Artist Living

Happy Birthday Me Ra!


Before reading on, this is a disclaimer. Nothing said in today’s blog has been reviewed by Me Ra and may or may NOT be her opinion. All of the words and pictures used are without her authorization, and may be frowned upon for their use without her consent. If you continue to read, please do so with a grain of salt.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

This is Brian, Me Raโ€™s Husband. I asked Me Ra if I could write her blog for her today since itโ€™s her Birthday. You know how when you have friends over for dinner and you sometimes want to tell them stories or show them pictures? Well, sometimes I feel that way with this Blog, except for some reason Iโ€™m never saying anything. Huhmm? I wonder if thatโ€™s why Me Ra enjoys this blog so much, itโ€™s like dinner with friends without have to kick my shins under the table? ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, nowโ€™s my opportunity to say something at least until she has the last laugh.

I donโ€™t know how I got so lucky as to get Me Ra to marry me?

Me Ra and Brian as Bride and Groom

And I donโ€™t know how I got even luckier by marrying someone who has only gotten more beautiful each year of our marriage.

Me Ra Koh cool with Glasses on logtail boat in Thailand

I love to sneak up on her and take her picture. Sometimes she even lets me.

Me Ra in Snowy NY Central Park

Even though she was afraid to ride a road bike,

Brian making up for ditching Me Ra

rock climb high above the ground

Me Ra Koh Rock Climbing in Railay Thailand

or dive way deep with the sharks, she has not let her fears stop her from trying.

Brian and Me Ra Scuba diving in Koh Phi Phi Thailand

Even last month, Iโ€™m not sure she actually stood up, but she tried out paddle boarding.

Me Ra Paddle Boarding in Ventura, CA

I love watching her teach, speak, be on TV, and take photos.

And of course she is the amazing and beautiful mother to our children.

Me Ra the beautiful and amazing mother of my children

That shared, besides through photography most of you know Me Ra through writing.

Me Ra Koh writing in Thailand under mosquito net

If you could help a husband out today please share if Me Ra written something that inspired you? Or said something in person that encouraged you? Or if words by Me Ra have let you know that you are not alone could you share those words below in a comment to her for her Birthday? I know that would mean the world to her. Thanks so much!

Happy Birthday Me Ra!


Your Honey


  1. Jessie says:

    Happy Birthday Me Ra! you are a truly wonderful soul, thank you for guiding so many through your photography.

  2. Wendy says:

    Happy Birthday Me Ra!!!
    Love your web site; and your Honey sounds like a very kind and sweet fellow!!

    All the very best..


  3. Claudia Constantino says:

    โ€œWe do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.โ€

    e.e. cummings

    Me Ra, I came upon that quote this past weekend and instantly thought of you! Thank you for giving me the confidence to believe in myself and reconnect with my spirit! I hope the upcoming year brings you all that you wish for!

  4. Claudia Constantino says:

    P.S. Brian, You rock! Beautiful blog entry! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Kris says:

    Wow!! Brian this post was beautiful! Me Ra, I wish you the best day … to celebrate you!! You are a blessing to me and so many other women that needed your encouragement. Coming to your workshop was a gift! The experience to hear your story, your instruction and your heart was priceless! Thank you so very much!!!

    Happy Birthday & many Blessings in the year to come!!

  6. Janessa says:

    MeRa’s writing has inspired me to pick up my camera & document life. My life. The life with two young kids that won’t be young for long. She has reminded me to tell a story, to remember the details and, in the process, not wish this time away.

    Thank you, Me Ra. Happy Birthday!!!!

  7. Carol says:

    MeRa, I just love how easy you smile. I know you have heard the saying, “A smile begins in your heart and ends in your smile.” You must have a beautiful heart. And you have a very thoughtful hubby! Happy birthday and best wishes. Carol

  8. kelli says:

    Happy, happy birthday, Me Ra! One of my greatest blessings in 2010 was meeting you and Brian. You have a way of inspiring so many people by using the gifts and talents the Lord has given you. Thank you for reminding me that I do have what it takes. Blessings for another wonderful year!

  9. Kathleen says:

    Brian – great job! Beautiful post. MeRa doesn’t get shin-kicking privileges on this one! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Happy Happy Birthday MeRa!! You are such a beautiful person, inside and out, and I am extremely lucky to know you. You are one of the most warm, sharing, open, honest, kind, free-spirited and talented people I have ever encountered! And that is a challenging combination to pull off – you are simultaneously amazing and humble.

    I hope you have a fabulous day today and a wonderful year!

  10. tracie says:

    me ra … i smile when i think of you. gosh … apparently, i get misty-eyed when i think of you too! you are an encourager, a leader, a gentle spirit, a loving spirit. you have lifted so many. even during the depths of your own sorrows. you are selfless. you are incredible!

    i thank God for you. you have been His hands & feet on this earth. He must smile when He thinks of you too …

    happiest of birthday wishes me ra and praying many continued blessings over you!

  11. s.kakarala says:

    Wishing you the happiest of birthdays, Me Ra! May you receive tenfold what you have given to all of us!

  12. Addie says:

    Dear Me Ra,
    On this day that honors you, how lucky WE all are too. Because we all receive the gift that you share every day. You are a talented, creative photographer and teacher, yes, but those gifts began with the most important one. You! You are a shining example to us all in good intentions and choosing to live life with purpose. In motherhood, daughterhood, friendship, photography, mentoring, and leadership, you rock it all! And you are humble and grounded throughout.
    Here’s raising a glass to toast you! I hope your day is special and memorable in every good way possible. Happy Birthday!

