Owning Oneself, Priestesses, and Bloom Kombucha: #thingsiminlovewith

Things I'm in love with right now.

Book I'm Devouring:

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This is the story of King Arthur told from the perspective of all the women of his life. It's so full of power and magic and delicious details about Druid life and the way of the Priestess. It's also amazing commentary on religions/beliefs. I disappear from this world while reading it. Yum.

Album that Stokes the Fire Within:

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A Tribe Called Red by A Tribe Called Red. They're an electronic DJ collective from Canada known for their mix of hip-hop, reggae, dubstep and First Nations (the predominant indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle) musical traditions.

Go-To Person Lately for All Things Stars and Planets:

Chani Nicholas She's so intelligent, insightful, and oftentimes provides a good giggle with her Facebook posts about planetary activities.

Making the Belly Happy:

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GT's Spring flavor: Bloom. It's so fresh and not too sweet with a hint of floral. (I swear I don't sell for them. It's just THAT yummy.) ;) Get you some!

Inspiration for Owning Who You Are:

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This session I did with the oh-so-awesome Racheal was a little study/reflection on masculine vs. feminine stereotypes and how much the lines blur when it comes to being gender fluid. Empowering stuff. So fun to photograph.

 

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Spring Drunk and Feeling Alive

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Oh, hello, May, you beautiful beast.

Anyone else drunk on Spring? I mean, my goodness. Talk about instant jello the second that sun came out and warmed my winter spirits right up. 

The strange dance of light and dark with these stormy skies the last few days has inspired introspection and solitude, highly recommended before the major surge of mid-spring to early summer hype begins. Spend a few days super tuned-in, maybe by tuning out/turning off/unplugging (whatever works for you!) and use that incredible awareness to hone in on your body's energetic cues. What uplifts your energy and what's draining it? 

Super helpful exercise: Sit in your favorite place, light a candle if you like, breathe deeply for a bit, and take stock of your body's energetic cues. Then, write down two columns: Uplifts and Drains and note what has been uplifting you or draining you recently. Now, set intentions around what will continue to uplift you because who doesn't want to feel empowered? Flood a page with intentions that will uplift you. Once finished, circle what stirs you the most. As you sit on those intentions, make three columns: Mind. Body. Spirit. Pull intentions from your circled words that primarily uplift your mind and put them under that column. Continue from there with the other two columns. Do another circling of what stirs you until you narrow down to 3-5 intentions that will ultimately uplift your mind, body, and spirit throughout the month of May.

My intentions: Alive. Present. Pleasure. Intuitive. Of service.

Reflection: Something about focusing on intentions that specifically uplift me mind, body, and spirit made this exercise even more enjoyable. Maybe it's because being drunk on Spring tends to make me want to ignore all the things (both positive and negative) and just lay in the sun. Lol! But feeding that which uplifts you will surely decrease that which drains you...or at the very least, make the draining stuff less noticeable or easier to handle.

What intentions did you set? Share in the comments!

 

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The Evolution of Love

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Back Story

If you've talked or spent time with me, visited my photography Facebook page, or read past things I've written, you've heard me drop the word love a billion times whether related to self-love, love of our fellow humans, or loving relationships with friends, family, and significant others. I had a friend recently ask me if I could riff on love related to significant others in a future post. I've decided to indulge her and hopefully you find something in here to take with you. Please know that all of this comes from observations within my own relationship and of those around me throughout my adult life thus far.

Musings

In personal or interpersonal connectedness, society makes everything about the physical--the best health practices, exercise routines, and sex-drive--or if it veers from physical, it goes straight to mental--how one should positively affirm, express gratitude, practice emptying ones mind to be a better listener or be less anxious.

What if love is at the crux of personal and interpersonal connectedness? What if physical and mental stuff jumped from that launching point into the spiritual?

Bear with me.

These thoughts started after I read an article written on Helen Fisher's (a biological anthropologist and expert on love) belief that we have evolved with three kinds of love: sex drive, romantic love, and attachment to our partner. According to her, all are intrinsic to our being...basic drives.

While I don't necessarily disagree with her, I felt like the most important of our evolution with love is Spiritual Love. And I'm not talking about love of God or Spirit or the Universe, necessarily, though that's an aspect that isn't unimportant. I'm talking about a kind of love that transcends the other three kinds while still fostering them.

Here's my take.

