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God, Grant Me the Serenity…

I know I’ve been quiet on this blog lately. And I know that is strange for me. I just haven’t had the right words for everything we have been experiencing. We are all overwhelmed…this feels necessary but insane.

Jen Soares Photography is officially closed for business until at least May 1. At this time, I won’t be scheduling new sessions, and I won’t be participating in the new trend of “drive by photography” that you may have seen on social media. For those of you already on my calendar for May and beyond…we will figure it out. Let’s wait and see what happens as we near your dates…we can always reschedule as necessary based on the climate out there and your comfort level when our Stay at Home Orders have lifted. In the meantime, I am here if you have print/album/editing needs for existing photos. Or if you just want to reach out to talk. Because we are all friends, after all, and I care deeply about your families. I hope you are all well, and I miss you all more than you can imagine.

I realize I am fortunate to be able to put down my business and commit my focus 100% on my girls, and making sure they are healthy and as comfortable as possible through this time of fear and confusion. As someone who has lost a child, I can tell you with my whole heart that my daughters (who sometimes drive me out of my mind!) are not my burden, they are my biggest privilege. But, am I sad and worried about the future of JSP? You better believe I am. I built my business from nothing, and have grown it over a decade. I love and cherish my job, and I feel like an important piece of me is missing when it has to take a backseat.  But it has shuttered before, for three challenging pregnancies and two bed rests and the loss of our daughter, Hannah. JSP has weathered some truly tragic times with me, and so we are both prepared to get through this very strange moment in time together, too.

What I hate about this situation is the discord I’ve watched it create in an already divisive society. Working mothers against stay at home mothers, bored and lonely young people against families struggling to balance a million needs at once, harried parents against scared and pent up children. The single most important thing to remember here is that there are a lot of different situations out there, but we can only control ourselves. We might disagree with how others are handling their situations, and that anger and frustration is real. But I hope in the next month, we can all take a deep breath and realize that we are all doing our best to cope, and have a little more grace with each other. That is one of my own ongoing personal goals.

As a Christmas gift last year, one of my best friends sent me a Gratitude Journal. The goal is to find something positive in every day and focus on that. Writing has long since been a source of comfort to me, and searching out and focusing on the positives during this 2-month period might be one of the most important and profound things I can do for myself and my family. But I did have a good laugh when I flipped to these pages this morning. Last month, I had written my goal for March was “to slow down, and make a conscious effort not to overload our calendar. To have less of a split focus.” Ha! April Fools indeed! It’s dig deep time, guys.

I hope you all stay healthy, and can find your positive outlets during this time of fear and challenge. I hope you hug each other close, count your blessings, and persevere. And I already can’t wait to see all of your smiling faces someday soon, in the sunshine and warmth, when we can give each other a familiar hug in greeting.

Welcome Baby Bree

This was the last session I shot before everyone in town started to social distance and the whole world went into isolation because of the Covid-19 pandemic. (I will write more on that later. For now, let’s revel in the normalcy of a happy family and a sneak peek blog post). I am really thankful that I had the chance to meet Kimbra, Andrew, and their darling children, Steele and Bree, when I did. This was Bree’s newborn session, and by the time we are all allowed back out and about again, I have a feeling the baby will have changed quite a bit! I am also happy to have had these photos to work on and bring a smile to my face during this very tense, strange time. Steele and Bree were both natural top models…look at those smiles! Two little charmers, and so sweet together. It was wonderful to meet you, Kimbra and Andrew! Thank you for having me over to capture these special memories for you. Take care of yourselves, and I will see you around town when the craziness has subsided once again.

 

Celebrating Jayme

I was honored when Mark reached out a few months ago to see whether I could take photos at a party he was planning for his wife, Jayme. Jayme and Mark are long-time clients who have morphed into friends…we have seen each other through multiple pregnancies, and loss, and moves, and I have watched their three boys grow up. They are wonderful people, and I was thrilled to capture these special memories for them. The party was perfect: elegant, lovely, and sweet, just like Jayme. The room at Stella Barra/Summer House was soon not only filled with balloons and sunshine, but with friends and family and catching up and laughter, as everyone gathered to celebrate Jayme. Happy Birthday, Jayme! I hope that 40 is your very best year yet.

Happy Birthday, Mae!

Four years ago, you completed our family in ways we could only dream of. You are our always-singing, dancing, goofing, laughing, Disney Princess-loving, Barbie-playing, showtune-performing little spit-fire, and we can’t imagine life without you. Happy Birthday, Mae Genevieve!

Abbie and Zach

They wore gold for Pediatric Cancer Awareness. We were celebrating. Five years cancer-free for little Miss Abbie, who officially entered the long-term survivor program late last year. She is one of the most fun, sweet, awesome 7 (almost 8!) year-olds I have ever met. I have been looking forward to this special session for months, and after a delay due to sickness on my end, we were worried we would have to reschedule again due to sickness on their end and/or sub-zero temps. We had a vision…we wanted SNOW! And you know what? We got it all! Snow, sun, and so many smiles! It was worth the wait. We had so many laughs and got fun, personalized shots that really showcased the love this amazing family has for eachother. We had such a good time that big brother, Zach, who was skeptical at first, requested I come back every year. Yes, PLEASE! This family has stolen my heart. Zahava and Danny, thank you so much for welcoming me into your home and sharing your story with me. Zach and Abbie , you are two very fun and talented kids. I had the best time seeing all of Abbie’s ice-skating trophies and hearing Zach’s mad drum skills. I’m blown away by you all…thank you so much for a great time!