Crisis

It happened like clockwork. I turned 40, and several things hit me at once…

First of all, I needed reading glasses. Then there were the overnight new gray hairs. But there was also a new sense of creative energy brewing. There was a strong desire for the first time in my life to get a tattoo. In a highly visible place.

That was almost two years ago, and restless feelings, a sense that my awareness of time has shifted, and a deepening connection to who I used to be and who I truly am has continued to grow. And while I have observed these changes, at times joking about my impending “mid-life crisis”, I have come to understand that these feelings are here to teach me. To show me something. Possibly to guide me somewhere.

Far too often, we assume that the status quo is just fine. We don’t want to rock the boat, or make waves. It can be scary to have an awakening of sorts. To find new outlets of creativity or a new calling can seem daunting and overwhelming. Or maybe we just don’t allow ourselves the time to explore these possibilities to begin with, shoving them under the rug where we pile up all things that don’t require our immediate attention.

But maybe a mid-life crisis is just what we need. Maybe we need to have little crises all along the way, not just at mid-life. Maybe if we don’t have them, we are asleep. On autopilot. Numb to the possibilities of how life could be richer, deeper, more enchanting.

I am still undecided about that tattoo. I need the glasses more and more each day.  And the gray hairs? Well, those aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But I no longer joke, fear, or judge the mid-life crisis. I welcome it. Because I don’t want to be asleep. However many days are left on my calendar I want to be awake. Present. And feel alive.

 

woman at the beach

Gina Graham is a photographer, writer, and imperfect human who hopes to make each day count. For more about photography services, or to sign up for the blog, visit lifelensandlove.com.

Familiar

Moms: Every day you embrace your kids. Your hand, your hug. It’s a feeling that is familiar to you all. When you reflect on it, there are so many familiar things about your kids to you. Now. But think back a few years ago. Are there some things you have already forgotten? Are there some things that you swore you would sear on your heart forever, only to struggle to recall now?
When I look back years from now, I am going to be eternally grateful to have this image. I will see so much familiarity, so much nuance, and so many memories in this one shot of me and my son. Maybe I’ll be able to remember how he once fit in the crook of my arm. Maybe he’ll be able to remember what my hands looked like.
Mother’s Day is coming up. It’s the one day of the year where the importance of what we do and why we do it gets to be center stage. And I want every Mom out there to get to feel like she can shine. Like someone will help her capture and remember all of the little things that are so familiar. Now. But maybe not familiar forever.
The month of May at lifelensandlove photography is a celebration of all things Motherhood. Any family session with Mom will receive a $25 print credit. And I am happy to announce that my Nom a Mom Campaign is back! If you know a special Mom out there who deserves something extra special this year, hit me up at the website, my email, on Facebook, or Instagram. I want to hear her story! Her name will be entered in a raffle for a complimentary 20 minute mini session with her kiddos with 8 images to keep!
Photo credit to the stellar and otherworldly @paperantler.

 

mother and son

Gina Graham is a photographer, writer, and most of all Mom at lifelensandlove photography. For more info, visit lifelensandlove.com

Why

Two weeks ago I was asked to give a speech about my work as a photographer, and how the art form has changed the way I see the world. I was speaking to a local forum of creative women, and the topic was Focusing on What Matters.

As I was preparing to give this talk, I was talking to my family about it one night. Over the years, my kids have seen me run out for photoshoots at the weekends, sometimes missing a game or taking them somewhere. They have seen me editing for long stretches at my computer. As we were talking, I was telling them that I was being asked to talk about why I do photography. My eight year-old piped up and asked me, “Yeah Mom, why do you do photography?”. I explained to him that being a Mom and spending time with them was the most important thing I was ever going to do. And that photography was a way of remembering those times. I went on to tell him that I take photos for other families in the evenings and on the weekends so that other Moms can have the same thing.

The month of May at lifelensandlove photography is going to be a Motherhood Extravaganza. Because I can’t imagine life without my Mom. And there are so many amazing Moms out there that inspire me and blow me away every day with their grace, strength, wisdom, and courage. So for the month of May, all family sessions with Mom included will receive a $25 print credit. Also back this year; My Nom a Mom Campaign. Reach out through the website, email, Facebook or Instagram and tell me about an amazing Mom you know who deserves something extra special this year. All names will be  entered in a drawing to receive a complimentary 20 minute mini session with her kids, for a total of 8 images gifted.

