What is so joyful about running a race?



What is so joyful about running a race? Why are all these girls exploding off the starting line with giddy grins on their cute little faces?  As soon as I opened this picture in Lightroom, that was the thought that came into my head.  You see, I guess I found it surprising.  So all those happy faces got me thinking, and here are some things that started flying through my head.

Is it because they all think they are going to win?  This is their second cross country race of the year, and many of these little faces I recognize from last year, so this isn’t their first rodeo.  Is it because they are too young to understand competition? They are indeed young, but not too young to grasp how competition works and they know only one person crosses the finish line first.  Are they smiling because everyone get a medal (and an ice cream cone, pizza party and picture up on Facebook, etc) where adults have made everything ‘fair’ and everyone a ‘winner.’  Nope, the top kids get medals and everyone gets a refreshing cup of water.  So, if they aren’t happy because they think they are going to win, or they think that they are going to get something at the end, what could it be?

So, this got me thinking some more.  And here is my theory.

They are smiling because they are happy and having fun (deep, huh).  They are starting on this run, this journey…and they can’t see the end, but they know it is there.  They aren’t running hopelessly forever without aim or purpose; they have a goal.  And they get to go on this journey with their friends right beside them!  No worries about not having someone who doesn’t understand what your journey is like, they are step for step on the same path as you, and that sureness of camaraderie and absence of loneliness is powerful.   And they are outside, and the sky is blue and the air has a dusty sweet smell of summer just turning to autumn.  And it is true that many of them if offered (my kids included) would choose a video game over a dusty, sunny run in a field…but their true natures know what is best for them, and there relaxed and joyful bodies and faces reveal this truth.  Oh, and there are all sorts of people around them that aren’t running,  parents, teachers, friends, high school runners.  These folks are there to run with them and show them the way because they have ran this same path before them, or to cheer for them all along the dusty, warm, slightly ambiguous path around the hills and fields.  To say, I believe in you; you can do it.

I really appreciate individual sports.  With teams, one is going to win, and one is going to lose.  And big people can really start to use their math skills and think, dang, that means my kid has a 50% chance of winning, and so I have to push him to 51% so he is definitely the winner, because if he is only 1% away from winning I should push, because everyone wants to be the winner, right?  And suddenly friendly competition can get ugly.  With a race, one person is going to win and the other 100 aren’t…and big people start to use their math skills and think, dang, that means my kid has a 1% chance of winning, so I am going to sit back and cheer everyone on and just encourage me kid to do their own best.

I guess they are happy because they do think they are going to win and get something in the end.  They win as soon as they start that race, and they get the satisfaction of accomplishment at the end, and a sense of community all along the way.  And this, this is truly so much more valuable than a medal and an ice cream cone, isn’t it?

Run the good race, girls.

And adults, if you have a (life or literal) race to run, grab a friend to go with you.  If you don’t have one, look around you and get to know the folks that are step for step trudging the same path; you are likely to find a sympathetic one right beside you.  And if you don’t have your own race today, for heaven sakes, cheer on the ones you see running by you, or if you have ran their path before, and they look confused as to where they are supposed to go…run a few steps with them and show them the way.  And I know, if offered, it may be easier to choose to look at your cell phone (myself included), but consider your relaxed body language (and heart and mind) when you are out there in the fields.  It speaks the truth.

Thank you to the Heritage High School cross-country team for hosting this run.  I know you do it as a fundraiser, but it is a symbiotic experience, and community and character-building.

Thank you to Northside Elementary and especially coach Steen for creating a sense of team and community, keeping a sense of humor, and being out there coaching and cheering for these kids and making them feel special.

If you have an event that you would like photographed, I would love to come document the day for you.  You can visit my site, blog, instagram or facebook to see recent work.  Here is recent basketball coverage.  Of course, I do regular ‘ole portrait sessions, too.  I happen to really love what I do, and so I might show up to your session with a giddy grin on my face as well.   Email or text or call 479-426-0200.

event coverage small



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Mark + Jen | Joplin MO wedding photographer

Mark and Jen traveled up to Webb City in the Joplin Missouri area to celebrate with family and friends their wedding.  A beautiful summer morning backyard wedding, the details were soft and elegant.  Before the wedding Mark was shooed back indoors multiple times as he would busy himself with details of setting up and making sure guests felt welcome.  He has such a giving nature and is drawn to leading and organizing, it was difficult for him to let others serve him.  I would say Jen picked a good one!  Jen has such a joyfulness to her, and although quiet and reserved, it was obvious by the response of her friends and family that she is a true friend and fiercely loyal.  I think Mark picked a good one, too!

This small group of sweet family and friends that came to share the day with Mark and Jen were happy to be together with those they love.  The officiant was a good friend, and so funny with charming stories of the couple.  Boston, their dog, joined nieces and nephews as a ring bearer and flower girls.  It was a sweet morning that I felt privileged to curate.
























The stunning flowers were done by the Wildflower in Joplin, Mo.

If you are looking for a wedding photographer, I would love to visit with you about photographing your special day.  Information about wedding options can be found here.  I am located in Rogers, AR and serve NWA, Southwest MO area including Joplin, MO and am available for travel worldwide.

Saclolo Photography is a full service studio portrait and event photography services.  Email or call 479-426-0200 to book one of our talented photographers.

