fall

the dixon family

The Dixon's are a young family with a 3-year old and a 1-year old. I remember well what it was like with those ages (since our own little boys are also two years apart and only slightly older), so I was excited to photograph their story. 

When I met with Rhonda before their session, she said she wanted to remember the simple things of what they do in their everyday life. Some of their favorite things to do together involve chasing daddy in the front yard, dressing up as rapunzel (complete with ace bandage as the "hair"), making all sorts of foods from their play kitchen, playing games together, reading stories, and just slowing down to rock the littles to sleep (almost!).

I love including portraits in a story, so we started our time together outside in their gorgeous back yard. Seriously, look at those fall colors! After portraits, I stepped back and let them step into their everyday. When I shoot I try to let families just live, without much prompting or posing from me, and in the end I feel like their story is colorful, beautiful, and filled with memories unique to them. I just love watching families do their everyday together. I know how quick this season is with children, and I know how quickly we forget some of their favorite things. What a blessing it is to me to be able to document a glimpse of their life. 

Thanks Dixon family for such a great story, and for being such awesome clients! 

Monday's musings

Last week I intended to post on Monday, but plans changed when I woke up that morning feeling much less that 100%. Not what I had planned for. Of course sickness never is a planned thing. It comes up and interrupts your life, unwelcome and unwanted. 

I was frustrated to be sick! Again, I didn't have time! It was one of my busiest weeks, I had several things planned and slowing down was not on my agenda. 

However, even in the midst of all that I had much to be grateful for. 

Grateful. 

This word comes up a lot these days, especially since it's November. A time when all sorts of great ideas pop up on Pinterest of daily things you can do to remember what you are grateful for.  They are a little overwhelming, so for my own sake (sanity) I avoid Pinterest these days. 

I want to cultivate grateful hearts in our children. I really do. But I have found it stresses me out when I'm rigid with implementing something that is just too time intensive with little ones. I am doing well to stick to the basics these days. Meeting the needs of my family, praying with them and for them, tending to the house, finishing our homeschool work and then just having fun! Those seem like pretty quiet, ordinary days, but the lessons learned and taught in between the hours of morning and night in our home are so full. I love this season and I realized today that I have been most ungrateful for it. 

The Lord is gentle to bring reminders that need to be big and BOLD in my life. But He's not big and bold to me. He's loving, kind, gentle, and quiet. 

I journaled a note to myself recently that said, "He speaks the loudest when I'm quiet."

Knowing His voice has been something that He's been teaching me. 

It's beautiful. It's loving and it's kind. It's a voice that knows my name, that calls to me to come and worship, to lay down my burdens and to praise Him. 

I was going to share some photos from the past couple weeks, but I opted instead to share this photo. Because it reminds me of what I'm grateful for.  (read below for more of the story)

Our life

My friend Andrea came over this past weekend to teach me how to make a very special swiss bread that she makes every Christmas. It was something her mom showed her, and something she has enjoyed for years. Teaching me a baking skill and sharing the afternoon and evening together on a rainy Saturday was the best way to spend a day. We mixed, kneaded, drank hot beverages, sketched, talked and talked, and shared what the Lord was doing in our own lives. It was wonderful. 

I was planning to share the bread-making process, but as I sat and looked at this photo I was reminded of how grateful I am. There are things in this photo that remind me that I am loved and I am thought of. The pumpkin on the sill is from my mother-in-law, the plant from a dear friend, the rose from my sweet family, the washcloth (barely seen) is from another dear friend who made them for me, and my friend Andrea in the center of it all. Blessing me with her time, her friendship, and her encouraging heart and spirit. 

I don't take the time to sit and look at photos with a grateful heart, taking time for the details. I often just look for the main thing and move on. But God is so detailed in our lives, caring for us in all the little places we don't let everyone see. Kind of like this picture. He's tending to my heart. He's working, and I forget that until I look back and look over what He has done.

I hope you find time to just sit and thank Him. To praise Him for what He is doing, for what He has done. And to ask Him to change you to have a heart of gratitude, not just for November, but for life.

Scripture. 

