Tiny Valentines 2018

We did it again! Feast your eyes on this year’s tiny Valentines. These kids did such an awesome job of sitting, smiling, and just looking completely adorable. Thanks to all the families who came out to the shoot!

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The M Family is Expecting!

Well the M Family has a lot to look forward to this December with a new baby due before the end of the year! Big brother was so patient during our shoot and was clearly genuinely excited about his tiny sibling… until I mentioned diapers, haha. Plus the Arboretum never disappoints as a family backdrop – even in the dead of Houston “winter”, it was balmy(ish) and green. Such a fun morning with a sweet family.

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J Family Portraits

I just love meeting friends’ families. And what better excuse to hang out than a lil photo shoot? I was honored to get to take pics of one of my dear friends’ families around their lovely home. Even the dog cooperated – check out that canine eye contact! Thanks for welcoming me into your home, J Family!

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B Family at Hermann Park

Remember how this sweet girl turned 4 earlier in the fall? Well this time we had the whole family (including a very grown-up 4-year-old) out at Hermann Park for their family portraits. I could not have asked for more. We had gorgeous weather, a hint of fall color (yay!) and happy smiles. Thanks for spending the morning with me at the park, B Family!

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T Family Christmas Pictures

Mrs. T is one of my oldest friends. Check that, she is my oldest friend – approaching 3 decades ya’ll. So it is a delight for me to periodically photograph their family, especially their precious (quickly growing!) little guy. He was cracking me up during this shoot, giving me the sweetest combination of obedient smiles and mischievous grins. Check it out!

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Josh and Dorothy are Married!

My dear friend Dorothy has married the love of her life. Awhile back I had the honored of taking their engagement photos at Forest Park in St Louis. And just a couple of weeks ago, I stood up with them in their wedding ceremony after photographing the pre-wedding prep and the bride and groom’s first look. What a day. The joy and the tenderness were palpable. Congratulations Josh and Dorothy!

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Play Group Valentine’s Day Photo Booth

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Valentine’s Day Photo Booth this weekend in the Heights. Take a look and enjoy your photos!

The P Family in the Heights

I LOVE when clients suggest locations. Mr and Mrs P wanted to find a spot that felt both urban and personal, and ended up suggesting 19th St in the Heights. Their idea could not have been better – I will definitely be holding more shoots in this spot. Plus, you guys… is their daughter beautiful or what? She was a trooper on a very chilly morning, showing off her sweet personality. Thanks for braving the cold with me, P Family!

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Lament

It’s been a few days now since the death of Robin Williams and I have spent those days digging through the layers of my own sadness. As a professional counselor, I am well aware that feeling an emotion does not necessarily equate to understanding that emotion. I feel such sadness about the loss of this man that I never met. And, until today, I was just not sure what that intensity of emotion was all about. Yes I am terribly sad, as I would be about any person leaving this earth too soon. But with Robin, there is more. I benefitted richly from this man my entire life. For 30 years, he has been a constant source of entertainment and laughter. I was 8 years old when Robin taught me to fly, to fight, and to crow as Peter Pan. I was 9 when he brought Disney’s Genie to life, 10 when he dressed up as a nanny for Mrs. Doubtfire AND voiced the wacky bat in Fern Gully (remember that one?). I was 12 when he took care of a couple of kids around my age inside a maniacal, man-eating Jumanji game. And I was 14 when I saw him play a vulnerable, funny, sad, and tough-as-nails therapist in Good Will Hunting (yes, I was too young for that one but really, what are a few f-bombs when you get a story like that – a story of love and loss and brotherhood). For years, Robin Williams has poured into my life. And I never met him. Never knew anything about him, really. I missed those early days, the Mork and Mindy era when his personal demons were more visible. In my child’s mind, he was simply a light source – a never-ending well of energy that could give and give without being exhausted. And without realizing it, I derived great comfort from his constancy. In true egocentric child fashion (and maybe this is just the way we think about celebrities in general) I never saw him as a fallible human being. I chose to bask in his glow without a thought for the light source. And it is that – the looking back, the reassessing, recognizing Robin’s humanity and my naiveté – that has so compounded my sadness over these last few days. He was a human being – a brave human being who fought addiction and mental illness with a smile – but a human being nonetheless, with needs and fears and insecurities.

This feeling that is deeper than sadness is not guilt. I believe that Robin Williams found fulfillment in the joy that he brought to the lives of children like me. Plus I, as a child growing up in central Texas, had no access to this international superstar. I could not have helped him and really had no right to try. He had a family and friends who, from the things that I have read, loved him dearly. No, this feeling is something wider and deeper than guilt. This is a lament of my heart, because the way things are is not the way that they should be. We people are not connected. We crave intimacy but the hunger is never satisfied. So often, we fail to ask for what we need or we fail to give what is needed or (the crux of the issue) we don’t even know what those needs are. In those spaces that are not black and white, where there is no easy answer but things are clearly not right, lament is, in my mind, an appropriate (perhaps the only?) response.

There’s plenty of room for lament right now. Riots and looting and tear gas and rubber bullets abound in St. Louis – a city that I called home until a year ago. Both sides feel unheard, powerless, afraid, and the road to healing is anything but straight. Rockets fly back and forth between Israel and Palestine, fighting an age-old war. Innocent people die and those on the periphery take sides. These are two huge disconnects, breakdowns in human connection, that fill our headlines and our televisions. But we also experience this on a much smaller scale in day-to-day life. Spousal misunderstandings lead to marital tension; teen communication breaks down when their language is totally foreign to their parents; sometimes we don’t even understand what is going on inside ourselves (and if you aren’t connected to you, how will you connect with others?). What’s more, this disconnect is not simply a product of the age we live in. It would be great if we could blame it on technology or selfies or mass media. But this issue of disconnection has been around in one form or another for all of human history. It is nothing new, and we are probably not going to fix it any time soon. And so we lament.

For me, though, there is a spiritual element here. I come from a faith tradition that believes in the restoration of all things, including our relationships. So this lament, this cry of my heart, is a longing for something that is coming. I feel the absence of wholeness because wholeness is what I was intended for and it is also where I am heading. Oddly enough, my own lament is also a reminder to me of my hope. As C.S. Lewis states in Mere Christianity, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” I believe in restoration. I believe that justice and mercy are in the world and will eventually win out. In fact, perhaps my childhood picture of Robin Williams is less a product of my naiveté than of my hope. I saw him fighting for joy and for laughter – not only in his own life but also in mine. And that is not a fool’s errand. Joy will be victorious.