Quote of the week

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

March 29, 2015 // Advice

Until the age of 30, my life must have been that of Alice in Wonderland. Luckily nature lets you always remember the „good" times and kind of erases the negative memories, at least they fade .... I always had the biggest smile on my face and a healthy positive attitude. Then my beloved Dad died of a sudden heart attack. That was the first time, my world fell apart. For months (or years) I had the hurtful feeling as if somebody would have amputed one of my limbs without my approval, because somebody so important to me was missing in my life. My second hardship was when Juliana was diagnosed with down syndrome. I fell into a deep depression and was convinced I will never ever laugh again. But my hardest struggle so far was when my beloved Mom got terminally ill and died last year. It still feels like my heart was ripped out of my chest. I still cry a lot, because I miss her like crazy.


Ever since these hardships I've been studying a lot about resilience. I don't know how many books and articles I have read so far. I always wanted to know what do resilient people differently than those who fall apart and go over the edge. It's important to remember that resilience is something that can be learned and improved on. Here are just some of the things I found out:


- Nobody gets through life without losing somebody they love or something they thought was meant to be whether it's the sudden death of a family member or friend, a break-up or divorce, an illness or losing their job.


- It is okay to fall apart for a while. And it's very important to be sad and shed some tears, as many as it takes.


- Resilient people reach out to their friends & family and are never too proud to ask for help when they need it. They have a support system. It's very important to talk about your grief and not swallow everything down.


- As Grandma always said: This too shall pass.

- They remember the serenity prayer: „ Accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change what you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.


- Count your blessings. Be thankful. Focus on what you have, rather than what you don't.


- Resilient people don't suppress their feelings. They allow themselves to mourn, but they also know that life will go on eventually and that time heals not all but most wounds, and they maintain a hopeful outlook and know that good things will happen again in life.

To quote Isabelle Allende: We don't even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.

Have a great start into this week and remember that you are strong! Sometimes we discover courage we previously didn't know we'd have it in the moments we most need it.


In 2003 one of my greatest adventures began, I started photographing kids with a little extra. At that time I was portraying 15 mothers and their wonderful children with an extra chromosome for my first book „Außergewöhnlich". Little did I know 12 years ago on what an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding journey I embark on. The Swiss charity group INSIEME 21 invited me to Zürich this Saturday to talk about my experiences, adventures and little anecdotes of photographing people with a little extra. I feel very honored talking about my all-time favorite topic, sharing everything from my funniest story to my most heartfelt encounters. Hope to see you guys on Saturday in Zürich! 


A beautiful three-page-spread about my book "Außergewöhnlich" in the latest issue of the Catholic Magazine "Theo". Happy Wednesday!




Welcome to another round of coffee talk and some real eye candy today. Sarah and I met when I was visiting her sweet boyfriend and his wonderful Mom. I was instantly smitten by her joyful spirit and down-to-earth attitude. Her smile is infectious. That afternoon I was reminded how important it is to surround yourself with positive people. I once read that the formula for happiness is to live in the moment, to always stay curious, to do something you love, to nurture relationships, to take care of your body, and to think and care of others. Well, Sarah is truly living that formula. She IS that formula. This girl is radiating positivity that it's contagious.


That afternoon Sarah asked me all kinds of questions about Juliana and down syndrome in general. With her honest curiosity and beautiful open mind she pressed all my right buttons ;-). To quote Steve Jobs: „Stay hungry. Stay foolish." She does all that. We also went outside and spontaneously and completely unplanned took a few shots in front of the garage. We had so much fun and I really couldn't believe my eyes. Sarah absolutely rocked our two-minute-mini-session (it was flippin' cold that day) - and modeled as if she would do nothing else in her life. From zero to hundred. She's got some amazing talent. That moment I knew I have to have her back in front of my camera for a „real" photo shoot. :-)

Please enjoy our little interview and be head over heels with the lovely Sarah Elena Timpe!

1. Was machst Du beruflich?

2. Dein Lebensmotto
Hmm, ein direktes Lebensmotto habe ich nicht. Öfters kommen mir dennoch mal Sätze in den Sinn wie: „Das Leben ist schön", „Lebe jeden Tag als wäre er dein letzter", „Carpe diem".... Aber grundsätzlich kann ich nur sagen, dass ich das Leben liebe und mich einfach gerne von ihm überraschen lasse. Denn wenig ist planbar.

3. Dein heimliches Vergnügen?
Spaghetti-Eis, vor allem wenn es schön zermatscht ist.

4. Was liebst Du auf Deiner Pizza?
Frisches Gemüse und witzige Saucen wie Balsamico oder Curry.

5. Karnivore, Vegetarier oder Veganer?

6. Wie trinkst Du Deinen Kaffee?
Mit Sojamilch und bloß keinen Zucker. Zur Weihnachtszeit gerne mit ein bisserl Zimtaroma. Herrlich kitschig.

