Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Wings

The title of this article made me chuckle when I first read it because she is only twenty-one years old.  21.  Still one of my babies...  And yet to me, the title implies that somehow, there have been years upon years upon years culminating in The Biggest Shoot of Your Life!!!  In my mind, I hear a booming voice announcing those words as if the person being written about is 35, or 42, or 67 and everything has led up to this single moment.  But the truth is, her career in photography is only just beginning and if she continues to focus her energies in the right places, she is going to be very big in the field of photography and this shoot, which she both completely orchestrated and shot over the course of a very, very long day, will be one of more than she will be able to count.  Angel Daughter Number Two is my photographic creative genius.  Upon graduating high school a few years ago, she began college and quickly realized that the academic route was not right for her.  With the help of my father(her Pop-Pop),  we found a college that was a much better fit for her, moved her up to The Art Center in Pasadena, CA, and there she remained for a year and a half.  This year, she decided that she was finished.  She felt that she had gleaned all that she could from The Art Center and decided to go out on her own without finishing school.  Mark and I were not at all comfortable with her choice, but AD2 and her grandfather presented us with all of the reasons why she was ready and we finally gave in(kicking and screaming).  It has been a very rough start for her, I am not going to lie, but suddenly things seem to be piecing together for her.  This article is appearing on newsstands right now in the largest digital photography magazine in the nation, Digital PhotoPro.  It is in their November 2011 issue and if you care to take a look at it, it is also available online, here.  In the photos above, AD2 is the one with the camera;)  On the right page, she is the one squatting down with her back to the camera taking the photograph of the model.  Her longtime boyfriend, Joshua, is standing right next to her and his dog, Dakota, is modeling with the pretty lady.  I told AD2 that next time, I want a picture of her face in the article!  She is beautiful enough to be a model herself, but I am glad that she is not one.  It is a tough industry.
Here is page two of the article.  I hope that you are not offended by scantly clad women because she does shoot a lot of them.  It's all about fashion and sometimes that means skimpy clothes which is kind of ironic.
The layout above shows the final photos from the article but there are more words about AD2 on page 124!  You can read those if you click over.
I feel so blessed to know that my Angel Daughters are following their dreams and making them come true at such young ages.  Angel Daughter Number One is still getting lots of attention for her Groupon commercial(and auditioning, and auditioning, and auditioning while working, working, working!) and now AD2 is being recognized for her own work in the arts.  She was just asked to shoot an eight page spring fashion pictorial for a very prestigious magazine and she is SO excited!  It will be shooting very, very soon but won't come out until January 2012, so we will all just have to wait.  I get the feeling this child is about to start flying high, but as her mom, I will always remind her to remain grounded and to enjoy the view while she is finding her wings.  There are so many dimensions to life.  Keeping things in balance can be a challenge while floating with the air currents, but soaring with our feet planted firmly on the ground is the only way to stay sane and happy.  By the way, if you happen to pick up a copy of Digital PhotoPro magazine and you would like an autograph of the up and coming photographer who is being featured on pages 86-90, I think I can hook you up;)

These are my girls.  I am so in love with each one of them.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


And here she is.  Wings outstretched, open to what is, voluminously open to what will someday be.
Confident, alive, beautiful, undisguised, sincere, witty, effervescent.  Life personified.

I caught her playing with the wispy wings on her Homecoming dress and for me, that was better than any possible posed moment of perfection that I could possibly have captured.  I am good at waiting.(with four children, I have to be)  And snapping the shutter, click.  Click, click.  Click!  I take in the moments, but without the camera, the moments become lost in a menagerie of hours, days and then years blending together to create a montage of moments lost.  Colors blended.  So I do the best that I can to bring them into focus and then collect them in a more lasting place.  
This way I will never forget.  And neither will they.

Because truly, this is what is real.  The posed photos are nice to have, but to me, they often come up short.  A little blank.  Well, posed.  There is more, so much more.  There is an entire history to be pieced together and how will they ever remember if the moments become lost in a vague set of arranged smiles.  Admittedly, the candid pictures are more difficult to capture.  Sometimes they come out with eyes closed or mouths grimaced or faces scrunched in unnatural looking contortions but if you wait, and take so many pictures that your children finally laugh about how many times you release the shutter on your camera, you will eventually capture the truth of the moment.
Angel Daughter Number Four is a very good sport.  I suppose that being the fourth child in a fairly large family teaches you to develop patience and endurance and so, she has.  She is even-tempered, kind-hearted and well-loved by many.  In this photo, she was waiting for her friend to get off the phone so that they could go get something to eat before the dance.
Then she looked up at her dad.  So much love flows between the two of them.  It is one of the sweetest things that I have ever witnessed.
And then she turned her gaze back up at me.  And the sunlight caught in her eyes.  And my mother's heart skipped a beat.  And I told her not to move while I lifted my camera to capture a single moment in time.  Click.  Click, click.  Click, click.  A split-second of connection forever secured in my soul and now, forever imprinted immortally for us to always remember.  

