Elijah & Nicole – Pre Deployment – Olympia Waterfront – Olympia, WA

it was the military that brought him to her, over 3 years ago. and in just 2 weeks, it will be the military that will take him away from her, for 9 months of their life together.

when my husband told me that he was leaving, my heart broke for his wife. as a fellow military wife, i knew exactly what she was going through. so when my husband told me that he had mentioned wanting to get some photos taken of him and his wife before they left i jumped at the opportunity.

yesterday we met up with elijah and nicole at the olympia waterfront for a pre-deployment photo shoot. the sun was shining and the skies were blue, a rarity this time of year in the pacific northwest. it was perfect.

elijah & nicole, we had such a great time with you two and are praying for a safe and quick return for you, elijah. i hope you enjoy your photos:)

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in these moments

most days the thought doesn’t even cross my mind. i enjoy all that we are and all that we have and think nothing of the looming future. but there are other days; often brought on by a specific event, something someone says, or a movie we watch, that the thought is painfully present. and it’s in those moments that i can’t help it. i try to hold back the tears but they just begin to flow.

as we lay on the couch, watching PS I Love You, the thought of having to do life with out him, even if only for a short while, was overwhelming. and i cried. i tried to tell myself that his 3.5 month absence is less than most have to endure but the reality of being away from the one you love, no matter the length of time, hurts.

it’s in these moments, when i feel so weak and vulnerable, that Jesus reminds me yet again that He is sufficient for all that i need, and it’s in these moments that i know i’m going to be ok

each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” so now i am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

a prayer of joy

my prayer today…

“a prayer of joy”

help me, o God,

to listen to what it is that makes my heart glad

and to follow where it leads.

may joy, not guilt,

your voice, not the voices of others,

your will, not my willfulness,

be the guides that lead me to my vocation.

help me to unearth the passions of my heart

that lay buried in my youth.

and help me to go over that ground again and again

until i can hold in my hands,

hold and treasure,

your calling on my life.

-ken gire, windows of the soul (found in 48 days to the work you love)

she inspires me

every once in a while a person comes along that breathes life into our lives, that is running the same direction, with the same dreams, desires, and passions as us. these people are few and when they come into our life it’s as though a fire has begin to burn under us. they inspire us to do more, be more and dream bigger than we could ever imagine. one of those people in my life right now is Marissa Lynn. her and i have know each other for years and for her and her husband to get stationed at the same base as my husband and i is a complete God send (especially considering Washington was around number 12 on their list of desired locations). her passion and creativity is infectious and just what i need in my life right now.

i had the amazing opportunity to tag along with her today as she embarked on a new adventure. and we had such a great time! she is an incredible lady and doing great things and i am so honored to be able to be a small part of it all. check out what she’s up to here!

happy thursday all.

“us-time” and living for today

every sunday we drive to seattle to go to church. and every sunday we have over two hours round trip of uninterrupted “us-time”. when we tell people we live that far away they give us that look. it’s a look that questions our insanity, but we just laugh it off, knowing that, though it might seem crazy to most, we know we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

every sunday we have over two hours round trip of uninterrupted “us-time” and i look forward to it every single week. two hours to simply chat about life, our thoughts, what God is doing in our lives, our dreams, and even what areas we are struggling in. we listen to each other and encourage each other to look beyond our current circumstance and go after what God is putting on our hearts.

every sunday we have over two hours round trip of uninterrupted “us-time” and every other Tuesday we have over two more hours of uninterrupted “us-time” as we venture up to Seattle again for our City Group. as we left our group last night we shared the topics discussed and shared our hearts. i admitted that the fear of becoming trapped in another job that i hated held me back, while at the same time i found myself feeling trapped by my own expectations to find a job and be a financial contributor to our family; that i have always been held to the standard that holding a full time job was the “right” and “responsible” thing to do. he graciously listened to me and when i was done unloading every thought he simply said “your past has made you who you are today, but you can’t let it make you who you are to become.” those few simple words spoke directly to my heart and i melted. his unceasing encouragement is truly a God send.

