Heart Abandoned


Advertisements

Mrs. Danielle and Kylie.


Kylie’s first teacher (for pre-K) was truly a blessing.  Mrs. Danielle consistently worked to help Kylie with the struggles she was up against.  She went above and beyond to make her feel special, and smart.  Kylie would come home and play school – dressed up as Mrs. Danielle with barbies, babies, and stuffed animals as students.  Kylie LOVED Mrs. Danielle.  When it came time to make her teacher a birthday present, we put together a homemade “book”.  Considering that Kylie’s main delay was motor skills (which involved writing/drawing) we knew that Mrs. Danielle would treasure the gift as much as we treasured her gift to Kylie – patience, persistence and love.  The pages were simple questions written by me about school or their class or favorites of Kylie’s.  I would write out Kylie’s answer, and then she would draw it.  One page read, “What does Mrs. Danielle look like?” and Kylie’s answer was “she’s so pretty and she’s gonna have a baby in her belly.”

I will admit that I was initially embarrassed because Mrs. Danielle was clearly NOT pregnant.  I even considered tearing that page out.  I remembered that she knew Kylie’s heart and would know how Kylie intended it.  Newborn babies are frequently little guests in our home, and Kylie absolutely LOVES babies.  Mrs. Danielle knew that I was a newborn baby photographer, so I was sure to bring that up again when we gave her the book for her birthday late last spring.  I wanted to be sure she remembered and wasn’t offended by Kylie’s drawing.

Shortly after, the school year ended and the summer flew by.  Kylie still talked about Mrs. Danielle often, and still played “school”.  Fall came around, and off to Kindergarten she went and this time to a different school.  She was one SAD little girl to not be in Mrs. Danielle’s class anymore, and not even at the same school!  I kept saying we would go visit “one day”, but the time never came around and one day turned into some day…

You can imagine my surprise recently when I received an email from Mrs. Danielle!  I thought to myself, I really need to take Kylie to see her soon!  I opened the message and after reading the greetings and how is Kylie, etc, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Mrs. Danielle was contacting me to book a newborn session – she was expecting a boy and due in January!!!   I literally read the message multiple times – I couldn’t believe it.  Mrs. Danielle was just as surprised, and even had a mobile picture of the page from the book Kylie made her saved in her phone.  Apparently she had no idea she was pregnant before, no one did!  Well, except Kylie.

I was tickled pink (well, blue) for Mrs. Danielle and couldn’t wait to bring Kylie to SEE for herself what she hoped for Mrs. Danielle was true.  I told her I was taking her to see Mrs. Danielle and that there was a surprise.  We waited by the playground for the pre-K class to come out, and as soon as Mrs. Danielle came out the door Kylie saw her.  “She has a baby in her bellllllyyyyyyyyy!!!!!”  she screamed, and ran to her.

I’m so blessed to be able to witness little miracles like this every day<3

Just a little shoe love…


 

I love shoes♥ One of My favorite indulgences is a new pair of sometimes frivolous shoes. Who’s with me?? While I’m not knocking that guilty pleasure of mine (or anyone else’s), there’s an elementary school in my area that has an extremely high percentage of children in need. The statistics were somewhere in the range of over 80% are in the “free lunch” program because of the challenging incomes of their families. My church Woodlawn Community Church is doing a shoe drive to help make a difference. Would you be willing to join me in sharing our love of shoes for these children that need a pair that fit?

Shoes & Belts for Byrns L. Darden Elementary School
Bring new or gently used shoes and belts to meet the needs of
Students K-5th grade. Also need sweatpants for K-2nd grade

(Belts are appreciated too because most of the children are wearing hand me downs, donated clothing, or parent’s clothing so they’re too big!)

You can bring your donations directly to my church

or drop them off at my house and I will bring them.
My address is:
1365 Mutual Drive
Clarksville, TN 37042
Please just drop them off by my front door any time, thank you!

 

Little Miracles. Clarksville Triplet Newborn Baby Photographer


 

Sometimes life is just HARD.  Circumstances change in an instant – one minute on the top of the world and the next feeling as if you’re at the end of the world.  People come in and out of our lives and we may never know the mountains they’ve climbed or the storms they’re enduring.  They may never know our battles either.

Since childhood, I’ve always been the one intent on rescuing everyone.  I can’t count the number of times I brought home a stray animal, invested in a homeless person or took in a friend in need – much to my mother’s dismay.  The one thing I have always struggled with is rescuing myself in times of need.  I wouldn’t ask for help, I would bottle up my feelings, and I’d keep on truckin’ with the infamous mantra “fake it til you make it”.

