My sweet, tenacious girl. She has always, and always will be, my muse. A couple days ago, I walked past her and observed her lying on her back, by the living room window, lost in a pensive and somewhat solemn state. I was struck by the intensity of her spirit in that moment. I could feel it in a very tangible way. Moved by how she packs that big, powerful personality in that tiny, little body. She and I have both been struggling with a fair amount of emotional upheaval and stress lately. Most of the time, we have retreated into each other for comfort and other times we have butted heads with such ferocity you'd think we were imitating two Bull Elks. She is needing quite a bit of mama love and nurturing these days and as you know sometimes children have a funny way of expressing that need for love by doing things that push their parents' buttons every which way possible. Ironic, yes. Yet, it's at those times when I most want to discipline her or reign in her fury that I am finding she mostly just needs a hug. It's hard for me to always recognize that, when I'm caught up in the throes of my own responses to her throwing down the gauntlet. But I'm trying. It's a tricky age and life is giving us a good run for our money right now in addition to everything else. My sole purpose on this planet though is to give my kids the stability and security they need and deserve, no matter what tornado is raging outside. I need to be their "basement". It's a matter of trust. Even more than love. And trust is what transforms average portraits into meaningful work.