{Celebrating 40, My Gift to You} Richmond Hill Photographer

teal bird


When you’re young, 40 seems so far away, doesn’t it? Another lifetime, perhaps. A point so far in the distant future you feel you need a looking glass to even consider the weight of it. Forty. Halfway through my life, perhaps? I hope not, but who knows?  Well, here I am, celebrating 40, contemplating my existance . All of the accomplishments and heartbreak, the new life I’ve welcomed onto this Earth, the jobs I’ve held, the business I have established, the love I’ve held in my arms, the tears that have fallen, the laughter, joy and wisdom gained. Friendships bright and new, and those that have withered away. Family lost, and family trees that have blossomed with new buds. Sometimes it seems like I’ve experienced much, and other times, like I have too much left to do, to learn.

My (ahem) “senior” friends have told me 40 is perfection. You stop caring what people think, you’re comfortable in your skin, you have a little money to your name, you have a set purpose, goal, your dreams now have traction. I’d like to think this is all true. I look in the mirror and do see a gray hair or two, extra laugh lines and perhaps deeper set bags under my eyes. But I also see experience, intelligence, eyes that glimmer with the hope of tomorrow, lips that have kissed true love. Arms that are stronger than in years past, arms that have hugged countless times and held sleepy children while they dreamt. A stomach that bares the truth of two babies, babies that gave me a love like I’ve never known. Legs that are wider, a little meatier than twenty years before, but oh, the trails we have blazed together! Can I even fathom the number of steps we’ve taken on our journey? And how many more to come?

As I write this, on the eve of my 40th birthday, I’d like to think it’s pretty amazing to get here. Really, if you think on it, this whole life thing is pretty darn miraculous, right? So I thought I’d compile a list of 40 things I’ve learned in 40 years. Now, this doesn’t mean I’ve mastered everything on this list, or that I’m even close to it. What I am acknowledging is things I know to be true, even if I have to remind myself of them on occasion. As the blog title dictates, I do indeed have a gift for you; but you’ll have to scroll down to the end to get it. Call it a reward for making it through this long-winded blog post. But if you do indeed whiz past my list to get to the “good stuff”  I’ll never know, right? 😉

My List

  1. God is real. There’s just too much awesomeness in this world for this to not be true.
  2. Having children truly is this most rewarding/hardest/most joyful, crazy, scary thing you’ll ever do. But it’s so worth it.
  3. Take risks. Sometimes you just have to take that first step and be faithful.
  4. Smart people read.
  5. Friends are family you get to choose.
  6. If you ask me my opinion, I’ll gently tell you. If you weren’t interested you wouldn’t have asked, right?
  7. We really do have the best country in the world. Yes, we have our share of troubles, but some of you just don’t understand how lucky we are.
  8. Trust your gut. Always.
  9. Dogs are cooler than cats. (don’t shoot me cat people, lol)
  10. Photographs are important. PRINT them. Please.
  11. Learning never stops.
  12. Exercise is important. Do it.
  13. Food is good. Eat it. Whatever you want, in moderation.
  14. Be the first to say, “I’m sorry.”
  15. Naps are a little gift you can give yourself. I take a 25 minute nap almost every day.
  16. Make your bed every morning, you’ll be more productive. I promise.
  17. You are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine. And yes, we can still be friends. I’d like that.
  18. Acting silly is perfectly acceptable. Even at 40.
  19. Farts are funny.
  20. Not everyone will like you. (I struggle with this a lot).
  21. Happiness is a choice. Choose wisely.
  22. Life isn’t fair.
  23. People are inherently good.
  24. I don’t regret the things I’ve done, only those that I didn’t do.
  25. Take time for yourself.
  26. Don’t skimp on nighttime sleep. (I probably need to tattoo this on my forehead because I am downright dreadful following this advice.)
  27. Laugh every day. And hug someone.
  28. Only those that stick with you during struggles deserve to be with you to celebrate your successes.
  29. True friends will never question why you disappeared off the face of the earth. They will welcome and love you unconditionally. This is absolute truth.
  30. Kindness matters. So does forgiveness.
  31. Miscommunication is the root of most problems.
  32. Use “please” and “thank you” and teach your children to do the same.
  33. You really don’t need to wash your hair every day.
  34. It’s okay to ask for help.
  35. There’s always two sides to every story. Try not to judge before hearing both.
  36. Take time to really listen to your children.
  37. Mistakes are the best way to learn. Don’t cheat yourself.
  38. Let go of expectations. (sigh – I am burned by this one all the time. Gotta’ let go).
  39. Save for a rainy day. Or many rainy days. You never know what life will deal you.
  40. Life is beautiful.

