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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. *


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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.
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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.

And then, in the summer of 2007, I traveled all the way to Istanbul Turkey to wander blindly through ancient country.
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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.)

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.


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.
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A Travel (B)log: Changing lanes…

The apex of my circumstances these last few years have usually taken place behind the wheel of a car, or in the seat of an airplane; there is always and of course, the lens of my camera too.
It has been a period of transition, as they say. But luckily,  I believe that we grow the most when placed outside of our regular routine.
(It could be that I believe that because I can’t remember last having one.)
So, in both a blessings wake and what would feel at times like a dare, I traveled from one end of the country to the other; changing as I went, my entire life.

September:  Olympia, Anacortes & the San Juan Islands

If W. Clement Stone was correct , and we are a product of our environment, then I am the product of a small green suitcase with one broken latch. In both the state of our living and all the states that we still have to travel through, I have realized what few items are my desert island five, and how to strategically fit them into the suitcase with one broken latch. It is a shame I think, that I can not sift the salty sea air of Washington and some how steal it away in these last days of September; as summer drags her fingertips across the Sound just one more time.

We have been living in one long narrow room for five weeks. The tenants of a local Olympia hotel while Drew will finish what the military calls his ‘ETS’. It stands for ‘estimated time of separation’, one of the many acronyms that I have learned in the last two years. So to break out of the monotony of working and waiting, Drew & I filled the car with our two dogs, his pack and my little green suitcase and headed almost four hours north to ‘Deception Pass”.

(Named by Captain George Vancouver in 1792… “Feeling that he had been deceived by the nature of the inner waterway… he wrote on his chart ‘Deception Pass’.” )

To cross this amazing channel means that you have finally arrived in Whidbey Island, just the first in a long and beautiful string of Islands in the very north corner of Washington. The plan was to spend the weekend on the shore with family, coaxing mother nature into kind temperatures….

She listened so well that we didn’t leave Anacortes for almost three weeks. Instead we combed the beach and made boats, played pirates and always stayed “just one more day.” One of those rare times in life when we followed only our bliss, while we let the rest sit waiting.

October: ‘Our last gasp’, the I-90 stretch and an early Thanksgiving in Mexico.

We finally left Washington in the early weeks of October with two walkie talkies and a dog in each car to keep us company. It took three days on I-90, which meant time to enjoy the way that the color of the sky changed as we passed through Idaho in the early morning, the moon rise in Montana, and
the density of the dry Wyoming air. For me, it was a welcomed change. Like Colorado was waving hello, and I knew it wouldn’t be long.

We only had two days in Colorado before we hopped a plane to Mexico for an impromptu Thanksgiving with my family. (On October 12th!)
It was just enough time to find an apartment and lock it behind us.


What a blessing that we should once again find a reprieve from all the change; with only the shadow of love to fall underneath. It was one early morning on this trip that I stole away to simply sit and give thanks.


A few days later the reality of my  ‘best laid plans’ surfaced. Seraphim Fire had a wedding booked at the end of the month, which meant that I had four days to get the sand out of my  suitcase and pack for the next flight.


Sasha Gil, a beautiful and long ago friend from my days in New York, works in fashion and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Her fiance Wallace is from Greenville, South Carolina. For a chance to capture their southern wedding day, I would head East.


It was my first time visiting one of the Carolina’s, and turned into one of those magical trips that made me want to (despite all odds!) pick up and move again.
I suppose that is the curse of being malleable. Each place I have been, I have left a small but imaginative piece. One that can exist right there, and maybe never go any other place.

November: Coming home.

On the plane ride home, I imagined clicking my heels together slowly.

Like Dorothy would have.

I immediately pictured myself in Drew’s arms, and I thought of the dogs taking up my side of the bed.
I always thought of myself as a gypsy. Someone who flowered along the roadside. I realize now, that  my home is not defined  by which state line I land within, and it isn’t ‘my next big adventure’ either.

Now, when I picture the future, it always has just those few simple things.

And of course, my camera.

I wish you all the happiest of holiday’s, and I remind those that find themselves absent from my photographs to give me a call.
Because I celebrate life through the lens, you (come one, come all!) are always welcomed.

