Celebrating The Moments That Count The Most | Happy 49th Birthday | {San Diego Portrait Photographer}

“Breathe. Let go.

And remind yourself that this very moment

is the ONLY ONE you know you have for sure.”

-Oprah Winfrey

These moments, the BIG moments, where life is full and busy and all the crazy and chaos of raising a family while working; those are the ones that need to be planned for. The ending of a decade and the beginning of a new decade-these should be celebrated so you and your loves will never forget those amazing endings and beginnings. How you looked, Who you were at these very important moments… Let go and never forget. You. Them. You are so very worth it.

Happy 49th Birthday, Beautiful! No matter how old you grow to, you and your daughter will never forget the experience you shared on this special day. You’ll never forget what 49 looked like and you will be able to share all this with her children someday…

The Story of Violet | A Story of New Life and Miracles | A Story of Joy & Hope

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.” -Mitch Album

The story of Violet is really the story miracles. In the face of devastation, new beginnings; in the face of great pain, great joy; and in the presence of death, new life… life that is filled with hope and joy and miracles. I think we have to constantly point them out…

“Those who sew in tears will reap with joyful shouting” -Psalms 126:5 Bible

Meet Violet of Violet June Photography in Murrieta! She is an award winning photographer; we are friends through our professional organization: Professional Photographers of San Diego County. When Violet became pregnant I was very excited. She chose me to photograph her after I entered an emotional image in one of our photo competitions. (Or maybe it was because I kept asking her who would be photographing her!) That image of a cancer and domestic abuse survivor spoke to her. It wasn’t long before I learned of all Violet’s story.

Violet fought a long hard battle with breast cancer which resulted in a double mastectomy to save her life. To repair her young body they used her belly to create breasts and then informed her she would never be able to have children. I can only imagine her reaction… the reaction of her husband. This type of devastation at such a young age with all of life ahead. But then I found myself looking at Violet’s life through the lens of a mother, her mother… It’s one thing to have stuff happen to you, but to have bad things happen to your children?!?! Mother’s fix things, we kiss owies, and make life better; we pick up our kids when they are down and set them on the path to recover, but there was nothing anyone, especially her mother, could do to fix or kiss all this away. They just had to let the Doctors work.

As we met together she showed her scars where the port had been in her chest and her first Cesarean Section from her first son. Some say that Doctors say “practice” because they are not always right, and in this case thankfully, they were not. Now pregnant with her second son, she wanted me to highlight the scars and show the big round belly she was carrying. While I thought it was beautiful and very baby full-sized, she felt it was odd shaped after Doctors had removed some of her belly. Here in this session I was able to focus on her joy, her laughter, her sexiness (seriously!!) and occasionally, you could see the cost behind what she had already encountered.

I asked her about having cancer and she told me what cancer taught her was “how to really be alive.

“The Other Scars Say I Almost Died; Yours, Will Bring New Life”

Violet now has three healthy sons at home, Three children under three! I think that makes her an over-achiever and I’m sure, it makes her mother and husband incredibly happy. It also guarantees her a life filled with all the joy, and mess and crazy and kisses and chaos that is family… And that is all so wonderful. One thing I have noticed is that in spite of whatever is happening around her, Violet is still full of joy, inquisitive, still really friendly and has a sense about her of looking at life as an adventure, not as a tragedy, not looking to the past. Her eyes are bright and always looking ahead, fully present, fully alive. When her boys grow up and look back on their lives, they are going to see their Mother’s story. When they ponder her story of courage, perseverance and sacrifice, they will know of their importance and their value to their mother and of course, father; and when they look at their lives, they will always see her in their decisions, and in their determination. They will see how their parents made the best possible life for their children… and they will get the joy and responsibility of starting that all over again in their own lives.

You see Violet’s work and find more of Violet June Photography at: https://www.violetjunephoto.com/

Celebrate Life!

There are times and people that we should never forget…and I for one, never will.

I remember the day like it was yesterday… Meeting at the beach for their photo session. She wanted photographs of her and her husband having fun, photographs of them smiling, playing in the water and chasing their dogs. She said she wanted these to show how much she loved him. She wanted these for her husband, her children and her mother. This was her gift to them…

It was brisk and beautiful at Coronado Dog Beach that day in December. We talked about having fun, getting goofy and dancing in the surf… She said dance with me, and of course he did. As they danced they laughed, and as they laughed, he picked her up in his arms, swung her around and kissed her. She loved him and he loved her. They played and played and played some more.

