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9.01.2011

all good things must come to an end

all good things must come to an end. that's what they say.
is it true? do all good things come to an end?
today, sadly, i believe it's true.

the 5 of us have decided that today will be the last day for the maternal lens. (*insert gasping noise here*) it was not a decision that was easy to make and not one we took lightly.
this also goes for our sister blog TML focus.

we LOVE this blog and we LOVE all of you, but more importantly than that, we LOVE our families. as much as we enjoy this blog it takes time. it takes a lot of time. time away from our husbands, our children, our businesses and us. we started this over 2 years ago and never in our wildest dreams did we think it would become so amazing. it's one of the hardest things we have ever walked away from, but it's also one of the easiest things too. it's all about that crazy balance in life and this is just one small step for us to help us find that balance.

we will leave the blog up because there is so, so much information on the blog that is useful and we hope that you will take the time every once in a while to look back through all the posts from the last 2.5 years. there won't be any new posts made after today, though :(

we will, however, keep the facebook pages open and active. i mean, did you think we could completely walk away?? we would miss you all too much!!! we will continue to post questions, share links, shout out to vendors, keep you entertained in the wee hours of the morning....and so much more!

in addition, we will all keep our personal blogs going, so be sure you are following each of those!

we didn't really know how to say goodbye so we thought it would be best if we all just wrote our own notes to you. please take the time to read all 5 goodbyes and know that we are so thankful for you. every single one of you. we thank you. we thank you to the stars and back.

FROM MEG-
We are mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, sewers, scrappers, organic growing, organic knowing, ski loving, beach bumming, knitters, hikers, walkers, chefs, boo boo healers, laundry folding, web surfing, fashionista’s, coffee drinking, tea brewing, signing, singing, designing, crafting, dreaming, art loving, music digging, baby birthing, bloggers and friends who love photography.This was the opening paragraph I wrote on 9 March 2009 – the day we officially launched The Maternal Lens. It describes who we are, and it still remains who we are, all these wonderful women - all these wonderful hats we wear - all these wonderful emotions we share, all woven around and through - over and under our love of photography. But sadly, this chapter in our story must come to an end. Because it’s time. We never ever could have imagined how successful our blog would be or how hard it would be to maintain while we juggled our daily lives. Each one, growing our own business, growing our own families, growing our own dreams, and stretching far too thin for comfort. I know personally I would sit at my computer late at night, like we all do, with a list a mile long of editing, emails, print orders, album designs, client agendas, blog posts, and marketing for my own business and also wanting to do my share on The Maternal Lens and then of course the list continues with family life and personal obligations. My little girl is at a place in her life that is so magical, so wonderful, it can’t be missed not even for a second. She has heard the words “wait a minute” from me far too many times. I know we all can relate. Something had to give. The rhythm changed, the beat was different, pressure set in and with that guilt arrived. TML was not about these things, I think we realized we made a wrong turn along the way. Once upon a time there were 5 women who shared a dream and we are so grateful to you our readers for making that dream come true. But we realize that we can’t possibly take TML to the next level that it deserves. That you deserve. So before our beloved blog turns sour we are saying goodbye, with our heads high and our hearts full. Megan, Shannon, Jennifer and Sarah – I love you all from the very bottom of my heart to the very tip top. This journey has been more than I could imagine and I am so proud of our accomplishments. I know we will continue to share our dreams together and support each other as we continue on into the sunset. There is no one I would have rather shared this ride with than you girls. You are my treasures. Always.And to the amazing readers, supporters, vendors and cheerleaders of The Maternal Lens, it has been such a pleasure getting to know you. Your kind words, inspiration and encouragement has warmed my heart and soul. You have made me a better person. A better photographer, a better mother and hopefully, a better friend. So I raise my glass to each and every one of you – Here’s to the next great adventure. xo
I met my dreams in a dream last night.
They were whining about the view, the humidity, the reckless rooms inside my heart.
“We need room for flight,” they cried.
So I’m deconstructing my tiny house today.
I’m giving my dreams the starlight as their steeple, the uncluttered winds for their kites.
{no. 300 – m. duval}


