My eyes have led me down a path I never thought I would take. Although holding on to memories has always been important to me, I haven’t dreamed of being a photographer my whole life. I have, however, dreamed of keeping my kids small and my vacations alive. I have wished to stop time, to hold on to the moment, to bottle up my kids cute faces or the silly things they wear. To some extent, photography allows me to do just that. It has opened my eyes to a previously undiscovered world. It has allowed me to see the world around me with a deeper appreciation. I am constantly aware of the extraordinary among the ordinary and the beauty in the mundane. I don't see pictures. I see stories ... with both my eyes and my heart. I am a wordless storyteller. Thanks for joining me here.

Nicole [senior girl]

Sometimes I cannot believe the sweet people I get to work with. I say that in so many posts but I am being 100% honest! And I have some really great people I am editing through right now and cannot wait to share their pictures and talk about them too!

For now, let's talk about Nicole. She is naturally beautiful. Some people wait their whole lives to have all of the attention centered on them and to have their moment in the spotlight and these people LOVE to be in front of the camera. However, I don't get the impression Nicole is like that....and she probably is totally fine to not be talked about. She was so sweet and unassuming...innocent and seemingly unaware of herself. In this day and age when so much of life is filled with "selfies" and "all about me," humility is hard to come by. She wasn't super opinionated (about the pictures ;) and was willing to do whatever, whenever - such an easy person to be around. If you have ever met her mom, she is so sweet and carries herself in the same manner.

Anyway, Nicole - I pray you have a WONDERFUL senior year. I am sure it won't be easy - because nothing worthwhile in life is easy. However I pray that you will know how much you are loved by God and your family and that your worth is not based on what you do or what college you get into or if you get a scholarship...but instead celebrating that you are a child of God and loved beyond measure...unconditionally. When life gives you bumps along the way, cling to His promises because in a world full of change and uncertainty - He is the only constant. (Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.)

Here are just a few of your pictures. Thanks for sharing the morning with me - I was blessed ;).

If you see me wearing my sunglasses tomorrow....[pieces of me]

Tomorrow our youngest child will walk out of our home and into first grade and threaten to break this momma’s heart. [insert sad emoji!]

It is the day I have dreaded for a longgggg time. longggg time.

I kid you not. (My kindergarten mom friends can vouch for this. They surely haven’t forgotten the ridiculous tears at the end of last year in anticipation of THIS COMING DAY! ~ What in the world??? I know I need to get a grip!) Yes – this may sound a bit dramatic, but if you have been there and done that – you are gulping, breathing deeply, and holding your own tears back from falling helplessly down your face as you remember the baby steps of letting go….or on the contrary, you are a momma who was so ready for a break that you think I have lost my mind because you shouted your freedom from the rooftops and enthusiastically did cartwheels on the day your last left for all-day school! (Thankfully I am not the one doing cartwheels because the older I get, the more those cartwheels do not agree with me at all!)

In my heart, I know the reality is that kids grow up. We need to help them be prepared to "leave the nest".... and this week is just one of the many early steps in this crazy parenting staircase of letting go. Have you heard this quote before? (this is from Etsy)

I am not going to lie ~ my gut wants to clip his wings – because I know all to well how fast this stage of life goes. {Our oldest just turned 13!)

I know that it will seem like tomorrow when he steps out of our home to leave for college,

and then another tomorrow when he finds a wife and starts his own family…

(Oh forgive me if I am jumping ahead just slightly! ) but I know God has gifted us with a beautiful boy who exudes joy and gusto! It would be selfish of us to keep him all to ourselves.  At school he will learn to work with others and take turns; he will learn that the world is not all about him. He will learn courage and patience and probably some bad habits too! (This is not a discourse on schooling verses homeschooling – we have done both! And homeschooling was one of the best decisions we have ever made….but that is another story for another time.) 

For now, for today, I am thankful for this sweet little boy who will one day be a man. I am thankful for every skinned knee, every bear hug, every dirty finger nail and every new things learned! And while it seems like such a big step – walking away to school all-day - I will remember to whisper thanks and to savor these little boy moments until the next step in letting go reaches our front door. 

