happy NEW year

Hello blog…old buddy old pal.  It’s been awhile.  I seem to always have so much on my mind and in my heart, but never slow down long enough to get it out there.  I am going to stop pressuring myself to write so much on each post, and just make it a goal to keep posting short or long.  Have I said that before?  I feel like it is a recurring theme and you have heard it from me.  Quality not quantity…you know the drill.

Did you know you can have a NEW YEAR anytime of the year?  Each and every day can be a NEW start to a NEW year.  While we traditionally think of January 1st at 12:00 with the brilliant apple dropping amidst a sea of excited people who embrace that moment, it doesn’t have to be reserved for then.  A NEW year can be any time or any place.  It is up to you.  Each one of us can make the personal choice to start aNEW.  It need not be a Monday, or any other marker either.  Each breath a new tomorrow, each day a tabula rasa, each page a blank one to write, each morning a fresh start, each step a journey to possibility.

So here’s to NEW beginnings no matter when they are.  And here’s to embracing life and the gratitude of living in the moment.  And being thankful that HE makes all things new.

~ xo mel ~


In the spirit of NEW beginnings I am posting my New Year’s card that never went out.  Above is the front and below is the back.  I actually do have copies for our family, but they never received them.  It was something that I planned to send, and then just didn’t.   Now I am sharing with you all.  It is a very special card, and you will see why.  Ringing in the New Year was actually a bit harder than I would have thought.  It’s not something I expect anyone to really understand, though as we sat waiting for it to come, my husband leaned over and said the most insightful and sensitive thing that let me know his heart understood mine.  I will keep those details private, but I can say that it was comforting to know that he understood.  The journey to being a better person remains.   I have a little angel guiding me and teaching me that each NEW day is a gift.  For that I am so blessed and grateful.


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. :)