Category Archives: Personal

Sweet Riley Marie

Sweet Riley Marie

023Riley_HamiltonGreg and I are beyond fortunate to have such a wonderful community of friends. 3+ years ago we got married during the year of wedding jubilee–5 of our friends, including us, married in 2010. Now, the next best thing is happening and we are all having babies! Jason & Mindy got married a few months before us and now had their sweet little Riley Marie just a few months before our little guy comes. What a gift, right? To grow and mold with our friends through similar life stages. We are lucky to go through this together–dating, engagement, marriage, pregnancy & now little babies! I love it.

Here are a few images of the newest little lady to the Hamilton family–Riley Marie. She is beyond beautiful and so sweet. She’s a little one, which makes her that much more endearing. Cheers to going through life at the pace of each other.
002Riley_Hamilton007Riley_HamiltonRiley_Verticals 029Riley_Hamilton025Riley_Hamilton I’d be remiss if I did not add a sibling photo-Addi & Riley032Riley_Hamilton

Also posted in Portraiture

ALISSA & ARIANA

ALISSA & ARIANA

This is my sister Alissa and her daughter (my niece) Ariana. I took these on Thanksgiving and have not had the time to work on them till now. I thought I’d post a few to show off two of who I love so much. I love you, Alissa & Ariana!!

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Power of Precipitation

Power of Precipitation

Although one could be distraught by the limitations of nature, I found the snow to be quite liberating. I was overwhelmed by the magic and wonder of what the snow brought this year. White, everywhere. And so much of it. The earth just didn’t look real, I swear my neighborhood transported elsewhere for those few days.

Restricted by nature I sat alone and was in awe of the power of precipitation.

Lace Wrapped Shame

Lace Wrapped Shame

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Here & Now

If we could just be, for a few minutes each day, fully where we are, we would indeed discover that we are not alone and that the One who is with us wants only one thing: to give us love.
Henri Nouwen

Have you ever been given something that did not impact you till years later? I have.

Recently, I have been pursuing more of the here-and-now, trying not to focus on on the guilt of my past or the worries of the future; rather to be present with what’s right in front of me. I can choose to be distracted by so many things, flooding my mind with anxiety; rather I want to feel the fulness of being alive in the moment.

Greg & I have so many books, unread books that sit quite nicely on our bookshelves. Recently, I scanned our shelves and came across Henri Nouwen’s book Here and Now. “Perfect!” I thought–excited about my find to compliment my recent exploration of being present. After having read a few chapters I noticed a small hand-written note on the front page. The note was addressed to me, kind and thoughtful, and dated 7/21/07. I was given this book 5 years ago at the end of an internship I did through my church. The end of the note said,

P.S. Spend your life like your days are numbered.

Isn’t God’s timing perfect? He loves to surprise us with His perfect timing–His perfect authorship of our lives! I could feel really guilty for the unread books on my bookshelf, rather I will now look at them as gifts waiting to be opened to speak directly to what God has for me in that moment.

No matter where we are or who we are with presence is the greatest gift we can offer another. Being fully present creates a window to experience rich intimacy with others and with God. Our deepest longing cries to be in communion with others. We were created for connection, therefore I am confident presence is the key to rich intimacy with others & God.

God wants to speak to us, to tell us He loves us. If we are not present bodied people we will suffocate in the anxieties of life. Even in isolation we have access to intimacy through being present with God. He wants our attention, to tell us one thing: He loves us.

Greg & I recently went to Colorado for a dear friends wedding. The timing was perfect (of course). We planned to fast from all media during the weekend, which created silence and space to be & to celebrate with friends we love. We were fortunate to have the time to hike and explore creation. Here is where I feel most alive and present–in nature. When you take the time to walk slowly, and admire the intricacies of what’s around you, and relish in the colors of the rocks & sky, you would be amazed at how much intimacy you can experience–just from being present.

So, here are a few images from Colorado (specifically The Garden of the Gods), where Gregory and I experienced rich connection with one another and with God . . . Take time to just be.

