Please allow me to introduce you to the fabulous Robi Akers, esthetician, woman of God, lover of elephants, and wellspring of wisdom. (Not that she’d admit the last one.)
Earlier this year she relocated to Refresh: Yoga ∙ Spa ∙ Boutique. I have to say, it is one of the most darling shops I’ve been in since we moved to Texas. I love their color pallet and charmingly rustic design. Joining Refresh inspired Robi to give her website a refresh of its own.
She wanted it to embody the look and feel of her new environment. Cool blue tones, subdued lighting, and all around therapeutic atmosphere.
When Robi contacted me about updating her website with images to compliment her work, I was stoked. You see, Mr. Husband and I have both been the beneficiaries of Robi’s skilled hands and highly recommend her to anyone and everyone in the Fort Hood area. I love promoting a local business whose services I enjoy.
When the local ladies get together there is often praise for Robi’s work. I distinctly remember an evening where one of my teacher friends came in simply glowing, “I just had my first facial with Robi. And let me tell you, it won’t be my last!” Following her declaration was a chorus of women singing how, “Robi is the best,” “I only go to Robi,” “You haven’t been?! You don’t know what you're missing!” And on and on. I knew from firsthand experience, and the unending compliments of others, that Robi was amazing with facials, waxing, and make-up application.
What I did not know, before our pre-session consultation, were all of the other services Robi provides. Teeth whitening - back treatments - body treatments - body scrubs - sugaring - wraps - peels - masks - and aroma touch. She also uses and sells dōTERRA Essential Oils, and PCA Skin professional products.
It was really neat getting to watch Robi work and ask her questions about her services. I used to dabble in pottery, and still had no idea how many types of muds and clays there were, or their benefit to the body. Not only is she extremely knowledgeable and skilled, but it’s obvious she relishes her craft.
So indulge yourself, or a loved one, with the exceptional treatment of Absolute Skin by Robi.
Autumn of last year the Tindall family moved to Tumwater, Washington in order to “plant” (start) The Canvas Church. Stephanie moved from Texas to join them just after the New Year. Then the Whiteley family relocated only a few weeks ago to do the same.
Sometimes it starts with a single drop.
One drop then becomes two.
While my husband was in Germany, for training, I temporarily relocated with the Tindalls to help with the transition process. (Not sure how much help I actually was, but it was a great experience.) Some dishwashing, a little nanny action, but mainly spending time with this dear family and watching them acclimate to the Pacific Northwest.
Eventually it becomes a trickle.
I cannot wait to visit with them. I have been yearning to see them in person, and partake in the hoard of hugs that are long overdue. We love this family, and we are blessed by The Canvas Church’s zeal for Jesus and sharing the Gospel in their new community. It will be so good to hear stories of their adventures in person. I look forwards to seeing how God is moving in this area. To witness how God is drawing others to Himself.
I eagerly anticipate when the cup will over flow.
Hi, my name is Shelly. I’m a bit introverted. I have a bubble; I like my bubble. I don’t like people touching me. I am not athletic, and that suits me just fine. Keep these things in mind as I tell you my husband, with his charming smile and twinkling blue-green eyes, announced he wanted to visit a martial arts dojo. That he wanted me to go with him. Oh, and we needed to leave, “…right now,” to get there in time. Can you feel my insides cringing? My stomach sinking? The horror?
What if they have some serious ego issues and like to beat up on other people? Flash backs to elementary school -- I do not think this is going to turn out well. But he has those twinkling eyes, pools of eagerness and excitement. I know Zach wants me to do this with him. I love my husband, and I hate telling him no. Okay… I admittedly think it’s good to try new things. Besides we’d just be watching. If I didn’t like it, I could sit in the car and never go back.
Well – I didn’t like it, I LOVED IT.
We were pulled aside for Day One. It was delightfully pragmatic. There was no abuse. We were invited to ask questions and say when we disagreed. There was discussion and application. I think one of my favorite moments was seeing Zach pinned to the floor with two pinkies, completely unable to free himself from their tiny, but absolute, lock. Then it was my turn. I think I laughed almost the entire time. It was amazing. We talked about balance, and discovered the very real lack of balance looming just around the corner. We learned a whole lot about how we move, walk, and breath. Things I take for granted. (Except during allergy season when I’m suddenly acutely aware of breathing.) It fascinates me to learn about how the human body works.
We decided to keep trying it out. What can I say, I have commitment issues. But eventually we started going every week, and then twice a week. Now we’re studying Tomiki Aikido at the Full Circle Aikido Club in Killeen, TX most Sunday afternoons, as well as Wednesday and Friday evenings.
Not only do I enjoy the mechanics of aikido, I also like the people. They want to share what they know, and learn more. They are honest and sassy. They challenge and encourage us. They are our teachers, and our friends. If you were ever interested in learning a practical* martial art I highly recommend Tomiki Aikido. If you’re near Fort Hood, TX, I recommend The Full Circle Aikido Club in Killeen.
