Saturday, September 28, 2013

{Wear-Fall Edition}

I just found these fabulous oxford shoes at our local goodwill. I love them! Perfect for fall! I love that fall in the south is more like "A cooler summer." When it does get cooler, I can not wait to pull out some fun tights to pair with these shoes.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Last weekend was my husbands 30th Birthday!

I can not believe I have known this man, since he was just a boy. To be so blessed to marry him, and celebrate ten years of marriage this summer, to be followed by celebrating his 30th Birthday? It's been a milestone year.

 He is older than I am, (just had to put that out there). But it is good to know what to expect and "look forward to".

On the morning of his Birthday, he woke up and immediately stated:

"I'm really really tired."

My response?: "So, I guess that is what thirty is like, huh? Tired before you are really even awake? Well, I'm already there. Thanks for making it less scary."

This picture makes me laugh, and freeze this moment in time. Riley is constantly asking about numbers. "How many is three plus five?"...and "Four hundred plus two hundred?". We always say, "Count it out on your fingers." This time, he didn't ask, but simply added on his fingers. Having NO clue I was snapping his picture doing so. Then stated "So Dad, in ten years you will be forty?  Cause two plus two is four." Smart little whipper snapper.

This guy has every right to be tired. He wakes up before all of us. Exercises, makes his smoothy, takes care of my dogs, and kisses me goodbye (typically while I am still asleep!). He is the first one to work. I know because on rare occasions I have to drive him to work. He works hard. He works 9-7 and every saturday. Retail kinda stinks in that regard. He never complains about it, ever.
I made Chicken Linguini Salad (it is what he requested) and asparagus. Thankful he didn't care that it wasn't anything fancy, as I was still battling a fierce virus.

Then when he comes home, he play's with the kids, helps with dinner, or household chores. Goes on a walk with us, read's books to the kids, studies marketing and is constantly downloading trainings and seminars to listen to. He writes in his journal and kisses me goodnight, before starting the grind all over again.

I admire his dedication, his drive and focus.

I am the butterfly, he is the grounded tree.

 He is the analyzer and planner and thinker, and I, well, am not.

 He makes spreadsheets on the computer, of budgets and goals, for fun. The pile of books beside our bed could be a bedside table.

He desires to grow, and learn, and be better. I need that. And I am so blessed he pushes me to do so.
And while some may look back at their twenties with regret, while we do of course have some, we have learned so much from our mistakes and failures. It *almost* makes me excited to turn 40! To think about how much I will learn and change and grow in my thirties. With this man by my side, I say, bring it on!

I have seen his heart, radically changed by a loving, merciful, grace giving, God. And I think he would say the same of me. We came into our marriage with enough baggage to sink the titanic. Yet, God redeems and raises us up from the pit we have dug.

Nope, he is not perfect. But he is perfect for me.

And since I know he will read this,
I love you, so very much. Thank-you for fearlessly leading our family on this wild adventure called life. I wouldn't want to ride along with anyone else. I respect you so much, for choosing to lead our family under God's authority. And while we have had so many heartaches and disappointments over the years, my love for you has only grown. I can not wait to see what God is going to do in our thirties!

"And when the years have stolen youth away, I will stay. You will  be the keeper of my heart, until my final day and I am lost for words. You're more than I deserve, and when I can not stand. 
You are where I land."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

For Julia...

Today is national suicide awareness day. This post is in loving memory of Julia Rose.
And in honor of her Husband, Onsby, and her four amazing little boy's.

On  October 18th, I was sitting in a waiting room at a doctor's appointment for my son. There was a sign that clearly said "No cell phones". My Dad called me. And I declined the call, as I saw the glare from the secretary at the front desk. I turned my ringer off. My Dad called again. I knew something  was serious. He wouldn't just call two times in a row, unless it was serious. I answered the phone. He struggled to put words together as he informed me that a friend of mine had taken her own life. In that moment I was devastated. Heartbroken for her four precious little boys, and her husband. I was lost without words. Shell shocked.

Just a few months prior, she had moved to Tennessee, I had moved to Georgia. But we kept in touch via social media. She had lived through a lot over the year prior. I knew that. But, I had no idea that she was in such a hopeless state, that she would take her life.

Of course the first thing I thought was "Why?" and "If only she had told me, someone, anyone." and "Are her babies okay?" and "How will her husband live through this?" and "If only?" and "WHY?".

I think I know the answer to "why?" now. She felt that life was hopeless. And my heart aches, because, hopelessness is a very real thing. It does not matter who you are. It is no respecter of persons. Wealthy, Broke, Famous, Young, Old, Christian, Not Christian.

