Sarah Carter Studio » artist | photographer | writer | advocate

I had such a great time shooting for ten families last Saturday. It was a perrrrfect fall day, sunny but cool, no bugs, yellow flowers everywhere. I love this season. It was especially sweet to be shooting for a family I met last year. I can’t believe how much these boys have grown! Here’s a peek into the first fall mini sesh of the season…


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  • September 20, 2015 - 10:15 pm

    Joy Stengel - You really captured the personality of these two adorable boys. Grandma JoyReplyCancel

I should be sleeping right now.. my home is quiet, really for the first time since early morning when we were up brewing coffee and packing lunches, scrambling to load backpacks and send everyone off to their various places to be, hopefully on time. Now its dark and precious sleep is drifting from each bedroom. Dreams and little snores have replaced wide-eyed silliness and gushing laughter. Yet here I am. Because I cannot. I just cannot close my eyes. Every time I do, I see Aylan. I see his father. My mind spins as I consider that the world is in the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Syria’s civil war and the rising of ISIS is the worst humanitarian disaster of our time, leaving us with more than 11 million people displaced – half of them under the age of 18.

I feel an unrest from deep in my bones to do something. Anything. I feel helpless, and that makes me sad. But – BUT – that is the illusion. That helpless feeling is what keeps us from responding to our initial gut reaction upon seeing an image like this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 10.36.24 PM

Those could be my kids. They could. I didn’t wake up on American soil one cool day in November all those years ago because I was more deserving or better than or more worthy than them. I was lucky. Plain lucky that I was born into a society not currently engaged in civil war. That fortuitous fact in no way determines my worthiness as a person or theirs. Look at these children. They could be mine. They could be Emerson and Mercy if we’d been born into different circumstances. I can’t stop thinking about it.

I don’t want to be inhibited from action. I don’t want the fact that the problem seems too large to overcome my ability to do something. Anything. The only way anything ever changes is if we begin to care enough to act.

So. I am starting by learning. I am reading. I am thinking. I am praying. I am asking questions and engaging. I am pushing through the thoughts and voices that tell me I don’t know enough to talk about/feel about/do about this issue. I have the resources to educate myself and it is my responsibility to do so, because we belong to one another. We do. That isn’t rhetoric to make us feel better at the end of a hard day. These are our people, our global family.

I am learning and I am engaging in sharing what I’m learning. I am using my voice, and my platform, to share the information and to invite you all to join me in this effort. Come with me. Let yourself feel the injustice of it. I know its hard and uncomfortable. I know its awful not to have an anecdote to offer to make it all seem less bad. It is bad. It is so so bad. Let it be okay that that is true.

What can we do? Now that we are learning and open and feeling – what can we do with all that energy? Start here. See what sticks out, what gets you excited. See what your heart beats faster at, where you mind starts to connect dots and arrange networks of those paths, people, connections  you may already have access to in your life. Rally your people. Give. Pray. Advocate. Petition. Let yourself be part of the effort.

We belong to each other. If I were on the other end of this story, I know how very desperately I would hope you’d believe that were true. Stay in the story because it is real life. Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

Tomorrow the kids and I will wake up and drive to Target and we will take this list with us:

Sneakers, gym shoes for men, women and children (all sizes) are a HIGH PRIORITY
Sweatpants of all sizes.
Briefs/underwear for men, women and children (all sizes)
Men’s trousers (small, medium and large) and shoes
Baby powder milk
Any non-perishables like nut butters or other long-lasting foods.
Feminine products
Sleeping bags
Plastic to cover the floor/for shade
Mats (camping or yoga mats)
Hats and caps for sunshade (adults and children/light colours because of the sun)
Electric Plug for multiple devices (european voltage)

We will walk the aisles and fill our cart with items to help a family half a world away. We will talk about this family and we will probably cry a little (or a lot.) We will wrap these things up and we will put them in a box, then we’ll drive to our post office and send them, along with cards and a lot of love, to an unnamed family waiting on a island, homeless, placeless, without identity or certainty. But my prayer is that when they open this box, they will know that they exist and they are seen and that they matter.

Thank God we have the chance to wake up in the middle of this crisis. It is not too late for us! We still have time to be a part of a beautiful story of hope and redemption and turing the story on its head – this isn’t a tragedy. YET. But we have to do something. Anything.

** If you would like to mail items from this list as well, here is the official mailing address:

Hellenic Postal Office of Mythymna
℅ The Captain’s Table
Molyvos 81108, Lesvos, Greece


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  • September 5, 2015 - 5:06 am

    Stephanie Matheny - We will do that too! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • September 7, 2015 - 12:02 am

    Talar - Your words explain exactly how I feel too. My family and I will be sending supplies as well!ReplyCancel

  • September 9, 2015 - 4:55 am

    Kathryn - This has been on my heart the past few days as well. You described my own thoughts and feelings so accurately!!ReplyCancel


For all the intensity and adventure summer brought us, for it’s heat and it’s storms and it’s freedom – the fireflies and fireworks and neighborhood parties and kids running in the yard until dark, for the cool white wine and toes dipped in sparkling waters, for the travel and the memories – for all of it, my heart is grateful.