And...if you see me wearing my sunglasses when it is cloudy and rainy tomorrow, you will know why.

Here is a free printable from www.inkhappi.com if you want to print it out to take a picture of your elementary schooler on their first day!

(Also, as I was thinking of how sad I am to be away from my little guy - and the girls - all day, I was reminded of the many parent-heroes I know who have had to say good-bye to their little ones too soon. Carey, Katie, Lauren, Amy and many others. You are the real heroes - and what a glorious day it will be when you hold your babies in your arms again!)

A Front Seat to Watching them Grow! [AMW Family]

One of the major perks of being a photographer is the relationships I get to build. Photographers have the unique privilege and honor to be involved in very special and oftentimes intimate life moments. Whether it be a wedding, a birth, an anniversary, a graduation or just life as it is, this is a GIFT to me. With repeat clients (who I consider friends) and individuals/families at all life stages, it is a constant reminder to mentally take notes and remember life in the NOW....because time doesn't stop and time doesn't slow down and time certainly doesn't go backwards.

There are many families that have been on this journey with me from the beginning. New or old friends - they all grow a special place in my heart.

I wanted to tell a bit of one young family's story through a small sampling of photos.

Back in the day, I started off taking sports shots and trying to find ways to weave meaning into the end products. This is B when he was still in college.
 One day, he met a lovely young lady and they said "We do." 

A few years later, this little guy entered into their world and made them parents.

One year later, he was walking and talking...

 And getting lots of love...

He loved trucks...
 And his parents.
He provided so much joy to his family.
They were filled with even more joy when they found out they would grow their family with another.
 This sweet little lady was born not too long after...

 she was a beauty!
and the little boy still loved trucks!
 And mom and dad had plenty of room in their hearts for the newest addition.

The story doesn't stop there! Nope - I am thankful to be capturing the next moment in their lives in another month or two. THIS makes photography more than a job. It is not only a gift to those I get to serve - but also to me as I build authentic friendships and am reminded daily...time keeps on moving. Try to LIVE and BE in the moment.

Traci and Rick [F3H Session]

What fun it was to drive to campus last weekend to shoot in Ohio Stadium! {Can I get an O - H ?) Campus is beautiful and I don't know why I don't choose to shoot there more often! I spent a few years in college at OSU when my plan was to be a physical therapist - God had other plans but that is a different story for another time. It was good to be back on campus though - older and wiser and enjoying the beautiful day, the blue skies, etc.

Traci and Rick made the trek to Columbus to have an F3H session - Full Families, Full Hearts - extended family session. They had reserved the shoe months in advance in preparation for the shoot. I arrived early to get some storytelling shots and to be sure that I had everything in order as we would be on a strict time frame (5-6) and I had a good plan for our hour. Good thing I have had plenty of practice being innovative and flexible (weddings allow lots of practice in that area!). There were many people out front by the rotunda, where I was hoping to start....including a large bridal party. I also learned at that time that it was one of two nights - in the whole year - that the horseshoe had a movie night scheduled and the doors opened at 6 (Keep in mind the family had it reserved from 5-6!!!) The movie night was raising money for Pelatonia and cancer and sounded like a great event, but my mind was spinning....so much to do and so many people around and so little time!

Nevertheless, once the family arrived, we had a blast running around inside the stadium. It was exhilarating and inspiring actually to be on the field. I loved getting to know this Buckeye-loving family. The mom and dad are a part of the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer each year and are very active in raising money for the cause. From the website, "Proceeds from the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer benefit the Urban & Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute"  I know what a wonderful cause that is - like many others, our family and some close friends have been touched by cancer ~ Hopefully one day we will have a cure!

Enjoy scrolling through a sampling of our photos from the day!

 On the 50 yard line...

What a great uncle - the kids LOVED playing with him! And I think the little guy is his mini-me.

O - H - I - O

 This sweetie helped me take some pictures and I am excited to show her the ones she got of her momma!
Who doesn't want to run out of the tunnel? Game - Time!
 The original "team"....

Thanks so much Traci and Rick for choosing me to capture your family! It was wonderful getting to meet you. Go Bucks!