Sunflowers among the weeds...International Bereaved Mother's Day 05/05/19

Sunday, May 5th is International Bereaved Mother’s Day. I’ve done blog posts in the past, and after spending some time editing sunflowers that I happened upon here locally, I saw an opportunity to share in part what I saw while photographing these beauties.

Sunflower season here in Solano and Yolo Counties will be sometime in June, and yet I was able to find a few springing up in a field where they were last year. Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. I’ve added a few fun facts about them just to give you an understanding of how amazing they are. Sunflowers are used to demonstrate a mathematical term called a Fibonacci sequence. You can also see this sequence in artichokes and cauliflowers. While reading about this sequence in sunflowers researchers have found that the patterns can be inconsistent in sunflowers and quoting the article “real life is messy.” This is a truth that is lived out daily in the life of a bereaved parent and when speaking about loss and grief. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/05/sunflowers-show-complex-fibonacci-sequences It is the only flower to have the word “flower” in its name. Sunflower removes toxins and is a natural decontaminator of soil. They have been used to clean up dirt at some of the biggest environments disasters, including Chernobyl and Fukushima. Sunflowers are native to the Americas. Some of these facts come from this article. https://www.thespruce.com/fun-facts-about-sunflowers-3972329 As you might now see sunflowers have a medicinal quality to them. They have been used to heal and remove toxins from soil. As I photographed these beautiful flowers, I was struck by the fact that even though they were growing among weeds, they thrived. I saw a few bees although they seemed to be moving slowly and possibly dying. So much about these flowers lead me to see myself and other bereaved mothers the same way.

These flowers were strong. Even though the weeds had dropped some of the seeds to strike down these flowers they still stood firm...strong almost like flower sentinels. They’re looking for the sun and following its course across the sky. They are beautiful. Some of their petals hidden from the sun but just as yellow and brilliant as the noonday sun. Some of these beauties had yet to open, and many of them winking so to speak as only a few of their petals had started to open.

This blog goes out to all of you who mourn the loss of your child/ren. You inspire me. Even amid your loss, you continue to move towards health. You still remind me that you are bright sunflower standing firm in your memories of your child/ren. You are learning that your loss has defined for you those things that are toxic and you move towards removing them from your path. Some of you are still trying to figure out what you need and yet, you persevere opening up just a few of your petals as you follow your path. The loss of your child will continue to shape each move you make. It will define who you are and why you do what you do. I pray that you continue to remain strong and resilient. Standing tall like a sunflower.

Glimpses of Me

For me, it seems that most days are not without some degree of sadness. I try hard to be who I was before Evan died and at times I think that person is still there. Grief has a way of changing who we once were. Oh, I see glimpses of her….some of those glimpses are good some of them not so much. All of the same hurts, insecurities, simple pleasures and wonders are present but all of them are now sifted through grief. I have watched people and places that have always been solid places for me begin to disappear before me. As I learn more about this journey none of this is unusual. It is actually very common. People scatter….places that held happy memories become a wound that is often times too large to bandage. The very things that you thought you knew are now vague memories or are completely forgotten. 

Not too long ago I was explaining to a dear friend through tears that there is something in me….it almost feels like I’m expectant…edgy…watching but with this restlessness in me I want to see progress…I want to push. She said that it sounded similar to that of a mother birthing a child. There you have it. That is exactly how I’m feeling. It’s hard for me to rest..to practice pausing…waiting…to lean in. I’ve been listening to a lot of worship music since Evan’s death. Some of my favorites are Elevation Worship. The words are so powerful. I read an article about their song “There is a Cloud” and the meaning of the song. Such a great article I've included the link here. http://www.newreleasetoday.com/article.php?article_id=2112

One of the many verses they talk about is Hebrews 11:1. "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." I’ve included one of the verses of the song in this post. This is from Elevation Worship “There is a Cloud”.

Lindsey Lahl~Milk Bath Maternity Session~January 2017

Every now and again I see something beautiful and I really want to try to recreate it. Most of the time that is easy cause I can find a landscape or a flower that I can photograph and off I go. It is so much harder when you have to find a model...a living breath person who is willing to allow you to have creative license with them on a shoot. I had been seeing all of these great photos on several websites for Milk Bath photography. Most of the time they are related to maternity or newborn sessions and I am so appreciative of the Milk Bath element for the delicate look and just the natural alluring aspect of this type of photo.

