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August 2018

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My Online Photography Workshop

This is how I learned to edit my photos

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I love your blog, it is my favorite! Even though I have never met you in person, I think your awesome!

Nikki M

Can I just say how much I "love" you !!! (without being creepy) Seriously I feel that all the time and love that you have the courage to put it out there!


Sometimes I have about 80% of those feelings you just shared and think I'm the only mom in the world that feels that way.

Sometimes, I come to your blog after a long, hard day teaching school and raising a family and your words are just what I need to hear, and your pictures are just what I needed to see.

You are an amazing woman, and your blog is on my must read every night...Thank you for who you are and doing what you do.


YOU are amazing ... and it's because you allow God's love to radiate through you even into cyber-space, you are real (also read "vulnerable"), and you allow us all to be comfortable with the fact that we are, each and everyone, "works in progress". Thanks for sharing so transparently. You are in my prayers these days while Josh is away.


Always, always, always be yourself. Be because you're the only you in this world and trust me YOU are AMAZING. Want to know something funny? I didn't want to meet you. I've been reading your blog since before Annie was born and I still have product you designed from 4 years ago in my stash b/c I love it so much I just can't bear to use it until I find *just* the right page. I always save your blog for last because it's my fav. You're one of my most favorite people on the planet and I don't even know you. I didn't want to meet you. I was afraid that this awesome incredible person that I admired for so long would turn out to be rubbish. But meeting you gave me such faith in the that are people out there who really are as nice, and kind, and lovely, and grounded, and REAL as they seem. Never stop being you Karen, we would all be lost without you. : )

Heather M.

thank you. thank you. thank you for writing this. thank you for your honesty and openness and for being real on your blog. thank you for voicing so many of the thoughts i have in my own head every day but never voice myself because i worry that every one will think i'm crazy. this post meant so much to me.


I'm laughing, I'm crying, I'm totally with you sister.

You are even genius enough to put the feelings down that I can't even vocalize.

Thank you.

I'm printing this one up. It's a keeper.

Never commented before - but I love your blog too! Its one of my favourites!

I noticed this week that I have been thinking of the way you photograph, and have been trying to capture my own children in the same way you do.

Keep doing what your doing for even if you doubt, Dont, for its a good thing :)


I LOVE that list! I think I need to do one for myself. :D


Sometimes when I read a post like this, I feel less alone in the world. Thank you.

Jodi R

It's been a hard week here...reading your post made me cry but also have a bit more hope that this tough time will pass, it made me give myself just a bit of a break and it made me think of all the good in my wonderful, messy life. Thank you.


Sometimes I have these exact same feelings. Sometimes my social awkwardness gets in my way too. It's good to know that I am not the only one that has these thoughts. I love your blog, and think that you are an extremely interesting and talented person. If I ever had the chance to meet you, my only hope would be that I could push through my awkwardness and be able to talk to you without my shyness getting in the way.

Lisa Valente

Sometimes it's someone just like you that pull me back in from the edge by reminding me that I'm not alone.
Sometimes you make me smile.
Sometimes you make me laugh right out loud.
Sometimes you make me cry.
Sometimes (most times) you give me something to live up to.
Sometimes you make daily challenges not so challenging.
Sometimes, Karen Russell is just down right Amazing and true gift.


This is such a good reminder for me today - God made me messy/complicated, too, and He doesn't make mistakes. Thanks, Karen. :)



Manon Keir

Glad I'm not the only one xxx

karen eyink

poetry. doesn't it just clear your head to get it out on "paper".
sometimes I wonder how someones thighs only grew to be as big as someones arm, how is that possible.


& I am thankful for your honesty and that you share
Chris x

Liz Walker

I am usually a Silent Reader .. tonight I can totally relate and just had to let you know!


Sometimes I wish I could write just ONE blog post like this one.

I love you, Karen Russell. Exactly the way you are.


Truely it must be "that time of the month"........ I am feeling all over the place as well. I am feeling like a crap photographer, crap mother, it's a struggle to lose those 10kgs that I put on to make myself feel loved when I was being truely badly treated by a certain husband who is now an ex husband. I just wanted to run away today but you can't when you are raising 2 small children on your own. Everyone has good days and bad days and you are no different although I think the bit about the bad photographer could all be in your head. Thanks for keeping your blog real all the time. Kathy, Australia

Tess S

you're a rockstar.

