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heartland hero of mine…{littleton family photography}

my sweet 10 year old son just finished writing his “heartland hero” essay. in it he describes, with wisdom far beyond the typical insight of a 5th grader, a hero he met after being lost in a wave of runners while walking the “bolder boulder” race with me a few years ago. it’s a tender piece about how a simple gesture of kindness forever changed his life.

tonight i went to turn off the computer and there it was–his essay all typed up and lovely right in front of my eyes. reading it stirred up quite a few emotions in me. so here i sit way past midnight staring at the computer and thinking about the concept of a hero.

i click to minimize his lovely writing piece as i dry my eyes and gloat a bit about just how proud i am of him. i pull up Facebook to check in before i head to sleep. i see a reminder that today is a very special day. a birthday for someone who, in my life, has truly been a ‘heartland hero‘. a hero who truly deserves a shout out.

it’s emotional to think back to the beginning…when it began to sink in that i truly was battling ovarian cancer–back in the fall of 2012. actually it’s quite overwhelming looking back. not surprisingly, many of the details i’ve somehow blocked out…and honestly, most of them are completely gone. but i do remember getting my port put in and sitting in the waiting room of the oncology floor–hardly believing that i was there. i remember the amazing comfort of having my big sister and one of my best friends there (both also true heroes to me also–but that’s another blog post.) i remember having my long hair. {and i remember being self-conscious of said long hair as i was one of the few in the waiting room (aside from my loyal companions) with hair–let alone long black hair.} i remember my heart beating fast, sweat dripping from my forehead and complete fear overtaking my mind. then…the door opens from ‘the other side’….the chemo room, which was to be my home once per week for the next 18 weeks. i looked up and heared my name being called. and my eyes locked with the kindest blue eyes and the warmest smile i had seen in a long long time.

those eyes and that smile belonged to my chemo nurse shannon. she comforted me, made us all smile and made that first day more tolerable than i’d ever imagined it would be. in many ways she set the stage for me to begin the battle and reminded me that it would be ok.. and that i would be ok. {even though at that moment i wasn’t really sure what “ok” really meant anymore.} i was blessed to have her as my nurse many times during my journey and her care made a huge difference in my attitude, my fight, and my recovery. she, in many ways was my very own’heartland hero“.

i even wrote about her in my caring bridge journal:

“sunshine on a cloudy day”

well today is my heartland hero’s birthday. and recently i was able to document the love of her newly expanded family and to give back to her for a change. it was truly my honor.

shannon, thank you for making a difference in the lives of those of us struggling with all types of cancer and having to deal with chemotherapy. your aunt would be so proud of you. thank you for being such a special part of my journey.

cancer has forever changed me. and so have you.

happy birthday!

{oh–and thank you for the bottle of my favorite italian white wine and the sweet note!}




Shelly - October 17, 2014 - 3:55 am

This whole post shows the beauty of people sharing their gifts and changing lives for the better. What a great read to start my day.

a summer reunion… {littleton family photographer}

a moment forever preserved.

a moment forever preserved.

a true family affair.  time to celebrate being together.

a true family affair. time to celebrate being together.

a sweet embrace before a precious daughter goes off to college.

a sweet embrace before a precious daughter goes off to college.

cousins in colorado.

cousins in colorado.

sisterly love.

sisterly love.

brother and sister.  a powerful image.

brother and sister. a powerful image.


more sweet sisterly love.

auntie love.

auntie love.


i love this–a sweet and simple giggle.

more father/daughter love.

more father/daughter love.

a sweet embrace.

a sweet embrace.

it’s so easy to forget the importance of taking the time to capture family time.  it’s very easy to avoid bringing a camera (other than the one that comes with a cell phone) along to events when family is visiting. (and even if you do bring one–of course someone has to be taking the photos and therefore that person will not be in the photos…)  the most common thing i hear people say is “we’ll take a group photo later or tomorrow“…but then tomorrow’s photo plan gets forgotten and the visit ends with nothing being documented.  or in another scenario–the only photo memories taken were on a phone which didn’t get downloaded or even accidentally got deleted before a print ever got ordered.

i’m a professional photographer and this has all happened to me.  and i am willing to guess that something similar has happened to just about all of us.

we live in an age where capturing photos is easier than ever.  our phones are are daily companion and we get into the mind set that a quick snap is all we need.  but is it?  even the most recent phones (well maybe not the newest ones…which i haven’t really experimented with) still take mediocre photos at best.  sure they look great on the phone itself but when you try and print them they are often grainy, blurry and disappointing.

i applaud all families  who recognize that family gatherings are celebrations that need to be documented by a professional family photo session.  it’s a small investment in time and money– with ten-fold gains. as a matter of fact, our family hires a professional photographer annually as well.

the purpose of this session was to create prints to surprise parents for an anniversary gift.  but our session went longer and we took the time to capture many different family combinations which made the gift even more special.

the light was perfect on this early colorado summer morning, our time together brief but poignant, and the edited images are now forever preserved memories of a lovely family gathering.  now these are images that will be shared and enjoyed for years to come.



gorgeous dancing light…{littleton family photographer}

i went on a magical hike this afternoon with an inspirational friend who reminded me that i haven’t been blogging.

and we spoke about the fact that it seems to be a lost art.  we have less and less time in our lives for extra things like blog stalking, day dreaming or web surfing.  i feel the pressure too and i understand it.  but i miss writing.  and i miss reliving the beautiful moments of my family photo sessions.

i love looking back at a gallery of images after editing and swooning over the sweet summer light.  there is this new special spot i’ve found that glistens with said magical light and just about all times of the day.  and you combine that with the love that a family shares and it’s, to me,  pure synchronicity.  when those two collide i feel so full of passion and life and my camera and i are absolutely at one with each other.  it’s like time stands still and everything plays out in slow motion–and all i see is the connection between that light and the love and energy of the family behind my camera.

as an artist it’s been so amazing to have had the honor of photographing this family for many years.  documenting the adorable twins from a few months old to now and then the addition of a handsome baby brother who has grown up to be a pre-schooler has been so cool.  and i’m now honored to call these guys my friends.  they’ve been so kind and generous to me over the years and the admiration i have for them surely comes through in the images.

photography is never work for me.  it’s a passion and it’s my life’s work even though i have lots to learn.  i am so honored to have earned the trust of so many families over the years.  and as long as they’ll have me–my camera and i will continue to follow along.


dad and lad. {i just adore this image. }


these two are so dang cute–i could photograph them all day long.


the connection between these two is just the sweetest thing.


one word…gorgeous.


Baylor–here i come!


her eyes, the light and that sweet sweet smile….


party of five…


i may have to blow this one up as a canvas…what do you think M?


look out girls…


look out boys!


again–look out boys!

Erin Ranum - September 7, 2014 - 9:36 pm

Gorgeous pics of this family and loved reading your blog! Your passion for appreciating the beautiful moments in life is contagious!!

a smashin’ first birthday…{golden family photographer}

o.l.i.v.i.a–you were the BEST cake smasher i’ve ever met.  and your smiles, squeals and sweet curiosity truly made the photo shoot a true joy to be a part of (and an outstanding way to start my morning).  i just adore you, your  mommy, daddy and your doggie too (and just wondering if he got mop up duty after the cake smash?!) you are so beautiful.  and your reaction to the cake was priceless.  you saw it….and jumped in-a great metaphor for the way to truly live life.  and i love that after the novelty wore off all you wanted was for me and my camera to go away.  and for a nice bottle chaser (which you got!). and we even documented one of your first time standing on your own!  how cool is that??!! it’s been an honor to document your sweet life from birth to this first year.  looking forward to more fun as the years go by. and i wish you many many more cake smashes in your future!

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Shelly Chetty - June 22, 2014 - 12:41 pm

So sweet, and your writing is every bit as wonderful as your photography skills. Great Job!

a little country time…{littleton family photographer}

this field was so perfect and the light was amazingly cooperative during this Memorial Day weekend fun photo shoot. it’s so fun when a group of family (or friends) gather and want to take the time to document it. i am always wanting to be part of the energy involved in group photo shoots. i can certainly feel the love and happiness (especially in the little ones who are so excited to play together) and it reminds me just how important family time in in the grander scheme of things.

one of the families involved also wanted a family photo session in addition to the group ones so it was fun to get some one on one time with them as well.

all in all it was a fun time and the images (along with the fun editing i selected for this session) remind me of a old fashioned family summer picnic.

(and yep-i do large group photo sessions–thanks to my lovely assistant Vanessa!)

we had this huge field to ourselves almost to ourselves on this busy weekend–which was, in itself a win.


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