family

RESTORATION | the giving back of what's been lost

You will experience My goodness and My love like you never have before.  You will see My faithfulness all over your life.  And you will see how very present I am with you.  

These words above, may not seem like much.  But they are the last words I wrote in my journal on February 12th, 2016 before we lost our son, Tobias Ephraim at 13 weeks pregnant on February 14th, almost one year ago.  It was what I felt Papa was saying to me that morning as I sat quietly with him.   And I can say with all my heart, that this year certainly was the year that I experienced His love, His goodness, His faithfulness and His very presence like I never have before.  It just didn't come how I expected.  

I’ve been waiting for time to write, to ponder, to express what’s on my heart in the middle of this beautiful, light-filled, but difficult season in time.  Two things are coming up very quickly and very much at the same time, one is the birthday of my “born too soon” and "not with us" son, Tobias Ephraim, and the other is the birth of my 4th beautiful child.  What a crazy and yet beautiful thing to hold in tension.  I’d be lying if I said the moments inching up to the birth of our fourth haven’t been increasingly difficult, and not just physically, but emotionally.   

I feel as though there are these two things inching closer and closer together…one is PAIN, and the other RESTORATION (the giving back of something that's been lost).  And it makes me think of the cross.  It makes me think of what Jesus must have felt as all the sickness, pain and death of this world was laid across his shoulders and the most RADICAL, healing love this world has ever known CAME and MET that deepest, darkest death face to face, and said, “I AM LOVE”, and breathed His last breath, fully knowing that LIFE was just on the other side, and not just for Him, but for all. 

So here I stand.  Holding all the PAIN that HAS BEEN, and anticipating all the LOVE that IS BURSTING FORTH.  I am about to hold my RESTORATION, the promise of God, the goodness of God, in my arms - the same arms that one year ago were left EMPTY with LOSS.  I have been given a beautiful gift - a double portion.  And I know that HOPE and JOY are abundantly ahead of me.

Images captured by Tammy Zdunich and Chelsea of Chelsea Klett Photography

Makeup:  Kaylee Smisko Makeup Artistry

 

15on15canada NOVEMBER!

I am SO exited for this month's #15on15canada! We have an amazing line-up, lots of new Canadian talent! And guess what else... we have a theme this month, MOTION. 

If you're new to our 15on15, here's the lowdown: community focused photographers from across Canada have joined to share a little of our personal lives with you. Photographing our own lives to bring us back home during an intense photography season. We will capture some of our own everyday and even experiment a little! This month we decided on the theme motion, we have also asked that each photographer do a 'self portrait' in the theme! I cannot wait to see what everyone does!

Here's my motion experiment... honestly this was so much fun! Just a little push to create, no makeup and dirty hair, who cares! Take 5 minutes today and create!

Tag #15on15canada so we can see!

This group just keeps growing and becoming better. In every way we are learning to collaborate stronger, create deeper, and communicate bravely. 

 As soon as we chose our theme this month, I was thinking about #motion at every shoot I did. Here are a few from our recent Meraki+Light wedding!

And also our mini's sessions on Friday. Tamarah and I often speak about pushing ourselves harder, and reaching further in our craft. It's amazing to create a community that does this for us as well. I'd encourage you all to take part, start posting your own images and use the hashtag #15on15canada so we can meet you too!

I'd love if you would visit the Toths blog to see their 15on15!! I am so honoured to have both Sancia + Mitchell joining us! They are incredible Canadian artists, passionate + brave, dedicated to what they believe in. My heart hopes I will meet them one day! 

xo Tammy Enjoy!

 

Connection: letting go

I've gained much in listening to friends with older kids. Friends that can walk with you in parenthood and teach you all those hard things they've learned. And in teaching you, they help lift you to the level that they are on.

The hardest thing I've had to learn, and will forever be learning, is how to let go

From the moment that tiny little baby arrives earthside, we begin the process of 'letting go'. The little munchkin starts to move, and slowly but surely they begin to move away from us. And if they feel secure enough they may crawl a few steps, and thankfully they usually crawl right back to mom + dad. I love that as hard as letting go is, there are gentle nudges and stretches along the way. We don't have to face this all at once.

