Monday, June 27, 2011

Can a wedding gift make you cry?

Yes! Absolutely! My point exactly:

My sweet Mommy went to be with Jesus a mere 48 hours before Lindsey and Nathan's wedding. I had to be there. Despite the sadness, I could not have missed it. She, despite her terminal brain cancer, sent my aunt, cousin, and I on search of towels in the perfect color for these newlyweds. She said that you "always need towels." In her honor, I shot the ceremony, thanks to my dear friend Brian, and it was more than sweet. Refreshing. Endearing to see life and new beginnings and love.
A few weeks later, I received the tag off this gift in the mail. Both the bride and her mother, long-time friends of my mom, wanted me to keep this. If I remember correctly, this was the last thing she wrote. And now you see why I HAD to shoot the wedding... Because people like that don't come along often. Because their heart was so full of gratitude and gratefulness that I was encouraged by seeing them. Smith family, I LOVE you:

P.S. A big HUGE "thanks" to Amy Carson and her second-shooter Juan for photographing the reception and giving me some much needed respite from the crowds of people. Amy, you are a good friend and photographed well for them! I so appreciate it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Recent Weddings

Congrats to Nathan and Lindsey, newlyweds for 2 weeks:

And best wishes to Joseph and Abby, newlyweds for 1 week:

These past few weeks have been more than hard. I am learning to live again but in a sad way, a way in which I constantly miss my mom. I miss her so badly when photographing weddings because she always wanted updates, requesting play-by-play's.

Some people thought I was crazy for wanting to photograph wedding so close to the time that she died. I think it would be rude to her if I didn't. She would want me there. Plus, I have the greatest brides ever. I don't even want to call them "brides" or "clients." They are my friends, people I want to share weddings with. I am glad I was there.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"come broken and weary"

"Come broken and weary, come battered and bruised, my Jesus makes all things new." -Andrew Peterson

I have missed my Mom so much the last 24 hours. So much that I can't even explain it, but I did want to post what I wrote and said at Mom's memorial. I feel like now is a good time to do just that:

"I never wanted to get to this day, the day that I would speak about my Mom in past-tense. Here I am, and I still don’t want this day to come.
Laura Story writes about how in the midst of hard times, we know that this is not our home. I am aware of that now more than ever. In many ways, Mom was my home. She was the constant peace-maker and common-factor in almost every situation. She always made sure that everyone was comfortable, and because of that, I feel lost. Like my home is gone. Like I have lost my best friend.
I will miss her for a lifetime and don’t think there will be a day that I won’t think of her. Some days more than others, like when I can’t remember how to sauté vegetables, need to know when the next Kohl’s sale is, or just want some encouragement. Mom was always just a phone call or text message away.
People often tell me that I look just like my Mom. Pictures of her in high school prove it. I used to get sick of hearing people say that, but now I consider it the greatest compliment I could ever receive.
I’ll never forget Mom in her last few days. Her body was failing miserably, but she was her same old self. She was talking to her friend, Kim, who is still fighting breast cancer. They planned a meeting to get together the following day, but before Mom would get off the phone, she said, “Well, I want you to tell me how you are. How are you feeling?” I just looked at Dad and smiled – that was my Mom. Selfless, caring, kind, patient, loving.
Mom, from the bottom of my heart, I love you as big as the sky and will miss you until I see you again. I promise to make you proud."

I am so proud of Mom. Of how she lived. She lived with such grace and trust, always clinging to Jesus. And, she died the same way. With so much more hope and so much more belief than I have.

So, I come to Jesus broken and weary and pray that I would live like Mom lived, one day dying in such a way that is pleasing, as Mom did as well.

I spent this past week in Las Vegas with some great friends. It was a necessary get-away trip that I know my Mom would have wanted me to take. I was really proud of this image and honestly just wish I could show it to Mom. I'll show it to you guys, instead:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wedding I Missed...

Images like the one above make me really wish i would have been able to shoot this wedding. I had so been looking forward to this wedding, and even though I only knew Elizabeth through e-mail, phone calls, and mutual friends, she is just the sweetest thing. I knew it would be a special day. I wasn't able to shoot it, but didn't Jessica Wright step in and do a superb job?

Then I see pictures like these. And, I realize 2 things:
1. I realize that I owe Jessica BIG time because she gave me time with my Mom that I will never get back. She reminded me and affirmed the fact that relationships trump everything else in this world.
2. I realize why I love pictures, why I love photography. They remind us of people, of times, of events, and of emotions - sometimes emotions that are specific to certain relationships... like relationships with your mom.

May I never forget to live for relationships, to show love above all else:

And, again to Jessica, Elizabeth, and the Cain family, you have given me something I will never get back - a gift that I will forever be grateful for. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Memorial Worship

Whew. I feel as though I have run a never-ending marathon that is just as much emotionally as physically draining. In a lot of ways, I am glad Mom's memorial is over; it seemed like a looming event that seemed impossible to get through. Yet, I have never been so encouraged by the love that was shown to me, to my family, and to my sweet mom. I want to post the words that I spoke on Monday night but want to do that in another post. What I want to share are the words that impacted me the most on Monday night.

I asked that we sing "Be Thou My Vision" and "There is a Fountain" because those were songs that my mom treasured. I have wrestled with the prayer "whatever befall, still be my vision" for the past few years. I am still wrestling but trusting that God will give me the faith to rest in the midst of whatever does befall.

Mom often told me of the infusion room where she would receive chemo. The idea that some liquid being placed directly into her veins was so toxic that the nurses would need to suit up always brought lots of contemplation. She did, though, try to think of the chemo in the same way that the hymn speaks of Emmanuel's blood being transfused for us. I am in awe of her mind-set in the midst of receiving chemo, but that is why my Mom will forever be my hero. Her mindset on life was and is unmatched.

We must remember that God does "see each tear that falls," as well as that He hears our calls. I pray that I would continue to believe that daily.

Friday, June 3, 2011


There is such gratitude in my heart right now. This week has been one of the longest, most emotional, tiring, fearful weeks of my life, but I have been bombarded with love. A friend of mine told me to "soak up the love," and I completely agree. That is what I am trying to do - be encouraged by the love that people have because my Mom is a very loved woman.

I want to give a SPECIAL shout-out to Jessica Wright. (hence the photo above) Not only has she been a dear, dear friend to me, she agreed to photograph my wedding last weekend. It proved to be the last weekend I would spend with my mom, and so for that I am incredibly grateful for that... for you giving me the ability to be with my Mom in her last days. And, not only for that but for representing who I am better than I could ask for -- and for you photographing the wedding with such grace and talent. You are a jewel in my life.