personal

strawberry picking

Country life. I grew up in upstate NY where the dairy farms are a plenty, and I was submerged in country life. I have memories of fields being sprayed with manure (yes, it smelled foul), cows escaping their fences, ice cream stands that gave you the best heaped cones of goodness for cheap, acreage to explore and neighbors that lived a bike ride away. 

When I married Jonah we started our life together near Atlanta. And we lived in the suburbs. A big adjustment from my country days. And I was okay with that!  It was exciting to build a life with Jonah (and still is!).

But as the years have gone by and we've added two little boys to our home, priorities have changed. Now I crave the open fields, and land to roam on. I look forward to having acreage to plant our own produce, and maybe even have some chickens. I love to be outdoors and I love letting our boys just be boys outside, in the dirt. 

So when we had two opportunities to pick strawberries this spring I was thrilled! I felt at home in the strawberry fields in a small way. Strawberries are a sentimental reminder to me of my late grandma. My grandparents had fields of berries that they harvested, and I remember driving with my mom and sisters to pick them. I wish I had paid more attention back then to what it took to actually grow them. I only remember the yummy berries themselves and the sweet strawberry jam my mom would make. I am so glad we were able to take our boys to do something I have childhood memories of. 

 

 at home in the country!

at home in the country!

its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living, northern ga
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living

Jonah loves strawberries. Shortcake, ice-cream, cobbler, whatever it may be. I love them too, but the taste of the strawberries in the stores are just not the same. I have told him this, probably every time we buy strawberries. Farm fresh berries are So Different. When we arrived at the fields and started picking I was almost afraid to bite into one because in my mind I had the memory of how sweet they had tasted from my grandparents farm. Would if I was wrong? 

its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living

Let me tell you. A warm sun ripened berry picked right of the vine is F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C. It really does not compare to the ones picked and shipped in the grocery store. It was a sweet (literally) reminder to me of berries from my childhood days. I'm so thankful we were able to let our boys experience this too. It was neat to see where they were grown!

its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living

Perhaps one day we will have a bigger patch of our own strawberries in our back yard. Right now we have a small 3'x2' patch that continues to spread each year. It was a great picking experience this year and I think we will head back next year. Or maybe we'll wait for blueberry season! 

its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living

born to be a mama

I know a lot of women that are born mamas. As in, the moment they could hold a doll they would naturally mother her and take on the role of a mama without any training or direction. It was just God-given. The same tiny girls grew up with dreams of having their own children to nurture and love. 

I remember playing with dolls with my sisters when I was little. Cabbage Patch dolls and life-like baby dolls were my favorites. We'd name them, dress them up, put real Pampers diapers on them, and play house. Those years feel like a million years ago some days! But even back then I was never one to dream of a houseful of my own children. Playtime was just that—I'd play, then put the babies down and move on.  Being the youngest in our family probably had an influence on that. Since I was the baby I didn't know what it was like to have a real baby to hold and nurture. So I never really dreamed about having a bunch of my own babies. I dreamed of marriage and family, but not too quickly on the baby part!

Fast forward years ahead to when Jonah and I found out we were expecting our first baby. Wow! What a terrifying day! I honestly was scared, fearful of being a mom. How did I know anything about motherhood? About pregnancy? About labor and delivery? It was thrilling and fearful and yet one of the best gifts God has given us.

motherhood, newborn, itstheeveryday

The real labor was not physically giving birth to this tiny child. It was giving myself to be a mom. To care for another helpless human being, to provide what they need, and tirelessly give and give selflessly was the ultimate testimony of laying down your life. And it was by choice, and with my whole heart. 

The day I found out I was expecting was the beginning of a work in me that God knew I needed. He was breathing desires into me, weeding out selfishness, and molding me to be who He wanted me to be. And I am so thankful for His love, and pursuit of me. 

motherhood, baby, newborn, first mama
itstheeveryday photography
newborn, motherhood, first mama, its the everyday photography

I didn't know quite how much I was not in control until I had children. Our first experience with pregnancy and delivery and newborn days and all the things you learn along the way stretched me and made me search out God for answers. What now Lord? What's the best choice Lord? What in the world are we doing Lord? How thankful I am that HE is in control and reminded me of this. His plan for us is so much greater than what we can think up on our own. (Ephesians 3:20)

By the time we welcomed our second son, my heart was different from our first birth. The fears and inadequacies I experienced were gone. We were more relaxed, and so incredibly eager to welcome this new baby home. What a work the Lord was doing in me (in us both)! I had learned at this point to just trust the Lord—for delivery, for details, for all the things we did not have control of—and it was amazing. It was a peace-filled few weeks after our second son was born. 

motherhood, newborn, second born, its the everyday photography
motherhood, itstheeveryday photography
 surreal. it's always surreal during those first moments after birth with a warm tiny being beside you.

surreal. it's always surreal during those first moments after birth with a warm tiny being beside you.

It's been an incredible thing to wear this mantle of motherhood and I can look back all those years ago and see that I was indeed born to be a mama. The desire that God planted in me grew with each child and it continues to shape me now. I'm in the middle of little years, on the verge of being through with toddlerhood and, even in the past year of grief, I am thankful for the little gifts God has given us. Thankful for the heart that has been changed through these babies. Thankful that God has given me a passion for being a mama but more so to serve the Lord in every area of my life. I am not perfect by any means; I fail all the time. But one thing I do know is that in all the work of being mama, there is nothing more sanctifying. I get to serve the Lord by raising my family! What an incredibly amazing gift! I can't believe I have the privilege of doing this! 

its the everyday photography

With all that said, I love encouraging mamas in their own stories. I love cheering them on and praying for them and walking alongside them in support. 