  13. Beth says:

    Happy Birthday Mera!
    You are a blessing in the lives of so many, foremost your family of course. You have written many beautiful and insightful things over the years, and never fail to touch someone’s heart at the right time.
    Your writing is what allows us to see into your life. Seeing into your life is what allows us to see your courage. Seeing your courage helps some of us to dream the dreams we thought were far too big. You take on your fears, big and small. You LIVE your life!
    Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey.

    P.S. Brian, it is a beautiful thing when two people deeply love each other. It is even more beautiful when those two people can appreciate each other. Congratulations to you both.

  14. Sweet, sweet Me Ra!! You are a truly amazing woman that I feel so blessed to call friend. Through your writing and honesty I have been touched. Your openness and amazing spirit are breathtaking. I too am not sure how Brian caught you ; ), but I’m sure it’s for a good and honorable reason knowing you! My life has been changed for the better since the moment you entered it. I will never be the person I was, and there are not enough words in the world to thank you for that. What I can offer you is a big hug from Silverdale, and a very, very Happy Birthday!

    All my love!!

    P.S. Thank you Brian, you are a wonderful husband, despite your ornery distemperment!! Love you!!

  15. Melisa says:

    MeRa, You are such an amazing women. You have encouraged so many women including myself to follow their dreams. I am living my dream today as a photographer because of YOU! Thank you so much for being so giving to others. Happy Birthday MeRa.

    p.s. Brian Great post!!!

  16. Monica says:

    Nice job Brian! Happy Birthday MeRa, your positive spirit allowed me to try and I’m now on my path. Wishing you all the best ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Happy Birthday Me Ra! I actualy met you for a second at Photoplus in October. I was passing by the Sony booth and heard you talking. I only caught the last 5 minutes but was so taken aback by you. After it was over I went up to you and asked if you would be on again that day. You said you thought you were supposed to be on again at 3. I made my way through the rest of the tradeshow really just to wait around for your next presentation. I came back at 3 and it was a different photographer. I asked at the booth and they said you weren’t scheduled again that day. I was so bummed! When I went home, I went online to try and find you but since I didn’t write your name down, I thought it was Me Na and of course couldn’t find anything!! Then a couple of months later I was on anothe rphoto site and there you were! I was so excited to see your face and then clicked over to this site. It was a couple of days before the SOAR schaloarship application was due and it wa the first time I was even hearing about it. I was so inspired that I decided to apply and put the video together with the help of my husband in one day – the day it was due!!

    Thanks so much for your continued inspirationn and motivation I hope you decide to do a workshop in NY so we can “meet” again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a great birthday today!!


  18. Laura Falcon says:

    Wow, great post Brian!! Pictures and sharing feelings and thoughts are the things that I feel are the best gift. Me Ra you share that all the time!! You are a gift to all of us. I am so thankful I got to meet you and see just how BEAUTIFUL of a person you are. I thank you for inspiring me and for teaching me to take the camera off auto, (thank was such a big deal for me). You are such a caring person, not many people will share all the things that they learned to make them successful in what they love to do, but you share and teach all of us to become the best we can and to follow that dream and with your help a lot of women have.
    I smile and get excited every time I read your post and see the pictures you take. Happy Birthday Me Ra!

  19. Dawn Beirnes says:

    I look forward to reading Me Ra’s blog everyday! She is just like having a best friend sitting right next to you…encouraging, caring, and supportive. I’ve never met her, but have sent her messages (and she gets back to me everytime!) on her blog. When I’m feeling down about my photography or have questions, she always answers. Just the other day she gave me AMEN I need to hear about my Sony camera! Me Ra, you are awesome, and I know you will have a great birthday!


  20. Missy K says:

    Happy Birthday! Reading Me Ra’s words has returned to me the joy of photography– to let go of fear and shoot and learn and shoot some more. And that joy is completely transmitted through the lens into the photos. Thank you!

  21. Melissa says:

    Happy Birthday Me Ra! Your husband sounds wonderful and amazing as you are as well. Thank you for inspiring us all to continue to grow our business and pursue our dreams! Take some time and relax today!
    Happy Birthday.
    ~ Melissa

  22. Me Ra says:

    Wow, I am speechless, giggling and trying not to cry at the same time. I can’t believe Brian did this to such degree. Babe, I love you so much. This post…it’s such a gift to me. No wonder I woke up to you smiling and singing this morning! ๐Ÿ™‚ “You are the BEST HUSBAND in the whole UNIVERSE and beyond!!” (little private joke :))

    Thanks so much to all of you who have already left comments here, on FB and twitter. What a wonderful, beautiful way to start my birthday! It is a honor to be in your lives. Nineteen years ago, when I was at my lowest place, never did I dream that I would be a part of such a beautiful community of women. I am so thankful for all of you. Thank you for all your loving words and stories.

    I RECEIVE! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love you all!


    p.s. Babe, that family picture from Thailand…I can’t stop laughing! Your face is HILARIOUS! That is the true Brian I adore!

  23. MaryAnn says:

    Me Ra, you are such an inspiration. I found you on Nate. What a wonderful thing you do for women. You are such a blessing. Happy Birthday~

  24. Tara Bradford says:

    Happy Birthday, Me Ra! What a great post from Brian; a wonderful tribute to one amazing lady! Me Ra, am continually inspired by your bright spirit, your positive attitude and your wonderful photography and tips. Thank you! (And I still have the photo of us together that Brian took at BlogHer in San Francisco. Yea, Sony!)

  25. Diana says:

    Wow what a beautiful posting Brian! Happy birthday Me Ra! Your family is gorgeous!
    Thank you for sharing! xxxx

  26. Michele says:

    MeRa, you are a wonderful beacon of light, positive energy and inspiration wrapped up into one extraordinary human being! How lucky I have been to have been touched by your light and talent (not to forget generosity!). May god continue to bless you and your family and keep you out of the crazy messes you keep finding your self in (I mean to be bitten by a Brown recluse spider and get the Dengue fever…really????). You continue to inspire me from afar and will always be someone I call friend. God Bless you Me Ra and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!