 I know what hopelessness feels like. It is a very dark and scary place to be. As a Christian, my hope is in Jesus Christ, and I have peace that even in the darkest and hardest places, He is with me. That does not mean, that Christian's don't struggle with suicidal thoughts. They do.

I do not believe that if you just love Jesus more, or do more, or say the right things, that you won't ever feel hopeless. Jesus never promised us a life without pain. And many of us have lived through so much pain.

 I believe that some of us, have chemical imbalances, and need medication to be the best we can be. There is NOTHING wrong about that, it does not make you any less of a Christian or a person in general. I think it only helps you be who God want's you to be!

I think too often, we hide behind the "I'm fine" mentality. Especially within the church. A pastor of mine once preached a sermon that has always stayed with me. He took a sharpie, and wrote on his forehead. "Fine". He made a video, in which we saw him at home, and life was not fine. Yet, when he walked into church, he would point to his head and say "I'm FINE".  The message was a powerful one. Because I could relate. Life was not fine for me, and yet, I felt as though I had to play the act when at church, or when I was around anyone for that matter.

That is why I am writing this today. If you or someone you love is struggling. Don't keep it to yourself. Talk to someone. There is hope, so many people love and adore you. As someone who has had to live through the aftermath of suicide, please, talk to someone. As someone who has been in a hopeless state, there is HOPE! Please, do not hide behind the mask of "I'm fine". The first step is just asking for help.

If you or a friend are considering suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 
1-800-273-8255. It is free and confidential.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Thrifty Deals...

I love finding a good deal. And 98% of my wardrobe is from thrift shops. (The other 2% has been given to me as gifts from family and friends) I have been blessed to find some incredible finds. And thought I would share my tips and secrets for finding amazing deals thrifting.
This entire outfit, is from goodwill.

First, go through your closet, and mentally think about what you need or want. Or, search online for the look's of the season. Make a list. Because there is so much to "dig through" in thrift stores. You must go in with a game plan, or you will quickly become overwhelmed.

Know your brands. I never buy anything but a top name brand or designer when thrifting. Why? Because name brands are less likely to shrink, and hold up better than big box store brands. Keep in mind, the majority of the clothing in thrift stores has already been laundered. Here is a great list of designer brands to look for when shopping.

Most thrift stores have a color of the day that is on sale, or even a members perks club. For a small fee you can join, and receive discounts. Many have 50% off day once or twice a month. While living up north, I hated fighting the crowds on Saturday for 50% off, but Wednesday was always 40% off and no crowds. I would gladly pay 10% more, to not have to deal with the crowds! Don't be afraid to call and ask about how the sales work at your local thrift store before shopping. When you walk in, they usually have a sign posted with sale information, take a picture with your phone to remember while you shop.

Whenever I thrift shop, I head to the shoes first. Maybe because I love shoes. But also, because they are the easiest to spot. I look for brand new shoes, and sometimes there are many. Other times, not. The key is to find pieces that are unique and again, name brand!

Love these black sandals I found back in April.

After shoes, I head to accessories (belts, purses, scarves) those too are easy to spot, and grab what you are looking for. Remember scarves can be turned into great head wraps! I have had this scarf, probably for ten years. One can never have too many accessories.

When looking for clothing. It can be overwhelming. Look for high quality fabrics. And look at the tags for brands. Keep in mind the color tag that is on sale too. Some thrift stores sort by size, some by color, and some don't sort at all. Even if they do sort by size, typically I still will go through all of the racks. I can not tell you how many times I have found an awesome piece, in the "wrong place". Tip for petite people. Look in the children's clothing. MANY times they will not realize the size/brand and misplace adult clothing in the children's section. And about sizes. They really do typically mean nothing, when thrifting. I mean, sure, pant's are pretty true to size. But even then, not always. If you see it, and like it, try it on. Always. No matter the size. And especially with pants, try them on. Zippers are typically the first thing to go, and people will donate them. I do have friends that just replace the zipper. Not me. I can not stress how important it is to try something on, and check every piece of clothing over for stains, holes, or wear and tear.

Found these lovely minnetonka's at goodwill not too long ago. LOVE them!

When needing seasonal items, shop on the off season. Jacket's for example, are much easier to find in the summer when people are not looking for them.The jacket I am wearing here, I found in June. Perfect military style jacket! This is especially true for items like hats and gloves. While it can be hard to buy in the off season, I highly recommend it. (Especially when buying clothes for your children!)
Thrifting is also a great way to find jeans to make into shorts. As I did above. Much cheaper, and the style of the leg doesn't matter, because you are just going to cut them off! Actually, all the clothing in the picture above is from thrifting. Accessories were all gifts from friends and family. The shoes, that have been my go to wedge of the summer, I found brand new at goodwill. Best four dollar's I spent this season.

