COFFEE, CINNAMON ROLLS, CoQ10 AND GRACE

I think when your husband brings you coffee and cinnamon rolls in bed, you're starting out your Sunday pretty darn fabulous.  I think when your husband brings you coffee and CoQ10 on a Monday morning, he knows you might be starting your Monday out pretty intense and busy.

I'm not a morning person.  I REPEAT for your well being... I'm not a morning person ; )  My husband definitely knows this about me and demonstrates such grace every morning by this little love token in the mornings.  It honestly means a lot to me.

I've always been inspired by how my husband demonstrates grace.  You see, he is a U.S. Marine going on his 18th year.  He has been to nearly every country, been in combat due to war and yet he has not let the harshness of this world harden him or make him hateful.  He, although not perfect like any of us, still tries his best to meet everyone and every situation with GRACE.  That type of consistent awareness takes great focus.  

This realization I had about him made me think:  "Do I need to check myself on the topic of grace?"  The answer is yes!  Constantly!

Daily, we interact with people.  Who have other life experiences, feelings and therefore, understandings.  There is always a reason as to their why.  We may not connect.  We may connect.  Either way, the person that I'm interacting with in a positive way or a negative way, have I demonstrated grace?

This could be reaching out to a friend you haven't spoken to in a dogs age, giving them a hello and a compliment at how they are slaying fabulously at life or rocking a new hair color.

This could be giving an apology where it is due. Or giving forgiveness where it is due.

It could be as simple as letting a person over in traffic, although you are running a little late.

I consider grace, acts of kindness.  We ALL can appreciate acts of kindness.  I know I sure do and I'm grateful for those that demonstrate it in my life.  Heck,  in a way I'm grateful for those that do not demonstrate it.  It shows me exactly what to be and what not to be.

So today,  I encourage you to think about someone you can demonstrate grace too.  And yes friend, bringing a grumpy non- morning person coffee, cinnamon rolls and CoQ10 is a great way to demonstrate grace ; )


My outfit by: Banana Republic
Shane's outfit by:  Old Navy

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5 WAYS TO BALANCE FAMILY + BUSINESS

She asked me,
"Do you have any pointers on balancing family and business, since owning your business means clients tend to expect you to work when they need you!  But your family needs to take priority too?!" 
 

- Excitedly Waiting to Read

Hey Excitedly Waiting to Read!  
I hear you girl.  Boy oh boy do I hear you and I whole heartedly feel you, friend.

When I first started my business,  I was, "gung ho" and ready for allllll the clients.

However, being a mother of 3 and married to a U.S. Marine,  I knew I had to have balance between the two worlds in order to maintain equinimity in my household and family.  With that being said, clients do not necessarily know your personal life.  So I had to set boundaries in order to balance the two beautiful realms.

Which brings me to my first Point...

1) SET YOUR HOURS

On social media, on Yelp, your email signature and on your website, or whatever platform you utilize, state your hours of operation for your clients.  Think of corporate retail stores you shop at or have worked at.  They set business hours for consumers and clients for a reason.  So that they can replenish, restock, fuel, etc.

When you do this, they have a respect and understanding why you may not have responded right away.

On my website, under CONTACT I have an automated response that tells a client I will respond within a 24 hour time frame.

2) YOU CAN'T RUN A SHIP HALF OILED

Girlfriend say whaaaattt?!  
Yea, yea.  This is me talking being around the military for 18 years.  But here is what I'm getting at:

If you don't set boundaries and hours be it with clients and your personal life and/or family, one subject will lack or dominate.  However, if you set boundaries for the two subjects, both will be balanced.  Both will run efficiently. 

What I did first, since I was/am responsible for my 3 children and their well being, along with my relationship to my spouse, additionally The Marine Corps and deployments,  I took the time to write a list of my 3 children's schedules and their needs along with my spouses.

Once I had this laid out visually, it gave me an organized focus to schedule business. 

3)  OUTSOURCE

When I came to a place in my business and family life where I was running full time, I did not have as much time for repetitive business functions, actions and taskers, I outsourced to another company(s) to handle my marketing, etc.  I hired another photographer for my team.  The reason I did this is because I alway chose my family as a priority.  NOT TO BE DRAMATIC but at the end of the day or your life,  business and money is a fleeting thing.  I personally want to be a leader and influencer in my industry.  Especially my family.  Our children grow up so quickly in a blink of an eye.