I can’t wait to hear from you! And if you are interested to hear my talk about Focusing on What Matters, check it out at

Or search for Gina Graham photographer on YouTube.

 

Gina Graham is a photographer, writer, and most of all Mom at lifelensandlove photography. For more info, visit lifelensandlove.com

Break

Ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? We have a running joke at our house that sometimes, a “vacation” is just a “new location”. We get somewhere in the hopes of unwinding, recharging our batteries, only to find that we are just as busy and distracted and on the go while we are on a trip as we are when we are home.

The dictionary defines a break as “an interruption of continuity; departure from or rupture with”. And as I prepare to go on this upcoming Spring Break, I am asking myself what it is I am in need of interrupting. What do I need to rupture? What do I need to depart from, in order to come home with a little more clarity? A little more perspective…

When you have a family and travel together, there are not always opportunities to truly take a break. I know for my family there will be tennis to play, soccer games to watch, friends to see, and things to do. But in order to come home with a clear head, in order to come home feeling like I truly took a much-needed break, there must also be time to walk on the beach alone. A chance to take photographs just for me. Some time to take out my journal or a book instead of my phone.

A little bit of time to disrupt. To depart. To rupture. So that when I return, I can continue. I can integrate. I can put myself back together.

Spring will be a fun and busy season at lifelensandlove photography. Look for the blog to pick back up on Monday, April 2nd. Sign up here for the next post to come straight to your inbox. Also launching after the break is something I have been working on. I am calling it The One of a Million Project, and I can’t wait to share it with you. Spring photography sessions are filling up. Booking for summer and fall is already happening, so if you want to save a spot for 2018, contact me here.

Have a safe and restful departure, friends.

Gina

 

sunset

 

 

Before the Sun

Someone I have been working with recently made a casual comment  about having been up since 5:30 with a restless mind. I wanted to commiserate. I wanted to tell him how bad that sucks, because I have been there more times than I can count. So many of us know that feeling of waking up, and before our eyes are even open, our minds are taking off. Ticking through the list. Worrying. Trying to solve a problem. Wondering how to get through the day in one piece. Before the sun is up, before the light of day can wrap around anything, our minds are wrapped around everything.

This all-too familiar feeling has plagued me often. But in recent years, I have begun to think about it a little differently. For me, this feeling is nothing more than an indication that I’ve got skin in the game somewhere. Maybe I am working on a project. Maybe I am nervous about something big and exciting coming up. Maybe I get to love someone so much that the first thing I think about when I wake up is how worried I am for them. Far too often we label feelings like nervousness, sadness, loss, or worry as “bad”. But maybe they mean that we are in a greater flow. Growing. Challenging. Loving. Letting go. Evolving.

I have come to embrace those early mornings now. I get up, before anyone else is up, have a hot steaming cup of coffee and feel those feels. I may journal. I may pray. I may make some lists or get a game plan. For as is true of so many things, it all depends on how we see it. How we react. What lens we attach…..That. And getting to bed earlier…..

 

sunrise beach scene

lifelensandlove photography.

Life is a gift. It all depends on how we see it. Love is all that matters.

For more information about Gina and lifelensandlove family and milestone photography, contact me at lifelensandlove.com

Leave a Comment

  • (will not be published)

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

Release

I hold on in life. Not to things. Things can come and go and generally it doesn’t bother me. I love to get rid of stuff that is not longer serving me in the hopes that someone else can use it.

What I hold on to is memories. Feelings. That place of where I am in that moment and not wanting to let go.  Sometimes it is a white-knuckle-death grip. I decide that my heart is so full, that things might be going well, that to advance is too scary. So I hold on for dear life.

This is why I am so passionate about photography. The moments, the memories. They become a tangible art form that I can hold on to. But I made an interesting discovery, when thinking recently about the mechanics of it all. You see, in order to take a picture, you actually have to release. You watch, wait. Pick a moment. Press the button. But you can’t take the picture until you let go.

