Motherhood, my, my…

 

“Motherhood is like a far-flung ocean painted out in front of me. Endless space in all directions, but I can’t see what’s under my feet.”

Motherhoodmymy_AshleyWeb

I sat out on the back porch of my first home in the early days of August and I said those words to my sister-in-law Hannah. When I first met Hannah she had red hair. Now, as if to illustrate the passage of time, her hair has tones of blonde with lightest auburn underneath. She laughed, because she knew exactly what I meant, and it comforted me as it echoed against the Red Rocks 8 miles to the West. When it bounced back we were already talking about other things. But that thought stuck with me as feeling the most authentic of all the ways that I have tried to explain the huge shift in the past eleven weeks, since my son came into the world.

CreighIttyBittyWeb

Right now life consists of details. The little straps of his diaper tucked neatly into place, delicate noises that he makes while sleeping, my posture when I nurse him…
It’s funny how innately I hunch, subconsciously trying to set my rib cage down around him. Never before has my body draped this way, and It feels nice to bow down to a braver part of myself, a part that I’ve never met before.

_O7A7412Drew&Creigh_May2016B&W

We all seem to want to lay ourselves down around him. My husband, a natural care taker, has broken open for this little boy. Revealing all his vulnerability, and laying it around him like a warm blanket. Our parents, who already have seven grandchildren ( 14 between them), treat him like the very first one. They glow like little glowworms, creating their own bioluminescence.

CreighLayingdownFavoriteweb

Mostly though, I feel compelled by what I see and feel.
I feel compelled to share of myself; to pour all over things like sunlight & water. To write letters again, and mail them this time…
To shoot all the details of this brave new life, and the lives of others.

Liv&Quinn_Motherhoodmymyweb

I love it. feeling compelled.

So a few weeks after my son was born I started writing him love letters. I didn’t do this to be creative in the way that I documented my first child’s first year. I did it because I could already see him in the future, and honestly he looked damn easy to talk to.
I did it because I love letters, and because I am usually better at writing my feelings than speaking them. And I always, always want Drew & Creigh to know how happy they make me.

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I feel compelled to share with him the person that I am now, knowing certainly that I will change as he grows. I will want to. But I will point back to these letters, and to the vast space that separates me from the unknown future.
I will need them I imagine, to remember myself too.

66_Creigh-Oaks_July2016

When Creigh was eight weeks old, my dear friend and colleague Ashley Allen came to visit us in order to photograph us in our home. The first home that I have ever owned. The first place that has truly felt like home since I was a child myself…

I am compelled also to improve. To learn more about the world, and how to explain the complicated parts of it in a way that will leave him still feeling hopeful and feeling free.
The best part is that he is already so full of happiness, and that reaffirms what I have already known for so long…

“It is never too late to have a happy childhood.”
Tom Robbins

 

CreighSleepinghabits_2016webJuly 28, 2016 | 2 months old.

Dear Creigh Oaks,
When I lived out East I missed basic things. I missed the dry air and the smell of cold.
As my feet hit the hard pavement of Manhattan, I missed Colorado’s soft earth.
It was all relative to what I knew before. I believe we crave the understood & comfortable parts of our past. Our memory has its very own pair of rose colored glasses.

These days, I miss some place that doesn’t even exist. Some hybrid of the city that never sleeps, tucked along the curvy hips of the Puget Sound, and in love with the Rocky Mountains. Everyone that I know & love, scattered all over this World, live there. We are all neighbors, and I get to visit with them whenever I want.
No one ever tells you that the hardest part of being an adult is that some of your nearest and dearest aren’t near you at all; for some, They may never be again.
Their jobs and their families and their dreams have taken them somewhere different than you. And you will simply have to live with the digital thumbnail of their face, and a far away voice on the machine.
(Which aren’t actually machines now. They are voice mails, and nobody knows where all that mail goes.)

Document the way your life feels.
It really does change so fast.

I love you,
Mom. *

B&W_Regan&Creigh_Sunshine

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Thank you for visiting,

#DenverPhotographer #Seraphimfirephotography #Portraitphotographer #ReganRouse #Motherhood #Childphotographer #ohBoy

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It’s got to have he(art).

 

weddings, Denver, Colorado, love

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notion

Syllabification: no·tion
Pronunciation: /ˈnōSHən /
NOUN
1A conception of or belief about something:

SYNONYMS
2An impulse or desire, especially one of a whimsical kind:

…………………………………………………………

I tend to hold tight to certain beliefs, but take care not to adopt too many.
I do this because I enjoy staying open to the possibility that perhaps there is something, somewhere that I have overlooked. Some fact that I have yet to learn that will change the course of my actions in future scenarios.

It’s not that I like being wrong of course, that would be absurd.

But, … there is comfort for me in that blindside;

a chance for brighter sparks.