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“Let’s stay together.”

There truly is no telling when inspiration will strike. For me, as July just started creeping in, it was on board a 220 heading back to Seattle. I can officially call it a trend now. Whenever I am flying, all those dormant thoughts and considerations are pulled to the top; demanding proper notice. And it is not conversation that I want. I long for clean lines on a page, or the familiar click of my keyboard. (Secretly, I wish it was more the clank and clutter of my typewriter. But TSA would have a field day with that.)

Heading west from Chicago Midway, I sat there in an aisle seat thinking about age and memory. I think that ageing is miraculous because it makes us all collectors of people and things that, thanks to our amazing cognitive skill, link themselves to memory. When I catch a glimpse of my tattoos (a moon and baker’s dozen of stars across my upper back) I always recall how I felt the day that I got them.  I felt brave and independent, but I had support all around me.
Like all the stars in the sky.

Most of you can relate to this, but if you still need proof, think of your senses. Your mother’s cooking, your grandfather’s aftershave, or the combination of the outdoors and a specific bottle of wine. The sight of the label makes you smile all alone in the grocery store, and even though the memories sometimes hurt, the power that we have as humans to transport ourselves back in time…
In that way, we are never really separated from anyone.
It is the greatest trick that I have ever learned.

As most of you know, I have been in the home stretch of a deployment with my soldier. Since very early March we have each learned the survival skills necessary to make it through months of rare and scattered conversations over very dodgy phone lines. The time difference is a fascinating 11.5 hours between here and Afghanistan, and obviously there were weeks that we could not match our schedules.

So, to survive the time and reconnect with myself, I planned a trip for the last half of the month of May. I had work waiting for me in Denver, and then I would continue east to Chicago and for the first time really take a look around. I have driven through the windy city twice before, but this would be my first official visit. While there, I would also have the pleasure of  watching a very dear friend of mine graduate from Rosalind Franklin Medical school of Chicago.

Lindsey Ann Long is a stunning woman of extreme intelligence. She has also been my best friend since 8th grade. Although small in frame, her warmth is consuming. And if you could weigh her heart it would read in quadruple digits. I love her more than chocolate. But mostly, I love the way that she can always some how help me see myself in a new way.
A kind and more forgiving way.

And then, while sitting in the Civic Opera house with ‘Pomp & Circumstance’ playing all around me, I allowed myself to pull apart the dense damn that had been blocking some very pushy emotions; holding them back for fear of drowning. I remembered the day that we met, (I wandered into the wrong gym class. A new girl in a new school, a couple hundred miles away from Texas.) The day we separated after high school because we had been accepted to separate colleges (to me it felt like the severing of skin), and now here we were all these years later and not a beat had been skipped. It got me thinking though. What is it about me that attaches so deeply? That feels so passionately locked into a moment? Inevitably, in this fast world, is it a weakness or a gift?

A few years ago I read a quote by Tom Robbins that said:
“I believe in nothing, everything is sacred. I believe in everything, nothing is sacred.”
I loved it. What a very clear call for balance.
(The funny part is, I had always remembered it as being “I love nothing, everything is sacred, I love everything, nothing is sacred.”)
See that’s the thing with memory. It is subjective and personal, and usually… wrong.

There are certain parts of ourselves however, that we simply cannot change. We cannot change our family or our skin. We cannot force ourselves to see farther than we do at one time, and we cannot against all effort, stop being who we are. We can say for a time that we are not that. We can even lie for so long that we believe it to be true, but in my opinion we share just as much nature as we do nurture. The key, I think, is to respect the fundamentals.
I am a lover. I love the earth and all it’s simple textiles.
I love music and travel, and when I am driving long distances I sometime imagine myself a tour bus.

I see now that my passion gives me power.
It lets me show a child what their parents looked like at their age. I have seen them, in that moment, transform. He see’s a completely new person in his father and in my imagination that change creates new pathways for the child. Hopefully, they will be courage’s enough to keep exploring. Because the truth is, our parent’s growth is tandem to our own and the lead is always changing. There is never a moment when they are not capable of surprising you.

