There is something special about being able to capture my sister and her family through photographs and think how not that long ago, we lived together under one roof and ate at the same supper table every night. Now we each have our own dinner tables and our own dinner conversations with our own families. Denise and Dave and their daughter Honor have a lovely spot in the country they call home where we did this photo shoot in late September.
I still have so much to learn about photography and just do it as a hobby from time to time. I’m still trying to understand shooting in manual, and it’s not easy! Natural lighting also used to befuddle me but just this past week, I think it started to click as Char explained it to me for the second or third time!
Hope you enjoy the images of this special family!
Kyle and I are usually two steps behind modern day. We don’t tweet, stopped logging into our Facebook accounts four years ago, and had no stations on our television until this past Saturday when Kyle cut out the drywall in our family room and bathroom to run an antenna cord from our attic to the downstairs. Now we have a handful of channels; I would have been content without any. Carl Sandburg’s pronouncement of television as “a thief of time” and “idiot box” has never left my ears. But Kyle, very loyal to his U of M and Detroit Lions and Tigers, was tired of missing the games. I understand, for I’m starting to see there is a bond between guys and their sports.
Returning to our quaint little life here in rural PA, it is not surprising Kyle has an affinity for the art of letter writing. In him, I have a fellow lover of words. He handles them with precision and wit and love. I find his rhetoric better than mine. I keep every letter he writes to me in a folder that I hope our children will find at the right time.
I just finished this compilation called Love Letters of Great Men. Quite interesting seeing the romantic minds of Winston Churchill, James Joyce, Henry VIII, Napolean Bonaparte, Theordore Roosevelt, Jr., Vincent Van Gogh, and many more. Some of these men wrote ridiculously passionate letters to one woman one year and another a few years later. But my favorite letter was Count Leo Tolstoy’s on November 2, 1856. His words renewed my will to know and love my husband’s soul. Here they are…
"I already love in you your beauty, but I am only beginning to love in you that which is eternal and ever precious - your heart, your soul. Beauty one could get to know and fall in love with in one hour and cease to love it as speedily; but the soul one must learn to know. Believe me, nothing on earth is given without labour, even love, the most beautiful and natural of feelings.”
I’ve had nine months to observe Char as she runs her photography business while still being a present wife and mother. Never have I once seen her frazzled. Her demeanor has a huge impact on the studio. The atmosphere is always so calm; life just flows naturally there. She recently wrote an intriguing article on being a mom and business owner and finding balance. You can find it here.
One thing I’ve noticed since being a mom is that moms are hard on themselves and on each other. We want to be THE PERFECT mom. Stay-at-home moms can pride themselves on being more devoted to their children than working moms (I’ve been guilty of this) and working moms can look at stay-at-home moms with an air of disdain. However, I think we have the same very real desires…being excellent wives and mothers. Seeing our family strongly bonding. Watching our kids grow up secure in our love for them. Impacting our children in ways that last longer than our lifespan. Knowing daily we have taught them Truth and showed them a life lived needing Him every hour. Some moms may do that while working. Some moms can’t do that while working outside the home. What I want to remember when I interact with fellow mothers is not to judge, not to compare, not to demean, but to see how similar we really are.
Aren’t the photos breathtaking! Char took them on a recent family trip to Colorado.
Kyle and I had a much needed little getaway to Montchanin, De. We love the area and will often visit Terrain when we go there as well as Wintethur or Longwood Gardens. These are some pictures from Longwood and the Inn at Montchanin. I love the cozy, old feel of the Inn. It’s not a trendy, modern place and we’re often the youngest people there, but there’s something endearing about the place. We often say it’s like being going back in time to a little country village in England. Although, we’ve never been to England.
It was our first night away from Elsa, and we did need time just the two of us. This past year we weren’t intentional about date nights and kind of thought we could just take Elsa everywhere with us, but we have come to see that for our hearts to keep in step we need time just the two of us.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for letting us go away with full assurance Elsa is in loving hands!
Tonight is our style workshop at the studio! I’ve been reading a rather interesting book called Creative Confidence and also watching this Ted Talk on How Schools Kill Creativity. I have watched it five times! Both have really been shaping the way I see creativity with the idea that everyone is creative. Everyone. It’s just that as we go through life many are told or taught they aren’t creative. Tonight we’ll talk about how this ties into style too. The first part of the evening will be some foundations like…We are all creative…We have been wonderfully made…Insecurity can hinder our creativity and style. Then we’ll share some practical tips like how to develop personal style, essential pieces in wardrobes, the role of hair/makeup, and sources of inspiration. We’ll end with a Q & A. We’ve been preparing for this for some time and can’t wait to host the event!
More info on the workshop here.
Our last blog post from the studio had to do with our home. How I love that word! I long to make our house a home, a respite, and a shield. A place where our children’s hearts will feel safe and loved; where their souls will feel understood; and where their minds will feel inspired, challenged and free. A place that will be a special treasure to them as my childhood home was to me.
The blog post was about a favorite spot in our homes, and I enjoyed reading my team members’ choices. What makes you thankful for your home?
Last month we visited Kyle’s grandma in Roanoke, VA. She turns 80 this month and still plants cucumbers and tomatoes, puts on red lipstick for pictures, mows her lawn, and follows Nascar and the World Series. She sure was happy to see Elsa and told me that the years she spent mothering her two small children were some of the best in her life.
As I watched MaMa interact with Elsa, I thought how this is her third round of experiencing children from her own bloodline be born, start to walk and talk, laugh, learn to clap, play with kitchen utensils. First her children, then her grandchildren, and now her great-grandchildren. The cycles of life, how short they make our days seem. I wonder if I will blink a few times and Elsa will have children. And then I’ll blink a few more times and Elsa’s children will have children.
I’m not sure how many years God will give to me on earth, but I can’t help but consider the words of Moses in Psalm 90…”As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow: for soon it is gone and we fly away” (vs 10). If my life is measured by Moses’ timetable, I stand a couple of years shy of the halfway line. Hard to imagine because I still feel in many ways at the beginning of life. But I do want to do what Moses says with the remainder: “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (vs 12). These days that will quickly turn to years that I spend as Elsa’s mom, I want cherish. Days are made of moments. So when I catch myself wishing I wouldn’t have to change a diaper or clean up after another very messy meal or fight with another shirt stain or cook a meal with interruptions or brush the teeth of an ornery mouth, may I hear “for soon it is gone.” What a gift are Elsa’s smiles and hugs and little teeth and potbelly and shaky gait and dirty fingers.
Since our last closet sale was such a hit, we decided to try another round! This time we will have lots of home decor items in addition to clothing and accessories. Everything is in practically new condition so stop by and see what you can find at the studio!
We enjoyed this lovely fall luncheon at the studio the other day. Each of us made a dish, and now I have a handful of fall recipes to try since everything was super delicious! My favorite was Grace’s butternut squash soup and Kathleen’s apple cider recipe. In fact, I’m making the apple cider tonight and the squash soup later this week. If you are looking to have some friends for dinner, just follow the recipes Char shares on her blog from the luncheon! I’m planning on making everything for a fun autumn meal in November. Or you can try one a week until you’ve made all of them.
Hope your weekend is amazing!