Fall of senior year is a super exciting time with college applications, football games and that slight taste of freedom coming with college ahead. Hannah is a sweet spirit with an artistic side and she's exploring her options for art programs in college. I have had the privilege of photographing her family over the last few years and this year it was her turn for a special session! Here's to the class of 2018!
I have been absent from my Monday confessions and not by choice. I can only say that I am seeking continually to balance out all my responsibilities as wife, mom, business owner, and teacher. In some seasons I do way better at it than others! Today though I am not confessing my current likes, dislikes or shortcomings, I want to share a story instead.
The story told by Girolamo Benzoni in his Historia del Mondo Nuovo of 1565 was that at a meal several of Columbus's detractors began to comment that any number of other people could have found their way to the New World and that Columbus's feat was unremarkable because of its simplicity. Columbus replied that it was only easy now that he had demonstrated how it was done, and by way of an example, he challenged anyone present to stand an egg on its end. After all those attempting the feat had admitted defeat Columbus demonstrated the simplicity of the challenge by crushing one end of the egg against the table which allowed it to remain upright.
I heard this story recently and it made me smile. A task does always seem more possible once it has been done, but I think of the passion and bravery that Columbus (all his shortcomings aside) had to exhibit to put his life and fate in the hands of a belief that he could indeed sail around the world. Enjoy today with your family and ask yourself, "what dream am I avoiding because it seems to difficult?" Maybe take that one step today towards realizing that dream!
If you're looking for some inspiration for a late summer bridal shower, look no further! I got to be a part of a beautiful bridal shower honoring the fiancé of my husband's younger brother. It was a perfect weather afternoon with an outdoor setting and all the sweetest details. The blush pinks and golds were a perfect color combination for the brunch. All the creativity, planning and executing credit goes to my mother-in-law! We had all the food setup inside (it's September and the flies are crazy) and then hosted the brunch out in the tent. It was fun to all be together and the countdown to the November wedding is on!
As I write, I just sent my 3 big kids off to school for the first day of the year! They all went to bed excited for today. My little first grader had magical confetti under his pillow from his new teacher and it just overjoyed him! My one third grader who will remain nameless did not sleep in ONE day this summer, yet I had to wake him for school today. Go figure right?! It is still hard for this mama heart to believe that my little 5 & 6 pound twins are third graders, but I'm also enjoying their growth and development. We are absolutely blessed with the best teachers at their school, so I know they're in good hands all day! Here's to a new school year and I will leave you with Dr. Seuss for inspiration,
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss
I confess very mixed emotions over here this morning with my kids going back to school later this week. While I do enjoy the summer flexibility and sunshine, I also feel the need for predictability and routine. This summer has been interesting in the fact that everything we did was together, as a family. There really weren't any separate trips or camps this summer like there were last summer and I am not entirely sure that I recommend this. I think my kids in particular might need a break from each other and if I am honest, so do I. Don't get me wrong, so much family time has been great in some ways, allowing us to make a ton of memories over these past 3 months! We have done everything from camping, to the the beach, to fishing, to kayaking, to amusement parks and movies, as well as concerts. I am just plain tired to be honest! I know the kids are looking forward to school too, which makes it a tad easier to kiss summer goodbye!
I know my Monday confessions have been sporadic this summer so in case you were wondering what I have been up to this summer, here's a few of my latest favorites.
Currently Watching: Matt and I are watching season 3 of Turn, a revolutionary war time period series on Washington's spies. We are so into it that we just tore through most of the season and are just about ready for season 4 (which just ended on AMC). If you like a bit of history, intrigue and action, it's a great option. I am also watching Broadchurch (when I can sneak a few minutes) on my own. It's a British drama/crime series that sucked me in right away. Warning: the series starts with the death of a young boy and carries on from there, so if you're not wanting that type of story, don't watch. I like the way the story is woven together through the characters. (Both of these series are currently available on Netflix)
Currently reading: I can tend to read a lot of non-fiction at once so I am juggling a few books at the moment. At the top of the list though for laughs and reality is Jen Hatmaker's Of Mess and Moxie, which I am easily devouring. I feel like I need a disclaimer that as of last year she was in the news with some controversial views and theology, but I like to say "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." I still can enjoy her books and view points even if I don't agree with everything she stands for. Theological differences not withstanding, I am absolutely loving her book right now. She's able to poke fun at serious subjects as well as just plain making me laugh at nonsense like what happens to a mother of a large family in the grocery store.