A few days before my departure I sat with a girlfriend at the breakfast table, our plates nearly cleaned. I said that I loved getting older because no matter what, it meant improvement.
“Improvement for me means joy, and the word choice is important. Joy is different from happiness, which is actually pretty easy to achieve. If you have a good attitude and a little perspective, happiness is always there. It can lay low, of course, but if you just look around you’ll see it is blended into the scenery. Birds fly around with it, the sky sometimes let’s it fall, joy however is a little more difficult to spot. It is usually a gift, given when you didn’t know you needed some, and it has this familiar but far away smell. Like childhood. Joy is stronger and lasts for a shorter time.“
She laughed when I said all this, and gave me an adoring smile.
“Oh Rea, I just love you.”
And right there, joy joined us at the breakfast table.

Regardless of our age, we are all getting older, everyday. You can argue that as our bodies and minds are developing, that we are gaining, but we are losing too. Along with dexterity (and ah! elasticity) we are losing the ability to love openly.
We feel silly, or embarrassed by strong emotion. We just grow out of falling. I wonder if it is because we are so much further up?

People usually confuse this tragedy with maturing. So we make fun of people who are uninhibited, and we think we know better about the way some one else should be living.  And the sort of lame thing about it is that some of us are right. Some people are frustratingly careless about their choices, and some strangers are rude for no reason. Some children do need more discipline and the younger generations will always be out of touch. Even though if you really stop and look, nothing ever really changes. (Good one big guy, good one…)

The problem is that our focus on those things only personifies them, and then the only thing getting drowned out is the light.  With out light (and love is that if nothing else) we are incapable of seeing where we are headed. It is a substance that can be directed anywhere you want it to go, allowing it to enhance things already present. When you really love someone you allow them the pleasure of being just what they are, and forgiving the naturally dark parts. You do this because you remember that you yourself have them. You  also know their story, their particular struggles and weaknesses, and with patience and understanding you just love them through it. Because you know that really is the only thing.

That’s what the Beatles meant, that is what God is made of (regardless of which one you believe in), and that is what I’m selling here.
Because there are not many living things out there that ever flourished in environments of darkness & containment.

I am setting up the camera now…
Everyone get together.

I am also happy to announce that my sweet heart finally made it home. I want to thank all our friends and family for their support during the deployment. We are blessed.

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After a life long winter, when the sun finally breaks apart from an ocean of cloud cover to light up the sides of buildings, it makes art with their shadows; and we gleam.   

 Leaf, reflection, Seraphim fire photography, Washington State, Reganb.comTree, seraphim fire, Seattle, Museum of Rock, ShadowArts walk, Olympia, Washington, Seraphim Fire Photography, chalk, drawing, May 
I have always had this love affair with trees.
I am positive that a fair number of you know exactly what I mean. Trees always smell like that first few minutes of morning. Trees reach up, even when we can’t seem to. Trees make my heart sing.
But the trees in Washington are especially lovely. Maybe it is that sunlight helping us to notice them? Or maybe it is just the sheer number? Whatever it is, summer is making its way up and over the Sound, and boy am I ready.

arts walk Olympia 2011, April, Washington State, Seraphim Fire Photography

Something else begins to happen here in Olympia when flowers start to bloom, so does the city.
Every year, twice a year, everyone gathers for the Olympia Arts Walk.
The spring time version of this tradition also involves the ‘Procession of the Species’; a most spectacular spectacle of costume and design.
In waves of earth, air, fire, & water adults and children shimmy & shake past me, the shutter on my camera sounding like a drum roll.

I admit while winter held on tight here, trying so hard to stay, I thought: “How do people do it? How do they sustain with as little as one hour of sunshine a day?”
And then that glorious weekend, the way that everyone came alive, the cupcakes, the glee everywhere; such a shine!
I immediately understood. Anything that magical is worth waiting for.

Believe me folks, I  would know.


