Kruse Images and Photography: Blog https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Kruse Images and Photography shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) Fri, 19 Feb 2021 04:16:00 GMT Fri, 19 Feb 2021 04:16:00 GMT https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u151524328-o636510448-50.jpg Kruse Images and Photography: Blog https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog 90 120 You survived 2020...be proud of that https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2020/12/you-survived-2020-be-proud-of-that

Happy New Year! I don't know about you, but I am ready for this year to roll over. It's been...interesting...to say the least. At the same time I also can't believe the year is over. March feels like it was 8 months long, and it seems like everything since has just flown by. It's been the "time of no time," time keeps going, but I've felt...paused.

The last couple of days I keep seeing  posts asking "what is one good thing that happened to you in 2020", or "what's your biggest accomplishment this year", or "what's one positive thing that happened in 2020". I know that I had a lot of good positive stuff happen this year, but honestly when I see these posts, the only thing that comes up is that I made it through without my depression ruling me. And it seems like a silly answer to some, but for those who do struggle with depression, this was a rough year. Not only is there the stress of the pandemic, and worry about you or your loved ones getting sick, but there's the added stressors on top of that. Some of us have financial worries because our jobs aren't happening, others have to homeschool their kids when they are also trying to work from home. Still others are suddenly isolated and without people to talk to, not able to see their loved ones, and not able to do any social activities. For those of us who struggle from depression, these are all things that could send us spiraling. Which is why I am proud of myself for not doing that. Sure, I had some rough days, but I always let them go, and made the next day better. 

I see you. If all you did was make it through this year intact, I'm damn proud of you. Whether you realize it or not, you made it through a lot that could have stopped you. That could have put you on the floor in the fetal position. That could have made you give up. And if you're reading this you didn't. You did not give up. There may have been days where you sat and cried because it was nothing else that you could do, trust me I had a few of those. But the at the end of it you picked yourself up, you dusted yourself off, and you kept on going. So if you see these posts about accomplishments, or positive things that happened and you really can't think of any, Remember this. You made it through this year. You made it through so much trauma and stress and you're still standing. Be proud of yourself. Hold on to that. Because it's a really big deal. My mantra since March when our hockey games were canceled has been "I cannot control what's going on around me, but I can control my reaction to it". Some days I don't hold true to that, but honestly it really is what's gotten me through the last ten months.

Actually, now that I think about it, there is something else I am proud of. It's still a work in progress, but I feel like I've made huge strides. What is it? I have been working on loving myself. Treating myself like I treat others. It's hard. One of the hardest things I've done. But so very important. Because how can I expect others to love me when I don't actually love myself? How can I be proud of who I am when I say mean things to myself about my looks, or get down on myself for not being as productive as I think I should be? As awful as the pandemic has been, and as hard as it's been being isolated, it has given me time to work on these things. When I look in the mirror and I see myself looking tired, and maybe heavier than I would like to be, I used to say that to myself. To put myself down. Now I look and I say out loud "you're beautiful" and I smile. When I am stressed or feel like I am not doing as much as I think I should be I remind myself " you are doing a damn good job. There is so much going on, and things aren't normal right now, and you are doing a damn good job every single day." At night before I go to bed, along with going through some things that I am thankful for, I also remind myself that I am doing a good job. It all may sound silly, but it's working. It's helping. I still have a long ways to go, but I am finding that loving me, being kind to the person in the mirror,  makes me feel so much better than putting myself down or berating myself for not getting enough done. Duh right? Seems like such a simple concept, but I know I am not the only one who forgets to speak to myself as if I am speaking to someone else. Rule of thumb. If you wouldn't say it to someone you love, don't say it to the person in the mirror. So next time you find your inner voice saying something mean to the beautiful person in the mirror, shut it down. Replace it with something better. Slowly it will become a habit. 

Thank you for reading. I hope my ramblings help someone who may be dealing with the same thing. Happy New Year, be safe, stay home, and keep taking care of yourself and others around you. 

Namaste


 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) 2020 2021 be better covid depression eve grief love masks new not pandemic proud sick strength weak year years yourself https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2020/12/you-survived-2020-be-proud-of-that Thu, 31 Dec 2020 23:24:42 GMT
Finding Peace in this crazy world https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2020/8/finding-peace-in-this-crazy-world There's a lot going on in the world right now, and as an empathetic person, it's easy to take it all in, and allow myself to get down and sad and angry because of it. There are so many moments lately where I feel so helpless, so frustrated, so unable to help or make anything better. I know I'm not alone in this either. I see my friends posting about their struggles, I see my mom hurting from it all, I see my family struggling to stay happy. This is why it's so important to find a release. Something, anything, that gives you peace, even a for a moment.  For me that's the water. It always has been. I am so blessed to live 15-20 minutes from the lake, and to have found a park where I can swim in clear, beautiful water. I have to go in the morning so that I can avoid people, but it's so worth it.

 

This morning I almost didn't go. It was overcast and 58 degrees since it rained last night. I could have easily decided not to, but I made the choice to go anyways, and I am so glad I did. No one was on the lake or at the park. The water was like glass and emanating a beautiful peace. I spent almost an hour in the water. Stretching, doing yoga poses, floating, and swimming. Reveling in the feeling of my body gliding through the water, barely leaving a ripple as I swam. Nothing on my mind except the feeling of the water surrounding me, and the strength of my body to be able to pull me through the water so effortlessly. At some point the sun came through the clouds, and I could see little ripples of sunlight on the sand below...floating along like little fairies.  It was perfection.  I could also feel my dad with me, and my Gram. Keeping me company, encouraging me, adding to my strength. I felt all of my worries, all my stress, all of my grief and fear drain away as I cut through the water, leaving only a feeling of peace and thankfulness. 

 

I'm not even sure why I felt like I needed to share this with you all today, but something told me I should. So here I am, sitting at my computer, still feeling that amazing peace from my swim, sharing my feelings with you. I guess I hope that you can gain a little peace from it as well, and I also want to encourage everyone else to find something that can pull you away from the stresses of the world, and bring you some peace. It may be the water like me, or it may be going for a walk, or a run. It may be coloring, or scrapbooking, or reading. Whatever it is, however busy you are, make time for it. I'm going to say that again. MAKE TIME FOR WHATEVER BRINGS YOU PEACE. It's always important, but even more so right now. You cannot take care of others, you cannot make a difference in this world, you cannot function the way you should unless you take care of yourself first.  It's taken me a long time to realize this myself. I always put myself last, but I've been slowly learning to put myself first instead, and I encourage everyone else to do the same.

 

Much light and love to you all. 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) current depression events grief lake lake Washington nature Pacific Northwest peace Renton sadness Seattle strength swim water https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2020/8/finding-peace-in-this-crazy-world Mon, 31 Aug 2020 19:53:19 GMT
Small business spotlight #6-Mandi's Muses https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/12/small-business-spotlight-6-mandis-muses Welcome to my sixth small business spotlight of the season! If you missed the first five, you can find them here. My hope is to show you a few amazing small businesses you can support during the holiday season and beyond. Each time you purchase something from a small business, you are supporting an individual, a family. You are helping to pay their bills so that they can continue bringing you beautiful products and amazing services. We appreciate your business more than any big box store, or big business where it just goes to someone with plenty of money already. So please consider supporting the businesses I plan on sharing here over the next couple of weeks, as well as others in your community!

 

Name:

Mandi Konesni
 

Business Name: 

Mandi's Muses

 

What products do you offer?

Jewelry, bookmarks/accessories, custom creations.

 


 

Why did you start your business?

I've always loved gemstones, and learning about their healing properties. When I realized I could find gemstone beads, I learned to make my own jewelry to offer customized options to friends and family for healing purposes they wanted/needed.
 

Holiday special:

On site- 20% off orders using code SUPPORT20 when you spend $20. For Customs- $3 off customized jewelry item.
 

What's the best way to contact you?

Using the Contact form on her site.

