Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Blue

    Our Summer in “Blue”
Artists Inspired Blog Circle

The connotation of the word “blue” conjures up so many images and interpretations in my mind!
There isn’t one particular item or subject that I want to shoot or even write about. Whether talking about the color and all of the beauty that exists with various shades of “blue” or whether talking about feelings and the emotions of being “blue,” it can be found everywhere. And, I’d be totally amiss in who I am and in this blog if I didn’t add the beauty and splendor found in my very own Tarheels, and Carolina Blue!

To the point, and when reminiscing about our fast-paced and adventuresome summer, I can picture so much “blue.”

I can feel my “blue” and my children’s “blue” — my little girl will be starting her 4th Elementary School in 6 short years, and my son is now on his 2nd in two years. They loved their school, their teachers, their friends. “Blue” would be a mild understatement to how we feel about leaving this school…

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I can picture the last day that we attended church at Vaughn Forest, saddened as the last lunch with our closest Montgomery friends passed — our times with these friends were amazing, and for their love and friendship, we’ll be forever grateful (and thankful they too are military – albeit, Army 😉 – and know the woes of the military lifestyle…and they’re only a few hours away in Texas).

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I can picture the sky behind our Montgomery home, as we loaded our car to move, the gorgeous sun setting, while I grabbed for my phone, since it’s all that I had to capture its beauty.

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I can picture our last day at our neighborhood pool, knowing we wouldn’t have one down the road to go to whenever we wanted…so we made the most of it.
And of course, the memories of my son losing his top tooth…naturally, at the pool this day!

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I can see my kids faces as we packed our boxes, while Mommy was trying to make the most of a move that we truly didn’t want to make. While playing with a new lens, and bribing him for a picture…he gave me this, so I took it! And, Lensbabys are not my specialty – AT ALL – but this one seems to work for this capture…

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I can see our children at our friend’s Alabama lake house, grateful for one more weekend with amazing friends.

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I can see the moods of my children in the hotel, and my (thankfully successful) attempts to cheer them up, while living there for two weeks.

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And, I feel the blue that I felt when I knew I’d have to leave my well-established photography business and start over again in a new city.

I am grateful for ALL the “blue” memories – they reinforce how God’s plan was bigger than my own.
The blue that we saw and felt our last days in Montgomery have nothing on the goodness that has come from those moments!
Why can I not remember this Proverbs passage and in my heart KNOW that I don’t have to worry?! <sigh>
I hope He just likes sending me reminders. Daily!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” 

Proverbs 3:5-6

The “blue” in our life now consists of time with friends – roaming the neighborhood(s) or OU in search of Pokemon under the blue skies.

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Friends who we can visit anytime we want, just five houses down, and enjoy spending time with them during holidays and get togethers…and anytime in between.
And, they get to go to the same school!

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Friends that are near, who we can now go to church and eat lunch with, and the memory of feeling “blue” when we moved six years ago, not knowing all that would be in store for our family, or that we would get to come back to our church home.

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Friends that are far, that we wouldn’t have been able to see if it wasn’t for our move back to Oklahoma City. Do you know we’ve already had visitors from both Texas and Utah and Las Vegas? That definitely wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t moved back! The blues of losing friends – replaced – we didn’t lose anyone.

We gained lifelong friendships that will hold through time and distance.

And, photography. I’m seeing blue all over the place, but it has nothing to do with feeling “blue!”
God’s plan was so much bigger and better than my own (as He continuously shows me, in spite of myself!)!!

My photography journey is continuing in such a beautiful way, and the friendships I’ve made in this industry and locally, are blowing me away!
Beyond thankful for the love and support of one photographer in particular – Emiley Kuehn of Studio802! She befriended me even before I arrived, and has been a light in what could have been a very dark place in my photography journey. She’s embraced me as a friend, as someone whom she can teach and guide, and as a Sister in Christ. Friends with this type of heart are often hard to find locally, but I am so thankful for her every day! With her support, I’ve also been able to embrace her vision for Law Enforcement Officers and helping to #backtheblue. I’ve already made photography contacts because of her kindness, and moreover, I’ve made friends!

(she has no idea this is in here…but this is a behind the scenes shot of Emiley posing this sweet newborn so myself and another photographer could learn how to achieve the “Froggy” pose)

(this image has no blue at all, but this woman is keeping me from feeling the “blue” emotion, and I am forever grateful!

