the rest will follow

First things first, I am a PROUD AUNTIE.  From the moment I found out a new addition would be coming into our family, I was filled with excitement to see what this new little soul would be like.  My nephew Christopher Sloan was born just four minutes shy of Valentine’s Day.  And it is very fitting.  He is such a sweet lil’ love bug.  So tiny and precious and all things yummy.  And being that he was fresh to this world, my sister asked me if I would come and photograph Sloan and the family.

As alluded to on my Facebook page, newborn sessions are not something I commission.  They aren’t in my wheelhouse, and to be honest it is an area that has never interested me to further my craft.  I have done a few sessions for friends and family, but other than that i leave it to those who love this type of photography.  I sold my newborn pillow a year or two ago and so I don’t even have options per say when it comes to poses and such.  And to be honest I am more of a natural kind of gal.  I don’t tend to prefer all of the extras and props and do dads so to speak.   (did i really just say “do dads?”)

During this session I reminded my sister of all of the above. And then i finally asked, “Can I just do what I do?” She whole heartedly said yes, go for it.  This is the result…lifestyle newborn.  Now that is something I can do and enjoy, and would be happy to offer to more clients in the future.  In the moment, real, connection.  That’s where it’s at in my book.  Finding precious and tender moments was beautiful and I can’t say that I might not do another newborn session like this in the future.  I think I would.  No buckets or baskets or hoopla.  Pure, simple and natural brings out the beauty of a cherished little one who has just taken on the world.

Today’s reminder…you do YOU.  Do what you LOVE.  The rest will follow.

Welcome to the world sweet Christopher Sloan Fiala Hollo.  It goes without saying that there are many more photos in your future.  But more importantly than that, it goes without saying that you are loved beyond what you know.  I pray you will always be true to yourself, by sharing the gifts that God has given you.  We all can’t wait to see what you will do and who you will be.  Love you sweet boy!

~ xo mel ~

the right to hope

Today I am breathing deep.  Today I am reveling in the fact that though my anxiety tried to take me over, and in reality did for a big portion of time, my fears have finally been squelched, at least in this moment that is.  Today I am reflective and thankful and thoughtful and grateful beyond measure.  This past year has been full of moments of clarity, and struggle…finding and faith.  I have changed my perspective and outlook and I am not at all who I once was.  That has been an ongoing evolving process, much like a butterfly in a metamorphosis unlike any other.  I did however for a long period of time lose my spark, my luster, my shine.  Of course I was able to pass a little shine to others and encourage them to do so, but my inner glow was gone.  The belief that something happy was waiting for me was all but gone and I had no belief in the fact that it ever might be that for my story.  Of course my story is not yet all written, and I don’t know exactly where I am going.  Even when we plan our futures, sometimes those plans are derailed and changed by what is called life.  And in life God has other intentions for us that we did not ever have for ourselves.  A sad part of this journey was that my hope burnt out.  The spark I talked about above was my hope, and it has been a stranger to me all these months.  I was afraid to let it in for fear that something else might break it, squash it or push it out of my heart.  So instead of letting someone or something do that, I did it myself.  I allowed fear and anxiousness to rule and force hope out of the spot it once had in the home of my soul.  Today I am taking hope back.  It is my right to have hope.  It is your right to have hope.  If you are out there and things feel as if they may never be right again, or if you feel despaired or if you feel too nervous to let light in for fear the dark will eclipse you once more, fear not.  HOPE.  It is a gift given to us all.  A gift we must choose to open.  A gift that we cannot let fear overcome.  Please know that HOPE is there just waiting for you to take hold.  I know today I am grasping with full force.  And I hope you will too.

“It’s ok to not know where you’re gonna land.” ~ Natasha Bedingfield
xo ~ Mel



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why i missed fall

If you know any photographers they will tell you that fall is their busiest season.  It could probably be an Olympic sport…being a photographer during fall is SERIOUS business.  I always have families, seniors and couples clamoring for the month of October like it is a prize to be won.  But fall was not busy for me…at least not this year.  I did not photograph at all this fall.  The last session I did was in September and then I just stopped.  Didn’t even have the desire to take photos or go on sessions.  And were there people wanting those dates?  Yes, of course there were.  But could I commit to giving them my time.  No, in all honesty I could not.  I took this fall to work on me and to put more important matters first.    There were many different things going on in my life, and with the demands of school (I teach full time all day Kindergarten if you are new to the blog) and the demands of self, it just was not possible.  My heart told me “take a break…give it time…there is no worry.”