Evolution of Love

The Sex Drive phase is classic beginning-of-the-relationship hunger for one another. It's here where there's exploration and newness. The unfamiliar territory is exciting and enticing. You only have to give each other tiny nuggets of yourselves for it to be satisfying. This phase of love can be addicting for some, and those who feel the need to continue feeding their sexual hunger will continue finding lovers to fill that need. Those who allow/don't mind when the hunger subsides move into romantic love. 

Romantic Love involves all the cute gifts, sweet nothings/texts/letters, intimate touches, hugs, and kisses, and dates beyond the bedroom (or backseat of a car!). ;) One or both partners want to be sure the other person feels special and valued. As the couple realizes they don't have to try as hard to keep one another, this phase of love can fade or simply transition into attachment to our partner. 

Attached Love is where dedication kicks in. Sometimes this occurs because of children or new pets, sharing an apartment or house, or because the couple decides to marry. Many believe that this is the goal. Those in the dating scene in it for the long haul seek a partner who feels like someone they can marry. But there's more beyond the wedding day and marriage.

Those who may not seek or aren't aware of anything beyond attached love find that the sex-drive has chilled out and romantic love has dwindled or completely disappeared. One or both people in the couple have lost themselves to the relationship, let go of hobbies in favor of fulfilling stereotypical roles of a spouse or parent. Criticism begins to develop. Each person begins to display doubts, fears, and that shadow side of the self their partner may have never seen before. It's here where divorce or splitting up can happen or is discussed because the people in the relationship suddenly say, "What now?"

OR they can fully lay their shit on the table, strip down to their rawest selves, and begin to develop something greater than themselves: Spiritual Love.

Spiritual Love is held above the couple itself. It's realized as compassion, full acceptance of the other person and all their faults, and unconditional support and respect. It's where ego is set aside to hash through what should be fostered or shed for the greater whole of the partnership. It's FULL of patience. It's being okay with walking through this life as two separate beings living separate existences in a shared space and relationship. It's full of trust, honesty, and safety. It sets boundaries and respects them. It favors growth over stagnation, forgiveness over grudges. It doesn't keep tally of screw ups. It's attentive. Communication is full of listening, sharing, and dreaming. Spiritual Love sees the partnership as a separate being working in this world for something greater than itself. 

Through Spiritual Love, the other phases of love come into context again and ebb and flow as life does. The couple sees the other phases as helpful tools in continuing/fostering their basic human needs while holding their spiritual love high. An individual who understands they desire and require this kind of love will get out of or not tolerate abusive relationships or over-compromising ones integrity. Spiritual love marries partnership and self-love. It holds space for growth of the individual AND the couple. It's beautifully dynamic and full of responsibility, but a responsibility worth all the work.

Where do you find yourself in here? And what are your views on love? Comment or send me an email. I'd love to talk more about this with you.

*This is the article I referred to earlier.

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Allow me to introduce myself

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I'm that photographer girl you see around posting photos of other people, sunrises, trees, and cats, with the occasional selfie thrown in the mix. The truth is, I'm introverted as fuck, until you get to know me better, and then I could talk your ear off (just ask my husband). ;)

I'm writing this because I feel compelled to share. I always feel compelled to share. I'm just never sure what it is I'm meant to be sharing with you.

I could tell you that I'm super passionate about food and how it affects our bodies.
I could tell you that I'm a good singer.
I could tell you that my husband and I are disgustingly madly in love still after 13yrs, but those years have included a handful of splitting up scares, big fights, navigating sexlessness and reinvigorating passions, a large amount of deaths, and hosting roommates more than living alone.
I could tell you that I'm gluten free and struggled for years with allergy related physical issues.
I could tell you that I use tarot/oracle cards for guidance when I feel stuck.
I could tell you that I write poetry. 

I just don't have one of those stories many entrepreneurs use to leverage themselves, their business or brand...you know the ones--the Rags to Riches, Come to Jesus Moment, Life Changing Event kinda story. I'm just your average woman and entrepreneur figuring it out as I go.

And sometimes, I get scared shitless because I think I'm not doing it right or that I'm not doing enough. That good ole shadow voice pops in and says, "This isn't enough. You're not making enough, charging enough, doing enough, creative enough, innovative enough, a good enough friend, lover, daughter, granddaughter, sister."

But here's the thing. I take really good care of myself...almost too good because new opportunities that may take me away from my normal self-care routine paralyze me. So, I make big changes slowly, usually, until I see that the coast is clear and all will be well, and then I dive in. I embrace life, sure, but I don't take huge risks. I admire when people can jump in without calculation. That seems freeing...and maybe sometimes stupid, but a little stupidity can make things exciting.

