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:

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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.

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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…