Christina’s Wedding

Christina just became a Missus this past month. She’s a friend I’ve made recently and she is just so beautiful and sweet. We met through the promotion and development of the town I live in. She lives in a charming town an hour to the north called Chestertown on the Chester River. And we have maintained a lunching chatting status for over a year and become friends. When I visited her with a wee Fiona Over the Bridge last year, that was the day she told me Dan had proposed. I was extremely flattered when she then included me and my husband in her nuptial celebration. Husband the lighting guy also did her wedding lighting and her sister’s too.

St. John's church in Chestertown, MD from Christina's wedding on

The wedding was held at an old Episcopal church deep into the Shore country in a parish that claimed to have been established in 1693. The church was tiny, had a turnbuckle holding the sides in, and had the charming waterside graveyard and gigantic tree for a wedding party photo-op.

Christina and dan say I do in St. John's church in Chestertown, MD from Christina's wedding on

She and Dan are just perfect for each other and their sweet anticipation for their moment was palpable in the church. And to watch her joy after wards was the cherry on top. Her beauty shone through her beauty. The pictures I took of her here needed no touching up.

The bride from Christina's wedding on


The reception was held at her parents house on Rock Hall and many of the people we know from our little town were there. So it was fun to dance with them and sit with them at the celebration. My husband and I are the ones on the right in the orange dress and blue shirt.

Christina's wedding lit by On Your Mark Lighting on

Me and the Mr. at Christina's wedding on

We had to scoot home too early as it was an hours drive away. And thankfully the rain didn’t let down until the end of the night. So Christina remains a lucky bride. I think it’s so important to attend weddings to remember the promise of the union of two people. And these two have so many people who love them, the toast speeches were wonderful. The food was fabulous. And the tent lighting, if I must brag, looked great. Congratulations to Tina and Dan Divilio.

If you are getting married on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, or In the District of Columbia and were thinking about lighting for your event, give my husband a call. He’s a great guy and talented too.


I’ve been traveling a long bumpy road. Struggling to become a person who can stand up for myself. To become myself. I thought my low self-esteem was to blame for how the steep the climb felt that I’ve been attempting. I worked and worked and felt like I wasn’t gaining a lot of ground to become visible. 

Fiona Marie in the bathtub from Self-Efficacy on

Then, earlier this year, I stumbled upon a book in one of my ‘go to the library and peruse the shelves for something to spur me on’ modes. The book is called Creating Your Best Life by Caroline Adams Miller, MAPP and Dr. Michael B. Frisch. I was inspired by many many subjects within. The Flow article I wrote was one. And I experienced a HUGE AHA when I discovered the concept known as self-efficacy, the ability to believe if you’ve done it before, you’ll be able to do it again. That has been my missing puzzle piece.

Self-efficacy incorporates the quality of resilience. The person who has this sees challenges as opportunities instead of scary threats. In having faith in one’s abilities, you know that when you reach the other side, you’ll have applied your skills and knowledge and you’ll have proven, like always, that you could do it.

#Hansel and Gretel from Self-Efficacy post on

A gentleman by the name of Albert Bandura, through his research at Stanford University, developed the self-efficacy theory and revolutionized a method for developing one’s achievement of it.

These are the ways that we can build our self-efficacy.

    • Role Models – Have people in your day-to-day life that show how and what needs to be done to reach a goal.

    • Cheerleaders – You increase your own belief in your skills by cultivating relationships with people who are supportive and believe in you. Their belief in you can get you to reach goals you would not otherwise risk. And non-relatives even more so because they don’t “have to” like you or believe in you. They just do because you’re you.

    • Managing stress appropriately – Low self-efficacy allows bad moods and physical pains to stand in the way of making goals or progress. Proper management of stress and it’s symptoms leads to an allowance for other circumstances and achievements to happen.

    • Having mastery experience – When we are allowed to put a check in our ‘Win’ column, this success spurs us to strive for more. And we redefine ourselves by the sum of our accomplishments.

Let me tell you about my experience so you can understand the hope that this concept has brought to me. My past consisted of being isolated without role models or cheerleaders. I kept myself locked in a scary dark box. My stress level way quite high and I smoked and drank to manage my stress and anything good that happened in my life was met with apprehension. Even if I accomplished something, a piece of writing or a collage, I soon forgot the triumph. Nothing stuck and I slipped back down the low self-esteem slope.

Ditch Lilies from Self-Efficacy post on

When I finally began to blog and to connect with the outside world, I began to see myself as someone with more. More talent, more to like, more possibilities, and I began to crack the door for more self-efficacy. Recently, I can see how all the successful projects and creative endeavors have given me a surplus sense of “I can do that as well as the other”. And I want to find more to challenge myself with and see what I can come up with next. I no longer feel sad for the waste of my potential. I’m actively enjoying the gifts I have. Taking challenges and now making challenges for myself. And reaping the benefits of success and kudos. I know what I put myself to will not suck. And this is a mighty fine place to be.

Mothering In Thirds

A third of the time, I feel like I did a good job with the choices I made in a day mothering my children. A third of the time I feel like a crappy mother who made crappy choices regarding my children. And a third of the time, I have no time to consider the quality of work I’ve done as a mother because I’m too busy hustling to keep up with all the necessaries like feeding and bathing my children.

She'll be a writer too from mothering in Thirds on

Last week I was a little hormonal and Fiona got a fever. There’s nothing to test you and your compassion and stamina like a baby with a fever. She had it for two days and still wasn’t right for another couple. Fall out includes not eating, excessive clinginess, and a general feeling like the boat is sinking and you have nothing to bail with but a smile and a prayer.

When they cry, we leap to our feet knowing that surely our failure to do so will cost us an unknown price in the future.

And then a week later, she’s a happy-go-lucky independent eating toddler. Last week bad mother feeling. This week, Great Mother. 

Tuckahoe Park in Mothering in Thirds for

At least I don’t feel bad all the time? I’m in Good Mother mode and especially proud of myself when I’ve identified a problem and created a plan for the solution. Standing up in the crib? I know what to do. Daycare clingy-ness? You may be part of the problem. And taking time to take care of my stuff allows me to feel so much happier and I can be present with both children. Because the big guy gets the shaft sometimes.

Eamon and Daddy playing with the new apple laptop on Mothering in thirds from

The last third is just survival mode. Where ideally I’ve anticipated all that needs to be done, packed and planned for it, and am in auto mode to get us where we need to be on time. But sometimes it’s just putting out fires and trying not to yell. Survival Mom mode. Everyone stays alive and deadlines are made and opportunities to eat (OTEs) are not forgotten.

But sometimes at night, when I get to unplug, I have the blissful moments where I forget I’m anybody but me. Not Good or bad Mom. Just Shalagh. Poking at pictures on Instagram, wishing I had time enough to read and really escape. There’s a fourth part and she’s the gal who I was before I was Mommy and the person who has become better because I became Mommy.

Soon enough, I’ll be happy being too busy just being me. This will eventually happen after my kids no longer need me. At least I’m hoping I’ll be ready for the business of being busy when they’re ready to be independent. And part of me will be the better Mother for letting them fly away to their new homes. I’ll be proud of my accomplishments, forgive myself my moments of Mommy humanity, and be glad I recognized their and my needs in the process.

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