16 April 2008

celebration {me}

So what have I been up to lately? So glad you asked!

There are a few words I could use:

imago dei.

I could try and use more words, but the pictures do a pretty good job, too.

{click on the photo to see a few more}

And I'm only getting warmed up.

In an e-mail I sent to friends yesterday, I said:

those of you who have been witness to my journey in any capacity over the last few weeks & months know that i've been taking a meandering & oftentimes reluctant journey not only toward realizing that God made me to be a writer, but toward beginning to understand & to embrace my unique God-given identity as a woman, as God's child, & as one called to be a minister of His grace in a way i'm only beginning to understand. not only that, i've been learning to appreciate, to like & to love all these crazy & amazing things God has planted in me that make me unlike any other.

this photo session was about taking that truth another step & really just celebrating it: celebrating the unfolding of God's plan taking root & blooming in me. it was a wildly fun & empowering experience and (i think) captured some of that imago dei in me.

I guess it's something like that.

It took several weeks for this to go from an idea {I think I want to have a photo session by myself} to actually getting up the guts to research photographers and finally to reach out to the only one who seemed like a good fit {submit comment on photographer's website: do you do this kind of thing?? I'm not getting married or having a baby, is it really okay to do this??}. Eventually, I realized I didn't care if other people had done it; I wanted to do it.

And then it came time to move from concept to reality: hello, butterflies!!

It was nearly two weeks ago that Jen and I dared to traipse all over our local downtown area in the thick of the busiest time of the day: people getting off work, driving by, watching. Me posing, smiling, standing tall and standing out. Tossing flowers, laughing, celebrating. Intimidating at first, but ultimately:

fun. celebratory. affirming. empowering.

An enormous thanks to the lovely, delightful, immensely talented, goofy, and amazing Jen Fox who was my partner and advocate in this project {who, not-so-incidentally, I also went to high school with. What fun!!}.

All this got me thinking: what are some other ways we can affirm and celebrate ourselves?


  1. i did a photo shoot last fall with marcia and it was a blast. that's where my profile pic is from. it did feel weird, but i'm glad i did it. (for when i'm famous, you know.) ;)

    you look radiant kirsten. these images capture the place you're in so perfectly. it's like peeking into your lovely soul.

  2. hooray! you so know that i back you up all the way on this. picture me doing a little dance and being your cheerleader, because that's what i am!!

    so thrilled for you in this. and, as i've already shared with you, i only have one word: HOTTIE!! :)

    love you, brave girl. so proud of you.

  3. You go girl! You get my hero for the day award. This gave me an idea. I would love to make a “hero of the day” badge for bloggers to give out on occasions like this (if anyone is technically inclined to making blog badges please feel free to create one and let me know where I can get it!). It goes without saying that you are gorgeous on both the outside and inside, and Jen did a great job of capturing that.

    I once met a women in her 70s who had a beautiful huge painting of herself, when she was maybe 30, hanging in her living room above the fireplace. I fell in love with the idea of having myself painted too… but have never done it. Maybe one day I will.

  4. What fun! And what beauty I see in your heartspiritwordslifefacesmile.

    Seeing these pictures makes me wonder if I could actually ever be a photographer...to create these sorts of moments for people...wow.

  5. YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN! It was so fun to look at those pictures, and see the same childhood face that I remember from so may years ago, now coming through in the body/face of a woman! I am so glad you could celebrate who you are and who God has made you to be. I love it when we can come to the point in our life where we see pictures of ourselves and can see the things that we love about those pictures. I think I am finally to that point, and I love it!

  6. Happy Kirsten Liberation Day... did anyone bake a cake?

    Glad to see you laying claim on the identity that is you and you alone. I will never meet one just like you, and that is fine with me.

    God is cruizing through Oregon right now. I have two other friends in Oregon seeing their true selves in Christ as well... Very cool.

    Carry on Holy Spirit, tranform my friends, and me away. Have your own way and not our own.

  7. amen to that, carl, about there being no one else like kirsten on the entire planet. hoorah for that!!