I read a beautiful book my friend gifted little Piper. In it is a page that brings me to tears every time. 

One day you will look at this house, and wonder
how something that feels so big can look so small
— Someday by Alison McGhee

The homes we've created for our kids feel so BIG! In fact, they hold everything in their little worlds. How quickly this changes as school, friends, courtship, all come into play. They move on from our homes, they create their own homes, and we will need to be ok with this. We don't get to keep them.

  But we can be a soft place for them to land, and this is a beautiful thing.

 But we can be a soft place for them to land, and this is a beautiful thing.

My focus has always been on keeping a strong love connection with my kids. So how does this work with letting go? Aren't those kind of opposites? yes and no. For me, a strong bond means letting go is easier for everyone. I believe if they know how amazing they are, and how important they are, they can move forward with confidence. 

We do not choose who our kids are or who they will become. We can only choose if we will love them despite our differences. Differences can be good or bad, but these little people will become their own people no matter what we do.  In my 'letting go' process I've decided to build a strong rooted foundation to lift them up, and then encourage them to become who they were made to be. 

Point your kids in the right direction—
when they’re old they won’t be lost.
— Proverbs 22:6 The Message

I think the hardest part is watching them make mistakes. And I haven't even reached the teenage years. But the lovely thing is, I will be ready when they come. Because we don't birth teenagers, we birth babies. And God's plan is perfect in how He let's us start at the beginning and grow with them. We need not worry about this process, but trust in it. 

Build up a community around you to offer you support in these hard things. Share your fears while you break bread together. 

I am loving, leaning in, and listening to others as they guide me through the art of letting go. 

Thank you to the lovely Leane + Keely for modelling this 'letting go' and to Leane for being my 'sister' in motherhood. 

 

 

 

Papa's Love

 This family changed my life.  I met them for the first time about a year and a half ago.  They were here investing in my church family, Awakening Canada.  Renee and I immediately connected over our love for photography.  But the truth is, I had no idea how much of an impact their beautiful lives would have on mine at that point.  This is a family that not only talks about Papa's deep love, they embody it in how they live.  I will never be the same because of them. 

This family changed my life.  I met them for the first time about a year and a half ago.  They were here investing in my church family, Awakening Canada.  Renee and I immediately connected over our love for photography.  But the truth is, I had no idea how much of an impact their beautiful lives would have on mine at that point.  This is a family that not only talks about Papa's deep love, they embody it in how they live.  I will never be the same because of them. 

The girls played and adventured through their park-like yard, full of freedom and curiosity.  They twirled their dresses, climbed trees and swung without a care in the world. 

Matt talks a lot about his Papa's love - a God who not only made us, but takes delight in knowing every detail of who we are, and longs to share His heart with us.  It's obvious that he walks in this same love with his girls, and every time I go through their photographs, I'm reminded once again, of Papa's deep love for me.  These beautiful girls will grow up safe and confident in both their daddy's love and their Papa's love for them.  What a beautiful inheritance. 

The love these girls received from their mama was equally as beautiful.  I watched her eyes follow them with delight, and gently she beckoned them with her kind words.  She often referred to them as "my darling", and as I watched her love and champion her girls, I let my heart receive from her beautiful wisdom and grace as a mother.  Even in the midst of a life that is "full-on" and brimming with chaos, she remains graceful and faithful.  I can hear Papa saying, "well done, you have planted your roots deep, and your children will flourish in the soil of My love." 

We concluded our time indoors, with snuggle attacks and dancing.  Everything about these people reminds me that the Kingdom of God is found in family, and that Papa's love runs deeper then any ocean and is given without performance.  I've carried New Zealand in my heart for over 11 years now, but now I can finally say, that I've found my people, my Kiwi family, the ones who have now made this land that I love feel like a second home.  Thank you Matt + Renee for welcoming me into your lives, your home.  I have deep love for you and your beautiful girls.