Word of the Year | Connections


March 7, 2023

To be fully transparent, my Word of the Year *started* out as friendship…and just this morning it morphed into CONNECTIONS. I’m on the verge of tears again as I type this because it’s just amazing how pouring into people and truly connecting reaps such benefits, over and over, to everyone involved.

Family photos that show connections

This blog post virtually is being birthed as I type (rather than having a whole bunch of forethought behind it) because of just the simple – yet so meaningful – connections that I’ve experienced only this morning! It may seem like a ramble that doesn’t make much sense but stick with me and you’ll see the value of connections by the end…I hope.

touch shows connections

Ahhh life. Sometimes you feel so alone, despite being surrounded by people, everywhere, all the time. One of the most meaningful connections, especially to a mother, is with her children…which is kind of what Liz Viernes Photography is all about, right??

kisses show connections

I currently am existing in the fraught, precarious life stage of emerging teenagers. It’s that stage where that adoring child, the one who sees no wrong in you and loves everything about you, morphs into a burgeoning adult, one who all of a sudden has had the rose-colored glasses flung off and now sees you as the human you actually are – complete with all the faults and foibles that make you (in their mind, anyway) a detestable, intolerable human to be around. *blink*

baby lays on bed in Savage studio

Yep, it happens. Overnight. All of those “helpful” comments by the dear, tottering little ladies in the Walmart who tell a young, sleep-deprived, harried mother to “enjoy every minute” because “it goes by fast”…they were right, dammit. It does go by fast and all of a sudden I have turned into one of those people, gazing at young moms, thinking (but not saying, not *yet*) how fast it goes and yearning for those days, those connections, again.

mom holds baby, showing maternal connections

Just this morning, sitting in our church basement after the 8am service, waiting for my son to finish up with his Confirmation class, his teacher walked out and told me that he has his eye on my son to deliver the sermon at the Student-Led service in May. This teacher had no idea how badly this mother needed to hear that her son has it in him to take on that huge role. Connections.

dad snuggles son close

As I see my tether to my boy loosening and shredding a little as he takes those first tentative steps away from me and into adulthood, oh, the encouragement I received from hearing that he is Capable. He is Wise. He is Mature. He has a message that should be heard…Wow. Connections. While I mostly see a grouchy, disgruntled, tired, irritable kid, his teacher sees a leader. Sometimes it feels like we as mothers aren’t doing enough, that we’re failing. Connections help us see that what’s in front of us isn’t always the full picture.

family of three demonstrate connections during photo session

Shortly after that conversation, I was sitting there all in my feelings about my kid when the grandparent of another child in Confirmation walked by. She smiled and we said hello and chatted, during which time I learned her name and a little about her. She mentioned that I’m always sitting here working – which is true!

mom, dad, and baby smiling during photo session

After church, while I’m waiting the hour and a half for my son to be finished, I bring my laptop and edit or respond to emails or put together rambling blog posts 😜 I told her what I do and she said, “Oh my gosh! I should tell my daughter about you! She’s looking for a photographer to document my 11 month old grandson’s birthday next month!” Connections.

family cuddles show connections

Yes, it’s been a busy Sunday because I have yet another story about connections from the actual church service (when there’s a message that needs to be driven home, Jesus finds a way!). We go to the 8am service so that our son can get to his 9:30am Confirmation class – it’s early and there’s no choir – only an organist – at that service except for special occasions. Today was a special occasion.

baby plays with toes next to sheer white curtains

We were blessed by the student choir from Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, MD. Oh my heart, when I TELL you that I was moved to tears multiple times during their songs, know that I was affected deeply. One kid in the front row had a PERMA-SMILE on his face. These kids watched their director unwaveringly. When his hands went up, they crescendoed. When his hands dropped, so did their voices.

smiley baby sits in front of embracing parents

And the music! All acapella, with soloists and, holy cow, they brought the gospel. It was amazing. I seriously wept. Multiple times. Music gets to me anyway and I was driven to go up to them afterward and tell them just how much they blessed me, personally. I seriously cried AT THEM while I thanked them. They probably thought I was a little crazy but I think my words mattered to them. Connections.

mother son connections, mom hugs baby

So, I haven’t talked about the O family at all, even though they’ve been the star of this post but I swear they are relevant to my message! During my consult call with Aysha, she specifically used the words “whimsical” and “dreamlike” to describe why she chose to hire me for her family’s photos. Today, I received this text from her in response to my question about whether we had fulfilled her vision:

We have no words. We couldn’t wait to get back to our hotel room last night and figure out how to mirror my phone onto the tv. I don’t know how you did it, but they’re everything we dreamed of and more. I wish I could go back in time and have you take all of our photos we’ve had done over the years! I can’t thank you enough, you’re seriously the best ❤️

using touch and smiles to show connections

I would categorize Aysha’s family as a Unicorn Family because their vision totally aligned with my vision and together we created something that we’re both over-the-moon thrilled about! I pray that we’ve forged a Connection that will take us through the years of their growing family.

baby laughs at camera from safety of mom's lap

Okay, so I don’t know if I’ve helped you see the value of connections or not, though I did promise you I would by the end of this post. While the year started out with me wanting to focus on friendship, none of the things that I felt so powerfully this morning had *anything* to do with friendship. It was all about connections which, I see here, can fill a person up just as much as a talk with a good friend. So I’m shifting my focus this year to connections. You never know when you can give someone just what they didn’t even know they needed, just by being in the right place at the right time. Connections.

Featured on Subkit, Liz Viernes Photography is based near Brookville, MD, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.

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