SPRING GARDEN MINIS

For the past few years I have done mini sessions at Sailer’s Greenhouse in Prior Lake. They are amazing, the flowers are stunning and it just makes me smile being in the greenhouse. It’s kind of like a little vacation. Mamas- if you need some spring planting supplies, fairy gardens goodies, succulents or an amazing hanging basket head over there. Leave your kids at home and just take your time. You will leave refreshed and happy- I promise!

I have families that request these mini sessions every year and it’s not hard to see why. Who wouldn’t want photos up of your family in the flowers and bright colors during the dreary MN winter? It’s just a little bit of year round happy up on your wall.

SO PRECIOUS. SO HAPPY. SO COLORFUL.

Get your summer schedules figured out because I am announcing SUMMER SESSION OPENINGS and SUMMER WEEKDAY SPECIALS next week.

I can’t wait to see YOUR FAMILY!

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OVERWHELMED | BEHIND THE LENS

DO YOU EVER FEEL THAT WAY?

Tonight I finished a busy day of mini sessions. Fall leaves just starting to change, singing silly songs, throwing Mickey Mouse up in the air and building friendships. It was a busy fun day. I finished my last session and soaked my tired tootsies in some warm bath water with a homemade sugar scrub (orange & lemon myrtle…um, amazing!), Dirk and I grabbed a quick bite to eat and I went for a walk. alone. just me…I NEVER do that.  My body was sore and I walked slow but then this happened.

The air was totally still and I just stood and watched the color of the night sky change (well, first I grabbed my big girl camera – it was worth more than an iPhone pic). The swirls of color, the expanse of the sky covered in colors and the silhouette of the trees against it’s splendor. I was in tears just overwhelmed by God’s blessings, and goodness and faithfulness and the ways he shows me loves me. I have decided these amazing sunsets and the warm weather is pretty much just for me.

 

I am in a MOPS group at my church (love it so much) and our theme this year is flourishing…big word, right?!? But part of the theme is resting. I am not good at resting. Don’t get me wrong I totally nap when I am falling apart BUT resting when you could be doing something productive…not this mama. I like being productive, crossing things off the list and getting it done. Resting does not go well for us list makers (maybe I will add it to the list for next week?). Well, I consider this walk of solitude and the amazing sunset my resting point for the night. God says – BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. That sounds like a commandment to me…so ladies, REST. You have his permission to do it. Look around you and see what he is waiting to bless you with. What do you notice that you would have missed (just remember it’s not the sunset – those are all for me). Take a deep breath, open your eyes to see something new or close them and just let your body take a break. He will meet you there and your heart will be renewed.

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A HEAVY HEART | BEHIND THE LENS | CHANHASSEN MN FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

This is my friend Misty.

I met her at my first MOPS meeting at my church in 2013. She was super preggo (actually went into labor that night) and was kind, vulnerable, stunningly beautiful and funny. These photos were taken a year later at my mini sessions and I just LOVE how she looks at them. These girls were her life and Jesus was her savior.

Today we buried my friend.

I learned at the funeral that she was always a giving person growing up- the first to help and do it with a smile. I learned that she was an avid runner and would cross the finish line and circle back into the race to find her sister and would encourage her and cheer her along as she crossed the finish line a second time with her. I learned that she lived with her granny and that is where she really learned about who Jesus was and how much he loved her. I learned that the kind, joyful, giving, first to help, fun loving woman I knew is who she had always been.

Her heart was so big.

And her heart was so broken.

Misty had struggles- big huge overwhelming struggles.

She was the surviver of a really messy divorce. She had limited time with her girls, she didn’t have a home and lived in her car, a hotel and a homeless shelter. Yet she came to MOPS with a smile on – a genuine smile and filled with HOPE because she said she had God and she realized she didn’t need all of the other things she always thought that she did. She inspired me because even in the midst of total heartache and frustration and loss of almost everything in life she was joyful.

She CHOSE to be.

There was a voluntary offering one night for a family who had lost their dad/husband. Misty had to leave early to get back to the homeless shelter and she handed me a $10 bill to give to the family in need. Even when she had nothing she gave and she did it with a beautiful smile because she loved to bless others.

She shared her love of God, scripture, and prayed for people boldly. Even when her world had fallen apart she STILL shared the love and hope of God. I love that about her. Really…it’s easy to profess the love and faithfulness of God when life is good and easy. When we are living in abundant blessing it’s easy to give the glory to God. But what happens when it’s HARD – heart scraping, deep aching, losing your family hard…

Misty showed me how to do it.

STILL LOVE PEOPLE.

BE VULNERABLE.

DON’T COMPLAIN – SEARCH FOR YOUR BLESSINGS.

BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR STRUGGLES.

TRUST GOD.

BELIEVE IN HIS PROMISES.

BLESS OTHERS & POUR INTO THEM.

Misty took her life last week.

I am heartbroken and will miss my friend.

Sometimes life is just TOO HARD and I get that. Briana’s birthday is on Monday (she would be 8) and I feel heavy all September because of it. But this year I also mourn my friend and her little girl in heaven.

The weight of our world is SO HEAVY sometimes.

So right now I breathe…just breathe in the love and peace that Jesus promises.

I get on my knees and let God do the fighting that I was never meant to.

So…I know this is a photography blog and I guess that is something I really love about being able to do this. I never know how much we need these photos until they are up in a mama’s wall, carried around lovingly in a mini brag book or on the back of a funeral bulletin. Thank you to all of you who share your families with me, your precious moments and your hearts – thank you for listening to a piece of mine.

