My Inspired Life » This is a blog about my life. A peek into what inspires me and maybe, by reading, you'll find some inspiration for yourself.

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Priyanka – From Maternity to Newborn

I think one of my favorite things to photograph is a woman with a baby in her belly. There is something so magical about it. Having two boys of my own, I know the awe and wonder of holding a life inside of you. Now, my boys are so big that I have trouble even thinking that they were ever that small…but they were. And I have to say, looking at those photos, the maternity photos of when they were each inside of me, is one of the most incredible things to do with them. My youngest will curl himself up in a ball and pretend to be that little again. It just melts my heart.

Enjoy these images of this sweet family. They live right around the corner from me and I’m so happy to have met them. I’ll love seeing their children grow and change. I love being able to see them year after year getting bigger and becoming more of who they already are.

New life brings new challenges and new joys….and to that I say life is a miracle.


Feature Friday – AML Limited

It is my pleasure, once a month, to feature a local business. A business that I’ve photographed for marketing purposes or maybe just the owner or employees for the “About” section of their website.

Today’s feature is AML Limited.

I met the owners, Kelley and Adrian at my church. It was a funny connection actually. Have you ever met someone who you just wanted to know more from the instant you saw them? Someone who you notice from across a room and hope to have a reason to meet and talk to? That’s how I felt about Kelley. I actually met her for the first time at an If: Gathering at our church over a year ago. I found my boldness to walk up to her and meet her. To my surprise she told me she felt the same way about me. That she wanted to meet me and talk to me as well. And that was that, we were friends.

I learned a bit about her business in the days and weeks that followed and learned that she was in need of some photography. She and her husband have a great spot for their business in Sausalito, out on Liberty Ship Way. It was a perfect location for portraits of Kelley and Adrian as well as their employees and their ever faithful and beautiful dog, Lobo. I’ve since taken some family photos as well out at beautiful Cavallo Point and plan on photographing some products and samples to be used on their site in the near future.

For this Feature Friday series I asked Kelley to answer a few questions so that I could introduce AML Limited to my readers. I hope this is a way for people to learn a little something about their business as they are wonderful people with giant hearts. They bring more than just knowledge and hard work to the table. They bring character, heart and compassion. I’m truly blessed to know them and can’t wait for you to meet them too!

Here is an introduction to Kelley Laekas and AML Limited…

How many years have you been in business and how did you get started in the industry?

My husband and I both worked many years for a large corporation selling commercial carpet. The development of AML Limited was actually pretty organic when we felt we could do something more dynamic and more fun on our own. We took a chance to build AML Limited together and have never looked back. That was 5 years ago.

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an interior designer, just like my mom.

What do you love about your job/career?

I love solving problems for people. It brings me joy to help someone create their vision, especially when they don’t think it’s possible. And being part of a team that creates beautiful and useful buildings is a pleasure.

What services /products do you offer/provide?

AML Limited started as a company promoting under-represented interior finishes to the design industry. We now also provide local distribution for some finish materials and more recently we have managed many projects from inception to completion. This includes everything from finding the materials to be used to arranging labor and installation. We have also consulted to local municipalities to evaluate appropriate use of materials. AML started by filling a need that wasn’t being met and have since learned to grow and change based on the needs of our industry. What began as a small service has turned into a full-scale offering to our clients and we love every moment. 

What is your favorite part of your job/career?

Solving problems for people and being a part of creating beautiful and useful buildings is a pleasure. I absolutely love working with my best friend and husband and honestly, we have a great team here at the office. We have chemistry together and that helps us work not only with each other but with other creatives to bring their visions to fruition with unique materials.

My background is interior design and although I’m not “designing” I have the chance to let the inner designer part of me come out by creatively solving a problem for my clients. The other part that’s really fun is being able to see the working, functioning, beautiful spaces that we contribute our skills toward. It’s wonderful to see the vision come to reality when walking through a space.

What sets your company apart from your competitors?

We rarely say “no”. We will work until we find a client what it is they need, whether it’s a product we represent or not. We like to think of ourselves as consultants. We’ve come to realize that we have a chance to help people find the right material, the right installer and if there’s something that would be best for the job and if we don’t carry or represent it, we’ll go find it. We’ve sourced materials from South Korea, Croatia, Italy, Austria, Poland, Spain, Canada and even Estonia which used to be part of Russia near the Baltic Sea. We strive to be the best at what we do with every opportunity.


I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little peek into AML Limited and who they are behind the scenes! I find inspiration in that they not only love what they do but they love each other through it all. Happy people making people happy.

Look for another Feature Friday next month. And please comment below if you have other questions you would like to know the answers to or suggestions. I’m happy to hear them.

The If: Gathering 2017

If…one little word made up of 2 letters. But that one little word holds so much hope and possibility.

If

There are so many things we can put after that one little word. I have asked myself things like…  What if I lost my sight or what if I lost my home or one of my children. Questions that spark thought and sadness. There are the other “if” questions. What would I do if I were rich…if I didn’t have to work for money…if I could go anywhere in the world. Questions that spark thought and hope.

A few years ago I was introduced to another questions that starts with the word “If”. If God were real, how would you be living your life differently?

Now, if you really think about that question, and I don’t care who you are or what you believe, if you really were to ask yourself that question, you would have to stop and think. For a long time.

There are so many people in this world and we all believe different things, we have different tastes and styles. We have different beliefs about simple things like whether you should leash your dog at the park or not, to complex things like how to raise a child. We are faced with so many decisions about things on a daily basis. 35,000 actually according to some studies that have been conducted. 35,000 decisions a day. Some small, some large but all decisions that we have to reason with our mind.

