look up, for golden is the hour!

last year i had a rough time with the santa situation.
this year i made a plan early.
 to MAKE the real christmas story come alive for my sweet children.
and for me.
in my stage of my story.
christmas will never look just how it looks this year, again.
so, i got together with my friend joy and we put together a creative expression of the nativity, in our own way.
with our treasures.

the entire nativity session is posted on joy's blog.
please visit over there to see them!
wildflowers photography
they are what kept me going this december.

as if it could get any better than that,
my new friend marianne offered to film the session.
all these beautiful gifts around me!
i am a blessed friend this chistmas.
the frosting on top of this giant christmas treat?
the song on the video is one of my favorite songs by my adorable sister, gracie.

this post may just make me explode with happiness!



game day

when heather asked me to take photos of her family these were my thoughts:

1. yes! 
they are all so beautiful! 
tall, artistic, lovely heather (wouldn't i love to be tall?). 
dark handsome happy Jose (quick to laugh).
emily who is the oldest and is creative and beautiful with great taste and perfect freckles on her nose. 
sweet and cool sabrina who dresses funky and has a great laugh. 
and of course gavin (who has a soft spot in my heart because of how much he reminds me of my tiny ty) with his own mischievous ideas and a heart melting smile to go along with them.

2. i am not good enough to do this.
heather is so creative herself. 
she thinks i have better skills than i have.
i am going to get too stressed.

3. i feel a little bashful/nervous/inadequate/babyish.
but who else can i just shove that all aside with than a friend who i've known and loved since i was a girl?
who else is worth my best try?
even if i fail....and i still might not....
and if i can just do my best to see this family as they are, and try to capture them, then i am at least obeying the call that i feel on my heart.
awesome photos or a good try, it's still obedience.

so i took their family to a little spot that i love in san juan capistrano and they brought all of heathers vintage suitcases filled with old games like dominos and bingo and tiddley winks.  they drank coke out of glass bottles and i snapped away as they teased each other and tried to pretend that it was completely normal to stand in a line and hold hands and kiss while their kids watched.  then, somehow,  we realized that time was up and the sun was down. time sure flies when there's a crazy lady with a camera telling you to snuggle....

and i did it.
there are lots of things i feel tempted to say could've been better about my skills....

but instead i will say, that these photos perfectly capture what i saw that day.
the love and action and personality and silliness and beauty of this special family.
they are a real family.
they have rad outfits and compromises.
they have hand holding and rolled eyes.
they have "closed eyes" laughter and bashful kisses.
they have long legs and cute freckles.
they have perfect smiles and dirty knees.

these photos also represent this moment in my photography journey.
and capturing this moment is....beautiful too.



a call to see

i hesitate to share this because although i could succeed, i could also fail.
if i share then there will be no way to hide if i fail.
i know that failure isn't the worst thing to ever happen to a girl.
i am sure there are a dozen inspirational quotes about that.
you can leave those in the comment section for me if you feel so inclined...

i have decided to start practicing photos of families.
that is the particular area of photography that is on my heart.
i love families.
i love seeing things about a person or relationship that maybe someone else doesn't see.
or maybe they do and just really want another person's eye (and lens) on it to capture that beauty for just a moment.
so my idea is to try to see families.
i know how to capture my family.
but what about others?
this is gonna be hard.
there are lovely things in families and there are ugly things in them.
don't. i. know it.
but when the ugly things come out in my family i can sometimes take comfort in looking at something lovely that happened and smiling about it. just for a second.

so, as you can see, my call mostly has to do with seeing.
but here the catch.
the hard part, for me.
if i want to see AND i want to capture, then i need to practice.
i need to get better with my camera.
i need to gain experience and boundaries and skill.
so i have made a challenge for myself.
i am going to ask families, that i know (and think might say yes) to let me photograph them.
one family a month for a year.
this is a goal.
i might skip a month.
or something.
but i am going to try.
i am going to try and see.
i am going to try and show you.
i might be great.
i might not.
but i'm going to try.

vacation breakfast

this is how we roll on christmas vacay....
everyone picks their own favorite cereal.
no matter how sugary.
bouncing off the wall starts....now!



tune my heart

it's six am and i just threw my covers off and "speed walked" down here to try to get this swirling thought out.
written down.
jake is in my bed since he had nightmares and ella will be down here asking questions and talking a mile a minute if she hears one peep.
so I'm quiet as a mouse.

