23.9.10

f/stop Breast Cancer {Personal}

One a foggy fall morning in 2003, my parents gathered all of their children in the family room and told us they had something to tell us.  

Mom had breast cancer.   

That conversation started an unforgettable and life-changing year for me.  That night I practically bled tears as I laid in bed, trying to sleep and eventually I snuck into my mom's room and slept next to her bed on the floor.  I was scared.  But there is nothing like being loved by your church, neighborhood and even complete strangers.  By the help of literally hundreds, my dad, my six younger siblings and I were fed, carpooled, hosted, given clean clothes, had Christmas gifts wrapped, and adventures had while my mother battled cancer.   What a fighter.  Watching her faith gave me faith.  She was peaceful, hopeful and strong.  She made us laugh when she lost her hair (hardest moment of my life when I came home from school and saw her bald, sleeping head) by buying and wearing a colorful clown wig.  She never let us worry.  She lived out her marvelous hope in God.
Photobucket
But I think the hardest part for her wasn't the chemo, or the surgeries, or the recovery, or the steroids… it was missing our lives.  At the time she had a one-year-old, two-year-old and four-year-old who she couldn't snuggle with at night.  That killed her.  Her babies were growing up and they had to spend most their time with someone else.  And that's when I first got serious about photography.  I took pictures of those kids so she could remember them during that year.  Rolls and rolls and rolls of film simply telling of the story of little Michael, Shannon and Lauren.   All of the wonderful women who came to help us always let me show them my "favorite" pictures and they were oh-so encouraging and supportive.  And one dear girl offered to let me shoot at her wedding that upcoming summer.  And that's how it allllll began.   
Photobucket
My photography business is so closely tied to my mom's breast cancer.  She thankfully is in remission and is as healthy as a peach :D  Praise God!  But I wanted to be a part of this fundraiser for any daughter who ever has or ever will watch their mom experience cancer.  As hard as it is, there is so much hope.  And God can do unimaginably wonderful things through such trying times.   

So, I am COMPLETELY honored to be a part of Lydia Shannon's "f/stop Breast Cancer" photography auction.  She has 50 photographers (including Jose Villa, The Image is Found, Becker, Mark Brooke, Justin&Mary, Susan Stripling and so many others) who are offering mentor-sessions for this auction.  

Check out the site here!

The auction will be from October 14- October 19th and all proceeds will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer.  I'd love your bid!  I'd love to be able to use my business - that so started because of breast cancer - to help! 

So, spread the word, mark your calendars and let's raise some money, friends!

Mom, this is for you!  I love you.

22.9.10

Apartment Life {Personal}

"oh lizzy,
it's such a pleasure to run my own home."
charlotte - pride and prejudice
Photobucket
I'm not the biggest fan of living alone, but I absolutely love having my own place.  
Most of you have probably seen on here or on my facebook/twitter that I've been in my first apartment for the last month!  People have been asking for pictures, so I'm gonna give a little sneak-peak.  I'm waiting for a few more furniture pieces to arrive before I "reveal" the whole thing ;)
Photobucket
It's fun pulling all different things together to decorate.  The walls are white and I have black curtains, so color in the place comes from other little items (like my mom's childhood building blocks, a "new" pink birdcage, my re-painted yardsale dresser and old film pictures of my mom + grandma at Disney in the 50's!)
Photobucket
I also have this large "inspiration frame" up where I stick anything that... well, you aren't dumb... inspires me!  Magazine pages, pictures I come across, old journal entries, little "tac-able" items - if I can fit it, it goes in the frame :D
Photobucket
These white frames are a project in progress... stay tuned to see the finished decor in later weeks ;)
Photobucket
But my FAVORITE part of my apartment right now is the art :D
For my birthday my lovely best friend, Lydia Jane, drew me a big picture of my favorite place - the fair.  I have the best friend eeeever!
Photobucket
We both are our happiest when riding on the swings at night, so of course she drew the them ;)  And I'm also a sucker for ferris wheels and roller-coasters.  My favorite part of the picture is the little fellow on the swings right above the loop in the coaster - he has his little arm up in the air! So cute :)
Photobucket
Lydia's mom also is a super talented artist and painted me a watercolor for my kitchen.  I also LOVE it!
Photobucket
THEN, my dear friends, the Remmies, collaborated to give me this for my birthday as well!  Janet had the idea, and her husband, Seth, drew it.  I really, really love everytime I see it.
Photobucket
It's a drawing of my "theme" verse (Luke 2:19) and is absolutely beautiful.
Photobucket
And just like Mary, I treasure up all these things :D

ps. If any other artists, photogs, crafts-folk and the like want to contribute to the walls and decor of my little white land, go for it ;) hahah
pps.  If any artist, photog, crafts-folk, blog-follower or any other friend would like to come by, let me know! I'd love to have you and I seriously don't like being alone ;)  Come come!  I'll feed you!

