Thursday, December 20, 2012

27 Tributes

It's hard to stop thinking about the lives lost in Newtown. I've been searching for how to honor the 27 lives tragically cut short.

My list:

1) To set aside work and other commitments to spend more time with my kids.

 2) To forgive others, even if they have not asked for forgiveness.

3) To attempt to grow and deepen my relationship and understanding of God.

4) To become more brave.

 5) To be thankful for what I have.

6) To see more beauty in the world.

7) To give more to others in need.

 8) To become more involved in my community.

9) To forgive myself for my shortcomings.

10) To not compare my life to others.

11) To assume the best of others and be less critical.

12) To not worry if the house isn't clean so long as the people inside it are happy.

13) To take more snapshots and candid videos of my children.

14) To make a diary of the sweet things they say.

15) To make sure they see their friends and family as often as possible.

16) To worry less about the future and live in the present.

17) To eat more family meals together. And include a vegetable.

18) To listen to more music and dance with my kids.

19) To make sure to take at least one trip with them a year.

 20) To set aside times where I am completely unplugged and available to them.

21) To ask them how they are feeling more often.

22) To give more hugs and kisses.

 23) To honor those who are first responders who see and do the things I want to be shielded from: Police, firemen, paramedics.

 24) To be more engaged in politics.

25) To never be ashamed to get therapy when situations in life become too complicated to face without the help of someone who can offer a different perspective.

26) To support my school and it's teachers.

27) To support other parents with an open heart and without judgement.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Lights

It's been a nice break to think about light, love and joy... Textures = the free holiday overlay, Twinkle from Illuminations 1, and Magic from TP3 (blurred).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Season's Greetings!!

Our Christmas card. This is not as it is set up for the printer, it is cut and pasted to make better sense - You are seeing front, back at the top, then the inside spread at the bottom.

 P.S. I wish you the very best Holidays. Be safe and go easy on yourself.

Quotes from Victor Hugo:
“What Is Love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul”
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
“The pupil dilates in darkness and in the end finds light, just as the soul dilates in misfortune and in the end finds God.”
“The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal.”

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Playing around with ideas about Fall.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Little Dickens

I'm working on my Christmas card idea. I've been quite inspired of late by movie posters - Game of Thrones, Les Miserables - and I wanted to try to do a take on it. So, loosely, it hopefully looks like we are starring in a Christmas Carol. I may redo the one of me but I'm pretty happy with the boys' images and am now trying to figure out how I can convince my husband to participate.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Florence Miller Drossin Bellans

I was reminded last night from a dear cousin-in-law that today marked the anniversary of the passing of my Grandmother-in-Law, Florence. I'm behind on just about everything in my life, but it wouldn't be right not to share a little bit about her today. She was a remarkable woman and someone I admired and loved.

You can't tell stories about Florence without talking about Ethel. They were twins, but really, they were more than that. Seemingly two parts of a whole. Sisters who throughout their lives would live together, raise children together, finish each others sentences. The stories I've heard are reminiscent of characters in a fairy tale, twin girls with their doting older brother, running thru fields, Florence the Bold, charging ahead and clearing the way for her more delicate other side, Ethel. I looked through many, many photos trying to find a few to document some of the high-points in Florence's life. In over half, there, right next to her, is her sister. I've become pretty good at telling them apart as they got older, but I have no idea which was the young Florence and which the young Ethel, so I include both portraits here, taken in approximately 1924, when the girls must have been around 10 years old.

Florence's family immigrated to the United States from Russian during the progroms, when Jews were experiencing vicious and widespread anti-Semitism. They settled on the East Coast. At some point during the Great Depression, Florence and her sister went to live at Sunrise Collective Farm. It was sort of an attempt at creating a Kibbutz in Michigan as I understand it. Florence called it a Socialist farm but we enjoyed teasing her that she was a Communist. It was here that she met the love of her life, Jack Drossin. Diminuative herself at barely over 4' 7" tall, she would always tell me how big, tall, and warm he was. I think her memories from these days in her early 20s were among her fondest.

Florence loved her family. She loved her parents, Rebecca and Nathan dearly. She was close to her beloved brother, Joe, her entire life and even helped to raise one of his daughters after the untimely passing of his wife. She loved her children, her nieces and nephews, her grandchildren, her great nieces and nephews and her great-grandchildren passionately. They were all exceptional, beautiful, talented and perfect in her eyes.

Honestly, I've not even begun to tell Florence's story here. There are so many things that she loved and sadly, I don't have the time to tell them all.

I'll end by simply saying that I loved the woman. From the first day I met her, 81 one years old, standing on my kitchen table, changing a light bulb in my chandelier.

Florence, today I hope that somewhere your tea is the right temperature (I was never, ever clear on what that temperature should be you know) and that your toast has a lot of crunch. I know how you feel about crunch. I hope you're getting it.

P.S. The note above, from Jack, was something I shared earlier because it just about broke my heart to find it with her things earlier this year. If you would like to see the detail, you can find it here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jump for Joy

For my amazing 26-week group... This week's theme is "Jump for Joy". I'm not totally one to jump for joy, but I do understand the concept of letting go and enjoying the feeling of being released...When you've finished, please continue on to view Gina Weathersby's work.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Vintage Work

So I'm taking a powder a little bit on the 26-week group... BUT Kara May said it was OK to mine some old images for this weeks challenge so I'm going to go with it... :)  When you've finished, please continue on to view Brooke Davis' work.

