Monday, August 11, 2014

truth and light … and other reflections

Good Monday to you.  I hope your week is off to a productive, happy start.  

My thoughts are a whirlwind of splendor after this past weekend.  Where do I begin to tell you all about it?  That's the question!  

As I listen to the girls happily playing in the bathtub, whittling away these gorgeous summertime hours, I am filled with such gratitude for my family, my friends, the ones who have remained true to me.  You know who you are.  Truth and light - these were my weekend lessons. 

As for truth and light - the first important lesson I learned is to have more photography workshops.  I held my very first this past Saturday with two of the most patient, ready to learn, and I must mention, lovely ladies to ever cross my path.  They were delightful, plain and simply put.  I know I've heard it said somewhere that the best way to learn something is to teach it.  I can attest that statement to be true after this workshop.  It's completely new to me to explain proper exposure while maintaining continuous control over your camera.  It was enlightening and, in hindsight, I can see where I need to improve upon for the next workshop.  

Can I tell you, honestly, that I was SO nervous to do this!  I was literally sweating myself into a tizzy!   I hope that my friends didn't notice - or if they did, they didn't show it.  Thank you ladies for your grace.  :)  And thank you for your wonderful company, great questions, lunch offerings, time and patience.  My goal was to keep it simple, fun, yet knowledgeable and confidence invoking.  The time seemed to pass by much too quickly - did you notice that, too?  We should have a weekend long workshop in the future - maybe some place at the beach.  Ooo, now I'm really pushing those dreams!!  ;-) 

Please consider sharing an image with me from our workshop together.  I'd love to see!!  Please?!   Thank you, thank you, thank you!   And thank you for your contributions, too.  We raised $50 for our friends at Tiny Sparrow Foundation.  They will be very pleased!  yay!!

My family and I spent time celebrating, reconnecting, visiting with extended family and long-time friends yesterday afternoon at my parents' home in Elverson.  We were a bit weary, tired after sleeping under the stars the night before in our backyard - Did you happen to see the Super Moon?!  If not, check it out tonight!  Anyhow, it all worked out well and we had such a nice time - both backyard camping with our dear friends and hanging out with family. 

My sister and her family from the Miami, Florida area are visiting this week, which is a total treat for us!!  Our kids play great with each other since they are about the same ages - my girls get very excited and bubbly knowing they are going to spend time with their cousins!   When the sun began setting in the sky, I wrangled the troops together for a walk to the neighboring field of sunflowers.  The good folks at the Please Wash Me Carwash planted a sunny field of sunflowers for everyone to enjoy!  Wow, how thoughtful of them!  The bees are especially thankful, it seems.  ;-) 

Another lesson for me this past weekend was to look for the August light; after all, photography is painting with light.  The light is changing quickly and every day it becomes more precious, fleeting.  Plus, I was on a hunt for some sun flare!  I found it!  OH, these August days, I want to wrap my arms around you and hold onto you as long as I can…    

Do share, my friends, how your weekend was.  What most surprised you?  What did you learn?  More importantly, what did you learn about yourself?  

P.s.  There's still time to schedule your fall sessions with me!  And to receive the additional print credit, please contact me prior to Aug 16!  Also, the FREE Longwood Gardens tickets are still available.  Going.. Going.. 
For more info, please visit - Welcoming in August - Blog Post

Friday, August 1, 2014

Welcoming in August

Happy August to you, friends!

Turning the calendar early this morning to welcome August's arrival, I'm reminded of many things.  First, the fact that none of us (that includes me!) want to admit, but … summertime is waning.  

So far, it's been a beautiful one, absolutely gorgeous.  And I hope the remaining days will be much the same.  Our weather in the northeast has been rather cool, with lower humidity than in past years.  For that I am grateful.  We've barely run our air conditioning this year, and have had our windows opened more often than not - thanking the electricity gods for a break!!  I love having the windows open to listen to the sounds the locusts, birds, grasshoppers, hummingbirds, neighboring bullfrogs, all make.  It is significant of summertime to me.  Well, that and watermelon! ;) 

And it's not over yet!  There's still lots of fun to be had!!  My August calendar is full of great things coming up!   

On that note I want to share some news with you.  

