Liliahna Rayne Photography: Blog https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog en-us (C) Liliahna Rayne Photography (Liliahna Rayne Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/img/s/v-12/u29820371-o702030540-50.jpg Liliahna Rayne Photography: Blog https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog 120 80 that day I almost died... https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2016/9/that-day-i-almost-died Still, feel like crap.  Make it through this photo session, take one last dose of Nyquil, sleep, and you'll be good to go.  That was the plan for my Wednesday.  I made it through the session, so tired and super excited for a nap.  Really, isn't the sleeping part of being sick the best part?  It's the only time I get to sleep all day and all night and not feel one bit of guilt about it.  Good byes have been said, my favorite one year old has left the building, and I crawl into my cozy bed.  Funny how one minute I'm laying down for a nap and the next an epic battle for my strength, for my life begins.  What's even funnier, I didn't even realize it.  

I'm not even sure I made it 10 minutes in bed before I had to get up.  Something was not right.  I used the potty and when I was finished I wiped a clot 3-4 inches from myself and thought, well that's not good.  I went back to bed.  Repeat every 10-20 minutes for about 2 hours.  At this point I'm super annoyed because I just want to sleep, which clearly isn't happening.  The epic mind game begins.  You see I am that person, that mom, unless death is knocking on the door we are not going to see no silly doctor.  Should I call, should I wait, what to do what to do.  I know, how about if I jump into a huge ass vehicle, drive said vehicle to the store, buy some food, come home, eat said food, and decide then.  As I'm frantically running through Publix looking for orange juice and a granola bar I'm having flash backs to 2nd grade-she's diabetic, if her blood sugar drops she needs juice, get her juice.  I'm quite literally thinking this is what it feels like to be diabetic, to have your blood sugar plummet, to need your insulin so badly, to guzzle juice in the hopes it'll hold you over.  I left the store with my salad, jumped in the car and headed home.

Everything is fine.  I start eating, still using the restroom every 10-20 minutes, still passing alarmingly large clots, but everything is fine.  As I eat I decide to wait it out through the rest of the day and call the doctor in the morning.  All would be back to normal by then and life could go on.  How often do we read stories with the most amazing glorious "God Spoke To Me" narratives.  You know, the ones in which He proclaims, you are my child, no harm shall come to you, be not afraid for I will always be by your side.  It is I who has been speaking to you all through the day and I will continue to speak to you all evening.  Feel my touch, feel me all around you-filling this room with my spirit!  He's ridden in on a cloud of peace and tranquility, everyone can "sense" something, it's the most beautiful amazing thing in the world.  You've read them heard about them, right.  Okay, well that did NOT happen.  What did happen was I told myself I was okay, was going to take Kaleece to gym, would call the doctor in the morning, took a bite of salad, picked up the phone, and called the doctor.  God did not ride in on a big fluffy white cloud of peace He very cleverly said, call the doctor which I did as if it had been my plan all along.

There is no greater joy in life than calling the appointment line at a military clinic.  I decided women's health was the right option.  I explain to the young lady what has transpired over the past several hours and she says, "I have no appointments today (it was 2:00 by now) but I can set you up in the morning with family practice."  At this point I still don't fully grasp the severity of what is happening to me, but I do know family health is not who I want to talk to about this issue, how about you have the nurse call me which she does.  I am again running through the adventures of my day when the nurse very politely puts me on hold, comes back and says she has spoken with the doctor and they feel I need to go to the ER.  Two things are certain when dealing with medical and the military, if Motrin can't fix it a trip to the ER certainly will.  The thought of spending the next 100 hours of my life rotting away in the ER waiting room has me so super excited.  I call my friend, she agrees to come get me, but "I'm not staying".  My younger two kids walk in the door and I tell them I have to go to the doctor, I throw $40 on the counter with instructions to make sure their brother buys dinner.  

My friend arrives.  She's one of those healthy people.  The walk across my front yard to her car has me quite winded and I apologize for sounding as if I just finished up a marathon.  We laugh about that, we laugh about her leather seats so any mess that may happen can easily be wiped up, we laugh about the 100 hour adventure in the waiting room so I can get some fluids pumped into me and sent home, we drive around the hospital a couple times trying to find the dang entrance.  I go to check in and of course there's a 20 something dude sitting there.  "I've got some heavy bleeding and clotting going on."  He's clearly heard it before.  My friend and I take a quick look around and realize it's going to be a long day-there is a crying newborn, a lady who appears to be at least 150, and about 76 other patients waiting their turn.  We're guessing I'll be the 74th person to be seen.  Okay, so they call me back to check my vitals.  The triage nurse asks a few questions, checks my O2 levels and blood pressure.  She gets up, says something and leaves.  A few seconds later the door opens and I'm being taken back to a room.  "but my friend is waiting" your friend is fine, we will get her let's go.  Still, clueless as to the severity of what is happening.  My friend sends a text like 15 minutes later "did they take you back"  Umm, yes apparently bleeding to death is an actual emergency!  Giggle giggle.... 

The nurse walks in with 8 vials in her hand.  I counted, at least twice.  Sure seems like a lot of blood to take from someone who is bleeding to death.  The mood is light, we joke about my coloring.  I assure her I'm normally the color of glue, not quite ghost she seems reassured or confused, maybe a little of both.  It'll only took her two tries to get blood from me, I'm impressed.  Out the door she goes and there I lay for over an hour.  I really need to get up, I know at any moment I'll be completely covered in blood.  Where is everyone!?!  Yup, there it is.  I find the call button, another nurse comes in.  I'm crying, I'm embarrassed, I want to crawl in a hole, I'm yelling at her, I'm crying.  She's super sweet, "it's blood, we all bleed, we've all seen blood."  I get myself cleaned up (she actually gave me peroxide for my clothes, thank you!  These are my favorite sweats and I would hate for them to be ruined!) and lay back down.  We wait, maybe bleeding to death isn't an actual emergency.  Finally, the doctor comes in and asks what's going on.  "Oh you know just bleeding to death.  Okay, so I'm probably not bleeding to death but there's a lot of bleeding going on".  He looks at me and tells me based on my blood pressure, my heart rate and my coloring I'm not too far off.  Still the severity of what is happening to me has not set in.  

It seems as though I laid there for hours.  Nobody around, just me my machines and the ceiling.  I should have brought a book, I so could have finished Outlanders.  I'm so cold.  I'm staring at my blood pressure and reality is starting to sink in.  90/51 am I looking at the right number?  Maybe I'm not looking at the right number.  I am, the nurse said it was low.  I'm so cold.  My second panic attack begins.  I start shivering, my son is sending texts asking when I'm coming home.  I reply with a not to tonight, I love you all so very much.  OMG!  I was so very sure to make sure "I love you" was the last thing he read, I could die. Now, I'm having trouble breathing, I'm shivering, I'm looking at my machines, I could die.  I'm going to die.  This is it, this is how my life is going to end-all alone in the ER, dead with not a living breathing soul around me.  I cannot breathe.  I'm freaking out.  I cannot talk.  I am frantically hitting the call button.  Nobody cares.  I'm crying.  A nurse comes in.  My teeth are literally chattering, I'm so cold.  She brings me like 15 blankets, wraps me up head to toe.  I'm still crying, I'm apologizing, I can't breathe, I'm going to die.  My BP 87/48, my heart rate 59 my hemoglobin 7.8 I'm going to die.  She leaves.  What if I had gone to gym?  What if I would have waited it out through the night?  Would I have killed my girls in a car accident?  Would there have been chaos at the gym?  Would I have fallen asleep for my kids to find me dead in bed?  I pray that God wraps his loving arms around me, I'm talking to him out loud "please, fill this room with your presence, let me know you are here".  I'm still crying, I'm coughing, I'm in the midst of an all out panic attack.  Still no God on a white cloud with trumpets of peace and tranquility.  I start telling myself to calm down.  I start telling my self to breathe.  I start telling myself to relax.  I start telling myself I'm not going to die, God did not get you to the ER so you could die here.  My breathing calms itself, I relax, and all is again right with the world.  No trumpets, no amazing room filling God touched me moments, just a quiet whisper "you didn't get to the ER to die."  A nurse comes in, I look at her and tell her my obit cannot read, she died in the ER, taken out by the never ending period.  

I don't remember saying anything after that.  I had agreed to a blood transfusion if it was necessary when I first arrived.  When asked if there were any religious beliefs that would prevent me from receiving a transfusion, I assured the doctor that my God created him and medical technology to save lives and if that included a blood transfusion so be it.  I was fairly incoherent.  My head and eyes rolled when they came in, I was in essence a rag doll.  Two nurses standing over me.  Checking the blood, checking the paperwork, checking my wristband.  Checking, checking, checking.  Two strangers blood would be pumped into my arm.  The first bag was done, you look better.  Two nurses standing over me.  Checking the blood, checking the paperwork, checking my wristband.  Checking, checking, checking.  The second bag was done.  As soon as there is a room we will get you moved.  

It's now morning.  I'm alive.  I'm being moved.  I look at the sign on the wall labor and delivery to the left, postpartum to the right.  Last time I was in a baby wing I was holding my dead baby, this must be a joke.  They put me into my new bed, take half my blankets, ummm I need those and all trace of the ER is gone.  I almost died last night.  The severity of what was happening very much sunk in.  1000 FB notices, 100 texts, missed phone calls..... I wasn't alone.  The recovery process began.  A week later almost to the minute, I'm sitting in the very spot I was sitting, eating, and debating.  

That Wednesday night, was the scariest, loneliest night of my life.  I spent most of the night crying, just tears.  I had two panic attacks.  I was mean and super apologetic.  I was relaxed and full of humor.  I was barely coherent.  I survived.  I was humiliated.  I was at my worst.  When you have a baby, you're covered in goop and grime and gross, your whoha all on display and it doesn't even matter.  When you're just bleeding it's so degrading and it just truly is a completely different feeling.  Looking at a portable toilet they wheeled in for you, seriously not a mood lifter.  I insisted on apologizing first and thanking later every nurse who dumped my porta potty , who left to "give me privacy" every time I had to pee and who had to change my bed pads.  I remember at one point in the evening looking at my nurse and asking if this is what she thought she would be doing as an ER nurse.  Her response, "I had a pretty good idea".   

It's almost laughable, now as I reflect.  Seriously, only me.  So, what happened?  Oh you know, almost bled to death.  What, how, for real?  Yup.  What happened, I'm a girl... you'll figure it out.  Ohhh, oh, o, ohh?  Fibroids, apparently they are a thing.  I've convinced myself that my blood donors were super skinny and super smart.  I'm now just waiting for their blood to fully fuse with me so I can instantly loose 15 pounds and enjoy a higher IQ.  Hopefully that wait isn't long.  :-)

 and so the grand adventure that is "if it most likely will never happen" it will happen to Leesa continues.  

 

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2016/9/that-day-i-almost-died Wed, 21 Sep 2016 18:16:29 GMT
What does Mother's Day mean? https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2015/5/what-does-mothers-day-mean It's that time of year.  The day mother's all across the globe are celebrated is here.  Children work hard on those beautiful homemade gifts, flowers are ordered, breakfast served, and maybe mom is taken out to her favorite restaurant.  Friendly "happy mother's day" greetings fill the air.  As a child I really never did anything for my mom on this day.  I don't really remember doing much at all as a family on either mother or father's day.  When I became a mom for the first time I never jumped into the holiday-it's one we celebrated but very subtly.  In May of 2010 I declared that Mother's Day would no longer be recognized nor celebrated in our home.  For five years now, when the question of what are you doing for Mother's Day has popped up, my response has been "we don't celebrate", which is often met with strange looks and some shrugs of the shoulder.  I can almost read the people thinking "that's odd but whatever works for you".  

I've never really struggled on or around this day.  I truly believe that is because it was one that was always met with such little fan fare in our house to begin with.  This year, however,as the day has drawn closer I've found myself being more emotional than I have been in a very long time.  I've seen the question "What does Mother's Day mean to you?" all over the internet and I've pondered it.  I've considered it, I've analyzed it, I've reflected on it and with every thought has come one more tear.  You see, it doesn't mean the same to everyone.  It has profoundly different meanings to so many women across the globe and yet when we collectively consider this day it is met with joyful images, heartwarming stories, and pure love.  

What Mother's Day means to me:

  • It means remembering my children say hello and goodbye to their new sister at the same time.  
  • It means being broken for the rest of my life.    
  • It means searching for joy every single day.      
  • It means tears in the middle of laughter.      
  • It means withdraw.      
  • It means a new perspective.  
  • It means being split open.    
  • It means failure.        
  • It means pain.    
  • It means acting, pretending, hiding, putting on a mask nearly every single day.
  • It means guilt.  Guilt that I saved four but killed one.  Guilt that the way I love the four changed.
  • It means a lifetime of wondering.
  • It means having my soul ripped out of my body and watching my life from afar.
  • It means having conversations I don't want to have.
  • It means teaching life lessons I don't want to teach.
  • It means being okay and suddenly not.
  • It is a yearly reminder not of who I am as a mom to the four amazing humans running circles around me, but rather a reminder of the mom I am not to the one I failed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

Being a mom is an experience like non-other.  It is an ever changing circumstance with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  It is different for every mom who has ever walked this earth hand in hand with a small child.  It is profoundly different for every mom who has ever planned their child's funeral.  Having happy, healthy children does not minimize the loss of another child. It does not remove nor lesson the pain, the doubt, the guilt, the anger, that comes with loosing a child.  The internal conflict is often times unbearable-to love with so much while your insides are being ripped apart.  It's two completely opposite emotions running through my veins at the same time creating havoc in my mind, my body; never knowing from one second to the next which emotion is going to hit my heart first.  It is the left side of my brain screaming while the right side is laughing.  It is an epic struggle trying to contain one so the other can prevail, so I can take a step forward.  

