Monday, August 29, 2011

Celebrating Anniversaries....

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Everyone loves a celebration, whether it's a birthday, anniversary or especially something big like Christmas.  Those are just special times that make us feel good most of the time!  But it is only human nature for most people to also recognize the date of a time that was maybe not such a great time, such as the date someone died, a break-up date, etc.  Those are definitely not things we want to dwell on and celebrate, but oftentimes we'll notice that it passes through out mind that something significant happened on this date at some point in time.  For me today is one of those days.  It's not a happy celebration, but rather a day that brought me some hurt and heartbreak once upon a time.  Yet, I choose to celebrate this day! I know, I know... if it symbolizes a bad day, then what would I celebrate?!  So let me explain....

I celebrate that time has passed...that I can look back and remember every bit of that day, and I can remember feeling that perhaps I might actually stop breathing from the pain.  But I didn't!!  I'm still standing - and standing just fine!

I celebrate that I'm stronger.  There is always that fear or feeling that something bad will break us -- hurt us beyond repair.  But I can see that this bad thing made me look deeper within -- made me search for what I really believe in and who I really am.  And I have found this strong woman who can obviously go through some really deep hurts and come out stronger than ever!

I celebrate that I have a story - and that I can help others with what I have learned.  Too often we are tempted to feel ashamed of bad circumstances - or worse, ashamed when we have done something wrong ourselves.  But I choose to take those bad times in life and use them for some good.  I will let someone else know that I survived - that I found a way through - that God gave me strength beyond measure to handle pain that I thought would break me into a million pieces.  And if I can survive through the hurtful and sad times, then someone else can too.

I celebrate that I am not defeated - but that I have risen above and chosen to be a better person.  Yes - there is hurt, and there will be other hurts in this life.  But I pray that as I experience those tough times that I will remember that I am not alone -- God is always with me.  And He has given me friends to go through these times with me, but also He has given me strength to handle these times and the ability to grow from them.  I will not take these experiences for granted, or lock them away out of pride or embarrassment -- but I will learn lessons, and reach out to others with what I have been taught and hopefully help someone else survive through a hurt in their life.  

We don't always get to choose the circumstances that we are faced with in our lives... but we do always have a choice about how we reaction. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Having a Role in the Storms....

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 Life is not easy...that is definitely not a statement that most of us could not relate to at some time or other.  I've definitely gone through many storms in my life - and thankfully I've always come through and found the sunshine on the other side.  There have been times that after the storm was over I found my life to have gone through many changes, and maybe some of those changes were not what I wanted at all.  But as I've put my trust in God to take care of me, I've always found that the changes turned out for the best in the end.  

There are storms that we find ourselves in the middle of in our lives that are actually of our own making.  We made the choices (or mistakes) that led us into the path of that storm.  Of course our intentions were not to end up in a bad place, but we actually could have listened to better advice or paid a bit closer attention to how smart the choices we were making actually were and could have avoided the storm altogether.  The storm we suffer through turns out to actually be the consequences of our own bad decisions and choices.  So what do you do at the time when you feel stuck in a raging storm and you know that you made bad choices to get you here?  Obviously we can never back up time and undo what's already been done.  But we CAN learn, change and grow.  When I've found myself in these storms (and sometimes it may not be something you have done directly, but bad choices of someone close to you whose consequences affect you as strongly as them) HOLD on.  If the one who has made the bad choices to bring on the storm will see the extensive damage that they have done and CHANGE -- then that outcome looks the best.  But often it is during those storms that we see the true person and we need to learn that if someone will bring these storms into our lives then it may be necessary to change course and break free.  

Take a clear look at what brought this storm onto your life.  If it is consequences to your bad choices, then are you willing to change?  And if it was due to someone else, are you finding them broken and ready to change the path of their life?  If not, then hold on because the storms will only come more often and probably get stronger and more destructive.  

