Living the Sweet Life: How sweet it is to be loved by you! 

By Alisa Murray Nationally recognized portrait artist and award-winning columnist.

Hey Sweet Lifers! Well, it’s hard to believe but the studio is celebrating its 25th year this month! Kinda crazy right?! I thought so too, but when I look back on everything we have captured, it all started to seem very real.

The years have flown by, and my littles are either all grown up and bringing me littles round two or almost ready to fly. Recently, this was quite obvious as I captured my boys who are so big it makes me look like a tiny little old thing! One of my friends on Facebook even asked, “How tall are those guys?” To which I replied, “Well, the more important facet is I am only 4’11”!”

Shaffer and Sheldon after their shoot!

The decision to close the studio to new business back in 2021 was one of the best decisions we have made as a family. We did this for two reasons but have seen the benefits way more than that. For one, it has given me the time, as artist to my families, to dedicate extensive creativity in conceiving very specific images for each family. Because I have been capturing them since they were born, I am in a unique position to know them and their homes and that ramps up the ability to provide a “wow” for their portrait galleries. Secondly, I realized that there comes a time when you have to decide what the whole life looks like. My Daddy delivered babies for over 30 years, and when he finally took a step back to paint and enjoy those relationships with patients that had become friends, he dropped dead. It never happened. What I am saying is you never know, now do you? None of us ever know what’s going to happen, but I’ll tell you there’s no time like the present!
So, what does that whole life look like? It is learning how to shift and pivot into something new while still retaining the old traces of yourself. It’s not a compromise or a saying farewell to what you have spent your life’s work on, but rather a step back on the present self and a stepping into a newer version of yourself. I decided to keep holding hands with those who love me and focus on some other things that I knew I wanted to accomplish while I am still here on earth. And what I have I discovered has been really swell!

Makayla and I in the Sweet Life Garden.

My artistry is given a different level of honor because my people, my tribe, who I call “my Sweet Lifers,” recognize that the most important gift I can give them is my time. As a result, we are all on this journey together and quite happily so, I might add. Now there were a few who were not finished making their families, and they got a little worried look on their faces when I announced what I was planning regarding the studio. After all, making a baby means I am committed to you every three months the first year and then here we go for another 17 together. I assured them that I don’t think there will ever be a day that capturing a newborn will be something that I would not want to do. I just don’t want to do it every day all day anymore! Lucky for them who are here, and a blessing to me since there’s only a few families still in that season of their lives.

So here we are, 25 years later and still going. These days are spent very different from those of yesteryears. The benefits as I said have multiplied surprisingly. Things like not having a steady flow of traffic in and out of our house. Things like staying in my pajamas writing until noon if I want to . . . get this, on a Saturday! It’s been so nice to have meaningful and deep conversations with my families, who like my daddy with his patients, have become amazing friends. I feel so loved and grateful with so many blessings. I am truly “living a sweet life!”

Take care of you, and stay “sweet!”