If I’m Being Honest

2018 brought us many things. A lot of work, for which I am thankful and madly in love with, and a lot of learning. Up until the last week of November I had been doing public school at home and online with my two littles (Gr 2 and Kinder) through a wonderful school with teachers who went above and beyond to help us every step of the way. Through October and into November the stress of losing our sitter and my full time work load came to a complete breaking point and we had to move them into traditional school. I lost more than 90 hours of work time between sickness and loss of childcare through October & November and you can imagine the stress of that backlog – I am still catching up. It took a few weeks of meetings and evaluations to get them in, but the staff and teachers there are equally amazing and we’ve truly lucked out with the classes they’ve been placed into. It’s been a month and I’m still crushed by the guilt I feel for doing what was best for me and my work instead of what I feel is best for them. The guilt of not meeting client needs the way I strive to, and the guilt of not enjoying much of our daily life outside of the hours spent staring at my work projects. Throughout this process we’ve been very gently asked if we have considered having our oldest evaluated for the autism spectrum. It has crossed our minds in the past, but we’ve always assumed he’s just lovably quirky. Now I’m wondering if we could have had tools to better guide him earlier if we had paid more attention. So much stress and guilt. 2018 is ending on a bit of a sour note mentally.

When I started to drown in October I knew it would be tough to catch up so I stopped booking projects for December. Soon December stretched into January, which is now creeping into February. My reasons have changed though as my projects have caught up. What started as an effort to keep my head above water has become a purposeful reworking of the structure in my business. I have contracted projects for magazine publications, a new magazine project of my own, and a few other commitments to keep me on my toes, but as far as sessions go I won’t be shooting until the end of February and it feels so incredibly good to step away. I am purposely blocking that time off to build a solid administrative foundation. Something I have never had the chance to do. The biggest change to come: I am hiring someone to help with social media posting and basic photo edits (culling from the bulk raw shots and prepping those selections for me to run the full edits so the style will still be my own). The goal is to offer speedy turnaround times on gallery deliveries, and to let me have more breathing room to appreciate this little family of mine outside of the actual shooting that I love so much. Josh and the kids carry the weight of my busy-ness and it’s something my kids don’t deserve. I want my evenings free for them while C & E are small enough to want our attention. I can’t recall the last time I curled up with them at bed time and wasn’t counting the minutes to go back to my desk.

What are you doing differently in 2019? I’m not talking resolutions here. I mean what steps have you taken to change things? To do things a little differently and live more closely in line with the life you envision? In my personal life, I want things slow and simple and uncomplicated. I plan to rid this house of at least half of the items we have crammed in here and move my work space further from our living space to create a bit of separation. You?

Seasons

Everyone has moments of realization. Those ones where out of nowhere you are hit with knowing a painfully obvious truth that everyone around you instinctively knew all along while you fumbled around in the dark. My latest has been the realization that my soul has seasons just as Earth does. The optimism and blooming of Spring when I am full of new ideas and ready to take on the world. The industrious and steadiness of Summer when I feel like I’m cruising along hitting all of my goals. When I start to wind down and withdraw it’s like boarding up for the chill of Autumn, indulging in rich flavours and scents to prepare for the coming cold. Finally Winter when I’m withdrawn and full of quiet reflection and soul searching.

It’s so easy to see now that I’m in the midst of a change, and I can’t imagine how I missed it all these years. I’ve always been aware of my moods and phases this way, but never in relation to the larger cycle of the seasons that lead our lives. To my surprise, my natural rhythm seems to be opposite to that of the Northern Hemisphere I’ve called home every day of my life. With the heat of the summer I find myself retreating inside to wait out the burning heat, knowing that I will thrive again when the cool breeze makes the leaves dance in the street and the gardens are ready for harvest.

How do you weather the off-season? Where you crave alone time and find yourself digging deep to nourish the spirit of creativity and inspiration. Do you embrace it and carve a new path in your day to day routine? Or do you fight it and try to stay a steady course? I don’t think I have the energy to fight it this year, but more importantly I don’t think I want to. Last year I made the decision to let the ebb and flow of life take me where my body and mind needed to go, and the result has been nothing short of life-changing. I am happier than I have been in years, but that comes from a place of appreciation and love as well as ambition and a desire for change, not idle waiting. If I had the chance to give advice to the 2008 version of myself, I would tell me not to waste so many bitter and miserable years trying so hard to find myself and let it happen the way it’s meant to. What would you say?

Marriage is More than a Wedding

What is the best marriage advice that you have been given? The best advice I received was from a good friend who told me to argue well & fair; not with anger or defensiveness. Through the years it has taught us to really hear what each other is saying and see things from their perspective. I am a better person for it, and I’m lucky that my husband Josh feels the same way.

We fell in love quickly, and easily. We became friends in the spring and by summer we were inseparable. Getting married was the easiest, most natural decision we’d ever made. We had already faced one big crisis when my dad passed away, and together we made each other better. We’ve been together eleven years, and with the little bits of insight I’ve gained I can safely say that my big piece of advice is this: Marry the one who makes you stronger. The one who gives you the energy and support to meet the challenges in life and wants to be on your team, right there by your side. That can look like many different things, but to me it’s the way he supports my business and the hours I spend invested in it. The way he speaks to me when we disagree – with purpose and consideration, never to overpower or force his point of view. I think back to last Spring when we spent one long week discussing which school to enroll our oldest into for first grade. We would put the kids to bed, sit down with each other, and talk back and forth for an hour or two until it was time to take a break for sleep. This went on for days, but it didn’t affect our day to day life with the kids, and we eventually found a compromise.

So, while your wedding is a magical and beautiful new beginning, it is never too early to start working on the foundation of a great relationship. I know Josh and I don’t have all the answers while we blunder through work and parenting together, but being mindful and intentional in the way we treat each other is what matters most to us and I know that will see us through. What do you make priority?

Authentic is Good For the Soul

Watching the sun set this evening brought a smile to my face. Two weeks ago, Kaitlyn from Life in Action Weddings and I picked up her friend (and our model-to-be), a stunning gown from Unforgettable You, a beautiful bouquet from Wildflower Florist, and headed out on the road looking for inspiration. We had a bit of a vision and a lot of heart going into the shoot, and while we all walked down the beach together laughing and trying new techniques in the setting sun, I remembered why I love photography. Why it’s so raw and powerful and moves my very soul. Watching Sarah in the sunlight and sand while we danced and splashed was the highlight of my year so far. There is something very special about doing something you love without the pressure of product delivery. I can take chances and push the limit of what myself and my equipment are comfortable with. While it doesn’t have the small intimate moments and love that a wedding day has, it was enough fun for us to start planning the next adventure before we had the pictures uploaded back home!

This edit style is authentic and it’s one that I’ve been in love with for a long time now, but haven’t had enough images to play around with. It’s a style I would love to work with more in my wedding deliveries, and comes straight from the heart. If I’ve learned anything as an artist, it’s that following your heart will take you to places and adventures that you could never imagine. I feel like this is exactly the place I am meant to be, and who could ask for more?

Second Glance | Wedding Photography

People change, right? Our style changes, as well as our personalities and taste (looking at you black & silver living room decor from 20 years ago).

Well as a photographer, I have grown and changed over the past six years. More than a set style, I want my pictures to make you feel something. Through the years that has meant different things to me, so when I’m feeling nostalgic I look back through sessions past to see how we have all changed through the years.

Something hit me this week though: I wondered how my images from then would look if I were to edit them in the styles I love and create today? Bam!! Bumble’s Second Glance was born! It will be a new recurring feature showing images from the past with a twist of today’s style. If you see one of your images featured and love the alternate look, send a message and I will make sure you get a copy! And if you have an image from sessions past that you adore and would love to see freshened up please say hello!

