just me lexi

i am a lover of all things beautiful in a relentless pursuit of art, ideas, projects, words, photos and the master Artist. i hope to share all my findings here...

Monday, February 8, 2016

The long story...


So, here is the long story...

I love photographing you and your family!

I love being your storyteller and memory keeper and friend.

I love playing with your kiddos and surprising them with all the crazy little things I keep in my camera bag.

I love dreaming up new ways to tell your story and capturing a handful of your prettiest minutes on my camera just for you.

Every time I photograph your family I fall a little more in love with your story and your kiddos personalities and I get butterflies in my tummy thinking about how to best photograph you and yours.  

I love my job.  

I love photography because it encourages me to PAY ATTENTION and paying attention makes me fall in love with the whole wide world around me.


My little photography business is blowing up and it's mostly thanks to clients like you--word of mouth is how awesome people find me.  You tell your friends and they tell theirs and suddenly my calendar is packed with fun families I love to see behind my lens.  

I want you to know I love your families...and I love mine too.  

Last fall I was so crazy busy I couldn't figure out how to love my family well and continue to fall in love with your families too.  When I was finally able to catch my breath this January I dreamed up some ways to keep doing what I love without losing sight of everything else.

I wanted to tell you the why behind it all because...well...you've invited me into your family--you've shared your story with me and you've given me a front row seat to 1,000 tiny tender moments of yours.  Whether we just met or we've known each other for years--because of my camera--it feels like we go waaaaaaaay back and I want to honor that.

So you are the first to know that going forward, there are 5 big changes I want you to know about.

(I know this is kinda a lot of info but you are gonna wanna hear this...so stay with me...)


#1 Thoughtful Scheduling

Last year I took WAY too many pictures.  By the end of November I was approaching burn out and I groaned when I saw my camera.  I don't ever want to be that busy again.  I make better pictures when I protect my schedule.  Last year I just kept adding sessions to my calendar based on when I had free time.  I've learned that I need to make room to breathe and create in between sessions.  It's better for me and especially for you.  

Going forward, I really want to make more time for each session--really getting to know each family and putting time and creativity into each shoot.  So each month in 2016 I am limiting my schedule to:


4 mini sessions (Friday evenings)
1 This-is-your-life session (any day of the week)
2 family/senior sessions (Saturday evenings)
2 newborn sessions (weekdays)
&
Pre-session consultations (Monday all day)


#2 Fresh Session Expectations

(I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS) From now on every session will include a 30 minute pre-session consultation in my cute little studio over coffee & tea (or over the phone). We’ll get together on a Monday before your session date and it will allow you to help me get to know your family a little better before we show up to take pictures.   Showing up and scrambling to get to know you in 10 minutes isn't working for me anymore. 

I want to make photos that reflect MORE of you!  This is the perfect time to tell me everything about your family's current stage.  This is the perfect time to put together outfits and dream up a lovely location.  This is a brainstorming time where you bring your ideas and I bring mine and we walk into your photo session better prepared to make the perfect pictures together.

-- Each session will now include 30 photos--because I learned sometimes too many of a good thing gets a little overwhelming.  I realized I was overwhelming YOU with too many images to pick from and I realized I was overwhelming myself with WAY TOO MUCH EDITING.
-- My newborn sessions now include an in-home consultation + a handful of maternity photos (because you don't want add a WHOLE session for just belly pictures but every momma needs a few).
-- You can get more detailed information on each of my new sessions on my website, but I've added a few session choices and my overall pricing has changed.

This is your life session        $750
Newborn snuggle session    $650
Family photo session            $550
Senior photo session            $400
My mini session                    $350



#3 My [NEW] Mini Sessions!

Let's talk about the old way.  

Up to this point my mini sessions have taken place all on one day (because I lived in Florida and would only come back for tiny trips that I had to cram all my favorite faces into).  Now that I'm back in Missouri, taking your precious pictures all in one crazy day--in harsh lighting, running on coffee and fumes--just doesn't make any sense.  I've been killing myself photographing 10 mini sessions in one day and I only had four mini session days per year, so if my mini wasn't in your preferred season, you'd have to wait several months to book. 

