Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Everyone has a story. Some are full of adventure, some heart-ache, some full of longing, others full of love. And the best stories probably have a combination of all these and more.
I've said it before, but the truth is, I LOVE stories. People's stories to be exact. I love hearing who they are and learning from them and their experience.
I also love sharing those stories with others.
And so, I want to hear some stories...

I am giving away a FREE PHOTO SESSION, my friends. I am so excited it's out of control. And here's your part - you get to share the stories, whether it's your story or the story of a friend that you would like to nominate.

The winner will be the story that moves us the most, whether that's to laughter, tears or a great combination of the two.

Here's the rules though:

The story you share of yourself or the person you nominate must be TRUE.

The session will have to be conducted in one of the following areas: the greater Chicago area, the Louisville area or the Grand Rapids area. (Those are the places we visit most frequently and can accommodate easily. And yes, I seriously hope I can add California to that list one day. California dreamin'...)

To enter, you need to go to my facebook fan page and share your story there. That way it's all in one place! If you're not on facebook though, I will try to keep an eye out for comments on the blog.

All entries must be received by December 4. The winner will be announced the following week.

The winner will receive a free photo session, 1 8x10 of their choice, 25% off a gallery wrap and a cookie. Because, let's be honest, cookies make everything THAT much better. (Unless you're diabetic...)

Can't wait to hear your story!!!
Go enter NOW!!! Right here...

And just for fun, here's a picture from a shoot I did this morning, in Louisville of a little man who's story began 3 months ago...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My heart

Legs crossed. Two and a half pump nonfat mocha with one pump peppermint in a cheery red cup placed nicely within reach. (Working at Starbucks forever ruins you from normal drink orders) Cozy North Face fleece (courtesy of my mother-in-law who longs to help me learn how to be warm in the winter) wrapped around my body. Handsome husband seated with computer in lap next to me, Michael Buble serenading me in the background. Red (and green) aproned baristas steaming milks and pouring shots.
Here I sit. I am blessed.
My mind however continually comes back to the absence. The absence of giggles. The absence of diapers. The absence of wondering what random song she’ll sing next. The absence of chocolate milk dates over a Disney Princess game of Memory. The absence of onesies covering a big-bellied baby that hardly ever stops smiling. The absence of all the interruptions, all the chaos, all the crawling, all the “no sir” and “no ma’ams.” The absence of little people hugs, smiles and “mommy, I love yous.”
You see, this morning my eyes happened to fall on the frame of a precious little newborn covered in brown and blue. It was over. Tears started to form and the mom-dar has been on high alert all day.
The truth is, our time down here has been beautiful. We were able to work hard and serve youth workers, which is a ridiculous honor. (I love people who realize how important, amazing and precious youth are) I was given the honor of taking pictures of some historic events for the organization that runs this conference. I had a date with two of my favorite little girls in the world and they helped improve my fashion sense. (Seriously, if my niece Tay decides to follow through with a fashion line, it’s going to be amazing. Watch for her in a few years) I had eye-opening, engaging, beautiful, sacred conversations with both of my incredible sisters-in-law. I had the privilege of watching one of my brothers teach. I got to meet some of my nieces and nephew’s friends over Frosty’s. And I’ve had time with an incredible man who has wrecked my life with his love and kindness in the most insanely beautiful way. I’ve loved it.
But my heart has forever been ruined by these two precious little ones who currently hold my love hostage. And I love it. My heart will always be entangled with all that concerns them and I love it. It is good to miss them. And it is good to know that they will always own my heart.
So in this moment of joy and sorrow that comes as I see all that I have and all that I don’t, I’m happy. And grateful. I’m a screwball, and yet, God has flooded my life with all this beauty. It’s a good day.

Do you see why I'm so smitten?

Nothing but trouble...and the best kind of trouble in the world. (She had stolen Jayden's paci...)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On the road again...