Robin healy

I didn't think I could like you more... this makes me wish I was your best friend. Karen, you spoke right to my heart with this post. You are amazing! This has inspired me to write my own "sometimes" list.

Peggy in Houston

Many times I wished I had your life - the way you go and do things with your kids and take short day trips. Most of the time I remember my life is good all on its own. Thank you, Josh Downs for your service and Karen, Coley, Annie, Ross and Courtney for your sacrafice.


We are out here laughing and crying with you. We are rooting you on. We feel your pain. We admire your honesty. We love how you love Josh Downs and your darling kids. We covet your mad skills. We always wish the best for you. We wish you could see what we see in you. We love you like a sister. We are here for you; thank you for being there for us.

Heather Topich

I'm sure it's been said above, but so many of us are right there with you! You are perfect because God made you amazing. Have a happy day!

Although I don't know you personally, I love your photos, your blog and your honesty, I just wanted to give you a big virtual hug (in a non creepy kind of way of course :) You rock Karen!


Sounds like you are just like every other Daughter, Mom, Wife, child of God. :) Don't let the bad come into your thoughts. Tell God to take it away and He will.

Conni M

I could have written those exact words {with some changes of the main characters ....} ...
As Winnie the Pooh says
"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

Ingrid from the Netherlands

Sometimes I feel human too!

Corrine A.

Karen, thank you for sharing the messy, complicated bits. We all have are just brave enough to put them out there. That makes you really special. I don't know about you but I always feel a little better knowing that there are other women out there that have messy complicated bits just like me.

Heather Crawford

I identify with lots of the things on your lists..I think we all do.. :)
and I love your blog :)

Shannon Laux

Karen...umm I think you stole this from my brain!I feel EXACTLY the same way so please don't think you are alone. Even though it's hard not to feel alone. I LOVE how real you are because on a good day I don't know if I could let everyone see me for me. It's hard when people think you got it together when a lot of times you feel like you are flying by the seat of your pants and your barely making it thru. I really like you Karen Russell..One day I hope I can meet you!


I love seeing your photography posts but this post just might be my favorite ever post from you. You are fantastic.

Marilyn Johnson

Very cool post Karen! Loved it. You are so creative and such a good writer.


Can I just say 'Ditto' to your post, cause I feel that many a times too. Like somebody already said, 'I admire that you have the guts to say it out loud'.


You are not alone. I could have easily made that list too....well, except for the parts that include your kids names. :)


All I ever wanted, everything I thought I'd never have and more than I ever deserved!


After a rough morning with my daughter, I dropped her off at daycare and beat myself up (mentally) all the way to work. Life is hard and its good to know I'm not alone. Especially with the socially awkward thing :)


Sometimes when you don't post I wish you would post. I love your blog because you are authentic, and don't just share the perfect. You share your true self, and guess what? We're still reading because we feel all those things you just put into words.

Theresa S.

Your blog has not jumped the shark! Please do not think of ending your blog. So many people love it and love seeing you and your family. You have a strong "voice" that resonates with me and I'm sure many others. Sometimes I feel jealous of you because you have an amazing God-given talent and your life seems so perfect but today you made me realize that you feel far from perfect and that makes me admire you even more. I love what a previous commenter said, "We wish you could see what we see in you."

Sarah W.

I don't think I've ever commented on your blog, but I've been reading for years. And I'm in your class right now. I admire your honesty and authenticity. I know God uses it. Whether it's just so you can see yourself in a new light or so that others can see that there's always room to grow. Thanks for being open - it blessed me this morning!

Becky watt

And all those are the reasons we think you're FABULOUS!!!

Becky (aka: Beckywedd) :)


We all need a sometimes list......! .......and I think you'd find we all are more alike than we know! A friend posted a great quote the other day that I thought you could relate to ('cause don't quotes sometimes give you permission to feel the way you do??!) "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be".....working on convincing myself that this is true! You rock chicky :) Hugs and prayers still to you and yours.....


Sometimes I see the right thing at the right time to make my day a little easier. Thank you for sharing.


One word: Refreshing.