You'd show up, looking adorable and I would scramble to make magic happen in 30 minutes...it worked okay.  I made a bunch of pictures I loved but I didn't have quite enough time to capture your moments the way I wanted.  You would walk away and I would feel a little like it was a photo assembly line.  So I thought long and hard about how to rescue my mini sessions and I came up with these changes...

-- From now on my mini sessions will take place on the first and last Friday of every month (no more all in one day craziness).
-- I will schedule 2 mini's on each of those Friday evenings, which means I will have 4 mini sessions per month so you don't have to wait so long between my mini days anymore.
-- Every mini session also includes the 30 minute consultation mentioned earlier.
-- All my mini sessions will be photographed in the evening light.  The kind, golden hour light that I love.  No more frantically trying to find shade.  No more fighting harsh noon sun.
-- My mini sessions will include 15 edited photos.  My goal is to make these 15 photos fit your family exactly.  My goal is to make these 15 photos look more like the photos of your dreams...and because of our pre-session consultation we'll be able to nail down what exactly you are wanting to capture.


#4 **ALL NEW** This-is-your-life Session

Last year as I took your family pictures I wondered if this was really how you wanted to remember these days--all dressed up and in a pretty place that I picked out for you.  I LOVE those kinda pictures and have fun watching you and your kids connect in these photographs but I wanted to give you another option. 

I wanted to give you more.  I wanted to give busy mommas and daddies of littles a chance to skip the stress of a "family picture day" while preserving their memories of this beautiful today that's gone tomorrow.  So I added an option that would capture your EVERYDAY life. 

If I had to guess, I'd bet that as you move through your everyday, 
it's hard not to notice the tiny beauties--
the small bursts of sweetness 
that you want to remember forever.  

Everything is changing so quickly and you aren't as interested in getting everyone dressed up for a camera as you are capturing the Saturday morning snuggles, the popsicle on the porch swing, the animal crackers on the couch, the constant fort building, princess playing and bedtime story-ing.  

These moments aren't scripted, planned or polished.  But they are beautiful and they are yours. And you want to keep them forever but you have no idea HOW.  

And here is where these new sessions come in.  When you book a This-is-your-life session we will get together beforehand and arrange an ordinary day together.
  
Instead of getting all dressed up and on your best behavior--this is your chance to bring me along to photograph one of your favorite every days...so you can remember it forever.


#5 Photography Classes [in my studio]

Guys, this is my final and FAVORITE change going forward.  I am not lying when I say I am passionate about pictures.  Whether I take them or you do!  I am so passionate about your tiny moments and beautiful little memories.  I want to give you all the tools you need to be your family's memorykeeper!  I want to help you LOOK and SEE. 

I have carefully crafted 3 classes for beginning beginners and these classes will take place on Wednesday nights in my lil studio on the square.  There is one for the mommas, one for your teenagers and one just for I-phone photography.  I haven't been this excited about something in awhile! I can't wait to put these creative tools in your hands!!!  You can find out more information on the upcoming classes HERE.

Because this email is ridiculously long, I didn’t include every little detail about my new sessions and changes.  You can mosey on over to my website or scheduling site for more detailed info. 

