Hi friends! It’s been a while since I hopped in on our 10 on 10 blog circle and I wanted to share some of our every day images from this past month. As always, I can’t quite get it down to 10 images so I’m sharing a few extra. Be sure to make your way around the circle and visit Kalajoki Lifestyle Photographer Noemi’s post next.
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Knoxville family photographer
“You are so much sunshine in every square inch.” -Walt Whitman
“May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.” -John O’Donohue
The Geiger family recently became a party of five and we documented their sweet new family on film. Enjoy this little slice of life. <3
“I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.” -Henry David Thoreau
The Baird Family at home on their land. In their own little sweet world. <3
Sometimes it’ just so fun to do something different! So when my client came to me wanting a super simplistic session done all on one wall in their home on film, I was pumped for the challenge. I love that she wanted me to just let things flow naturally and to just capture the kids exactly as is. The best I tell ya.
“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” -L.M. Montgomery
The sweet Bessom Family in fall.
I am so happy I got to catch up with the Kicklighter family this fall and photograph them in downtown Knoxville since it’s been a while since our last session together. Gianna is a super talented photographer herself, check her out here, and she and Pat are sweet friends of ours. It has been such a blessing to see them grow into incredible parents to little Norah. Love you guys so much Kicks! Blessings!
Photographing families at home is one of my favorite things, especially when there’s a new baby there. Congratulations Waring family! Blessings to you 4!
This family. I first met them almost 2 years ago, you can read more about that here. I got to catch up with them this fall and photograph them in their home on film. I found a family that was changed from the first time I’d met them. They’ve clung tightly to each other and to the Lord in such time of uncertainty and it’s been woven into their family. Jenn (who also happens to be an incredibly talented photographer) has truly been an encouragement to me and such an example of faithfulness in the midst of trials. She recently messaged me this scripture and encouragement and I want to share it with you.
“Your bolts and gates shall be iron and bronze AND AS YOUR DAYS, SO SHALL YOUR STRENGTH BE.” Deuteronomy 33:25
“I’m so built up by the idea of God giving us the strength that today requires. Don’t look ahead for tomorrow. Don’t try to draw strength and energy and creativity for a month from now or grace and help for a situation that “could happen.” Grace for today. In copious amounts. Praying this for you today and for me!'“
“Dear Old World, she murmured, you are very lovely and I’m glad to be alive in you.” -Anne of Green Gables- L.M. Montgomery
I had the best time reconnecting with these old friends in one of the most beautiful places on earth on a gorgeous summer morning, while they did what they do best, love one another. Enjoy these sweet photos of our time together.
On our way home from Michigan this summer we stopped by Indianapolis for a family session with the Murphy family. No doubt this is one of the most loving families I’ve ever met. It had been a long time since their family had been in front of a camera and when this beautiful mama and I spoke on the phone she told me it had been too long and that they were in just such a sweet spot in life and she wanted to remember this, no more excuses. I’m so glad we captured this time of them together. No matter the season, it deserves to be remembered. Enjoy this little glimpse of the Murphy family. Blessings.
I met Justyna on IG a couple of years ago, and in February we got to meet in real life at Clickaway conference. If you can believe it, she's an even more lovely person in real life. I had the honor of photographing her beautiful family who came to the conference with her from Canada. They are a family that I could watch all day. The way she and her husband love their children is so beautiful and intentional. I am so grateful that I got to photograph this powerful love.
Ya'll. This is worth your time. This is my very best friend. We have lived a lot of life together. We've been through good and bad, ups and downs and all the in betweens. She's been a constant source of encouragement in my journey through motherhood. A few months ago we met up at a park to let our children play and I was sharing with her about how overwhelmed I felt during this season, and how dry I felt spiritually. She offered up these words to me as the Lord had been revealing this to her heart during a similar season. It ministered to me so much that I asked her to write it down so that I could share it with some images I've taken of her family this past year. I hope it encourages your heart today to "press in" even in seasons that are filled with trials, sleepless nights, overwhelming joy and tears. I'm praying for you mama's that in these times, we press in to Him.
