One Word

2017, Looking Back and Onward

2017!  What a year to recall!  I’ve found that in the looking back, taking stock, that I am granted a clearer vision and pathway to the “what’s next” and beyond.  You too?  I sat down and went through my calendar and the photo archives and found that much happened in our little family and in my business, mostly positive growth and changes, but we had some setbacks too.  The positives definitely outweigh the negatives and we learned much in the entire process of it all, the good, the bad and the not so beautiful days.  

2017, the highlights unfold…

January 

A new year and a new word to guide me (and my girls).  Intention.  Grow.  Listen.  Those were our chosen words.  Intention did not disappoint!  I set out to make my intentions clear, obtainable and worthy of the necessary stretch to attain my goals.  It worked like a charm!  So much growth happened in just one year and listening to one another was not a lost art.  In fact, we learned to better listen and understand one another.  And we took chances, risks, in order to provide the fertile ground for personal and professional growth.  

We (the 4 of us) attended the Women’s Rally of Reading on the #GlobalDayofAction, January 21 (or the 3rd Saturday of January).  What an amazing event it was!  Our little community in Berks County came out in big numbers to attend.  The highlighted link will take you to view my photos from that important day.  Women’s rights are hugely important to me and I’m researching a personal project to give voice to the next generation of women.  More to come on that in the near future. 

Dare to Dream

February

I applied for Marie Forleo’s B-School Scholarship!  Ah!  Talk about reaching out of one’s comfort zone!!  That certainly did it for me!  I wasn’t chosen to win, but I found the exercise itself thoroughly provided me with inspiration and personal growth in and of itself.  Thanks, Marie and Team Forleo!!!  

March

Was an overwhelmingly wonderful month for us!  Kurt and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary; my 48th birthday; Alanna’s renewal of health and vitality by traveling to Florida:  Miami, Englewood and Kissimmee!  Loads of family time with some of our southern-loving family, Disney, and Universal Studios!  And I had the good fortune of a chance meeting with an artist I adore.  He smiled at me, too!!!  

April 

We celebrated Emilia’s 8th birthday with a fairy-themed party with her friends from school.  We prepared for springtime with many house projects and spring clean-up.  I wrapped up portraits with my favorite local preschoolers and did some real estate photography work.

June 2017

May

Brought more celebrations for us to commemorate!  Kurt’s 50th birthday and a weekend away at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Aquarium.  We also had a visit with our eldest, Chelsea, who is now living in Colorado and working full time as a manager for the largest ski-equipment rental outfit in the Denver area, putting that degree and her super-smarts to good use!  This mom is SO proud.  May is the second busiest month of the year next to December and 2017 did not disappoint!  We planted the garden and flowers and had some mature trees harvested/removed from our property.  Tree frogs love our pool and pond and decided to move in!  I held Mother’s Day mini portrait sessions (in my then outdoor studio) and offered my local preschool Mother’s Day portraits with their special tea events for the moms.   

June

Our girls wrapped up the school year and summer vacation commenced along with my 5-week Busy Bees Summer Camp for Girls program (ages 6 - 12).  June brought on-location family photography sessions my way, and a host of thunderstorms to work around!  We did it!  And with beautiful results!  I worked with Little Mates Child Development Center to provide school portraits.  My friendly neighbor, Jo, my girls and I attended the summer solstice Bubble festivalSo much fun!       

July

We made our way north to Vermont to explore, relax and camp by Lake Champlain at Button Bay State Park.  We made new friends - most of whom did not go by the name of “Grilled Cheese!”  Such a beautiful state to explore!  Busy Bees day camp kept us moving and shaking as we enjoyed the hot summer days together, creating art, learning to meditate and playing as much as possible.  The gardens flourished!!  And there were sparklers, fireworks and fireflies!  Hooray for all things July!

4th of July 2017

August

Brought me high school senior and family portrait sessions!  Alanna’s most anticipated birthday ever - 11 3/4!  That phenomenal psychic, Madam Esmeralda certainly left us with so many fond memories along with that amazing cake and Quidditch match!  We wrapped up our second year of Busy Bees Summer Camp for Girls with a full roster in attendance and more hugs and memories than ever before!  Then the girls were back to school and routine set back in for us.  What an extraordinary summer we had!

