Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fall Photoshoot | Oak Glen, CA

Sometimes your week downright sucks, you're exhausted and things don't go as planned.
That was last week. It was tough and had a lot of sad in it.

But sometimes you have to grab some friends and say yes to adventure. Sometimes you sacrifice a nap to go out and do what you love. Because sometimes that is good for your soul, for your business and for your creativity.

I love trips to Oak Glen; especially during the week.  It is quiet, the roads are empty and the colors are so vibrant. And lucky for us, it was below 75!

Thanks to Taylor & Danae for braving traffic and squeezing in some creative fun.
Thanks for encouraging me to do the same.
And thanks for being models even though it is weird being on the other side. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Blue Jay Getaway | Lake Arrowhead, CA

This past weekend we got to spend three days in a familiar and special place; a friend's cabin in Blue Jay, Ca. It is such a joy to spend slow, restful time in a place that feels like home.

I have done ministry weekends, getaways with friends and snowboarding trips to this cabin. It has also been a super special place for Charles and I. I threw him a surprise birthday party at The Cabin while we were dating. We spent a day there with friends after a long weekend of Easter services. And my favorite, Charles proposed to me there with all the best details & fully surprised me (which is so, so hard to do).

On the first day of our long anticipated summer vacation in July my husband's father passed away. This was nothing short of hard and continued a process of grief we'd been in for a while and still are. This definitely changed things for the way vacation unfolded and it wasn't exactly filled with ease. When we came home we knew we needed to plan another getaway; something that involved less driving, a familiar place and cooler weather. THE CABIN! Our sweet friends are so generous to let this be like a second home to us and we couldn't wait to put it on the calendar.

Once we arrived I realized it was almost exactly 4 years to the day we got engaged in this special place (10.19.2012).

(Thanks to Kyle White for hanging out in a tree in the dark to capture these moments)

Our weekend was filled was lots of slow. We read (him more than me), starred outside as the clouds revealed and hid the lake, walked in the leaves and made meals. We sipped on lots of coffee, watched a little TV and left space for nothing, margin.

 We made daily trips to the best little store, Jensen's. They even had beer tasting for $3 as we arrived. The perfect post traffic treat.

Breakfast, my favorite. Featuring pumpkin pancakes and a warm fire. 

For reals, right after this photo he inhaled a leaf I threw and choked really bad. It wasn't pretty. Oops. 

This is where we sat after our friends left the weekend we got engaged. This is where I realized we were going to pick a date and plan our wedding. We ate donuts and prayed for what was next. We sat here four years later remembering that moment and how significant it was. 

It was pretty perfect. Well, for the most part, until we got a bad phone call on our last day. My new baby nephew had fought really hard but wasn't going to make it. My heart sank. And is filled with heavy. I don't know why, but sometimes this is how life goes. And this is how much of our year feels. Heavy. Hard. Challenging. And I can only imagine the pain my Brother and Sister-in-law feel.

I am so thankful for my husband and that we get to navigate the fun and the way less fun together.  And for the tribe of people we have to navigate life with. The people who sit with us in the heavy, that offer support, that pray, that let us be messy. I cherish these people, especially in the midst of hard. May we be those people, too.

Jesus, may we trust in your goodness in whatever each day brings.
Especially when some days suck. A lot of days.
May live a life of gratitude.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Lattes with a side of shame.

Do you ever think about the things you love because you are influenced by culture? New trends, certain stores, decor styles, etc.

What about the things you deny enjoying?

Yes, this post is about Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

But it is really about Shame.

Today while I was serving coffee a young woman came in and got nervous. It was her first time and she saw the promo for the Pumpkin Latte. She got really awkward and proclaimed,
"You have to order 1 right?" She had shame in her voice.
You probably know I love all things pumpkin. I quickly responded with,
"Oh, girl. It is good. No need to be ashamed."
But she had to continue, "But it's so..." I was quick with, "It is not basic. I don't know where that started but forget that."

I know, it is just a fall drink. But I felt sad for her. I felt sad that she had been told it is "Basic" to enjoy Pumpkin drinks. And she fell for it. But I felt sad wondering what else she had fallen for. What have I fallen for?

I've taken a few personality tests recently. I love these! I think they are so interesting. But I also hate them. Sometimes I read way too into them. I wonder if the cons outweigh the pros. I wonder If the traits are really me or if they are a response to events in my life. I wonder if the results are who I want to be.

I took a short version of the DISC test recently. I am a high D (driven). Here are some of the descriptive words of a D:
Aggressive, authoritative, controlling, crafty, intense, self-sufficient, doer, thick-skinned...

My first thoughts?
"Wow, these are very negative qualities."
"I wonder how many people don't like me because of these."
"Let me find some positive angles here."
"Oh, my poor husband."

Let me be the first to say there are downsides to my personality. But the good news is the same is true for each of us.

But do you know why these feel negative to me? I've been told they are. Intentional or not, I've been shamed for the way I am. Oh the things I have heard over time:
"You're too strong-willed for a guy to approach (when I was single)."
"Superiors will have a hard time with such a strong willed female employee."
"You're too intimidating."
"If you want it done, ask Phylicia." (sure, let me be the task robot).
"I can't believe you shared that." (Yup, I said what y'all were thinking).

I am sure these have all been true. But that doesn't make them truth.

A designer bag doesn't make you valuable.
A failed relationship doesn't make you a failure.
Being able to speak up doesn't make you a bitch.
Loving pumpkin things doesn't make you basic.
Being abused doesn't make you deserving of abuse.
Loving alone time doesn't make you a loner.
Being outgoing doesn't make you obnoxious.

I could go on and on.

But the point: Don't believe everything you are told; everything you hear.

How much time do we spend wishing we we're different, wishing we had what they 'seem to' have on Instagram and missing out on something we enjoy because someone placed a label somewhere?

Order that Pumpkin Latte
Pursue that career even though there are little to no women at the top
Learn something new because you want to
Defy the odds
Graduate even though no one in your family has
Stay home with your kiddos and know the incredible impact you are making
Pursue work outside the home and know the incredible impact you are making
Wear that outfit even though it is not "in"
Be content with less

I am not sure what it is for you. But friend, please don't let shame be the voice you hear. Challenge that voice. Choose to listen to truth said in love. Choose to listen to trusted sources. Choose to hear your soul.

And order that Pumpkin Latte (if you want to, that is).

There is nothing basic about my love for all things pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Emma {growing up} | Fall Mini Session

Emma is 9 months old! I'm not a mom but I can imagine these months hold so many milestone moments.

I got to take photos of her sweet parents while she was in momma's womb.
I also got to take photos of her at the 6 month mark.
And now, she's 9 months old and quickly approaching a year.

She has the sweetest parents and is so much fun to photograph. I took way too many this time. I mean she had her mini Pumpkin Spice Latte!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Casler Family: Miles Turns One!

Sweet Myles turned one! It was so fun doing this mini session for the Casler family and capturing the beginning of this new year in Myles' life. 
When they arrived Mark told me the session spot was his favorite building in Fullerton. Even better! I love it too. Thanks for letting me photograph your sweet family, Caslers!