4)  ORGANIZE YOUR WEEK

I take every Sunday evening, with a glass of wine, after my 3 children are in bed to organize my work week, marketing, etc. on my calendars.  In doing so, this helps lessen those "SUNDAY SCARIES"

 Anxiety isn't good look, friend.  But anxiety only comes from being unorganized and overly thinking about the to-do's.  If it is mapped out and confirmed visually, your mind is a bit more clear and your can rest and take peace.

5)  BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF

The Ark, Rome and a Rolls Royce was not built overnight.  Be cool.

I had the tendency when I first started business and balancing family like I had to be at the letter Z before I even did ABCDEFG.  With wanting to be over there instead of focusing on being right here, right now, it caused a feeling of anxiety and stress.  Nothing worth a good- gosh- darn was just fingered snapped into will and existence.  It takes time to cultivate. Nurture.  Grow.  You must trust the process, be patient with yourself in your failures, short comings, successes, you name it be it with business and family.

I had the great privilege with speaking about, Balancing Business with Family Life, along with Attracting the right clients on the BOKEH PODCAST for PHOTOGRAPHER'S EDIT .

You can catch the full podcast HERE.


A little love note to, EXCITEDLY WAITING TO READ, 

Keep in mind we are our own worst critics.  Embrace your wrongs and implement change.  And celebrate your small steps of progress. 

With Big Love,

Lacey O.

 







 

UNITED STATES NATIONAL ARBORETUM, ESQUIVEL FAMILY

There is nothing more fun to me than planning and stylizing shoots with my clients.  When it is an entire family who thinks outside of the box and lets creativity and fashion fly, it is even more fun for me, as a photographer.

I had  the great privilege of shooting the Esquivel Family at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC.  Their edgy yet elegant vibe is to swoon over along with their family story that is told to me first hand by Danielle Esquivel, wife, momma and fearless boss babe!

Their Family Story by Danielle:

Our family came to be many years ago when Kai our daughter was just 5 years old, over 8 years ago! Time sure does fly!

Justin, my husband, had been a longtime friend of mine and by chance we became connected again after many years apart. What once was a one sided love became two (Justin wanted to date me way back when but I always refused. I never wanted to ruin our friendship!)

We instantly fell in love with each other and wanted to spend all our time together and Kai loved Justin from the start!  They share a special bond to this day.

Fast forward to June 2013 where we decided we were in it for the long haul! We got married in a beautiful summer wedding in Ithaca, NY with Kai by our side as our flower girl.

So how did a bunch of NYers end up in DC? Well, about 3 years ago I accepted a job in the Washington DC metro area and we packed up and moved down to Virginia - our new home! We couldn’t be happier! Justin loves the area as an avid film fan and one of the Epic Film Guys from Epic Film Guys Podcast, there is always something movie related to do and you can almost always find him at the Alamo DraftHouse Cinema.

For me living in DC, I love the close proximity to so much culture and art! You can find me hitting up the local museums and concerts as well as shopping! Cause what girl doesn’t love to shop!

Kai, walks to the beat of her own drum. She’s fiercely unique and not afraid to be herself. We absolutely love her for that! She’s been into hand lettering and calligraphy these days and loves tagging along with us to shows and concerts. She’s a punk girl at heart and her punk mama couldn’t be prouder!

A little love note from Lacey O:

Danielle, Justin and Kai,

It was so fun planning and stylizing your family shoot with you.  You all are a divergently fierce family for sure!  Don't ever change a thing! 

With Big Love,

Lacey O.

5 REASONS WHY CHOSE HONEYBOOK FOR MY PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS

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Back in 2013, when I first started my photography business in San Diego, CA, I stumbled across The Rising Tide Society by doing a web search of networking events in my area.   I attended one of their monthly meet-ups for small business creatives, held every second Tuesday of the month (#TuesdaysTogether)

Fast forward a year and I became a leader for Rising Tide Society and the founder of San Diego's North County Chapter.  Which this great leadership position introduced me to their Workflow System, HoneyBook.

