Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: The Year of Grace

Well, here we are. It seems the end of the year arrives way too quickly, and I find myself sitting in front of my laptop again in my dining room, with a blank look. 

I'm waiting for the right words to come to mind, that could somehow summarize all of the events that have happened in the entirety of 365 days. 

While many try to only highlight the most amazing things and erase the not so good that has happened... I'm choosing to see how the not so good things played a really important role in how it has strengthened me and my relationship with God. 
Truthfully, 2018 you were a year full of leaps and really hard trials. 

And as a result of those leaps and trials, many tears--- both of joy and sadness were shed.

Now that I think about it, there's one thing that I kept praying to God. I told Him, 'God I'm choosing to trust You, whatever comes... let it be what You want, for my good and Your glory.' 

// And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. // Romans 8:28

When I couldn't wrap my brain around why certain situations were happening in my life, why things were going a certain way... I remembered what I had said.

Through my tears of confusion...  the enemy was always there to remind me that if God loved me, this wouldn't have happened. 

And that's when I reminded him, that God's grace is sufficient for me. That when I vowed to follow Jesus for the rest of my life, I vowed that whatever may come my way and that God would allow... I would stick by Him no matter what. 

// But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. // 2 Corinthians 12:9

I reminded him that I knew, even if I didn't understand it right now, what he had intended to break me... God would use even that for my good. 

// But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. // Genesis 50:20

I was baptized this year and finally let go of that fear of proclaiming I will follow Jesus for the rest of my life. 

We began a girls bible study group: The Truth Tribe, and I have continued to grow in God's Word. Our friendship and honest talks with one another continues to lift me up. It reminds me how much we need each other and that we're never alone.    

I got to be part of one of my childhood friend's wedding. It was a reminder of how beautiful it is to grow together in life's many seasons. 

I've had the opportunity to meet and photograph beautiful people and their families. 

And I've learned that it takes real grit to stand up for what you believe in in this life... even when it means that most of the world is running the opposite direction.

But the most valuable thing I can say I've learned is this: Forgive

It's really hard to understand why people (including ourselves) do the things we do... but we need to learn to forgive and let go in spite of it all. 

We need to love when it's really hard to love. 

We need to pray when the feeling isn't there. Because we truly underestimate the power of prayer. God has shown me that this year. 

Prayer and love cuts through the hardest of hearts. 

We need to remember we're not each other's enemies. When we can truly learn to forgive, that's when things will begin to change in our lives. I believe more than anything God can do that for anyone that has a willing heart. 

I'm so grateful for the friendships I've made this year, the people that continue to love me and lift me up, the clients who continue to entrust me with their beautiful memories, and for the opportunities of growth I've had. 

Finally, thank you for taking the time to read these words. I pray they bring you hope and more than anything point you to Jesus, the One who continues to love us more than we deserve. 

In 2019, may we be braver than we think we are. 

May we speak for the Truth. 

May we have the courage to follow what's right, and may we love and forgive more than we'd ever thought we were capable of.

Here's to another year full of joy, overcoming, grit, grace, surprises, love, and moments that help us realize we are here for a purpose. 

Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas: The Redeeming Promise

The day grew dark, hope was lost, and what seemed like the perfect world was completely cut off the day Adam and Eve disobeyed and sinned against God. 

But God. 

In order to truly understand the promise given to all mankind from the Creator of all... we must go back to the beginning. 

When the Lord called Abraham, He told him to look towards heaven and count the stars if he could... and that would be how many descendants were promised to him. 

// And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. // Genesis 15:6 

When David was king of Israel, The Lord made him the promise that out of his descendants would a kingdom be established, one that would last forever. 

// He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever. // 2 Samuel 7:13

//  I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men...

And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever. //  

2 Samuel 7:14, 2 Samuel 7:16

The story of Jesus coming as the Saviour of the world is the story of God's promise to restore His relationship which was once broken in the Garden of Eden. 

The Lord always had a plan to restore what had been lost. 

The scriptures are a constant fight of the Lord coming after our hearts, and us rebelling against Him. 

