Category

Life

Strengthening Marriages and Families

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about marriages, families and relationships. This is one topic that is close to my heart, and recently, Alex and I completed facilitating a 6 week course in our church on Strengthening your Marriage. It rejuvenated me, speaking to other couples and seeing how everyone had similar struggles in a way. One of the thoughts that I have been toying with is starting a video series related to these topics. Though we are primarily a photography and videography company, I feel as if my role could expand in its purpose… greater than what we are already doing in building a heritage of images for generations to come.

Despite talking about it with my team and of course my husband Alex, I struggle to actually get anything started. I guess because I worry a lot. Who would listen to me? Who am I, to speak authority in other people’s lives? What would the format look like? Can I actually finish something I start? (I have the tendency to start projects and end badly). But as the ideas begin to form in my head, I feel as if these questions shouldn’t matter. Let’s just start a discussion and get that going.

It clicked in my head today as I write this that we are already playing a part in strengthening relationships. One example would be when we photograph families, I sometimes ask elderly parents who might be in their 60s to do things like hug or kiss each other. Sometimes I get the incredulous look, sometimes I get brushed off, and sometimes I get the reluctant obligatory response. It tickles me but it also made me realise… Not many older married couples are comfortable with physical intimacy. 

I am not just talking about open displays of affection, but just the simple act of touching each other by holding hands or hugging. One of the topics that came up during our marriage course was intimacy, and how easily communication breakdowns lead to empty emotional tanks for both parties. With the arrival of young children, sexual and physical intimacy also suffers. One of the questionnaires we had to answer to review the state of our marriage stated, “How often do you touch each other on a scale of 1-10?” When I was honest with myself, I realised that even the goodnight and morning kisses and hugs were replaced with grunts of acknowledgment of each other’s existence.

These past 6 weeks, we made intentional time for each other, communicating to one another on a heart to heart level (conversations without kids) and in the process, filled up our emotional tanks. We felt happier.

Coming back to the elderly parents. Maybe just that simple act of asking a husband to give his wife a hug or kiss is enough to trigger a thought…“Have you done that lately?”

Why photos are important in daily life

It’s in the little moments. Those moments that we so easily forget within a year, a week or even a day. But it’s not just about capturing the moments. It’s about remembering the happiness that relationships bring. Photography helps you remember why you married your spouse so many years ago. It helps you remember those tiny little feet that brought a swelling to your heart the moment she was born. It even brings to mind that ‘slightly ugly family couch’ you lounged on years ago till your parents decided to finally buy a new one.

Sometimes we are caught up with the routines of daily life and hardly have time to reflect on things that bring us the greatest joy. If we are true to ourselves, we will acknowledge that real connections with the people most precious to us makes us happy. If we can just capture snippets of life with these people, and reflect on these memories when life throws us a hardball, we will begin to remember that feeling.

With the launch of new and better camera phones yearly, it’s no surprise that photography is pretty much a natural habit. But most of the time, we have snippets of so many memories taken without us being part of the picture. This is where I challenge you to include photography as part of your yearly personal budget… not viewed as an expense, but as an investment towards your future. You are building an album filled with happy memories.

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Welcome, 2017!

As I sit in a hotel room in Dhaka, Bangladesh on the last day of 2016, I reflect on all that has happened this year. It’s been a year of ups and downs, at times filled with beautiful memories, and at times, financially stretching for us as a company. Yet, perhaps with some childlike faith, I have hope. I am hoping that 2017 will be one that is great. A year that will bring about change, as we have set into motion some plans for the year.

Recently, in between our wedding shoots here in Bangladesh, I had time to walk the streets a little. We bumped into an old curiosity shop that looked like it sold antiques (or lookalikes!). I was drawn to a hourglass that had a compass at the top and bottom. That afternoon, as I was praying about the year ahead, I felt God telling me two things: That I need to depend on Him as the compass of my life. He would give me the direction I seek desperately. And the hourglass reminds me that my time on earth is short – what am I doing daily that makes a difference to the world?

Naturally, my thoughts go to my children and leaving a legacy in their lives. It would be tragic if I spent so much time working on my business but neglected the welfare of my kids (and husband!). If today was the last day of my life, would I feel happy with all I had done in life?

Let’s make each day count. Happy New Year from us in Dhaka and have a great start to 2017!

BTS-day1-bangladesh*Thank you to the random waiter who suggested we have a photo together after the holudh event, and who actually took it for us on our phone! (Left to Right: Jamie, Grace & Jennifer)

Happy 4th Birthday, little Krysta

20160813-ALEX_GRACE_10TH_ANNIVERSARY-151Dear Krysta,

It’s been an amazing 4 years together, as your mum. One day, when you read this, know that I love you fiercely with all my heart. We’ve shared laughter together, tears, and silly moments practicing karate chops on imaginary bad people during our storytelling sessions. Just yesterday, I struggled through the day being your mum… it started out as a great day, going out with your Ee Ee (aunty Lina) to the mall…but when we came home, you were really tired and I had a really hard 3 hours with you and your brother, trying to put 2 over-tired toddlers down for their afternoon nap. After 1 hour, I realised a nap is nowhere in sight, so I decided we’ll just have an early dinner and put you to bed.

I guess it’s a combination of me being overly tired too, and temper tantrum outbursts that led me to my own outburst. I am sorry for the times I scolded and disciplined you out of my own anger. Part of me wants an obedient, compliant child, but I know that you have a mind of your own and sometimes, our personalities clash, resulting in crying moments (for both of us). You touched my heart when you saw my tears and took a tissue to wipe the tears away, and suggested that I drank water so I felt better.

I pray that you will grow up to be an amazing woman of God, who is kind, thoughtful and loves people fiercely too. You have a heart of excellence and your meticulous nature reminds me of your dad, who always wants to do things well. I see my own imperfections as I raise you up, and I know that this is God’s way of moulding me to be a better mother too. Love you so much.

Mum

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Pride That Blinds

As we argued over a petty little issue (in my mind, that is!) in the car on the way to Krysta’s school, we heard a little voice in the background saying, “Say sorry, mummy and daddy!”. It grew louder and louder as she realized we had ignored her for the 4th or 5th time.

“SAY SORRY, MUMMY AND DADDY!”

My mind went back to the times when this same 4 year old toddler was forced to say those very same words to her 2 year old brother after a fight. Over some toy or something like that. She had ignored me, refused eye contact with her brother and just muttered the barely audible words, “I’m sorry.”

I was cornered. I had to say sorry, though inside, I just wanted to hang on to my anger. Or my pride. I couldn’t tell the difference. So with no eye contact, I muttered the words, “I’m sorry” trying my best to have the most sincere tone I could muster, while failing miserably. She must have thought it was sincere enough as she started singing to break the deathly silence that was in the car.

That evening, I was in a rather bad mood as I was driving home. I was stopped at an intersection, but since I couldn’t really see the road clearly, I had to drive a little too far forward, partially blocking the road. In the distance, I saw a bus coming, and I thought briefly, maybe I should reverse, but I didn’t. The bus driver actually stopped his vehicle right in front of my car and gave me a signal to prove I was in the wrong. And though I knew it, I felt pride welling up inside and excuses coming out of my mouth, though no one was in the car.

It was then that I realised, how easily we allow our pride to blind us of our mistakes. How as human beings, we don’t like feeling inferior or wrong. How natural it felt to be defensive and angry even when the fault lies with us. And how difficult it is to admit that you need to back off, say sorry and just move on.

My marriage needs my humility, not my pride.

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