God does not call those who are equipped, He equips those whom He has called. a quote that I probably read + skimmed past on Pinterest at some point, writing it off as "corny" + in no way significant to me, is weighing heavy on my heart this morning.Read More
you know that rush of energy + giddiness you feel when you have a great idea or set an exciting goal / when you make a big decision, and when you start planning a new chapter in your life? I felt that in a major way when I was re-addressing my small business goals after giving birth to Madelynn (at a birth center, in the water) and realized I HAD to start photographing other women's birth stories, it was what I was being called to do. that spark set my heart on fire while documenting my first birth story, and I have fallen deeper and deeper in-love with this genre of photography with every birth since.Read More
I've been pretty absent here on this little blog, y'all. I began using this space for personal posts here + there as a therapeutic canvas for the thoughts, emotions, dreams + plans crowding my mind constantly as a stay at home/small business owner mama. I'd like to continue writing when life slows down a bit. it's been almost 5 months since I posted a photo session, and since that's primarily due to the rapid growth of my photo business over the past 1/2 year, I have a LOT to catch-up on.Read More
introducing Denton Birth PhotographyRead More
2014 has left me a whole new person. this was a year full of learning + growing for me; as a business owner, as a photographer, as a friend, as a wife, as a Christ-follower + most-drastically, as a mother. I became a mother in 2013, but this year I learned so much more about how to be a mother; how to love like a mother, how to hug like a mother, how to kiss + heal ouch-ies like a mother. how to get through hard day after long night, after impossible day after sleepless night (hint: Jesus -- coffee just doesn't cut it). I learned more about God -- more about His grace, His sovereignty, His perfection. His worthiness; His infiniteness. how I need Him, every good/bad/hard/joyful/miserable second.Read More
I am joining a bunch of other Peony Project members to host a fantastic giveaway! who doesn't love free stuff? especially free TARGET MONEY! I'm a little (ok really, really) obsessed with Target. they've got good style for the body + the home, they've got great prices, and they have a good selection of organic groceries and natural products.Read More
one year ago today, at 38 weeks + 6 days pregnant, I woke up at 7:30 AM to my first real-deal contraction. that 30 seconds of discomfort, anxiousness + excitement began a journey that would change my life forever. my life always would be better, harder + more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. my life had already been changed by Madelynn, long before we met her or chose her name -- that first little pink line. the squirmy gummy bear on the screen. the card that read "girl". the first snapshot of a perfect nose and chin dimple. -- but that first contraction was the very beginning of the day that really changed everything.Read More
one week from today, my little girl will be 1 year old. it's impossible to not feel excited and a little sad at the same time. while I will always miss the baby she no longer is, and will probably miss bits + pieces of every stage of development she goes through, I am trying to embrace the inevitable reality that she will be changing and getting older 100% of the time. so, here's a photo + milestone recap for Madelynn's bittersweet last month of true infancy.Read More
my goal was to have Madelynn's 11 month photos posted before she turned 1...so here is a quick 10 month photo post and milestone update, soon to be followed by the post on her last month as a less-than-1-year-old -- CAN. NOT. BELIEVEIT!Read More
y'all. I am writing this...from a coffee shop...where I'm hanging out by myself! at almost 9 PM! & my darling daughter is sleeping peacefully (as far as I know) at home with my sweet, servant-hearted husband who let me get out of the house to get some work done and to save the last little bit of sanity I have left after today (which started at 1:30 AM with a frantically screaming baby, a huge mess & a middle-of-the-night mommy/daughter bathtime...I'll spare you the details). & the only stipulation was that I bring him home a chocolate shake. what a deal, right? I've exhausted my editing stamina for the night, so I'm playing catch-up yet again and sharing some Maddie Rose cuteness.Read More
I'm really trying to catch-up with sharing updates on my sweet girl! She's almost 11 months now, so I'm pretty behind, but WILL be done by her first birthday. I just can't believe we're talking about her first party already...and I can't believe she is making sounds that sound like real words -- on purpose! & I can't believe she's walking with her walker, and sleeping in her crib all night! but those are things to share in her 11-month-post, this one is a flashback to her 9th month of life (8 months old)Read More
this month I'm linking up with the Tiny Twig to share my "goals with grace" for September. although I didn't link-up last month, I did write out some goals knowing I wouldn't complete or meet all of them. that's the point of goals with grace. make a plan, write a list, and then do your best, but give yourself grace if you don't check off all (or even one) of your goals. I came close to not hitting a single goal from last month, so I am carrying them all over to this month. as I revisited my list of August goals, I realized some tasks have yet to be completed and the challenges regarding my daughter, my photography + my music were not as much of a priority as I intended them to be when I compiled this list, though I was certainly more intentional about the time spent with Madelynn, and did do some personal photography. good thing they were personal goals, and not demands made by a conventional job or requirements for being a "good mom," and that I can have grace with myself and try again in September.Read More