Point is, my self-care routine (morning journaling/reflection, gentle yoga, sometimes rigorous Buti Yoga, afternoon walks) provide opportunities for me to sit with that shadow voice and ask, "Hey, why the hell are you here?" And then we figure it out together.

Because even though I may talk your ear off, I'm also a really good listener. And when all these webinars and advice blogs for entrepreneurs say, "Use your story. Be vulnerable. Let others see you," my thought is, Hi. I'm here. I don't have a "story," but I bet if we hang out, we'll have a ton of shit in common. Because we're human and all just figuring it out as we go. 

So, welcome, and I look forward to knowing you if I don't already (whether during photo shoots or during group/private healing arts sessions). Thanks for listening. Can't wait to listen to you.

Are You Swinging Into 2018 With Me?

Or are you kinda slothin' into the new year? ;)
Regardless, I hope you find yourselves settled since the holidays and not beating yourself up too much for not following through on some of your resolutions or goals. Stick with pats on the back for what you ARE doing.

Happy Stuff
I moved into this year feeling light, free, and clear for the first time since 2014. And I had to give myself a pat on the back and toot my own horn because I nailed last year! Despite all the ups and downs and confusing stuff that entrepreneurship entails, not one of you were disappointed in our time together. You gave me so much praise and love and appreciation that I was floored. Happy you = happy me. 

The Growth
My eye for shots improved. The way I receive and communicate with you all has improved. Not going to lie, even if you never noticed, I used to get a bit clammed up and awkward when initially in anyone's presence! Light banter and small talk scare the crap outta me. Lol! I finally warmed up to all of your kiddos in a way that allowed them to really warm up to me! I've developed a greater deal of patience. And my biggest shift is developing an even deeper interest in, compassion and kindness for all of you and people in general! This helps sessions and networking run so much more smoothly. As always, I was the only person in my own way to accomplishing some of these personal milestones in my business, and I finally got out of my own way. 

This year feels big, guys. I have a lot of ideas and creations brewing: 

  1. More creative personal projects with whomever wants to tell a story!
  2. Collaborations with a few local businesses for events and mini sessions.
  3. More gifts! Shhh...don't tell.
  4. Publishing my poetry book (with videos of me reading some of those poems added to the site!
  5. Possibly adding some of my nature prints to a local art show.
  6. Creating a creative prompt card deck for anyone out there who feels the need for creative inspiration.
  7. Day in the Life series (to show more people's lives off!)

I could go on, but I don't want to give away everything! Needless to say, this is a year of creation and I look forward to you being a part of it. My biggest intention is Trust (in myself, in others, and the way life unfolds with or without my involvement). My personal intentions are Cleansed. Nourished. Radiant. Honest. Mystical. :)

Thank you to everyone involved in the success of 2017. Here's a slideshow recapping last year's work. My heart is full. You're all so beautiful.

2017 katy daixon photography Year In Review

Let's cheer each other on! What are your 2018 intentions/goals?!

Things I Did (or didn't do!) To Uplift Me (personally and in business) This Year

This year, I practiced these five intentions: Gratefulness. Feeling luminous. Trust. Vitality. Gracefulness.

Now, the winter solstice is upon us, and I inevitably spend the time, from that point through the end of December, reflecting on the past year and how I got here still in one piece and still practicing those five intentions I set for myself.

The goal is always happiness, right? But there are always dips, so I'm amazed when I do these reflections and find that there were things I kept doing (or not doing!) amidst both the highs and the lows to keep me sane and as healthy as possible. I'm curious if anything resonates with you!

1. Took B-School with Marie Forleo and continued implementing into my business a majority of the strategies I learned. These strategies helped me during times when burnout was imminent (fall portrait season September-November!). And they helped turn everything from strictly marketing to getting to know my worth and my tribe. So much more rewarding!

2. Said, "No." This one was rough and challenging, but creating boundaries with friends and family was incredibly important to maintaining a relationship with myself. And I needed a better relationship with myself this year after all the loss I experienced last year.

3. Watched Friends. This is my go-to show to zone out and laugh when I need something light and fluffy. :) Works like a charm.

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4. Hired an assistant! Most of you likely know at this point that I hired the beautiful Nicole to assist me with administrative and marketing things two days a week. Life saver. The growth of this business magnified intensely after she joined me. Grateful. 

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5. Light yoga daily. Stretching my body is integral to not only my physical self but my mental and spiritual self, too. I don't do anything rigorous or lengthy. I usually spend about 10-20min on my mat. Resets and uplifts me every time.

