Feel free to cozy up with your favorite beverage (if you're like me, then maybe it's an espresso over ice with a splash of cream, or a warm matcha latte if it's cold outside!) and stay awhile. This is my place to share not just beautiful weddings or sessions, but to share my life. My hope is through this, you'll get to know a bit more about me and all the beautiful people that make it worth living! 

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FEATURED, FROM MY HEART, Uncategorized

July 31, 2018

There is greater joy in store…

I don’t have exactly the right words as an introduction to this post, so I’ll just be transparent from the start. 2018 has been a year full of…a lot. A lot of really precious moments with my family. A lot of unexpected health issues and ER visits with the love of my life and walking through a season of stress and unknowns. A lot of really difficult seasons of navigating grief with dear friends. A lot of nights cradled in the arms of my husband with a face wet from tears not understanding why this life has so much pain and hardship and trials. A lot of nights contagiously laughing at the can’t-make-this-stuff-up kind of things only toddlers do. Ya ever had a toddler pronounce words incorrectly and sound WAY too inappropriate and foul? Best.entertainment.ever! 

Life is full of unexpected battles and rewarding moments. I was reading recently in a devotional that if we have wholly committed ourselves to a life of serving and seeking Jesus, we have to expect trials to come. After all, the enemy is after those that he is afraid of. Frankly, those who are seeking to honor and glorify God…because satan knows there’s power in the name of Jesus. But then again, God allows trials and difficulties in our lives too. Seasons that are to strengthen our faith and bring us to a place of complete surrender and clinging to the cross because HE is our only living hope. And we serve a God who is unchanging and GOOD and faithful, even when life has unexpected trials and pain.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in this year, it’s that LIFE is a precious, precious gift. And our King died so we could live this life. And He has promised us an eternal life that is beyond our comprehension and greater than ANYTHING this life has to offer. And to think that this life is hard, but has such sweet, joyous, rewarding seasons…that there is a JOY even greater in store.

I’ve been walking through a season of grieving alongside friends losing family members. I’ll be honest…I always thought I was an empathetic person until this season, and I’ve learned I’m even more so than I thought. I’ve cried more tears and found myself staring at the wall and pouring over the truth that God reveals to us through His word more than I knew possible. And I’m learning slowly that there is purpose in our pain as believers. To strengthen our faith as His sons and daughters and to make known His name and greatly praise His name because HE IS so good. I’m overwhelmed to say that we serve SUCH a good Father who comforts us in seasons of grief and He gives so freely and also draws near to Him those who love Him.

This isn’t exactly the preface to how I was going to share this season of our life, but this is how it’s been. We have an almost two year old not-so-baby girl who is the light of our lives. She is joy in every form. Her bright as the sun blonde hair is just a tiny indication into the light she is. But that’s not to say we haven’t had our incredibly difficult days. She’s strong willed as can be, just like her mama, ha! She’s tough and strong and radiant and has the most gentle, sweetest heart…that is sprinkled with just the right amount of feistiness. She’s sassy and so.stinking.funny. She’s just the biggest delight and if I’m being completely honest, I feel like I’m finally, after TWO whole years…entering into a season where I am loving being her mommy. I feel embarrassed to say it, that it’s taken me so long. I mean, I’ve loved being a mom all along and have always dreamed of it.

I think I’ve been in a bittersweet season of not knowing what’s next and as a majorly type A person who wants to be successful, I’ve had a hard time changing my perspective to seeing that being a mom is even MORE successful than being a small business owner. I’ve let the words sink down deep into my heart that what matters in ten years is NOT being the best photographer in a certain region, or booking x amount of weddings. What matters most is the character and heart of my children. And that’s hard to shift from. Being in my oh, nearing the mid 20s (HA!) and starting our family so much younger and sooner than I anticipated, I’ve had a hard time “letting go” of this business that’s been a baby of mine. There’s SO MUCH more I want to do and so much that I know I am capable of doing, but I know that this gift of being a mommy is the greatest privilege in the world, and I’ll gladly read board books all morning long and change a gazillion poopy diapers and vacuum up turmeric powder (yup, it happened) from the carpet if it means getting to experience the unexplainable and incomparable joy of loving a child.

