summer may be coming to a close but what i learned this summer has been invaluable. i learned not to take things so personally. i had a lot of things challenge my insecurities as a parent and as a photographer this summer. i then had to tell myself what i tell my son. ‘these are not failures, they are opportunities to grow”. funny, i could dish out this wisdom but found it difficult to accept myself. i want to be a role model for my kids so i reframed my thinking and made a conscience effort to find appreciation in the things I struggled with. i learned some valuable lessons about myself as a mother, too. i made some mistakes and realized i don’t have to be defined by them.
so good bye summer and hello fall! i look forward to what you bring, more challenges and more opportunites.
…a Facebook status. That’s what you are thinking right? You sit down and sign on to your computer and think of that “I’m going to impress everyone” comment. That thing that when you type it everyone will want to be you, have your life. Now that is real life. (cough). When I was struggling with Postpartum Depression my FB status’s were not all peaches and cream. I often hoped that I could find someone that could relate to my experience or I just needed to release the ugliness that was in my head. If you’ve experienced PPMD you know what I mean if you have not this would be difficult to understand. Well, my releasing via FB returned very ugly remarks instead of help. I was encouraged to post happy comments and to “chuck it up”. Well, that was helpful. not!
Sooooo….what did I do? Well, I was already doing the things I needed to do to help me though my depression and anxiety; seeing my doctor, taking supplements, crying (and lots of it) etc. The other incredible thing I did was pick up my camera. My camera was my expression. I was feeling robbed of what should have been a happy life with my children so I’d capture the happy moments. My only problem with that was it didn’t feel real to me. It was kind of like the happy FB status. The picture looks wonderful and happy but it was the “what you don’t see” that still had me down. I wanted to rid myself of this depression and anxiety and I wanted to help others that had it too so, because of a class I was taking, I started a photo project on the subject of Postpartum Mood Disorder. In fact, I was just interviewed by an incredible lady who is writing about my story. I am not going to post my project here, just yet, but will do so in the future.
If you struggle with Postpartum Mood Disorder (anxiety, depression, psychosis) you are not alone. There are wonderful resources out there that can direct you to the help you need. A great organization to start with is Postpartum Support International. If they don’t have a chapter in your area I believe they can assist in direction you to a someone that can help.
I was reading a blog post recently from Otto von Münchow called Patiently Painting Walls. It really hit home for me. I was struggling with my own insecurities of no longer working with a non-profit organization I have grown to love. I started with this organization with little to no experience with photography. I had a relationship with a person at this organization who felt something when she saw my photos and encouraged me to explore it. Through conversation I soon became the volunteer photographer for this non-profit.
Recently, however, the board of directors have elected to not have me volunteer anymore and are moving in the direction of putting the photography services out to bid. I am an artist so immediately this brought out all sorts of insecurities in me. I had to challenged myself to sit down and look at what I was being presented with, what they were telling me instead of looking at all of the negative self talk I am accustomed to. This negative self talk can often be my safe place to go. Can you believe that? Negative self talk is my safe place? My comfort zone? Ridiculous isn’t it? Well, fortunately Otto’s blog post came along at just the right time. It wasn’t just his post but one of the comments that really struck me; “I guess it’s important in creativity, photography or any other pursuit that you stick with it. I remember when I was doing martial arts that there were a few people who started around the same time as me, but didn’t train as often, or as hard, and then disappeared, only to come back a few months later. Sure enough, their skill level was way below mine, and their lack of practice meant a lack of progress and soon they quit. They didn’t have the guts or the patience to stick with it, even though they were surrounded by people at the gym who were local and national champions to inspire and coach them. I’m too old and too injured now to train, photography is far safer, but the lesson I took from martial arts is that there are no shortcuts in any activity worth pursuing!” This comment was important to me because one of the negative things I tell myself is “give up, this photography thing isn’t really for you”.
I now am looking at this with appreciation. I am challenging myself to continue my education, I am trying to find away to attend a challenging workshop that is my dream, AND I am reflecting on the appreciation and gratitude I have for this non-profit organization. If I hadn’t had the opportunity to work for them I wouldn’t have the wonderful relationships with the many incredible staff and their clients that I do and it was because of the work that I did that has provided me with the photography path I want to pursue. I also have to remember that I brought some pretty great things to this organization. I gave them photos. They never had their own photos before and this was a gift I presented to them. I also came up with the idea to have a video showing the work they do at their annual fundraising luncheon. This has become an annual thing for them and it was an idea I presented. Things happen for a reason and although we do not see it at this moment we will soon. Each experience we have is a stepping stone to more incredible opportunities to come.
