Tuesday, July 10, 2012

true joy...

 meet mary.  my cousin.  oh, this child...i know her too well.  :)  if i ever need a 'laugher' to model for me, i call mary.  she is the BEST laugher model...ever.  period.  all i have to say is, "alright...laugh."  and this is what i get!  she makes my job way too easy.

when you look at these pictures you just have to smile...smiling is contagious.  it gets in our hearts and eventually in our soul.  a smile can produce something quite bigger than itself.  if we watch closely a tiny burst of joy might sneak out.

after jeremy and i got married we moved to florida for a year.  he interned at a fabulous church and i taught second grade at the biggest elementary school on the face of the earth.  (i was the 12th second grade teacher...yeah...12th.)  i was beginning to get run down and tired of the same ole shenanigans.  my joy had deflated.  i began to go through various books in the new testament when i came across the popular fruits of the spirit in galatians.  always been a big fan of the fruits, but never really stopped to ponder on them for more than about 60 seconds.  i sat there and read them over and over and over.  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  these were are the things my heart longed for.  so, i devised a plan to write each word on a note card, put them in my bathroom, and hang one up on my mirror everyday.  if 'patience' was up on my mirror for the day, then i would try to exert patience in everything i did.  pretty simple...right???

the day that 'self control' came up in the rotation God decided to have a sense of humor.  i had this precious, sweet little girl who loved to hoard food in her desk.  it was always such a joy to find all the goodies that had been rotting in there for weeks.  :)  fridays was always clean-out-your-desk- day and we were all busy throwing away old papers, putting pencils in the right place, and so on.  as i was doing my desk check i came across this girl's desk and it was still a complete disaster.  i was so frustrated and started ripping papers, books, and crayons from the side compartment.  one of the books was wedged in there pretty tightly so, me, in all my strength, pulled with all my might. and as the book came free so did a very old carton of chocolate milk.  it flew into the air and splattered all over the right side of my face and shoulder.  you could have heard a pin drop.  as i was standing there in front of 24 second graders with lumpy milk all over me; i thought of the word.  the word on my mirror.  self control.  at that very moment i had a choice.  a choice to lose it.  or a choice to follow the word.  amazingly enough...i chose the latter.  i calmly walked into the little bathroom in my room, got a paper towel, and removed the sour milk from my face.  when i came out all 48 eyes were on me.  i walked over to the girl, helped her clean up the mess, and we moved on with our day.

now, i'm not saying that i'm perfect.  i fail all the time at my 'self control' lessons.  but, if we could all just remember the words on the mirror...i think we would have more joy.  joy like these two beautiful pictures of mary.  the kind of joy that just plain knocks you over because you can't contain it anymore.  contagious joy.  we can all be happy at times, but true joy comes from only one source...Jesus.  :)

truly yours,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

the beginning...

january 28, 2011.  i will remember this date forever...not only because it's ella's second birthday date, but this day marked the beginning of my photography career.  my mom wanted really good pictures of my kiddos so she decided to go out and buy a fancy camera.  i told her that i was pretty sure there was more to good pictures than just a camera.  but, when she gets something on her mind....world war III couldn't stop her.  we were so excited when she brought the camera home.  like kids in a candy store.  about a week later, on ella's second birthday, i dolled her up in the new dress my mom had hand-made for her, got her headband all ready, and we were off with this new picture taking device.  i had no idea what i was doing.  i set the camera to 'auto' and started clicking away.  i got more pictures of the back of her head than anything else.  :)  gotta love 2 year olds.  :)  when we got home i uploaded all the pictures on my pink laptop and this one obviously stood out from the rest.  it had soul.  her eyes. those lips. i was honestly kinda impressed with myself.  this print hangs in the hallway of our house and everyday it brings a smile to my face.  it was the mark of a new beginning for me.  after this i was hooked.  i couldn't get enough.  i began researching, calling fellow photogs, and trying to soak in as much as i could about this new adventure.  growing up i was never the artistic one in the bunch.  athletic, definitely...but i couldn't draw a stick figure to save my life.  i put off taking art class til my senior year in high school just to avoid the sheer embarrassment.  but, i have always adored pictures.  i was always that picture freak with a camera wherever i went...  so, this seemed to fit me perfectly.  :)  and, then, out of nowhere i had a full business going.  it was crazy!  what most people don't know is that my entire life i have always wanted to stay home with my children during these early years.  it was looking like i was going to have to go back to teaching when God randomly placed this in my heart and in my hands.  so, when you look at this photo of my darling daughter, i'm sure you see her true beauty.  her loveliness, childhood, innocence, and those soulful eyes.  trust me, i see all those things, too.  but, the main thing i see when i look at this photo is the Lord.  i see His truth.  this photo represents a promise to me...'noah's rainbow' if you will.  God gave me the desires of my heart...to be able to stay home and raise my children.  and not only did he give me that, but he also gave me a sense of purpose through photography.  God always goes above and beyond my wildest dreams and expectations.  show off.  :)

truly yours,

Sunday, July 1, 2012

why the butterflies???

this is the front of their house...they lived there for almost 50 years.

my favorite picture of them...gandy fought in world war II...can't you just feel the love and adoration between them...

nana and gandy with sweet ella nichole...

gandy with my precious noah...

days before my grandfather went to be with Jesus, he was having a conversation with my grandmother about heaven. they were discussing what it would be like, look like...ya know...the usual items that come up in a heaven talk. my grandmother, being the sweet woman that she is, said, "do you think i'll be a pink butterfly when i get to heaven?" now my grandfather could have responded in a multitude of ways, but he chose to respond in a way that summed up their entire marriage, life, and true love they shared for one another. "well, if you're gonna be a pink butterfly, then i'm gonna be a blue one." my grandparents, gandy and nana, are the perfect examples of 'true'. true love seeped out of their hearts and souls. i've never really been a butterfly loving person, but after that, i have a different opinion about the insect. my gandy has gone to be with the Lord and my nana is still waiting to join him in heaven. every time i see a blue butterfly i am reminded of their love for one another and the unbelievable love that God has for us all.

i thought i was very fitting that my first post be about their 'true'-ness.  what i have taken away from my grandparents is to love....love hard, love long, love purely, and love truly.  we are only on this great earth for such a short time...why not love with everything you've got?  i know without a shadow of a doubt that gandy loved me.  and, i must say, it feels wonderful.  

truly yours,