Today we are featuring photographer, nature-enthusiast, gardener, and mother, Kathryn Proto Rash.
Hi, I’m Kate. I’m a nature-loving minimalist who dreams about my next chance to go hiking or camping with my family. I’m obsessed with the moss and ferns that dwell in the shade of the forest. I’ve always been delighted by sunlight and the way that it fills a room, sets the mood for a movie and adds soul to a photograph. I’m like a cat on sunny days seeking out that warm, bright spot by the window.
Landscape gardening helps to satisfy the deep need that I have to beautify my life. I love digging up and rearranging the plants in my flower beds each year. Shopping local and supporting other small businesses is an important way that I give back to my community. I thrive when I am entertaining friends in my home or making handmade gifts for the people I love. I’m sensitive, introverted (except when singing karaoke!) and an easy going middle child with a go-against-the-flow mentality.
Love your detailed description! Do you wear any other hats in addition to your [big, gigantic, hugely significant] Mom Hat?
Ha, some days I can’t see what’s right in front of me because the few hats that I wear are so big and floppy! But, I have been learning which hats to pull on tightly, which ones I should toss up in the air- declaring freedom, and which ones I should just walk on by and not even touch. The hats that I wear are all dear to me. I’d like to say that I live a pretty simple life. But, I’ve also worked hard to change my perspective and to create a simple life.
I’m the owner and photographer of Kathryn Proto Photography. I use photography to tell family stories in an authentic and candid style. I am a new blogger, which has been an adventure thus far! My blog, Singing to the Bees, brings together my love of photography and my desire to embrace a green, minimalist and creative life. It’s a place to find inspiration and freedom for your soul! I’m calling 2017 my “Light Year” and will be focusing on the fascinating attributes of Light in many of my posts. My photography website is www.kathrynproto.com. I’m on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
My husband and I started a small organic farm about 5 years ago but have since cut back and are growing only for our family. I’m hoping that down the road we will use our farm to reach out more and serve our community. I’m the only one working and driving in our family since my husband, Seth, was forced to give up both due to his genetic eye disease. I’m facing health challenges of my own, which have been a huge struggle for me and my family over the past 8 years or so.
Wow, you have been through a lot and I’m so glad you’re putting it all to writing and in photos. Tell us about your family.
My husband and I have a 9 year old son named Dominic. He’s my miracle baby and was conceived shortly after being told by my OBGYN that I wouldn’t get pregnant. I savored my pregnancy with him since I knew that it could be my only one. I think that’s why I love photographing expectant mothers- it is such a miraculous time in life.
Dominic is my reality check. He tells me why it’s okay to wear the same sweatshirt everyday to school, and questions why I would ever waste time doing something meaningless (like washing dishes) when I could be cuddling with him. He’s sensitive, creative, imaginative and artistic. Some of my proudest moments are watching him explore and use his creativity. Dominic loves having his daddy home all of the time and the two of them are inseparable.
I definitely know what you mean about savoring a pregnancy that you knew was a gift.? What is a recent mom win you experienced that took time and perseverance to accomplish?
We have an anxious little boy when it comes to bed time. He didn’t always used to be that way, but lately he’s been wanting have me lay with him until he falls asleep. And we all know what happens when a tired mommy lays down… I was falling asleep too and not wanting to get back up. Seth and I were missing out on our evening time together. I’ve been trying to explain to Dominic the importance of Daddy and I spending time together alone in the evening and how that is our special time to be together. This week, I think that it finally sank in and he’s been doing much better!
Yay for protecting that time with your hubby. And yes, we all know what happens when a tired mama lies down for just a minute! ? ? ?
What is a mom win that you would text your best friend?
I’ll share a bit of a recent blog post of mine because I think that is answers this question well…
My mind has been on my own worries lately. My son sensed my “soul absence” and I could tell that it wounded him deeply. After I wallowed in the mommy guilt for some time I decided to take a different approach. I started a pillow fight with him. After some serious pillow bashing we had a staring contest and laughed until we couldn’t breathe. The next evening he wanted to do the same thing. But first, we found ourselves face to face as we were laying on my bed. He looked at me with eyes full of wonder as he said to me, “Mommy, I feel different. Something has changed. I feel closer to you.” As I fought back my tears, I told him that I felt closer to him too. And then in true 9-year-old boy style he smashed me over the head with a pillow!
Aw, that is so sweet and such an encouragement for us mamas. Sometimes we can wallow in the mom guilt but I love that you tried a new, lighter approach and it drew you even closer! What are you learning as a mom right now?
I feel like I have been learning so much about myself this past year. This soul searching is exhausting, yet it’s such rewarding work. I would encourage other moms to take time for themselves. Spend more time with your girlfriends, seek out a mentor or even a therapist to talk with. It’s not selfish to explore what makes us the way we are so that we can better love ourselves, our families and this world.
In my family photography, I focus on the importance of being present and playing with your family. I am trying to practice what I preach and I fear that most days I’m not so good at it. It’s hard! I have so many distractions that keep me from being present. These are distractions that aren’t going away.. my health, my husband’s health, the stresses of owning a business and trying to make a living doing so, raising a child... They’re here to stay and I need to learn how to be present in the midst of them. I have learned to cope by simplifying my life and by saying “No” to busyness. It’s okay to just be- to stop dragging our kids around to activities that add stress to our lives. Our kids need our presence more than anything and presence isn’t found in busyness. Why do we do this to ourselves and to our families? I grew up in a busy home. I would even say that busyness was in a way glorified in my childhood home. But, it didn’t serve me well and I know that my mom was exhausted trying to keep up. So, I’m fighting to take a different approach.
I have been exploring Minimalism the past several years. To me, it is simply letting go of the junk in our lives that hold us back from being who God created us to be. That junk is physical stuff that we fill our homes with that we don’t really need, and activities that we fill our time with that don’t fulfill us and don’t focus on love. I’m holding tight to a few of my hats, but those other hats that people toss out at me- I don’t have to catch those. I don’t have to wear them all! I can focus on what matters and let the rest go.
Katie, I can tell you have done a lot of soul work and invited God into the hard places to get to where you are currently. What a gift to know what matters to you and use your energy in that direction. Thank you for inspiring all of us today!
If you would like to be featured as a Gold Medal Mom or you know someone who would, please contact us here!