Emily Schultz : July 2016

29 July 2016

Focus on Your Moments

Family is made every day and moments we share are where strong relationships are made. In your daily life and in your adventures. Documenting the moments between the big events of life tells the story of how you become the family you are. It’s the story of a life well lived. 

Sometimes it’s hard to see the awesome through the chaos of everyday life. It gets buried beneath stress, sleepless nights and the not so great parts. When we are struggling with the heaviness of the not so amazing, it gets harder to genuinely appreciate moments that are wonderful. I always tell my kids (and even myself) on bad days that there is at least one thing to be thankful for. In the moments that are overwhelming or on days that go downhill fast, finding the moments that make your heart happy have a way of making the hard to handle just a bit easier. Those moments remind us how each day our family is made little by little. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day neither is your family. It is built in the moments that speak loudly to those we love the most. It is made in the moments where we find what we are most thankful for.  It’s made every day little by little.

To hone in on these moments I've created a weekly focus email challenge. Each week for 8
weeks, I will send you an email with a prompt to get you thinking about and documenting the moments in which your family is made. It’s nothing crazy, I promise. It’s not intense or super in depth. Just a quick email once a week with two choices. One that gets you thinking about and documenting the daily and weekly moments that you cherish and a simpler version where I suggest moments to document.  I know some weeks, there isn’t enough coffee in the world to keep the brain functioning let alone thinking. For these weeks it’s just easier to know exactly what to do.  You can do one or the other. Combine them and do both. It’s really up to you how far you take this.  I want you to see your moments. I want you to have them as part of your visual history.

If you post on Instagram use #familyismadeeveryday or #seeyourmoments. I'll be checking in on these tags every week. I'll be following along and can't wait to see the moments that matter most to you. Sign up now to join the fun.

If you are wondering where to even begin, check out my Ten Tips to Photograph Your Everyday

21 July 2016

Let the Moment Unfold

Have you ever wondered how those great moments are documented? You know the ones that call your emotions to the surface and either make you smile or bring a tear to your eye. Those great images that document the moment in a way that captures the feelings. All the feelings. You know those pictures of a moment that show something special unfolding.

They are not always easy to get, but it gets easier the more you practice. Sometimes those moments are hard to see in the business of your everyday life, but if you look for them you will see them. When you see a moment document it, but don’t stop it. Let it unfold, let it happen without interference.

What that means is don’t call attention to the fact you have a camera. Don’t stop what is happening to get a picture. Just let it unfold while you practice your sneaky ninja skills. Don’t do the “say cheese” thing that always ends up with your kids giving the weirdest smiles.

Sometimes it’s hard at first because kids, and really most people, are trained to stop and look at the camera. It may take some time, but tell them to ignore you. If my kids look at me I say “just pretend I’m not here.” It usually works to get them re-focused on what they were doing before they noticed the camera. Now they pretty much just ignore me when I have the camera pointed at them.

If you have any questions just drop them in the comments. I’d love to help you out.

Looking for more tips and tricks to photograph your day just enter your name  and email in the form below and I’ll email you my 10 tips to photograph your everyday.

12 July 2016

Summer Time Slow Down

Summer is rolling on by at an alarming rate of speed. How is your family creating those great summer memories that are the start of all the best stories? You know the stories that start with remember that one time we… and end something like it was just a great weekend. Even though the wind was insane and blew the tent down on top of us and we sat around a nonexistent fire and roasted marshmallows over the camp stove.  Those aren’t big moments, but they are important. Full of laughter and smiles that make them stick in your mind.

I always want to make summer as magical for my kids as it was for me when I was growing up. But when I think back the parts that stuck with me are the things my parents probably didn’t spend a lot of time (if any) planning. It’s being pushed in the tire swing my dad hung in the biggest poplar tree. Feeling the warm summer air rush past. Going higher and higher, until I could see over the roof of our house. Giggling with the happiness of time spent with my dad. It’s watching the sun sink lower and lower behind the hills, while standing on our heads. Holding my breath as the last sliver of sun disappeared for the night. It’s nights spent sleeping outside watching the stars going by, talking and laughing as we counted shooting stars and satellites.  Those are the memories that stuck and made my connection to my family strong. It’s how my parents built our family.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of summer and I don’t want that for you or for me. This summer I’m going to try and slow down a little. Worry a little less about cramming everything I can into these warm months and focus more on building relationships with my family.

I thought I’d share a few of my ideas for this summer. This isn’t my bucket list of things to accomplish this summer. I don't want to feel like I'm crossing items off a list. It’s finding ways to connect with my family, so that when my kids are grown they still want to hang out with me. It’s creating a space in which real conversation can happen. It’s about slowing down enough to listen to what they have to say. Really listen. Because the relationship you’ll have with your kids when they are grown begins now. In the moments that create memories that stick.

Here are some of my slow down moments. Moments that aren’t rushed and where the conversation can come easy.

Watch the sunset from the back porch
Roast marshmallows in the backyard fire pit
Picnic in the yard
Sleep on the trampoline
Family game night

Don’t forget to photograph some of your slow down moments, but please don’t stop the moment for the picture. Be sneaky about it, like a ninja.

If you post your moments to Instagram use #seeyourmoments or #familyismadeeveryday. I’d love to see how you are building your family and creating deep roots.

Here’s to creating sticky memories.

09 July 2016

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05 July 2016

Finding Grace

Summer is here and to say I am relieved is an understatement. These last few months have been trying. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. I feel disconnected from my family. It has nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. I see them every day, but I’m not present. It’s been like I’m on the outside looking in. I was trying, but I couldn’t quite get that connection that I long for.

It’s been hard to see those moments that matter because I’ve been focused on just surviving. On putting one foot in front of the other and just getting through the day. Get the kids dressed, make sure they eat breakfast, gather up our stuff and head out the door, only to get in the car and think wait did we brush hair and teeth… whatever we don’t have time, and off we go to another day. Coming home isn’t much different. Homework, dinner, bath and bed. Followed by the endless stream of them coming out of their rooms for various reasons when I really just want quiet.  

That’s been hard for me, knowing they crave my attention and lacking the energy to give them 100%. Life isn’t always easy and giving ourselves grace while we navigate our valleys does not come naturally. We judge ourselves harshly and expect to be on top all the time. Or at least I do.
So how do we handle the low places in our everyday life? How are we supposed to see past our chaos and embrace the beauty and connection of each day (let alone document it) when we can hardly see our way to the next cup of coffee?

Step one: breath.

Seems like a simple thing to do, but the valleys of life are often times places of suffocation. Not physically, but emotionally, mentally, and creatively. In the middle of your overwhelm stop, literally, stop, and take three deep breaths. Brains don’t function without oxygen.

Step two: Take a timeout.   

It’s okay to take time for yourself. If you feel like it’s not, I’m giving you permission right now to take a timeout. The world won’t fall off its axis if you take an hour for yourself. I’m not sure what your perfect time-out looks like. Mine looks like a warm beach and a margarita, but that isn’t always possible. So I’ll settle for a good book, an iced mocha, and quiet.

Step three: Be easy on yourself

You know that grace I mentioned? Give yourself some. Let go of the need for perfection. Let go of the need to do all the things. Do the best you can with the energy you have and save the rest for another day.

In the end the valleys turn into peaks and the moments in between will turn into memories. Even if it’s a struggle, hold on to the time you get with those you love. Even when you feel like you don’t want to. Do it anyway. Snuggle on the couch. Make that hot chocolate on a rainy day. Sing like crazy in the car. Find the grace to be easy on yourself. Those feelings of connection will slowly start to creep back in. I promise. I’m starting to feel them already.