I hope it's obvious to you how much I enjoy falling in love with your family through my lens!  All the creative solutions I came up with are driven by me taking a step back and asking myself why I do what I do and how I can do it even better.  These new additions and changes make me excited to pick up my camera again and make beautiful photos with you!!!


love,
love,
love,

Lexi

Thursday, February 6, 2014

my mommahood





a few years back, i found myself surrounded by amazing mommas.  they were all good at things like making appointments (and keeping them), returning library books and looking sane in the pre-school pick up line.  i, mistakenly, measured my momma success by their amazing strengths...and i fell short.  so somewhere along the way, i cast my own crazy/creative strengths aside and went to work on my weaknesses.  

i tried harder.  

i tried replacing finger painting with worksheets.  i stopped park hopping and picked up flash cards.  i bought daily planners by the dozen.  i attempted to schedule our previously impulsive little life...

i ended up discouraged...

during that time, i managed to beat myself up pretty good.  i was going weeks without doing fun things and months without dabbling in creativity.  i spent years chastising myself for being who i was created to be...

right around that time, something about the grace my God offered me started to change my mind about my mommahood.  it finally occurred to me that, it didn't have to be about trying harder...it was just about asking Him who i was, opening my hands to accept what was given to me and asking for forgiveness for my failings.  

and things started to change...slowly.  i started to find myself as a momma.  i started making messes with my kiddos...big impractical ones.  i started dancing silly in the car and generally driving with the windows down.  i threw big birthday parties and a few very un-birthday parties.  i began dragging creativity into everywhere...even chore lists.  i started conversations that i'm pretty sure weren't happening in all the other mini vans.  i broke all the rules...not on purpose--but just because it's how i love.

somewhere amidst my self discovery, i created my momma creed.  it went something like this:

"i want to raise passionate learners and world changers who love God and others."

once i  narrowed down my goal for mommahood it was easier to rearrange my life to make it happen. 

it was freeing.

these days my mommahood looks less like anyone else's and more like my own.  i feel a little more at home as a momma--less worried about being everything and more focused on offering my something. my love for my kiddos is deeply rooted in my Father's love for me.  i know mommahood is nothing to be figured out and there is never a right way--but i think i've discovered that my relationship with my Father changes my mommahood in remarkable ways.  when i'm close to Him i am more okay with me and i generally have more to offer those 2 firecrackers of mine and the many mommas that surround me.  when i see us all as His children it's easy to see that other mommas received different gifts than i did...and it's okay if i don't measure up to them--all our gifts are good.  if you use yours and i use mine, then the world will be just as it should be:)

the truth is, i will always fail in the punctuality department.  i have a propensity to make up rash and extreme punishments that are impossible to follow through on("no computer til after christmas!"). i'm not a great morning momma--no creativity til after coffee.  sometimes i yell. my kids watch far more tv then i'd like.  my house is only clean for minutes at a time.  i forget more dental appointments then i'd like to admit.  i overthink little things.  i have a tendency to make lessons out of flying birds and pretty sunsets.  i have this habit of starting things...and turns out, being myself makes me look crazy in the company of other mommas...but i am so much more alive to my kiddos.  and that's what this mommahood is all about, right?  them?  so nevermind the stares...

my kids will never have everything but they will get all of me.  they will get the messy parts and the holy ones--they will hear of the lessons i've learned and the ones i'm currently learning.  they will get a front row seat to creativity and most likely have several tardy slips each semester.  my kiddos will benefit from the best of me...and learn to have grace for the worst of me...and when they are grown, they will know...i gave it my all.




Monday, January 13, 2014

sheer gift





new year.  two words.  


sheer gift.

sheer-
adjective
1. nothing other than;  unmitigated.
synonyms: utter complete, absolute, total, pure, downright, out-and-out, thorough.

gift-
noun
1. a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.
synonyms: present handout donation, offering, bestowal, bonus, award, endownment

2. a natural ability or talent
synonyms: talent, flair, apitude, facility, knack, bent, ability, expertise, capacity, capability


i divorced new year resolutions last year.  new year's resolutions reek of should's and would's and i'd rather live a life free of that flavor of things.  i replaced resolutions with a theme...last year's theme added so much life to me i couldn't help but come up with another.  It took me awhile to alight upon an idea i wanted to carry with me for such a long journey through spring and summer and fall and back to winter again.  and then i read romans 4 and i knew.

romans 4

 If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.

wow. 