 

Thank you for joining us! I hope you will check out Mandi's items, and do some  shopping for yourself and your loved ones. Not much is better than a handmade gift! If you have any questions, please see the contact information above.

And keep an eye out for our next spotlight: Dawn Sullivan. She will also have a deal available just through this blog!

Thank you for supporting the individuals and families who own small businesses!


 


 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) black Friday bracelets Christmas Christmas shopping crafts Cyber Monday family family business Handmade holiday shopping Holidays jewelry magnets necklaces rings shop small small business Saturday stamped bracelets wax melts https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/12/small-business-spotlight-6-mandis-muses Wed, 18 Dec 2019 17:35:44 GMT
Small business spotlight #5- Red Headed Scents https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/12/small-business-spotlight-5--red-headed-scents Welcome to my fifth small business spotlight of the season! If you missed the first four, you can find them here. My hope is to show you a few amazing small businesses you can support during the holiday season and beyond. Each time you purchase something from a small business, you are supporting an individual, a family. You are helping to pay their bills so that they can continue bringing you beautiful products and amazing services. We appreciate your business more than any big box store, or big business where it just goes to someone with plenty of money already. So please consider supporting the businesses I plan on sharing here over the next couple of weeks, as well as others in your community!

 

So, let's get going! Today's spotlight is Red Headed Scents. I've worked with Heather for several of my author events, and she was easy to work with and has delicious smelling products!

 

Name:

Heather Coker

 

Business Name:

Red Headed Scents

 

What products to you offer?

The bulk of the business is hand poured soy candles/wax melts, and all natural body scrubs. I do, occasionally, also do swag orders for authors (magnets, key chains, lip balms, etc.)


 

Why did you start your business?

I used to work at JoAnn's and picked up on a ton of different crafts. I started making things like candles to give to friends and family when I needed quick gifts, and eventually just said "hey, let me try and make a business out of this since everyone seems to love what I give them"... And here I am!
 

Holiday Special:

15% off purchase at my Etsy shop With code BLOG15
 

What's the best way to contact you?

Email:  Redheadedscents@yahoo.com

Facebook

Etsy

 

Thank you for joining us! I hope you will check out Heather's items, and do some Christmas shopping for yourself and your loved ones. Not much is better than a handmade gift! If you have any questions, please see the contact information above.

And keep an eye out for our next spotlight: Mandi's Muses. She will also have a deal available just through this blog!

Thank you for supporting the individuals and families who own small businesses!



 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) black Friday bracelets Candles Christmas Christmas shopping crafts Cyber Monday family family business Handmade holiday shopping Holidays magnets shop small small business Saturday Soy Soy candles stamped bracelets wax melts https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/12/small-business-spotlight-5--red-headed-scents Sat, 14 Dec 2019 01:10:44 GMT
Small business spotlight #4- InMySpareTime https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/12/small-business-spotlight-4--inmysparetime Welcome to my fourth small business spotlight of the season! If you missed the first three, you can find them here. My hope is to show you a few amazing small businesses you can support during the holiday season and beyond. Each time you purchase something from a small business, you are supporting an individual, a family. You are helping to pay their bills so that they can continue bringing you beautiful products and amazing services. We appreciate your business more than any big box store, or big business where it just goes to someone with plenty of money already. So please consider supporting the businesses I plan on sharing here over the next couple of weeks, as well as others in your community!

 

 

Without further ado, let's introduce business #4, In Mysparetime. I have worked with Brenda for all of my Author Events, where she has provided amazing swag both for our readers and our authors. She is sweet, creative, and puts love into everything she creates. I've enjoyed getting to know her over the last few years, and I'm excited to share her business with you!

 

Name:

Brenda Buschmann

 

Business name:

Inmysparetime

 

What products do you offer?

Handmade decorative items that include sarcastic magnets, stamped metal jewelry, journals, snowflakes,  advent calendars, custom creations. Swag for authors or events.


 

Why did you start your business? 

As a way to supplement my income & also to justify my crafty supply buying habit.
 

Holiday Special:

25% off 1/4" Aluminum Cuff Bracelets $8- Hand Stamped. You can choose from ones I have stamped and available or choose a saying of your own. (if you have a large order or a special order please contact me for time/delivery expectancy)
 

What is the best way to contact you?

 

Facebook

Or

Phone: 573-694-1505


 

Thank you for joining us! I hope you will check out Brenda's items, and do some Christmas shopping for yourself and your loved ones. Not much is better than a handmade gift! If you have any questions, please see the contact information above.

And keep an eye out for our next spotlight: Red headed Scents. She will also have a deal available just through this blog!

Thank you for supporting the individuals and families who own small businesses!

 

 

 


 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) black Friday bracelets Christmas Christmas shopping crafts Cyber Monday family family business Handmade holiday shopping Holidays magnets shop small small business Saturday stamped bracelets https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/12/small-business-spotlight-4--inmysparetime Fri, 13 Dec 2019 00:06:39 GMT
Small business spotlight #3-Kruse Images and Photography https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/12/small-business-spotlight-3-kruse-images-and-photography Welcome to my third small business spotlight of the season! If you missed the first two, you can find Life Force Creatives here, and Obsidian Reflections here. My hope is to show you a few amazing small businesses you can support during the holiday season and beyond. Each time you purchase something from a small business, you are supporting an individual, a family. You are helping to pay their bills so that they can continue bringing you beautiful products and amazing services. We appreciate your business more than any big box store, or big business where it just goes to someone with plenty of money already. So please consider supporting the businesses I plan on sharing here over the next couple of weeks, as well as others in your community!

 

Let's meet my next spotlight! Wait...it's me! I figured since I am running these spotlights I should share my business as well as let you get to know me a bit.  

For those of you who don't know, my name is Shauna Kruse, and I am the owner and photographer for Kruse Images & Photography. My main focus is drool worthy book cover photography, but I also love doing family photos, senior portraits and more.  Read below to see how I got started, some of my favorite photos, and a couple of deals I am offering to readers of this blog.

 

What services do you offer?

As I mentioned above, my main focus is providing exclusive book cover photography. I work with some amazing models, and have galleries full of gorgeous photos that would be perfect for book covers. I have a little bit of everything, from cowboys to sexy santa, hockey and football, sweet couples, and steamy shots that would make any reader want to pick up your book and check it out! I am beyond proud and honored to have my photos on over 400 book covers, and it still blows my mind when I get to hold one in my hand. I work hard for my authors and offer payment plans on my images.  Below are just a small sample of some of my favorite photos that are available.  If you are an author and would like to see more please contact me.

 

 

In addition to book cover photography, I also offer family photography, newborn/maternity, senior portraits and more. I typically do outdoor shoots since it is so much easier to capture a family's personality when they are outside enjoying themselves. There's something pretty amazing about the fact that so many of my images are on walls and in albums all over the world.

 

 

 

Why did you start your business?

I was raised in a small business household, always helping my parents with our business, whether it was rolling beeswax candles while we watched TV at night, helping to bottle the honey with my dad, or going to shows with them to help sell our product. I was always a little entrepreneur, making beaded earrings, wreaths, or dream catchers to sell at the craft shows. So it only makes sense that I ended up starting my own business. Why photography? It's something I've been passionate about my entire life, since my mom gave me her old camera when I was 8 years old. I was always the one carrying my camera around and get togethers, and parties, and after getting my degree in Environmental Policy & Planning, ( no, not photography...) I somehow ended up in Lake Tahoe, taking family photos at Heavenly Ski Resort. After moving back to Seattle with the same company, a weird turn of events left me unemployed, I decided to go all in on my business, and here I am. 

Then in 2014 I discovered that I could combine two of my passions, reading and photography, and now have all of these beautiful books on my shelves with my photo on them. You can check out my authors and covers here.

 

This year I am also offering a nature calendar that highlights the beauty of the Pacific NW. There are 12 of my favorite nature photos taken around the area by me! It is perfect for you or for gifts! Click the photo to order. 


 

 

Holiday special:

Mention this blog, and receive $50 off any photo session, or $50 off any exclusive book cover. Contact me to book, or to see the galleries if you are an author.

