For now that is enough...

I’ve been away from my blog since before Christmas. Most days are filled with job responsibilities and regular household chores there is something in me that seems different not all together me. I keep thinking that things will get back to how they always were. That life as I’ve known it good or bad will return, and all will feel normal. Then I realize my life isn’t normal. It will never look like it did. My life will never have Evan in the spaces he usually occupied. EVER. I go back to those spaces hoping to find him…to sense his presence. It’s hard to describe to people how your mind works after your child has gone. I look at photos and think to myself it feels like he is here. But there is such an emptiness. There is such emptiness in the spaces he once inhabited. There is an emptiness in the world since he left. My words feel hollow…without real form or bones to help them take shape. I was driving this morning, and I had this feeling of everything continues, but yet my heart wants to go backward. I want to recapture what once was and bring it into the future to live with me here. I want Evan to come home. I’m learning to navigate the parts of me that are healing and the parts that are gaping wounds. I’m trying to find and listen to my voice and yet I want to be a voice for my son too so that he is not forgotten. Saturday mark many anniversaries-it’s my Dad’s 2nd birthday in Heaven. It also is 822 days since Evan was taken off life support to give life to 5 others. As I've walked out my journey, I also realize many parents/siblings that are walking out the same feelings, anniversaries, the same emptiness, the same longing that our family has. I say this for understanding. That I can bring you along with me as a conscientious/thoughtful/ observer.

To be mindful that we miss our person(s). That we want to hear their name. That you can't stop our pain. (IT WILL BE FOREVER) That we're not stuck. We are living each moment of each day with a wound that is healing but will always be there for us. Even if you can't see it. That you can show us love by sharing stories about our person. We're doing our best, and sometimes that may not be enough. For now, my soul is healing along with the soul of our family, and that is enough.

Tuesday's Child is full of Grace.....Ily Anice Shorter 10/17/17

I had the privilege of photographing the birth of Miss Ily Anice Shorter today. Her momma started labor on Monday the 16th and progressed slowly until about 8:07am today, Tuesday the 17th. At which point progression only had gone to 5.5cm. Suddenly though there was a need to push and her water broke and she went from 5.5cm to delivering Ily at 8:26am. It was amazing and crazy and beautiful. Lori and Jason were the best team..with Jason winning the "Best Doula" award in my opinion. He was calm, loving and the best coach ever. Lori allowed us into a space that is normally reserved for just the parents and the medical staff. It was an honor to be a part of such a intimate experience and to share this moment with both of Ily's grandmothers. Ily was named by her brother Zeke who I might add was so loving and tender when he met his sweet sister today. the wonder, tenderness and kindness he showed to his Momma, Daddy and sister made me cry. I also found out today that she shares a birthday with her Uncle on her mother's side and a great-great grandmother on her father's side. 

I'm sure your folks can't wait to tell the story of the day you were born. It was a lovely one to say the least!

Happy Birthday, Ily!! You are so loved by your family.

 

 

Justin | Class of 2017 | VHS

How can it be Justin that you are going to be graduating!?!?!? but alas time does not stand still as much as I would love for it to. I remember when your family first arrived in Vacaville and driving all of you around to help find housing as your family was moving from the Redding area to Vacaville. We have spent many days riding around since those early days and I am thankful to have been able to watch you grow and mature into the kind of person who values relationships and family. We had the best time running around the Sacramento....from the Capitol to Tower Bridge...doing Senior photos. I'm so glad Hannah came with us and that we could spend these precious moments together before you enter college.

I can't wait to do prom photos next week....Justin I am so proud of you...and all that the future holds as you embark on the next chapter on your journey. I love you and best wishes!!! 

Cameron James Binion March 14, 2017

When Jennifer posted her 39 week photo the weekend before Cameron decided he was on his way, I sent her a message to keep me posted as to her progress after a stress test. When I didn't hear from her I knew she was in the middle of induction so I just waited...I touched base with her mom and finally Cameron was delivered on the 14th and I was able to go see them the next day to capture these Fresh 48's for them. Congratulations to Clell and Jennifer on the healthy deliver of this sweet boy. Oh my how I love newborns.  

Tristan William Lee.....the smallest gifts bring such great joy.

I've been fortunate to have several dear friends who have had babies in the last month. Oh my goodness how I love watching new families move through the welcoming of an infant into their lives. So many new things to see and figure out not the least of which is feeding schedules and sleeping...oh precious sleep. 

