Over Easter weekend, I had the opportunity to capture this gorgeous family! My friend, Shanley, and her husband and son went to church with us in Ocala - but she's originally from Jacksonville and was in town to visit both sides of their family. It was the perfect opportunity to bring both families together for a beautiful session at one of my favorite locations in Jacksonville! Here's a few of my favorites from the day.
There is something about being in Alabama that makes me feel at home. We only lived there for three years and yet, each time I go back, I am flooded with the open sky and good memories. There is space to breathe and a slow pace of living that I always find refreshing. In my most recent visit, I was able to stay with a good friend of mine in her heirloom home and take some portraits of her little girl in the blooming azaleas. Children are probably my favorite to capture, because of the challenge it is! One of the easiest ways I've found to take portraits of small children, is by letting them play naturally and working to get those smiles and laughs. It was easy with Rylee because this was her "home." She loved picking berries and flowers and running down the dirt road. We were outside in the middle of the day, but the contrast in lighting really made for a beautiful scenery. This entire shoot took about 20 minutes - simple and quick - but now they can cherish these adorable portraits of her at this age forever.
I wrote a post a couple months ago talking about how I wanted to get back to blogging like the old days again. And while the intentions were good, and I do long to write more frequently like I used to, I've been struggling with how to approach it.
The real problem is there's been a lot going on in this head of mine. And I've just become so exhausted, personally, reading article after article of one-sided commentary on every single topic - that I really don't want to sound like another gong beating my own drum.
I think it would help, though, if I approached blogging like having a conversation with a friend over coffee.
If you were that friend, I would start by telling you that we've been living in Jacksonville for 10 months now and I am still recovering from the emotional toll that this specific move has taken on us. It's hard to complain when you have so much to be grateful for, so I won't go on and on about it. But I am so thankful for the friends that have sent a message or text to let us know that they are praying for us on this journey. It has been so encouraging. Every time we move, the most painful part is leaving people. And as long as we are investing our lives in wherever the Lord calls us, I'm certain that will never get any easier.
Speaking of investments... we are praying through whether or not to buy a house again! Our first home that we purchased in Alabama has still not sold (but thankfully has a tenant!) so we have been reluctant on taking that leap again. But now that our church campus has launched and our rental lease is up in May, we are looking to join in with the community on the Northside of Jacksonville sometime in the next few months. Not to mention, we've been told it's a good time to buy before the "economic boost" that is projected to take place now that Trump is in office.
Speaking of Trump in office... it's been something, hasn't it? I've never seen a single party so divided over a candidate quite like this. And, truthfully, I've never felt more confused in where I stand myself. It's about time, though, that Christians separated their faith from allegiance to a certain political party. And I will be the first to admit that I've gotten it wrong in the past so many times. But there is just too much at stake, spiritually, for us to keep putting our hope or hate in any governing office. Instead, let's pray and turn our actions towards being the change we want to see happen in the world (cue, Michael Jackson!) How can we love those close to us better? How can we love the least of us better? Jesus said in John 13:35 that the world will know us by our love... not by our political platforms or strong opinions.
If I were having coffee with you, I'd probably let out a deep breath right after that last sentence and take a big sip of that coffee to shut up my own strong opinions from spewing all over the place. Because it's easy to do. And I know once I get started on a tangent, I have a hard time shutting up.
But then, I'd probably sit back and let you take over the conversation from here. Because I'd want you to know that I value you and your thoughts as well. We may even disagree at some point, but we'd probably never raise our voices or belittle each other for having an opinion. It's funny how differences become minor when you're sitting face to face with someone - seeing their expressions, hearing their tone, and learning about all of the life experience that has helped shape their views over the years. That's the benefit of having conversations over coffee.