i love gifts!  i want to look at life this year, good days and bad, as a sheer gift.  on winter mornings (even in florida), you can see your breath. something normally invisible is temporarily frozen and able to be viewed.  

i want to see each breath this year...and i want learn to view it as a gift.  

the truth is, 
i don't deserve another minute.  
i'm not entitled to another year.  

this year i want to imagine all the moments wrapped up in paper and string...just for me.  i want to unwrap the exciting packages and the dull ones and be grateful for both...  i want to look for and find sheer gifts all over my life--hidden in unexpected places and holding surprising contents.  i want to live this next year with open hands, awaiting and expecting anything and everything He sends my way.  i want to look at 2014 like a child on christmas morning...with awe and wonder in my eyes...

I want to drag this concept into every area of my life...even the spiritual.  this year, i want to live in the sheer gift of His grace.  i want to make sure i am not attempting to add to His gift by "trying harder".  i want to make sure i realize that this job is too big for me.  when someone gives an amazing gift, it's very human to want to pay them back in some way...and i often make that mistake in how i relate to the God who spoke the mountains into existence.  how prideful.  how insulting.  i want to approach my Father this year with a heart of humility and gratefulness...ever aware of the gifts He gives and how i can never deserve them.  i want to practice living in this sheer gift ALL. YEAR. LONG.

the word gift has two meanings--it can refer to a present or an ability.  in years past, i've been guilty of never using the gifts God has given to me.  in fact i've hidden them--to keep them safe from harm, i've put them up on a high and dusty shelf...so nothing can be broken.  this year i want to unwrap my gifts and atually use them.

i want to make.  
i want to write.  
i want to draw.  
i want to create.

i want to drag these unused gifts out of my soul's attic.  i don't want to be the daughter that buried her talents.  

i've lived too long in shame for the ways i'm made.  
i've lived too long in fear.  
i've lived way too long without flying from my open cage.  

doing the things i love scares me.  it feels so intimate and exhilarating.  it's...terrifying to put it all out there.  but this year? i want to dust off my brushes and paint on my life's canvas.  i want to use up all the blank paper in my house to write and sketch and create.  i want to put my ideas to work. i'm tired of comparing my gifts or asking Him for an exchange.  i'm tired of valuing His creation in this world but devaluing it in myself. this year i'm going to be kind to myself as i make my way through this unknown terrain.  i'm not going to demand perfection of me.  i'm going to be brave with my gifts and graceful with myself along the way. 

along with learning to use my gifts, in 2014 i want to be a giver.  

no reasons.  
no paybacks.  
no credit taken.  
no strings attached.  

i want to be a giver this year.  i have been given so much i want to take this year to give of my time, my resources and talents. i want to be intentional about looking for these opportunities wherever i go.  i want this year to be marked by a extreme generosity. i want to offer my best giving to God this year.  i want to mirror the Great Giver with a little giving of my own. i want to be on the hunt this year for opportunities to share.

i want to spend 2014 admiring the sheer gift of life,

basking in the sheer gift of grace, 

daring to use the gifts given to me, 

and 

last of all,

mirroring the Giver of every good thing. 



new year.  two words.

sheer gift.
















Tuesday, January 7, 2014

seeds, magic, roots & blooms




lately, it's the littlest things that catch my attention.  

things overlooked.  things forgotten.  

things like seeds. 

if you stop just a second to think about it, seeds are such a wild & wonderful way to begin a thing!  even the simplest description sounds so other worldly--

first you cover this tiny gray ball with some dirt.  make sure it sees the sun. just add water and then stand back--who knows what it will be.



inside every 

little seed 
is 
pure magic. 


  
seeds don't typically look like magic.  it's impossible to know just by looking, that something wonderful is beginning.  even if you know the sort, you never know if the seed you hold in your hand will grow up and become:

houses or boats,
driftwood or pencils,
chrysanthemums or raspberries,
books or tree houses, 
baby beds or wildflowers,
shade or shelter.  