The other book I am currently reading that's more like a little balm to my soul is Erin Loechner's Chasing Slow. I like her writing style and her vulnerability as she shares her own story of both living life and rising to blog fame. I am about half way through but have felt encouraged, as well as asking myself some questions about the pace of my own life. She's encouraging us to see less as more, both with material things and our time.
Currently listening to on Spotify: The Hamilton Soundtrack, Zac Brown's Welcome Home album and a genre station called "afternoon acoustic" that I can't get enough of when trying to get work done! I also have been known to just turn on Rhianna's Work, to get the juices flowing and make a point to my kids (I know, I am so mature).
Favorite Recipe as of late: Jen Hatmaker's "Grocery Day Sandwich" and it's not even really a recipe but an assembly! We (mostly) all loved it!
Bakery: Ciabatta bread (one loaf for normal families, two loaves for larger families)
Deli: pepperoni, salami, ham, and mozzerella sliced uber thin, tub of pesto, tub of marinara
Produce: butter lettuce, tomatoes, fresh basil, onions if they won't incite mob violence
Slice your ciabatta loaf in half. Spread pesto on the bottom, layer up the meats, cheese, and veggies, spread marinara on the top half. Close 'er up, stick on a pan, warm through at 350 for about 15 minutes. Slice and serve with cute little individual bowls of marinara, because the only thing better than marinara is more marinara!
Have a great week ahead!
"Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy’s inmost nook."
- Summer Sun by Robert Louis Steveson
I am excited to share this special maternity session with you, knowing that this sweet couple has been waiting for this day! I not only had the privilege of photographing their wedding day almost 3 years ago, but we returned to the very same spot under a setting summer sun to capture their maternity session. I am thankful to be in the business of capturing memories, to be a part of capturing a family's visual history. These moments are like little time capsules, reminding us how we felt at the time. I pray that Jess and Mike are able to look back on these and remember all the feelings leading up to the day that they will become parents! Congratulations and I cannot wait to meet little Miss :)
I was absolutely horrified standing in my local coffee shop early Sunday morning to see the images coming over the newscast from Charlottesville, VA. My heart hurt and those I was standing with all vocalized the horror of such actions by hated-filled individuals. I got my coffee and I had a but of a drive ahead of me, which allowed me to think for a few moments on the events. It led me to thinking of some my travels as a college girl. There have been two places in the world I have stood, where my feet were rooted to the ground and my heart was pierced, knowing to my core that racism in any form was wrong. One of those places was abroad and one here on U.S. soil.
The first spot I speak of was in Germany, where on a freezing German winter morning as a young college student, I toured Dachau concentration camp with my travel mates. Everything about that place is somber and makes you contemplative. You can almost hear the screams and you certainly can feel the heaviness of such a place. I remember walking around bundled up in my sweater, coat and warm boots thinking, "how could anyone survive this weather in a thin cotton dress or shirt," as many who were taken there did. As we toured through different areas just taking in the place and knowing what kind of atrocities happened there, I felt it in my soul that racism was wrong. All those who suffered there at the hands of the Nazis had no crime other than simply being different.
The second place a couple years later that my heart felt the same murmurings was at the Civil Rights museum in Memphis, TN, which was previously the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. The feelings and stories emerging from that place felt even closer to home. This was how American brothers treated one another. I found myself hurting for our history and wondering how we would continue as a country to move forward with better race relationships, but more than that I was asking myself, "would humans ever learn to treat each other better?"
