Part 2 of 4 :
Early February I was speaking at Inspire Photo Retreats with my friend Crista Acosta where we were sharing our love and knowledge of Birth Photography. Our first day there we attended a class called Vivid and Brave by Christine Tremoulet and Stephanie Ostermann. I notice a tattoo “YOU ARE ENOUGH” on Christines arm as I walk through and find a seat in the second to back row, 3 seats in. This class was a combination of business coaching and life coaching. Journaling, Rediscovering who I was by finding my voice. I knew who I used to be, but I got lost along the way. Life had been happening around me while I was just trying to keep swimming.
Christine and Stephanie talked about doing exercises , some we would share and others we could keep to ourselves. I looked around the room and thought, a room full of people, of many who I didn’t know. Feeling a bit vulnerable here! I just wanted to slip out so I wouldn’t have to share. I’m the rock, the survivor, the achiever. I’m successful, a fighter, a hard worker for the accomplishments in my life. I fight for my friends, my family and yet ……. I was feeling like I failed. I failed ME. HOW was I supposed to let these people who didn’t know me, know who I was when I myself didn’t. I look up holding back tears trying to focus and listen to the words in the air being spoken by Steph and Christine. But all I see is the slide on the screen, in bold letters :
” The bottom line is that vulnerability is scary and it feels really dangerous, but it’s not nearly as dangerous or scary as spending your life on the outside looking in and wondering, ‘What if I had chosen to show up?”- Brene Brown
BAM! ! There it was ” What if I had chosen to show up?” Had I been showing up? I sat there and thought for a moment. Not at all. Physically I may have been, but in reality, mentally I was hiding. I looked around the room, I wasn’t the only one in this humbling place that appeared lost. I realized, THIS …… This was the perfect place to be.
The next slide appeared:
” Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. “-Howard Thurman
The next exercise was to create a manifesto. A mantra. I tried. I scribbled words but they weren’t me. I needed time and space. I needed to decompress. I had been processing so much that my heart was hurting and my mind was emotionally exhausted from forcing myself to ride the roller coaster of internal emotions and memories. I know what I believe in but getting it out in words was something I struggled with. Until ……. 2 AM ! I snapped out of a deep sleep, jumped out of bed, grabbed my notebook and pen and began writing….. ”What the world needs is people who have come alive.” As I was writing, it kept going through my head. Have I been teaching my kids how to live?
As a free spirit who’s been weighted down long enough, it was time to fly again.
Part 1 of 4 – What Happens when the Rock Shatters
( Please excuse the iPhone pictures lol )
Part 1 of a 3 part series:
When friends need you, you’re there. Everyone knows you’re the rock of the family. You can handle the crisis they may be going through and be their support system. You’re strong minded, strong willed. You’ve got this for them. You would do anything to ease their pain, relieve their burden just to make it easier, less painful, less heavy for them in some way. Then suddenly it all turns and moment after moment you’re being hit left and right by life. No matter HOW HARD you fight to overcome it just keeps kicking you down. No chances to come up for air. It could happen in a moment, it could happen over a long time span. But when it’s one thing after another after another and another, you wonder just HOW MANY TIMES do you need to be tested and WHY. No matter how positive your outlook, eventually there might be a breaking point. Then one day, there’s that one thing. That ONE thing that just makes it collapse. You’re world as you know it has crumbled. You don’t turn to your friends because they have enough going on in their own lives and you’ve been carrying some of their burdens for them. You don’t turn to family because well…. same thing. You’re the rock. This is what you do. The people you wish were there suddenly disappear and those you least expect, swoop in and carry you.
This is what happened 2 years ago for me. WOW I can’t believe it’s been 2 years! From dealing with My Moms health, my sons issues in school, still dealing with health & financial issues from my own illness, Marital collapse, and the list just goes on …… I had a very successful business. I am proud of having been able to have left the corporate world 6.5 years ago and build something of my own from what had been a PT business for 3 years prior. It was fulfilling for me. But 2 years ago my world spun out of my control and crashed into some crazy electromagnetic force field that changed all of that. This was by far something I hadn’t ever prepared myself for handling. I don’t think anyone ever really is. But it forced me to step back, slow my life down and redirect my focus. My focus on me. Taking care of me and rebuilding who I am. It’s been a LONG ride and it’s not over yet. This is life, the ride is never over. It’s a journey on a newly discovered path. The one traveled by many, but my road is still grassy and new for this was my own journey, my own path that I had to create from something I always thought I had known and had been wrong about. I needed to take a new direction. One that required me to mow down weeds, plant fresh new seeds and help them flourish. ( Thank you Tom Flint for that ) But the only way to begin doing so, is by starting with myself.