Workshop Announcement: 

I am planning to have a dSLR workshop for beginners wanting to learn how to shoot in manual mode.  This workshop will be held in my backyard on Saturday, August 9, set to begin at 11am.  I have space for 5 dSLR owners to attend.  I'm really excited about this workshop.  This is my first go at this so, for the 5 that are able to join in, you are my precedent for possible future workshops.  We will talk about aperture, ISO, shutter speed in a relaxed environment - (wear comfy, "play" clothes as we'll probably be on our knees in my flower beds!) and have a potluck lunch, too.  Participants are asked to bring along a dish, dessert, or salad to share with the group.  It is my hope that this workshop will encourage you to overcome any feelings of apprehension you may experience when using that big, beautiful camera you spent a small fortune on!  ;)  We will cover the basics for you to gain more confidence in your photography skills.  I am asking for a minimum donation of $25 to attend this backyard workshop.  A part of your donation will go towards Tiny Sparrow Foundation - a non-profit organization that pairs up families with children who are facing life threatening illnesses with professional photographers in order to offer them a "Picture of Hope" family session.  Your generosity is appreciated and will inspire hope for such families.  I am a proud member of Tiny Sparrow Foundation, as well.  

To secure your spot in this fun, relaxed, informative, hands-on workshop, please email me for further details and information:
Deadline to enroll is Wednesday, August 6.  Thank you!!  

2 Free Tickets for a Longwood Gardens session:

Fall is around the corner - and that means family photography sessions!  If you have a gift certificate to redeem, a credit from a winning drawing, or have any interest whatsoever in scheduling a session with me this September, October, or November, please contact me ASAP!  The fall schedule will be full before we know it, and I want to be certain that everyone has enough time to schedule their family's fall portraits.  As of now, I only have 2 dates left in September!  The first family to contact me to secure a session at Longwood Gardens (preferably before the end of September), will receive 2 free entry tickets to the gardens (a $36 savings).  I want to give them away!!  Longwood Gardens is an amazing location for a session of any kind!  It's one of my very favorite places on earth, chock full of wonder and terrific photo opportunities.  

Family Mini-Session Dates Announced:

Fall dates for family mini-sessions are as follows:

Saturday & Sunday, October 18 and 19 at Springton Manor Farm in Glenmoore.  A beautiful, sprawling, picturesque 300 acre demonstration farm, where you will see farm animals, Penn Oaks, a demonstration barn & agricultural museum, a small pond, trails, heritage murals, scenic views and more.  Plus, some of the most fantastic trees I've ever seen!!  I will be taking 2 families per day.  The price is $175 (for a family of up to 6 members), includes 30 to 40 minutes of personal session time, an online gallery of 15 images, your choice of 5 high-res digital files to keep and print on disc, and a $35 print credit to be used with your gallery.  

Saturday & Sunday, October 25 and 26 at Conrad Weiser Homestead in Womelsdorf.  This park is rich in history, dating back to the 18th century; a rural countryside dotted with the surviving period stone houses and traditional farms. The Conrad Weiser Homestead includes period buildings, and a new orientation exhibit, on a 26-acre Olmsted-designed landscaped park.  Two large monuments, a gazebo, the Weiser Family Cemetery, and a pond are also located upon the site. Again, I will be taking 2 families per day.  The price is $175 (for a family of up to 6 members), which includes 30 to 40 minutes of personal session time, an online gallery of 15 images, your choice of 5 high-res digital files to keep and print on disc, and a $35 print credit to be used with your gallery.

For the families that confirm their date of photography with me on or before August 15, will also receive an additional $25 gallery credit towards your favorite purchases.  That goes for any type of session you choose.  I love my client friends and I look forward to our time together - coming up!!  

For now though, let's continue to enjoy these beautiful summer days while we have them.  I know I am!!  Cheers, friends!!!  

Friday, May 30, 2014

All in the Merry Month of May

May is coming to a close and my, oh my, what a FULL month it has been!  I know I'm not alone when I say next to December, May is the 2nd busiest month of the year.  May holds the most birthdays all year; Mother's Day; spring cleaning; gardening, planting time; end-of-the-school-year events, graduations, etc. etc...  I decided to highlight some of the many good things that happened this month with small vignettes for this blog post.  I miss hanging out here and have so much I want to say, but finding time to say it all is the challenge.   So now, I'm making time to show off some of the people I've had the privilege of photographing over the past month, with more of their unique stories to come in later posts.   Plus, some personal goodies, too.  Grab your coffee or tea, settle in and take a look-see.  