Sara B & The Berry Patch

Sara B. is one of the most lovely, kind, caring, genuine, adventurous, & deeply thoughtful people I know. She truly encompasses these qualities to a high degree. Sara is one of my friends who I know is always up for a playful adventure. We both feel, for a lack of better words, alive when we are interacting with the earth and being amongst the landscape of creation. And more specifically we love quaint farms in the country where we can pick our own food and hang out with their animals, kind of like the cows at Shatto farm. : ) Our most recent farm adventure was to The Berry Patch. Although it was blazing hot, being on a berry farm at dusk picking blueberries was so very wonderful. I love love love participating in primitive acts that make me appreciate and understand the labor involved with my consumption–this is why taking the time to cook from scratch is so beautiful and important to me (and no no no, I do not always cook from scratch. I wish though.). The time it takes to grow, harvest, then prepare food for your table is such an important process to understand and appreciate. I love a slow & simple way of living. Lately I’ve been daydreaming (now, keep in mind that I am currently in grad school & have lots of deadlines and oodles of reading) about retiring in British Columbia. Ahhh, wouldn’t that be nice?! For now, I’ll take breaks from the hectic pace of life & go to berry patches with my dear friends. I love it. . . Now, go take a break why don’t you. Go and enjoy the landscape and all the intricate details waiting for you.

OK. Now, I have a sense in me that Sara may be a little bit embarrassed that I’m posting some of these pictures of her. But, I can’t help it!! People, the lighting was perfect, and Sara is so lovely! I couldn’t help myself.

Look how intricate and detailed that one leaf is. There is so much that surrounds us we we pass by and ignore.
Sara prepping herself to stare into the lens of my camera.Umm, hello. Stunningly confident.It never fails. When I spontaneously take photos of my friends they always say “Ok, now it’s your turn! Let me take pictures of you.” I humor them for a moment, then get back to photographing them.The fruit of our labor.

Also posted in Portraiture

Oregon

I used to be able to see flying insects in the air. I’d look ahead and see, not the row of hemlocks across the road, but the air in front of it. My eyes would focus along that column of air, picking out flying insects. But I lost interest, I guess, for I dropped the habit. Now I can see birds.

–Annie Dillard–

I often quote Annie Dillard, one of my favorite creative non-fiction writers, because she undoubtedly reveals how beautiful the most small and mundane things are. I particularly love this quote  because Annie eludes to: the older we get the less interested we become in the small things. We need bigger, more stimulating, things to entertain us. My heart grieves knowing this. We are a generation over-stimulated and it is not getting better. Therefore we must be intentional about “looking for the flying insects.” I want to be enthralled by blades of grass and the bark on trees and be happy exploring a quiet wood. I want silence to be my preference.

I love that we, the USofA, has such a diverse geography. We get to step outside our Kansas homes and look upon a vast wheat field  amongst a backdrop of a beautiful MidWestern sunset, yet tomorrow we could jump in the car and drive 10 hours to the Colorado Rockies. The next day we could hop on a plane & explore a rainforest in Washington. Greg & I love exploration & the thrill of walking in new landscapes; so we make vacations a priority, not just to visit new places but to also reengage with silence, beauty, & each other. I would argue we should do this daily, but there is something about marking off a week or two throughout the year to disengage from technology and the the “need to be available” to others.

I recently started by graduate program for Counseling, which I love very much. Although I do love this program, the next 2 years of my life will be intensely wrapped with deadlines, anxiety, and an upbeat pace. Therefore, I must be intentional about continuing a rhythm of rest and meaningful pockets throughout my week & year, otherwise I will probably go crazy. All this to say, Greg and I took a trip to Portland, Oregon before the start of my program. We LOVE the Pacific Northwest, so we thought spending a few days in that region would be good for our souls, and it was.

We explored the city, mountains, ocean, and ate some realllllly amazing food. The culture of Portland is laid back and down-to-earth. Everyone we met was kindly helpful and not in a rush–the pace was nice. I cannot stress how amazing the food in Portland is, truly the BEST I have ever had. We ate octopus, not something I would ever order, and it was maybe one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. We had french food, home-made sodas, local beer, and the best wood-fired pizza ever. Yes, I am using a lot of superlatives, but they are genuine.