August 2017
Busy Bees Summer Camp

September

Was full of highs and lows, a roller-coaster month!  I worked with high school seniors, a maternity session and family portrait sessions plus, school portraits for my favorite local preschool, Robeson Lutheran Preschool!  We were afforded yet another visit with Chelsea!  And we finally got the chance to meet Sara, her partner.  We miss you both!  I got on an airplane and headed to a remote camp in New Hampshire on Lake Squam to RETREAT!  I did not know a soul and traveled alone on a hunch that my gut told me would be good for me, soul-nourishing.  Guess what!  That hunch was absolutely correct, and I came away with new friends and so many fond memories of the wonderful folks that attended, the fabulous food, the sights & sounds, the restorative work and play and the lake.  I sang, danced, laughed, cried, wrote, photographed, taught, learned, and soaked in the creative juices of Squam Art Workshops Retreat!  Deliciously good for me!  Thank you, fellow Squammies!!!  Here's a where's Waldo shot for you.  Can you find me?  Ten points goes to the first person that comments with the color I'm wearing!  ;)  And GO!!   

Photo credit:  Tory Williams, www.torywilliams.com

Photo credit:  Tory Williams, www.torywilliams.com

September continued…

The low and unfortunate (although I’m still debating this to be true) setback was my husband’s almost company wide lay-off.  He had been traveling every week and we only had weekends together up to this point, so it was a welcome change to have him home every day and night.  We have endured lay-offs in the past, it is “nature of the beast” unfortunately for blue-collar, labor industry.  We managed to get through a 3 month rough spot and Kurt is now back to work, rehired by his former company and he’s home with his girls every night!  So that is a silver lining to report!!  

October, November, December

What a blur these past 3 months were!  All good, amazing blurs, too!  I shot more families and high school seniors and children combined than I think ever before in a 3 month stint of time.  I opened my in-home studio!!!  I still almost can’t believe we made that move!  All in all, this fall season of photography brought many blessings into my life, and carried us through a rough spot, financially speaking.  Like I said at the beginning of this post, the positives definitely outweigh any negative set backs we may have incurred.  The future is bright and I am an eternally hopeful person.  I know there’s more at work than meets the naked eye.  Things have a way of working out and I am grateful to that energy, that light, that which keeps us rising to reveal our full truth.  

IMG_5305.jpg

My new word for 2018 is abide.  Abide kept finding me, again when in meditation or in print or in recording.  I noticed it one too many times to be able to disregard it.  This year I will myself to abide by my own truth, my family and their needs, and my business.  With an abiding heart full of gratitude for an utterly amazing year - thank you, friends & family, alike.  Onward we go!!  

Seventeen Things for 2017

I do love lists - creating them, completing tasks, crossing off and then starting a new list.  When journaling, this is also something I do more often than not.  And don't get me started on the sub-lists that follow!  This is a sort of compulsion of mine.  Lists.  If I write it down, there's a connection made for me.  Getting ideas and thoughts onto the page help keep me centered and organized.  So, how about seventeen things for 2017?  

1.  My word for the year is Intention.  I mentioned it in my last blog post: testing, one two.  Do you choose a guiding word based on your goals?  I'd love to hear yours!  

2.  As part of my plan to become intentional this year I'm planning to post here at least once a week (or every 2, at the min).  I may adopt the "5 things Friday" weekly post that blogger Garden Betty offers as inspiration.  If you haven't checked her out yet, you may like her offerings.  

3.  Workshops!  I want to do more with you, friends!  I'm offering a $20 discount using promo code: WINTER2017  for those that want to get a better handle on their dSLR camera.  Check out my Workshops offerings and then contact me to set up a date. (discount is valid winter2017 only).  

4.  I booked a camping trip for the family and I to visit Button Bay State Park, Vermont this summer.  I love camping with the family in the great outdoors.  This will be the girls first "real" camping trip - tenting it.  Any good tips on VT for me, please let me know! 

5.  Read any good books lately?!  If so, I'm always up for suggestions!  My Amazon wish list runneth over.  I found more great suggestions here:  70 BOOKS TO MAKE YOU HOPEFUL

6.  I'm currently reading Simon Sinek's START WITH WHY.  And, THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger.  Have you read either?  Or both?  I just finished reading WHILE I WAS GONE by Sue Miller (what a Page Turner!! love her voice/style). 

7.  This January, my family and I have visited Nolde Forest State Park more than last.  We have been trying to get there every weekend for a hike.  Both Kurt and I want to keep this on our family to-do list, creating a new healthy habit for us and the girls.   

8.  Did I tell you that I joined Instagram?  Yes.  Finally, I know.  Are you there?  If so, please reach out and connect with me:  @my3girlsphotography  This is all new to me, and so far, it's been fun! 