21.9.10

Scott + Kristen {Peerce's Landing Wedding}

yeah, i live for
little moments
like that
brad paisley - moments

Photobucket
There is a reason I shoot primarily shoot weddings, not models in studios.  There is a reason I work with real, actual couples.  Scott and Kristen's wedding was a heart-warming reminder of why.
Photobucket
"She was my boss - HA! - she still IS!" Scott told me, as he slapped the table and laughed, glancing over at his fiancee, hoping to have amused her, too.
Kristen was indeed amused and showed it by giggling.  
"Yes, I was his boss.  We met at a greenhouse and he was an employee under me."
Photobucket
Kristen is about five feet tall and can't possibly weigh more then a bag onions.  Her petite little frame hosts her enormous heart.  Kristen is so sweet.  She was made to smile.
This picture here is her talking on the phone with the florist (who had forgotten four boutonnieres and everyone realized it about 20 minutes before the ceremony.)  She smiled, she took it in stride, she reassured the florist.  "Well, girls!  Let's figure something out!"
Photobucket
She's the type of girl that has the power to change your life.  She's the friend that you could never replace.  You will never come across another "Kristen."  Once you meet her, you're done for.  
At least that is the tale Scott can tell.  His life has never been the same since she waltzed her way in.
Photobucket
While the girls were all getting ready, they filled me in on Scott's behavior the last few days.
"Oh my gosh, Kristen Leigh, he is SO excited. He's been bouncin' off the walls. Right girls?"
The girls confirmed that sentence.
"He's been nuts!  He wakes up in the middle of the night with a countdown clock!  He can't stop moovin' - he's just so excited!  I've never seen him like this," the bride's country twang told.
Photobucket
Alright, if you are going to get me all excited about an adorably excited groom, it better be true.  I had to see for myself.
Scott and his boys literally danced out of the limo at Peerce's Landing, and Scott greeted me with a HUGE smile, hello and hug.  "Isn't it beautiful today! Oh, ok, where should we go? What am I supposed to do? Ohhh my gooodness!" He rambled, he ranted, he paced, he smiled.  Ladies and gentleman, forget "a brides glow" - we have some serious "groom glow" happening today.
Photobucket
Scott has been through a lot, and looks it.  His eyes have history and his face tells a story.  It's very striking when you meet him.  He looks brave, capable and tough.
But remember, he met Kristen.
And this man was thoroughly changed.  He couldn't help it.  She does that to people.
Photobucket
While we waited for the ceremony to begin, he repeated to me exactly what the girls inside has said.
"I've been so excited.  I am so excited.  Driving over here my stomach was uuuuup here! and then dooooown here!" He'd shake off the jitters like a dog coming out of a summer lake, doing a little kick/hop/bounce the whole time.  "I tell you what, I go to bed smiling, I wake up smiling.  I'm so excited.  I'm so excited."
Photobucket
Imagine how he felt when it really happened.
His Kristen was in a gown, on a gorgeous evening, serenaded by the traditional Bridal March, swaying trees and little woodland creatures.  And she was walking to him.  Her Scott.  It was SO excited.
Photobucket
Scott just couldn't contain himself.
As I watched him I really felt like I was seeing a four year old boy, trying to be cool, also so unashamedly happy it just makes you happy to watch him.  If he had a tail, it would have been wagging.  If he had a light, it would have been blinking.  If he had an alarm, it would have been sounding. 
Photobucket
And little Miss Kristen was as stunning and happy as ever.  She looked magnificent and also magnificently happy.
Photobucket
Bless his heart.
Photobucket
After everyone caught their breath from the splendid aisle-walk and hand-off, the ceremony of "little moments" began.
Photobucket
These faces are why I don't shoot models in studios.
Look at her!
She's holding his hand, listening to him, watching him, happy with him, marrying HIM.
You can't make up emotion like that, or re-do moments like this.
Photobucket
All ceremony long they glanced and squirmed and smiled, perfectly happy.  And filled with joy.
(look.at.his.faaaaaace! soCUTE!)
Photobucket
And like *that* they were married :D And it was still quite exciting.
Photobucket
Now we begin a whole set of "little moments."
Photobucket
Throughout the rest of the day I almost starting writing things down because they were SO adorable.  
Usually wedding's have a few little stories that capture my eye and make my heart race, but tonight I had the King of Wedding Stories.  I'll try to remember them all accurately, so you too can having a racing heart :D
Photobucket
First, we have Scott and the bouquet.  He was really impressed with the bouquet.
(I guess when you meet in a greenhouse, certain things become more special ;) haha)
He looked at that thing from top to bottom, pointed out all the details of it, told and re-told Kristen how lovely it was.  It was sweet how he took such an interest in it.
Photobucket
The sun was absolutely perfect, but fading fast, so we hustled over to the neighboring field to take some pictures.
Photobucket
As we walked, Scott LEAPed over to his bride, and walked on "the car side" of the road.  Nothing was going to happen to his baby.
Photobucket
And while I shot these he couldn't stop talking.
"You see her?" he asked the Honda Accord zooming past, "she's MY wife!"
Kristen giggled.
"Psh, yeah.  That's my wife. You're my WIFE! Oh my... wow, we're married!"
Photobucket
We went through the muck and the mire to grab some beautiful field light, but Kristen's shoes kept getting caught on her dress.
Photobucket
"Want me to carry you?  I'll carry you.  I'll carry my wife."
Photobucket
All the while, Kristen just entirely thrilled, stands by his side and smiles the way she was made to.
Photobucket
It was almost daunting to try to photograph them as cute as they are in person!
Photobucket
Their pure delight didn't stop.
I send them off to set up for a shot, and before I even was "ready" they were laughing and laughing, and really just being happy together.  
Photobucket
Photobucket
I could shoot in this light for years, by the way.  K.  Thanks.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
Ready for more moments?
In taking this exact shot, Scott accidentally pulled Kristen's veil.  She said a tiny "oh!" and tried to keep smiling for the picture.
Photobucket
Once Scott realized, he took veil-duty VERY seriously.  He gently slid the comb back in, and then he arranged the trim "just so" on her shoulders.
Kristen couldn't help but wrinkle her nose and quiet-giggle as if to say  "He's just so cute. He's so sweet."
Photobucket
To avoid any more veil mishaps, I had them sit next to each other.  I asked Scott to give her a quick kiss on her forehead. His reply?
"Oh yes, I'd love to."
He kissed her forehead.
"That's my favorite place to kiss her - you - " he paused and look right at her, and she smiled and locked eyes with him. "You know why? Because I'm taller then her and her forehead is the first place I can get. I love it."
Photobucket
Kristen and Scott, you two are marvelous.  You really are.  In the smitten-with-each-other meter, you two are among the elite that I've ever seen.  I am seriously so happy that you both are so happy :D
Photobucket
Oooooh Scott.  He may be smitten, but he hasn't lost his humor.  He definitely specifically asked for this ;)
Photobucket
After the wonderful whirlwind of moments during their formals, we headed inside for a wonderful whirlwind of reception moments.
Starting with the toasts!
Scott grinned from ear-to-ear... and Kristen held his arm, watching everyone else enjoying themselves.  It was terrific.
Photobucket
Then we moved to Kristen's dance with her father.  Earlier in the day she had told me how nervous he was about it.  "He's a construction guy, ya know?  Dancing isn't his thing.  But he's gone along and taken lessons.  He, his blue jeans and his two-step were ready.  And Kristen was thrilled :D
Photobucket
As sweet as Kristen and her dad were, it was equally sweet to watch Scott watch them.  I'm telling you, the man didn't stop smiling allllllll day.
Photobucket
Every time she fell I caught her.
That's my daughter
I lost every time I fought her.
Yea, I lost every time.

