As far as family photography goes, most of my experience has been with newborns, babies and toddlers. I arrive at the part with special chairs and fun blankets, cute crates that double as containers for crawlers, you know… all the essentials to a fun, photo-filled evening. When Lydia contacted me about photographing her kids, I had to stop and think “Wait. This is an entirely different session – these kids are old!” Don’t get me wrong – I love chasing kids around, tickling them, talking with them, and more. It’s a blast. But I also love cracking jokes with the older kids and jumping in and making fun of each other.
Everyone, meet Nate, Elizabeth and Charlotte. These kids are FULL of personality and hyped up on fun. They were just a blast to work with – and their pictures reflect their joyful attitudes.
It’s quiet in my house. Well, my parent’s house. I still live here, while Josh lives in our new little house in Westerville. You can read more about it here. Anyways, it’s quiet in my house. I’m finishing up some late-night editing, trying to make sure I’m all caught up on the business end so I can head out and have a wedding-filled day with my mom.
Since our Wedding Season began in May, it has been nothing but non-stop action. Our weeks are jam packed with newborn sessions, family sessions, client consultations, and more; our weekends are filled to the brim with gorgeous weddings, fourteen hour days, editing till our eyeballs ache and hard hours of sleep. On top of all this, we are planning one heck of a wedding! Our invitations went out this week, I’m going for my dress fitting and hair trial, etc.
But today, I realized that I never really feel like a bride. I love talking wedding with my clients and engaged friends, I love perusing Pinterest for the next great idea, I love it all. But I haven’t been letting myself be a bride.
Tonight, J was over at the house and we were going through the camera equipment arsenal. We discovered a Macro Lens that I’m certain my dad was holding out on us So I snapped that baby on the camera and did some shots of our engagement rings. I’m so pleased with the lens and the way it does exactly what I want it to… but as I was looking through the camera, something slapped me in the face.
Those are our engagement rings! Josh picked out my ring in October of 2010. It was the first ring I tried on, and we both instantly fell in love. We did try on other rings — where’s the fun in just one?! But we continually came back to this set. Interestingly enough, the center diamond is actually a vintage Estate Diamond that was acquired by the local jeweler in Josh’s hometown. I remember each of those moments so vividly and I just treasure them in my heart. A few months later, I decided to pick out a ring for Josh. I ordered it from Etsy and had a special engraving of one of our favorite songs put inside.
Sitting through wedding ceremonies is quite possibly the best type of therapy and encouragement a couple could experience. I always look forward to grabbing my perfect vantage point up front, snapping away while listening to the pastor or officiant testify to the love, adoration and commitment that surrounds such a monumental day. In those moments, I can truly identify with our bride. I want to jump and squeal and act like I’m 12. Because that’s how a bride feels.
I feel giddy. I feel excited. I feel anxious. I feel elated. A friend of mine recently said to me, “These are the mountain-top times of life.” and she couldn’t be more spot-on.
I’m on top of a mountain! I’m a bride! : )
Mark and Olivia – our dear friends! J and I had the. best. time. photographing this couple and their celebration. Since, I have been busting to get these photos up on the blog and they are finally here. There were so many amazing moments with these two, I have to break the blog up into two parts! First up, prep and pamper, ceremony and exit! Watch for Part 2 – reception, dancing and more!
Meet Cody and Jen! This Chicago-based couple is heading to the chapel on September 1st, 2012. J and I are *so* excited for their wedding, not just because we love weddings, but also because it will be the first wedding we shoot as a married couple. Ah!
Cody and Jen’s session was held in Westerville. We started out at a park and then headed uptown. So relaxed, getting great frames from this couple was a breeze. They were both so smiley and in love – gets me even more pumped for their wedding!
This year has literally gone by in a blur. I’m sitting here thinking, “How can it be half-way through May already?”. Looking back, it seems like with every passing year, my life gains a little more speed, and everything goes by just a little quicker. Because it’s a gradual increase, you don’t notice it at first — and then you look back and think, “wait… didn’t I just graduate from high school?”.
In the blur that has been the past year, some wonderful things have happened. Just in 2012, Joshua and I have bought a house, started a new Worship Ministry, got new jobs, and more. We have kicked off our wedding season with one of my childhood best friends as the bride, and as I sit back in my office this Monday afternoon, I’m stunned by how quickly the stress, pressure, deadlines and more can steal our joy.
