Defining Home



The Christmas décor finally came down this weekend.  While I love the warmth and light it provided, I am loving the sense of simplicity that putting it all away has brought.  Less material clutter equals less mind clutter – am I right?  Less is more.

I feel like I have finally narrowed down my style – or at least the elements that define my style.  (Carved wood, clean lines, and light neutral colors; to name a few.)  And our Alaska home is (so far) the home that has felt the most like “us.”  I have just a few more projects to complete, to help get it as close as possible to my vision for the place.

Home is where my family lives and my family is everything to me.  Maybe this is why making a house a home has personally always been incredibly fun and of importance.  I’ve been pondering to myself what “home” really means and shared a few thoughts below.

Your home is your refuge.   A safe haven for your family from the ever changing elements outside.  A retreat to provide peace and comfort when life gets hard.

Your home is an extension of yourself.  A canvas to fill with the colors, shapes and textures that are pleasing to your eye.  A place to reflect the lives and ideas of those who dwell there.

Home is also a feeling.  A feeling of love…security…comfort…familiarity.

There is a song that goes “home is wherever I’m with you.”  I am sure most people can attest to that statement – I know I can.  We have lived in 5 homes in 5 states over the past 7 years and every place has felt like “home.”  When you are with the one(s) whom your soul loves, you can happily make a home wherever you are planted.

 

 

Fall 2017 Mini Sessions | Eagle River, AK



Now that the holidays have passed and everyone’s cards are out, I wanted to share some favorites from the fall mini sessions.

 

New Year, Renewed Hope



2017 was personally a tough year.  Seasonal affective disorder and lingering postpartum anxiety to start off the year, and the death of a close friend and my husbands grandmother to end the year.  Ouch.  I do not want to undermine the good parts of 2017, because there were lots of good parts too.  But overall it was a hard year and I am looking forward to a fresh start.

With the trials and tragedies this year presented, life also brought hope and gratitude.  Joy cannot exist without pain; You cannot have one without the other.  I was reminded of this yesterday as I read the Prophet by Khalil Gibran (a beautiful book by the way.)  When he touched on pain, these verses really spoke to me;

“And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;  And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.  And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.”

As the earth has its seasons, life has its seasons too.  Aim not to rush through the tough seasons, or avoid feeling the pain they may bring…but use them as an opportunity for growth, reflection, showing grace, having gratitude.

Going to change directions here and share an interesting moment that happened yesterday.

In the morning I asked the hubsy to take a few candid photos of the girls and I; one of my goals this year is to try and get in the frame with them more, since that never happens.  Shortly after, we went to Costco and a random man made a sweet comment about the girls and then looked right at me and said this:

“When you take photos make sure you include yourself.  There are 5 of us kids and when my mom passed away we had the hardest time finding pictures with her included because she was always the one behind the camera.  So make sure you get pictures of you in there too.”

It could not be any more validating to hear this random advice from a random stranger and let alone right after I made it a point to do this.  So hear me out friends – make it a goal to include yourself in more family photos this year and get in front of the camera!

 

Less Work, More Life



If you are new around here, then you will notice I am not one to blog.  For the past two years, updating my website and blogging on the regular has been on the perpetual to do list…and I have just not been able to make it happen.

And I am finally okay with that.

Baby #2 and a move to Alaska woke me up to the reality that I just cannot do it all.  I cannot take on as much work as I had before.  Period.  The ambitious, never ending to-do list was never going to be checked off unless I gave in and removed a couple to-do’s.  I knew I had to be wise about which ones to remove.

I recently read “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist and the book resonated with me so deeply.  (If you are an overwhelmed working parent you need to read it now.)

I found myself nodding yes, snapping pictures of pages, and literally having “ah-ha!” moments that stopped me in my tracks and moved me to re-read passages over and over to really absorb the words. Just one of many quotes that struck me:

“Sometimes being brave is being quiet. Being brave is getting off the drug of performance. For me, being brave is trusting that what my God is asking of me, what my family and community is asking of me, is totally different than what our culture says I should do.”

My work has always been motivated by the need for a creative outlet – not making money or gaining popularity.  Honestly.  But, I am a people pleaser and fell into the trap of always saying “yes” until my schedule was completely maxed out and I had little time left for family, friends and pursuing other creative activities of interest to me.  I truly believe that “if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” but when you start to have an imbalance of work to your personal life, then your craft starts to lose its luster.  I knew I had to take action before that happened.

It’s not easy to put on the brakes and get used to saying “no.” I admit it was a struggle at first and felt completely unnatural.  But when you finally build up the courage to take control and get your priorities straight, it is tremendously freeing.

The book served as a reminder to put my focus back on faith and family.  I do sometimes wish of returning to work in the salon or growing my photography business, but it’s just not where my heart is.  These things absolutely feed my creative soul and they will always be a part of my life, but they are not going to run my life.  My heart is at home and it is where I want to spend my days while our children are still little.

I am finally at a place where I can control how much I want to do and know when to put on the brakes.  The quote “work to live, don’t live to work,”  is so simple yet so remarkably true.  You clearly need to work to make a living, but it should never take precedence over God and family.  Period.  And yet many people mistakenly fall into this trap.

I’m tremendously grateful I have the opportunity to work less…especially knowing not everyone is granted this option.  But we are all given the gift of today and each day amounts to a lifetime.  I want my life to be spent living by my faith, loving my family, and then pursuing my passions.

Maybe one day I will get around to updating my website and blogging on the regular…but that day definitely won’t be today.

And I am okay with that.

 

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My greatest accomplishment.

Baby J



Back in the spring we welcomed another little lady into our family.  Big sister couldn’t be any more excited about having baby J around, and we couldn’t be either!

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