You’re not inadequate, you’re the perfect fit.

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family walk time

I got a phone call from a friend I haven’t spoken to since – 2008? Now that I count it up, almost a decade ago! Wow. Thank goodness for social media to help keep tabs on those friends!!

We talked of many things, but something that stayed on my mind was the feelings we shared in our ability to be good mothers.

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run baby run

After pondering on the matter for some time, the thought came into my mind that my children chose me.

They chose me.

Of all the brilliant, kind, talented mothers in the world, these kids chose me.

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run dance run

I don’t have any evidence to prove to you that this is true, it was just something that came to me and brought me peace.

I want to remember that feeling any time the temptation to feel inadequate creeps into my life.

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our deep thinker

They knew you before they came to this earth and thought, “yeah, you’re going to be the perfect fit!”

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He loves to bring me flowers

Keep trying your best. Keep giving them your time, your love, your hugs and kisses.

Keep praying that they will continue to grow up to become the incredible humans you pray they will be.

Keep taking the time to do the things they want to do – even if you can’t finish all the things you want to do.

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They need you. They want you. They are your greatest treasure.

There are still long days ahead. They will need your guidance, your patience, your understanding and most importantly…

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everyone gets a turn on daddy’s back

They need to know that you love them.

Each child will understand, feel and show love in different ways.

Just like you understand, feel and show love in different ways.

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Take the time to learn how they communicate.

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In time you will see that not only were you not inadequate, you were exactly who they needed you to be.

“Life must be understood backward. But… it must be lived forward.” -Søren Kierkegaard

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hold on as long as you will

In writing this open letter to myself I want other parents to know that you are doing better than you think you are.

XOXO

Me

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Enjoying more fully the Light.

I read a story about post-partum depression today, it wasn’t a happy one, which reminded me that I haven’t updated the internet on the state of my health:  mind, body and soul.

It’s good news. [Sigh of relief]

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My baby boy.

I don’t really feel like talking about the depression, it’s part of my past now and I know that it could potentially be part of my future. For now I’m going to tell you what I’ve been doing, about what makes me happy.

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My oldest niece, the Mermaid. (side note, this was a candid shot, I caught her mid-imagination).

I needed more Family time, spouse time and time just for me.

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First, I called my mom and asked if she would pay for my gym membership. I knew that all the time away from the gym was one reason I was sad. I missed regular exercise!! I started making better choices with my food and I started pampering myself.

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Anyone who knows me, knows that when you think of me, you don’t necessarily think “cheapskate.” But, for years I have rarely paid for haircuts (ask a friend or sister to just cut it right over a trash can), I almost never go into a salon, I have never had a manicure and I only get pedicures once or twice a year (because if I didn’t, my entire foot would turn into a callus). I also never spent money on makeup, hair supplies or skincare.

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My sister, her husband and their sixth baby.

My skin care routine – up until this year – was usually going straight to bed without washing my face. Rinse face in morning or just wait till I took a shower…whenever that was.

Wearing makeup was usually reserved for Sundays and the makeup I did own was either purchased for me by a mother or sister or given to me by a sister or my mother (because it came as a free gift during a purchase)! I spent very little money in the hair, skincare and makeup department.

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Candid shots really are the best.

In the spring and summer of 2016 when I struggled with pink eye, I had to throw away all of the makeup I did own – which included some new and nice (gifted) things. In addition to throwing out all my makeup, I threw out all my bed pillows (nice, newer pillows I couldn’t afford to replace).

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We were also very broke when this happened.

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Somewhere between back to back pregnancies, a husband who was gone all the time for school and with church responsibilities, a four year old just barely potty training (read “three kids in diapers”) – I was feeling pretty haggard.

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My sister and her baby and she’s pregnant with her seventh! (how amazing is she?!)

Well, I discovered a multi-level marketing company that has amazing skin care and makeup. I knew I couldn’t afford to buy/wear good products unless I sold some. So, I signed up to distribute.

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Along the way, I started having fun with my life again and taking care of myself made me feel good.

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So, I’m going to the gym, taking care of my body, eating healthier and getting better sleep – now at bedtime, I don’t lay in bed trying to un-wind from a day that pulled and stretched me, I go to bed, I think of all the things I’m grateful for and all the things I can do better tomorrow.