FROM SHANNON-


i write this with a tear in my eye, a heavy heart......yet shoulders that feel lighter and a smile on my face. i never thought that this would be something i would be writing. the maternal lens blog is something that holds a very special place in my heart. it has not only brought the 5 of us closer, but it has brought so many wonderful and amazing people into my life. i have made friends that i never would have made otherwise. that's amazing.

i have always viewed this blog as my 3rd child. it needed love, attention, time, healing, communication...and so much more. i kinda feel like i'm sending my kid off to summer camp....but knowing that they won't come back. it's a sad time, but i am also very much at peace with our decision. it's time. it's time for this door to close and we will just wait and see where the other door is going to open. we have been so blessed and we are so very thankful for all of you.

the readers, the vendors, the stay at home moms, the working moms, the photographers, the dads- whoever you are! TML would be nothing without you. we just started throwing bits of information out there, fun articles, fun facts about photographers....and it turned into something amazing. something we will always look back on and our hearts will smile.


i feel like we don't really need to say goodbye because we will remain active on facebook. we will continue to touch base with you and who knows what lies in the future for the TML ladies! i think somewhere down the line you will see us again...maybe just not in blog form :)

who knows! books, workshops, shoot outs....the possibilities are endless!

and to my amazing friends- jen, meg, sarah and megan, it was a great ride! i'm so glad i had you along for it. i know we will remain 5 strong...we always have, we always will. you each hold a special place in my heart and that's something that will last a lifetime.


so with all of that i say. thank you. we love you. we appreciate you.

you have all changed who i am for the better.
all my love,
shannon


"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next." ~Gilda Radner


FROM MEGAN-

"It's weird...you know the end of something great is coming, but you want to hold on, just for one more second...just so it can hurt a little more."-Unknown
Well, they say all good things must come to an end...Oprah, Lost, The Sopranos, bell-bottoms and platform heels. Even The Maternal Lens. It is hard to let it go, it is something that is so great, something that has touched and influenced the lives of many. But at this point in our very busy lives of balancing motherhood, with photography, with business, with life it is just too much. People always ask, "how do you do it? how do you find the time to do all the things you do?" Well truth be told, I don't. I do what I can when I can, and my children, my family come first and my business second. The Maternal Lens, as awesome as it is, was something that was hard for me to find that extra time to contribute to. There is no extra time really, my plate is full and then some spilling off of the side. And that's the way it is for most of us. Mommy's to babies and young children, wives to our husbands, photographers and artists to our clients, with little or no time left for us.

But the relationships I have established with my fellow Maternal Lensers, with people I have met along the way are bonds that will last a lifetime. So goodbye, and all of the best for you, be happy and be you. xoxo Megan Rogers
"Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth it was worth all the while

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life."
-Green Day 'Good Riddance'


FROM JEN-

It’s been two and a half years since we began our journey with The Maternal Lens. We had no idea where it would lead us or what it would become. It has been a blessing and a struggle the entire way, but the friendships and connections we’ve made have been the greatest reward. We can only hope we’ve touched and inspired other women, mothers, photographers in the same way we have been inspired.
So many things have changed in those 2.5 years, but even as The Maternal Lens moves into retirement, some things will never change. The special bond we have between the five of us is something really special. Instead of being sad about letting go of our blogs, I’m excited about what will come in the future. We are all so unique and I feel that the changes coming about will really allow us to bloom as individuals. I love the TML ladies dearly and feel we’ve laid the groundwork for some really fabulous things! We’ll continue to be friends and photographers, Meg will remain cool and deep, Sarah hip and tender, Megan strong, Shannon driven and friendly, and of course, I will continue my life as a hot mess. We will all continue to seek out happiness, inspiration, and purpose, together and alone, and look back at what we accomplished with TML and smile.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” ~Albert Schweitzer


FROM SARAH-
I plan to make this short and sweet, as I don't like long goodbyes.

