Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Year Ponderings... an online diary!
Been feeling grateful for so many blessings & achievements... I believe that some people (me, most def!) come into this world knowing in their hearts just what it is they want to accomplish during this lifetime. While I've felt my way through some of it, and learned about those yearnings over time, many other things were innate from the very beginning. Most of my 'big dreams' have already come true (or are in the process of)! I've realized that if I pay attention to my heart, listen to my intuition, keep an open and positive (and creative) mind, and keep the faith - I can accomplish almost anything!
~ I've known since I was a little girl that I wanted to find someone who I could really, truly connect with. I wanted to be completely open with him, and he with me - while accepting one another fully - the good and the 'bad'. Perfection doesn't exist - but I believe in people being perfect FOR one another... It took some years of trial and error, and learning what's really important to each of us as individuals first - but my husband is the best friend I could ever dream of having! A few things kept us going through the difficult phases, and made us that much stronger with each passing relationship-milestone unearthed: A) Truly loving each the other for who we are; B) Full acceptance of who we each are; and C) A deep connection that stems from really knowing one another inside & out - - based on a foundation of genuine Trust. There were a couple of occasions that had me second-guessing whether we were "right" for each other - in spite of those ties. It was when we couldn't meet in the middle to maintain a strong connection... I was doing my part, and begging him to do his... He finally looked inside himself and figured out what is important to him. Once he was able to do that - he was able to share those things with me again - bringing us back to (and beyond, actually!) the connection we once had. And now, I recognize that we have something rare and special - and I've never felt so sure about this! (And, so long as he can just remain open with me/ refrain from putting up his protective barriers, I think it will stay that way!) Our bond is unique, and we are good for one another. Our wedding was held in our favorite setting, surrounded by nature, support, and love - and now we get to visit that special place every year and relive the magic! It was everything we'd dreamed - to commemorate our commitment & devotion. We support one another and help each other achieve things that are meaningful to us. He knows I accept him for who he is, and he is free to be fully open with me. That openness is what makes it not just 'work out' - but makes it meaningful!
~ I've always dreamed that I could be at my happiest if I was surrounded by nature. Not a city girl so much - though I do appreciate the city where I grew up. NE Minneapolis is a fantastic urban dwelling space - filled with variety, lots of local eateries, art galleries, preserved history, and scenic hot-spots. We've been lucky enough to find a home that is within a short distance from the cityscape, and still wraps us up in a nice hideaway amongst our patch of the north-woods-within-city-limits. The meandering creek and the wildlife, and the trees, trees, trees have proven to keep my sense of serenity high - even amidst other inevitable life-lessons, transitions, and difficulties. This one happens to be a bit of luck, mixed in with an authentic blessing. Things had to come together at the right time for us to have located this parcel, but we also had to implement some variables and create a bit of 'luck' in the matter!Our house embodies everything we've ever hoped for in a home... I think our favorite 'piece' inside, is our place of peace... the living room overlooking the natural splendors in the back yard, next to the wood-burning fireplace. My visions of fire-side memory-making have come alive over the years!
~ Every year we make a point to visit a place in nature that is much less trodden and still very natural/ untouched. The Trail holds special meaning for us - and we have made a lot of fond memories there over the many years that Joel and I have been together. (I'll be 32 soon - and Joel and I have been together for 16 years! That's HALF of my life.) Our memories began individually with our families, long before we even knew one another. So thrilled to be able to instill a sense of respect for and appreciation and enjoyment of such a magnificent splice of nature into our babies! No matter what the circumstances, we've made it work. When kiddos came along, we adjusted to a new means of camping - moving from tent to camper trailer. When the fire burned our favorite hide-away - the most rustic of campgrounds that remains in existence - we eagerly awaited its reopening and haven't looked back! How many people do you know who camp in a site where the mature trees no longer exist?? It's just a new beginning to us.
~ Even since I was 2 years old, I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be "a mother". That dream has come true - twice! My beautiful, amazing girls give a whole new meaning to life (and to striving to find the humor in all aspects of it!) Certainly many a challenge lies in the upbringing of 'tiny humans' - but it's also the most rewarding work available. It can't be properly put into words... though I may try harder to accomplish wording it one day! As much as I need balance in my life, I couldn't imagine my world without them in it, and certainly they have something special and unique within each of them to give back to this world. As they grow,  I look forward to more and more opportunities to connect with them, solidify our bond, and inspire them as much as they inspire me! There really is no sweeter sensation than those soft little lips pursed against your cheek! I hope that I can help them be the amazing people that they are, by encouraging them and just being there for them both, and showing them what genuine love is all about.
~ I longed for finding a career that I would actually enjoy pursuing - and ironically enough - I stumbled onto that one completely by accident! Well, not completely, I guess... I've always been a sentimentalist, I've always enjoyed documenting my journeys and events, and I've always loved taking photographs - even with my 110 cam back in the single-digit years of my life. But, I found my niche' when I could combine all of that and apply my own style to capturing wedding moments candidly and artistically. I get a thrill every time! My heart is truly in it, and I believe that shows through in my final images; At least that is reflective of the compliments I receive on my work. Some people do things that they think they'll enjoy - and find that it becomes cumbersome or a burden. I've been able to build a business around my life, (rather than the other way around) - and that enables me to continue to love every minute spent capturing those events - and the moments that make up the events! I can still place my focus on being a mother - while also doing something that I truly thrive on, and the bonus is that I can contribute to our family through doing this as well. I owe some of this to my husband, because he is our family's nine-to-fiver! However, he too found something that draws him in and holds his interest, that he does well naturally, and which also allows us unimaginable flexibility! We couldn't be happier about that fact!
~ One item that has been a blessing, is the fact that we both have very loving and supportive families in our lives. That piece we couldn't 'choose' - or dictate in any way. But we are blessed in that way! Even amid the weird new dynamic on my side, we've found little bits of connection in there... And some bigger bits of connection with the right people. Part of life is learning who your real friends are... whether related to you by blood or otherwise. Rather than holding on to the issues after finding out that some friendships had been based on opportunism (sadly), I'm looking at the sliver lining to see that I'm also learning who my true friends are in that process. That's what counts!
I think that covers the "big things"! There are many other smaller facets that come into play of course - and I'm grateful every day for being able to make the most of the things that matter most: Love, Connections with others, and making Memories with those closest to us. These are the things we'll take with us into the next life... The rest is just temporary. That's not to say that there aren't other ways that encompass 'temporary' to enjoy the journey!