 

What is the best way to contact you?

Through the this website, or on my facebook page.

Also make sure you are following me on twitter and instagram

 

 

Thank you for joining us! I hope you will check out my site and book a shoot or consider using me for your book cover. You can also do some Christmas shopping for yourself and your loved ones in my store, or with my new calendar.  If you have any questions, please see the contact information above.

And keep an eye out for our next spotlight: In My Spare Time. Brenda has some amazing, creative items and will also be offering some specials through this blog!

 

Thank you for supporting the individuals and families who own small businesses!

 

 

 


 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) amazon authors black Friday book cover photographer book covers books Christmas Christmas shopping Cyber Monday family family business family photographer grad Photos Handmade health holiday shopping Holidays kindle kindle unlimited KU newborn photography photography Seattle Seattle photographer senior portraits shop small small business Saturday https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/12/small-business-spotlight-3-kruse-images-and-photography Sun, 08 Dec 2019 23:22:38 GMT
Small Business Spotlight #2-Obsidian Reflections https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/12/small-business-spotlight-2-obsidian-reflections Welcome to my second small business spotlight of the season! If you missed the first one, find it here. My hope is to show you a few amazing small businesses you can support during the holiday season and beyond. Each time you purchase something from a small business, you are supporting an individual, a family. You are helping to pay their bills so that they can continue bringing you beautiful products and amazing services. We appreciate your business more than any big box store, or big business where it just goes to someone with plenty of money already. So please consider supporting the businesses I plan on sharing here over the next couple of weeks, as well as others in your community!

Okay, are you ready to meet our second small business? Please welcome Kristina Canady with Obsidian Reflections. This is another one that is close to my heart, because I have used Kristina's services, and she has helped me more than I could possibly explain. She is kind, caring, knowledgeable, brilliant, and has a special magic touch to help those who come to her. I would highly recommend anyone trying her services. I honestly don't know that I would have made it through the last 18 months without her help. So let's get to it, and learn some more about this amazing woman and her business.

 

Name:

Kristina Canady 

 

Business Name:

Obsidian Reflections

 

What services do you offer?

Obsidian Reflections offers holistic wellness coaching for nurses and others, to assist individuals with collaborative care plans that address their mental, physical, spiritual and emotional needs. I have an emphasis in PTSD, anxiety, stress and depression management.  I can provide sessions in person, or via facetime or skype. 

 

Why did you start your business?

I started my business because I am incredibly passionate about this work and feel it is my purpose to collaborate and assist others in their journey to healing. In a world full of quick fixes and band-aid solutions, people deserve guidance into full spectrum solutions that address and balance all of their needs.
 

 

Holiday special:

Mention this blog, and receive your session for $35 which is 50% off the normal rate

 

What is the best way to contact you?

Text or call 720-263-2269 or message on facebook to ask questions or book a session.

 

 

Thank you for joining us! I hope you will check out Kristina's services, and do some Christmas shopping for yourself and your loved ones. Not much is better than the gift of health! If you have any questions, please see the contact information above.

And keep an eye out for our next spotlight: Kruse Images & Photography. (oh hey that's me!) I may have a deal available only through this blog!

 

Thank you for supporting the individuals and families who own small businesses!

 

 


 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) black Friday Christmas Christmas shopping counseling Cyber Monday depression drama family family business Handmade health holiday shopping Holidays holistic holistic healing holistic health PTSD shop small small business Saturday https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/12/small-business-spotlight-2-obsidian-reflections Mon, 02 Dec 2019 15:03:14 GMT
Small Business Spotlight #1- Life Force Creatives https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/11/small-business-spotlight-1--life-force-creatives Welcome to my first small business spotlight of the season! My hope is to show you a few amazing small businesses you can support during the holiday season and beyond. Each time you purchase something from a small business, you are supporting an individual, a family. You are helping to pay their bills so that they can continue bringing you beautiful products. We appreciate your business more than any big box store, or big business where it just goes to someone with plenty of money already. So please consider supporting the businesses I plan on sharing here over the next couple of weeks, as well as others in your community!

 

So without further ado, let me introduce the 1st small business spotlight, Life Force Creatives.  This one is close to my heart because it's my mom's business. It was formerly known as "B-Dazzled Creations by Andrea" but we recently renamed it to honor the business my parents have had my entire life, as well as make it so we can add more items under the same business name as we come up with more. 

 

At the top of the blog I talked about how important your patronage is to small businesses, and this one is no different. Many of you know that we lost my dad close to 18 months ago. With that we also lost his income since he always made planters, ran their melaleuca business, set up shows for them to do and more.  He's actually the one who came up with the idea for these necklaces and helped to make them. So my mom and I have been trying to figure out how to get income coming in for her to supplement her small savings, and getting her necklace business going is one of the ideas. So each purchase may seem small, but it's a huge deal for her, and can help her to buy groceries, stay in her house and more.

 

So here's a little bit about the business.

Name:

Life Force Creatives run by Andrea Kruse (with help from me, Shauna Kruse)

 

Why did you start the business:

My parents have had a small business as long as I can remember. My dad was a beekeeper when I was growing up, and we produced honey, candles and mead. We went to shows around the PNW, and I would often go along and help them. The business was called Life Force since bees are the life force of the entire natural world.

Later, my parents had a sweet red bell pepper sauce they sold, and added a three berry jam to their shows. My dad was always innovative and looking for new things, and about five years ago he found the idea for 8 strand crocheted necklaces. He watched videos on how to make them, then taught my mom as well, and "B-Dazzled Creations by Andrea" was born.

 

What products do you offer?

We offer crocheted 8 strand necklaces in varying colors. They are made with beautiful ladder yarns to offer depth and beauty. Some even have a little sparkle, making them look like you are wearing a necklace made of gemstones.

The necklaces are perfect for casual wear, or to add a pop of color to that little black dress. They are light, and are perfect for travel and anyone who may have metal sensitivities. They are perfect for a gift as well, with a variety of colors to appease anyone on your list! They are also light for shipping, and fit well into stockings. So grab a few for friends and family and one for yourself today!

 

Contact information:

Email: shaunaNkruse@gmail.com

Etsy

Facebook

Thank you for joining us! I hope you will check out the sites above, and do some Christmas shopping. If you have any questions, please contact the email above.

And keep an eye out for our next spotlight: Obsidian Reflections. She will have a deal available only through this blog!

 

Thank you for supporting the individuals and families who own small businesses!

 

 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) black Friday Christmas Christmas shopping Crochet crocheted necklaces Cyber Monday Etsy family family business Handmade holiday shopping Holidays jewelry metal sensitivities necklaces shop small small business Saturday https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/11/small-business-spotlight-1--life-force-creatives Sat, 30 Nov 2019 14:00:00 GMT
One Year Humboldt Strong https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/4/one-year-humboldt-strong

 

One year.

It's been one year since I was at a birthday dinner with some friends, and one of my hockey moms sent an article about a bus crash in Saskatchewan involving a hockey team. We read about it, and started following it while we were still at dinner, hoping it wasn't that bad. By the time I got home, more and more details came out, more and more bad news. I couldn't stop checking it, hoping that there were survivors. Hoping that no one else died. My heart shattered every time they added a new photo to the list of those gone.  I couldn't stop crying. 

 

I may not know these kids. I may not know these families, but as I saw all the beautiful lives lost, the young lives cut short by such a horrific incident, I couldn't help thinking of all the Thunderbirds players I've watched and gotten to know. I couldn't help thinking of all of my hockey families I've become friends with, and my heart just kept breaking. I watched the next few days as more and more was released. Crying, heartbroken. Helpless to do something. Wishing I could help somehow. Then as time went on I watched the go fund me rise to unthinkable numbers. I watched as the entire hockey community came together to grieve. To support. To begin to bring hope. I put my stick out by my door, where it's been since and will be for the foreseeable future. I watched as hundreds of thousands of people did the same and once again was blown away by the hockey community.