We are forever discussing "The Balance." How does one do it all? How do you find the time for motherhood and business and so many other things. Well, sometimes the answer is to let something go--even if it's something that you love. All the time it takes to run this blog somehow became too much. It is taking precious time away from our families and our businesses. The girls and I must choose our families first--and in that way, leaving the blog is in character for us here at TML.

But, don't fear. We are going to let the blog hang out here, as past posts are such valuable resources for so many. And, we plan to keep our Facebook Page up and running!

Just know that every one of you that reads The Maternal Lens has a special place in our hearts, and we thank you. May you all find love, peace, and balance. xo

Sarah




8.31.2011

[potd] wednesday.

I adore the nostalgia of school days by Max and Mimi Photography. Hope everyone has a fantastic school year!

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8.30.2011

[tuesday talks] - let's meet.

I've known my TML partner's for what, almost 5 years and have not met any of the ladies. But that never seemed to matter. There was an instant connection between us and through that our friendship was born. I look back at that time and can't believe how little our children were and how much they have grown. How much we've all grown as women, mother's, photographers and of course friends. I remember meeting Megan of Trees and Bees Photography, on the site CafeMom (that's where we all met) and was immediately drawn to her. Perhaps it was her beautiful photography, her free spirit and energy. Or perhaps it was because we both have little girls, born in December of 2005 - for whatever reason the connection was there. Me the older sister to her, the younger one.
Well I am happy to report that Megan and I finally met face to face. Annie and I picked up Megan and her sweet daughter Marley at Boston's Logan airport two weeks ago. I remember a friend of mine said won't it be terribly awkward to meet someone you don't know?! I never thought of it that way - we had emailed and chatted online for so long. I felt like I knew everything about her and she knew everything about me.  The minute our eyes met in the busy airport terminal - I was greeting one of my oldest friends.
Isn't it amazing how powerful the internet is. I admit, I am old enough to remember when there was no internet (and a big thank you to Al Gore for his invention!!). It is a huge part of our lives for so many reasons. Our businesses rely on it,  kids use it for homework and paper research, we shop, we take classes, we read the news and get the latest fashions all from a click of our keyboards. And we meet true and honest friends that fill our hearts with joy. Annie and Marley were instant besties. We loved hearing them giggle and share secrets and have these wonderful conversations with each other. It was the best visit and I loved every single minute of being with Megan. I can't wait to do it again and I can't wait until my eyes meet Shannon and Jen and Sarah. One of these days. It WILL happen. xo


and the beautiful megan. would you believe we didn't take a picture of the two of us together!

{for more images from our visit check out my blog - a twist of lime}

8.29.2011

photo of the day {Monday}

This lovely shot is from Reminiscing Moments Photography.



Have a wonderful week! xo

.Mommy Monday.

As moms, sometimes we can get stuck in a rut with all the taxi-ing around, meal planning, work, child rearing, and all the countless other daily tasks that we perform.


Sometimes, it takes doing something really daring to snap ourselves out of it.


Take skydiving lessons, dye your hair something that you would have never dreamed of, buy that outfit that you thought you couldn't pull off. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised.


Recently, I stepped out of my comfort zone and got Bombshelled. Think vintage pin-up photography. The good folks over at Bombshell make you feel so at ease--I had a blast!

(If you live in northeast KS, you really must go. If not--it's worth a trip to Lawrence, KS!)

This was the end result.


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...and I must say, I had so much fun. So today, I urge you--be daring!

Step out of your comfort zone for awhile--it seems that is where life really happens!

xo

Sarah



8.23.2011

POTD [Tuesday]

Growing up......

This lovely photo of the day was taken by {{{Tara}}}.

8.22.2011

photo of the day {Monday}

A great summer capture from tinapenn.




Have a wonderful week! xo

8.18.2011

photos of the day...lots of them!

There are so many amazing photos in the TML flickr pool, I thought I'd pick a few to share today. Love, love them all!!


8.15.2011

.Mommy Monday {personal edition}.