  27. Happy Birthday to you today!

    I don’t know how you do it. How you find the time for all that you do. You inspire others, stay true to who you are. You are bold, dynamic, and honest throughout your journey. You homeschool your children, write books, make tv shows, photograph events, love your family, do the mundane tasks of everyday life. You are an inspiration to the world around you. Truly.

  28. Maria says:

    Me Ra has a beautiful heart. I can hear it in the way she talks with such excitement about wonderful opportunities for other women to enjoy. I can see it in the way she CREATES wonderful opportunities for other women to enjoy. She empowers women, she nurtures women and she lovingly and generously shares of herself and her talent in order to empower and nurture to the fullest. I can only imagine how wonderful a mother she must be.

    Me Ra is an example by doing, she conquers her fears and pushes past them – she SHOWS that it CAN be done! Truly inspirational, truly special, truly a gift to those that come in contact wit her.

    Many, many blessings to you Me Ra – you deserve them all!

  29. Judith I says:

    ? ? Happy Birthday ? ? I hope you have a wonderfully, special day today. You deserve it. You have inspired me to reach beyond anything I could have imagined. Thank you for all you say, do and for just being YOU!!!!
    Love you, J

  30. Wendy Roob says:

    you are a Goddess! and blessed to have such an amazing relationship with your family!
    God Bless,

  31. TracyK says:

    MeRa, I think you are beyond awesome as a woman, photographer, Christian. I was so sad I missed meeting you in San Antonio. I pray for you that you continue to be blessed because you have shown that with you being blessed, you bless others. You are such an inspiration to me. I can’t wait to get up and get to my computer to see what you will challenge, bless me with today.


  32. Sue J says:

    Happy Birthday to a true jewel in this sometimes ugly ole world. I don’t even know you, but your spirit shines through whatever you do in the most awesome way. I’m still (sadly) waiting for the day when I can get my own *good* camera and can actually photograph all the things I see that I want to. What a sweet, sweet post by the hubs!! Enjoy your day, Me Ra!!

  33. Angie Arms says:

    Me Ra!!! Happy birthday (you also share my amazing mothers birthday!)!! I hope you enjoy your day! I met you ONCE at the Seattle Digital Days workshop last year and you actually told me face to face that I have a unique and creative way of viewing the world and that I should embrace it and capture it! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH THAT HAS INSPIRED ME! Since that, i am constantly on your blog, reading and trying your photo recipes, watching you on the Nate Berkus Show and following your posts on facebook! Those words confirmed my capability to become a photographer, gave me the confidence to start my business and allowed me to find my TRUE passion! I admire you and aspire to be like you! You are always so positive and ready to help and that makes you a special and wonderful person and there are not many like you in the world! THANK YOU for everything you do and I wish you a VERY happy birthday! (AND BRIAN! What a wonderful post!)

  34. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Huy Nguyen and Me Ra Koh, Me Ra Koh. Me Ra Koh said: New blog post: Happy Birthday Me Ra! […]

  35. Edward says:

    This is too sweet. Happy Birthday!

  36. Sara says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Thank you so much for inspiring me and so many other women to leave behind our doubts and insecurities and pursue our dreams. Have a wonderful birthday!

  37. Amy Scherrer says:

    Well, I have a perma-grin here and am smiling ear to ear and celebrating the beautiful creation MeRa is in my heart. Any words she has shared?? About a million more than could be counted! I treasure you, dear friend, and am honored to have shared life together.

  38. Katie says:

    Such a beautiful post Brian! Happy Happy Birthday Me Ra!

    You have completely changed my life Me Ra – You’re support and loving guidance has been a tremendous force on my life these last few years. Thank you for everything that you do, and continue to do for others. You are a blessing to this world.

    Love to you on your day!

  39. Katie says:

    ps. That picture from Thailand is stunning!

  40. Shelley Hohe says:

    This is absolutely beautiful & so thoughtful Brian! MeRa you are always so giving and inspiring to so many, that everyone who comes in contact with (even if it’s through FB or blogging) can’t help but be blessed. In everything you are doing for others you are leaving a legacy of hope, determination, perserverance, you have taught me too never give up on my dream. Thank you Me Ra! I hope you have the most special birthday ever!!! I hope one day I will get the chance to meet you in person. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Me Ra!!!

  41. Happy Birthday to the girl I wished lived next door to me! It’s not the tools you gave me which led to more confidence and the ability to take better pictures that I appreciate the most. But it is the heart that you give behind everything you do that has touched me the most.

    Thank you … for living your life before us all … and always sharing so freely. Thank you for pushing us to believe in our dreams and giving us the ability to begin to step out in courage and go after them.

    Praying your day is blessed more than imagined and the year ahead is full of joy unspeakable!


  42. Misty says:

    I can honestly say that if it weren’t for knowing MeRa, I would not be where I am today! MeRa taught me how to live my dreams! She also modeled that for me in her life so that her words really meant something, they weren’t just fluff. Working for MeRa, I was encouraged to grow and have confidence in who I was. And that was what I needed to do things that I otherwise would never have done. She even encouraged me to have an open heart in regard to the man that eventually became my amazing husband!

    MeRa, you are so beautiful and I am so proud to call you my friend!



  43. Melinda says:

    It is literally impossible for me to choose ONLY one thing Me Ra has written or said that inspired me these past few years. The two of you, Brian & Me Ra, truly gave me confidence to shoot in manual and know that my eye was the most important piece of gear I could own. The two of you demonstrate every day that living your dream is totally possible. I love that Me Ra keeps it real and talks about not only the highs but the lows, the scary parts, the times when she wishes she could be two places at once or just isn’t sure she can keep going. And then she shares how she finds her way. You two are amazing and I feel so honored to have shared a weekend with you both in person. And several years of reading over the virtual “dinner table” of your blog. Thank you both for making a difference for me and for so many people.

