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First wedding of the year and once I got home I wanted to start things off right with a late night Hot Chocolate, a backing up of all media and also pulling a few sneaks.  I couldn’t help but edit a few from this rainy Philadelphia evening adventure.  We talked of a winter wonderland and instead we have murky light sifting through a blanket of dark sky while rain drizzles my uncovered head.  Talk about a great first day back to work for the year! Seriously, It was great and I wish Nicole & Michael many, many, many more walks in the rain and hugs and kisses underneath their umbrella!

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Wedding day.  The sun is shining.  She is smiling.  Looking dapper.  Calming moments.  First Looks.  Rangers kick us out.  PPA photobombs our shot. More rangers kick us out. Running from the law.  Running in the streets. The sun is still shining.  She is still smiling. Jump in my car. Chase the light around the city. Vows.Smiles.Tears.Smiles.Kiss.smiles. Petals in the air. Toasts and words of comfort. Dance. Dance. Dance. Car. Home. Pack. Train. Family.

Slivers of the day. delightful organic little slivers.  Finding some peacefulness today That I had not anticipated.

Rewind to yesterday’s session with Avril and family.  I left the session feeling full of a sense of family.  I needed to feel that.  Spent most of the night debating whether to drive to Connecticut after shooting a wedding all day without sleep and going directly to the funeral or taking Amtrak from Philly to Ct.  Maybe sleep a few hours.  Only one train is going to arrive early enough to make it and it’s an hour away from my final destination.  Great.  Call Dad – Yes, not a mistake I did say it arrives at 4:30am.  Yup – I know that’s early.

Fragmented conversations, time to switch gears. Time to walk in a room filled with people who have also experienced a loss.  Time to embrace life and family and friends.

Have you ever felt a truly vibrant and joyful soul in your presence? The type that’s made up of warm toothy smiles, kind and selfless acts, all encompassing hugs and so much life emanating from behind bright and hopeful eyes. I Have=) yup, felt it for sure.

Have you ever seen with your own eyes or in the eyes of others the unmistakable look filled with so much love that says you are mine & I am yours and I will love you and protect you always? I Have =) yup, saw this too.

If you haven’t, then you must go in search of people like this and love like this and surround yourself with them and it and immerse yourself immediately. Do it and do it now, do it often, you can thank me later. It’s better than homemade hot cocoa on a super cold day. Trust me, it’s true. I promise, you just can’t Over Dose on too much happy or too much of being loved- no matter what.

Help comes to us in many forms.  Today I needed to be surrounded by this collection of endearing souls.  Today, like yesterday I needed to be reminded that family is as much a feeling as it is the physical representation of connection.  I spent this day celebrating the beginning of a new life and tomorrow I will spend the day celebrating the memories of another.

Thank you, Sarah & Greg for shining so bright, for helping me to get through a difficult time by sharing in your joy, celebration and overall loveliest of days. I wish I could clone you =) I would make an army of you both!!! Congratulations to you both and may you always, always, always be Counting Stars…

So many images resonate with me from your day but I keep gravitating to the ones that are most joyful.  These make me exceedingly happy to look at.

For the full collection of sneaks go here —–> Sarah + Greg Sneaks

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Her words really made an impact on me. So much so that as we were chatting on the phone the part of my mind that I can’t seem to shut off was planning and plotting against me. My own thoughts had betrayed me and had taken alliance with someone else! I know it’s because she was right. You see, as Avril and I chatted on the phone trying to find an available date that would work for a Be-Loved {we} session (which for her is no simple feat when juggling schedules for 3 super active kids and crazy weather patterns), we got a wee bit sidetracked as we started discussing the session and subsequently my blog. I often wonder if I write enough, too much or in such a way that renders people comatose. I make excuses as to the why I didn’t blog or write about a moment that inspired me. I convince myself that no one cares, I feel like the world closes in and my efforts to right wrongs or spread happiness goes unappreciated.