Some girls dream of the day they get to marry the man of their dreams and immediately start having babies. The first part was true for me. And while I knew I would become a mother someday, the latter was nowhere on my radar. I probably took 15 pregnancy tests the first few years of our marriage because I was TERRIFIED of getting pregnant. Alas, a few years went by, and God was drawing out a very intense desire in me to be a mom. When we welcomed our first son, Shepherd, I was hooked. So in love. I just knew God had called me to be a mom and raise my kids. So since He called me to do this, it was going to be easy right??
Our family has grown to a party of 6 these days. And while I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to tailoring these 4 sweet souls, God has been so good and gentle in giving me wisdom. This season of raising children is a tad bit hard at the moment. Okay, it’s really hard. God took me out of the yuckiest, joyless mud pit several years ago, when He was guiding me through scripture about JOY. JOY was my banner raised high for years. Oh how my heart changed! Last summer, I could tell the Holy Spirit was leading my sail into a new season and some uncertain waters.
Life is hard. Period. We are not promised an easy life. We aren’t used to having to get dirty in the trenches. So what do we do when we feel the storms are too big or trials unbearable.
We PRESS IN.
The Lord put those two words on my heart and I immediately went digging into scripture. He lead me to Mark 5: 24-29
24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
My eyes would draw back to those words “came in the press behind.”
Why did she come up BEHIND him? Why was there such a huge crowd around Jesus? How hard was it for her to get to Jesus?
So let me set the stage for you. Jesus was doing miracle after miracle. He had just healed a man that had been possessed by a legion of demons. Before that he had calmed a raging storm just by saying the words “Peace! Be still!”
Mark 4:41 “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Jesus steps off the boat and was surrounded by a crowd and immediately a ruler of the synagogue falls at His feet, begging Him to come to his home and heal his daughter who is sick to the point of death.
The original Greek definition for crowd here means “troops of people gathered together without order.” I imagine total chaos. It’s like a huge celebrity of our time in the midst of a crowd with NO body guards.
Also, the Greek definition for thronged means “to compress, to press hard upon all sides.”
Jesus not only is surrounded by this large, out of order crowd. They are pressing in on him. Hard! On every side of Him. No doubt everyone was trying to touch him and tell him what miracle they needed him to perform. I can’t imagine the desperation of this synagogue ruler as he was leading, almost dragging and pulling on Jesus in the direction of his home.
So then enters this “woman with a discharge of blood for 12 years”...
I gave a lot of thought about her. God had put her on my mind for days. Scripture tells us she had heard the reports about Jesus. Did she travel to see him? How far? We know she had to do some type of travel since she had been ostracized from the community to an area where ceremonially and socially “unclean” people were.
In Levitus 15 it tells us that when it was a “woman’s time of the month” per se, she was considered ceremonially unclean. You could not be touched by anyone during your uncleanliness for 7 days! Yikes! All your clothes, linens and everything you had sat on had to be washed. If anyone, DID touch you, even on accident, they were considered unclean for an entire day and had to wash all thier clothes and go take a bath. Which, for those days, was a big deal to have to do all that. No washer and dryers!
There were also “extra man made laws” that society had made her do. She had to be divorced from her husband, she couldn’t live in her home, and she was shunned from all her friends and family. TWELVE years of this no less. The sad part, it wasn’t anything she could help. And God knows she tried over and over and over to find a cure.
Mark 5: 26
“and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.”
Breaks my heart.
NO HUMAN TOUCH FOR 12 YEARS. I can’t imagine the hopelessness and loneliness she must have felt.
I see her waking up and getting out of her “unclean” bed and putting on her “unclean” clothes and walking out of her “unclean” community, and thinking, “maybe, just maybe this Jesus guy will heal me and I won’t have to come back here EVER.” Off she went, head and face covered.
I wish I had a picture of her seeing Jesus for the first time. She saw Him and instantly knew He was worth the risk. Risking the possibility of death. She knew she would have to TOUCH all those people in the crowd to get to Him. “What if they see me? What if they find out I am ceremonially unclean and realize all they have to do to be considered clean again? They’ll kill me!” Times were much different in those days. The crowd could have very well taken matters into their own hands.
But she risked it all to get to Jesus.
Verse 27 tells us she came in “from behind.” I meditated on this part of the verse for a while. I’m sure she thought,” I can’t let Him see me. I’ll just touch the bottom of his robe and be on my way.” We don’t know how she got through the crowd. But I had such a vivid picture of her taking a deep breath, covering herself and head up really good one last time, and getting on the dirty ground and crawling her way through the crowd.
Getting stepped on. Getting hurt. Getting dirty.
Then…she stretches her arm and fingers out as painful as it would have been, and HE ANSWERED. She risked all. She fought. She believed. She PRESSED IN.
So here I am, sometimes feeling like I’m blindly navigating my way through mothering. Homeschooling. Wife-ing. But God is teaching me that if I PRESS IN, He will answer. He heals my soul of despair. He calms my anxious heart. Listen Mama. There will be times God will call you to do something that seems totally impossible. It will LOOK impossible. You might get dirty. It will take RISK. I’m not sure what that is for you. For me, its raising my children in HIM and continuing to serve others, my husband, and handle the trials and storms that come sweeping in from time to time. So this is me. This is where I am. Feeling the need to PRESS IN to Him, no matter what it takes. Sometimes it won't be easy. Sometimes it's messy, and painful and exhausting, but keep reaching out to Him. Take heart mamas, PRESS IN to our sweet Jesus and He will ANSWER and He will give you rest.
This family is so special to me, because they've been with me from the very beginning of my journey back when their oldest was in her mama's tummy. They were one of my very first clients. So to get to see them every year and watch them grow and see their love expand, well, it just feels like a gift to me.
"In all the world there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world there is no love for you like mine." Maya Angelou
This family is bursting with life and I love spending time with them each time I photograph them. Sharing a few favorites with you from our session this fall. <3
No one has impacted my photographic journey more than this woman. No one. Besides the fact that her work stirs me and inspires me like none other, I have been impacted by her on an even deeper level and for that I am forever grateful.
About 2 years ago I met Joy at her wildflowers workshop and she taught me to examine my work like I never had before. Her mentorship made me want to create art that makes me feel deeply and for it to be used to encourage families in every season, no matter what. She encouraged me in my giftings, helped me to become more observant, to be more vulnerable in my work and to see that each persons version of beauty is different. So, needless to say, when she asked me to photograph her family, I went outside on my front porch and screamed for probably a solid 10 minutes. haha! Because to be able to photograph her was truly, such an incredible honor. It felt like a gift to me. Thank you Joy for pouring into me and so many others. You are something else mama. <3
I am so excited to share this beautiful family session from this summer with you tonight. Excited to share these with you because this is genuinely one of the sweetest families I've ever met but also because this entire session is included in my ClickinMoms breakout, Perfectly Imperfect, which comes out next week December 5th! yay! For the past few months I have been pouring my heart into this project and I can't wait to share it with you. This breakout is an e-learning experience that covers my approach to family photography. Included is a huge pdf with information on how I use light to communicate my vision, creative exercises, how I prepare clients for sessions, what I look for in locations, how to foster genuine connections at sessions and embracing the beautiful imperfections in family photography. There are also 2 behind the scenes shooting videos. One of which is this entire session. You can see and hear me directing this family and it also includes the resulting images including my settings. I have also included a video of me culling this session where I'll tell you why I choose certain images for galleries. Plus editing videos. There are a few bonuses thrown in there for you too!
The live run of my breakout starts next week and runs December 5-20. During that time you have access to a private forum where you can ask me questions for additional learning. I would love to have you! The forum and materials will be available next Tuesday December 5th but you can go ahead and pre-order your copy at this link here. Please let me know if you have any questions at all and I look forward to seeing you in the forum!
I immediately clicked with this sweet family when I photographed them last month. Maybe it was the size and ages of their children, maybe it was the chat that mama and I had about this season of life and how we've had to learn to have so much grace for other mothers, because all these babies in, we've realized we don't have this thing figured out and we definitely need grace ourselves! Either way, I had the best time with their gang.