Colorado wedding photography, Denver, Wedding, Sparkler exit, Love

Usually, I like to start the blog by sharing something positive with you.
I’ll say, “I love horse feathers.” (The expression, not the band) or ” I love the old churches that spot the territory of Mexico.” And then a reason follows…
“The colors of my heart, or that expression always makes me laugh.” 
And it is my purest hope that at least one of my readers will feel the same way, or will have a loved one that also loves horse feathers, and some kind of warmth is spread over these imaginary lines.
(And I swear that where ever I am, at that moment, I can feel it too.)

That is one of my favorite beliefs…
That sharing parts of yourself openly will help others feel brave enough to open up too. Because connection is paramount. And then comes love.

 

And you know that I believe in love.

Colorado wedding photography, engagement photography, Seraphim Fire Photography, Rebecca & SethColorado weddings, first look, groom moment, Seraphim Fire Photographyengagement session Michigan, champagne celebration

The less poetic reality of this bottom line however, is that everything changes.
And whether the particular instance that you now find yourself is negative or positive is really inconsequential…
with a little time, whatever the landscape in front of you looks like, that weather will change, and how you look at it matters too.

But, what happens when you feel overwhelmed suddenly by all that responsibility? After months, or years of feeling a kind of delightful certainty in what remains un-certain, what if the space of unknowingness feels entirely… uncomfortable?

Well, it means that your blog can not begin with something so trite as horse feathers,
and that life simply would not be balanced without light’s opposite.

Light Painting, self portrait, Snowy Denver at night, Regan L Rouse

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tenebrosity
Line breaks: tene|bros¦ity
Pronunciation: /tɛnəˈbrɒsɪti /
NOUN

[MASS NOUN]
• literary
The quality of being dark or shadowy.
………………………………………………………….   Ann Arbor Michigan, Seraphim Fire Photography, Typewriters

In late November I mentioned to two of my closest friends, (also writers) that I was suffering from what I called “a loss of my creative ambition.”
To those of you that do not work in the arts, I realize that this sounds like a made up thing.
Like cooties, or Dragon Pox.

I’ve experienced this type of  turmoil before,     so without any real solutions in mind the conversations usually trailed off like the sound of a motorist dissolving down the highway, leaving my own squat to remain low beside the road; (much like my spirit)
a tired thumb out to the side of me.

But this time it felt like something worse, something that I couldn’t exactly understand myself, and so I gave it time.
(After all, that’s what they always tell you to do with a problem that you don’t know how to solve, let alone identify.)

But still, I kept trying… letting the work speak for me in languages that I could not seem to decipher. And despite the strange and desperate hunger that I felt, a need to explain with words that I could not find, my only contentment existed through the lens, and in the positive responses from clients and colleagues.

head in the clouds, artistic expression, creative ambition

wedding, colorado, time, flowers, Bella Calla, Seraphim Fire Photography
So naturally, when weeks later Drew turned to me and said,…

“Give it time…it will pass when you feel really inspired.”
My expression spoke louder than I could. It screamed.
His eyes stayed locked on me, so it was impossible to hide the look on my face, something deeper than worry.

Something with a heartbeat, and feet that left boot prints.

“What if it doesn’t?”
And because I am sometimes a little dramatic, all he did was smile this warm, fantastic smile, and kiss me softly on the temple. And usually, that would have done it.
Restored my faith in the system, the universe,
whatever well you drop your coin into.

But it didn’t.

And I didn’t have the strength to tell him that frankly, Inspiration was hardly the problem.

Family moment, Baby in bed, pointed toes  Boudoir session, Love, ring detail, engaged
Lifestyle Portraiture, editorial portraiture, Seraphim Fire Photography, Lady Super Hero Project, Clark Kent  Tattoo, Denver, Colorado, Fine Art, Seraphim Fire Photography, Tattoos, red, beauty, Colorado Mother walk, down the aisle, Mexico wedding motherhood, mother's day, pregnancy, maternity

And this is the time that I would tell most of you not to worry. To keep your faith, and that some magical thing will happen to you to restore whatever it is, whatever is missing. To stay positive, and take walks, and write love letters, and to kiss your children.

And I do believe that. ..

But in this case, none of that worked.
Denver Art museum, night photography, Darkness, Colorado, Regan L Rouse
wedding, Denver Art Museum, Elevator Love

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when, in preparation for our big move, we took everything off of the walls. And the words & the feelings, (vague & in no way categorical) started to link together, and It didn’t feel temporary.

No more borrowed feelings. … …

Lady Super hero

The stark white of the wall that Drew had just painted covered the mint green that peeked out from underneath the yellow before it that in some way captured within its molecular makeup the misconceptions and expectations of my future, stuck in limbo between the new and the aged choices that I would make.
I thought out loud as Drew let the paintbrush dip for the last time into the bucket.
“…There it is…” my words captured inside the breath that I had just taken.

And luckily, because I married my best friend, he didn’t even have to ask.
Instead he wrapped his arms around me, and there I would remain.