Avril’s words affected me so much because they came from a place of kindness. She triggered the part of me that I’ve managed to shield for most of my life. The part of me that is vulnerable. Vulnerable is not something I do very well or even at all. I come from a long line of stoically strong willed people. It’s been a long process for me to really be okay with and to be able to sit silently within my vulnerabilities and to accept them. It is the reason why I believe I am so good at safeguarding my clients trust and vulnerabilities from behind the lens of my camera. I live vicariously through them, showing them that it’s okay to trust a stranger, be yourself and I won’t judge. This is so important to me.

Having traveled the world as a child of a Military family was a priceless education yet ironically the price that was paid is in and of itself priceless. Yes, I’ve seen things and done things that exist on many people’s bucket lists but to me it was normal. I have a passion for travel, international cuisine, customs and adventures. I’m really good at moving. I can pack a box or the trunk of any car and maximize every single square inch of space. The flip side to moving so frequently meant that relationships came and went, friendships could hardly be developed before it was time to pick up and leave again, roots were never formed and family, well my family consisted of my parents and 2 younger brothers. We left my mother’s family in Taiwan when I was 4. The first time I met my fathers family I was 6. The second time I was 15. Every move meant a new Air Force Base and a new potential identity. How to fit in, who to hang out with, are my brothers okay? Questions that I’ve asked myself more times than I care for. Looking back, well, it was exciting and adventurous and I wouldn’t trade the experience at all but I realize in this very moment how much I have paid and paid dearly for this experience. The currency was exchanged, year after year after year.

Once I got my license (in Forks Washington – for all of you Twilight fans)I was on the go. Never afraid to venture places I had never been. A Fearless traveler. We moved to Delaware, where my Dad retired and I made the 6 hour drive to Connecticut to visit my grandparents and family many times. I liked to drive at night and avoid traffic. No matter what hour of the morning I arrived it was into the open arms of my Grandmother. She would wait up for me, we would sit and talk at her table while eating smoked Kielbasa, perogies (hers are the best)and cookies. I knew to always come with an appetite because she was gonna feed me whether I was hungry or not.

Flash forward several days after my phone chat with Avril… It’s 1:00 am Thursday November 14. I’m immediately startled by the buzzing then fear radiates inside me as I wonder who it is and what they could possibly want at this hour. It’s my Dad. Of course I pick up. Nothing good comes from a late night phone call. He tells me that my grandmother has left us, peacefully in her sleep. She has gone now after several years of fighting tirelessly, she has left us to be with her friends and my grandfather. I don’t really sleep after we hang up, I need time to process.

As fate would have it this day was the day that Avril and I had set aside for their family adventure. I had a decision to make about whether or not I would be emotionally capable of shooting such an intimate vignette into a day in their lives. I questioned my ability to safeguard my vulnerability. I knew deep down inside that there would be no better way to celebrate life than to spend some time with a family celebrating their lives. I needed to do this.

I remember meeting Avril face to face that day. One of the first things she did was to say hello, wrap her arms around me offer her condolences and then she thanked me for being there especially in light of my Grandmother’s passing. I thanked her that day but I would like to thank not just Avril but also, Dan, Calin, Fionna, Alec, and Snickers. Thank you all for your beautiful spirits. Thank you for taking me on your family hike, thank you for indulging me with my games, thank you for spending a few hours, running, playing and wandering trails. Thank you for filling up my heart that day because it was close to empty. I am forever grateful for people like yourselves who engage mentally, physically and emotionally with each other. Never, ever, ever lose that. Keep each other close even when you are completely and utterly annoyed =) You are FAMILY. Thank you for finding me because I think I found a little peace of myself that afternoon.

I want to share a few images from our session that day. I love the dynamics of older brothers and younger ones. A boy and his dog, A fearless young lady and let’s not forget love. I felt like we captured it all that day. I left feeling cleansed and okay. I left knowing what I had to do. Here are a few of my favorites. To see more feel free to visit my studio page. <—– By clicking here.

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I’m some what neurotic, ha ha – completely at times! Before I post a new piece online I have to watch and re-watch it to make sure that I’m happy with what we are putting out there and that we portrayed our clients in a way that makes them happy with the work we have created for them. My father has always told me that I am too tender hearted, I can care too much about other peoples experiences and feelings and it is a very deep well that both my passions and my pitfalls draw from for fuel.  This well has helped me to become incredibly tolerant yet can also spur a wrath that only a select few have ever had the pleasure of having lavished on them.  It’s true but I have grown to love the tender hearted part of myself.  I derive so much pleasure from making others happy and I generally in turn love to be around happy and positive people.  I’ve even managed to gather some pretty amazingly tender hearted, happy and passionate people who I surround myself with as peers, clients, friends and everyone who has ever worked at or continues to work in Cindy Guessford Studios. It’s a prerequisite for working here.  YOU MUST DRINK THE COOL-AID. Our work environment is built on one simple and lasting goal.  I promised myself that if things ever took a wrong turn and became anything other than this one simple goal then it would be time to move on…

What’s the goal you ask.  Here it is.  I quit my full-time job years and years ago with the promise to myself to be an adventurer, to follow my passions wherever they may take me and to not live to work.

“My goal is to do something I love and to love doing it.”
~ Cindy Guessford

A very simple promise to myself.  A promise that admittedly has become a struggle more and more to keep. I feel as if we are in the midst of a major virtual revolution.  It’s expected behavior to communicate like this! Via a portal, social media, online, whatevs you wanna call it.  This is our NORMALCY.  I like and hate it.  I will not ever believe that these portals will ever compare to the human experience of interacting face to face.  I feel the influx of personalities born of an age of “we want more” mentalities as well as a market of diluted wedding professionals but that is another posting reserved for another day!  This one is about getting back to simplicity and how that in it’s purest form, simplicity, is where all of this blahdy blah is leading to in the most round about kind of ways because I’m a rambler, sentence string along-er, get used it, embrace it, sometimes a story sneaks out and makes sense.  You’ll only ever know if you make it to the end =)))

So, yes, even after the final review and export I watched this highlight, then re-watched it and the end result was the same.  I knew it was safe to put online because it made me feel good hearing their story and while watching it,  I couldn’t help but smile.  Diana & Sam are two incredibly cute together, fun, driven, quirky, balanced and infectiously in love people.  I can’t help but smile when I watch their actions and reactions towards each other.  We are delighted to be shooting and filming their wedding this Saturday and my hope is that this little vignette adds to the excitement of these upcoming days leading up to the commitment that they make to each other =)

Their story is simple.  They followed their passions, seized the moments and are together because they chose each other.  They started this journey dancing in a room full of strangers and on Saturday they will dance in a room filled with the people who love them most in this world.  How freaking simple is that!

Working with Diana and Sam has allowed myself, Josh & Walt to stay true to keeping our goals of doing something we love and to love doing it.  Thank you both so much!

Also thanks to Sam for the footage from the actual proposal! Here is where you get to view the video, woohooooo!

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teamtj_blog

There are a few things in my life that I believe based on my experiences to be truths.  I don’t so much believe in good luck or good fortune.  I do believe that success requires a ton of work, hope and support and that good luck and good fortune are typically beautiful byproducts of these efforts – unfortunately combined with fate and circumstance.

I also believe that positivity, prayers and hope are an approach and not a guarantee of any outcome.  It is in the ways that we react and in the ways that we choose to deal with life and whatever it is that we as human beings choose to occupy our thoughts, actions and habits that can and sometimes do change the course of our lives.  Sometimes, bad things happen to good people.  Sometimes good things happen to bad people.  It’s not our choice of when and how these things occur.  We can however make conscious decisions and train ourselves to react in ways that attract support and positivity.

