When she told me she wanted to do a maternity photos with her other pregnant friend, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. That’s Hannah though, dreaming wilder and living freer than most of us could imagine. She’s a passionate woman, and never has it shined brighter than since she’s become a wife and mother. It’s been a joy and honor to witness her love unleash.

I was humbled spending the day with these two mothers. Hannah carrying her second and Emily carrying her third, the two left their littles for some fun photos dressed like the warrior queens they are. If I become a mother someday, I hope to lead with unyielding love and devotion, just like them.

 

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*Photos taken in Davenport, CA.

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I sit here today, listening to the rain tap outside my window, and I find myself swept back to the same sound that accompanied a similar afternoon eight years ago. I love how sound can transport you like that. My heart was heavier then.

That particular March, I had recently returned home from a medical mission in Tanzania. There were 18 of us that went; half were medically trained, another half Orthodox and all of us with the same mission: to help. We went to seven different villages, set up clinics and served over 700 people. What transpired in those twenty days on the other side of the world changed my life forever. It’s a trip I don’t return to often enough in my head or heart, because the lessons I learned and the people I met impacted me more than anything has in the near decade since.

I saw a different way of life. I saw a different way of happy. I saw acceptance and hard work and unconditional love. All from a group of people who have nothing compared to what we have here. They don’t have shiny cars, they don’t have nice property or patent leather shoes; hell, some of them barely have roofs over their heads and some don’t have shoes at all. The people we met in Tanzania live simply yet fully. They are filled with love and Light and joy. Despite the hardships they face, every day they still choose joy.

I’ve been trying to live like them ever since. It’s tough, I must admit, with all the distractions here. It was really hard coming back to this life after living in theirs. But as I sit and listen to the pitter patter of the rain, I focus on what can be changed. What can I let go of, what can be released, to make room for the things that really matter…?

Would you change?

 

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I think it’s easy to look at all the fluff and fantasy through social media these days and experience feelings of self doubt. In a world where everyone’s highlight reel fills your feed constantly, it’s easy to make comparisons. It’s easy to feel like you’re not good enough.

You may puff up and you may pretend like you’re doing great and share your highlights to make it seem so as well. But behind the virtual masks we often feel like failures, inadequate, and nowhere near as successful as everyone else with more followers seems to be.

As my dear friend recently said, it’s a bunch of hooey. We need to focus on our selves and our circles more, and the world that seems to be watching, less. Social media is great in so many ways, but it shouldn’t distract you from what’s really important. Personally, I need to spend more time on me, my people and my art.

So I’m seeking innovation and insight through life that unfolds in front of me. I’ll be at my desk most days with my computer and phone in face. There’s no way around that. But I’ll also be stepping away, picking up the camera more and engaging with others most. Because as Van Gogh said, there really is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. And when you’re loving, you’re the best that you can be. No engagement rate can compare to that.

 

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Photo by @julieunleashed

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Wow the last six months have been insane[ly good]! I am notorious for taking on more than I can chew, and somehow learning to chew it as I go. Well, Lovato Images hit it hard this summer and between running it + teaching + getting a degree of my own, I’ve been a (happily) busy bee. I realize haven’t blogged since July…forgive me.

It’s been great and I’m happy to say I have been able to maintain balance through it all. That’s what it’s all about right?

A couple weeks ago I was interviewed+photographed by the designer from Kestan, Stephanie. She features business owners on her blog every month and I was honored to be asked to be featured. THANK YOU for the amazing words and photos, Stephanie! Go to Kestan Community to check it out. Cruise around her site and shop while you’re at it too. Her stuff is lovely. Stephanie’s a young business owner/entrepreneur herself and I can’t WAIT to see her grow in the years to come.

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There’s something to be said about this whole superpower we photographers hold in ‘freezing time.’ I mean really, I don’t know who benefits more from this capability, you the ones in moments with your loved ones captured to savor forever, or me the one behind the lens, humbled by the edifying task of helping make parts of your lives last.

Life flies by so fast you know. If we don’t stop once in awhile to appreciate it, relish in it, and remember it…we’re going to miss it. I’m here to help in that necessary undertaking with my camera. You experience/love/live. I’ll document.

Honored to have documented some of the first moments of this sweet little thing’s newness of living…let’s just stare at her for awhile and delight in her loveliness…k? K.

 

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