So that up there ^^^. That is us. And I want to thank Twig and Olive for the gorgeous tangible record of our family all in once place and how we just love each other. Life isn’t always this dressed up or pretty even, but the love is always this tangible.
Every year I look forward to a year in Review. It’s a highlight reel of sorts. All of the amazing moments captured… the families I got to spend time with and document. It’s pretty special to look back and recount conversations and bonds that I have made. There is a wisdom that accompanies being in the presence of others. I have learned so much about myself this year just from opening my heart and wading in the moments and connection of others. I could share some of the prettiest photos hanging out on my hard drive– which I will, and maybe that would be enough, but because I feel to be accountable I have to be completely honest with you all and that art is derived from so much more than imagination, I want you to all know me. The words tend to pour right on out in the late hours of the night as I glimpse back at my camera roll but this space is neglected and there is so much more than a photographer on this side of the screen– there is a human with a bleeding heart and a story to tell.
So I am ending 2016 on a very raw note. I am paving the way for 2017 to be full of honesty and soul and transparency.
We start that here. And this is a bit lengthy so if you can’t hang on– feel free to head to the bottom and just scroll through the images because gosh, it was a beautiful year.
And Oh, 2016. It was quite a year for everyone it seems. I won’t say it was without it’s quirks and our own share of heartache here either. Like many we had our mixed bag of life experience and hardship, but I have learned that perception and optimism both go a long way for our family. I couldn’t change everything over night, but I could set goals and do everything in my power to accomplish them. If one door closed I would open another one. There was a lot of transformation here for us as a family and as a business.
We welcomed our sixth child into our family on January 1st, right in the sacred space of our home. Daisy has been a blessing on all fronts. She was a baby with colic and I was a Mama with an already full plate grasping at straws while trying to remember to count our blessings. We live half way across country from all of our family and lack the support system that I wish we did have. Colorado is so good for us. It is home. It is part of us now. But to be candid– not having someone to come and love on your children and care for them almost as you would, with the intensity we do… that is lacking here. As she grew out of the colic other challenges presented. She just didn’t want to be apart from me. She was our very own Velcro baby. And that was okay… because you see, we prayed our hearts out for her. And that was answered ten fold. She is our very own rainbow baby. We had two losses right before we (unexpectedly) learned that we were expecting her. I knew better than to take any of our time together during her first year for granted. It isn’t just because time is fleeting or because I understand how temporary it all is (which I do)… but because she was worth the sacrifice and the long days and even longer nights. She couldn’t be away from me… so I wore her heart-to-heart and met each session as it came. It sounds so crazy, but I have never been so present with the families I had the honor of documenting. Our older children were in good hands and our miracle baby was right there alongside of us. I got to do what I loved while not missing a moment with our littlest… our last. It wasn’t easy. It was worth it.
We also learned that my husband was to be laid off early into the year as well, and there was a bit of fear. We had just had another baby. I am horrible at change. Then came the well meaning but “How are you not freaking out right now” messages on Facebook from friends and family. I can’t explain it. It wasn’t that I wasn’t fearful or worried… I just had a peace about it all. I gave myself permission to pursue my dreams and work hard for them. I am now our sole source of income. I support us financially… all eight of us. Knowing my husband wouldn’t be contributing financially was honestly overwhelming initially sure, but I am a woman of faith and I knew that I was just going to really throw myself into my business and throw balance out the window. Does Balance really exist anyway? Women have been breadwinners for eons now. I am no exception. There was no reason we couldn’t have it all. We just had to figure out what “have it all” meant to us? What was our definition of success? I never got into this to be rich. But suddenly we had so much more time together with Wes home and that was enough. Learning to be content in any situation is really amazing, friends. I was ready to fight for it all. I was ready for the sacrifice. So many speak of “busy” as being a bad thing, but busy is our livelihood and I am so appreciative of it all. Perspective again… it was a saving grace.
And Wes being home full time turned out to be the best thing for us. He was already an assistant coming to each session to help lug gear and just be a source of encouragement. Being a people loving introvert there are times when I too get overwhelmed. His presence is calming and grounding. It is what works for me. Now he has taken the next natural step… he is shooting along side me. Soon enough he may even be taking sessions while I assist him. He is pretty talented. Watching him progress has been a gift in itself.
We took dozens and dozens of sessions, mentored some pretty special women, did a little bit of traveling for both professional and personal reasons and got to hug a lot of faces.
Some of the other fun personal + business things that happened quite unexpectedly this year//
-We invested in a 1972 vintage Sovereign Airstream and are now trying to muster the courage to actually road trip with it.
-I road tripped with a newborn and got to share my heart at the Reset conference as a keynote speaker.
-I bought an underwater housing I haven’t yet used for my camera (but plan too I swear haha) and upgraded to the Mark IV because my husband insisted I treat myself to something new (for once!) It’s proved to be a sound investment here.
-I decided to take the plunge and offer an in person women’s workshop/retreat experience for 2017. I will begin booking that soon.
-I released the Everyday Artistry iPhone photography guide and sold thousands of copies. I am still floored with the success and hope to follow up with a second edition in 2017.
-We are still torn on that whole “last baby” thing haha.
-I released one of my most favorite action sets “Journey” at the end of this year!
-Three of our six kids are now double digits (how?!)
-We celebrated our fifth year of living in Colorado.
-We had our family photographed TWICE. Next year we will be photographed even more.
-I found a very special love for photographing Mamas and her Babes together.
-We completely revamped the blog and website. Next year I tackle my humble little shop where I offer educational and photograph tools to other creatives and photographers. Ribbons of Red is everything, friends.
So many good things.
So this year is pretty much wrapped and I anticipate all the good things that 2017 will bring us. Here is just a peek at some personal + professional work below.
So what does 2017 hold you might ask??
Next year we plan on//
-The Parenthood project in which my husband and I photograph our kids daily TOGETHER and share our honest experiences. You can follow along here.
-We began plans to travel again next year. We will be resuming travel sessions but with a twist. ALL six kids + our two crazy dogs will be coming along. (Not on the actual sessions, just on the road. I promise I am not that crazy haha.)
-We booked over fifty sessions for 2017 next year. It is going to be a BEAUTIFUL year.
-We will be taking on small scale weddings + elopements in the state of Colorado. YES! Finally. If we book any that is because hello, it’s a new market haha. Those doors again. This is a very real goal though so I am going to make it happen somehow.
-More tutorials here. New photography projects + the return of the Inspired Project.
-More paying it forward. More workshops. More Everything.
-An Online full fledged Workshop Photography Workbook geared towards families.
-And I am hoping to muster up the courage to go live more. I am a bit awkward but it’s a real goal.
So there you have it friends. Big plans and arms stretched wide trying to hold it all together but one day at a time.
We got this together.
Bring on 2017!