6. Journaled. Every morning. Usually for up to an hour. I understand journaling isn't always for the faint of heart, but if you need to dig in and get to know yourself...this is the #1 tactic. Hands down. Don't know where to start, REACH OUT TO ME! I love writing and want more people writing! <3

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7. Listened religiously to Tremors by Sohn and the soundtrack to Stranger Things.

8. Drank Water. Water. Water. Cuz...water. If you've ever met me in person, you've likely seen my mason jar water baby. ;) And you've likely asked jokingly if it's moonshine. Nope. Elixir of life is what it is.

9. Put my phone on Do Not Disturb and power saving mode. Every night when I head to bed, the phone is out of my hands and away from my face so I can let go of other people's thoughts before falling asleep.

10. Stopped eating so much sugar. Hello. I'm Katy, and I'm a sugar addict. This isn't a joke. It's the truth. And it had to stop. My gut needs healing and healing doesn't happen with sugar. The clarity I feel after a few days without is tremendous. 

11. Walked. Whether to the lake, through the woods, or around my block, I got out for fresh air and natural light. Holy mood boost.

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12. Expressed gratitude and appreciation. For loved ones. For coffee. For my cats. For the sun. For the rain. For my illnesses (once I stopped being crabby about being sick) making me see that I required rest and stillness. For nourishing food. For my home. For candles. For clients. For creativity. For expression. For love. For growing pains. For darkness. For myself.

Right now, with the challenges we face socially and politically, gratitude is my saving grace. And with that, I want to express my overflowing gratitude for you: your love and support, your kindness, and your creativity. You keep this well-oiled machine running and so so worth it.

Have amazing holidays. See you in 2018!

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What did (or didn't!) you do to uplift yourself this past year?

Halloween in the Wimer House

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I'm a sucker for Hocus Pocus and my hubby loves munchin' on mini candy bars (yesterday was a mini Snickers), but today, as I come off of a 5 day illness and we move into Allhallowtide, I find my mind wondering away from the glorious kiddiness of this holiday to the ever present (and likely relatable) thoughts of those who've left us at times that may make sense and the many times that don't. A few weeks from now, it'll be a year that has passed since I received the phone call that my mother-in-law had died incredibly unexpectedly. Last year saw many beings leave, actually, and I'm sure it's the same for many of you, too. Cyber hugs to all who may be carrying grief.

So today, I keep this short. Instead of writing something lengthy, I'll head back into my work, but with a candle lit in memory of those I've lost, you've lost, and the world continues to lose as we navigate these weird times of darkness. Leave a candle lit yourselves over this Allhallowtide. All those extra lights will create warmth in this chill, too, so...super bonus. Love to you all this Halloween! Be safe.

Do Excuses Repress Clarity?

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This morning while journaling, I looked down at the little nugget of wisdom at the bottom of my Desire Map planner and read, Excuses repress clarity. For a minute, I really had to think about it.

Do excuses really repress clarity? Yeah...actually, I can see how they do.

My body tells me it needs to move, run, dance, walk, and then I say, "Yeah, but...I'm tired."

My mind tells me it needs silence because its overwhelmed by work or nagging tasks/chores (or for you moms out there, maybe your kids!), and then I say, "Yeah, but...sitting in silence is boring or a waste of time."

My spirit tells me it needs to connect with my lover or my grandma or a trusted friend, and then I say, "Yeah, but...I don't really have time."

How many times have you said: 

  • "I don't have time."
  • "I don't have enough money."
  • "I don't know enough yet."
  • "I don't have the necessary supplies/tools."
  • "I'm not ____ enough yet."

We all have these excuses. And they are starving us of the clarity we seek.

Think about it.

Dancing could help you sweat out all the pent up frustrations you have toward your job or relationship and lead you to a place of greater compassion, understanding, and acceptance.

Taking a few minutes of silence to rest your mind could lead you to the sudden realization that you are in fact unfairly overworked or that you could actually hire a babysitter every Friday to take time for yourself or your relationship or that silence is uncomfortable because it makes you remember you feel shitty and just need to do something about it.

Connecting with a loved one could provide you advice you seek for a nagging problem or heal any wounds between you and that other person that may be lingering.

The reason we make up excuses is because it's easier than clarity. Clarity sometimes brings with it more work. It means we actually need to show up, 100%, for ourselves or another person or our job. It means we might need to admit something about ourselves we don't feel like admitting. It means we may have realizations that hurt...like how it's time to let go of that friend who hasn't been kind or that the intimacy in your relationship is lacking and it's because you pulled away or that it's challenging for you to be the sole caretaker of the home and you wish you had more help.