This has been an interesting few weeks. I've been approached to do a variety of new things that would change my photography business in ways that really interest me. I hope to be able to share more later should these opportunities come to fruition. Regardless, they have made me re-examine my portfolio and old work, both edited and unedited, and the results have been interesting. It's been fun to see my style evolve, and I've definitely had some moments of pride mixed with horror. As I worked my way thru my archives, it's been emotional seeing pictures of my kids that were seemingly shot only yesterday, except that my babies look so very small... I wonder where that time went. Have I spent too much time growing my business? Am I a good mom? Is this worth it? I hope the answers are no, yes, and yes, but as parents, are we ever sure? I am grateful for my friends, for my family, for having a passion in life, and for the people who, even unknowingly, are supporting me on this journey of discovering who I am.

In no particular order....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

1,000 Words

A picture paints 1,000 words... My favorite photographer's cliche :)   That is this week's theme. I hope you enjoy my interpretation. The young woman in these photos is an exceptionally talented young author and songwriter. I hope my photos of her represent her love of telling stories. At 16, she has written her fifth book and has the most widely read fan-fiction based on the novel, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". She also babysits my kids and I love the fact that at a moments notice, I can ask her to come over, put her in on of my dresses (she loathes dresses and hasn't worn one since 5th grade, haha) and even allows me to style her make up and hair.

As photographers, we are always looking for ways to challenge ourselves.  This year I am taking on an exciting new challenge, a 26 week project.  It is similar to the 52 week project most of you are familiar with, except this year we are working on techniques along with our themes.  Our themes for our 26 week project will be more thought provoking, so it will be fun to see the different interpretations.  After you see my picture, be sure to continue clicking through the different photographers links so you can see the complete circle.   Be sure to come back in 2 weeks to see our next theme, you don’t want to miss it!


Next up, please check out the work of the fabulous Brooke Davis...

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Tribute to Harper

I've struggled with how to tell this story.

Michaela is one of my sister's best friends. They met in college and she's been on the periphery of my life for many years. A gifted artist, a leggy beauty, an irreverently funny girl, she is one of those people that you instantly decide you want to become friends with. After graduating college in Nebraska, Mac moved to Phoenix where she kept up her friendship with my sister. I'd hear about the milestones in her life and see the stunning portraits my sister would take of her, most recently, for her maternity.

The pregnancy glow is a bit of a cliche, but it was accurate for Michaela. Throughout her pregnancy, she'd received some concerning news about potential problems with the baby's health, but she handled the stress of this as gracefully as the 60 lbs she gained. She maintained an upbeat, optimistic outlook and accepted any challenges without complaint, filled with the unconditional love that mothers have for their babies.

On May 11, Michaela delivered a beautiful baby girl. Tragically, only twelve days later, on May 24th, the baby, Harper Grace, succumbed to Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia (ACD). ACD is a rare malformation of the lungs involving abnormal development of the capillary vascular system around the alveoli. It most frequently presents within 48 hours of birth, and is universally fatal. Life expectancy is short (typically less than a month)*.

How does one survive the loss of a much-loved, deeply-wanted baby?

Three months later, her body betrays few clues to the casual observer that she was a new mom. She's back at work and has resumed much of same routine that she had before the pregnancy. But of course, her life has been changed forever.

Michaela is an incredibly strong person. I cannot tell you how much I admire the balance she is finding between loving her baby, mourning her, trying to honor her by finding the beauty in life, and staying committed to moving forward instead of falling apart. She is the epitome of strength, grace, and courage.

Last Sunday, Michaela, my sister Gina, and I sat poolside in Phoenix, drinking some margaritas while the kids splashed in the pool and ran thru the sprinklers. She showed me all the cherished pictures of little Harper from her 4D ultrasounds to her newborn pics. She was such a beautiful baby. We talked about the balloons at the funeral and the balloons she'll be releasing each year to commemorate her daughter's birthday. Michaela showed me some "white tattoos" she'd like to get on the inside of her forearm. Earlier, we had discussed taking some fun photos while I was in town, but the more we talked about Harper, the more I sensed that she'd like to incorporate her daughter into our photos and when she agreed, our shoot took on much deeper meaning...

Michaela is grateful for the time she had with her daughter and firmly believes they will be reunited someday in Heaven. She has hope for the future, even while she comes to terms with the pain, confusion, and grief she and her husband, Avery, have experienced by Harper's loss.

Because of the nature of this shoot, I will thank you in advance for understanding that I will not be talking about such mundane issues such as locations, lenses, processing, or textures. I will not show before or afters. I never delete comments in threads ordinarily, but in this series of images, I reserve the right to do so.

P.S. The pink balloon is for Harper. I wish I could have met you. Your mom is one amazing lady. I bet you're proud.

When someone treasured disappears, a scar, reminding us of their impact on our lives can serve as a touchstone, a physical manifestation of our enduring love and attachment. In the future, Michaela would like to get a "white tattoo", a scarring of Harper's name, on her inner forearm. While it is perhaps invisible to others, in her heart, body, and soul, the both beautiful and bittersweet reminders of her daughter are everywhere, branding her as a mother for eternity.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Inspired by The Night Circus

Hair, makeup and modeling by the beautiful and talented Amy Axton Owen of Norfolk, NE.