Friday Five

Five Friends’ Awesome Essays and Articles

1 – The Pattern of Rescue by Kelley J. Leigh
Sensitive Material: Human Trafficking
“Some days, a handful of us would huddle around my boss’s desk in the stateside office, and we’d watch the latest uncut video footage of undercover raids.”
Kelley writes regularly (and beautifully) on her own blog at: kelleyjleigh.com

2 – 3 Ways That Low-Paying Assignment May Turn Out to Be a Good Deal by Mridu Khullar Relph
For my writing friends, especially for those like me who are beginning (again). Mridu is pretty much my go-to for freelance advice.

3 – Your holiday season permission slip. by Toni McLellan
Sometimes it’s just nice to have that outside permission to chill and just be.
“You really have to figure out what you want for yourself and what’s not working.”

4 – How Cancer Gave Me Life by Mikkee Hall
“You have cancer.”
Mikkee is a pretty awesome survivor, if I do say so myself. Because it can be hard to see the good in such a hard place.

5 – In Which I Find Some Courage and Talk to You About My Book by Kristen Strong
I’m so excited about and for Kristen, whom I’ve had the pleasure and joy of working with twice! I’ll be shouting from the rooftops when her book is available!
“Right off the bat, friends, I need to tell you how much I’ve written, deleted, and rewritten this post, all while chewing the heck out of my nails.”

Have you read a great article, essay, blog post, whatever recently? Share it with us!

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Paul and Corrie Are Getting Married!

When I asked Paul and Corrie to describe their relationship and what kind of pictures they hoped for with their engagement session, they both decided on one word: Fun. I knew within the first few moments of our session that this was indeed very true. While they could be serious, it never lasted long before they’d crack up at each other, sharing private jokes, and just enjoying each other’s company. I was a mere observer in many cases, as their love often encircled them in moments of total you-and-me.

Their wedding is in just over a month, and I am so excited to get to be part of their day. I know we will laugh often, but I also know…just having watched them and how they SEE each other…that it will be emotional. Our session yielded way more “outtakes” than many of my sessions, but if you ask the three of us and anyone who knows Paul and Corrie, they’ll agree that there’s no such thing as an outtake with them.

You see? These each show different sides, but it all equals love.

Paul and Corrie
Paul and Corrie

This right here, I’m pretty sure the conversation was, “She’s telling us to kiss again. Oh. The torture.” Sorry to make you go through that, Paul.

Paul and Corrie

One of my favorite things about these two is how comfortable they are with each other. Every bit of silliness, every smidgen of gentle love was natural. (And if you don’t just love Corrie’s little nose crinkle, we can’t be friends at all!)

Paul and Corrie
Paul and Corrie

I say again: That. Nose. Crinkle.

Paul and Corrie

Before these shots (super adorbs!)…

Paul and Corrie

…this was happening — Paul waiting for me to pose him. In which case another photographer was coming up the hill and just staring blankly at us (at Paul, obviously, but maybe me too because I was laughing hysterically), and we laughed even more because we knew we were having fun, and we felt badly that the other photographer must not be having fun. Because laugh, dang it. It’s funny!

Paul and Corrie

But we do know how to buckle down and be serious. We do!

Paul and Corrie
Paul and Corrie
Paul and Corrie
Paul and Corrie

Whoa, too much serious! Nothing an impromptu game of pat-a-cake can’t fix!

Paul and Corrie

And then there’s that awkward moment when one is being serious and the other is totally not. And the serious one has no idea it’s still silly time.

Paul and Corrie

Ah, Paul and Corrie, your day is almost here. I can’t wait! And if I’m excited, I know you are! We will laugh, oh how we will laugh. And I think that will be the start of a beautiful forever together. Laugh on!

Paul and Corrie Adventure

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The Merge

“That’s just not good business.”

Klocke PhotographyI stared at my blog, loving the way it looks and feels to me. It’s home, where I lay out my heart and share my art.

In another land is my photo blog site. Geographically, it is located one tab-click away. But it feels a million miles away. It might as well be located on Mars for how separate I’m supposed to keep things.

All the business advice will tell you to keep your personal life separated from work, but as I sat in the middle of my own life, I realized they are one in the same to me. Besides, I’m not trying to build a business so much as I’m growing a passionate, artistic life. Let the two become one. Words and pictures and random art – client and personal work all living together.

This isn’t a coming together of two or more things. This is the re-gathering of my creative self, pulling in all the pieces to zoom in on one solid picture, to be in art together rather than scattered.

This is me. This is mine. I run this business, this life. I’ll do it my way.

*Art/Words/Business as one…

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Debbie Allen - So true! Do things the way you need to, not the way someone tells you to. : )

~Debbie

agk - Thank you, Debbie. I’m on it!

Out of darkness

For several days every month, darkness descends upon me and sends me into retreat. It’s a Doom-and-Gloom, “destroy all the progress!” place. I become my own worst enemy. I want to quit everything; creativity does not live here. Light is absent.

It’s a battle with myself not to do anything I will regret.

I know this is a completely biological experience. I know when it happens and how it will happen, and yet, it takes me by surprise each time. I wonder why it feels like the world hates me, why I can’t catch a break, why everyone is totally and absolutely ignoring me. I binge on Netflix and self-pity, hoping to be inspired by some fictional character’s many (MANY!) woes. In that “Eh, at least my life isn’t THAT bad!” kind of way. But more than anything, I am surprised by what a loser I feel like. That every decision I have ever made is stupid, stupid, stupid, and who do I think I am anyway? Doom-and-Gloom is not a very kind time.

But often, right smack in the middle of this darkness, I can see more clearly all the things that have been muddled. I can see past the to-do list and the distractions, straight on into blunt clarity. I hate the darkness, but I also embrace it for what it shows me.

Today, my girl and I drove near about an hour to the DMV to take the final step to secure her driver’s license. We drove farther than we needed to avoid the extra long wait at a closer location (it still pans out better to drive the distance), but I was looking forward to it. I have made this journey with each of my children for testing, and I have loved the time alone, to talk, to laugh, to lecture on the topic of safety. Nothing warms a mother’s heart more than a captive audience. But we always have amazing talks.

After, she and I had lunch, and in the middle of sharing a decadent dessert, I felt my heart beat faster (not just from the sugar) as I was reminded yet again: this is the good life.

This is the light.

She made me laugh out loud in the middle of Target, and then cry a little as she pulled away in my car on her first solo drive (to work…only a few miles away…but still!). In the same breath where I whispered, “Keep her safe, Lord,” I said, “Thank you for the darkness so that I can better appreciate the light.”

At the end of a long week of darkness, light shined through in the same way it so often does – through the beauty that is my life with my children, my husband, my family and my friends. In the darkness, they were all still there, waiting for me to re-emerge and shine again too. In all the ways I can beat myself up in the darkness, the light builds me back up again. I am loved and loving and whole again.

The light lives inside me and all the moments I am part of. It lives in the work I get to do and the people I get to meet, but it does not live in the over-scheduled, meaningless nonsense that I allow in. This week, in the middle of feeling lost and down, I also saw where I can fill in the shadows, and which doors needed to be closed. More, I was reminded that the bandwagon way doesn’t have to be my way. My light shines best – in me and around me – when I march to the beat of my own drum.

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