Mother's Day...

not a joyous reminder for all.

 

 

 

SistersKeondra saying hello and goodbye to Liliahna. FamilySaying hello and goodbye to Liliahna. SistersKeondra saying hello and goodbye to Liliahna.    

 

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) blog broken day death growth infant loss mothers sadness stillbirth studio https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2015/5/what-does-mothers-day-mean Sat, 09 May 2015 15:58:37 GMT
Keeping the faith https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2015/2/keeping-the-faith I've been thinking about faith quite a bit lately.  More importantly I've been thinking about when and why we lose it.  Faith, the belief in something we can't see, touch, taste, hear it is an amazing thing to hold onto and yet we are so quick to let go-to run from it.  

As children we are born with nothing but faith and love.  In life we learn fear and hatred.  How many of us allow the later to take over our lives.  At what point do we decide faith is not enough, it is make believe, it is for the weak?  At what point do we allow our differences to cloud our judgement?  When, in our lives, is life just not enough.  

A baby tries to stand and falls.  This baby tries and tries and tries falling over and over and over again and yet never stops trying.  That is faith-a belief that if I try often enough I will prevail.  Does a baby know why they want to stand, the purpose behind standing, what it leads to?  They see someone they love encouraging them and cheering them on with every effort, becoming more and more excited as the goal becomes more a reality. We put our precious little teeth under our pillow because we hope that in the morning there will be a prize, a reward from the Tooth Fairy.  We sit on Santa's lap telling him our greatest wishes because we have faith that he will, somehow, come through on at least one of those wishes.  Our childhood is dictated by faith, the unknown and yet we dive right in, never hesitating, never giving a second thought to any of it.  That is, until someone or something begins to tell us otherwise.  The first time a friend says there is no such thing, we begin to falter.  The first time we wake up to a tooth that was never taken away, we begin to falter.  

As adults the issues are so much bigger than trying to stand for the first time, loosing that first tooth, or seeing Santa for the first time, at least we think they are.  What would happen if we took the innocence and trust we had as children and carried it with us all through our lives?  What if every ding in our armor did not make us falter but made us stronger because we knew if we keep at it we will prevail.  The baby knows it will prevail and ultimately does, no matter how many falls it takes.  

Life is full of "falls".  Divorce, death, loss of a job, bankruptcy, bad relationships, misspoken words, misunderstandings all these things can make us falter or they can make us stronger.  As the bumps of life begin so many of us loose ourselves and our faith in the misfortune, in the bumps, the falls.  How amazing would it be if each of us took those opportunities to better ourselves, to grow as people and to grow our relationships and strengthen our faith.  Faith in ourselves, faith in our friends, faith in our love, faith in Christ.  We all carry a little faith with us or we would never move.  It is faith that we will get to the store safely that allows us to get in the car and drive.  It is faith that allows us the strength to speak our minds, to defend ourselves, to stand up for others.  Is it a lack of faith that causes us to withdraw and retreat, to fight back, to arm up in great defense?  Is fear and faithless the same thing?  

Insecurities about ourselves and our life choices can rear their ugly head at anytime.  These insecurities are a lack of faith in ourselves.  Not all choices are the right choices but that is life.  Not all insecurities are brought on by life choices, sometimes things happen.  Yet, when people presume to know or when they question us and our thoughts we become defensive, as if we need to defend our lives; who we are and why we are at this particular place in our life.  As faith dwindles our insecurities become stronger.  Often times we don't see, we miss this.  People say things to us and we find ourselves hurt and angry and wondering what gave them the right.  We have now lost faith in them and that relationship.  Is it easier to walk away from faith than it is to face what could very well be a reality we refuse to see.  Let's think of this as if it were an office.  When the manager sits everyone down in a circle and says tell each other how you feel about one another what types of results do you get.  Do we here how wonderful we are, are we boosted up, are our own inflated egos even now larger than before?  What if that same manager hands out pieces of paper with nothing more than a name and instruction to write down how you feel about this person?  How different are the answers going to be?  If we are true to ourselves and honest with ourselves how many of us would have faith that if we sent out a form to our friends and family asking them to speak truly to us about us we would embrace and agree with every word.  Perception is everything-do the people around us perceive us in the same way we do. 

When asked how I can still have faith in Christ-how I can still believe in God after loosing a child my response is always the same, how can I not.  I have walked a long hard path and so many times I wanted to quit.  Stop, walking.  Stop, moving.  Simply, stop.  Had I not had faith I would have stopped and I would not be here today.  I'm not talking death or suicide, I'm talking giving up.  Retreating 100% from life, from the world.  I quit drinking socially for fear that funny feeling in the head would take me away and it would feel so good I would become a drunk.  It is God and my faith that kept me from grabbing those drinks.  It was faith that kept me from getting in my car and driving away, leaving everyone behind never to hear or see from me again.  Faith takes us in different directions, it holds us up when we fall.  So yes, with faith I don't believe we ever actually hit the ground, the bottom.  Like a baby whose bum never really hits the ground when they fall with all that diaper to protect them, our faith protects us from truly hitting the ground.  I never open a conversation with I lost a daughter.  I never open a conversation with any of the bad in my life.  Few people are privy to my story and that is because my story doesn't have to define me.  If I let it define me, if I let it be the opening chapter in every phase of my life that is me saying, "I am nothing more than this" and that is saying, "I do not have faith that I am more than my circumstances".  

Faith.  We are all more than our circumstances.  We are all full of amazing wonder with the ability to light up the world.  We all have the ability to believe, to let faith guide our walk through this life.  Telling Santa what we want when we were 5 was so easy, knowing we won't fall when we are 40 can be just as easy.  Why and when do we begin to walk away from this truth?  Hold onto it, grasp it and hold it tight.  

Faith will take care of you.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) blog broken child death faith growth infant loss sadness stillbirth studio survival https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2015/2/keeping-the-faith Wed, 25 Feb 2015 20:24:56 GMT
A Pity Party https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2014/12/a-pity-party It's hard not to feel sorry for oneself.  

It's hard not to look back in history, with history stopping on the day life changed forever.  

It's hard to remember much before she died.  It's as if my life has been only 4 years and 10 months long.  

I've accepted the new life everyone spoke of.  I've gotten past the all encompassing sadness.  I've grown in my loss and grief and have started really turning it into something good.  Despite this, that date is still my life timeline.  When I consider my life, it is always just to that day-as if the 35 years prior to February 23 never existed.  

I sit here this morning once again tired.  It seems as if everyday something goes wrong.  I sit here this morning once again yelling at the world "what more can you do to me".  I sit here this morning once again feeling sorry for myself, throwing myself a little pity party.  The mind is a funny thing.  I thought I was asleep yet, it was this conversation with the world that had me awake and wide eyed before the sun considered making an appearance.  Did I even sleep?  Or, did the world and I fight all night long.  When I throw my pity parties they typically begin with "dead baby, was that not enough".  I could go back further and pull up life's injustices from my teen years, my early 20's, mid 20's, early 30's but I don't.  My injustices, my "are you kidding me's" always start with that fateful day in February 2010.  

Someone stole my son's phone.  Again.  

That's the trigger for this morning's pity party.  I was told last night.  I was blunt, and very matter of fact last night during the conversation; stolen phone, not getting a new one, end of story.  Apparently the thought festered in my sub-conscience until it awoke me, this back and forth conversation between myself and the world.  

HIs phone was stolen.  We have a leaky transmission.  There's a big chunk of vehicle that has fallen off my vehicle.  My windshield is cracked.  The AC/heater needs to be replaced.  The cabinets keep falling off.  The washing machine is on its last leg.  We need to bring in an electrician to fix the 3 outlets inside the house that just quit working one day, oh and all the outlets outside that just quit working one day.  I'm considering all this crap, I'm considering the dive of a town we live in, I'm considering the lack of opportunity for my kids, I'm considering the fact that my husband hasn't cracked open a book for a major test; I could go on a ten page rant about that.  There is always something.  I've stated it so many times-I just wish this black cloud that has been lingering over me would just go away.  I mean really, when will I catch a break.  

Fist in the air-it's not fair.  Fist in the air-world, you will not defeat me.  Fist in the air-one day it'll turn around for me.  Fist in the air-screw you world.  Fist in the air-life sucks.

Life does suck.  Right now for someone.  Someone in this world was just told their baby has died.  Thousands of someones in this world were just told their baby has died.  Thousands of someones laid in a bed with their sick child as they took their last breath last night.  Thousands of someones were just told their child has cancer.  Thousands of someones were just told they would never be able to have a child of their own.  Thousands of someones are searching for their lost or missing child.  Thousands of someones are waking up to tragedy.  

It's so easy to get wrapped up in all the wrong.  It's so easy to grab hold of the negative and cling to it.  Desperately, I seek out the good, I search for all the positive in my life.  Everyday I struggle with this back and forth the world and I have.  A constant, you won't defeat me, I am stronger than this, try as you might I will get back up with every blow.  I just grow so tired of that constant conversation.  I grow tired of having to tell myself every day, that this too shall pass.  I grow tired of telling myself that God has a plan and all this is just making me stronger.  I grow tired of telling myself that this little thing happened in order to prevent a bigger thing from happening.  I grow tired of hearing about this blessing and that blessing and the God is great's from everyone around me.  You know what God is great.  He truly, truly is.  But my windshield is still broken, my transmission still needs to be fixed, I'm still staying warm by a tiny little space heater in the corner of my house.

It's my pity party. 

I don't have to get over it.

I don't have to find joy in life.

Finding joy leads to loosing it. 

Loosing joy sucks.

If one keeps themselves engulfed in the negative there is no risk…

Joy can't be lost if it doesn't exist.  

Joy. Happiness.  Peace.  Faith.  Believing.  Trusting.  Knowing.  Hope.  Love.  It all crumbles down around us at some time.  At some point it becomes easier to not get back up, to not risk another fall.  To spend life lingering in this pity becomes more bearable then to rise up only to fall once again.

4 years and 10 months ago I learned what it truly means "life sucks"… Today, it has a different meaning for different reasons.  

Yes, things happen.  Yes, sometimes it seems like a never ending stream of negativity.  Yes, it is easier to live in that place to get caught up in and entrapped by the negative.  Yes, the pain is less the frustration is less when things happen and one is already frozen at the bottom, in that pool of pity.  But…

Joy is out there.  Love is out there.  Happiness is out there.  It might seem as if you have to fight for it, fight so hard to hold onto it.  Clinging almost desperately to it if only for a second as I wait for the next blow seems to be my current life story.  It is my hope that each time I find it, I'm able to hold onto it a little bit longer and a little bit longer and a little bit longer.  Maybe just maybe if I'm able to do that it will become increasingly difficult for the world to knock me down.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) blog broken death growth infant loss sadness stillbirth studio survival tragedy https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2014/12/a-pity-party Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:29:55 GMT
Another Day Imagined https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2014/8/another-missed-milestone A few months back I was hit with the realization that Liliahna would be old enough for school this year.  I realized my summer should have been spent in eager anticipation of "the letter" letting me know if she had been one of the lucky ones drawn for the pre-k program at the elementary school.  I thought, she would have made it in, Kayse did so she would have.  It was a moment in time, this conversation with myself, and then it was gone.  

It was gone until it wasn't.  It was gone until it came back and I mentioned it to a friend.  It was gone until it came back and I posted it on Facebook. It was gone until it came back while shopping for school clothes.  It was gone until it came back while shopping for school supplies.  It was gone until it came back while I stood outside waiting for the school bus.  It was gone until it came back as I entered an empty house and acknowledged that yet another milestone that should be celebrated is lost.  

When one looses a child, they also loose the hopes, the dreams, the possibilities.  They loose the milestones, the first full night of sleep, the first smile, the first steps, the first lemon, the first Christmas, the first birthday, the first day of school.  There will be no first lost tooth, no first sleepover, no first time without training wheels, no first boyfriend.  These things will never happen as she does not exist outside of my mind and my heart.  A baby that was so real is now just a piece of my imagination; an imaginary friend whose story is whatever I make it.  

I imagined her waiting outside for the school bus sitting with her sisters, smiling as she clenched her backpack.  I wondered what kind of backpack she would have picked.  I imagined her with short bouncy curls pulled back with a dainty headband that matched her cute little overalls (the ones the other girls didn't like, she would have loved them).  I imagined her looking out the bus window, waving, and smiling as they pulled off.  When the girls return this afternoon, I'll imagine how Liliahna's day went.  I'll imagine her running up the front yard with a smile, dragging her backpack behind.  I'll imagine her telling me about all her new friends, and her teacher and how nice she is.  I'll imagine her pulling everything out of her backpack, and leaving it on the floor as she runs to get a snack from the cabinet.  