Unexpected Tenderness, Harlequin Productions, Israel Horovitz  In January I took a job with Harlequin Productions, a non-profit company responsible for 20 years of live theater in the downtown area.
It finds its home in the State Theater on 4th, a main vein that leads you up and around an inlet to the Puget sound. Sharing the view with the capitol building and a thriving local community very dedicated to keeping it that way.
In the last five months of working with them I have fallen in love with my co-workers and without even realizing it, they have helped me write my mission statement.
The production this month was powerful in an unexpected way. ‘Unexpected Tenderness’ written by Israel Horovitz, deals with the volatile relationships within a 1950’s family that is compounded by an overly jealous father. I was lucky enough to shoot the photography for this show, and witness not only the power of the performance, but to also see the input of Mr. Horovitz himself.
When properly done, theater can have an amazing ability. Spoken at any volume it will resonate and the echo, it stays.

 Unexpected Tenderness, Israel Horovitz 

It was only a few weeks later that I had the pleasure of shooting a big event with Provail. This company is truly amazing. A group of people dedicated to making opportunities more easily available to those with disabilities. They also remind us that we are all capable of giving something, even if it is just a little bit of our time. This particular afternoon was dedicated to golf, so a few hundred of us gathered at Sahalee Country Club and after 18 holes we all spent the evening eating, drinking and bidding on items in their silent and live auction. The kicker to this amazing day was the presence of Warren Miller, film maker and cinematographer of adventure sports.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Miller after the evening’s events. His attitude and presence was beyond inspiring, and I admit my ego swelled when he complimented my work.
Even after all these years of meeting exciting people, it is not usually what they say that affects me. It is their disposition, a lot of the time it is what their eyes say. But when it came to Mr. Miller, his words are what will always stick with me. He spoke of freedom mainly, commenting that he doesn’t believe in disability.
“We are all just searching for a way to express our freedom. Whether it is a deformity or simply age, we are all uncomfortable with the loss of independence.”
He urged all of us there to enjoy our liberties, and to respect them. Later that night when I said good bye to him and thanked him about a half a dozen times for all his hard work over the years, he hugged me.
I realized that in the four months that Drew has been gone, that is one of three times that I have been hugged.

wine, provail, seraphim fire photography  Provail golf Tournament

It’s hard to believe that after all of that, there could be anything more that would excel my happiness.
I have described these last few months accomplishments as delicious. And there really is no other word for it.
As a photographer, I love the power that I have to tell the story.
What I love most though, is reminding people how special they are. Showing a bride’s grace, or a child’s unique expression.
As usual it all comes down to love.
I have talked a lot about my ‘mission’, and eventually I have realized just how much my methods will change as I learn how to capture things in the best possible light.
That right there, that should be the mission for all of us, regardless of the profession. To find the strongest part, the best side, that little bit that makes us feel. How that is done all depends.

So this Sunday, despite a little bit of rain, my fabulous friends Bethany & Jesse Spear, made the trek to my home studio where I had the privilege of shooting my first maternity session in 6 months.
As you can see, the sun eventually showed itself, and in one lovely afternoon I had the opportunity to celebrate new life, the love of a fresh marriage, and friendship.
With my camera I reminded a new mother of a beauty all her own, and there sat Jesse, silently enthralled, ready to assist his partner at every turn (even if it was just to help her up).


It seems only natural that we should improve as we age. But in the inevitable glow of accomplishment we can forget that natural is not synonymous with simple.
Improvement is often difficult, and that difficulty can even hurt a little. I believe however, that the presence of that difficulty is crucial. It cultivates awareness.
Like glaciers, they carve through what already exists to make room for what will come next. In those moments of struggle, when pieces of you are being shifted around and you think that you can’t take much more,
remember that what fills that space next is completely up to you. Revel in all that possibility, and then dive in.

As usual, I want thank all of you for your continued support and presence here. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments.
Seraphim Fire photography is now introducing hand made light boxes! These light boxes are  custom made and can feature an image from your own sitting! Call Regan Beisenherz @ 970.371.8282 for details.Also featured on Etsy!



…and now for something completely personal.

