Personal Work | Oregon film photographer

April 21, 2014

I’m Marla
Sprinkled throughout this journey are the little joys, moments of inspiration, and snippets of life that add color to our human experience. Join me as we embrace the beauty of imperfect perfection, the magic of a beautiful moment, and the endless possibilities of creativity.

Lately I am feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes in a beautifully inspiring way, sometimes in a drop-you-to-your-knees with tears sort of way. Where is it all going? Toward good, I can only hope. I keep puttering along it seems, going about my days one at a time and then all of a sudden, I’ll take stock of the goings-on and it’s like getting hit by a truck with brute force. Again, sometimes good and lovely and beautiful…. sometimes just hard.

For instance this girl of mine that is growing up and changing, loving so fiercely with her tender still-little-girl heart that hasn’t yet changed; she’s 10 and even now she holds my hand wherever we go. I walk lightly with the realization that any time could be the last time. I’ll be on my way out of the room and she’ll yell out, “I just love you so much, you’re the best mom!” She’s doodling at the table and I’m putting away laundry and it just occurred to her to say that. Or at bedtime during our reading last week she said, “I really think you’re the most amazing mom, I’m so lucky to have gotten you. I don’t think a lot of moms do all the things you do for me.” Mama heart candy, right there. But she’s been waking up in the middle of the night every night because she can’t sleep and she needs me to help her at 1:30am, or 2:47am, or 3:20am … every single night and I don’t know what to do about it. We’re using melatonin, and essential oils, reading classic literature for 45 minutes to an hour, and praying for her sleep EVERY night. All these things excellent for falling asleep, yet somehow not managing to keep her asleep. I’m exhausted, not just because of the interrupted sleep (though that certainly doesn’t help), but because my muscles and bones ache all the time and I’m running on what feels like a negative tank of energy due to the current chemotherapy treatment I’ve been doing for the last 10 weeks to push my colon into remission for the too many-nth time. <insert getting-hit-by-truck visual here> What??  This is really happening?

And the next day I wake up and get that girl ready for school. Beautiful light is streaming through the windows, my Starbucks Chai tea beckons and sweet, happy comfort is just a venti cup away. Birds play and the prettiest blooms are breaking through everywhere. Rebirth happens right before my red, stinging eyes and it is beautiful. I work and volunteer and do my grocery shopping, going through the motions of being a live person and choosing to look beyond the discomfort and yuck. Before I know it, it’s 3pm and she’s bursting through the door as a brilliant force of energy. Hello my darling, please tell me about your wonderful day. “Oh, I missed you so much! But guess what?!!” — as she trails off giving me all the little particulars after a gigantic hug and a loving glance that only she can give. “Let’s go for a walk Mama, because it’s just beautiful all around us.” Yes my dear, let’s go see it all. We are immersed in the little springtime wonders, it is all glorious. Life (even with the broken, yuck stuff) is glorious.



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All images taken with a Canon AE-1 and Fuji Superia 400 film; self-developed and scanned; converted to black & white.

There are several more women who belong to this Film Mama group and I am pretty sure that they are not wrestling with the meaning of life in their posts and they will have lovely, film goodness to share and inspire. I hope you will take a look. The next person is the very talented and captivating Meghan Boyer. Her blog is here:

Marla Cyree of Simply Splendid specializes in film photography based in Portland, Oregon as a portrait and wedding photographer.

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  1. amy grace says:

    and here i am with tears and light in my eyes. you are the open window, the fresh start. i think i knew you in another life. it strikes that deep. wishing everything good marla. we need to get these girls in the same state very, very soon.

  2. Amanda says:

    Marla, Marla, Marla. beautiful as always, don’t you ever stop.

  3. rowe says:

    i have no idea how i ended up here but somehow i did and im thankful! what beautiful words and gorgeous images… my daughter too is 10 and i love that she still likes to hold my hand but im so aware that soon she wont want too… they grow up too quickly and i so wish things would slow down just a little!

  4. Sarah says:

    Oh my goodness! Marla my heart is breaking for you, but it is singing for you too! My prayers are that you return to highest level of health and enjoy those days that once hit you like a truck! Yes I’m teary eyed too – you’re daughter is absolutely right she is so very lucky and so very blessed!

  5. Léa says:

    Marla, so beautiful! the words and the photos. ? ? ? thank you for sharing your life with us.

  6. Corrie says:

    Beautiful words and images. The one of her opening the letter just struck me. So lovely. Your girl sounds wonderful and don’t worry, I still like to hold my mom’s hand sometimes and I’m 31.

  7. Jen says:

    Marla, these are so beautiful. That last image has stayed with me. I keep coming back to it wondering what she is looking at.

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