A homecoming

21 December 2011

There are the moments that define us as fellow humans – moments that remind us we are all in this together, moments that reveal our great capacity to love.

About a year ago as I waited for a flight back home for the holidays, I saw a young soldier saying his goodbyes to his family. Just minutes earlier, I was grumpily going through the standard airport security routines. You know the drill – taking off your shoes, removing your laptop from its case, fiddling with your watch…these are the things that troubled my life. You can imagine then – the instant shift in gratitude that was born from watching that young man’s departure. My woes had been put in their place.

On Monday, we saw the good on the other side of those kinds of stories. Captain Mitch Marzo was coming home – to a crew of family and friends who would hold signs at the top of that escalator at DIA we all know so well – the one you’ve always hoped would have a sign for you. Mitch was coming home to the shaking of hands by strangers on the train from the terminal. He was coming home to the claps of a holiday travelers who never expected that kind of giggle cry at Gate A26 on a Monday. But most importantly, Mitch was coming home to a welcome from his biggest, albeit shortest, fans – his daughters. And his wife – who waited the beautiful wait with grace.

Mitch was one of the last soldiers to leave Iraq.

And knows he is one of the lucky ones. In his return, he reminds us there are still countless service members around the world still risking their lives every day. There are daughters who are still waiting on dad to come home, mothers praying for their sons, wives who wait. And there are those who now serve from above – who made the greatest sacrifice.

I know we can’t make that wait end overnight. But what we can do is love. love with all we have. love the kind of love that is abundant in gratitude and inspired by giving.

Thank you Mitch. You remind us today that we have much to be grateful for – and that the world is filled with great great love.

If you would like to honor those who have served, please consider making a donation in gratitude.

The Aaron Grider Foundation : Our dear friend Brittany lost her husband in Afghanistan on his 30th birthday. With strong conviction that hope endures, she dedicates her life helping widows and orphans of the fallen through service-based missions. “While grief and pain are exhausting, service is life-giving.”

The Wounded Warrior Project : We first learned of this non-profit through our clients Kate & Tyler who made a donation to the WWP on behalf of each wedding guest. The WWP provides programs and services to injured service members during the time between active duty and transition to civilian life.

With incredible gratitude for the beautiful capacity for love and service in this world,

Katie, Matt & Jenna

A seat at the table.

24 November 2011

We’ve saved one for you. A seat at our table – one filled with people like you who remind us every day of all we have to be thankful for. This morning – the day dedicated to gratitude – is no different.

Our cups are full, thanks to you. And grateful we are.

We are grateful for wide open spaces. for friends & family who are pretty much our kind of day-makers. We are grateful for words and the way they go together, especially ‘possibility,’ ‘awesome’ and ‘wooohooo!’ (“Shine” gets its own category.) We are grateful for any experience that includes but is not limited to a giggle cry or the kind of laugh where no sound comes out. We are grateful for conversations that go the distance, for big dreams and even bigger hearts. We are grateful for snow days and ski days and campfires and the kind of quiet that allows you to hear the snow crunching below your feet. We are grateful for three year olds who just get it, and for bucket-fillers of all ages who, everyday, make the active choice to choose joy. We are grateful for travel and the things we can learn from getting lost. We are grateful for moments that stop us, people that fill us up and for the fulfillment along the way. And mostly, we are grateful for gratitude – the one thing that keeps everything in perspective, everyone elevated, and every experience one worth having.

May your heart be light today – a day when there is a seat saved for each of us.

Happy happy thanksgiving,

katie, jenna & matty

on summer.

23 June 2011

Summer. It’s the season of simplicity and of all things childhood, of bare feet and long days. And weddings too – for you and for us. We may work like busy little bees this time of year but summer is, just as well, still simple. It is all things childhood, and bare feet and long days. One of my favorite odes, if you will, to the season that steals all of our hearts is Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day.” It’s a toast, poem, manifesto, prayer, ode – whatever you call it – to the simple act of attention that seems to surface more for each of us this time of year.

“Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Here’s to being idle and blessed, to strolling through the fields of our wild and precious lives!

much love and gratitude,

the whole crew over here at JWP

The bus window knows best.

25 March 2011

What a month March has been…and provided, it has! Jenna and I have spent most of the month gearing up for Substance – we are so inspired for everything to come of the workshop next weekend. It’s shaping up to be an incredible group of women. I’m also in the process of putting together a social project to raise money for schools in Ethiopia (more to come on that!). And I’m writing from a Las Vegas hotel room – just hours before the fun begins documenting Sarah & Justin’s wedding.

Between all of this inspiration, I learned the beauty that lies in taking a time-out here and there. In getting your feet wet, studying silence, treasuring the open road and feeding curiosity. I’ve learned that we have a lot to learn looking out bus windows… and in the rivers, roads and open water.

We traveled between Nicaragua and Costa Rica and played, played, played.

Here’s to all the curiosity you feed this weekend!

Katie

getting out there…

14 February 2011

“don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

This past weekend, I took a time-out with some of my favorite people – we trekked 5.5 miles in to a high-mountain yurt – to enjoy that feeling you can only get being in the middle of nowhere.

Here’s to whatever makes you come alive!