Second Glance Edit

Original and #editsecondglance

Your Story

This image is simple, but it is full of meaning to me. That’s what photography was created for, right? Scotland has called to me since I was little, and in 2008 my husband Josh (then boyfriend) and I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel there to stay with family. It has always been Josh’s first choice destination so despite being far away from financially ready, we jumped at the chance knowing we would never get another.

Having grown up in a forest, moss and trees hold a most special place in my heart. They bring back memories of long days as a child spent running wild in the woods picking raspberries and gathering morels with my cousins. Our trip in the Scottish countryside reminded me very much of home. Different, of course but perfect and familiar in so many ways.

The image below is a collection of memories. That thin, cheap ring in the middle of this picture was bought at a little vendor on the Royal Mile in Edinborough. We wandered through historical landmarks and self-guided tours with only a few dollars to get us through the week, and that tiny thing was a big deal to me. I loved it as much as I loved Josh and the beautiful country we were traveling.

If you are planning your wedding or a family photo shoot, find ways you can tell your story and bring meaning to the day. You won’t regret it!

The Bumble & the Vine

My story is not worthy of a movie script or a book. It is simple and uncomplicated. But within my story there is determination, mistakes, and hope. Photography is a little piece of that story, but it intertwines with every facet; pulling me in directions I never dreamed would lead me here.

My dad died suddenly in 2008. He was my best friend and so much of the person I am today came from his guidance and character. His death hit me harder than I thought possible and the following years were tough for me. As we grasped at every memory we could, I realized how few pictures we had of him. Fewer yet with even one of us (my mom, sister, or myself) in the picture with him. And of that handful of shots, just one small set were professional – from a department store in 1997 when I was 16.

No one can predict the struggles you will face in life. Or what someone else is carrying with them. The few years after we started our family in 2011 were a struggle and, were quite honestly, miserable for me. I had gone into that phase of life a shell of the person I had been years before and our first baby was what many call a ‘difficult’ baby. Without meaning to, I retreated into my sleep-deprived misery, not knowing how to help myself. While I was bouncing our baby night after night, I learned everything I could about photography so I could give my child those photos that I so badly wished I’d had all those years ago.

Through that fog of new-parent exhaustion I could see how different I was from the person I used to be, but between work and small kiddos, a better me seemed too far out of reach. Our house was a permanent disaster, I forgot simple things despite the 18 phone reminders I would set, and my self-imposed work load was crushing. I was drowning. My anxiety was through the roof and I still didn’t know how to help myself. Our lives carried along for five years that way. Full of happy moments, but feeling overwhelmed and frustrated in between.

One morning last spring, everything changed. My youngest was three then, and she fell madly in love with all things beautiful and what we once called “girly”. She asked me if we could make earrings that didn’t pinch like her clip-ons did. So we tried a few things, made some crazy magnetic designs, and before I knew it, a little jewelry business was born.

This surge of creativity changed something in me, and today I am sure it saved my life. My husband and I started changing the way we spent our time together as a family, and from there it spilled into my photography. My style started to change and grow; this emotion started to show through my work and my love for shooting came back. I decided a new business name would be the perfect way to mark this amazing shift in my art and in our lives. That cute bumble bee up there reminds me that we can do the hard things. The Vine reminds me to grow and seek the light when I feel surrounded by the dark.

Ten years ago when my childhood hero died and my world started to spin, I could not have dreamed about the images I would create today, or the happy little family my husband and I would make.

I took a month away from work after Christmas for the first time since our family began, and we are happier now than ever before over here. Right now I am editing pictures while the kids help dad make hot chocolate and I feel at peace for the first time in years. In that month off, I realized at some point last Autumn, I had slowly made my way out of the fog. I now wake up each day patient and happy to a family that reflects that same change back to me. Awake in a way I didn’t even realize that I missed. I am scheduling less, enjoying more, and have beautiful things planned for 2018.

If you have read this far, and have questions about anything in there at all, please ask! It’s hard to sum up ten years of backstory into one post, but I wanted to share a little bit about how I came to this place in my story.