Being amongst the landscape was my favorite part about our trip. The people who live their value the land and make it a priority to preserve & partake in the nature around them. Within the city there is a park–Forest Park, which is acres and acres of dense forest with trails for hiking and running. You can’t even tell you are in the city. We thoroughly enjoyed the nature within the city by spending time at the Japanese Garden, their International Rose Garden, and hiking Forest Park. We also drove to the coast one day. We felt like kids again when we played on the beach. We literally beamed with joy running through the sand and dipping our toes in the ocean. Mmmm, I would like to do that all the time. On our way back from the coast we meandered throughout the land happening upon beautiful mountains and a field of red wild flowers. I was shocked by the beauty.

So, without further adieu here is a preview into Greg & I’s Oregon trip. Cheers to noticing the small things, the beautiful things, and engaging in beauty . . I’m sure you can guess, but the photos of me were taken by my wonderful Gregory.

The view from the plane flying into Portland. Mmmm.
The Japanese Garden was peaceful and serene blanketed with beauty–exactly the environment Buddhist culture, Japan’s primary religion, longs for.

IMG_8259.resizedWatching my 6’2 husband drive a Fiat was pretty hilarious.Oh, the colors.The rocks were COVERED with clams and barnacles. I accidently stepped on a barnacle and it sprayed water at me. Ha.Radiant starfish grasped the lower parts of these clam & barnacle covered rocks. I was in awe.On our way home the roads were surrounded by these trees I love so much. Breath-taking surprise off the side of the road. These, my friends, are Redwoods. When Greg and I were hiking in Forest Park I mentioned how much I wanted to see Redwoods, and no joke, we came upon Redwoods moments after I said that.Getting a little fancy for our French experience at Clyde Common.Goodbye Oregon! We will be sure to come back!

Dan Dan the Unicycle Man

This here is a recent nurse grad, NCLEX passing, Chipotle & Coke loving, juggling, unicycling man named Dan. . . Last night we all celebrated Dan’s graduation/passing boards by scarfing Chipotle & unicycling. Congrats Dan!

Cutting Back

So, with me starting grad school soon Greg and I have been pondering different ways we can cut back and save a little moola. Greg was certain we could save if he cut his own hair. “Ehhh, I don’t know about that, Greg.” I said. With the help of Youtube, of course, Greg was educated & ready to go. I was nervous. He asked me to cut it but I told him I didn’t want to be the one responsible for his mangled hair. I knew it would be a disaster. The moment he took up our regular ol’ everyday orange pair of scissors I knew this wasn’t going to turn out very well. . .In the end let’s just say he forked over the $25 and got a real hair-cut. Moments like this are the spice of life. I love it.

Wondering Where the Wild Wind Blows

We are wondering where the wild wind blows
We are happy here cause the wild wind knows what we are. . .
Orphans, Kingdoms

–Brooke Fraser

This past year I have been wandering about stepping into unknown foggy waters. I at times became sad not knowing exactly what to do with my future career. I kept hearing the Lord say “there is more for you” & I kept saying “what is it then?”. Wandering about in an unknown pattern left me anxious and fearful. Although somehow in the mix of prayer and a devotion to hear God respond to my anxiousness I became peaceful with the thought of the unknown, I became happy here.  Cutting out many details I will tell you I have always been quite interested in counseling because of my passion to redeem families. Broken families are all over bleeding out joy & grace & peace & identity leaving these pooled on the floor left to dry and die. Our culture has replaced marriage & family with divorce, lust, infidelity, abuse, & addictions. If families die society dies. Now more than ever families are falling a part. My dream has been to cross the threshold of pain amongst marriages and families and give people tools to rebuild the health of their families. Every family needs redemption to some degree & no one is out of reach of restoration. In response to my passion of seeing families be made whole I applied to grad school for a Master of Arts in Counseling. I was nervous applying to one of the most competitive programs in Kansas City. Well, last week, on my birthday of all days, I received my acceptance letter for the Master of Arts in Counseling program at MidAmerica Nazarene University–I will be 1 of 12 in the Marriage Couples & Family Track. I am extravagantly thankful. ecstatic. & relieved. I feel confident my response to apply for grad school was an act of obedience. Seasons of wondering where the wild wind blows becomes more peaceful & exciting when you’re not wandering about in fear and anxiety. The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going —John 3:8

This is called Adventure.

The morning of my birthday I journaled “25 is going to be a good year.” Then, I received my acceptance letter in the mail. In response to my excitement I wanted to photograph as an outlet of freedom to create with no agenda. This self portrait is a product of that time.