But, since I can't keep it to one word - thank YOU for having the courage to put down on 'paper' what all of us 'sometimes' feel. You are amazing, and real, and normal. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Your ability to keep it real inspires me everyday!


Karen, I think you are cool. No kidding, I'm not just saying that, you are totally cool :) I took your class once and I read your blog regularly. You are honest and open and that is what appeals to me. We all feel like we lose our way, but God has a plan and even when you feel lost, God know exactly where you are and where you are headed.


Thank you for making such a wonderful list! Please know that you are not alone and I can emphathize with so many of your statements. I have a Senior in high school this year and I am an emotional wreck dealing with all that goes into that. Then I also have a daugher who is 11 going on 18 and there are days that are great and there are days that are really bad. It's just nice to know I'm not alone! Thanks for all you do and special thanks to Josh Downs and your entire family for their sacrifices. May God Bless all of you!


Oh and one last thing...I often look at pictures of myself when I was young and wish that I could go give that little girl a big hug and tell her all that she grows up to be!

Kim S.

Sometimes... I wonder why you don't "write" professionally?? You get many of our thoughts put down in black and white. Moms, teachers, wives, friends, photographers, worriers, thinkers...all of us. You can make us smile and cry on the same page. You create amazing photographs. That will never go away. You rock, Karen, The good, and the bad. We all have it. You are honest enough to share it, that's the difference. Keep on keepin' on!


I'm right there along with all the other commenters - I LOVE your blog, reading about your day-to-day life, your photographs (LOVE them!). I spent an enourmous amount of time at work a few weeks ago when I discovered your blog, starting from the beginning and working my way through now. You make me feel like it's okay to not be perfect, and really, who is? Thank you, and please keep on blogging!

Julie McD

And sometimes you're just like each of us at the exact same moment!
You rock, Karen...stay the way you are!Perfectly imperfect as you should be. Remember, you are wonderfully and fearfully made!


Sometimes I think that God has me right where I am meant to be...You are exactly right Karen. You are the youest you that you can be and from what I can see all of us like that just fine. I know that I do.


Beautiful. Thank you for making me realize I'm not alone in that sometimes maddening inner dialogue.
Love you, your beautiful family, and your blog!

jen elliott

you are magnificent and completely normal.
i honestly feel i could have written that post.
thanks for putting it out there for the rest us that aren't as courageous as you!


Hi Karen, with the amount of bravery that that writing & publishing took, you can wipe any social awkwardness off the face of the earth! (Just saying you've encouraged me to!)
Isn't it crazy how we let the opposites in our lives sit on a (teeter-totter?) see-saw and it's either one or the other going down? The heart of being human and having choices ...
Know without any question that you're on track 'cos you're walking with Him and you do all things with Love. Hugs, C.

Theresa Grdina

Your blog is my favorite of all the blogs I read. You are a real person who grapples with the same things that I do....except where you have sausage legs I have a bulbous butt....same thing in my eyes....You are talented and kind; you struggle to do the right thing every time; that's what it's all about: Doing the right thing and forgiving yourself when you make the mistakes that we all make. You are on the right path. Keep the faith. And you know what? thanks for making me realize I am not alone.

debbie susee

I love your blog because you are a real person. We really like you--just the way you are.

ana roat

When the messy stuff surfaces remember this post and know that God chose you to make us feel better about ourselves. Thank you Lord for this perfectly messy sister in Christ--she is truly awesome just as she is!


Honey...I don't even know you, but I sure like you. And I can honestly tell you that I've had many of the same worries, I've just never had the nerve to write them all down. Best advice I have ever received...."Enjoy the season you are in right now, you will never have this time of your life again."
And if you are reading this Karen, thanks for being awesome and having a beautiful family...and having a husband who is so selfless to serve this country!


Jumped the shark! I think not! Thank you for your honesty!
I love reading your good and your bad. I may only be one person but I think your photography rocks, after taking your class and Barb Uil's workshop, I may not know it all, but I know what I don't want and most of what I do want out of photography, maybe even life.
I love how you go away on vacation to a strange kitchen and you bake with your kids!
And I think if you wore that skirt, no one would say anything about your legs, I feel that way about my arms, and I see people with bigger arms wearing tank tops and think "why can't I do that?" Well, I can. I think most people are too busy worrying about their own legs to really get worked up about yours.