 

#SticksoutforHumboldt

 

In June I lost my dad, and suddenly I was able to understand the grief on a personal level, something I never wanted to be able to do.  To have your loved one when you go to sleep one night, then have them gone in an instant the next day. It's a different level of grief of course, since these families lost kids, but my heart went out to them even more.  Two days before my dad died I received a Humboldt Strong bracelet from a beautiful soul on twitter. It hasn't left my wrist since, and in the weeks following, it brought me strength and got me through, just seeing those yellow crystals, just knowing that so many people around the world were wearing them and pouring love into their bracelets. Somehow I could feel that strength.

 

 

This winter I went on a road trip through Saskatchewan. The most important thing we did on that trip was stop at the Humboldt crash site. The air changed as we drew close to the intersection. You could feel the weight of what happened there. The day we went was bitterly cold and windy, which seemed fitting. There was deep snow surrounding the crosses, so at first we stood at the perimeter and just looked. But I felt like I had to get closer. To look at each and every cross and each and every item, to pay my respects. I also wanted to leave something, and chose a small crystal I had with me. I had been carrying it around with me since two days after I lost my dad, and it just seemed right to leave it with those lost at that spot. So we trudged through the knee deep snow, and even though it was so cold, we took our time to look at everything that was showing through the snow. So much sadness, so much loss, but yet so much love with all of the items that had been left for the 16 lost. I left my crystal on the base of one of the front crosses, with a little prayer, and a lot of love. I honestly don't even know how long we were there, but we finally pulled ourselves away, got back in the car and silently drove away. A few minutes later I broke down. Crying for the lives lost. Crying for the families left behind. Crying for the survivors who would never be the same. Crying for my dad. My friend silently held my hand as the tears ran down my face.  I am so thankful that we went a couple of hours out of our way that day.  It was necessary and needed.

 

 

Over the past year I've watched as the survivors picked themselves up. They've set seemingly unattainable goals and surpassed them, spoken publicly, and done things I'm not sure I'd be able to do after such a tragedy. I've watched them inspire a world with their strength. I've watched them change the world through their actions. Every day my I am blown away by the strength I see in these 29 families. In the kids who are broken but not bent. In the parents who lost their heart and soul.  Not one day has gone by when I haven't thought of the families who lost so much one year ago. They are always on my mind and in my heart. As I said, I may not know these families. I may not know the kids, but I sure know and love a lot of families just like them. I may not know them, but they are part of our big beautiful hockey family. And we are ALL Humboldt Strong. Today and every day.  

 

 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) 29 forever Broncos grief hockey hockey family Humboldt Humboldt Broncos Humboldt strong SJHL Sticks out for Humboldt Strength https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/4/one-year-humboldt-strong Sat, 06 Apr 2019 07:24:56 GMT
Hockey isn't just a game https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/3/hockey-isnt-just-a-game It's the end of another hockey season, and this one seems harder than most. It's just a game right? It shouldn't be this hard at the end of the season right? It will all start again in August and until then there's plenty to do right?

 

See. That's the thing. It's not just the game. It's a family. It's an amazing game I watch while surrounded by people I know and love. And this season happened to also be my sanity, my therapy, my reason to keep going, because there was always a hockey game to look forward to. The games were one of the few times I could forget about what was going on in the rest of my life and how much I miss my dad, and how my business is slow, and how hard it all is right now.  I could go to my barn, be surrounded by amazing people and lose myself from puck drop until the last whistle. I could be happy and involved, and just watch my team play.  

 

Hockey is so much more than just a game. It's the people I meet and spend dozens of games with for the entire season. it's the people who understand my passion for the game, and share it, going through the same highs and lows as our team does. It's family. It's the couple who sits next to me who has had to deal with my emotional ups and downs this year,  yet still took care of me and always had a kind word or hug when I needed it most. It's the couple that invited me on the Eastern swing with them since they knew it was something I wanted to experience but also knew I couldn't go on my own. It's my friend who made sure I went on that same trip when everything fell through last minute, because she knew it was something I needed. It's this same friend who has checked in on me, and brought me beautiful gifts throughout the year so I knew she was thinking of me. Hockey is the family we've known for five years that we just hugged tearfully after the game, saying goodbyes that are really just "see you laters." It's the players that you get to know on and off the ice who you get to watch grow from quiet, shy 16 year old kids into confident, strong leaders.

 

Now let's talk about my Thunderbirds. This team was pretty amazing. They struggled through the first half of the season. Never giving up, but never quite getting there. It's a young team, so we weren't worried, and could always see glimpses of the future which makes it all that much more exciting. Win or lose, I support my boys. Then suddenly in January, something shifted. This team that was last in the Western Conference, that wasn't supposed to make playoffs suddenly started winning. Then they gained more confidence and won some more. Then suddenly playoffs seemed like a possibility. A slim one, but a possibility nonetheless. Then our captain, the heart and soul of our team went down with a broken wrist, probably out for the season, and the playoffs seemed a little further out of reach.  A couple weeks later he came back and led this team like he wasn't wearing a giant cast on his wrist, never missing a beat.  The last part of the schedule was daunting. Playing most of our games against teams with winning records, and quite a few games against the top teams in the conference. But this team had no quit. They battled through the top teams in the league. They'd get knocked down and get right back up again. The little team that could. The underdogs. This team full of young players led by some amazing 20 year old players suddenly gelled and worked their way into the playoffs to the surprise of everyone but those of us who cheer for them and know their fortitude.  So. Damn. Proud. Of. This. Team. They took the top team in the conference to six games, and made them earn their series win. Most of the games were close, and honestly, with a few different bounces, and some minor changes, this gritty team full of youngsters could have won the series.  I can't wait until next year to see what they can do. 

 

So yes. I cried last night. I cried when I watched our captain make his way down the line of his teammates, hugging them. I cried when I saw one of our other 20 year olds hugging his teammates, knowing it was the last time either of them would be on this ice, with this team. It's the end of an era for them, and a step into the unknown. I cried when I got to the concourse and saw the parents I've now known for five years and seen on a regular basis. For the record, they were crying as well as we hugged over and over. I cried knowing that suddenly I have a wide open schedule without seeing my hockey folks, without that release, that escape to distract me from everything else.  So no. Hockey is not just a game.  It is so very much more, and I am proud to be part of the Seattle Thunderbirds' hockey family. 

Some people may never understand why I cry at the end of the season. Why I plan nine months of my life every year around hockey, but my hockey family gets it. And that's all that matters.
 

Until next year....

(is it August yet?)

 

 

 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) CHL hockey hockey family hockey players NHL NHL Seattle Seattle Seattle Thunderbirds sports Thunderbirds WHL https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/3/hockey-isnt-just-a-game Mon, 01 Apr 2019 01:20:49 GMT
Things learned during a Saskatchewan road trip https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/1/things-you-learn-road-tripping-through-saskatchewan Ten things I've learned from road tripping through Saskatchewan

 

Sunrise in Saskatchewan

 

1. My hockey family is amazing. This trip only came to be because of one hockey family, and almost didn't happen because of trades three days before I was supposed to leave. It was saved by another hockey family who changed some of their plans, and rearranged stuff to be able to fit me in. 

Hockey in Saskatoon

2. It's cold in January in Saskatchewan. Like wearing tons of layers and still feeling like your face is going to fall off kind of cold.  And the crazy thing is, it was actually warm compared to the weather they usually have at that time of year. Seattle is practically tropical after hanging out in -18 F weather (-28 C for my Canadian friends)  Also, if you spend enough time in cold Sask weather, you find yourself thinking that 3 degrees is warm. 

 

When it's -18 with windchill but you want to see the river.

-18 windchill but we wanted to see the river

 

3.  Saskatchewan hockey fans are friendly, even when your team wins. The best part is that none of them questioned why I'd come all the way from Seattle to watch my team play. They just seemed to understand. 

 

4. There is a lot of flat land in Sask. Like miles and mile and miles and miles of it. But it's beautiful, and there's something magical about being out in the middle of nowhere with very few people or cars.  Parts reminded me of Northern Idaho where I grew up, with miles of farmland and tiny towns that you may miss if you happen to blink.

