Seek The Joy

“Seek the Joy”

I read the bumper sticker on the car in front of me with mingled annoyance and longing. I’d love to go out and “seek the joy”, I thought, but some of us have responsibilities and can’t just spend all of our time playing. Harrumph. We have errands to run. Toilet paper to buy and such. Growl, grumpy growl. You know, work to do. And work, by definition, isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be work. So there. {Insert juvenile tongue-sticking-out here}


Or not.


While I have a bit of irritation with such buzz-phrases as “seek the joy” and “follow your passion” {I mean, c’mon…yeah, yeah, yeah, but what does that MEAN??}, admittedly, there can be a nugget of good sense and applicability tucked into the cliche. Maybe there really is a bit more joy, a touch more fun, to be sought in the mundane realities of day-to-day living.

Dan Harris released his book 10% Happier  earlier this year. While I haven’t read it and in this case am not referring to meditation practice, the title, the idea, of being 10% happier really struck me. What if I could infuse just a tiny bit, any percentage at all, more happiness into my life by simply looking for small, incremental shifts in how I do things? What if I spent the $3 and five minutes it takes to buy a Starbucks latte when it comes time to do errands? I know this isn’t much to most people, but stopping for coffee first sort of turns “errand-running” into “jaunt around town”…something about that warm “cuppa” really feels like a huge treat to me and if I decide to begin with that, I find myself actually looking forward to errands! And every single day, some portion of my workday either doesn’t require a computer at all or simply requires word processing and a precise view of color calibration isn’t necessary. What if, instead of going through the usual motions and doing them at my desk, I grouped those tasks and did them outside? What if I even grouped them into things to be done on the deck and things to be done at the beach?  I live in coastal Maine for crying out loud…there is simply NOWHERE better in the summer and I am a five minute drive from our local beach.

So “Operation: Squeeze the Joy” has been declared and is officially underway.

No more going through the motions. No task left unquestioned. How can we squeeze a little more fun into this? House cleaning? Turn the music up first, even if it’s just a 10 minute sweep and dishes. Walking Tess? We do it together and take the time to hold hands, point out the neighborhood peonies, and growing gardens, and fresh coats of paint. An unexpected Saturday off? No more catching up on laundry or mindlessly checking off the to-do list…pull out the map, look for a state park or a mountain or a whitewater river and jump in the car and head toward it.

Campfires beat out television any day of the week.

There is something in this that is simple mindfulness, basic “awakeness”- an awareness of what is at hand and a slowing down long enough to notice, to ask ourselves if it can be better, more joyful, more engaging, more rewarding, more compassionate, no matter how menial. There is something to the old Gretchen Rubin quote, “The days are long, but the years are short” that is just plain ol’ true…the days slip away and it’s so easy for one to blur into the next until years have gone by, a lifetime has gone by. I want to pause and notice where I can, to make real effort in that direction every single day. But I know that some days will just fly, just blur because I am merely human. I want that blur to be a happy one, a contented one, a meaningful one.

I think that begins with Operation: Squeeze the Joy.


Join me, won’t you? How do you squeeze more fun into your day to day? I can use all the help and suggestions you have, so please share!




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  • JustinJune 27, 2014 - 2:33 pm

    Great post! Similar to your errand running with coffee in tow, a Frosty’s donut always brings a smile to my face if I have to run downtown for something. That $1 spent feels like a mini-vacation in my mouth. As much as I hate to admit it, having comfortable outdoor furniture has made our backyard a haven to just sit… and watch the chipmunks rule the holz hausen.ReplyCancel

  • CindyJune 27, 2014 - 5:51 am

    Thanks so much, John! I love everything I’ve read by Thich Nhat Hanh- I’ll have to check this one out!! I appreciate your comment!ReplyCancel