* - Practical being define as something that works regardless of how big and strong, male or female, tall or small, young or old, when applied correctly.
It’s official, he’s out of the “x” month old phase, and is now a 1 YEAR old. I hope you'll indulge me while I share photos from our 3 and 6 month sessions, as I wasn’t blogging way back then. You can check out our 9 month session here:
I enjoy getting to know people, it’s part of why I’m a lifestyle portrait photographer. But I have truly loved getting to touch base with this family for the past year. They were absolutely themselves 100% of the time, and that is such a rare and beautiful thing! Love it!
One of my absolute favorite moments from these milestone sessions was when Little Man drooled on Dad, and Mom burst out laughing. It still makes me giggle.
Or when he decided to chow down on some rubber ducky. Seriously, that face. Love it, love it, love it!
Now he’s rockin’ out,
and even doing a little unassisted running.
Mom and him play a game where they run around the island, and then she’ll randomly stop---- and surprise him. I like to think of it as Ultimate Peek-a-Boo, 1 Year Old Edition.
Selfishly I’m a little bummed our year is over, but I’m stoked for this next chapter in their lives. Congratulations again on this sweet addition to your family. It has absolutely been my pleasure to get a peek into your growing lives.
It is with great joy that I am writing to you from North Carolina. A few months ago Delta bribed me to take a later flight in exchange for Delta Dollars. (What I said, "Yes, I will take that." What I really wanted to do was shout, "SOLD!" and hit something with a gavel. I've never been so happy to hear my flight was overbooked.) Zach and I agreed we needed to use the money so he could visit Tumwater, but if there was any left over I could use it to visit family.
Hugging my Mom is the best! Ahhhhh! We have so much to catch up on. I love looking at her sweet face, hearing her soft voice, and snuggling on the couch. All things I miss as we're living several states apart. But what I can take with me are memories, and symbols of those memories, aka - photos. And boy, you'd better believe I'm going to be taking some while we're together.
In celebration of getting to visit my family, seeing my Mom on Mothers' Day, and the quick photos I'll be taking of us together: I'm offering the chance for a Momma and Me Mini Session Marathon. (If there is enough interest, I will also offer the chance for "I am your Father" sessions near Fathers' Day.) This offer is for Grandmothers and/or Moms + Children (of all ages, 0 months - the old ticker is still ticking). The point is for there to be multiple generations, and creating short sweet memories of being together. If I want photos like this with my Mom and Grandma, I'm suspecting other's would like it with their Mom as well.
Momma and Me Mini Sessions
-- $150 (or $125 if everyone has signed a model release) + tax
-- 30 minute session
-- 3 edited images for digital download
-- and a print release
In order for this deal to be good I need a minimum of 5 parties to sign up, so spread the word. If this goes well, I may offer it again next year.
For the Record: I am not writing this instead of spending time with family. They've already hit the hay.
And Two: Be sure to thank Shelly Tindall as she's suggested I do mini sessions for the past few years.
Tindall, thanks for being a sounding board and source of encouragement. Love you friend.
It is always a privilege to help document people’s lives. Whether they are just being born, or are 95 with 22 grandchildren. Life is wondrous. I think it’s great when people celebrate birthdays with photo sessions. Being a photographer I am a little biased in that I love photos. But it is so neat to me to see how people grow, or what they looked like when they were young; especially seeing Mom or Dad’s face so clearly in their child.
When I was a kid it felt like it took for--------e-v-e-r to grow up. But it isn’t so. I’m pretty sure he’ll go from 1 to 16 before anyone has time to blink an eye.
He learned to walk just a few weeks before our session. I think he has 4 speeds: 1) Sitting, 2) Crawling, 3) Turbo-Charged Crawling (how in the world do they move that fast?!), and 4) Adorable Walk Toddling.
I love balloons. Seriously. My husband proposed with a single red balloon. I still have a piece of it framed. When Mom said she wanted to include balloons as part of the session I was stoked. Balloons are so delightfully festive. What better way to symbolize a birthday?
It is always exciting to me when a family opts to go ahead with their session even with the chance of rain. The moisture and clouds bring such wonderful colors and gorgeous diffused lighting. It’s my favorite. That said we wrapped our session just in the nick of time!
It is probably for the best that I can't remember being so young. Seriously, there are just some things that need to be left in the dark. Thank God for an imperfect memory! But how neat it must be to learn so many things for the first time. Mom's been doing some sensory play with Rhett. He's starting to get the idea that he and Mom are not the same entity. Can you imagine how big a concept that is? I think it will be equally marvelous when he fully realizes the “other infant” is actually his reflection. But for now I think it's adorable hearing his Mom recount,
Boy, it sure doesn't seem like 9 months have passed since this handsome chunky monkey's Mom gave birth to him. Regardless, they most certainly have. Time just keeps-on a-tick-tick-ticking.