Unfortunately as far back at history is recorded, there are stories of one people group being against another or viewing another group as superior. We cannot though, treat this type of behavior as acceptable. I read an article yesterday that better sums up this idea than I ever could so I will quote Dr. Mohler here. "But Christians must see much more than the lessons of history, though we dare not miss them. We must see claims of racial superiority–and mainly that means claims of white superiority–as heresy. That is not a word we use casually. Heresy leads to a denial of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the eclipse of the living God as revealed in the Bible. A claim of white superiority is not merely wrong, and not merely deadly. It is a denial of the glory of God in creating humanity—every single human being–in his own image. It is a rejection of God’s glory in creating a humanity of different skin pigmentation. It is a misconstrual of God’s judgment and glory in creating different ethnicities."
God created us ALL in HIS IMAGE and we do well not to forget that. I know this problem often feels so much bigger than any of us, so what can we do? We can literally love our neighbor. I am thankful to live in a very ethnically diverse neighborhood and have many relationships here. I can also continually teach my children that to treat someone differently based on them being different (race, gender, ability etc) is NOT ok. We can raise our children to be a different generation and we can all pray to root out any kind of deep-seeded misconceptions or prejudices in our own hearts. As these prejudices surface in your mind, confess them and ask God to take them from you. We have to all be committed to doing the work to make it better. May you find a little spot of joy this Monday in loving or serving someone different than you!
"The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change."
―E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
It's August and I am starting to hear those crickets chirp...
Photography has been such a great way for me to both meet new people and keep in touch with old friends. When I got a message from Brandon, an old college friend, to come photograph his family, I was excited to see them all. Brandon and Hannah have not only a beautiful family but a lovely home that's more of a farmette. They are able to have some animals to keep them busy along with their kiddos. We were so lucky to have some of the milder August weather last weekend to have an evening session. I have to say, it was really enjoyable and the kids hung in there! They may or may not have been smiling for candy :) What's not to love about summer white outfits, sunshine and family?!
Do you knot the old saying that goes something like you like a man even more when you meet his wife? Well this story goes a little something like that for me. Greg was actually the first one I got to chat with on the phone because he and Anna were planning their wedding long distance. They are now Texas residents but their families are still living in Pennsylvania, which is where the wedding was going to be held. I enjoyed chatting about wedding details and made arrangements through Greg first, but then I got the pleasure of meeting Anna. She was so easy to like and I obviously could see why Greg fell for her! She is warm and can light up a room with her smile. She's an elementary school teacher, which makes a good fit with her bubbly personality. Greg is a little more reserved but as soon as he's with Anna, it all just makes sense. Their friends teased them during toasts about their differing personalities, but I can see that opposites attracted here but in the best possible way!
All the details came together beautifully for this warm, July outdoor wedding at the Gables at Chadds Ford. The rustic details and textures paired beautifully with the simple elegance of the rest of the wedding. Greg & Anna had also planned our photo session at Longwood Gardens, which was of course beautiful! It was quite busy on a summer Saturday afternoon but it was the perfect backdrop for their first look and all those formal group shots. Somehow we made it all work and didn't melt! Warning: cuteness overload coming from their flower girl, she loved the camera and it loved her right back! Here's to Anna and Greg's beautiful wedding day! Congrats!
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Gables at Chadds Ford
Florist: Jennifer Lawn, JL Original Designs
DJ: East Coast Event Group
Cake Artist: Kim Withers at Liberty Lane Bake Shoppe
Bridal Gown Shop: Bijou Bridal in Ardmore, PA,in house designer
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Bridal Jewelry: Kendra Scott
Bridesmaids Gown Shop: Azazie
Groom’s and Groomsmen Suits: Jos.A.Bank
Wedding Stationery Designer: Britni Willis from Paperpeonies on etsy.com
I know it's not officially summer until Wednesday this week but with the kids out of school, it has already felt like summer for a week and a half! I have been in full swing mom and business mode while trying to balance it all out. Unfortunately I still think balance is a bit of a myth, but I've learned to pick a focus for the day and try to get to at least that particular priority. If I am honest, there's always things at the end of the day that will just have to wait for tomorrow! For today's confessions I am going to share five favorite things I've been enjoying so far this summer!
