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Category Archives: change

I’ve Got a New Logo!

 

Some of you may have already noticed, but Liz Cooper Photography now has a new logo! And I SO love it ūüôā¬† I am super duper thankful to Kira Kroboth and her husband Rusty at Krobe Interactive for all their hard work in making my logo beautimous and for formatting it to fit my smugmug site and my blog.¬† Kira and Rusty have started their own business¬†creating and desigining awesome websites.¬† They do a fantastic¬†job and have some really well-known clients, so if you’re ever in¬†need of a website, check them out! Kira is not just¬†great at her job, she’s¬†my client, my friend, and an awesome mama!¬† I’m also¬†especially thankful to Kristin Wieczorek, an art director,¬† for creating and customizing the logo and for collaborating with Kira.¬† You can find her fantastic self at http://www.kristenwieczorek.com/¬†.¬† I’ve never met you, Kristin, but I am so grateful for your talent!¬† Kristin created the owl in my logo just for me upon my request after she had already created a logo (actually, she created 3 different ones)¬†which originally had an adorable little bird.¬† I contacted Kira and told her that I loved the logo with the bird, but owls are my thing and I would so so love it if she could put an owl instead of the bird.¬† So, she did! And it’s vintage and cute and all kinds of adorable ūüôā

Once again, I’d also like to thank all my new and returning families and friends for their business and support in this photography journey!¬† You make my job interesting and fun!¬† You all can look forward to seeing yourselves on my website when I launch in the New Year!

Big Love Goes To School (again)

So I so didn’t want her to go. And then she was so sad, miserable, about not going. And I still didn’t want her to go, but here we are again. This year wasn’t as bad as last…meaning I didn’t lay out on our trampoline and scream and cry at night¬†for two weeks leading up to her going to school. But I might have shed just a couple of tears when we decided that homeschooling wasn’t going to work out this year. Primarily because my girls make my world go round, and I don’t want to miss a second of their childhood. But alas, Big Love has entered a different stage of childhood and honestly? It’s awesome! And I would in no way deny her going to school to share that part of herself with others and to grow and come into her own.¬† We did decide to send her to a charter school this year and I am super excited (and honestly much more comfortable) about where she is and what she will learn and who she will be at the end of the school year.

And while there’s still a little part of me that mourns the almost complete loss of all the little things that reminded me that she used to be this tiny, perfect¬†little creature that needed me 24/7, there’s a much much bigger part of me that celebrates the fact that she is growing and thriving and healthy and beautiful….and still perfect.

As much as these shoes cost, they had better last until she’s at least 15.

 

Big Love Turns 6

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There is a garden in her eyes, where roses and white lilies flow.
— Thomas Campion

Sometimes I wonder what my heart felt before I had children. I don’t remember. What I have in my heart for my girls is infinitely larger than whatever it was before they came to be.

Big Love turns six tomorrow. And while I usually have mixed emotions about her growing older, this year the mourning became a little less…and the celebration a little more. She’s amazing.¬† When I was planning her 6 year session, I had visions of hazy summer light and whispering winds.¬† I envisioned her sitting under a big oak tree on a hill in her dreamy little world because that’s where she often resides.¬† But when it rained the motherload of all rains the¬†evening of her session I simply couldn’t wait another day to do it and so we trekked out to the farm the next morning, the same farm where I took her 5 year pictures last year.¬† And I’m glad (for once) that I let my impatience get the best of me.¬† Not only was it overcast and cooler, but my sweet Big Love created her own hazy summer sunshine and whispering winds.¬† I watched her talk herself into her little world and she let me look in.¬† We talked about hopes and dreams and what she wants to be when she grows up.¬† We talked about the rain and the fog and the different types of grass.¬† She picked grass and made it into different shapes.¬† And it was ever so quiet out there, ever so peaceful.¬† No traffic.¬† No computers or cell phones (gasp!¬† I didn’t even take mine with me).¬† No tv or music.¬† Just us.¬† And it was perfect.¬† And what I got were images of my beautiful 6-year-old growing up little girl.¬† I’m so glad she brought Lovey along too.¬† It’s almost the only thing left that keeps my Big Love…well, little.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is My Life

This is my life
Its not what it was before
All these feelings I’ve shared
And these are my dreams
That I’d never lived before
Somebody shake me
Cause I, I must be sleeping

Now that we’re here,
It’s so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain
All the mistakes,
One life contained
They all finally start to go away
Now that we’re here its so far away
And I feel like I can face the day
I can forgive and I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today.

– Staind, “So Far Away”

So it’s been a month.¬† And I’m wondering when I will stop comparing this life to the last, when I will stop saying, “It’s been ___ months now.”¬† I cannot deny that I’m so much happier, that pretty much everyone is so much happier.¬† It’s such an odd state of affairs.¬† Most people’s response to the news is, “I’m sorry.”¬† But I can’t respond the same.¬† And I’m not ashamed.¬† Of course, there are parts of me, corners of my heart that will always be sorry, that will most likely always be sad, but not really for the same reasons that other people are for us.

We’re making it through, and it’s not as tough as I thought it would be.¬† A month ago really does seem so far away and the change in my heart has happened quickly.¬† There are places in there that have been awakened that I never even knew existed, or perhaps forgot they existed. Most days that awakening overcomes all of the hurt, the pain and doubt.

There is still so much uncertainty, but that’s ok.¬† The uncertainty will strengthen my faith (hopefully soon) and keep my fire burning.¬† I’m learning to embrace the uncertainty, to accept that it’s ok to not know what the rest of my life looks like.¬† It’s totally fine to not know where I’m supposed to go from here.¬† It’s ok to know what I desire so desperately and to not know if that’s in God’s plans for my life.¬† It hurts some, and that’s ok too.¬† I have to accept that this is my life and while it is so vastly different from what I ever wanted, while it is not in any shape or form what it once was, it’s still mine…and it’s still life. It’s good.¬† It’s¬† blessed.¬† And there is so much more of it to live.

‚ÄúThose who believe that they believe in God, but without passion in their hearts, without anguish in mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God idea, not God Himself‚ÄĚ

Miguel de Unamuno

 

Peace Amidst the Chaos

I thought it was going to be a relief. I had gotten to such a point of being ready that when the event actually took place, somehow I wasn’t. It was turmoil. It was chaos. The night of the move, we didn’t get done until about 10p.m. Nothing had gone right. We didn’t get the moving truck until around 11 a.m., but I had been up since 7 packing and cleaning (The Husband did help)…to not much avail really. The cable guys spent 5 hours installing cable and somehow after they left, my internet worked, but my parents’ didn’t. The contractor we had doing lots of work in the space where the girls and I are was out to put in the heat. My bed got destroyed and we had to go buy a new one. It was ridiculous.

The moment I finally laid down on my new bed in my new space with the girls some 10 feet away finally snoozing after a long day, I felt the devastation, the heartbreak, the sadness, the loneliness. It wasn’t home. Even though I’d lived here for about 22 years of my life, it wasn’t home anymore. And there was no one beside me in that big bed. The sheets were new. The pillows were new. They didn’t have the same smell as my old ones. It was so dark in that room and so very quiet.¬† I remember the feeling.¬† It was the same feeling I had after we made the decision to let our baby boy go to heaven.¬† It was an inescapable pain…grief, crushing.¬† Something did die.¬† Maybe that is why I had those feelings.¬† After a while I did finally drift in and out of sleep.

I didn’t go back to the house until Sunday evening, just to pick up a few things.¬† There was so much we left behind and had yet to go clean up/pick up.¬† It was dark when I went.¬† When I walked through the door, I was taken aback.¬† As I walked through the house, cutting on all the lights, my breath got quicker and shorter.¬† My eyes watered until I couldn’t hold back the flood.¬† Our house that, what seemed like seconds ago, was a home was not a home anymore.¬† It was chaos.¬† It was empty.¬† My moaning cries echoed on empty walls and floors.¬† There was no laughter, no pitter patter of footsteps, no family.¬† Just trash piles, things left behind, and memories.¬† In my head, I could see the goings on from before, the girls running back and forth or dancing to music in the living room, The Husband planted in front of the tv.¬† I left.¬† I picked up what I needed and left.¬† I decided that I couldn’t go back there alone anymore.¬† After sitting on the steps to the patio for a few minutes, trying my best to pull myself together before I went to see the girls, I finally got in the car to go home…my new home, our new home, or what I had to accept as my new home.