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Moms, take pictures with your kids | Family Photography


This picture.  When it happened I wanted to run and cry.  I did NOT want my picture taken.  Well, when do I ever WANT my picture taken.  But, this moment was supposed to have been different, and so I especially wanted to find a hole to stick my head into.  I had wanted the day to go smoothly.  Just once, I had wanted to be put together with hair and makeup and clothes without mashed puffs somewhere.  It was Derhing’s prom day, and we had miles to travel and multiple places to be, but I thought I had it coordinated where all would fit neatly…but mid-morning as I sat at a soccer game in sweats and a ball cap to hide my dirty hair, everything unravelled.  Derhing’s date who was going to pick her up in Rogers had a problem with the florist and couldn’t leave to get Derhing which meant I would need to drive her to Joplin, which meant I would have to leave from the soccer game as I was and take her to get her hair done in Joplin, which meant I didn’t get a bath, or any opportunity to get ready.  It was her day, but I desperately didn’t want to be in sweats and a ball cap.  I had my husband grab a sundress out of my closet as he drove up, but it didn’t change the fact that my hair was a mess.  I didn’t even have a hair brush, so I swept it back in my traditional messy bun, and put on some mascara and lip gloss that was available in the van.  I was still frozen with inadequacy, so I chose to not go down to the park while everyone was there doing pictures together.  After some time, when I thought it would be cleared out, I headed down to take some pictures of Dehring and Kyle together.  To my relief, it was cleared out, and I was free to do my thing without needing to socialize.   We were winding down, when suddenly, Kyle grabbed the camera from me, and said let’s take a picture of you and Dehring.  I was immediately as belligerent as a two year old, arguing and refusing to cooperate, but not getting any further with getting my way.  Dehring said give up Mom, I want a picture with you, and I could literally feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I said, but I am grimy and dirty and my hair isn’t fixed and I don’t have make-up on…and what I wasn’t saying is that I am fat and ugly and hate how I look and think that somehow if I always avoid the camera I can pretend myself into something different.

The picture happened.  Kyle had the 70-200 image way too close, and I consoled myself that the picture would be all blurry and unusable, so it was okay.  And that was that.  I didn’t die when the shutter clicked, and life went on, and I of course skipped right over the image when I uploaded them, and it was as though it never happened…at least I thought.

Then, along came May 10.  Mother’s Day.  And I noticed my phone was buzzing with Instagram notifications, which was odd, as I hadn’t put any photos up recently, so I got on to check…and there it was.  A picture of me.  And my first reaction was horror…it wasn’t blurry and unusable, the picture was right there, for God and everyone to see.  Now people were going to know what I look like!!! And then a small place in me softened, and I was super impressed with Dehring’s editing, and I was reminded how beautiful she was, and what a special relationship we have…and I didn’t crumble and die, and no one called to tell me that they could no longer associate with me because my hair was dirty and I was fat.  Actually over the next couple of months, I had two moms of Dehring’s friends bring up the picture.  One commented how much she would love to have a picture with her daughter just like that, because it was fun, and so full of love.  I laughed and said, oh I was so resistant to having that picture taken, I was grimy and I hate to have my picture taken.  The other commented, “Really? I never noticed at all.  I hate to have my picture taken, too…but if it meant I could have one with my daughter like that, I would do it in a heartbeat.”

This all really got me started thinking…

First off, my real friends and family; you all see me, the whole three dimensional glory of me all the time.   And you still like me.   I just don’t see me.  

And then I started thinking more…

How many pictures do I have of Moms with their kids, especially seniors?  I almost always offer, but rarely does someone step in and take one, and almost never are they purchased.

I pulled out these images because they came to mind.



The black and white image is one of my favorite I have ever taken.  I polished the color one, but in the black and white I had to leave a bit of wrinkles…of the tiredness around mom’s eyes, because it is so real.  And real is so beautiful.  What makes this image so touching is the vulnerability.  The love, and sadness, and realness of life are all palpable.  We want to look perfect, because society says we have to be perfect to be deserving…and yet vulnerability is so, so beautiful.  Why is it, I can see that in others, but I can’t see that in myself?  I don’t have that answer, but what I do have is the ability to be an example.

And so, it is time to woman up.  And I have been taking steps.  Recently, I had a client who needed to change a session last minute, which meant that I didn’t have a sitter, and during her session she turned to me and said, “now let me have the camera and you go over right where you had me, and let me take a picture of you with Rowan.”  And I let her.  And yesterday, I did the unthinkable.  I took a selfie and posted it on Twitter.

My insides hurt.  I got teary eyed.  And I did it anyway.

Moms, our kids love us.  And someday we are going to be gone.  And in the meantime, we will be here, but tomorrow is gone…and gone in the blink of an eye.  Our people…they don’t care that we are fat, have dirty hair, out of style clothes, wrinkles, squished puffs…they love us because we are someone important to them.  And often the fat is there because we gave up gym time to drive kiddos to little league practice.  The dirty hair is there because we were too busy with breakfast and baths and school forms and our precious shower didn’t happen.  And those out of style clothes are because we don’t love fashion and new clothes, it is because we buy the kids those new looks first, and the budget didn’t quite stretch far enough to fit ours in at the end, and those wrinkles, well all those middle of the night breastfeeding sessions and extra prayer time for that teenager out with the car took away a lot of our beauty sleep.  And squished puffs are a sure sign that you hold your babies close.  It doesn’t feel like it Moms…but these are badges of honor.

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
~Margery Williams The Velveteen Rabbit

Real is beautiful.  And yes, society doesn’t understand.  But let’s not let that rob us of the reality of our beauty in sacrifice and love.

Here are a few mom (and grandma) images I came across.  I don’t know about you, but all I see is love.  Beautiful. Real. Love.

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If you have considered a family photography session, but have put it off because you just needed to {insert chosen thing to fix}, consider booking a session now.  I am currently booking into fall. Email text or call 479-426-0200 to reserve a time.

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