I can't believe that I haven't posted anything since September. Now, more than just a few months later, I was able to spend some time with the little one who was just a newborn in my last post. The changes that occur in the first year are so amazing and to watch a little one become her own little person is such a gift. So grateful for these friends!
There's something so special your your friends become parents for the first time. This new little one has been so eagerly anticipated and is so welcomed with love! I can't wait to watch her grow into the person God has created her to be! I'm so blessed to be able to watch from just down the block! Love her and her parents so much!
Recently, I've found myself invited to document the new - the first few weeks, the first moments, the new little changes in a family when a new little one is lovingly welcomed in. I never really set out to become a newborn photographer and although I am an artist continually growing and evolving in my work .... I am discovering a love of helping tell a family's story of "new". More than the story of the just the new baby - but the story of the new family together. Such a joy to capture the welcoming in of this little one! His mercies are new every morning!
Such wealth of treasure found in this family of three!
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are! We have welcomed a new little child of God to the neighborhood! She's already being lavished upon with love from her family who has been anxiously awaiting her arrival!
One of the best things about being part of a small church community is being able to surround our children with family-like love. When a new little one is born they are welcomed into the fold with rejoicing. So it is with this new little one - such a precious gift from above. And her brother is my favorite. He greets me by name weekly with a snippet of a bible story he heard in Sunday School. He also knows more about animals than most of you. He sure loves his new little sister, too. Welcome to the fold little one! You are loved!
I've been blessed to document a few newborns recently and there is something so beautiful about this special time for a family - the freshness, the joy, the possibility.... as you begin to get to know this new little one...... God's handiwork is so evident.... It was such a pleasure to spend some time in this home with this sweet family and their new little one.
About a month ago, Jamar Clark, was shot by police just a few blocks from my home. The unjust shooting sparked a movement of people fighting for justice in my neighborhood and in Minneapolis. For 18 days, protesters camped out at the 4th Precinct. They were united in their front - through cold, rain, snow, and even white supremacist shooting attacks - they rallied, prayed, sang, ate, encouraged, cheered and stood firm in their requests. They were cleared from the area in the middle of the night by police as large fenced barricades were erected to keep them away. That however, did not stop the powerful force of a community of people coming together to stand for justice and rights for people who have been oppressed in many ways. The group is only growing stronger - led by a strong #blacklivesmatterminneapolis group and many young black clergy and other young leaders stepping forward. This is the time. As a white person, it is my privilege and choice to engage actively and vocally in the fight. My friends of color - live the fight daily and hourly. This weekend we joined together to shout for justice in the case of Jamar Clark and to pull together to fight for those who have suffered-and continue to suffer - under the hand of inequality and injustice.
A few years ago, as I was beginning my journey as a photographer, I stumbled across the work of Olive Avenue Photography and fell immediately in love with the beauty of the images that were so full of life, light, love and heart. She offered a mentoring session and I ended up spending some time learning from her. Jess has an amazing gift and spirit and when she wrote and asked me to take her family photographs, it was an incredible honor. Not only is she an amazing photographer, but she is an amazing wife and mother. Her love for her family is fierce and was truly evident in the time I spent with them. I know I will continue to learn and be blessed by her work and her friendship.
A celebration of the decades. The clothing. The music. The food. The decorations. All of these things came together to celebrate an amazing wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Every detail was well planned and perfect - but what stood out most to me was the love and community of family. When she was presented with a book of the "gifts of services" each family member had performed in her honor, I could see the lasting impact of love and faithfulness throughout generations.
Sankofa is a West African word which means "looking backward to move forward". The Sankofa journey "seeks to assist disciples of Christ on their move toward a righteous response to the social ills related to racism." Over the course of a long weekend we traveled south stopping at historic sites of the civil rights movement and sites of oppression and inequality for people of color, providing opportunities to learn from the past in hopes of beginning to be a healing voice as we move forward on the road towards reconciliation.
The experience was made richer through sharing the journey with a partner of a different race. I could not have experienced so deeply without my dear sister, Ivory. Her openness and honesty along the way helped me to gain understanding. Her positive attitude, non-judgmental spirit, insightful questioning and ongoing grace were instrumental in making this journey life-changing.
From the moment we jumped aboard the bus, we were hard at work thinking and growing - challenging many of our prior misconceptions and inaccurate understandings. Each experience pushed me to personally evaluate and think critically about my own story and learn from humbly listening to the stories of my new friends. We traveled the road experiencing deeply as we made important stops along the way.
At the beginning of the trip we were forewarned that the journey may bring us to a place of chaos and uncertainty, and although some of that chaos still lingers, God is revealing to me places in my life where I can begin to use my voice a little more strongly to speak up against the injustice of racism - in my home, in my neighborhood, in my work with teachers and children, in my church and even in my art. I also desire to walk alongside and bring encouragement to my black friends, who may be angry, discouraged, sad or tired at the lack of progress our society has made in overcoming many racist practices. I pray that I will continue to follow God's leading with humility, knowing that seeking justice begins with seeking God.
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." Martin Luther King Jr.