  8. so cool that you are being real and relaxed. I will do a photo shoot soon myself. It will be cool to have an hour to get good pictures taken and then select a good one.

    ways to affirm oneself is to take a nap, lean up against the bus window and let the sun come flooding over me like a purring cat.
    Peace and have a good day, too.

  9. i love them all so much but especially that one of you throwing yourself with wild abandon on the tracks...more there than meets the eye

    all in all
    you loook mavelous...

    gorgeous, playful, free.

  10. terri - when our paths first crossed, i remembered at wondering who took that cool photo of you. i love that you were able to have that experience!! and yes, for when you're famous, it will be very important to have that photo!!

    christianne - i can't tell you how much delight it's given me, friend, to have shared this with you pretty much from its inception until now, its reality. thank you for cheering for me, for being my true advocate in this!

    chloe - thank you, sweet girl!! it was so truly *empowering* to be able to do this. and i LOVE the idea of you having a portrait painting. that would be an amazing experience!! and one i would definitely want to see the results of!!

    sarah - thank you for celebrating with me!! i feel like as much as it can, my soul is shining through here. it was so much fun & i would recommend it highly!!

    ilse - thank you, friend!! i love that you're here celebrating with me, you who know where & who i've been & now you can be here too in this process of becoming. it's so much fun to have you along for the ride!!

    carl - i like it!! liberated is a good word too. i was so worried about feeling nervous or self-conscious as i'm standing there being photographed with half the city driving by. but i didn't. not self-conscious, just me. liberated!

    christianne - you make me giggle with delight, girl!!

    di - i love it: abandon, delight, playful. those words do well to describe where i'm at right now. more than meets the eye, ha ha!!

    blue - thanks for celebrating with me!! it means so much to me to have you along for the journey.

  11. The phrase photo shoot/portrait got me thinking of what it would have been like if Michaelangelo was invited to the Reception for the Magi's visit in Bethelehem. Of How he would have felt sitting by the cradle of Jesus. Sitting amongst the stars and the heavens and of the close quarters of the inn with the animals outside.
    And how He would have felt if He followed this man Jesus for 30 years as He gave small hints of His greatness. And then to burst onto the climatic scene for the next 2 years.
    To try to capture the imago deo. The image of God. Yet the beauty is that God has made that portrait of Us when He made Man and Woman.

    So I celebrate your femininity and affirm who you are. Having never met you in person. May you develop into God's everlasting Child as well.

  12. Well Kirsten, I guess we've been over the pictures by now so we can just skip to your question. How can we affirm and celebrate ourselves? I know that with me the quest has become more about how to celebrate what God has created in me to be celebrated. After our conversations I know that is where your heart is and I admire that very much. I know that with me when it becomes about me then that's when I screw it all up. When my focus returns to God things fall back into place again.

    To me it feels like the affirmation of self is faith in God that He knew what he was doing in you even...especially when it doesn't make any worldly sense to you. The Celebration can come in any form as long as it comes through you from God not from you. You can celebrate Gods glory in you by loving on the next person to walk by on the sidewalk with a warm smile or making that extra effort to really listen to someone. Make all of those things that God has created in you become the things that define you.

    I do love the idea of the pictures to celebrate this new "life" of yours and everything that it represents. It was a great idea and it's obvious that you and Jen made it happen in an amazing way.
    Be blessed

  13. So beautiful. But then I suppose that's part of celebration.

  14. You know what I especially love about this picture--the flowers are only beginning to bloom. There's all sorts of potential for the buds to crawl up and down those shoots and cover the fence so that the fence doesn't look like something that holds us back or in but something that frames us with beauty.

  15. Wonderful, beautiful, poetic!

    Love the images! Love the celebration!

  16. As I said before: Just beautiful! It is so cool seeing you this happy.

  17. I won't go into all the details here, but your words are timely for me. I've been in my own process of learning to let myself bloom, shine, become what I am here to be, and to not be afraid of taking up that space, radiating, enjoying, celebrating, knowing it is a form of love itself, of prayer.
    And so I am so happy to see you here, celebrating YOU.
    You have inspired me and I think maybe having a photo shoot of my own is just the thing.
    And I love seeing the explosion of life on your face! :)