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My most heartwarming “blue” moment came from one of these LEO Mini Sessions, where I was left speechless. One of my clients gave me (ME!…like, she gave ME!) something at the end of our session. I’d love to say it was one of my best sessions and I got a ton of amazing shots and showed them to her right then and there…but, as I tend to be, I told her I really hoped we got some good shots (not even great…just was hoping for the best!). Chasing a tiny toddler and trying to get a 4 month old to cooperate in 100* heat is not for the faint of heart, friends! And, I’m honest to a fault. But, through my honesty, she STILL gave me something that I’ll cherish forever. She handed me a beautiful light blue (almost Carolina colored, so I knew it’d be good!) bag, and enclosed was a Rustic Cuff bracelet! Oh my word, I was nearly in tears, and I was in fact speechless. She shared an act of kindness with me that I’ll never forget, and in that moment, any concerns I may have had about feeling “blue” in business, life, friendships…gone. You can visit one of these sessions here, and I’ve finally just finished this session, so you can check out the {E} Family Session as well!

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I am so happy to have had you on this journey with me!
This blog entry is part of a series from The Artists Inspired Blog Circle.
The next artist in our series is the talented Nikki Smith of Nikki Smith Photography.
To see her entry, as well as continue through the circle to see how all of our Artists have interpreted this month’s “Blue” theme, click here.

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

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Jen Woodhouse – Construction-Themed Kids Workshop Party

When our military family moves from one location to the next, we often wonder what type of friends we’ll have and if we’ll find “that” family (the good “that”…not the bad “that” 🙂 ) – the one  that we can get along with and essentially become family with. You know — the friendships where both husbands and wives get along and the children play and enjoy hanging out together, and no matter what everyone loves each other? These friendships are not always easy to find, but we were so, so blessed in Montgomery, Alabama the day that our new friends walked in to the church that my husband and I had been attending for almost two years. A God-thing? I think so! The intrigue of this sweet couple may or may not have also been sparked by the identifying “look for the man with a murse.” After the service, lunch…and then the forever friendship!

From that day on, our husbands formed a special <read in to this, “crazy, fun, off-humored”> relationship while Jen and I … well, we are both more on the introverted shy side (and normal!), which both of us will admit…we were typically just humored by how “off” our husbands really can be! We always enjoy our time together, but the guys typically stole the show in our discussions and get togethers (which, inevitably turned in to work conversations or…discussion about movies, or The Walking Dead). Both of us being self professed work-a-holics (we’re both Moms, first, but also both being self employed pulled us both in directions to work a lot!), we didn’t really get to know each other as well as I’d have liked until towards the end of our time in Montgomery. No worries though — we so enjoyed our time, and hopefully we can more than make up for it moving forward!  These were our church friends, after church lunch friends, our Mexican food loving friends, our husband’s have a bromance friends, and we both wish we had spent more time hanging out friends! And just like that, 10 months passed us by, but not without a lot of fun memories in between.

One such memory was Jen’s Bug House Building Kids’ Workshop/Construction-Themed Party. Jen Woodhouse, over at The House of Wood, is a ridiculously talented military wife and DIY Blogger who designs and builds furniture and provides the plans to her projects for her followers. (these are among her other various talents, including leading worship and singing/songwriting/piano-playing…I’m sure there’s so much more that I’m hardly doing her justice…she’s seriously one of the most talented people that I know!) Jen invited our family along with a few other families to enjoy a Construction-Themed Party that she hosted through her work with Home Depot. I’ll add a few images, but you can find the rest in her blog, which is below. If you aren’t following Jen yet, you NEED to! This woman, this friend…I’m blessed to call her and her family that…she’s amazing, and has so much to offer on how to build furniture, do projects, decorate, and even survive the world of being a military spouse.

What a blessing it is in our military lifestyle that we can meet, become fast friends, and know we’ll continue our friendship through the years! We already have plans to meet up…they’re only a few hours away in Texas, so if we need a break from Oklahoma, you can bet we’ll be meeting them in Dallas for a mini vacation (and Mexican food!)

And, our construction-themed party started!

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Jen and parents helped the kiddos out…look at all that concentration!

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Making sure everything was just perfect!

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When the kiddos needed a break, these yummy treats were close by!

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Is this not the coolest pizza cutter/cookie cutter ever?!
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One of the final products! I think this one is like camouflage!

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She even caught a bug!

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This was definitely a hit! Thank you, Jen Woodhouse!
We love and miss you!

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Bug House Building Kids’ Workshop Party

 

Kitzke Newborn – Lifestyle 2015

Kitzke Newborn – Lifestyle 2015

 

 

 

 

 

If it wasn’t apparent before, it will absolutely be apparent now that I LOVE at home lifestyle sessions! I had the privilege of capturing this sweet family’s Maternity session, which you can see here: 
Kitzke Maternity
. Just in speaking with this beautiful Mommy, I knew that we would have a wonderful and memorable session, and that held so, so true!