(because, if you look at it just right, all of these things must begin with a seed.) 

every seed is 

a secret.

a promise.

a mystery.

a miracle.

it seems logical to me that of all the seeds, the dandelion and milkweed seeds would grow the most magical things of all...they seem so full of fluff and whimsy...and yet...once they are properly sunned and watered, they are only pretty weeds.

the start of a thing rarely tips you off to what is to come.  i constantly try to guess at what God is planting as it goes into the soft soil of my heart but really--it's quite hard to judge endings from their beginnings.  and there is so much beginning...

so much in my life is changing, churning.  the soil under my feet is being tilled and turned. everywhere i look God is growing something new.  beginnings are being planted everywhere. i am both thrilled and terrified with the slightly chaotic turn my life is taking...


*my husband just started a new job (in the office next to mine). he will work from home & for something he believes in.  it's kind of his dream job...working for the amazing c.o.o. of trail life usa (a non-profit that is focused on God and adventure and honor and training boys to become amazing men...see more here -------> www.traillifeusa.com). in one miraculously strategic move God has answered so many prayers...and turned our routine on it's very head. i'm so excited for eric and for our family as we venture into this untamed territory.  so excited to see just what grows out of this change.




*today i stand bewildered at the beginning of a long journey to wellness.  my battle with lyme disease continues to alter everything.  every day is different.  some days wonderful.  some (like last saturday) are from my nightmares.  God is doing lots of weeding and planting in this area of my life.  He's planting seeds of empathy and compassion in me where self-centeredness has always grown.  He's folding seeds of quiet and contentment into loud and lusty, me.  He's cultivating helplessness and gratitude and those other tricky things inside my heart.  i can feel these foreign things taking root deep down inside. from the outside i'm sure i look much the same but these invisible roots promise visible blooms someday soon. all these sweet seedlings are slowly growing and taking over places where my thorny words used to be.  i've never in my life been so happy to watch, follow & listen.  i would have never guessed this is what would begin to grow from illness.  



*i am beginning some new creative projects in this starting season.  projects unlike i've ever attempted.  God has planted some seeds of truth in my life that are growing quite steadily into action.  it's exciting and risky and ... i can't wait to see what pops up out of this ground.

i am enthralled with life this january!  there are new beginnings in all directions.  it's an expectant season where much is being planted.  i'm intoxicated with the hope that all this seed magic will explode into something wonderful come spring.  i can't wait for these seeds to show me what it means to bloom.




Monday, November 11, 2013

still learning...


lately i feel i've been traveling through foreign land.  everything is different.  food, language, ritual, habit, street signs and landscape.  it's all very confusing.  and frustrating.  i'm sure there are some wonderful things i'm missing out my window, but i'm consumed with my survival in this strange land and so far have failed to see any landmarks that might make this journey a little less traumatic.

rhett & i were recently diagnosed with lyme disease.  we were bitten by ticks this summer while picnicking under our favorite old tree.  we didn't get a distinct rash (only about 35%-60% of lyme's patients got the "bull's eye rash").  we were a little tired...but it was summer and we were flying through all our favorite things.  

soon enough school started.  i was editing photos in front of my computer every day...but sore at the end of day...and so tired at night you would have thought i was running marathons in between photo sessions.  but i couldn't sleep...and then i started having chest pain.  and that sent me straight to the dr.  one night i thought i was dying.  crushing chest pain, heart flutters, pain in my left arm...and yet...i'm such a non-medical kinda girl...it took all this to get me to my local urgent care.  they did an EKG and said there was nothing wrong.  i said,

oh, yes.  there is something wrong all right.  i know it.  run every test.  diabetes, heart disease, lyme disease, I DON'T CARE.  

and i must have been pretty scary in that moment because, without another question, 
he did.  