  44. MeRa Happy Birthday!!! You both are so amazing! I am so happy I know you two and continue to be inspired by many aspects of your lives that you share! <3

    MeRa, I am also deeply inspired by your honestly & courage, your willingness to love & your mad manifesting skills!!!

    <3 <3 <3

  45. jeramy says:

    happy birthday my dear friend! i just looked back at the last few years of your posts in my favorite categories to try and find my most favorite of your words and i’m sorry to say that i couldn’t do it. i couldn’t find just one thought that inspired the most. but what i did figure out is that through many years and hundreds of posts have given access to this community to your life, your family, your wins…and your losses…all for the collective betterment of us all. i’m not sure if you set out to do that in the beginning or if it just evolved, but as i look back through your documentation of your journey as a mother, wife, daughter, friend, photographer, business women, author, survivor, encourager…i realize that your own journey has inspired the journey of so many….and that is special. you are special. thank you isn’t enough, but that’s what i’ve got. we love you and brian and the kiddos. take care…enjoy your day! ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. jeramy says:

    oh. brian…great post dude. i so appreciate you and your friendship. you’re a great example to me…thanks. love you bud.

  47. Delanae says:

    There are many things that you have written or shared that have inspired me, but, I have to admit that what’s touched me the most hasn’t had a thing to do with photography.

    I love how devoted you are to your father. I lost my dad 2 years ago and truth be told, we weren’t that close. He was a great man but it was hard to get close to him because he was very introverted. My kids never really had a dad either, not really. So it’s just been… nice to read your account of how you all surrounded your dad when he had his wreck, to hear you speak of his recovery and how proud you are of him. You do people good by sharing that part of your life. I can’t really put my finger on why, but it sure did me good. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That being said, there is such joy being shared while celebrating you today. You deserve to drink it up.

  48. Lacy Edwards says:

    Happy Birthday, Me Ra!

    Your words have clearly meant so much, to so many…myself included. Your words speak directly to our hearts. They help us to feel understood. They are words of encouragement, words of comfort, words of honesty, words of wisdom. Thank you for your generosity of spirit, for being you…for sharing your heart with us.

    Since meeting you and discovering your blog, I have been more inspired than ever to pursue my love of photography…but more importantly, I’ve been inspired to step outside the safety of the little nest that I’d created for myself and to give more of myself…to enjoy this journey that is my life, the moments that make up each day and the people that I meet along the way.

    Thank you ever so much~

  49. shawna says:

    oh me ra! happy birthday. you guys are a lucky pair to have found each other. me ra, you light up a room when you are around, really. you spread hope everywhere and i’m glad to have a piece of it. you see the best in everyone but most of all, you help us see the best in ourselves. thanks so much. i hope the years just keep getting better.

  50. Carrie Vines says:

    Happy Birthday Me Ra! You deserve every happiness, today and always!

  51. Jenny J. says:




    I am so happy to know you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. Melanie says:

    Happy Birthday Me Ra!! You are such an inspiration to me! From the moment I came across your blog two years ago, I have been an avid follower (stalker even). Your photographs are phenomenal! And your motivation is appreciated! You are the cheering section in my photography hobby and you have done splendidly!

    I’m sure I’ve said this on another blog post once or twice, but thank you so much for sharing with all of us here. You are truly awesome!

  53. Happy Birthday Me Ra! I didn’t know that we shared birthdays!!! You have been such an inspiration to me over this past year. Thank you so much for all of the wisdom, love and encouragement you pour out to all of us. (Even those like me, whom you’ve never met!) You remind me of me in many ways, and of who I want to be when I “grow up.” Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. Hope your birthday is going as good as mine is! You are so blessed to have such a beautiful family! (I also have an amazing husband, though no kids yet…) Enjoy a day with them!

  54. Melanie says:

    Oh – and big props to Brian who gave one of the most touching gifts I have ever seen!

  55. christen says:


    You are a woman that radiates all that is beautiful. You have so humbly and boldly invited so many of us into a place of healing, restoration, and then soaring. Your laughter is contagious and your honesty is so incredibly refreshing. Thank you for being you. May this next year bring sights of new land and discovery… and enough sunscreen to last a while.

    Much love and gratitude,

  56. Kirsten says:

    Happy Birthday Me Ra! I live in Australia, and was told about your blog by a friend quite a while ago…and I’ve been hooked ever since! You are a real blessing. Thank you for your words of encouragement and inspiration to those of us who love taking photos but are held back by one thing or another! I hope you have a special birthday!

  57. Michelle says:

    Brian – you have me CRYING!!!! I love this tribute to Me Ra and the pictures are beautiful!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ME RA!!!!!!!

  58. Lisa Novitsky says:

    Love this post! Love ALL the pictures. It was a risk to post a picture of your wife’s rear though, Brian – lucky it is a CUTE ONE – but I suppose that’s the way you see it too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Me Ra, love you…really, really love you. You are one of the most beautiful people I know.


  59. Jessica says:

    Love the pictures Brian! LOL!

    Happy Birthday Me Ra!

  60. Amy says:

    Happy Birthday Me Ra. You are truly a special Spirit…always smiling. You’ve touched so many. Reading your blog and meeting you has changed me for the better in ways I can’t even explain. I love the stories you share-funny or hard as they might be, you are very inspiring. You are so grounded. A perfect role model. Everyone who has met you is truly blessed. Enjoy your day with Brian, Pascaline and Blaze. Happy Birthday!