I had an Inspiration Through Art session with this adorable family.  Their 10 month-old baby boy, "C" has had many health challenges since birth.  He'll need open heart surgery eventually.   Here he is with his daddy and (step)mommy and future baby sister to come!!  He was such a sweetheart throughout our session together; not crying once, and keeping a keen eye on all that was happening around him.  Such a beautiful boy and family.  "C" is another of my littlest heroes to admire!  Thank you for that honor. 

After my Inspiration session, I was off to a first birthday party!   I spent a fun-filled, celebratory afternoon with this dear family of friends whom I have photographed multiple times (lucky me - that's right!).  The party was great and little miss "L" was the star of the day!!  She was so cute in the grass.  She did not like the sensation of it, but she managed.  I just love first birthday parties and "L's" was spectacular!  And another outstanding cake was created by Kathleen's Konfections.  If you haven't tasted her delicious baked confections yet, you haven't fully lived.  Thanks again, my friends for a fabulous afternoon!  You spoil me!  :-)  Just look at this beauty!!!  Makes my heart melt. 

I photographed a wedding in New Cumberland, PA - near Harrisburg - Memorial Day weekend.  What a day it was!  I am still reveling in all the wonderful moments that took place on Stephie & Jimmy's big day with many firsts for me to experience.  The first time I witnessed the bride sing a love song to her groom; first time I witnessed the shoe game (fabulous, by the way! must check it out!); first time photographing a wedding while my oldest daughter, Chelsea worked as the couple's videographer!  Wow!  That's my girl!  She's off to Nashville, TN for the summer to work an internship, so it was great to spend time with her at Stephie & Jimmy's wedding!  We even managed to dance a couple of songs together!  Thanks for inspiring me, Chels!!  Fun times!!  And Congratulations to the happy couple!  You were super to work with - Thanks for everything, my new friends!!  

And speaking of firsts, I photographed this loving family consisting of two daddies and two beautiful daughters.  Confession time.  I have never had the privilege of knowing (let alone photographing) a same-sex, married couple with children.  I know.  I know.  Well, I do happen to live in rural Pennsylvania and, as far as population dynamics go, this isn't a common occurrence in our area - at least to my knowledge.  This family set the bar high.  They are my precedent for non-traditional marriage, and I can honestly say I am in awe of them and their life.  Their girls adore their dads.  What an amazing family!!  Thank you, my new friends for your generosity and for granting me the honor of being your photographer.  Your girls are radiant, healthy beauties so full of life and love.      

On the home front, I've been rearranging.  Plus, painting and preparing to move my office.  Alanna is ready to have her pink bedroom back.  She's tired of sharing a room with her little sister.  So, it's time for momma to move back to my old office - a bit smaller (okay, a lot smaller), but it sure is bright and pretty!  

We have been cleaning out, purging unused items.  We managed to have a very successful yard sale this month, hosted by my parents (thanks, Mom & Dad!).  We also donated to a worthy, charitable cause:  The Rudden Family Foundation, Inc. who serve the homeless or at risk of becoming homeless with donated household furnishings.  It felt great to unload and clean out.  Like a weight lifted from our shoulders.  Ahh!  So good.  So thankful.   

The garden is planted and doing great.  The lilacs were especially fragrant this year!  And they bloomed just in time for Mother's Day!  Just gorgeous!   I have more flower shots to offer on my Flickr photo stream.  Stop by and say "hi!" when you can.  I always appreciate hearing from my family and friends.  Click here to visit me > My 3 Girls Photography on Flickr <

Our baby isn't such a baby anymore.  Emilia graduated from preschool and will attend kindergarten in the fall.  Isn't she a beauty?  All of her teachers remarked at her dancing abilities and free spirit.  She won the classroom "Best Girl Artist" award.  I know she has so much ability and is uber talented.  I'm a proud mommy.   

I wrapped up my first school year as a preschool, pre-K building substitute teacher.  It was a joy!  I loved getting to know all of the children at Robeson Lutheran Preschool.  I look forward to helping out again in the future.   

June promises to slow down a bit - just a bit, though.  These May days were absolutely filled with much goodness - so many moments to treasure forever.  Thank you, my friends, for stopping by.  Here's to finding time to highlight all the gratitude and good in our lives.  My windows are rolled down!!     