so here is to living for today, and not letting our past make us who we are to become.

confession- i am a book worm

i would spend our recess time reading, writing, and doing what ever homework i could. i was the class book-worm who would often times be encouraged by my teacher to put down my work and go enjoy myself, but to me, learning was enjoyable, and in the midst of the books is exactly where i wanted to be.

and now, 15 years later, i am still that girl. any chance i get i read, and any chance i get i write. but it can never seem to be just one book at a time. my philosophy has become “the more the merrier” and often, when i pick up a book to read it, 2 or 3 others spark my interest at the same time and i find myself juggling my reading time between them. some may think this to be a chaotic mess of books streaming together to be one big confusing book their heads, but to me, this is normal. and had i the rule of one book at a time my mind would get chaotic and i would loss focus quickly.

currently, my reading is limited to 3 books, and i love each one of them independently for the encouragement they bring me daily. while i’m at the beginning of all 3 i thought i would share with you some keep points from each that have really spoken into my life.

The Power of a Praying Wife
Stormie Omartian- “prayer is the ultimate love language. It communicates in ways we can’t.” “Talking to God about your husband is an act of love. Prayer gives rise to love, love begets more prayer, which in turn gives rise to more love.” “Prayer brings unity even if you aren’t praying together.” “There are times when we are just to listen and not offer advice, to support and not offer constructive criticism.” (reference: Proverbs 29:11 & Ecclesiastes 5:2) “Part of making a house a home is allowing your husband to be the head so you can be the heart.” “Your greatest expectations must be from God, not your husband.” “Love is diminished if we dwell on the negatives. Love grows if we focus on the positive.”

48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal
Dan Miller- my dad suggested this book to me the other night when we were chatting on the phone and Chris immediately hopped on Amazon to order it. the next morning Zach and Jody Gray wrote about it on their blog and i knew it was going to be a good read. “Work is not a curse of God but one of the benefits of walking in His will. Finding the work you love is not a self-serving goal; it is a required component of fulfilling our true calling.” “The fruits of a fulfilling life-happiness, confidence, enthusiasm, purpose, and money-are mainly by-products of doing something we enjoy, with excellence, rather than things we can seek directly.” If you love, absolutely love what you are doing, chances are excellent that you will succeed.”Dr Thomas J Stanley “The work of our hands and of our minds is acted out prayer, a love offering to the living God.”Richard Foster “To work is to pray.” -St. Augustine “When you get to heaven, God is not going to ask you why you weren’t more like Mother Teresa. He’s likely to ask you why you weren’t more like you. Your responsibility and source of real freedom and success is to discover who you are.”

Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
Mark & Grace Driscoll- chris and i have been reading this book together at night since we were married. it has become and special part of our day that we both look forward to. “Friendship is an integral part of a truly Christian marriage and a safeguard against emotional adultery.” “Perhaps the only major Christian theologian to speak much about friendship was Augustine (AD 354-430) ‘To make conversation, to share a joke, to perform mutual acts of kindness, to read together well-written books, to share in trifling and in serious matters, to disagree though without animosity-just as a person debates with himself-and in the very rarity of disagreement to find the salt of normal harmony, to teach each other something or to learn from one another, to long with impatience for those absent, to welcome them with gladness on arrival.'”

we had no idea

one of the great things about moving to a different state is going through old boxes. in an attempt to organize my life i found myself on our living room floor one evening with my bin of scrapbooking stuff sprawled out everywhere (yes, I have a massive scrapbooking bin… no i have never actually scrapbooked. truth.). i found random pictures through the bin, from moments i wanted to remember, to moments im now grateful i didnt waste time scrapbooking. in the midst of all the randomness i found her photo. it was from her senior year of high school and on the back she had written me a little note. after reading it i quickly snapped a photo of it and sent it her way. she commented on her stellar denim outfit that was oh so stylish her senior year, and then in words that bring tears of joy and gratitude to my eyes, she wrote “i had no idea back then just how much we’d walk through together:)”

i had no idea back then that she would be the one to walking me through my first days as a new follower of Jesus, through the break up of my live in boyfriend, to asking where to start in reading my bible daily.