I took my first dance class in ten years on Monday. It was marvelous, and terrifying. Even with everyone’s, “it’s like riding a bike…”, running through my head.
When you choose to try at something, especially something that you have not done in a long time, there is always a moment that you wonder if you will be able to again.
The scary part consists more in the quiet little consideration, “What if I can’t?”
Most of us do not realize that this last thought is even there. but it is, in the form of anxiety; a little monster awoken by the chance of failure.

I am proud to share that  in this instance, I could and I did. And I put that little monster in its place.
I shared later in an email to my soldier how good it felt. And took note of something pretty special.
When I first made the decision to try dancing again, all the focus was on how much I remembered enjoying it.
But then I had to actually do it. What if my memory was wrong? Or perhaps I had changed? “Maybe I should just leave it to memory?” I said later, to a friend on the phone.
But when Monday rolled around, I went. And as I was standing in first position, my arms aching as I held them above me, I thought, “yea, the memory was good, but the reality is better.
I don’t think, until that moment, I had ever realized the difference. In the battle of was vs. is, is should always win.
That night I stayed up, imagining myself in an empty theater, dancing.

During these last few months, I have stubbornly sat on my intentions. All the while they’re wiggling underneath me.
I wanted so badly to finish the ‘mission statement’ in a third installment, and on January 8th I sat down to write it.
But all that came out was prayer.

It was about five days after I ran out of fortune cookies that Drew left for Ft. Bliss Texas. He would be there for the month of January, and it was then that I remembered the looming deployment.
The facts seemed simple enough, we would enjoy the month of February together and he would ship off in early March. But late at night, when I considered this while laying in bed, the facts they expanded in long endless ripples. That little monster started waking up.
For most of us there are those things that we just have to do. We have to get out of bed in the morning, go to our jobs, wash our faces, remember where we put the car keys. (Why is that last one so difficult?)
For me, the hardest one of these things would be saying goodbye to Drew.
But I know that I am one of  oh, 500,000 army families that have to go through this. So for those three weeks I prayed. For strength, for patience, for perspective.

And I admit it, that little monster ransacked the place.
The prayer helped though, so I just kept on… and I considered all of the challenges that went on around me, separate from me.

I prayed for a particular friend of mine, pregnant with her second child, tired and more sick than before. But each time that we talk she is so strong, and I can feel it shine all the way across the four states that separate us.
I prayed for my sister and her daughter; that they would continue to need each other as much as they do now. There are few things more beautiful and challenging then that bond between parent & child.
And for my aunt, that she would find some peace within a new chapter of her life, and welcome its freedoms with another birthday approaching.
I prayed that the people that I love would always know it, and I asked God to include himself in that. I even said that last part out loud.

But of course, the prayer always came back to Drew.

I prayed for the obvious things, his safety and sanity, But that goes without saying. That he be made strong and feel supported by all of the people that love him, (And the number is substantial)
for comradery between his team members and comfort where so little comfort is available.
I prayed hardest though that Drew see the change that he has made in my life. That he consider the strength that he has given me just in leading by example, and that he know how loved I feel.
He is the strongest person that I have ever met, and unbelievably humble. Genuinely kind & visibly fearless.
But with me, when all the doors have closed behind us, he is the person I have the most fun with.
I let it ache a little when I realize that the memory will have to be enough for now.

But in the battle of  is vs. was,
love wins.

“The Big Parade (1925) is director/producer King Vidors most famous, precedent-setting war film from the silent era. It was the first realistic war drama and has served ever since as an archetypal model for all other war films.”

“There is a link between color & light and memory & feeling. And all instances are captured in one of them, or all of them, and those images stay forever engrained in the fabric of our days.

That photo that hangs on every refrigerator, in every house that you have lived in since college; its faded colors are no less vivid to you.
In your mind, there are no corners missing, and the yellow sweater that she was wearing hangs now in your own closet.
(Only you never wear it, because ironically, you don’t like to think of how much you miss her.)
Now that particular color yellow always makes you grin. And even though you never realize it, your lover does.
He watches with intense pride as the icing on your birthday cake (that same bright yellow) creaks across your face in a thin smile.
One of a million different smiles that you have, and no one realizes except him that it was for much more than just the wish you made.”

-Regan L. Beisenherz-