Love and Kindness = Love and Forgiveness

It’s finally sinking in. I’m finally beginning to understand the worthiness conversation.

Why should any one of us be made to feel "less than," even and most especially, when we aren’t behaving as our best selves? Isn't that when we crave love and acceptance the most?

While it’s easier to show “love and kindness” to those who believe, think, act and vote like we do, I️ finally finally FINALLY feel so strongly about what I️ do - and why I️ do I️t - that my own armor is slowly shedding itself. I find myself less afraid and more understanding, even towards those who don't reciprocate all the happy things... ;)

“If we want to reclaim the essential emotional part of our lives and reignite our passion and purpose, we have to learn how to own and engage with our vulnerability and how to feel the emotions that come with I️t.” @brenebrown

I believe this is how we will solve problems and misunderstandings between family, friends, neighbors, and beyond. When we let down our guard, protection, fear of losing, being hurt, or wanting to be right, we stand in another’s shoes and life becomes less a battle of right or wrong and more a conversation of where we come from and how we can help.

Maybe others will never change, and that’s OK, but if I choose love and forgiveness I will be changed. My girls will learn from my actions, my words, that the process of listening, learning, and trying to understand - without letting negative feelings overcome us - will strengthen our families, change our communities, and build our nations.

My prayers have become more real, more honest. I️ tell God things that don’t make sense, things I️ don’t like, the things that are too hard. My experiences have been powerful as He has filled me with love and shown me all the things I️ am doing well. My feelings move from anger, frustration, retaliation to forgiveness. I️ feel whole, full of worth, and wish those feelings on all within my reach.

And now I know: if I can do it, anyone can.

always on my mind

This was the first family I photographed strictly on film. The learning curve was steep! When I asked little girl to come take a picture with her mom, and she responded by shaking a finger near her nose while saying, "I...don't...want...to...do...that" in a high pitched voice while prancing on the log, the pressure was real - ha!

I could not have asked for more beautiful photos of this family. The grain, the real emotion, the creaminess - I jumped for joy when I first saw them, and still do when I relive the moment now. I do not believe the images could have been created under any other circumstance, with any other medium. I feel passionately about the journey to, and process through, film photography...

...so much so that I have a personal project in the works that will be unveiled one day soon. It sits in the back of my mind, a powerful tool to document the things I feel, and hope others feel, most strongly about.

For now, esta familia, on film.

riding free

We are all worthy - of love, forgiveness, friends, connection, a home, a place to unwind, a place to cry, a place to bounce back. No matter the voices in our heads, we begin to practice worthiness, connection, and belonging in the way we first speak to ourselves. I know from my own experience that practice doesn't make perfect but it does make us stronger and more confident!

"...shame is the fear of disconnection - the fear that we're unlovable and don't belong... The expectations and messages that fuel shame keep us from fully realizing who we are as people. Today, I look back and feel so grateful to women and men who have shared their stories with me. I'm thankful for the people who were brave enough to say, 'These are my secrets and my fears, here's how they brought me to my knees, and here's how I learned to stand in my worthiness again.'" (Brené Brown, Italics added.)

before she flies

I bought a film camera, had no idea how to use it, and took it with me on a shoot "just in case." As soon as I walked in and saw the brilliant light pouring in windows that ran up the wall, I loaded it up with a lot of determination, and just enough fear to kick my heart beat up a few notches. The only thing that went awry: I only took one extra roll of film. When I ran out and still needed a few family shots I had to go digital.

All (but 3) photos are film. This is my last post with any ties to the digital camera world - huzzah!!

never happier

I have never been so happy during a shoot. There was so much Utah LIGHT I didn't know what to do with myself. This family laughs, jokes, smiles, and then laughs some more, constantly! They are crazy about one another. I kinda didn't want the evening to end (I was actually ready to move my family into their basement - construction could have carried on around us.) 

Since I have moved to full-time film over the next month my pricing structure has changed - if you feel something tempt you to take family photos this year CONTACT ME here. I use everything in me to photograph from my feelings, from my heart, and I want to photograph YOUUUU. xoxo.

like a dream

There is nothing easy about photographing a newborn but these people make newborn life look like a dream.

 

And next week I photograph TWINS! If you would like to book your session, in Seattle, in AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, or the last two weeks of NOVEMBER contact me here! If you are in California, I am booking sessions October through November! Let's make it happen!!!

it's my brithday

and I love my life, and while my family sleeps I sit looking at pretty pictures. It's a beautiful, overcast, peaceful, Seattle day to celebrate life.

