A Beautiful Reminder

I love autumn.

The brisk temperatures.

The cozy sweaters and fuzzy socks.

The comfort food. I may not be real good about eating soups and chili and such during the summer but I do love that stuff when it starts to get cool. I guess I definitely have seasons for my food even if, having lived my whole life in the south, my fall and winter are short and barely there.

What I really love the most though are the colors. The amazing display that the foliage puts on each year just takes my breath away.

Years ago, as I was contemplating a particularly gorgeous autumnal exhibition by a Bradford pear tree, I connected the dots in a profound way that has stayed with me ever since.

The beautiful leaves with their colors that so delighted me were quite simply, dying.

Obviously, I knew the change of seasons, however limited my exposure, and I understood the science and mechanics of what was happening. But in that moment under that tree I realized it in a different way.

Every year since as I see the stunning colors of fall I am reminded of this truth..they are at their most beautiful in death.

The way of Christ is upside down from the way of the world but when we are faithful to His ways, when we are willing to be that living sacrifice, we are just like the leaves and gloriously beautiful in the way that only His people can be.

I think it is truly fitting that the rich bold colors are at their peak as we prepare for Advent, don’t you? A gracious reminder that while there is pain and suffering and even death, the Christ child who came bore it all for our sake.

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Things We Saw In Lakeland

A couple of weeks ago Rob and I went to Lakeland to visit a sister CREC church. It is a beautiful city with plenty of charm and my goodness, the locations for great photos were abounding! (Anybody want to go on a road trip for a destination session?)

On Saturday morning we visited the historic landmark campus of Florida Southern College. It is the only campus designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and it was gorgeous. The man led quite the life but his designs have always fascinated me. His idea that the building should be a part of it’s surroundings birthed what is called organic architecture. I love the lines and his use of glass in his designs.

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It really is a beautiful campus and since I didn’t have my real camera with me the pictures just don’t do it justice.

After our morning spent at the college Rob needed to get some work done so I wandered around on my own. Our hotel, which was just lovely, was located near one of the city’s many lakes. Again, the pictures don’t really show off the beauty of the place. The grass is so lush and green and there are so many charming details.

Mirror Lake looks like something out of a fairy tale with it’s broad sweeping stairs that go right to the water, the lovely arches of the old train station, and it’s beautiful old fashioned light posts. The lake itself is huge and there are also restaurants and a really fun children’s area.

I must have seen about a dozen different types of water bird around various parts of the lake but the swan seems to be the symbol of the city in the way that pelicans are for Pensacola. Apparently swans were pretty visible in the early 1920’s but by the time the 50’s rolled around the swans were practically extinct due to predators. The story goes that one Lakeland resident was so sad at the loss of the swans that they contacted the Queen Elizabeth who sent two royal swans in answer. So while Lake Mirror may not be an actual fairy tale land the swans are of royal descent.

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What Inspires Me

Last week’s photography theme caused me no little problem.

So much so that I didn’t do it. Usually I may be late in just posting but I try really really hard to take the picture during the specified time frame. But last week I just could not make it happen.

The theme was inspiration and for the life of me I couldn’t nail down an image that would reflect what inspires me. Bits and pieces of an answer would waft through my brain but nothing felt right or had any real substance.

Then yesterday, Claire came running inside to announce “The world’s most beautiful rainbow, Mom!” And it was one of the brightest and fullest rainbows we’ve ever seen. Even the double was pretty visible.

As I took a picture, because of  course I ran inside for my camera, I realized it perfectly represented what inspires me.

It’s life itself showing evidence of both light and shadows, the rain and the sunshine, color and clarity, faithfulness and hope…the promise of God that He has not forgotten His people despite what the news would have us believe. We are not winning or losing because He has won. We are bold and fierce as we declare His goodness through our worship, our families and the art we create. His faithfulness to us is my inspiration be it found in the face of a newborn baby, the kiss of my beloved, or a bow flung across the sky.

Think on God. Dwell on His attributes. Let it inspire you to create beauty…the tangible kind with cameras or paintbrushes or clay, or whatever. But above all let it inspire you to live beautifully…to love beautifully in the midst of the light and shadows of your life, when it rains or when the sun shines.

Scenes From My Happy Place

The only thing better than a beautiful day at the beach is watching a storm move in.
But I do love when the sun is shinning and sand bar is close enough to wade out to and play on.

Gorgeous crystal clear water and just the right amount of waves and little to no undertow make for a pretty perfect day.


We also really enjoy water proof phone cases. Especially the two oldest girls who had a fantastic silly time taking selfies underwater. Then I of course got roped into taking pictures too.

