Wednesday, November 15, 2017

THE CONDIE FAMILY || SPECIAL FRIENDS

I don't even know where to start with the Condie Family. There are just some people who walk into your life and you are never the same again. These are those people.

I met Annalisa and Greg during a very dark time in my life, I was struggling with depression because I was struggling with infertility and I didn't know how to deal with it, who to talk to or how much to share. I don't even remember how we met or how we connected, but I know that Annalisa was meant to be here in Chicago during that exact time. I'm sure it wasn't just for me, but I am just as sure that it was an answer to my prayers.

We shared everything about fertility and the lack of it. We talked about trials and struggles, we talked long hours in her driveway after YW meetings. We shared recipes and planned activities together. She served as my counselor when I was the YW President and when I was released I knew that she was the perfect person to take my place. She loved those amazing girls every bit as much as I did.

Several years later, I was over the moon excited when she announced that they were pregnant with twins, and it didn't even hurt my heart that it wasn't me because I knew how much it meant to them and how much they had struggled. They were born just a few weeks before they graduated from medical school and moved away from here. I am grateful for the "unexpected" trip to help them move to Kalamazoo so I could spend a few more hours with them!! {that is a really fun story!!}

They moved again to Virginia, Greg finished school {finally, am I right?}, are now back in Utah, and just bought their first house. YAY!!!! I was SO, SO excited that we were able to work it out so that I could take their pictures while I was in Utah. I got to see those cute twin boys, who I haven't seen since they were just weeks old. I got to meet their newest son who I've never met and I got to see how grown up their oldest daughter is.

Annalisa and Greg, I don't know if you know how much your friendship and example have meant to me over the years. I don't know if you know how much of an impact you had on me all those years ago. I don't know if you know that all those nights of talking about infertility were the healing balm to my broken heart. I don't know if you know that you were one of the first people I called when I found out my mom had cancer, because I knew that you knew how I felt. I knew that you understood, and I knew that you would know what to say and what to do, because you had been there.

Thank you, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me, for loving me and for supporting me all these years. I am so grateful that I get to call you my friends.














Thursday, November 9, 2017

IF I HAD ONLY KNOWN || TWO YEARS LATER

If you had told me 2 years ago that I would be where I am today I would NEVER have believed you. Two years ago we were sitting by my mom's side knowing that any day, any moment could be her last, watching her slip away from us, knowing that there was nothing we could do to keep her here and that we had precious little time left with her. Two years ago I was heart-broken and I didn't believe that I was ever going to be able to move forward without my mom. Two years ago my marriage was falling apart, but I was so heartbroken over losing my mother, that I couldn't do anything about it. Two years ago, I was broken. I was afraid and alone. Two years ago, my life was shattered in pieces and I had no idea how to put it back together.


The last two years have not been easy. There have been many, many tears. There has been anger and pain. There has been laughter and joy. There has been heartbreak and heartache. There has been hope and healing.

And today?

Today I am not only living, I am living my best life, I am happy and I find joy in everyday. I have found a passion and a purpose. I have found ME. I'm not sure I can explain how much this means to me and how much it has changed my life and my view of those around me. I'm not sure I can explain my why, the reason why I believe photos are SO important and why I pour my heart and soul into every session. 

Six months ago I decided that I needed something in my life that brought me joy. I wanted something more. I needed to do something different. The last year and a half had been brutal and I needed something that made me feel like I was giving back, something that made me smile. If you have known me very long, you know that I am passionate about photos, documenting and story telling. I have bookcases full of scrapbooks from the last 20 years of my life. I have pictures of EVERYTHING. Just ask Tanner! 

I decided to put all of my faith in myself, and stop being afraid to fail and I invested in photography classes from Amy & Jordan Demos. I watched every lesson and I did EVERYTHING they told me to do, I learned how to shoot, and edit, I learned how to pose, I learned how to run a business and how to be successful. Then, I practiced and I prayed. Oh, how I prayed. I prayed that I would be good enough, that I would have someone who would want me to take their pictures. I prayed that I would be able to JUST cover the costs of the classes with new clients. I prayed again that I wouldn't fail. 

Today I've updated my BLOG, and my FACEBOOK with a new logo, a new design and ALL new pictures that I've taken in the last 6 months. Not only did I cover all of the cost of the classes, but I've more than tripled the amount the classes cost.  I was able to take Tanner to see Les Miserables, I was able to go home to Utah, I was able to pay off some debt. I am SO DANG PROUD of where I am today!!!! I am SO DANG PROUD of the work that I am producing now. I am confident that I AM good enough. I am confident that I know what to do to get the kind of images I want to get, EVERY TIME!!