So when the question was asked, “If God were real…” I stopped to think. I know that I believe in God but do I live my life from the perspective that He’s real? How would that change things? How would that affect my interactions with my children, my husband, a hungry man on the street?

I’ve always loved learning, growing, studying new things and this question propelled me into deep thought. I was introduced to this question through my church. Linda Mazzerello had I believe stumbled across the first If: Gathering via a blog by Ann Voskamp. (Let me just say if you haven’t heard of Ann Voskamp, she’s a trip! The word that comes to mind when I think of her is ‘severe’. She’s super intense and delivers the word unlike anyone I’ve ever seen. Kind of a spoken word style.) Linda brought the gathering to our church, I think three years ago, by showing a selection of videos of speakers from the conference over 4 Sunday nights. I went and was incredibly moved by what I saw, heard, felt.

Jennie Allen – Founder of If: Gathering

Ann Voskamp

Let me back up just a bit so you can more fully understand the conference and how it started. (From the words on the If: Gathering site:) “In 2007 Jennie Allen sensed God telling her to disciple a generation. It seemed to be an impossible and improbable calling. Jennie knew that if this call was truly from God, then He would make it a reality. So for years she waited, took small steps of obedience, and watched God begin to open doors and give favor. The vision was to gather, equip, and unleash women to live out God’s calling on their lives. So Jennie, together with a team of friends, formally established If: Gathering. In our wildest of dreams, we couldn’t have imagined what would happen next.” (You can read the full If story HERE.)

And so began my own journey and inquiry into this deep question. Each year our church has brought The If: Gathering to the women of Marin Covenant and any other women that wanted to participate from the area. Showing videos, sharing stories, helping to create “If Tables” which consists of 6 women coming together, once a month to share a meal and 4 questions, bringing them closer to God and their unique calling. I’ve loved it and have looked forward to it each year. But this past year I felt a calling to go and be a part of the actual conference. Be in the room with the 2000 women who gathered from all over the world. I wasn’t sure it was going to happen but I prayed and I knew that if it was meant to be, God would help orchestrate the plan.

To my amazement and surprise everything fell into place in a way that when I learned that I was actually going to Austin I dropped to my knees, tears bursting forth, and prayed in gratitude. I think what brought me to my knees was knowing that the calling I had felt to be there was real and that God truly orchestrated my being able to go.

It was a powerful experience, being at If. I think my biggest takeaway from the weekend was something that was asked by Jennie Allen on day one. She asked if we are distracted by trying to do the “big things”. That what Jesus asks us to do on our walk here on earth are the “little things”. Loving people. Going deeper not bigger. To love your neighbor, the people closest to you. At the end of the conference we were asked to write the name(s) down on one side of a magnet of the person or people that brought you to God. To recognize most often it’s a person that does this, that shepherds you toward a life with God or Christ. Then she asked us to write a name or two or more on the other side of the magnet of whom we want to disciple. Returning the gift we were given. My parents, Matt’s parents, Rebecca, Matt, my sister were the names I wrote on the back. All people who brought me in some way closer to God. When I thought about who’s name I would write on the other side, I didn’t need to think long. I felt so strongly that my first job here on this earth is to steward my children. They are the most important people in my life with whom I want to share my connection to God. I couldn’t imagine putting anyone else’s names down on that tile. If they are ever asked when they’re older who helped shepherd their walk with God I would hope my name would be on their list.

I feel like I’ve been given the most important job in the world to be their mom. To love them, teach them how to love others and to show them how to love God. It makes me emotional just thinking about it now. And really, even if you don’t believe in God but you are a parent, isn’t that what we all hope to do? To love them above all else and teach them how to love others? To be gentle with them. To guide them in a direction so they can leave you someday and be whole and complete on their own. That’s my hope, my calling.

To say I had an amazing weekend is an understatement. I basically spent my weekend eating, praying and crying with a group of amazing women. I have deep gratitude for Linda and her two daughters, Marlene, Kelley, Anne, Dani and Emily. I’m marking my calendar now in hopes that I’ll get to go again next year. If you’re interested in learning more about the If:Gathering and perhaps attending an If: Local next year here’s the link to their site: If: Gathering

And they always have a study going so if that’s something you’re interested in…go to If: Equip

I’ll leave you with the same question that started my journey. What IF God were real? What if? Leave me a comment, send me an email. Let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you. And I have to also leave you with some images from my journey. I didn’t bring my camera but made due with my phone. Sometimes I just need a break from it all but I can’t stop myself from capturing memories. 🙂


This Is Why…

…you should schedule a photography session every year!

It’s crazy how much they change. Subtle things sometimes but other things, like how much they’re growing, are pretty obvious.

If you haven’t documented your family in a while, give me a call! I would love to spend some time with you. 🙂


San Rafael Family Session – On The Other Side

How much do we love it when people heal? I think it gives us so much hope. Christine has transitioned through the other side of lymphoma. That was between August of 2013 and May of 2014. This summer marks 3 years on the other side.

You can see other photos of her HERE from a shoot I did back in 2012. There’s a portrait in that bunch that is to date my favorite portrait I’ve taken. Take a peek, I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out which one it is.  And if you’re curious, you can learn more about her and what she’s up to in this world here: Christine Chrisman

But the thing I love most…about the photos below…is that you can just see who they are, their personalities. I love that! No hiding, just being real!