Sometimes I read a post like this and I forgive myself (a little) for being human in all my imperfections, because I realize how perfectly imperfect others are--even though their lives don't look that way, when I view them from afar.

Diane knott

Sometimes I wish you were my next door neighbor because it would be cool to have a person
Iike you in my real life. I love the way you express yourself through words and are such an inspiration to me.


Wow, thank you for being so transparent and in doing so making us all feel a little better about our own imperfection.

karen young

I can relate to at least 90% of those entries and feel the same way much of the time. I think it's called being human and we need to just relax and try not to worry so much. I haven't figured out a way to do that yet, so if you do, please let me know. :-)

Oh, and yesterday, I had beef jerky, crunchy cheetos and a 20 oz diet coke for lunch. Just because I could. I NEVER do that! lol!

You're the bomb and I love your blog.


Sometimes you just need to get it out.

tamara dunkin

and sometimes your blog readers and students and former class attendees love you for sharing your heart. for baring your soul. for telling them they aren't the ONLY ONE to feel this way. and sometimes we love you even MORE because you strive to have a relationship with God. May today be a day where you recognize you are abundantly blessed.

Stefie from Northern California

I just love you and I don't even know you...


Every day when I read your blog, I wish we were friends in real life. You seem like such a super cool lady and the kids are adorable. If I had a little girl (which I don't and isn't possible but IF), I'd want her to be as beautiful as yours. Virtual hugs your way! We are all flawed but God is perfect.


Sometimes I just scan my favorite blogs and just look at the pictures. Today I read every word and nodded in agreement at your thoughts.

Thanks for being vulnerable and transparent.

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita

This list was so moving Karen! Look at little adorable you! Don't ever apologize for being you, or being human. We love you, love your photography, love your class, love your sweet family. If I could sit down and share a piece of chocolate cake with you right now, I would tell you: Don't ever change for us. Do what is right for you and your family and we will gladly follow along. Continue to grow as a person, a mom, and a photographer - yes. But be true to yourself and your own good heart. You've touched a lot of people, and we're just crazy about you just as you are.


I think we all have similar thoughts...I like that your blog is real and to seem cool:)


Thanks for posting a list like this. I wish more people were real on their blog! And we could all post something similar - you are so not alone in that!

Jessica Woodford

Wow! This is awesome!! Thank you for sharing this.....I might have to do a "sometimes" post too.


I think you're great and how all of us are so complicated and messy in some way or the other.

Today, I heard a lot of chirping outside. I stood on the front porch and listened, it stopped, then hundreds of birds left the tree in my neighbors yard. A soft swish of their feather could be heard. I went back into the house and thought God is truly amazing.

Keep talking about your faith, I like reading it.

Please come to the Northeast again, I want to take your class in person.

kristan martin

You sound perfectly normal to me!


You are perfect just the way you are! We all have those types of questions flying through our heads.

Colleen Barron

Karen, I think you are incredible. You are so honest in your blogs. I never go a day without reading to see what your family is up to. Stay the way you are. We love you! :)


Sometimes, I totally think you're in my head! Especially because the last statement to Josh Downs is similar to one I made to my husband just last night. <3


Ditto to most of what you said. Except I would add just a few more: Sometimes I wish I wasnt a single Mom. Sometimes Im glad I am. Sometimes I wish just one person would encourage me. Sometimes I am reminded thats God's job. Sometimes I come to your blog and you make my whole day today, thank you for that! We all have our "sometimes".

Kristi B

You have vocalized what so many women feel. Thank you :)


Ugh. You are just so accidentally inspiring. We all love you - can you tell?


So glad we are all human..
lucky to have actually met you on several occasions and still refer to you as the famous Karen R

Kelly W.

Karen, I don't know if I've ever commented on your blog, but I have followed it since I found you through Erin Cobb. I admire your photography and dream of one day taking pictures half as well as you. I also get teary at the end of your more recent posts when you say something about your husband and if he's reading. Your family is in my prayers while he is away. I think your kids are beautiful and I can tell you love them so much and are such a great mom. Thanks for sharing this with us. I think we can all relate on some level to sometimes feeling the way you do. And if someone doesn't like you after you share from your heart, then just remember that for every reader you lose you will probably gain 10 more!

laura j

love when i visit your blog and see that there's a new was like that!