  • John ManganelloJune 26, 2014 - 9:16 pm

    Great post! Important stuff, for sure! Check out the book “The Miracle of Mindfulness,” by Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh…you’ll like it and it’s an easy weekend read. To quote, “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life. Don’t be attached to the future.” I’m finding the importance of being mindful and in the moment, especially with young kiddos, makes all the difference in the world.ReplyCancel

I spent a gorgeous Saturday morning with the Manganello family a couple of weeks ago! We played by the water and took some photos and I just can’t get enough of these guys! I always really appreciate it when families approach a session with the expectation that their kiddos will just be themselves and can laugh and run around and engage with one another in a real and authentic way! Shocker, I know, but it turns out that yelling at your kids to smile doesn’t actually work very well! These guys had no such issue…there were adventures on the dock, climbing on the playground, and a bit of tossing in the air to keep things lively and the smiles came of their own accord!


Thank you so much, Manganellos!!! You guys are AWESOME!!!!

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  • MarielJuly 10, 2014 - 6:25 pm

    You have a gorgeous family and i absolutely adore your wrap!ReplyCancel

  • AmandaJuly 10, 2014 - 6:16 pm


  • JenniferWJuly 10, 2014 - 6:09 pm

    Gorgeous photos!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda AshJuly 10, 2014 - 6:08 pm

    OMG! These pictures are amazing! Such a cute family!!ReplyCancel

  • SoleilJuly 10, 2014 - 4:45 pm

    Beautiful family!ReplyCancel

  • Chanel XOJuly 10, 2014 - 4:18 pm

    Beautiful shots of a beautiful familyReplyCancel

  • HollyJuly 10, 2014 - 3:44 pm

    Beautiful pictures!ReplyCancel

  • cayden g.July 10, 2014 - 3:41 pm

    WOW!! amazing pictures!ReplyCancel

  • DenisseCJuly 10, 2014 - 3:33 pm

    Gorgeous pictures!! Beautiful family!ReplyCancel

  • Germaine PajarilloJuly 10, 2014 - 3:16 pm

    Beautiful family and awesome photos!ReplyCancel

  • Jasmine SandovalJuly 10, 2014 - 3:13 pm

    Beautiful , fun loving family ??ReplyCancel

  • Suzy RobertsJuly 10, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    Love this photo shoot! I would never be able to pick a favorite. Seriously couldn’t do it. What a precious family!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Papelian-RapajJuly 10, 2014 - 2:45 pm

    WOW What Amazing Photos, God bless!ReplyCancel

  • Becky NJuly 10, 2014 - 2:43 pm

    Beautiful photos! Such lovely work :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim BradyJuly 10, 2014 - 2:39 pm

    So beautiful!!ReplyCancel

  • Chastyn ChristensonJuly 10, 2014 - 2:34 pm

    Beautiful family!ReplyCancel

  • Krisma PickeringJuly 10, 2014 - 2:21 pm

    And I forgot to mention how absolutely breath taking you LOs eyes are!ReplyCancel

  • Krisma PickeringJuly 10, 2014 - 2:20 pm

    OMG these are ao gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • ReaceJuly 10, 2014 - 2:13 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I love that these pictures show personalities not just smiling faces! :)ReplyCancel

  • Crystal steJuly 10, 2014 - 2:08 pm


  • Kelly Lindsay HochsteterJuly 10, 2014 - 1:58 pm


  • KELLY BARLOWJuly 10, 2014 - 1:55 pm

    Beautiful Family. Lovely pictures!ReplyCancel

  • EmilyPetJuly 10, 2014 - 1:55 pm

    Beautiful family!ReplyCancel

  • Meghan YJuly 10, 2014 - 1:48 pm

    Lovely! Beautifully photos :)ReplyCancel

  • Ambrosia EkelmanJuly 10, 2014 - 1:48 pm

    BEAUTIFUL photos! I especially love the wrap pics <3ReplyCancel

  • Mandy TalbottJuly 10, 2014 - 1:47 pm

    Gorgeous Family!! Fantastic photos!!ReplyCancel

  • KasandraJuly 10, 2014 - 1:45 pm


  • Kim GarciaJune 27, 2014 - 5:22 pm

    LOOOOVE — these are amazing — I want copies of all of them. You guys are such a wonderful and beautiful family!ReplyCancel

