Category Archives: Nature

Regina’s Family Photoshoot

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“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart,” – Winnie the Pooh

Regina’s family session was my last fall session. Their little baby Zayna is 6 months and this was her first photoshoot. Regina said she missed out on newborn images at the hospital, so I was honored to take their baby’s first professional photos! Regina was looking for pictures of Mom and Dad interacting with baby, pictures that would show their love for Zayna. When I see these images, I can see their faces and expressions soften toward her and their smiles grow; I hope you can see it too.

Their session was cut shorter when their little one started to cry. I’ve noticed sessions of six-month-olds tend to end quickly since the babies are vocal through their cries about what they need and their moms are able to read their signs.

Zayna hadn’t given me many smiles, but when her parents started to play with her under a tree, lifting her gently into the air, she was all smiles so was glad I managed to capture those images!

Below are a few images of them enjoying autumn at Tanyard Creek Park.

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T is for Travel

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I am currently editing the images of clients so my mind is too full of images, too empty of words. My words are stuck somewhere swirling amongst the images. Here are a few images  of a recent road trip!

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“And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”  (Quran 13:3)

Betrayal of Bodies and Minds

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I recently watched the Steven Hawking movie The Theory About Everything and was touched by Muhammad Ali’s death.

Muhammad Ali was a dynamic, strong, and vibrant athlete.

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Struck with Parkinson’s, he was forced to give up the athlete life he led. He found another path and became a passionate philanthropist.

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Steven Hawking was a happy-go-lucky scientist whose muscles slowly started to betray him. Not to worry, he too found another path and churned out a best-seller book A Brief History of Time.Eddie-Redmayne-stars-as-Stephen-Hawking.0.jpg

What do we do when something goes wrong?  Do we forge ahead and create another path? Or do we wallow? Or wallow for the time-being before creating a new path? Do we get stuck? Refuse to bloom?

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If we are a photographer, what do we do when we run out of film? or nowadays when our camera battery dies?

If we are a writer, what do we when our pen runs out of ink? when our words swim away into the impermeable ocean of writer’s block? when our ideas evaporate into a too-faraway cloud of writers block?

Do we keep trying? In Muhammad Ali’s case, fighting? Stephen Hawking, studying? For me– writing? photographing?

When we’re stuck, do we change it up and go outside, stare at the clouds, and feel the words that we’ve been searching for float back into our brains?

Do we put down the camera and see the world through two refreshed eyes rather than a bulky and tired camera lens?

Do we look for another path when our current path is blocked? When our bodies betray us, what will we have left? When our minds become soft become like butter left out too long, what will we have left?

Are we ready to leave this life to go to the next? (love Muhammad Ali’s words about this here.)

I hope and pray than even when obstacles turn up our way, and they will, that we have the courage to find our own path. To create a new path if needed. To bloom always and openly.

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President Obama on Muhammad Ali:

“Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world.  We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest.  We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.”

Hatching Hope

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I’m youth, I’m joy, I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg. James M. Barrie

The beginning of summer is an amazing thing. For a couple months, I will shy away from packing any type of school lunches. I will purposefully avoid little Tupperware boxes, aluminium foil, and the random assortment of pantry snacks.  At Kroger I will happily avoid the aisle that has little lunch sized snacks.

Z’s plastic pocketed folder is fat and full of Kindergarten papers that are sorted through for the last time. Certain papers quietly recycled behind Z’s back; certain papers declaring Z’s love for her sister A with the letter ‘S’ drawn the wrong way with crooked colorful hearts stowed away in a little IKEA plastic box I just bought today for the purpose of saving those special papers that I can’t seem to part with just now.

I can’t wait for the days to become unstructured, for the routines to quietly slip away, and for summer to kick in.

Ramadan is starting in less than 10 days! It’s been nice to see my book pop up again here and there. In the meantime, I hope and pray that these last few days are productive and full of blessings for all.

Enjoying the below… a mourning dove made a nest in my petunia planter. I googled it and learned not to disturb the eggs so I stopped watering the poor petunias. I could have put a water globe but didn’t want to disturb the mother and her eggs anymore than I already had. Hence, why I wasn’t able to photograph the nest’s eggs. The mother and father dove swapped  places during the day and for 2 weeks have been dutifully sitting on their eggs. Today beautiful little dark glossy chicks awaited us! I love the mourning dove’s sounds – soothing and rhythmic. I don’t see them as mourning, rather as peaceful cooers! And I’m sure in this case, the parents were celebrating rather than mourning. My Celebrating Doves below …

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9 Non-Goals

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Last year, I was inspired by blogger Erin Loechner, who instead of writing resolutions wrote non-goals in 2015 and 2016. Gentle ways in which you reflect back on your year and think, what did I do well in? Of course there are always things you could do better, aren’t there always?

What are the things that you slowly thrived in?

Here’s Erin’s last year quote:

“You know the drill by now, it’s non-goal time. In a month where we’re encouraged to pick apart bits of ourselves – more of this, less of that – sometimes it’s just refreshing to take a step back and see the landscape for what it is. To swim in the grace we’ve been given; leap in the forgiveness we’re granted. To just keep walking, one foot then another, without searching for a new route that might offer a quicker arrival to a destination we were never intended to seek.” – Erin Loechner

Here are my 2015 Non-Goals!

Below are my 2016 Non-Goals!

  1. You Read Lots of Books
    Reading for me is a must. When I read, I get a mini escape from my world. I was just reading Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and I loved seeing how her point of view. Books help you decompress, and when you need a bit of silence, and escape from the hubbub of your world, a book is one way. I don’t read every single book word-for-word if I don’t want to. I read picture books, chapter books, books for people my age with hard covers and squished up words. I have books on my dining table, books in the cabinets, books on the coffee table, books in baskets, books everywhere. I leave a few books on my dining table for me to browse through while I eat a snack now and then, and love the drawing in of words.

Also, how amazing is a library? A place where you can go and leave with a bag of books for free. Yes, to be returned, but then you get more in exchange!

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2. You Were a Little More Social

Last year, I was happy to be a little less social. I was home bound for some time when I had a health issue. I found that I had to flourish at home. Being a homebody, I was fine. However, I found that when I am well and able, being social can be good. People get happy to see you. You get happy to see them.

 

3. You Are Trying to Go on Nature Adventures

This year I actually went apple picking, something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I got to go the Atlantic Ocean as well as the mountains, so it is nice to be able to reflect on the natural world around me.

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4. You Went to Coffee Shops

The wifi stopped working so ‘A’ and I went to a coffee shop. And then another. I don’t drink coffee (I don’t like the bitter taste of it), so we enjoyed our hot chocolates. I do love the smell of coffee though! I may try to go again to get actual work done. We’ll see!

5. You are Trying to Make your Home a Haven

I am trying to declutter. Trying to make the home even cozier and make peace with the things I need, the needs of 2 little ones, and the peace of the inevitable mess.

6. You Had to Promote Your Book which Meant Talking to People and Being Out There!

When you are always out everyday as a teacher, and all of a sudden become more-at-home as a mother, it is a little odd to suddenly be out more than what you’re used to. To board a plane and to meet eager minds at libraries. To receive hugs from eager-reading-children is rewarding!

 

7. To Not Force It

This year I just didn’t feel like crocheting a lot. I didn’t feel like blogging as much (had other writing tasks to focus on). Different demands took my time. I didn’t like the guilty lingering feeling I had and am trying to make peace with it. Making peace with new hobbies or lack of hobbies are good.

8. To Keep Trying

I’m itching for another book to author and am trying my hand again at writing. I am happy that I keep trying especially when giving up is so easy in the uncertain world of publishing. I also was really excited when Lailah’s Lunchbox landed on the 2016 ALA Notable Books so praying for more notable books!

9. To Appreciate Health

To know that when I am healthy to appreciate it.

When health fails, as it can do to anyone at any time anywhere to take it in stride, to turn to God, and pray your heart out.

To Appreciate health with a capital A when it returns.

 

 

And things I want to do this year and remind myself of and mini-goals:

  1. A nap is a gift. A nap is a gift. A nap is a gift.
  2. I want to do a proper cartwheel.
  3. I want to write beautiful stories. Bonus: Get Them Published!
  4. I want to enjoy cooking more. I love making playdough or baking cookies, but I want to view cooking less as a chore and see it more as a joy.

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    playdough!

  5. I want to be better about driving places that are further from me or when Atlanta traffic strikes, but understand if I don’t feel fine with going somewhere or doing something, that it is totally fine to opt out to regain myself to go out another time.
  6. I want to continue to be okay with children mess around me, to join in it as necessary, and to clean, clean, clean if I ever feel the need.
  7.  Like a spider spins a safe cocoon of a web around itself, I want to spin a web of ease, blessings, peace, health and all the good stuff around me. And with prayer and persistence, anything is possible, right?
  8. I want to frame my children’s art work and post it more in my home.
  9. I want to give away many more things that I do not need.
  10. I want to have weekends that are slow and lazy and sunshine or clouds and be at peace.
  11. I want lots of nice, white daylight streaming through windows.
  12. I want to understand the Quran meaning word for word.
  13. I want to give time to myself, to my family, to my work, to my religion.
  14. I want to be the best that I can be and appreciate all that I am and all that I ever will be. That sounds nice, not sure where I got that from?
  15. I want to eat less raw cookie dough from my freezer
  16. I want to be a pro at stretches
  17. I want to meet deadlines I create for me
  18. I want to be 5 minutes early for things
  19. I want to write mostly everyday
  20. I want to look at the sky everyday!

Salty Fix

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The very below picture is one of my favorites. It’s my 3 year old ‘A’ running to her grandparents and cousins. Right now, I am in the sweet spot of my daughters having all their grandparents.

Annie Flavin, a blogger and poet whose work I love, recently lost her mother-in-law, and reading this post about how she had that ‘sweet spot’ of having all parents and now not having them is real and raw. I hope all those who have lost parents and family members both recently or long ago find peace.

I so appreciate having wonderful family on hand whether they are less than an hour away or a long road trip away. Just having them and knowing they are there is an amazing thing. To have little children form relationships with your parents and to bond with them is something I never get tired of. My girls’ chuckles get gigglier around their grandparents.

I hope that one day at the right time I get to be a grandmother with lots of people around the table, games being played, laughter being heard, and so much more!

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When you have 3 cricket-loving brothers, a father, a husband, and 2 male cousins you get … cricket on the beach!

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And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record. (Quran 6:59)