Colorado wedding photography, Seraphim Fire Photography, Enagagments

I like to think that the emptiness of those walls suddenly felt promising. I like to think of my Aunt Rachella saying years ago that our eyes need a place to rest in a room, and to leave open spaces while considering the decor of a particular place.
“It lets the viewer appreciate each piece without becoming overwhelmed.”

Whatever it was, very suddenly, that ‘space’ opened up for me. And for the first time in months the rush of emotions was,… gentler.
It was the following week that we moved. And whether anything had really changed, or not, everything simply looked different to me.

 

eyes, engagement, looking ahead, love, Colorado

 

 

 

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accessible

Syllabification: ac·ces·si·ble
Pronunciation: /akˈsesəbəl /
ADJECTIVE

1(Of a place) able to be reached or entered:
SYNONYMS
1.2 Easily understood:
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Regardless of how many times I have learned this lesson, I never have allowed its truth to comfort me. Not like I do now.

I believe that change allows us to access new parts of ourselves, or at least shows us that option. For so many of us, change is the uncertainty; something outside of ourselves, something dark and shadowy with no identifying features.

But with time & perspective, even that is likely to change.

Just like ourselves…
Ever growing.

 

ever changing, ever growing

Lady super heroes, Seraphim Fire Photography, Scarlet Ravin, White Fox,

 

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Love,

Be brave, SFP logo

 

Things on paper.

Seraphim Fire Photography

I absolutely love idioms.
Things like, Stay the course, and Keep your eye’s peeled. I love that they ring out from years and years of consistent historical change, but the expressions themselves never do. I love the random and strange language of them, and that you can tell where a person is from when they use one or another in particular.
And I love  that when you ask someone, “Which one is your favorite?”, they almost always smile…
Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography

Maybe it is because they are remembering when first they heard it, or perhaps they loved the one that taught it to them, but in that moment I can watch them disappear into the depth of a memory.

  Seraphim Fire Photography  Little girl In Red memory
I can only assume that these fabulous phrases have stayed so stead-fast because of their truth. Something that we are all searching for, I think.

They suggest some sort of direction from the past; a way to avoid catastrophe, the right way and the wrong way, with a punctuation mark at the end of it.

It was in the first dog days of summer that I started to notice them, everywhere. Like being quietly followed by figures of speech, I was astonished by how often they were used by me, and around me.  And a few weeks into June, as I combed over the calendar & my fast and furious wedding season, I thought of the very best one.        

* Wear your heart on your sleeve.
After a little more than 40 weddings spanning 5 months, I have seen a pretty wide variety of styles and personalities within the amazing spaces throughout Colorado. The truth is, I am getting to know my state better than I ever have.
Seraphim Fire Photography
Driving to places like Nathrop (Listed as a Colorado ghost town), Beautiful Evergreen, or my most recent personal favorite,  Grand Lake.
(Which I had never visited before July of this year, and now I find myself planning sneaky ways to head west on I-70. Perhaps a milkshake from Dairy King is in order?)
Oh the places you'll go.

The most tremendous thing about all this adventure, other than the traveling  & pleasing visual atmosphere, is the awareness that I have from it.

In turn, I have new gratitude as I watch (& capture) all these people sharing their own thanks, for one another.

Seraphim Fire Photography 
 Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography

Like a very bossy fly on the wall, I am given the gift of documenting people’s choices. To show off their style, or their love of music, the outdoors, or God.
And each time, no matter what those choices might be, It is the authenticity of true love that always remains the same.

Seraphim Fire Photography

Seraphim Fire Photography

Seraphim Fire Photography

* Go for broke.  
In January of 2012 I received a phone call from a woman in the Denver area that was embarking on her own small start up making handmade Polish Pierogi, using her own grandmother’s recipes. 

Seraphim Fire Photography
Her goal was to keep the food natural and the visual marketing creative & simple. I was hired to shoot a few commercial images for her product packaging, and now more than a year and a half later I have designed her website, and helped her brand and market her now very popular product.
(I confess, not only am I completely hooked on her sauerkraut & wild mushroom pierogi, I am hooked on  her warmth & friendship as well.)

Anna Postek, owner of Bistro Charlotte, is a shining example of what a little gumption & a lot of dedication can do for your future, and for our local community. Visit her at http://www.bistrocharlotte.us  & support local business.
Seraphim Fire Photography


*The apple of my eye.
Many of my bookings, when I am not surrounded by the bliss of young lovers, are still dedicated to the pretty young;  with no shortage of love either.  And in the last few years, many of my clients also happen to be old friends.
Introducing Hudson Maley, whose parents I have known since 2003…
Seraphim Fire Photography
I am beginning to think that If the eyes are the window to the soul, then our children are the door. Because as the years continue rolling forward, and more of my dear friends have children of their own, there seems to be a change in their capacity for joy.
Like something opens up, and lets the air in.

Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography 

Seraphim Fire Photography
That is not to say that those of us that have not taken that plunge are without joy, because my very large glass of wine right here suggests otherwise…and it’s 3 pm on a Sunday.
What I see instead is that in a new way they are able to see themselves and their impact through small but very clear eyes.
No wonder then, with each chance that I get to spend time documenting a family together, I feel a little bit like a part of their crew.
MaleyFamily_Hudson6monthsPortrait_Web Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography

* True blue.
A few weeks before Mindy & Levi Davis celebrated their first year of marriage, I received an email request from her to plan a WW2 themed boudoir session for her military sweetheart. So, In the days leading up to our session I searched for a venue that would do justice to Mindy’s delicate features and show off just how perfectly suited she is for the 1940’s pin-up style.

Seraphim Fire Photography

Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography

When the day finally arrived, we chose the Wings Over the Rockies Museum, where in the early hours of morning we prepared Mindy for her close up in a 40,000 square foot hanger built in 1939.

Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography
At the end of the day, I felt that familiar gratitude creeping in under the door. Because I used a very heart felt passion to help someone else express their love, and the opportunity came with a history lesson.
I want to thank all of our service men and women for their on going sacrifice.
Also, thanks to Rachel Seymour from The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, for setting us up with such a tremendous space to work with. 

* A light at the end of the tunnel.
This particular idiom is usually used in times of struggle, but I think that the light is always there. Like idioms or history, trying to give us some direction when things don’t seem so clear cut. Seraphim Fire Photography


Seraphim Fire Photography

Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography
Maddie_SunshineBeauitful_web TroudtLovelyLoveStory_web

For some of us, it is our instinct to follow it…
and spread it all around.

Help us spread the light by sharing this post with a friend.
Or visit http://www.seraphimfire.com to book a session.

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Life of Pie & Corresponding Theories on Memory.

Over the last twenty years, I have collected hundreds of images. And in that time they have started to look different to me or to say something new. Either way, they have defined moments in my life and given me new ways to feel about the things that I could not change. They have even acted on behalf of my memory, kindly replacing the characters from those pictures with the cast of my own life. I have postcards from almost every place that I have traveled, torn pages from magazines that I can no longer remember ever having. And even after the numbers of them have multiplied, perhaps growing out of hand, I always know when one is missing.
I have to go searching for it, and grow sad as each hour passes, and finally forces me to let it go.
Now, I try to photograph all of them (or scan them) whenever possible, and Drew laughs at the concept.
A copy of an image, in order to preserve a memory.
Mother&Son_MagazinephotokidsinfountainwebDancersSketch_webmermaid_magazinecutout_web
JustDivorced UnionStreet_web

The human memory, with its web like structure, is an amazing process. If you haven’t read up recently, ideas about how memory works have evolved. When I first started researching the topic I, like many people, treated my memory as just another part of my body. I would exclaim that in addition to near sightedness, I had a bad memory.
It turns out, I was being more short sighted than near sighted right then.
Now, when I smell my mothers perfume, grown thick and sticky around the edges of an antique glass bottle, the path of that memory follows exactly the same one that it did 23 years ago, as I stood leaning hard against a white laminate countertop, short enough to have to squint my small eyes to look up at her. The many different areas of my brain, linked together by the hippocampus, will begin to fire and in a flash I can see her there in front of me, and hear her voice down low in the folds of my auditory cortex.

I was unaware of it, I think, but this concept may have contributed on that first day that I picked up the camera, aiming it all around & feeling assisted by indisputable captures;
the light that stained that film was to be the blueprints to my future.

And because I understood, even then, that things remembered can bend toward the subjective, it was not enough just to remember.

Life must be Documented.
Shannon&Ben_B&W_LeanbackontreekissBlog

And then, in the summer of 2007, I traveled all the way to Istanbul Turkey to wander blindly through ancient country.
Turkishflag_Blog BoatOnwater_blog IMG_4087 TurkishFish_blog
   ReganinTurkey_bio2007_web TurkishFisherman_webblog B&W_Turkishmansface_web Birdsfly_colorprint_tattooPosiible_web
I remember miles & miles of olive groves, & cats everywhere, & Incredibly good food. (I love olives and tomatoes.)
I remember sitting way up in a tree, at a meditation camp that we literally stumbled upon, and feeling that things would be changing soon.
I remember drinking red wine with complete strangers, and breathing deeply in all the amazing possibilities ahead of me.
But the air does change, it has to. We change. And thanks to hundreds of images I can return again, anytime I want, to the City of Ephesus, or sit alone in those olive groves.
(Miles of repetition; a comfort to my senses that use to surprise me.)
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Despite all of that, what I remember most was the conversation that my two companions and I shared on our very last night in that amazing Republic.
A conversation that was the start of the change that I had been sensing all the way up in that tree.
We talked about pie. LifeofPie_Blog111

