following Presence

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We are following God's presence with some pretty big stuff recently. During this time I have been reflecting on the challenges of life-altering decisions. Change can be extremely difficult, for many reasons. I think it's often worth it, especially if you are being called to by your Creator.

Our value that we have for the presence of God will be seen in our surrender to direction change - Chris Cruz 

Let's start where sometimes we are found. Stuck deep in our own muck of life. Stuck in where we had the most success, trying to recreate that old success in our new thing. Sometimes we stay because we feel guilty, we listen to negative lies spoken over us. Whether from our own humanity or words other's say. Each observer has a perspective and we possibly want to control that perspective, which is an impossible feat. 

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I've been there. I've been stuck, all the while close friends + God are calling me to move forward and leave the past behind. But I am so full of 'what if's' I can't see the forest from the trees. What I can see is a web of confusion, guilt, and fear. The only escape is to step out of that web and walk free. That step can be paralyzing, but it really requires next to nothing of us.

We are already doing the hard work desperately holding onto an old situation we are called to leave. 

Even a successful situation, even a good one, even one producing fruit. But the call to leave is simple, you are no longer where you are meant to be. We often find ourselves knowing we need to move forward, but you are saying that the old situation needs you, as an excuse to not. 

Why I am saying this? Why am I saying this. Because we are moving onto a new thing. And because this is a new year, a new you, a new chance to shed those layers you know you need to shed. 

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At Meraki+Light we believe we are created for a purpose, and each of us are unique creations. No two alike, created for abundant living. Created to walk in the way you are gifted and called to. To bring your whole wonderful self to the table. To stop listening to the old lies and excuses that stop us from shining. 

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Do not grip the old, you will lose the new. - Chris Cruz, Bethel Church

What are you holding onto that isn't serving you? That is taking you away from what you were truly called to do. What is stealing your time, time you need to realize your dreams? 

We must let go of these things if we really want to thrive. Besides life is short. Yes, that is the old standby saying, but the older I get the more it seems to be fairly valid! Life is short. Take this cold cold month to make of list of what steals your attention. Find out what needs to stay and what can go. What will give you the freedom you need to pursue your dreams. Is it a thought pattern, or a belief you hold tightly, maybe it's being too concerned about what others think of you, or fear you will fail and be deeply embarrassed. As a wonderful friend told me tonight, 'so what?'. So what. 

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Does God have a plan or purpose for my life? Does He have one for your life? YES!  The answer is yes. Now go move forward in that purpose. 

beauty in the ordinary

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There is nothing I quite like more than observing a loving emotive family, full of connection. For me, a photoshoot should feel like a visit with old friends. Simply encouraging them to be themselves, smiling and laughing while the kids entertain us. 

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With all our guards let down, the family is free to reveal the most honest parts of themselves. When I am really doing my job, this is what we all feel. The most frequent comment I get is that I make people feel at ease. I don't ask anything of them, and in this space they really flourish.

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I suppose I should expand on 'I don't ask anything of them'... I may ask you to share secrets with each other, or play a kissing game, I may ask you to praise each other, but all in all you are encouraged to do so from the most honest place of your heart. Your truest place, your most vulnerable place. This could possibly be the hardest thing for you to do. 

But I ask you, does saying what you love about each other - even if it's hard - ever cause harm? Does filling yourself up with love, and expressing it, simply just ruin your day ? I doubt it.

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God says children are a gift from Him. They are full of joy and faith and expression. Each child so unique, so wonderfully made, so individual. And above all we love to capture their honest nature, without expectation of perfection or should I say - perfect behaviour.  Our desire is truth above all.

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Looking back through this families session blesses me immensely. I can see, and in turn feel their deep rooted love. Their commitment to not withholding, but wholeheartedly expressing themselves to one another. It just bursts my heart!

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Cudding on the floor of your living room may at times seem normal or mundane, but I think it's simply beautiful. I think it's the very thing that we will miss when our kids are grown. I think about this a lot, as my kids are 6, 8, and 10. It's different now, but no less important. 

I am SO grateful I've taken the time to photograph my kids and make albums. In realizing this gratitude, Tamarah and I want to share this vision and gift with you. 