These photos are some of the wonderful clients I met while volunteering my time.
i look at other families and wonder how they seem to have it all together? i feel that we are always, somehow, out of sync as a family. we chose a to take a brief vacation while having our long awaited back splash installed in our kitchen and carpeting in our basement. the place we decided on was my idea. it was an inn + winery in eastern washington. i heard friends rave about this place and remembered they had yurts so thought i’d check into it. the location, the heat, the pool, and location seemed ideal for a brief family get-a-way. i proposed the idea and SOLD, we made the plan to go.
it seemed like the best of all worlds; great activities for the family and a little wine tasting and relaxation for my hubby and me. what i didn’t realize was the inn was in the middle of nowhere. now with 2 young kids it is important to have plenty of snacks and activities for them to enjoy. i assumed if we needed we could just run to the grocery store and pick up what we needed. i had no idea that the nearest town was almost a 30 minute drive away and the grocery stores were not quite what we were used to. oh no! the inn had a restaurant but it was fine dining. not the place to take kids and relax. ooops! we didn’t do our research well.
extra activities outside of the hotel were not quite what we imagined but we had fun anyhow. we explored a petrified forest, played in the awesome hotel pool, saw some dinosaurs, more play in the hotel pool, found a quirky little town on the columbia river that had a nice sand bar for the kids to play, make sand castles and to just have fun and more play in the hotel pool. when the trip ended the kids were sad. aaah, success. funny, the kids had no idea of the challenges we had.
on a much needed family vacation. enjoy yourselves, will post more soon.
beautiful scarf by le.sens and wall art by marigold + mint
south of the heart of the madrona neighborhood you will find a charming clothing and accessory store, juniper. the owner of the store, lisa, has created a store that isn’t full of simply beautiful pieces but a collection of well thought out designers and their items that are timeless, developed with a sense of care and genuine integrity (as quoted from her “about” section). i’ve known lisa for many years when she worked at another retail store. she was one of my go-to people because of her sense of style and recommendations. i was disappointed when she left and found myself excited when i heard she opened her own store. i knew it would become one of my favorite places to shop.
lovely fabric bags by dominique picquier
this summer i stumbled upon an opportunity to help lisa with the lighting design for her store. she was discussing a lighting makeover when i happened to stop in. lighting is a career i had pre-children. i eavesdropped on the conversation and then started talking to her about it and before i knew it i was helping her. my approach was simple. i listened to lisa explain the areas in the store that she felt needed a boost in lighting. she also wanted a sense of her style in the decorative fixtures she selected. i suggested to her some simple products that would boost the light levels where she wanted and provided her with some guidelines and direction as to the decorative fixtures she was interested in. she would then select research and select the lighting fixtures she was interested in and send them to me for my comments. the result is in the photos you see. i only wish i had taken “before” shots. the lighting is beautiful and representative of lisa and the look of her store. simple and elegant.
My youngest child has this wonderful spirit about her. I’ve started to collect photos of her to in hopes of creating a little photo project, over time. I have two children, a boy (older) and a girl. I love them both dearly. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there is something about my daughter that has me wanting to parent her in a different way. I treat her a little differently than I do my son, with a different expectation. It’s not bad but there is something different. I see something similar in other moms too. I listen when they talk to their sons and then to their daughters. Something different. I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet and find I’m challenged with finding words to describe how I feel and hope that through photos my words will start to show, visually. So, for now it will be just photos and hopefully in the future a story.
Last weekend we took a much needed adventure. Things were pretty crazy around the house as my son was entering a stage of trying to be more independent. I love the fact my kids have always been independent and adventurous but this new stage is more than I bargained for. So, after a lot of stress around the house we decided it was time to hit the road for some new scenery and fun. I suggested we could either head east and visit Roslyn (home to the 1990-95 hit Northern Exposure) and Lake Kachess or we could head north to Bow-Edison and Mt. Vernon (Skagit Valley) area. My husband said north. Oh what a lovely choice he made. The moment we pulled off of I-5 onto highway 11 I was in heaven. I love farm land, it makes me a little homesick. I grew up in a rural area with many farms around us including the pig farm next door.
Edison is this charming town hidden in the Skagit Valley on a lovely road called Farm to Market. If you are heading north on Farm to Market you first come to the Farm to Market Bakery. Quite the yummy spot to stop at for a sweet treat or even a savory one too. We stopped for what we thought would be a moment but my kids met a young girl there and it turned out to be over an hour of fun for the kids and a relaxing moment sitting outside on a beautiful sunny day for my husband and me.
As we strolled along in this quaint little town, we saw many reasons that would warrant a second trip back and more than likely an overnight trip. I could see this as being a lovely little get-a-way. The town is a true artists town with wonderful gallery’s and restaurants that any “foodie” would love to spend time in. We had our lunch at Slough Food. Love the name and love the slough. When you walk in you are introduced to a retail store of specialty foods and wine (yum) and as you walk out back (outside) you stumble into a beautiful little courtyard set up for wine tasting and slough side enjoyment. The kids picked a table at the very back that had this wonderful view of the slough. J was so happy he even took time to smell the roses (it was a sunflower, actually).
After a long afternoon of wandering and enjoying the town, the people and the beautiful galleries we decided it was time to head home. BUT, we first had to take a little drive to Sammish Island in hopes of spending a little time frolicking in the water. It truly was a beautiful day.