“He's been trying to give the 'other kid' raspberries.”
Little Man has been perfecting his crawl. His preferred form is handed down from Dad: One leg tucked & One leg up. Not wanting to become stagnant, and ever trying to better himself, he has simultaneously taken on the challenge of learning to walk.
I appreciate the way young children will try, and try, and try, until they get it right. A lesson I do need to remember, especially as an adult. I'm sure, in no time, he'll be running in the Olympics, or at least chasing the dogs. To each their own.
Dad snuggles! I love seeing Moms and babies, but there is something so dear to me about seeing Dads invested in their children. Even if they do like to play chase the laser light.
<"Yes, Little One, I've taught you well. Now pounce!"> - Smokie
Speaking of play, Rhett's currently into playing with the food bowls. Take them out of their stand, bang them around, great fun. (For the record he was not chowing down on cat food)
Mom was interested in doing some shots with Dad's uniform. What a mighty fine junior deputy Rhett is!
I like to imagine he's thinking,
<“Lady, I'm watching you.... Okay, you're cool, let's play cops and robbers. I'll be the cop!”>
The motorcycle toy was gifted to him by a woman from our church. I think one of the best ways to pick out gifts for people is on accident. Meaning, you just happen to see something and think of someone.
And last, but not least, a behind the scenes blooper. For the most part I don't mind pets wandering around while I'm shooting. So long as they aren't messing with my gear or making it hard to work, I actually like it. They lend a certain amount of "honesty" and natural behavior that helps everyone relax and be themselves. But, when I have a shot that I think is super cute...except for one very prominent dog butt, I have to laugh! Just keeping it real.
This story started nearly a decade ago, if not earlier, when a young man began wooing his new wife to become a future resident of the Pacific Northwest.
A few years later I'm wrapping up a job in the Sunshine State. My fiancé and I are packing for a move to North Carolina so he can become better acquainted with my folks. Within the year we're married, he's joined the military, and we're essentially playing hopscotch around the country.
My family has an unspoken tradition: Move out and aim for a radius of at least 5-10 hours away from your nearest blood relative. New Jersey – Florida – Maryland – Nevada – North Carolina, being away from family was just part of life as I knew it. When Zach received orders to Fort Hood, Texas, it wasn't a big deal. New place, new faces, repeat.
Little did I know.
Z and I were, what I have affectionately termed, church shopping. We were checking out FBC* in Copperas Cove when I heard someone call my name.... Growing up a Shelly is not too different from growing up a Heather, or an Ashley. The exception being I was always Shelly, not Shelly B., not Shelly M., just Shelly. Only having previously met maybe 3 Shellys in 24 years of life, it took me a bit to process that the name being called was not my own. There was another Shelly, also a brunette, on the other side of the class. Every bit my foil, and every bit about to become one of my best friends. Fast forwards a banquet, a deployment, two moves, a few months later, and we're at the Tindall's most weekends. We adore this dear family.
Somethings aren't meant to last.
My Dad is known for saying, “I firmly believe that God says, 'I tell you to do it, and you go and do it. Leave the results up to me.'” Well God had planted a seed for Ben Tindall to move to Washington years ago. Much like the Titan Arum, aka The Corpse Flower, that calling had finally bloomed into an exciting revelation of why and where the Tindall family needed to live.** Words cannot properly express how excited I am for the purpose God has in relocating this dear family to Washington State. Yet, also like The Corpse Flower, along with the beauty, is my personal sadness in seeing them leave.
Semper Fidelis - Semper Gumby
I have been very blessed by multiple friends willing to join me in cross country drives while Z has been away. One thing led to another, and what had originally been an idea to take a quick drive up and over with Shelly T. and The Mini-Tindalls, quickly transformed into a plan for living with them for 2-ish months. If my husband had to go away for 3 months, it might as well happen when some of our besties could benefit from a live-in babysitter.
Moving to a new part of the country and living with someone can be an unparalleled learning experience. Discovering how much my friend adores breakfast sausage. (Seriously they bought e-v-e-r-y type of breakfast sausage Fred Meyer had in order to discover which regional variety was their new favorite. Ha!)
Realizing I am not a super chill artsy “Type B,” but am in fact a “Type A” with a death grip on what color something should be. (Surprise!) Finding out how many-many-many-many-many varieties of trees there are. (What do you mean there's more than one type of pine tree? What in the world was That Thing?!) And then, of course, there's coming to terms with how much I love this family.
October and November flew by, and then it was time to do some flying of my own. We had a double dose of saying goodbye – a story for another time. I'm dreaming of future days when we'll be reunited with our beloved friends. In the mean time, here's to the future sharing of our adventures from yesteryear.
* - First Baptist Cove, If you're ever in the area I recommend giving them a go.
** - I will probably share more in the coming weeks and months about what they'll be doing there. If the suspense is just too much, you can always pop on over to their website by clicking the button below: