Whatever the reason. (or season.)

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.

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.

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.

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…

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.

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The connection between love and lightning bolts….

It takes a lifetime to discover the delicate nature of things….
We each find, at different times, that our parents are just regular people. That magical quality of theirs, although very real, is mostly the light of unconditional love.  
That is their gift.

We find that friendships are not obligations, but contracts. Entered into freely, we may participate as long as we like. The weight of those relationships however will grow as the number of connections begin to lessen, and the value of seeing someone change over time becomes a tiny and visible miracle caught in so many album pages.
We all, at some point, get to say: “I use to know them when…”

We see that as people age they protect themselves more & more, and maybe that’s the reason that we hesitate in letting go of old bonds. It’s not the adding up of years, but the lost days between us that become so important. A laundry list of imaginary numbers.

We learn that anger and resentment are toxins, the kind that bear down on us, and eventually end our lives; whether we actually die or not. With experience (and some common sense) shedding the bad feelings is learned, and they are replaced with the wisdom of forgiveness.              
To me, that is real freedom.
Freedom from feeling badly over the things that we can not control; a difficult task to master.

My favorite lesson (so far) has been realizing that my happiness is in my own control. It is this lesson that has given me the chance to stop dancing around certain difficult issues and just sit down with them.
I spent years trying, like a little steam engine, to look  into the eyes of the people that I would meet, and really understand  them. I did this so fervently that over the years I created a sort of super power. There was not a person in my path that I could not admire, in everyone there was something to love.
There were the stubborn ones that could not listen, but oh what resolve! I had to respect their design. There were the ever so smart ones that, although sometimes arrogant, always had something to teach me. There were the elegant and beautiful ones that did not use their voices and they struggled to connect in substantial ways. But I loved to admire them, and because they craved that admiration, I was able to give something back.
Then, there were the terribly naughty ones that had nothing to give, but would thrive on the negative energy created by their attitudes. But I eventually loved what they gave me… perspective.  

The hardest of these universal lessons is the one of patience, and the long standing joke is that we never actually learn it. We go on trying to wait patiently for the waiting to seem less taxing. Much like the long lists of ‘Honey Do’s’ always on the kitchen counter, there is also always something to wait on. I thought that I understood this lesson, even thought that in admitting my disability on the subject of patience, the Gods would some how smile down on me; spare me, in a manner of speaking.

And then I fell in love with a soldier.  

Gone away nearly six months, we have found new ways to connect,
and it has been during this time that I have seen the connection between love and lightning bolts.

Lightning is caused (very simply) by the difference in energy between the air, in the sky and on the ground. Most people struck by it can survive, however none are ever the same. Sometimes in the form of explosions in the sky or as warm Texas rain, the goal of the bolt is to strike ground; regardless of what it must go through to get there.
It can be relentless, but it will light everything around it;

making things much clearer, even in the darkness.