But guess what? Growth isn't easy. You know the whole idea about the seed that has to crack its shell, force its way through the soil, and then fight the elements as it settles and strengthens its roots and grows through it all? That's you. That's the only way you'll grow...when you're uncomfortable and working through the shell, dirt, wind, and rain around you. 

Do it. Reach for clarity. And then hold tight. You'll thank yourself.

5 Ways That We Hide

Last week Thursday, two friends and I attended a presentation in Madison, WI about beauty called Dream Big: You Are Beautiful and It's Time for You to Believe It. First of all, the woman who did the presentation, Kyira Hauer, totally fucking rocked it. She is the founder of #ReclaimBeauty and an advocate of embracing ones authenticity. After telling her amazing story, she dug into the five ways that we hide our true selves. And they took me back because some of these five things were unexpected.

5 Ways of Hiding

  • Over-perfecting: trying to maintain a specific order; rigidity; not starting things until everything is perfect.
  • Over-spending: trying to keep up with the "extras" you need to keep up appearances. 
  • Over-analyzing: worrying too much about outcomes you have no control over the what-ifs
  • Over-caring: caring too much about what others think or how you fit in
  • Over-comparing: building yourself up or tearing yourself down based on subjective experience of others

I've definitely found myself hiding behind a number of these, but the biggest one is over-perfecting. Sometimes, I won't start things until conditions are right or I won't finish things until everything is up to my expectations. Sometimes, I'll adjust a piece of furniture in my house because it's askew! I can drive myself crazy with my rigidities and have even found myself blocking intimacy in times of deep rigidity and not wanting to break from my order of things. 

So, how can we see/show ourselves and see each other more?

Maybe it starts with acknowledging how we hide, and then we dig our way out of hiding by being vulnerable. That's what I did in today's video.

Okay. Talk to me.

Did one of those ways of hiding hit you? How do you hide? And how do you (or do you want to) dig your way out of hiding? Share with me in the comments. I'd love to hear from you.

 

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What Does Getting Your Story Told Entail?

In this recent post by Nicole, someone asked: "What does getting your story told entail?" 

Which is an amazing question because I realized I've never fully shared with you all why I love Creative Story Projects and why you should too.

When Nicole and I attended the lovely Lacey Reichwald's Social Media Strategy Masterclass a few weeks ago, Lacey got everyone in the room brainstorming what the core values of our businesses are. We decided that katy daixon photography values love, creative expression, and deep connection, the three things that drive my Creative Story Projects.

Think The Body Project or Helane's Sound Goddess Project or Erin's Pregnancy Project or the one I'm currently working on with a woman journeying through life after bariatric surgery. And that's just the beginning. There are so many more in the vault. I'm even kicking around the idea of a Day In The Life series. Shhh...don't tell that I spilled the beans on that one...

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The goal of Creative Story Projects (and what I love and want you to love about these) is not only for you and me to creatively express ourselves together, but for us to share your story with others who may have gone or may be going through the same thing. It fosters deeper connections. It allows us to support one another. It allows us to be seen and heard. In a society so rich with hustling and grinding all day to show success, we forget that there are other things that matter and show success! 

In short, it means a great deal to me when you entrust me with your journeys, struggles, and triumphs. And I know for a fact that it means the world to others to know they're not alone and that we're all human with lives chock full of lows and highs.

Here's a nugget of my story from The Body Project. It feels dated now. I'm in such a different place than that Katy was and I even look different, but the end goal is still the same which is why I share it with you. Some day soon, I'll share an updated version of my journey. 

Here's to being vulnerable and continuing to connect! It's challenging and so so so precious and illuminating, and we're all about the light over here and love and creative expression and deep connections. 

Want to share your story? I want to tell it. Let's chat.

Spunky Kiddos = Playful Photos

The Schucht family has been with me since the very beginning of katy daixon photography, and I am filled with tremendous gratitude that they've stuck by me through all my shifting, growing, and changing, both in the business itself and in my craft. Documenting their growing family since their engagement photos way back when is such an honor, and I love each and every session's unique spirit.

Their kiddos are now 2 and 4, and boy are they feisty, spunky, and filled with so much love for each other. Elyse loves to watch big brother Griffen to see what he's up to and if she should do the same things he's doing. The challenge of capturing people's essences is fun for me, and these two make it even more of a spontaneous capture! I would have to say that their spirits were certainly caught on camera, and I couldn't stop smiling (or laughing!) while looking through their photos to grab some teasers.