Dance your heart out tonight, AD4.  I love you, my child.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunrise, Moonset

6:15 this morning.  That cold, familiar nose begins nudging gently at my outstretched hand(not Mark's) and I climb out of bed to let Becca outside so that we can both quickly retreat back into our beds, back into the warmth, back into the restful worlds of our dreams.  But just as I expect that I will barely have to open my eyes before snuggling securely back underneath the soft weight of my down comforter, I am startled into a sudden hyper-awareness by the mirrored beauty of the full moon as it reflects upon the water. I gasp out loud and the noise sounds as if it has come from someone else.  I consider keeping this moment of absolute sudden beauty to myself but my desire to share what I am witnessing gets the better of me and, as usual in moments like these, I reach for my camera to preserve.  I think about the idea that a moment does not become any less holy just because my second or third thought is to snap a few photographs of it and the next sound I hear is a soft, repetitive click, click, click.  I am now more inside of the moment than I was before and as I turn from the side of the horizon in which the moon was beginning to set, I am once again struck by that feeling of awe.
For behind me, over the San Clemente pier, the sun is slowly beginning its lazy ascent into the sky taking its time as if to gaze at the moon.  On one side, the moon finishing its glorious light show and on the other, the sun ushering in a brand new day.  Oh, the possibilities.  Oh, the colors!
Becca runs past me back into the house but I am no longer in a rush to close my eyes so I stand outside and watch as it happens all around me.  Moon, earth, and sun.  Everything feels as if it is perfectly aligned.
And as the colors begin to blend into one another, I take one more look at my world as it appears right at this moment at 6-something in the morning and I wonder to myself if I will ever be able to readjust my circadian rhythm to become a morning person.  No, I decide.  If four babies within six years was not permanently able to change it for me, then there is probably a very small possibility of it ever occurring in this lifetime and that is okay.  For there are wonders that happen on both sides of the day and more than likely, by witnessing one, the chance of being awake to witness the other is fairly unlikely.

As I make my way back to my bed, I stop to cradle Becca's sweet face in my hands and I kiss her firmly on the snout.  She looks at me as if the sun and the moon rise around me and I realize that to her at least, they do.  I have witnessed more than one incredibly magical moment this morning.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Suspension and The Days of Awe

This photo was taken on Monday.
It is a sensation much like what it must feel like to be floating, these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  It is a strange feeling and yet, not totally unexpected.  It is a feeling of being suspended in time.  It is the sensation of waiting, expectantly, for things to pass and although I do not really believe that God has an enormous book in the sky in which he actually transcribes names for another year, metaphorically, the idea strikes me in my soul.  On Rosh Hashanah, the rabbi spoke of The Book of Life.  He spoke of the three "lists" which it is said that God keeps, one for the righteous whose names are automatically transcribed into The Book for another year.  These are the ones who have done only good without any transgression, the very few and far between.  I imagine this list to be quite short in my mind's eye.  The second list is for the wicked.  This list consists of individuals who have done so much harm to their fellow man that they are immediately removed from The Book of Life.  This is the list that I do wish existed.  The third book is for the intermediate.  This is where I know that I belong.  This is the list that contains the names of those of us who try to live our lives in good and honest ways but who do, inadvertently, sometimes miss the mark.  This is the list which contains the names of those of us who are doing our best to learn, to grow and to improve, year after year and, by God's will, will be inscribed into The Book for another year. This is the list of suspension in time.  During the days in between Rosh Hashanah(The New Year) and Yom Kippur(The Day of Atonement), it is our responsibility to evaluate our own behavior, to make amends with anyone we have hurt and to ask for forgiveness from others and from God.  These are days of repentance and prayer.  On Saturday, Jewish people all over the world will observe Yom Kippur.  This is the holiest day of the year for us.  It is the day when it is said that we are closest to God and to the quintessence of our own souls.  This is the day on which we pray that God will accept our prayers for forgiveness and inscribe us in The Book of Life for another year.  This is the day that we admit out loud and to ourselves that we are less than perfect but that we will try harder in the year to come.  And although Yom Kippur is a very somber day, it is also sufficed with joy because it is the day that we come together as a community to pray for God's forgiveness.  Even Jews who do not typically practice or attend synagogue will attend on Yom Kippur.  Why not hedge your bets?

The week down here in beautiful San Clemente, CA began with a mixture of sunshine and clouds.  

This photo was taken on Tuesday.
But slowly, the skies became darker and the clouds became heavier until something very unusual happened.

This photo was taken yesterday.
We got a significant October rain storm.  Now for those of you that live in other parts of the country and even other parts of the world, rain is not an unusual event, but for us, it just does not rain in Southern California as the song says.  This unexpected storm added to my feeling of being suspended in time.  It gave me time to think and to pray and to read meaningful literature.  It gave me time to consider and after it was over, I felt another sensation...The sensation of being cleansed.

May I take this opportunity to ask forgiveness of anyone whom I may have hurt over the course of the past year.  May I find forgiveness in my heart for those who have hurt me, either intentionally or inadvertently, and may I find a way to leave this hurt behind.  But most of all, may God inscribe you, your family members and friends into The Book of Life for another good year.  All of you.


With many blessings and so much love,
Debbie-Four Angels Momma

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