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wpshoots // a mini stroll in the park

About two years ago, I had a family reach out about doing a mini-session at the National Cathedral. They had a new wee one, he wore a jacket with bear ears on the hood, and he was all smiles. Fast forward to this fall and I got the great opportunity to hang out with this family again (and wee one #2 who recently arrived). I love being able to see new family members join and to watch the littles grow up year after year.

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life // to understand waiting and rest

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After surgery a friend prayed over me, doesn’t every great story start this way, it was a prayer for rest and it was also a prayer to actually understand rest.

When you are forced to actually slow down, all of the sudden the moments of busy really do stand out. Prior to surgery I managed to spend 4 days at Disney World, shoot 12 mini-session, drive to PA/DE to photograph a wedding, and prep my house for mom’s arrival in the span of about 18 days. Needless to say, surgery was the nap I so desperate needed, but it wasn’t actual rest. When you find yourself in a place of rest that is healthy, you also happen to learn the absolute limits of your needs. Let me be the first to say it’s terrifying. The timing, however, is liturgically perfect. It’s almost like I planned my surgery around the church calendar. Enter the season of advent, a time of waiting and anticipation.

When I slow down, my brain tumbles over and over again with the what ifs. They aren’t quite as bad as the if onlys, but they still leave you in a state of questioning. Question upon question without answer upon answer. Combine this with a period of time that is spent on the couch with a set of crutches and then I attempt to begin a period of active mental avoidance. Let’s admit it, We all do it. I mean, why else are we all so dang busy? I generally like to think it’s not because we really love having no time to think and is probably because we don’t want to be forgotten/unneeded and we really really really don’t want to have to think, about most anything, but we also don’t really want to be known either. And we wonder why our anxiety runs at an all time high. We see anything we can’t control as a failing. So what happens when we stop and we wait and we anticipate.

We wait in quiet anticipation knowing, fearing, that we can’t save ourselves.

In our weakness, we find grace and in grace we learn hope. Hope takes us to the unknown and a place were we find a peace we have never known. This peace required conflict, it requires conflict with ourselves. It involves active engagement and fighting for truth and transformation. This isn’t about sitting on our laurels just hoping the answers appear, it is the realization that weakness is our gateway to create change.

Sometimes, that change might not be so much so outwards and be very much inwards. Over the course of the last month I physically couldn’t do much for myself which made me want to pull my hair out, good thing I have a mop of hair on my head. For two weeks I depending on other people to drive me around, feed me, or just be around. Ann would check in every night to confirm that I, in fact, had not fallen down the stairs in my nightly activity of crutching up said stairs to my room. For someone who thinks she can legit do pretty much everything, except hike, it was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting because I thought I was a superhuman who would heal like such. To go from shooting a wedding and 3 photo sessions in one weekend to being exhausted after spending 15 minutes in Trader Joes, well let’s just say it’s an eye opening moment. Some expectations fall short and on the other side, there are people who who are so above and beyond that is blows your mind a little. And so it goes. And so I wait with much anticipation.

So the realization of baby steps instead of a sprint. Being present with a purpose. And embracing every moment of rest that comes my way and the directions that will comes with it.

“for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory” – Book of Common Prayer, Evening Prayer, Rite II


For those who are like, wait a second, back up, surgery…what?! Quick version: Way back when (in May) while living my best life now (on vacation), I was hiking in Glacier National Park (it was Day 1 of said vacation). I was trekking along planning how I was going to send mom and dad photos and be like “BOOM! you think I can’t hike but look at me and my rockstar hiking self.” Then something happened, there was a pop, I played it off(ish) and danced at a wedding, and a month later I had a diagnosis of a not-so-hot labral tear in my hip. So, apparently I’m living “my best I might be 80 life now” and so I had surgery to fix it in November. Woot!

travel // Yellowstone National Park – West

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Let’s go Yellowstone! Now we enter into part two of #3PsandAnn travel the west. A part that is a bit longer than Glacier, also, thanks to lots of walkways over ground that would crumble and drop you into a geyser, I managed not to injure myself here. Success.

As we drove from the north entrance in Gardener, MT to the south entrance into the Grand Tetons, every two seconds there was a shout to an animal sighting. It got to the point where the tallying began for every elk, bison, and eagle we saw…and all the bears we didn’t see…and then ended because we lost count after about 50+ bison. Also, Ericka was playing fast and loose with the animal math, ex. “I see an elk, and another! Let’s say there were four there.”

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So many geysers. Like, no joke.

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I had but one goal of Yellowstone and that was to see bison swarm around our rental car. Since that was my goal, I probably should have paid for the extra rental car insurance (which I didn’t do). It was hilarious to watch tourist reactions, and our own, to driving up on a herd of bison. Cars swerved into the shoulder to park, tourists with camera were so focused on their photos that they missed the bison walking up 10 ft behind them, and Josh videoed the moment when the bison walked in front of our rental car and I freaked out.

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Oh, and then we found the snow…and the continental divide.

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Next…we found the Grand Tetons, Idaho, and Utah in the same day…