 

 

5. A hockey rink is a hockey rink. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they are filled with fans cheering for their teams no matter where you are. But, we are pretty spoiled in our barn with our leg space, elbow room, comfy seats, and warmth. And Seattle fans really are a special breed. I can see why our boys talk about us when they say what they love about playing here. So many of the rinks were half empty, and quiet.  And even if it was full, it was still so quiet. We don't know how to do quiet as fans here in Seattle, and I'm quite proud of that. I also learned that three Seattle fans yelling and whistling for our boys can make quite a bit of noise in a rink like Prince Albert. I'm pretty sure I heard us echoing. Hopefully the boys could hear us too.

Speaking of PA, two things. It's definitely my favorite rink that we went to. It's small and compact, like someone took a regular rink and squished it. The suites are wooden boxes with office chairs. But I loved it. It had a hometown hockey feel to it, an intimate feeling that made it so much fun to be in. The second thing about PA?  The game my boys played there was probably the best one I've ever seen them play. 100 percent of the team gave 110 percent every single shift. They dictated play for the top team in the CHL for the full 60 minutes, and I loved every minute of it.  If we can even come close to replicating that in future games, we can win. A lot. The boys came together and played for each other, and it was a beautiful thing.


 

6. I can't believe I am saying this, but cowbells aren't so bad.  Wait, bear with me here. I hate cowbells from going to games in Everett where everyone has one and they ring them non-stop for EVERYTHING.  There were some cowbells at the rinks in Canada, but amazingly enough they didn't make me want to rip my hair out. The owners rang them when their team was announced, scored, or killed a penalty and they rang them at a reasonable level. I was amazed. So I guess it's not that I don't hate cowbells, I just don't hate Canadian cowbells. 

 

7. Eastern teams are surprised at how much we check.  In Moose Jaw the fans behind us were quite upset that we kept "hitting their players." They wanted a penalty every single time, and I didn't have the heart to tell them that the boys were holding back.  I can't imagine what they would think if they watched a Seattle/Everett or Seattle/Portland game.

 

8.  I love Moose Jaw. It's the cutest little town full of old buildings and history. I was surprised at how much I loved it. We walked around downtown and did the underground tour which was amazing. We stayed at a gorgeous historic hotel as well. The whole experience was fantastic, and I wouldn't mind going back again. 

9. Humboldt. We went to visit the site of the bus crash, and there are really no words to describe the feeling. It was an intersection like any other, out in the middle of the Saskatchewan flatlands. It could have been an intersection anywhere in the middle of Canada, or for that matter, the United States. The air was heavy, there was a weight to it.  I could feel the emotion washing over me as we approached it, sadness, grief, love, heartache. We got out of the car, and it was bitterly cold with the wind blowing all around us. It seemed fitting. It was haunting. It was overwhelming. I wanted to get a shovel and dig every one of those tributes out of the snow so that everything that had been left there out of love could be seen by anyone coming through. We waded through snow up to our knees so we could be closer to it, to pay our respects. I wanted to leave something for those lost, for the families, but hadn't brought anything from Seattle. So I left a crystal that I got a couple of days after I lost my dad. I have been carrying it around for 7 months, filling it with strength and love. It felt right to leave it right there with all of the hockey sticks, jerseys and other items left by loved ones. I think that anyone connected to the hockey community, or anyone in general should try to make it out to this site. 

 

10. Last but not least.  Eight days can be a long time on the road, but with the right people it can be amazing. It's the first time in 7 months that I have laughed more than I've cried, and the closest I've felt to being myself in a long time. I am beyond thankful for the Lees for letting me tag along, and for welcoming me into their family. I am also thankful for the Andrusiaks for inviting me along on the original trip, this never would have happened without them.  We will just have to find another road trip to go on in the future.  This is a trip I will never forget, and I am beyond thankful for my hockey family for making it a reality.

Hockey is healing. 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) Canada Canadian CHL hockey hockey family Humboldt Humboldt Broncos Humboldt strong Moose Jaw Moose Jaw Warriors NHL Seattle Prince Albert Prince Albert Raiders Regina Regina Pats road trips Saskatchewan Saskatoon Saskatoon Blades Seattle Seattle Thunderbirds Swift Current Swift Current Broncos Thunderbirds travel WHL https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2019/1/things-you-learn-road-tripping-through-saskatchewan Tue, 15 Jan 2019 21:34:29 GMT
Fifty years isn't long enough https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2018/12/a-love-story

Fifty years ago today something magical happened. Two souls that were meant to be came together in a little city called San Francisco. I don't say that they met, because I truly believe that these two souls are intertwined so much so that they find each other in every lifetime, at every chance they get. This time they were known as Garrick and Andrea, and when their paths crossed it started a beautiful love story that lasted 6 months and 14 days shy of 50 years.  The kind of love story that you read about in fairy tales, that should have lasted another 15-20 years at least.   The type that that transcends lifetimes and continues into eternity even though it may have been cut short this time. 

 

It's a love story that needs to be told, but it's not my place to tell it, since I have only witnessed it from the outside. But I can tell you that my dad spent every day of the last almost 50 years making sure my mom knew how loved she was. Most people think this kind of love doesn't exist anymore, but I witnessed it my entire life, and I am still searching for that love myself. See, after growing up seeing it in person, I could never settle for anything less than butterflies.  My dad is the type of man who would randomly bring wildflowers home to my mom. No reason, just because he wanted to. He left notes around the house saying "I love you" with his little smiley face he always added. He made a hot chai tea latte for her every day, and sprinkled cinnamon and shaved chocolate on top.  He cleaned up after meals because my mom cooked, so why wouldn't he? When her favorite singer, Andrea Bocelli came out with a new album, he got it in secret, then set it to play on repeat so that when my mom came down later that morning, it was the first thing she heard. There are so many little things that he did every single day to make sure she knew how much he loved her. Every. Single. Day. And now he's gone. I miss my dad. With all of my heart and soul, but more than that, my hear hurts knowing how much my mom misses him. How she wakes up every day without him, after almost 50 years of having him there.  He made her happy for 50 years, and now he's gone. I mean, I know he's there. Because where else would he be but with my mom, but it's just not the same, and my heart aches for her.  I don't know how to make this better, all I want is for her to hurt a little less, but how can she when the love of her life is no longer there making her smile every day.  I can only hope that she will continue to feel his love, that my love, my brother's love, and all of the people who have reached out will be enough to bridge this gap so that she can slowly regain her happiness. Slowly come back to the happy, positive soul she always has been.  Because in addition to missing my dad so much, I also miss my mom. I miss her happiness, her carefree innocence. I know it's there, it's just hard to find without the person who made her feel safe, secure and happy every day.

 

So yes, my parents have a love story that needs to be told. but unfortunately today, I can't tell it. I was going to try, but my heart is still so broken, and instead I am trying to see through my tears to type, wanting to tell the beautiful story, but my aching heart not letting me today.  Because today should have been a celebration. A celebration of 50 years of the most beautiful, pure love that you can find. And instead we are left asking why something like that would be cut so short. Why the Universe, or God, or whoever you believe in would take a beautiful man out of our lives way too soon. 

 

I truly believe that my parents' souls will find each other in every single lifetime for eternity. How could they not? But I am still mad, sad and upset that their time in this one was cut short. The world deserved more of their pure, beautiful love. 

 

So today put as much love out into the Universe as possible. Hug your partner, tell them that you love them. Do something for them. It doesn't have to be big, just something small. A note, their favorite dessert, flowers, it doesn't matter. Just something to let them know you love them. Do it for my parents. Do it in honor of their 50 years of amazing love, respect and beauty. Do it for me so that I know that love is being spread out in the world in their names, and because I have no one to share my love with yet. 

Do it for love. 