A few months later, I got a call in July, Vicki had passed away from cancer. Mike cried, her kids were devastated, her mother…I can’t imagine their pain. It just hurt so bad to know she was gone and to know they were all so devastated.

There was no funeral, just a family coming together in pain, gathered around the large Canvas wrap she had wanted. Of course they celebrated her life. Of course they celebrated their memories. But I think they mostly celebrated how much love they all had for that short period of time she walked among us on this earth. And they celebrated how much love they shared because they are a family.

There are times and people that should never be forgotten. Vicky and Mike, together is like that for me. To remember them together is remembering joy and love and fun and… Of course there was a down side; he drove her back and forth from cancer centers and always took care of her. But remembering their dedication and their joy, is what I choose. He was her rock and hero, she was his joy.

Life has a way of going forward whether we want to or not. That’s good! We are meant to live on this earth full-heartedly until our time is done. But this day every year I remember Mike and Vicky. I remember how she talked about her love for him. How much she adored her children and daughter in law! And how much she loved her mother and step father…. All that love, was shared. For the family, they now share that love without her presence, but love does not die. For me, I miss her… I kept all her text messages and emails and voice mails…silly-yes. That was my way of holding on to her.

So for today, I say Thank you dear Father God for Vicky’s life on this earth and that I got to share some of it with her. If you follow me at all you know I always ask: How will you remember?! I remember in photographs… and aren’t they beautiful and filled with joy and love.

You are missed Vicky, but I will never forget…

He was her hero, she was his heart.

Chamber And Community Member Highlights

I love my community, my town and my Chamber.  This week let me introduce you to Marcel Becker. Not only is he the General Manager of Trident Maritime Systems, but he is also an inspirational and motivational speaker. No matter who you are or what your background is, to hear him speak will inspire you. The sentence I have heard him say the most in every type of situation is : “It is a privilege and an honor”. I believe this is his attitude on life. 

What he didn’t tell you here is that he is a Patriot and loves America. He has every employee that is hired and goes through training sign the wall in their building to declare that they will do their utmost best for “Those who sail into harm’s way and pay the ultimate sacrifice to preserve and defend our freedoms”  

If you don’t know him, you should. Meet Marcel –

1. What do you/what’s your business?

I am the General Manager of Trident Maritime Systems, my division of TMS specializes in the conversion and modernization of United States Naval Surface Combatants.

2. What is one interesting fact or fun secret that no one knows about you?

English is my second language, I grew up in Europe speaking German

3. What’s your tag line or motto? 

A quote by Charles Swindoll “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”

4. What’s your mission?

Disrupting the cycles of incarceration and addiction by providing people with “Life Skills” for the workplace.

These Special Moments…

Mother Daughter Sessions

There are times at night I would dream of moments that have passed in my life. Sometimes I would dream of when my children were little and I could carry them again. Sometimes I would dream that they were sitting in my lap and we would just look at each other, all smiles, all love. We would “see” into each other’s heart and know that deep connection, that indescribable love. Just from that look, they knew how much I adored them and I too knew that I was the recipient of that unconditional love that God instills in children towards their parents. That is a trust and a treasure. In my dream, I would want that moment to never end, and every time I started to wake up I would find myself saying: “No, don’t go…”

Today, every chance I get this is what I want every mother that sits in front of my camera to feel…to be comfortable in her own skin, see how beautiful she really is, know her worth,  and how that translates into her children…Children always see their mothers as beautiful, as powerful and as amazing. Mothers always see their children as “becoming”! With every new challenge and success (or failure which is how we find success!), Mama is always the one who is the greatest cheerleader.

Seeing all of this from my perspective, if I could share with you anything, I would say this: You and your child will only be this age once. Someday this phase of your life will be over and what will you have to show for it? Don’t wait for your next dream. Together, let’s make something beautiful and get it on your wall so you can stare at the image of who you are and who your children are, now; and gaze on the intimate bond that you share. No one else knows you like you’re children do…

This is why I photograph-it’s my greatest joy and an immense honor to ensure that your deepest connections and most intimate moments will be captured for all times so you will never forget how enriched your life is, in the midst of the busy, the chaos and the right now.