Almost a week later, and the girls and I are adjusting.¬† It’s still chaotic, but we are all making it pretty well.¬† It will take time to settle in, find places for everything, and for the aftermath to pass.¬† And it is starting already to feel a bit like home.¬† I know it will still be hard when we go to finish cleaning out the house, but I will have someone with me to help keep me focused on the tasks at hand.¬† And when we close the door to that house for the last time, I will have to accept that I closed the door on that chapter of my life and that I made the decision to do so out of love, love of all of us.¬† And no matter what consequences come from that decision, I am prepared to face them, and I have wonderful friends and family to help me face them, to help us face them.¬† Most importantly, it doesn’t matter what we endure.¬† I know that God is with us wherever we go, whatever we do.¬† And I know that healing will happen…even though it may not seem like it right now.¬† And with that, I have peace.

A Change In Season

Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.

Luke 17:19

I think I’m a pretty good person (as people go I suppose).¬† I have tendencies to feel self righteous, to feel vindicated….to feel right.¬† I know it’s so not kosher to admit that.¬† We’re supposed to be humble.¬† We’re supposed to say that we’re not all that wonderful and fess up to all of our flaws, and I do.¬† I really do.¬† However, I all to often put my faith in me.¬† I mean I have faith in God.¬† I believe the seasons will change and the flowers I see this year will bloom again next.¬† I believe my children will arise every morning in pretty much the same condition that I put them down to bed in.¬† I have faith that I will rise each morning.¬† I believe that the Earth will continue to rotate on its axis and that the sun will rise and set each day.¬† I believe these because I’ve seen them happen thousands of times.¬† If confronted with a given situation, though, would I have faith that God would make me well?¬† Or rather do I now? If I was presented with a situation in which I had never encountered, in which I had never seen an outcome, would I have faith?¬† Would I really trust God with it?

There are so many things about my life and about me that aren’t well.¬† And yet again I am faced with the question of why certain aspects of my life haven’t been made well.¬† I feel entitled to some wellness.¬† I’ve suffered.¬† I’ve fought.¬† I’m tired.¬† I’ve given and given and given.¬† At least I feel like I have.¬† And I can honestly say that I so often question if God will make me well, will make my life well.¬† And therein lies the problem, or problems, rather.¬† Faith and me.¬† Faith is such a crazy word.¬† It may take only a mustard seed of faith to be enough, but honestly sometimes my mustard seed seems gigantic.¬† Sometimes I struggle just to muster up that mustard seed of faith.

As¬† I enter yet another season of life, one that will no doubt be full of changes, ups, and most likely a bunch of downs, I am challenged in my faith and in my quest for God.¬† There are just some things that aren’t like the change in season.¬† They haven’t happened before.¬† And so it is up to me to have faith anyway, to trust that a way will be made known, that wisdom will be imparted, and that whatever decisions I make will be the best possible ones, and that if they’re not, God will help me through the aftermath of them.¬† And at the end, when the dust has settled and my eyes are clear, hopefully I will be able to say “My faith made me well.”

Time in a Bottle

‚ÄúDost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.‚ÄĚ

Benjamin Franklin

“I want to be a grown up like you,” she said in the dark.

“No you don’t. You want to be a kid forever and ever,” I told her quietly.

“How many years are you, mommy?”

“29.”

“Wow, I definitely want to be that number,” she whispered softly and yawning, almost as if it were this dreamy number where the girl turns into a princess and gets whisked away by the prince.¬† She rubbed her eyes, and I wished her sweet dreams.

And so it has begun, I thought.

It saddens me now, my eagerness to be so grown.¬† I understand now what was so important about my childhood.¬† And I am saddened by this whole process of growing older, not because I don’t want to look older, but because I can’t be younger.¬† Sure, I can still act young and do young things, but I still have to act older.¬† I have responsibilities.¬† Duties.¬† Bills.¬† We spend 15-20 years of our lives trying to be adults.¬† And then we spend at least 40 trying to relive our childhood in any way we can (that is if we had a good one I suppose).

