Thank You, Strangers--

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Two recent blog entries from people I have never met have moved me in the last few days... Powerful words, powerful emotions... beautifully written. Both speaking of things I needed to hear-- about want and desire and wishing and measuring up and having faith.

And since both have been so moving to me, I need to put them down here-- where I can remind myself that here, in the words of strangers, is TRUTH:

First, let me share the words of Boothe Farley, a mother and deeply spiritual woman who went through the hardest trial a mother will ever have to face-- she gave birth and said goodbye to a daughter with Trisomy 18. She doesn't blog often, but when she does, it is powerful, spiritual, carefully thought-out stuff...Here, an excerpt of yesterday's post:

winds of change

I don't remember a time in my own personal history - nor the history of the world as I've known it - that everything felt so perilously out of order. Everywhere we turn, homes are being lost, businesses are shutting down, people are living in a much less free-and-easy sort of way. Perhaps this is good, perhaps this will be a blessing in disguise; in fact, I'm inclined to think that's exactly what it will be. But blessings in disguise rarely feel like blessings as they are being experienced. Mostly they feel like fear and uncertainty and pain.

As I drove to the park today (marveling at how our weather patterns can be, well, so patterned, back and forth like the zigging and zagging of the stitching in a dress), I noticed some daffodils growing beside a mailbox on a back road. And though a carefully examined patch of yard might not testify to its imminent arrival, spring is coming, and splashes of green pushing up in pastures and fields declare it over and over again. Spring is God's anthem of redemption. Every gentle breeze, each proud new blade of grass, the dizzying scent of a hyacinth bloom - all of it singing a song of promise. And today, as I drove, I realized: if my God does not forget to orchestrate all these things, in fact purposefully sets them into motion again and again, year after year, then who am I to worry? Who am I to question?"...

(There is more... much more... but this was the part that hit me the strongest. Go to to read the rest, if you like.)

And then, the second post I read today. This one is written by Davina Fear, a mom and incredible, nationally-recognized professional photographer. She has always impressed me with her business savvy, and I suppose she is one of the ones out there that I tend to envy... when I'm not careful. It is precisely this ENVY-- the artist-angst, the constant comparing, the wishing I was more/had more/was given more more MORE....THIS emotion that made Davina's entry resonate so deeply with me.

This one will be long... so feel free to skim if it is not what YOU need, right NOW. But if you are a mom, or a part of a family, I have a hunch her message can apply to you, too. For me, it was EXACTLY what I needed to read today:

Do You Measure Up? Comparing and other disastrous things:

Artists in general seem to always be looking for a way to perfect their craft. There always seems to be something just beyond the horizon that is constantly just out of reach. Photographers suffer in large part from the same terrible yet beautiful elusiveness as well.

Combine that with being a woman and it seems to have a double trouble affect.

So often it's easy to start comparing ourselves against someone else's best, someone else's life, their art, their travels, their bank account, their home, their kids, their photo shoots. The amount of things to compare are just endless.

We start to measure our worth based on how many bookings we have this year, how good our last photo shoot was, if our kids or theirs are more well behaved or less well behaved, how many comments we get on a certain post, or what we weigh.

If we let it, all of these things can outshine all of the good we are doing. Comparing ourselves to others and finding ways to measure our worth based on the things we do will never manage to bring us any kind of joy or happiness.

Some days I have to consciously remind myself that I am on a different journey than friends..friends who are doing the newest trends in photography, home schooling their kids, giving their time to the community, and turning out cool lighting in photo shoot after photo shoot.

For me, this year is not about all of the external things that I can do to change the way I shoot... lighting, a new camera, the new couch, the new blog. It's about an internal search for a more intimate, meaningful family, business life, and eventually, photo shoots and weddings.

What I am doing is loving my life just as it is...loving this crazy journey that I'm on. No comparing. No measuring. No silliness like that.

There are days when I wonder if I've made the right choice to wait on my business for a while. I wonder if I'm missing too much in the industry and if it's going to pass by without me...

And then I remember that what I really want are butterfly moments. Moments when I'm around to see my children transform, grow up, change, and start to spread their wings. Over the past few months I've read with my kids, been available for my kids when they get home from school, played Strawberry Shortcake and friends, Polly Pockets (these days will not last much longer), heard about lego competition, been the home room party mom, spent many mornings and afternoons with Miss Grace, heard burping competitions, laughed more, taken more walks in the evenings, taken more walks in the mornings, and spent more Saturdays working with my sweet little family, and so much more. The pace of my life has slowed down. And I'm happy with that. I know it won't last. Fall will come and things will change. Grace will go to school all day...and for me, I want the butterfly moments to stay.

At that point there will be another butterfly moment...when everything changes. I'll be getting my business to be full time again, Grace will spread her wings, my life will be very different. There will not be my sweet girl at home with me all day...just the two of us. I will not get to hear her in a quiet house talking to herself about what fun it is to go to Strawberry Shortcake's house or 'reading' a book that she makes up the entire plot for and as she reads having her say her favorite line from Clarice Bean, "Not naming any names. i.e. Grace Grapello ". Those times are reserved for the hours when it is just she and I alone at home. There will be less hugs, less spontaneous shows of affection, less blurted out "I love yous". Things will change. A milestone will pass.

And I know what I really want is:

for my kids not to pass by without me.

for my kids to remember when they are grown that I laughed a lot with them

for my kids to remember that I played in the woods and threw a frisbee in the road with them

for my kids to have moments all around them that remind them that I like to be with them

for my kids to know that they bring me joy everyday

for my kids to know that I love them more than my business and my computer

for my kids to have summer vacations that include me

to be in pictures with my kids

to see the simple beauty in my life as it is

to have time for homework after school and not seem distracted by my email box

to sit on the couch at night with my husband and not worry about what needs to be done

to have a calm heart and a quiet mind

There is a lot to compare my life and my business up against. People are doing all kinds of cool things. The photography industry is moving at a mind-boggling speed.

We all want to know that we're doing the right thing. Of course, when we make choices those choices don't just affect us...they affect everyone around us...we hope they affect those people for the best.

I have a lot of butterfly days these days. And I really love them...

even if everything else just passes me by for now...

Thank you, Davina and Boothe. Thank you for reminding me what faith is and who I should be living my life for. I needed you both today.

And now, off I go, renewed and ready to work on having "a calm heart and a quiet mind".

Peace to you.


{photographs taken this month, playing with a vintage camera and exploring a new hobby...I love them. LOVE them. That's my baby and his sweet daddy... Who could ask for more?}


  1. Thank you.

    You are all of this to me. You think and act like I want to.

    Love you.

  2. Oh, Man. I SO needed that today. THANK YOU, not so much a stranger! :)

  3. Loving your new hobby, what a cool look! Also...if you are going to make anymore of those monkey shirts, I know 2 toddlers who'd love one:)

  4. Wow. Way to make me totally tear up as i am sitting her in class. Those are the words i needed to hear. Yeah - butterfly moments....

  5. What a great style... Emily you nailed the mood of these! As always timeless....


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