I don’t like to let go. But I don’t have a choice. None of us do. We all have to eventually in so many ways, great and small, over the course of our lives. To fight against it is futile. So instead I am trying to embrace the release. To love so deeply is a gift.  To cherish the mundane little moments and gifts that is each day. There are blessings here, always. So I will learn to release, each day a little more at a time and to make room and space in my heart for new. New memories. New adventures. New blessings. And it will be okay. Two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time, and the way of it all is to let go of some things to usher in something else. Because that is how the universe works. And to flow with nature and all of it’s mysterious ways is a synchronous dance of joy and gratitude… If you can keep up with the steps.

 

 

Gina Graham is a photographer who is passionate about capturing and archiving family memories for years to come. For more information on booking milestone and family photography, as well as a complimentary in-home art and print consultation, contact Gina at lifelensandlove.com

Leave a Comment

  • (will not be published)

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

Live

“I want to live life, not conquer it” ~ Cheryl Richardson

 

Last weekend we were in the mountains of Colorado, learning as a family to ski. I have skiied many times before, but I pretended to be a beginner. I did this to spend the day in beginner lessons with the rest of my family, but also because I had a serious injury as a kid skiing. The memories of being taken down the hill on the Ski Patrol toboggan, the endless weeks in a full leg cast, the surgery years later to correct for a meniscal tear, and the tweaks in my left knee to this day reminded me of how quickly skiing can take a wrong turn if you are not careful.

So as my kids and husband grew in confidence over the course of the full day lesson, their speeds increased. The downward slope of the mountain swished by them a little quicker, giving them a sense of thrill and accomplishment. By the end of the day, the long, meandering easier runs we were taking ended with the three of them at the bottom, waiting for me to finally reach the finish line. And they waited. And waited.

When my kids began to tease me about how long it was taking me to get down the mountain, I was tempted to tell them about my fear. I was tempted to lecture them about the possibility of injury, a cautionary tale for reckless speeds and skiing out of control. But I knew that saying it once was enough, and that those lessons were theirs to learn. No amount of over-lecturing on my part is going to slow them down, and as a parent I am seeing the futility in this in all ways. But the reality for me is that my slow, controlled descent down the face of the mountain was not in fact about fear. In reality, I was experienced enough in my life to know that the conditions were good, and my muscle memory did not fail me. I felt controlled. I felt safe. I just didn’t feel the need to compete. I didn’t feel the need to conquer. For me, skiing that day was not about nailing the technique, getting better or going faster. It was about enjoying the fresh mountain air. Taking in the views….Because those views? They were freaking epic. And in looking down and going fast I knew I was going to miss it.

So was I the last one down the hill? Sure. But did I stop along the way (admittedly stopping to take pictures), take it all in, breathe, and imprint the majesty of that mountain on my soul? Absolutely.

 

Winter Park Colorado, Mountain View

 

Gina Graham is a Mother, Photographer, Writer and travel junkie. 2018 shooting schedule is now open for bookings. For more information on working with Gina to capture and archive your family memories, contact Gina or visit lifelensandlove.com

Leave a Comment

  • (will not be published)

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

Build

Sometimes you have to tear down to rebuild.

Sometimes in the walls coming down, new ones need to be constructed. New boundaries. New foundations.

Sometimes the ways it all used to fit doesn’t seem to anymore, and you have to decide what gets put back and what gets left aside.

Last week we started a remodeling project at our house, and the rebuilding process is likely to have headaches, hiccups, and difficulties. And while we willingly and knowingly chose to do this project, we may not have chosen the lessons that it will teach us. Patience. Decision-making. Communication. Cost. All lessons that come to us in many ways over the course of our lives.

Sometimes when you rebuild, there is pain involved. But always when you rebuild, something new takes shape. Takes form. Through the dust, the debris, something new arises.

And always it is beautiful. Always it is as it should be. Right where you were meant to be, whether that was in your original blueprint or not.

 

 

Gina Graham is a photographer, writer, and currently channeling her inner Joanna Gaines. For more about lifelensandlove photography, or to read more of the blog, visit www.lifelensandlove.com

Leave a Comment

  • (will not be published)

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

Selfie

Hi girls.