I'm in the heartland of country music, about 45 minutes from my childhood home. (Okay, ONE of my childhood homes. We moved a lot) We're headed on a midnight train to Georgia...that is if you consider our Toyota Highlander a train. And midnight closely resembles noon. (Can we tell I'm a little nutty from driving?)
We're headed to visit some family, take some pictures and volunteer at the National Youth Worker's Convention in Atlanta, GA. We're thrilled, but my heart is also aching. My little babies are under the tender loving care of my amazing parents. And though I know they're having an amazing time and they'll be in more than capable hands, I miss them. I miss the giggles, the smiles and the random bursts of song. But I am treasuring some one-on-one time with that handsome man I married. (Even though he slept for the first three hours of our trip while I drove. Luckily I still think his snoring is slightly cute...)
So as I can, I'll keep you updated on our travels, what I'm learning and some stories of the amazing people that step in front of my camera. And I'll probably write sentimental, sweet, warm-fuzzy filled words about my precious, adorable, wonderful little kids. Because I can.

And here's a little taste of an adorable family that stepped in front of my camera. There is so much more to come of them, but for the moment, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. They're precious. (But he's man-precious, of course)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Santa came to visit...

If I could get away with it, I would probably steal him. Okay, not steal him. That's creepy. But I would definitely soak up every ounce of cuteness that he has to offer. And he has a lot to offer.
I basically want Mr. Cam to be my best friend. He's all kinds of precious, full of smiles and giggles, and he may be the second most adorable little boy I know. (I have to hold out for my little Jayden...)
This is my second time hanging out with Mr. Cam and his BEAUTIFUL mommy, Nicole. And I never ever want my time with them to end. (Luckily I work with Nicole on Thursdays at the spa...) You can see how adorable he was at just a few weeks old if you think you can handle the extreme cuteness factor. I'm warning you now, you will instantaneously want another baby after viewing these pictures. You've been warned...

Yes, I'm in love with this Santa

Let's be honest, sometimes we feel this way around Christmas...

Yes, I am in love with him

How sweet are they?!?!?

Santa's helper sacked out...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Birthday...

Dear Sweet Jayden,

Jayden Michael, you’re mommy is a mess. But thank you for entering my mess anyway. I love you. I cannot believe that you are one. Jayden, you are the one thing I want most in the world that I had NO IDEA I wanted and yet I would NEVER want to live without. I love you, son. Thank you for tolerating all of my hugs and my seemingly obsessive-compulsive kissing. (and the head-lock "hugs" from your sister) And thank you for all the giggles and smiles you share so freely. I can’t imagine my life without you, my other favorite man in the entire world. I cannot wait to see who you become, how you process the world, and what God does in and through your life. I will give myself to being the best mommy I can be, and I will trust that God will fill in the gaps where I fall incredibly short. I will pray you through the hard and the good. And I will always be here, ready to listen and throw things whenever we need to. I love you. I can't say it enough.
Thank you for changing my life. Thank you for reminding me of what's really important. Thank you for giggling at my silly songs. And thank you for sharing your life with me.


Friday, November 13, 2009


Secrets. When it comes to someone sharing deep, intimate details of their lives, I'm on lock down. But when it comes to something really exciting like presents for my kids, a surprise for my husband, or photos I'm really excited about, I'm totally worthless. Positively, absolutely WORTHLESS. (Although, I've pulled off some sweet surprises for people around me, oftentimes I'm still an epic fail)
So...I need you to help me keep a secret. Last week I had the privilege of doing an AWESOME shoot with one of my favorite people in the world. Her name is Amy. (Yes, quite a good name...) And she happens to be one of the most talented estheticians/make up artists there ever was. Add to that, she's all kinds of sweet, hilarious and lovable. Spending a few minutes with her calms nerves, provides perspective, is often laced with giggles, guarantees a listening ear and caring heart and promotes world peace. Yes, she rocks.
And she's surprising a certain someone in her life with some pictures of her drop dead gorgeous self. So. That's where you come in. If you happen to be facebook friends with her, PLEASE DO NOT write on her wall how awesome her pictures were. DO NOT leave her little comments like "Wow, he's going to love those pictures..." or anything of the sort. If you'd like, leave her comments on how stunning she is here. I'll make her check it, because I don't think she has a clue how gorgeous she is and those reminders all always nice.
And finally, let it be said. If any of you EVER need your makeup done, you need to call her. She works at my spa and she's incredible. And I'm making her start a website because she's ridiculously talented and she's so sweet, wonderful and professional that it's out of control.
With all that said, enjoy these pictures!!!


