Time is a funny thing. Days seem to creep by, the minutes ticking slowly into hours. Yet, the months rush past, blurring into years. One moment you’re a kid, the next, you’re an adult. And with the rush of the holidays, the short days with scare sunshine in Seattle, and the tragedies that have played out across the United States this last week, time seems even more precious.

Every moment counts. But, we’re not savoring those moments.

We rush. We run. We try to do more. Do more stuff. Be more awesome. Shoot more weddings. Blog more stuff. Go go go.

It has to stop. Life is not the 100 meter dash. It’s a marathon. Something we need to take our time at, slow down and savor. Dig in for the long haul. It won’t be over in a minute.

All this sprinting through life has taken away our ability to savor life. To enjoy the moments as they come. To really live those moments, without tweeting or pinning or tagging. This month, I’ve stopped. I won’t do it any more. I can say no. Time in the most precious gift we can give. Our time. I’ve cut back. I take my time to read a book. I sit down and eat a full meal. I try my best to walk, not run. And when it comes to Christmas, we’ve cut back and looked at our priorities. It’s not about buying the most impressive gifts, or getting the most expensive gadgets. It’s about time. It’s about spending time with the people you love. Because those moments are precious. Because what the last week has shown, is that you never know what moment will be your last. When I look back at the last year, I see a lot of photos that I took. And maybe I’ll still make a 2012 in Review post. But what I see more are the moments. I see the time spent with family and friends. I see Montana.

We try every August to spend a weekend in Montana. Our friend’s family owns a cabin on a small, secluded lake. With no cell phone service, no television, no internet, it’s a break from insanity. Our first morning, I crept out at sunrise and did yoga on the dock. I sat on the damp, gray wood, and felt the rocking. The chill of a Montana morning creeping into my bones. The silence was comforting. I could hear the fish jumping, the birds calling, the lap of the waves on the shore. I sat there until my fingers and toes were numb, then went back up the stairs and fell into bed for a few more hours. The days passed, full of sun and water and laughter and joy. And each night, I’m once again on the dock. Looking up at the stars. So many stars. The magnitude of the sky, the smallness of my own life, it’s all there. And the peace those stars bring me, it fills me.

I strive to find that peace in my everyday life. To lead a life full of living, not full of things. Life is precious. Time is precious. People are precious. Someday, we will all be nothing but memories. Do you want a life filled with things or a life filled with living?

On the days when I’m stressed, when I’m beat up by the do more, be more, buy more society we live in, I pull my heart back to Montana. To the rocking of the dock, to the warm sunshine, to the stars.

Lindberg Lake Montana Stars

After WDS — Playing for Keeps

After WDS — Playing for Keeps

North Cascade Highway

After coming home from WDS, it felt at times that it hadn’t really happened. Which was something I didn’t want. I wanted to cherish each moment, to remember it. To learn from WDS and my time there. I thought about WDS a lot. It changed my views on so many things. I thought about WDS as I drove to work in the morning, as I sat in traffic all afternoon on my way home. I thought about little things – and big things – the meaning of my life, what I was afraid of, what I wanted to be when I grew up – and I realized a lot of things.I realized I was scared. Scared to be vulnerable. To take a chance.

I was scared. I’d been clinging to my day job. A job I enjoyed, but didn’t love. It was something I was doing to help pay the bills while getting into photography. I’d contemplated not coming back for the fall, but then I’d get an ever-so-helpful email from my student loan providers, reminding me to give them money. Ugh. So I went back in September. I shot weddings on Saturdays, working on editing photos every morning while tutoring and caring for my munchkins in the afternoons. Sitting in traffic. Living in an apartment that wasn’t getting cleaned because we were both working 10 hours a day. Dinners that were grabbed on the run.

I was exhausted, I was sluggish. I was uninspired. But I was scared too. Scared to fail. Because once I quit my day job, there was no safety net. No way to catch myself. But H stood by me the whole time. Let me figure it out. And when I was ready, he told me to go for it. And then I did it. I quit my day job.