Is it any wonder that the beach is my happy place?

A Beautiful Bride

Sometimes living in Florida with our pop up afternoon showers can be a tad frustrating as a photographer. We planned Chrisann’s bridals and had to cancel twice because of afternoon monsoons.

So, what were we to do because we had some serious time constraints to work within? Get up at 4:30 in the morning of course to do a sunrise session.
And oh my, was she indeed a beautiful bride!

Fabulous dramatic lighting at the fort that early in the morning.

Looking for all the world like a princess watching for her Prince Charming.

Abby ~ Part One

There are times when my camera feels like a magic wand in my hands.

I always love taking pictures. Whether it’s families, or children or even the head shots I’ve been doing recently. Capturing certain moments…helping preserve moments and events in someone’s life…that is just an incredibly amazing thing to be a part of.
But sometimes.
Sometimes, I am surprised and amazed when something I see in my head becomes a reality on the back of my camera.
Sometimes I am startled when it all just comes together and the vision finds expression so perfectly that I want to dance I’m so happy.
It is an incredible feeling however fleeting it may be.
Back in January Abby and I spent some time together one late afternoon and in was one of those magical moments. Rarely have I been as proud of personal work as I am of the images from that day. I’m going to be sharing them over the next several weeks and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
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I came across this quote by CS Lewis and it just seemed to fit so perfectly. 
I can’t wait to share some more with you!
 

Severe Mercies

She’s a planner, this child of mine. She likes to know what’s coming. She likes knowing that what she is doing now is the right thing for now as well as down the road.

Everything seems to be right there in front of her, almost within her reach. She thought she knew how the story was going to go. Or at least how the next few chapters would read. But with the turn of a page the plot changed and nothing was quite what she thought. The narrative, her narrative, suddenly became a page of letters and words with no sentence structure, line breaks or paragraphs.

And it’s not an easy place for her to be. But I watch her set her shoulders and lift her face to the Son again and again and move forward to step into this story that she doesn’t know. Trying to see a break in the letters, to find the words to read His narrative…

looking for the goodness in this new and unknown chapter and verse.

She’s being taught the lesson we all must learn.

In one hand we hold tight-fisted the things we know to be unchanging truth. Namely, the character of God; He is good and does good. He is faithful and with us always.

In the other hand we hold loosely those things we want and desire. Knowing that we only see so much and He seeks our good in far reaching corners that we cannot even imagine. Trusting that He is growing our character to suit the story He is writing.

It’s a painful lesson at times for all of us. Because sometimes we think we know best. Sometimes we just can’t envision anything better than our own imaginations. Choosing our own story over His is like declaring a comic book a Pulitzer prize winner or comparing Shakespeare to a dime store novel.

Sometimes we just can’t see the story unfolding but His story is always better so we must learn to trust His mercy in the plot twists.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than
 all that we ask or think, according to the power at
 work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and 
in Jesus Christ throughout all generations, 
forever and ever. Amen.
~Ephesians 3:20

New Baby Sweetness

Last week I shared a post of some of my favorite maternity photos along with some beautiful quotes on motherhood from Elisabeth Elliot. It seems only fair that this week I share some sweet pictures of the little fella who starred in those tummy pictures.

I say little fella but the truth is Mr. G weighed in at a whopping ten pounds and was twenty-two and a half inches long. That is a whole lot of baby and my goodness, he is just the sweetest!

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I love his mama to pieces and have known her for a really long time. She was our very first babysitter so it’s a little crazy to be photographing her babies. I also got to be present at his birth and I don’t have words for what an amazing experience that was.

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Although I wasn’t around when his big brother was born (they were living in Germany) I have had the pleasure of photographing him before. He hasn’t quite figured out this whole little brother thing but I bet he’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

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Normally when I photograph newborns I have the family come to me for a variety of reasons the two main ones being I’m familiar with the light and I crank the heat up to about eighty degrees or so, even in the summer. But I’ve been drawn more and more to the lifestyle kind of images I see from photographers whose work I admire and Justin and Jess were kind enough to let me experiment. (I also got to document the birth and it gave a whole other layer of awesome to that experience.)

It was a risk we all took and thankfully I had rented a good wide angle lens and there was plenty of natural light coming in their windows. I say all of that because if these last two images were the only ones that had turned out I would count the whole thing a success.

Maybe it’s the light or the expression of delight so evident on the faces or just the overall love a parent has for a child but I am so pleased with these. Something about being at the right place at the right moment to snap the shutter is the way Ansel Adams put it.

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Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior 
are the children of one’s youth.
Psalm 127: 3 & 4