Ava Jameson - September 23, 2015 - 2:42 PM

Beautiful photos and I am so sorry about your friend and how she struggled so much. I hope her daughters can go on remembering the wonderful things she did. I would like to ask that anyone reading this not just nod and say “How sad,” but also ask anyone they feel may be struggling if there’s any way they can help. Sometimes people are reluctant to ask for help. As a single mom I have two friends who have said, “Do you want me to take your kids for an hour so you can get things done” but most people are struggling or busy themselves and don’t really press or ask. Reach out. Someone may at first say they’re fine, and you may have to find a non condescending way to do it, but ask. This person should not have been homeless or had such limited time with her kids – how heartwrenching.

Daniel Mills - September 19, 2015 - 4:00 PM

Ohhhhh, that is soo very sad. But thanks for sharing. Never lose hope . . . .

Mary Dennis Barrett - September 19, 2015 - 2:33 PM

What a beautiful tribute! Thank you so much for sharing!

Diana Harshberger - September 19, 2015 - 3:04 AM

Written beautifully with love…a wonderful account of a daughter, sister, and mommy who will be missed!

Katie Soller Swanson - September 19, 2015 - 2:08 AM

oh no… how sad. I am so sorry to hear this. I will keep you in my thoughts friend and her sweet little girl too.

Katey Anderson - September 19, 2015 - 1:34 AM

Thanks for posting this you put the words what I was trying to say about her. I met Misty through a divorce group. She was the most humble person I knew. She even told me she gave a lady money that had a baby so they could get on the city bus. I’m thinking but you live in a homeless shelter. She was so amazing

Linda Romano-Zaborsky - September 18, 2015 - 10:59 PM

You wrote this tribute to Misty so beautifully!

Lisa Bledsoe - September 18, 2015 - 8:20 PM

Prayers for her little girls and their family ❤️

Pat Emerson - September 18, 2015 - 12:59 PM

God bless, honey–you are such a witness for Christ!

Melody Wolleat Johnson - September 18, 2015 - 3:31 AM

I am so saddened to hear about this loss…praying for you sweet Heather, and praying for these little girls…so hard.

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BACK TO SCHOOL | BEHIND THE LENS | CHANHASSEN FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER| CHASKA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

SAYING GOODBYE

Back to school – bittersweet, right?!? I just love the summer with the warm weather, days at the lake, hanging out in our jammies past lunch and just being with these two. I have been so so blessed (thank you wonderful husband) to be able to be home with them. With the help from some amazing grandparents who watch them a few days a week for me (can I say spoiled – in a good way). I am overwhelmed with how fortunate we are. B is starting first grade and E is starting kindergarten. What happened to my babies? my toddlers? my preschoolers?

Well, this did!

With our move in November they started at a new spanish immersion school this week.

B started Monday- can you even stand how cute he is without his front teeth? He said that the first day was good but way too long. A few tears may have been shed this morning because “I just love my bed and want to stay in it.” Oh little guy…this is just the start!

A mini bus comes and picks up the kids (how cute is that) at the end of the driveway and the driver gives us his cell phone – kind of loving our personalized service. The kids said there are 8 kids on the bus. E says they are all her friends already – any surprises there?

Evalyn started school today. She woke us saying, “Thank you Mom for signing me up for Kindergarten in such a wonderful school!” Then she twirled around and sang us songs. The best part of her day was napping next to Daniela and meeting new friends. “It was super fun and kinda long.” So deep exhale…they survived, they like it and I am officially an “empty nester”.

Feels really strange but kind of exciting too. Extra time for prayer, taking care of my body like I need to, helping other learn about oils, editing and shooting during the day and blogging – yep I said it…guess we will see how that goes.

Grandma and Grandpa came both days to see the kids off. Think they are going to miss them too!

So, there is our back to school. How did yours go? How are their little hearts holding up? How is yours? It is such a brave thing to do as a mom – watch your child get on a bus and hope people are good, kind, honest and don’t bruise them too much. I really prefer the bubble – but trust that our God is who he says he is. Never changing , always with us and is protecting them while I am not there. The smiles at the end of the day is just what this mama’s heart needed.

Now…to survive a whole week. These kids are TIRED!

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THOMPSON FAMILY | CHANHASSEN FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY |CHANHASSEN SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHY

These are my cousin’s kids.

 The twins were born a few months before Dirk and I got married 13 years ago…yep, that’s a long time ago. It is so much fun watching who they are turning out to be. Each unique with different gifts, passions and personalities. My kids have fallen in love with them and even snuck into a few photos. Seriously…I LOVE having a home studio. I love our yard and the pretty evening light, the trees, the crazy vines, the wild flowers, the mosquitos…not so much. Sorry summer clients – they seem to be able to penetrate all kinds of bug spray (even my beloved essential oils…yep). It makes for some very unique editing!

My kids aren’t allowed outside during sessions BUT they did escape to play with their “buddies” at the end. They went on the swing set, had a bonfire in the corn crib and we laughed telling stories. It was a great night of memories and capturing these tweens and their big teenage brother.

At the end we tried some jumping shots. I can’t stop laughing at these! It’s good to laugh at sessions, and flex your muscles, and chase butterflies. It’s good because it makes it fun and what’s even better than a regular photo session is one that you leave with memories captured AND new ones made.

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