This blog follows both my personal and professional life, featuring my children, photography jobs, and of course, my love for animals. It's basically my own personal photo album combined with an information source for my clients. This site is very informal and allows me to share a little bit of my personality with you. :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Bitersweet Moment

Last night was a very bittersweet evening for me. My grandmother fell. For those of you who really know me, know that my grandma is one of my very best friends. We talk on the phone every day and spend at least one day a week together. We talk about everything in our lives, from shopping and decorating to faith and religion to parenting.
She fell hard. She was standing on a ten-foot ladder in the garage and fell from the top all the way to the concrete. She broke her femur so bad that they had to take her in for emergency surgery last night to reset it and place a pin in it and now she will be in a live-in rehabilitation center for three-eight weeks. She also had some pretty serious head trauma but they think she will be okay from it.
My grandma is amazing. She is 77 years old and takes care of her 96 year old mother (my great grandmother) and her 75 year old brother. She also takes care of my great grandmother's 96 year old twin sister, Ella. So really I have no clue how I am going to even come close to filling my grandmother's shoes while she is down and out all the while doing everything that I am doing.
Last night I went and took some soup to my Great-Grandma Della and my Uncle Dallas for dinner. Afterwards, I went over to the rest home my Great-Great-Aunt Ella is at and brought her the shower chair she needed and also to tell her of my grandmother's fall - I don't think I was prepared for the visit...at all.
I walked in the door and the told the nurse that I was there to see my Aunt Ella and that my grandmother had fallen so she wouldn't be visiting every day like she does and he says "Okay, I have to warn you, Ella hasn't gotten out of bed for a few days."
We walked together to my Aunt's room and opened the door only to see her frail little body lying in the bed. My heart was already breaking at the sight of her. I had gone to visit her in July and she was so much more full of life (and weight). Of course, at that moment, I felt a lot of guilt for not taking the time out of my busy, busy life to visit her more. She was in a silk white nighty with lace and her bones were protuding from her skin everywhere. She couldn't have weighed more then 90 lbs.
I sat down on the queen size bed beside her - where there was plenty of room for me. I held her hand and told her that my grandma had fallen and wouldn't be in to see her for some time. She started sobbing and said "No, not my Carol" I laid down beside her, while stroking her white hair and wrapped my arms around her frail little body and we just cried together. I am so truly grateful that I was able to share that with her instead of just picking up the phone and telling the nurses to tell her.
I want to share my thoughts about everything that has been going on in my life lately. I know God has been telling me to cherish life, to cherish my relationships with all of those close to me and embrace every moment life has to offer. We may never know when our lives might be cut short. It has been so wonderful these past weeks because I have stopped to enjoy the beauty a lot more than I used to and have cherished even the not so good moments and tried to find lessons in them. I have really been trying to embrace life's challenges so that I can learn something wonderful from them and become a better person from them - instead of filling my life with bitterness from those challenges. I am asking you to do the same. I decided to be a photographer not because I loved the moments that I could capture in camera, but it taught me to find beauty in everything even the things some people don't find beautiful at all. What an amazing thing I am able to do all the time - to stop and smell the roses.
Cherish life and all it has to offer. Its only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth - and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up - that we will begin to live each day to the fullest as if it was the only one we had.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Best Family Photographer in Salt Lake City - Thank you!

I am so excited! I won the award from Nickelodeon for Best Family Photographer in Salt Lake City! Thank you everyone who nominated me and voted for me. The competition was amazing - so I am feeling truly blessed :) Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Patrick and Erica's Wedding at Salt Lake LDS Temple and Snowbasin Resort Earl's Lodge - Utah Wedding Photographer

I was so excited for Patrick and Erica's wedding. I could completely feel the love between these two when we first met and on their wedding day it couldn't have been stronger. They were married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple in the morning and later that evening had a ring ceremony and reception at Snowbasin Resort in Earl's Lodge. What a beautiful setting! ENJOY! Click to view their engagements in Big Cottonwood Canyon or Erica's Bridals at Thanksgiving Point.

Rings: Belliston Jewelers

Invitations: Gateway Bridal

Photographer: Melissa Papaj Photography

Videographer: Masterpiece Images

Bridal Gown: Gateway Bridal

Hair and Make-up: Enizio Studio

Flowers: The Window Box

Catering and Cake: Snowbasin Resort

To view more of Patrick and Erica's wedding or to purchase prints click here. To view more of Melissa Papaj Photography's award-winning wedding and portrait photography please view her webite melissapapajphotography.com

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Patrick and Erica's Sneak Peek - Salt Lake LDS Temple and Snowbasin Resort Wedding

I know, I know...I have been meaning to get this one posted sooner, but life has been a little crazy in the Papaj Family lately - okay maybe A LOT CRAZY :) So here is a sneak peek of Patrick and Erica's wedding at Salt Lake LDS Temple and Snowbasin Resort. ENJOY!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Travis and Jessie's Wedding at The Victorian in Layton - Layton, Utah Wedding Photographer

Travis and Jessie's wedding was so happy, fun and beautiful! The weather was perfect, the decorations were AMAZING and the company was so much fun! It took place at the beautiful historic Victorian in Layton, Utah. It was full of color and vibrance (you will notice I hardly did black and white portraits) everywhere I looked. The details were AWESOME! The flowers were done by Willow and Wildflowers in Bountiful, Utah. The fun, fun, fun cake was done by Layers Cake based out of Salt Lake City. As I spent the time getting to know Travis and Jessie, I realized how much Travis truly loves her. He would do absolutely anything for Jessie. I was touched by the way he treats her with so much respect and gentle love.

Travis and Jessie - I have grown to love both of you so much and feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to share your special day with you and so much more. I hope that our friendship will last far beyond this time in your lives. I wish you both nothing but happiness. You both definitely deserve it. Cherish each other...each and every day.

Click here to view engagements, bridals or family portraits of these two! Or to view the entire wedding go here.


Amber Uind did Jessie's makeup and Rondi Maughn was her hair stylist.
Rings are from the Shane Company in Midvale, Utah.

I love, Love, LOVE the ring bearer's pillow - another example of Willow and Wildflowers amazing work.

Jessie's friend made her dress...isn't it perfect?!?!

Tuxedos were from Formal Affair in Bountiful, Utah...

I love this one!

Their two girls...
This was my very favorite moment of the day...I love her dad's expression with lipstick on his cheek :) This is why I love my job...Pure joy!

The cake was awesome!

The Victorian made all of the food and these sandwiches were so yummy...
Me, hard at work :)

Lots of fun dancing...

another awesome moment...

Cat fight!!!
The Letter...

For more of Melissa Papaj Photography's work please view her Salt Lake City, Utah Wedding and Portrait photography website here.