary. I’m starting my second trimester and should start feeling better soon. And I would hate to sound entirely negative- it definitely hasn’t been all bad. There is joy, and excitement about this new member of our family. Seth and his antics keep me laughing. I’m happy to be in love and planning to celebrate four years of marriage in a few weeks.

I have such a drive to focus on this little family- more and more I’m realizing again how precious and utterly important they are. I crave real life, and real relationships. I am tired right now of the internet and the separateness it allows in our lives- communicating without connecting, wasting hours with nothing to show for it at all. I want to disconnect more from this screen so I can connect with myself, and my family and friends, and the world in a tangible way. But writing is soothing, so I’m not saying goodbye here. I hope that as my heart gets stronger again I’ll have more to say.

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Survival Mode

That is where I am right now. Feeling nauseous all day long and always exhausted, and trying to keep up with Seth and get out of the house to do things with him. I don’t feel myself at all these days.

But I know it will pass. I am already 8 weeks- only another month of my first trimester, which for many moms is a huge turning point.

I’ve been pinning baby things on Pinterest here and there, which is the kind of thing that makes me feel connected to the fact that we are actually having another baby. Sometimes it is still pretty surreal, as I’m focused on work and mothering and getting through each day.
People ask if I hope it’s a girl, and I must admit that I do, though I also think it would be really cool for Seth to have a brother. I’m not allowing myself to be set on either one too much at this point. It still feels like so long until we can find out. I love the idea of having a “gender reveal” party, which I’ve seen a few places, including my friend Jami’s ridiculously adorable Mustache or Bows gender surprise party. I think it would be such a super fun way to find out along with family and a few friends.
Earlier this week I asked Seth where the baby is, and he pointed to my belly and then gave it a kiss. I am so excited to see him as a big brother.

While I’ve had a bit of work to do- both photography and a bit of writing- I’ve found it so hard to be motivated to do anything creative for myself. It doesn’t help that it is so very hot outside- some days I would actually love to get out and shoot, but the heat is just too oppressive.
I did get my copy of the brand new Palm Beach Woman magazine this week. I shot the images for three of the articles. I have always had kind of a thing for magazines and the pictures in them, and it is always a thrill to see my work published- I don’t think it will ever get old. These were fun to set up and shoot, too.

Here are some Instagram (cell phone) pictures of the pages I’m on:

Last week I wrote for The Creative Mama about what photography is to me personally. TCM’s annual Creative Photographer series started this week, and is full of great interviews and awesome giveaways.

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These summer days are longer, but they’re flying by somehow. fleeting.

I want to remember to live in the moment more.
I want to be more present.
I want to join a gym because it is becoming too hot to be outside for too long, but my body craves movement. My mind craves the exercise too- it is calming and centering. We as humans were designed to live active lives, and when we do we function better on every level.

Speaking of being active, some of you might know that I was once a dancer. When I started college, that was my major, until I began getting migraines almost every day that kept me from performing well in class. I think that change led me to photography, and for that I am thankful, but I do miss dance sometimes. That intense expression through movement is exhilarating.

Lately I have been watching So You Think You Can Dance, and I really enjoy watching the performances. There is so much passion and emotion in the dance life. It becomes what you are. Great dancers are truly one with their art, and I think other artists can learn much from that.

There is this amazing performance from the show, which Deb Schwedhelm posted on her blog not long ago. To say it is powerful is an understatement. This is exactly why I have always loved dance so much. it speaks. You have to see it.

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A Journey | Part III: Grace

This is a continuation of my last two posts, about my journey of faith and spirituality. See part one and part two.

The first time in four years that I attended church was, incidentally, the day I went into labor with Seth. The pains were already starting and I couldn’t really concentrate. I think I went because I had a desire to figure out what I believe before I had a child asking me questions about it. The second time I went was over a year later- we visited this huge local church, and my inner critical commentary was switched on the entire time, recognizing the cliches and questioning the big production of it all. My heart was not there. I left frustrated and disillusioned and I didn’t want to go back.

Here and there over the next year I felt tugs on my heart towards God once again. By chance I joined an awesome group of other female professional photographers, and it turned out that many of them were Christians. Topics of faith came up in the chitchat after our meetings sometimes. It was the first time since graduating from college that I had been surrounded by people talking about God. One night I remember listening to their conversation about faith and I just sat and listened, dumbfounded- struggling within myself. I wanted what they had. It was real, that I knew, and I didn’t know how to find it again but everything in me longed to figure it out.