Enjoy! 

All the love and affection. <3

Playground fun in their superhero costumes!

Lacey and Brad, much love to you guys! Thanks, again, and I look forward to years of capturing your family.

 

Want to capture the spunk of your family? Let's chat!

I Have A New Nephew!

Nothing fills me with more joy than when people I love grow their family. I was giddy with excitement waiting for little Malcolm's arrival so we could tackle some adorable newborn portraits. I anticipated trying my hand at some of the stereotypical poses you see small babies in, like resting their head on their hands. 

All was peaceful when I showed up at my brother and sister-in-law's house. My sister was nursing and Malcolm's big sister Elena was playing quietly in her room. My brother took me into their room where I decided, "Let's just start casual!" These are always my favorite moments: mom breast feeding baby while dad and sister are chillin' with mom. Best. Ever.

From that point forward, we attempted all the usual cute newborn portraits while big sister played with toys near the baby and the baby (who decided he wanted to be awake for the whole session) peed during his nudie shot (not the first time in my career!). It was all classic family life and while some photographers might be frustrated with things not going "smoothly," I decided we'd swaddle that little dude and get different cute shots! Like Malcolm making pucker lips like his dad when he kissed him! 

I love you, Roy and Jess! So happy for you guys! <3

 

Have a new addition (puppies or kittens included!) to your family that you want cutie patootie pics of? Let's chat!

How A Random Act of Kindness Taught Me A Lesson

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Picture this: Me in my car, coming off of a bitch fest (to my patient husband) about my hard week ahead, and a little old lady, about 5ft tall, with a bit of a hunch to her shoulders and wearing a bedazzled baseball cap slowly but surely filling around FORTY 1 gallon jugs of water at the local flowing well. 

And there I sit, waiting, because she didn't want my help...

at first. 

This is where I think two things: Oh my god. We're going to be here forever, but then, Way to do it to it, lady!

Because I realize that she's actually filling those jugs herself, and probably has for quite some time. 

After about twenty minutes, I see that she's finished and now struggling to affix plastic bags newspapers come in to the mouths of the jugs missing caps, which is almost all of them. So I step in and help (along with a friend who happened to pull in at the same time as us) without permission this time, because FORTY jugs and an EIGHTY-some year old woman. 

She's beside herself with gratitude and proceeds to tell us her story.

Since her husband passed a few years ago, she's been coming to the well alone and filling these jugs herself because, "What else are you going to do? Drink Beloit's water?" There's a pause for laughter, and then she starts telling us about her bike that got stolen "by some punk kid" the other night and how she hopes insurance will cover it because she was just going to start riding again... AGAIN! She has photos to show us and details to describe the gloriousness that is this bike, which is pretty freaking awesome complete with three wheels and a basket. I tell her I hope that she finds her bike, or that she gets insurance to cover a new one so she can get out there and ride again, when she notices her suddenly organized trunk full of water jugs covered tightly with plastic bags. "Well that's the best organization I've ever seen! Thank you all so much for your help!"

As she fills up her McDonalds cup with water "for the ride home" while my husband pulls our 50 gallon jugs out of the car, she says, "I just love this water. It's worth the drive up here to get it. Next, I'll work up to getting those big jugs!"

I wave bye as she drives off and realize that I've forgotten about everything that frustrated me that morning. I love how I thought I was helping someone out that day only to be helped in return. I want to be that resilient, and not just when I'm eighty. Right now. This moment. Because it's literally all we have.

Have you had to practice resilience in your life? If so, what was your greatest challenge? Head down to the comments and share with us.

Little Maggie's 1yr Portrait Session Adventure

Guys, I have to tell you, I have stalked Emily's Instagram page watching Maggie blossom from a teeny tiny newborn that I photographed a year ago into the beautiful one year old she is now.

 Maggie about a month and a half old: November 2016.

Maggie about a month and a half old: November 2016.

I kept my fingers crossed hoping Emily would ask me to do her one year portraits. Lol! I just needed to capture her preciousness, especially those eyes!

Our one hour session was quite the adventure, as they often are with kiddos who've just learned to walk. :) Maggie ran the shoot and I happily tagged along. ;) Come with us as we journey about Edgewater Park in Williams Bay! Brace yourselves for cute.

Got an adventurous one year old you want to capture in action? Let's chat!