Lyme's came back positive.  i was devastated   i have seen with my own two eyes how terrible this disease could be...i could hardly believe it was lurking in MY body.  my strong and young and capable body.  i got rhett tested the same day(because he was bit by two ticks the same day i was). he tested positive.  my momma's heart withered.

 we both started treatment in september.

if getting diagnosed with a potentially debilitating disease was not enough.

there is some very bad news about lyme's disease.  i'm learning more every day.  here is the information i've gathered thus far (in my own simple words),

if you don't get proper treatment for lyme's in the beginning stages, you could have it for the rest of your life.

+

it's very hard to get proper treatment

BECAUSE...

people think it's not here or it's not there or it's only in the northeast (including my urgent care dr and the florida health department).  

+

 it's a VERY politically clouded disease that the government doesn't like to talk about or acknowledge.  

+

insurances don't like to pay for the expensive treatments.  

+

 the CDC doesn't stand to benefit from lyme's research and they don't know enough about the disease to properly treat it.  

+

dr's get shut down for treating lyme's any way but by CDC guidelines (a few days or weeks of antibiotics).  they are getting their licences taken away for doing anything more.   naturally, there are very few dr's willing to take this risk.

all of this =

a very scary and unfamiliar journey for me and my little wonderboy.

luckily (for us) we have some friends here in florida that have been down a similar road.  they pointed us to some lyme literate medical doctors in the area (l.l.m.d.) right away and have eased the entrance into this strange land by their familiarity with all the things we are currently wading through.  while this is amazing and graceful...this journey has still been dark...for me.

lyme disease if not treated is thought to be linked to some very scary diseases like parkinson's, arthritis, lupis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromialgia, and alzheimer's.  in my limited understanding it can lead to heart damage, organ damage and even death.  all from one little tick at a pretty picnic.

this is all so unfamiliar to me.  like a different world than i knew just several months ago.  my body feels like someone else's some days.  i hurt.  i ache.  i feel like my mouth won't make the right words and that's if my brain can find them.  every day is different.  it rarely looks the same.  it's confusing to me so i can't imagine what it looks like in my little boy's head.  
as a strong woman...i am frustrated. as a momma...i am enraged. as a daughter of a big God...i am learning.

i'm learning (once again) i am small.  i'm learning lots from this out of control feeling.  i am learning that i never really trusted Him to begin with.  i am learning alot about how to live today and let tomorrow worry about itself.  i am learning to wait and i am learning that He can do more in my waiting that i can ever do in my doing.  i'm learning the value of good health.  i'm learning about the art of taking care of others (as others care for me).  i'm learning that a call or text or pot of soup or apple pie really can mean HOPE to someone.  this whole thing has been a lesson in patience and humility and self control and joy. and i'm still learning...

come what may


as a child i hated roller coasters.  but i tried my best.  i nodded every time my mom asked if i wanted to ride.  i put my brave face on and envied my baby sisters as they strolled out the chicken exit.  but not me...<gulp> i rode every ride.  as i buckled myself into the ride fear bubbled in my stomach--not the excited kinda fear but the terrified.  i'd close my eyes and stomp my feet on the floor every loop and hill.  i hated every second.  i wanted so badly to like it.  i'd have to remind myself  itwillbeoversoon, itwillbeoversoon in order to make it through.  but if ever i was brave enough to open my eyes, i could see for miles!  hills and trees and houses and people...the view was beautiful!  i hardly knew because i spent most of my time with my eyes squeezed tight.  there is something about that free falling feeling i just can't take.

life feels a bit like a roller coaster right now.  God is the parent that buckled me in and promises me i'll be alright. He makes it clear that it's Him and not me that is in control.  i'd like so much to make Him proud so i put my brave face on and envy the others that take the chicken exit.  i buckle in and try my best.  at the loops and hills i close my eyes and stomp my feet and try to remember all my Father tells me about being afraid.  i don't like this ride.  some days i have to remind myself itwillbeoversoon, itwillbeoversoon in order to make it through.  if i dare open my eyes long enough...some parts of this ride are breathtaking--like nothing i could ever see from anywhere else.   the landscape is painted in shades of forgiveness and redemption, humility and kindness--the view is beautiful!  all beauty aside, there is something in this free falling feeling that i just can't take.  

