Stuff and Things

"Whatcha doin' honey?"...

"Stuff and Things..."

this is always his response...he says it with a smirk because he knows I'm a lover of words...and "stuff and things" does not even begin to cover the plethera of knowledge that I come, begging to attain from him...

It's our joke...

I come back with..."what kind of stuff and things..."

"oh you know...just some stuff here and a little of things there..."

We banter back and forth...this playful game we play until we are laughing and I'm asking so many questions that he can't help but give me the words I so desperately am wanting to hear...about his day, his thoughts, his perspective....

We've had a lot of "stuff and things" going on here lately...

*My eldest got braces this week...it wasn't something we were necessarily budgeting or planning for...she has straight teeth...but her bite is a tad off, which has ground some of her teeth down.  The cost, coupled with her flair for the dramatic & the pain that is currently bearing down in her mouth...we are trudging along...it's kind of a bummer for her spring break. 

*We hiked it up to Michigan, the girls and I...we had a quick visit with my brother, both sets of parents & my sister...all in a matter of 4 days...numerous hours in the car listening to books on Cd and my lovely white knuckle driving can leave one a tad weary by the end...but, we had a lovely visit all in all!

*I got a tune up on my camera whilst in Michigan at a fabulous repair shop.  This did delay our trip a bit...not to mention the trains that blocked our path & slowed us as well.  It was a much needed fix to my baby.

*soccer started up again for my younger girls and my hubby, who coaches both teams separately...and thus begins the spring season of chaos!

*our home has needed a new coat of paint on the inside for awhile...and so we 'started' this project a couple weeks ago...it's taking awhile...and I procrastinate with color decisions...this has a tendency to drive people crazy...and by people I mean my entire family, including myself!

*I took our dog to OSU to meet with a behaviorist and she's now on some anxiety medicine. She has some special needs and we are trying to be good "dog parents" :) 

*I know that once spring photography officially starts, I won't have the luxury of reading much until our summer vacation break...and so I've been staying up late reading book after book (which means I'll have another blog post soon with titles to share!!) but it also means that I avoid other things that need to be accomplished...I am thankful for a patient husband. 

*My Snapshop & Senior Day are quickly approaching...and I have too many ideas and not enough hours in the day to bring them to fruition!!!

*I recently learned that a number of my photo submissions into the world-wide photography contest of over 225,000 entries, made it into the finalist and top 30, 20 and 10% in voters choice awards...This is both humbling and exciting! The photos I entered were of families that I love and was able to capture a pure moment...nothing staged or planned...I entered my heart...

This is just a small snapshot of our life right now...I'm gearing up for spring and looking forward to summer...
And if I may be even more transparent...

I still struggle in some areas of confidence that can freeze my ability to respond and take action...
My "mom" roles are changing like shifting sand as my girls continue to grow, even though I beg them to slow down...
My husband & I are continually learning to ebb and flow in this life and find the ways that we connect and work hard to focus on those things that pull us together rather than apart...
I yearn for connection & friendship & relationship...and yet, am trying to listen for the small voice that I need to remember to allow me to fill me each day so that I don't search for significance in places other than Him...

I wonder what "stuff and things" are going on with you...
I know that we ALL have STUFF and THINGS that occupy our time and thoughts...
Not all of us "share" those things..but I think it's sometimes enough to just know that they are there...and to offer grace and a smile and maybe a hug along the way...

have a great weekend...



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Connecting Hearts

Connection, kinship, relation, reciprocity, affiliation…relationship

It all comes down to relationship.

It’s how we all “feel” connected…like we belong!

Try to think about how you feel when you make a connection with someone else…on a random outing, you recognize a commonality…there is that instant bond…”ohhh, I know you…”

It’s in those moments that your world gets wider, but at the same time, you feel more connected and closeknit within a community. There is a security and a happiness in knowing that you are known…that you are of value just because you are you!

I have 2 connections with this family…unbeknownst to me before we met for our photo session…one is within my own circle of friends and the other through my extended family…and through both of those, I’ve learned to greatly admire and love them.  

Some people will "connect" by saying, "Oh yes, I know them..." and there are a few little tidbits of information...but, it goes deeper with this family.  Comments made about them were glowing..."Oh, yes I know them...Oh my, they are the kindest, most wonderful people...Their sons...OH MY...and their little girl...." gush, gush, gush...

