Chelsea & Ryan: 2nd Anniversary

A couple of weeks ago my best friend, Chelsea, asked me if I would be interested in doing a photo shoot for her and her husband’s wedding anniversary that was coming up. Instead of going away for the weekend, they had a brilliant idea to each plan a day of activities for them to enjoy together. Chelsea’s day was Saturday, Ryan’s on Sunday. That way, they could surprise each other all day and still celebrate the entire weekend, while at the same time making awesome memories. Brilliant, I tell ya. So for part of Chelsea’s day she wanted to surprise Ryan with a photo shoot. She might have been more excited than him, but he assures us that he was excited too.

Anyway, I was so excited to get the opportunity to do this. I’ve been looking for ways to practice using my new DSLR, and what better way than to photograph you’re best friend?? They can’t get mad at you if you produce less than stellar pictures. It was SO much fun to capture their love and flirtiness with each other. So without further ado, their anniversary shoot!

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Love this one right before the kiss.

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I don’t even remember what warranted this pose, but of course I had to include it!

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Chelsea, you’re beautiful.

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Ryan finally got the hang of that “serious” look we were going for!

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Chelsea mastered the look like a pro.

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One of my favorite shots. The sun finally decided to come out and cooperate!

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My absolute favorite from the day!

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Hahaha this just happened spontaneously. Quite reminiscent of the classic “brother/sister” pose we all had to take for Olan Mills growing up.

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Ryan and Chelsea, thank you for the privilege of photographing your 2nd anniversary! Your marriage is a beautiful picture of the Gospel and I’m blessed to call you friends. Happy Anniversary!

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Doing a New Thing

This post is going to be short and sweet. I just wanted to share a new thing the Lord is doing in my heart. As a recap, Matt and I have been feeling very busy for the past two years. He started working 60+ hours a week during football and lacrosse season, and I have been working full time as well. We’ve been very involved with our Sunday School class and teaching high school Sunday School as well. We’ve also bought a house and been working on getting unpacked and settled in. We’ve travelled a whole lot for weddings and seeing family. It’s been crazy!

Unfortunately, when we get busy, we tend to drop things. The most important things. Like spending quality time with the Lord and investing in our relationship with Him. We began feeling convicted that everything was taking priority over sitting and allowing ourselves enough time to hear from the Lord. So we’ve had to look at our schedules and our lives and ask where we can create some margins.

It was hard. But after many months of prayer and talking through it, the verse God kept bringing me back to was “be still and know that I am God.” I think I do well with the whole “know that I am God” part, but it’s the “be still” I’ve been missing, and therefore essentially have been missing out on really knowing God. As a result, we’ve decided to step down as Sunday School teachers. It was a super hard decision because we both LOVE it so much. But we began to feel like we weren’t able to give our best to the students because we weren’t feeding ourselves with the Word first. It’s impossible to give to someone else what you don’t possess yourself. So we are taking a break from teaching in order to really focus on our relationships with the Lord foremost, and then on quality time in our marriage next. The Lord is so faithful and has been so good to us, so we don’t want to miss out on all that He has for our lives by being so distracted by our normal “routine.”

I’m SO excited for this next season with the Lord and with my husband. One of our friends called it, “addition by subtraction,” and that’s exactly what it is. By subtracting something in our schedules, we’ve been able to have some margins to add really spending time with the Lord and with one another. I can honestly say that in the few short weeks since we decided to step down, we have already seen such spiritual breakthrough. I am amazed at the Lord for the way He honors obedience. I’m so thankful that His guidance was clear and that He continues to affirm that this was His leading in our lives.

I would encourage any of you who may be feeling the same way (like you don’t have any spare moments), to take a good look at your schedule and sincerely ask the Lord if He wants to move some things around. Maybe He does, maybe He doesn’t. Maybe He just wants you to give your schedule to Him and trust Him with the results. Whatever the outcome, I know you won’t be disappointed if you do what He asks you to do. He is faithful. Take some time to enjoy Him and find that out first hand!

SURPRISE!