Oh, my darling. How incredibly sweet + impossibly difficult being your mama has been. I love you with all of my heart and will always love you even more. Some days I am able to be grateful for how tough you can be, because I realize it is the hard days that the Lord can use to refine me and the good and bad moments He uses to bless me. I really wish I had written up an entire post for every month of your little life so far, each one flying by faster than the last. I wish I had written about each trial we faced and milestone we celebrated. Now that you're surprising us every single day with new tricks and sounds and smiles and laughs, I'm finding it hard to jot everything down before I forget and have way too much to share from the last few months. So, this post is very behind, but I wanted to give months 7-12 the attention they deserve...Read More
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I have debated how I would join the thousands (millions?) of brave, strong women sharing their journeys, nursing proudly in public & sticking up for what they believe in. So here goes... I hesitate to share this story, especially with "the internet," but it is an important part of my life and has been an essential aspect of my sanctification through motherhood -- aka the toughest thing I've ever worked at and gone through. I also went back and forth on whether that was an appropriate title for this post, because as much as I appreciate people advocating breastfeeding and using compelling reasons & bullet points to argue their case that "breast is best," and as much as I do not want to discourage a mama who is ready to give-up or one who hasn't decided yet how she'll nourish her baby, I am a bit bothered (maybe even a little personally offended) when people -- women AND men -- use "breastfeeding is free" as one of their persuasion expressions. Breastfeeding has been far from "free" for me. Not just in monetary cost -- for the pump + supplies, nursing bras + tops, ointments + creams + oils + herbs, lactation consultant fees, doctor's appointments, procedures, specialists, books + resources, teas + supplements, baby gear attempting to lessen the loss of sleep -- but also in emotional, physical, mental + spiritual cost; sacrifice. Breastfeeding is natural, sure, but in this case natural does NOT mean easy or intuitive or free. I do believe that it is the way God intended mamas to feed their babies, if possible. Note: this does not mean I am in any way judging mother's who don't -- or can't -- breastfeed. We live in a fallen world and, as with anything else, just because something is natural and "as God intended/created it to be" doesn't mean it's not difficult, broken or impossible.
I think I had always just assumed I'd breastfeed, and was determined early-on in my pregnancy to make the commitment to nurse at least 1 year, with my goal being at least 2 years. I wanted to avoid formula. I wanted to bond with my baby. I wanted to give her the best possible start in life that she could have, and there is certainly enough information out there arguing that breastfeeding does just this. In our case, however, breastfeeding caused a lot of pain. A significant loss of sleep. Tensions in my marriage, frustration towards my baby, and feeling depressed because there was clearly something wrong with me that was interfering with my ability to do what I felt was best for Madelynn.
The first month was excruciating. A nipple shield (note: avoid at all costs!!) was, at the time, my saving grace that allowed me to continue nursing M without curling my toes and screaming in pain. However, if I could go back and do it all again, I would push through the pain without artificial assistance from that maddening piece of plastic that my daughter would come to depend on. Madelynn was born with a fairly extreme upper lip tie & tongue tie (which went undiagnosed, despite visiting several lactation consultants, until she was 5+ months old), which caused me incredible pain and prevented her from transferring the amount of milk she needed to thrive -- resulting in her developing jaundice, loosing weight and then struggling to gain weight, being incredibly gassy/colicky/inconsolable and therefore waking up every 45 minutes or so to nurse, and me struggling to maintain my milk supply. I stuck with breastfeeding through all of this because 1. I felt very strongly that it would be best for her in the long run, despite how many issues it was causing at first and 2. because I'm extremely stubborn and insisted on continuing because it was my plan to nurse for at least a year (unless, of course, it had become harmful to her for us to continue). Once she was diagnosed with the ULT/TT, we were able to get those loosened and resolved with craniosacral therapy and we experienced immediate results. She began gaining weight normally for the first time in her life, and slowly but surely we were able to ditch the shield (praise God)! Unfortunately, she was still waking up every hour - hour and a half, most likely out of habit.
We still struggle with nursing some of the time, especially now that she's at the age where EVERYTHING else is more interesting, but I am thrilled that we are finally at the point where it is usually painless (during teething is a whole 'nother story), doesn't feel like a chore and is serving it's purpose of nourishing her in a way that no other substance can quite compare to. Thank you for sticking with me through my breastfeeding saga. I would LOVE to hear your story -- how nursing has blessed you, changed you, been hard for you, been easy for you, or even why you never did or no longer choose to.
// the above images of my sweet girl nursing were taken by the super-talented Kristiane Webb -- she's the photographer these photographers trust with all their personal photo needs.