Selim Morelevi is a native to Istanbul and four years my senior. We had never met until the day that I arrived there, along side his long time friend Christopher.
It took us a little over 6 hours to bloom though, falling open like books, spilling stories forth like small children. It was 21 days later, as we sat in the dark at a small cafe table; Selim giggling as I reluctantly sampled beef tongue for the first time.
As much as I remember the test of that strange cuisine, and the various colored lights that speckled the Galata bridge, I can not remember how the conversation started. But Selim illustrated the space in front of him with a concept and Chris & I looked on, shaking our heads in agreement; like a head bangers ball, all enthusiastic.
He said that he looked at life like pie, prioritizing each piece carefully, things like family & relationships, hobbies & whatever career you choose.
“You can have as many pieces as you want, but there’s only so much to go around. Your pieces get thinner and thinner as you try to add more, and frankly at that point they stop fulfilling you.” He smiled and looked down right then, and I knew that he was proud of his metaphor. Christopher sat to my left, distracted. He was thinking about all of his pieces, counting them silently on fingers under the table.

I know that this is no new concept, and there were certainly no theorems to put down on paper that evening, but six years later I still think about it, and I call it memory pie.

memoryPieBlog

I think what fascinated me most about what I learned in all my reading about memory was the concept expressed by Dr. Fiona McPherson on ‘the role of emotional memory.’
She supports the idea that how we feel directly affects what we see, and therefor, what we remember. It seems to me that if this is true, and in turn we repeat those paths each time, we should treat ourselves and our memories delicately;
taking care of what must last. Like our bodies, or the earth.

Because our memory is always taking pictures.
Copying down images to preserve what was there.
Carrie&Jillian_photographersfavorite_web Babyhudson-detaileditorial-web  LaurenOntheporch_Web Drewinsunshine_Toned_webL&E_Lookingcandid_web  
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Mustard Seed. (The light hitting the water: part two)

It doesn’t happen all the time, which is what makes it feel so good, I think.

Despite all the noise in this busy world, things get very quiet. And I can see the color of the light and all the zones of gray as the shadows start to bend and spread, like a photographer’s stepping-stones;
sometimes, the only way to get from where we are to where we want to be.

If it is late in the afternoon, just before sunset, the light seems to drip off of things,
and because I know it will all change within seconds I must look into the future;
a private little race between the sun and me.

  

I live for these moments, and in them I feel truly centered, and the work seems to do all of my talking for me. Photography has become so much more to me than a job, and more than my passion even. It is my voice, and some how it always seems to say the right thing.

This summer has been one of the really good one’s. One of those summers that I know I will look back on and long for. Thank heavens then for photographs and for all that quiet & dripping light, because in June I traveled to Mexico and kicked off the wedding season with a wedding of my very own…

                                                                                    Right next to the water.
             

The truth is, I would have married Drew the day that we met. But it took ten years and six months to finally meet on a beach in the Riviera Maya with a small group of family, and make it official. Drew wore flip flops and after it was over he threw me over his shoulder and carried me off, down the beach. The clouds kept us cool and everywhere we looked, there was a blur of smiling faces, and so much love.

I don’t think I will ever forget the way it felt, but if I ever do, I will just look at all the photographs and travel back in time.
(Or look into the face of my husband, who never seems to age for me.)

He is the light, He is my water.

  The woman responsible for these beautiful images is my assistant and partner here at Seraphim Fire, Hannah Thomas.
Over the last year, Hannah and I have had far off adventures photographing weddings in places like South Carolina, various regions of Colorado & Wyoming, and most recently, Mexico. She has a beautiful eye for details and composition, and on the day of our wedding she moved quietly around us, simply capturing what existed, and with her own share of love…
she also happens to be my new sister in law.How wonderful that this marriage has brought with it a new partner in work & life. Twice. Thank you so much to my sisters that spent their time & energy making me feel (and look) so beautiful on our wedding day.
A few weeks later, still buzzing, Hannah & I flew back to Mexico (To the exact same little beach in the Riviera Myay!) to capture the wedding of Natalie Wellam and Ian Seyerle. Natalie is originally from London, but lives now in Houston, Texas. Her crew for this weekend wedding celebration flew in from all over Britain & the U.S., and gave me the opportunity to experience a little bit of my own wedding, but this time, behind the lens.
How marvelous…
      





Every wedding is unique, and it is one of those rare times in our life that we can share the way we feel about our partner, unencumbered.
I think the guests (and even the vendors) can get caught up in the wake of such a glow, and then they carry that extra little bit of love into their own lives…
And you never know the impact that influence can have one us,
or the distance it can go.


 

I wish I could recall for you all the details of those few minutes before I walked through the door, on my father’s arm. But I will tell you that it was very quiet, and the light seemed to drip off of things. And I thought of mustard seeds.

It was years ago that I heard the expression that ‘Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.” and it gives me so much joy.
It reminds us of our power as individuals, I think. Tells us to hold on.

Without faith we might never try anything new, or scary. We might never travel, or follow our passions. With out it, we might settle for something less than true love.