Reading Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery: If you haven't read this classic since childhood, I recommend it. (And then watch Anne with an E on Netflix!) I confess that I watched the beautifully done Netflix series and then revisited the book. The opening credits alone to the Netflix series is a gorgeous montage of paintings. Give it a look and check out the book :)
"Chore" Charts: which are really more like a plan to control the chaos and motivate the kids to keep to a simple routine. I am loving this version that a friend shared with me that covers basic morning tasks to allow kids to earn privileges like screen time. Any type of complicated chore charts, I know we will ditch before the week is out!
Pedicures: Plain and simple a little relaxing and quiet while walking away with pretty toes is always a favorite! Plus, who can say no to the massage chair?!
Doing Something for others: Some advice I heard recently was to "put something on your calendar each week that's not about you and serves another person." I've been putting this into practice the last few weeks, simply trying to think about it on Monday morning. I ask myself, "who is someone that I can serve with a practical need this week?" This is not a brag on me AT ALL and in fact, this practice has been doing wonders on giving me an attitude adjustment when I need it most. It reminds me of others who need the help because maybe they are walking through a rough time. A simple meal or delivery of needed items can be a huge encouragement to someone who needs their spirits lifted among the practical help!
She Reads Truth summer reading plan: I have said for many years that as soon as I neglect my spiritual side, it's not just my faith that suffers. Engaging with the bible and prayer on a regular basis not only feed my soul, but helps my entire being to stay in balance. Having solid and regular doses of truth intake can help me keep perspective in even the toughest situations. All this being said, it also regularly reminds me of my own sin and need for repentance. I know this is a healthy process, especially as I seek to mother 4 children way this summer with everyone home each day. Even the simplest seeming things can instantly get overwhelming while dealing with two 8 year-olds, a 6 year-old and a 2 year-old. Three meals a day anyone?! :)
Summer is officially here in our house with the kids finishing school last week! Along with summer break kicking off, I've been doing a study on rest. I know that may seem silly to have to study about rest, but I am the worst at actually resting. My very name means "industrious" and it can be hard for me to be still. I struggle with the concept and practice of real rest. (The study I have been listening to is Rhythms of Grace by Rebekah Lyons if anyone is interested). It has me thinking about how this summer season can bring about some true rest instead of more hamster-wheel type busyness that I've been prone to lately. I know that I truly need a break for my mental and physical being, as well as the health of my family.
As I think through things that I can lay down for a season of rest, one thing is social media. I am going to start with taking a social media break this week. I've been posting a lot with the summer kick off events, but it also affects me when I look at everyone else's imagery. I know over time it feeds how I compare myself to others as well as just impacting my perceived reality of how everyone else is handling life. I have found that even a brief time on Instagram can have me longing for a different countertops or wishing for a trip to Europe. Whatever the envy of the moment, I am going to try to choose not to even allow my eyes to see it or my heart to be affected by it. I know even this small thing will feed my need for soul rest! Will you join me?
"Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."
As always if you need me for business inquiries, I'll be checking email, email@example.com
I am always thankful for photography to allow me to meet new people and make new friends. It's the best when clients and friends refer me to other new families! I was asked to come do a six month session for a sweet little man and I had such an enjoyable time photographing him along with his family. This adorable family included a big puppy as well as a baby so how could I not love it?!! The hardest part here is for me to choose what to share from the session and not just want to share the whole session. The nursery was perfectly styled and practical as well! I loved all the details! Sweet B-man rocked this session from his gummy grin with 2 bottom teeth all the way to the drool between he and puppy Solomon! As always, what a gift for me to be allowed into the lives of families to capture their memories!
Hannah had a friend that said, "you should meet my brother" and that is where it all began! Hannah met Caleb and their love story began. As the drizzle came and went on the last Sunday in May, nothing could dampen the excitement Hannah and Caleb had for their wedding day. The beautiful details like peonies and rustic farm charm had this wedding feeling like a dream. Their sense of fun and humor was in each detail, even things like the groom's cake topper that read, "I love you like a fat kid loves cake!" We had to duck in and our of rain showers to do some outdoor portraits but I think we were successful!
I had the privilege of being a part of a team of photographers last Thursday at the Commencement ceremony for St. Andrew's School in Delaware. It is an extraordinarily beautiful campus and an amazing place to attend high school. The graduating class of 2017 was comprised of 77 students from all over the world. These students had high achievements in both sports as well as academics and are heading to a variety of excellent colleges. As a parent, I can only hope my kids have this type of drive and desire in their educational experience!
