April 4th, 2016 by sharaleep | 2 Comments »
i’ve had a hard time putting this post together for a couple of reasons; one is that it was a whirlwind and i am struggling to summarize it in words. the other is that the first few days of images from our travels and the build were lost – my memory card was corrupted.
still, i wanted to share a little bit about what we chose to do with our spring break. at the end of last year, one of my goals was to serve more together as a family and to connect on a deeper level with other families in our small community. a couple of weeks later, i was approached by two moms who had kids the same age as ours about potentially going to mexico with an organization they were connected to. to do what, at the time, we didn’t know. i said we were interested right away as it meshed with the goals i mentioned, but as i thought about it more, i began to question whether it was a good fit. looking back, i’m so grateful that we decided to jump in with both feet as it ended up being such a positive time for all of us.
we found ourselves in a small town on a hill, just outside san quintin, mexico, building a three room house for a family of five who had previously been living in a shelter made of scraps of plastic, fibreglass and cardboard. our kids were on site with us all week, helping frame the walls, paint the trim, build bunkbeds and generally entertain the crew. we also had the opportunity to visit a local preschool to do crafts and use our poor spanish to make them laugh.
while there is so so much i could say from how proud i was of my kids to how encouraging it was to build a friendship with this sweet family who had never even dreamt of being able to have a home that was safe and dry, i will just say that this was so much more than a “good experience” – i want this to be our way of life. i want to be looking at ways to love and serve others, i want our kids to think beyond their own needs and try to figure out how to meet the needs of those around them. while i have zero notions about saving the world, i have also been reminded that the small ripples created by loving others in tangible ways can certainly change it for the better.
click here for more childhood unplugged stories!!
March 1st, 2016 by sharaleep | 3 Comments »
growing up, we were a road tripping kind of family. pack the lunches, stockpile the books, cram three little girl bodies in the backseat of the tan (it was actually more skin coloured) corolla, roll down the windows and hit the road. but make sure you went to the bathroom before strapping in because there was no stopping until we reached our destination and if you had to go, you were going on the side of the road. and i loved it. it was all about getting to where we were going and negotiating how long little sister was allowed to lean on each big sister while we were getting there.
so when i got married, i had the same mindset. get there. but now i had this guy that wanted to stop…to trade drivers (“what? my dad always drove! and he had back problems”), to go pee (“you’re a dude, going on the side of the road is SO easy for you”) and to – brace yourself – get fast food (“so you’re too good for the soggy peanut butter and honey sandwich i made you four hours ago?”). it was pure chaos. add children. i was so confused.
6 years ago, our lives took a turn that we didn’t expect. we didn’t have any plans/jobs for the foreseeable future and we felt a little lost. in a moment of clarity (or a complete lack of judgement), we took out our savings, rented a motorhome packed up our three preschoolers and drove across the country. it is one of those crazy decisions that i am forever grateful to have made. we bonded as a family, we saw places you would NEVER travel to as a final destination (read most of nebraska), we connected with so many old friends and made new ones (the motorhome culture is alive and well, folks) and we enjoyed the journey. we saw a “point of interest” marker on the highway and we would pull over. we drove through detroit in rush hour and received so many expressive hand gestures from our road companions that we had to close the curtains as to protect our childrens’ eyes. we celebrated thanksgiving with a dear friend’s family (the friend wasn’t even there) in ontario. we saw a lake, we stopped. we had an impromptu parkour session on some concrete benches at a rest stop in eastern oregon.
the conclusion we’ve settled on in recent years is that for our family, at least in its current state, we need to enjoy the journey. so even on our little trip back from portland last month (5 1/2 hours of driving is peanuts), one of our kids announced they were working on a #2, so instead of finding the nearest gas station, we searched out this amazing playground, got coffee and played monster tag). did we get home an hour later than we would have? yep. was it worth it? absolutely. (check out my childhood unplugged friends’ posts when you have a moment!)