  61. Nikki McLaughlin says:

    Dear dear sweet Me Ra – What timing! I was going to Email you this week to tell you how much your writing has moved me this week… I feel guilty admitting to this since I attended your CONFIDENCE workshop in October, but I finally (Monday) read for the first time, your 101 kit: Survival Kit for Moms. I have been wanting to read it for months but I swear between being a wife, mother, having a full-time job AND trying to achieve my wild dreams of being a professional photographer, I could never find the time to sit back and read it. Until this week. I was lucky enough to get a jury summons! So… Monday morning, I found myself in a quiet room full of 200+ other lucky people who had been given this opportunity to slow down and take a deep breath (at least that is how I was looking at it). I brought a giant stack of reading materials with me and the first thing I eagerly pulled out of my bag was the AMAZING Survival Kit for Moms. Within minutes I was laughing out loud, shedding tears and trying to wipe them away before anyone could see…, and smiling from ear to ear the entire time I read it. This treasure could not have come at a better time. Guilt, fear and insecurity have been encroaching on my spirit a lot lately… I feel guilty about dropping my son off at daycare all week so that I can work my “9 to 5” only to leave him for hours on end on the weekends to pursue my dream of being a photographer. I started a blog over a month ago – and by starting I mean: had a banner designed. A month ago! and I have yet to post any of my pictures, any of my words. Why? Fear and insecurity. I have been afraid of the “negative nellies” of the world, afraid of getting in over my head, and afraid of failing.

    I am happy to report that on Monday evening – not only did I draft a post for my blog, I signed up for a seminar on off-camera lighting (that I absolutely cannot afford but am doing it anyway), and I went ahead and submitted an application for my business license! I also stood above Oliver’s crib that night and said a prayer of overwhelming thanks for my sweet, sweet baby, the rest of the amazing family I have been blessed with, and for YOU, my dear friend. That 101 kit changed me. I am SOOO grateful to have met you and continue to be inspired by you.

    Thank you for the amazing gift you have given ME on YOUR birthday!

    Happiest Birthday Wishes to YOU.


    Nikki M
    (oliverblue photography – its official!)

  62. Julie Staub says:

    Happy Birthday MeRa! Hope you have had the happiest of days celebrating, and a beautiful new year out ahead of you.

    Thank you for all of the wisdom, insight and generosity you offer. You’ve created a wonderful community of those who want to live intentionally and capture those moments via photography. Your blog posts have often been such a huge motivation to me – not just as a photographer, but as a human being seeking to be fully engaged in my journey. I appreciate all you so graciously share!

    God bless you as you continue to explore the glorious path in front of you. Enjoy the adventure!

    (a true admirer!)

  63. Happy Birthday MeRa. We’ve never met but you have had so much influence on me and on many other women. I hope your heart can absorb all the love your husband has helped to send your way. You are both inspirations. xoxoxxo
    ps the soar video project was such a stretch for me, yet such a gift. i will be forever grateful. thank you.

  64. Cyndi says:

    Wooo! I hope that you get the time to get to read this!(you have so many b-day wishes…) You are one POPULAR lady, Me Ra! I want to thank you for following your heart and living your passion out through photography and your workshops and your blog. Your life seems truly meant to be, as is evidenced by so many followers who’s lives you have touched, simply by blogging what your heart is telling you and creating a place(workshops and website) where we can feel safe and open our hearts up while learning a wonderful thing-photography! You are a wonderful healer, and teacher and I am so glad you followed your passion! You are proof that God has a plan, and even when you are doing what simply feels right and natural to you-you may not realize what a HUGE impact you are having on others(SO many others). You are AMAZING! I havent had the chance to meet you yet, but I certainly PLAN to meet you this year at one of your workshops. I wish you an amazing love filled birthday with your family and friends nearby and far away! Happy Birthday Girl!! Keep on doing your thing!

  65. ajira says:

    Ah, Me Ra. Thank you. Happy birthday. Thank the goddess you were born.

  66. Happy Birthday Me Ra! I hope you are being spoiled!!

    So much of your blog has been so amazing. I am just so thankful for each and every post that you share! So thankful for the transparency and realness of your content! Amazing!! Thank you for being you!!

  67. Idie A says:

    Happy birthday! You have been such an inspiration to ALL of us. Your generosity is second to none. I appreciate all you do and thank you for giving me the initial push down this long and winding road. It’s a fun one!

    PS I can’t believe Brian got married when he was 12!

  68. Happy Birthday Precious MeRa!!! (Way to Go Brian ~ What a treat to have an inside peek from the view of such an adoring husband.) You two really have grown more beautiful with each passing year….inside and out! Your wedding pic took me back, just a wee bit!!!! I can remember snuggling up to a window with Scott to watch you two take your first dance together… you’ve been dancing ever since and it is still a joy to watch.

    MeRa ~ What can I say… but you are an absolute Gem! From memories on campus, to intense heart felt talks, to being blessed to cross paths again in those early mommy years, to hanging by the pool with family a time or two in years past, to the healing words and images that you speak, write and share. You have blessed my life in countless ways. From the trials to the triumphs… you have encouraged and strengthened my heart by sharing your journey. You are an amazing women and I am hope you have an AMAZING day filled with sweet surprises! Much Love to you Birthday Girl!!!

  69. RachelA says:

    Happy Birthday MeRa! I can’t say a way you have inspired me, yet. But you have touched me already by choosing me this year for the SOAR scholarship. I can not wait to get to know you and learn from you! See you in 2 days!

  70. Sue Christianson says:

    Great job Brian! Happy BIrthday MeRa! I LOVE the family picture! ๐Ÿ™‚ MeRa you are an inspiration to so many of us. It is such a joy to know you and to be taught and be inspired by you. Thank you for being so real and sharing your life with us through your ups and downs. You truly are a gifted woman and I look forward to see what else God has planned for you!!!

    Love you!