It’s really easy to get wrapped up in myself. In the busyness of running my own business, taking care of my J, being a full-time online student, planning a big party of a wedding, being on the leadership of a church ministry, and more. It’s really easy to stand in the corner and whine about how busy I am! But dwelling on that busyness actually fosters a negative feeling inside me. And honestly, sometimes it’s easier to be negative. Sometimes even the thought of energizing yourself is exhausting. Sometimes, you just want to sit on the couch and eat ice cream! (which don’t get me wrong – if there is anyone on this planet that is THE biggest fan of ice cream, it’s me.) But what the negativity doesn’t tell you? Once you let him move in, he’s going to destroy you. He’s going to take every little light that comes in a snuff it out. And then, you find yourself in one big pity party.
Now, if anything else will ruin a day, week, month, whatever, it’s negativity. And as I sit and do my Monday reflecting, I am overwhelmed with a feeling that I am missing out. I’m missing out on moments… I’m missing out on memories. I’m missing out on everything in life that was given to us to enjoy. While I was reading last night, I came across this verse:
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
I want the best! I want the beautiful! I want harmony! So, I choose joy. I choose the true and the real and the gracious things of this world. I truly believe that we are all given this gift and it’s our choice to take it! So let’s talk about all those wonderful things.
We bought a cute little brick home in Westerville. She’s a 3 bedroom-2 bath ranch complete with a deck and gorgeous backyard. Along with help from our amazing families, J and I have created the most adorable little home. I’m just jealous because I don’t get to move in until August!
This story is actually very interesting. We began house hunting just to see what our options were. We found this guy and fell in love — so we made an offer. The sellers accepted the offer, and we were so excited! For those of you that know the home-buying process, you know that this can be a nervous and stressful time. But everything seemed to be going well. However, we did receive a call that the house appraised for less that what we offered. So, we decided to walk. We had to detach ourselves from the anticipation and it was actually very hard for both J and I. THEN, the sellers called back and agreed to our terms — the house was ours! We couldn’t believe it. Closing went so smoothly, and our house payment is just ten dollars more than Joshua’s previous rent payment — talk about a SCORE! Thank you, Jesus!
In light of being on the other side of the camera this fall, J and I decided that it was time to get healthy. I actually started this without J, just trying to get wedding dress fit! (You can follow my progress on my Instagram, @mandilyns). I have since convinced J to count points with me.
I am actually going to admit that I was very skeptical. I hate to air my dirty laundry in public, but this IS about LIFE and LOVE, right? Let’s get raw and real — I went away to college in 2009 and gained 40 pounds. Count ‘em – forty. I gained the Freshman 15 for my entire dorm. That’s bad math – as you can see, I was eating, not learning.
SO. I was recently inspired by a blog about wedding weight loss. I wish I still had the link, but the author said something along the lines of “Being healthy is just as much as a lifetime commitment as marriage. You’re committing your life to your hubby – why not your health, too?” I will definitely be blogging about some recipes and lifestyle changes in the upcoming days — so stick around! We’re all in this together, right?!
YES! I had my trial done. I contemplated not showing everyone, but I’m just so excited that I can’t hold it in!
My dress (from Wendy’s Bridal) is extremely flowy and lacy. It has lots of volume and is a trumpet-style gown… to go with it, I decide I wanted very natural, curled and flowing locks. My hairstylist, Taylor, is a dream to work with. Seriously ladies, if you are looking for a stylist that is down-to-earth and LISTENS TO YOU, go to Taylor at Kenneth’s on Polaris.
As the details all fall into place, I still can’t believe that I’m getting married. Working in this industry is a dream and I can’t wait to be on the other side of the camera, celebrating a day of commitment and love with my J!
Olivia Sue Hinkle has been one of my best friends since 2001. We met when I was in 6th grade, and she was in 7th. We were cheerleaders together, best-friends, and even went to college together. This girl has the most incredible life-story and has so much JOY.
Ollie actually inspired a lot of my thinking on this whole joy subject. Light literally radiates from her. She is kind and loving and FUNNY. She is a great listener and an even better advice-giver. And this past Saturday, she married her true match, her soldier, her Mark.
I can’t tell you how great this day was. J and I kept saying on our drive home how much we absolutely enjoyed our day with them. Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Mark Swisher! You are dear friends and dear people in my heart!