This was a new chapter in the book of Me. I wasn’t sure just how it was going to end…. and though I still don’t, I know it’s better then where it was 2 years ago and the few years prior. The first year was spent grieving, hurting, healing and recovering. The second year was spent grieving more after another tragedy hit. But at some point I had to stop and that moment came and it was time to rebuild. I needed to seize these moments and REALLY live for me again. Those wake up calls have hit hard enough. Life is too short, it’s time to rediscover it. So, I’ll take this moment and pat myself on the back, because with the help of my friends I did just that. I’ve survived what so far should have killed me and I rediscovered the things that make me feel ALIVE.
Swinging at the edge of the world in Banos, Ecuador ( 2014 )
” Children are like snowflakes…… each one is beautifully unique.”
Cake by : CakeSuite of Westport
I had a wonderful time celebrating my own birthday by capturing this winter princess Avery’s 1st birthday. Avery had just celebrated her snowflake themed party pulled together by her mom Michele of Michele Sinacore Events over the weekend so we continued the theme for her shoot. You never quite know what you’re going to get with a cake smash session. Some babies dive right in and others, want nothing to do with it. . I seem to get a good mix of both. Check out the gallery to see what direction Avery chose. The cake made by Cakesuite in Westport did an amazing job. I even walked away with my own birthday goody bag of sweet treats! HAPPY Birthday Avery!
I’m a true believer that things , situations happen in our lives for a reason. Sometimes those reasons just aren’t so obvious and months maybe even years later, you still can’t understand why. How are these things supposed to make us stronger when in reality we feel so much weaker, as though a piece of us has died inside……
This past summer I tragically lost a beautiful friend , a mentor, a peer, a brother …. Eric Langlois. But he wasn’t just that, he was so much more. An AMAZING father to his children Avery and Ryder , the soulmate to my friend Amber , a brother , a son , a mountain biker, a sarcastic genius and a talented, damn was he talanted , photographer and owner of Raw Photo Design. Working with Eric and Amber I got to witness their connection and form a friendship with them that I haven’t had in a long time, that I don’t think he ever knew how much I cherished. Maybe he did. After all he was a man with few sentimental words (more like a mischievous grin ) but loved with wit, sarcasm and his heart. So many times I would catch the two of them snuggled in a corner somewhere having a moment. A moment that sometimes I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of as the two of them were seemingly being vulnerable to each other. In actuality it was usually Eric telling Amber to get to work all while flirting with her in some roundabout way. She would flash him that smile, let out a cute laugh, and his heart would melt every time which quit often lead her to getting away with whatever she was doing lol . He LOVED his wife, he ADORED his children and he kicked ASS with his talent. You may have heard his name, you may have had the pleasure of knowing him. If you did …. you know how heavy his loss was. Not just to his family , but to a whole photography community of brothers and sisters. Hard to believe it’s been 7.5 months. It just doesn’t feel possible still.
Though his loss left a gaping hole in many hearts , what he left behind is SO AMAZING. A gift……. a genuine priceless gift. One that for the next 6.5 months we would have to wait patiently for ( though some of us may have been more patient then others lol ). I remember the day Amber invited me to capture the birth of the new life Eric had left her , the last piece of him for all of us to hold on to. Could I do it ….. Could I hold myself together knowing that he wasn’t going to be here to be a part of this. I was honored to do it. Without a doubt, I knew I could do it.
After long months, a baby shower , numerous texts, phone calls and several get togethers, the day FINALLY came for Amber to head to the hospital. With her sister Stacey by her side her Dr informed Amber it would be hours. Well just like every other birth this was no exception, unpredictable as well, this little being had it’s own agenda. From 4 cm’s to 10 in an hour Amber delivered at 2:29 am ! At 4:15am I received a text from her that read : ” The baby is here! and HE’S BEAUTIFUL! ! ! ! ” I just remember staring at that message reading it over and over with excitement before it finally hit me… ” HE ?!? ” , ” HE ! ! ! ! ! ! ” , ” IT’S A BOY! ! ! ! ! ! ” That was it……. He was here ! It didn’t matter that I missed the birth, my first time ever in 6 years of photographing births, what mattered was…… HE WAS HERE! BRODY MICHAEL LANGLOIS was here ! ! ! ”Come as soon as the floor opens for visitors!” was her last text to me before I lay in bed counting down the hours and minutes when I’d finally get to meet this little man.
