Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions

A year ago I resolved not to resolve. And this is quite literally the way I live my life for the past year. Day by day. Moment by moment. Seizing it. I got involved in my church as a youth leader but told the girls "don't get too close I may be here today and gone tomorrow." I ran a half marathon with dear friends. On a whim I accepted an invitation for a missions trip to Peru, and on top of that I spent five days in the Peruvian jungle fishing for piranhas and trying exotic fruits straight from the branch. I ate the Peruvian delicacy cuy (a.k.a guinea pig) and found it delicious. I accepted every single social invitation that came my way. I lost sleep. I flew in a two seater plane all the way to the east coast for breakfast and back. I made mistakes. I made some really tough decisions. I cried a lot and laughed a lot too. I made new friends... some really great new friends. And I learned things about the nature of God that amaze and kind of terrify me all at once (in a good way.)

In this same year I have done over 100 photo shoots that span from county fairs to mountaintop weddings, from hospital visits with hour old babies, to a four generation family reunion, to glowing engaged couples and young families and an 89-year-old man and his bride of 50 years. I guess it was only fitting that my last photo shoot of 2011 was a 16 day old baby girl and her brand-new parents.

I have been to Kevin and Melissa's adorable Tampa home a few times before. They are the type of people that are so beautiful and genuinely sweet on the inside and out they make you want to turn green with envy and melt with love all at the same time. Their home is perfect reflection of the pair, a combination of effortless style and warmth. Not much had changed in their south Tampa home since the last time I was there less than a month ago, Melissa nine months pregnant and glowing. But this time the center of their universe has shifted. Where once there was two, now there's three.

Kevin and Melissa are as effortlessly beautiful and sweet at the new parent thing as they are with everything else in their lives. Melissa greeted me on the front steps, her baby girl cradled in her arms, on Friday when I showed up for our session. We walked around the house a bit ooo-ing and aww-ing over the tininess and newness of things, picking out spots with good light and the best clothes for the shoot. We were about to begin Sienna's very first photo session when the family of three gathered in the nursery bathed in a warm pink light to prepare. Through one door we see a peek into the home of Kevin and Melissa as it has always been and through the other we see their new world. A wooden plaque with a verse hangs on the wall in the corner... "I praise you because I am Fearfully and Wonderfully made..." (Psalms 139:14).

The presence of God swelled within the room.

NewWorld-2

2011 was a big year for them. I am sure there was plenty of preparation and planning and dreaming of the future. There were the aches and pains of growth and the fear and excitement of the unknown that lies ahead. Sounds a bit like my 2011 (in a completely unrelated way).

When I left the photo session I spent the afternoon in Tampa with my very best friend. We ran errands and chatted over pedicures and picked up $60 dollars worth of decadent burgers to take to some friends. We made our way to Tampa General and followed the signs to the "cancer center" to visit my bestfriend's husband's bestfriend, Phil. A young father of two boys at 35 years old, just two days before Christmas, went into the hospital with a belly ache and is now dealing with the weight of a cancerous, stage 4 Neuroendocrine Pancreatic Tumor. Last night before we left we poked our heads into the room to say goodbye, a yellow sign on the door read, "chemotherapy in progress," his wife, Porter, in a chair by his side. I waved through the cracked door and said, "it was good to see you," like it was any other trip to Tampa. These two suddenly seem like giants to me, super heros, facing the unknown future with a grace and strength and hope that I rarely get to see. And here I was, seeing it and wondering, how do they do it? "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted..." Psalms 34:18.

The presence of God swelled within the room.

A year ago I resolved not to resolve. I took each day as it came to me. As I look forward to the new year I want to certainly hold on to this "carpe diem" mentality but with a bit more purpose this time. We never know what lies ahead. I can't even begin to comprehend what God has in store for Kevin, Melissa and Sienna or Phil and Porter and their young family in the coming year, but one thing I do know is that God is near. And as the calendar moves forward and another year passes us by, as all the lessons and dreaming and pain and growth catches up and collects itself in our thoughts I can only look towards the future and imagine what type of breathtaking story 2012 has in store for us all.

2 comments:

Aunt Cathy December 31, 2011 at 1:20 PM  

I love you.

LIESE ZAHABI January 12, 2012 at 8:25 AM  

This is a beautiful post. I'm so glad you're still writing and creating these amazing photographs. I miss you.

About Caroline

I decided my destiny was to be an artist at age five when I won an honorable mention in a art competition in kindergarten. Ever since then I have been following a dream that has manifested itself in a variety of rewarding and delightful ways. I have practiced in the field of graphic design for over 8 years and recently acquired my Masters in Graphic Design at NC State University in Raleigh, NC (check out my design portfolio by clicking here if you like). But a passion that has stuck with me ever since I got my hands on my first Nikon camera in my undergraduate art education at Florida State University is photography. The instruction I received there was but a seed in what would develop over the next years of my life. Recently I have begun photographing people in their celebrations of life and could not feel any more blessed to be a part of capturing those memories.

About This Blog

A great american writer once wrote, "If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan my day." EB White penned the thoughts of my own heart. One part of me is a graphic designer working to challenge the world, seeking out problems and striving to create avenues for change. The other part is seeking out the beauties of the world and working to capture them in our memories forever through photography. This is what you will find here. Me enjoying the world. I have been truly fortunate to photograph such incredible people at truly beautiful moments in life. I can only hope that the images I've collected will forever keep alive those thoughts and emotions that swelled in their hearts and minds that day.

If you are interested in having me capture your life moments you can contact me by clicking here.

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