My workflow system at this time was just not efficient.  I was paying for and using Docu-sign and having my clients pay through Square.  Two completely separate parts that I would have to jump back and forth to.  Oh, and let's not forget that I was writing my shoot dates down in my planner and on iCalender.  Plus, jumping back and forth to my emails to look up clients needed info for contracts.  An all over the place mess, right guys?!

Which brings me to Reason #1 as to why I chose HoneyBook for my photography business:

1) TRACK AND MANAGE SHOOTS EFFORTLESSLY

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HoneyBook calls it the pipeline and my customers call it their personal assistant. When you have multiple shoots to manage it’s so easy to track the status of all your shoots, in one place. Whether it’s an inquiry, a proposal or a follow up action from your client, with one click you can tell if you’re on track. You can also easily assign a project to someone in your team, right from this pipeline.

2) MANAGE INQUIRIES SEAMLESSLY

HoneyBook makes it easy for me to respond quickly to inbound inquiries from my website. It’s easy to create a custom form and embed it easily into your website. When a potential customer fills out the form, HoneyBook automatically creates a new lead and adds it to your pipeline.
Jumping back and forth entering in your leads information can be extremely time consuming.  When you are managing not only your business and your personal life, this proactive perk for your business cuts down greatly and saves you time.

     




 

3) CREATE PERSONALIZED PROPOSALS

Nothing worse for your client is to have them jump around to different platforms for sending/receiving contracts and submitting payment to you.  It should be an easy and efficient streamline of delivery with the booking process.  Because it's all about GREAT customer service! AMIRIGHT?!  Your proposals, contracts and invoices should reflect your brand. their simple templates allow you to upload your logo and banner, customize your contracts and packages, get e-signature, automatic payment reminders and more. 

    


  

4) THE HONEYBOOK CONCIERGE IS THE BEE'S KNEES

You think I'm kidding?!  I kid you not, friend.  They are truly their for you and your success. They  not only help you get set up, on-boarded, and using HoneyBook quickly but they are here to help you put your best business foot forward.  Honestly,  as a small business owner, you are truly the CEO.  You have to learn and know everything to run your business.  Sometimes, learning another facet to your business can be overwhelming because you are doing so much already!  HoneYBook's concierge truly is there for you and you most certainly can apply me singing Joe Cocker's "I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS!" (Sung totally off key, fyi)

5)  A LITTLE INTEGRITY GOES A LONG WAY

Girlfrannn say what?!  Yes.  I said it.  
What peaked my interest with #HoneyBook was the fact that they offer a 14 Day free trial.  You have access to the complete system and their fantastic concierge.  I genuinely feel that they are about your success and what is best for you business.  This is why they generously offer the 14 day trial, with no credit card.  With 65,000 members and growing I feel their integrity they display for our creative economy is what is attributing to such rapidly growing member numbers.

6)  WANT A DISCOUNT AND REFFERAL CODE FOR SIGNING UP?

"Oh, hey Lacey O.  I thought you said there were only 5 reasons as to why you chose HoneyBook for your creative business?"   Why yes friend I did!
 But, since I received such love from HoneyBook, I want to give love! 

When you sign up with HoneyBook you can use my referral link:
http://share.honeybook.com/fQWtq to receive 50% off when signing up!

Like, Happy Valentine's Day to you, right?! 

TIPS ON HIRING A PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Recently I interviewed and hired a photographer to join my team.  But before I could, I needed to think about what I wanted in a photographer for my business.  So here are a few tips that was/is a factor for me in my decision making.  Oh and my photographer, made me, "hashtag ugly laugh" on our shoot.  Kind of like Kim Kardashian's #UglyCry Meme that is floating out there on the internet... but a laugh instead.  Which brings me to my first tip:

1) Authenticity.

If I feel that my interaction with a potential photographer is stiff, formal and almost robotic in response, I can't hang.  Why?  I tense up. I can't put my guard down. I'm having the circulating thoughts in my head of, "Who is this guy/girl, really though?"

2) Cohesive to Aesthetics to your Brand.

My photographic voice is cool balanced with pops of color, bright, true to life vibes, and bold.  I can't bring aboard a photographer that produces warm images, darker images, etc. ( You can see a further example of my photographic voice and brand here. 

