the gift of time

written for the incredible motherhood with a camera blog, a gathering of images and writings, each swirling around a specific theme. this week, the topic was time and here is my submission.

time precious and fleeting unstoppable time gives time takes your past is a memory your future is a mystery all you know for certain is your time now this very moment each day a present how will you spend your time? from the time you rise till the time you rest it’s a choice your choice what will your legacy be? that you lived your life fully and spent your time well that you were kind and good and giving i hope so because time is a gift i will do my best to cherish every minute and celebrate my time but for now it’s time to say thank you for your time!


you can view the entire choir of the beautiful and inspiring voices here.

the everyday

as much as i hate the mess, i absolute love and cherish my kids' imaginary play.  i think the littles learned it from their big sister.  she's the pro at it. although...they were watching sponge bob at the time of this photo.  hence, the not-so-imaginary trance.

yesterday, i was here, spending the day with this awesome friend.

tonight, i will be in the fields of wisconsin.  photographing a most incredible and magical family tomorrow.  can't wait, but i'm a wee bit nervous too.

finding peace

so it's the 2nd day of the new year and i haven't stopped thinking about what this year will bring.  or where i'm headed. or what my goals are. blah. blah. blah.

i THOUGHT i wanted to start my own personal happiness project.  the initial THOUGHT of it excited me.  and then i made a monthly resolution chart and the THOUGHT of it made me anxious as hell.  i'm not sure i could ever focus on one thing for an entire month; my brain so doesn't work that way (ask leah).  so i'm not sure i'll go much farther with my happiness project than this...

JANUARY’S RESOLUTIONS: JUST BE HAPPY (exploring everything happy) FEBRUARY’S RESOLUTIONS: SHOW ME THE MONEY (managing finances) MARCH’S RESOLUTION: LOVE GREATER (bettering my marriage) APRIL’S RESOLUTION: LAUGH MORE (lightening my attitude) MAY’S RESOLUTION: HAVE FAITH (exploring spirituality) JUNE’S RESOLUTION: PLAY GAMES (being the parent i want to [& should] be) JULY’S RESOLUTION: THIS OLD HOUSE (fixing up the house & yard) AUGUST’S RESOLUTION: REALLY FORGIVE (working on my past) SEPTEMBER’S RESOLUTION: COMPUTER-LESS (working on less computer, etc. time) OCTOBER’S RESOLUTION: LET GO (being less perfect) NOVEMBER’S RESOLUTION: WRITE THANK YOUS (appreciating friends) DECEMBER’S RESOLUTION: GIVE MORE (exploring ways to give back)

but it at least forced me to think about 12 things i'd like to work on throughout the year.  that's good...right?!  oh and business wasn't on my monthly resolution list because i KNEW there was no way in hell i could pick a specific month to dedicate to business.  that thought made me even more anxious. and health and fitness wasn't on there because i am totally getting back in my routine this week (yes, i've been absolutely terrible over the past couple weeks).

so what are my goals? i don't know. maybe i'll figure something out tomorrow. because right now, my brain hurts from trying to come up with something. maybe i'll just come up with a few business and personal goals and be done with it.  or maybe i just won't do anything at all and i'll let the year unfold exactly as it will.

anyways... here's a few shots from our day today.  spending time with amazing friends...boating to a tiny private island for lunch on the beach and spending time together playing, sharing, laughing and exploring. could it get much better than that?

the flag, to claim our island

and with that all said...and coming to peace with the fact that i don't need to make any darn resolutions or goals or anything for that matter on the 1st day of january...i feel better already.

and then the storm blew in

celebrate your success and stand strong when adversity hits, for when the storm clouds come in, the eagles soar while the small birds take cover.- author unknown

so we had this great idea today, to head to the a family. we hadn't done that yet here in florida. so we packed up the car and drove 40 minutes to this great beach. and there in the distance, we saw the storm clouds. what we didn't know is how fast the darn thing was moving. all of a sudden i hear...

i feel sprinkles. momma, i really feel sprinkles.

and poof. just like that, we were being poured on! steve was gathering up the kite. i was screaming for the kids to grab something and go.  of course, there was quite a walk from the beach to the car.  hands were full and we were moving as fast as we could.

so we went to the beach. for about 20 minutes. and drove home soaked for the next 40 minutes -- a family outing to remember, for sure. :-)

p.s. i have plans with this beach.  can't wait to go back.  all shot with lensbaby.  no time to change my lens...or really get my kids to cooperate.

finding peace

meet my dear friend steph beaty, who i respect and admire beyond words. steph was actually one of my very first clients in may 2006 (referred to me by carrie sandoval) -- which is still hard to believe.  the photo below was from that first session together.  little did we know at that time, that we'd one day be the best of friends.

steph's husband is currently deployed and will (hopefully) return when the baby is two months old -- making steph's shirt peace on my mind very literal.  they also have a four-year-old and two-year-old.  steph's strength, along with her kindness, passion, faith and goodness, inspires me each and every day.

lucky for me, steph grew up in the tampa area and her family still lives here.  so while we live plenty apart, i'm excited that steph and i will see each other (at least once a year) over the next few years, while we're stationed here in tampa.

on steph's trip last week, i was able to do maternity photos for her.  to say the evening was magical would be an understatement.  we had already rescheduled once because of weather and this was it -- no more days to work with if this one evening didn't work out. i think the only thing that could have possibly made the evening the tiniest bit better would have been a can of bug spray.  at one point, i looked down at my leg and had at least 10 mosquitoes chomping on my calf.

i am blessed to have steph in my life and so grateful to call her my friend.  i could go on and on but i'll stop there.  i think y'all get my genuine admiration for this woman.  :-) © deb schwedhelm | tampa maternity photographer

so what...

