Donuts, Dolls, & 'Do's | Atlanta Georgia Storytelling Photographer

“A dolls ability to uplift the human spirit can be immeasurable" - Gayle Wray

When I was a little girl I loved dolls. I would carry mine wherever I would go and care for them with such affection. My collection of dolls was lovingly nurtured by my mother. It was an unspoken love affair between the two of us. I dreamed of the day I would share this love affair with my own daughter. What I never imagined was that my daughters unique spirit would teach me more about myself than I ever thought possible. 

Saturday we went to a good friends birthday party at American Girl. If you've never been I highly advise going at least once in life. This is a fantasy world for little girls that love dolls. Maddie, however, is not one of those girls. She's never shown a lot of interest in them and I'm fairly certain the few she has have been shoved in the bottom of a chest in her room for at least the last 6 months. 

Learning how to let go of who I expected my daughter to be and loving her for who she is has proven to be one of my biggest challenges of parenthood. I often feel I have placed the burdens of my own life and losses on her with too many expectations of her to be my best friend just like I was to my own mother. My heart seems heavy with regret on some days when I feel the weight I've put squarely on her shoulders. 

When I began to put these images together what I saw was her story for the very first time. It wasn't a story about dolls or even a birthday party. It's a story about friendship and doing for others.  A story about growing up and her ability to love everyone for who they are at any given time.  I might still need her. I might always want her by my side. I might need her to forgive me one day and to love me just the way I am. This is her story that started with a gift in a donut bag and ended in doll 'do's...with some comedic antics of little brothers in between.

XO

Day In The Life | September

"You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved." Ansel Adams

I can't even begin to explain my thanks for all the goodness bestowed on me this month. Some dear friends and storytellers who I've recently come together with on a new collaboration (to be announced soon) have really encouraged me to follow through on putting my daily life out into the world. I mean seriously what is a storyteller if she can't even share her own life on the regular? 

I can't explain why I don't share more. I can think of tons of reasons why I haven't in the past but they are all excuses. The daily excuses of "I'll get to it next month." I even started a Tumblr feed that I could dedicate to this very topic. It's been sitting and staring at me for months. 

Today was a rainy mess outside and it felt like the right time to share this post. No more excuses friends. I'm not sure exactly the details yet, but I'm getting it together. Amongst all the news I have to share in the future and ongoing long term personal projects I'm working on I need to hold onto these days tight. I can feel the winds of change happening in my life and it's important for me to remember these moments and share them with my children when they no longer remember these details themselves. So if you ask me, I don't NEED to do this. I HAVE to do this. Now. In hopes that one day my children will have a living documentary of our life. The good, the bad and everything in between. 

September 26th honestly documented. Atlanta Celebrates Photography Push Pin event at Ponce City Market and our afternoon. This feels like a really great start.


Calling Me Home | Carolina Beach, North Carolina | Storytelling Photographer

"In the middle of the night, I may watch you go
There'll be no value in the strength of walls that I have grown
There'll be no comfort in the shade of the shadows thrown
But I'll be yours if you'll be mine

Stretch out my life and pick the seams out
Take what you like, but close my ears and eyes
Watch me stumble over and over"

Mumford & Sons, Lover of the Light

The ninth of August came and went like the ocean tide undulating back and forth between the sandy shore and the horizon line.

And I forgot.

I forgot that heartbreaking day two years ago when she left in the shadows of the early morning sun. 

I've spent two lonely years trying to remember the light and here this day came and by God's miraculous hands he cleared my mind. I'm still stumbling through trying to begin anew each and every day, but I'm beginning to see the light through the rain.

This marks the second year of heading to my brother's house on the North Carolina coast as a family of five. Last year's trip felt so different. I was consumed by her spirit all around me. I wrote about it here. This year we felt the sun and the rain. We saw the sand and the sea. We ventured out along the coast and visited the places that make us happy. This is our sanctuary. A place tucked away from the busy. A place of peace.

Here I feel close to her. She calls to me. She wraps her arms around me. She's with me and with my children that she so adored. 

So when you look into the shadows and the light you'll see her too. She's always calling me home.



Imperfections

“Learning to be a Life- Giving Mom without regrets requires embracing the season you are in. You have to let go of the past and live in the present as you lay hold of the future. At each transition you will likely shed some tears as you realize that you can’t go back and re-live the past. You must move forward, facing the imperfections of your present, hoping for the future.” 
-Sue Detweiler

My Children on Film, Summer 2014, Holga 120N

A Happy Mother's Day indeed.


Connection

I haven't blogged in awhile and I've done it with intention. At the end of 2014 I put down my camera for awhile and began a process of self-healing. A move, life changes, and a lot on my mind. Today I want to share it with you. 

I've had a really hard time recently with all the noise and self-doubt that is so overwhelming in this business. When I started my business in 2013 right after my mom passed away my purpose was to connect with others. I have never had any intention of being the most popular or liked photographer. I've never wanted a busy client calendar either. All I wanted was to connect with others through my images and words. Why then was I contemplating only shooting for myself again? It is all due to fear.

The beginning of February we had a rare sunny day poke out from the depths of a cold winter and I was able for the first time to start taking photos again…with intent and purpose. I was happy. A lot of change is happening in my life. My kids are getting older and so am I. I can't let fear control my life but it holds a grip so tight that at times I feel like I can't breathe. Fear of not doing it right, fear of no one connecting with me, fear of allowing my voice to be heard in all it's glory, fear that I am not enough. 

This day I let all that go and connected again with a medium that helps me heal from the wounds in my heart and mind that are ever present. I'm beginning to understand that perhaps speaking from the heart is one of the most brave things I can do and a gift I can give to others who may need to hear my voice. A new friend shared with me a quote that I'm holding onto like an earthworm cupped tightly in a child's hand. And today is the start of taking my voice to higher places. 

“In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen – really seen." – Brene Brown

Here is the result of that day I let my heart and ultimately myself be seen again.

And Then They Turned 18 | Greensboro, NC Senior Photographer

“Of two sisters one is always the watcher, one the dancer.”  Louise Glück

My twin sisters turned 18 this Summer. They wanted to document a day in their life as they entered their senior year in high school. We spent the day eating, giggling, and hanging out on the football field and ended it with birthday cake. As different as these girls are their passions and love for one another are perfectly aligned. Like peas and carrots as they say. This day was their day and I just the lucky passenger along for the ride.