L. Heather Mitchell, Class of '92 and member of St. Andrew’s Board of Trustees, delivered the Commencement Address. Mrs. Mitchell encouraged students to "stay 'woke" to the worlds' issues. She encouraged them to remember that they can play a part and to remember to give back to the school that gave them so much.
Congratulations to the class of 2017 and all the best to you in college!
Are you engaged or going to be a part of a wedding this summer? I've been photographing weddings for over a decade and in those years, I've learned a few things about what works. A special time of day is the bride getting ready. It's a sweet combination of joy, nerves, excitement and preparations! Generally the bride is surrounded by close friends and family, getting ready to walk down the aisle. In my experience as the photographer, I wanted to share some ways that you can make the space great for both the bride and the photographs.
1. Have at least one window available for natural light: Natural light is usually the most flattering and is a great option for helping to light the portraits of the bride getting ready. As you choose the space for the bride to get dressed in, make sure it has at least one window!
2. Clear the clutter: I know getting ready time is hectic. Usually there are bridesmaids and moms and everyone else all prepping in the same space but when it's time to get the bride dressed, you don't want large amounts of stuff strewn across the room. It's hard for a photographer that has to both clean up the room and style/photograph the bride.
3. Make sure details are close by: Everything from flowers to rings to invitations need to be ready to go in the prep room. The reason for this is that the details are a huge part of the story of the wedding day and every photographer wants to make sure they're a part of the photographs. If all of these things are close by and ready to go, it makes the photography go smoothly, as well as the mood for the bride. There's nothing like realizing 5 minutes before bridal portraits that the shoes are missing or on one grabbed the bride's bouquet yet. These are important things to be ready with! (True story: 20 minutes before a wedding a bride realized her specific underwear for the dress was not in the dress bag like she thought it was. Talk about frantic and embarrassing to try to get someone to go retrieve that for you!)
4. Temperature: This is pretty self explanatory but especially on hot wedding days with lots of people in the room, everyone is going to feel better if it's not smoking hot in the room. If you can get there early and crank down the AC a few points, even better!
5. Great attitudes: Every wedding day has its drama whether it be personal or situational. The best way to keep the environment drama-free and a good vibe to leave that stuff at the door the best you can. It can be tricky with so many emotions at play, but it's important to surround the bride with positivity as she prepares for one of the biggest days of her life!
Rain on a Monday should not be allowed! It's hard to be motivated with a rainy Monday but that's where discipline kicks in. I have found myself in the middle of many tasks today but all along listening to the rain. I sat for a minute earlier and just watched it fall from the sky. It's good to just stop and take life in! I confess I've been hurried and busy and guilty of being addicted to productivity. It's a constant learning curve for me! Im the middle of my addiction to productivity though, I've been forcing myself to slow down, even if for just small bits of time.
One of my rest activities (I know, oxymoron right?!) is reading and I have started back in on the Anne of Green Gables series that I liked as a kid. An excerpt I read last night was Anne gathering flowers among the fields in May and she says,
" I'm so sorry for people who live in lands where there are no Mayflowers."
I fully agree as I take in the beauty of these peonies from my mother-in-law's garden! I love their beauty and their scent (the ants I accidentally brought in, not so much :) So even as it pours today, I have some reminder of how the April showers do indeed bring the Mayflowers! Have a beautiful week friends!
Hello friends, I have not fallen off the face of my blog, I've just been wrapped up in our crazy May calendar! I am excited that wedding season officially begins for me this weekend. I feel ready to shoot some beautiful details and events!
I also am working on a website update, so bear with me. This has been MONTHS of me working through things about my business, brand and photographs. It's good to evolve and grow but it can sometimes be a struggle to take a look at everything I am producing and prune back. Thanks for understanding and hanging with me through growing pains! I hope you have a beautiful Thursday.
