click here to open post Nov 12, 2013 | posted in Weddings | 27 comments

Imagine spending time with someone who exudes absolute love and acceptance. Imagine the beautiful feeling of complete inclusion . . . even adoration. This is what every moment with Matt and Annie feels like. They love each other, and everyone around them, completely and without a hint of exclusion or restraint.

It was a tremendous honor to photograph this marvelous occasion in their lives, but the very deepest honor of all is simply the gift of being their friend.

Enjoy.

 Annie, how’s this for frolicking? I’m pretty sure we nailed it. :)

I shot the majority of the day barefooted. Let’s just say that heels, low as they were, were not the best option for shooting on a ranch. :) Silly me.

The father of the bride gave the most touching toast I have ever heard at any wedding over the length of my career (that’s a lot of weddings). My favorite excerpt (because yes, I asked for a copy):

As I have reflected on the days and months that have brought us here tonight, I realize that this is a time of memories—of those precious moments of honesty, caring, thoughtfulness and love—these are the snapshots of my life as a father and ours as a family . . . they [have] become the whole of our experience. Childhood, parenting, is fleeting. The events of which happen only once. . . . For those of you with children or those who soon will be having children, never forget that the time that elapses between where you now sit and I stand is incredibly short, and once past, no part of it can be recreated. A lost moment is lost forever. That precious, loving, time-sensitive creature who adores you is the most importnat thing in the world. Your tomorrow is my today, and today, right here, right now, I would give anything to recover just one lost opportunity, one precious, past moment with that child in my snapshots.

To answer your question, yes, of course, I cried like a baby.

Every one of the girls in the image above is a past or current client (even using that word to describe them makes me cringe). These women are sincerely among the most treasured friends of my life. I love them completely. Left to right: Kellin, Alexis, Mei, Annie, Stephanie.

 It’s the silliest thing, and I promise I’m not a narcissist, but the above image of me hugging Annie at the end of the day. . . an image I didn’t even take . . . is truly my favorite image of the day. Annie, I love you, SO MUCH. To borrow a phrase from Pride and Prejudice (which I watched twice as I prepared this post), none of us could have parted with you “to anyone less worthy” than Matt. I am SO happy for you both.

COMMENT BELOW, AND YOU’RE ENTERED TO WIN A COPY OF THE HAPPINESS PROJECT BY GRETCHEN RUBIN: A CURRENT NATALIE READS TITLE FOR THE MONTHS OF NOV/DEC. 

Over the last couple of weeks, as I’ve sincerely worked to achieve a higher level of overall happiness, this question has come to my mind over and over (and over) again: does it take as much work to be unhappy as it does to be happy?

I sincerely wonder.

Time is the great equalizer—we all have precisely the same number of hours in each and every day. What differentiates one of us from the next is not how much time we have at our disposal, rather it’s how we choose to invest those 24 hours every day.

 

I threw this design together, but the phrase is not my own.
It’s been all over Pinterest, Instagram and the www.

Let’s push pause on the discussion of happiness for 32 seconds and think about this concept in general, starting with some introspection: what is your goal? Greater happiness? Increased success? A higher level of productivity? An enhanced level of gratitude? Now think of someone who has achieved the end in mind you are anxious to achieve. Do they make different decisions with their time than you do? Perhaps? It’s definitely worth thinking about.

(Un-pause.)

My personal goal is an increased level of happiness in my life. Thus, I’m asking myself the following:

1.  Do happy people invest their time more wisely than I do?
2.  Assuming (as I am) that the answer to the question above is “yes,” the obvious follow up would be: How do happy people’s decisions with their time differ from my own—what, specifically, are they doing differently than I am?

Happy vs Unhappy: is the amount of work the same?

So. . . . I’ve had this line of thought running through my head (and heart) on repeat, and today, I happened “randomly” across the following quote from author Carlos Castaneda:

“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.”

I say “randomly,” because I really don’t feel there was anything random about it. The moment I read those words, their validity fell upon my heart like a ton of bricks. It was a message I needed to receive, in a moment when I sincerely needed to receive it.

What do YOU think?

I am not an expert on happiness (clearly). I’m genuinely eager to explore this subject right along with the rest of you! So please, tell me what you think!

1. What kinds of choices with their time do you think happy people make?
2. Or perhaps a better question is: what kinds of actions, thoughts etc do happy people choose NOT to waste their time on?
3. What kinds of choices with your time tend to make you happiest?
4. If you think back on a time of sincere happiness, how were you choosing to invest your time during that period of your life?

Let me know any of your thoughts in the comments below! Don’t feel like you have to answer each of the numerical questions above! Just let me know how YOU feel as it relates to the subject of time and happiness—be as brief or as long winded as you like! As always, I promise to do my best to respond to each of your comments personally!

Here’s to greater happiness, today!

xo,

Nat

Disclaimer:

Please don’t misunderstand. I am a generally happy human being. I am. But I want to be happier. I think there is greater happiness available to me. . . to each of us, and I want to get out there and find every ounce of that joy that I possibly can! (I KNOW you want the same! Just as time is an equalizer, I’d venture to say that the pursuit of happiness is an equalizer as well. . .)

Happier Today is a new series!

Missed previous posts? Here you go!

Happier Today Part I: an introduction
Happier Today Part II : happiness as a verb