 

 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) 1968 anniversaries anniversary fairytale fairytales grief love love story marriage married romance romance novels San Francisco sixties https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2018/12/a-love-story Sun, 23 Dec 2018 16:41:10 GMT
An open letter to sports fans https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2018/12/an-open-letter-to-sports-fans-be-kind To the Everett Silvertips' fan who decided to harass a female Thunderbirds fan after the last game, here's something you should know. That girl came to cheer on her team because it's her happy place.  She came to watch her team play because it's the one place she can escape reality right now. She even risked coming to a barn where she has been harassed in the past because she needs that escape. That girl, the one who was minding her own business walking out of the arena after a loss, the one you chose to hurt by ringing your cowbell as loudly as you could within inches of her ear, that girl lost her dad six months ago.  She is barely making it through the holidays right now because she is missing him so much, so she goes to as many as her team's games to distract from that, because win or lose, watching her boys play helps. So by being a complete jerk and choosing to harass a fan who was doing nothing to you except wearing the opposing team's jersey, you ruined her night, and made her that much less likely to come support her team in your barn no matter how much she needs it.   You took a grieving girl who is barely holding on, to the edge, and where you may have seen an overreaction to your stupid prank, she was holding herself back from so much more. She saved that for when she got outside of the arena and broke down in the dark.  By deciding to be a jerk to someone who was doing nothing to you, you took away her happy place. 

So here's an open letter to all sports fans. Be kind. Be respectful. Let people cheer on their teams respectfully and in peace. You never know how much being there means to them.  You never know who may be fighting a battle and barely holding on. 

 

 

My original post about the incident

 

Hockey is my happy place

 

 

 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) angel of the winds arena arena be kind Everett Everett Silvertips fans hockey hockey arena hockey family NHL NHL Seattle respect Seattle Seattle Thunderbirds Silvertips sports Thunderbirds WHL https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2018/12/an-open-letter-to-sports-fans-be-kind Thu, 20 Dec 2018 19:21:29 GMT
The day my world changed https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2018/11/the-day-my-world-changed  

It's incredible how one phone call can completely change your life and turn it into something you don't even recognize. Five months later and I'm still reeling.

 

It was a Saturday morning like any other. I got up, (actually got dressed since I was heading out the door early to get some shopping done,) came downstairs, gave the kitties their treats and started making my smoothie. My phone rang, and checking it, I saw it was my parents. I smiled thinking that they were calling to support and encourage me after having to deal with some book world drama the day before. Since the blender was running, I let it go to voicemail, planning to call them back as soon as I was done blending. Then it rang again. So I picked it up. And instead of my my mom and dad's soothing voices on the other end, it was my mom. Panicked like I have never heard her. Saying six word I never thought I would hear. "Your dad's had a heart attack." I tried to ask her questions as the words sank in and I began to panic. All she could say was "get here Shauna." I grabbed my purse and walked out the door with the clothes on my back. Already praying to God, the Universe, to anyone that he would be okay. I mean he had to be. He was healthy, and strong. He did yoga every morning for fifty years, lifted weights, worked out every day. He ate well and took his vitamins. Maybe they made a mistake? No way MY dad had a heart attack. I got in the car and began the worst drive of my life, the 2 1/2 hour (without traffic) drive around the peninsula. 

I'll be honest. I barely remember that drive, and I definitely shouldn't have been driving. I was NOT holding it together. I was sobbing, praying, freaking out. But my only thought was to get to my mom. To get to my dad. I didn't have time to wait, to call someone, to hope they may drive me. I had to go right then. It was Saturday morning, so my brother was sleeping in. But I called. And called again, hoping that their phones weren't on silent. I called my friend Kristina, my spiritual adviser who had already gotten me through so much in the few short years I had known her. She is probably one of the only reasons I made it through that drive. I wasn't there. I wasn't present. But she was a calming presence. She kept me from completely falling apart. Barely. I realized about 30 minutes into the drive that I should probably call the hospital to make sure they had made it there. I looked up the number and called the Port Townsend hospital. They knew nothing, and didn't have my dad. They gave me a number for a Bremerton hospital where they could have brought him and I called there as well. (All while I was driving and bawling)  See, the thought never crossed my mind that my dad wouldn't make it to the hospital. Up to this point I KNEW that he would be okay. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that he would be okay. Why wouldn't he be? He was healthy. Strong. Plenty of people had a heart attack and lived and they weren't even close to as healthy as my dad. SO I KNEW that he would be okay. I trusted the Universe, I believed. Until I called their house again when the second hospital had no information either. I don't even remember who picked up the phone. My mom? Her friend Lisa? I don't know. All I know is that the Fire Chief took the phone from them, took it into the office and said the words that would crumble my word into pieces. That would forever change who I am and turn everything into a fog. He said "I am so sorry, but your dad is gone. We worked on him for 45 minutes, but we couldn't revive him. We kept trying because your mom couldn't let him go." I don't remember what I said. I think I thanked him? I didn't want to believe him. I wanted to crumble into a ball and fall apart, but I couldn't because I was driving, and I had to get to my mom.  I asked for my mom and again, letting him know I wouldn't tell her since they hadn't yet. I couldn't be the one to say those words to my beautiful mama. I somehow held it together long enough to tell her I was coming. That I was halfway there. 

I hung up the phone, and I couldn't breathe. I felt as though all the air had been taken out of my lungs. I was sobbing. I was in disbelief. There had to be a mistake. This was not happening to my dad. To my family. Just then a beautiful Blue Heron lifted from behind the concrete barrier, coming out of nowhere, and flew over my car. I knew. I knew it was my dad letting me know he was with me. And I just kept driving even though I was falling to pieces. I'll say it again. Thank God for Kristina. I called her back, and she talked with me until I was about 30 minutes away from my parents' house. She was trying to get her kids ready for the day, getting them out the door, but she talked to me the entire time. She was my rock, one of the only reasons I made it through that drive. Now I am also pretty sure my dad was riding along with me, keeping me safe until I could get to the love of his life, but at the time I didn't feel it. Some of you may not believe in this, but at one point Kristina said "He's here. I can feel his love for you. He's pouring so much love into me for you that I'm getting gooesbumps. He wants to make sure you know he's here and loves you." She had never met him, but I had talked to him so many times about how this woman had helped me, how she had gotten me through so much, so he knew she would feel him there even when I couldn't.

This whole time I was calling my brother in between talking to her. My messages getting increasingly panicked. I called my sister in law. And finally when I was about 20 min out from my parents' house I snapchatted my niece telling her to go wake up her parents if she was up. She responded immediately, and they called me so I could break the worst news of our life. Our dad, our rock, was gone. I will never forget the wailing I heard on the other end. I don't even know which of the three of them made that noise, I just know that my heart broke a little bit more hearing it. They said they would be out the door as soon as they could be to catch a ferry. 

While I was driving, I thought my mom was alone. I had no idea that her amazing neighbors came over as soon as they saw the ambulance and held her through the whole thing. I pulled into their driveway. Shaking. Bawling. And sat in the car for a brief moment to pull myself together so that I could be strong for my mom. I walked in the door, and she was sitting with people holding both of her hands. My heart broke a little more in the moment I saw her, knowing that the love of her life was gone. The man she had been with and in love with for 50 years was gone. She flew into my arms, and we cried. We cried for the loss of her love, my dad. For a man that gave so much to the world, and still had so much to give. For a man who was ripped so suddenly from us. I held her tight wondering how anything would ever be okay again.

I am still wondering that today, five months later as I write this. Because how can anything be okay when the light that guided us was snuffed out? When my anchor was suddenly gone, leaving me drifting aimlessly and lost? How can anything ever be okay when my mom is suddenly alone when she used to always have his strength by her side?  There's no closure. I didn't get to say goodbye. I didn't even know I should. I will say I am thankful that he knew how much I loved him, and I knew the same. We talked almost every day, and always said "I love you." For that I am beyond thankful. But God I miss being able to ask him questions about my business. To be able to email back and forth about random stupid shit that happens every day. I miss knowing that he and my mom are safe and happy in their beautiful, loving world, happy and still so in love after 50 years. I miss him every single moment of every single day. And I am struggling to find my identity without him. He and my mom are the reason I am who I am. So who the hell am I without him when my identity is so rooted in them?  I know he's here. I know he's with us every day, but it's not the same. And I know he understood death. Didn't fear it, and understood it on a different level. I wish I could be at that level right now. I know he hates seeing us sad, especially my mom, and tries everything he can from where he is to change that. But even knowing these things I miss him so much. I don't understand why this happened. I'm mad. I'm sad. I'm in a fog. I'm just plain lost.