And so the story and scriptures always pointed to one thing: Jesus. 

God could of easily left us and destroyed us. But God's heart is one of grace, and redemption. 

Jesus, God coming down and humbling Himself to live among us... and to then die for what I am, what I did, and do.... that's God extending His hand to me and saying "I love you despite you not deserving this, I forgive you..."

And so during this season, where the word Christmas is often used, I pray you'll come to know the lengths that God went to reach you and me. 

When you hear carols being sung, cards decorated with baby Jesus, the nativity scene... I hope you see that little baby was God wanting to be among us, never to leave us, because for a God so great that doesn't need anything... wanted us. 

But that little baby grew up, and with no fault at all, went to the cross and bled, and paid the brutal price of death for (insert your name).

Because He wanted you to know that He forgives you.

I pray that you accept His gift. I pray you realize anything you've done to anyone or anything... is never too much for His forgiveness. 

And I hope you change your heart and become the person that God always saw you as. 

You are redeemed. You are loved. You are forgiven.

// For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. // John 3:16 

Here is a special video we made for the true meaning of Christmas:

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Z Family | Christmas Session 2018

I love photographing different people I meet, but I also love spending time and getting to talk and laugh with them during their portrait session. I had such a great time with these two cuties, crunchin' in leaves, joking around... the cold didn't phase us at all! Here are my favorites from their portrait session.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Heart full of Praise

It's sort of funny how we dedicate one day a year for thankfulness. Truthfully it should be every day, because we have so much to be thankful for that we probably let slip away and otherwise go unnoticed.

And then I thought, well maybe it's hard. Sometimes people are in a rough season. Maybe this year you lost someone, lost your job, a relationship, your health is not okay, your family isn't on the greatest terms... and you just don't feel there is anything to be thankful for. 

And that's when I realize our lives are going to be filled with seasons of the highest mountains and the lowest valleys. 

Life could change in an instant, and what had been the everyday mundane could quickly become your wishing it back "one more time". 

I went through a few rough hills this year with my family, which could have had a totally different ending had God not been with us the entire time. 

Sometimes you'll feel like there's nothing "good" in your life that you should be thankful for. 

But I encourage you to be thankful anyway. 

Our perception is so thwarted, that we as humans don't often see the blessings around us. 

But God. 

Friend, I want to tell you, you're still here after that valley you trudged through. 

I'm learning that it's through our cracks that God's light and love shines through the most to the world. 

My heart is full of praise, not because my life is perfect... but because Jesus is

Because there will be valleys I must walk through, I praise God for His unending mercy towards me.

I realize how much of a wreck I am every day when I mess up... and when I run to God, He is there to pick me back up again. 

I'm grateful for my family He placed me in. 

The people I have had the opportunity to meet in my life, my wonderful clients who entrust me with their special moments, my talents, my home, who I am, and who I'm becoming. 

Most of all my heart sings praises to the One who gave His all for me. The One who counted me in and loved me as I am. 

I pray this year, you come to the table with a heart full of praise and wish you a beautiful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. 

// I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. // Psalm 9:1

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Z Family | Lifestyle Christmas Shoot

I loved talking about The Incredibles, jumping around leaves and dabbing the whole shoot with these sweet kids. Here is my favorite photos from their Christmas session!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sweet Love | Nicole & John

I always say this, but I really, truly, honestly LOVE photographing couples. It's so much fun to talk with them, laugh, and get to know who they are throughout our entire session. 

I most likely will be talking WAY too much, making funny noises, climbing on tree trunks to get the shot, and completely acting like I have the energy of a 5-year-old running around at recess (as John asked "How many Redbulls did you have today?!!")... I can assure you as I do everyone else, I'm totally fine and just an overly excited person. =P

Nicole and John literally hid their modeling talent from me until they got to our shoot... John, you can now make your modeling portfolio haha! I had so much fun with these two... here are their gorgeous photographs.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The S Family | Lifestyle Christmas Session

I love documenting a family grow through their special seasons in life. This sweet family was full of smiles as we strolled through the park for their Christmas portrait session. These are my favorites from the shoot... enjoy!