Learn from bad times.  The purpose for discipline is to learn bad or painful consequences come from bad choices or behavior -- and reward and good consequences come from obedience, good choices and good behavior.  So learn from the bad ones.  Remember the fear and hurt of the storm - and change what has to be changed to avoid them in the future.  And don't close off in your own world and think you are suffering alone.  What about your children (if you are a parent) - or your parents - your friends?  There is always a ripple effect and others are affected.  Rarely is something just about you.  

Become stronger.  Let the bad storms make you stronger rather than weaker.  That is a choice - and if it means you need to get some help for the next storm, then now is the time to get that help.  Look around and see who stands by you to get you through the storms - and hold tight to them.  They are proving their loyalty and love for you.  Don't make a bad choice and take that for granted!  Storms will come in this life... of that you can be sure.  But you can choose whether you are going to stand firm through the storms you have no choice but go through, and make choices to avoid going through storms that could actually be avoided.  

Often I think of how I want to look back upon my life, and I don't want to see that I chose all the wrong choices, that I made it ALL about me, that I was self-centered or selfish.  I want to look back and see that I learned through each storm I went through, that I became stronger, that I tried to help others by being open and honest about my own experiences and didn't stand on pride but rather humility.  HOLD on through the storms.  There is another day coming and the sun will shine again.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Been missing you....

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It has definitely been one of those weeks where I needed days that were 36 hours long in order to just stay semi-caught up.  Yet here I am getting ready to start a new week, and hopefully a calmer one as well. However the first few days turn out to be, at least I have a long weekend at the beach to look forward to.  I'm hoping to get some rest, long walks, some quiet time, and best of all not have to stare at that huge pile of clothes that needs to be ironed in my laundry room!  

This past week was definitely a week to remember.  Bailey, the 16-mo-old to whom I am Mimi, was with me day and night while her parents went for a trip to the beach.  I had known when I agreed to keep her for the week that it would turn out to be a week that would bust wide open, and I was not disappointed!  To start my week, a baby was born and I got to do his newborn photos on Monday.  I can't think of a better way to start any week, and would love if every week could start in exactly this same way.  If you read the other blog of mine, then you will get to learn more about that session soon, as that is the next blog on that agenda.  Already this baby has been blogged about even before his arrival, as I had also done maternity pictures with his Mom and Dad, and had even blogged about him the morning he was born on this blog.

Something I would like to share with you is that I don't take for granted how awesome it is that I get to share and capture in pictures so many special times with people.  Getting to interact with a family right after they have their first child and they are adjusting to the newness - and often scariness - of being parents is both a joy and an honor.  Having someone feel comfortable enough with me to completely be themselves, to let me see their vulnerability and sometimes even a glimpse of their soul and allow me to capture those moments is something that often catches my breath.  Honestly, I think the families that I have worked with would be surprised to know the huge impact they have each had on my heart... and how grateful I am to get to share in the special and uniqueness of each of their families.  So far I've never walked away feeling like I just did a "job" - but rather that my life was enriched in some special way.  My hope and prayer is that I leave something special in both my presence and my photos, and that I am invited back many times again.

I hope you are doing well... I've missed blogging, and hope you've missed me too!

Friday, August 12, 2011

How do you tell someone?

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... a little more about my life as a photographer...

A couple of months ago I did a maternity session with the sweetest couple.   They were expecting their first baby, and there was no way you could leave their presence and not feel extreme excitement for them.  It was so touching to watch the love between them in their looks and sweetness for one another.  And to add some adventure, they had decided not to find out if the baby was a boy or girl until the arrival date.  The due date was yesterday, and while I had tried not to pester the mom about having that baby on Wednesday (which we all know was my daughter's 21st birthday!) I was hopeful.  But in being very much like the parents, this little baby decided to start the arrival on the due date.  Even though I slept with my phone right by my side, I missed the message that came in at 2:15 am that HE had arrived... and Mommy and baby boy were doing well.  Oh, the excitement!  