Can we talk for a minute? I get it that it is highly likely that in this moment you have food, boogers or spit up on you somewhere.  Your hair is probably in a messy bun and you might not have worked out in recent weeks. And because of this, because there just simply isn’t the luxury to stop and think about it, you don’t feel very beautiful. When was the last time you realized how attractive you are just as you are? When was the last time you felt cherished or sexy? It’s probably been awhile huh?
Kids, work, chores, age, social media. It’s all cooked up in this big ‘ol stew of failing to realize who we are and how others in our lives who love us see us. I get it. I’m there too. Never feeling “good enough”. Pushing myself to try to work out more. Focusing on the wrinkles and the new gray hairs. But all of this “selfie” business has turned things upside down a little. It’s become a thing to document who we are, and what we are doing. No longer limited by the impossibility of turning the camera on ourselves in a brief moment, we have allowed ourselves to get in the frame. The only problem is that now we feel vulnerable, visible, and vain sometimes when we do. We’ve somewhere along the line been conditioned to believe that it’s in poor taste if we like the way we look. If we are proud of something we are doing. Of who we are. We are conceited. Too full of ourselves. So it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
 …
But maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe you can give yourself permission to see, really see your Inner (And Outer) Goddess. Maybe you could allow yourself  to seek out what makes you feel beautiful. Because that teenage girl who had crushes, that young woman who was on the brink of her future, that girl who fell in love and started a life with someone? She’s still in there. And she wants you to see her. To find her.
 This Valentines Day give yourself a gift. I know it sounds indulgent, cheesy or not important. But maybe it is important. Maybe it doesn’t have to be cheesy. And you deserve to be indulged every once in awhile. Do something that makes you feel beautiful. Tap into something that channels your inner glow. Allow someone to capture it for you.
 …
And if you are up for it, consider some portraits, maybe even just of you.  A gift for yourself. A gift for someone you love who loves you back. You are in charge. They don’t have to be anything other than a reflection of your beauty. Because it’s there. Boogers, spit up, messy bun and all.
For more about Goddess-Supermom-Bad-Ass-Girl-Power Portraits, contact me. I’m happy to help you see yourself in a whole new way.

Leave a Comment

  • (will not be published)

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

Ticking.

I am a firm believer in alternative health practices, and have been going to acupuncture on the regular for awhile now. Anyone who has been there knows that while you are there, there is not much you can get up to. Lots of little needles protrude from different places and preclude you from moving around, checking email or social media, and in general doing anything other than laying there. Typically the effects of acupuncture are so relaxing to me that I settle into a light nap, a trance state, or a place where my mind and body gets quiet for a brief interlude in what is generally a pretty busy Saturday. Often there is some kind of soft, Chinese music playing in the office, harkening to another time and place, soothing and exotic at the same time.

One Saturday in particular they must have forgotten to turn on the music. After a brief chat, the doctor punctured me in all the right places, and left the room. It was then that I realized the only sound I could hear was the slow ticking of the clock. This sound, so familiar in so many ways, and yet so often unnoticed. Unheard. It got me thinking….How often are we quiet enough, still enough to hear the ticking of the clock?

The sound of a ticking clock can be unnerving. Unsettling. On that day for me, it took a lot of focus for me to not feel anxious about that sound. For when it’s just you and the clock, no other distractions, it can be an stark reminder of how fast it is all going. How each tick and tock is a slipping away of sorts. But this sound, if allowed to, can also be a firm reminder that we are in charge. Of our life. Our destinies. Our dreams. They are all undoubtedly nestled in the palm of our own hands. Sure we are bound by responsibilities. Jobs, kids, life. But in spite of these things, we are not bound to a life without adventure. Without excitement. Without meaning.

It’s easy to think that we need to make a massive life change, do something on a grand scale, or have endless amounts of time and money to live out a dream or make a difference. But the reality is that we don’t. It just takes a bit of sacrifice, a bit of creative problem-solving. Because the clock is ticking. Whether we hear it or not. We are all only here for such a short time. And on my best days, when I am squarely in touch with the gravity that holds me here and holds me accountable to the choices that I make each day, I can see that each day is full of opportunities to make it count.

 

woman walking on beach, beach scene

 

Gina Graham is a photographer at lifelensandlove photography and writer of The Daily Bread Blog, which is ironically enough a weekly thing. For more information, check it all out at www.lifelensandlove.com

Leave a Comment

  • (will not be published)

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.