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Then, I stop thinking and go to sleep.

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I started singing around the house more often, letting the messes sit later, snuggling with my babies a little longer.

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I decided that dates with my husband were worth the cost of a babysitter (again, where I tend to be cheap – “let’s just not get a baby sitter and stay in or take the kids with us.”

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These two never want their daddy out of their sight!

I re-took my Athletic Training exam (to re-certify) and was 23 points short of passing!! [I mean, I can’t be too sad, I’ve been out of practice 11 years!! With very little study time I squeezed in, I almost passed!! Yes, I’m taking it again].

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My mother in law fostered a love for the ocean in my husband, and here she is with her grandchildren (whiny and all).

My energy levels increased and the chemicals in my brain have found balance as I allowed for more positive thoughts.

I consciously made it a daily effort to push negative thinking away and only see the positive. I had let negative thoughts camp too long in my mind and I didn’t want to be sad anymore.

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Happiness had been my life before and I wanted that life back.

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I never stopped praying during my struggles. I never stopped hoping. I knew that change would come if I just kept trying.

God knew me, He had faith that I could overcome my circumstances and He has faith in you too. The tools are there, we just need to reach out. Ask for help and take steps to change.

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Those ‘gulls see food and in they swoop.

Postpartum depression is not an old friend, but foe. An enemy I may face in the coming years. But I have hope that my faith and past experience will help me defeat him again.

Disappointments still arrive, but I see the light and know that everything will work out.

Here is my New Year’s Resolution: Love

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I think there are many times in life we might ask ourselves, “what was the point of going through that, just to have it end?”

My time away from the blog, I’ve been more fully embracing the life I have chosen and living my life to the fullest. So full, I am crashing to bed earlier and earlier each night.

and, I’ve also been experiencing more joy.

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So my thoughts come from a place of deep reflection brought on by personal trials (that have turn to triumphs?).

As I knelt – or crumpled – next to my bed last night, wondering to God why some things happen – a thing that brings you joy was abruptly taken away – what was the whole purpose of that?

My question did not come from a place of anger, but a sincere desire to know why.

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Here is what I felt after reflection:

When we lose something we love, we should never regret how we loved.

When we choose to fill ourselves with Love, it begets more love.

Bitterness and sorrow begets more bitterness and sorrow.

There have been many things I used to regret in my life.

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For the things I can’t change, I will no longer feel regret. For the things that I can change, well, I’m taking the time to turn them around. For many things, it’s never too late, to make a change.

Some of those changes have been inspired by reading. Reading of scripture (which I consider history), and reading of non-scripture world history.

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The clarity of my goals came while reading about the Siege of (Leningrad) St Petersburg in 1941 – that lasted 872 days – leading to the death of about a million civilians.

During the siege, a Russian composer by the name of Dimitri Shostakovich (what a fun name to say!!) wrote his Symphony No. 7 – not only did they hold a concert in the physically starved and bombed out city – the concert was broadcast on speakers outside the concert hall to allow those who couldn’t enter the packed building to listen and some directed toward occupying soldiers. As bombs fell, it was the banner of “cultural resistance to atrocity.” (Read more here)

While I don’t wish to create enemies at the gate, it is inevitable that others will choose to make me their enemy – for any manner of perceived wrong (hey, I’m not perfect, but I don’t go out of my way to hurt people).

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It comes down to this:

I don’t wish to have enemies. I don’t want to create any, for those who choose to make me their enemy, I choose to not to fuel the flames of anger, but will fan the embers of love and  beauty.

I’m still trying to figure how to do that.

It starts with not arguing, not gossiping, finding something else to put my mind on, and so on, listening better.

This is my new years resolution. That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever feel the desire to reach into my computer screen and punch someone’s face, because on rare occasion, I do feel that way.

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Photo by Jewly Ann Photography

However petty I have been up to this day, I am choosing to learn how to be better today and tomorrow in the face of opposition. This is what I have decided to work on, in my small way, to change the world.