So after studying how I might be able to accomplish this style of photography and realizing I had the best location (our master bath has a great oval tub with a large window).  I then did some research on the elements of creating the Milk Bath....powdered milk vs. real milk, fake flowers vs. real, hot water vs. cold and every variation of this.... I was so fortunate to have a friend who is due to have her baby in just a couple weeks give me the opportunity to try out this type of photography. So on the first of January with all of the items needed and with her mom as my assistant we ventured into creating this lovely Milk Bath Maternity Session. Thank you for making the beginning of 2017 start off with so much grace and beauty. 

I want to thank the ladies at Stem's Florist for helping me choose the right flowers and greenery for these photos. I used powdered milk, cornstarch, and lavender essential oils. Thanks for trusting me to photograph you and for being such a willing model. If this looks like something you'd like to try, send me a message on Facebook or through my website. I look forward to creating a beautiful session with you.

God is in the every day.....be present.

I have been out sorts since about the third of November. As I look back over the last 45 days I'm trying hard to remember some of the everyday things that I stopped and photographed. On the 4th of November 2016 my life and the life of my family was changed forever. At 3:22am we were woken up to the sound of brisk knocking at our front door. When I looked through the shutters I saw two officers and realized that this could not be good news. Unfortunately it was not.....they told me that Evan had been in an accident and they needed us to come to Kaiser hospital. I woke up my husband and my son and we made our way to the hospital. I honestly don't remember much but some of the things I do remember is waiting what seemed like a life time before we saw Evan. I remember the strength with a bit of apprehension that my husband and my son displayed that day and through out our time in the hospital....and I remember how quiet it was...on the drive over...in the waiting room as we waited to see Evan. It was almost as if the Lord was putting a blanket over us....a tangible protection so to speak....so that we did not get to far ahead of ourselves. Anybody that knows me knows that (in my mind) I can go to places no one has gone before but on this day I was under the protection of the Lord who knows and sees all that is going on and I had great Hope about what was before us. Now....does that mean I was not scared...no I was totally scared. Was I not worried...OF COURSE I was worried but what I'm saying is even in the midst of being scared and worried....there was calm....quiet....a presence that only God can bring....from the moment I was woken up by the knock at the door and that has remained with me even now. 

The following moments...hours...days...weeks and now one month from Evan's passing have been a blur. So much love has been poured out on us from all over the planet. We have gotten over 300+ cards, along with emails, Facebook messages, meals, flowers...lots of flowers, more meals, hugs, words of encouragement and the list is endless as to the gifts and love that have poured our way. Really to say thank you seems so small for what has been given to us. I don't want to give this illusion that everyday has been rainbows and unicorns. It is not...I have lived in this community for over 27 years and there isn't one place that doesn't remind me of Evan....I cry frequently in public and in private.....but in that I also feel that presence that came to me that first moment when the knocking came at the front door. I hope in weeks to come to chat more about this journey as I've tried to express some of the things I believe the Lord has placed on my heart regarding loss, relationships, investing in people, and walking out our faith in the midst of great loss and tragedy. I hope to take what God shows me through the every day and move it out so that we can pondering together the beauty that surrounds us. I also want to take some of my son's writings and pair them with my photography to create a beautiful blending of two creatives using what has be placed in us to shine a light and send a smile.

To all of you who have walked with us....We love you. You're our tribe and you will never know what a blessing you have been to us. To those of you who know Evan I ask you to not forget. You carry a small piece of him with you and whether he would admit it or not that piece...that love...was Jesus. Love Well...Care often....Don't be afraid to be a zookeeper. 

Figs, Flowers and Food...

Last night a couple of friends and I enjoyed a lovely meal alfresca in Napa. It was a perfect night  made more so by the celebratory tone as we were celebrating a friend's birthday. We enjoyed food, drink and very engaging patrons dining near us. We chatted with several other table about what they had ordered and gave our recommendations when asked. Our table was located near the open patio that overlooks the fountain, garden and vineyards. The sun was setting as we ate and pretty much this was darn near close to a perfect evening and one the I believe will look similar to one I shall enjoy when I am in Heaven. 

While we finished dinner I had the chance to grab my camera and walk through the garden and vineyard. The restaurant seems to use this garden for many of the dishes they prepare which made this a great example of garden to table. It was a plentiful garden full of fruits, vegetables and flowers. One of the trees in this garden was a fig tree. Figs are so beautiful, I know that they are fruit but they are just as lovely as a flower. Their skin is a lovely shade of green and when they are ripe the fruit is a warm shade of pale burgundy. They smell delicious and taste like the beginning and end of Fall. Crazy that I would be thinking about fall in the middle of summer but that is what the taste of figs does to me. I must have at least 3 perfumes that have fig as the primary notes. 

It was a lovely evening, enjoyed with great friends, loads of laughter and so much love.

Today I am thankful for the beauty that I have the pleasure of enjoying and the people that I get to share it with.....