I am list person. A lister, if you will (no, not a plow with a double moldboard (yes, I looked up "lister" to see if it was already a word)). If you've read any of my blog posts, you may have noticed this. I like to list using both periods and commas, depending on the emphasis I want each item in my list to posses (as much as poor grammar bugs me when I notice it in others' writing, I KNOW I use punctuation in any which way I want to...#sorrynotsorry?)...and sometimes if it feels like the list goes on and on for too long, I'll throw in a few of these -- and keep going. SO, that being said, I'd like to share my latest list with you. I'll spare you my never-ending to-do list and my to-make, to-bake and to-write lists, but since I'm challenging myself to write & share a little, at least most days, I thought I'd publicly declare my goals for this month. 1. be more intentional about loving, teaching & raising my daughter // her first 6 months of life were so incredibly difficult, I feel like there was no obvious transition from the colicky newborn phase to the doing-new-things & growing-up-way-too-fast phase, so I still have to remind myself to sit and relax and just play and be with her, instead of always wearing her in the wrap or on my hip to get stuff done.
2. get out my camera and play // I'm sure all my fellow hobbyist-turned-professionals (with any interest, not just photography) can relate to loosing a bit of the passion as you more exclusively serve clients and spend less time on the personal pursuit of your craft. I feel less inspired, less creative and less talented when I forget to make time for photography just for me.
3. play my music // at first, I typed "write a song," but then I remembered how impossible it always was for me to write when I sat down at the piano or with my guitar for the sole purpose of composing a song just because I hadn't in awhile. Just as I should head-out with my camera in hand and let the moment guide me with no specific expectations, I need to first rekindle the love I had for making music before I can anticipate anything creative taking place. So, step one is for me to play my old songs. The ones I wrote in moments of true feeling -- in sadness, joy and sometimes, desperation. The songs I will probably roll my eyes at looking back on the me of 2 -- or 10 -- years ago.
4. cook one new meal a week // I really lost interest in cooking (and food in general) while pregnant with M, and have yet to view it as anything more than a chore I don't have time for since she was born. I was never very creative or original in the kitchen, but when Sam & I were first married I did make an effort to cook almost every single night, and a lot of those nights it was something brand-new (thanks, Pinterest). So, in addition to cooking real meals more often (as opposed to baking a chicken breast, heating some frozen veggies & tossing them in couscous), I'd like to challenge myself to prepare new recipes again. I still have at least 1.5 million pinned recipes to try, but my good friend Natasha over at Gather Around Our Table creates her own original recipes and I'm really looking forward to incorporating some of those into our rotation!
5. go on at least one date with my husband // this may not seem like a lofty goal to complete in one month's time -- especially to you non-parents or parents of easy babies -- but Sam and I have literally been out, just the two of us, ONCE in the almost 10 months since our family became a trio, and even then the sitter called us after an hour and a half because M was having a really rough time. Needless to say, we are super-duper overdue!
6. read a book // again, this may seem too easy to even be considered a goal, and again, it isn't for me! I used to love to read as much as I loved to write -- especially nerdy science fiction and even nerdier NON-fiction -- but that pastime has also camped on the back burner for close to a year now, and it's time to change that!
7. finally finish the nursery gallery wall // I admit it, I am a fan of the over-popular gallery walls, and I started one in the nursery long before M was born. Although I completed everything else in her (until 2 weeks ago, un-used) nursery, I never did complete my vision for the wall! I've got lots of ideas up my sleeve and this month I'd like to take a trip to Hobby Lobby, dedicate a few naptimes to the project & complete it! I'll be sure to share it here when it's finished.
8. blog my remaining client sessions // along with at least several personal posts a week, I'd like to get completely caught-up on blogging my most recent client sessions & events. I've got 2 births, several families and one bridal session to shoot this month as well, so I'm hoping to have all previous shoots shared by the time I get overwhelmed with editing the new stuff.
phew...I better get started!
As this little blog picks up, I'd like to increasingly share more of my life than just photos from client sessions + events, and I'd love to start with some type of 31 day challenge/topic list if any of you fellow bloggers wouldn't mind recommending one.
Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment below if you can relate to anything I said, have suggestions for a newbie blogger, or just want to share your own blog with me -- I'd love to follow you back and learn more about the people that somehow stumbled upon this post.
Ok, y'all, today I am participating in my very first link-up -- A Mama Collective's "Currently" series -- so bear with me if this post seems random and out-of-place on a photography website. If you're new here, or haven't visited in awhile, you may have missed that I am now using the blog feature on this website for personal posts as well. Writing is so therapeutic for me, so freeing and so worth my time (now that I have a little to spare -- more on that later).
I've always been a writer of some sort. As young as I can remember, I would fill journals with thoughts, lists (stay tuned for my post on my list-making addiction), dreams, pictures, ideas, song lyrics, poems, prayers and complaints. I was never very consistent with journaling, though. If you were to browse my vast collection of journals from throughout my childhood, you'd find the front page of each declaring that this would finally be the start of my commitment to journaling. Within a week, maybe a month, the entries would become farther apart, shorter and less enthusiastic.