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Greetings

Sending wishes of great joy, eternal hope and everlasting love for the arrival of Easter and life anew!  As I celebrate this day with my beloved family, I keep the sacred promise of new beginnings, the spirit of rebirth close to my heart.  May it hold true in your own.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Professional is as Professional Does

My first-born daughter, Chelsea, will be beginning her senior year this coming fall at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania.  She's come so far in such a short amount of time.  She has most definitely found a thriving learning community, including mentors, admired professors and lots and lots of friends!  She is learning the value of hard work, dedication and commitment as she strives to meet her goals in her chosen mass communications field of study.  She's taking on Student Government roles, works as a film-editing tutor in the computer lab, is a member of various on-campus organizations such as GLO, SAFE, PRSSA, Flashlight (the university newspaper), MUTV, WNTE and is the current Vice President of the Organizational Communications Club (OCC) - just to name a few!   Can you blame me for beaming with pride?!  She's a shining star!  

The thing that I have been saying to her most recently (other than how proud of her I am) is to begin thinking of yourself as a professional and acting as a professional, too.  And I would say this very same thing to every junior and senior year college student, as well.  This is the time to embrace a professional attitude and act on it.  

I noticed that she needed some head shots for her LinkedIn profile, and for the website she has launched with her film portfolio.  Keeping in mind that prospective clients and employers will have easy access to view her work and get to know her a bit, it's imperative that she look the professional part.  So… we finally found some time to create a few head shots for her to use.  Take a look at my girl and her beautiful, smart, fun portraits created with love by her proud momma.   :-))) 

"I believe film has the power to change the world and I want to be a part of that."
Chelsea Simmers

For any junior or senior year Mansfield University student interested in having some professional head shots created, I plan to be on your campus Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26 wielding my camera and looking for you.  I am offering a special mini-session head shot series just for Mansfield students (up to 5 digital files for you to use as needed for your professional portfolio and 20 minutes of photographing time on campus) for $50.  If 12 or more students sign up by Friday, April 18, the price will be reduced to $45 per mini-session.  So, please, tell your friends to get involved, too!  Session times are limited.  Please email me today with your name and contact info to secure your session. or call me:  610.856.1783

Think spring flowers, green grass and professional head shots!  I can't wait to meet you!!  What fun it'll be!   

all images within are expressly owned and copyrighted: ©  My 3 Girls Photography 2014
thank you for respecting the artist's integrity

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

the pause between asleep and awake

Now is the pause between asleep and awake:
Two seasons take
A colour and quality each from each as yet.
The new stage-set
Spandril, column and fan of spring is raised against the
winter backdrop
Murrey and soft;
Now aloft
The sun swings on the equinoctial line.

Few flowers yet shine:
The hellebore hangs a clear green bell and opulent leaves
above dark mould;
The light is cold
In arum leaves, and a primrose flickers
Here and there; the first cool bird-song flickers in the thicket.
Clouds arc pale as the pollen from sallows;
March fallows are white with lime like frost.

This is the pause between asleep and awake:
The pause of contemplation and of peice,
Before the earth must teem and the heart ache.
This is the child's pause, before it sees
That the choice of one way has denied the other ;
Must choose the either, or both, of to care and not to care;
Before the light or darkness shall discover
Irreparable loss; before it must take
Blame for the creature caught in the necessary snare:
Receiving a profit, before it holds a snare. 

The Spring Equinox by Anne Barbara Ridler

all images within are expressly owned and copyrighted: ©  My 3 Girls Photography 2014
thank you for respecting the artist's integrity

Friday, March 7, 2014

Dear Daughters - It's My Birthday!

It's my birthday!  Number forty-five!  Hooray! :-) I know, I should probably feel some remorse, some self-pity, or dread at officially being in the middle of my life, however … for whatever reason … I feel awesome!  Listen up, 20-somethings and 30-somethings looking ahead in your own life, they never told me how much better life actually gets.  It certainly does.  I feel better now than I did in my 20s!!  Sure, I could stay up and party all night then - something I have no desire to do now..  No, it's something deeper in my soul that feels at ease, calm, more sure.  It's an acceptance that feels so good.  When I was in my 20s, I was so busy rushing through life, working in the corporate world to attain my goals, to pay bills, to buy our first home, to raise my first-born daughter in the best possible way I knew how.  I was a worrier - about everything.  You know what, I do not worry near as much now.  