I feel like 2018 has stretched and grown my faith in ways I didn’t know possible. At the beginning of this year, I prayed for a word, and the word was trust. And MAN oh man, how it’s been tested and how deeply we’ve walked through days of heartache and pain with friends and completely defeating days as parents and days of anxiety and worry of not knowing what’s physically wrong with our bodies and things not making sense. I was just telling Nathan the other day – “You know how when we pray for patience or other qualities and traits, God doesn’t just give us those abilities. He tests and walks with us through fire and flood and storms in order to produce and mature and GROW those qualities in us so they sink down deep in our hearts.” 

I feel like my heart has been squished down and remolded time and time again this year and is just continuing to be shaped and formed into growing a deeper love for my Creator and husband and family. I’m falling in love with being a mommy and I feel overwhelmed with joy that I get the greatest gift in the world. Being a mom is hard. It’s exhausting and isolating and so incredibly lonely at times. It’s redundant and mundane at times and there are days I feel like my greatest accomplishment is keeping a ponytail in her hair or wiping sticky fingers or making through an entire board book, or my daughter FINALLY understanding that we.don’t.just.scream.NO! …or get what we want. 

But being a MOM, I feel like, is a gift that God gives us as women to give us a glimpse into the love He has for us. LIFE is a miracle, friends. We only get to live this life one time, and I know as a mom, I want to leave a legacy for my children where they remember their mommy loving Jesus SO well and loving them with all she can, NOT being the “mom” who leaves her kids every weekend to shoot a wedding. Granted, I LOVE my job and I LOVE my couples and feel so honored and am not in any way just “giving up” this part of my life, because it’s an honor and privilege, I’m just learning a little more and more that being a wife and mom comes first, not just photographer. And I’m SO, so thankful God has given me a husband who works so hard to provide a life where I get to be a mommy and not have to leave my children every day.

ALL that to say, 2018 is far from over. There is so much yet to come, and there is so much joy in store. I had a small session last night and rarely bring out my camera to document our family, but after I got done, I went and found Nathan and Niyah blowing bubbles not far from where I’d taken photos. We took some totally candid and not planned pictures of our family, and they’re my very favorite ever. Because they’re real life. So real that when I texted my mom some of them last night she said, “They’re perfect, but it looks like the editing on Niyah’s face is splotchy.” And I said, “uh, yup. Cause it is. It’s DIRT…all.over.her.face.” ;) So here we are, as real as can be, I’m wearing a tanktop that has deodorant stains that I noticed AFTER my shoot and Niyah with dirt all over her hands and feet and face and nose, and my husband, being hunky and hot and the best dad ever

…and the sweetest growing baby in my belly that we can’t wait to welcome into our family this November.

Like I said, we serve such a good, good God who is the author and creator of LIFE, the miracle of life!

So if you’re wondering why I’ve been a little quieter than normal on social media, it’s because I’m new at navigating this whole thing trying to figure out how I’m going to handle having the same amount of kids as I do hands and honestly, because social media puts SO MUCH pressure on announcements and doing it bigger or better or cuter than the last person who announced. I believe life is precious and a miracle and it’s also REAL and what’s not real in our life right now is having a planned out perfect announcement. What’s real is last minute, dirt covered toddler kisses and I’m absolutely loving it. <3

  1. Marquette

    August 1st, 2018 at 6:46 am

    You don’t know me, but I found your post and loved it! Especially this: “social media puts SO MUCH pressure on announcements and doing it bigger or better or cuter than the last person who announced. I believe life is precious and a miracle and it’s also REAL and what’s not real in our life right now is having a planned out perfect announcement. What’s real is last minute, dirt covered toddler kisses and I’m absolutely loving it. <3" I think that's one of my favorite lines of this whole post! It's dead on and so perfect, thank you for all the heart in this post! And Congratulations!

  2. Tori Watson

    August 1st, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    awww, SO excited for you! PRAISE GOD for a sweet new blessing!!! <3

    i understand the complexity of emotions….last year when we found out we were pregnant with Margot, Aaron had JUST gotten a new job…we were dealing with putting our house on the market, looking for a new house in a new city, i was super sick, solo-parenting the toddler while aaron commuted to his new job, without family nearby to help, and also feeling/empathizing with hardships and sadness in the lives of so many dear to me. so, i feel you. but i'm so glad you're letting Jesus walk with you and are embracing the imperfection of the real, raw moments in life. i think these photos and this announcement are perfect. <3