I went through "dear diary" phases, I went through prayerful phases, and most dramatically -- a "deep, dark poetry" phase (mind you, this was in elementary...maybe middle school, and is mostly funny to go back and read through. What did I know about suffering as a 5th grader??). I wrote stories and, at one point, even started a "novel" -- complete with chapters and characters and a complex plot line. I wrote notes to friends and boys and my parents -- most of which I never had the intention of delivering, but instead kept in a box as yet another form of journaling. I've always needed writing in my life -- the thoughts in my head are too crowded and jumbled to make sense of without a means to sort-through, organize and read them myself.
In high school I began song-writing. I picked up guitar quickly and finally committed to learning how to play the piano long enough to have the ability to write my own music -- and I'd write lyrics. I always had lyrics in my head, and once in awhile had to compile all the sticky notes, napkins, homework-margins and word documents where I had jotted them down.
All that being said, I've always been a writer. I'm not claiming I was ever a good writer, or that I ever did anything noteworthy or mentionable with my writing (except winning a fairly wide-spread poetry contest as a child, with an accidental political piece about world peace...or something like that) -- but it's always been a part of who I am and how I make sense of my life. Writing has healed me from heartbreak, saved me from losing my mind and pushed me to verbalize my constant & private mix of emotions.
Since having Madelynn, I haven't had the time or the clarity to write much. I still make lots of lists and once in awhile will pull out my phone and create a voice recording if I'm struck with a melody or lyric idea -- just in case I ever resume song-writing as a hobby -- but, I never really, truly, write anymore. BUT I'd like that to change. So, even if no one reads my posts or appreciates my attempts at being interesting or follows/likes/comments...I'm going to write, and I'm going to share.
Now that I've gotten sufficiently off-track of the original topic of this post, I'll proceed with my first "currently" entry (we'll just consider my above ramblings as my "thinking about" section).
reading :: other wives/mamas/crunchy ladies/homesteaders' blogs
listening to :: baby-girl's ocean waves on her sound machine through the monitor
praying for :: my husband who injured himself, my baby's sleep, contentment in this difficult season, motivation to continue pursuing things that bring me joy (for example, writing!)
thankful for :: my sweet, sweet Madelynn Rose. I love her more today than yesterday and not nearly as much as I will tomorrow. I am so overjoyed that she is finally napping in her crib, twice a day, as well as sleeping in there all. night. long. It's an absolute miracle and even though I haven't been able to resume sleeping myself yet, I feel like I am a new person just from the short periods of time I have alone...plus, it's been like a vacation to sleep in bed with my husband and stay up watching movies till past 10 PM!
drinking :: still this morning's cup of coffee -- at my desk, and just a tad sweet, which makes me feel grown up (I'm a sweet & creamy coffee kind of gal).
pursuing :: the call I've received to photograph births in addition weddings + lifestyle sessions
feeling :: so very, very tired. grateful for the changes that have been taking place in my life and my marriage. mostly content -- a step in the right direction for me!
Well, if you made it this far, I appreciate you listening to and learning just a bit about me. I promise next week's will be a bit more concise and free of a lengthy backstory!
Join us in this weekly link-up over at A Mama Collective!
As June drew to a close, Sam + I packed up our (Madelynn's) 1.5 million most essential items and headed south. This was our first long(ish) drive with M, and we were pretty nervous about how she would do. Praise the Lord, she slept, played and only whined quietly some for 4 out of the 5 hours of the drive. The last hour was a different story...but we all survived the long, loud, and windy roads approaching our final destination. This place was pretty far out there...like, the nearest little convenience store was 20 min. away. Ok, maybe that's not that far out there -- but, it felt like we were all alone in the world (along with 20 other members of Sam's family) for a few days, and it was nice. We all shared a main house & a guest cottage on the property, as well as 1 pool, 1 hot tub, 1 set of horseshoes, 1 fire pit, 1 basketball hoop & 1 hammock. Also 1 massive Teepee. Oh yea, and 1 bathroom in the guest cottage where the 6 of us with 4 littles stayed. It was a really great, moderately relaxing time (note: the definition of "relax" actually changes significantly once you have a baby. I did not know to register for the Parenting Dictionary to prepare me for this sudden and drastic change in the English language). Anyways, I just wanted to share some of my favorite images/moments of the trip, and I will spare you the ones of the massive stick bugs gettin' it on and the even more massive & dangerously-close-to-where-I-slept daddy long legs orgy ball (both of which my husband so kindly captured). Bugs & all it was a good time. :: pre-Madelynn, I think Sam + I may have chosen to forego our room in the guest cottage to camp out in this beauty ::
and yes, the water was actually that color...it was enchanting.