In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams
Who doesn’t have fond memories of the month of June? Everyone who has ever been a child recalls the feeling that settles in your heart when school’s dismissed, and the summer stretches out, seemingly endless and with possibilities galore.
I was raised in a small farming community in Utah, and summer was a glorious, magical time. In addition to the usual joys kids had in the summer, my childhood summers gave me opportunities to learn some entrepreneurial skills.
A favorite summer memory is of climbing trees at 5:00AM to pick cherries. I loved starting the day high up in the sky as the sun rose and birds greeted the day. As I worked away alongside my siblings and cousins, I tallied up the money I’d make. At 10 cents a pound, at the end of the day I’d have a few dollars. Some would go to pay admission to the public pool and enjoy an ice cream cone, and the rest I saved.
Financial freedom came early, and the lessons I learned have stayed with me. So, in addition to the fun of summer, I also learned to embrace the opportunities that summer offered.
These days, between moments of making memories with my four children, long June days give me the opportunity to join my clients outside to capture beautiful portraits of sun-kissed children and happy families. I’m blessed to love what I do and provide my clients with portraits they’ll cherish forever.
This June, step outside and enjoy the sweet days of summer. Roast some marshmallows, fly a kite, catch fireflies, and just enjoy time spent with loved ones. That’s what I’ll be doing.
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I am excited to finally share the first of several short films that were produced following my trip to China.
I had the privilege of interviewing, filming, and watching CCAI adoptive parents meet their beautiful Chinese babies for the first time. There were so many emotions wrapped in the moment. We had been warned there would be lots of screaming and tears from the children, but that was expected because the kids had been well loved and didn’t want to leave their nannies. It was total chaos, but in the midst of it all, some of the most precious moments I witnessed on this trip occurred.
It was said that although this is the greatest day in the parents’ lives, it is the worst day in the children’s. They are leaving their home, their language, and faces they knew for a world yet to be revealed. For me, watching the commotion was very unnerving. Towards the end of the day I was exhausted from sharing the joy and sadness alike. I watched these families retire to their rooms early with sweat-drenched, swollen-eyed children, and I also longed for refreshing sleep to let the madness go.
By breakfast the next day, you would have thought their new parents raised these kids. They were smiling, waving, laughing, and holding on the their ba-bas and Mamas so tightly. In less than 14 hours a bond had been formed, and happiness abounded. I am not sure which day made me cry harder.
Each of these children has special needs—cleft pallets, heart conditions, missing limbs, or HIV. They were all welcomed into their new families as perfect additions.
A big thank you to all of the families that let me document their amazing journey. It was a life-changing experience for me.
View the images.
I am excited to share the last portion of the CCAI Adopteens trip. After a wonderful journey through Beiijing we enjoyed an 11 hour train ride through the night. We arrived the next morning in Nanchang and headed for a hotel to drop off our things and then go shopping. The girls raised money to purchase things such as toys, DVD players, food processors, and air conditioners for the children. After a debriefing it was time to head to the orphanage. This is what the girls came so far for and the energy was beyond excited. There were mixed emotions as they imagined visiting the orphanages that some of them had actually been adopted from. The girls were anxious to see the children and learn more about where they came from and how they were cared for. To view images click here.
Watching them for the first time was hard. I could see confusion and sadness mixed with joy and passion. There were many questions asked and I am sure many more that they kept inside. I am so glad I got to see them go through the entire process. Towards the end they had formed bonds with the children that would forever change their view of how they were adopted. To view images click here
The entire journey was a life changing experience for both Nik and I. The things we saw and emotions felt changed many of my views of the adoption process. After it was all over I realized how two beautiful souls, Lily and Joshua Zhong, made the decision years ago to save one child at a time. It reminded me of the story of the man walking on a beach throwing stranded starfish back into the ocean. Another man walks by and said, "Why are you doing that? There are thousands of them it won’t make a difference." The man bent over, picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean and replied, “It made a difference to that one.” Lily and Joshua, you are true heroes...
To view images click here
Images by Nikolai Puc' Photography