That’s my list! Anything you would add? I’d love to hear from you! Write your thoughts in the comment box below.

On to what you’ve been waiting for … 🙂

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE birthdays. Like love, love. They are always a big deal in our house. I love planning, designing, and throwing birthday parties. Honestly, I may have been a party planner in another life – it brings me such joy. I get rather giddy, actually.

So to celebrate my birthday I thought it would be a wonderful time to gift something to you!!

I am offering $40 off any full session this weekend only if you sign-up for a pre-session consultation with me.

What’s the fine print?

-Contact me and wish me “Happy Birthday” between Friday, March 25 and Sunday, March 27th to qualify.

-The pre-session consultation has zero obligation. If you like what you see and book a session, you receive $40 off your full session fee. If you decide MMP isn’t a good fit for you, you lose nothing (other than the 15 minutes we spent together, lol. But I promise we’ll still have fun).

-Your session needs to be held between now and December 31, 2016.

-Your consult needs to be held during the month of April 2016. It’s never too early to plan!

-This offer can not be combined with any other offers and previously booked sessions are not eligible.

-You must book a full session. Headshot and milestone sessions are not eligible.

That’s it! Easy peasy!

You basically have nothing to lose!

MMP is in our brand new location – this is a perfect time to come check us out!

Click on the button below, find “Contact” on the top toolbar and schedule your pre-session consultation.

Email Me

Have a beautiful day and a magical Easter. He has risen indeed!


Michelle CharlestonMarch 26, 2016 - 7:04 pm

I am interested in booking a session with you. My husband wants to do family/maternity pics. I am 7 mths pregnant with his first son. I have two, boy and a girl from previous relationship and he has two daughters. I am due May 27th, so doing this in April would be great. Happy birthday! Mine is tomorrow March 27th. 35 amazing years of life!

adminMarch 28, 2016 - 1:49 pm

Michelle, congratulations and Happy Birthday! I will email you. 🙂

TanyaApril 21, 2016 - 11:38 am

Why did I think you have to register to comment??? Dementia….

Love this list. The 40’s are better…love the list 🙂

{Girly} Richmond Hill Child Photographer

Megan Myrick Photography | Savannah Newborn Photographer

I first spoke with Laura in mid October and within a few moments on the phone hoped they’d pick me to be their photographer. Genuine and kind, Laura and I chatted easily about their proposed session and we scheduled a date for their pre-session consultation. The main purpose of hiring me was to celebrate their daughter’s 1st birthday and when mom told me she wanted “girly” I may have screamed a little inside. Most of you know that I have two boys, and although I love them dearly, I do go a little crazy when the girls come to see me. Not much glitter and pink in my house. 🙂

Mom excitedly emailed me Baby A.’s clothing choices (yes, they are babies to me until after they turn one) so we could coordinate her little sets in studio (which I love to do!) We also planned to spend a little time at J.F. Gregory to capture a handful of family images as well.

As kind as Rand and Laura are, it was no surprise how buttery sweet and outgoing their beautiful daughter was.

Richmond Hill Child Photographer

Precious Baby A. oozed personality.

Savannah Child Photographer

Close-ups and detail shots are a favorite during milestone sessions. Baby A. already has that look down! 🙂

Pooler Child Photographer

I was really looking forward to the cake smash. Laura told me during her pre-session consultation that she wanted “pink and girly” for Baby A.’s smash, and obviously I was eager to oblige. I’d been wanting to purchase one of these beaded curtains, and her session gave me just the reason to do it! I l love how it adds a touch of whimsy and glam.

