slice of orange heaven

so many feelings

not clear words

lots of pictures

I never know how much to say or not say. But once again, I’m just gonna go for it:

This was a recent response to an email I wrote to a friend (we don’t live near one another and rarely see each other. I recently spent a brief moment with her after 6 years. This was my take away after we tearfully shared difficulty, heartache, and success in all of 20 minutes):

“This observation shook me while driving away from our discussion: I see my own imperfections and those of my family members, and sometimes I think we are living a lesser version of ourselves because of them, but when I see you and your family I am shocked at how all I see (and saw) is how beautifully each of you is living life. I would never even think of, or care, what anyone’s faults might be because all I saw is how everyone is just THEIR OWN BEAUTIFUL SELF. 

I can’t even describe my feelings or thoughts well, except I came home wanting to extend so much more mercy and grace towards myself, and each of us, because I more clearly see beauty in the chaos, growth from imperfection. I see how our efforts…work! Tyler and I were both in tears the night I came home and I told him about each of your babies, and you, and [your husband], and our time together. My mind is flooded with, “How can I ever judge or criticize myself?” In our time together I saw so clearly how beautiful life is even with the messy parts.

[You were right - we just] keep trying. And most of all keep giving thanks for a Savior who creates beauty from my measly efforts. 

I am learning to abide: abide the chaos, abide the Savior’s embrace, abide in the scriptures. (“Abide” is my new favorite word... [Our favorite teacher] mentioned that on [that sacred ]Sunday morning the apostles were at the tomb, as well as Mary, but when the Savior was not inside they left! She chose to abide and [the resurrected Savior] appeared to her. [The teacher] said, “Abide longer in your scriptures, in the temple. When you receive revelation ask, “Is there any more?”) Recently I have chosen to abide [and felt a flood of answers and love and confidence]. I abide in family, even when it’s uncomfortable or I don’t know what to say or do, in study even when I’m tired, in worship when I feel angry or frustrated.

It’s what I see you do and I see how powerful it is and I want that, too. 

You are so wonderful I can’t even say it enough. 

Maybe none of this makes sense in word but it feels precious and important to me, and I want to remember it…

I love you!


I chose the latter...this time.

My children are beautiful and perfect and smart and funny and vibrant and delicious and creative and give the juiciest kisses, but HEAVEN. HELP. ME. every single time I ask them to clean their room - or ANY mess they make - and they fire back with, “But what are YOU going to be cleaning, mo-om?!” Someone please restrain me.

The other day a neighbor friend came over to play and Kate said, “Oh, you can just throw it on the floor. My mom cleans for us so we can make a mess it’s OK, my mom will clean it, just throw it over there.”

Two dear friends came over today and we huddled around each other like sisters while chatting, laughing, crying, and simultaneously squeezing and snuggling our babes while whisper-screaming at them to [get lost] go play.

#momming  It’s the best. I love it exponentially more when I see other moms expressing feelings like mine. I love my village - so much.

If you have not read The Big Leap you haven’t read anything ;) 

You know those moments you are feeling all the feelings and you volcano-erupt on everyone but when you finally lock yourself in a room alone you start to realize that all the things you are screaming at everyone else for really has nothing to do with them. Your emotions just take over and everything and everyone is annoying and it actually physically hurts to deal with it all?

Since reading The Big Leap in Seattle a few months ago everything has changed for me: instead of feeling all the feelings and then lashing out I am able to think, “What is ACTUALLY happening INSIDE MY BODY?! My heart is racing, my brain is spinning, there is a pit in my stomach, my chest feels tight and I can’t really breathe….” I am more able to close my mouth for one minute and process what is going on inside of ME before unintentionally blaming everyone else for what I feel. I may still feel hurricane-like while emotions swirl in every chaotic direction, but it doesn’t pour out onto everyone else as treacherously.

Kind of an Example:

The neighbor’s hot potato toy was left at our house (when the button on this toy is pressed some real obnoxious music plays for an unknown amount of time). My children have loved it and I have woken angrily to that music for the past few days. Well, this morning something miraculous happened. I was, once again, woken by the annoying singing, and instead of RE-acting and lashing out two scenarios unexpectedly played out in my still-half-asleep mind:

A. I storm out of my bedroom while griping at the girls about how they woke me up and they are supposed to be quiet and I tell them every day and on and on with a bunch stuff they will never remember or follow and that will make us all feel like worthless terrible people. 

B. I stay in bed, laugh about how freaking much I hate that toy. The girls come in 10 minutes later snuggling me, spooning me, and slobbering kisses all over my face while I wrap my arms and legs around them all without even opening my eyes. Their naked selves bounce around on my bed as they scream, “Mommy’s awake, mommy’s awake, mommy’s awake!!!!” while laughing and acting like a buncha crazies.

I chose the latter…this time.

I have a lot of plans for my photography business in the new year (once I get through the next couple of months! I have a few changes coming up that I get scared to talk about and think, “What if people don’t like it?!” HA!

The excitement of something that lights me on fire drives me, and I continue the practice of quieting the other voices…

These last three images were taking at Leo Carillo in Malibu on a camping trip. Before the trip Tyler was back and forth between the garage and the car, taking all the sleeping bags, etc. to the trunk. Kate was then taking all of the stuff back into the garage to play with. When we go to the camp site Tyler said, “I think Kate took all the sleeping bags back into the garage. So, ya, all 4 of us slept in our tent with one sleeping bag and one blanket and two crappy pads. Worst sleep of my life, but when I look back on the trip, of course, all I remember is the good, the fun, the unity, the laughing, the biggest waves any of us had ever seen.

Those little girls had all those sticks because they were fighting the boys and wow were they a sight.

Portra 800 and orange people can never, ever be beat.

***For interested photographers: I wanted to see what Portra 800 could do in low light, because a lot of people talk trash on P800 but that was only rated at 800 + 1 and overcast outside. I shot mostly at 1/30 and I don’t think pushing and shooting at 1/30 was necessary.