All posts by grace

home for christmas

it’s the little things.

we don’t need the list of who gets to hang the special ornament or put the angel on the tree anymore.

we don’t check the little red ornament for the hershey kiss, knowing that it won’t be there.

we don’t watch our dad open yet another pack of tube socks and underwear while exclaiming, “socks and undies! just what i always wanted!”

we don’t watch our mom giggle anxiously to see if she finally got dad the right beard trimmer.

we don’t listen to “john denver & the muppets” while decorating the tree.

it’s the little things.

even at 30 years old, it’s hard to forget the traditions you’ve had for most of your life. it’s hard to stumble through the holidays successfully when so many things have changed. i’ve been thinking a lot lately about traditions. thinking about when something major happens to upset the little things. and i’m always thinking about change.

some change you expect. you expect to grow up, you expect your taste in clothing and movies to change with age. but those changes are gradual and you don’t really notice a difference until you look back at your middle school photos and are horrified by that crazy silk shirt and huge neon scrunchie you rocked in the 90’s.

some change you are able to prepare for, like college or starting a new job, buying a house. you plan for those things. you make arrangements, you adjust daily life or spending to accommodate those changes.

but the most uncomfortable kind of change is the one that happens fast, without warning, and forces you to leave behind important things, people, memories. sudden changes often force you to adapt in painful ways. because the longer you do something, the harder it is to let go. that’s why traditions are so easily started, but so difficult to let go of.

it’s accurate to say that the change i hate the most is the change that i don’t see coming, the kind i can’t control. i think that would resonate with a lot of people. the kind of change that hurts the most is the kind you don’t plan on, the kind you don’t choose.

so here i sit to remember the little things about Christmas’ past, the things i’ll never get back and the moments that will have to remain as memories.

but I am also thinking of the current little things. thankful for the new Christmas memories i have made as an adult and am still making.

spend some time reflecting this Christmas. appreciate your past. accept it, treasure the good parts and learn from the challenging ones. lock up those memories in your heart, not to be used as self pity in the present or future, but to hold dear as a part of your story. we don’t get to choose everything that happens to us, good or bad. but we can choose to make it all count for something.

we can’t plan everything in life. in fact, we can plan very little. so today i choose to cherish what i have now. i choose to treasure my good memories in my heart and love the best that i can this season.

because Christmas will always be about the little things. it’s just up to us to see the new ones every year, and make new ones to treasure later.


(Christmas memories, 2008-2012)

(Kim Gannon- I’ll be home for Christmas)

Leslie & Jonathan

Leslie & Jonathan

March 2012. Pensacola, FL

I was super excited when Leslie called me to ask about photographing her wedding. Leslie and I haven’t known each other for a long time, and we rarely get to see each other, but I love her dearly and I was so humbled when she asked me to do her wedding. And what a wonderful weekend it was! Leslie and Jonathan have one of those love stories that all girls dream of. They were best friends. One day, Jonathan told Leslie he loved her. Best friends finally in love. Their friends would tell you that they knew it all along, and that everyone was waiting on Leslie & Jonathan to figure it out. They did. And then they were engaged. And then we all went to Pensacola to witness best friends commit their lives to God and each other.

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful, performed by one of the couples very good friends and was saturated with Christ. We worshiped together and watched as Leslie and Jonathan submitted their lives to Jesus as a couple. Breathtaking. AND… tons of fun! If you know Leslie & Jonathan, you know that they are crazy, love to laugh, and love to be around the most fun people. The reception proved that. It was a baseball themed wedding, with the bride and groom supporting the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves, respectively. Lots of red, navy, white and a little rivalry to go around.

Take a look at some of my favorite shots from their simple, love-filled, fun wedding weekend!
img_1096

Sassy Leslie as she readies for the ceremony.

img_1101

Beautiful bride and her sister.

img_0993

A Cardinals/Braves theme wedding.

These ladies are so much fun.

img_1293

img_1161

Leslie cracking jokes and entertaining her bridal party.

img_1352

The men of the wedding.

Leslie & Jonathan chose to do a “first look” before the ceremony. It was so sweet.

img_1412

lj1

img_1860

Exchanging vows.

img_1784

Wedding worship led by Jonathan’s brother, Jarod.

Such an amazing time of lifting up praise to our Savior during the ceremony. So blessed to see this couple give honor to the One who is joining them in marriage.

Baseball reception!

img_2280

A sweet first dance for the newlyweds.

img_2317

I love this photo of Leslie and her dad! So much fun that night.

Thanks to Leslie & Jonathan for allowing me to be a part of their most special day!

 

come rain or come shine

i don’t believe in true love. but i do believe in love.

this is not scientific. i don’t have any degrees in medicine or biology or anything that tells you how a brain actually functions. but i do know all of this to be true:

a year ago today, my brain caught up with my heart. ok, that sounds slightly ridiculous, because in truth the heart is a muscle, and it doesn’t have feelings, other than feeling blood pump through it. and technically, what i mean is the logical part of my brain caught up with the emotional part of my brain, but that sounds much less magical. regardless. a year ago, two parts of my brain started working simultaneously.  a few months later,  a third part of my brain had the chance to catch up.

and a few months after that the last part of my brain began to grow and stretch and learn in way it hadn’t before. it gave me the chance to live symbiotically within myself. for the logical to meet the emotional, and for those to meet with the most important part of my brain, where the Holy Spirit gently speaks to me. it was in this fluid relationship that God revealed so much truth about my life, His plans for me, His idea of what my marriage should look like, and His truth about what loving another person was supposed to look like.

i believe in loving people. i believe in marriage. i believe God has given us marriage as the second most important relationship to experience. and i believe that God just asks us to make a choice that will please Him. but i also believe that one of those choices is the choice not to marry at all. the bottom line is whether or not your choice pleases Him.

i don’t believe in true love. but i do believe in love. and i believe without question that love is not a feeling in one of those parts of my brain, but a conscious decision that i make every day, every minute, every second. i believe He has equipped me to love someone in that way. and the only requirement is for that person to make that conscious decision for me every day, every minute, every second. it’s just a choice.

my favorite lady, billie, sings it like this:

‘you’re going to love me like nobody’s loved me

come rain or come shine

happy together, unhappy together, and won’t it be fine?

days may be cloudy or sunny. we’re in or we’re out of the money

but i’m with you always, i’m with you, rain or shine’

 

a year ago God started me on a trajectory to really find what He wanted me to understand all along.

 

i don’t believe in true love. but i do believe in love.

 

 

(harold arlen, johnny mercer- come rain or come shine)