Why do we choose to stop celebrating certain milestones? How do we go from gender reveals to first birthday's to cake smashes to one day dreading to remember the day we entered the world?
Why is it that as the numbers increase, and we survive another rotation around the sun, we would rather not be reminded that we've spent another year living, growing, and thriving?
I believe every age and stage should be given the celebration and recognition it deserves. Long past are the years of diapers and embracing our leg rolls; yet, each season brings fourth a new discovery, a new delight, and a new accomplishment. I often wonder what it might look like if we started living with the awe and appreciation that each day is purely a gift. Would we cease to complain, stress, and moan over the worries of growing old? Rather, would we take the time each year to reflect on the areas we've expanded our horizons, extended grace, grown through the dirt, risen through the storms, and bloomed?
Remembering the seasons and celebrating the moments are two areas I value greatly. Maybe it's thanks to my love for photos, but more so, I believe, it's because I decided I wanted to live a life where I not only live, but love the life I've been given.
Two ways I've sought to implement this memory-building, growth-celebrating lifestyle is through a mason jar and a camera.
Beginning in January, I cleaned out an old mason jar and began to scribble the little moments down on post-its. At the end of the year, before the clock strikes midnight, I plan to empty the jar and read each little scribble. It's an easy way to look back and see how the little moments added up to the big changes in my life.
The second implementation has been taking photos regardless how I feel. Beach trips where I feel like all my rolls are on display- take the pic. Date nights where I didn't think I could smile any bigger- snap the pic. Hikes with friends where sweat beads my forehead and my eyeliner runs lopsided down my face- take. the. pic. It's the practices that form habits that in-turn change your attitude and outlook. It's the realization that we are creating a memory, a memory that should be documented and remembered years from now.
How does this apply to you, the one who clicked upon this link simply looking to view the flowers and smile at the birthday girl? I promise, I'm getting there, hear me out, I'm on a roll.
Professional photos shouldn't just be for the big moments. So often, when I'm chatting with my engaged couples I'll discover that the last time they had photos taken were for their high school graduation. A lot can go down from high school to engagement! It breaks my heart a little when I hear of people who have NEVER had professional photos. No pretty prints to hang on their walls, no photo albums, no holiday cards.
To say I was excited when Angie shared her brainstorms with me regarding a magical birthday session at Centennial Park is an understatement. She was turning 23, no crazy milestone from the world's perspective, but she wanted photos nonetheless. She wanted to capture this exact season of life- a season post-school, before relationships, before marriage. A season where she was growing and learning about the person she's becoming, discovering what brings her joy and what brings her sadness. A season where she is discovering Angie- a beautifully, magical season.
And so capture we did. We danced in flower fields, popped confetti, searched for pools of perfect light as if they were buried treasure, and we documented. We documented Angie's beautiful life.
To best capture not only the person of Angie, but also her character and love, I'm pairing quotes from her favorite book, Every Moment Holy, with her celebration of life. To read the liturgy in it's entirety, click the link here.
"In a world shadowed by cruelty, violence and loss, is there good reason for the planting of flowers?"
"Ah, yes! For these bursts of color and beautiful blooms are bright dabs of grace, witnesses to a promise, reminders of a spreading beauty more eternal, and therefore stronger, than any evil, than any grief, than any injustice or violence."
"What is the source of their beauty? From whence does it spring?"
"The forms of these flowers are the intentional designs of a Creator....
...these evidences are also foretastes of the coming redemption of all things, that those who live in this hard time between glories might see and remember, might see and take heart, might see and take delight....
....in the extravagant beauty of bud and bloom, knowing that these living witnesses are rumors and reminders of a joy that will soon swallow all sorrow."
"What then is the eternal weight of these flowers?"
"Though our eyes yet strain to see it so, these tiny seeds, bulbs, or velvet buds we have planted are more substantial than all the collected evils of this groaning world."
"Their color and beauty speak a truer word than all greed and cruelty and suffering and harm."
"They declare a kingdom of peace, of righteousness, of joy, of love, and of the great joining of justice and mercy into a splendored perfection in the person of a king whose amaranthine wonders eternally upwell, beautiful beyond the grasp of human imagination."
"May their roots work deep, finding rich soil. May their leaves and buds be wakened by gentle sun and watered by ample rain."
"May the strength of their fragile beauty in bloom give pause to passers-by, who will meet in their sweet scent and radiant forms whisperings of grace..."
"Let these flowers, O Lord, bear witness in their deepest natures to eternal things. Let our lives also, O Lord, do the same.