3)  Connectivity.

I need to feel like I can be personable with my photographer.  Believe it or not, I get super nervous being in front of a camera, be it a simple photo or video.  I need to be able to share concerns, insecurities, and why I have super dark bags under my eyes because my two dogs want to be let outside at 3AM and I'm not on top of my game. (Pretty sure that was a run-on sentence)
It's good to be able to talk to your photographer and have them understand, along with help making me "Wurk It"

4)  Good Work Ethic.

Look,  I have things to do.  You have things to do.  Life has things to do.  I need quality work with a reasonable turn-around.  I'm not trying to wait for my images and receive them well into my 80's or not at all.

I hope these tips give you some insight and are helpful.  I also hope that my image below of my #UglyLaugh makes you laugh.  Because laughter, my sweet friend, you're winning no matter what!

SideBar:  Hey Robyn!  My brilliant photographer for my team,  I know your reading this boo.  Thank you for such a great day and making me laugh hard!  It was much needed! XO!

MY FEATURE IN, INTERNATIONAL WEDDING FESTIVAL & WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE SHOOT

It's funny, how you have a goal, and you're riding on high hopes to achieve this goal, but then the goal chooses you, PLUS SOME...
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My team and I shot in Ramona, California at the gorgeous @milagrowinery. However, on my way to the shoot, I got a flat tire on the I-5 and almost got into, what could have been, a rough car accident. I quickly called for roadside and arrived 30 minutes late. Which made me so mad because I'm always 30 minutes early.  I'M NEVER EVER LATE.  So needless to say, on the inside, I was upset.  Like REALLY upset.  On the outside, I refused to show it.  So I put on my game face and happy vibes and got to work.
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Overall the shoot went well, despite it being 100 degrees.  My team and I were pretty exhausted in the end.  Everyone packed up and left, except my friend/model @notchanning_justtatum and I.  We decided to have a glass of wine and unwind.
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It was getting dark and we decided to go since we were the only ones left on the property.  And that is when I realized, someone accidentally took my keys when everyone was cleaning up after the shoot.  So I was pretty much stranded and there was ZERO cell reception since we were so far out in the country.
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@notchanning_justtatum stayed with me and we drove into town to get reception.  We called my husband, Shane, who like the knight and shining armor that he is, drove allll the way out to bring me my second pair of keys to my Jeep.
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Now with all this unforeseen unpleasantries,  I could have from the very beginning called my back-up photographer to do the shoot and stayed home, since I was pretty rattled by the flat tire, potential car accident and not have dealt with what was in store afterwards. But I didn't.  Why?  Because I believed in the hope of my goal.  I believed in the people who were depending on ME.  Because I believe in keeping my word and honoring my commitment.  Because I believe in dressing up and showing up no matter how I feel.
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Hard work and showing up no matter how you feel will always pay off.  I'm EXTREMELY PROUD to share that not only has our Dark Romance Wedding shoot been published once but now six times and has gone internationally published as well.  Plus, I made one great friend (Tatum! Hey girl!)
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Hop on over to INTERNATIONAL WEDDING FESTIVAL to see my latest publishing and the amazing team of creatives I worked with.

MY FEATURE IN, ULTIMATE WEDDING DIGITAL

 

This announcement is so big I thought about sending all of you a chilled bottle of Vevue just so you could pop your corks with me as I reveal that I and the great team I worked with has been published with the international wedding company Ultimate Wedding Digital!
  Big news, right? Totally makes you forget how I teased you with a free bottle of French bubbly just now, huh? 
 Check out this featured wedding shoot, here.

 

 

MY FEATURE IN, A PRINCESS INSPIRED

PROST! SALUD! CHEERS!

My team and I are celebrating in a big way today because our Dark Romance with jeweled tones wedding shoot has been published in, A Princess Inspired!

You can celebrate with us and read how they were swept away with this romantic wedding, here!

