What a thrill it is to celebrate my first Mother’s Day! I know now what it feels like to have a child of my own. Everyday, I give thanks to God for this little miracle of life that He has given to me. Everything about Krysta seems perfect to me… from her amazing hairdo that everyone talks about to her cute pudgy little legs… she is priceless. Deep down, I know that I’ll be willing to sacrifice anything for my little girl. Before I became a mum, I used to think that most mothers can be a little ‘overbearing’ and obsessed when it comes to their kids.
But now that I am one…
Yes, I have a confession to make. I am now an overbearing and obsessed mum! Especially when it comes to recording moments of her life as she grows. And wow, they grow so quickly! Tomorrow, Krysta turns 5 months old and I look forward to many more years as her mum. I hope I can be the kind of mum that she thinks is cool to hang out with, and one that she can share everything with.
Krysta, I love you to bits. Just cuddling you in my arms as you lay your head to rest makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Let’s go through life’s many adventures together with your dad, and future siblings! There’s so much of the world to see!
*Krysta as a newborn – photo by Asther Lau
* Krysta as a 4 month old. By the way, I realize I have a new skill now as a mum-photographer – I can juggle from looking at the camera’s viewfinder, to giving eye contact over the lens!
Every now and then, something comes into your life and causes you to think a little. It causes you to pause, to reflect and to appreciate. Life. People. Simple things. Huge things. Ordinary things.
I recently stumbled upon this video on Facebook and it was thought provoking, wonderful, sad and yet true. Though it’s slightly long, I do encourage you to watch the entire duration.
Just as Katrina Kenison says, the most wonderful gift we have and the one we need to cherish, is the gift of those perfectly ordinary days. Today, as I hold my almost 4-month-old daughter Krysta in my arms, I am learning to cherish. The smile on her face as I sing to her the same song for the 40th time. Just riding in the car with my husband to church, having a conversation about everything and yet nothing.
Enjoying a swiss roll with my sister in her backyard, while feeling the cool evening breeze on my skin. Hearing my mum sing the Kookaburra song to my daughter and laughing as Krysta responds to the song.
Yup, it’s one of those ordinary days. What a beautiful day it is.
* Grace and Krysta (iPhone pic)
A week ago, I became a mum. For 9 months, I carried a little bundle inside of me… a little being that grew from a tiny foetus into a 2+kg baby. I brought her for shoots with me, and we grew, together. When we saw her first few photos on the scan, we were excited (doesn’t matter that it was just a mass of 2 oval shapes showing the head and body). When she kicked, we were delighted. Towards the end of my term, I couldn’t wait to meet her, my little bundle of joy.
A week before my due date, at about 2am, my water bag burst and an hour later, I was in the hospital. By 9am, I had only dilated 1cm and she was facing upwards, which made it hard for her to come out naturally. So by 12pm, a decision was made to go for a Caesarean birth, and within a few minutes, I was in the operating theatre. It felt like a blur, I couldn’t see what was going on, didn’t feel any pain, but I could just feel the gynae touching me and her being pushed out. All throughout the surgery, I was praying and singing the song “Lord you are always here with me”.
At the precise moment I heard her cry, my emotions just overwhelmed me and I couldn’t help but cry too.
She was brought to me not too long later and she was just beautiful!
One week later, and I have already posted countless images of her on Instagram and Facebook. I’ve joined that group of millions of mothers worldwide who are proud of their little kid. Not because of what they can do (she hasn’t earned any A’s in school yet, or started working to earn her keep), but because of who they are. Simply loved because they are their child. I am reminded of that same love that God gave to us… unconditional love, not because of what we can do, but because of who we are… His creation. And nothing we do in this life can take away Christ’s love for us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 8: 38-39 -
Such is the heart of our Father…and a good reminder this Christmas! Have a great Christmas season and a Happy New Year!
Grace, Alex & Krysta
Last 2 Photo credits: Asther Lau Photography
How many times do you walk into a restaurant and think… “How can I make life better for this waiter?” If most of us are honest, we rarely, if ever think about those thoughts. We expect to be served, to be treated well, and when things don’t go the way we expect, we rant and complain. It is probably true for a lot of people working in the service industry… hotels, hospitals, tour operators…
And even photographers.
