October 2012 Archive

Marriage Monday

While I would love to say that I am starting a new blog series…I would be kidding myself. haha.  I have always wanted to have a Marriage Monday series but that kind of reliable writing time is just not in the cards for me right now (neither is reliable shower time, reliable grocery shopping time or reliable sleep). So for now, welcome to my occasional, non-commital, when-all-the-stars-align and I have a clear head and a cup of coffee series.

I read an encouraging snippet from another blog this morning that touched on a tender spot in my heart right now. It was a quote from Pastor Richard Baxtor author of The Godly Home (which I haven’t read obviously. haha. Just kidding. I really haven’t read it though).  It challenged…

“It is a relation of love that you have entered.

God has made it your duty for your mutual help and comfort, that you may be as willing and ready to comfort one another as the hand is to help the eye or other members and that your converse may be sweet and your burdens easy and your lives comfortable.

If love is removed but for an hour between husband and wife, they are as a bone out of joint; there is no ease, no order, no work well done till they are restored and set in joint again.

Therefore, be sure that married love be constantly maintained.”

Marriage is hard.  If you haven’t experienced this than you haven’t been married long enough yet.  We recently celebrated our 7 yr anniversary last week and, to be honest, it was bitter sweet.  We read over love letters that we had written to each other on our one year anniversary (all together now…”Awwwww”) the reading of which resulted in frustration and tears and the rest of the night spent talking through those messy, red-faced, snotty tears.  haha.  Romantic right?  What we were reminded of in those letters was a season of life that is gone…for now.  We had minimal responsibilities – we worked, were involved in a church and otherwise just spent our days “pal-ing around” and gazing into each others eyes.haha.  We were rested. We were (able to be) our best selves.  We had minimal stress. We did whatever we wanted to do.  We had time for ourselves, for God, for each other all resulting in this really beautiful time of selfishly pouring into and laying the foundation for our marriage.

To borrow Graham’s analogy from that messy anniversary night – as the years have passed, our pie which was once divided up into a few big slices (me, you, us, work…), is now divided up into seemingly hundreds of slices…and our “us” slice or the “gaze-into-each-others-eyes-and-talk-about-how-wonderful-we-think-think-each-other-is” slice has gotten thinner and thinner as children and the responsibilities of life, work, ministry, and family have grown.  The tears that night were a sort of mourning-mixed-with-bitterness over how hard this is compared to the way it used to be when it was just us. (Oddly enough, when it was just us I think we actually thought it was “hard” – like, “oh my gosh we cant agree on what to do this weekend!?”Oh man.)

Anyway, I am (asking God) to work on the bitterness part but I think God’s grace to us right now during this really exhausting, not always fun, do-you-even-still-like-me(?) season is that we are painfully aware and open and honest about the “bone out of joint” so to speak.  “If love is removed but for an hour between husband and wife, they are as a bone out of joint; there is no ease, no order, no work well done till they are restored and set in joint again.”

And that is where we are.  Working together to set the bone back into joint in so much as God allows us to during this chaotic and demanding season.  Not fighting each other but fighting the problem, together, as a team. Even though the fighting for the love is messy and often results in tear-filled date nights and late night painful conversations, the alternative seems worse – to just put our heads down and grind through, what, the next 5-10 years of having young children and just hope that our marriage will come out in tact on the other side?  I don’t think so.  There is no ease, no order, no work well done until they are restored and set in joint again.

If you find yourself in this season with me, my encouragement to you is to acknowledge together honestly the season that you are in and as a couple fight for a thriving marriage and not just a surviving marriage.  Don’t just wait for this season to pass and hope that your marriage will survive being on marital life support to make it to the other side.  Intentionally work on it.  Fight for it. Sacrifice for it. A happy marriage is not the ultimate thing in this life, but it is a beautiful grace-gift from God that is to our benefit and His glory to fight for.

I heart Chic Sweets!

I secretly (not so secretly) love every opportunity that I get to do product photography.  I am not amazing at it by any standards but it intrigues me and prompts me to spend hours in magazines like Real Simple, pouring over page after page of clean stunning photography features. Couple that with my love of Natalie Clamp and her amazing Chic Sweets dessert creations and you have a photo shoot made in heaven (I am convinced that heaven will have a never ending dessert table…right?).  These are a few of my favorite images from a recent shoot that I did for Natalie of a few product features for her new site. BTW brides and moms I have seen first hand the stunning work that Natalie has done for wedding receptions, and special events like birthday parties!!! Check out the pink, red and gray dessert table that she did for Chloe’s 2nd birthday and the pink, yellow and gray dessert table that was featured in the Valley & Co Spring Ezine!

The Winn Family!

You know it was a fun shoot when you can’t stop smiling while editing the pictures.  Literally, I just smile at each shot seeing the kids personalities come through and watching them interact as siblings. This is the second time that I have had the pleasure of photographing this fun sweet family.  It was even more sweet because I got to see how much the kids had grown and changed in just one year.  Family shoots can be hard (when your family is being photographed) – I personally have cried after both of the two little shoots that we have had of our family. haha.  Not because of the pictures – which were amazing – but because of the stress of managing crazy kids in such a high expectation moment.  So – this year with my Fall Family Mini Sessions I aimed to take the stress off by making the shoots shorter and on your home turf where everyone is more comfortable and I think it was a huge success.  Riggs just melted my heart with how sweet and helpful he was (really, he had me at clip-on bow tie)  Meredith was a little skeptical of how fun and awesome I am but I think I eventually won her over with candy and my jumping skills.  Lesley was a pro mom – laid back and smiling beautifully in every shot.  We were able to get so much in such a short period time and they didn’t even miss too much of the football game right Trevor?

I really just die laughing looking at their expressions in these two shots! Love them.

This Little Love.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes babies!!!!!  There is just something really beautiful about preparing for your first child together.  It is a pivotal moment in the relationship when you make the decision that it will no longer be just about you two and you begin to prepare your hearts for the most important act of selflessness you will ever be a part of; parenting.  I have been so blessed to get to know Johanna as a friend. Our paths were meant to cross in more ways then we realized when she first contacted me a few months ago to do her pregnancy and newborn shoots.  She has a beautiful heart for children already and I don’t think she even fully realizes how God is going to expand her capacity for love all the while doing a great and unexpected work in her own heart.  Isn’t that the truth about being a mom though?  There is an unexpected refining that takes place when you become a mother.  It is a constant and often-painful dying to yourself but an even more beautiful blossoming as a daughter of God.  As a mother, God works in you to be both as strong as an army and, at the same time, weaker then you ever wanted to admit.  Inside her belly is not only a growing life but a new perspective, a new marriage, a new future, a new and beautiful helplessness that will, with God’s grace, not only grow their relationship with each other to a new and deeper love but it will grow them both as believers as they are daily-dependent on the One who gives life. Johanna and Chris I cannot wait to meet (and photograph!) this little love of yours!

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