  71. Cathleen Woodbridge says:

    Happy Birthday, MeRa!
    I LOVE your example of the POWER of influence. Wow! The BEST part is that YOUR influence is a POSITIVE one!!! How you freely share your authentic you, gives all of us the freedom and safety to share our authentic us. Thank you.

    MeRa, I wish our “foot paths” crossed more often (so far just one DC-10 Confidence Workshop), but I am glad our “heart paths” can cross often in words through venues like this. I feel like I know you more than you know me but I want you to know this…I am a better ME because I have crossed paths with YOU. I thank God for that special blessing and give Him glory for the amazing way He weaves all of the lives of His children together.

    Happy Happy Day!!! Make it extra special just like YOU!
    Tickled Pink!

  72. Samantha says:

    Me Ra- You know that you are the voice that inspired me to start my professional photography business. After the super fantastic and totally wonderful gift of being able to attend your amazing confidence workshop, I just see the world differently. I find myself constantly thinking “What can I do to make this world a better place? What gift do I have to give to someone who needs it?” You are my hero. Happy Birthday.

    P.S. Did you get to paint a canvas black to see what happens? Maybe we can try it together the next time you are in Northern California.

  73. To the little lady who has forever, significantly changed my life…do you know how much I love you? [nope, you don’t ; )] Just look around hot mama–all the love you give has affected SO MANY people. Your life is a gift for which I am SO thankful. And the transparent way you’ve chosen to share it makes the gift that much more meaningful. I hope you have had the most amazing day. Wishing I could hug your little neck in person-my heart even aches that I can’t. Happy Birthday, beautiful Me Ra!

    and Brian. I’ve said it before and it’s coming at you again. You are a STUD. Undeniably. Big time. The best. Seriously–what a team! I love you both!!!!

  74. Rhonda says:

    What words haven’t inspired or encouraged me? MeRa, YOU are a gift.
    And look at how loved you are. More importantly, look at how much God has used (and continues to use) you and your story to reach into the lives of others? I am soooo blessed to call you friend. (You are a part of eucharisteo in my life.) To one of the most beautiful people I know – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
    I love you lots!!!

    And Brian – I ditto what Jen said. You are a STUD. Undeniably. Big time.
    And those pictures – the family in Thailand, MeRa under the mosquito net, the paddle board – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

    Can’t wait to see you both again – soon!

  75. Kristen says:

    Gold stars & brownie points for you. Awesome post. You are one great husband for one great lady.

    Happy birthday!!!! You are amazing & have changed my life. Love you & your true love for women & photog. Thank you for everything. I think about you almost everytime I hold my camera. Hope your day is amazing.

    Happy birthday ISO 800!
    ISO 100

  76. Beautiful MeRa, I hope your birthday was AMAZING!!! Wishing that your next year is your BEST year yet!
    Blessings to you my friend!!

  77. Laurie says:

    OH HappY DaY!!!!! You have a lovely way with sharing yourself. You inspire me…

  78. Grace Kim says:

    You are amazing. And today, we celebrate the gift you are to the world! ๐Ÿ™‚ xoxo

  79. Michael Birns & Rachel Shakked says:

    Happy Birthday Me Ra! Congrats! We hope you and your husband have wonderful time! If you need me, or my new fiance (thanks Mr.Berkus) to come there and take some terrible photos of you both like we used to definitely let us know! Just squish your faces really close together! We’ve been doing it in every photo since and they each come out amazing! Thanks again for such a wonderful and memorable day on the show!

  80. Shara says:

    Happy Birthday MeRa! Thank you for all you do to inspire women to follow their dreams. I hope you had an amazing birthday!

  81. Natalie Johnson says:

    Me Ra,
    I have loved following and being inspired by you for many years, but you really had me with this blog post:
    This was written almost a year and a half ago and I had to go back and read it again today in honor of your birthday. I think about this post often and the raw openness of you sharing your down days as well as your up days. This was an ah-ha moment for me when I realized I could not put my camera down without feeling an emptiness even when the fear of failure is there. Your blog, workshop, and the Soar community that you have had vision for has changed my life for the better. Looking back a year and a half ago and you speaking your dream to be on TV, and now to see you on TV is just amazing to me to see the power of prayer, our thoughts, our words, and a great deal of hard work. I am so happy for you that your dreams are coming true.

    You take so much time to inspire and encourage others, so I hope you will see today how many lives you really touch and in some small way we can all give back to you. I hope you have eaten lots of Korean food, enjoyed your family, and taken the time to pamper yourself today. Wish I could be there to hear you at WPPI this year, because I know you will rock the house! With much love, Happy Birthday!

    p.s. Brian, you need a huge kudos for today’s blog (love seeing your family through your eyes) and even a bigger kudos for even knowing where a wedding photo is located in your house. I am not sure my husband could produce one. Now you have inspired me to teach my husband how to use my camera:)

  82. Christine says:

    Me Ra,

    You have inspired me everyday…Like a secret friend, you have pushed me when I needed it, enabled me to give myself a break, believed in what I was trying to accomplish and made me realize that I can do it!

    I get up every morning and run to the computer to read your latest blog…I’m madly trying to catch up (I only found you 6 months ago)! Your blog is like those little calendars that have a powerful statement each day of the year…Thank you for igniting my photography fire, I had lost my way for quite a while and I was trying to figure out what my purpose in life was…

    Thank you every day, from the bottom of my heart! I’m so lucky; I get to meet you this weekend in Scottsdale, AZ!

    Happy Birthday and thank you for the daily inspiration!

    Have a wonderful day,

  83. denise karis says:

    the first time you wrote about “jumping”…. do you remember that? To not know if youre ready, just to JUMP and let what happens happen. The possibility of failing never seemed so beautiful. xoxoxox Happy Birthday!