All these tributes were given unabashedly and without prompting...

If that isn't evidence enough that they make a mark on this world...on the people they meet each day...THIS is what "living life to the fullest" is all about!








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Easter HOPE

This weekend we celebrate Easter.

I am an emotional being by nature...my brain constantly tries to make connections with regards to relationships...it's as if my heart is always looking for other hearts with which to attach...

If you've read my story you will know that if my beliefs were only rooted in emotion, I'd have chucked it a long while ago...there isn't always an A + B = C...and things don't always turn out how I plan or "think" that they should based on what I believe to be "good plans"!

And yet...

Because of what I know to be true (even if my feelings don't agree) there is a hope!

This Momma understands this concept as well...She was a rock for me during a time when I wanted to give up...when nothing made sense and it wasn't turning out how I planned...

Little did I know I'd watch her walk through her own "unknown journey" years later...

She is part of my heart for life...

She (and her husband) have an abundance of love, generosity, patience and HOPE...

It's supernatural...but, that doesn't surprise me at all...ultimately, because of "Easter" that hope is available...and I can verify that it is real and true! 

I'm so thankful for you T...for your friendship, your example and the HOPE that is always evident in you no matter the journey we are purposed to walk :) 

Love you!









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Full Family Fun

It's hard to get EVERYONE together...

I mean, as in...the WHOLE family...the grandparents, the cousins, the siblings, the spouses...even the pets...

It's a little crazy...

but, life isn't about perfection...

it's about being thankful that you have breath in you...thankful that you have people with whom you are connected...through the generations...

it matters not whether smiles are just so and hair looks "just right"...

if that were the case, we'd never be content...we'd never be relaxed...we'd never be HAPPY...

I'm here to tell you...as one who has lived through some "not so happy" moments...

I don't care whether my girls have perfect smiles in any of their pictures...I don't even get uptight about the clothing they choose or even the location...

my focus is always on the relationship...capturing the bond...honing in on the LOVE...

You can't see the REAL through fake smiles...but you CAN see the raw in the candid kisses and the laughing hearts...

Full Family sessions may be hectic and can seem like they might be stressful...but when you approach it with a heart of thankfulness for what it IS and what it has the potential to BECOME over the future years...

You end up with sessions that look like this...

and you suddenly realize how incredibly fortunate you are...

and your heart is happy!











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Spring Break Reading List

Books are like friends to me...

And I'm a loyal, jump in with both feet type of friend...

Therefore, books are alive...they almost have souls...and they are REAL to me...

Do you remember a little song from Sunday School days that sings, "OH be careful little eyes what you see"?

For me, it is like that with the written word...

words come alive in my head full of imagination...it takes less than a second for me to conure up an entire scene from what I am reading and suddenly, I am thrust into the setting & make up of the novel and I "watch" it unfold...

I have to be careful....'scenes' can stay with me forever...

I don't always remember titles of books or even specific details...because I read for the story itself...it becomes a real life drama playing out for only my eyes to behold....

Because I know this about myself, I must tread carefully within certain genres...because they can significantly sway my thoughts any which way...and if you've ever tried to control your own emotions, you understand that it's a losing battle...I can't control how I "feel" anymore than I can stop the rain from falling...I can control my actions upon those thoughts, however, but most days, I don't want that battle...

My typical genre is usually within the "safer" boundaries of Inspirational or Youth Fiction...it's where I find the quick reads, the ones that are encouraging, etc...and for a mom with housework and photography and helping with homework, it's not as if there are countless hours to sit and dissect an intriguing piece of literature...

however...when vacations come upon us...or there are extended moments of prolonged relaxation, I sometimes delve into those rather "unknown" realms...still cautiously mind you, and I tread lightly...however, it is usually where I find more poignant reads...

I have a list of recently read books (or books that I've read in the past that are worth sharing) I will catagorize them via genre...those that have a similar disposition for reading as myself, may decide to stick to the 'safe zones' of Inspirational Fiction...however, those that are able to handle the depravity of humanity and a bit of crass language, I think you'll find the Adult Reads something worth discussion & thought provoking to say the least...