I do have moments though. Where I can feel that positive, happy bit of me trying to push through. I just can't grasp it. Because if I try I remember that he's gone, and it goes away completely. My mom feels it too, and it gives me a glimmer of hope that at some point it will bubble over for more than a fleeting moment. That at some point we will start having more "happy" moments than sad ones. I especially hope this for my mom. I would give anything in this world for my mom to be happy again. Not just for a moment when we are doing something fun, or enjoying ourselves, but for that time when that happiness outweighs that sadness again. I have to believe that will happen. The outpouring of love from both people I am close to, and people I barely know has been incredible. I may not be responding to everyone, but every single word. Every single bit of love sent our way helps.

I honestly am not sure why I am sharing all of this with you. I guess because it was cathartic to write. I guess so that you can get a glimpse into why I have been absent, why my business is so slow, and why I am so slow at getting back to people. But also to let others who are grieving know that they are not alone. That others have felt the same pain, the same loss, the same ending of hope.  My inbox is always open for anyone who needs to talk. I know how alone this can make you feel.

 

A book that has helped me and my mom, and rose quartz that we have had with us since that day.

         

 

 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) cope coping dad depression emotional emotional support family grief grieving loss loss of a loved one love parents sad support https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2018/11/the-day-my-world-changed Sat, 17 Nov 2018 23:01:18 GMT
Light in the darkness https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2017/10/light-in-the-darkness        

Last night as I was hugging the people I love most in this world I almost burst into tears with how thankful I was to be able to hold them and tell them I love them. Because there are 58 families who will never get to do that again, and over 500 families who are hurting and holding onto hope that their loved ones will be okay after this horrible tragedy in Vegas.

 

I don't understand the kind of hate that could bring someone to hurt other human beings, and I am thankful that I can't understand it. I only understand Love, and I am okay with that. I know there is evil in this world, it keeps rearing its ugly head, but it's how we respond to that evil that matters. It's the lines around the block at the blood banks, the people bringing supplies to places that are needed, and the people doing anything to help their fellow human beings. It's the people throwing their bodies over complete strangers to protect them, or making sure they get out safe. It's the way the new hockey team in Vegas sending their players out to thank first responders, and to brighten the day of the victims, and creating a foundation to help financially. These tragedies and disasters that have been happening are beyond heartbreaking, beyond words, but the love and outreach that comes after them is what we should focus on. Especially when you feel helpless and heartbroken.

 

Individuals can not change the world by themselves, but every little bit helps. Spread love not hate. Be positive, and help those around you, even if it's something little. Teach your children to give back, to be kind, to do everything they can to help those around them. Hug the ones you love a little tighter, tell them you love them....use the actual words. Hate will NOT win. Love will always emerge to counter it. This world may seem dark and scary, but there is so much light to be found, you just have to focus on the good.

I always come back to this MLK Jr quote, because it seems to be one that needs to be repeated over and over in this crazy mixed up world we have right now. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

Be the light. Be the love.

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) give back love strength tragedy vegas https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2017/10/light-in-the-darkness Tue, 03 Oct 2017 17:39:43 GMT
Three year anniversary https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2017/3/three-year-anniversary

I almost forgot what date it was today. I almost missed an important (to me) anniversary. Today, three years ago, an amazing author Vicki Green bought my very first image I ever sold for a book cover. To this date it's still one of my favorites, and will always mean so much to me. Funny thing is, even 400 covers later, I still get that crazy excitement every time someone licenses and image. I still squeal, and feel so honored and amazed that an author would want my photos on their covers. It's an honor to work with each and every author I have gotten to work with. It seriously means the world that my images can be the face to their books. That my images will be wrapped around months, sometimes years of hard work for them. That they trust me team and my work enough to have my images on the front of their blood, sweat and tears. And this one right here started it all. It's incredible everything that has happened in the last three years. I've traveled all over the country (and world) and have met some of the most amazing people. I've made life long friends who understand my kind of crazy. I've been able to turn my passion into my living, and I am living my dream. It's extremely overwhelming at times, but it's pretty damn amazing too, and sometimes I have to sit back and remember that. Remember that a little over three years ago I didn't even know that this book world existed. Four years ago I was struggling to keep my dream of owning my own photography business alive. Four years ago I hit so many obstacles financially that I almost gave up and went back into the work force. But the thought of doing that hurt more than struggling for a little while longer, and thank goodness I did. I honestly can't imagine my life if I had taken a different path. If I hadn't found this amazing book world with so many incredible people in it. THIS is where I am meant to be, and I am so excited to see where my path leads in the next few years.

So thank you Vicki for being the first person to believe me, and thank you to each and every author since. It means the world, and I promise to ALWAYS so my best by you. <3
#dreambig

 

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) Team Kruse Vicki Green authors book cover photographer books dream big models photographer read romance romance books https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2017/3/three-year-anniversary Thu, 23 Mar 2017 01:00:18 GMT
For the love of hockey https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2017/3/for-the-love-of-hockey

So many people don't understand why I love hockey so much, and why I hate missing games. Honestly I don't fully understand it myself. All I know is that it's my lifeline. It's my happy place, a place to get away from the stress of life, and focus fully on watching my boys play for 60 minutes. It's a place filled with people I love who understand that same love of the game. People I see 40+ times a year who I share my life with, get to know, and look forward to seeing each and every game. It's a place I can cheer when my boys win, and feel their pain when they lose. Where I can be proud of them each and every night when they leave everything they have on the ice, and feel like I have a small part in all of it by being in the stands and cheering my heart out for them. At this level, I even have the honor of getting to know the players through the booster club, so the games mean that much more with each victory or defeat. Each year we say goodbye to players we have watched play for 4-5 years. Players we have seen grow in their games and as people since they hit the ice at 15 years old. It's heartbreaking and exciting since many of them move on to bigger and better things. Each year we also welcome new faces, and get to watch that excitement as they learn the game at this level and settle into their roles.

The people I have met in the last 8 years while watching Seattle Thunderbirds games are amazing. The parents, the players, the billets, the season ticket holders, all of the people I look forward to seeing again each August as hockey season ramps up again. I have met some life long friends from all over the world through this game.

So no. I can't fully explain my love of hockey to someone who hasn't experienced. But those who have experienced it understand. Once it's in your blood it's impossible to get rid of. It's my happy place, and I am beyond thankful to be part of this crazy little hockey world. Here's to a long playoff run for my boys so we have a short season without that rush.