Mama contacted me wanting to document this sweet spot in their family of 5 before they welcomed their 4th babe and I am so glad I got to spend the evening hanging with them. I wanted to share this before I share their fresh 48 session later this week. Definitely an all time favorite session for me so stay tuned for that...Enjoy!
There is absolutely no place like home. There is no place you're more comfortable and more yourself. I love to photograph clients at home and I loved hanging with this sweet family on a balmy East Tennessee summer night and getting to freeze a little slice of their special place for them. They instantly made me feel comfortable and at home. My favorite kind of people. <3 Enjoy.
This past spring I got to meet and photograph the Japp family. We met up just a couple weeks after they received some of the most difficult news of their lives. They met me because they wanted to document their now. Right now. That night I told them I would love to share their story if they ever felt led. Months later I received a text from Jenn telling me they didn't want this trial wasted and they wanted to share their story so that they could press on to know the Lord more and lay themselves bare to serve other hearts. I hope you'll take the time to read their story. It will leave you with a healthy dose of perspective and encouragement. And I would ask that each and every one of you here please remember them in the days and weeks and months to come in your prayers.
Well, I guess introductions can feel a little awkward but here we are—the Japps! I am Jenn and I met Brendan in college at the University of Tennessee in 2005. Since we were the same major, we were “forced” to spend an abundance of hours together which then became something much more. We became bff’s, drank way too much caffeine so we could stay up “studying” together, poured out our hearts to each other in Hodges library over marketing projects, dreamed overly ambitious naive dreams, saw each others flaws, grazed hands occasionally “on accident”, slowly realized we were each others biggest cheerleader, and watched each other become adults and then one day realized we were the ONLY adults each of us wanted to know, be near, listen to, argue with, drink crappy coffee with, wake up next to, and love forever...and ever and ever. And so it was, we married soon after we graduated on what proved to be one of the hottest days of the year, which now feels completely perfect since we have proven to be quite a fiery mess of mistakes, joy, and hope.
Fast forward to present….We have 4 incredible children. Griffin is 5, Edie Gray is 4, Maddox is 2 and Huck is not quite a year old now. They are so much fun. Our live is FULL. It is abounding in riches that cannot even be described. Our family of 6...it’s what we spent hours talking about, dreaming up and praying for...AND HERE WE ARE. You know how a lot of people spend their entire lives waiting for THAT thing they wanted to see happen….well WE ARE IN IT. We are fully aware that this is IT. We are living it. We are living in the tangible, immeasurable goodness that God has poured out for us. Our cup is overflowing. The cup simply cannot contain anymore. He has lavished us with his gifts and we see them, talk to them and breathe it in every single day.
But, here’s where this story line gets a little complicated, the feathers get a little ruffled and the lens we see life through starts to get a little foggy when stepping outside to see the morning sun. Early in 2017, after I had recovered mostly from a fairly traumatic delivery of Huck, Brendan caught a cold. You know the kind, everyone gets them...all the kids had it and now he did. Except 6 weeks later he wasn’t getting better. He was getting worse and I was growing fearful. So, after seeking out a lot of medical advice and chasing some rabbit trails...Brendan checked himself into the hospital to get some help and some answers as to why he was 31 years old, couldn’t take out the trash, couldn’t pick his kids up out of the bath or walk up our stairs. We could never have prepared for the words that would come out of the doctors mouth on April 13th, 2017. Brendan and I were sitting in a dingy, dark hospital room waiting for test results, with me bouncing an antsy 6 month old Huck, when a doctor walked into our room and changed our lives forever. He told me I needed to sit down or put the baby down. I sat at Brendan’s feet and listened as he slowly explained that although it was rare, it was confirmed that my best friend, the father of my 4 young babies had a late stage incurable form of non-small cell lung cancer. He was crying, I was nauseated, Brendan was encouraging the doctor that our hope is not here but in God and Huck was innocently kicking his little feet against me as our world fell apart. Doctor left, we wept bitterly, and I wanted to scream. We wept for our dreams, our hopes, for fear of the future, in anger, in hatred of this disease and for our love of each other that seemed to be the greatest gift God had every given us. We were AFRAID, full of a type of fear that doesn't just grip your throat but nearly pulls you to the ground in paralysis. Our cup that overflowed seemed to have been turned over and poured out bitterly. The following day we were told that Brendan would need emergency open heart surgery to drain fluid from around his heart OR he would not live to fight the cancer. So, we did the surgery and that was the most terrifying few hours of my life, waiting for him to come out of that OR and hold my hand. But, he did. He made it. It was rough, He was weak but God carried him. The following days and weeks are a total blur. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. We were thrown into a world where we could barely swim. Learning new vocab, understanding where we stood, trying to navigate this NEW life was overwhelming and suffocating. I actually experienced chest pains from the weight of what we were experiencing…..
