August 3, 2011

My New Blogsite

My new blogsite is LIVE!!!
It's my blog and website ALL in ONE!! So exciting....

Update your google readers, favourites and bookmarks...this will be home for a while :)

August 2, 2011

Just for Her Summer Series - Marriage

"Well you signed up for it!" I exclaimed....trying to lighten the mood and Kristen's exasperation with me after another day filled with wifely nagging.

But the truth is, he did sign up for it. When Kristen & I took our vows, those solemn promises, we did sign the dotted line that said for better, for worse, for days that are normal, for days that are filled with Christa's Crazy. He knew exactly who I was and what he was signing that fateful day in 2007
Since the onset of 2011 (a mere 7 months) I have literally watched five couples, all of whom are friends or childhood friends, call it quits on their relationships, three of those since April alone. And me...well being causes me to think, look at my own marriage and assess. Or in my case completely panic and go into meltdown mode. I actually talked to Kristen about this one day, about how I was freaking out about our friends breaking up and how I don't want to ever be in those shoes. How I don't ever want us to get "there" to that point of no return.
 Recently I was challenged to write a letter. Write a letter of those unspoken words to someone that you should say, already should have been said but you haven't. I wrote my letter to Kristen. I wrote my letter to him....simply out of fear. Fear that we will forget who we were and who we are. Forget who we were when we were youthful and ignorantly blissful. I told him I didn't want to forget the WHY we chose each other, I didn't want to forget our dreams & wishes. I told him I didn't want to forget any of the us, because in a life filled with schedules, children & what is sometimes the mundane routine of life....we do forget. We do make mistakes. We do take for granted.

I did not sign up for mediocre.

I refuse to have a marriage that's just okay, I refuse to have a marriage that's just getting by. In a society completely absorbed with self, we don't acknowledge that marriage is filled with compromise, communication and at times sacrifice of the oh so important self.

In a society where divorce is okay, in a society where SELF is #1 and you living YOUR life, your way, is KING....I'm putting it out there that we as women can stand our ground and our belief in the bond of marriage. We as women can be that generation today to start a revolution that marriage might not be for everyone, but for those of us that have chosen it, it's worth it!

I want to look back at my life when I'm old & grey with bragging rights!! I want to be able to tell the love story that was Kristen & I. One that might have had its challenges and disappointments but we clawed and tore our way through it anyway. That our marriage was one filled with companionship, adventure, laughter and happiness. Our solemn promise that was never broken.

And with that....this week's challenge: 

- Have a conversation! Talk to your husband. Tell him your unspoken words. Even if it is in a letter.

- Dwell only on the positive....even the little things like putting out the garbage. In the routine of life, it's very easy to take it all for granted.

- No grass is greener's from the devil!! Seriously...what happens behind closed doors is so completely different than what any couple might actually let you see. Therefore, NO comparing. Every relationship is different and unique, just like people :) What works for me might not work for you, so why even both comparing apples to oranges.

- And last but not least, take time out for just the two of you. Maybe a walk, a date night, or talking an extra 10 minutes when you go to bed tonight. Make "us" a priority this week. Let's be women of marriage's that are NOT of the mediocre kind.

Photo of us, taken August 2005

"One of the nicest things you can  say to your partner, 'If I had it to do over again, I'd choose you. Again"
- Unknown

July 31, 2011

Thoughts for a Sunday morning....

live with intention.
walk to the edge.
listen hard.
practice wellness.
play with abandon.
choose with no regret.
continue to learn.
appreciate your friends.
do what you love.
live as if this is all there is.

-mary anne radmacher

July 28, 2011

Christmas Petite Sessions

It's Christmas in July!
Well not really....I am however offering limited in home studio sessions on Nov 5th & 12th only.
These petite sessions will go as follows:
30 minutes for a family up to 5 people (additional fees for additional members)
Online Viewing Gallery
And depending on which session you book it will also include 25 Christmas Cards where you can pick one of the 3 designs you'll see below.

First option: Simple Petite Session

These cards are rectangular double sided cards with envelopes
Sample of one of the designs #1 - front

Design #1 - Back

Second choice is the deluxe petite session

The main difference in this session are the cards. They're the boutique cards so instead of rectangular double sided you get one of these two choices....

The Scalloped Edge  (design #2)....note the dotted line is not on the card. These are just screen shots I took so you can get a better idea of the shape of the card :)

And the ornate (design #3) ....again without the dotted line on the edge :)

If you book your Christmas or any portrait session before August 31st you'll receive a complimentary 8x10 Fine Art Gift Print
**Session fee is due at time of booking to hold place**

Don't forget if studio sessions aren't you're style I'm booking regular portrait sessions until the end of August where you can easily use those photos for this year's family Christmas card if you wish!

Playing With Light

I found Jesse playing with one of his toys in the laundry basket on Sunday.
I also noticed the interesting light on his I thought I would play.
This first photo was taken in aperture priority with spot metering

This one would be my typical shot....I fixed the curtains so he would be evenly exposed and took it in manual option...yes you can even see his dirty face in this one.

In this case I actually prefer the first one. More dramatic, totally pushing me both technically and creatively...which is a good thing right?!!?