The Lonely Mouse 2.0 (16)

To make reading story less tedious, I am just uploading pictures and adding the text (in place of uploading screen shots from the book I had printed).

[feel free to edit this and send it back to me, I don’t hold a degree in english or anything related.]

It’s important to read the story in a proper British accent, as that is how it was written.

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“Lloyd P. Mouse spent many happy years traveling the world with his most loyal friend and distant cousin Gerald Hartley – a penguin – though, truth be told, I do believe it was an adoptive relationship, which explains how a mouse and penguin became cousin, but cousins they were.

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In between their travels, they enjoyed sitting in Lloyd’s drawing room together. On this particular evening, Gerald was lost in thought, hypnotized by the yellow tassel on his cap, while Lloyd played jazz music at the piano, reminiscing his last adventure in Paris.

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Lloyd sighed, “awe, to take one more flight across the Atlantic Gerald!”

Alas, Cousin Gerald told Lloyd his adventures were changing and he had a new adventure awaiting him back home, a nice Lady Hen to share the rest of his life with and eggs to incubate.

Lloyd didn’t quite understand, but walked with his cousin to the train station, and bid him a jolly farewell. “Eggs to incubate!” Lloyd chuckled, “best wishes mate!”

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The first week, after Cousin Gerald’s departure, Lloyd took in many of his favorite activities about town:

the library,library

food trucks,tacos

and looking at paintings in the art museum.museum

A week later, Lloyd was on an airplane to Japan for some solo sight-seeing.

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After a summer trip to Japan…

Lloyd returned to Paris, but was still left feeling like something was missing in his life.

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Like, like a, a…

A forever family of his own was missing.

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Once Lloyd decided it was a family he wanted, he needed to find a nice Lady Mouse.

He first looked at the Pier.

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After an hour of searching, he gave up and took his sun burnt ears towards town.

Lloyd popped into a flower shop. He saw a lovely Hedgehog, but she was unavailable, so he continued to browse.

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It didn’t take long for Lloyd to see that single ladies were not in the flower shop today, so he left.

“Hmm,” thought Lloyd, “where does one look for good companionship these days?”

He hadn’t made it far out of the shop when he saw signs of distress and hoping to find some beautiful damsel he followed.

The Collie family vehicle had a flat and Mr Collie needed some assistance repairing the tattered tire.

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Lloyd made pleasant conversation and forgot entirely about his goal for the day. He enjoyed his visit so much, he offered to help Mr Collie fix the remaining three tires, just for fun.

The Collies graciously declined.

“Lovely family, really.” Lloyd said to himself and smiled as the Collies drove away.

Still smiling to himself, Lloyd was passing the school yard when he heard a whistle blow.

The shrill scream of the whistle grabbed his attention (as a whistle is meant to do) and his turned his eyes toward the source of aforementioned sound.

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That is when he saw her.

Clutching her bright red whistle in her soft white foot (because mice don’t have hands, only feet).

Her white fur matched her starched apron. In all the world, Lloyd never dreamed that the local primary teacher would capture his attention like she did. “How would he ever introduce himself?” he wondered.

Another whistle pierced the playground as a second teacher approached Lloyd’s new crush. On the ground lay a kitten yowling. Shouts for more help, while kits, cubs, joeys and the rest of the pupils were hurried inside the primary school.

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A volunteer was needed to carry little Murphy Cat home, so Lloyd stepped forward.

As it turned out, the Murphy family lived on the farm that bordered Lloyd’s property, so naturally, he would be an excellent choice to take the fellow home and seeing as school was out and Miss White was his teacher, she would accompany him.

It was to be the shortest walk home that Lloyd would ever take.

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Mrs. Murphy Cat was relieved to see her little kitten’s injury would not inhibit his return to school the very next day. Lloyd and Miss White were sent home with a honey cake a piece for their troubles.

As Lloyd only lived next door to the Murphy’s, he did not have far to go.

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Which did not hinder him from walking all the way back into town, to see Miss White safely onto her own front porch.

It was only a matter of time before his front door, was also hers.

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Every year, they return to where they were married and fall more in love every time they return.

The formerly Lonely Lloyd and the one-time Miss White, whom he now calls Sue, had one baby and then two and before you knew it, had more babies than you or I could ever hope to.

