Monday Mash-Up

This weekend has been quite an emotional roller coaster ride for me. As some of you may know, I teach high school math at a private Christian school in McDonough. On Friday, we found out that one of our students, a 17 year old girl named Callie Evans, passed away after an 11 month battle with brain cancer. A loss like that is difficult to process. I know that she has been healed and now rests in the arms of her Savior, but I grieve for her family and friends who have to figure out how to build a life without her. I find myself praying for them often. For their comfort. For their support. For their healing. My heart breaks for them in a way that I cannot put into words.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to rejoice and celebrate new beginnings with two special couples. I photographed an engagement session for one of my couples that is getting married in 2015, and I helped raise funds for one of my 2011 couples to bring their baby girl home from China. It was a sweet day filled with smiles, laughter, and a small measure of frustration (more on that later).

On Sunday, I did something that I have been thinking and praying about doing for a long time. I invited two couples who have been married for a while to get in front of my camera and share their love stories with me. We created some beautiful photographs together, but what touched me most were their stories. Tales of celebrations and challenges; Heartbreak and healing; Courage, determination, and a willingness to love in spite of great pain. I am excited to share their photographs with you, but I am even more excited to share their journeys with you. All of that is coming up on the blog later this week.

If you'd like to see more sneak peeks from my weekend adventures, follow me on Instagram (@joyfullylauren). It's always the first place I share new photographs.

I'll wrap up with my thoughts & lessons learned over the last week:

  • Children are extremely challenging to photograph. Honestly, I take my hat off to all of the wonderful photographers out there who make a living creating beautiful portraits of small children. They never. Stop. Wiggling. They're equal parts adorable and exhausting. I had fun, but I was a weary woman when I got home.
  • I love photographing married couples. LOVE it. It was such a joy to spend time with people whose love has grown and matured and who are still determined to live out the promises that they made on their wedding day. I hope to photograph a LOT more sessions like this.
  • I am capable of running 6 miles without passing out. Trust me, this is quite an accomplishment. I am nearly half way through my half-marathon training, and I'm feeling strong and confident. I'll let you know if/when that changes.
  • The best way for me to help someone else stand up under the weight of trying times is to draw my support from the Holy Spirit. If I am not leaning on the everlasting arms of my Savior, I do not have the strength to lift others up. If you're a praying person, please pray for the Evans family. Also, please pray for the faculty and staff of Creekside Christian Academy as we work to support our grieving students.

And because every post is better with a photograph, here is one from Gary & Hannah's marriage celebration session at Nash Farm. They've been married for over 7 years!