Monday, December 21, 2015

Everyday Light: Self | A Self Portrait Series

I mentioned a few posts back that I'm taking time off from my professional photography business in 2016. It's a huge change that I'm excited and terrified about all at the same time! I won't be taking on any clients, but I am really looking forward to a few projects I have rattling around in my head. I’ve decided instead of becoming stagnant, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to relearn myself, and acquire some new photography skills.

Photography is something that will always be a part of who I am. It’s something I’m very passionate about, but I’ve photographed other people’s families for so long, that I’ve sort of fallen into a routine and neglected to really reach outside the box for a while now. I also haven’t been appearing in photos of my own life as much as I’d like. (This is a mom problem. We are always the ones behind the camera and rarely are we able to step in front and express who we really are and be captured in the moment with our family.)

So at the beginning of the year, I’ll be starting a personal project- a Self Portrait Project!  One Self-Portrait per month, for the entire year. By the end of the year, I’m hoping to have gained some insight into myself as a person- a wife, a mom, a woman- as well as some new photography skills. It will be a creative stretch for me that will require me to think outside the box, and I'm looking forward to the challenge!

I’ll be posting the portraits on the blog each month, as well as a few on Instagram, so you can follow along with the hashtags #everydaylightself, either way, I hope you'll come along for the journey!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Everyday Light Life: December

I don't presume to think that we live a glamorous life. But I love it so much... I love the light and the love and the laughter we share each and every day. So today, I'm going to share a peek into our #everydaylightlife.

​These were each edited using the new Indoor Light Set by Sarah-Beth Photography. I rarely use actions or presets, but these are just so good! Go check them out! Enjoy.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Imperfect Thanks

So how'd it go? Was your Thanksgiving as happy as your Christmas cards are promising me it was? Did the turkey turn out perfectly and on time? Pies set all the way through? Everyone got along and there was no awkward conversation at the dinner table? Was your Thanksgiving outfit on point?

Yeah, us either.

This year, we decided to do something unprecedented: we cooked our own meal, in our own home, for just the four of us. This was a big deal for me, because I'm used to doing Thanksgiving at my grandparent's or in-law's house. Sometimes I bring a pie or a salad if I'm feeling extra thankful. But this year, since it's our first year in the Ahlgrim Haus, we wanted to do it our way, and on our own time.

And my favorite part? My husband volunteered to do ALL the cooking. ​​So here's how it went:

Thursday morning, Ryan got up and started smoking the chicken. (That's right. We're so rogue that we didn't even eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Deal with it.) He also made all the sides and pumpkin pie for dessert, while I kept he kids entertained by watching the parade and letting them help me decorate the Christmas tree. The tree is now only decorated on one side on the bottom third. It's perfect.

The chicken wasn't cooking fast enough, so we sat down and just ate all the sides (which were amazing, by the way) but before we dug in, we took a self-timer photo of the whole clan at the Thanksgiving table. In our pajamas. And out of nearly thirty frames, ZERO got our faces in focus (Although, that half-decorated Christmas tree in the background is looking sharp!)

Here she is in all her out of focus, unedited, sleepy-eyed, pajama-clad glory:

And yes. I do this for a living.​​​ Not nearly as easy as it looks...

We did put on real clothes and venture out to see family (and have an extra slice of pie or seven), and one of us thought it was a grand idea to stand in the rain on Thanksgiving evening to get two TVs...

He was right. We have two new TVs.​​

It was crazy. It was so unplanned and thrown together and so out of character for us, and it looked nothing like the prettied up versions of Thanksgiving that we always want to project to the world... and you know what? I loved it. We had the best Thanksgiving I can remember... perfectly imperfect.

I hope yours was too.​​

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wavy Glass

​Our century-old home has over a dozen windows on the ground floor alone, and many of them still have the original antique glass in them. They are magnificent. Each piece is unique and has waves and twists and imperfections that make them special. When the afternoon sun filters through trees and through the wavy glass, it makes the light dance across dusty old floors and various pieces of furniture- almost as if they were ablaze with fire. They’re a filter, these windows, and looking through them is a bit like watching the world through water- shapes bending and moving, refusing to stay still- and everything seems to move just a bit more slowly. Looking through them can be disorienting and hypnotic and peaceful. I can’t decide which I love more- the light burning in, or the water dancing out…

​My daughter will be four in a little over a week, and thinking back on our last five years is like looking through the wavy glass. I can remember desperation and hopelessness in the year-and-a-half that it took to finally conceive our little girl. I remember months of being uncomfortable in my new, rounded body, carrying life inside of it. I remember a delivery that was a breeze, and weeks after that were some of the loneliest times I’ve ever experienced as I battled post-partum depression and desperately clawed my way back into light. From there, it’s all a blur of moving shapes that refuse to stand still- watching her fly through milestones and learn new things, another positive pregnancy test, and seeing my baby hold my new baby. Fits of screaming and flailing as we learned our new normal and she stepped into her role as “big” sister, even tiny as she was. Phases I thought we’d never grow out of; the bad ones, yes- refusing naps, throwing food, and oh the potty training regression- but the good ones too: open-mouth kisses, learning to walk on wobbly, chubby legs, sweetly sleeping with her feet tucked underneath her tiny frame…

But here we are four years later… dancing in the burning light of our wavy glass windows…​

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chelsea Ahlgrim Photography Announcement

There's a little post with an announcement regarding my photography business over on my website today. >>go here<< If you're here at Everyday Light, I hope you'll stay, because this is where I'll be focusing much more attention in the coming months. Let's find some light to play in...

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Simplicity and genuine fullness of life is the underlying theme in our household. We tend to keep a tight rein on our schedules and have mastered the art of saying no to unnecessary obligations. Yet somehow, it happens every year around this season: I find myself disenchanted with a life of simplicity. As the leaves begin to turn and the holiday season looms, the feeling of wanting more creeps up and my heart races to find a cure for this chronic feeling of nothing-ness. Fill the space. Pack the calendar. Buy all the things.

My flesh tells me that the work I do is not enough. Wife and mother is not a job description. Do something. Make something. Contribute.

But this year is different. I am making a concerted effort to remind myself every day that the work I do is holy not because I am the best at it; not because I lit it well, photographed it, and used the best filter to post on social media. It’s for whom I do the work that makes it holy.​

I want nothing more in this season of our lives than to feel sunshine on my face each day, fill my lungs with fresh air, behold the faces of the ones I love the most, and taste all of the Lord’s goodness. Everything else is just excess.