portraits

baby susanna

I love newborns. 

Even more so, I love shooting a photo story of a newborn! When it's a first-time parent, it's neat to watch them adjust to having a baby in their home and in their life. When it's a second-time parent, or third or fourth, there is a change. A calmness, a more relaxed approach to welcoming a newborn into their home. I love watching parents in either of these stages, because it reminds me of my own experience of becoming a mom. It's a very special time that goes by so quickly (even quicker the second time), but having those first days documented are something that you will cherish in the months ahead. 

You forget the lack of sleep, the continual feedings, the first days of seeing your children bond, and the smallness of what a newborn feels like. 

When Kelly asked me to do their newborn session for Susanna, I was so excited! I had done their newborn session for their firstborn, Judah, and I knew that with a baby girl in their family it was going to be a very sweet change for them. I love their family, and I love their cute little kiddos. They are clients who we now consider to be friends and it was an honor to capture some of Susanna's first photos. Thanks Kelly, Jack, Judah and Susanna!

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!




Every perfect gift. A story of miscarriage and healing.

I started dabbling in hand lettering at the beginning of the year. I had been growing interested in it, so Jonah gifted me with some supplies for Christmas. I had no idea if I would stick with it—because I'm creative I tend to be interested in several things at once! But to my surprise I really enjoyed it and continued to work on it regularly, to grow into my own style. 

I still have MUCH room for improvement and much to learn, but after all these months I am really loving hand lettering. So much so, that I've begun selling pieces in my etsy shop, the itsy bitsy store

Around the time I started lettering, I also started journaling, and this became such a great place of growth in my personal journey with the Lord. Scriptures, songs, quotes and words were all written down in page after page. It became such a great habit to write in prayer to the Lord, that I'd often wake up with a verse or song on my mind that I would journal about. It was a wonderful, encouraging season, rich with growth.

This past summer, Jonah and I had a great loss that we kept pretty private. We walked through a miscarriage that was terribly painful. It was a shock, as I'm sure it is to any parent, and it was heart wrenching to say goodbye to our child that we had just begun dreaming for.

Looking back I can see how much the Lord had His hand on me, on us, leading up to that season of grief. I have journals filled with so many words from Him. I am so very thankful that God sees before us and knows what is to come. He was not surprised by the grief we experienced, and He did not once leave us. As He has promised, He will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)

Before our miscarriage, I had been surrounded by women who had walked down this road of grief. I had prayed for them faithfully and encouraged them with scripture as the Lord graciously gave me verses for them. Praying a certain scripture for someone is powerful and encouraging, and I love holding on to His promises this way. 

One day, not long after our miscarriage, I was praying and had an idea for a gift for one of my dear friends who was expecting her rainbow baby (a pregnancy following a loss). There are a lot of ugly feelings that come with grief and loss, and I wrestled with many of them. Thinking of this gift was something that I felt the Lord laid on my heart, as it was a difficult thing for me to even think of newborns, let alone make gifts for them. 

But I pursued it, trusting that He would be faithful to help me fulfill it if it was from Him.  

He was faithful to provide the means to fulfill this idea, and in a few weeks time I was able to create and finalize this gift, this small idea that beautifully illustrates the Father's love for us. 

It was an incredibly healing and exciting walk to follow where I felt the Lord leading, to make these little gifts using His words, His scripture, on them.

These are the gifts. 

They are onesies that have a screen print of a hand-lettered scripture I had been praying for in each recipient's life. Each belonging to a mother, each a unique story of joy, and some of grief.

For each woman that received one, I had been praying with them through their own journey in motherhood. In that prayer time I had been given these verses for each one, and I did not ever think I would be somehow giving them the scripture in this tangible way. I never expected to be on the other side of miscarriage like some of them are. But here I am. Seeing how God can bring good out of a sad, dark place. A place where I couldn't see any beauty. And He gave me this. Reminders of the past wrapped up in hope for the future. It's humbling to be shown His beauty in this way.   

If you would like a screen printed onesie with scripture made, I am adding them to my shop. What a joy it is to me to create these. Know that I will be praying that scripture over your life or the life of your child.  

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24) 

To visit my etsy shop, you can head here: the itsy bitsy store

 

*If you would like to read more of my thoughts as we walked through miscarriage, head over here.*

 

 

 

 

 

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.