Life in Loud – 13th Guest Feature

If you’ve been following along, you may remember that I was able to attend a retreat with the Founders of Life in Loud. I had a fantastic photography experience there – styled models and some lifestyle session practice – and of course, I was in sunny Watercolor, Florida! Even freezing cold, that place is gorgeous! I’m grateful that they chose me and the other attendees to join them in being the “13th Guest” on their weekly collaboration post. It was supposed to be featured next week, but thankfully a spot opened up during a very special week and I was able to include one of my favorite images of my Sweet Caroline; she’s clearly my muse if you haven’t figured that out from my personal blogging!

This image was actually taken last year, but it’s one of my favorites because it captures “her.” My sweet Caroline. She has ALWAYS been obsessed with stopping and smelling. We’re talking flowers, soaps, antibacterial hand washes, candles, laundry detergents…honestly, if it has any type of pleasant odor, my daughter spends the extra time to really notice the scent. For a while, you know, when she was a baby, it was cute. Then, the dreaded toddler and independent years came along…and her own hand washing in public places…yeah. Then it was less cute and more annoying. Mostly because she has a perfectly imperfect mother who is often in a rush. And I HATE public bathrooms and germs. Huge germophobe, if you didn’t know. But then there is Caroline. Smelling. The soap dispenser. The way she gingerly brings the soap into her hand and up to her nose to sniff…

Now, I look on this “skill” of hers with admiration. My daughter, despite her mother, notices things. Notices details. Notices the things otherwise overlooked by grown ups and those of us not stopping to appreciate ALL of the life and things to love around us. So this. This image. This is her. And my gut is, that she will continue to be this child who stops and smells…and notices. This is the same girl who asked for friends not to bring gifts to her party. Why? Because, according to her, she has, “more than enough – others have nothing, so the least [I] can do is ask for donations to St. Jude.” And so she did. She notices. Have I mentioned that LONG hair of hers? In a month, or whenever she TELLS me she is ready, she will, for the second time in her short life, donate to Locks of Love. This is a choice SHE made, and she made alone. Yes, I’m joining her in her journey, but if you only knew how much and often I’ve wanted to cut her hair so it wouldn’t be so shaggy…<sigh>. But she refused to let me, even growing her bangs out so whoever gets her hair has that much more. Oh, this is all after she was diagnosed with trichotillomania – she used to have a bald spot from ripping her hair out as a baby until she was 4 years old. She notices now that she has, and not everyone is so fortunate. This picture represents only a tiny, minuscule of the beautiful person that she is, both inside and out. But this is my chosen image to feature, flaws and all, taken with a Canon Rebel T2i and a kit 18-55 lens. And I adore it.

“Take time to notice the things that other people are overlooking.” – Jeff Goins