i've been struggling with something for a while.
something about my pre-conceived notion of what worship is.
as much as i'd like to say i've understood it, since i was raised in a family of worship leaders and was one myself, i think i've never really gotten it.
i've thought of it as something that i can make happen.
i can start and stop.
i can decide to sing a song, and as a result, Jesus is praised.
but as i lay in bed this morning thinking about it, one of my favorite songs was circling.
tune my heart...
tune my heart...
tune my heart to sing thy praise
i sometimes want to think that's about singing.
after all, i know how to sing.
i sound pretty good.
that's a pretty nice offering.
but what it really means, to me, is that there is praise and worship and adoration always flowing up to the one...
the one who this is all about.
I am.
its always surrounding me, this thing called worship.
in love and sunsets and smiles from my innocent children and selfless giving and kindness and mercy from others, in colors and rain and christmas and families and art and the crashing ocean and the millions of different rocks and snowflakes and stars....
and i get to decide if i am going to tune my heart to that song. to that beauty that is happening.
its happening whether i tune in or not.
it's not "god in my living, god in my breathing"
it's, "do i want to join in with HIS living and breathing?"

my recent struggle has been trying to get rid of the idea that this tuning in has to involve music in some way.
or that worship is synonymous with music played for the purpose of God's people singing along.
i know, some of you may think it's crazy that i thought that.
but i did and still do sometimes.
i start to forget that although it is lovely and good to sing (or play) a song of praise it is only one tiny tiny teeny tiny way to give back to the Lord what he has given you.
what has he given me in particular?
what has he given you?
a eye for beauty?
a good relationship?
someone who loves you?
a child?
a voice?
a musical ear?
a husband?
a talent?
organizational skills?
a listening heart?
all these things are gifts and they may or may not be able to be summed up with some other person's idea of a beautiful song.
so when i go to church on sunday mornings lately, honestly, i'm a bit of a struggler.
a lot of times i sit there, feeling detached.
i know, i know all you worship leaders cringe and that "sitting girl".
i know, because I've seen that person too.
but here's my thing, i am not protesting worship music, i am just finally understanding that that 20 minutes is not even close to "it" for worshiping I AM.
and it disappoints me to think of how that sweet time of people, up on stage, sharing what God has given them is misinterpreted by me and maybe others too as "it" for us all.
as if, if we just leave all that's us behind we can participate in their special talent.
those people have, maybe, been led by God for a season of giving to Him their music by sharing on sunday morning.
that is lovely.
seeing someone obey and follow Him is lovely.
why is it that it sometimes seems that we only have that one way of worshiping Him at all our churches?
why aren't other forms of obedience displayed?
or, why i am i not noticing it?
why isn't someone sharing their non musical worship?
a painting
a photograph
a child
a relationship
a creation
a blog
a clean house
an obedience that was scary

i know that sharing other things is not the norm and that music and singing is the acceptable form of worship on a sunday morning...
but i just woke up thinking...why, again is that?

i guess the danger in this line of thinking is that i'd get annoyed with the very narrow idea of worship that i may have allowed myself to go with and push away all things and people related to it.
but instead of doing that, i just want to remember what "it" really is.
it's not what i sometimes allow myself to think.
His grace will be sung no matter what.
the real choice is whether or not i will tune in to the earth calling out for Him and choose to participate.
in my way.
with the gifts he's so generously given me.
so that i can sing his grace.
and i can dance and dodge and spin and circle around all the confusion and pain and temptation that my be thrown my way.
and i can tune in to seeing others trying to do the same.
they may be up on a stage.
 they may be helping me clean my house every other week.
they may want to share calico critters with me.
they may want to be given a simple chore to help.
they may help me sort out messes i've made.
they may inspire me to see things differently than i do.
 they may be searching for what exact gift they have to give back to the ONE.
and they are looking for worship.
struggling and sliding up to that note of perfect grace.
when we each realize our gifts and then return them to their giver, it's like a little taste of heaven.
there we will be perfectly tuned for all time.

(this is a little risky to share.
i hope you understand me.
i hope you know i love music.
i hope you are loving me through this growing that my little tiny heart is doing.
i hope you can have grace for me if anything came out wrong and seemed judgmental.
i am sorting.
i am learning.
i have a ways to go....
thanks for listening.)



{insta} cheer

my house is clean.
my house is clean and there's dinner.
my house is clean and there's dinner and the kids WILL be in bed on time tonight.
my house is clean and there's dinner and the kids WILL be in bed on time tonight and i will be starting the third season of parenthood with my cute husband.

this is a good night.

i will not ruin it by thinking of what i need to STILL do.
i will not ruin it by thinking of things that can be dealt with later.
so there.

on that note, this is insta-friday (christmas addition)
have some cheer!

burlap photo wall ready for a special series of photos from a shoot that i will share soon!

santa plays with baby mouse jesus

hung this mirror by myself
(things are getting done around here! and i think it's because of something my mom used to say..."if you want to get projects done around the house, have a party, it'll give you the motivation to get it all done!"....with christmas coming up and all my family coming, i am in "get it done" mode! and i love it! thanks momma!)
i changed out a buncha pictures today!

just me and ella on a shopping day

"kids only" sing a long