family

Connections

I pressed the button here, so this is technically not my camera or edit. But these are my best people. Credit to my cousin, Rowan Williams of  Parrot & Pineapple Photography , for her mad skills and camera.

I pressed the button here, so this is technically not my camera or edit. But these are my best people. Credit to my cousin, Rowan Williams of Parrot & Pineapple Photography, for her mad skills and camera.

A few weeks ago, we had these lovelies visiting us for a week from England. My whole family is from “the Motherland,” and we don’t get to see them nearly as much as I would like. When we do see them, days zip by as we navigate through meals and sightseeing, sitting poolside watching time slip away relentlessly, like water in a sieve.

Shortly after their visit, one of my best friends came to the area for a brief overnight trip. I felt the same tugging at my heart - that familiar feeling you get when you slip right back where your friendship last dropped off, despite years of children, missed birthdays, and too many miles between you both. It’s a familiarity of friendship that can’t be replaced or changed. I melted into the feeling once again, leaning into a sense of peace as they shuffled out to the car in my dark driveway, sleepy babies in tow…the fuzziness of familiarity, peace, and satisfaction of a delicious evening together.

It’s that feeling that I always want to bask in…the timeless love, forgiveness of sins, and unabashed acceptance of one another as we are in the moment we are in.

It’s not often we get these people in our lives that can hold space for us as we are. It’s not often we get people that love us unconditionally. I mean…let’s be real….I don’t even love myself that way. But when spend your time with people who make you feel wholly you – without hidden, selfish agendas or a mission to change you – isn’t it worth hanging on for dear life?

Perhaps the place I am in with life right now makes this even more poignant… change is on the horizon: my child is grown and ready to spread his wings, and loved ones have passed on…leaving connection to the people I have been closest to that much more desirable and necessary.

We are hard wired for connection. Ask any anthropologist or sociologist. It’s a requirement for living. Babies will actually die without physical connection, even when their other needs are met. So it’s no wonder that despite my best efforts to cut myself off, these deep connections I feel with family and friends who I have shared a history with are normal and expected…and, dare I say, necessary.

So now, I look forward to what the next phase holds. Maybe it’s a re-connection phase. Or maybe it’s a freedom phase. I just know it will be a phase of deep, meaningful relationships wherever I turn.

And thank goodness for direct flights.

Dad

Dad

I miss you, Dad.

I miss your big, strong hands that held mine tightly when I needed to be safe and loved.

I miss your tenacity and your insanely positive outlook on everything.

I miss watching you love the kids and the pets in our family. I miss seeing you chatting with Graham, both of you snuggly tucked into his bed having conversations about trains and jet fighters and weapons and boats and all the delightfully simple and sweet things toddlers talk about.

I miss the comfort of our simple conversations. I miss the quietness they held. I miss the simplicity of their tone. I miss the complexity of their quietness.

I miss having someone that believed endlessly and faithfully in all my powers, dreams and hopes.

Mostly, I just miss you being here, quietly guiding me, gently supporting me, endlessly loving us all where we were...as we were.

Thanks for being there, Dad.

XO

Lib

Giving Thanks

thanksgiving

Yesterday was another Thanksgiving. Another reason to pause and show gratitude for the things we have which isn't a tall order for most of us in this country. Our forefathers took over one of the prettiest frontiers of the planet filled with lush forests, dry deserts and vast fields to live a life most people only dream of in their lifetime. We owe grace to that.

Yet still, for some, there are days it's hard to find grace in the mix. Things go wrong. Family gets sick. Relationships crumble out from underneath us. And money can be hard to come by in our society which is focused today on more abundance than I think yesterday was built on. It's hard to find a balance in that. It's hard to say "I'm lucky" when we are feeling less than so.

But pause for a moment. Look around you. Remember the things that matter most. Find something you have that fills you up. Sometimes it's family or a friend. Sometimes it's the place you live or a pet you couldn't get by without every day. Some days it's merely that you have a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator and a soft place to lay your head each night.  Whatever it is, find the gratitude within it and give it the honor it deserves.

Today - on the day after Thanksgiving - I am grateful that I have people I love, a roof over my head, clean water to drink, freedom, the best bed in the south, and some seriously good deep fried Turkey. I have it all, even when I don't.

Everything I need is there...right in front of me, just waiting to be appreciated.

 

Precipice

precipice

We are on the precipice of something big. Standing on a cliff, ready to fall into the gusty winds.

Change is headed our way - with or without me being prepared. It's coming regardless of whether we are all perfectly ready and in balance for it's arrival. Change is on my doorstep, whether I want it to or not.

High school looms on the horizon now and I can't believe it's here. I can't believe the time ticks away so fast or that the little boy who held my hand as we crossed the street to go to preschool is now taller than me and taking on this world little by little... one day at a time.