I have been somewhat taken aback recently as I look at myself in the mirror.¬† My face, while fairly wrinkleless, still shows signs of age.¬† I look different from how I picture myself in my head.¬† The other day Baby Love and I found ourselves in the midst of a bunch of high school kids coming to our local college to visit representatives from other colleges.¬† As we both watched them pass, laughing and talking amongst themselves, I found myself desiring to walk amongst them, for in my head, I am still one of them and I on some levels view them on the same playing field of life as me, or vice versa maybe.¬† Yet, they look at me so differently.¬† As they walked, and watched Baby Love play on the bricks, they looked at me like an adult, a mother, perhaps a wife, but most importantly older and not in the same stage of life as them.¬† And honestly, I was not happy with their looking, with what I saw on their faces.¬† It wasn’t mean or hostile.¬† It wasn’t mockery or rudeness.¬† It was simply how I looked at someone my age when I was in high school.¬† And I was sad.¬† And I am sad.

I know my children will do exactly as all children do and have done for centuries.  They will play mommy and doctor and teacher.  They will desire to do all the things the older children do.  They, too, will not be able to see with their eyes open until they are older and it is too late to go back.  They will want to grow up.

The thing about childhood is it is the period when we spend our time the best, not squandering it at a computer or in front of a tv, at work or paying bills.¬† It’s the time when we’re freest, the time when we’re best able to explore and learn.¬† It’s a few short years of really enjoying life in its simplest and purest state.¬† And unfortunately, there is absolutely no getting that back.¬† I will always encourage my children to remain children for as long as they can.¬† I refuse to allow our home and our lives to be conducive to inappropriate aging.¬† I know they will grow up, but they don’t need to do it too soon.

A little different today.¬† I couldn’t have a post without a picture!¬† This is actually a collage that I did while at North Carolina School for the Arts in 1996.¬† As you may can see, I had issues with time then too.

Big Love Goes to Kindergarten!

I wanted to run in.¬† I wanted to run into her room and melodramatically yell, “Don’t you realize what school means?!¬† It means less time with mommy, less time playing.¬† It means no more mid morning walks, no more waking up when you feel like it or eating when you feel like it.¬† It means restriction.¬† How could you possibly be excited to go!”¬† I wanted to lie next to her in that little bed and talk about all kinds of wonderful things, wonderful things that we’ve done and ones that we want to do.¬† I wanted to hear her talk about what she wants to be when she grows up and how magic dust makes her boo boos better and how her brain and lungs and every other part of her body works (since that’s what she is interested in).¬† I wanted to do anything to keep today from coming.¬† Alas, it was dark and she needed her rest.¬† And so I decided to step outside with my tissue roll and lay on the trampoline and look up at the stars.
But I didn’t see the stars.¬† The tears flooded the cool black mat.¬† I couldn’t even stop them.¬† They just came.¬† Not the quiet, silent tears that we often have as adults.¬† Real bellows, sobs.¬† My neighbors already know we’re weird so I didn’t even care what they thought, if they thought anything at all.¬† And while my head thought, “How absurd to cry over such a thing,” my heart felt real pain.¬† I felt silly and stupid and childish and heartbroken all at the same time.¬† I mean she’s not dead or dying or even ill.¬† She has no disease, and she has no disability, but¬† I felt mad that she would no longer be here with me all the time, where I could be in control of what she sees, hears, and does, where I could kiss her any time I want.¬† I wanted to scream up at the sky and the planes passing by.¬† I wanted them to know my stupid, absurd, feelings.¬† I was glad no one was there to see such a display.¬† And finally when no more tears would come and the sobs had ceased and all I could hear were the crickets’ songs, I prayed earnestly for peace.
You see our decision to send Big Love to public school did not come lightly.¬† And it is not what we really wanted to do.¬† And it still is not.¬† But it’s what we feel is best for her and our family right now.¬† And, until we see that it’s not, she will continue to go to public school.¬† And I will continue to pray for peace.
I am happy that she’s happy.¬† I’m over the moon that she loves her teacher and is excited about school.¬† And you can bet I’ll be there to volunteer, eat lunch, for field trips and parties.¬† But ultimately, my absurd display out there, at night, on the trampoline (Big Love’s 5th birthday present no less) is a sign of my mistrust of God.¬† I have to let go of my control and let God be in control of her life.¬† I have to trust that He will guide her and us through this process and that whatever comes her way will not be more than she can deal with.¬† After all, He has brought her through some pretty tumultuous times already.¬† I have to recognize that God’s way is much much better than mine.