i had no idea back then that she would be the one that i would go to with my thoughts, concerns and need for accountability in areas i struggled.

i had no idea back then that she would be the one to lead me through one of the most intensely amazing years of my life as i went through lit.

we had no idea back then that i would stand by her side on her wedding day as she commited her life to her best friend.

we had no idea back then that she would giggle and laugh with me as i told her about my crush on my hubby.

we had no idea back then that she would be the one i would go to for strength and encouragement as i endured 4 longs months of Chris being deployed.

we had no idea back then that she would stand by my side on my wedding day as i commited my life to my best friend.

and i had no ideaback then that 11 years later i would have the amazing opportunity to photograph her newborn and her growing family.

rachel, there are hardly words to describe the amazing influence you have had in my life. you are an amazing woman and i am so blessed to have been able to do life by your side. you and isaac make the most beautiful couple and little miss phoebe annalise attests to that:) i love you both!

Caleb & Taylor – Engaged – Island Park – Springfield, OR

he had no idea that she had been admiring him from afar, only dreaming of the day that they would get to have a conversation; so when that night came over a year ago, the living room was filled with excitment and anticipation. she laid on the floor with her laptop in front of her, my mom on one side of her and i on the other; little did we know that such an innocent conversation over facebook chat would be the beginning of their lives together. just three days before he would get down on one knee in the parking lot that they first met i had the joy of photographing Caleb & Taylor. while my morning leading up to their shoot was anything but peaceful we had such a great time roaming around Island Park in Springfield, Oregon


life as we knew it

they came into our lives and life as we knew it was no more. suddenly we had toddlers running around, waking up in the middle of the night to a bad dream, and demanding our love and attention at all times. my parents had prayed and prepared for this moment for years but when Mikey and Des arrived in our lives we quickly realized that no amount of preparation could equip us for the reality of having two dependent little ones.

they quickly came into our lives and life as we knew it was no more. and just over a year later they all too quickly left our lives and life as we knew it was no more.

when my parents made the decision to be foster parents it came with years of prayer and months of preparation. they had no idea what they were getting themselves into and had they known, they may not have gone through with it. but they welcomed Mikey and Des with open arms and saw them, not as different or less but as their very own children. they layed down their lives for these two precious hearts, so when they were returned to their parents my parents’ hearts broke. they were losing their children that they had raised, cared for and loved for the past 17 months and they knew that life would never be the same. they had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they started and as they looked back, they wouldn’t have traded one moment of it for the world.

we had the opportunity to take the kiddos to the pumpkin patch in october and am so grateful that i was able to snap some fun photos of our day with them. these little ones will have a special place in our hearts forever. enjoy.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.– Anonymous

daring to dream

as i read her words aloud to my husband it was as though she was speaking directly to my heart. every word, every sentence, every paragraph seemed to put in to words what my heart has been feeling for some time now. i felt so vulnerable and transparent.

“Sometimes we forget, we underestimate and get comfortable with day to day living“, she wrote, “that those urges in us that burn like fire get pushed to the side.”

i find myself constantly struggling with my hearts desires, questioning their logic and whether they will ever come to pass or, as she said it so well, whether they are simply “fantasy or fleeting moments of granduer.” but she went on to remind us that

“the vision and dreams that God has put in you HE has not forgotten about and He doesn’t want you to either. “

we finished reading her blog post and began to allow ourselves to dream, and not simply in our thoughts, where dreams can so easily be overtaken by reason and logic. we typed our dreams out, listing 1 year, 5 year, and life long dreams. some may seem completely unrealistic and all together silly but we dreamed any way, because, as she put it so elequantly,

“God doesn’t place desires in us in vain.  I think He gives us the visions, the eye to see the things that we want because they are within reach and He wants them for us.”