Tanya A

Thank you for sharing all of this...and for sharing yourself the way you do in your blog. I check it every day. I love your words, your photos,your honesty and the way you express yourself. You are human and it is nice to recognize another human being human out here in this crazy world. I'm touched by your list here. I write them myself. I ask myself similar questions. You are not alone in this kind of wondering. Thank you for being so open with yourself. Truly. Thank you.


Sometimes it's wonderful to log onto your website and immediately be told I'm not the only one... I'm so overwhelmed these days that this read like the big hug I really need.

And sausage legs rule!


You so perfectly put words to those ups and downs that tear at our self confidence! I regularly read your blog and always feel uplifted by it. Take courage in knowing that we share in those moment feelings of insecurity no matter how self confident we may appear to be.

Michelle Arthur

OMG, we could have been twins!!!! I have had at least 85% of those thoughts and felt the other 15% --- but never realized (or maybe admitted) it. I guess that makes us human. And knowing we have great men who love us and have our backs makes us seem a little less like "freaks". Thank you so much for being willing to share yourself and your family with us. Thanks to Josh for being willing to have our backs, too. Please know that he and your whole family are in our thoughts & prayers.


Love you Karen Russell-have the same feelings-most especially the mom ones. I was thinking last night I wish I was Karen Russell and have the guts to give up my career to pursue photography. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family everyday.


I have read your blog for years, you make me smile, you bring tears to my eyes and most of all you strike me as a honestly good mother and wife trying to make the most of life for your family...
I make list like the one you have made above... The last list I made was called "Who Am I", these list are healthy... My husband finds my list's once in awhile and comments how right on I am and that I need to mellow out and let the lord continue to guide, not to worry about being in such control and he is right...
Just to let you know, you are right on track where God needs you to be <3 Another thing is that with all your faults you believe you have you are a wonderful parent; I can see it all over your childrens faces! Not one of us is perfect at this motherhood gig as much as we would love to be... We give it all we have because we care so much.
Josh downs loves you because of all those little things that make up you; all of those things on your list! Your a beautiful human and he is a lucky man! even though you think your the lucky one!!
My heart hurts for you while you & Josh are apart, but I would like to THANK YOU BOTH for what you are giving up for this country and APPRECIATE your love for this country that we are so very lucky to have been born in... <3 Shann

Nina Delaney

you are just so cute! don't you know, we're all like that in our own weird ways ... it's what makes you YOU!


Always I feel exactly the way you do.
Always I love every word you write.
Always I want to be behind every picture you take.
Always I wonder what it'd be like for us two socially awkward girls to meet in person. Totally awkward.
Always I think you might think I'm a stalker.

mandy friend

karen, i do believe this is my most favorite post ever. be the you that God created you to be, and noone else...

so much easier said than done!


Well, forget about people not liking you. After writing this EVERYONE who doesn't already love you WILL. We are all flawed beings. And if you weren't so genuine, your incredible talents might just make people too intimidated to be close to you. And just for the record. I have sausage legs too. :) God may have done that so that I wouldn't think I should pursue modeling! Ha. OH....and regarding happy homeschooling red my mind. Your children and husband are so blessed.


"read" my mind! ahhh Sometimes I think people will think I'm dumb. Ha :)


I've never commented before now, but your post made me want to let you know that I love reading your blog and looking at your pictures. That I think you are such a cool person, fabulous wife and mother, and awesome photographer and that I know we would be best friends if we lived in the same area. You are amazing and when I glanced through the previous comments, I want to ditto almost all of them!


Wow! Sometimes I wish I would put together a list like that. Then I get scared...You just took some of that fear away. Thanks! Keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for your sacrifice.


Yep, wishing I had thought of making this list, too! Almost every word is how I've felt at some point in the last 19 months (since my daughter was born!).

Thank you for being you, for being real and for helping us remember to appreciate all that is around us for what it's worth... a gift from God. As you are to us!


Although you can't see me...I'm applauding you for for this post, smiling and crying at the same time. This is one of the best dang posts I've seen anywhere in so very long. Thank you for sharing it. Your honesty about your own struggles reminds me that I'm not the only one who has felt like this. And that makes my day a little brighter and my load a little lighter. Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

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