  • KatyJune 27, 2014 - 8:16 am

    Beautiful pictures you guys!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen JanFranciscoJune 26, 2014 - 10:49 pm

    Beautiful pictures!!!ReplyCancel

  • John ManganelloJune 26, 2014 - 9:18 pm

    Thanks for all these great comments! We had a fantastic time with Cindy, and as you can tell if you spend any time on her site, her photographs are amazing. We highly recommend her!ReplyCancel

  • EllieJune 26, 2014 - 8:41 pm

    Way to rock the fro Vera!ReplyCancel

  • RobynJune 26, 2014 - 7:36 pm

    Beautiful family! Always knew you would be a great mom ;)ReplyCancel

  • Chandler JonesJune 26, 2014 - 2:39 pm

    Beautiful Photos of a beautiful family!ReplyCancel

  • AmberJune 26, 2014 - 2:34 pm

    Omg – love these! Lauren, your family is gorgeous…ReplyCancel

  • JennJune 26, 2014 - 1:14 pm

    Gorgeous pictures!!!ReplyCancel

  • LauraJune 26, 2014 - 11:47 am

    You all look great! Beautiful kiddos :)ReplyCancel

  • MaggiJune 25, 2014 - 6:17 pm

    Wonderful, carefree pictures. Thank you for capturing their spirits.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny McGillicuddyJune 25, 2014 - 4:43 pm

    Love all of these photos!ReplyCancel

  • MeganJune 25, 2014 - 3:20 pm

    These are beautiful! Love you guys:)ReplyCancel

  • MandyJune 25, 2014 - 3:06 pm

    What a sweet family! These are great!!ReplyCancel

  • KimberlyJune 25, 2014 - 12:56 pm

    These are amazingly gorgeous! Beautiful family. And the photos are so nicely done!ReplyCancel

  • KaileyJune 25, 2014 - 12:43 pm

    Love these!! Amazing photos!!ReplyCancel

  • LindsyJune 25, 2014 - 11:31 am

    Such a gorgeous and fun family! I love to see babywearing in photo shoots as well. Nice work. <3ReplyCancel

  • NicoleJune 25, 2014 - 10:29 am

    Beautiful family and look at baby girl’s teeth! So cute!ReplyCancel

  • SofiJune 25, 2014 - 10:21 am

    Gorgeous couple and beautiful babes! I love these photos– they are so natural and beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • AmberJune 25, 2014 - 10:17 am

    These are precious photos! Such a sweet happy shoot :)ReplyCancel

  • LeighJune 25, 2014 - 10:11 am

    What beautiful pictures! Baby girl’s hair is adorable!ReplyCancel

  • StephaniJune 25, 2014 - 10:11 am

    These pictures are amazing! Beautiful family! <3ReplyCancel

  • LauraJune 25, 2014 - 10:10 am

    So sweet :)ReplyCancel

  • Brandy MarkeyJune 25, 2014 - 8:12 am

    What a beautiful family! These photos are amazing!!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda DobynsJune 24, 2014 - 11:51 pm

    These photos really are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • MaureenJune 24, 2014 - 9:52 pm

    Beautiful pics! Particularly love the wrap ones and the swing — but all are amazing! Miss seeing you guys!ReplyCancel

  • LindaJune 24, 2014 - 8:03 pm

    You did an amazing job at capturing a beautiful family.
    Some of my favorites were of Lauren and Vera
    and all that neck kissing with John and Vera done by Lauren :)
    The portrait of Otis and John as number one is also a favorite. You have capture John’s smile perfectly.

