Not everyone can say that they love their job. I really love mine. I get to take pictures of some really cool people. Although David and his family don't live here in Colorado Springs, I still make a point to fly back to California to do their pictures once a year. I have had the joy of watching them go from a newly married couple with a barely walking toddler, to a family with a child and a new baby, and now the youngest is a toddler! I feel like those few years have flown by. I look back at all of their family pictures over the years and I hope they cherish them as much as I do. Although they are not MY family pictures, they are still a part of who I am. I have had the pleasure and joy of watching their family grow. I pray that I get to continue to document their growing family for years to come.
I love my job. Seriously. Living in Colorado Springs I get to meet and work with amazing people. I get to freeze in time their most precious moments. I get to create heirlooms that their children's children will cherish. And I get to laugh...a lot. And on some occasions, I get to eat pie! Tiny adorable pie day wedding pies.
Peter and Joy were an absolute pleasure to work with. They love for each other was even sweeter than those pies! The kind of love that makes you see floating hearts, and sigh.
As a Colorado Springs wedding photographer, I enjoy these beautiful mountain views, and the aspen tress and evergreens are breath taking. I also love to travel back to my home town to feed my California roots. When I get an amazing couple that books me for their beautiful wedding, it makes the travel even better!
We all have those memories that are frozen hard in our brains. Those memories that are crystal clear etched in stone. I had one of those days recently. June 2nd. On that day my world changed.
On May 31st I noticed something. Something slight and what seemed to be small. I noticed it had become a little difficult to say certain words. I would stumble over them. Almost like I was trying to talk too fast and my mouth couldn't keep up. Big surprise...me talking too fast? It almost seemed unnoticeable. But it was there. I couldn't explain it but it was there. So I shrugged it off like I typically do with matters of my own health. I figured maybe I worked out too hard at the gym and my body was depleted and couldn't keep up. The next day it was still there. Those pesky words tripping me up. I started to notice it more. I wrestled with the feeling of frustration and the feeling of worry. I wanted to just shrug it off again, but as the day progressed it became increasingly worse. That night as I was reading Olivia her bedtime stories I had to hand it over to Brian. I couldn't read. I mean, I could read but I was having difficulty letting the words roll off my tongue. It was like my tongue was in quicksand. My pace of speech just to form certain words was noticeably changed. This scared me. It made my mind race with what if's. The what if game is a slippery slope. Soon you find your mind racing with the worst scenarios and the feeling of panic slowly creeps in. I was there. In the thick of it.
Sleep did not come easy that night. I decided I would call the doctor in the morning and schedule a visit. But that visit never happened. When I called the doctor and explained my symptoms I was advised to immediately go to the emergency room. Yep. There it was again. Panic. So I put Olivia down for her nap, and told my husband I was going to the emergency room. I didn't want Olivia to have to go, and since we are without family nearby, he had to stay home with her. And let me tell you...I am terrified of emergency rooms, doctors and most of all needles. So this was a huge deal for me. But I was scared enough of the what if's that I went.
Upon my arrival, I explained my symptoms and my fear of all things hospital to the nurse. Thank God she was kind. She comforted me and made me feel at ease. She did then give me an IV and take what seemed like and exorbitant amount of blood...but I won't hold that against her. I was then sent for a CatScan and MRI. Oh the joy. Why is it when you are told you can't move for 30 minutes in a very tight machine that you feel all of the wiggles. I swear, two minutes in an itch in the inner most depths of my ear began to nag. It took SO much will power not to scratch! And again, so blessed with wonderful hospital personnel. They were so kind and comforting.
After all of those tests while I waited for the doctor to arrive, Brian showed up. My best friend had driven down after work to hang out with Olivia so Brian could be with me. Thank God for that! 5 minutes after he arrived the doctor came in. He sat on his shiny black stool and turned on the computer. He opened images of my brain. And here is the thing about me...when I am uncomfortable I make jokes and I laugh. So of course I blurted out "wow. Thats a big brain. Must be why I am so smart". Yep. I said that. Gosh...insert foot here. The doctor then scrolled to an image that looked like it belonged to a leopard. My brain had a bunch of white spots all over it. Roughly 16. And my heart sank. He looked at me and said "so, you have MS". Bam! sucker punch to my gut. My heart left my body and my stomach was now in my throat. I had to remind myself to breathe. It was hard to hear him explaining much after that because frankly, my head was spinning. I managed to choke out "Am I going to die?" to which he reassured me that I am not. He explained the basics of the disease but referred me to a neurologist who specializes in MS.
My visit with the neurologist a few weeks later was very informative. I feel like I learned a lot about this disease that I unfortunately now get to call my own. This diagnosis explains a lot of what I thought were random health things that have happened to me for the past 5 years. He explained that I have had this for a while but have just existed undiagnosed and unmedicated. So we talked about what to do from here. We ordered my medicine and I had to come to terms with both the idea that I have this destructive disease, and that I will have to give myself daily shots from now on. Yes...daily shots...for the girl who is terrified of needles. Seems like a cruel joke. I have to remind myself daily that the shot is better than letting this disease go unchecked and out of control. I have to remind myself that I am strong. And most of all I have to remind myself that God created me and loves me more than I can even fathom...that He will use this in ways much bigger than I can understand. There have been quite a few songs that have really redirected my focus and quashed my fear. This song by Danny Gokey, this part in particular feels like it is spoken to me from God:
Just let that word wash over you
It's alright now
Love's healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story's far from over
And your journey's just begun"
These words bring me comfort and hope. Those two things are huge right now as I face what feels like an insurmountable giant. Overtime fear and panic creep in, He reminds me that I am His daughter and He loves me. He will NEVER leave me. And that is enough.
My sweet friend Ashlee Weaver of Ashlee Kay Photography took some amazing photos of my little family wearing the awesome MS shirts my little sister Briana made me. She is offering MS shirts with a portion going to The Multiple Sclerosis Society in support of me and in the fight to find the cure.
Combine the words summer and photographer and they don't quite add up to free time. Something about the beautiful weather and the gorgeous mountain views means that the months between May and October are booming with folks getting married, updating their growing family's photos and of course documenting the start of their last year in high school. All of these events make me excited beyond belief! Can I pick my favorite? Are you crazy?! That is like asking me to choose my favorite ice cream. I love them all. No, seriously. Chocolate? Yum. Cookies and Cream? Yep! Creamy Vanilla Bean? Bring it. If I am this excited about those sweet creamy dessert options, can you imagine how I am with getting to work with my awesome clients?! I really am so blessed. I get to work with some amazing people. It's like a giant bowl, a scoop of each flavor, a huge spoon, and no belly ache.
So now that summer is here I am balancing the business owner hat, the artistic/photographer hat, the mom hat and the don't loose my mind hat. Sometimes I wear multiple hats at once, because I'm fancy. Or maybe a little crazy. This summer some things in my personal life (blog post on this soon) have made me pause and realize that I need to look at each day with a grateful heart. I have decided that maybe wearing one hat at a time will allow me to enjoy each flavor more (eesh, me and ice cream again).
Today I got to wear the "momtographer" hat (yes, I combined two hats) and photograph my little. She is the epitome of a photographers child, always aware of the camera and cooperative *most* of the time. I am trying to enjoy the summer, because really, they are only little once. And I know the day will come when I will say "where did the time go"?
So what are you doing to slow down and enjoy your summer? Come September you will surely say, "that went by fast"!
Living my entire life in Southern California, I am used to living life in one continuous season. Summer and winter can very well resemble each other. You may need a light sweater on a summer evening, and you may need to run your AC in December. I never needed to own a jacket heaver than the sweatshirt that proudly showcased my College initials. Go Titans!
We moved to Colorado Springs last July. right in the middle of summer. We were pleasantly surprised that we never had to run our AC. The weather was absolutely perfect. I was warned winter was coming. So I quickly went to The NorthFace Outlet and declared to the first employee I could find, "I'm from California. Help!"
Luckily the employee was from San Diego California, and had petty on me, without taking advantage of my desperation. I left with a nifty little jacket that was really two in one! I felt confident that I could brave the winter.
Winter came. It was beautiful. The snow was so peaceful. I felt like I was truly in a winter wonderland. Every time I had to bundle up, jacket and scarf and gloves and boots, I felt like a true Coloradan. Aside from the fear of driving anywhere in the snow. That's when my true California girl native roots showed. I was a hot mess.
Fast forward to March. Spring is here! Right? Nope! Winter likes an encore in Colorado. More than one encore really. In fact, March and April proved to be quite fickle. Some days we saw multiple seasons in a 24 hour period. I was really thrown for a loop. Do I order a hot drink at Starbucks, or and iced one? Help!
Now that May is here, I think it is safe to say, spring is here. Olivia wakes up asking "where is snow?", and I laugh, telling her "all gone for now baby!"
We went for a walk and she loved all the trees and flowers in bloom. Well, and the weeds. She is convinced, as is every small child, that those little yellow dandelions are flowers. So we collect them by the handfuls and admire God's beauty. Every morning when we open the curtains, we admire this gorgeous tree outside our place that has there pretty little white flowers. Olivia exclaims "so pretty!" and I have to agree.
Spring really has finally sprung here in Colorado Springs.
A little while back I was in contact with someone who worked at Angelic Magazine. She had asked me to send some images to her to be published in their magazine. Of course I jumped at the chance! Then, I got the email that they had decided to use my image for the cover! I was over the moon excited! If you haven't checked out their magazine, give it a look! They have an online edition you can find here: http://www.angelicmag.com/
To prepare for this shoot I had to pick a model and a location. My sister eagerly jumped at the chance to model for me. I think she did a pretty good job! The park was one I used often and I knew it would fit the look I was going for. It's funny how seamlessly and quick things came together. And the amount of laughter we shared during the shoot was unbelievable.