A new baby has made my heart skip a beat and brought tears to my eyes for as long as I can remember.  Even as a child, hearing of the birth of a baby was undoubtedly one of the most special moments.  But then when I became a Mom myself it became something even more real.  Now as my kids have grown up and I have so many years of motherhood under my belt, you would think I could control the tears of joy at the news of each new baby -- but so far it's not working that way.  There is so much I want to tell a new Mom... so much I wish I had known.  And so much that is just impossible to explain to someone, and I only hope and pray that they see the gift in front of them.

How do you explain the great love you feel for that baby who you have carried inside of you for months?  You imagine and hope and dream... and then all of a sudden that child is right there in your arms and the feeling is so much more than you ever imagined!  But it only goes on and grows from there.  My kids are now grown, and I am a Mom who believes in them growing up and being independent.  I don't call them constantly (even though I would like to!) and I allow them to make their mistakes and learn from their consequences.  But what they don't know -- and what I didn't know when they were first born -- is that they are attached to my heart in some special way.  I feel their pains, their disappointments and their joys.  How do you explain to someone holding their new baby that life will just never be the same, and they no longer have control over their heart?  It is amazing how much love our hearts can hold, and there are not words to explain that to someone.  

When I look back to over 24 years ago when my first son was born, I remember wondering if I would ever be able to stop crying.  My joy was so much greater than anything I had ever felt, and the tears just flowed.  The answer is "No"... 24 years and two more children later, the tears have been many.  The sacrifices have sometimes been huge.  But there is not even one day that I would change -- not even the worst of the days -- if it possibly meant not having the opportunity to be Mom to these kids.  And there is no way to tell someone about that... they must find out for themselves.  

Congratulations my friend... I am so happy for you!  Life will never be the same, and you will see everything in a different light.  Your ability to love has just grown to a new level, and you will be amazed at the great lengths you will be willing to go for that new little life in your arms.  It's hard to imagine, but motherhood is just a small glimpse of the great love God has for us.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy 21st Birthday, sweet CJ....

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Where in the world have 21 years gone?  It is just a little past midnight, and my daughter is celebrating her 21st birthday today.  My heart celebrates with her, but there is also a bit of an ache.  The tears that are welled up in my eyes sting, and I am a bit confused as to why I have such a need to cry.  This is such a happy day - my baby is now an adult.  But the Mom in me may never really see any of my children as adults...and my baby girl will definitely always be my baby girl.  My mind is full of the memories of the last 21 years with this child... all the way back to 21 years ago when I couldn't sleep the night before she was born.  I knew the doctor was planning to break my water with the hope that labor would start, and the excitement that I was going to meet the little miracle growing inside of me was more than I could stand.  "Sleep can wait until later," I can remember thinking!  Now here I am 21 years later, and I would rather spend time with that girl than sleep any day!  There are no words to describe to someone what it feels like to experience love as a mother.  But for me, as much as I love my sons, there are still no words to describe the special and incredible love for this daughter.  From the first moment all I wanted to do was protect her and keep her safe from any of the hurts I had ever experienced.  And until the day I die, I have no doubt that I would lay my life down for hers.  

Sweet daughter, your life has brought me tears of sadness and joy... you have brought me laughter and you have driven me to scream at times...  I look at you and see myself in so much of you, and that makes me proud and afraid at the same time.  You are so smart and driven - and I pray that you are always honest and true.  I would not change one thing in my life - not trade the very worst day - if that meant it changed the opportunity to be your Mom.  

Happy Birthday, sweet C.J.  May your heart always be full of my love for you!

"i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

"i fear no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

"here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

"i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)"

- e. e. cummings ~

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Being a Mom has taught me so much...