Another night- I can’t remember if it was before or after that meeting- I was driving down the highway late at night, by myself on the way home from shooting an event. I had been depressed and stressed, and I felt so alone. I cried as I drove, and then suddenly I was praying- talking out loud to God for the first time in so long. And I knew He heard me.

Those two instances were the beginnings of my heart opening again.

I have been to church three times recently. I found a church I like quite a bit, where people seem more real then I remember most church people being. Each time I’ve gone I have teared up more than once. Each time, I have literally felt the rigid walls in my heart being torn down. I cling to the words that are said. My heart recognizes Truth.

One day it just kind of hit me, that nothing is outside of the grace of God. Nothing. And just like that I realized that He has just been waiting for me to see that. That I have been His all along- a prodigal daughter- always loved and never forgotten. Forgiven, redeemed… before I even realized I could ask for that. Of course I am not worthy. That is the point of grace- it covers everything. The joy and peace I felt the day my heart internalized this truth, I will never be able to fully describe. It changes everything.

So a new chapter of my journey has begun. I have no idea where its leading. I still have so many questions about God and faith, and issues with organized religion and the church. I just know for sure that I’d rather live my life with God then without Him, now that I have experienced it both ways.

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A Journey | Part II: Dark Waters

I case you missed my last post, I am sharing some of my spiritual path here in the next few posts. This is where I begin my story…

We’ll skip over the gritty details of my early childhood, and just say that my parents started attending a church when I was seven, and from then on I grew up attending too. I was active in all the events and youth group. I knew the Bible and believed it whole-heartedly and tried to live according to all that I was taught. As a teenager, my friends and I hung out at church and Bible studies several nights a week. I knew little of a life outside of faith.
On the outside I looked like what might be called a “good Christian”, but I had my struggles as everyone does. I was haunted by past abuse which through some twisted thing I was made to feel guilty about. It ran so deep that now, looking back, I see that I never really allowed anyone- even God- into that place in my heart. I’ve just never known how. Maybe that aided my eventual turning away. Maybe I’ll never know exactly what did it.

One thing about me: I never really do anything partway. I give myself to what I pursue. So I couldn’t just be a Christian on Sundays. I believed it so strongly that I had to devote myself to it 100%. So I went to a Christian college and majored in ministry. I loved to travel and felt called to be a missionary. I did missions work in Africa with a team from my school, and I loved it. Immediately following that trip I took six months off from college and did a course with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) in Colorado, with field training in Bosnia and Romania.

When I got back to school the following year, something in me began to change. I had a full load of courses, more than half of which were religion. Every day I read and studied and discussed the Bible and God. Somewhere along the way I began to question. I spent much of my free time seeking answers to my questions and nothing seemed to answer them. I just more and more questions, until one day (and I remember it specifically- it was just at the end of my junior year of college) I was no longer sure if I fit into the category of “Christian”.
So I called myself a seeker, and therefore suddenly the rules I’d allowed to guide my entire life up until then, no longer applied. Truth was subjective. Right and wrong, sin, hell, faith, the purpose of life… were interesting philosophical questions that I pondered with friends all of that summer while shelving books in the university library and over beers in apartments late into the night. I met very cool people who were intellectual and philosophical and worldly. I decided religious people must be misguided or un-enlightened, not really thinking for themselves.
I told myself was okay with being non-religious. I really tried to be okay with it. But here’s thing: for me it was really always more about the relationship with God, and I missed that with every fiber of my being. When I was a Christian, it was a real interaction- so real I could almost hear Him. It brought me peace and helped me make decisions, and affected how I interacted with people. I loved everyone more. I didn’t do anything out of religious duty- I did it because I wanted to be close to God and because I believed His words were true. Later I thought perhaps I’d fabricated all of that in my mind, but part of me desperately hoped that it had been real and that I could know for sure one day. But there was a block in my heart. I felt like God had just stopped talking to me, when in reality (I see now), it was I who had built the wall. God never forces a single person to follow Him, believe Him, or love Him. He waits.

That was six years ago.
For six years I hardly spoke of or to God. There was no relationship between us, and still I tried to pretend I didn’t mind that. I tried to avoid even thinking about God much because if I did I would feel this anxious feeling- kind of like dread, or longing. Even though other aspects of my life have been happy, spiritually those six years were the darkest of my life.

I wanted to be in relationship with God again. Once I was finally able to admit that to myself, I was still convinced for quite a long time that it was somehow too late. I pictured Him looking down and shaking his head at my lack of faith. Disappointed. I knew from my past Christian life that He is forgiving, but I felt like having once known and then turned from it, that I was outside of that forgiveness. I didn’t know how to get back to God even if I wanted to. And I still wasn’t completely sure if I wanted to. I just wanted what was true.

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