but for Him?  

anything...
even this falling feeling.

faith?
trust?

whatever it is, i don't like this ride. but i'm buckled in and leaning towards Him--

come what may.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

{adventure awaits}

i don't know about you but life keeps happening faster and faster for me.  days feel like minutes and weeks resemble hours and all the sudden i haven't updated my blog or given my kids a bath in wayyyy too long!  while a quick sniff can remind me that those little stinkers of mine are due for a rinse...my blog sits here waiting patiently for my words and photos while time gets away from me...

i was editing a session today when a photo jumped off the screen and made my heart flutter.  this one image brought truth and tears. i had to write.

the picture was of a bride and groom.  dana & ryan, the couple in the photo, have a captivating love story.   their tale is of a whirlwind summer romance that looks different and feels exciting, like nothing you've seen on pinterest.  last minute, they scrapped the stressful wedding day (which was really more for everyone else anyway) and they went to the courthouse and made promises to each other and God, just the two of them.  they decided that a lifetime was too short to fill it full of things that don't matter...and all they wanted to do was sign up for forever, so they skipped all the ordinary fuss.  they decided to do it all a little simpler...and with more personal meaning.  i loved hearing their love story and spending a golden morning capturing them embarking on their new and beautiful adventure.

their love story is truly inspiring, but there was poetry & gospel in this image that made me cry...  

*the way the groom is looking back and offering his hand for his lovely bride to take.  
*the way he is one step in front of her... anxious for them to get on their way up that pretty hillside, where all the wildflowers live.  
*the way her hands are full of white dress and blue baggage...
*the way she is making her way a little more slowly, choosing her steps carefully and minding her dress.  

the imagery took my breath.  

God refers to His church (me & you) as His bride and as i looked at this picture, all the sudden, dana and ryan faded to the background and all i could see was the truth hiding underneath.

the way the groom is looking back--stretching out his arm towards his love--reminds me of the God who claimed me as His own and wrote a beautiful story for me--packed with passion & adventure.  Daily He asks me to drop it all and place my free hand in His...and daily i deny His hand and make really good excuses as to why i have other things to do.  

like this groom, God has adventure on his mind.  He stretches his hand out for me to grab...but so very often my hands are full.  He's one step in front of me, anxious to show me the beauty that lies ahead...but my hands are busy...with silly frills and personal baggage.  i can't move at His pace because i have alot of practical things to carry.  there are things i must tend to.  and i want to watch where i'm going, so i don't trip and fall.  

because realistically, the bride in the photo will trip if she throws it all to the wind and tries to run in that dress.  if she doesn't fall on her face she'll get all dirty running along that dirt path.  not to mention that she probably really needs all that stuff in that suitcase.  these excuses ring with worldly truth and practicality and that's what makes it so hard to put it all down.  God asks me to travel lightly...and i keep thinking i am, i am.  but am i? really? or are my arms still too full of trifles (that look significant) to let Him lead the way?   

most days i turn away from His wild call--my house needs cleaned, bills need paid, work needs done, kids need bathed and these things really are important!  i don't think i can just let them go and ask Him what He wants me to do with my time, talents, love and money...  

it's all so very wild and free and extreme.  when He asks me to love Him and love others it sounds so simple but it lives hard.

i want throw it all to the wind.  i want to be the bride that runs in her wedding dress.  i want to be swept away by Him.  i want to step into my love story.  i want to grab His hand with both of mine and hang on!  i want to trust Him enough to take His hand and let go of everything else. 

i want to...but dare i?

funny how one picture can change your morning and your mind.  in the light of the truth hidden in this photograph, everything that usually fills my hands and looks important seems so very small.  in this moment, i can see His outstretched arm so clearly and know... 

adventure awaits...