As a photographer, it’s one of those observations that I have to make — her sweet husband was so wonderful! I absolutely adored this couple during their maternity session! He was such a trooper and I can tell you first hand, it’s not all the time when a husband seems to enjoy the session (whether he really did or not, I’ll never know!) or if he was just doing anything to please his wife. Regardless, their maternity images speak a thousand words…all showing how much he adores his wife, and their Lifestyle Newborn session was different only in that he added one more cutie to love! Watching newborn Daddies…<sigh, and melt my heart>…he was so, so good with his son…truly the sweetest thing to watch!

For anyone questioning why one might want an in-home newborn session…please love, I mean, look at this amazing session! From start to finish, it was AH-MAZING…and, as I recall, we did have some fussy moments in there, which I totally expect! Please never worry if your little one needs a little extra attention. You just love your precious little, and I’ll capture the moments that you’ll love to cherish when this very short phase is over…

Take a peek into this precious Newborn Lifestyle Session with SLP!

This one should *seriously* be in a magazine!!! I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!

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<melt my heart. all over again!>

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One of my all time favorites. No really…it is!

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Seeeeeepy baby! Look at that face!
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They also let me practice my freelensing, and I’m so glad they did! It wound up being one of their favorites!
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That handsome little face. Just perfection.

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True Lifestyle…
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I mean…really. Look at this GORGEOUS FAMILY! They will always have a place in my heart!


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My guess is that they miss this sweet face…because after almost one year (which is CRAZY!), he’s changed so, so much!

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Look at this sweet little newborn face!! And, of course, we had to get at least a few with Daddy’s military uniform…

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The signs of a successful lifestyle newborn session with me!

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Could I have a better job?! I think not! I have been so nervous to start over in Oklahoma City as a Lifestyle Photographer, but looking back at these images gives me hope and encouragement to keep going! I love these moments way too much to stop capturing the beauty that’s in real, raw, lifestyle images.

Thank you, Kitzke Family, for having faith in me and believing in me to capture these special moments!

Law Enforcement Mini Session – Spivey Family 2016

What an honor!

Thanks to an amazing new photographer friend, Emiley of Studio802, I have had an awesome opportunity to help our community out by volunteering my services to aid in the effort to recognize those who so selflessly serve our city by protecting its citizens. Emiley helped to start a movement for photographers to offer free sessions to our Law Enforcement Officers and their families. What a beautiful heart she has…and I was so excited to get so many referrals from her to do these! As a new photographer in this local area, this has been an amazing boost to my confidence in rebuilding in Oklahoma City! I LOVED where I was at in Montgomery, AL with my business, but I am so thankful to not feel alone here, and a huge part of that is because of Emiley’s heart.

My very first Oklahoma City family…on a solo session, and not with our HOF Oklahoma City Photographers group…and this family knocked it out of the park! What a high bar they set…and I am so excited about it! Right off the bat, they were so friendly and easy to work with, and best of all…they were FUN! No fake smiles or awkward moments…maybe just a few that made me giggle, but just inspired me to truly capture them as they are…with tons of love and laughter! I wish I could do so much more for those who keep us safe and protect us day in and day out, but I hope capturing these moments and memories for them to always cherish is a start. That, along with a lot of prayers for daily safety and protection over their loved ones…I hope you all join me in this.

Thank you, Officer Spivey for ALL that you and your family do!

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So much love…and so much FUN!
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What’s a photo session these days without a little Pokemon?!
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I adore these two images…so.much!
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And…these…
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This was hilarious!!! #notstagedatall #Iswear!
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Such a beautiful family…thank you…
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You can also catch the video of their images here under videos.

#bluelivesmatter
#LEOMiniSessions
#backtheblue
#ShelbyLeighPhotography
#CommunityOverCompetition

Three Generations – Foster Family 2015

Three Generations – Foster Family 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t deny it…one of my all time favorite family sessions!!!

I loved meeting this AMAZING family boasting three generations of beauty and love. Truly, they are a family that I one day aspire to have. I enjoyed photographing everyone…but I think Grandma Joan and Grandpa have my heart. What a blessed family to have these loving grandparents to have started this family. I had to capture a few special ones of just them towards the end, so be sure to keep scrolling since I couldn’t just choose a few.

We had this special session in Pike Road, Alabama, along one of my favorite and most scenic fall session areas. The fence, road and lighting are perfect for the look that they were hoping for. When I tell my clients I do a combination of “posed” and “lifestyle”…this session is exactly what I have in mind!

Although rebuilding my photography business in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as a portrait and lifestyle photographer, I will ALWAYS remember how beautiful this session was, and what it meant for them to allow me to capture these special family moments.

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