Monday, March 12, 2018

Sweet Love | Caitlinn & Sean

Every couple has their own love language. Truly the thing I love most about engagement photography is that in a way I get to see a real love movie played out right in front me.

I simply hold the camera in my hands and before I begin to direct certain actions... I linger and wait a bit to see how the couple interacts with eachother. 

I wait for those in between forehead kisses, playful twirls, and sweet glances at one another.

I didn't have to do much directing with Caity and Sean.

The way that they easily laughed with eachother, went along with my ridiculous jokes, and naturally posed before I told them anything... made them an absolute joy to be around. 

Their love was natural, playful and totally adorable.

I asked Caity what was her favorite thing about Sean and she said,

"I love that he can make me laugh all of the time. I could be having the most terrible day, and Sean will say a few words to me, and it will make me laugh. He knows what to say to cheer you up."

I asked Sean the same thing, he looked at her, caressed her cheek and smiled.

"I love everything about her. But I love her eyes and that she always puts a smile on my face."
And then the world melted. Just kidding... but isn't that THE simplest and loveliest way to describe someone you love? I told you they're adorable. ;)

Caity and Sean are huge hockey fans and love to go watch the games together. They changed into their favorite NJ Devils jerseys and even heel clicked for me at the end of the shoot. 

Now that's an A++++ in my book ;)

Caity and Sean, thank you so much for allowing me to photograph your love. You had me laughing the entire time behind my camera! I wish you endless joy... and most of all laughter, always laughter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

You're An Overcomer

// Thoughts on bullying during heartbreaking times. //

Dear You,

Have you ever been bullied as a child or perhaps felt left out or teased as you got a little older?

The word "bully" has almost become taboo in our day and age.

It's also a very hot topic, considering all of the heartbreaking situations that have been going on around our nation lately in schools.

It's tragic, and to be honest no one should ever have to live through their school experience with such horrid memories.

But we live in a fallen world.

I feel as if everyone at some point in their lives is made fun of or felt left out.

Yes, it begins as early as a 4-year-old child in pre-school (I've seen it first hand). But the sad fact is that it continues on even as adults. It's just polished up a bit.

I would know because I too was one of them. I've been the target of name-calling, and avoiding hallways and classes, lunchrooms, and the much-dreaded recess time was part of my routine when I was younger.

And truthfully it hurt even more because I was quiet and didn't know how to stand up for myself. I hated confrontation and I still do.

I remember the feeling of my stomach twisting itself into knots when the person would hit me with their punch lines... and I would just stand there awkwardly looking away or barely whispering back a few words.

True story: In the 6th grade I'd hide away at the back of the school blacktop by the stairs, waiting for my mom to come pick me up and drive me around to talk to me just so I didn't have to be alone during recess. She was the best.

As I got a little older, I would just avoid and ignore. But it still hurt.

I never really understood why people have the need to comment or push others around.

Today it's been updated by using social media as a means to ridicule someone publicly.

But here's the thing my Mom would tell me that gave me hope: It's not going to be like this forever. This moment in time will pass as everything does, and it will be okay. YOU will be okay.

I carried that with me and I never changed myself to act the same way back.

The truth is there will always be people that bring you down no matter what age... because we live in a fallen world. 

There will always be people that think you're odd because you're different or don't engage in certain conversations or activities.

The thing is that behavior is a reflection of who they are... not you.

But here's what they fail to tell you: it will not be like this forever.

There are so many teenagers and young kids and even adults that believe this lie that their life will always be like this, so there's no point.

No point in going on another day. No point in resisting. No point in having hope.

Don't believe it!

There are so many beautiful and wonderful things planned out for your life... this moment that you're going through will only be a memory someday. It's a promise that's been made to us.

Take it from a girl that thought she would always be the one without a voice... the girl that would go home with tear-filled eyes and held on to the very truth that it would all be okay someday.

The one thing you need to remember is that no matter what anyone tells you: YOU ARE LOVED.

You are not loved for the group of people you associate yourself with... you are loved by the person you were created as.

You are not loved for what you do... You are loved by what Jesus did for you.