This is a sort of different edition of Mommy Monday, because I am going to share some of my (Sarah) personal journey of motherhood with you all.

This week marks a very special week for the Long clan, as we are officially growing two-fold this Friday, our Adoption Day! [It's been a long time coming!]

Let me tell you part of our story.

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This is Miss K. (for privacy purposes) In her 15 years, she has seen some very dark places. Her mother passed away of Cancer when she was only nine years old, and through this time she has seen several foster homes. K is our first foster child. She is completely Deaf. Our primary mode of communication is American Sign Language. (Besides photographer, one of my other ‘labels’ is sign language interpreter, so this works. Ü) She is such an amazing young lady. She is vivacious, kind, gentle, and has such an amazing gift with animals and young children. We took her in only "for the summer," while her placement agency would look for more permanent placement. It didn't take long though, to realize, that she wasn't going anywhere. We all soon realized that God had put us together, to stay together.

Many people asked me why I would take on such a thing–being that I already work two jobs (owning two successful photography businesses, then a part time “day job”), and having two wonderful buggars of my own already to focus on. To tell the truth, my two little ones were a large portion of why my husband and I decided to go for it.

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We felt that while it is good to talk to our children about kindness and helping others, it is even better for them to see us do it. Live it. Live deeply and purposefully. So, when this opportunity arose, we felt called and blessed to share the love that we have found, with someone less fortunate. This experience has made us reach deeply inward, and give parts of ourselves away, that truthfully we didn’t even know were there. Even my children have had to share more of their parents, and learn a new language.

Through the natural progression of things, it was not long before her younger sister, (Miss W) joined our family. She is the quiet, introverted, artistic polar opposite of her sister, and she brings much joy and laughter into our home. Miss W. is hearing.

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Then, there was, and is, the business of mending. Hearts that have seen so much darkness have some barriers to break through, before letting love again. I know this well. In my life, there has also been darkness. I know what it is like to be a frightened child that carries around a lot of hurt. But, the blessings that I now behold each day upon waking, sometimes literally take my breath away. I will hold their sweet hands, and show them that the world is not all darkness. We can find the light together.

So this Friday, I ask for all of you to celebrate in your hearts with us, as we begin a new chapter of our lives.

Thank you for reading about our journey. And, if you haven’t, please consider fostering or adoption.

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(The two photos above were taken of our family last fall by our own Megan Rogers!)


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8.12.2011

A New Senior Portraits Forum + Giveaway



We have some exciting news for all those senior photographers out there!

The brand new Senior Portraits Forum for senior photographers was launched a little bit over a week ago! If you are looking for a great learning forum that you can ask all your questions, get answers, help others, get freebies, discounts and more, then head on over and sign up! For a limited time, the Senior Portraits Forum is offering free memberships to those who join.



This new forum is not just for new photographers. When others ask questions, you find answers that you may not have thought of. Ideas and topics in the senior industry are changing all the time. Never rule anything out in your education and learning. You may hear of an alternative way of marketing or offering something, or different inspiration ideas than you have used before. Sometimes its not the answers, but the questions that give us inspiration and help spark ideas and thoughts.

We wanted to create a place that allows us to communicate in an organized fashion. You can search for topics, key words etc and not have to worry about missing any information. You can subscribe to specific topics that you want to follow if you want to stay updated.

There are many categories such as marketing, business, editing, technical, lighting and more. Within each category are topics and most importantly, the potential to grow a TON more topics with questions and ideas.

So head on over and sign up!

To make it a little more exciting, the Senior Portraits Forum is going to be giving away one Senior Portraits 101 Guide.


To enter:

1) Sign up for the forum.

2) Post questions in 3 different categories, or add 3 new topics of interest/questions.

A random member of the forum will be chosen as the winner. They will be chosen by going to to a random category and topic. The more you post, the better chance you will have of winning!

The winner will be announced on August 18th!

Have a great weekend! <3




8.11.2011

[BEHIND the SCENES]

Just a few more fun looks at what goes on behind the scenes....we love to see how you work!


from Cayce Lee Photography




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