For the next thirteen years I'll imagine.  I'll imagine how she looks with every first day of school, with every last day of school.  I'll imagine honor nights and Christmas programs.  I'll imagine her as a gymnast and a basketball player and wonder if she would love either sport as much as her brother and sister.  I'll imagine her sitting at the table covered in paint and wonder if she would love to create as much as Kayse or maybe she would prefer to bang on some piano keys or sing a lovely melody like her oldest sister.  

I will imagine her entire life.  I will imagine her hopes and dreams, her adventures, her struggles, her joys, her family, her future.  I will imagine her life as the rest of us live out ours-I will write her story and embed it into my mind and my heart keeping her as real as my imagination will allow.  

Another milestone.  Another missed memory.  Another day lost.  Another day imagined.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) Stillbirth blog first day of school growth imagination imagine infant loss loss milestone sadness https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2014/8/another-missed-milestone Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:09:06 GMT
The Funeral https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2014/2/the-funeral We sat on an airplane for 18 hours.  We endured turbulence like none other.  It was the worst plane ride of my life.  It was a trip I didn't want to take, to a place I didn't want to go.  We were scattered across the plane; me and the girls towards the back, Gerald and Izayah sat up front.  We landed in San Francisco and we sat and waited for our next flight.  The layover was long, the kids did well.  We landed in Salt Lake and we sat and waited for our next flight.  The layover was long, the kids did well.  We landed in Great Falls all that remained was a 25 minute car ride.  

I took my sleeping pills.  I did not sleep.  

We got out of bed and the planning began.  First we met the priest who would burry our daughter as a favor to my parents as we were not practicing Catholics.  I was left with a planning guide and options.  Do we want this verse or this verse?  Do we want this one or this one?  Verse A or B?  I didn't want to be selecting bible verses.  The funeral home called.  I needed to write the obituary….I needed to write the obituary, the obituary for our daughter, our daughter whose eye color I don't even know, our daughter I never heard laugh, never saw smile, never comforted, I needed to write the obituary for a child I never knew.  

I took my sleeping pills, more than the night before.  I did not sleep.

We got out of bed.  I began to read the cards that were starting to come in.  I began to design a thank you card to mail out.  We got in the car and drove to the city.  We had to visit the funeral home and discuss our options.  We needed to go next door and select our daughters final resting place.  We had to decide what we wanted her name plate to read, did we want a crucifix, we took a tour of the mausoleum.  They had an entire section just for babies and children.

I took my sleeping pills, more than the night before.  I did not sleep.  

Family was arriving, flowers were arriving, cards kept coming.  Emails via the paper that posted her obituary were coming.  People I never in a million years thought we would hear from were sending their love.  People I knew would be there were calling to say they couldn't make it.  I began to wonder who would be at her funeral.  I didn't care.  Music needed to be selected.  

The night before her funeral we finished the CD for the funeral.  We went over the details of the funeral.  I worked on her memory box so we could have it displayed at the funeral.  Clothes all ironed.  This was it.  

We walked in the wrong door.  Walking down the wrong hallway, turning down the wrong hallway, trying to find my baby.  Trying to find my baby that came across the ocean on her own, under an airplane, in a box.  I hadn't seen her since they wheeled her out of the hospital room.  I turned the corner and there she was.  It was such a tiny little box.  So tiny, covered in white lace-it was prettier than I had expected.  Surrounded by flowers and a picture her uncle had drawn.  I sat down on the floor and I cried.  I cried. I cried.  I am so sorry are still the only words I could say.  It was a closed casket-I would not be able to see her one last time.  I would not be able to touch her one last time.  I sat down.  

I have no idea what the priest said.  He is Polish with a very heavy accent.  I am sure whatever it was it had great meaning and was very uplifting.  The kids had each written a paragraph to read.  One of them read their's, one did not.  I think, I don't remember, I do not know.  I did not cry.  I was strong for my family.  I was strong for whomever was sitting behind me.  I stood up as my brother and brother-in-law walked past with her little casket.  I turned out of my pew and my eyes met Trevor.  I cried.  I cried and I thought oh my god, Trevor is here.  Why did that make me loose it-I never had him on my list of people I'm sure will be there and yet there he was.  Next to him stood his brother-I saw no one else.  

We all walked to her final resting place, to the hole in a wall she would be placed.  Words were said.  People began the procession out.  I hugged complete strangers that day.  People I had never met, that came because they knew my parents.  I hugged people I had known most my life, grandparents of friends from school.  Old family friends were there, people I had known briefly through my parents were there.  Friends from school were not there.  Friends from work were not there.  My friends, MY FRIENDS were not there.  My daughter died and my friends had no time to spare.  Jody, Jenni, and Trevor, where was everyone else.  Why, right now, did it matter?  

We headed to the reception.  I did not want to be there.  The location was demeaning to my child and her memory.  My mom was trying to help, she did her best and all I could think was why, why this place, what in the world would make anyone think this was okay.  I didn't want to eat, I didn't want to talk about it.  I didn't want to be there.  I wanted to be gone-I wanted for a minute to think I was in Montana for a vacation to visit friends.  I didn't know what I wanted, I didn't know where I wanted to be.  

I spent 9 months preparing for a baby.  I spent 13 days preparing to burry her.  Now what I was supposed to do.  The baby came and went, the funeral began and ended.  There I stood, clueless.  

The clothes we wore to the funeral didn't get packed.  They were not coming back to Japan with us.  We boxed up the shadow box and drawing, dropped them off at the post office.  I photographed all the flowers and threw them away.  Thank you notes were sent out.  We got on the plane and we flew all day and night across the ocean.  Our friend picked us up at the airport and drove us home.  We walked in the house and an "Its a Girl" balloon that had not lost all its air greeted us.  The swing sat in the corner, still untouched.  Our new normal was supposed to start now, I wasn't ready for that.  

My daughter was supposed to be born on February 18th.  I was told she was dead on February 22.  I delivered her on February 23.  I buried her on March 6.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) Stillbirth blog growth infant loss loss sadness https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2014/2/the-funeral Thu, 13 Feb 2014 16:07:53 GMT
Trying to get real. https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2014/1/trying-to-get-real I sat in my chair the other night and for the umpteenth time silently asked myself where I went wrong.  I lay witness to a household in complete disfunction, a household filled with so much anger and hatred, kids out of control, no emotion, no love, no unity, a completely empty house despite being full of people and things.  I ask the question, where did I go wrong despite knowing the answer.  Maybe every time I ask the question I can persuade myself that the answer is different, maybe if I ask it often enough, it will be different.  The answer isn't different but my approach and my process are, as I dig deep and get real with myself, I know the answer isn't nearly as cut and dry as I've been thinking.  

Loosing a child causes a shift in the world as we know it.  Things change in an instant and things never go back to the way they were.  Attitudes change, philosophies change, approaches change, outlooks change, relationships change.  I remember the first few weeks at home without the baby.  A house full of baby stuff, a car full of baby stuff, kids who were excited about a baby, no baby, no reason why.  I remember the kids fighting and not doing anything about it because that fight was so small in the grand scheme of things.  I remember the back talk and not caring because in the grand scheme of things it was so small.  I remember asking for things to be done, to have them not be done, and not caring because in the grand scheme of things it was so small.  My parenting style changed in a minute and sadly it didn't change for the better.  I slowly became a non-participant, not caring what they did or said because there were bigger things to be angry about.  

I became withdrawn, little by little.  Stepping out of their lives a little bit more each day, shutting them out a little piece by piece.  Today, I can sit right next to them, hear them talking directly into my ear, and have absolutely no idea what they said, often times not even aware they were speaking to me until someone yells, "Mom, she's asking you a question" or "Mom, did you even hear what I said".  I'll move my head and say I'm sorry what.  Sadly, even then as they begin talking again I zone out.  One would think after loosing a child the other children would be embraced, smothered, held onto so tightly they couldn't breathe.  Not so, when your mind constantly reminds you that they could die tomorrow.  Not so when you tuck them up and walk out wondering if they will be dead in the morning.  Wouldn't that be reason to bring them close because tomorrow isn't a guarantee for anyone, logically yes?  Sadly, illogic takes hold and in the back of the mind all you can think is I can't bare it, so it's better to be distant, to be away, so if they do die I won't miss them as much.  It won't hurt as much.  

There isn't a day I don't imagine my own death.  There have been many nights I've gone to bed certain I would not wake up.  I wonder if anyone would even miss me.  I know my passing would not be too hard on my family as I am not really here anyway.  I'm protecting them from any more pain.  There are days I pray death finds me.  I wonder if it would just be better for everyone all the way around.  I wonder if my leaving with all the sadness, anger, and hatred I carry around would bring joy and happiness into our home.  There are days I pray for a long life so my kids get to practices and concerts and field trips.  If I don't run the calendar who will?  Men and calendars don't go together, do they.  I am so broken.  I am so broken but the cracks started long before Liliahna's passing.  Her death, was the final crack that caused me to completely crumble.  

I have begun the process of taking responsibility for the broken me.  It is easy to point fingers and blame others for my broken self and yes, others have played a huge roll in this unhappiness, this bitterness, this downward spiral.  Ultimately, it is the decisions I've made over the past 20 yrs that brought me to this place.  Those decisions, many of which I knew were wrong at the time, are what they are.  I have to yet master the art of listening to my gut, I lack the strength to do what is right for me.  I have not yet figured out how to let go, but most importantly I have not yet figured out how to truly forgive.  My daughters death shattered my world, but my world was not put together, it was already cracked and chipped and broken and barely being held together.  I am not ready to put myself back together.  I am not strong enough to do what is necessary for that to happen.  I lack the faith necessary to believe I can put myself back together.  I am not worthy of being together, being complete, feeling whole.   

I have tried to forgive and I can't.  I have tried to trust and I can't.  

I adore my kids.  I am fully aware how blessed I am to have them in my life.  They are better people than I could ever dream of them being, but they too are sad and broken.  I turned my back on them when they needed me the most.  I am not fully here ever.  They get bits and pieces of a happy, playful, fully engaged mom, but this me shows up so seldom.  It is so dysfunctional-it is so strange to be a part of-to stand on the outside looking in to my own family, to my own life, because being part of it is something I just can't do.  It makes no sense, but that's what it is.  

As I sit in my chair and wonder where I went wrong, I know the answer.  I stopped caring and I don't care that I don't care.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) blog growth loss sadness stillbirth https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2014/1/trying-to-get-real Wed, 22 Jan 2014 14:24:07 GMT
My daughter's are princesses and I'm fine with that. https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/11/my-daughters-are-princesses-and-i-m-fine-with-that I am straying from the norm a bit today.  My posts are usually centered around our loss and my dealings with that.  However, today I am writing on something completely different but still dear to my heart.  Each time I see the idea of girls' being princesses being slammed it drives me bonkers, each time I see the girl who aspires to be a princess being put down it drives me insane, each time I hear someone say their daughter is more than a princess I want to ask, "Why?"  In this crazy down with princesses society I want nothing more for my girls than that-for them to be just like their favorite princess.  

Cinderella, oh yes she fell in love and lived happily ever after.  I'm wondering if anyone else actually heard the rest of the story, the part that lead up to her happily ever after.  The part in which as a young child her mother passed away.  How strong she must have been to go through such sadness at a young age.  Years later she looses her father.  I can't imagine loosing both of my parents in my childhood and handling that-not going into a downward spiral blaming the world for all my troubles.  How did Cinderella maintain her composure, how did she hold onto the values her parents surely taught her?  She was berated, bullied, forced into servitude for lack of a better word but never lashed out at anyone, never went into town stealing, hurting others, being mean and hateful.  No, she carried on, she found the good in every situation, she sang to help her get through each and every day.  She was a survivor.  She took the blows life dealt her and she hoped for something better and never gave up on that.  At her lowest moment she cried out for help and help she received.  I want my daughters to be strong.  I want my daughters to know life is not always fair, you are not always going to be surrounded by the nicest people, I want them to know it is okay to fall down and cry for help.  I want my girls to be survivors; I want them to be Cinderella.  

Belle, ahhh her happily ever after came on a cloud covered rainbow...oh wait no it didn't.  Belle was an educated young lady who loved to read.  She knew a bafoon when she saw him and didn't fall for his crazy pick-up lines or his bulging muscles.  She kept her nose in her book, she politely turned the bafoon down, and she stayed true to herself.  She adored her papa and supported him in all he did.  She didn't care what others thought of him or of her.  She worried about her papa and went out to find him when she knew something wasn't right.  She put herself in harms way to save her papa, she sacrificed her life of freedom so he could have his.  She chose to make the best of the situation and befriended those that were around her, even though they were strange and unlike herself.  She feared this big beast, she wanted nothing to do with him.  Yet, after time she was able to look past his rough exterior, she was able to go past that outer appearance and focus on what was inside.  She saw this beast for who he really was, a kind and gentle being.  She fought for those she loved-her papa and the beast.  She fought for what she believed in.  I want my daughters to fight.  I want them to look past the outer appearance of people and search for their spirits, find what is in their souls judging them by that not how they look.  I want them to be smart and educated.  I want them to believe in people and I want them to find the goodness in them.  I want my daughters to be Belle.  

