Sweet Saraya – The Blog » A mum with a camera, keeping her loved ones in the frame.

And then we snapped – 23/11 – 13/12


It’s been a really emotional two days in the lead up to this post. As most of you probably know, an armed islamic extremist took hostages in a Sydney coffee shop yesterday, and the 17 hour stand off resulted in the death of two young innocent people – a 34 year old man and a 38 year old mother of three. The gunman was killed as well, but he doesn’t even deserve a mention. As a dear friend of mine stated, “This lunatic came here in 1996 after fleeing from his own country of unrest with nothing to offer but a diseased mind full of hatred but we said “Come on in”, and now 2 beautiful young people who had so much to look forward to have been wiped from the face of the earth by a mad Jihadist who was known to Police as a killer and sexual predator.” In a nutshell.

Tonight, I am remembering the two victims that were killed for no reason at all, two wonderful people with adoring families and great futures in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could have been any one of us. Many people are saying that we shouldn’t let these people scare us, these extremists who publicly and vocally threaten our lives, our families, and our existence, who want to change this nation that we live in. The thing is, we shouldn’t be scared in the first place. The men and women who fought for our country did so in the hope that we would live without tyranny and threat from others, so that we could live freely and peacefully. We shouldn’t have to be fearful, we shouldn’t have to tell ourselves “don’t let them scare you”. We should feel safe. Shouldn’t we?

But I don’t feel safe. Not at the moment. When an extremist takes 17 hostages through force in the most public of places, threatens them if they move, terrifies them so they may never sleep another night without nightmares, and then turns the whole situation back on the “establishment”, on the government and our military forces, and many of our non-extremist countrymen agree with his anti-establishment stance, then what hope do we have as a nation? It scares me. And I worry what kind of country we are going to leave for our children. This has nothing to do with Islam or its people, but it does have everything to do with how so many people in society don’t have any respect for authority anymore, and let the extremists dictate terms to us, and we pussyfoot around them so as not to hurt their feelings. Something’s gotta give, and it won’t be them. I also question our judicial system, a system that lets a maniac back into society on bail after committing not just one, but THREE, serious crimes (including an accessory to murder and 40 sexual assault charges on 7 women). We have a society where we throw the book at people who commit white collar crimes and put them in prison for years, and yet murderers and sex offenders can walk free. Does something seem amiss here?

I don’t usually write political things on my blog, as it is mainly for my feelings on Duchenne and my photography. But tonight, I think it just needed to be said. So, apologies. It’s my blog, I can say what I feel. RIP Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson – you deserved a long, happy and bright life.

Anyway, on a lighter note, I haven’t posted in 3 weeks. THREE LONG WEEKS! I’ve been suffering withdrawals, that’s for sure. This week, I have a whole heap of catching up to do. So bear with me and thank you, in advance, if you make it through to the end. Oh, and I have been posting a thankful post every day, because each year I like to finish off the year remembering everything that I am grateful for. So a few of those are included below.

Growing up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches was pretty darn special. Those of us that were lucky enough to live there called it “God’s Country”. And flying over it last week, as we came in to land at Sydney Airport, it sure lived up to it’s name. For those of you that watch “Home & Away” in the UK, I give you the real Summer Bay!!!! And no, this photo hasn’t been touched up at all!!!


I may not live there anymore, and I’m quite happy with that, but I still love Sydney. And even though I’ve not lived there in 14 years, I’ll probably always consider it my home town.


I am thankful for my photography friends from both near and far. You all know who you are, and you have all left an indelible mark on my life. You get me. Most of you, I have never met and probably never will (thanks to oceans that separate us), but you have each played a big part in my life. My photography means everything to me, it has helped me get through some really dark days, and so have all of you. Thank you to each of you, from the bottom of my heart. And who knows, maybe one day we might catch up somewhere in the world – stranger things have happened!


A recent photoshoot I did for Multisport Mag – had to keep it under wraps until the magazine was published. I think I might need to develop a new watermark for my commercial shoots though, particularly the magazine centrefold images – my “pretty” watermark, doesn’t really suit. LOL!


I am thankful for Saraya – my creative genius. It took 4 miscarriages to finally fall pregnant with this one, she was obviously determined to be part of our family. When I finally held her in my arms, I knew that she was special, that she was wise beyond her years. And although she may be a challenging child, I have worked out that there is a reason for this.

Creative people . . .
1. Are easily bored.
2. Are risk takers.
3. Colour outside the lines.
4. Think with their heart.
5. Make lots of mistakes.
6. Hate the rules.
7. Work independently.
8. Change their mind a lot.
9. Have a reputation for eccentricity.
10. Dream big.

That’s my Saraya. To a tee.


I wonder what’s out there?


I am thankful for a little man who surprised us by coming into our lives over 5 years ago, and who truly completed our family. Today, he graduated from Preschool, as he is going to big school next year. He was so excited, and so happy, and I was so proud. I doubt my heart could swell anymore than it did tonight. He will always be MY baby, but he’s no longer a baby. I can see the man he will one day be, and I love what I see. Thank you Paddy, for being the finishing touch to our beautiful family. Mummy is so proud of you. xxx


I am thankful that James talked me into taking him to the final 2014 school disco. Even though his brother and sisters went to the swimming club christmas party, James was determined to go to the disco. I wasn’t thrilled as the last time none of his friends were there. But tonight, there was a large group of them. And they were so happy to see James, their little mate. And he is little. Standing there amongst his friends, he looks like a Year 1 boy rather than a child going into year 5. And dancing beside them, his disease has never been more apparent. What a bittersweet night it was, he had a blast and I stood on the side with tears in my eyes. I can’t help picturing how he would be without that horrible disease, and when I see all those boys there around him, it brings it home even more so. But he said it was the best disco ever, he danced for 90 minutes straight with the occasional quick sit down. And that’s all that mattered tonight. He was happy. Tonight, nothing else really should have mattered.