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. John 10:1-4

And just in case you wanted to see the finished bread, here you go.

P.S. It was amazing!




Monday's musings

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain pitter pattering on the roof. I had every intention of getting up early, and starting a good pattern for the week. Goals.

I had some great goals.

But the warmth of our cozy bed, ugh. My first goal went right out the door. 

However, I DID manage to get up earlier than our boys and that was still progress. Quiet time without dividing my time and attention between our boys was a really great start to this dark and dreary Monday. 

I wanted to post some musings in the interest of being intentional and sticking to a Monday post (remember, I have GOALS my friends). 

Our life.

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Jonah's birthday by taking a trip to an apple orchard. We did the same thing last year and because it was such a great day, we decided to dub this a tradition that needed to happen in our family. This year we invited our good friends and my in-laws along. It was a really perfect fall day with cooler temps and sunshine mixed with clouds. Our friends have 3 little boys, and with our 2 added into the mix, it was a lot of fun to watch them pick apples. I love visiting apple orchards and eating apples right off the tree; the crisp, sweet taste of fresh apples cannot be beat. Our takeaway was about a bushel of apples, because I decided to pick up a bag of "seconds" (already picked, bruised apples) with our own bag we had picked. Of course we picked up some apple cider donuts as well and we added in a whole basket of tomatoes that they sold in their market. It was a good food haul! Here we are weeks later and still enjoying the fruit of our labor. Apples for days and days! Here are some favorite photos from our trip!

apple orchard_jonahsbday_14.jpg

We had a blast celebrating Jonah's special day. Plus, we even have a family photo together! (thanks Erin!)

Scripture.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-11)

There is so much wisdom in this passage, but a couple thoughts that struck me while reading through it. The unlikely are mentioned. The ones you wouldn't think would really need a special blessing. Like those that mourn. 

We've had our days of mourning, following the loss of our third wee baby this past July. But it says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." While discussing this in my core group at Bible study, one lady mentioned something I found encouraging. She said that she wanted to start praying the blessing on those that the verse was mentioning. As in mourning, to pray for them to be comforted. I guess I had never really thought about praying the ending for the ones mentioned in the beginning. Thinking through all the different types of people mentioned in this passage, I started to think through particular people that would fit those descriptions. It's not hard to think of those that are mourning. I've seen many women walk through suffering in mourning. I love praying specific scripture for others and here is just one more way to do that. I am determined to start doing this in my prayer life. 

Readings.

I read this post this past week and it was again timely for me. I find myself feeling discontent at the lot God has given me, and question if it's good. Is it really good where I am? This post was shared with me a couple months ago, and at the time I didn't fully get where the author was coming from. The second time I read it, I did. It was a great encouragement and a good reminder to be thankful for where I am and what He has done for me and given me (my lot). 

Here's the post by Loving my Lot: 3 things to tell yourself when others prosper and you suffer

Happy rainy Monday friends!

fall portraits

I love taking portraits of our boys. Especially at this time of year when the weather is calling us to be outdoors, all the time! I decided to try my hand at something different  (not new by any means) for their portraits and went with this. I love their little profiles. They still have a round baby-ness to their faces that I just want to keep forever! Can you guess who is who?

As with any creative, I feel a bit like I go through phases of feeling inspired, feeling uninspired and feeling like I don't have time to be inspired. Ever been there? I've been thinking about this  for some time, and I recently brought it up amongst my friends when we met for coffee. They are really encouraging to me and sharpen me in my walk with the Lord, for which I am so very grateful. Amongst them though we all possess different gifts, and all of us are creative. I know this is a post for another day, because I am still praying through some ideas that our coffee chat stirred up in me. But what I can say is that it's okay to have seasons of not pursuing every talent and gift you've been given. Especially in a busy season of caring for little ones. I think the best thing you can do is slow down and learn all you can from the Lord to be the best mom and wife He want's you to be. And you know, this may not mean putting off the inspiring things that make you passionate, it may just mean repurposing them in new ways. Using them in your everyday. That's where I feel I am at this point and I'm thankful for what the Lord is teaching me here.