I arrived to the hospital and couldn’t resist hugging Amber and telling her how proud of her I was and that she did great! Brody was peacefully sleeping. Not wanting to disturb him, after all, we know how exhausting birth is, I couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear as I could feel my heart dancing. I pulled my camera out and started taking pictures as Ambers family began filtering in to her hospital room. All of them eager to meet the new life we have been gifted , so I stepped back and took in the moments. Avery and Ryder were meeting their new sibling for the first time. Their awe…… their excitment at learning they had a baby brother….. priceless.
After awhile it became my turn to snuggle him as Ambers family was leaving. In the moment that Brody was handed to me….. I felt something different. What, I wasn’t sure. I just sat down holding him in my arms so that he would be facing me and I looked into his eyes and began talking to him.Of course in that moment I was promising Eric I would teach him all about the “Inverse Square Law”. ( did I forget to mention that Eric was also a self admitted tech lighting geek? go ahead….. look it up ). After a while I realized why I originally had been afraid to hold him. I was afraid I’d cry. On a day as amazing as this, I didn’t want to cry, especially not in front of Amber who had shown SO MUCH STRENGTH in these past months. Strength that Eric would be SO PROUD OF. Rather, I know he IS proud of. And I didn’t.
A little while later Eric’s dad, Denis arrived. A man of few words but when he smiles, his eyes smile too as they did at the first sight of Brody. The nurse handed him to Ambers father in law and I picked up my camera once again as Denis sat down with the baby. I watched him through my lens, taking in this moment that I felt guilty but had the pleasure of witnessing. It was breathtaking. A moment that made me realize what I too had felt that I’m not sure any camera could capture. It was a shift. A shift in our grieving process, or at least mine. My shoulders began to feel lighter and I became aware that I was no longer grieving, that I was in a place of joy. Is this what everyone else was feeling ? I’m not sure. I do know Eric’s loss will sit with us for some time if not forever there is no doubt about that. His absence is felt. I also know that life goes on and we have the rest of his family , our family to enjoy it with. This baby, Brody Michael, is a pure gift. A gift to heal the broken hearts.
Brody Michael Langlois musical slideshow
“It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it.” – Tom Hanks, Sleepless In Seattle
With only a couple of weeks planning Mike and Tara said “I do ” in a very small intimate ceremony surrounded by their closest family members At the Connecticut River Valley Inn.
This was one of the most perfect weddings I’ve ever had the pleasure of capturing. With all those years behind you already , I wish you a lifetime more.
As a gift to myself per se, I am taking time away in February to travel to Quito & Tena Ecuador to work with a group of children through the Bless an Orphan
organization. This is something I have been wanting to do for a very long time and the past few months I have learned the hard way that Life is too Short to not do the things that feed your soul and make you happy.
The opportunity has been starring me in the face and I’ve been turning it down over and over for various reasons. After mulling it over as the deadline to register got closer and closer, this time, I just had to seize it. It’s now or never.
This is a fundraising opportunity for the children that I will be working with, whose lives I’m looking to change in the too short of a time I will be there. As life changing and unforgettable as it’s going to be for me, I want these children to have the same experience. I have put this fundraiser together to help raise the money for me to achieve this goal.
I ask that you please help me make this happen and follow me on this journey in spirit.
Please visit my fundraising site and read on to learn more about The Mini Portrait Session Fundraiser Opportunity:
Feel free to share this with other friends and family who also might be interested in helping out a good cause. No amount is too small.
Thank you so much for your support,
Dress : Lula Kate
purchased at Dama Bianca
Shoes: Ivanka Trump
Flowers: Dirt Florals Greenwich, CT
Event Coordinator: Bethany Clevenstine of Lovely Day Events
Venue: The Waveny House New Canaan, CT
Catering: On The Mark 47 Stamford, CT
Set on a perfect New England Day, Amy and Adam said I do at The Waveny House in Waveny Park. An outdoor patio reception , vintage decor, and two people with connected souls,
It was truly a beautiful day of love, friendship, laughter and LOTS ( I mean LOTS ) of dancing.
Thank you Barbara Dupuis for all your help !