Favorite Families

This family is so close to each other and they always are perfectly coordinated with clothes and time. The way they adore their parents and each other is such an inspiration to me. This is my 3rd year being blessed to see their growing family. Thank you so much.

The Angel. The First Christmas without someone you love.

The Angel and The Christmas Stocking

Christmas Music fills the air. Every shop, every home, every radio station seems to be reeking of it.

Downtown is busy with shoppers crossing off their Christmas list, making sure they get all they can for the least amount of money, cinnamon scented everything is everywhere.

To some people when this time of year rolls around it reminds them of Baby Jesus, or Santa Claus, Egg Nog, Roasted Ham, and colorful gifts under trees.

For me, Christmas is like a blaring siren, unlike any other time of year that reminds me of the loved ones I miss. The one who isn’t sitting at the Holiday Feast, the small set of footsteps that won’t be running down the stairs on Christmas morning. My small son who passed away at two years old.

For many of us, others like me who face the holidays with a constant ache in their hearts while simultaneously passing out paper-plates of snacks to neighbors and smiling at the others near and dear to us as they unwrap their treasures; Christmas is hollow.

Working in retail as I do, I meet a variety of people having a variety of feelings about the holidays every year, but what pulls my heart the most is those who are facing their “first” holiday without the one they miss.

The First, is the most anguishing. The subsequent seasons are never as bad, because although the pain is the same; you’ve gotten through it before- and you know you will again.

A woman who recently lost her husband of 35 years came into my jewelry store to have her Wedding ring sized to fit after having not worn it for over a decade, she casually said “It’s my Christmas Gift to me.” To which I replied “Oh, well then, Merry Christmas.” I smiled, but she looked me bitterly in the eye and spoke saying: “I hate it.”

That is when she showed me the old black and white photograph of her late husband in a naval uniform that she held in her wallet. “I don’t even know what to do.” She was despondent.

So, I shared with her my experience of my first Christmas without Jonah, and what we did as a family to resolve the problem of the Christmas stocking.

I am sharing it here today, because for everyone I have shared this with, they have taken it to heart and it has given them peace and healing in an otherwise circling dilemma.

Do I hang Jonah’s stocking? Do I not? Do I buy him gifts he’ll never play with? Do I leave it empty? I couldn’t bear the thought of having it empty on Christmas morning, nor could I dare to keep it down. In the same way a child still has a mother if she has passed away- I still am mother to my child. He is still my child.

The solution:

Every Christmas morning the first thing we do as a family is open Jonah’s stocking and there find an Angel Ornament left by Santa Claus. Together we hang the ornament on our tree. This year we will hang our 9th.

It’s a quiet and humble scene. Something peaceful and sentimental before the explosion of paper and cardboard.

This simple tradition for us, keeps us bonded in love and in remembrance of what the Season is all about. Regardless of religious preference, most of the world would agree that Family is what the season is about. In this way we pay homage to it, and remember him.

Why We Die

I know this may seem like a morbid post, but it's just a reality check.... a heart-felt cry to the world expressing my own understanding as to why we watch those precious to us slip through our fingers as we are forever left with our arms outstretched and grasping...
I remember the day my two year old son died- like walking through fire, living in a nightmare. The months surrounding his unexpected death are a blur to me. I remember certain things, certain acts of kindess that shone as small stars in a bleak and dark existence.

Warmth, beauty, love; nothing seemed to reach me. I was a shell of human skin and bones that cupped the sea of misery and pain roiling inside of me.
I dreaded what I would dream at night; terror gripping me and nightmares of my sweet, gentle, laughing child- now cold and alone, lying in the ground miles away from the shelter of his bed beneath my roof. I dreaded even moreso waking up from those dreams to face the new day with out his tiny hand in my own.
How desolate the house felt without his laughter echoing through the hallways.
So, here is my understanding of death.

9 years have passed from that day. A sweet and poisonous day. It was the first aching step on my spiritual path and growth, and a path that I got to walk alone, regardless of the love outstretched to me.
Simply spoken, here is what I know; people do not die unless it is their time to go.
Too many heroic feats have happened, too many people have survived un-survivable things, too many impossible fates have been resolved, too many souls who may have served humanity by dying early... didn't.

In our human experience it is small to think we could live forever and only the "jerks" would go... it is human of me to miss my son, to ache for him. But, if I could change it, go back into time and change that day- I wouldn't.
We all have souls; Souls who are dedicated to our greatest potential. Souls who have lived for Eons with other Souls, beings of light who dance and fly and Love throughout all dimensions. We embark on the journey of Earth knowing it will be a temporary one. We know our families, we know who our children will be, who are parents will be, who we will co-ordinate our friends to be... and we Spiritually and solemnly PACT to serve each other's highest opportunity for spiritual evolvement.