5 LITTLE THINGS: MID-DAY PICK-ME-UP

Battling that mid-day slump? Here are 5 little things I do to give me a little pick-me-up for optimal output for my productivity:
1)
Eat/snack on something healthy that helps boost your energy. I understand that we are constantly around a lot of fast food restaurants at work and it seems easier to just to grab a burger or chips, but it will not fuel your mind or body the way it really needs. All it does is give your stomach that instant gratification/full feeling. It does give you nutrients that will have you running longer.
2)
Mid-day is a great time to start checking off completed tasks on your list. When doing so, even if you still have things left to do, it gives you a visual sense and therefore an emotional satisfaction that you are making progress and gains.
3)
Don't eat lunch/take your break with gossips. If you are a SAHM, Entrepreneur, PTA/PTO, or work for corporate, whatever it is you do, it’s only going to distract your focus by having your brain energy wasted on negativity. You don't have time for that. If you do have time for gossips, you're clearly not working to your full advantage. 
4)
Give at least 2 kind compliments on your break. You're not the only one that feels their energy is running low or feeling the weight of world is on their shoulders. Best way to uplift yourself is to uplift another. This practice generates happiness which happiness is an energetic emotion. I throughly take joy in seeing someone else perk up and feel good about a compliment given. Wouldn't you want to hear a pro about yourself?
5)
Drink water. Feeling like a slug moving through the fog? Friend, that's not a good look. Dehydration plays a HUGE roll in feeling fatigued and lack of concentration. Your body is made up of about 60% of water. That is more than half! So for the love of productivity, hydrate!

MY FEATURE IN, SAN DIEGO WEDDING

My newest blog post is pretty...dare I say, JUICY?!

Head to the link below to see my Dark Romance Wedding inspired shoot, so perfect for the outside of the box bride & just in time for the autumn season, that has been published in SanDiegoWedding.com and meet the amazing team I worked with! 

 http://www.sandiegowedding.com/blog/bold-red-wine-inspires-dark-romance-in-this-gorgeous-goth-y-wedding-styled-shoot-celebrates-autumn-perfectly/2017/8/24

 

MY JEWELED TONE ROMANCE STYLED SHOOT FEATURE ON BORROWED & BLUE

Since I specialize in photography for the divergently fierce & chic, of course I had to team up with a group of vendors out in California for a Dark Romance themed shoot.  

We traveled out to Ramona, California to visit the beautiful Milagro Winery to shoot this stylized wedding.  With vintage style and deep jeweled tones, its sure to inspire the outside of the box, bride.  Check out the amazing team I worked with and the rest of my images on borrowed and blue:

https://www.borrowedandblue.com/us/weddings/outdoor-jewel-toned-romance-styled-shoot

BALBOA PARK ENGAGEMENT, PALOMA + ROBERT

How They Met-

Paloma and Robert met through a mutual friend named, Shawna.  They were in college and Paloma invited Shawna to her 20th birthday party.  

Shawna showed up with Robert and a few other friends. Nothing really happened that night but Robert was one of the last people to leave the party.  Paloma shared with me giggling, "It's funny because I have a picture of us with me, after a few too many drinks, with a blanket and my legs plopped over him." 

Paloma and Robert didn't really keep in touch, maybe a few messages over Facebook but nothing serious. 4 years later Shawna invited Paloma out to downtown San Diego and there Robert was!

Paloma said, "I remember I kept looking at him out of the corner of my eye, I wanted to talk to him but was too shy and nervous. Shawna and the rest of the group wanted to go to another bar and I don't remember who suggested it.  Probably him because I was looking fiiiiiiiiine that night! Joking but not really!"
But instead, Paloma and Robert stayed behind. They sat in a intimate corner of the bar and just talked.  

Robert thought he had Paloma's phone number from when they met in college so he didn't ask for her number.  Fast forward to the following week and Paloma gets a message on Facebook from Robert saying he had an interesting conversation with the owner of my old phone number!

 A few months later he asked me to be his girlfriend at Disneyland, December 17 2011. 

 

About the proposal- 

He proposed exactly five years from the date he asked Paloma to be his girlfriend. December 17 2016.

Paloma explained, " I was actually kinda bummed going into our anniversary weekend because a few weeks prior I had asked him what he wanted to do for our big five year.  He told me that he had told our good friend Sam that we would go out with him to celebrate his 30th birthday on our actual anniversary date!  I was like whhhhhhat?!?! You do know it's our five year right... and we're gonna celebrate someone's birthday?!" 