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It was a happy life, sometimes smelly and noisy too, but they created it as husband and wife, thus they learned to find joy in the journey with each other, no matter what!

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Lloyd never had to find a new travel companion again.

THE END

All my backgrounds were taken from flickr and I do not hold the rights to them. I took rudimentary editing skills and put all the characters into this story. I do hold all the rights to this story.

Hope you enjoyed this DIY Christmas gift to my nieces and nephews.

Story time, since I am iced in tonight.

In 1989 I wrote a very short story called, The Lonely Mouse. I was seven.

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I still own the original. Story, by Katie, art by Katie, binding the papers and everything else? Katie.

My childish creation was trying to connect how Mickey Mouse might have felt before Minnie came along.

He had a dog, but humans (and obviously mice) need more.

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everyone had to start somewhere, right?

So in this story, he meets Minnie, they fall in love and have triplets, just in time to hear that Mickey got that dream job of his at Disneyland.

That, is my story in a nut shell.

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and some ‘vegetables’

My mother thought it was so adorable, she sent a copy to every one of our extended family for Christmas.

Twenty years later I tried re-writing the story (in a rhyming salute to Dr. Seuss who is an all time favorite) I began to write:

Lloyd P. Mouse, lived in a house right on the edge of town.

Late one night, when he turned out the light, his face made a little frown.

“I’m all alone in this cozy home, I should find a mate 

I can’t go through life without a wife, what an unfortunate fate.”

Lloyd went to bed with dreams in his head of finding the perfect girl.

She would be witty, funny and pretty – a gem of a lady– a pearl.

Morning arrived – Lloyd opened his eyes as sunlight danced through his window.

He whistled a tune that rang through the room, peaking to a crescendo.

An hour later, after reading the paper, the clock said eight thirty-four.

After donning some gloves and a scarf, hmph! Tug! Lloyd scurried out the front door.

…which is how it sat for another seven or so years.

Until now. [insert grin]

I took the story and went in an entirely new direction –

which cannot be revealed until after Christmas, because I had it printed out and my family reads my blog. I’ll give you this:

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I would like to thank the folks of flickr – I took a lot of awesome photos from you and used Preview on my Macbook to cut and paste my little characters. I will make zero profit off this story, as it was only intended for my family as a DIY gift.

Should I ever hope to make a profit from this story, the photos would have to be changed entirely, as I do not hold the rights to any of the ‘backgrounds.’

Looking towards the light through depression.

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This morning, after a few hours of anxiety, everything changed and the sun started shining through my soul again.

The day began like any other, woke up started breakfast – except this time I turned on some LDS general conference talks while I prepared food.

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There are things I’ve always known, but today I understood them.

One speaker quoted Neal A. Maxwell,

“Certain forms of suffering, endured well, can actually be ennobling. …

“… Part of enduring well consists of being meek enough, amid our suffering, to learn from our relevant experiences. Rather than simply passing through these things, they must pass through us … in ways which sanctify [us].”

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I know I’ve sounded a bit like a broken record when it comes to trying to find the positive during difficult times, but I’ve passed through something that has given me new perspective on those who suffer depression throughout their life.

I have depression each time I’m pregnant…then I have had post-partum depression following the birth of each of my three children. So, beginning with my first pregnancy in late summer 2011 through, this month…I have constantly struggled [mightily] with things I didn’t quite understand for a long time.

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The first time, I didn’t even know why I felt the way I did.

I wasn’t disappointed in the idea of having a baby, I just didn’t feel joy or excitement about  anything. Things moms are supposed to feel.

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When I held my firstborn after delivery I was in love at first sigh. I couldn’t sleep I was so happy.

The pure excitement and joy that followed the next eight months was in a constant battle with depression. All the changes in my life added to six solid months of no sleep and then eating little – it’s no wonder my brain was off balance.

Just before my first turned one, I got pregnant a second time. Several weeks later I miscarried.  Six months following that, I was pregnant a third time and later gave birth to a second boy.

I love babies so much. Love them and yet…

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This girl is pure gold. I am so happy she came to me.

