'Patience is the Antidote'

Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path. By patience, we do not mean endurance -- as in “grin and bear it.”

In any situation, instead of reacting suddenly, we could chew it, smell it, look at it, and open ourselves to seeing what’s there.

The opposite of patience is aggression -- the desire to jump and move, to push against our lives, to try to fill up space.

The journey of patience involves relaxing, opening to what’s happening, experiencing a sense of wonder. -- Pema Chodron

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Unexplained Infertility: an Object Lesson

 Selfie from my first, and failed, IUI.

Selfie from my first, and failed, IUI.

We observe our minds grasping and pushing and attempting to hold onto judgments.
‘This is good. This is bad.’ We attempt to make the world fit the pattern we think it should be. Letting go of these judgments frees us, allows open space for our lives to happen.
— Jon Kabat-Zinn

I wrote the letter below seven months ago. So much has changed, yet so little has. We're no longer calling you by this name. In fact, we don't know what to call you anymore. 

We were officially diagnosed with unexplained infertility, which I found out people really don't believe is a thing. But it is a thing, a very real thing, a very frustrating thing. The questioning and the self-guilt consume you every. single. day. 

Just stop trying.
Just stop being stressed.
Just forget about it.
It's only been ____ months!

I no longer feel like the people saying those things have good intentions.

It's not that they have bad intentions. It's just that they aren't thinking.

Frankly, they aren't listening. They aren't feeling. 

Telling me to do anything is telling me that there's something I'm already doing wrong, that this is somehow my fault.

_______________________________________________________________________________

It feels like we’re giving up on you, Adelaide.

First, it was the name. Everyone else suddenly named their baby Adelynn. And we are punished, it feels, for being late bloomers.

“Sorry you couldn’t get pregnant yet, but we took your name.”

Then it was really giving up. Putting trying on hold for almost a year because there is just so much happening in life, and we want the best for you.  

You seemed so close for awhile there. I could sense you. I could see you. I saw you in a vision. You had brown hair and blue eyes. Then I saw you in a dream. I saw you as a baby. I saw you as a toddler. I saw you as a pre-teen (and I was so proud of you!)

When I couldn’t sleep, racked with the anxieties of the day, I imagined rocking you close to my chest, smelling your baby head.

I thought about how my own mother would make me tea when I was sad. How she would bring a cup of tea to my room and talk to me. I thought about how we would have those moments, only more of them, and better.

I wanted to be a parent, but not a mother. But getting ready for you, making space for you, made me want to be a mother.

You are smart and creative. You’re funny, yet wise beyond your years. But you’re not here yet, and it breaks my heart. Why aren’t you here??

I can still see you, which is what makes this so hard. It feels like walking away from a real baby, a person, a future, that already exists.

But I know that you didn’t come to fruition in these past seven months because you know better.

I know that you are waiting for the right time.

You are my dream, but you are slipping through my fingers. What happens to a dream deferred? Langston Hughes wants to know. I want to know. I know you’re still there, but I feel like I’m losing you.

_______________________________________________________________________________

In the midst of all of this, I have been surrounded and held up by an entire tribe of people. The listeners. The empathizers. The prayer warriors.

I've been sent cards and trinkets that mean more to me than anyone will ever know (only some of which are pictured here.) You have texted me to see how I'm doing the night before your wedding. You have sought me and found me hiding in dark closets. You have stuck me with needles and put up with my late cards, my canceled plans, my obsession with my puppy. Thank you.

You know who you are. May I be as good a friend as you guys have been to me. 

A Day of Exploration at the Nature Center

We set out to take some family photos at Wood Lake Nature Center, but the sun was not having it. Thankfully there were SO many things to explore -- from a Little Free Library to an awesome taxidermy museum (and live snakes!) 

There was even a sweet little bird watching corner stocked with gorgeous books about birds.

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A Day in the Life: Gutierrez Family

We do not remember days, we remember moments.
— Cesare Pavese

Watching your closest friends being parents is an indescribable feeling. Karen was my best friend through high school and beyond. I remember daydreaming out loud about each other's futures, and now I get to watch her in her element -- with Sergio and the girls. 

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Contact me to book a special day-in-the-life session for your family. 

Katrina & Josh

Katrina and Josh got married in their favorite place near Duluth, Minnesota. 