I think that passion is my mustard seed; my passion for Drew and for photography. And even though it can’t be seen or touched, its power is still so present to me.
Perhaps if I keep using my camera to harvest,
I can always share the bounty…

Whatever the reason. (or season.)

Prelude.
One of the most wonderful things about writing is that you can look back on how you have been feeling, and how your perspective has changed. In the past my battle with this blog has been slow and steady bouts of writers block followed by intense focus and eventually, a common thread. One worth sharing.

The past four months have been quite different, and so full of experiences that the writing just appeared each day, like it did in my much younger years.
And even though the common thread (now pretty frayed from so much use) is so long it dangles behind me when I walk, and has become difficult to manage even; it still seems worth sharing.
So forgive me for taking so long and for a few disconnections, but stay with it. Because nothing worth doing is ever easy. And some lessons can take a while to learn.

February.
I don’t know if everything truly happens for a reason. But I do like the comfort of the message. I also like stories with a narrator, with their omniscient nature and the promise of balance in things. February reminded me of how much I enjoy what I do, and how even the simplest encouragement can push us forward.

At the start of the month I shot an event with a dear friend of mine, Jana Everett, for a new business in the up and coming Highland area of Denver. The Tea Bar has become part of a local Triad with The Green Garage, and The Motherhood. All three are located in one very large space, and offer Green options galore. The Motherhood has educational classes, yoga and products for new families, while the Green Garage is an eco-friendly full service auto center. In between the two you will find the Tea Bar by Teatulia, chock-full of delicious options including infused tea sodas; an invention that they were giving out the night of the grand opening. My favorite was a strawberry tea soda infused with lemon grass. I started to feel spring creep in when I would drink it, despite the cold and windy weather outside. By the end of the night we saw a few hundred people pass through the space, and between the band playing in the garage, Teacup the Clown, Joy’s face painting and free children’s yoga, I was moving and snapping the entire time.


The following weekend I had the pleasure of shooting a B’not Mitzvah for All Digital Studios in Lafayette, Colorado. The event took place at the Lions Gate, a huge interior location with dark wood and a giant stained glass window face. It is one of the most challenging places to shoot, but I adore its vintage touches. It was my first mitzvah of any kind and a really  beautiful tradition to witness. This particular occasion is called a B’not Mitzvah because it honors two girls (sisters in this case) that are accepting the responsibility of adulthood. It made perfect sense to me as I watched that the tradition called for tremendous focus in education and philanthropy. There was also singing in Hebrew, which I think is a feat in and of itself. The girls finished their ceremony without any mistakes and I saw the Hora for the first time. I admit for a minute that  I wished to set my camera down and join them on the dance floor.

A few days later  I received an email from Joy Knickerbocker, a fellow artist that I had met the night of the Tea Bar Grand Opening. Joy was reaching out in an effort to connect and to also collect some images that I had taken of her that night. After reading the blog she said,“Your writing somehow felt like it was watering my soul as I was reading it.”
And I was reminded exactly why I started this blog to begin with. Because I wanted to share my work and inspire others, and in that moment I felt so successful and full. She went on to remind me that I was due for another entry, and that night inspired by what she said, I sat at my computer for a few hours writing about duality and learning about its corresponding theories in physics.
When I finally retired for the night, I said a little prayer for Joy and I slept so well that I didn’t dream at all.

 
March.
It was in the first few weeks of March that I realized that I could count on one hand the months left until our wedding day. In quiet moments I could close my eyes and look back on all the change and patience and distance covered in the past three years. In those moments I could feel, very physically, my pride in Drew and all our growth.
During one of these quiet moments, in the middle of the afternoon, Drew called me at work to tell me that he had mailed our invitations. When I came home I saw that the little red flag on the mailbox had laid down. Like an excited child I peered inside to make sure that they had really gone.

I never thought I would be so happy to see our mailbox, empty.


A few days later I got an email from Yellow Paddle informing me that I had a client looking to do an engagement shoot in the next few days. Mindy and Levi had a very similar story to my own. He was in the military and they had known each other for years. I swear, as I watched them together on that sunny afternoon my heart swelled. Their love was so genuine and she watched him with adoration as he told me their plans. Our session went on for almost two hours and if I hadn’t any other appointments that day I could have stayed on into twilight. Love has in it so many possibilities. And with my camera I tried to capture all of them.

April.
It was well into April when I had a truly ‘terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.’ And even though I loved the book as a child, it seemed not nearly as funny when one morning I woke up to a very flooded basement and no hot water. Later that afternoon  I would learn that my car was due for some very costly and time sensitive repair, and so I called into work and sat waiting for our ‘super’, while Drew ran to the hardware store. As I watched him drive away I looked up at a looming storm and thought that perhaps my mood had brought it on.