So so full.

And possibly slightly ready for a little less chaos and a little more routine and steadiness. Of course I love lazy summer and it’s sleeping in and no rush attitude. I love naps in the afternoon and staying up too late watching “just one more” episode of whatever series we’re catching up on. But man, I have to admit that by the end of it, I am ready for a change.

And so, welcome sweet September. You bring school hours and gusty breezes and color of a different palate. The edges of the fall are softer and smoother. If we aren’t paying attention, fall will come and go without barely a whisper. She is stuck between her succulent summer and fierce winter sisters, and so she is the gentle one. The peacemaker. The one who ushers us into change. She prepares us. She is a bit like a prophet, letting us ease into the change that is inevitably coming. I always wish she would stay a little longer than she does, but then again, those who bring change usually don’t. They are the bridges that get us from one place to another.

As I look at various seasons in my story, I find myself deeply grateful for those who have bridged the changes with me. Those who have been there to ease me from one chapter to the next, who have prepared my heart, walked with me through it, been there to remind me of where I’ve come from and where I can go, who I can be.

Fall is far too brief out here in the midwest, eager winter pushing her out as she stretches icy fingers from late November to the middle of March, claiming those days for herself. But without fall, nothing could survive the frost. Without fall, no one would be prepared, the trees wouldn’t have time to process, the creatures great and small wouldn’t know to stockpile and gain their wooly coats to guard against winter’s grip.

She is small but the truth is, fall saves us, every time.

We get to do the same for one another. Sometimes we don’t see the winter coming in our own lives and we need another person to remind us and help us ready for the coming change. Can you imagine if fall didn’t fight for her space? What if she gave up, tired of arm wrestling for a spot on the calendar? We are each granted our place to inhabit, and we need to fill it up. No one can do that for us.

It’s hard to keep showing up, to keep trying, preparing, drawing out the good, calling after changes coming. It’s hard to remember that love wins in a world surrounded by so much hate. But it does. And we are truth-tellers. We are change-bringers. It’s our job. And guys, we do have the best job ever – we get to practice unconditional love every second we’re alive. We get to proclaim with every choice that it is possible for things to get better, to grow, to evolve.

We are hope-spreaders. In a world of pushy demands and empty promises, we can be gentle advocates who continue to show up, faithfully calling out good and walking with one another through our stories, through our very wild and precious lives.

Welcome, sweet September.

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  • September 2, 2015 - 1:59 am

    konnie - so beautiful sarah, you have put the whole of autumn together, you know its my favorite of all . . . but never have i been able to put the why to it. . . but that’s it, it’s the usher, the preparer of all to come, the transitioner, the helper.ReplyCancel

SCS Closet Collage

1. franco sarto ‘vivace’ leather d’orsay flat, 2. top shop moto ‘jamie’ high rise skinny, 3. kimchi blue crinkle gauze flowy midi dress. 4. leith relaxed surplice shirt, 5. elizabeth suzann ‘georgia’ top, 6. steve madden ‘groupie’ bootie, 7. anine bing diamond soliatare ring in yellow gold, 8. double bar layering ring, 9. hobo ‘mara’ crossbody bag, 10. 31 bits ‘the collector’ bracelet, 11. everlane ‘ryan’ tank, 12. anine bing boyfriend shorts, 13. top shop moto ‘jamie’ high rise ripped, 14. hackwith design house ‘casella’ dress, 15. elizabeth suzann artist dress, 16. lookout high-rise in sharky wash (on sale!)

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A few weeks ago the kids and I got on a plane and flew to one of our very favorite places on the planet – Southern California. I went to college out there, met my husband, moved away and then moved back, and then moved away again. Through it all, life-long friendships and cherished memories have managed to keep it feeling like “home” for us. If I have a chance to go anywhere, anytime, California is always my first choice.  Part of the magic of this trip was watching my children discover and fall in love with it too.  Introducing our Mercy June to the golden sand and endless crystal shorelines was pure joy. She squealed and leaped and ran fearlessly toward the water, a girl after my own heart. Emerson has precious friends there too, and so was overjoyed to reunite and pick up where they left off, the way all kids seem to do. Time is no barrier, friends forever.

While we were out, I arranged for my friend Whitney to take some photos for us. I wanted artsy, dark, lots of feeling images and she was the perfect person to get them.  We met at Little Corona Beach and let the magic unfold. Tide pools and tumbling boulders housing starfish of every color and tiny crabs eager to pinch at the drifting seaweed took our breath away. The kids played and splashed and Whit snapped away, the results of which are memories I’ll treasure for the rest of ever. Its one thing to exist in the experience of motherhood right now – its such another one to watch it captured through some else’s lens. Thank God for photographers, am I right?:) You can also see Whitney’s post, her beautiful words and favorite images are there as well.

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