You are free to disagree with me and ultimately, I'd love to know your take on it all as well...for those that want to follow me on GoodReads, please feel free to friend me there so that you can keep track of my favorites...

Adult Reads:
The Girl You Left Behind
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
The Shadowy Horses...The Winter Sea...The Firebird (almost a trilogy, but they can stand alone)
A Desperate Fortune

Inspirational Fiction:
The Waiting
Thief of Glory

Young Adult:
Between Shades of Grey
The Heir

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SENIOR: Madison

Unpretentious, kind, happy, innocent, friendly...

definitely a "this is me" type of girl...

I love Madison's assurance and yet her humility and ability to be exactly WHO she is...

It took a long while for me to feel comfortable in my own skin...I am a "worrier" by nature, and worried about what other people thought...I followed the rules but I almost felt miserable doing so...it wasn't that I was a rebel, I just hated the aspect that someone, somewhere was looking down on me...and waiting for me to "mess up"..

It took awhile to recognize that you can't please everyone...that there will always be someone, somewhere that isn't going to appreciate you for who you are...and that point, you have to come to the realization that that is their opinion, but it doesn't claim your idenitity!

She has this figured out...

I like her style, her class, her charm...

I love that she may be a little shy, but it's not out of lack of confidence, but just another whisper of who she is...








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SENIOR 2016 GRAD POSTS

In case you missed all the links from my showcased Seniors...click on the links below for their full stories!

Christian
Emily
Justin
Emily
Hallie
Michael
Abbie
Will
Justine
John
Libby
Nate
Jessie
Nate
Kendall
Natalie
Andrew
Hanna
John
Jamie
Josh
Nikki
Chris
Madison
Ty
Hailey
Liam
Alyssa

The UNlinked names will be added once those narratives have been posted :)

Congratulations Class of 2016!!!

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SENIOR: Liam

I'm in the middle of reading a novel currently. 
Typically, because I am probably prideful and want to know that I've "figured it out" already, I will attempt to read the END of the story first...I know, I know...many of you are cringing at this point. 

I don't like a mystery (or at least I tell myself that I don't) 
There is something "safe" in the predictability of things...
no surprises, just what you'd expect...and a simple happily ever after...

I've had "bad" things happen in my own "real" life, (you can read about that HERE) that I rather enjoy when the "stories" that I read are easy and happy and you don't really have to think that hard about things.

What I often forget...and even forget to hold true in my own reality...is that "bad" things.."unpredictable" things...the things that throw you into a tailspin so that you don't know which way is up or which way is down...

it turns out that those things are the very things that give you the FIGHT,
 the perserverence, 
the strength amidst that storm...

where was I?

Oh, back to my "novel"...

I tell myself that I like the easy reads and I whip through them like water...
but sometimes...and not often mind you...I come across a book that no matter how I try to sift through the last chapter, I can't put the "whole" of the story together ahead of time...in other words, I can't "figure it out"...and so I'm left to read it thoroughly...word by word, scene by scene, character by character...

What I fail to remember each time is that THIS is the type of story that I actually LONG for...
the kind that shows the depth of a person and not just the fluff...the strength and character...the failures and the heart...

These are the stories that stand out to me...that make a difference...that change people...

If Liam were a novel, he would be the latter that I have described...

He & his family have faced a storm...you can't match the ending of the story to the beginning because it isn't predictable...it didn't "happily ever after" in the usual way and so you are "left" putting one foot in front of the other...

gathering strength
pursuing courage
gaining perspective

and yet...

I have never been disappointed in a "read" like the one I explained above...
It takes me longer to get through these stories because the content is deep and rich...

I know I'm waxing poetic...
I'm not meaning to...

regular words just don't seem to due the reality justice...

Liam's story is going to be remarkable...

of that I have no doubt!

congratulations!!






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SNAPSHOP: Camera Workshop 2016


Do you have a DSLR camera?
Do you struggle with consistently getting good images? do you just "get lucky" sometimes with good shots?
Are you willing to make your investment in that camera worth it by matching your KNOW-HOW to what your camera is capable of performing?