Remembering to Pause

Sunset over Rice Lake in Whitewater, WI

If you're from southern Wisconsin, then you know that yesterday was immaculate. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the breeze was subtle. There was very little stirring except birds and katydids. I decided to take a breather from my busy day of editing and running errands at my favorite corner of the world: Dr. O.R. Rice Picnic Area in Whitewater, or as I like to call it, the Rice Lake peninsula.

While relaxing in the sun, I realized that I've been craving that stillness for months. I've spent the last year grieving the loss of six beings (I say beings because one of the six was my first kitty) and the last few weeks trying to figure out what to do with the energy happening in the world. And the world isn't even still right now! There are fires ablaze on the west coast and hurricanes hitting the east. The winds have been ripe with upheaval, shifts, and changes that haven't felt particularly good. But moving from summer to autumn isn't always the easiest transition, especially if natural disasters are occurring, because we're forced into a slower pace that makes us look inward.

I carry heaviness that begs to be let out, and I'm not really sure what to do about it. Detox? Retreat for a week? Stop working for a month? Some days, I feel like I could run until my feet bleed. But on days like yesterday, I could lay still forever. I devour the light every moment I get, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to give the light back.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because I think it's important to recognize when we feel low and give ourselves the space to feel that. But I also want to know how you're dealing with the heaviness in your life. Do you leave room to pause? What do you do when you take a breather? If you feel like sharing what lifts you up on a particularly heavy day, drop a comment below. I'd love to learn your tricks.

Cudzewicz Maternity Portraits

There is something so special about documenting a baby's life before they're in this world. When Kristin wrote me to tell me she was pregnant and wanted to plan on maternity and newborn portraits, I did a mini happy dance in my living room. It's my favorite to be with a couple pre and post baby. Especially when the location is the Milwaukee Art Museum! Kristin prepped me for their day by running dress and accessory ideas by me (another favorite thing of mine!). I love the outfit she chose because she was so happy and confident in it. Win!

Larry and Kristin are so chill about the idea of soon being a trio that their session was relaxed and gentle despite them saying, "We're not very good at this...LOL!" as I made them walk and talk to capture those delicious candids. They were of course good at it! Because they love each other and their soon-to-be baby girl. <3

Can't wait to meet baby girl!

 

Want to document your belly bump? Let's chat!

Sam + Aaron

Sam and Aaron are the kind of couple you lean on. Their strength as a duo is evident by the way they so humbly and calmly stand together and exchange so much thought through gaze and not words. Their strength was further proven by the fantastically hilarious yet tear-jerking Best Man and Maid of Honor speeches that were filled with so much gratitude and respect for them.

The hubby and I traveled to southwest Ohio to photograph Sam and Aaron's wedding, making it an excuse for a longer roadtrip leading up to the solar eclipse. That energy was already potent, but then throw this freaking awesome wedding in the mix and we had ourselves electricity. I don't think I've ever seen so many people on one dance floor so quickly after dinner. Nor have I seen anyone's grandma love dancing more than some of the kiddos! The family and friends of these two cuties know how to laugh hard, love hard, and party hard.

Sam and Aaron, we cannot thank you enough for such an amazing night. Now devour the deliciousness of your wedding teasers. I hope they bring you joy today.

I hope you have a beautiful two week anniversary tomorrow, Mr. and Mrs. Ward! <3

Emily + Zac

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing Emily and Zac's wedding at the always beautiful Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Delavan, WI and their reception at Evergreen Country Club in Elkhorn, WI. They are one of the sweetest couples I know who shine brighter in one another's presence. While we caught some amazing laughs with their wedding party, some of my favorite moments were when it was just us (along with their awesome wedding assistant, pictured laughing below) capturing their love (and laughter) under the evening sun. 

Happy two weeks, Emily and Zac! Congrats, again!

Unbecoming

My head is spinning. It has been spinning for two weeks. Buzzing might actually be a more accurate description. Spinning suggests confusion, overwhelm, dizziness from fatigue. Buzzing is energy, powerful transformative energy, aligning with the whole of me. I've read that body buzzes signal a connection to your truth or Spirit or Source or your God, whatever works for your beliefs. True or not? Don't care. It sits right with me! 

This entire year, primarily this summer, I was pushing myself (hard, as I always fucking do) to move my business in a different direction. I started resenting most of my photography work and yearned for something "more spiritual" or "more healing" or "more significant." I frantically sought out people, places, and things that aligned with the vision of what and who I wanted to be. And I constantly ran into disappointment. This was too expensive. That was too far away. Those people are too far ahead of me or too established. Too this and too that. My brain was exhausted and my spirit was seriously crushed. How will I ever become what I want if I can't get there to those people, places, and things? 