9.  My Alanna (11) was diagnosed with Crohn's disease last summer.  We gave our best go at fighting this damned thing naturally, without medicine, and with the fabulous guidance of our Holistic Health Coach, Mauree Kai, however, it wasn't enough.  We are now seeing GI specialists at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and beginning treatments, plus a nutritional therapy plan prescribed by their finest doctors.  All will be well.  We have every confidence that Alanna will be in remission and heal her beautiful colon.  I have SO MUCH new respect for the body's colon since going through this.  Take good care of your colon, friends.  It is definitely taking care of you! 

10.  I want to photograph more kiddos this year.  I have a new plan that I will be implementing.  Here's hoping the plan succeeds.  More to come on this...

11.  I want to shoot more lifestyle family sessions this year.  If you are reading this and want to have a portrait session with me; are willing to invite me into your home; are willing to be featured on my blog; and can make a date with me before spring, than I can offer you a promo discount code:  WINTERDEAL which takes $100 off my session offerings.  Shh, don't tell everyone about this offer!  This is just for YOU.  :) 

12.  This year, 2017, is full of promise.  I do love a new year; a new 12 months to hope and plan for.  This summer I'll be running my Busy Bees Summer Camp for Girls again!  I'm working on the projects, keeping a journal of ideas.  I so loved this opportunity getting to know many new friends last year and I'm really excited to plan for this coming!!!  

13.  I worked on the "bugs" effecting my email subscribers.  I am sorry about that cryptic message you received last week.  I am hopeful there won't be any further delays - (fingers crossed!).  I do so appreciate you - I hope you all used your gifts from last January!!!  Remember that?

14.  I'm enjoying this new blog platform.  Like anything new, it takes me some time to get acquainted and familiar with the "newness" of it all, but ... I'm a quick study.  Thanking my parents, and my creator for that one!  ;) 

15.  Speaking of blogging - I love your comments, friends.  Your notes here are like the cherries-on-top after all the work involved in putting a post together, to receive a comment is like receiving a big hug from you!  So, please, send me some hugs!!!  :)  I do love hugs. 

16.  I had some fun reading over my Sixteen Things for 2016.  Number 1, 6, 8 were all successes.  Number 7 was a complete fail.  And I play with number 16 again and again (it's a love-hate relationship, I tell you).  

17.  I am grateful you stuck with me and kept reading through my list for 2017.  This was a reaffirming way of putting some ideas out there, into the universe.  I'd love to hear some of your list, if you care to share, leave me a HUG for 2017!!!  And away we go, friends!!  Let's make this another year of growth, healing and shared kindnesses towards one another.  I'm in!!  Big HUGS!!! 

testing, one two

This is a test run!  If you are reading this, than I've successfully moved your email subscriptions over to my new blog site and will begin receiving all blog postings as they are published!  Please forgive my enthusiasm.  I am SO technologically challenged sometimes and I spend hours attempting to figure these things out!!  Yes, you read that correctly - Hours!  HA!  (:

A new year and all the traditions have been fulfilled!  My family's New Year's Day hike and, yes, I've chosen my word for 2017.  Sometimes I wonder if I should blurt it out or keep it silently to myself.  I like to share though, with my readers and viewers, with hopes of passing along the inspiration.  Since I do so appreciate the inspiration of others, and you.  So, I'll share and would love to hear your word for 2017!  

My word last year was Forgiveness.  There was a lot of work to do in that department, both forgiving myself and loved ones.  It's not an easy process, and I'm a pretty forgiving person naturally.  The work is a continuation.  And so are my prayers.  

My word for 2017 is Intention.  I begin meditating on the "just-right" word that will help guide me throughout the year around the end of December.  I don't force it.  I just pay close attention to the cues the Universe sends my way.  I listen for the word.  I search my goals and the goals I have for my family.  I play with words.  I read them.  I doodle them.  I talk about them.  I'm a word hound!  (ha!)  The visualization makes me chuckle.  

This year I asked my girls what word they would choose for themselves, a guiding star, a mantra of sorts.  Something they want to train their focus on possibly.  Something they want to manifest in their lives.  They both played along, cheerfully!  Alanna's word (gulp, it brings tears to these momma eyes) is Grow.  And Emilia's word (her teacher will especially appreciate this one!) is Listen.  Right good show, I'd say.  They got the gist! 

2017 Word of the Year (c)My3GirlsPhotography-4.jpg

I'd love to hear your New Year's traditions.  Do you choose a new word each new year to set about your own Intentions?  I'm ready to be intentional and have goals set for myself, my business and my family.  And away we go!  Here's to us, friends, with love and intention!