I recently attended a memorial service for my mother in law.  Everyone there had the very same memories of how we perceived Brenda Guessford.  As a human being,  she was kind to all walks of life, thoughtful, positive, funny, funny, funny – ok not really that funny but she had a way of making you laugh,  a way of making you feel really special, beautiful and important and talented and hopeful.  She made anyone who was in her presence feel accepted and good and positive and loved.   I sat there wondering why the plan was to take her, now.   Surely many more people could benefit from the love this woman had to share but that apparently was not to be…

Unfortunately part of being human is dealing with our mortality.  It’s not a happy subject because who really wants to dwell on the subject of when our expiration date is set for?  Regardless, it is something that is part of the circle of life as we know it.  Knowing that there is in fact an end to the story doesn’t mean that you need to fast forward or dwell on that aspect of living.  Seriously, is that any way to live?  Is not life to be enjoyed, experienced, savored, learned from?  The good the bad, the ugly, these things mold us into who we are today and you never know how you can and do touch others lives or how they can and have impacted your own life in immeasurable ways.  People come into and out of our lives for reasons that may never be clear.  Embrace them now.  While they are here. Don’t just be a taker – give some back.

Which brings me to Team TJ.  On March 29, 2007  I had no idea that my life would be connected to a family who would for me and I for them (I would like to think anyways) create a circle of support, love, positivity and inspiration.  That fateful day I responded to a wedding inquiry from Taryn and would subsequently document her engagement, wedding, her sister’s engagement, wedding,  her parents Be{loved} session as well as several other family and extended family milestones.  I have personally donated to several of their family causes that are important to me.  I don’t usually talk about these things because I find it to be self serving but today I break my silence because it’s pretty important to me that anyone who reads this blog takes an active stance in monitoring their words and actions in real life and social media.  WE DO AFFECT THOSE WHO WE COME IN CONTACT WITH IN GOOD AND BAD WAYS.  Whether you realize it or not.

It’s important that we never stop connecting with strangers.  People come into our lives for a reason.  Don’t ever discount that.  They come into our lives and they profoundly affect us in ways that you can’t always measure, that is if you let them in.  I haven’t always been as positive, kind or hopeful of a person.  Divorce, language barriers, discrimination, stomped on dreams and the like definitely put me in a very bitter and angry place.  It took many years and many people to get me to the place I am today and I like to take fuel and re-fuel those around me with as much of the good that’s in me.  That is the kind of inspiration and behavior motivates me.  I’m not always super positive.  I’M HUMAN =) but I like to think that I tip the scales to the good more often than not.

Stemming from that fateful email in 2007 my path has crossed with this family once more.  I am in awe of their connection and approach to not just life but also on staying positive, even when the plan or outcome is unclear.  We made this {we}story about Team TJ- Patient #1.  You see, reading TJ’s blog is always a source of inspiration for me.  I think – hey if TJ is smiling while covered with shingles or whatever the day brings his way then I surely cannot complain about whatever nonsensical thing is currently irritating me.  I am proud of the work we made but I am prouder of the person I have become through the experience I have had and the people who have touched my heart in ways that I can never express.

Here is the {we}story.  Watch it.  Share it. Re-watch it whenever you need a boost of good energy.  I am sending into the universe good positive vibes to TJ and his family as we share this story and also in the support as he battles stage 4 cancer.  One thing that TJ shared with me that I will never forget is his response to my question on Positivity.  It’s like a happy circle, you never know know if the positivity brings the support or the support brings the positivity.  Nothing is guaranteed so I choose to do my part to affect those that I come in contact with in a way that is meaningful because you just don’t know what the catalyst of a change for the good can be. Thank You TJ and all the beautiful souls that have convinced me of this along the way…

So today is a positive celebration.  Results are in for TJ’s latest scans.  The prognosis is stable.  To me that’s one in the win column!  To read more about the amazing Drug Trials and TJ’s progress please visit TJ’s Blog.

teamtj_blog

There are a few things in my life that I believe based on my experiences to be truths. I don’t so much believe in good luck or good fortune. I do believe that success requires a ton of work, hope and support and that good luck and good fortune are typically beautiful byproducts of these efforts – unfortunately combined with fate and circumstance.

I also believe that positivity, prayers and hope are an approach and not a guarantee of any outcome. It is in the ways that we react and in the ways that we choose to deal with life and whatever it is that we as human beings choose to occupy our thoughts, actions and habits that can and sometimes do change the course of our lives. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. Sometimes good things happen to bad people. It’s not our choice of when and how these things occur. We can however make conscious decisions and train ourselves to react in ways that attract support and positivity.