The bonus of that day...I shot the whole thing with my baby strapped to me in the Ergo. That may have contributed to a large amount of the giggles.
I have been blessed to know Krystle for quite a few years now, and I am lucky enough to say I have known Marcus for almost as long. Before I moved to Colorado Springs, I lived in Orange County California. I worked with Krystle, and Marcus was one of our gym members. Krystle used to blush every time Marcus came in to work out. It wasn't long until he asked her out. And their relationship blossomed from there! It was such a special thing to see two wonderful people find each other, and grow together into the beautiful couple they are. When Krystle asked me to photograph their wedding, I was over the moon!
Krystle was such a calm bride. From the moment we arrived, she had this sense of ease. I kid you not, this girl is like a Disney princess. She is kind to everyone, she is calm and peaceful and radiates beauty, inside and out. I half expect woodland creatures to follow her. Seriously.
Marcus was adorable, so giddy to see his bride. They exchanged gifts, but had their eyes covered. It was such a special moment. Even though they couldn't see each other, their faces were beaming with joy and excitement. I may or may not have teared up just a little.
One thing that struck me that day was how family oriented both Krystle and Marcus are. Marcus had his dad as his best man, and Krystle had her mom as her matron of honor. What sweet gestures. I can imagine their parent felt very important and very loved.
They joy and the love was palpable that day. Marcus and Krystle are very loved.
I was introduced to John and Karen through a mutual friend, and what a blessing that turned out to be! John and Karen's story was adorable. They met through church friends at a church event and it was love at first sight. They started dating, even though it had to be long distance. This part hit home for me in particular because me dear husband and I had to do long distance for a majority of our dating relationship. So I know the pain of the separation and the true commitment it takes to overcome the obstacles distance can create. John and Karen are huge basketball fans, which showed in some of the details of their big day! The guys all wore basketball shoes, and the bridal party photos would not be complete without a basketball! John and Karen even wanted to recreate a photo from one of their favorite movies Love and Basketball. This day was filled with pure joy and overflowing love. It was something you could feel throughout every moment of the day. Congratulations John and Karen!
Courteney and Brent are those people that you are drawn to be around. They are sweet, have beautiful souls and are so in love it makes you believe in happy endings. When Courteney emailed me telling me she chose me to shoot her wedding I literally did a dance. A little celebration for the excitement I had to document that beautiful love I was telling you about. And lets be real, they are not hard on the eyes either!
It was apparent how loved Courteney and Brent are as they were preparing to walk down the aisle. Courteney had a room full of sweet women helping her get ready, and pray with her. I love a good prayer before the ceremony starts. It really brings things into focus. And that is when I typically tear up for the first time the day of. Yes, I said first time. I can almost guarantee a minimum of three. Brent was being doted on by his gents before the ceremony. It was clear that he is that type of friend, the one that is a mans man. The guy that always has your back. The guy that is a good friend.
Now let's get to the ceremony. Brent had the most heartwarming reaction to seeing his bride walk down the aisle. He cried. And not the silent barely stream down your face cry. No, it was the floodgates opened, hands over mouth, happy tears that moved more than just me to cry a bit too.
See, I told you. That was time number two that the photographer was tearing up.
I do have to say, my favorite part of the day was when I was able to sneak away with Brent and Courteney for 30 minutes so I could get some sweet newlywed snuggling captured. They are adorable. I might even add swoon worthy.
Thank you Courteney and Brent for trusting me with your big day. Congratulations again.
I was privileged to be able to photograph Julianna's senior pictures. This girl is a girl after God's own heart. She is sweet and humble and everything a parent hopes their children grow up to be. Keep it up Julianna...you have a bright future ahead of you.
Difficult doesn't begin to describe how this move was. California has been my home for 29 years. It is in my blood. I love the beach, avocados and In n Out. Aside from those things, my sister. When I said goodbye to California, I wasn't just bidding farewell to those tried and true California things, but I was also saying goodbye to my sister. Yes, I know, there are cars and planes and horse drawn buggies that can bring us to each other for visits, but those are just that. Visits. My sister and I were attached at the hip. We would run errands together, go for walks at the park down the street from my home, go to church and have dinner nights together. Our particular favorite was artichoke nights. Since we were little, artichokes were treats for us. So as adults, we would Redbox a movie, steam some artichokes and pour a glass of wine. It may not seem fancy, but it was ours. I was blessed to have her travel across the states to help me with the move to this new state of mine. It was a fun little road trip to ease us into this new way life will be for us. It was filled with plenty of fast food, visits with family along the way, a crying baby girl, a lot of laughter and a sobbing tear filled goodbye at the airport as I sent her on her way. So Colorado huh? Yeah, Colorado. My husband got into the film program at the University of Colorado, and by George he is going to rock it! Seriously. I am waiting for the day I need to pick out a fancy schmancy dress for the Oscars. And when that day comes, we will buy a beach house in California so I can call both my home.