You are not loved by your social, financial, relationship status or by how many likes and followers you have on Instagram ... you are loved by the God of the universe that existed before any of those things did.

You were fearfully and wonderfully made.
{Psalm 139:4}

God never said we wouldn't have trouble. But He did promise us if we hold onto Him during these times, we would make it through.

There will always be mean people. But in those times let us remember, that hurt people hurt people.

Unhappy people hurt people.

But the thing is... they're just people.

And they need love just as much as you and I do.

God forgave me... so I need to have the strength and courage to forgive others too.

You will get through these mountains.

You will get through this period in your life.

There will be a better tomorrow.

And one day you'll have the heart and courage to pass on the words of hope to someone else that may need it too.

Hold your chin up high.

The world needs you. Right here. Right now.

You don't change the world by being just like it... you change the world by being a light in the midst of the darkness.

Below is one of my favorite encouraging songs from Mandisa, I hope it encourages and reminds you that you too are an overcomer.

With hope and courage,

// You're an overcomer
Stay in the fight 'til the final round
You're not going under
'Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it's hopeless
That's when he reminds you
That you're an overcomer
You're an overcomer...//

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Perfect Love Story

Valentine's Day.

It's one of those holidays that people love or hate. Truthfully I've always loved it because working with children gives it a different meaning altogether.

It's about hugs and being best friends and chocolate candies and handing out cute little dinosaur and princess Valentine cards.

But as you get older, this sudden pressure comes upon us. It sort of starts in middle school with the carnation sales. Even if you don't really want to take part... you can't help but feel affected by it.

The quest of finding someone with all of these "perfect" attributes that we have on our check off list begin to add up.

So we place all of this pressure on ourselves or the person we're with. We place our whole identity in them.

Then that person disappoints us. We disappoint them. A marriage falls apart.

So we take off and look for that "spark" that makes us feel alive again in another person.

And then we come back around to where we started, realizing that person didn't have it either.

Does this mean we're doomed? Of course not, and here's why.

A few months ago we lead a bible study and picked out verses, wrote them in cards and sealed them. I prayed over them that whoever would get that verse truly needed it in their life. And then we handed them out to the girls attending.

The verse I got?:

// But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. // Matthew 6:33

A few months passed, and this verse started to dwell on me. This all ties in I promise.

Here we are trying to find the perfect guy or girl and honestly go to all costs to find them.

We date around, read magazines, watch movies made about our perfect "soul mate"... did you forget about Bella and her unhealthy obsession for Edward?

Then they leave. Or maybe we leave.

We convince ourselves something is wrong with us so we either cry and walk around like we never had a life before they came into the picture, or we on a go on party rampage pretending that person never existed and recite the whole "I don't know need anyone to make me happy" line. 

And then it dawned on me.

That person we're looking for doesn't exist. Nor will they ever.

We all have a "hole" in our hearts aching for that perfect love. And that's why we're all on the search to fill it.

We wait and go from person to person, but then realize no one fits and that hole is drained just like it was before. 


Because that hole was never meant for just anyone. We're trying to fill it with a person that's less than perfect when it was meant for Jesus himself.

He 's the perfect love story. The one that'll never leave you, the one that waits for you even when you throw an adult tantrum that you know no one will put up with.

Because a person cannot fulfill that list you have your mind. We're giving away the role to someone that can't do it.

I can't fill it for someone and neither can you. Nor can't your mom or dad, brother, sister or best friend.

But that's okay. That verse and its promise covered me like a blanket on a cold day.

That my heart belongs to Jesus first, and then everything else after.

And then all of the anxiety I held in my mind and churning stomach was put to ease.

So I'm not supposed to find perfection in a person? Nope. I'm not supposed to be perfect? Nope. 

Jesus asks us to give ourselves to Him first. Give Him your time, job, dreams, etc... and then everything we ever wanted that He knows is good for us.... He'll take care of.

I hope you have beautiful Valentine's Day. But most of all I hope you know that it's okay if you're still stuck in the in-between.

Sometimes the best time is the in-between.

That's when God takes our hand and shows us what we've been missing out on all along. What our hearts really yearned for.

Because His love is perfect. And your love story is waiting to be written... just give it to Him and you'll see. <3