I guess that's how it all really happens, too. Day by day. Minute by minute. Without us even knowing. Until one day - one scary, big, confusing day - they walk across that stage to receive a little 8th grade diploma and stretch their wings as they stand on the edge of that cliff.

And I will whisper into the sky (just low enough for only him to hear), "Not yet peanut...not just yet. I still need to teach you to fly."

 

Remember this...

Happy 1st Birthday, Baby Sam!

Happy 1st Birthday, Baby Sam!

Remember this.

Every day is important. Each and every moment is significant - the small ones and the big ones. Don't forget that. Document what you can. And print your memories. Save them. Treasure them and keep them close. Because in a blink of an eye those babies are celebrating their first birthday. Or in 3rd grade. Or thirteen going on thirty. And you have no idea how you got here. You have no concept of how to keep up with them and stop time from slipping through your fingers. It's like holding water in your open hands.

If you asked me - even before I was a professional photographer - I would have told you the same thing I would tell you today: take those photos, print them out, save them, and honor them like the priceless treasures they are. That way, when you can't remember what silly face they made when they were 2 or the way their sweet lips looked curiously, the photos will at least give you some way of finding that memory you tucked away for all those years ago.

So capture it all. Those precious first days of school. Homework in February. Celebratory swim meets. Ordinary afternoons. They are all significant.

They are all worth remembering.

 

Baby Love

baby love

Baby love. On the beach.

Sweet, sweet baby love. This shoot with Monica and her sweet family seems surreal in a way. I knew her when we were both single, young professionals and our lives were much, much different. Now here we are, years later, with kids of our own and families to take care of. It seems like a lifetime has gone by in a few short years.

Lucky for both of us, it's a lifetime of love and memories.

 

Love

love

Let love guide you.

Let it guide every decision you make and every breath you take. Let it wash over you in a way that water does for your thirsty soul. Let it enter every breath you take and every move that happens each day.

Let love show you the way out of the darkness and into the light. Let it show you all the good and all the bad parts of life, even when you aren't ready to see them. Let love shine out of your face and seep from your pores.

Let love be the answer. To everything.

Whatever may come...

My family from yesterday's shoot. Could they be any more gorgeous?

My family from yesterday's shoot. Could they be any more gorgeous?

I always go into shoots not really knowing what to expect. Every shoot is a little different. Maybe I have never met any of the family. Or maybe I know them all too well. But there is never an air of predictability about a shoot. There is always an air of uncertainty.

I actually like it this way. If I go in assuming something is going to be a certain way, I usually am caught off guard or disappointed. But when I can't predict it, I am almost more relaxed. I have a "whatever may come" attitude and approach which I think, in turn, puts everyone more at ease. There are no time constraints, no limits, no preconceived ideas about the day. Which usually makes everyone ease into their spots, becoming casually who they are....without even trying or knowing they are doing it.

 

Auntie Libby

BabyV

Besides being a mother, one of my favorite things in the world is to be an Auntie. It's full of all kinds of perks. You get to play with them without any of the hardships of parenting. There is really no discipline or punishing. There are no bedtimes to stress about or mealtimes to angst over. It's just play. Fun. Adventure. Love.

This week, I got to play Auntie for a few short and precious hours. We threw balls and colored. We played Bubble Guppies and read books. We even sang and danced (well, not so much me with the singing and the dancing. But this one sure put on a show!) It's always an adventure being the Auntie.

I also got to meet this cutie pie and be a totally different kind of Auntie...more like squishy pillow Auntie.

These newborns get me every time. The baby smells and the sounds and the gummy smiles. I am all a melted puddle of love after holding a newborn. I always thought it was a such a treat having a little one around of my own - albeit too brief.

For now, though, I will love being the Auntie. The play and fun and treats all make for feeling a little bit like Mary Poppins in the life of your friends and family. I know when momma needs help and rest. But I also know when it's time to step down and let momma do the work she needs to do.

Because nothing - and I really mean NOTHING - can replace your mom in this world.

The rollercoaster ride of parenthood

My little guy is turning into such a man these days. Responsible and noble. Kind and generous. At the same time he is still a little kid. Shy and awkward, with so much to learn.

It's such a thrilling age - this preteen/tween stage. So many people hate to parent kids of this age, but I am really loving it. You can see the shape of who they are going to be in a few short years when they spreads their wings and jump head-first into this big wide world. And they are like curious little sponges (probably looking for information to prove their parents wrong at any turn).

It's a rollercoaster ride - this parenting thing - filled with loop-de-loops, ups, downs, corkscrews and death defying tricks you are never sure if you will get out of alive. But at the end, I am sure I won't get off and think I am going to be sick. I think I will rather say - WOW! That was the ride of my life. I am so glad I took the chance to do it.

Each day brings it's own ride. But I wouldn't trade a second of it for the world.