365- Month Eight by Amanda Powell

On Fire

August, the month of fires. A fire burned in us to capture everything left of summer, pull it towards us, and never let go. We were outside as much as possible, as much as the air quality would allow. We had a dog get super sick on us, we bought groceries, we stressed, we worked, we parented, we drank coffee of course. Life happened.

And fires, in our state, to the North in Canada, to neighboring states in the south and to the east. So much has burned this year. And it continues.

I worry that one of these years it’ll touch our city. Will it be a nudge, or a full on assault? They say so much land along the west coast just needs to burn. That the population here has left forests who once regulated themselves through burning, out of whack. Its understandable. And with the change in our climate, there are conditions where fire would be (and currently is) devastating. The human desire to exist and live in beautiful places isn’t wrong, but these consequences are hard to watch.

And ideas, spreading like fire. Good ones, and some really bad ones. Ignited, people are acting on these ideas, horrendous things are being said and done. A lack of empathy seems to have caught hold of so many, too. And I worry how long that particular fire is going to burn.

So everything around us feel like kindling. And what can be done? You douse things with as much watery love you can, donate your extra garden hose, manage your own fires so surrounding growth stays healthy. You hope, once the heat is over, things can calm down and you are able to breathe again. And in the interim, you learn to breathe smoke.

Fire is a powerful, destructive force. But it can also be a catalyst for change, and even more beautifully, regeneration. I hope we start to see more of the later.

Halloween 2018 by Amanda Powell

We’ve created quite a nice tradition here in Bellingham for Halloween. Trick or treat in Fairhaven, take and bake pizzas for dinner, then a non-scary Halloween movie after dinner. I’d imagine as the girls get older we’ll carve pumpkins and adopt other activities which span further into the night, but for now it’s a simple, fun holiday. I’m loving the girls continued enthusiasm with it. This year Eliza was old enough to really enjoy the festivities, which makes things so much easier for everyone.

Some seriously awesome costumes this year! Eliza’s eyes were lit up for most of our walk around Fairhaven, like this:

You guys, this was just delightful :-D :-D

365- Month Seven by Amanda Powell

Some thoughts to go with the month of July:

No matter what, moving forward is about movement, not about the where. We have to learn to love the process of this one life, instead of searching for a final destination, or arriving.

Results are tantalizing. They are the evidence of our how. But they can’t be what we chase. We have to enjoy the running part.


A Summer Backyard Wedding by Amanda Powell


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It was a small, intimate gathering, in the backyard of the bride’s childhood home.

Thrifted or handmade decor, planned by family and close friends, with an emphasis on it being a good time for all invited.

And really, when it all boils down, and the details fall away a wedding should be a celebration of beginnings. A celebration of two people dedicating their lives to each other, taking friendship to the level of commitment, which equals love.

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Love can take many forms, and exists in many sorts of relationships. Friendship, is a powerful one, because unlike family, friendship is a conscious choice. A desire to include a person who otherwise has no obligation in one’s life. Choice is powerful, choice says, I truly want you, and I have no obligation to, other than this is my desire.

And all this to say,

You marry well if you marry your best friend.

Enjoy the show, folks :-)

365- Month Six by Amanda Powell

A Short Essay on Growing Up

Funny how when you're a kid, and in my case, obsessed with growing up, you don't realize all the limitations you'll encounter as an adult. The hard choices to make, which decide the priorities of your life. The energy needed to turn existence truly what you want, instead of letting it shape itself. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be a kid again.

I did everything I could (within moral reason, I was a total goodie goodie) to accelerate adulthood. At 12, I started thinking about the person I would marry (I mean, really?? Stop you knuckle head, you’re freaking everyone out). I accepted any responsibility with a huge smile on my face. I followed the rules because it would propel me to maturity faster than my counterparts. I hung out on the fringes of adult conversation. If I found myself where the kids were, the environment was annoying, and just not relatable. No thank you. Not the kids squabbling over a barbie or raging against injustices regarding nerf gun bullet distribution. I didn't care about that stuff; it wasn't interesting. I wanted to be with the people who, in my mind, were doing something, discussing issues, solving problems. The adults. 

And also the people in charge to how much cookie dough you could eat, but aaannnyway...

Looking back on childhood, I can understand my perspective. I still don’t relate to some kid behaviors or ideas (which makes parenting a fun learning experience, lemme tell you). But I do wish I had realized just how much freedom there was in childhood. How much I could do as a kid, with no strings attached, that just can’t happen as an adult. (granted there were a few blips in my timeline that required me to be way more grown up that I should have had to be, but that’s a different story)

AND ADULTHOOD:

Adulthood comes with a price, and it’s worth paying for sure. But you will be tired, and all that childhood energy will be lacking a bit. Work will be work. There is no free money. There are tons of ruts to be stuck in and a crazy amount of sacrifice to be made. Passion will ebb and flow, and following it is complete folly because folks, passion isn't and NEVER was a guaranteed constant. Cookie dough, in excess will make you put on weight, or worst case, very sick. There are plenty of people not doing anything in life, except making it hard for others, and sometimes it will be very difficult to get away from those people. Some days will be total wastes, and at times feel like it's not worth any of it. You’ll want to just turn on Netflix, and check out... And then, if you decide or are able to have children, crank all that up to 11, yo.

But I do want to encourage you, if you’ve still stuck around to read this far, that life is so worth all the hard stuff. Childhood had it’s perks, but being grown up absolutely does too. I prefer it. Adulthood doesn’t have to be a death sentence to all you are. Parenthood isn’t that either. All of those things are tough, but there is so much good to be had if we choose it. SO much to be thankful for.  

Perspective is a beautiful gift life continues to give. Negative experiences are opportunities. Screw ups are opportunities. Sacrifices are opportunities. Growing up is an opportunity denied to many, to paraphrase one of my favorite quotes.  What is it you want from life? Do you have what you’ve always wanted, but are you taking it for granted? 

What can we do with all this freedom adulthood affords? How can we grow? What decisions can we make that will result in more resources to pursue the things we truly want? What decisions can we make that will affect us positively, with good long term gains? What things can we be happy with now? More importantly, when will I have the time to make more cookie dough??!?

Oh hey, and also-here's the month of June in pictures! HA!

 

 

 

365- Month Five by Amanda Powell

Summer hit hard in the best way, and I've fallen behind on blogging the 365 project. 

However, it's still happening. I'm particularly proud of this batch, especially some of the shots towards the end. It can be hard to produce images you're proud of, when attention is divided between husband, kids, dog, and keeping the house running. So often, if I get into creating images, I get obsessive. This results in extreme tunnel vision, turning into a major crank when interrupted, and nothing else getting finished until the image is complete. (Not all the snapshot, phone photos of course. Those are just keeping me grounded and grab cute moments I want to remember.)

You can imagine, this is not conducive to a SAHM status. BUT, any struggle is an opportunity for growth. Taking an honest look at how I operate, hoping I can finish the summer out working with it, instead of against it. 

This is the merry month of May:

 

 

365- Month Four by Amanda Powell

April becomes the transition into something better. Something we hope for but can't fully focus in on yet. 

As the sun peeks out behind the clouds we see the hope of new beginnings. This idea that we will get up get out and try again. 

I hurt so much in stagnation. I flow in and out of myself sometimes, because I can't stand the thought of standing still. 

It hasn't always been this way. I used to bask in never changing, and now I crave it. Spring has become a manifestation of this. The desire to continue forward, regardless of where I've come from..

I get so stuck in the past, and long to go back and change a situation, react better to an encounter, have more confidence to say no, or go after my desires. I need to realize my now doesn't have to be my future, my  "wish I would have".. 

Stoping a cycle, truly changing and growing is hard and painful, but possible and rewarding.

Blushing Willows Spring Session by Amanda Powell

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Spring has been beautiful, colorful, bright, and just lovely.

Fitting, because these photos feel like all of that. This momma and her girls feel like all of that.

Mothers Day is coming up, and I wish any biological moms, god moms, people who have mothered children, even if they haven't birthed them, a time of being appreciated.

Here's to Mom's who work hard, who pursue their dreams, who sacrifice those dreams, who don't sacrifice, but still find a way to be there for their kids. Who set the example for their children. Who embody the many variations of feminine strength. Not of perfection, but of progress. A massive shout out to those who don't have children, but care for them like they were their own. Who wipe up, clean up, build up, and hold the place together. Who are inconsistent in parenting because they are human, but never in love.  

Have a great week, ladies.

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****Thanks for meeting up again, Haley! (see the Fall session here) A spring momma session was in order, and you gals were awesome. Everyone else, check out Blushing Willows Boutique ( @blushingwillows on Instagram), she's got a great business.****

365- Month Three by Amanda Powell

I have a tendency to avoid sharing the negative publicly, even though I strive for authenticity. I don’t think it's dishonest to avoid sharing problems. After all, there IS such a thing as privacy. That being said, the month of March wasn't my best or brightest. This particular batch is colorful, and contrasty, and for the most part happy, but last month felt pretty different.

 The instagram perspective can be skewed in my feed. But the honest truth is, I struggle.

I struggle raising little people well, I struggle being a good partner. I have such a hard time with my own skin. Current events in the world weigh on me, to the point of avoiding news for periods of time. Seeing family and friends in rough situations when I can do nothing to help is a struggle as well. 

Some months it's so easy to be overwhelmed with the negative. It's there, all around us. At times, it's completely unavoidable. But the silver lining I've found is I still have some sort of power, even in the smallest amount, through my perspective. Some things are external, where the only control I have is my own response. Other things are wholly internal (see paragraph above), and truly up to me to grow out of. 

At any rate, it's now April, and man this month has been so much better. Still things to worry about for sure, but the goal is to reign in my perspective.

I hope if you're going through a tough time, things start to look up. Happy Monday all! Have a good week :-)

(PS: March should have 31 images, but I goofed, and now the April post will have 31. May should be back to normal with a proper amount of photos to correspond with no. of days in month. As a Type A, this is seriously a bother-ha! BUT, c'est la Vie.)