And finally, with the realization of where my heart is, I am formally making a shift in my photography to focus on motherhood! I can relate the most to this, as I wade through it myself with God's grace each day. I am excited to take on your stories, and photograph what motherhood looks like to you. 

While I will not be an exclusive motherhood photographer, I am eager to grow in the place God has given my heart a passion for. To see stories of other mamas and to encourage them in the process, this is my hope and desire. 

I am looking forward to sharing more of my own stories that I shoot regularly as our own everyday here at home. But if you would like to book a session, I'd love to sit and chat with you over a cup of coffee to know more of what motherhood is to you.

You can contact me here for more info.

Until then, be blessed my friends, wherever you are in your own journey that the Lord is carving out for you.  

 

the best day (mother's day)

I can't say that this year Mother's Day was something I was excited about. 

Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for our two boys. SO thankful! What a great privilege and honor it is to be given children to raise up. God has given us two little gifts that we treasure. But this Mother's Day we were also remembering the two babies that God gave us for a short time. The two that are now in heaven, perfect and whole with Him. They are having the best Mother's Day and I can't wait to see their faces one day. What a great hope it is to think of the day we see our Savior and loved ones!

But there is a sadness that comes with the loss of those little babies. And it hangs onto our hearts, like a tiny little pinecone that is rooted to it's tree. 

cloudland canyon, national park, outdoors, mothers day, www.itstheeveryday.com, story photography

It's hard to rejoice on this day as we also remember the two that are not here. I know that it's getting easier for us as each day passes. Healing is like that. And perhaps next Mother's Day will be a little easier than this one. But for this day, Jonah asked what I'd like to do. Anything special? 

Honestly I wanted to avoid the recognition and ceremony that is the norm for the day. I wanted to be as far from crowds and cheerful wishes from those that meant well, because I wanted to just quietly remember and feel what the day meant. It meant thankfulness for our children. The ones here, the ones in heaven. Thankfulness for this role as a mom. What a heavy, joyful gift it is. And to reflect back on the One that sees our hearts. To spend a little time in worship to Him, our Maker, our Giver of good and perfect gifts. To praise Him for His faithfulness, His relentless pursuit of us, His heart that is for us and with us. I wanted to go somewhere peaceful, and see beauty. 

And so our adventure began. Jonah was thrilled to learn that I wanted to go visit a state park near us (well, within a few hours). A place where we could hike, picnic, and see waterfalls. Going on an adventure felt like the perfect way to spend this day. 

So on Mother's Day, after I was woken up to be led on a search for cards the boys had made and "hidden" for me, I was treated to breakfast and then we packed up and headed out to Cloudland Canyon. Jonah packed us a picnic lunch that we took along with us. It was a great start!
 

cloudland canyon, north georgia, its the everyday, photography, motherhood, mothers day
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography

After a couple hours we arrived, and the gorgeous weather kept it nice and cool as we hiked. It was beautiful up there in the mountains and our hike took us to one of the first waterfalls. The boys were so great the whole time, hiking right along with us, exploring all the trees, sticks, rocks, caverns and weird bugs along the way. 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography
 beauty. there is always something beautiful that God has made right in front of us!

beauty. there is always something beautiful that God has made right in front of us!

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography

We stopped at the first waterfall and dipped our hands in the water, rested on the rocks and admired the vastness, the sound, and the isolated beauty of it. 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfalls
 so thankful for these men!

so thankful for these men!

After a break we continued on to the next waterfall. A little more crowded, and set away from us thanks to a bridge. But thanks to my adventurous husband we found another waterfall not far from it that we could literally put our feet in and sit by for lunch. It was something to sit by the roar of water, dip your toes in the frigid cold and eat your lunch, with the sun shining down on you. What a wonderful memory together. 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall, hiking
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall
 eating lunch with our toes in the water. what a wonderful memory with the boys!

eating lunch with our toes in the water. what a wonderful memory with the boys!

 thankful.

thankful.

After lunch we waded a bit in the water, watched a dog nearby slip and fall from a small overhang into the water (yikes! he was fine!), and hiked a bit around the fall, under a cavern, and as close as we could to the falls. It was neat to explore the rocks, see some weird crustaceans (crawfish maybe?), and feel the dripping water above us from the rocks. We took some shots, and allowed our five year old to man the camera to take one of us. To our surprise he did great! 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall, adventure
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall

We were blessed with a peaceful, adventurous, amazing afternoon. And on the way home we stopped by a local strawberry farm to pick several pounds of warm, sun-ripened berries and enjoy homemade ice-cream. It was a perfect ending to our day! I am so grateful for the family God has given me. For this role as a mother. For the pain of the past year that has made me appreciate the gifts we have even more. For what God has been speaking into my heart, for how He's made me mother a little different, a little more intentionally, and a little more focused. My heart is changed even more with each child, and I pray it's being shaped and molded to be more like His. We needed a day like this, and I am so very grateful for this, the very best day. Which as it turns out, was Mother's Day after all. 

 this life, this adventure together. is there anything greater?

this life, this adventure together. is there anything greater?