Mulan, another star crossed romance, a life of leisure and.....Oh wait that's not right.  Mulan was being raised in a traditional home.  She was being groomed and prepared to be presented for marriage to a man she didn't know.  She didn't agree with this tradition and let it be known she didn't agree.  She lived in a home in which honor was so very important.  She wanted to be the one to step up and bring honor to the family despite being told she couldn't-she is a girl and girls don't fight in battles; they don't train as warriors; they don't do that.  She knew who she was and what she was capable of and she knew what honor meant to her family.  She took a huge risk and ventured out into a world she knew nothing about knowing the consequences should she be caught.  Caught she was, but she continued the fight-she continued to fight for what she believed in; her country, her families honor, and herself.  Mulan wanted more for herself and she was willing to go out and get it despite opposition.  I want my daughter's to want more for themselves, I want them to fight for what they believe in, and I don't want fear to hold them back.  I want my daughter's to be Mulan.

  They are strong girls who fight for what they believe in, who take the cards life hands them, who make the best of their situations.  They find the best in the people that surround them.  They are filled with love and hope and kindness.  They are survivors, they are fighters, they are believers, they are dreamers.  They are what I hope each and every one of my girls become.  If because they are these things they get a happily ever after with a man who loves and respects them because they are survivors, fighters, believers, and dreamers then so be it.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/11/my-daughters-are-princesses-and-i-m-fine-with-that Mon, 04 Nov 2013 18:09:36 GMT
Remembrance https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/10/remembrance October is "pregnancy and infant loss" awareness month.  Yesterday, October 15th, was officially "pregnancy and infant loss remembrance" day.  I said a prayer for my daughter and the many angels who are with her in heaven and of course the countless families who have lost a child.  For me and, I imagine, so many others everyday is a remembrance day.  Everyday we remember our children as we ponder the what could have been.  Everyday, is faced with the "I wonder" mentality.  Even on the best days, when I feel the strongest and the most removed from the grief and pain there is always a lingering question; I wonder if she would be in gymnastics or if she would prefer soccer.  I wonder if she would love macaroni and cheese as much as these two girls.  I wonder if she would have a favorite blanket.  I wonder if she would let me fix her hair and get her dressed up.  I wonder what she would have on her Christmas list.  I wonder what kind of birthday party she would want.  I wonder if she would like this movie.  I wonder if she would wear tennis shoes, would she want to be tucked up, would she be loud and crazy or quiet and subdued, would she like to draw, would she use her pillow as an art board, would she like to take baths, would she like to snuggle, would she, would she, would she!  Everyday, I wonder.  

I wonder why Jayson gets to turn 4 in October.  I wonder why Eli gets to turn 4 in February.  I wonder why Julie gets to turn 4 in May.  I wonder why my daughter had to be the statistic, the 1 in 4.  I wonder how I could be so awful to wonder such horrible things.  As I see pictures of the kids she was supposed to be friends with and hear stories of their childhood, I wonder if she would be doing the same.  I wonder what funny antidotes I could be posting about her.  I wonder if they would have been friends or would they have spent their time together pulling hair, and climbing over each other.  I wonder if I would be as excited about her as these parents are about their nearly 4 year olds.  I wonder if I would have had enough in me to love her and adore her and shower her or if she would have simply been one more kid in the small herd.  I wonder if I willed her dead.  

I wonder why on Sunday as I sat at the movies and thought, hmm she hasn't moved much today I accepted the tiny little flutter kick as enough, as opposed to freaking out and thinking, hmm she hasn't moved all that much I should get to the hospital.  I wonder why on Saturday when I sat on the exercise ball thinking good lord it feels like if my water were to break she would fly out of me I didn't think, hmm maybe all this pressure means something and I should go get it checked out.  I wonder why on Friday when I closed my eyes and she went all crazy I didn't panic and go what the heck was all that about-I wonder why I accepted it as her getting comfortable for the night rather than going to the doctor.  I wonder why the Monday prior when asked if I was having contractions I said nothing to get excited about rather than saying yes, I am having mild contractions all day everyday.  I wonder if I really was or if I'm asserting that into my memory as a way to blame myself.  I wonder why when the technician said I was having contractions every 5 minutes during my stress test that very same day I didn't tell her they were painful, even though they weren't.  I wonder why after being told I was having contractions every 5 minutes the doctor sent me home.  

I wonder how different our lives would be had she not died.  I wonder how different I would be.  I wonder how different each of my kids would be.  I wonder how different my marriage would be.  I wonder how different my relationship with God would be.  I wonder how different a friend I would be.  

Everyday.  I wonder.  Everyday.  I remember.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) blog broken death growth infant loss remembering sadness studio https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/10/remembrance Wed, 16 Oct 2013 14:54:30 GMT
Any question but that one... https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/8/any-question-but-that-one  

Stumbled upon a group today, that lead me to another, and another, and another, and another, and.... I've been sitting on my couch for an hour bouncing from one FB page to another reading so many stories of infant loss.  I was dumbfounded to hear the number of babies who are stillborn each year after our Liliahna was delivered.  Today, I read so many stories, I read so many people speak of their pain, their anger, their hatred of god, their awakening.  I often times think and have mentioned that I should be over it-it's been 3 1//2 yrs, but today I read stories from people who are still affected by their loss 10 and 11 years later.  I guess it really never does go away, I guess I am perfectly normal.  One story in particular resinated with me today as it is something I had been pondering for quite sometime.  It is something I have struggled with for over three years.
 
I remember one of my first outings after Liliahna died.  I met a group of ladies for lunch at a little cafe by the seawall.  There weren't many of us and most had been just as excited about me having the baby as I was.  So many of us were pregnant at the same time, due within months of each other so going out was always difficult for me.  On this particular day I sat at the end of the table with my toddler on my lap, quietly chatting unsure if I wanted to be there-was it really good for me?  At some point a new spouse, a young lady I had never met started speaking.  I remember the low hum of different conversations going on around me, and the look from her-beady little eyes staring directly into mine, "how many kids do you have?"  As I remember it, the low hum surrounding me came to a sudden and abrupt end and all eyes were focused in my direction.  I sat frozen for what seemed to be at least 3 minutes but I'm sure was more like 3 seconds, pondering the answer to that question and I responded with a simple "four".  I said four-I denied my dead daughter for the first time.  
 
Since that time the question has come up countless times.  People ask and I will 99% of the time answer with a short stern sounding "four".  I don't have four children, I have five.  When people can't grasp the idea of how I can do it with four, I often times want to blurt out well had our daughter lived can you imagine!
 
 I say four, because it is easier.  Simply put, no way around it, convenience.  
 
"You have four kids, right?" No, I have 5.  "Oh, I thought you had 4"  Our 5th baby passed away "Oh I'm sorry" Sorry, for what- Sorry my kid died and yours didn't.  Sorry, you brought it up.  Sorry, the conversation suddenly got awkward and you have nowhere to run to and are now going to turn and pretend the last 3 minutes never took place.  You see how much more convenient a "yes" is.  
 
"How many kids do you have?"  Well shoot if I say 4 I'm leaving one out, but if I say 4 and an angel that is just weird, if I say 5 their might be questions which could lead to awkward pauses and comments that might make me want to punch this person in the face.  
 
I struggle with this everyday.  I don't want to deny her and yet I don't want to share my story with every tom, dick and harry.  My life has dramatically changed over the years, the person I am is so different then the one I was.  There were things I expected to struggle with, there were things I was prepared for and there were things I thought I knew how I would handle.  It is amazing to me how even the most simple of things such as a generic question can turn me upside down, can stop me in my tracks, can leave me speechless.  I wonder if she is in heaven shaking her head, every time she hears me say four.  I wonder if my heart would feel better if I did tell every tom, dick, and harry rather than keeping it a dark secret only to be let out when I feel you are worthy of such knowledge.  
 
How many kids do you have?  Today...today I have 5.  
 
 
 
Please take the time to look at "Back to Zero"  https://www.facebook.com/returntozerofilm?hc_location=stream
http://returntozerothemovie.com/blog/?p=1364
 
Please take a look at the STILL Project https://www.facebook.com/StillProject?hc_location=stream
 
and the book "Still".  
 
These are just a couple of the many groups/projects I looked at today-so many people out there with stories, bringing their stories to life, and healing through helping others.  
 
 
...I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you...
~ Dr. Maya Angelou
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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) Back to Zero Still Still project birth death grieving loss questions https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/8/any-question-but-that-one Wed, 14 Aug 2013 14:17:53 GMT
Agony of Defeat https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/5/agony-of-defeat As parents we are supposed to love and adore our children.  When people cause harm to their children we all shake our heads and wonder how they could do such awful things to the littlest people.  We question those moms who could pack their bags and leave declaring with absolute certainty that, "I could never ever"....  We roll our eyes and snap to judgement questioning how such people could ever be able to have children when there are so many people who would make incredible parents struggle to have their own kids.  We do so without hesitation, without reservation, with our superior arrogance and I believe we do so without ever taking a breath to wonder what their story is.  For a person to harm a child there has to be some underlying issue doesn't there?  Maybe the mom who walks away from her kids is really the better mom because she knew if she stayed she may harm her kids or herself.  Maybe, there are some who are just horrible people.  

I remember the first time I was told "I'm not your friend anymore".  My almost 14 year old son was probably three when those words came flying out of his mouth and I remember having to maintain myself and fight back the hurt so he couldn't see he hit me and hit me hard.  By the time my fourth child told me this same phrase I had developed the ability to carry on as if the words were never said or when feeling a little sassy could respond without hesitation "oh well" or "I have enough friends" or "well, you're not my friend either"!  I would always giggle a little when the rebuttal would be  something along the lines of "that's not very nice".  Of course as a parent we also hear the lovely words "I hate you" or "you're the worst mom/dad ever".  Each phrase stinging a little less every time it is stated.  

What happens when the sting that has been gone for so long starts creeping back into our lives?  When we've reached that point where we are able to carry on and the words bounce off us do we stay there forever?  Well, no.  I think if we are all honest with ourselves we can say there are times when the words do hurt, when we think, "Seriously, could you appreciate me for 30seconds once a week".  I am at that place in my life now.  I am at a place where every single day I find myself taking more and more deep breaths forcing myself to remember that they are kids and that is their job.  I find myself almost daily thinking how easy life would be if I packed my bags and headed to Fiji where I could sit and sip margaritas all day with not a care in the world.  I find myself understanding the parents who I once shunned for leaving their kids.  I have been defeated.  My kids, my husband, my life has defeated me.  

I find myself watching the clock daily, dreading the stroke of three because that means the two younger ones will be home and the "you suck" will begin.  The other day I seriously, stood in my doorway and watched the girls walk up the yard from the bus and smiled and said, "Hi, how was your day".  My 7 year old looked at me and proceeded to yell at me-I literally looked at her and said are you serious and turned around and shut the door.  Yup, I shut the door on my girls.  Today, she walked in the door and before even saying hi she yelled at me because there was no food in the house. Normally, these incidents seem small but right now all day everyday multiplied by four I feel like each insult, each yell, each scream, each temper tantrum, is like a hammer pounding me down and now I am just a blob of squishedness on the floor.  I know at 3pm things will start and I know at 4pm they will get worse.  The older kids will be home which means the eye rolls, the mumbling, and of course they will start picking fights with each other and go out of their way to aggravate the younger kids.  My once peaceful environment is filled with yelling and screaming for 5 hours straight. I know, I know that is just part of being a parent.  This I know and this is something I've always accepted but it is worse then that now.  

I find myself withdrawing into my own space, becoming obsolete in my own home, fading into the background because if I don't I will get ugly.  I take responsibility for the shift in my home.  Three years ago I started letting the kids do and say basically as they pleased because in the grand scheme of things rolling the eyes was small potatoes.  I began catering to them and giving into them-my entire parenting style shifted a little and when I started to realize what I was doing, the damage I was causing it was as if there was no turning back.  Despite my best efforts, despite pulling on the reigns, despite my efforts to bring everyone back to reality and the way things are supposed to be it was too late and the kids were lost.  I didn't give up, I kept at it, I knew this could be undone and three years later I still think this.  Sadly, I no longer have the energy.  I no longer have the strength.  I am tired of dealing with everything.  I am tired of all the negativity.  I am tired of hearing you are no longer my friend.  I am tired of being told I am the worst mom ever.  I am tired of hearing how little everyone has.  I am tired of hearing much better lives would be if I weren't here.  I am tired of being a door mat.  I am tired.  I am defeated.  I-AM-DEFEATED.