The ceremony was perfect. Attended by close family, in a lodge, on a rainy day. 

One of my favorite things was the unity portion of the ceremony.

The couple had each written a letter to be opened on their fifth wedding anniversary.

They placed the letters in a wooden box and hammered it shut.

 

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I've Been Busy

For the first time since I started this business a month ago, I haven't edited and submitted photos within two days of a session. 

I helped shoot a friend's wedding Saturday, had two family shoots Sunday and then head shots on Tuesday. (Zzzz)

I'm having SO MUCH FUN. Here's a look at what I've been up to.

Thank you to EVERYONE who has let me into their lives. You are all so special, and I am truly honored. 

Click on photos to navigate gallery. P.S. this gallery is weirdly narrow, and I'm too tired to figure it out. Trust me that these photos are regular size/parts are not actually cut off or framed weird. TRUST ME, OK.

We Fed Kids at Target Field and it Was Amazing

So, in addition to Koranda Lab, I work full time for Feed My Starving Children. I manage social media and the blog, which means I sometimes get to take photos for products and events.

It's pretty much a dream job. 

We had a packing event at Target Field today! It was one of my favorite events to photograph in my past year at FMSC.

Check out the FMSC blog on Tuesday to see all the photos and final numbers from this event. 

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Evensong

I had the privilege of photographing our Evensong service at St. Paul's United Church of Christ. It's a unique service that I can't describe in my own words, so here is how the church describes it: 

Join us for our meditative Evensong Service with Folk Harp & Dulcimer on the second Sunday of each month, 5:15 to 6:00 pm. Singing the music of Iona and Taizé ~ Accompanied by folk harp and hammered dulcimer ~ Lectio Divina and extended silent meditation ~ Praying for self, our wider circle, and the world. An optional opportunity to ask for and receive prayers for healing and/or anointing with oil follows the service. Light reception afterward. All are welcome!

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'We Walk for Nan'

"I was 25 years old when I found out cancer would take my mom from me."

That's how my friend Emily starts her beautiful piece on Millennials mourning

Yesterday, we gathered at the MOCA Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer 5k in honor of her mother, Nan.

I never knew her. I met Emily about a year after her mom passed. But I count the Kaisers as my Minnesota family (not sure how they feel about this?) 

I brought my camera to practice my manual settings during a high sun time, and I'm so glad I did. 

There is something so special about this family and their many close friends. 

As Jim Walsh once put it, "The Kaisers were and are saints, straight up."

And thank you, Nan, for making an appearance as the sun climbed over the hill. 

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Hazel Loses a Tooth

My friend Liz recently came to my house for a bridal shower I hosted for a friend. She brought her two daughters who I want to be like when I grow up. 

They are so smart, spunky, independent and fearless! Kinda like Liz ;)

I shirked my hosting duties to photograph them playing in the backyard with my puppy.

That's when Hazel lost a tooth.

This is my favorite example of documentary photography in my portfolio despite some of the imperfections with the photos. 

Storytelling <3

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Megan's Head Shots

Anyone that knows Megan knows that she is hilarious, spunky, smart and full of life. Now, how do you capture that EXTREME HIRABILITY in a head shot? This afternoon I set out to find the answer.

Sure there were times when Megan asked me if people would think she was wading in a swamp and I tried too hard to make her smize, but I think we did OK.

I may or may not have left my "get it, girl" sign somewhere in a park in Edina.

I hope I did this amazing ball of energy justice. 

Gallery (Click on photo to navigate)

Go On, Get

Today my therapist broke up with me. Or as I texted my best friend after, "I've been Harry and the Hendersons-ed."

She tried to pass it off as I was doing "great," exhibiting  "coping skills" and "mindfulness," but I'm skeptical.

So here I am, world. Exposed to the elements, a week after starting a side business (this one! that you're here for!) and days before starting fertility treatments. NO STRESS HERE.

If you've never seen the above clip, it's from the BBC's Life Story, and I HIGHLY recommend you click this link. So much drama, so much Winnie the Pooh-like narration.

Spoiler alert: the baby goose LIVES. He jumps off the cliff because nature is CRAZY, sails triumphantly for a brief moment, then tumbles violently down the cliff. 

You're certain he dies, but he doesn't! It's all part of being a baby barnacle goose. Some of them die, but some of them don't. 

So anyway, let's DO THIS.