  84. Genie says:

    Oh, girl, youโ€™re going to have to keep receiving big time!! Wonderful, beautiful acknowledgments โ€“ and you deserve every single one of them.

    You (and Brian) have contributed to me and my creative life โ€“ the (DUH)-unexpected bonus of working with you. I didnโ€™t even know it was lacking and how important an element it is for my creative spirit during this timeโ€ฆ.(DUH again)!

    And though sometimes you drive me crazy with your creative ways, ๐Ÿ˜‰ it’s those creative ways that are bringing women together, launching their self-confidence and giving reality to their dreams. Everyone’s comments are so touching, warm, heartfelt…and you deserve every single one of them. So many ‘Me Ra Koh(l)s’ keep happening. You are trrrruuully an amazing woman and wonderful example of feminine wisdom and leadership.

    And, GO BRIAN!!! Right on! Love you both so much!

  85. Charisse says:

    Happy Birthday Me Ra! What an amazing tribute to you from your husband. These images were so beautiful and obviously very deliberately chosen. It was such a joy to read your blog this evening that it made my eyes water. You are an awesome woman and it is such a pleasure to have met you. Brian asked for ways that you have touched our lives. I don’t know if you will remember, but I will just say “your prayer walk and the message you gave me”. You will never truly know how timely it was. Please keep being the blessing that you are. I know that it will come back to you hundredfold.

    Looking forward to this weekend! I hope your birthday was as beautiful as you are.


  86. suzan says:

    Hi Me Ra,
    I wish I had some great quote or insightful way of expressing what a difference you have made in my life, really. I hope your day was filled with all that makes you happy and shine inside and out! I have no doubt that the next year will be filled with great adventure and success for you and your family. Thank you for letting me be a part of it and learn to shine alongside you and the other SOAR sisters. You possess a great gift, I’m grateful you have the grace to and courage to share it. Happy Birthday :)!

  87. Happy Birthday Me Ra! Wish you all the best always. You are one lucky person to have such a wonderful family. As I was browsing through blogs about photography, I saw your blog and I was really touched with this post. You are blessed with a very loving,thoughtful & appreciative husband! He learns to appreciate you in every little thing that you do. That’s one big thing! I’m so touched by this post. Thanks for sharing!

  88. Karen says:

    Me Ra~ Happy Birthday!!! I had missed catching up on today’s blog and was just going to make a quick stop before the day was done….well, that was 87 post’s ago!!! After reading Brian’s sweet tribute I couldn’t stop until I had read every one of them. What an wonderful birthday gift to have so many share with you their appreciation of what you mean to them. It is fantastic that you have walked with courage and continue to find joy and success in your journey with photograpy, but what is truly amazing is that you continue to turn to extend your hand to those who follow!! Thank you for that gift!! God Bless!!!

  89. denu thakur says:

    Dear MeRa! Happy Bday to you ! i just chkd Brians Post !
    i am glad to thank you for all your beautiful pictures and inspiring posts !
    you are such a wonderful personality i wud like to meet in future ! i lives in India and was about to leave photography four years ago then my hubby found you while surfing and whn we both saw your work we got lotssssssss of inspiration and courage to do Photography in weddings >Now we are working with event Managers and Wedding Planners here in India and going great !
    All thanks to you guys for ur positivity ! Love to pascaline and Blaze !
    Happy Photographing Dear !

  90. Rachel Shakked and Michael Birns says:

    Happy belated birthday!! It was so nice to meet you both at the Nate Show. What an amazing day! Thank you for everything you did for us! These pictures are fantastic and so fun to look at!
    All the best,
    Rachel and Mike

  91. Me Ra,
    What a beautiful gift your husband has given you! I feel as though I have gotten to know you through these posts. We met briefly this past year at a workshop in NYC- you made an impact on me both spiritually and professionally. Thank you and I wish you an amazing year ahead!
    Happy Birthday Beautiful!!

  92. Me Ra,
    What a great idea your husband had. Sorry I am a day late. You should let him take lots more pictures of you- you are beautiful! I just want you to know how much I love your blog, site and all you do. I am just starting out with photography and you are so inspiring. Hope you had a great B-day!

  93. Summie Roach says:

    Me Ra,
    I went to write something yesterday than forgot to finish! (I blame it on my “recovering condition” and meds for now) LOL
    But I want you to know, that November 13, 2010 will be a day I will never forget. Because it was on this day that I truly feel God placed you in my life as a tool for Him to show me what my plan and purpose for my life to serve Him was. You see, within hours of day 1, I knew what I had to do with this talent God blessed me with through you sharing your story and the first exercise you had us do. And it was through this blessed workshop that I was able to finally connect my eyes to my camera and “find” the meaning of “The story behind the Lens”.
    So I thank you for being a vessel God is using not only to give “confidence” to woman with their photography but also for being so real and touching the hearts of us.
    Love you Me Ra for who you are!
    Summie ๐Ÿ™‚

  94. Gretchen Irby says:

    Hi Me Ra!
    Have a fabulous birthday, a day late! Thank you for inspiring so many women to have the courage to pursue their dreams. You have overcome some very challenging things in your life that could break most people. Although, you with the support of others have risen above and turned your experience into something positive. You have done this with such grace and confidence! Way to go!

    You have taught me so much about my camera and allowed me to have the opportunity to learn more about myself and others through photography!

    Thanks you for being YOU! You are amazing and will continue to be a success a what every you pursue!