The next steps are to continue to dream and grow, and learn, letting our hearts lead us to what will bring us joy. It gives our lives meaning, keeps us motivated, and keeps us really living! I'm not interested in merely surviving... I want to grab up all of the opportunities that come along - and create opportunities where there aren't any! Living in conjunction with your priorities is essential to finding and maintaining that joy. 
And so - my next post will entail the future goals and dreams I'm looking forward to next! Now that the girls have gotten older, I'm finding more time and opportunity to move forward again with personal goals. Joel and I share in most, if not all of them as well. I'm not so interested in acquiring 'things'. I'm interested in acquiring fond memories! If it falls in line with that - then I'm IN! (Joel would like a few more 'things' - but they equate to memory-making for HIM! So - from that perspective, I'm also IN! I support him in what makes him happy as well.) Your happiness comes from within you. If someone supports you in that - then you've found a true friend!

TIP: Choosing to blog is a very personal decision. It opens you up to the world - which can be good, and can have implications. If you're like me, and you enjoy maintaining some element of privacy - you can set up multiple blogs. I have a 'baby-blog' that is viewable via invitation only, and requires a password to return. There is where I house my family's most intimate memories - for us to share with one another and those closest to us. This helps enable me to maintain my daughters' privacy as well.  I have another that is dedicated to favorite nature photos taken in our home-away-from-home on the GFT. Others still are broken down into specific trips (ie: FL, AZ, and more to come!) And there is also my biz-blog - which I'm deciding now to keep to primarily photo sessions that are in line with photographing people and their surroundings. Everything has a place and a purpose. This one is kind of like a diary for me... where I seek humor in stressful situations, and mark wordier joyful memories too - those that aren't applied to the baby blog mentioned above (depending upon where the story is more fitting, I suppose.) This is more about my personal journey and growth as a mom, and all that encompasses that life-long learning-curve & overall experience. It enables me to sort out all of the thoughts, ideas, feelings - and put them to good use in bettering myself in that regard (hopefully!) ;) Perhaps it will inspire others besides at some point? If so - then this will help me contribute additional income to my family as well. Can't hurt to try :) Can't happen if I don't!
A QUOTE: “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” ~Albert Einstein
WHIDFML: Been working with Joel to open up a new chapter in our lives... more to come!

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