I wrote that portion about a month ago and decided it sounded more like a pity party than anything and that I would come back to it or ignore it all together.  I still feel defeated.  I still feel this hollow emptiness and can't find joy in anything.  I thought it was because Liliahna had passed and I still struggled with her loss.  I wonder now if it isn't so much her passing but a series of decisions I have made in my lifetime that have lead me here, to this place I am at right now.  I believe her passing played a role in this but to place it all on that traumatic event is not fair nor is it right.  I once said I had no regrets because every decision had lead me to where I was.  I am older now and yes, I do have regrets.  I do have a long list of things I could have done differently and should have done differently.  There are decisions I made, things I did despite knowing at the time those things, those decisions were wrong.  I was hopeful it would all work itself out, but it never did.  One tries to be strong, one tries to fight back, one tries to put on their big girl pants and deal with it, but sometimes it doesn't work.  I have lost my strength and my will.  I am trying everyday to take in and enjoy the little things to find that joy that seems to have disappeared.  Letting go, moving on, forgiving oneself and others, is not nearly as easy as all those encouraging quotes and posters makes it seem.  I am defeated and I for the longest blamed that on my kids and my husband, but today in this moment I know the person who has beat me down the most is myself.  

I dream daily about packing my bags and sneaking out in the middle of the night.  I wonder if I would even be missed.  I feel a small part of me understanding how parents can and do walk away from it all-that feeling of hopelessness can be all too consuming.  For now I'll hold onto the snuggles I get, the "did I hug you today" hugs, and the laughter in the backyard; I'll hold onto those tight and hope and pray that one day soon they will bring me back from this place I have been swallowed by.  

 

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) blog defeat growth looking back pain reflection https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/5/agony-of-defeat Thu, 30 May 2013 15:31:55 GMT
Guilt https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/3/guilt Several months ago there was a series at church called masquerade.  It was several weeks of teachings on removing various masks that we all wear.  It was about getting real with ourselves and with others.  I am about to get real.  I am about to get very real and in the process I might hurt some feelings and piss some people off.  I am not writing this blog for the sake of others.  I could care less if one person reads it.  I write when my heart feels as if it has something to say.  Today I write not to point fingers or to call people out.  Today I write to come to terms with things I have been struggling with, things that weigh heavy on me every day.  This is my walk, mine alone and my words are for me so as to speak and feel what I have been avoiding or suppressing for too long.  This is me coming to terms with my part in everything.  I need to come to grips with my role in my life and take responsibility for where I am today.  I write in the hopes that it will help me heal and move forward.  

I remember with great detail the weeks leading up to me finding out I was pregnant with baby #5.  My husband was scheduled for a vasectomy, my friends were one by one announcing they were pregnant, and I was laughing at each and every one of them.  The spouses group had a little picnic lunch and I sat there and listened to them all tell me I was next.  No way, it is not possible.  My math had it worked out that between then and my husbands procedure there was no way I could get pregnant and well there was no way I was already pregnant.  Well, of course, we all know how that worked out.  

I came out of the bathroom and told my husband.  He was over the moon excited.  I was pissed-even used those words, "I'm pissed".  His words, "This baby is meant to be and is destined for greatness".  I couldn't be happy.  There was so much other crap going on in our lives at that point, we were in a place of such confusion, and the unknown was suffocating.  I didn't know what was next for me, what I was going to do, or where I was going to go.  I had asked for a divorce just a few weeks prior to finding out I was pregnant.  How do you go from that to yeah we are having a baby?  It was too much for me.  I was a mess emotionally and this was not something I needed or wanted at that point in my life.  I was pissed at him, at the world, at the idea of having another baby, and I was pissed at myself for letting my life get to this particular point.  

It took awhile, but I came to terms with the idea of having another baby.  I wasn't yet happy about the idea, but it was what it was and there was nothing I could about it.  I was about 5 months along when I bought the first couple little outfits.  I didn't buy much-a couple onsies.  I had picked out the cutest little set for the crib, but never ordered it.  I picked out a super cute car seat, but never ordered it.  I finally started buying things, in my last month.  It was sort of a well I guess we need some stuff.  I just couldn't even get excited about baby shopping.  I couldn't imagine having a baby.  I was pregnant and I knew eventually there was going to be a baby, but I just couldn't imagine life with another one.  I talked to her every so often but not much.  I complained about being pregnant for 9 months and 4 days.  I just couldn't get excited, I couldn't get excited.  My kids were excited, my husband was excited, but I just couldn't get there.  I never ever wished such tragedy upon her.  I knew as soon as I laid my eyes on her my heart would melt into a big pile of mush and all the ugh I was feeling would disappear as if it never existed.  

Even as I came to terms with being pregnant I was haunted by the things that had transpired in my life over the last several months.  If I needed to leave, I couldn't.  If I decided I needed to load my kids up and head back to the states I couldn't.  I hadn't worked for so many years, I was pregnant, who would hire me.  I felt as if my options were none.  I had but one choice, to suck it up and get over it.  I was so angry, and I was so hurt, and I just didn't get it.  I didn't get it.  Was I trapped because of this pregnancy?  Was I blaming the baby for keeping me where I was?  Would I have left even if I weren't pregnant?  Honestly, I don't think so.  I don't have courage and strength like that.  I couldn't disappoint my kids who adore their daddy.  I couldn't disappoint my family; my dad's words when he found out I was pregnant with Keondra still haunt me and she is 12 years old.  I remember standing in my apartment and him looking at me saying, "Is this guy going to leave you too".  No daddy, he won't.....I will do whatever I have to so you don't have to deal with the humiliation and disappointment of being the grandpa to two illegitimate grandbabies.  

My life stated spinning out of control in the late 90's.  I pulled myself together in 1999 when I found out I was pregnant with my son.  Now here it is 2010 and every choice and decision I had made in those 11 years were culminating into a great big ball of what the hell have I done.  

I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes and I remember crying and thinking this is not what my life was supposed to be.  When I graduated from high school, I had such high hopes and dreams and visions of what my life was going to be.  Where did things go so wrong?  At what point did I decide it didn't matter?  I really was lost.  I didn't have room in my little world to be excited about a baby, which was really just complicating things for me or at least that's how I saw it.  She wasn't complicating things, I was.  I was going to break.  I was so mean and angry.  I just yelled all the time at everyone for no reason.  I couldn't deal.  I couldn't deal with everything and after so long of not dealing I was going to explode.  I never did.  I was like the volcano that kept having little eruption making everyone believe at any point I was just going to explode.  I never did.  I never completely lost it.  

So for 9 months and 4 days I was unexcited.  For so long I thought ugh, I don't want another baby.  So much negativity surrounded those 9 months and then in an instant she was gone.  How could I be so selfish?  How could I not be over the moon happy?  How could I have taken this pregnancy for granted?  If I wasn't so wrapped up in my own little world would I have done something differently that could have saved her?  If I hadn't been so overcome with hatred and anger would I have been able to look at this pregnancy as a fresh start-a new beginning for our family?  Did she think I hated her?  Does she know I didn't hate her, does she know she was loved by all of us?  Does she know that despite my attitude my heart did melt when i saw her, my heart broke and breaks every day?  Did she die of a broken heart because she felt unloved for 9 months?  

I am so overcome with guilt.  How do I live with myself when I know I spent so much time being angry and unhappy about the thought of having another baby?  So many people spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to have one baby and there I sat complaining about having another.  I didn't love her enough when I had her, because I assumed she would be born healthy and I knew when she was I would fall head over heels in love with her.  I wasted 9 months and 4 days with her.  I wasted that time being angry when I should have used that time to get to know her and to love her.  

God, I suck. 

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) baby blog broken death growth guilt hurt loss pain sadness https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/3/guilt Thu, 21 Mar 2013 18:06:53 GMT
Now what? https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/3/now-what Okay, so life must go on.  Everyone you know has moved on and is past grieving for me.  They are encouraging me to move on in a variety of ways. Do I keep everything, do I sell everything, do I give it away?  The house has baby clothes hanging in the closet, diaper bag is in the room all packed and ready to go.  Diapers, wipes, and formula are put away waiting to be used.  Crib has been assembled, swing is in the living room, and the car seat is properly installed.  I went to the hospital, I went through delivery, and I came home with a little purple box not a baby.  My house is filled with reminders, painful reminders.  I remember taking all the clothes out of the closet and sleeping with them.  The day after we got home from the hospital a baby gift arrived in the mail.  

We left for the funeral and I had told my friend who was pregnant and due 3 months after me she could have everything.  She asked if I was sure and I was.  She said she would wait and she did.  I came home from the funeral and everything was still there and stayed there for a very, very long time. Eventually I bought a big basket and filled it with her clothes and her diapers and her bottles and everything else I could put in it.  The car seat sits in our garage.  Bouncy chair is still in its original packaging.  Getting rid of it all means it's done and I'm not sure I'm ready for it to be done.  I'm not sure I'm ready to give her stuff away.  Whoever gets it won't understand how hard giving it up is, they won't understand the significance.  When they no longer need it, a trip to the Goodwill or a local consignment sale will probably take place.  Her stuff is all I have of her and it can't end up on a wrack marked for .50 cents as if it is worthless.  

I went out for lunch with some of the spouses.  There was a new girl at the table.  She asked me how many kids I had.  In that moment I felt the table go silent and everyone's eyes on me.  Maybe that wasn't the case, maybe I just had a moment in which the world seemed to stop.  It was the first time I had been asked.  I thought I would say 5 without hesitating, and yet there I was hesitating.  How many kids do I have, four.  I said four.  Since then I've been asked several times that very question.  Sometimes my response is four, sometimes my response is five, sometimes my response is four but we also have our very own angel in heaven.  When I say five it often leads to that conversation and the "oh I'm so sorry" and me standing there like well if I say, "it's okay" that sort of makes it sound as if it is okay, which it isn't.  If I don't say anything I look like an idiot.  If I smile and nod things become awkward.  Do I deny her to avoid an uncomfortable conversation?  Do I deny her because at that moment I can't deal with what may come?  If I say four am I telling my kids it's okay to forget, am I telling them they never really had a sister?  If I mention it I don't want sympathy, do people think I'm just looking for some attention?  Does it matter what people think?  

I can't avoid gymnastics and ballet forever.  I have parents calling for sports photos.  I have things I have to do.  How is the baby?  She passed away.  Where's the baby?  She passed away.  Way too many people knew I was pregnant.  Way too many people had no idea she died.  I avoided people in stores, walked in a different direction in parking lots, said hi and ran as if I was in a hurry to get somewhere.  It was like I was trapped in this weird alternate universe.  I couldn't escape it no matter how hard I tried.  It was like trying to walk through quick sand or freshly poured concrete.  I wanted to get out of this world and yet I was too weighed down and couldn't move.  I feel like three years later I am just now able to take a step.

Now what?  I'm stuck in this place between sadness and disbelief.  I'm stuck in this place where I don't know what to say.  I'm stuck in this place that has no answers.  Twelve stages of grief, I'm not even sure I've made it to stage two yet.  Three years later and I still feel like I'll wake up any moment and this nightmare will be over, as if the last three years really hasn't happened.  My life is a fog; I'm half here.  That weird feeling that comes with a dose of Codine-that is my everyday, my forever-walking around in a daze, only half aware of my surroundings.  Clueless.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) Liliahna Rayne growth loss moving now what on sadness stillbirth https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/3/now-what Mon, 11 Mar 2013 14:15:48 GMT
Shut Up https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/shut-up Shut up!  Nice title, right?  Have you ever listened to someone and found yourself fighting the urge to reach over and punch them in the face?  Have you ever listened to someone and found yourself thinking what the heck?  I would be shocked if I were the only person who has ever wanted to just look at another person spewing nonsense and say, "Shut up, seriously you are an idiot".  Sometimes it really is better to just keep your mouth shut, to not say anything at all, because once the words leave your mouth there is no going back.  Hard as it may be to comprehend sometimes the best intentioned words suck.  I have compiled a brief list of things NOT to say to your grieving friend, sister, uncle, Grandma, neighbor, well pretty much anyone who has just lost a loved one.  The list from my point of view: 

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON:  Seriously.  I stubbed my toe yesterday because I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and walked smack dab into the chair.   I burnt the chicken because I forgot to pay attention to the timer.   I had to get a tow to the gas station because I ignored the gas light.  The kids missed the bus because I was engrossed in the Facebook happenings and lost track of time.  Yup, those things happened for a reason.  To simplify the death of a child in such a way is so not cool. Yes, my daughter died and there is a long laundry list of reasons that she did.  These reasons of course are pure speculation being that the doctors couldn't give me one.  On that long list of reasons you will not find "for a reason"..... "to fulfill some higher plan"..... "it was meant to be"...... Please.  I do not for one moment believe that my God, my Loving God, looked down upon me from heaven and said, "Oh today I think I am going to take this little lady from her family, because I need her here with me".  There are plenty of children in heaven-God didn't need Liliahna any more than he needed any other child.  He took her, because I ignored all His whispers.  I ignored all the voices inside, all the gut feelings, all the signs, God tried to tell me something was wrong and I chose to ignore those warnings.  There is no comfort in the words "everything happens for a reason" so don't say them.  

MAYBE IT IS BETTER THIS WAY:  Okay, maybe it is better.  Maybe it is better that we have no idea what color her eyes are.  Maybe it is better that we never saw her smile.  Maybe it is better that we never heard her laugh.  Maybe it is better that I never had to change a diaper.  Maybe it is better that my kids never met her.  Maybe it is better that I never had to deal with getting 5 kids in the van.  Maybe it is better that I never wiped her tears. Maybe it is better that we didn't have to buy over priced formula.  Well, I suppose having no memories of her is better than having some.  Maybe she was spared from dying of cancer, or SIDS, or getting hit by a car.....then again, maybe she wasn't.  Close your eyes, think of all the memories you have with your child, all the laughs you have shared, all the tears you have wiped, think about your life together no matter how long or short that time has been.  Now imagine your child gone.  Imagine yourself suddenly without that person in your life.  Can you honestly tell me if you could trade all those memories for no memories you would?  Can you honestly tell me if you had the choice of loosing your child before you got to know her or him or loosing them later in life you would choose option one?  No, you wouldn't.  Please do not tell me that it is the better option for me, because you and I both know that is straight bullshit.  

GOD DOESN'T GIVE US MORE THAN WE CAN HANDLE:  Well, silly me for being upset.  Silly me for being sad.  God is super cool for thinking I am so strong.  Oh my goodness I am super strong, I have the strength of 1000 oxen according to God....Oh I bet he thinks I have the strength of 10,000 oxen because loosing a baby is super duper hard.  I should be doing cartwheels and dancing around because God has let it be known to the world that I am S-T-R-O-N-G!!!!  I totally got this.  You are right.  So my daughter died, movin' on and handlin' it because God said I could.  

GIVE IT TIME.  THINGS WILL GET BACK TO NORMAL, A NEW NORMAL BUT YOU WILL GET THERE:  What the heck does that even mean.  New normal?  Give it time?  Um, okay...do you have a specific schedule I should be following?  What exactly is part of a new normal.  Does that include crying every day or will that subside and then my new normal will go into affect?  How will I know when I'm at my new normal and over the grieving?  Am I in my new normal now?  It sort of feels like this might be my new normal, but it also sort of feels like I'm maybe not in a place that wants to be normal-ugh.  

I AM SO SORRY:  I always get confused when people say this.  Like, what do I do now.  When I was little I was told when someone said they are sorry the polite response was to accept the apology.  So do I say, it's okay?  Don't worry about it?  You really aren't apologizing as you didn't do anything so why say your sorry.  When the words I'm sorry come out of your mouth are you thinking thank God it wasn't us?  Why exactly are you sorry?  I always find myself stumbling, searching for words when I hear this.  

 

Don't seek profound wisdom to pass on to the grieving.  If you aren't sure what to say, say nothing.  These words are well intentioned, but really are meaningless.  At least to me they brought no comfort-not three years ago, not today.  My daughter died and no words can change that, no words, will bring her back, no words will bring me closure, no words will make it okay.  It is what it is-nothing more, nothing less.  Thank you for your love.  

 

 

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) Grief Liliahna blog moving on support https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/shut-up Thu, 28 Feb 2013 14:34:45 GMT
The Beginning of the End https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/the-beginning-of-the-end Three years ago today just after twelve noon my life took a turn I never ever imagined it would take.  I started that day like every other day.  Woke up got the kids ready for school and out the door.  Got Kaleece and Kayse up and ready for the day; Kaleece would be headed to OMS and Kayse would be going to a friends house.  I ate a bowl of Lucky Charms trying to perk my little baby girl up as she seemed a bit quiet, and I called my friend Stacey.  

My appointment was at noon so I loaded the girls up in the van and headed out dropping Kaleece off at 11:40.  I met my friend Elisa on the street as she was walking past my van we stopped and chatted.  I joked about still being pregnant and said one way or the other I wasn't leaving the hospital without having a baby.  I was at that time 4 days overdue, uncomfortable, and ready to be done.  In my mind the doctor was finally going to say okay we will go ahead and induce you.  In my mind if she didn't say that I was going to say it for her.  I pulled away talking Liliahna trying to convince her that life would be so much better outside my belly.  

I sat in the corner reading a magazine as I waited for the technician to come in.  I was 35, considered high risk so every week I had been coming in for monitoring.  They would hook me up and listen to the heartbeat to make sure it sounded strong and healthy-a stress test.  The technician came in and had me move to another chair.  We chatted as we did every week about me still being pregnant and having yet another girl.  She looked at me and looked at the monitor and looked at me again.  She said, I'm sorry.  That was it "I'm sorry".  She got up and brought in a Dr.  who looked at the monitor and tried a few things and he too looked at me and said, "I am so sorry, I don't see anything, there is nothing there".  The third Dr came in and looked, same thing.  They shut all the doors to the room and started asking questions I couldn't answer, tears falling, in a fog, like I was there but I wasn't.  

I called Gerald.

 "She's dead" is all I could say.

 "WHAT"  

"she died"  

 

He came, they took us to a tiny office and a doctor came in and began to explain what would come next.  We had options.  I could stay pregnant until my body went into labor or we could stay and they would induce me or we could come back later and they would induce me.  We decided to go home and tell the kids and then come back later that evening around 5:30 I think.  We walked out of the room and I remember so vividly seeing Melissa and the chief.  Side by side they stood there, Melissa was crying more than me I think.  She hugged me and we stood there crying.  

We sat at the house waiting for the kids to come home.  Luis had picked them up for us-Izayah came walking into the house singing and so happy.  I know he thought we were having the baby or that she was already born.  I looked at them and my heart broke.  

It started with a "you know how I go to the doctor all the time to make sure the baby is okay?"  

"yes"  

"she is not okay, she died.  Your baby sister died in my belly".  

 

I had said that morning one way or the other I am having this baby today.  We walked into the hospital, went to the 5th floor, checked in knowing we were leaving without a baby.   All I wanted was to be done with the pregnancy and at the moment I would have agreed to another 20 months of pregnancy if it meant she would be alive.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) angel broken delivery stillborn https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/the-beginning-of-the-end Fri, 22 Feb 2013 15:25:47 GMT
Keondra https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/keondra I remember Keondra's 9th birthday with almost exacting precision.  It was in the evening as the afternoon slots at the USO were taken.  We ordered about 5 boxes too many of nasty Banyan Tree pizza.  There were several stations set up for the kids; a cookie station where they could decorate sugar cookies, an art station, and a game station.  There was awful music her dad very "happily" downloaded playing in the background.  The table was set with pink table clothes and the place mats we had ordered from Birthday Express.  The goodies for the kids laid out nicely at each setting.  She had selected a skull theme-sort of punk rock.  Kim Blackburn had once again made the cake-double layered deliciousness.  Black fondant not the best idea but the cake looked and tasted amazing, who cares if we all had black tongues and teeth.  

It was basketball season on marine bases, football and cheer season at Kadena.  I traveled across Okinawa 4-5 days a week taking youth sports photos.  Camp Courtney, Foster, Kadena, Kinser I was at them all every week from the start of the season to the end of the season.  Big and round and oh so pregnant I joked with parents about going into labor during team photos.  Dad's offered to haul the equipment for me and I insisted they not! I wanted to have the baby, lifting, hauling, squatting everything and anything I could do, I did.  

February was a busy month.  I wanted to have the dam baby so bad, I was over the waiting game.  I was trying to put a birthday party together for my daughter.  Can't have the baby then, Gerald can't pull a party off.  Team photos scheduled nearly every night up until the day I was due.  Oh sure I kept telling myself to stop scheduling, but many of these coaches and parents had supported me for years, I couldn't tell them no.  Can't really have a baby during a session, can't have a baby on Valentine's Day because that is just stupid.  Can't have her on the 15th because that is my sister's birthday.  All I wanted was to be done with it and yet I had so many stipulations, so many days that just wouldn't work for me and my schedule.  Can't do it on this Saturday or that Saturday because Keondra has cheer, nope not this day or that.  

I stood at Keondra's birthday party complaining as I had done non-stop for 9 months.  There I stood complaining, complaining, complaining.  There I stood thinking of the million things that needed to be done, the countless teams that needed to be edited.  I mean really could there be anything more inconvenient than going into labor, other than being pregnant for another second.  

I loved throwing my kids' birthday parties.  I always started planning months in advance, picking out the perfect theme, creating elaborate decorations, doing everything I could to make sure this years was better than lasts.  I don't remember anything about Keondra's 10th birthday.  I think we pulled something together at the house, there was no fancy cake, no fancy decorations, and very little planning.  I remember about the same for her 11th birthday.  I never got around to scheduling appointments for pedicures which is really what she wanted, so I ended up buying a couple bottles of polish and some hair stuff at the dollar store and the few girls that were here did their own spa thing.  This year, I haven't bought her a present yet; her birthday is in less than an hour as I type this.  She printed her own invitations off the computer-she made them in Word.  I hate her birthday, and I just can't bring myself to be happy about it.  I can't muster up the strength to give her the celebrations she is used to and deserves.  Three years ago I complained about how big and miserable I was, how I hated being pregnant, the stubborn baby that just wouldn't be born who couldn't appease me and my selfishness and come out 3 weeks early.   

I stood there and complained and complained and complained, two weeks later I delivered a dead baby.  

I am not sure whose birthday haunts me more, Keondra's or Liliahna's.  When Keondra's birthday is over I should be freaking out about another one.  I should be complaining about having to have two parties so close together.  I should be trying to talk Keondra into a joint party.  I should be thinking geez I can't believe you are already 3.  That's what I should be thinking but instead all I think is what a selfish bitch I was and am.  Even in knowing how unfair it is to Keondra that her birthday is nearly forgotten every year, I just close my eyes and wish it away.  I wish it away....

My daughter is beautiful and in the morning she will be 12.  I should be loving that, celebrating that.  I should be rejoicing and laughing and sharing in her enthusiasm.  I should have had something planned, presents bought, invites sent out.  I should have been just as excited about this birthday as I was about her 9th birthday...her last birthday.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) birthday blog broken girls keondra recovery sadness selfish https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/keondra Fri, 08 Feb 2013 04:34:38 GMT
My Rock https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/1/my-rock They say or maybe I should say we say as parents we don't love one child more than another.  I have four and the question has been asked, my response is always no, I don't love ______ more than I love you!  I don't, I can say that and stand strong behind it.  I do, however, love each child differently.  Each one of my kids has such differing personalities and attitudes and there are parts of this that I love and adore and appreciate in different ways.  I love Kayse in what seems to be an almost profoundly different way then the other kids; not more, but somehow closer and tighter then the others.  She has been my rock for nearly 3 years.  That is a lot of pressure for a five year old, a two year old, for her I know.  

When I was pregnant with Liliahna the older two kids, Izayah and Keondra, were in elementary school all day and Kaleece was at pre-school for most of the day.  It was Kayse and I that hung out when they were gone.  She was my lunch date, we had mommy and me gymnastics every Tuesday, she went to the Dr. appointments with me; she was the first child I was home with all day everyday from the moment I brought her home from the hospital.  When Liliahna passed away the kids were all off at school, Gerald was at work. It was once again her and I hanging out, struggling to carry on with life together.  I say she is my rock because at that moment in my life had I not needed to be awake and functioning to care for her I would not have been.  She was the reason I woke up in the morning, she was the reason I showered and left the house on occasion.  It would have been so easy to send the older kids off to school and curl up in a ball and just be for 6 hours, I could have done that and I could still do that.  Kayse wouldn't let me do that.  She has always been full of more hugs and snuggles than any of the other kids and I truly believe she just knew I needed them more than ever before.  I could cry in front of her and not have it matter.  My tears didn't bring out her tears.  She didn't seem to care if they fell down my cheeks everyday, all day.  

Maybe she did.  Maybe I've had more of a profound affect on her than I thought or imagined possible.  Maybe I was and am being unfair to her.  I have three other kids that could share in the burden of keeping their mom from falling off the cliff, I have a husband that could share that burden.  I have myself that could just put my big girl pants on, brush myself off and say get over it.  Why does anyone have to help carry the burden of my sadness, why!  Why am I so sad?  It's been three years-I never actually met her.  I don't even know what color her eyes are, how can I still be so sad.  It all seems so strange to me.  Kayse has helped me in so many ways and yet if you were to ask her about Liliahna or her baby sister she wouldn't know who you are talking about.  She has helped me survive the loss of a sister she doesn't even remember.  Maybe she has been changed by all this; would she be a different child had we not lost Liliahna, had she not unwittingly become my rock.  

I remember last year at this time when I went in and signed up for the pre-K lottery.  I was so hopeful that she would be selected and could start school and make some friends.  We had a life in Okinawa, with friends and lunch dates but here we had nothing, just us.  I sat and watched her play with her imaginary friends, and it broke my heart.  I couldn't help but think what a good big sister she would have been.  I couldn't help but feel sad for her that she was missing out on being a big sister and having a little play mate to terrorize her.  I couldn't help but wonder how the two of them would play and interact with each other.  Every day was and is a question, a great big unanswered question.  I so wanted Kayse to be able to start school, but I was afraid for myself because I would be alone.  What would happen to me if my reason for being during the day was gone?  Would I have some sort of psychotic break, would I get off the couch, would I even stay awake?  There are days I do have a major melt down, there are days I'm in my pajamas until 2:30pm, there are days I sleep on the couch until the girls walk in the door.  That is my reality, right now.  