    Many thanks,

  95. Chelsie says:

    It never seems to fail. I get so caught up in life that I stop coming to the blog for a long time. Then when I start going through a part of life that is harder than others, I find myself wandering back to your page. And it just so happens that the day I look always has a post that can relate to what is happening in my life. First of all its always so comforting to know that somebody else is going through the same thing (whatever it may be.) Second of all, it always inspires me– pushes me back up to my feet and gets me going again. I thank you for that. I thank you for all your inspiration to me and all these other women.
    You are truly a blessing. Sorry its late– but I hope your birthday was wonderful.
    p.s. brian– you are just as awesome as you’ve ever been! ๐Ÿ™‚

  96. Sarah Heinle says:

    I’ve only been following this blog for about a week but I fell in love with it the moment I started reading. I look forward to reading often and being inspired. Happy Birthday!!

  97. Andrea S says:

    Me Ra,

    What a beautiful post, Brian! That last photo is amazing. I think the reason it stands out for me so much is because it represents the way in which you have reached SO many women, through your writing. You speak from the heart, and you are able to put into writing your thoughts, feelings, dreams, and insecurities that we all have but often times have difficulty identifying and could never express as eloquently and as positively as you do. I can honestly say that there has never been a blog post that you have written when you have reflected on a personal struggle or achievement that I could not relate to in some way. And many times it has touched some part of my life completely unrelated to photography. You are a huge inspiration to me, and my biggest wish for you is that all of the positive energy, joy, enthusiasm, and encouragement that you send out comes flooding back to you one million-fold! Happy birthday, beautiful Me Ra!

  98. jeramy says:

    we can’t get this close to 100 and not do it.

  99. Natalie Johnson says:

    I totally agree jeramy!

  100. Delanae says:

    100!!! Whew, that was a big job for me to take on. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope your day was great! ๐Ÿ™‚

  101. Me Ra says:

    WHAT DO I SAY!!!! I’m SPEECHLESS!! Words can’t do justice at telling all of you how much you given me in these stories and comments! Thank you so much for making yesterday one of the BEST birthdays ever! I’m still not done reading all your comments, just wanting to take them in slowly–each one means so much.

    I really soaked up every bit of goodness yesterday. Pascaline made me breakfast! (when did she learn to cook on the stove!) Blaze crawled in bed and gave me birthday snuggles. I took Rosie for a long walk in the sun! Yes, Seattle had sun! And then I escaped the world and went to a Korean Spa for the afternoon. I had Korean women give me the Body Scrub, and let me tell you, all that is dead from this last year is GONE! ๐Ÿ™‚

    And then Brian picked me up with a bowtie on! He surprised me with dinner at Seattle’s Teatro ZinZanni! It was the MOST amazing dinner experience, and Brian was pulled up to play the part of a Martian! Ha!! He rocked the house!

    We got home at midnight, and I was shocked at all the comments waiting for me. I’m going to continue to read them on the plane tomorrow as I make my way to AZ’s Confidence Wkshp (yeah!), and ladies (and Jeramy :)), you have filled me up, filled me overflowing!

    Thank YOU so much! Thank you with every part of me!

    All my love,

  102. What a wonderful gift Brian!

    Me Ra, you hold a special place in my heart. A spot just for you:)
    You are an encourager like no other, an overcomer, and a believer.
    You helped me to see all of those things in myself- and that has meant the world.

    All my love,

  103. ali anderson says:

    oh, girl. i heart you. i am thankful for your light, your boundless gifts, and yes…well even your brian. what a man! can’t wait to hug it out this weekend! xo

  104. Stefanie says:

    Happy Birthday!!! Thank you so much for the way you encourage, inspire and empower women. You have helped me personally in photography. And your book has helped me help my clients! Thank you for your heart and vulnerability. I truly admire your courage to share your life and love for those around you. Happy Birthday!
    Blessings to you and your family,

  105. Sarah C says:

    Me Ra, Can’t wait to meet you as your blog is so touching I can’t imagine being present to your spirit.


    Please tell us Brian leaves the seat up. What a dynamic pair. Love and best wishes!

  106. Charlotte says:

    Happy Birthday, and many more, Me Ra! And thank you to Brian for the nudge to express my gratitude. I just clicked on your blog because I wanted to send the links about MeRa’s word for the year (adaptability, I actually have an excerpt copied in a sticky on my screen!) and the “What is So” exercise to my daughter, Amy, who is studying for her masters in interior design.
    Me Ra, your words have the power to penetrate the cocoon that has been so tightly spun around my heart by a lifetime of dysfunction, fear, and negative self-talk. I wouldn’t say that I am ready to soar yet, but I do believe that I am peaking over the edge of the nest for the first time!

  107. Dorian says:

    Happy Belated Birthday.
    I love your ability to speak out of your heart.

  108. Amanda says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Me Ra!

    I have been following your blog for years now and continue to get inspired with every post! The way you share your gift with the rest of us is such a blessing. I met you and Brian at the OC10 workshop last year and still hear your words of encouragement every time I pick up my camera!

  109. Adriana Padilla says:

    Happy belated birthday Me Ra… I absolutely love ur make me love my photography so much more…Everyday I am blessed…

  110. […] plus comments on my birthday post last week.ย  So many women shared transforming stories of what they experienced at the workshop.ย  I humbly direct you to their comments for the clearest picture on what to expect from our […]

  111. Krista says:

    My Oh My Me Ra…I see now why your voice and your laughter are so real and so full of joy. You are a truly blessed woman….from your wonderfully thoughtful sweet husband, and your beautiful children to your astounding talent. I wish you many many more years of bliss. Happy Happy Birthday. (sorry a bit late..I just found you!!!!)

  112. […] birthday post where over 100 women shared what a difference this workshop has made in their life.ย  CLICK HERE to read their […]

  113. […] birthday post where over 100 women shared what a difference this workshop has made in their life.ย  CLICK HERE to read their […]

  114. […] birthday post where over 100 women shared what a difference this workshop has made in their life.ย  CLICK HERE to read their […]

  115. […] birthday post where over 100 women shared what a difference this workshop has made in their life.ย  CLICK HERE to read their […]