July 26, 2011

Just for Her Summer Series - Girlfriends

It was my first year after graduating college. Kristen & I were living in a city where I knew very few people and as much as I loved Kristen and spending time with him I was going crazy. I needed girl time!

I needed female opinions and conversation on the things and happenings in my life. Kristen is my best friend but he’s still a guy and I needed that balance in my life. So I rounded up a few acquaintances (“kind of” friends at the time but none I would consider “close”) and we joined an all women’s volleyball league. It was exactly what the Doctor ordered. I was able to laugh, giggle and talk girly stuff that Kristen would humour me and listen, but I’m sure some days were driving HIM crazy.

It was from that point that I always made it a priority to have girlfriends in my life. Some are only acquaintances, some were only there for a season, some were and are soul mates that no matter how near or far there’s a connection that she can and will always be someone I can depend on.

So with that here’s my list of what to  and what not to look for when looking for a GREAT girlfriend.... please feel free to agree/disagree :) I strongly encourage the conversation

A GREAT girlfriend will.....

Be a positive influence in your life.
Be there for you in bad times but doesn’t allow you to wallow in self pity.
Will tell you the truth even when it hurts.
Challenges & encourages you to be more, be better, be fabulous
Shares in your joys and achievements rather than feeling envious or jealous.
Can chat with you for hours about everything and nothing (even if you’re not a talker)

A GREAT girlfriend will not....

ALWAYS talk about herself (sometimes is okay...we all need that)
Be a victim in her own life so that when you leave her presence you feel emotionally & spiritually DRAINED (I can’t believe the life I’ve been given, I’m destined to always struggle....)
Be constantly critical of her appearance (you know who they are....I need to lose 10lbs, my thighs are too big, my skin isn’t perfect.....and on and on they go)
Critical & judgmental of others (if she’s making fun of others or thinks she’s better than others it’s because she’s insecure and needs to feel better about herself. You don’t need that in your life)

This list could go on and on but this is my short version that’s blog friendly :) I will quickly mention that there are women reading this RIGHT NOW who are saying I get along better with guys, women are cats, etc, etc....all I say to that is, haven’t found a great girlfriend or could be you. Maybe it’s time you evaluate the influence you have in a friendship...are you the negative, critical, always taking, draining one? Maybe, maybe not....I’m just putting it out there.

Now on to this week’s challenge:

*Really look at the girlfriends in your life and decide if a break up is in order. Yep I said it....sometimes we need to break up with girlfriends just like breaking up with a bad boyfriend.
* Recognize the VALUE in the friendships you already do have with the fabulous women in your life!
* Feel like you need to re-connect with an old friend, do it!
* Have a friend that you want to get to know better? Ask her out for coffee!

**Side-note** You don’t have to be joined at the hip for the friendship to be of value. Find a balance that works for you because regardless of the amount of time spent together, the positive side effects it will bring to your life are totally worth it!

 This photo was taken November of 2006 and still one of my favourite "girlfriend" photos

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are”   - Unknown

July 25, 2011

Failing Forward: The Tale of the Mike & Ike Candy

It was a dark rainy Monday morning...all I wanted to do was go home, crawl back into bed, cover up my head and cry. I didn't but plugged through another Monday morning in the office.
It was mid morning when I remembered the Mike & Ike candies in my purse. I quickly grabbed them and placed them on my desk where I first ate them by the handfuls and then one by one.
I started feeling better so I put them away....only to keep thinking about them so I decided to take them back out.
I figured I would only eat the yellow and green ones since they were my least favourite anyway. Once those were all gone though, I justified eating all the oranges ones....which left me with pink and red ones begging to be eaten to join their other coloured friends.
Before I knew it, I had eaten the whole bag.
I still felt miserable and now I could feel that Baby Hann had hiccups. All because of me.....all because I kept eating the Mike & Ike's and now my poor unborn child was going into sugar comatose!
I mean really, what kind of mother am I? I'm supposed to be eating properly and nurturing this child to be healthy, so that when he/she enters the world they are strong and have a fighting chance. But instead I had let my own self wallowing and sugar cravings get the best of me.

Then I remember something Mary said during the Spread the Love Seminar almost two weeks ago....she said you don't have to start over, you can "Fail Forward"
That simple statement of failing forward hit me so hard that I think it has almost become a chanting mantra of mine since then.

As women, mothers, wives, daughters,....when do we give ourselves permission to mess up? This fail forward concept made it okay to make mistakes as long as we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, learn from it but most importantly MOVE forward. After all, if you think about it, we never really start over. When we're born that's our only 'true' beginning. After that, we just crawl, stumble, walk and run forward....yes there will be bumps, bruises and tears along the way but that's how we learn, grow and figure out what does work and then maybe next time we won't stumble but we'll go forward with confidence, without error, without fail.

So next time I screw up, I'll accept the responsibility and consequences of the mistake I made, whether it be eating too many Mike & Ike's, being too quick to speak harshly, making completely rash business decisions, or any other area of my life. I can go forward knowing I've learned, grown and became a better person because of it. I can shed the horrible feelings of guilt and shame and be proud that I was strong enough to fail and yet overcome to keep going. 

"There is no failure except in no longer trying"  - Elbert Hubbard