I constantly felt like I was going to snap in half and I cried all the time. My husband couldn’t fix anything.

My fourth pregnancy (and third child) was a complete surprise.

A tender mercy my last pregnancy didn’t make me feel sick physically, but mentally I was still fighting a mess.

I was vacuuming my carpets three times a day. Three.

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How did I manage to get along? I set my mind to face each day, to put one foot in front of the other and not give up, rest if I must, but not quit.

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So, today, with a morning full of anxiety I heard,  Elder Evan A Schmutz say,

“The purpose and mission of Jesus Christ included that He would “take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people,” “take upon him their infirmities,” and “succor his people according to their infirmities.”17

To fully receive these gifts our Savior has so freely offered, we all must learn that suffering in and of itself does not teach or grant to us anything of lasting value unless we deliberately become involved in the process of learning from our afflictions through the exercise of faith.

Then we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught: “There really is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Light of the World, the Bright and Morning Star, the ‘light that is endless, that can never be darkened’ [Mosiah 16:9]. It is the very Son of God Himself.”20

We can take strength in knowing that all the hard experiences in this life are temporary; even the darkest nights turn into dawn for the faithful.

When all is finished and we have endured all things with faith in Jesus Christ, we have the promise that “God shall wipe away all [the] tears from [our] eyes.”21

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Something about hearing those words sent light through my heart. I hope that hearing those words will send light through your heart.

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I hope that we can all keep trying to be a little bit softer, a little bit kinder especially towards those things around us that we just don’t understand, yet.

Don’t give up, keep trying, you are loved. Things really aren’t as bad as they seem.

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Peace my friends.

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At 4 and a half our oldest decided to be fully potty trained and we are beyond thrilled. Anytime, anywhere.

It’s okay to laugh now.

Our Protagonists are fighting the odds, making their way towards the promise that lay in the future…one day at a time.

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Family walks

Can I tell you about the last few months? Then I will tell you about all the beautiful souls who helped us along the way.

Things were supposed to be really good for us, after a tough Spring and Summer, when fall came, everything would be grand. Dan would have this awesome great job and we would buy our first home!!

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My baby girl – how I love you!

It was such a beautiful dream and everything was falling into place – just like dreams do – and God laughed, because like little children we were “asking our mom to open a packet of Ranch dressing mix for us to eat, because it looked so delicious – while she was busy preparing an actual meal for dinner – and she smiled at us and shook her head.”

We had several new families move into our church ‘ward’ this summer and one of those families gave us a huge pile of boxes and paper for wrapping. (then the couple who gave us all the boxes, stayed a little longer and fixed our front door!)

Things are coming together!

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My first born, you’re such a bright and funny boy. You’re also a very dramatic child…like you’re mother.

Ten days before we were to close on the home, Dan’s job didn’t work out, we couldn’t get our home and since we told our current landlord we were “absolutely moving” – he sold the house we were living in…

We had ten days to find a new home, we had a flea infestation, we’re packing, cleaning, looking for a new place to live, Mom got a stomach bug and the steam cleaning vacuum had to be returned three times…because it didn’t work.

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Wiley took this photo! I want to share my love for photographs with him. 🙂

Katie eventually got the steam cleaner to work by turning it on and off again. It worked for a solid 15 minutes…before it didn’t.

and as far as Mom is concerned, fleas are just as nasty as EBOLA!

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My baby just turned 10 months old this last week. [not ready for her to stop being my baby.]
Everything must be washed.

and bug bombed.

washed.

and bug bombed.

Washed.

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pieces of my couch – some parts washed, some not – it’s currently 10:36pm and I still have a few more to go.

This is a sad, and somewhat comical from where I stand now, story of how to clean up after you find your small children covered in flea bites, while you have a stomach bug, during a house move.

Here’s the beautiful part of the story –

The women of the Relief Society. What a relief they have been.

I have had a different woman volunteer to take my children for several hours, each day the last week and a half, offers to bring us meals or help in any other way possible – here’s the kicker – without being asked for help, they just heard we were moving!

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Late night fun! Whoo!