I had the pleasure to go over to Blake and Chelsea's home to photography Tristan. He was just as sweet as when I saw him briefly in the hospital. He was already forming his own personality and was being watched over by his precious parents and grandparents. I'm grateful to Blake and Chelsea for allowing me to come over and be a part of such a major life event for their family. I've known Blake and his family for most of the 25+ years that I've lived in Vacaville and the fact that Blake and Evan have been friend through most of that time made this time of connection very special to me. 

Here are just a few of my favorites from the hospital and my home visit at about 10 days old with little Tristan William Lee Pullin....born three weeks early on January 25th, weighing 5 lbs. 11 ozs. and 18.5 inches long. 

First of many family photos. Much love to all of you. 

Sugar and Spice....Welcome Olivia Canalita Lahl~January 26, 2017

I really can't tell you how exciting it is to see new parents as they navigate the first 48 hours after having a newborn. So many things to discover and cherish, hurdles to overcome and challenges to push through. Just about two weeks ago I posted a Milk Bath Maternity session with Lindsey...I've included it here in this blog post just in case you missed it. Lindsey and I did that session at the beginning of January and she wasn't due until February. So when she started having contraction last week it looked like Miss Olivia would be arriving in God's perfect timing and Lindsey, David and all of their extended family could not be more excited to welcome her.

These are just a few of the photos captured during their first 48 hours as a new family. Both of you have included me in all...if not most of your life events and I am so thankful for your love and friendship. Your love for each other is so evident and Olivia is one blessed little girl to have you both as parents. Lindsey you bring such tenderness and nurturing...David always the confident protector and encourager. Thank you for share and including me in such a special and intimate time with your new family. I'm already so impressed by who you both are as parents. 

 http://www.dawnkincadephotography.com/my-adventures/2017/1/24/lindsey-lahlmilk-bath-maternity-sessionjanuary-2017

I know...she is so dang cute!!!

Family, Flashdance and Horseshoe Curve

Each Summer for the last few years I have had the privilege of taking my parents to my Dad's family reunion in Pennsylvania. Every year it is held in the small town of Altoona, nestled at the bottom of the beautiful Allegheny Mountains. It is also the next door neighbor to Holidaysburg, the home of the Slinky http://americanprofile.com/articles/home-of-the-slinky/ Both of my parents are from Altoona, which got a mention in the movie "Flashdance" and is home to the World Famous Horseshoe Curve. http://www.railroadcity.com/visit/world-famous-horseshoe-curve/. This year it was really sweet to have my mom with me in the car as we drove through old neighborhoods and heard stories of her childhood.

My dad, started his career with the Pennsylvania railroad in Altoona, after returning from serving in the Navy, on a submarine. It has been such a great experience for me to travel with them for so many reasons but the best reason is I have such fond memories of my visits to Altoona as a child. Both sets of grandparents lived and died here and it has been a beautiful thing to experience with my parents the place they have always known as "Home". 

This year, it was important for me to capture the moments not just with photos but with stories of my parents and their lives. To know the different yet interconnected ways that they saw themselves and how their siblings saw them. My son mentioned to me an app called https://storycorps.org which allows you the ability to interview people and take photos of the interview participants with your smartphone or tablet. The quality of the recording is great and you can send the interview content to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to keep forever. 

Another great thing about these journeys has been to reconnect with my cousins, aunts, uncle and to just be family.  My Aunt, who has always been the organizer of these reunions, is having a harder time getting around. She has done such a great job of organizing these reunions and I so appreciate her desire to have the family come together. Although it was a hard trip for my parents we had the best time. My father looks forward to this all year long and he needed this time of connection as he was given a terminal diagnosis just two weeks prior to us leaving. This time spent with his siblings. nieces and nephew was so important for him. We again made the journey....traveling along the Blue Ridge Mountain and over the Allegheny Mountains....continuing to make memories as we go.

Listening with your eyes....hearing with your heart...

"Storms make the oak grow deeper roots"   George Herbert

This week has been one that really has left me without words but not in short supply of feels....other then the fact that I've been trying to figure out a few technical issues I am having with my computer I've been very introspective. I've not been able to go out much and do much photography just because the computer thing has consumed me....but when I did go out I wasn't inspired...I wasn't moved. Now we all know that we can't always have inspiration...boy I wish we could. As I have sat and pondered the universe and how it is spinning...I have been listening with my eyes...to see the things that have been placed before me and to enjoy them without the need to "capture" them...that does not mean that I haven't captured them I just want to lean in more.....be a part of the spinning universe...to hear with my heart. That said, for today, I will continue to lean in....I will continue to listen with my eyes, and hear with my heart....