This past Winter and Spring, I endured one big monster of a storm.  Although I continued to move through life as if I was just fine, I wasn’t getting better emotionally.  No matter how much I “faked it”, I couldn’t seem to “make it”.  I felt as if I had lost my spirit – my joy.  Bitterness had overcome me and I couldn’t see past my own pain and circumstances.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to shake this “funk” that I was going through.  My Aunt Mona casually suggested to maybe do something for someone else.  I will admit that I thought she was ridiculous and that she couldn’t possibly understand my pain.

Shortly after, my pastor challenged our church to commit to random acts of kindness that week.  Convenient, right?  I felt a little tug on my heart – I knew God had a plan.  After posting a casting call, I had the newborn triplets lined up for a free photoshoot.  My dear friend Jamie drove up to help {posing 3 babies takes extra hands for sure!}.  During the 3-4 hours we were photographing, we learned this family’s story – that the triplets were naturally conceived, joining 3 siblings ages 4, 3, and 2, facing a military relocation to Oklahoma in 2 weeks, and that the family hadn’t received any aid whatsoever from their Army “family”.  I knew what God was telling me to do – there was no doubt.

The fundraiser started out small with $5 – $20 donations here and there from average families living paycheck to paycheck.  A handful of big contributors stepped in with $100 donations, and families all over brought bags and bags of items for triplets.  Two cribs, a stroller, boxes and boxes of diapers and wipes, bags and bags of clothes, baby toys and gear, and so much more.  Jamie Lynn Photography offered to donate $1 for every new Facebook fan she received until the fundraiser ended.  She challenged other businesses to match her pledge and 4 very charitable small businesses took her up on that.  In a week’s time, we were able to give the triplets and their family $2,100 and more than a van full of material donations.  It was truly amazing – my heart was filled to the brim with joy.

During that week, I babysat the babies a few times to allow the parents time to pack, get moved out of their apartment, and go out to dinner for a date {I had to force them to do that one}.  I became so attached to these little angels – my heart would pound and tears would well up in my eyes at the thought of them leaving the next day.  Mulling over the past week, I realized that I hadn’t thought about last spring’s “storm” and the “funk” I had battled for so long.  The relentless hurt and painful memories barely crossed my mind the whole week.  I was driven and focused on helping this family and easing their struggles.  I wanted to rescue them.  Never in a million years would I have imagined that these babies would have rescued ME.

I cried my heart out when we said goodbye – partly because I was going to miss them to pieces and I wouldn’t get to watch them grow like so many other babies I photograph.  Honestly, the majority of the tears were pure love and gratitude for the little miracles these babies have been to me.  Because of them, I have finally found my joy.

Abigail, Gabriel, and Lucas – thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, to the moon and back, thank you.

 

You Save Me.


Life can be painful sometimes, people can be cruel.  I assume that God allows us to endure hard times for His reasons – something needs to be learned or experienced.  Something needs to change.  When you feel that the ones who love you the most hurt you the worst, it takes your breath away.  It shocks you.  It hurts so badly and you’re not sure how to make it stop.  In a perfect world we could check in to the local ER and request a prescription for whatever heals heartache.  Realistically, if this has happened to you then you already know all to well that this world is no where near perfect.

My natural instinct is to withdraw.  Isolate myself, shut down – in an attempt to hide from the pain I suppose.  I wanted that so badly, hoping that it would all go away like a bad dream.  I have to admit that I even tried that route.  Anyone with children knows that as mothers we no longer have that luxury though.  I couldn’t sit around crying and feeling sorry for myself like I wanted to.  I had the most beautiful little girl bubbling with laughter in front of me, telling me to get up and live life.  I’m not going to lie – a lot of what I’m doing is faking it until I make it, but if it weren’t for my daughter I probably wouldn’t have the desire to even fake it.

She dressed up in this adorable cape and mask today and we went outside to play in the crazy wind that preceded an upcoming storm.  The moment was profound to me in numerous ways.  Here I was in the middle of a massive “storm” in my life, watching Kylie laughing, twirling and enjoying life – knowing a real storm was on the way.  It was then that I realized that this too will pass.  This “storm” in my life is temporary, life will go on.

At that moment I thanked God for Kylie and her ability to “save” me.  I hope that one day she will realize how much of a hero she is to me.  As I thanked God, I felt Him gently reminding me that the person that loves me the most will never, ever, EVER hurt me – because that person is Him.

Like this blog?  Click below to share!

You Save Me.


Life can be painful sometimes, people can be cruel.  I assume that God allows us to endure hard times for His reasons – something needs to be learned or experienced.  Something needs to change.  When you feel that the ones who love you the most hurt you the worst, it takes your breath away.  It shocks you.  It hurts so badly and you’re not sure how to make it stop.  In a perfect world we could check in to the local ER and request a prescription for whatever heals heartache.  Realistically, if this has happened to you then you already know all to well that this world is no where near perfect.

My natural instinct is to withdraw.  Isolate myself, shut down – in an attempt to hide from the pain I suppose.  I wanted that so badly, hoping that it would all go away like a bad dream.  I have to admit that I even tried that route.  Anyone with children knows that as mothers we no longer have that luxury though.  I couldn’t sit around crying and feeling sorry for myself like I wanted to.  I had the most beautiful little girl bubbling with laughter in front of me, telling me to get up and live life.  I’m not going to lie – a lot of what I’m doing is faking it until I make it, but if it weren’t for my daughter I probably wouldn’t have the desire to even fake it.

She dressed up in this adorable cape and mask today and we went outside to play in the crazy wind that preceded an upcoming storm.  The moment was profound to me in numerous ways.  Here I was in the middle of a massive “storm” in my life, watching Kylie laughing, twirling and enjoying life – knowing a real storm was on the way.  It was then that I realized that this too will pass.  This “storm” in my life is temporary, life will go on.

At that moment I thanked God for Kylie and her ability to “save” me.  I hope that one day she will realize how much of a hero she is to me.  As I thanked God, I felt Him gently reminding me that the person that loves me the most will never, ever, EVER hurt me – because that person is Him.

Like this blog?  Click below to share!

Our Little Bag of Blessings


Life is full of ups and downs, curves in the road, and sometimes even complete road blocks. Choosing to focus on the positive is not always easy, but it can make LIFE easier if you make the attempt. The decision to dwell on the ups instead of the downs has to be a deliberate, daily one. It will most likely be easier to focus on the negative, but challenge yourself to find something wonderful and beautiful in your every day moments.

I am certainly not an expert in this field, and recently my family has been seeking a way to become more grateful and positive. I stumbled across this idea of a “bag of blessings” and we jumped all over it. Kylie and I pulled out a leftover gift bag, some scrapbook paper, and a glue stick and got to work. The concept involves each of us writing down our blessings daily and tossing them into our bag. This will continue until Thanksgiving day when we will sit together and read all of the things we have to be thankful for over the past year. Kyle was thankful for some spiritual advice he received, Kylie was most grateful for her new book she got at the book fair at school. I wrote that I was blessed with the cool idea {wish I could remember where from, sorry!} I am excited to watch all of us focus on the every day miracles in our lives together!

Microscopic, Fleeting Moments


I love this video by Ann Voskamp and wanted to share it with you.  It mirrors my thoughts about my crazy, busy lifestyle of 2010 and my hopes and goals for a change in 2011.  Take the 4 minutes to watch it, I promise you won’t regret that choice.  The narrative and photographs are the work of Ann Voskamp as well.  Enjoy 🙂

Tangible Gratitude


Picture this:  You’re out for your morning run, or walking the dog, sight-seeing with a stroller… About the same time that you’re about to cross paths with another pedestrian, an out of control car comes screeching toward you.  The stranger runs, pushes you out of the way, and is killed on impact by the car.  Let that sink in for a moment.

Now… How does it make you feel?  What if you start to learn more about him – maybe that he was a really good man, well-liked, with an abundance of loved ones?  Why would he have done something like that for you?  You didn’t even know him!

This scenario has been on my mind since my meetup with some girlfriends.  I would feel baffled, amazed, unworthy, guilty, grateful, confused, blessed, and pressured to make this man’s choice and sacrifice worthwhile.   I would question my life and decisions – am I living as though he died in vain?  or am I making choices to honor the way he selflessly gave?

What if the scenario was different in that the man saved you and your children?  Maybe your whole family?  Let’s just throw in all of your friends and loved ones too.  Now, how do you feel?  How would you live your life and how could you possibly show your gratitude?

Put in real-life, every day terms, Christ’s sacrifice is more than I can wrap my brain around.  I can’t even begin to think of an acceptable way to show my gratitude.   I hope that I can remember to live every day with these thoughts in mind – how can I show my gratitude today?

*disclaimer*  I found this picture on photobucket, it was not taken by me 🙂