I have a visiting teacher (my previous ones are always missed!) who just moved here not long ago – we had never met – and just after being assigned to visit me, she inquired about me and found out we were moving and took my boys twice in a matter of days into her home (along with her small children) so my husband and I could tackle the cleaning and move.

Then, our home teacher called (again, another new family to the area)! Our home teacher is a new medical resident, his wife stays home with three small kids, and everyone is busy, but they wanted to help us too. Wiley is making lots of new friends.

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None of my children are [ever] ready for bed. 🙂
It felt like our world had turned upside down in a time in our life when I really and truly felt like I had earned some good things in my life.

Today, I see the good things in my life.

We didn’t get the house, he didn’t get the job, we had a lot of extra physical labor and we’re all covered in flea bites…but we have been lifted by heavenly hands and helped by angelic people here in Columbia, Missouri.

It’s been nothing short of a miracle to see this kind of love. We have felt all the prayers said on our behalf and we are grateful.

I know that God is love, and He knows our needs.

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My family – taken by a friend – capturing our porch garden, the busted front door and mailbox that took on a tree many thunderstorms ago.

I also know it’s a lot harder to feel His love, if we sit and mope about all the things that aren’t going right, so we stand up and move forward with hope.

The cleaning is almost finished and General Conference is this weekend.

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Next post I need to share the rest of the photos my friend took of the family! Haven’t had much time to go through them, really.

The light is growing.

We’re new to the duplex life – hope the neighbors don’t mind crazy kids…hehehe

Only one more month of summer…

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Back in May, my very first family shoot (outside of family members)…it was an overcast day, until they showed up. Out came the sun!  We had a few posers in there. hehehe

This summer raced by with record speed. My baby is officially eight months old today!

This breaks my heart just a bit, as she is the best, sweetest baby girl and I’m obviously going to need another baby sooner than I originally planned.

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It’s good to practice on friends, they don’t bat an eye when you ask them to do re-takes…

Because babies are my absolute favorite…and no, this is not a pregnancy announcement.

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Babies!!!

What on earth have I been doing this summer?

What have you been doing this summer?

I asked first…

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Another sunny day, found a huge tree with lots of shade. Look at this family. To quote the excellent animated film ‘Cars’ – “there’s a lot of love out there, man.”

Mostly just all the great mom things of laundry, dishes, cooking…I’ll be completely honest here and admit that I have not been reading many books to my kids this summer, there has been a lot more tv and I have zero guilt about this.

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I used to hate it when my kid didn’t cooperate during pictures. As a photographer, I love it when little kids let their personality shine.

Last school year wore me out. Then in the spring I got pink eye and battled it all the way through July 4th weekend. I have not had any pink eye since that weekend, still have a bit of dry eye, but that is so much easier to deal with.

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Can you guess which one is the future class clown?

What we have had is lots of cuddles – indoors – lots of dirt in hair from the hours spent outside in the backyard, lots of forts. I got tired of putting the boy’s mattress back on the bed, so it’s still on their bedroom floor, surrounded by toys.

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I’m gloriously less stressed these days.

I want to attribute the goodness in my life to God.

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In the chaos of this world, He gives me peace and hope that good things will come.

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In addition to having the support of my husband, the women of the Relief Society (the women’s organization from my church) have gone above and beyond to serve me here in Columbia, Missouri.

I hit the jack pot – and it’s not just the women in my LDS ward – there are women in surrounding wards who have served me too.

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Those acts of service (making us dinner, taking my kids, swapping baby clothes, having us over to play, teaching my children) have lifted my load.

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Playing at the park.

If only the news was full of the stories of these life transforming women – the world wouldn’t seem so dark to me – it would be the light of God’s love shinning. A beacon of hope for humanity.

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The women I go to church with lift me with their testimonies, their compliments, their smiles, their friendship.

In return, those women let me take their picture. I wish I could tell their stories from a photojournalist point of view – as an alternative to the terribly distressing news as of late.

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Behind the scenes with my little ballerina. I had all three of my kids with me…so I didn’t get past testing the lighting. I was done the moment Brantè said, “Tyler get out of the toilet.” We’ll try again.

Motherhood (since I’m a mother)/Parenting takes a lot of work/sacrifice and without this village of helpful women I would have lost my mind long ago.