And now I’m sitting here trying to relay this story 5 months later. Brendan is on a targeted therapy that is currently working well for him. AND NOW, I can look back and see the intimate, detailed way that God provided in our darkest hour. I could type page after page of how I see God gently and strategically orchestrating our lives. Huck was an unplanned pregnancy, his early delivery was HARD (that’s another story) and I experienced postpartum depression afterward. BUT, if we had waited to try to get pregnant in our timing, we would've had a baby right around Brendan’s diagnosis. The postpartum depression was DARK. I have never felt more unlike myself but CHRIST showed me that in my weak dark crumbling moments, he paid a way for me to commune with him. He was STRONG when I was weak. He didn’t need my strength but only my heart. I needed to learn that before walking through this diagnosis.
We have seen God supernaturally direct our relationships with amazing physicians, some of whom spent Sunday evenings in their personal homes on the phone with us giving us guidance on our situation. We have received hundreds of meals and thousands of dollars of groceries. We have been given thousands of dollars to help us during a time where Brendan cannot work and our medical bills are overwhelming. We have been prayed for, encouraged and thought of by so many people that we cannot keep track. Strangers are praying for us on a daily basis. The body of Christ is literally lifting our drooping knees and carrying us before the throne of the Holy God. So, although dark, its been an unusually sweet time to see the intimate care of our Father. Our needs are met. Our tears are comforted by his Word. Our souls are strengthened by hope in Him.
We do not know the future. The odds are NOT in my husband’s favor. We live scan to scan to see what is happening in his body with complete uncertainty. We HAVE NO CONTROL. Prior to Huck’s birth, the Spirit put this verse on my heart and it hangs over my kitchen sink, “And, I will the lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness into light,, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do and I do not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16” And I fully believe the Spirit gave me this verse because God knew I would need this promise to sustain me in the storm. I often feel like we are in a barren wilderness, shaking from malnourishment, afraid of the noises in the distance, shivering from the lack of shelter..but it just isn’t so. My soul, even in the most bitter moments of battling our situation, still wants to attest to the GOD WHO SAVES. God is a God of redemption—beauty from ashes, vegetation from desolate land, hope in the darkness—HE WILL MAKE A WAY. I will praise him when I don’t feel like it. I will pour out my heart before him in all its fear, sadness and grief & he will count my tears in a bottle, bind me up in his arms and cry with me. HE WILL NOT FORSAKE US. HE WILL NOT. So, we will endure. We will ask for the Lord to give us hope, to help us trust Him when the circumstances don’t seem or feel GOOD , we will recount his faithfulness, we will trust his sovereignty and we will SING TO OUR SOULS in the midst of trial and suffering.
In the wise words of Charles Spurgeon, “ When the weather is rough, passengers on a ship can be comforted by the captains calm behavior. One simple-minded soul said, ‘ I am sure there is no cause to fear, for I hear the captain whistling.’ Surely if the captain is at ease, the passengers can be at peace. If the Lord Jesus is at the helm singing, ‘Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.’ Be strong, and do not fear.