Avery’s Birthday Part 2

Avery’s birthday and birthday party were a smashing success!¬† Thank you to everyone who helped make it so fun and wonderful not just for her, but for all of us!

We went to the lake with some friends the day of her birthday.  It was rainy, but we had a blast!

The gift!

The first cake.

My parents got her a big box full of Zhu Zhu pet stuff.  She loves it!

The “birthday party” cake!¬† Delicious!

The birthday girl and her daddy at the pool party.  They are so cute!

The next group of pictures are courtesy of my dad!¬† Thanks dad for taking such wonderful pictures and for being there for Avery’s 5th birthday party!

And just as her party was winding down and all the cake-filled, wound up children grabbed their balloons to go home, it started to rain.¬† It was appropriate really.¬† The end of the party, the end of the celebration of Avery’s birthday.¬† The moving forward.¬† The downer after every high.¬† As I packed up all of our things in the truck, the rain trickled down my cheeks and face like random teardrops and, while I was sad that I was then forced to accept that Avery had turned 5 (as if I could have stopped it anyway), I was also content in knowing that she had a very, very happy birthday.

The Birthday Girl is 5 {Part 1}!

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The prime purpose of being four is to enjoy being four Рof secondary importance is to prepare for being five.  ~Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook, 1985

“Your loss is her gain.”¬†¬† – My mom.

Avery has most definitely loved being 4 and prepared for being 5, but what about me?¬† I’m not ready.¬† I’m not prepared.¬† I am in no way, shape, or form desiring of my baby to be 5.¬† It may seem melodramatic.¬† It may be over-the-top, but I don’t want her to be 5.¬† And I know that there are moms out there that feel the same way.¬† I want her to be who she is now for much longer than she will be.¬† How could something that seemed decades away when she was born have happened already?!¬† The truth is, that I must accept that her sweet little life is not about me.¬† It’s about her.¬† I am quickly coming to accept that while I mourn the passing of her babyhood I must at least put on the face of excitement for her childhood and for the upcoming events of her life.¬† My views on education, the world, and religion will make a huge impact on hers. And so it is.¬† She will be officially five in a matter of hours and my heart is braced for impact.¬† My face has a smile and my voice has enthusiasm, and my hope is that if I fake it long enough, I truly will be happy that she is turning five.¬† When that happens, I know that no matter how I was feeling at the time, my sweet, smart, lively, simply fantastic little girl will have had a wonderful birthday.

My darling first born daughter,

We have been through so much together, so much since your surprising conception.¬† You have endured hardships that were not of your own doing.¬† You have overcome obstacles that were placed in front of you by someone else.¬† You love and forgive like no child I have ever met.¬† You have so suddenly erupted out of babyhood and into the whirlwind of a girl that you are today!¬† You are so very, very special, Avery.¬† Your perception of people and your world is so often far wiser and clearer than mine, and your love for life is so evident to all.¬† You amaze me in so many ways.¬† You love God and you love other people, and your nurturing has already proven fruitful, fruitful for me.¬† Thank you for loving me as you do, for forgiving me as you do, for correcting me at just the right moment and in just the right, respectful way of a child.¬† Thank you for being unique and for holding your own, for behaving so well, obeying so well, and for being so willing to¬† please.¬† You have been and continue to be the most wonderful surprise I have ever received, and I am privileged to know at least some of the reasons God blessed us with you when He did, in such a time that we were poorer than poor.¬† Throughout our family turmoil, you held steady.¬† You aged, but you were always my little girl.¬† You comforted me.¬† You served your family without even knowing.¬† You are a wonder and a miracle to us, Avery. I hope that you will look back on your childhood with “happy tears” as I do and know that no matter how much I will miss you at this age, I will love you always as you are, where you are, and for who you are.¬† Happy 5th Birthday to my first-born, God-ordained surprise!

Love always,
Mom