(Note about photos – all are SOOC (straight out of camera) photos – because I’m currently too poor for Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.)

[Below are photos taken by a friend – with a nicer camera, nicer lens…nicer skills]

It helps to have a hobby.

View More: http://kenseydeephotography.pass.us/katie-shannon
Can you say, “lens envy”?

Mine is record keeping. Family record keeping. Which is the main reason for blogging. It’s also why I love taking photos.  I have made several family photo album books this year. It takes me awhile to make family yearbooks, but I enjoy reliving our time together as I pick through our photos from the year and write about our time spent together.

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I had no plans to be in photos when I got ready for the park! She mentioned taking some of me, so I threw on a coordinating shirt. So, this is me in all my mom glory!

It is the reading of and looking through those memories that draw me nearer to my extended family and friends.

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Anyone up for pictures? I can’t promise they will look mystically amazing, but I’d love the practice and you will have a moment of time captured forever of that day your three year old got gum stuck in his hair and your baby had poop up his back…

and those memories are worth preserving.

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What our children prefer over having pictures taken…

 

Raising children in an uncertain world.

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Every other day I wonder what kind of world I’m raising my children in…

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I want to shelter them forever from the absence of love, so I love them more.

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I want to shelter them from anger, so I try to be more patient with them…

I don’t always succeed in that, but I will keep trying.

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I want to shelter them from unkindness, so I try to teach them to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please.’

We’re still working on sharing.

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I want to shelter them from other people’s bad choices, to I teach them to be aware.

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I had a happy childhood and I want my children to know what happiness is, so they can look for safe and longterm solutions to cope with the world.

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I want them to know how much God loves them, how much God loves every human on this planet and how we need to see each other as brothers and sisters.

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I want them to know that every human has the potential for greatness – not the world’s definition of greatness – that, in the words of Howard W Hunter,

“True greatness [comes from] the thousands of little deeds and tasks of service and sacrifice that constitutes the giving, or losing, of one’s life for others and for the Lord.”

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Children, your time for service and sacrifice is coming. Your job now is to know joy, to know love, to see beauty in the world you live in and to know that in the end, everything will be alright.

Indeed, in the end, our life is in God’s hands.

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Play on babies, play on.

Jumping into Dance Photography

Kiana

Ask anyone, I have terrible rhythm…which is probably why I never became a dancer. But one of the great things in this life, other people (not me people) have talents that I can find joy in.

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I asked this little gal if she wanted to be sweet or sassy…I’m thinking she has both.

[I really can’t understand people who get jealous of other people’s talents…like, h e l l o, why can’t we just get excited and love on the greatness of others?? There is room for everyone to be great.]

You probably know by now I love (slightly obsess over) dance. To me, when I watch, it’s like staring at a beautiful painting or listening to inspiring music. It creates this dream I want to step into.

Hallie
I asked her sister the same question, sweet or sassy? She wanted Sweet.

A month or two ago, a friend asked if I would come take photos for her dance studio, as the studio was gearing up for the ballet Peter Pan.

I was really nervous, as a hobby photographer, to work as a professional. I spoke to a couple of my friends (who make a living taking photos) for some tips.

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Every time I put the camera on this gal, I didn’t have to tell her how to pose, she just did her own thing and I did mine.

I have read quite a bit about photography in the last few years – natural light and studio are two worlds…and then the thing that makes me the most crazy is photography style.

Not everyone has the same taste…

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Again, this ballerina walked up held this pose and i took a few pictures.

In the end, I decided that if parents didn’t like the photos I took this ballet season, they didn’t have to buy any next time. This is my style, take it or leave it.

Also, as a photographer who relies on natural light, I was really nervous about the two days of clouds that darkened the dance studio for portraits.

Zane
This was taken at the very end of the day, when the light was almost gone. I love the dramatic look it gave this last photo.

It is what it is and when picture day was all over, there is beauty in imperfection.

I like my photos and if it happens to make a mother cry, then I’ll consider myself a true professional.

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Speaking of professional…she’s 15. These two!  They made my job sooo easy. This is a children’s ballet school ya’ll. You want good results? Hire good teachers.