It is in these moments, usually forced upon us, that we can give thanks for the good days and realize that maybe they wouldn’t be so good, without the bad one’s. I wrote at my desk for nearly an hour before our doorbell rang, and in the end I was thankful for the inconvenience. It was the first day off that I had seen in 10. And our kitchen floor was finally clean.

 The following day I borrowed Drew’s car and  visited one of my oldest friends and her husband in order to shoot their very first maternity session.


For those of you that have followed Seraphim Fire, you may recognize this lovely couple from their wedding shots posted last year. I have known Sassy since college and this day she helped me complete a dream of mine. To steadily capture the growth of a couple as they move through love and into a family. She is an even more beautiful mother than she was a bride, and a terrific friend. Congratulations Mr. & Mrs Allender…
 
 

May.     
It was actually the dogs that  helped me notice all the time that had passed. That suddenly May was here and instead of snow we had sunshine all around us. We found a new hiking trail in Morrison and I could wear short sleeves and the dogs could swim.
I have always loved this change of the season. It feels to me, like a crush. Something you wake up thankful for and look forward to. The heat is comfortable, welcomed even, and my skin slowly darkens by the end of the day.
 
Thanks to February, March and April I was able to enjoy so deeply all the experiences that I was sharing with my family, and soak in all the love that was being given to me. Three weekends out of the month were dedicated to bridal showers and celebrations for my up coming marriage to Drew.
I shot as much as possible but allowed myself the freedom of setting my camera down when we all gathered together.  For the first time, perhaps ever, I enjoyed the weightlessness and absence of my camera strap, and I forced myself to remember all these special moments in a new way. Mostly.


I once described love as the light hitting the water, and I really do see it that way. When you are loved and give love back, things can brighten all around you, motivate you, and give you peace.
And despite not having all the answers (and the occasional bad day) that refracted light can help you see far into the distance.
I think, thanks to all these experiences, which I never could have had with out all this love, I understand this concept more than I ever have. And the future looks bright.


I
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(R)ed (L)etter (R)esolve.

It is the last days of January, and if you are one of the 40% of folks that made a resolution, I hope that you are working to keep it. You might instead, be more logical like my husband to be; seeing it more as superstition. Either way, there is history in retrospect and in setting goals for the year ahead.
New Year’s celebrations started as far back as Babylon, but were originally practiced in March. It was the Romans that chose January, and it was not without sound logic that the change was made. January is named after the god Janus; a two faced figure with one gaze directed to the past, while the second one faces forward, looking into the year ahead. This god is represented  by doorways, arches and passage ways; also as the beginning and the end. As I struggled to pin point my resolution for 2012, I learned that the word for this god is duality, which brings me to the start of my year, and the seven resolutions that resulted.


Resolution one: Stay full.              
We spent the actual new year in Buffalo, Wyoming. I learned to ice skate for the second time. It had been nearly fifteen years and I admit that I was nervous, but it only took a few minutes and I was gliding along a large backyard pond, watching everyone around me smile in encouragement. In the four days that followed I watched the kids sled and squeal the entire length of a large hill, and the sunset looked different every evening.



We ate delicious home cooked meals every night, made cookies with molasses and I swear that I was full the entire time. Full of love and adventure; all the things that through out the year, we forget to savor. So I did, and I resolved to do so all year long.

Resolution two: Give thanks.              My sister Michele and her husband Billy have been expecting a little girl, and sure as the new year will always come, Julia made an appearance on the first day of 2012. If you read the blog you already know that one of my favorite subjects is the glow of growing families. Julia Mavis was no exception, and when held by her dad, her eyes bloomed like wildflowers. What a perfect reason to give thanks for blessings received.


         

Resolution three: Use visual cue’s
.      I do not care for pencils. I enjoy both the consistency of good ink, and the permanency of it. Pencils, despite leaving lovely silver stains on my fingers, are of no real use to me. But a few days ago, while waiting in line at the bank, I watched a man jotting things down in a small sheepskin notebook; those of which I could not read, but still I sat watching. What I noticed was that  he made a mistake in his notes, turned his pencil around, erased, and then started again. What he had written was not gone completely, the eraser could take only the surface. The ideas would remain etched into the paper, even after new things would cover them. For better or worse.
I found so much joy in that secret and quiet little moment, thought about the human brain and it’s similarities to this simple process. But then it was my turn in line, so I stepped up and forgot it.

When I got home that night though, I took out a box of pencils buried deep in our kitchen drawer, and stuck two of them into my purse.
 

Resolution four: (Wo)man vs. Machine.      It may come as a surprise when I admit that over the years I have teetered between a decadence for and complete rebellion against, new technology. I mightily tried avoiding the digital SLR, but in 2005 when I finally started using one, the world shone in technicolor. I swore against the laptop computer and I sit now, only a few years later, in front of my 27 inch iMac screen, and I love it. I may be the only living person left in America without an iPhone, and until recently I swore that it made me less neurotic. That was until Christmas Eve, when Drew & I were given the new iPad. I believe now, after so much exploration and education upon it, that in 2012 I resolve to treat fascinating movements in technology much like I do my diet. Everything in moderation. 
The truth is, these tools are much like doorways, and Janus would be proud I think, depending on how he looked at it.