These babes were all born at home - wherever home was at the time - and baby brother will soon make his debut. 

If you would like images that showcase your beautiful contact me and let's make it happen. I will be in California (bay area, Tahoe, Fresno, Sacramento, and everywhere in between) October - November. Seattle, I would love to schedule your photoshoot in August, September, or the last two weeks of November. Love to you, Christina.

lifting more hearts up together

"I'LL BE LIVING MORE LOVE

THAN YESTERDAY

AND MORE THAN THE DAY BEFORE

GETTING MORE DONE

THAN I'D DREAMED OF

AND FINDING NEW WAYS TO EXPLORE

I'LL BE SPREADING THE LIGHT

FROM THE HILLTOPS

I'LL RUN LIKE A FOOL

THROUGH THE WOODS

I'LL BE DREAMING A WORLD

BEYOND REASON

AS WE CELEBRATE ALL THAT IS GOOD

AND THOUGH I MAY

FALL AND UNRAVEL

AND CRY LIKE A CHILD LEFT ALONE

WE'LL BE LIFTING MORE

HEARTS UP TOGETHER

THAN WE EVER COULD 

LIFT ON OUR OWN."

If you have not read Dallas Clayton run! and get lost reading.

I don't talk much about my subdued - and probably insignificant - thoughts or feelings on the wide open web, but I had an experience that changed me during a conversation with Meadow and Jenn, and I came home feeling emotional, open, aware, moved, stronger, and more resolute. The next few paragraphs are a step towards vulnerability as I share these images coupled with pieces of what I learned about myself.

This is Meadow and Jenn and their twin babes! This day, light, and moment was nothing short of perfection. The best part of taking people's pictures is that they become my newest best friend. When Meadow and I exchanged emails her sense of humor immediately reminded me of that. I also caught another glimpse of who she is when I realized that the family picture she attached was not focused on her - the focus was on her beautiful wife, Jenn. 

There was a moment after one of our conversations that I realized two things: I have never had to fight for anything, or anyone, as much as some around me have and, there are people who have been given a gift of looking past any details that would seem to divide us, who are able to celebrate our differences, and who, without reservation, see all of us for who we are, brothers and sisters, children of a divine creator. 

Meadow so naturally, so easily, pours love and light and happiness into you when you meet her. I don't know if I have ever met someone (except my mom) who can connect and laugh over all the happy things as she can. It was a blessing for me to have spent time with her incredible family.

As I sit in shock and disbelief and tears while watching Hacksaw Ridge, I once again am reminded that all of our freedoms are never free and what I attain to is not who I am - and especially not the most important thing I do. Desmond Doss' story is a miracle. My values, who I focus on, who I stand by, who I stand with, make the measure of my life.

I'm doing my best, imperfectly, to act more faithfully on these impressions, and most importantly, to teach my family the same. I'm thankful for friends and family who are forgiving of my process in learning such precious lessons.

My ease of life may be my toughest reality, but I am (slowly) learning that what we live together we can unify over. Whose burden can I help lighten, today? Or, as Desmond Doss prayed more than 70 times, "Help me help one more."

I wish everyone a happy 4th, happy weekend, and happy freedom celebrations.

"THE LOUDEST CLOUD

HAD THE SOFTEST SCREAM

WHICH FELL WITH A RAINSTORM

THAT FELT  LIKE A

DREAM."

Dallas Clayton

xoxo,

Christina

Where darkness melts into light...

Where darkness melts into light

Lines meet and quickly fade.

Expectations dissolve and

Given new ears I hear

The melody she sings

When not confined to the shadows.

There is an artist, photogtapher, writer I love, Amy Grace, who is the master of combining words and photos. I want to be a better writer - and reader - and put my thoughts down, especially in a way that specifically makes sense me. Here is my attempt and poetry; I hope it's a lifelong friendship.

"...to the core."

 "...we love each other, to the core." That is how Kennedy describes the love she and Chris share.

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle, comings and goings, and stuff that presents itself in our relationships, it can be hard to remember that we loved one another "to the core." Somehow those moments, mistakes, or habits, become more important than the person we love, or once loved. 

While it is work, and was not meant to be easy, I am sure the growing pains will have unified us. When we are old and gray, and he paints my fingernails and feeds me oatmeal (not to mention changes my diapers), the hard stuff will be nothing more than a distant memory.  

This is my reminder to recommit to choose love.

To always choose love.