As a human I understand the idea that it would be nice to have lots of money, all the love I could ask for, rock hard abs, a passionate career and ten hours a day to play and have fun... but my Soul, my Spiritual Guide that I have deafened and blinded myself to in this dimension is firmly rooted in the Spirit World and always diligent in providing the opportunities for me to grow from, to GET everything I came to GET from this Earth Experience.

We all choose DIFFERENT agendas for our OWN experience. I know we ALL will have a "dark night of the soul" night... but it will look different for each of us.
Never losing someone close to me, would never give me the blessing of peace, and faith, and compassion I have recieved because of it.
I am so grateful my boy partnered with me in living a short and energetic life on Earth so I could gain these blessings. I can't fathom the love he must have had for me.

As a human with human blinders on, there is no way for me to know what every other persons destiny is. But, I trust that there are NO ACCIDENTS, it is my place to do ALL that I can to LOVE all that I can, never counting on tomorrow, and that the people in my life I cherish will only leave as a preordained promise to us both. I trust that my own time to die is when it is best to go.

None of this understanding means that my arms don't beg to hold him on my lap once again, or brush my fingers through his blond hair again. But I accept it. I honor his gift by going on, living life, sharing my life, my lessons, my gratitude for the gift of him and his gift to me.

Thank you for reading.

HOW to CHOOSE WHAT TO WEAR for pictures??!!??

Becky Rhodes is my photography fashion consultant, who studied Fashion Merchandizing in college. When I do commercial model shoots, she is my GO-TO for putting outfits together.
Here's her advice if you are co-ordinating wedding parties, family groups, or just friends and photos!

"When dressing for pix I like to have no more than 3 colors.  If you are taking pix with a large group no matching your shirts.  Color examples:  navy, gray, and turquoise. 
Let people know the colors and let them pick what to wear that way you all look the same without being twins, and less stress on everyone.
You also need to remember that people are going to want to stick to one color of shoe and accessories so let them know if the accent colors are black, white, or brown that way you don't have one person in black shoes and one in brown (I hope no one would be wearing white shoes if it was past summer). 

What's the best way to find a color scheme.........Look in your closet, look at your families clothes and see what you have the most of and go with it, that will also cut down on extra costs, and just buy new pants or shoes. 

Me, I live for the shoes and start looking as soon as colors are picked.  Make sure you love ---I mean LOVE how you look; if you don't it will show in pix.
Dress for you body shape and ALWAYS have a "fashion friend" when trying on clothes.

(A fashion friend: is someone that will tell you the cold hard painful truth no matter what) Not all loose fitting clothes makes you look good sometimes it can make you look bigger then you are and you don't want to go too tight, keep the balance. 

Also make sure you have a photographer that knows how to have you stand to look your BEST that is key!!!  Don't stress if your hair is not perfect or your kids hair it will all work out in the end and you will love your pix until it's time to take new ones next year. 
If you’re sending them out for Christmas cards they don't have to be Christmas colors, unless you enjoy taking more pix throughout the year.  Keep it simple and low stress that way you will enjoy the experience.--

Becky Rhodes
Diva on a Dime

Need some examples??? Here's a link to my Pinterest Board!!!


Keate 2012 Springville Urban

Kirtland in Provo Canyon 2012

Fall and Family

There is nothing more magical than SLEEPING DRAGONS in Canyons and Leaves in Full Color and a sweet family.

Shasta, California

There's a lot of folklore surrounding Shasta, California. I can tell you there is something magical there. I am working on choosing which prints I would like to turn into CANVAS prints for my new house, JUST so I can remember the beauty and the way I felt being there. Any opinions on which ones you think are best, will be considered. Thank you.

Emmanuel Kelly of the X-factor

What I like best about Emmanuel is that he downplays his story. Born in War Torn Iran. His physical differences a result of chemical warfare... raised in an orphanage- and if you ask him about his struggle; he shrugs and says "Others have been through a lot worse. I'm lucky."

Why I support him? Because he's the Underdog. Because he has more courage than many of us... even me--- to shamelessly, boldly, heroically chase his dreams. I want him to achieve them! I want him to sing in front of millions of people, to found schools for under privileged kids like he says he will. Because when he does, as he does.... that small flicker and flame of HOPE I keep fanning within myself towards my own dreams burns brighter.

See his video here: