Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sometimes you Just Need to Trust.

While scrolling through Facebook this morning out of usual boredom, I found this photo posted by a friend and it made me think.  All too often we have something small that we love and we don't want to give up, but sometimes we are asked to give it up and what is in store for us are bigger blessings. I feel like right now is one of those moments. I love California, not necessarily Los Angeles, because we all know it gets under my skin, but I don't have a shabby life at all. I love my nice new car, my cats, my photography.

... then there came this opportunity to move to Switzerland.  As much as I love Europe, and everything about it, I am going through this state of hesitance giving up the small things here for the bigger blessings there. It is hard when you know, you actually KNOW amazing things are on the horizon but you just can't seem to get yourself mentally over the horizon. I am struggling with the stress of moving and pretty much giving up my life, similar to what I did back in 2008 when I sold all my possessions, packed my car, moved to California and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I had a goal to have every single bill paid off before I left the states, I even picked up a temporary job to obtain extra funds and yet I can't seem to get ahead- unexpected things have occurred and perhaps I need to just accept that it is okay if everything doesn't get done before I leave. Stress is not good for multiple reasons, first and foremost, at least my main concern, is the fact that I can't seem to lose weight because my body is in defense mode from the high amounts of stress.

I also wanted to have a photography agent by the end of May, but I haven't had time to look for one and am in the midst of redesigning my website, which I want to be completed before submitting to agents. Perhaps this lesson is that only the necessities need to be taken care of and the rest will all work out the way it is supposed to be but not how I had hoped it would be.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Portrait Project: Heather Charles.

Meet Heather Charles, an actress, a friend, and a girl that finds her happiness in her bedroom. Rushing in from a day of shooting on set, Heather sprawled out on her bed and let out a sigh of relief, she was home, she was happy. Inside her room were multiple inspirational notes, memories hanging upon the wall, and an in-depth glimpse into moments of her life that have brought her happiness. Each walls is covered in different affirmations; for love, for confidence, and for hope. Three masks hung upon the north facing wall, Heather pointed at the purple mask and stated she had made it herself, from a mold, by hand. Each mask represented the prior three years of New Year's Eve parties, a tradition she has experienced and will carry on. Below the masks stood a small box which housed necklaces. Every October/November, Heather begins searching for a necklace that she can change out for the New Year, each having a specific meaning to her life and the motivational drive the following year shall be directed by. This year, her motto is "dance."

"Most people don't like clutter in their room, they keep it clean and tidy, but I find my happiness in all of the small tokens and memories upon my wall."

To the left of her window stands a small stuffed cat wearing a beautiful cross necklace containing a piece of her cat Prince's hair, Prince's ashes, sit in the box beneath the stuffed animal.

I asked if this would still be her happy place when she gets married, laughing Heather said, I might just have to have my own room, a place to get away. Negativity and harsh feelings or talks are not allowed in her room, it is her sanctuary and a place she has confidence in finding peace and comfort.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Portrait Project: 2014.

The idea for this project came while I was playing with my nephew one day. My brother came outside to see us behind the big oak tree in the backyard, he commented, “he let you behind there, that’s his secret place.” We all have something, or someplace that makes us happy, and that’s where I wanted to photograph these portraits, in each individual’s “happy” spot. I set out to take one portrait a week, 11 total, prior to leaving the country. However with an overwhelming response, it turned into more. Their only assignment: take me to your happy place. Once there I recorded the conversation so I could focus on capturing them in the moment. Join me on my quest to find where people go to find happiness.

Meet Katie Golden, “Happy” place- Her Room.

I knew that someone would say their room was their happy place, but why was it important to Katie? After living with many different roommates over the years, Katie quickly came to realize that as much as she loved her roommates, she loved personal time even more. Growing up in Ohio as an only child, Katie had her room as her sanctuary. Twenty-four years later, Katie’s room is clean, bright, and airy, something she needs to provide the necessary zen and peace to rejuvenate herself.

Adopted at birth and meeting her biological mother at the age of 18, choosing happiness in each moment has been a theme well-embraced throughout Katie’s life. We never know how much time we have with anyone or anything and choosing to be happy in all moments leaves us regretting no moments. Five years after their first encounter, Katie abruptly said goodbye as her birth mother left this earth. Sitting alone in her room, Katie has time to remember this beautiful woman and their brief time together but knows they will meet again one day.

With a beautiful pillow upon her bed stating: Choose Happiness, and her father’s 1960s guitar, obtained while in the military in Japan, lightly strumming between her fingertips, this light came across her face and I knew that she indeed was truly happy in this spot.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day.

I love my family. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

What My Mom Got Right.

I am not a mom. I do not know how hard it is to be a mom, but I sure as heck can tell you the impact of a mom. My friend made a post on her Facebook today:

"As my 2nd Mother’s Day approaches, I have to say-what a difference a year makes. Last year Landon was still a newborn and to be honest, I was kind of wondering what I got myself into. Becoming a mom was very hard for me. Before Landon I was very self-centered, materialistic and quite honestly worried about things that didn't matter. For me, it wasn't all roses and feel good…and I looked around and thought maybe I was the worst mom ever because everyone else seems so happy and like such naturals and here I was a little bitter that my life was flipped upside down (and I had a SUPER easy baby, he never slept less than 5 hours from birth and rarely cried). Don’t get me wrong, I loved him but I needed to bond with him to fall in love with him.

So here I sit one year later, 100% a different person- a better version of me and I owe it to my son. Who would have thought such a little being could make such an impact. He did flip my world upside down and I needed it all along. I am so madly in love with him and honestly can’t imagine my life any other way. He helps me to appreciate every day and really soak in every second with him. He’s the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and I am so proud to be his mom. I always say these are the days of my life, the days I will hold dear to my heart forever. This post is long and TMI but I thought I would share a little of my reality, just in case there are any new moms that feel this way…for me, it was normal. But maybe I am the only one!"

Her post really made me think, what IS normal? How are you the perfect mom? How do you do it right? The answer is,  there is no perfect way. There is no way to be perfect but the mere fact that you are a mom means you are on the right track. Everything is about learning, no one else has your life, walks in your feet, or has your child. No one else can tell you the right way to parent. There were times I didn't get along with my mother, there are still times I don't get along with my mother, but that doesn't mean she isn't a good mom, she is my mom. Brooke said it right, she loved her son but she hadn't bonded with him. Spending time, growing, learning, and teaching, that is the best way to be a mom. Thanks to all the women that have impacted my life, the example they are to me, and the example I hope to be to my future posterity.

So, I ask, what is it that my mom got right? ... She had me, she gave her time to raising two children, and did in her heart and mind what she believed was always best for us. It may not have been what anyone else thought was the best, but it was her best and heck, I don't think I turned out too shabby.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Whole Lotta' Change.

I have been so busy lately but extraordinarily happy.  Things are all coming together in my life and although the last year, make that two years, have been filled with a lot of growing pangs, a lot of tears, a lot of excitement, and a lot pf prayers, it all finally makes sense. I am always so marveled when I come out of a trial to look back and realize, “Ah, so that is why I had to go through that…” I had this ah hah moment while in Sunday school a few weeks prior. We were talking about faith, which is one of my strong attributes, and how sometimes we have no clue where we are going or what we are doing.

I am a photographer by trade and it has been a rewarding and hard sought year of capturing moments of beauty across the world, including Thailand, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and Russia. After this last trip I came home and was really at rock bottom.  I had spent all of my savings on the trip (in which I had a distinct impression to go to Russia and am grateful to have followed that impression- but the other parts of the trip were extremely expensive), my lease on my apartment was coming to an end in June, my church calling, which had always been something highly demanding, was Girls Camp Leader and that ended in June as well.  I knelt to pray numerous times, “What am I supposed to do with my life?”

While working in the temple I made it a point to pray about something new each shift. I began praying about my life, and had a strong impression that something big was going to happen in July. My life was coming to somewhat of a crescendo and I knew it had to be leading up to something. It was midnight and I was headed to bed, I had just said my prayers and said with quite frustration, “I give up.” Just then I heard a ding on my phone, it was an email notification. “Family in Geneva Switzerland is interested in you.”

I had signed up for a nanny website a while back to pick up extra hours in Los Angeles when I wasn’t doing photography. Here was a family in Rolle, Switzerland, about 30 minutes north of Geneva, that was interested in learning about me regarding an aupair position. I read through their profile, I was nothing they had requested: SPEAKS FRENCH, 27 YEARS OLD, BRITISH. How in the world this family found me is unknown. The more interesting part that I would later learn is that the day the family signed up for the site, they emailed me and never emailed another person. We exchanged emails for a month. Extensive emails, asking in-depth questions about each other, it felt as if it was a marriage inquiry. I was hard on questioning them because if I moved, that meant giving up everything in the states.

Everything was too good to be true, the kids were 5 and 8, the parents are extremely involved, the mother stops work at 3:00 and makes herself available to take one child and I the other. I will be driving them to activities after school, engaging in wholesome entertainment, with some light housework, ie making beds and picking up toys. They have their own housekeeper, the mother does the laundry and cooks meals, I am just there to lend an extra hand. I get nights and weekends to myself, and on top of it all, the pay was incredible.

I prayed. This was a big move, if I were to make it, things needed to be perfect. Scared about the visa, I am 31, to be an aupair, you need to be 27, things worked out perfectly. As everything fell into place I knew that it wasn’t by my doing, it was by the hand of God, it had to be, it was all too perfect. We Skyped, we talked for hours, I met the children, and fell in love. When she looked at me over Skype and asked, “So, will you be my nanny?” I couldn't have been happier. I have started learning French, exciting, my lease is up in Los Angeles at the end of June, I have accepted contract work at an airline leasing company for the next month to save up money, and will move into my brother’s house mid-June, selling everything I don’t want to keep. Travel to Utah the second week to shoot a wedding at Mt. Timpanogas and starting this new adventure on July 25.

I don’t know why I am headed to Switzerland. I don’t know what the purpose is for any of this, but I know I am supposed to be there. It may only be for three months (if my visa doesn’t go through, which we wont file for and find out about until after I am there) and perhaps it will be for the full contract, a year, I don’t know but I am excited to find out. 

My world... my thoughts

I can't apologize if you don't like what you read I can only apologize that you stumbled on my page.