Double wow, girl.

We totally did this in under 5 minutes. I was all, "would you want to maybe, ya know, walk on the tracks?" And she said yes. I have amazing client friends.

Oh yes. She totally brought red boots. Oh Amy, I love you.

Holy cuteness factor...

Amy, you are stunning.

Yeah, we totally trespassed...

And it was SO worth it

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hi, my name is Amy and...

I got a wake up call this morning. Not the hotel, ringing in your ears, scare the living daylights out of you it's so loud call, but the you had better open up your eyes and see what you're becoming kind. God sat me down and showed me what I was making of my life.
You see, I struggle. And it's lame. Like, seriously lame. I struggle to trust Him. I have these crazy delusions that I know how to do things better. I live like I know how to run my life better than the One who made life in the first place. (And I'm ADD so we all know that's not working out so well...) And I put on my blinders once again and started to live like He didn't care about my life, like He isn't capable of crazy awesome things and like I have to completely depend on myself.
This morning He got all up in my grill. And I'm glad He did. He opened my eyes to see all these unbelievable things He's done that I oh-so-quickly forget. He reminded me that it was only 4 months ago that I even realized that photography was exactly what I'm supposed to do with my life. He reminded me that I didn't even have the camera or half of the things I needed to do this business and no funds to make it happen, and yet, though there's more I need, He has brought along all the necessities for most of my clients. (And I can rent the rest for the time being) He showed me that I have been given the most amazing, I want to be their best friends clients, every time. And He showed me that I had stepped away from the awe and gratitude that I have the ridiculously awesome privilege of capturing peoples' stories in this beautiful way and chosen to worry about the business details.
I apologized. A lot. And asked Him for help to keep coming back to how beautiful it is that I get to participate in lives in this way. I don't know if there is a more beautiful, sacred role. And I love it. And I'm grateful. And I'm going to stick a post-it note to my head (thank you, Mandy for single-handedly changing my life with post-it notes...and your friendship) to remind me that this life, this moment is beautiful. And He cares. And He's a lot bigger than I ever gave Him credit for.

I'm gonna go relax and enjoy life. And maybe even wear my ear muffs, because according to one little lady I know, it's all the rage...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tracy and Michael

There are some things in life you will never forget. That morning as I held my polka dotted mug full of soy chai goodness I found it difficult to hold back tears. Not bad tears of pain and anguish, but joyous, my-dreams-are-actually-happening tears of extreme happiness overload.
A few minutes earlier when I checked facebook, I saw it. She asked me if I would ever do engagement pictures. I didn't respond at that moment. I couldn't. I had been begging God to have one person notice my photography. That someone would want me to do their pictures. And there she was.
My precious Tracy. We share an extreme love for coffee, awesome curly hair and the inability to get through a day without laughing. She's the kind of person you just want to spend all your time with. She has a smile that readily reminds you that life is really beautiful. Her laughter is contagious. And she's willing to bust out a cheer routine if you need a little pick me up.
Her fiancee? He rocks. He loves her and soaks up every ounce of laughter she shares. You can see his devotion to her every time he looks at her. He realizes what an incredible lady he has in his life. And he happens to be all kinds of cool. (And on a side note, he tolerated me accidentally calling him "man-pretty" during our session. Note to self...that belongs on the list of things not to say again...)
Tracy and Michael, thank you for letting me spend time with you. Michael, I LOVED getting to know you! And I had a blast hanging out with you. And thank you for the way you love my precious friend. And Tracy, thank you for the giggles, hilarious comments and wonderful conversations you've shared with me. Thank you for the way you make our family feel like the world stops for us. And thank you for believing in me. I don't think I can ever say thank you enough for that. At a time when I doubted myself, I doubted what God had told me and was incredibly discouraged, you saw something there. Thank you for trusting me with the honor of capturing your relationship. And PS: You're beautiful... And Michael, you're man-pretty.

Michael, you're a stud

Work it, girl...


Monday, November 9, 2009


Best friend. Rock-awesome barista. Designated friend to call when you’re crying so hard you can’t breathe. Bailer out of despair. Interior decorator and fashion coordinator. Adopted aunt to my kids. Inspiration. Perspective-giver. Truth-teller, even when you don’t want to hear it, but NEED to. Listener to the broken-hearted. Encourager. My dose of sanity. My running partner and distractional conversationalist when I realize that my legs feel like lead and begin to throw their own revolt. The truth is she’s all of these things and more.
Her name is Rachel. I can’t remember exactly how we meet, but I can tell you my life has never been the same. She has become such a foundational part of my life I just consider her my sister. And quite honestly, I don’t know what I would do without her. (And hope I don’t have to find out like I did with my Katie who now lives in Tokyo…)
A few months ago, she agreed to hang out with me and let me take some pictures of her. I needed a chance to practice and learn a lot more. And the truth is, she’s gorgeous and it makes my job easy.
So here’s a peek at one of my best friends. She also happens to be our wedding and family album designer. When we started this business we realized I couldn’t do everything, as much as I might want to and that album design was one of those things I needed to turn over so that I could focus on photography, clients and my kids. As I debated what to do, I thought of Rachel. There’s no one whose artistic eye I trust more. She’s incredible, she understands my style and dedication to beauty and story-telling and she’s just great. So, she said yes. And as I’ve already gotten a glimpse of one album she’s preparing for one of our clients, I’m blown away! I almost cried as she flipped through the pages. She caught their story, their beauty and their laughter in the most beautiful way.
So without delay, here she is… And Rachel, can we do this again? I’d be a fan.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What's in a name...

He's almost one year. I held him in my arms today and looked in his eyes and found myself in disbelief. I couldn't imagine my life without this rotund, constantly on the crawl, smiling boy and yet a year ago, I couldn't imagine life with him. (For more on that read here
When we were trying to figure out what to name our little boy (after we found out at the ultrasound appointment that he was indeed NOT a she…) we stumbled upon a Hebrew name, “Jayden.” (We picked a variant spelling, but it is still derived from the Hebrew name) It means “God has heard.” I knew that was my little man’s name. Because our lives as husband and wife had been all kinds of examples that God HAD HEARD. He heard when we couldn’t pay our bills, He had heard when we were so hurt we didn’t know how to pick ourselves up off the ground, He had heard when we didn’t know how we were going to pay for groceries that month (By the way, if the person who left those groceries on our doorstep is reading this – thank you. We cried when we got home and knew we could make it another month and that God had taken care of us through you. Thank you. You have no idea how much you encouraged our faith. And those of you who sent us money secretly, thank you. We still share the stories of how God took care of us when we didn’t know how we were going to make it. We’re still in awe.)
We want the world to know that “God has heard.” Life sometimes sucks, quite honestly. We are dealt rough blows, painful moments and everything else, but even when we don't know how to pick ourselves up off the floor, God has heard... My prayer over this little man is that he could share in powerful ways by his words and by how he lives that God has heard and He cares. He is completely and utterly aware. And He is there, no matter what your circumstances, your friends, your past or anything else is telling you.

And just for fun, here's one my favorite pictures of that little man...