Every time she blinks
she strikes somebody blind.
Everything she thinks
blows her tiny mind.
That's my daughter 

I thought I couldn't handle any more. Photobucket
But then dinner happened.
And all the boys mysteriously ran off!
I followed, mostly out of curiosity.  I found them all getting changed into "dance outfits" with matching patent-leather chucks.  All Scott's idea to surprise his guests and wife.  And he was, of course, SO excited.
Photobucket
Kristen had no idea where they had gone, but happily entertained friends as she waited.
Photobucket
Finally Scott ran back, unashamedly smiling.
"Do you see my new outfit?! Do you like it?! We all have it! And look!"
Photobucket
"SHOES!"
He was so excited.  I've said it once and I just have to say it again.
Photobucket
Kristen was charmed with the boys little idea, and giggled to let Scott know.
Photobucket
When Scott took her hand, he noticed the rings.  Together. Symbolizing their "together-ness" before God and this world.  
Photobucket
And it made them both very happen to see.  They just love being together :D
Photobucket
Alright, I have to wrap this up at some point.  So the cake-cutting is as good a place as any.  
Here we have Boss Kristen instructing Scott to "NOT SMASH THE CAKE."
Photobucket
It tickled his funny bone.  And she giggled.
Photobucket
Like, it really made them laugh! hahah It was so cute!
Photobucket
But after a clean and smash-free cake-feeding, they kissed.  A happy kiss, prefaced with laughing, and followed by laughing.  I can't thing of a sweeter way to end the night :D
Photobucket
Congratulations you excited, happy little lovebirds!  Don't have too much fun on your honeymoon!