My rock.  She is full of life and full of attitude.  She is incredibly expressive both physically and verbally.  She is my strength and my courage.  She is my little spitfire that manages to lift me out of my worse funks with a single hug or random "mommy, I love you".  She is a blessing.  She is Kayse.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) 365 blog growth kayse loss personal project sadness https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/1/my-rock Wed, 30 Jan 2013 13:55:59 GMT
North Carolina https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/1/north-carolina Way back in April or May I decided I was going to surprise my girls with Justin Beiber concert tickets.  I went online and started searching concert locations and started calling family members I thought might be willing to go with us.  I certainly didn't want to go by myself and well, I really thought it would be more enjoyable for the for the girls if they went with some cousins.  Aunt Ashley thought her kids would enjoy going and our plans were set into motion.  My girls were surprised with their tickets on Christmas morning and have been in the midst of a long countdown ever since.  Tomorrow is the big day and everyone is super duper excited.  We have supplies to make posters to take with us and the outfits have been well planned out.  Of course, Aunt Ashely has to live in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is an 8 hour drive from Valdosta.  Well, if I'm going to drive 8 hours I'm going to make a trip out of it.  So the girls and I loaded into the car Saturday afternoon and hit the road.  Since Grandma and Grandaddy Williams live just 2-3 hours away as does Aunt Kara and Uncle Doug they all decided to come down and visit.  Here I am in NC hangin' with my in-laws (yes, I have cool in-laws) waiting for the big concert.  

Since I was here I figured I'ld do a little work.  Just 'cause I live in GA doesn't mean I can't take photos in other states!  I had a blast photographing in Texas a couple of months ago when I was there for Thanksgiving.  I arrived in NC with camera, batteries, and memory cards in hand.  I forgot my reflector, which would have been handy to have as the sun was out and we shot in the middle of the afternoon.  Shadows are not pretty and a reflector would have really helped fill in and as such eliminating the shadows.  I had two quick photo sessions while I was in North Carolina.  The first family was a bit more challenging than most.  I had been warned by Kara, the mom, Ashley, the aunt, and well everyone else that the boys were going to be tough.  I thought I got this, I can get at least a smirk from even the most hard core anti-smilers.  So we arrive at our location and bring the boys over and yuppers, they were not happy.  I tried everything-every trick I had up my sleeve and well ended up with one slight grin and a bit of a glare.  As I sat and looked at the images I had to laugh a little as I saw not even mom and dad smiled all that much.  I decided it was genetics :-) Right after the first session I had my second session.  We moved down the sidewalk to a little different spot and dived right in.  The kiddos with family two were much looser and more willing to smile and cut loose.  Of course they were also two girls (one little guy) and not yet at that teen stage in life.  

We all return to Aunt Ashley's house and get settled in for the night.  I start the sorting and editing process and we start chatting photos and at some point wedding photography comes up.  I've shot only one wedding and after that I decided that really good wedding photographers are worth every penny you pay for them.  The amount of work that goes into shooting a wedding is indescribable.  I shot a short and intimate wedding and after 5 hours was completely beat, tired, and sore!  All you brides out there, save your money and invest in a good wedding photographer!  Spend money on that as when the wedding is over you will have nothing but the photos.  The cake will be eaten, the center pieces part of a yard sale, flowers dead, and food well gone.  My sister-in-law pulled out her wedding album.  First, when I say album I mean a photo book that was probably $5 at the photographers local discount store.  Then we started looking at pictures and it went down hill.  Every image was crooked, seriously.  When I say crooked I mean crooked and not in an artistic sort of way but in a "my 4 year old was taking pictures" sort of way. They were blurry, blurry, blurry, dark, and well several people were unrecognizable!  The pictures just didn't seem right as they reminded me of images from the 70's-the color was bad and they were faded and yellowing.  This made me think that maybe the prints weren't not from a professional lab.  I took one, flipped it over, and would you believe me if I said Piggly WIggly!  Holy Crap, they were developed at the Piggly WIggly and looked like it.  If that is not bad enough some of the prints were done on HP paper from his home computer.  I cannot emphasize this enough, there is a difference between a professional lab and a retail lab.  The moral of the story is this; there is a reason you buy Nike's over Spaulding!!   

Okay, so here are some images from the two photo sessions.  Thanks guys for letting me take your families photos!  

 

 

 

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/1/north-carolina Tue, 22 Jan 2013 00:40:45 GMT
Happy New Year https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/1/happy-new-year The end of 2012 was approaching and I was putting a great deal of effort into redefining my studio.  New logo, new prices, new policies, an entirely new look and feel for 2013, the blog crossed my mind a time or two but I never really settled on what to do about it.  Should I blog daily, weekly, only when I am super excited about a shoot?  Should I blog only business or should I open myself up to everyone on a more personal level.  Two weeks into the new year and here I sit still unsure of what to do.  

I just finished reading an autobiography my baby brother wrote as part of an application for admittance into a monastery.   As I began reading it I laughed a little as I consider how differently he perceived our childhood home.  His memories and mine were totally and completely different.  I started to wonder how my older sisters memories compared to either mine or my brothers.  I thought how odd that two people who grew up in the same home with the same parents could have such differing experiences.  Was life really all that different for us or was it simply our perceptions that were different?  I believe it was probably the latter of the two.  This summer I was home for a couple of weeks and during that time my dad made us clear out his garage.  Apparently he was tired of holding onto the countless boxes of precious memories we had acquired over the years. As I dug through the boxes I enjoyed some good laughs, I revisited some tough times, and shook my head in disbelief.  It was a cleansing of not only the garage but of the soul.  Though, my soul still needs a good pressure wash as it struggles to let go of some memories not only from my childhood but also from my adulthood.  I've always said I have no regrets in life as every decision I have made lead me to where I am today.  Of course now as I sit here I am forced to consider if where I am today is something to be excited about!  Reading my brothers honest reflection I decided that opening oneself up for the world to really see isn't a bad thing.  People can take it or leave it-Maybe in reading about me and my life will somehow affect you and your life.  Maybe many of us experience the same struggles, the same highs, the same lows.  Maybe knowing we are not alone will benefit us all.  Maybe this blog can and will be a stepping stone in my own healing.  

I find myself crying nearly every day.  Sometimes because I am truly sad, sometimes the tears seem to fall for no apparent reason.  There are days it seems even creating a grocery list will bring me tears and thank you very much Publix for your Christmas commercial.  Sometimes when life hands you lemon you find yourself out of sugar and unable to make lemonade.  Sometimes you might find that you just don't want to go to the store and buy the sugar because that sour ick is what you think you deserve.  I look around at all I have and wonder why the tears won't stop.  I have these four incredibly beautiful children, who make me laugh, make me scream, make me want to run away, and make waking up every morning so worth it.I have a roof over my head.  Oh sure, under the roof is some carpet that needs replaced, some tacky gold light fixtures, a broken bathroom cabinet, and a huge master bath tub I can't use.  There is also beautiful memories of our time in Japan, comfy new furniture, and a zillion pictures.  It's as if all the happiness in the world is at my fingertips, just waiting for me to grab and I am not sure I deserve all of it-maybe a small sampling, but not too much.  

I am grabbing hold of the new year!  I am super excited about the possibilities it presents not only on a personal level but also on a professional level.  I want my studio to blow up and I know it will.  I have so many ideas and can't wait to give them all a try.  I'm going to grow personally and hopefully let go of some of my demons-forgive myself.  That is what I decided two weeks ago would be my new year resolution-forgiving, letting go, and moving on.  Things are looking for good business wise as I finished off 2012 on such a high note and am starting 2013 off on a pretty good note.  I've also decided to do a 365 project.  I had considered this for and couldn't come up with anything to shoot every day for a year.  Well, as I watched my five year old daughter get off the bus today I was inspired.  Yes, inspiration strikes at some of the weirdest times.  I decided I am going to document her daily outfits.  

Kayse (pronounced Case) is my youngest living child.  She turned 5 on December 20th and is very much her own person.  She has the most dynamic personality and is incredibly head strong.  (She totally gets that from her daddy).  Her independence is my fault as I encouraged all my kids to be themselves and I never really stepped in when it came to choices being made that were harmless.  You know, wearing a dress to bed rather than pj's; pouring honey over their rice because it might taste good; or wearing read and white polka dot shoes with purple and cream colored leggings, and a green shirt with pink and white plaid flip-flops on the front!  Yes, everyone that is what she wore to school today.  She did her own hair-sort of.  She pulled the pony tail over and asked me to put the pony tail holder in after several failed attempts.  As she runs off to the bus I wonder what her teacher thinks or the other school employees.  I have no issue getting crazy looks at the store as I assume everyone knows I didn't actually dress her.  Should I step in and put my foot down a little more, maybe.  Is the world going to come to a screeching halt if I don't, no it won't.  She is a ray of light in my life, she is my rock, she is this huge personality that will burst if I try to hold it back or confine it in any way.  I adore her and her sense of fashion.  

These snapshots were taken today as she came home from school.  Yes, there is a difference between a snapshot and portrait!  Really, how can I make this free spirit conform!  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) blog day growth kids new of personal photo studio the year https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2013/1/happy-new-year Mon, 14 Jan 2013 20:59:44 GMT
School Photos https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/9/school-photos This year I tried something a little different and I am super happy with how things turned out.  I went ahead and created some great package deals for parents so they could get some affordable school photos that they would actually want hanging on the wall.  I think we all have at least one year in which the kiddos come home with the photos in hand and all we could do is look at them and shake our heads as we ask the question why!  With the success of the school photos this year I will absolutely be doing them again next year and can't wait.  I already have some great ideas on what I will be doing.  

I started with two handsome young men I have photographed a couple different times over the last year for various sports.  We headed downtown and got our walk on.  There are so many different places to go down there and if the clients are willing to walk around there is no way one can't end up with totally unique and fun photos.  This image is one of my favorites from the shoot.  I just love the big fans overhead.  

Next I headed out to the Pine Grove school campus, another one of my fav locations.  Again, there are so many different photo ops out there it is crazy.  I had been out to the campus several times for different photo shoots and have never run into any issues so went into this shoot expecting no issues.  Well, wouldn't you know it at the end of the shoot my ankle started itching and sure enough there was an ant crawling on me.  On my way home my entire body was itching and I was afraid I wasn't going to make it for all the scratching I was doing!  I arrived home and decided I was attacked not only by the killer fire ants but also the quarter size mosquitos that were out in full force.  I found this hard to believe as mosquitos don't normally bother me (if trained professionals can't get blood out of me, there is no way a mosquito will).  My ankle became a cankle, my arms were covered in hives as was my back and my legs.  Oh my goodness as I laid slathered in cortizone and high on Benadryl all I could think was please do not let those poor kids be in the same predicament.  All the itching and swelling was totally worth it as we ended up with some fantastic photos of the kids.  

 As I took school photos for one particular family we added in a special shoot for dad.  These three kids and mom have been going through life while dad has been deployed.  As a military wife I can relate to having dad gone for an extended period of time and it really is hard on the kiddos.  I think everyone does a pretty good job of putting on those brave little faces, but there are always those moments when the emotions get the best of everyone.  We came up with the idea of having the kids dressed in uniform at the bus depot with duffles as if they were trying to get on the bus.  Mom had made a perfect sign which was used in the hopes that the bus driver and/or other passengers would be hit in the heart and get these kids where they needed to be so they could see dad.  We also had them hitch hiking-thumbs up, arm out, pulling bags trying to get a lift.  They turned out to be some fantastic photos and I think we were very successful in our goal.  Good news is dad will be home soon and this beautiful family will be reunited and together again.  It was a great morning-two hours in the Georgia heat and not one complaint from the kiddos.  High five to them.

The school photos came to an end on Saturday as I finished up with another adorable family.  There are way too many cute kids floating around :-) I headed to McKey park for this shoot.  This is a simple little park with some nice greenery and well no fire ants, at least none that viciously attacked me.  I did end up with itchy eyes after about 10 minutes of being there and sneezed my way home.  I don't know what it is about Georgia, but the great outdoors and I do not get along.  Thankfully, nobody caught my sneezes so we had nothing but a few gnats to interrupt our fun.   We had a little sass, a little cool, and a little on the run from these kids.  We hung from a tree, though nobody was willing to hang upside down (other than the cutie in a dress, um no). We ran some sprints.  We spun ourselves dizzy.  

I would like to say thank you, thank you, thank you, to all the wonderful families I had the honor of working with in August and September.  I was busy not only with school photos but family photos and enjoyed every one of you.  I love what I do and I consider being your chosen photographer to be a privilege.  I am getting ready to implement some great new things and know from here on out your experience with Liliahna Rayne Photography is going to be even better (if that is even possible) than ever.  Stay tuned...
 

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) back to school kids school photos https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/9/school-photos Mon, 17 Sep 2012 13:57:12 GMT
Long time no see! https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/8/long-time-no-see Not real sure if anyone even follows this, but for those of you who do sorry I have been MIA for a minute.  I really need to get myself into social media mode and keeping everything updated.  When one hasn't updated their blog in forever how far back should they go?  How about July, yeah, that seems like a good start point.  