Richmond Hill Child Photographer

Cake smashes can be a gamble. Some babies have zero interest in the cake; they aren’t quite sure what to do or they have a great dislike for being dirty. Others are the complete opposite and Baby A. definitely fit into that camp. Once she had a taste of that frosting, she started to dive in.

In a big way. 🙂

Savannah Child Photographer
Pooler Child Photographer

Did I mention both of Baby A.’s parents work at Kroger? So you know that cake was delicious!!

And then the fun was over. And babies have no trouble letting you know when they are done.

It’s her party, right? These make me laugh. Out loud. Do you think Baby A.’s parents will slip these into her senior high school slideshow?

She’s just too cute.

Richmond Hill Child Photographer

I’d be remiss not to share a couple of Baby A.’s wonderful parents. It was such a perfect night.

Richmond Hill Family Photographer

Laura made my week when this message from her popped up in my email just hours after receiving her order.

“I can’t thank you enough. Everything is so beautiful, I’m thrilled with the results.”

Laura and Rand, thank you for trusting me with your precious family memories. I had a wonderful time with the three of you and I look forward to seeing you again soon.


{Motivational Monday.4} Richmond Hill Photographer


If you follow my Facebook page then you know that my computer was in the shop last week. Failing hard drive. Ugh. Thankfully I caught it before anything too disastrous had occurred and took it to my favorite computer guy in town, Mike, at Tech Smart in Richmond Hill. Seriously, if you need anything technical done, go see Mike. He’s terrific. Tell him I sent you. 🙂

Due to aforementioned computer struggles, I didn’t blog last week, but did post a fun motivational image on my page. Glad to be back blogging this week’s Motivational Monday!

A Ship in Harbor

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of boats, or water (other than my shower, bath or a good swim in the summer). I can do the beach a few times each year, but my heart doesn’t call to it like some I know. My aunt and uncle’s place is right on Hood Canal in Washington. I have fond memories of visiting during the summer, ankle-deep in muck during low tide, collecting seashells and shiny rocks. High tide we’d venture out onto the dock, feel it sway beneath our sandy, water-logged feet. Evenings would bring s’mores and my sweet cousin lovingly tying my hair in swift, neat french braids down my back. My dad had a boat for a time. I’ll never forget the bright orange life vests my brother and I dutifully wore, or how the wind pushed back against my lungs as I breathed in the mist of boats racing past as we sped forward, bouncing over the waves.

But this isn’t about beaches, summer vacations, or lazy weekends on the river in my dad’s boat.

No, this is all about purpose.

The purpose of a ship.

And your purpose.

Which are, in a way, eerily similar.

So, is the ship’s lot in life to stay safe, tucked tidily in the harbor, moored to a rickety, algae-covered dock?

No. No, that isn’t the purpose of a ship at all.

It’s to explore, to confront the mighty tides, to steer headfirst into the wind. A ship’s purpose is a vehicle for voyage – filled with discoveries, star-studded night skies, open air, a chance for rebirth and renewal. But perhaps most importantly, a ship’s purpose is to lose sight of the shore.

Scary? Yes.

A chance to be amazing? Yes, my friend. Absolutely.

How about you? Are you a ship protected by that dock or are you turning your sails into the wind, losing sight of the shore, taking chances, living your dreams?

Have a great week.


P.S. The wonderful quote is by John Shedd, 1850-1926

{Motivational Monday.2} Richmond Hill Maternity Photographer


If you knew me growing up, you’d emphatically agree that I put myself out there. Not in a thrill-seeking, adrenaline pumping kind of way, but more of a let’s-see-if-I’m-any-good-at-this type thing. Student council, writing contests, band, singing, photography, cheerleading, scrapbooking, theater, dance, track, gymnastics … the list goes on and on. Sometimes I’d discover I had a natural ability and other times? Well, not so much. And while there were definitely times I’d have to brush off the old ego, I knew I’d never look back and regret NOT trying.

I read an article the other day about Australian nurse Bronnie Ware who spent several years in palliative care, tending to patients during the last few weeks of their lives. Witness to many dying epiphanies, Ware eventually compiled her observations into a book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Can you guess what the #1 regret was?

That’s right.

Living a life with dreams, unfulfilled.

How heartbreakingly sad. To be at the end of your life only to realize you are completely out of time.


I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live a life of regret or missed opportunity. Looking back at the end of my days, thinking, “What if I’d only tried?”

Granted, this doesn’t mean I’ve never questioned myself because goodness gracious, what if I FAIL? What if I fall so hard, so fast that I don’t even have time to catch myself? What will people think of me?

My close friends, my family, my adoring husband will all attest that sometimes I need a no-holds barred, gorilla-sized push. But guess what? I DO it. I try. I give myself the chance to fail miserably, or to succeed beyond my wildest dreams.

Opening up a larger studio is scary. Like stupid scary. Double the size, double the overhead, double the stress. But imagine the possibility! Just like 2.5 years ago when we moved to Richmond Hill, I was at a cross-roads. It was a poop or get off the pot moment, and I had to make a decision. So I asked myself, what do I want? Do you want to quit, throw in the towel, recite your speech and walk off the stage, toss the mic aside?

The answer was clear.


No, I didn’t want to do any of those things.

So the choice became simple, really.

Megan Myrick Maternity Photographer

What about you? Do you have a dream just itching to be fulfilled?

What’s holding you back?

Fear? Money? Support?

What are you waiting for?

I want to hear about what dream you’re holding on to.


{Motivational Monday.1} Richmond Hill Family Photographer



Starting in junior high, I began to write inspirational and motivational quotes on index cards. White, purple, pink, blue … multi colored ink splattered on these rectangular pieces of paper, the flourish of my pen changing with my adolescent moods. I’d scour my grandparent’s Reader’s Digest magazines, bypassing all the humor pages to find the quotes scattered throughout. Before I knew it, I had a giant stack of them, pancaked together with at least two rubber bands, holding on for dear life. Whenever I’d have a sporting event, a big project, or on opening night of a show I was starring in, I’d break out that stack and read through most of them, losing myself in the prose. I know the messages of wisdom and positivity helped get me through a lot in my younger years. Like many of you, I struggled (and still do) with thoughts of negativity and inadequacy. Filling myself up with those words boosted my spirits, renewed my strength, and immediately changed my viewpoint.

I have since lost those cards, the ones I spent hours carefully transcribing with attentive penmanship in my youth, to the passages of adulthood. I slowly, unconsciously utilized them less and less, as I moved on to college and beyond. But there have been many days where I’ve reached out to touch them, saddened to find nothing there. As a mother, the Bible has become more of a guide to help me navigate through these somewhat murky waters, but I find myself inherently missing those simple cards. Reminiscing of where I was when I wrote each one, at times noticing a smudged letter, perhaps a tear that was shed? The innocence of childhood lost somewhere in the abyss of becoming a woman, a wife, a mother.

And thus, Motivational Monday was born.

I still find myself needing a good mental boost, probably more than I’d like to admit. And if I need a boost, maybe you do, too? I’ve scoured the internet (okay, mostly Pinterest) to find some of my favorites, old and new. Hopefully you find inspiration, comfort and strength in them as much as I do.

First up?

One of my favorite quotes. Ever.

All the Facts

There’s many reasons why Einstein is considered one of the greatest minds of all time, and this quote is surely one of them.

As for me?

Well, I’ve got big, big dreams.

What are yours? Feel free to comment and share! I’d love to hear.

Happy Monday, friends.


DesiJanuary 18, 2016 - 3:44 pm

I love that quote. I am struggling with dreams right now. I’m at yet another turning point as we are about to move again and I’m not sure where I want to go next. So I guess my dream is to find my post military finally settled dream and to start working towards that.

adminJanuary 25, 2016 - 1:40 am

Desi, being a military wife is tough. True, it brought me some of the greatest blessings but it is definitely not for the faint of heart. We have to give up a lot, or at least put things on the back-burner, our dreams included. Here’s to your post-military life dreams … and those dreams becoming reality.