Here's what you need to know:

April 17th
12-5pm
half-day workshop
lunch & snacks provided
custom made camera strap
full color notes & numerous photo examples
take home "quick guide" booklet

Information covered:
composition
photo recipes
manual settings
metering and metering modes
auto-focusing modes
aperture, shutterspeed and ISO explained in full
(exposure triangle)
depth of field
lighting tips
lens recommendations

and a bunch more...

cost:  earlybird extended $200 (due by April 4th)

contact ctphotomemories@gmail.com for payment information




SEE LINKS BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Live Class Footage (yes, I've been known to climb on furniture)


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SENIOR: Jamie

Classic, simple, sporty, friendly, natural, ambitious, but still chill :)

that's just the tip of the iceberg of how I would describe Jamie...

I only meet Seniors for a whopping 2 hours, but in that timeframe, we do a lot of "togetherness" and talking!  I watch how they interact with me (a stranger)...how they interact with parents or siblings that tag along...I listen to their high school experience, their list of favorites and visions for the future...

Most often they are filled with eager anticipation of what lies ahead and feel empowered & encouraged to take the next steps...I think these emotions fuel their ability to be open & real and truly showcase WHO they are on the inside...who are becoming...

Jamie has such a natural beauty...I loved her choice of outfits, as they truly just exemplified her personality.  She is rather insightful and contemplative in nature as well...she was so easy to talk with...someone you wouldn't have trouble just jumping into conversation with and then leaving feeling encouraged...she just has that effect!!

Congratulations Jamie!  I'm looking forward to hearing happy things about you in the future!!







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SENIOR: Hailey


Bold, captivating, posh, focused, playful

Hailey knew what she wanted from her Senior session...from her outfits to setting even down to posing...She is multifaceted in her personality and that lent itself to dynamic images and diverse renderings of WHO she is...

It was exciting to capture sweet, off-guard moments...ones that she may not have even recognized that make her heart all that more attractive to others...

She is sweet and kind...with a side of "shy"...

isn't that interesting, when I just mentioned that she was bold & captivating as well?

We are all so unique...and people who take the time to invest into others truly get a picture of a person as a whole...

isn't that what life is all about...

to KNOW and BE KNOWN???

I loved Hailey's spunk and laughter...and her ability to focus in the moment and tune into all the different sides of that captivating inner self!

This is what a Senior Session is all about...

Being able to document the PERSON...

it's not just outfits and a pose...

it's about heart and soul...

Congrats Hailey!!!








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SENIOR: Josh

It's SENIOR WEEK here with CT PhotoMemories...

HUH?  What does that mean?

It means that I've chosen this week to showcase some of my incredible Seniors from 2015 sessions everyday this week...
They graduate in just a few short months...

They are making decisions now that will impact them heavily in their futures to come...
The hours, moneys, and relationships that have been poured into them all culminate to THIS moment...this step into the journey of independent adulthood...

Josh has a family that loves him, has supported him, has invested time & energy into him...and now he is on the precipice as the future is set before him...

I remember our session time together...Moms tend to like to come along for these sessions and I've got to tell you that I love to watch mothers & sons interact...

I don't know how one quite reconciles the fact that their baby boy has grown into a man...

I think it's different with a daughter...there is an ebb and flow and it feels "natural" persay...mother & daughter...

but a son...

This baby boy that you read to and got down out of trees...that you carried in your arms and stepped on legos for...

this "boy" now towers over you...he is learning to make decisions without you and becoming a leader in his own right...

when did that happen???

On the average, most guys aren't "into" senior sessions all that much...but, what a sweet gesture as they wear the outfits that mom suggests and smile and laugh and give the gift of "time"...

up to 2 full hours of one on one....uninteruppted...focused just on him, but mom right there with input and smiles and jokes and the extra pair of shoes if need be...

I thoroughly enjoyed our time together and the opportunity to showcase the season that Josh is in...I'm sure there are aspects that will change as choices are made and pathways are taken...it's what makes life unique and worthwhile...

but, in this moment now...this is who he has become...and I'm confident he does his family proud!







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How can I reach you?

The best way to contact me is either through Facebook Messaging or emailing me at ctphotomemories@gmail.com

I can't wait to hear from you!
"Teach us to number our days, (savor the moments) so that we may gain a heart of wisdom" ~Psalm 90:12

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