Then a shift happened in my early 30s and I left the corporate world and entered college for the first time in my life.  Scared?  Oh, you betcha I was!!  Although, my dream to teach children outweighed my fears.  Plus, I have the most wonderful, supportive husband in God's glorious universe.  I found out that I love learning, pushing my boundaries and that I (me!) actually have something special to contribute.  It was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself.  In my late thirties, my husband and I welcomed our two youngest daughters - and more blessings than I could ever imagine for our family life.  When I look back at the timeline of my life, I've come to realize that I am completely and utterly unconventional!!  And, I like that about me.  It works.  Throughout my life, one thing has always been a constant.  Something I have always expressed a deep interest in and that something is art and photography.  If I wasn't creating a mural on a baby's room wall, or rearranging furniture, or painting the interior walls of our home, or watercoloring invitations to family parties, or setting up photo ops for my girls, or designing a garden bed, or making something for someone, any form of creative expression than I was probably dreaming up my next creative project!  It was only fitting for me to start my own photography business, as it was a natural progression of my self expression and fulfills a deep desire I have to create art.  Plus, photography has been an integral part of my life since early childhood.  It fits.  When I'm in the creative process, I am happiest, at peace, and feel closer to God than at any other time.  Expressing myself creatively is a spiritual rejuvenation for me.  

So .. on that note.  The next part of this post is for my girls.  These words of wisdom are to be passed along, and I hope they will read this one day and nod in agreement, "yea, that sounds like mom!" :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Dearest Daughters, 

As I celebrate my forty-fifth year, I have plenty to reflect on and I'd like to share some words of wisdom with you.  I know each of you will understand my intentions and the meaning behind my words when you are ready.  It's the precious gift of learning, experiencing life and the growth that comes to everyone at precisely the right moment.  No worries, my loves.  Your purpose will be fulfilled.  I feel most assured.  You are each a ray of light in my life and I am the proudest mommy ever!  

Be grateful.  Show your gratitude.  Do not hold back.  When you feel thankful - say it, show it.  Your cup will overflow every time. 

Help others.  Help them to see their potential, their light, their special gifts.  If someone is in need, reach out.  When lifting another, you ultimately lift yourself.  It's a win-win!

Love yourself.  Self love is extremely important - for everything extends from it.  Take time to reflect on your feelings, thoughts, and care for yourself.  Journal.  Meditate.  Practice yoga regularly.  Exercise.  Take exceptional care of your skin and teeth.  Cleanse.  Moisturize.  Brush.  Floss.  Cleanse.  Moisturize.  Brush.  Floss.  And drink water mostly!    

Watch your words.  Again, everything will flow from them.  If you are constantly focusing on negative words and lack, than that's what will transpire in your life.  But, if you focus on positive words and abundance, than that is what will transpire in your life.  It's up to you.  Which would you prefer? 

Save your money.  Save your money.  Save your money.  Learn this habit as soon as possible.  When you receive money or payment from another, learn to honor that money by paying yourself first.  By paying yourself, by putting it aside, either in an account, piggy bank, or locked box, you will honor yourself and your hard work by doing so. 

Follow your passion.  Follow your heart.  Listen to that small voice inside of you.  Above all else, definitely, most assuredly listen to that voice!  It is there to guide you, to counsel you, and it will not steer you in the wrong direction.  If something feels wrong in your heart and that wee voice tells you so, please, please, listen to it.  I cannot stress this one enough.  Learn to trust that voice.  For that voice is your heart, your soul, your life's north star -- follow it.  

Use your gifts.  Use your gifts to the fullest capacity!!  You each have such beautiful gifts, too.  When you use your gifts, putting them in action, you will find that not only will you be fulfilled, and rejuvenated by them, everyone else will be too!  You each have so much to offer already - I'm so excited to watch you flourish and grow as you answer the call of your spirit.  It's a thrill that I will never tire of.  So, use your gifts to the best of your abilities and align yourself with everything else that I have mentioned and the sky's the limit, baby!!!  

Thank you for listening to your momma ramble words of advice.  I hope you know how proud I am of each of you.  Being your mom is an honor and I love you with my entire being, every last fiber of me.  Happy Birthday to me!!!  

Life - Bring on more awesomeness!!   I'm ready!!  And so very thankful!!  

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