And then I surrendered. I said, Screw this. I'm tired and I have work to do. Unfinished business to finish. Without realizing it, I let go. I let go of the idea that I would be so inspirational Oprah would notice me. I let go of the belief that spiritual, healing work is another type of work and not the work I currently do. I let go of the self-criticism and belief that where I am right now isn't good enough or true enough. I let go of the fear of being the me I am right now. I paid attention to my surroundings. I accidentally typed surrendings just now. New word? Surrendering in your surroundings becomes your surrendings? Anyway, I paid attention to my surroundings, to my people, to my work (my established work!), and to myself. Hello, Self. I've missed you. 

And you know what happened? The buzzing. I saw a fucking door open so wide you'd think the heat from the other side would hit me hard enough to make me realize it was warm and cozy and full of life in there.

Buzzing. Because dialogues began between me and women interested in sharing their stories.

Buzzing. Because my name was being hashtagged on Instagram by a girl embracing her body for the first time.

Buzzing. Because grad students are writing papers about me and my photography.

Buzzing. Because I realized I don't need to become a life coach or a yoga instructor or an essential oils guru or a holistic doctor or a nutritionist. The world has enough of those. I am Katy the photographer and writer, carving my own path with my own kind of personal and social healing developing along the way.

Buzzing. Because I remembered that what makes you feel on fire and lit up is exactly where you need to be.

Buzzing. Because Glennon Doyle Melton's Love Warrior (Buy it. I'm not kidding.) made me feel more tender, more honest, more forgiving, more loving, more understanding, more compassionate, and more aware that trying too hard to become is trying to escape yourself. She suggests unbecoming. I like this. My first step to unbecoming is to remind myself that life and ones footprint take hard work and a whole lotta love for yourself, your place in the world, and your tribe while you do it. And if my footprint is really just a fingerprint or a traceless print because I was wearing leather gloves the entire time, fine, because I know that I lived and lived well, through the rising, falling, and the clambering about.

How will you unbecome?

Muddy Morning Introspection

Today is gray and sleepy and slow. I didn't want to wake, but I rose to Dale's gentle tickle and soft voice. It's easiest to rise with or shortly after him. I am much less delicate and more ready to put my feet up in the bay window and begin. My world has no order when I wake past nine or ten a.m. I'm often confused and heavy and could break at any random moment. Funny how I never saw myself as a morning person, but I've grown quite in love. Its sweet and light, and if you listen closely, you'll hear Mother whisper that all is well.

Some mornings, I believe her. Others, I sit in utter disbelief that x amount of time has passed and that x problem has yet to be ironed out. And sometimes, I wonder if there ever comes a point where one thinks, "Yes. I've arrived." I do believe that if you remain open, those moments happen frequently in your journey, but what if there's one particular feeling or goal at which you never find yourself arriving? What then? Do you finally step back and realize it's not the path you really want to be following? Or perhaps you understand what kind of work that feeling or goal requires and realize you're too lazy. Or hell...you fear you aren't capable.

At this very moment in my life, I feel disjointed. I feel my spirit moving quickly as the rest of me lingers behind not ready or not willing. I envision such a different space for myself. I desire that wild connection to Source. I see a woman creating in abundance, crafting poetry and projects in line with her spirit. Open. Whole-hearted. Spiritual. Wild. Inspiring. I don't know how to take what I have in my brain and make it lucrative or desired or known or fucking tangible. My creative genius is clawing at the back of my sternum, pleading with me to let her out. When I get to this point and realize why I've felt uncomfortable and borderline ill for a month, I know exactly what I need to do: have sex, take an adventure, tune out to tune in, paint my toenails, write a poem, do an hour of yoga, and stop the mind chatter.

Instead, my ego says, "Guess what, bitch. You're two weeks behind on your work because your hard drive crashed. You need to finish all of that, do data entry for the year so far, pay your quarterly tax, call about that dead tree in your yard, call about getting your septic pumped, and sit and worry about how you don't have enough money for a few hours even though that never solves anything, but you do it anyway."

The difference between those two lists is astounding!

Then, when I sigh about my first list while laughing at my sassy ego, I bring myself back to breath and birds and the beads of rain on my newly stained deck and this warm cup of coffee. As I drink down half of my water, a cool curtain rises behind my morning-crusted eyes and I'm suddenly aware of my aliveness and its truth that change is inevitable and that I should and always will be a witness to my presence on earth.