January 20th, 2016 by sharaleep | 3 Comments »
i first met shannon years ago at a wedding – she is a gifted photographer and had been asked by the bride to cover their wedding shooting film. it was so fun to run into her this past year when she was a bridesmaid at a wedding and i was even more thrilled when she called to ask me to document her and andrew’s journey into parenthood. their home is beautiful and their daughter is the sweetest, most delightful little being you’ve ever met. here’s little miss wynn and her adoring parents:
January 9th, 2016 by sharaleep | 1 Comment »
krystal is a woman who doesn’t enter relationship lightly. she is sweet and quiet and doesn’t like to draw attention to herself. josh is a man of many words and knows what he wants…and he wanted krystal. he’s very open about his relentless pursuit of her, waiting patiently at home for her to return from traveling adventures so that he could continue trying to woo her. and for a time she resisted. she knew that if she chose to date him, she would be doing so with the outcome of marriage in mind and that was a big decision to make. once she made it, though, things moved swiftly and any doubts she had were removed. their commitment to each other is emotional and passionate, but is wholly based in truth…the truth of who they are and what they believe and who they want to be together. josh shared during the reception that he was never a crier. he can remember the number of times he had cried on one hand. but when he shared with krystal’s sister for the first time that he loved krystal, the tears freely flowed…and they haven’t stopped. their bond drew this untapped part of him out and it is a beautiful sight to behold. isn’t that what love is all about? allowing someone to see so deeply inside of you, through facades, darkness and hardness to who you really are and then trusting them to hold that part of you with care; knowing that they can hurt you, but choosing to be open to that pain because being known and loved for who you are is a more satisfying payoff than you could have imagined. here is a celebration of that love:
ceremony: cityview church | reception: the earls loft in yaletown | hair & makeup: aly mcrae | flowers: the flower factory | groom’s suit: eph apparel | bridal gown: hailey paige | second shooter: jennifer foik
December 10th, 2015 by sharaleep | 1 Comment »
the zacharias family. first there was quinn…she captured our hearts in a way we didn’t expect and left us wanting so so much more, but has stayed close by to remind us what hope looks like. second was asher…a man of few words, who is a sweet little ball of giggles and thoughtful stares and most definitely his mother’s son. and now beck…who will you be, little love? can’t wait to see.
December 1st, 2015 by sharaleep | 2 Comments »
no one ever believes me. they go up to the vine and say, “those look so much like kiwis!”
every year i struggle through the delicate dance of when to pick them and how long to leave them ripening off the vine, but i think i may have finally mastered it. the only way i can get the kids to help is by promising they can keep the ones that look like butts. you think i’m joking.
and if you were ever curious as to what i look like when i’m running a fever, balancing on a lawn chair trying to extend my weak little body to get the ones on the top branches…this is it. thanks to my darling husband for documenting that.
more childhood unplugged stories here!
November 16th, 2015 by sharaleep | 2 Comments »
this family. there is so much that i would love to write, but since you likely don’t have hours to spend, i’ll give you a little background here and here. and now we are here. in their sweet and beautiful home, welcoming a sweet and beautiful baby into their loving arms.
November 10th, 2015 by sharaleep | 2 Comments »
one of the amazing things about this couple is their mutual admiration for each other. they clearly see their partner as a gift…it comes out in the way they look at one another and how highly they speak of each other. it’s beautiful to witness.
we went to the mountains together and they did not disappoint. here is levi & janelle.
November 2nd, 2015 by sharaleep | 1 Comment »
friends that are like family.
more amazing images by my childhood unplugged family here!
October 7th, 2015 by sharaleep | 1 Comment »
i could say a lot about these two. much of which you may hear when i shoot their wedding in a couple months. but what i will say today is that when i look at these images, i see love. not just the ooey gooey butterflies in your stomach feeling, but the real life “we have chosen each other and will continue to choose each other” kind of love. because things haven’t necessarily been easy for them and they don’t know what they future holds, but they are in it. together. and the way they look at each other, knowing that they are each truly and deeply loved, not in spite of their shortcomings, but because of their shortcomings…ooooowee. there’s nothing like it and to me, that is a kind of beautiful that you can’t even describe in words.