I did it ya’ll. I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time. I threw a successful surprise party! It was so much fun and I can’t wait to do another one in the future again sometime. For the back story: Around Christmas 2012, my mom casually mentioned in a conversation that she had never had a surprise party before. What?? That is just unacceptable. So immediately, my brain started formulating this crazy idea to throw her the surprise party of her LIFE. Granted, her birthday was still 7 months away, but I knew for a party of this caliber there was no procrastinating to be had.

If you don’t know, my family has moved around countless times over the years. I’ve moved 8 times, and my mom has moved 13 times since marrying my dad. So needless to say, she’s got friends from all over. It was my hope that I could invite people from all over the south east. I knew it was a long shot, but I just HAD to try. And try I did!

After months of planning, careful, secretive, deliberation, and a few white lies here and there, July 27th finally came and my family got to surprise my mom for her birthday. It was beautiful. Absolutely couldn’t have gone any better. She assures me she had NO clue, and I think you can tell from the pictures that she wasn’t lying.

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I love those pictures. Reliving that moment is priceless.

After the initial surprise, it was time to eat and fellowship together. It was so fun seeing my mom with all of the friends that she has been the closest to for the longest time. Before the bulk of the pictures, I apologize some of them are blurry. I’m still getting used to my camera in indoor settings!

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The drink station.

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The dessert station.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I made those pinwheels. Easiest thing on the planet, but also the most time consuming. Three pieces of scrapbook paper, folded accordion style, then folded in half, then hot glue or staple together. That’s it! Just be prepared to do it for a few hours, depending on how many you’re trying to make.

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Thank you to Carol Ann for providing the white chocolate cupcakes, the white cupcake stand, and some mason jars!

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We decided to make our garage into the food serving station. Great idea in theory, but not so great in execution. You wouldn’t know it from the photos, but oh my word, the flies. I sincerely apologize to all the guests who had to keep swatting flies away from their food. I’ll spare you the maggot story that unfolded as a result of our weekend. Just make a note to yourself, DO NOT ACCIDENTALLY LEAVE A BAG OF TRASH IN YOUR GARAGE FOR THREE DAYS. Trust me on this one. (Also, I’m sorry to my brother Jonathan for the panicky phone call).

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We all sat and visited for HOURS. It was great. And of course we were entertained by my niece Rilynn. She could easily have her own show.

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A special thanks to this lovely lady in pink right here. My mother in law, Carla, continued cooking the kabobs while everyone was arriving and visiting, and THEN washed the majority of the dishes and pots and pans as they were becoming available. Don’t know what I would have done without her!

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For a little entertainment for everyone, as well as a sure-fire to document everyone who came to the party, we set up a photo booth! Originally we were hoping to build a farmhouse table out of this wood before the party, but there seriously was no time to get that done. So instead, we made it into the most perfect backdrop! I was SO pleased with how it turned out!

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Also, special thanks to my friend Lindsey for letting me borrow her photo booth props!

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I did not expect people to bring gifts, but they went above and beyond! And my Aunt Linda brought a whole bunch of old pictures of my mom growing up. So fun!

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My mom’s friends also went above and beyond because they all wrote a letter to her that I put together in a scrapbook as a keepsake from the party. So that after the party, I will add the pictures we took that day to the scrapbook to make it an all-inclusive memory book!

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My hubby with his two nieces!

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My best friend Chelsea is like a second daughter to my mom, so of course she had to come!

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 Apparently, my parents were in a singing group when they were newlyweds! Haha. Jane and Rick, two other members of the matchy matchy group brought this poster to give to my mom. My parents are in the bottom left corner.

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Now, for the rest of the photo booth FUN!

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Love my mom, love our family, and love all the people who had a part in this to make it happen. Thank you SO much!

(Also, major shout out to my friend, Loren, who let me borrow the majority of the decor. The water bucket, the table cloths, the blue mason jars, the silver cupcake stand, the various trays and serving dishes, crock pot, and probably more. You’re awesome Loren! Thank you again!!)