Katie

Showing up. (Mile High Photographers)

17 January 2011

We often talk about how the sum of all things we are – is the community of people that surround us in our life.   Without community, without others – we are all less.   Less successful.  Less inspired.  Less engaged.  And well…things are just less meaningful.   Joy is so much more when it is shared.

And as a photographer…while I can go it alone…I am better for the many people in my life that have greatly enriched my life as a photographer because they have shown up for me and our community of photographers here in Colorado.  And I have shown up for them…in good business years – and the more challenging times…and time has proven to me – that going it alone is just that…lonely.

When we started our photography business over 5 years ago…I was alone.   I certainly didn’t consider myself to be a professional – and the idea of engaging with other photographers, quite frankly, scared me.   I imagined all of these “photographers” to be a tightly knit group of industry insiders.  I imagined that they’d all sit in a corner talking about how little the new girl knew…In 2006 – I finally was brave enough to emerge from the shadows and actively participate in our photography community.   Katie VanBuren and Pictage stepped forward to create the PUG (Pictage User Group) and I, reluctantly, signed up to show my face as a…gasp…“professional photographer”.   I  remember being sooooooo nervous.   What if they asked me if I went to school for photography?  What if they asked a technical question I couldn’t answer?  What if they knew I was new to this business?

But – on that day I decided to SHOW UP.  And that made all of the difference.  And I am forever grateful to Katie Van Buren for changing my life -changing my community and changing the course of my photography career…all for a single meeting I decided to show up for.

You see…I believe our photography community is only as strong as the number of us that are willing to show up and be present in it.  Really  present.  Not present for yourself and what you can gain…but for how you can best be a member in a community by sharing your inspiration, excitement and energy…and really SHOW UP.   Every single person has something to offer in any community…and the more of us that are present – the more we are capable of doing.

This year, I’ve been asked to serve on the board of Mile High Photographers.  It is a local organization that was spearheaded by 3 amazing local photographers over 3 years ago and has grown to over 600 participants in the online forum.    This Wednesday, January 19th is the first meeting of a new exciting year.  If you think you want to get to know people in our industry…now is the time to get involved and show up.   If you’ve been reading this blog and are hiding…make this your time to show up.   If you are veteran that has gone it alone for too long…show up.    Become a member and commit to showing up in 2011.

(To join as a member prior to Wednesday…complete a membership form here – it’s $65 for a year of meetings and events: http://www.mhphotographers.ning.com)

And so, in 2011…I have chosen to show up.  This year I am prioritizing taking time to be available to my photography community.  And I’m excited to see what the year will bring…

I hope you show up too.

Jenna

(PS – about that photo up above…that was a group photo from the very first workshop I had ever attended – Mike Colon taught it…and if you can figure out which one I am (hint: two arms waving in air and I look far too enthusiastic…) you will definitely see that I.WAS.NOT.COOL.  Oh…good lord!)

Delphine Manivet Wedding Dresses

14 January 2011

Ok.  Just an FYI to the world….if I was getting married today – this would be the short dress I would die to have.   Delphine Manivet has some amazing style…this dress is called the “Theodore”….can someone please buy this dress so I can photograph it?!

(Photo from Delphine Manivet)

Happy Friday!

You can call her Julia…

28 November 2010

Julia Childs that is.  Sans the accent, height and voice…oh and cooking skills.    The holidays are in full effect at our house!  And tonight – we get to watch a cheesy Christmas special on TV…it doesn’t get any better that that, does it?

Cheers!

Jenna

Belle

23 November 2010

The truth is – I sat down to write about gratitude – and to tell you how much I appreciate all of the wonderful people in our life.   Because I do.  I really do.  But I’ve always believed in being transparent and authentic in life – and the truth is that it’s been a tough week at the Walker’s.

On Sunday we had to put down our beloved pug Belle and it has left a large absence in our life.   She snorted louder than anyone, constantly barked and licked anything she could – but she was full of life…even in her hardest days towards the end.   She was our perma puppy.  Our absolutely insanely special dog.   She was cross eyed and was my first sympathy purchase from a pet store almost 9 years ago.  Her back has been ailing her for quite some time – and I’ve known for a long time now that her days were limited upon this earth but somehow it just doesn’t make it any easier.   Losing a pet is hard.  Really hard.  A client of mine emailed me this morning and said that animals are the great loves of our life that love us on the good and bad days.  It is so true.

They say that gratitude heals.  Gratitude makes us happy.  So – I’m trying.  I’m trying really hard to find that place of thankfulness.  And I know we will – and we will be grateful for the 9 wonderful years Belle snorted loudly through our house.  So to our sweet Belle – we miss you tons.  Just tons.  There will never be another pug like you – that we know for sure.

May your week be filled with gratitude for the simple things around us  – and all of the craziness that makes life so beautiful.

In gratitude and thanksgiving,

Jenna

(pictured above: a photo of Katie and Belle in Moab 3 years ago on a family camping trip….)

Welcome to town…

10 November 2010

Marie James Dress Boutique! We are so excited for Sally, one of our bride’s from this past summer, who is celebrating her grand opening of Denver’s newest bridesmaid & mother-of-the-bride dress boutique. Be sure to see what the new kid in town is all about!

Here’s a pic of Sally & her leading ladies from her own wedding this summer!

Congrats and Best Wishes Sally!

Katie