Tulsa photographer

Wonderfully and Perfectly Made

In college I was a part of a reading program that helped at-risk students. We were required to pick out a book to read together once a week; the idea was to work on reading fluency, comprehension, etc. I remember going to the local bookstore and picking up C.S Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew. As I flipped through the pages of the book, I imagined what it would be like to introduce the beauty Narnia to my own children. In that moment, I began dreaming of what being a mother of an elementary aged reader would be like--magical.

The most misleading part of motherhood is the dream of motherhood-- turning dreams into expectations. In my fantasies, I pictured myself curled up with my children, delving into adventures and relationships with books in a way that I experienced as a child. In all of my time spent imagining the future, I failed to factor in the actual journey. Would we struggle with processing? Would we feel frustrated with the process of learning? Abandoning my own plan and embracing the journey is a type of vulnerability that not only forces me to see the beauty of the REAL in my own family but also appreciate how hard won each sight word victory is for my hardworking son.

As a special ed teacher, I never dreamed of being on the parental side of a learning disability. But here I sit— I am on the other side of the table, and I feel vulnerable. I am educated and prepared to help children in this position, but I find myself in my own brain stutter. I want to step in and fix it for my son, but this is something he has to do for himself. He is wonderfully and perfectly made; I can only give him the tools and watch him grow. At this very moment, reading is our challenge. It hasn’t come with the ease I dreamed of all those years ago. As with any new adventure, I know there will be frustration, laughter, and tears from us both. As his mother I FEEL his frustration and anxieties, and I wear them on my shoulders like they are my own. Fear and doubt is a funny beast; it suffocates and keeps us from our truest potential, but that’s not going to happen here because we are striving for progress, not perfection. We can do hard things when we put forth time and effort and don't compare ourselves to others. Out of our mistakes and frustrations there is growth, IF we acknowledge it. I make no promises that this is going to be easy, but I know that he is brave and can do hard things.


I see our destination sitting on the bookshelf.. .into the woods we must go. The way may not be clear, but we’ll reach a magical destination together.


Welcome to Artifact Motherhood. This is a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles of our journey. Through our writings and visual records we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come. Up next is the amazingly talented  Diana Hagues click here to follow the link.

You can also read more about Artifact Motherhood by clicking here.

Ray Summer Story Session

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of documenting a dear friend and mother of two. This is Jessica and she is as  beautiful inside as she is out. One of my first Artifact Motherhood sessions (link to her AM session here), she has since welcomed another son into her sweet family. We’ve been discussing, on and off, of doing a similar session with her newest addition. A few of my favorite moments from her motherhood summer story below.




Family Documentary Shoot in Claremore, Oklahoma

Family Documentary Shoot in Claremore, Oklahoma

It’s no secret that my favorite thing to do is to capture the beauty of ordinary moments--the moments otherwise missed or overlooked. What if we had someone to document our families day in and day out? What would yours look like? I’m a firm believer that we don’t have to create a backdrop to paint the beauty of our families. The beauty is here; the beauty is now.

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Summer of Transitions

I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my first--how exciting that time was! I started to meticulously lay out my plans. I imagined seamless transitions and the perfectly well behaved little boy he would be. “Oh I’ll never let my son do that” I’d tell myself.

It’s funny how my perfectly laid plans were tossed out the window no sooner than 48 hours after he arrived. Three children later, and I can’t help but laugh at how silly I was. There are no seamless transitions, and I can make plans all I want, but I have to accept that plans are subject to change on a whim.

Ironically, as I’m writing this, I planned to have my daughter napping. When in reality, she’s full steam ahead to dropping her afternoon nap.


Our family is going through a lot of new transitions and changes this summer:  watching my youngest go from infant to toddler overnight,  transitioning from being a preschooler to an elementary student, debuting new attitudes and conflicts with my oldest.

As a mother, these phases are hard to handle, but they are even more difficult for my children. In the most chaotic of moments, they look to me to help them anchor their emotions. I rise to the occasion calming storms, kissing wounds, guiding them as they navigate their own relationships.  I do this using patience I didn't know I was capable of expressing ... most of the time.


I'm navigating through the waters without any maps or sense of direction. One tool I have is faith. Faith that I'm making the right decisions on my children's behalf. Faith that it's all going to workout for the best. Faith that my children are going to get through the next hurdle unscathed

This is the summer of transitions and ever evolving and dissolving plans. This is where my spiritual faith becomes my life line; it always eases my anxieties and forces me to accept that I am really not in control. I have faith in the goodness of God's plan--even if His plan is different than mine. My hope is that my children learn this a lot sooner than I did.

Welcome to Artifact Motherhood. This is a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles of our journey. Through our writings and visual records we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back.These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come. Up next is the amazingly talented April Christoper, click here to follow along.

You can also read more about Artifact Motherhood by clicking here.

Alspach

Alspach

Liesl changed my life. And I thought I had a pretty good life before she came around. It’s one of those things that scared me the most about motherhood. The fact my husband Jake and I loved each other so much. We had a great life before her. I was afraid that I was going to mess that up. In no way, shape, or form did that happen. Liesl enriched everything about our lives. She made Jake and I a stronger couple, me a better person. She helped solidify priorities that I am happier with now than the priorities I had before. She helped me value myself more than I ever did before. Which is weird, because you think of being a mother as giving yourself to someone. However, I found other aspects of myself that she basically gave me.

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Shyers

Shyers

Young and in my early twenties, motherhood wasn't on my mind. I didn't think much about things of that nature. At that time I didn't want to be married, much less be a mother. Those feelings changed when I met my husband. It wasn't until after we said our I do's that I realized children and being a mother was something I did, in fact, desire.

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Leeper

Leeper

As a child, I remember holding my baby doll and dreaming of having a little girl of my own. I recall telling my dad, Daddy, I can’t wait to get married and be a mom

I have always wanted a daughter. Growing up, I had faith God would bless me with one. He did, he blessed me with two!  In high school I would buy little girl stuff in hopes that someday I would be able to give to them to my little girl. I’ve kept those things over the years, and I now have it for them. After graduating high school I remember telling my dad, I’m not going to college, I’m going to get married and have babies.  Daddy just giggled. Truth is, I did end up going to college and graduate school, where I met my husband Terry.

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