The Pam Project

with Salon Thrive Santee

Being a mom was the most rewarding, wonderful and difficult “thing” I ever did. I loved it, and now love grandparenting. When I heard about this project I knew I had to be a part of it-it’s really something special. Let me tell you about some really special people that had an idea to bless, and allowed others like me join them (Salon Thrive) in a wonderful gift that myself, TeamKia, Haizel Paige Boutique, Fifty-Two Eatery (Santee), Allison Story Nails could all be a part of to give someone in our community.

The Pam Project is the brainchild of Katie & Curtis Anderson, owners of Salon Thrive (both Santee & El Cajon). I have known Katie Anderson for a while, she is my go-to person for hair & makeup for my clients. When I first heard about The Pam Project, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. It’s filled with so many principles I believe in and really, it is also at the core of my business.

So what is the Pam Project – Curtis grew up with a super star single mom, sometimes going to school at night and working all day with four kids. Now having two kids of his own he realizes how difficult parenting is and he is convinced  that moms are the most selfless people on the planet. So in honor of his mom, they created the Pam Project.

The Pam Project is a nomination process for a deserving mom to win a FREE day at the Salon to have her hair and makeup done by Salon Thrive. Get her nails done by Allison Story Nails. Then off to pick out an outfit of her choice at Hazel Paige Boutique, then from there head on over to FIFTY-TWO EAST Eatery with reservations & dinner for two. The winner will also be provided $400 worth of services or $500 towards a new car from TEAMKia of El Cajon. She will also receive a portrait of her transformation to remember the day from Cindie Wolf Photography.
If you’d like to nominate a mom head on over to Salonthrive.com and nominate a mom. They will be picking a new winner every quarter.

It was special for me to be there photographing the Before & After of the Pam Project’s First Winner – Brianna Thompson! We hung out and of course she told me how she wasn’t photogenic and that she hated to have her photograph taken. Since I have heard this before (lol) we played around and you can see that Brianna is not only very photogenic, she is incredibly beautiful. The video shows a number of photographs along with a before and after. I wanted to not only produce something special for Brianna, but also for the other companies, especially Salon Thrive that they could use for marketing what they do.

My set up for the day

Every company has a Brand. Every Brand has a story. This story shows the heart of the business, what the business celebrates, the products & services it provides and what it values. For Salon Thrive, I identified what was valued, then determined what process would be used to highlight those values. I don’t just take pictures I create images. This imagery highlights the heart of the business using the hi-end, high resolution images that equal the quality of the crafted products and services of the Brand. This is a service I provide for businesses looking to have their Brand story highlighted and told. #storyteller

Congratulations Brianna Thompson 2019 The Pam Project Winner. You’re amazing!

Chamber And Community Member Highlights | Community Involvement

What do your images say about you?

I love my community, my town and my Chamber. I’ve been doing headshots at and for the Chamber and today I’m going to start highlighting the lovely Chamber and community members that I’ve photographed. Below I’ve asked several questions for each person to answer, so you and I can learn more about who they are, not just what they do.

Meet beautiful Rachel Murany, Owner of Mail Management Group Inc.

Since 1988 MMG has been serving the printing & marketing needs of companies large and small throughout San Diego County and all of Southern California. Rachel founded this company to offer quality customer service. Their services include souring and customizing lists, managing your existing list, design, printing, mailing and order fulfillment. 

What the best fun at work? The people supporting my employees and their families for 30+ years. 

Tell me something that no one knows: Since 2010 Rachel has been in films and musical theater. When she was a child she auditioned for a part with her pet 24 year old parrot, Blaze, and Blaze got the part! She was then hired as an accredited Animal Wrangler to work with Blaze on set!

Another secret? Beautiful Rachel was also Iowa State Dairy Princess!

What’s most challenging right now? Keeping up with the newest technologies to offer them to our customers. 

As you can tell she is as sweet as she is beautiful!
You can learn more about Rachel and Mail Management Inc, at: http://www.mailmgmtgroup.com

What do your professional images say about you?