Such a beautiful little boy! When baby’s momma, Liz, contacted me to see if I was available to shoot her newborn on January 7th, I hesitated. The 7th marked 2 years since we lost Gavin, and I wasn’t sure how I’d manage a shoot of this nature. I’m SO GLAD I talked myself into it. There’s NOTHING in this world like baby therapy! Nothing. And this little guy?! Oh my goodness. Perfection. I hope you enjoy his sweet little self as much as I did.

PS. It’s really amazing how God works. This shoot on this day? Who else could have orchestrated something so perfect? Enjoy!

Then we got the most wonderful visit from these darlings. Love.

What a joy to shoot the beautiful Shannon family!

I shot Ashley and her wonderful little family in Hawaii last year and loved every second of it. When she contacted me to check availability for an extended family session in Palm Springs, I about jumped out of my skin with excitement. Ash is one of my favorite clients of all time. Happily she loves me too: “I’ve told Matt you’re going to become our first family tradition.” What an honor! I can’t wait!

Let me tell you, extended family shoots are the very hardest shoots of all. They are dripping with complexity. One thing you can always count on? Madness. Complete and total, madness. The Shannon family, however, made it easy, and it shows! I hope you enjoy looking at this beautiful session as much as I enjoyed shooting it! xoxo!

January 7, 2010

I remember walking out of the hospital room after he died. I remember each step in vivid detail. Richie and I walked, our arms wrapped tightly around one another—I leaned my weight heavily against him, trying to keep myself from falling to the ground. “I feel like Adam and Eve,” I’d said. “We’re on our way into the lone and dreary world. Nothing will ever be the same.”

News like this spreads like wildfire. As soon as I went radio silent on the www, speculations were rampant. I started getting messages from strangers offering me Valium and other strange narcotics. Thankfully, I was cognizant enough to know that this would be nothing more than putting a fairy band aid on a gaping wound (and thankfully my momma taught me right, “Just say, ‘no’”).  We waked into the hotel room, where Richie helped me bind my breasts with an ace bandage. Practicality still reigned sovereign. I was a nursing mom. I’d been pumping every 2 hours since he’d been admitted to the PICU, and I was in a lot of pain.

Then we climbed into bed, wrapped our arms around each other. . . and cried.

I did sleep that night. I know I did, because I remember waking up. I remember waking up and groaning at the throbbing in my chest. I slipped out of bed and into the bathroom, where I tried to gently unwrap myself. I screamed from the pain—I’m not sure if it was the physical pain, the broken heart, or a combination of everything, but I let out a scream the size of Texas.

Later that morning, my parents arrived. They’d booked us flights home later that day. They’d arranged for Gavin’s body to be shipped on the same flight from Salt Lake City to Honolulu. God bless her, my mom didn’t want us to be separated. I still don’t know what percentage of a fortune this cost them, but gosh am I grateful.

I just lay on the couch as everyone discussed the details of the day. I’d say I was numb, but that would be lazy writing. I wasn’t numb. I felt. I felt every breath in my body, every beat of my heart. I could feel my cells regenerating, my blood pumping, the growth of my hair. No I wasn’t numb, only incapacitated. Completely incapable of anything but cellular function . . .  to breathe in and out.

I don’t know why I’m telling you this story, except that I am.

I’ve never known how to describe the way that day felt in words. I pray to God you never have to learn for yourself.

Nearly 2 years later, I received a forwarded email from my friend, Jon. A stranger had written a song.

“I wrote a song late one night after following the story of your friend Natalie losing her little baby. I wrote it quick and recorded it quick to try and not lose the tension I was feeling after reading of her heartbreaking loss. It’s a personal thing… something I can never really comprehend.”

Again, all this time later, I found myself wrapped in Richie’s arms, silent sobs rising from my chest.

Little did this man know, he’d written the words of my soul.

Ryan Tanner, Salt Lake City Rain.

click here to open post Jan 03, 2012 | posted in Inspire, Personal | 18 comments

Last year:

2011 was full of some really big wins—for my family, my marriage, my career. . . my soul, but the success came, as success often does, littered amid some really overwhelming (and even devastating)  transition and pain. So yes, my feelings toward 2011 (and subsequently 2012) are muddled, and rightly so.

I will however say this, I’m not sorry to watch the year go.

Sayonara lady; say.o.nar.a.

I resolve:

(When, by the way, did feelings vis-à-vis goal setting at the beginning of the year become so antagonistic? People, have a little courage—and faith in yourselves—for Pete’s sake!)

In 2011, I had one resolution.  One. It’s of a fairly personal (read: embarrassing) nature, so don’t expect me to dish. Sorry friends, your curious little cat is definitely going to die–my lips are sealed.

Like I said, one resolution, and while it is still somewhat a work in progress, I’m happy to report that SIGNIFICANT (read: soul rattling) progress was in fact made toward it’s fulfillment in 2011. Reason to rejoice!

This year’s resolution, I am willing to divulge, but not without back story.

Me: Richie, what’s your resolution?

Richie: To do what I know.

Me: How do you mean?

Richie: I know a lot. This year, I need to DO what I know.

You see, he’s right.

We DO know a LOT.
All of us do.

It’s easy to focus on the negative, on the places we lack, on the ways our lives are different than, less than, harder than those around us (or worse than the way we thought they’d be—the way we “deserved” them to be). But the reality is, if we really dig deep, we’ll find just how blessed we really are, and if we dig even deeper, we’ll find that we inherently have every.single.thing we need, right inside of us.

My short conversation with my brilliant husband caused me to dig.

Here’s what I found.

I have been blessed with tremendous parents (M + D) who raised me with love and taught me emotional intelligence and spiritual understanding (and happily, some street smarts to boot). I have been blessed with remarkable resources both personally and professionally who teach me (mostly through example) how to not only survive, but to THRIVE in this crazy realm we call “life.” I also have beautiful children who have taught me patience and love, and a smart, faithful, supportive husband who loves me crazy. (Yes, that last sentence reads just as I intended it to. ) I have a religion that fills me to overflowing and stands ready to guide me through every faucet of my life: if only I’ll stop, look and listen.

Above and beyond everything else, I have that quiet voice that lives deep inside my soul. . . that sweet voice that inherently knows the way to love, to live, to be. This year, I’m ready to listen to that voice who knows.

I’m still muddled; I have no idea where this year will lead, but this is the year I will stop spinning my wheels, and simply do what I know.

Yes, this is the year I’ll live from my heart; this is the year I’ll do what I know.

Here’s to you, 2012. I’m sincerely excited for you to come into focus.

Because I know A LOT. (