A letter to my daughter, Augutst 2013 | Portland, Oregon family photographer

August 15, 2013

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.

Dear Eva,

Recently we’ve had several discussions about purpose in life because you’re very interested right now so you ask a lot of questions about it. One of the things we’ve talked about is how people are created with a divine or heavenly purpose and sometimes it doesn’t directly relate to what one might do for work as an adult (though sometimes it does). I mentioned that we’re all blessed with certain talents and abilities that are to help us in this. So I thought it would be nice for me to list out a few that I already see in you.

1. You are naturally charismatic. I noticed this from the time you were really little when we would go places and all the other kids would say with excitement, “Eva is here!” Your very own welcoming party, every time. Anywhere we go, you befriend everyone. As you get a bit older I’ve noticed that you’re starting to feel a little more shy, rather than just going up to strangers and introducing yourself with such confidence. I’m hoping you don’t lose that entirely as it is so empowering to have that ability. Regardless, your natural sweetness and care of others really helps them open to you right away and I think it’s amazing.

2. You are a fantastic helper. You always want to help and you offer continually. When someone accepts your assistance, your face just lights up as if they’ve completely made your day. So I see this as a beautiful service-oriented heart quality. You are most often ready to step in and do whatever needs to be done without grumbling or hesitation. Sometimes it’s little things at the house that I am very capable of doing, yet you are just happy to do it instead; or it’s offering help to a neighbor; or running to a mama holding her baby in a store who dropped an item; or wanting to give your own money to a man on a street corner. I’m so proud of you, for constantly thinking of others before yourself.

3. You are an amazing little artist. I remember the first real picture you ever drew. We were in my office and you just loved making scribbled doodles on paper while I did my tasks. I think you were two when one day I was picking up papers and thought to turn one over. Very clearly you had drawn an elephant and giraffe and I was beside myself to think that I had almost missed it entirely. From then on, you were drawing all sorts of things. When you were three, I let you start painting and you did that every single day. Your favorite activity was making art, which is still the case today. Only now, your drawings are very sophisticated and your paper creations and collages always leave me amazed. You are significantly more talented than I was at your age.

4. Your heart cares deeply. It is fragile and sensitive and tears stream in the instant you think you’ve hurt anyone. You don’t understand why anyone would be mean ever. You LOVE to love. You think of others and their trials with sincere concern. You become significantly attached to your people–family, friends, people you enjoy. You draw pictures, create little treasures, and constantly give to show you care. The depth of your generosity is pure love.

So my dear, someday these qualities and even others perhaps will all meld together and you will use them for great things. God tells us to “Be the light of the world.” You will love people well and show those around you how to love well–and it will bring light to dark places. You are truly amazing and I love, love, love you. I’m excited to see your greatness grow, dear girl.

All my love,


PS- we took these photos together recently and this first one is my favorite ever. I have taken so many lovely pictures of you over the years, but this one in particular is so precisely you in every possible way. Your smile, eyes, and giggle… I could not capture the essence of you any better.


Photos taken with a Pentax 645N film camera, and Tri-x black & white film.

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


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  1. kami says:

    You are so talented! I love these photos.

  2. melissa says:

    oh, your eva! she is made up of so many wonderful qualities and is such a beautiful soul. your favorite image of her…it’s crazy beautiful…her eyes are so sparkly and full of life. <3

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