She said, "I was a little ( aka a lot lol) pissed, but he was like don't worry I have something cool planned on Sunday!"

Paloma shared with me that she thought, "Okay, I guess it's not that big of a deal to celebrate the next day and I knew he would have something really cool planned because he usually does!"

 In their great group of friends, birthdays are a big deal.  Especially now that everyone is turning 30.  So a bunch of their friends were flying in or coming into town.  So Paloma didn't think anything of it.

Paloma and Robert met up with everyone at the Nolen in downtown San Diego.  Everything is chill and they all were having a good time.

All of the sudden Robert clears his throat and everyone quiets down.  Paloma said to me, " I was like oh shoot it's happening!"

At the proposal Robert told Paloma that he had been planning this night for several months and had everyone come into town so that they could be part of the surprise!

Paloma adoringly shared with me, "One of my favorite things about his proposal was when he told me that love wasn't about finding someone to live with but someone you can't live without." (Talk about a smooth operator Robert!)

 Then he got down on one knee and asked the big question! Of course Paloma said YES!

Paloma said, "Funny thing was, I was so nervous and I didn't know what hand the ring was supposed to go on so I gave him the wrong hand!  Now that I look back there are so many clues that he was planning to propose that night but I had no idea until he started talking - he got me good! We spent the rest of the night celebrating with 15 of really good friends."


A Little Love Note From, Lacey O.-

Paloma + Robert,
  I enjoyed our engagement session at Balboa Park in San Diego.  It was great meeting Shawna (shoutout to you Shawna for making all of us laugh constantly) and your sweet little fur baby, Bonita.  I'm so extremely happy for you both.  You two go together like cookies and milk!  Cheers to your love, success and many more years together.

With BIG Love,

- Lacey O.

 

My Interview on Becoming Love Project

My interview on the Becoming Love podcast went live! 

Tamala Baldwin, of Soul Kisses TV and the Becoming Love Project and I had such a blast and I am THRILLED to be a part of this newly launched podcast that focuses on creating heaven on earth by going within.

I speak about my child abuse growing up and moving out of your comfort zones to create the life you truly want. There are so many people that experience trauma and as a result, may lose their way. During this segment, I share about my child abuse and I offer some straight, unfiltered, bad ass advice to get people going again. 

Give it a listen to learn more about answering moving beyond the past to create the life you deserve. 
http://bit.ly/becominglove2

 
 

What She Said To Me At My Going Away Party...

She said to me at my going away party friends threw for me,
  "Lacey, I feel like you JUST got your feet planted in the ground here in San Diego. I'm a little concerned...  Aren't you afraid you are going to have to start all over again in D.C. or it won't go as well?"

My first thought was, WTH.  Who says that to a person who is having big changes happen in their life? And what was up with the backhanded compliment? JUST got my feet planted in the ground? Um, no.   
The funny thing about it was I planned in advance and had business already set up in D.C. well before my move.

 But then I realized instantly she was a person who was projecting her own fears, insecurities, incapabilities and self-made limitations unto me.  In that moment I felt really sorry for her.  Not irritated. Just sorry for her.  What a miserable mentality to have in your mind and spirit... and that mentality is by choice, mind you.

When people try to prick you like a cactus with their words and negativity, trying to cultivate a culture of fear, self doubt, worry in you,  IGNORE IT.  It is a reflection of where they are at internally and their self-made limitations are just that, THEIRS. It has nothing to do with you.  So chuck up a deuce, wish them well and keep it moving.  You have a much bigger focus.

 
 

Photos Are Your Legacy

"Photos are your legacy" I realized recently while taking pictures of my 3 children, Chasey, Zane and Gracey at Bates Nut Farm in California. My husband, kids and I were having a family day celebrating the autumn season and picking out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch.

As a mother, I know it's super important to have photos of your children for the memories, for yourself.  But I find it more important to have photos for your grandchildren and their grandchildren (so on and so forth)  But here is why I think why...

These photos are a precious story and legacy you leave behind for the generations to showcase your family.  If we did not have photos to help tell the story, we don't have the full on history of events, moments, where you have visited or lived, etc... basically, what makes you uniquely you!  Knowing our roots and beginning plays the biggest part of who we are.  It helps preserve the beautiful foundation that is 'Family'.