 Another thing, many retailer's donate to thrift stores. I have found so many item's from target, brand new with tags. Unfortunately sometimes thrift stores gouge the price of the new items donated, and it would have been cheaper to buy it on clearance than what they are asking. So, be aware of that.

The great thing about thrifting is, you don't have much money at all invested in your clothing. So, you don't feel guilty changing with the trends, or donating it back after one season. And, as a mom to four. If ,or should I say, when, a child spills something on your clothes, it's not a big deal.

 I say all the time, even if I had the extra money to buy new clothing. I don't think I could. I have a difficult time paying more than five dollars for any one piece of clothing, over twenty? I'd die.

 But, I do love clothing, and keeping up with the trends. And thrifting allows me to do just that! Have you found any good deals thrifting? I'd love to see!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My favorites...

Typically, the lifestyle pictures are my favorite. Capturing kids, being just that. Kids. You can see their personalities. And that is my absolute favorite thing to capture. This is why I typically tell the parents of my clients. "It's okay if they don't look at my camera" or "No need to coach them, we got this."
I have had many parents, go off and do their own thing, while I take pictures. And many times, this works the best. I talk with the children, play, and happen to have a camera in one hand. We laugh, a.lot. I ask them what their favorite things are. Get them to tell me a secret, or "tell" on Mom and Dad. That ALWAYS brings out a genuine smile. Photographing children is a sacred dance, of trust, and getting to know their little hearts.
And when doing so, sometimes you strike Photography Gold.
When taking pictures of your own children, it's very much the same. Except you know their personalities. You know how to get a genuine smile. Many times I have found myself getting stressed out, I have to step back. Chill. And start over. Keeping a sense of humor is key when taking photographs of children, your own, or someone elses. And not having any care as to what it might take to make kids laugh and have fun. I have found with my own children, bringing a food prop is always a good idea. Big suckers, Apples, Animal Crackers. Something they can snack on, while taking photos. That happens to just look like a photo prop. But serves so much more than that! Food props keep little hands busy, hungry tummy's from rumbling, and sugar always helps bring out their personality! Haha!
(No, I did not photoshop their eyelashes. And no, they don't have mascara on. 
They have the longest and darkest eyelashes. Ever.)

 Sometimes it is in the "not looking" at the camera, that you capture the very memories you want to hang on to forever. Like the sun kissed cheeks of summer, little freckles and long eyelashes of your baby boy.
Or sometimes, you do get everyone to look at the camera. And while their expressions, may not be what you thought you want. When you look back, it just screams "Them". And really, don't you want to capture your favorite things about your children, or clients? That is my favorite thing about photography. Looking back over the pictures I take, and seeing the reflection of their personality shine through.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Siblings...and Ramblings...

These kids constantly make me laugh! The weather was not ideal, but we decided to do a last minute photo session on a vacant lot in our neighborhood last night. The sunset was amazing! 
Thankfully we were close to home, as we were swarmed by mosquitoes, and had to send Jackson home to get some bug spray. Then my battery died, so we sent him home again. Never a dull moment!
We grabbed a few old books and a old quilt. Oh, and some apples. I know the trend is to use a ton of props. I am more of a minimalist when it comes to props. The beauty of the outdoors is enough! 
The bow ties are from my Mom.The boy's wore them for Easter. Love them!
Elliott's front teeth have been gone for over a year! I just love this toothless smile! 
We did bring this red chair along too. I found it on the side of the road, took it home and spray painted it red. GREAT photo prop!
I let the boys pick what they wanted to wear. The vests are random ones I have found at goodwill. Whenever I find one I grab it! They make great photo props as well!
Clara's dress was her Easter dress from her Grammie. It's OshKosh and one of her favorites. The headband was found at big-lots, a great place to find hair accessories for cheap!
Jackson is becoming the most difficult to get pictures of as of late, he is not such a fan of looking at the  camera. I'm guessing this is just a taste of things to come, as he enter's his pre-teen years.
I am so thankful for my sweet girl. She is my little helper, and always willing to serve others.
I have some exciting news in the works. Past clients, make sure to check your facebook events!
 (Indiana clients only)
Sometimes the best pictures, are the spur of the moment ones! When the weather is just right, and the sunset is perfect. Now, if I could just get my husband to take some pictures with me. That is the next photo session on the books. Shh. Don't tell him! ;)