It's May this morning and I hear the birds singing! It looks like a warm day ahead here in DE and I'm hoping the fog burns off to see the sun. Are your Monday mornings full of a to-do list that sometimes feels daunting? Mine usually are. So here I sit, with my warm cup of coffee and just taking it one thing at a time. Here's whats on my mind to confess...
1. If you've known me for some time, you know that I swear big earrings can make an outfit (or distract you from a boring outfit or a tired face :) I am currently loving the leather earrings from Nickel and Suede and I just wore these champagne shimmer earrings over the weekend. You know I also love supporting small, family run businesses which this particular business is!
2. I am currently listening to XM Radio's channel 61 called Y2K country. Don't laugh, it's amazing! It's all the songs I used to listen to in college and there's nothing like driving with the windows down singing Wave on Wave by Pat Green. You should try it!
3. I confess that I am not always a huge fan of our fast paced technology driven world but I have been cracking up this week as my 21 month old climbs up on the couch and says "Lexa.." to try to give our echo dot Alexa some directions.
4. I confess that chasing my 4th toddler in 8 years has been challenging lately. He is oh-so-cute but oh-so-feisty! It's a tricky time of him trying to insert his independence and explore his surroundings all while having no real sense of danger. It's been nice to get outside to play but chasing this kiddo is wearing me out!
5. I confess we are really missing having a dog in our family but I am trying to be realistic about the amount of living things I can take care of under my roof. I keep torturing myself looking at puppies available or dogs for adoption. I am just hoping that the right thing will eventually come along but we are just not in a position to rush into getting a pet. The kids definitely know how to get to us, like our kindergartener telling us, "We were talking about the pets we have at school and I don't have one any anymore." Knife to the heart right?! Ha.....
Well my lovely friends, I hope the week that lies ahead is a good one for you! Hope you see some sunshine today!
Hello friends, welcome to a new week. Is it possible that we are already into the last full week of April 2017?! Our house has definitely been dragging this morning a bit. Benjamin decided to just lay on the kitchen floor as soon as he came down stairs. I sort of feel the same way after a full weekend! I've already had a full morning as well with a photo session and wrangling my beloved toddler (thank goodness for friends who help you with your kiddos so you can work)!
You ready for my confessions? Here we go...
1. Saturday was rainy and plans were canceled so we spent and entire day cleaning out our basement! I know this is probably horrifying to some of you because how could people need to clean a basement for an entire day, right? Well for the last 5 and half years, the basement has been a collect all. I apologize in advance to our garbage collector and the earth but I feel SO much better with a lot of things gone. We took a truck load to goodwill as well! Whew!
2. I heard a quote recently from Winston Churchill that resonated with me, "America always does the right thing, after exhausting every other option." That is a lot of us right?! Trying to do the right thing but checking out all of our options first. (Anyone else watch the Crown on Netflix?!)
3. What good books are you reading friends? I just finished Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons. It was a good read! Book review blog post hopefully coming soon...
4. I confess that I'm digging these light gray jeans with the open hem bottom for spring. What do you think?
5. Speaking of clothing, I am SLOWLY but surely getting back into smaller sizes so I am in a big need of a closet organization and spring is the perfect time. I'm going to check out the latest Magnolia Journal with Joanna's tips on closet organizing (Can't I just trade my closet for hers?! :) Nothing would fit me but her jewelry but I would love to try ;)
Here's to a great week ahead friends!
This image was just a week ago as I arrived at Providence Farm, Salisbury, Maryland. I was there for the Seasidebride Workshop hosted by Manda Weaver and a handful of others. It was a great time to get away for the night, make new friends, shoot some styled sessions and think about business. It's hard being both a creative and a business person. I can't speak for all creatives but sometimes the "business" part can suck the life right out of me. I have a long business to-do list, including the update of this very website. In the midst though of all the thoughts about what I need to do though, it was good to just shoot for the sake of being creative. I'm still editing much of what we worked on during those couple days and some things are under wraps awaiting submissions but God gifted us all this beautiful sunset as we were leaving last Wednesday evening! It reminded me of the original creator and how we are in his image.
"When you're taking on creativity, you're taking on soul work. This is not about what we do - the is about who we are."
- Brene Brown on Magic lessons podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert