Celebrating TWO…and my First Home-Water Birth

Celebrating TWO…and my First Home-Water Birth

It’s hard for me to imagine, but this time two years ago, I was barely recovering from having my first HOME Water Birth Story session! Yes, me. I was recovering…from photographing it! To say this birth was eventful would be a huge understatement, as this birth was filled with so much peace, joy, love…and also worry, pain, and uncertainty. Our strong Mommy undoubtedly passed her strength and spirit to her incredible, brave, princess fighter, and through some tears and quite literally a “labor of love,” I watched as this life was brought Earth side. We started at my clients’ home, fairly late in the evening, maybe around 9 pm, but ended up at OU Children’s sometime well after midnight. Thankfully, God had His hand over this family the whole time, and I could not have been more thankful to be a small part of their amazing journey while growing their sweet family. Through the joys of having social media and especially Facebook, I have been able to watch this precious little one grow into now a beautiful little “wildflower” as her Mommy likes to say. I’m sharing today as I think of this child often, and am so thankful for her life and that I was able to witness the beginning of it. With the COVID pandemic taking over our ability to do normal, daily tasks, including various types of photography over the past several months, I have missed being able to meet and document our world’s newest blessings. And this birth was so very special to me, so sharing my love for Births and this Birth Story just seemed natural. 

Here are a couple of images from this special child’s amazing Birth Story, as captured through my lens. I love every image from this Birth Story. Documenting this time is truly an honor for me. To be there, in the room, present with Mom, Dad, the medical team, and of course, God, who makes this miracle happen. I’ve been questioned before about how I can document “births.” “Aren’t they…umm…”  … LET ME STOP YOU THERE. Births are beautiful. They are part of everyone’s story, and documenting the details couldn’t be more fulfilling to my soul. If you can’t see beauty in these images, my guess is that you have some preconceived notion of what you think birth is like, and not what it actually is. Because…just look at these! BEAUTIFUL. GOD. MIRACLES. 

Happiest of Birthdays to you, Eden! Thankful to have been among the first to meet you!

                             

 

xx, 

Shelby 

 

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness September 15 Update

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness September 15 Update

Not sure who all has hung in there with me through these last couple of “Renew:” blog updates, but this one should catch me up to the present! 

Last week, on September 15th, I had my 3 month post op check up with the amazing Dr. Derek Shadid. First, for anyone who may be considering any plastic surgery, I would *highly* recommend Dr. Shadid and his professional staff any day. He and his staff are truly fantastic, and this comes from a highly picky person! I’ve had quite a few inquiries on who I chose as my surgeon as well as why, and to be honest, it was several factors including professionalism of office staff, his location here in Oklahoma City, his education (GO HEELS!), and more…but it boiled down to one main factor. Him. He is polite, kind, spent plenty of time discussing my symptoms and concerns with me and didn’t make me feel like my concerns weren’t valid (like my primary care manager did). Also, his experience! Not gonna lie – I had a very long (like to the extreme) list of questions and concerns for him, but even before I could get to nearly all of them, he had covered the bases with me. I didn’t feel like a burden for my thoughts or that he didn’t understand my ailments. For anyone suffering with chronic illness and autoimmune disease, you know this is very, very rare. Also, Dr. Shadid’s assistant, April, was kind, understanding, and honestly helped put me at ease (hello, vulnerability). I also want to mention Leslie, the front office receptionist as well as Patricia, who deals with the financials. Leslie was beyond patient with my initial questions and did all she could to get me in to see Dr. Shadid in a very timely manner. She welcomed my persistent calls to see when a cancelation might pop up, and that’s how I was able to get in to see Dr. Shadid so quickly last year. She’s a welcoming face each time I have gone in, and working with Patricia to work through the financial aspect of surgery was also so easy because of her knowledge and kind personality. 

Okay, now on to the good stuff. My 3-month checkup! It went very well! I have been cleared for all activity, meaning that nothing that I do should hurt any of the surgical healing process. This is great news since really about a month and a half or so ago, I had already started to feel so much more like myself and have been working out more regularly. Nothing crazy – walking, mostly, but still more than normal for me. It’s still a little tender in there while doing certain activities – jumping on my trampoline, for instance – but overall, I’m mostly pain free. Dr. Shadid said that some of the tenderness and few slightly sharper pains that I may experience could be from nerves waking up a bit more, and that this is normal and I can work through the pains with massage. It’s nothing to be concerned with, however. During the appointment, one of my main concerns, which was discussed pretty much from Day 1, was the idea of a fat transfer. This procedure would be where Dr. Shadid takes fat from my back or wherever he is able, and both slim down that area and transfer the fat into the breast pockets. Although we all agree this procedure would lead to the most aesthetic option for me, I have concerns still over quite a few things, including cost and possibly continuing cost. Additional health concerns to include calcification? Long term effects? Fat dissolving into the body, requiring more surgery?? Sigh. I don’t know. Lots to absorb and think about, so for the time being, I’m going to be as happy as I can be with the explant. Women, obviously myself included, put way too much into their looks every day. I had no idea how many women changed their God-given bodies so much through surgery. Women that I know. Women that aren’t “out there on TV” or wealthy. Just…all types of women. I’m not against it, but I do feel it’s problematic about our society when so many of us aren’t happy with ourselves, especially when I look around at the women and friends that have had some work done, and they are and always have been so beautiful to me, regardless of procedure. It’s still baffling to me, since for so many years, I was ashamed that “I was the only one” who had “work done.” I had my reasons to justify, but apparently we all do.

Back to the idea of a fat transfer – this was on the radar from Day One because, as I’ve been very open about, I have pretty much zero breast tissue. Just wasn’t in the cards for me. That hasn’t changed through weight gain or bearing children who nursed. As I standing in front of April, Dr. Shadid’s assistant, extremely vulnerable for her to update my 3 month pictures, she could see my discomfort as I said that I was once again sorry for my appearance. As kindly as ever, she gently reminded me that I could elect to have a fat transfer to change that. She knows I’m hesitant for many reasons. After that super uncomfortable moment, I waited for Dr. Shadid and again, just like the first couple of post op appointments, he mentioned that if I’m unhappy with my result, I would be an ideal candidate for a fat transfer. I had secretly hoped that, like 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago, I’d have been too skinny to pull fat from! HA! Not anymore. Maybe THAT’S the reason for my weight gain…totally kidding! I have some definite areas where he could get possibly up to half a cup size for each breast. I’m honestly not sure it’s worth it…though, the idea of having some unwanted fat removed does pique my interest! I’m truly glad to have my options, but also wonder why I feel such a great need to change. Anyways, aside from that discussion and talking about my incisions and their appearance (I chose a particular kind of stitching process that wouldn’t leave anything in my body but that also dissolves differently so the result is a little different), we ended with seeing each other in a year, I think. Actually, I’ll have to check whether it’s a year or six months…at the time of the appointment I was not planning on being here because of an impending move, but the move has been canceled, so now I need to actually process that!

OH! And, an update on my symptoms! Here’s a short list from my first BII post, which you can find here: Journey to Wellness

InflammationImproved 30+%
Joint Pain – Improved 30+%
AnxietyImproved (not sure on %, because this was a particularly stressful month)
Difficulty ConcentratingSlight improvement – 15%
Memory LossThis one I’m not sure on. Still not great, but that’s been the same since I was about 18
Brain FogImproved!! 50% 
Hair Loss – Improved – Hair growth visible, looks healthier
DepressionAgain, it’s been a rough month, but I believe until this past month, I did have an improvement. Not huge, but some. 
Mood SwingsNot sure, but I feel confident it’s improved. 
Shortness of BreathBETTER!! Improved 50% or more! I had no idea that my breaths had become so, so shallow. Just days after surgery, I could FEEL myself breathing deeper. Even if nothing else changed, this would have been worth it!!! 
Weight GainNot sure. Some weight loss since surgery, but I also did a juice cleanse for five days about a month ago. Unfortunately, I followed that up with a month of Starbucks and eating out. Sooo…between that and the stress, I did lose weight, but it fluctuates, and though less weight than before surgery, I’m not sure how much is from just that. 

I’m adding to this list: 

Chronic Fatigue – SO MUCH BETTER!! Probably 50%. Yes, I still get tired doing menial daily tasks, but what I haven’t done is lay in bed all day pretty much since maybe a week after surgery. Are there days I want/need a nap? Yes. But it’s not daily anymore, and even better, I’m able to exercise and walk without becoming short of breath and tired. I already know that my quality of life has been forever changed. 

One last tidbit before I end this update. 

I forgot that I had also asked Dr. Shadid about my ribcage and sternum, and how to me, they felt deformed. I feel like my sternum protrudes a bit while my ribs that were under my implants are a bit…concave. Yes, my actual ribs. I wondered for a while if maybe I was imagining this, but he confirmed that this was not an imagination, but that my body truly does now have a deformity. It likely isn’t going to cause any future damage or organ damage or anything, thankfully. That said, for anyone who has implants and/or for anyone who might one day consider getting them, PLEASE KNOW ALL OF THE RISKS. We ALL thought we knew going in to our surgeries for implants. I did. My friends with implants did. My new “breasties” (friends who have the same types of issues in various groups) all did. But we don’t. MY RIBCAGE IS DEFORMED, Y’ALL. Forever. I truly wonder if THIS is why back in 2011 I had my first bout of costochondritis (inflammation of the ribs). Was the weight of my implants over those 8 years what caused that? It wouldn’t surprise me. Even as I type, I can remember the feeling of pain in my right ribs, right under my breast, where I would have this terrible dull ache for months at a time. No rhyme or reason. No doctor ever told me that it could be the implants — which is CLEARLY marked on ALL of my medical paperwork. I still have some dull pains, and I expect that it won’t ever “go away completely”…but I doubt I’m doing anything now to make it worse (like harboring toxic, heavy bags in my breast pockets). This deformity may also be causing some of the issue with my appearance — if my ribs go in, it’s likely that the minuscule bit of tissue I have (pretty much zero, but still trying to humor the possibility) is also pulling in, and not having the normal protrusion like most women. Remember, I’m a LOT smaller than most, so those bags (they were small and only got me up to a B Cup) were still big and likely heavy for my frame. I worry for those who I know have much, much larger implants, and the pains they may one day have because of them. 

I really wanted to share this with anyone wanting the updates. I know that women in particular have benefitted from my openness and vulnerability.

As hard as it is, I am thankful that my story may one day help someone who reads this. 

xx Shelby 

**Picture from March, pre-explant. One day I’ll take some updated selfies, but it’s been a little crazy over here since the surgery! 

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – July 31 Update

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – July 31 Update
Updating with another post – this one is from two months post surgery, and the difference in lifestyle is so recognizable by anyone who knows me! Explanting was definitely the right decision, and though the struggles are still real, I know I am better off without the toxic, fake breasts taking away from my life. 
 
“Good morning!!
Quite a few people have asked for updates on my post-surgery recovery, and the results speak for themselves! It’s only been two months, and I swear I’ve been more physically active in this time since surgery than the previous four years combined. Yesterday I walked two miles, and this morning (before 9 am!) I walked 2.3 miles! This is in addition to some light workouts, as well as being productive through the day. A few months ago, I could barely get a mile in, and I’d be in bed for several hours after. It’s embarrassing, I know, but that was my life, for way longer than I care to admit. The relentless pain and exhaustion was truly that unbearable.
My pain level has decreased substantially, and while I fully believe my AS autoimmune disorder still exists and will continue to cause issues for me (my spinal pain and hip pains have decreased, but still very much there), I think my body is able to help itself more now that it’s not fighting off something that should have never been in there. I am curious about my Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue diagnoses — so many with BII have those diagnoses as well, and a lot of those symptoms have improved. Not 100%, but a big improvement for sure.
I haven’t really lost any weight since last month, despite my efforts, but I’m still feeling healthier in general. I feel I lost some inflammation immediately following surgery, and that was about it. I’ll be seeing a functional medicine doctor soon, and hopefully more things will improve over time and a bit more digging for answers. Physically, my post surgery wounds are healing well, and though I’m trying to adjust my self-perception and self-esteem, I *do* think it is possible there will come a day when I’m not so saddened by my appearance. Though, it depends on which day you catch me on how I’m *really* feeling. All that said, it’s still worth it.

Seeing all three rings closed yesterday was amazing, but being more active with the kids (i.e. I jumped on the trampoline yesterday…something I’d have thought would break my body a few months ago!!!) and being more productive regularly has been even better!! Continuing to pray for healing 💕

xx Shelby 

 
 

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – June 3rd Update

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – June 3rd Update
I’m playing catch up, again, which seems to be my favorite game! I wanted to make sure these updates on my surgery are recorded somewhere other than Facebook, and are searchable for anyone who might be interested. I have had at least half a dozen women ask me about BII, and I am very happy to help in any way that I can. The biggest takeaway is that you are not alone!!
 
This post is from one week post op, so from June 3, 2020. My surgery was May 27th, so I wrote this about a week later.
I didn’t grab my selfie shot for this blog post, but in any case, you can get the gist of how my post-surgery week went! 
 
“It’s been one week since my surgery, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to say. In fact, this time last week, the recovery nurses and anesthesiologists were still trying to wake me up from my “narcoleptic” state (until I finally left around 10:30 – the procedure began around 1:00 and was about four and a half hours total). Literally, they tried waking me up for longer than the procedure itself 🙈 Every time I’d begin coming out of sleep, my oxygen would drop and I’d pass back out. I was on oxygen for a while and breathing treatments, most of which I don’t remember much about. The flashes of things I do remember amuse me though. I’m very grateful for the care I received from the recovery team (Gail, Jorgie, Dr Chris) and of course the patience that Jason and Amanda had while waiting for me, in the parking lot.
 
The week post-op has been really positive overall; minimal pain meds were used, and I feel more alert and have a bit more energy (which is weird to me since I’m on muscle relaxers around the clock and am healing intensely in my body). My first post op appointment was Thursday after surgery and my second follow up was yesterday. My drains were removed (hallelujah 🙌🏼). I’m bruised, obviously have a long way to go to “heal,” physically and psychologically.
I’m sure it doesn’t help that it seems I awoke to a world literally on fire and in <even more> chaos and disarray. My heart hurts for our nation and it seems like there’s no end in sight.
All that to say, I had so much peace about the surgery itself, going in to the surgery, and now will continue to ask for prayers for healing and peace over recovery – mine, and our country’s. It’ll still be a few weeks of relatively restricted activity, and obviously a lot of physical changes will also be taking place. I haven’t cried or even been upset, yet…so I’m hoping to keep it that way. 💞
 
Below is a quick before and after of one week ago to this morning, just in my face; I hate selfies, and no make up selfies even more, but I think it’s good to look back on and to share. A lot of women can do this before/after immediately after surgery…y’all I was a mess until Friday (I still have almost no memory of Thursday, much less have had the ability for a picture where I wasn’t zonked out) and honestly didn’t see the change others see. I had been feeling a lot of inflammation in my body, my hands and fingers, face, etc for a couple years, and from what I’ve seen in BII groups, this is a real thing. I didn’t see it by itself, but I feel there is a difference in my face when the images are side by side. Same bathroom and lighting, even though the before is brighter for some reason. Anyways, I’m thankful for the outpouring of love and prayers and all of the kindness shown to my family by friends! We’ve had so much food sent to us, as well as lot of people checking in and sharing their stories of BII with me.
Love and hugs to all, and if anyone has questions about #BII, I’m an open book.”
 
xx Shelby
 
Phone picture from my dear friend and surgery care giver, Amanda! So thankful for her time and energy spent on helping me get well and be with me through this time. 
Also, my Baby Yoda is a gift which was hand made by my dear friends, the Spiveys! My friend Shelby’s wife, Liz, makes them, and was a total surprise when they conspired with my husband to give him to me before surgery. 

{D} Family : Newborn Session – Twins!

{D} Family : Newborn Session – Twins!

Seriously, how beautiful…to be blessed with two healthy babies, one boy, one girl?!

This family is absolutely precious — just look at these images! You know, I had someone comment on one of the Facebook previews about their Dad proudly serving…actually, while Daddy is proud of his babies and his wife…in this case, the Mommy is the one serving. That’s right — a toddler at home and the Military Momma taking care of these precious littles AND doing her thing at work while serving our country too! Amazing, loving, and beautiful family. Such an honor to meet them, and I know the sacrifices this family is making. It’s not easy, but with that much love, they make it look like it is!

In talking with Mommy, we decided an at home, candid lifestyle session with a few posed images would work best for their family. I call this realistic expectations! With a toddler at home and two newborn babes, although I know it can be done, I think having the best of both portraiture and lifestyle is the way to go!

Also, if you are interested in seeing their maternity session, you can find it HERE

This one is a must share!! LOVE!
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Proudly showing off what Mommy is up to here in Montgomery, Alabama.
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Perfection…
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I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a prouder Big Brother!
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Daddy has his hands full of love…
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Quite possibly, one of my all time favorite lifestyle captures.
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I adore this one so much! Look at those precious faces!
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Gorgeous
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I might have been a little too giddy about capturing this one! Look at those smiles!
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Pure love…and you can feel it!
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One final image to round out this amazing family newborn session!

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{C} Family – Newborn Studio

What a beautiful little blessing! 

A few months back, I was able to capture this precious newborn in my studio! It was a lively session…we had Mom and Grandma here, and somehow, despite having the record for most diaper changes in one session, we were able to capture some gorgeous images! We needed to get a little creative with posing since this little one didn’t want to be squished (or wrapped) too much. I love how these turned out though — the detail in her eyelashes, skin, and lips are perfection. 

One of the best things about this session is that I was able to head back over yesterday to do an in-home documentary session with the whole family and SEE these beautiful captures in frames and on the wall! Documentary sessions like these make my whole heart so, so happy! I hope to have that session up sooner than this one got online, but I’ll be excited to share it when it’s up and processed. But trust me on this — if you love your photographer’s work, and want to pay them a compliment, you can do two things: one, get the images up on your walls, and two, refer to friends and family! Remember, photographers are creatives. We WANT to see our work to be seen, and that’s pretty difficult when images are stuck somewhere on a CD. This is another reason why I offer print packages! These images were printed and ready to be put in frames, and I’m thankful that my clients have been so, so great about getting them up. Such a huge reward to us seeing our work displayed in your homes! 

Okay…now, here’s Baby Adelyn, with more to come soon! 

  

Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Gold

Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Gold

Gold 

I won’t lie – I had a tough time coming up with this month’s blog post! Gold, in the traditional color sense, is not really my favorite. I’m also a bit more of a literal interpretation type of person, so I was going around thinking of what “Gold or Golden” things I could capture. Something with meaning. Something of value. Then I immediately thought of September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and the volunteer work that I do with The Gold Hope Project. This would have worked, but I don’t have a session for this yet (so, if you know anyone that could benefit from my services, please contact The Gold Hope Project Link. Plus, one of my truly amazing and talented friends of Tammy Davis Photography is bound to do an awesome post and session with her Warrior Paige! You can find that link { here }…I can’t wait to read it myself!

And, as so often happens, while sitting at my computer, mindlessly scrolling, God opened a door. I saw the words:
“Nothing Gold Can Stay.  Ponyboy Curtis”

I SO WISH I’d have downloaded the image to put here! I can’t even remember what it was meant to convey, I just remember those words popping up, and then I went with it!

Now, what does my excitement about those words have to do with anything? First, it likely reveals my age, because I knew EXACTLY where that came from, both in the literal context of the amazing and award winning poem by Robert Frost and the movie quote, from The Outsiders. I can’t hide it. I LOVE The Outsiders! I loved the book as a child and I love (love) the movie as well. I mean, how often can someone see this good looking cast in one movie?! Just as a refresher…we have: C. Thomas Howell (Ponyboy Curtis, which is really fun to say, along with his brother, “Sodapop Curtis”), Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Ralpho Macchio, Emilio Esteves…and… “Darry” played by the ever amazing Patrick Swayze. That’s a whole bunch of Gold in my book 😉

More importantly however, I was able to recall much of the poem, and in that moment, I knew exactly what I could envision this post about. Here’s the poem, one of my favorites as a child, teen, and now adult and parent:

Nothing Gold Can Stay
by: Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

The images I’ve chosen for our Artists Inspired Blog Circle for our “Gold” theme are below. Each image pulls at my heart, knowing that these are all quickly fading phases in their lives. No matter how much I’ve loved each stage or season, the gold fades, and a new stage appears. And each time, they’re that much further away from their childhood, from their innocence about the world. These pictures are cherished moments in the stories of my children’s lives from just the past two years…

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I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of “Gold”…and, if you’re a Mama, cherish each of those seasons with your precious littles. They fade far too quickly.

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 “Gold” 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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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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