Resolution five: Write more love letters.      A few days later while doing research for this blog I sat with my feet curled underneath me on our couch. I typically suffer a very lofty bout of writers block mid-month. It lingers like a cold until my deadline has slinked up the walkway and it is during this first week of it that I try to remember how consistently this happens, and that I am not a complete loser that has no writing ability. It was on this day, about an hour into my process, that I received some inspiration, just in the nick of time.

Aubrie Nettle has perfectly kept dark hair and striking Italian features. She wears her sense of humor like a style, and during one of my best and hardest years (and Drew’s second deployment) she cradled me with her kindness. It never occurred to me that, during that time, I was influencing her as well.

Dearest Regan,
This is a love letter. To my friend. Who I miss terribly and love deeply. I have a theory about you. I used to think of you as a bird. Flying here and there, landing, floating. But no. You’re a tree. You don’t just move in and out of places and lives. A piece of you stays. You know that right? You have roots here. And in New York. And Texas. All these veins run back to you. Wherever you sit under your own canopy of shade.Feel free to use part of this on your blog. I read it feverishly, looking for a glimmer of me. Not in a selfish way. But for reassurance that my impact on you mirrors yours on me.
Aubrie Nettle
2012

I didn’t end up writing that day, instead I sat in a little puddle of gratitude. I sat for a while, thinking about love letters and how special our friends are. It took another three days before I wrote a word, but each day I found a little more strength and when I couldn’t focus on the blog, I read Aubrie’s letter.

Resolution six: Don’t change a thing.
On that thirteenth day I was lucky enough to visit with my brother and his wife, Amy. We don’t see each other often, so when we do I hold tight to the conversations, even the silly one’s, and little bits of me feel comfort. I had been thinking about my new years resolutions, and how they were starting to pile up, but still they stayed undefined. I felt lazy, like one of the guilty one’s, that let their resolutions sit idle or abandoned them completely, with their gazes down. As if they didn’t notice their luggage sitting there behind them.
It was late in the evening, and we were all getting tired.

As we all sifted down a long hallway, Britton and I kept talking.
“You know what my resolution is this year?”
He smiled as he asked me so I would know what to expect from him. But what he said surprised and delighted me.

“I’m not going to change a damn thing.”

He hugged me goodnight and turned to go,
and I thought that I probably wouldn’t change a thing either.
I would keep striving to be just like him.

Resolution seven: Love, ferociously.        Since returning to Colorado, I have accepted contract positions with some local companies in order to meet local artists and get my name back out into the circuit. One such company is Yellow Paddle Photography, and last week I was lucky enough to shoot a beautiful couple that is planning their wedding for September.

On this afternoon, Whitney & Tyler shared their story with me, while my camera and I captured it, and I remembered just why I love what I do.

       

 

In honor of my resolutions, I am sharing some of my remarkable discoveries.
The following is a list of inspiring and artistic shares, all related to living, loving, and photography:

Resolution one: For delicious recipes visit http://www.smittenkitchen.com
This woman is amazing and so knowledgable with her recipes. She also makes home made baby food! The beautiful photography is simply the icing on the cake!
For creative games and projects for kids, visit http://pbskids.org

Resolution two: When I am looking to feel gratitude I visit
http://dearphotograph.com and look on all the memories that these people have worked to duplicate.
It is truly remarkable. Please take time to find inspiration in these projects, and say thanks for what you have.

Resolution three:
Please visit Dalton Ghetti Pencil art
Dalton is from Brazil, and his work is obviously striking, but when you consider the time and patience it takes to complete his pieces…. well, have a look for yourself.
http://oddstuffmagazine.com/extraordinary-art-on-pencil-tips-by-dalton-ghetti.html

Resolution Four:  Did you like that amazing door necklace in this last post?
You can get one of your very own from Ryan Talbot. He is a local artist and teacher in the Denver area.
Contact him at  rytalb@yahoo.com
And if you have time to kill on your iPad or iPhone, why not  visit http://www.stumbleupon.com instead of facebook or playing another game of Angry Birds?
It is time well spent.

Resolution Five:
Please contact me at info@seraphimfire.com if you are interested in seeing a PDF of The Love Letters, A collection of photographs and corresponding writings.

Resolution six:
Visit http://www.ramblecreek.com for information on Britton Beisenherz and his recording studio.
Looking for some new music? Monahans are Austin based recording artists. You can find them at  http://www.monahans.net

Resolution seven:
Please visit http://www.yellowpaddlephotography.com for more information on wedding photography in the Colorado area.
For more work by me, Regan Beisenherz, please visit http://www.seraphimfire.com
For wedding inspiration visit http://www.greenweddingshoes.com

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