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) CHL Seattle Thunderbirds WHL for the love of hockey hockey hockey family hockey players junior hockey https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2017/3/for-the-love-of-hockey Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:52:38 GMT
Follow your dreams https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2017/1/follow-your-dreams

The picture above may just look like a photo of a bookcase full of books, but it is so much more than that. This photo isn't about the bookcase, but rather what is on it. It contains the paperbacks I have so far from the authors who chose to put one of my photos on the cover. To me they are so much more than books. They are the results of hopes and dreams, of blood sweat and tears, of countless hours of work. Each and every book represents an author who has poured their heart into the pages, and it's an honor that they chose my photos for the covers. I feel so incredibly blessed to have found my passion. To be working for myself and pursuing that passion each and every day. There were days when I first started my business that I almost gave up. That I thought I would have to walk away from my dream and go back to the "real" world workforce. There were days when I was so discouraged by things people said to me, or frustrated when I couldn't pay my bills and I almost gave up. But the thought of giving up was so much worse to me. So I kept working my ass off, knowing that somehow, someway, I would succeed doing what I love. Then I found this crazy little book world and was able to combine my passion for photography with my passion for reading. I found a whole community of people who are my "same kind of weird." A whole community of people who understand what it is to follow your passion and see it come to fruition.
I am so incredibly blessed to be part of this book world. When I was younger I always thought that it would be pretty amazing to be able to travel while doing photography and get paid to do it. Well, it pays to dream big. It pays to work your ass off. It's worth the blood, sweat and tears and the struggles paying my bills. Because today and every day forward I am living my dream and pursuing my passion. <3

Thank you to those who have had faith in me and especially thanks to all of those authors who are on this shelf, as well as the ones who will soon join it, and will fill many more. Because this? This is so much more than just a shelf full of books. This is a shelf full of dreams and passion to follow those dreams. <3

#Dreambig #postpositive

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) authors book cover photographer books photographer read romance books https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2017/1/follow-your-dreams Wed, 25 Jan 2017 04:37:59 GMT
Dream big and follow your passion https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2016/6/dream-big-and-follow-your-passion                                                

 

I never take this crazy little ride I'm on for granted, but sometimes it hits me.  Like really hits me how amazing it is.  This business that I built from scratch.  With blood sweat and tears.  With days spent crying, and years spent struggling, yet I never gave up.  Even on the hardest and darkest days I knew this was my dream.  I knew I was meant for this.  I knew I was meant to forge forward and make a difference.  I feel blessed every day, but some days it blows me away what has happened in a little over two years because of my drive, my work ethics, my hard work and my stubborness to never quit even when quitting seemed like the only option.  I remember the defining moment 3 1/2 years ago. I was sitting on the couch in the apartment I could no longer pay rent on,  looking at bills I couldn't afford to pay.  And I had a choice.  Give up on my photography business and get a regular, good paying job.  Or keep forging forward and make my dream happen come hell or high water.  The thought of giving up broke my heart, and it was then and there I knew that this was what I was meant to do, and there was no way I could give up on it. No matter how hard it would be to make that dream a reality, I couldn't give up.  Thanks to the kindness of friends, a move, determination, and the decision to help a care package group with their charity calendar, that dream began to take form and slowly move forward. 

 

The next year was a rough one.  I struggled.  I cried. The love of my life walked away from me. I thought about giving up.  But the struggles formed me.  They made me grow, and solidified my decision that I was on the right path.  I launched my model page in February 2016, and when I found out I could combine two of my passions, books and photography, I messaged dozens of authors introducing myself and my work to try and get my foot in the door for book covers.  I was told over and over again by people in the industry that I would never make it as a model photographer because I wasn't willing to photoshop or alter my photos.  There were days when I believed them and almost quit.  But the positive influences in my life, especially my family, Kevin Moss and Drew Deaton, wouldn't let me. They encouraged me and pushed me until I used the negative to fuel my drive and stoke my fires. I used those negatives to learn and grow, making myself better with each and every shoot.  And now, about two years later I have almost 300 book covers licensed with an amazing group of authors and models.  I have a charity calendar that grows more each year and actually makes a difference in peoples' lives through Honor the Sacrifice.  I organized a successful author event in 5 months in a place I had never been, and I am working on another one in Seattle for 2017.  I have an absolutely incredible group of authors, models and readers who believe in me and support me in everything I do.  I have amazing life long friends I have made in this crazy little book world.  I have people I have known most of my life, and people I met through OpLove who message me and tell me how proud they are.  All of this fuels me each and every day and makes me feel incredibly blessed.

 

The same passion that drives me can also drive people away and make me vulnerable to critics and pain.  But it's part of me, and I believe it is the reason I am here today, so I will not let it go or apologize for it.  When I was younger I dreamed that someday I would travel and take photos and get paid for it.  A little while back I realized that is exactly what I am doing. How's that for living your dreams??

 

Sometimes it blows my mind that so many people know who I am, and know my work.  It's bizarre, surreal and exciting to me.  To know that I influence people and make them smile on a daily basis just by posting and being me.  All because I had a dream and never gave up on that dream even when giving up felt like the only option. 

 

So dream big.  Follow your passion.  Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't.  You never know what may happen if you do.  That dream of yours just may become a reality.

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) be you dream dream big passion photography small business struggle succeed https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2016/6/dream-big-and-follow-your-passion Thu, 02 Jun 2016 19:53:07 GMT
Be Brave and face your fears https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2016/1/be-brave-and-face-your-fears  

This may be the hardest thing I've ever written, knowing I may be putting it out into the world.  Even as I am typing I kinda want to hit the backspace button as the words appear on the screen.  But if me sharing this helps even one person, it is worth me stepping so far outside of my comfort zone that I can't even see it.

 

So here goes.

I have depression.  I hate saying that.  Hate admitting it, as if by saying it, it makes it more real by admitting it out loud.  It's something I see as one of my biggest weaknesses, and something I have struggled against my entire life, even as a kid.  I have no idea why I have it.  I really have no reason to be depressed.  My childhood was amazing.  Seriously.  If I could go back and do it all again, I wouldn't change a thing. My life hasn't been perfect, but it's been pretty great, and I am blessed in so many ways.  So there is no reason in my mind why I should have this sadness weighing on me.  Why I should suddenly be sad and crying for no reason over the littlest things, or for no reason at all.

This has cost me friendships and relationships because it means I am more sensitive.  It means I sometimes withdraw into myself and push others away, or get stuck in my own head and blow something way out of proportion that should have barely registered as a problem.  It means that I sometimes take things that people say the wrong way, make them into a worst case scenario, and freak out, when really it isn't that big of a deal.  All of this can come across as me being negative to others who don't understand, and I am perceived as a negative person.  Being called negative is seriously one of the worst things to me.  It hurts me to my core. Because overall I am a positive person.  But sometimes I just can't stave off that darkness, that fear that those I care about will walk away from me, leaving me a crumpled and broken person yet again.  That fear that I will be alone and never find those who want me and love me unconditionally.  I love hard, I jump all in, and I am one of the most loyal people out there.  But that fear and sadness pulls me down and causes me to hurt the very relationships I value the most.

So I hide that sadness.  I hide the darkness.  I hide the depression.  I hide it by doing things what brings me the most joy.  By giving to others to uplift them.  By doing what I love.  By being around people who make me smile and uplift me.  But I can't always hide it.  It still creeps in.  No matter how busy I keep myself.  No matter how happy I am, and no matter how hard I try to keep it back.  The worst part is that it seems to come out once I am comfortable with a person.  Once I fully trust them, and hand my heart over in friendship or love, the insecurities kick in, the defense mechanisms kick in, and the darkness makes an appearance.  The sadness ends up coming to the surface with the last people I want to see it. Which usually means they pull away, or see me as negative...or just give up on me and walk away.

I want to fix myself.  I want to let that darkness go, but I don't know how.  Maybe getting it out in the open instead of hiding it will start that process.  Maybe by sharing it with those I care about, they will understand me more and not be so quick to judge me or call me negative when I falter and lose my sunshine/  Maybe by sharing it and helping others with the same problem know that they AREN'T alone, it may in turn help me to heal.

Honestly, even as I write this, I don't know if I will have the strength to share it. I don't know if I will be able to admit something to others that I've hidden for so long from myself.  But I want to be stronger.  I want to be that light that I know I am.  If it helps even one other person reach out or feel stronger than it will be worth it right?

So here goes.

My name is Shauna.  I am a happy and positive person, but I am also broken.  I am strong with a beautiful soul, but I also suffer from depression and a darkness that doesn't completely disappear no matter how happy I am.  But I will NOT let this darkness rule me or change who I am.  Because I am stronger than that.  I have plans.  Big plans.  I AM going to make a difference in this world, and nothing can stop me, not even myself.

Who's with me?

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shaunankruse@gmail.com (Kruse Images and Photography) brightness depressed depression emotions help hope hurting mental illness sad sadness https://www.kruseimagesandphotography.com/blog/2016/1/be-brave-and-face-your-fears Thu, 07 Jan 2016 03:15:36 GMT