...have i been up to lately?  oh nothing much.  just... traveling from kansas to florida photographing a wedding celebration in WV (more on that soon) sharing meeting lots of new friends settling into a temp condo registering the kids in summer activities, schools, gymnastics, etc. transferring my business getting ready to head back to san diego this friday for a workshop and client sessions and... buying. a. fabulous. mini. castle.

ok, it's not really a mini castle, but it's what i've told the kids. and i think they might just believe it...i mean really, it has a pool. :-) how could it not be a castle in their minds, even if they have to share a bedroom.  contract is officially signed and our move in date is scheduled for august 19th.

so. can't. wait. to. be. settled.

also -- i wanted to thank you for hanging in there with me, through this transition!!

sharing a few recent photos. special times with very special friends...

underwater magic

just returned from san diego late last night and to say it was magical would be an understatement.  i photographed a ton and was able to get together with some incredible friends. i was commissioned by my sweet friend, terrie, to do her maternity and newborn photos (it just so happens that my july trip to san diego works perfectly with her due date).  since she's a friend and a photographer, i knew she would be game for pretty much anything.  so i threw the idea of underwater photos at her -- and game she was.  then i asked my dear friend and partner-in-crime, leah, if she would be interested in shooting too -- and game she was.  together, leah and i, collaborated and photographed terrie in leah's pool and later that evening, in the most magical field, in orange.

the following day, i photographed terrie and her family at pacific beach pier, which was so fun but crazy cold -- i ended up completely soaked and covered in sand.

shooting underwater...i felt this renewed spirit with my photography.  and even with myself.  i'm not sure i can fully explain it but my heart is so happy and inspired by the possibility of shooting more underwater photography and offering it to my clients.  my dream, wish, hope, desire is to purchase underwater housing shortly after we arrive in tampa and just go for it.  shooting underwater is not exactly easy but i love it so...and can't wait!!  what a perfect place to offer underwater photography -- the warm and beautiful waters of tampa, florida.  woot!  woot!

note: terrie and i have a special bond.  both our oldest children are deaf with cochlear implants, which is how we originally met (years ago, at an auction to benefit a deaf | hard-of-hearing organization).  terrie's second son is hearing and her baby girl on-the-way is going to be deaf.  this is what terrie shared with me after seeing the image below, which left me with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.  love you terrie -- for all your strength, kindness, passion, determination and beauty!!  you are one amazing lady!

I look at this and it is such a symbol of strength for me.  Knowing what this baby will go through with her hearing loss, knowing how strong she will have to be, how strong I'll have to be for her and my family, how much she will lean on me as she becomes a woman.  love that I'm standing tall and strong and ready to bring my babe into the world and face it together----oh how i love this photo!!!!

hoping to share more field photos tomorrow.  my heart is so happy!

something special

when i first started my blog and was figuring out how things were going to flow, i knew that i couldn't commit to blogging about each and every client and therefore, decided my blog was going to be about things that touched my soul and hopefully, in doing so, i would inspire someone, somewhere, someday.  well today, i feel it necessary to blog about one of my clients, as she has completely touched my soul.  meet 10-year-old miss E.

photographing E and her family was my last and tenth session in san diego (in 3 1/2 days). E's mom was the winner of my donated photography package, for max's ring of fire auction.

i began the session photographing the kids -- E and her 12-year-old brother.  E is a pretty girl and super sweet, but also quite shy and reserved.  when we first met, i wondered how i was going to get her to relax with me.  but it didn't take long for E to be completely comfortable with me and my camera.  within about five minutes, it was as if it  was just she and i -- no one else in the world mattered.  during that time, E was the prettiest girl in the world and maybe even the most magical princess in the world.  i just kept saying,

keep doing your thing; you are so beautiful...

...and kept clicking.  i was in awe at her beauty and her willingness to openly and honestly share that beauty with me.

E has something special -- a magical beauty that shines from within.  i can't stop thinking of E and the gift she left with me that day.  she touched my soul and her beauty filled my heart.

when i got home (to KS), i shared with E's mom a bit about what i hoped to blog about E, while also asking her permission to do so.  she said she would love that and also shared a bit of E's writings, from her home journal:

love. blossom. live in happiest, forever together. in peace and in bad, i will love you. in all my love for you. when you are mad, remember a new day is ahead of you.  do not live in the past, live in the present. forgive and forget. live strong and in wisdom. remember to care about others  and  yourself. treat others the way you want to be treated. try to be nice to people as many times as possible and give in. remember forgive.

as i read E's words, tears filled my eyes and my thoughts of E's exceptional inner beauty were more than confirmed.  E is one special child and i can't wait to see what she shares with and teaches this world.  she has definitely touched me and taught me how truly powerful and magical inner beauty is.