I am thankful that my husband has gone out for the night and the kids are sound asleep in their beds. Sometimes, it’s just nice to spend time on your own and enjoy the peace and quiet. Aaaahhhh, the serenity.


I am thankful that a kind and gentle man (who just happens to be Brian Lara, one of the greatest sportsmen ever) took a little bit of time out of his very very busy and scheduled day to play a few minutes of cricket with James. The smile on James’ face was something we don’t see that often anymore – it was wide and genuinely happy. It made my week, and James’s as well (and, i daresay, Julian’s).


I am thankful for the 43 years I’ve spent on this earth. From being born into a wonderful family to raising my own, it’s been a roller coaster of good and bad times. Thankfully, the good far outweigh the bad. I’ve had amazing experiences, made some life-long friends, and lived in some incredible places. And the family that Julian and I have created is the best part of all. I am blessed. Thank you again to everyone for your beautiful birthday wishes. And a big HUGE thank you to Fran, for making the most delicious birthday cake for me. I’m so lucky to have her in my life.


I am thankful that I get to see my kids perform. I am glad that I am able to take the time out of my day and see them perform in their school concerts. Today, it was Saraya’s turn. And after singing so beautifully in her first ever solo (Oh Christmas Tree), she then danced up a storm and finished off magnificently. I love that I can witness moments like this!


I am thankful that Fred has helped me to keep the magic of Christmas alive for the kids. This is the third year he has kept an eye on them for Santa Claus, and they all love him. I know he doesn’t look like a real elf, but he doesn’t have to look real for the kids to believe in him. I just hope he’s around for many more years to come.


Never a dull moment when one goes to the cinema with Saraya.



I don’t take that many photos of James, partly because he gets upset when he sees photos of himself, and also because he sits on the sidelines most of the time and just watches the action in front of him. So the opportunity to get a photo of JUST HIM doesn’t present itself that much. But sometimes, he asks me to take a photo of him. And when I do, my camera sings.
And just note, any parent of a child living with Duchenne will know just how difficult it was to get his arms up like that.
He’s my superhero, and his muscles are his Kryptonite.



Because doesn’t every child love a bubble bath?


I am thankful that my kids go to a wonderful school and finished up their best year yet. Yes, it’s a public school and I know plenty of people out there would certainly turn their nose up at public schools and judge the fact we send our kids there, but this school has continued to impress us year after year. Not once have the kids had a bad teacher, and this year the teachers were better than ever (and their end of year reports certainly reflect that). In terms of the kids who attend, yes there are a couple of bad seeds, but there’s bad seeds in EVERY school, even those that are private or catholic or christian (the other choices we have here on the Gold Coast, and I’m sure those types of schools wouldn’t accept a child with a degenerative muscle wasting disease and behavioural/learning problems in the first place). We were certainly lucky to happen upon this school, and I am so proud to say my children are students there, at Caningeraba State School. I will miss the teachers the kids have had, and I just hope next year’s teachers will live up to the high standards set this year.

School year

If you made it all the way through, then I think you are awesome!!! Thank you! I promise to not take so long between posts again.

Now, please follow the link and go check out what the beautiful and talented Melissa from Melissa Pizzalato Photography has been up to. And I’ll hopefully see you again next week!

  • And Then We Snapped…. | Photography 2204 | Thunder Bay Family + Food Photographer - […] week I’m linked up the fantabulous Sharyn Thompson of Sharyn Thompson Photography,  so click HERE to visit her blog and see what her week has been like […]ReplyCancel

  • Jana - First, I’m sorry for what happened in Sydney 🙁 I was following your posts on Facebook about the hostage situation, and my heart hurts for the families of the 2 hostage who were killed. Lots of love to all of you in Australia, especially those directly affected. May that be the last time something like that happens there (I’d say anywhere but that is obviously not about to happen).
    I love all your posts of gratitude <3 And I adore seeing your kids in all their glory (and James' dance moves are awesome – tell me you got him on video! love it!).ReplyCancel

  • Julie Moses - I love that you have allowed me to peek into your life- and what an amazing life it truly is anyhow well you document it!ReplyCancel

  • Ally - So many things I want to write…but I will leave it at this…this post brought tears to my eyes. You are such an amazing person. I feel so lucky to know you. <3ReplyCancel

  • Kim De Araujo - I have missed seeing your days and reading your words. Always so great. I love that you speak from your heart and share what is on your mind. I too am sorry for those families. I love seeing James smile and I really LOVE that shoot your did for the magazine. I hope they send you a hard copy to keep.ReplyCancel

  • Nadeen - Love them all, but the image and story of James at the disco is priceless!ReplyCancel

  • Annie - OH my goodness Sharyn, not are your words beautiful, but these photos are just outstanding. Every single one touched me in a special way. The photos of your son are really great and I can see your love for him through your photos. I am so glad I’ve been introduced to your photography through our little 365 circle and I look forward to following your photography into 2015.ReplyCancel

  • lea - Sharyn, missed you so I came over to your blog. So sorry about that horrible mess is Sydney. It was heartbreaking to watch.
    It was nice to ewad your blog and see your images,


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