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Tomorrow is my daughter's 21st birthday... that statement makes me want to cry in so many ways.  She is my baby - the youngest of 3 children - and although nothing really changes tomorrow, it's the reality that all of my kids are grown now that takes my breath away.  Even as a small child when someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was consistently "a mother."  Many people would say "of course you'll be a mother one day... but what do you want to BE."  Like being a Mother wasn't a good enough job in and of itself.  But my dream came true - 3 times over.  And after two beautiful little boys, I had a little girl who stole my heart and has continued to carry it with her since many moments before she was ever even born.  But don't misunderstand and think that I'm sitting back with my feet kicked up and saying it has all been easy -- far from it!  There have been mistakes, hurts, disappointments, arguments, attitudes, spankings, tears, laughs, secrets... the list is endless!  But most of all there has been so much love - and so many lessons learned.  

Being a Mom taught me just how small I really am in this world.  There is no room for selfishness in being a parent.  You have to learn very quickly that the world doesn't revolve around you... and the best parents also teach their kids that the world doesn't revolve around them either.  It's just not great to think that everything will go your way all the time, or that there aren't sacrifices in life.  Having children requires a lot of sacrifice - and the sacrifice has been something I've been glad to give in order to have the awesome opportunity to hold this little life that God chose ME to carry into the world.  I've never understood these people who have children and then use them as leverage to get what they want - often from their own parents!  Is this something one of them was taught growing up - and if so, I wonder how it really made them feel when they were the child.  My Mom and I have not always agreed on everything, and there have even been those difficult times when I was really upset with her - or she with me - and we weren't in a hurry to spend time with one another.  But that never affected her seeing or being able to see my children.  My kids learned very early on that they could trust completely in some people (especially their Grandmother) - and that is a crucial lesson for kids to learn.  What message is it giving them to then keep them from someone as if they are not safe?  Things like this really are upsetting.  One day I will be a grandmother...some little person will come into this world who will share a part of me in one of my own kids, and I cannot even begin to imagine how much I will love them.  I pray that I have taught my kids how to love completely by the love that I've given them love.  And I hope my kids never see their children as a way to punish or reward me -- but rather that they love their kids enough they would never want to do anything to teach them mistrust.  

But for today I will feel nostalgic... thinking back to the moments before the great day of my daughter's birth.  Remembering the anticipation, love and fear... and not wanting to trade the moment for any other time in the world.  I celebrate her life and all she is to me.  And I know a secret that many parents learn... when you have a child, a piece of your heart is broken off and they carry it through their life.  They never belong to you, as a possession - they are only a gift from God to take care of and do the very best for.  But take care of them as you would your own heart - love them with all you have inside of you.  No matter what, you can never love them too much!

To my babygirl -- happy day before your birthday, sweet girl.  There truly are not words to say how much I love you, and how I celebrate that you were put in my life.  I could not be prouder of who you are, and will be forever grateful that you call me Mom.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Coming soon.....

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It has definitely been one of those times in life lately when there is more to do than the day allows.  I feel like I'm staying up later, getting up earlier, am exhausted most of the time, and I'm NEVER caught up!  In some ways that's a good thing - but reality is, something is going to get neglected when things go like that for too long.  Needless to say, my house is crying from neglect.  I run the vacuum over the floors, keep up with getting the laundry washed, dried and usually folded.  But the ironing is mile-high, I have organizing that I need to get done throughout the house, and all of this leaves me feeling rather frustrated.  So how in the world can I even think of going to the beach and leaving this mess?  Easy - I need a break from it all, and you take those when they come along.  

Don't give up on me, if you're reading my blog.  I will get caught back up - and with all of the adjustments I will find a way to get back into a regular swing with getting the blogs up more often -- both the Photography by DonnaKay and this one, Beyond Photography by DonnaKay.

I appreciate you so much, if you are reading this blog.  As always, I would always love to hear from you.  If you don't feel you want to leave a comment in that section, please feel free to send me an email at: 

I look so forward to sharing more with you soon!!  Have a great day!  ~~DK
And just in case you haven't seen my Ad page from yesterday I'll share a copy of it here for you! (I'm sure you could have checked out of the world for just a few hours to miss all of my announcements!)