In the time between when I gave my notice and when I locked those doors for the last time, my emotions ran the gamut. I was excited. I was scared. What if I failed? What if I decided I don’t actually like photography that much? What if I suck at running a business? What if I don’t have any work? I’d go from holy-shit-what-if-I-fail to I-can’t-wait-to-follow-my-heart. And now, on my 2nd Monday as a freelance photographer, as a full-time photographer, I’m a little more calm. I’m still scared. I’m still uncertain. But I feel more free. I no longer feel the suffocating stress from not having enough hours in the day. I have the time and flexibility to clean my apartment, cook dinner, and still edit photos. I even took on a design project recently and discovered I like that too.

I’m still scared. I look at my calendar and I think, this isn’t the best time to quit to be a wedding photographer. It’s kinda the slow season. But here I am. And for the first time in months, I have space to breathe. I look at the world around me and Iwant to pick up my camera. I want to shoot. Because I know I have the time to edit and blog those photos. I log onto my computer and don’t stare at the screen in panic, but with joy.

This is what I needed.

Charity:Water and My Birthday

Charity:Water and My Birthday

Last month, I wrote about my time at WDS and mentioned Charity:Water. Today, it’s my 25th birthday. And this year, I’m giving up my birthday for charity. I’ve set a slightly ridiculous goal of $500 for charity, which would provide clean water for 25 people. Below, I’m adding my charity:water bio and photo. You can see my campaign page here and donate whatever you can spare.

My 5th Birthday

Above is a picture of me, turning five. That’s my little brother to the left. I opened presents (including a ballerina barbie!) and I was happy and safe and secure. On August 15th, I’m turning 25. At first, I couldn’t believe it. It seems just yesterday, I was carefree (and tan!) and five. But on July 7th, I heard about charity: water. And I found out that millions of people don’t live to age five. The age I am in that photo above. And why? Because they don’t have access to clean, safe water. So, this year, I’m asking for something special for my birthday. I want to raise $1,000 for charity: water. That will provide 50 people with clean water. I’m asking 40 of my friends to donate $25 (or more!) and change 50 lives. Every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund clean water projects in developing nations. Even better, charity: water will show us exactly which projects we funded once they’ve been fully completed (which takes about 18 months). That means we’ll be able to see the communities we’ve helped! Please join me to make this birthday count. Please join me to change – and save – lives. Let’s help more people reach age five – and 25.

WDS in Review — Portland, OR

WDS in Review — Portland, OR

Kura Hulanda Curacao

**Life is about finding your wings & using them to fly — my new motto**

From five minutes into the opening party on Friday night, where I went from carrying around a balloon butterfly to having wings, I’ve had this post brewing in the back of my mind. It’s been taking shape, morphing into something that extends beyond the words in this post, into a dream for tomorrow. It has taken shape not in my heart or my mind, but in my soul. It has come out of something bigger than myself. Something I cannot hope to describe but will do my best to share with you.

** Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. **

Twelve months ago, I heard about WDS (the World Domination Summit) and was intrigued. The twitter feed was…intoxicating. It was empowering and I was only getting the highlights. But as much as I wanted to know everything, no one could give me a straight answer. And honestly, I can’t give you one either. Chris Guillebeau said that WDS is about living a remarkable life in a conventional world. WDS is amazing, and life changing, and filled with beautiful, wonderful, people. People who not only want to change the world, but are doing to something to change it. Thinking back on my time in Portland with the WDSers makes me smile, laugh, and cry. For realz. WDS wasn’t just about being better at what we do. It’s about being. It’s about believing. In yourself, in other people, in the good in this world.