July saw me and my family road trippin' back to Montana.  Yes, we drove all the way to Montana.  Airline tickets are so dang expensive plus I think half the fun is in the journey, seeing things we wouldn't otherwise see, coming across people we might not have ever met.  The journey began with my three girls and I heading up to Illinois, Chicago to be more precise.  My husband who was supposed to deploy had torn his meniscus just days before so would not be heading to the land of sand and sun.  We would meet up with him later on in our journey.  My son was flying first class to Honolulu, HI to visit his best friend who is being treated for Leukemia.  AA bumped him to first class-I said, so not only do you get to go to Hawaii but now you're flying first class and I am driving to Montana, something is not right with this picture.  Anyhow, back to Chicago.  My bestie from forever ago lives in Chicago and wanted to visit Montana and some of her friends that are still there.  Her vacation and my vacation time lined up perfectly so we decided to road it together.  You may be wondering what would possess a girl to drive to Montana.  You may be wondering what would possess anyone to go to Montana for any reason.  Well, my dad was being ordained as a Deacon in the Catholic Church.  He and my mom went thru extensive teachings, and studies for five years to get my dad to this point.  

While in Montana I was able to photograph my sister's family.  The shoots were super quick and fairly spontaneous but we still ended up with some pretty great photos.  My nieces are little supermodels that are insanely comfortable in front of the camera.  I think they would have been completely fine with a 4 hour photo shoot, if we drove from location to location, changed outfits numerous times, or even if we just stayed put for four hours.  My sister is also very photogenic and at ease in front of the camera.  Steve on the other hand, he was a challenge.  As a photographer I have seen a variety of people with varying comfort levels with the camera and the idea of being photographed.  Steve, was one of the more uncomfortable people I have run across.  I was able to catch him mid-laugh a few times!  

Upon returning from my little vacation in Montana I have had the opportunity to photograph several great families and kiddos in the Valdosta area.  Two of these great families had won some contests that I held on Facebook so were able to have their sessions done for FREE!  WOOHOO-I love free!  I have been busy with school photos, which truly has been a blessing.  The photos offered at the schools are usually so expensive and less than pretty, I think we can all agree on that.  I wanted to be able to give people some photos that were unique, affordable, and wall worthy!  My calendar is full, full, full and I am loving it.  I will be officially kicking off the Christmas season on September 6th so am praying it is a huge success.  I will be offering tons of discounts and free stuff.  Can you think of anything that could be better than that because I sure as heck can't!?!  

Alrighty, then everyone.  I think it is a good time to bring this to a close.  I promise I will try to do better at writing.  I think maybe it is just as important that you know me and who I am as I know you.  I am off to do some training so I can be a Brownie troop leader-UGH!! that is a scary thought.  I also need to get to the church to do some volunteer work up there.  Decided to help out in the office a bit now that all my kiddos are off at school.  Of course I can't do anything until the fridge guy gets here.  Hopefully, this time around they actually fix the problem.  I hope you all have a blessed day.  Share your blessings with those around you.  Remember the person behind you, beside you, or in front of you may be struggling and your smile could be an answer to their prayer, it could be the lift they need to get them through the next 10 minutes.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/8/long-time-no-see Tue, 21 Aug 2012 14:12:37 GMT
What is up? https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/5/what-is-up Thought I would spend this Memorial Day catching up on everything I've fallen behind on.  I was super blessed in May with some super clients and great photo shoots.  The month kicked off in April (yah that counts).  I headed down to Amelia Island for the first time and shot a wedding.  I was super nervous as weddings are a big deal and can't be redone.  The wedding was a fairly small intimate affair and I ended up having a great time and was super happy with the end results.  This does not mean I wasn't freaking out as I went through the photos because I was!  I really wanted the photos to be beautiful and the family to be happy; plus I get nervous every time I do photos.

Following the wedding I was busy doing dance photos for the Moody AFB dance program.  That was two long afternoons but totally worth it.  The only thing cuter than a three year old in a tutu is a bunch of three year olds in tutu's.  The girls ranged in age from three up to ten or eleven and were all so adorable in their beautiful costumes.  I have taken a few gymnastics photos but this was my first take at ballet (dance) photos.  All in all I was happy with the way they turned out.  I was a bit upset that the two backdrops I ordered did not make it in time (they are still not here 4 weeks later) but was able to improvise.  I added some great textures to everyone's photos and it worked out very well.  

Because my plate just wasn't full enough I decided to add in a few sports teams.  I was able to add in a couple soccer teams and some baseball teams.  Sports photos is how I began in photography and I love taking them.  The younger kids are so cute in their big baggy uniforms or t-shirts.  Getting them to pose right is always a challenge and the facial expressions bring a smile to my face and a little laughter to my heart.  The older kids are trained experts after season after season after season of photos which typically means a pretty quick in and out photo shoot.  The sport seasons here are not quite what they were in Okinawa (no back to back to back) so I have to get used to the breaks in between, but am grateful for every team that comes my way.  Of course in between sports, dance, and the wedding I was busy doing homework.  Thank you to all my wonderful volunteers who gave up their time and loaned me their smiles so I can make it through two more courses at the Art Institute.  

I have a super spectacular special in June $38 session fee and some insane print deals.  I will also be headed out to Montana the end of June through the first week of July so schedule now to ensure a session.  

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/5/what-is-up Mon, 28 May 2012 17:32:33 GMT
My take at Surrealism https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/4/my-take-at-surrealism So the last assignment for the week was to look at some surrealist artists and create a composite photo that was inspired by one or two of these artists.  If you have ever had the honor of studying surrealism you may agree that it is some pretty horrific art and falls under the "for real" category with Dadaism and the stack of campbell's soup cans.  Well as we all know art is interpretational and what some might find interesting or beautiful others may find appauling.  So for you surrealist fans out there no offense and we will agree to disagree.

Anyhow, I had to do a composite and really had no idea what I was going to pull out of my hat.  As if hating Surrealist art wasn't enough I have zero talent when it comes to composites.  There are people who are talented, when you look at their work you scratch your head trying to figure out how they did it and if it truely is a composite or real.  Well, I am the one that has choppy borders and perspectives that are so far off one could get dizzy just looking at my creation.  I sat and pondered and sat and pondered and watched the minutes tick away on the ol' clock.  I checked in on Facebook and checked my email accounts and checked again...you never know someone could have updated their status in the last minute and a half or sent me an email.  If there was a wall behind my desk chair I would have banged my head against it until there was either a hole or I had a concusion. 

In the end I decided to create a tribute of sorts to our little girl that passed away two years ago.  Many of you know she is my inspiration and the driving force behind my photography.  I took items that had meaning to me and that represented her in our lives and created my composite.  Below you will find a portion of my write up for this particular assignment and what everything in the image represents.

"Our daughter passed away two years ago as an infant; she was stillborn after a full term + 4day pregnancy. I decided I wanted to use the hand impressions we received from the hospital and the baby blanket we used at the hospital as we said our goodbyes. I photographed a pile of dead tree branches and leaves to represent her death and the loss of my own spirit and zest that I have not yet regained. Coming up from the dead branches is a cross-sort of an out of the ashes thing. I also placed in the branches the words love and faith, together these three things represent my faith that our little girl is indeed in a better place with our Lord and Savior. I placed the handprints in the center of the angel wings to represent her, our guardian angel. I made the image a bright black and white with an ethereal like glow again representing the angelic idea of heaven."

What do you think?  It did not turn out quite like I had envisioned in my head (nothing ever does) and some of my ideas were complete bombs so I had to play around quite a bit.  I am getting better with Photoshop and layer masks.  I know, I know you are wondering what the heck I mean when I say I am getting better with Photoshop.  I am a photographer don't the two go hand in hand?  Well, for some photographers, yes they do go hand in hand.  However, for some of us, Lightroom is the bomb diggity bomb and that is the program of choice.   

Here is my impression of VanGogh.  I did this when I first started classes and took an art apprecitation class.  I can't find my Dada piece, bummer.  Don't worry, I'll keep looking!  AHHH the joys of attending an art school...

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) Van Gogh art black and white faith school surrealism surrealist tribute https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/4/my-take-at-surrealism Wed, 11 Apr 2012 13:43:11 GMT
Happy Easter https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/3/happy-easter This was going to be an incredibly busy weekend for me.  With soccer pictures scheduled for both Thursday and Saturday, Easter pictures scheduled for Saturday, gymnastics photos scheduled for Friday and Saturday, and a portrait session scheduled for Sunday I was going to be buried in pictures.  Well wouldn't you know it, Thursday the thunder and lightning were too much and we could only get about half the team done-bummer.  It's all good though as we have them rescheduled for April.  Saturday morning I woke up and wanted to cry as I looked out my window and saw nothing but gray skies....NOOOOOOOO!!!  Please no rain until noon, please no rain until noon, please no rain until noon....Mid-way through soccer photos the big clap of thunder let me know rain was imminent.  We hurried the kids through the line and snapped a few quick team photos as the drizzles started to fall from the sky.  By the time I got into my car my binder was soaking and the skies had opened.  There was no way I was going to the park for Easter photos.  BUMMER.

Despite the bad weather that has been stalking me the last couple of days I did have a great Easter session.  The family came to the house and we did some studio shots.  The clouds broke for about 5 minutes so we ran outside super quick to snap some shots in front of the white picket fence before the rain started coming down again.  I think these outside shots turned out super cute.  Kimberly had a good time peaking through the sign and hiding behind it for some fun and playful Easter photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would Easter photos be without a big fluffy bunny.  Kimberly brought her Easter bunny which worked out great for a fun prop.  I love it when families bring their own inspiration to the table.  This is one of my favorite images from the day.  It was a totally candid shot as Kimberly just layed down on the bunny giving it a good snuggly hug.  She is so super pretty and I think this will make a great Easter 2012 memory.

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) Easter bunny child location portrait purple studio https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/3/happy-easter Sun, 25 Mar 2012 18:22:12 GMT
What's goin' on... https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/3/social-media Happy Spring!  I should be spring cleaning or fixing up the yard but instead I am playing on the computer...that is much more fun.  As you look through the site you will notice a few subtle changes have been made.  I changed the Facebook link to "Follow Me" and added a drop down menu.  Here you will find links to Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, and this wonderful Blog.  They say having a presence is important...I know my friends are scratching their heads as they know I am not the biggest  social media fan.  I will be making some changes to client albums so for those repeat clients keep an eye out and let me know what you think.  I am also working on the shopping cart so I can once again present that option to my clients and a calendar so you can see what dates and times are available. 

I am scheduling appointments across the US as I will be traveling in June to Montana.  If interested please email me and I will see about adding you to the calendar.  I will need to know where you are so I can see if you are on my travel path!  Session fees must be paid in advance to hold your appointment and ensure I come your way.  I would hate to detour 2 hours only to arrive and have someone say sorry, we changed our minds.  Please let all your family and friends in your area know, I would love to have 2 or 3 sittings at each stop.

April is my mom's birthday so I am running a couple great specials...details can be found on Facebook.  Basically, if your birthday is in April your session fee is free.  If your birthday is on the 16th you will get an additional discount on your print/product order.  Happy Birthday Mom.

Finally, don't forget to schedule your gymnastics, soccer, and baseball photos.  My sports packages are the best anywhere starting at $5 and going up to $30.  No minimum purchase required and a package purchase is not necessary.  My sports schedule usually fills up pretty quick so get me while you can. 

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) Site Update specials sports sessions https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/3/social-media Mon, 19 Mar 2012 14:39:03 GMT
School Update https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/2/school-update Hey there everyone!  Look at me finally part of the blogging world.  As many of you know I am in classes at the Art Institute working towards a bachelor's degree in photography.  I have been taking classes for just about 2 years now and have learned so much.  There are so many elements that go into photography and creating a piece of art.  I find myself noticing little details I otherwise wouldn't have noticed not only in my portraits but in those of other photographers.  It is my hope that as I learn more and become more refined in what I do as other photographers see my work they will not be able to say she should have done this, or look at that mistake, anything like that.  It is important to be open to feedback and take critiques for what they are worth as opposed to getting defensive.  It is in this feedback that we become better at our craft. 

This session I have been taking Printing and Portraiture I.  The classes have been very insiteful and I am learning quite a bit about the studio and the setup of lights to create different effects and moods.  I have used lights before but with little knowledge as to how to use them correctly.  Lighting can make or break an image and is a key element in every great photograph.  I have also been learning about headshots, 3/4 length photos, and this week we will be shooting full length photos.  I am pretty happy with the results I have had up to this point. 

I used these images of Izayah for both my printing and portraiture class.  The printing assignment was to create a cohesive theme with five images.  The portraiture assignment was to photograph a teen, child, mild aged, and elderly person using a 3/4 length.  The first doesn't really count as 3/4 but I submitted it anyway.  These were the two favorites of both my instructors and my classmates.  I must say they are also my favorites.  Although, the basketball is upside down and this would be something another photographer might point out if they were critiquing my work.  One of my instructors was bothered by it, the other didn't say anything. 

   

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(Liliahna Rayne Photography) portraiture studio teen https://www.liliahnaraynephotography.com/blog/2012/2/school-update Mon, 20 Feb 2012 19:13:32 GMT