7. Welcher Film hat Dich zuletzt so richtig zum Lachen gebracht?


8. Welcher Film hat Dich zum Weinen gebracht?
Zuletzt tatsächlich Cinderella :-)


9. Wenn Du mit jemandem ein Duett singen könntest, wer würde es sein?
Ewan Mc Gregor

10. Mit wem würdest Du Dich gerne einmal zum Kaffeetrinken verabreden?
Tim Burton mit anschließender Vertragsunterzeichnung für seinen nächsten Film. :-)

11. Was schätzt Du bei Deinen Freunden am meisten?
Dass es auch nach Jahren so ist, als würden wir uns eigentlich täglich sehen, eine Art Grundvertrauen.

12. Was schätzen Deine Freunde am meisten an Dir?
Hmm, müsste ich sie mal fragen .... eventuell meinen Hang zum „Gute-Laune-Bär" (so wurde ich zu ABI-Zeiten von ihnen genannt) und damit ein sehr optmistisch-erheiterndes Ohr in schlechten Stimmungstagen ...?!

13. Welches Kompliment hast Du zuletzt erhalten?
„Du bist so schön" (von meinem Freund, er ist parteiisch :-)


14. Was hast Du zuletzt verschenkt?
Ein selbstgemachtes und geschriebenes Märchenfotoalbum aus dem letzten Urlaub mit meinem Freund.

15. Welches gemeinnützige Projekt würdest Du unterstützen (oder unterstützt Du bereits)?

Oh ich würde gerne was für Kinder, Tiere oder auch für die Stiftung von meinem Freund machen.

16. Welche Bücher, Websites, oder Blogs haben Dir sehr geholfen?

Hmm, wüsste ich jetzt weniger. Eher sind es Begegnungen mit Menschen und Gespräche die noch nachwirken.

17. Was war der beste Ratschlag, den Du jemals bekommen hast?

Folge deinem Herzen.



18. Welche drei Lektionen hast Du in den letzten drei Jahren gelernt?
Man lernt nie aus.
Du musst es einfach nur machen.
Es ist wenig planbar.

19. Was ist deine wichtigste gesunde Gewohnheit?
In den blauen Himmel zu schauen.

20. Wie wirst Du mit den ganzen E-Mails fertig?
Ich mache mir gerne eine To-Do-Liste und freue mich, nach und nach die Sachen abzuhaken.

21. Deine Lieblings-App?
Meine Google Play App. So hab ich die Musik, auf die ich Lust habe, immer bei mir.

22. Dein Lieblingsrestaurant?
Ich habe so viele. Meinen Lieblingsitaliener „bei Toni" aus meinem Heimatdorf Vechelde, der Grieche „Meteora" aus Hannover oder ich gehe mit einer Freundin auch wahnsinnig gerne auf Restaurantentdeckertour in München.

23. Dein letzter Urlaub?
Ägypten. Und ich habe mich verliebt.

24. Champagner oder Bier?
Bier. Champagner nur in bestimmten Momenten.

25. Yoga oder Pilates?
Weder noch ... Ballett! 

26. Zartbitter- oder Vollmilchschokolade?

27. iPhone oder Android?


28. Hohe Absätze oder Ballerinas?


29. Hunde oder Katzen?

Beides!!! Unvergleichlich.

30. Wo finden wir Dich Samstagabends um acht?
In einem noch unbekannten Restaurant mit einer Freundin lachen.

If you want to find out why our local soccer club "VfB Stuttgart" did really great yesterday afternoon, here is why: To celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, 14 of our kids with a little extra had been invited to form a guard of lucky mascots right at the players' tunnel. I strongly believe that when the VfB team came out, our kids gave every single player a high five with lots of good luck and superpowers (HEHE!).

A huge thank you to the VfB Stuttgart for having us and giving our kids with rad experience. They all went home with the happiest and biggest smile on their face.


Timo truly enjoying himself between these pretties Juliana and Reka. ;-)


My little soccer girl is getting really excited


Ever since our calendar photo shoot she has a secret crush on Sven Ulreich. Of course her heart skipped a beat when she discovered this ad in yesterday's VfB stadium magazine issue.


Three cool VfB hardcore fans: Tim, Mika and Jakob. 


VfB mascot Fritzle giving them all a warm welcome.


Ready for their high fives ;-)


At work ;-)


When the magic began ..... 


Yesterday was not only World Down Syndrome Day, but also action day "Integration" of the Germany Bundesliga. After the game our kids happily got their t-shirts "Mach einen Strich durch Vorurteile". With campaigns like these our world is getting a better place, one at a time.



Our awesome 46PLUS project organizer Natja high-fiving every single one of our cool kids.


That's her biggest smile! ;-)


Timo really excited.


Our rad team.


The cutest spectators were to be spotted in the stadium yesterday


Olé olé VfB!






My awesome photo assistant :-)


I just couldn't help ... cuteness overload!