When I first started working in this industry, I knew that it was the little things that differentiated a good service from a great one. The client and their needs are always top on my mind, and I made sure to communicate that to our entire team… from our communications to the photographers on the shoot, and up till delivery stage. Someone told me once, that if you show genuine care to your clients, they know it. It has always been our principle to make sure our clients get the best experience from us. So it does sadden us sometimes when we get the occasional client who doesn’t treat us the same way.
I do admit, most of our clients are amazing. They are thoughtful, kind, generous… even when there’s a million other things to think about on their wedding day. It makes us feel so appreciated. To know that we’re not just another ‘vendor’, but that we’re treated as friends. Ultimately, we just want to do even better and more for these clients!
* The Stories team at work (left to right, top to bottom): Johan, Diane, Ben, Weiming, Felicia and Mark
Here are some simple ways that can keep your photographers happy throughout the wedding day:
1. Do remember to feed us – Being on our feet for 10 hours on your wedding day, carrying kgs of equipment is not an easy task. Most Malaysians are really hospitable and make sure that we are well fed during lunch and dinner. We do not expect to be seated at the table with your guests since we’ll be moving around a lot during dinner anyway. It’s always best to just order a vendor’s meal like fried rice or a burger from the hotel for the team. Sometimes though, there were days when all we got for dinner were soggy McDonald’s that were bought hours ago, or a pack of egg tarts for dinner. A hungry photographer can sometimes turn a little grumpy. Sometimes.
2. Please prepare a room at the hotel for us – This is relevant if you require a same day slideshow to be created by us. Our base is in Petaling Jaya, so sometimes it may not be feasible for us to travel 30 minutes from your home in Klang to PJ, work tirelessly without a break to create a slideshow and then drive another 30 minutes to a hotel in KL, all within 4 hours. Photographers hardly get any rest. It would make our life a lot easier if we didn’t have to spend so much time traveling, but can go to a dedicated hotel room just for the team to work, take a nap if necessary, and have a shower to freshen up.
This room should not be shared with other guests because it’s really difficult to work comfortably when we have people looking over our shoulder, expecting to see images or wanting to talk to us when we really have a deadline to meet. Sometimes, we are given function rooms to use, but that is not really ideal. Most of these rooms do not have shower facilities, nor proper seats to rest comfortably. I find it sad when a client or wedding planner expects us to shower in the public toilet at the hotel, or not freshen up at all prior to dinner. Even sadder when we are placed in a store room somewhere to prepare the same day slideshow (thank God this only happened once).
3. Do give us sufficient time for portraits - We know time is precious on your wedding day, but we want to do the best for you too. Do allocate at least 30-45 minutes sometime during the day for a portrait session for the both of you. We know that sometimes, this eats into your mingling time with guests, but we feel that it’s important to make time for it. Please be patient with us if it seems like the portrait sessions take a while, or overruns in terms of time.
4. Do tell us how you feel at the end of the day – We love to hear feedback! If you are happy with our service throughout the day, do let us know before we say goodbye. Those little words like thank you goes a loooong way! 10 hours (and sometimes more!) of exhaustion is worthwhile knowing that our clients appreciate our work and attentiveness.
*Mother hen – Grace
Video from KarmaTube
My sister shared this video with me recently. It was really sad and yet heart-warming to listen to this true story about a couple’s love for each other. If you’re super Malaysian like me, it’s pretty hard to understand the thick accent, so you need to listen really carefully to catch what they are saying. I don’t think it was just my pregnancy hormones, but I cried when I watched this video.
Everyone wants to be loved.
Everyone wants to feel a love so deep, so true, so faithful and so everlasting in life.
In some ways, I feel blessed. I have this amazing relationship with Alex and I can truly say that I love this man so much, much more today than the day I married him 6 years ago. He’s traveling a lot this month, leaving me alone for days at a time. Even before he leaves, I start missing him already… sometimes I think I might have attachment issues. But this time alone makes me think about life…and also death.
I pray that God will allow us to grow old together, experience many wonders together, build a beautiful family and go on many adventures together. I think about all those newspaper articles where I read of people going through accidents and losing a loved one before their time is up, or people suffering from terminal illnesses. It really saddens me.
Alex is always very candid about this issue – if God takes him back early, it’s always because He allows it for a reason. And he always jokes… “I’ll allow you to marry again!”
Our conversations always end up the same… I argue with him that it’s better if God allowed me to go first, then I don’t have to suffer the agony of being here on earth without him.
Sigh. Who can predict the future? How will I know how much time I have with my loved ones? All that matters is today.
Show them love. Unabashed, not holding back, wholehearted.