Fall is my favorite time of year.  The changing colors of the leaves, the crunch of them underfoot, the brisk air, the very smell of fall, the nature, the beauty.  This season I experienced beauty in a much different and unexpected way.  It came in taking time out, it came in helping others, it came from giving fully and with vulnerability, it came not in the form of golden hues and amber waves, but in the form of the light of a child’s smile, the hug of a stranger, the continued (yet unfinished) healing of the heart, the warmth of a message, the words of grace, the giving without expectation, the search for the soul.   So, while I took fall “off” this season, it was for the best.  Of course I missed the colors and gorgeousness of it all, but it was a small price to pay for the fall that I did experience this year.  And that my friends was worth it.  And so the title of my post “why i missed fall” is probably misleading.  I didn’t miss it, no I found it I’d say.

I am continuing to take as much “off” time as I need here and there.  That being said, I am looking forward to a busier winter in my new studio and in the snow.  Lots ahead that I am so happy to be sharing with you all.  And speaking of sharing, there are a few new things I am excited to let you all in on…very soon.  I still have some things on my heart that are just waiting to come out…and projects planned that will soon come to fruition.  Stay tuned dear friends…

As I realized it was coming to an end, I couldn’t resist getting a few fall color filled photos, so I took my BFF Bailey out for a quick photo in our backyard.  This was probably about a month and a half ago.  He is such a willing subject. :)

my BIG announcement

I have heard it said that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  This quote by Seneca is a half truth in my opinion.  As I don’t really believe in luck.  I am of the mind that everything in our lives is part of a divine plan.  This belief of mine has been tested and put through the fire more than ever this past year.  And really it has been tried over the past few years if I am being honest.  I question the very faith that I hold so dear.  I have asked the meaning of things in life, and I have had my doubts in the ultimate plan that lies ahead.  I still have moments when I wonder if there is a road with happiness that lies ahead just for me.  This is not to discount the joys and gifts I have been given, but at times I do question the future, where I am headed and if there ultimately is a path that is mine and mine alone.   It is in those times of weakness of spirit and draining doubt that I have to rely on someone much larger than myself.  I have to put my very life into His hands and believe in Jeremiah 29:11.  ”For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  While believing this on certain days can be quite the struggle, that is where faith comes in and grace fills in the cracks.

Today I am excited to announce that after years of hard work, preparation and planning, one of my dreams is coming true.  It is not by luck or chance that this has happened.  It was a long road to get here and I was not handed this opportunity out of the sky like a magical gift.  This is something that I worked for and a goal and dream realized through dedication and the tenacity to never give up.  My BIG ANNOUNCEMENT is that I am now the proud tenant of a storefront and studio in downtown Tiffin!  I can hardly believe it myself, but it is true and I am so thrilled!

Currently I am renovating the space with some help and I intend to open sometime in the fall.  I am not giving out the location just yet, however let me describe my space to you.  Think historic, think yummy light from a storefront window, think high tin ceilings, think glossy white floors, think high end, think chic, think white and gold, think amazing and you just about have it.  I am taking a historic space that was old and tired and giving it a Melissa Perry makeover a la snow white and glimmering gold.  Right now the studio is getting a professional paint job from top to bottom by the most amazing painter in town.  Walls are getting extra love with smoothing out, filling in and crisp paint.  The tin ceiling is now gleaming white and the floors will soon shine as well.   I have picked out gorgeous lighting and artwork and have begun collecting pillows and frames and other accoutrements that will make the space simply me.  If you are a past client you may see your face on the wall or you may get an invitation to my studio opening this fall.  To say I am elated is an understatement.  This space will allow me to further my business, to welcome clients to my world and to finally have a space of my own that is not inside of my home.  If only you could see the plans in my head…they are off the charts!  Right now the space is looking quite different {in a VERY GOOD way} from the way I found it and it will only go up from here.

I realize that this dream could have never become a reality without so many supportive people in my life.  I want to thank my husband Chad most of all for supporting me even when I have crazy and unorthodox ideas.  I am blessed to have a spouse and soul mate who truly believes in me in all aspects of who I am, and who puts up with the pain I can be when I get an idea in my head that will not go away.  I am also so grateful to my family, friends and clients who have been cheerleaders over the years.  What a gift it has been to be loved and lifted up by so many people who have always believed in me and my passion.

I look forward to inviting you to the studio opening.  I already have visions of storefronts dancing in my head and if you know me I will make those visions a reality.  Because the truth is when preparation meets opportunity, dreams really do come true.

~ xo mel ~
ps…for those who guessed it was baby news that i was going to announce perhaps I will fill you in more on our family story someday down the line…
i have a heart that longs to share with you all