“No one belongs here more than me” — Brene Brown

 A slew of notable and fabulous people spoke at WDS. They tore down the walls we’d built before arriving at the Newmark Theater on Saturday morning and then built them back up by Sunday night. Brene Brown started the show by challenging us to be vulnerable. To reach down inside ourselves and find the uncool part of us. Because underneath the armor we wear, we’re all uncool, we’re all vulnerable. She reminded us that we belong. That no one can make us feel unworthy. She also got all 1,000 participants (and quite a few volunteers) up and singing Don’t Stop Believing. The Glee version. Scott Harrison spoke of how he’s changing the world through his nonprofit, charity:water and asked all of us to pledge our birthdays. I donated mine (it’s next month, I’ll write more about it soon).

“If you don’t start, you won’t get anywhere.” — Chris Brogan

And now, it’s been a week since I walked out of the opening party, high on life. When I think of WDS, my heart smiles and my stomach flutters. Not because of what I learned at WDS (which is, by the way, a lot), but because of all the great people I met. People from a multitude of countries (there were 20 countries represented, I met people from 7) who I learned were just like me. Not because we’re in the same industry, not because we have the same background, but because we want to make a change in the world. Because we have big goals that might not fit into what society thinks we should do. Because we’re the rebels, the rule breakers, the ones who didn’t listen. But we are the ones change the world on our own terms. All it takes is that first step.

“Courage is acting in the face of fear.” — Susan Cain

WDS has sparked my creativity and longing. I have a slew of ideas going and I can’t wait to start working on some new projects. I have a group of new friends who will hold me accountable and build me up. Exactly what a girl needs. And I have wings. No one can keep me from flying but my own fears, that’s what I learned at WDS. And that is why I’ll be back next year.

Friday: An Update

Friday: An Update

There are a lot of things going through my mind lately. Things I’ve wanted to share but would have ended up being 4 sentence blog posts. So, here’s a post of miscellaneous nonsense.


1. Back in February, I went to the dentist and they decided I needed braces again. I dragged my feet, because I think I’ve known this deep down for a few years. But I finally did something about it and last week I got my first set of Invisalign. Right now, if everything goes smoothly, it will take 40 weeks. The first few days were rough. I had to remember to put them back in right after eating, brushing whenever I can, and make sure I wasn’t lisping like a kid without front teeth. Also, I am so happy that I’m not rocking the glasses & braces combo again. Doing that once, um,  twice was enough. Three times would have been too much. So, 1 week down, 39 to go.

2. H ran his first triathlon of the season last Saturday, beating last year’s time on the same course. He’s planning on running 7 total this season: 4 sprint distance and 3 olympic distance. For the first time, we’re going to events in 2 states (Washington and Oregon). His season spans 4 months and means a lot of early mornings and waiting. But also a lot of good memories and I get to meet some nice people.

3. For the second year, I’m spending my summer off from the school nannying a couple local families and tutoring. The more I work as a nanny, the more I realize what an interesting role nannies and babysitters play. We’re big sisters (or brothers), psuedo-parents, teachers and confidants. We walk a light between fun and serious, between friend and elder. I love the chance I get to be part of someone’s family. And as I see my student age and grow into beautiful young people, I am more and more proud of them and whatever tiny part I’ve played in their lives.

4.  I’ve been having some troubles with my computer (specifically, my harddrive) and so I have to reformat it. This is really frustrating because I know that it will take me a while to get everything back the way I want it. Just a warning, having to reinstall everything means I won’t be editing for a few days (hopefully no more than a week), which might mean no post next week. I am especially bummed about this.

St Louise School Kids Club

Around the Neighborhood

Around the Neighborhood

Capitol Hill Spanish Style Home

Pink Flowers

Sleeping in the sunshineKitty LoveBlue house with catBear the Cat

Since moving into Seattle proper in November, I have spent a lot of time wandering around our neighborhood. I swear, I fall in love with it even more every time. Most times, I try to leave the camera at home and just enjoy the day. However, I just had to capture some of the beauty of our new hood to share with you. There are beautiful homes with wonderful gardens and charming cats (and dogs). The big tabby is especially friendly and I had to convince him not to come home with me.