God has been doing an unraveling of sorts in our lives. HE is pushing us so far outside of what is comfortable and joyful to show us that HE IS ENOUGH. My joy can't be placed in my tidy house, feeding my kids healthy food, making my home cute, my schedule, my to-do list, my health or how well I am checking off everything. He can UNDO EVERY SINGLE BIT OF IT. He can shake your world to the core. He can be trusted with your messy house, piles of laundry and endless bills. He can be trusted with that conflict with your husband. He can be trusted with that business you are struggling to start. HE IS GOOD. And guess what, all those are pretty easy to hand over to him compared to where I am now. Now I have to say that I can trust God with my children's lives. I CAN TRUST GOD WITH MY HUSBAND'S CANCER. I can hand it over. He is faithful. My security, self-worth, hope and propensity to push on do not lie in my circumstances. THEY LIE IN THE HOPE OF THE RISEN SAVIOR. The good news of Christ has blown open the goals of this world and have shed light on the darkness, have spread fertilizer on barren land and have watered the dry hopeless dirt. We have hope in CHRIST ALONE. BY GRACE ALONE.
My daily chaos is normal. I seek to find my normal & my peace/calm when my world in unrattled. When everyone is healthy and happy, the schedule goes well, people are sleeping well, the bank account is padded and there are no concerns, life is ON TRACK. When someone gets an infectious wound that needs to be drained or someone knocks a front tooth out first thing in the morning & there's blood everywhere or my bank account is in the low of lows and my spouse may not be here in a year & I feel afraid to even look at that big body scan next week, GOD IS STILL GOOD. HE IS STILL ENOUGH IN THE MIDST OF THE MESSY. CHRIST'S GIFT OF SALVATION FREES ME FROM NEEDING A PICTURE PERFECT LIFE. IN FACT, GOD LOVES A REDEMPTION STORY. ALL HE WANTS IT OUR HEARTS. HE WANTS OUR MESSY, TANGLED HEAVY HEARTS. HE BEGS US HAND HIM OUR BURDENS. HE BEGS US TO RUN TO HIM AND FIND JOY IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS INSTEAD OF TRYING TO STACK UP OUR OWN. HE BEGS US TO TRUST HIM.
He is trustworthy. He will make a way. He is the God of salvation. He will give light in the dark. He will level uneven ground. He will plant a sunrise at the ending of a tumultuous storm.
PSALM 77:19-20 "YOUR WAY WAS THROUGH THE SEA. YOUR PATH THROUGH THE GREAT WATERS; YET YOUR FOOTPRINTS WERE UNSEEN. You led your people like a flock."
I am feeling in my own life that God's work is often done in the chaos. He is most present with me in the mess....because I feel my NEED for him. I am desperate. I don't have life together. I literally need him every hour. I am weak and could faint but he renews strength. He is a fortress. He is our deliverer. He is our rock of refuge. He is mighty. He is the director of the seas. He is good. We can trust Him even when all the elements tell us not to, for he commands them.
So instead of feeling like chaotic weeks, messy houses and rough days are the "out of sorts," I want to learn to embrace them and trust that God is weaving a story in the middle of the mess that will one day make me weep for joy. His ways are not our ways. We are sojourners here on earth. We are made to be satisfied by HIM alone. Nothing else will and if these small hard moments in the midst of these large trials & suffering make us know him more, may we never turn away from it.
Brendan is doing well currently and we pray that continues. We pray for uncomplicated regression of his disease. We pray for a miraculous healing of his lungs and the various metastases elsewhere in his body. We pray the Lord has big plans for his testimony here on earth and that he his time here would be used in such a valuable way that prior to this we would’ve wasted. We pray his days are long on the earth. We pray that he sees Edie go to kindergarten and for Huck to turn 2. We pray that he lives to see Maddox start his first baseball season and for Griffin to be a teenager. We pray he lives to walk his daughter down the aisle, the hold his first grandchild and for us to be telling stories about his faithfulness during this season. BUT, ultimately, we pray that his will would be done and that we would find our true source of HOPE, security, JOY, peace, endurance, steadfastness to come from the hope that he gave us when JESUS paid our ransom, walked us straight out of the fire into the throne room of the God our Father and pronounced us clean, loved and made whole! We know his goodness and because of that, our hope is unending despite what our circumstances tell us. God is the God of promises made good and never-changing compassion. We are safe in his care.