Mine

This boy is mine. And yet, not mine. Of me, and yet, destined to be not of me but of the world. I know everything about him. And yet there is so much more to know. To unfold.

I feel like I wouldn’t recognize this boy if I didn’t see him every day. Last weekend I dropped him off somewhere on a Saturday night, with a group of friends. Pocket full of some cash and a cell phone. A new era. A new version of him. Someone I hardly recognize yet someone I know to the depths of my being.

As Moms we get to watch our kids grow and change before our very eyes. In many ways they will stay the same, and in many ways we can’t anticipate, they will take our breath away with what the do, what they choose, and who they become.

We can’t stop time, but we can capture it for a moment. Family photography is a way to remember. To still the hands of the clock, even if just for a fraction of a second. Family sessions for 2018 booking now into fall season. Contact me at lifelensandlove photography for more info. And be sure to follow my Facebook page and Instagram for all of the ways I am celebrating Mom for the month of May.

boy

Gina Graham is a Mom, photographer, and writer at lifelensandlove photography. For more information, find me at lifelensandlove.com

Highlight

I clicked on to a social media site the other day, and it asked me if I wanted to “create a story”. I thought for a minute about the power of social media to curate our stories for us.

Don’t get me wrong, I love jumping on social media to see people’s trips, their joys, their highlight reels. But there’s always more to the story. Everyone has ups and downs. Seasons of highlights and seasons where the story isn’t so perfect.

So if you find yourself on social media caught in a moment of “compare and dispair”, remember that what you are seeing on everyone’s feeds are just part of the story. And if you find yourself posting a highlight, enjoy it. Own your happiness. Share away those moments you are most grateful for. For we all deserve a highlight reel.

family

 

Gina Graham is a photographer, writer and teller of stories at lifelensandlove photography. What is your family’s story? Let me be the one to tell it.

Booking now for 2018. Contact me to reserve your spot. Limited sessions available.

Help

“I need some help”. These are words I have been saying more often around my house. Looking someone in the eye, usually a boy under the age of 11, and asking them to step up.

Us Moms don’t often ask for help. This is particularly difficult for us Perfectionistic Moms. Too often we assume responsibility for something, without stopping to consider if someone else could help us out a little with the lifting. The resulting feeling of being spread too thin not only affects us and the way we feel, but far too easily spills over into the household, causing yet another mess that we feel guilty and responsible for.

I love being a Mom. I believe that it is the great calling on my life. But it is not my only calling. None of us has just one dimension. We all are given opportunities to have many facets, many sides of the gem. But every day there is a pull to do more than we feel capable of.  And I am coming to learn that in not asking for help, I only have myself to blame when I feel overwhelmed. We are only given so many breaths, one life. And while laundry and dishes and chores do need to get done, these are not the things I will look back on and feel most proud of. The daily tasks of living will not be in the highlight reel. So, how to make space for more of the magical moments? It’s only when we accept the help of others that we open up a space. And those that help us? Well they get to feel needed. They get to use their gifts and talents and are given a sense of purpose of their own in their contribution.

For us Moms, there is always a question of timing, waiting, and holding off on some things until our kids are older and out from underneath our care. And while I believe in the power of Diving Timing, I refuse to wait until my kids are grown to dream and dance with creativity and opportunity. It may not always look the way I want it to look. I may need to continue to make concessions and sacrifices. But the overall picture needs to allow for creative expression, and a sense of self that transcends the daily grind, the piles of socks, and what’s for dinner.

I don’t want to watch the clock. I don’t want to wish time away. Yes. I am a Mom. But I am so much more. We all are. And sometimes, in fact, often, we need to ask for help so that we can feel a greater integration of all of the ways that we are called in this life to be who we are meant to be.

Hey Mama’s. Mother’s Day is coming up. Heave you heard about all the ways I am celebrating Motherhood next month? Any session booked with Mom in the month of May gets a $25 print credit. And back again this year is my Nom a Mom Campaign. Do you know an amazing Mama who deserves a special treat? Message me and tell me about this Mom. I’ll enter her name in a drawing for a complimentary 20 minute mini session with her kiddos…..to tell me about her, find me at lifelensandlove.com

 

 

 

Gina Graham is a family photographer specializing in helping Moms document and archive the precious days that are flying by too fast. For more information on family photography as well as the complimentary in-home print and design consultation, visit lifelensandlove.com

Leave a Comment

  • (will not be published)

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

A time to dance

There is nothing like a classic 80’s movie to reflect back truths of our shared humanity, and for me, Footloose is in my top three.

The pivotal scene in the movie is when Kevin’ Bacon’s character Wren deftly quotes Ecclesiastes 3 from the Bible in order to convince the Minister that the kids can have a Prom on the outskirts of town; “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

I can admit that sometimes I can be a little bit too much like that Minister. Caught up in the rules, the worry, trying too hard to control the future. It’s hard for me to let go. Sometimes it’s hard for me to let my guard down and just be silly. Laugh so hard I cry. Before becoming a Mom I used to do that all the time. Now not so much…

But life is all about balance. A time to give a lecture. A time to have a smelly sock fight. A time to get to work. A time to go bowling. A time to acknowledge that things aren’t okay, and a time to have fun, let go, and lighten up. Here’s to seeking balance in all things. Here’s to finding time to dance.

 

Gina Graham is an overly-analytical, recovering perfectionist and Mom who has within her the capacity to laugh so hard she cries. For more about booking family photography with Gina, visit lifelensandlove.com

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.