    fun day!ReplyCancel

  • LaurenJune 24, 2014 - 6:49 pm

    These are all amazing! You are so talented! Thank you!!ReplyCancel

I am woefully behind on my blogging…I blame these gorgeous summer days that have so suddenly come to shine down on us here in Maine! It feels impossible to stay indoors some afternoons and I admit that I have been looking for every excuse to take my camera outside to play in the wind and sunshine! But I have SO MUCH that I’m excited to share coming up!!! I wanted to leave you with a little peek for the weekend so here’s a little preview of what’s coming up in the next week or two!! Brea and Blaine were married on Saturday at the GORGEOUS Hidden Pond. Despite a questionable forecast, the day was just beautiful…though that might just have been Brea’s radiance blinding me! I’ll save my gushing, but seriously…awesome.  MainePhotographer-001MainePhotographer-002MainePhotographer-003MainePhotographer-004Terry is the yogic genius behind Freeport Yoga Company and I spent an amazing morning with her at Wolfe’s Neck…I’m excited to do some standup paddle yoga pics with her soon as well, so this isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of her! Also, if you are local, she  is hosting a fabulous 108 Sun Salutations workshop to celebrate the Solstice this weekend and the talented Moriah Salter will be accompanying the practice with her soulful original music! Don’t miss it!!!MainePhotographer-005MainePhotographer-006Last week I had the pleasure of heading up to Deer Isle to meet up with Goldie and Johnson for their engagement photos! I’m so excited for their French’s Point wedding next month and can’t wait to share this adorable couple with you guys!MainePhotographer-007MainePhotographer-008MainePhotographer-009Do you remember Roger from his last shoot? Well, after his Sunburnt single did so well, he’s heading to Nashville this fall and will be recording a full album, so we met up to grab some new photos to go with his new tunes!!MainePhotographer-010MainePhotographer-011

Have a WONDERFUL weekend, y’all!!!! Happy Friday!!!!

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It’s always so fun to see a wedding I’ve shot in print, and Danielle and Jason‘s recent feature in The Knot New England is definitely no exception!!!


Another big shout out to the awesome group of vendors that pulled the vision together:

Event Planner & Coordinator: Adrienne of The Refinery

Venue: Ski Esta Lodge
Florist: Pooh Corner Farm
Cake Artist: Maine Custom Cakes
Caterer: Adrian Hartell of Jeanie Marshal Foods
Donut Favors: The Holy Donut
Hair & Makeup: Xana-Do Salon & Day Spa
Stationery: E&H Creates
DJ & Lighting Design: Jeff Erwin of Mix Chemist
Officiant: Rev. Erika Hewitt
Event Rentals: Affordable Events
Transportation: The Sunday River Shuttle trolleys
Guest Cupcakes: Love Cupcakes
“Just Married” Sign: The Summery Umbrella

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I heard Moriah sing for the very first time during a yoga workshop where she performed with my favorite yoga studio. I was totally and utterly blown away by her voice and her music and the words to every single song! So, of course, I began hunting her down so that I could buy everything she’d ever recorded! I was delighted to find out that she has a new album in the works and, after lots of brainstorming and talking through visions, I am so so SOOOO excited to be collaborating with her on a series of sessions to celebrate the new album!!

Not only is Moriah an insane musical talent, but she and her husband are also the founders and heart behind ReTreeUs, a phenomenal non-profit which should enjoy your attention and support! And when they aren’t running their farm, teaching, investing in social justice, or generally pouring their souls into making the world a better place, they can be found writing and creating music together as Spruce Canopy Music. So many wonderful things.

So without further ado…introducing Moriah Salter:

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Moriah! I can’t wait for our next session and for your album to be released!! THANK YOU for all the amazing beauty and light that you give to the world!!!

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  • […] a fabulous 108 Sun Salutations workshop to celebrate the Solstice this weekend and the talented Moriah Salter will be accompanying the practice with her soulful original music! Don’t miss […]ReplyCancel