I recently attended a memorial service for my mother in law. Everyone there had the very same memories of how we perceived Brenda Guessford. As a human being, she was kind to all walks of life, thoughtful, positive, funny, funny, funny – ok not really that funny but she had a way of making you laugh, a way of making you feel really special, beautiful and important and talented and hopeful. She made anyone who was in her presence feel accepted and good and positive and loved. I sat there wondering why the plan was to take her, now. Surely many more people could benefit from the love this woman had to share but that apparently was not to be…

Unfortunately part of being human is dealing with our mortality. It’s not a happy subject because who really wants to dwell on the subject of when our expiration date is set for? Regardless, it is something that is part of the circle of life as we know it. Knowing that there is in fact an end to the story doesn’t mean that you need to fast forward or dwell on that aspect of living. Seriously, is that any way to live? Is not life to be enjoyed, experienced, savored, learned from? The good the bad, the ugly, these things mold us into who we are today and you never know how you can and do touch others lives or how they can and have impacted your own life in immeasurable ways. People come into and out of our lives for reasons that may never be clear. Embrace them now. While they are here. Don’t just be a taker – give some back.

Which brings me to Team TJ. On March 29, 2007 I had no idea that my life would be connected to a family who would for me and I for them (I would like to think anyways) create a circle of support, love, positivity and inspiration. That fateful day I responded to a wedding inquiry from Taryn and would subsequently document her engagement, wedding, her sister’s engagement, wedding, her parents Be{loved} session as well as several other family and extended family milestones. I have personally donated to several of their family causes that are important to me. I don’t usually talk about these things because I find it to be self serving but today I break my silence because it’s pretty important to me that anyone who reads this blog takes an active stance in monitoring their words and actions in real life and social media. WE DO AFFECT THOSE WHO WE COME IN CONTACT WITH IN GOOD AND BAD WAYS. Whether you realize it or not.

It’s important that we never stop connecting with strangers. People come into our lives for a reason. Don’t ever discount that. They come into our lives and they profoundly affect us in ways that you can’t always measure, that is if you let them in. I haven’t always been as positive, kind or hopeful of a person. Divorce, language barriers, discrimination, stomped on dreams and the like definitely put me in a very bitter and angry place. It took many years and many people to get me to the place I am today and I like to take fuel and re-fuel those around me with as much of the good that’s in me. That is the kind of inspiration and behavior motivates me. I’m not always super positive. I’M HUMAN =) but I like to think that I tip the scales to the good more often than not.

Stemming from that fateful email in 2007 my path has crossed with this family once more. I am in awe of their connection and approach to not just life but also on staying positive, even when the plan or outcome is unclear. We made this {we}story about Team TJ- Patient #1. You see, reading TJ’s blog is always a source of inspiration for me. I think – hey if TJ is smiling while covered with shingles or whatever the day brings his way then I surely cannot complain about whatever nonsensical thing is currently irritating me. I am proud of the work we made but I am prouder of the person I have become through the experience I have had and the people who have touched my heart in ways that I can never express.

Here is the {we}story. Watch it. Share it. Re-watch it whenever you need a boost of good energy. I am sending into the universe good positive vibes to TJ and his family as we share this story and also in the support as he battles stage 4 cancer. One thing that TJ shared with me that I will never forget is his response to my question on Positivity. It’s like a happy circle, you never know know if the positivity brings the support or the support brings the positivity. Nothing is guaranteed so I choose to do my part to affect those that I come in contact with in a way that is meaningful because you just don’t know what the catalyst of a change for the good can be. Thank You TJ and all the beautiful souls that have convinced me of this along the way…

So today is a positive celebration. Results are in for TJ’s latest scans. The prognosis is stable. To me that’s one in the win column! To read more about the amazing Drug Trials and TJ’s progress please visit TJ’s Blog.

M o r e   i n f o
M o r e   i n f o