You may have heard us talk or write about our Wholehearted sessions. One year, one hour a month, journal writing in a Soult Journal, all presented in a beautifully bound album complete with your words from the year. We will take time to hear about your life and which moments are the most sacred to you. This way, we can plan accordingly to capture it. Whether it be a family dinner, an afternoon sledding, bedtime, the list goes on. 

If this stirs your heart, send us an email. We'd just love to honour your family in this way.

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What matter most, to me.

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Now this image may not look like much to you, but it's an hour in my life I cannot have back. And it's an hour in my life I treasure greatly! I debated even bringing my camera skating, but I promised my family I would capture memories of our daily adventures to look back on. It's something we already spend loads of time doing. We whip out our yearly albums and comment on how cute we all used to be! And the kids maybe even say how young mom 'used' to look! 

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I think I still look young ;)

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She is learning to skate at our local outdoor rink. The boys tease her she's not skating but walking, but I think she's got skate cred.

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I remember a time I quit taking photos of my family. I think work was really busy and maybe I just got lazy. I didn't always want to be the one behind the camera, I wanted to be enjoying those moments too! If only someone would come capture my daily moments with me in them... huh. Good idea, right?!

So anyway, my hubby mentioned to me one day that he sure appreciates how I capture our kids as they grow and why don't I do that anymore? Wow, I didn't know he appreciated me doing that? I kinda thought it was annoying. And maybe initially it was~ maybe he didn't always want to be in front of the lens. The changed happened after he looked through some older albums. He couldn't believe how quickly everyone was growing, and BAM I was back in business! 

These kids are changing daily! moment by moment, second by second they are changing. I honestly can't keep up. Capturing them is important, this is more important to me than a new car or a hot tub or a family vacay actually. Because those things seem to matter now, but I'm concerned with what will matter later. When they are grown, when they are in university, when they leave home. When they don't wrap their arms around my neck or crawl into bed with me. Time slips away you guys! It may not feel that way now, living in chaos, but it will matter. It will matter then!  

And what will I miss the most? These moments above, these gentle + simple + fun family moments. 

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We created our WHOLEHEARTED sessions for this reason exactly. We aren't asking for perfection, we're asking for connection. We're asking for a willing spirit, and a real life. We're asking to capture moments you will forget, so you that won't forget them! We are asking you to think about how quickly those kids are growing, ask yourself if you'd ever regret stopping time and writing your memories in order to encapsulate them for all time. I'm pretty sure your answer is no, I would never regret that. And maybe it's hard to get your hubby on board, I get that too. However, if this stirs your heart at all then reach out to us. Our WHY is about YOUR connection. From our heart to yours, we would just love to capture your wholehearted connection. 

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Making Lemonade

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Life can be a bit like birth.  It's unpredictable.  It doesn't always go as planned.  But I'm learning that is OK.  And not only is it OK, but life is constantly giving us opportunities to choose joy in the middle of the unpredictable.  That's what I love so much about this session.  The night before our scheduled maternity session, this mama texted me saying she was in labour and had been admitted to the hospital.  So what did we do?  We did the maternity session there - we made lemonade.  And it was pretty AMAZING.  

One of my favourite things about this session what having TIME.  We didn't rush things, I came and spent a few hours with them.  We talked more then I took photos.  I left feeling so alive and rich.  I think this is why we are so passionate about our longer sessions - we love having time on our side.  It allows everyone to relax and truly BE THEMSELVES.  In the end, this produces the most honest, beautiful, true-to-you images.  

More then just taking your photos, we want to share in your story.  We want to capture all the unpredictably beautiful moments it's made up with.  The light and the shadows - it's all for purpose, and we are convinced that every story matters.  

As a side note, we just launched our Wholehearted Sessions - 12 one hour sessions January through December of 2018!!  We are taking on 4 families to tell their story, using both image and word.  You'll also get a beautiful journal from Soult Journals with prompts to help you write out your story.  At the end of it all, you'll get a stunning book full of your images and words.  If you want more info, send us an email!!  

PS.  If anyone is looking for birth photography or a Fresh 48 session for the new year - get in touch with me - I'd love to talk!  

- Tamarah