In addition to the classes, I have gained an entire community of photographers around the world who cheer for each other. Who help each other, who answer questions and give guidance. I have made so many new friends and have received so much love and guidance from this whole new community. I didn't expect this when I signed up for some online photography classes. {they are SO MUCH MORE than just classes!!}

I didn't expect this to change my life so much. I didn't expect to find so much Joy and feel so fulfilled. 

This was taken by my new AJ Friend Emily Broadbent
I sit here tonight with tears streaming down my face in gratitude to a loving Father in Heaven who NEVER gives up on me even when I don't have enough faith in myself. He directs my life every day. I KNOW that He guided and directed me to those classes. I know that it was exactly what I needed RIGHT NOW in my life. I know that he is aware of me and my needs. I know that he provides for me and that he will NEVER leave me to figure it out on my own. I know that I can trust Him, because he is the same today, yesterday and forever. 

I can't help but think that my angel mamma is up in heaven CHEERING with me tonight. I feel her with me often, but tonight I wish I could call her and hear her tell me that she knew I could do it, that she always believed in me. I wish I could show her how far I've come. {I'm sure she already knows}. I feel her guidance. I feel her love. I know that she is watching over me always, but I am so grateful that I have felt her so close as I have taken this huge step in my life. 

I love you mamma. I miss you every minute of every day. I don't know how I've lived 2 whole years without you, but I have. I've made it and even though I can't see you, I can feel you in my life and I know that you are so proud of all the hard work I've been doing to learn and to grow. 

I love you more!!

IF YOU GOT THIS FAR: In my mamma's honor, I'm giving away a FAMILY PHOTO SESSION {$295} VALUE, go to my Pinned Post HERE to find out all the details!!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

MY SISTER AND HER GIRLS!! || OH, THE OUTTAKES!

I don't know if it's because she's my sister, and because I know her and the girls so well, but man they were all SO SILLY during their photo session. I could barely get them set up and get one good shot when they were laughing and giggling and being so silly....so we got lost of outtakes!! {which I LOVE!}.

It's been several years since they have had their pictures taken and I didn't really give her a choice, I just told her that I was coming and that I wanted to be able to take their pictures. I'm so glad they all cooperated with me! :) I'm not sure what I would have done if she hadn't agreed!

I know most of the time, taking pictures is not the most fun, or the most comfortable for ANYONE. I know my sister didn't really want her pictures taken, and that she feels less than perfect. {Don't we ALL?}. But one thing I've learned in the last few years, is to cherish my photos, every single one. I have way less pictures of me with my mom than I would like. I can only find 3 or 4 good ones, of just the two of us, from the time I moved to Chicago 16 years ago until she got sick. I wish I had made her take a picture with me EVERY time we were together. {She didn't like pictures either, so I hated making her do something I knew wasn't her favorite thing to do. Oh, if I had only known}.

And do you know what?

I don't look at a single one of those pictures and think, oh man, what was she thinking? Why did she wear that? Why does she have her hair like that? Man, she looks like she's put on a few pounds.

NEVER ONCE have I worried about any of those things, because she's my mom, and she's not here physically anymore, and the photos I have of her are a tangible reminder that she lived, that she loved me, that she changed and grew and to me, they are priceless!

So the next time you think it's time to have pictures taken, do NOT hesitate, don't wait until this or that, don't put it off....you just never how short life is, you never know when you or one of your loved ones will be gone, and your photos just might end up being one of you're most treasured possessions.

PS: My sister and her girls are ADORABLE!!! I love so many of their pictures.














 





I also got to take some pictures of my niece and her friend in their skates. LOVE this white wall!!








Monday, November 6, 2017

JASON AND KELSEY || BEAUTIFUL UTAH MOUNTAINS

I come from a big extended family, I have something like 38 cousins on my mom's side and 13 more on my dad's side. When we get together for family events, there are a LOT of us {at the last reunion I think the count was 115 direct descendants on my mom's side}. That was a few years ago, so I'm not even sure what the count is now. {Kelsey's dad, Uncle Robert would know, and he probably can even tell you everyone in age order!}

I love the connections I've made with my extended family. I don't get to see them very often, but I'm so grateful for social media and being able to stay in contact online with most of them. It's so fun to see them grow up and have families of their own.

I was so excited that I got to take some updated pictures of my cousin Kelsey, and her husband Jason, while I was in Utah. They were brave and got up early to meet me in the mountains, even though it was only 38 degrees that morning. Jason told me he wasn't good at pictures and that he always made funny faces, but I assured him that I would tell him exactly what to do and that he didn't need to worry about it. {and he did FANTASTIC as you can see!}

I LOVE how their picture turned out, the fall colors are so pretty and the light was just gorgeous that morning. It was totally worth getting up in the freezing cold weather to get these beautiful shots!! You two are adorable!!