Thursday, October 17, 2013

a life that's good

My sister sent me an email with this song to download and listen to with the very important instructions "LISTEN TO THE WORDS." All caps. This is serious. So, as I sliced up a banana and made some coffee this morning, I downloaded it on my phone and hit play. I stood at the stove, scooping out almond butter with my banana slices and then, there I was, ugly crying before it was even 8 a.m. 

It could be because my sister sent it to me, or because it has to do with home and dreams, and y'all know I'm a cry-baby when it comes to my roots. I don't know…it was just beautiful and simple and hit me right in the heart.

But really, it was probably because after a year of planning, praying, getting our hopes up and being crushed over and over and over, Kyle and I are finally moving to a new city for new jobs and new adventures. Yay! I believe it was meant for us to be in Knoxville for a season, and then that season ended and we were ready for new things. A fresh start. And after much waiting and many prayers, it's all happening!

Kyle got a new job with a trade magazine for health and fitness companies in Louisville, Kentucky, and his last day at MCG is November 1. That's so soon, so we've been in total moving/finding a new place/pack up everything mode for the last few days.

I'm so excited! Since we got married, it's really been pressing at us to figure out the next step. We want a new place to start our married lives! We have goals and dreams and want to be involved and active! The thing about plans is, God usually has His own, and more often than not, your plans and His aren't exactly the same. This is how my plan/daydream has looked for a while…

I want to move and I want to move right now! I'm going to wake up tomorrow and there will magically be an email about a new job that comes with it's own perfect apartment for us! There will also be free puppies at the corner, where I will promptly pick one up and name her Jackie O or Dorothy Gale! The barista at Starbucks will accidentally make me a venti skinny vanilla latte instead of a tall! I'll win a $2000 gift card to Ikea and go buy new things for our new, perfect home! 

And God was all…

Yeah, you're going to have to wait. Also, you're delusional…but I promise it'll be fine.

Obviously a little exaggerated, but you get the idea.

When you come to a big crossroad in life, that's when you really start to figure out how hard it can be to wait for something to happen. It's difficult to know what you want in your heart, but not know if it's what will actually happen. I've really struggled with really just trusting God and letting it be. This is obviously because I'm a stubborn control-freak. I'm working on it. 

The song my sister sent me says "Sometimes I'm hard on me// When dreams don't come easy." MY. LIFE. 

Just to give you a little idea about this whole situation…

A couple of weeks ago, I was home alone, as usual, while Kyle was at work. I had really been having a hard time with the whole "let it go" thing, and was pacing around the house obsessing about what our next step was going to be and when was something going to happen for us and WHEN GOD WHEN. I'm really awful about reading the Bible, that is to say, I don't…like, couldn't tell you the last time I picked one up and opened it. Yeah, I'm working on that, too. So I guess I was so desperate for answers and so frustrated that nothing was happening that I was like "Well nothing else is working, I guess I should read the Bible!" Yeah, only took me A YEAR to do that. So, I got a glass of water and one of Kyle's Bible (he has two in this house, I have zero…yeah I'm really winning over here), and went to the porch. I started flipping through it, looking for some kind of answer or sign or something. I don't know…I'm out of practice. Then I remembered that Kyle has a Bible app on his phone, so I downloaded that and started looking through the reading plans. I needed somewhere to start and I found one called "Doubt." The first verse for the plan was this…

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord — how long? ---Psalms 6:2-3

…yeah. I might as well have written that myself. He never left me, y'all. He knows how much I was struggling, how out of control I was feeling. He always has a plan. And after that, I could feel it in my bones that something was going to happen.  

A few days later, Kyle started his interview process with Louisville. And now we're moving! Hello, answered prayer. Nice to see you.

Even though we've been ready for a change of pace for so long, it's still a little sad to leave a place. This was our first real place together. This is where we spent our engagement and our first moments of marriage. Despite it being a place with some serious problems, it will still always mean something to me. That's another thing about that song…it reminds me to look around at all that I already have. I'm bad to get caught up in what I don't have and not appreciate what's in front of me. The grass is always greener, you know.

"Two arms around me// Heaven to ground me// And a family that always calls me home// Four wheels to get there// Enough love to share// And a sweet, sweet, sweet song."

That's all you need. 

We're going to Louisville this weekend to check out some places to live, and my sweet brother is coming along for the ride. Another perk is that Louisville is closer to Huntington/our people. Yay! We're super excited and thankful to have our fresh start, and we're so grateful for the people who made Knoxville memorable for us. 

Here's to new chapters, new adventures and trying to be better.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wedding: Bridal Shoot

I shattered my iPhone screen this morning, so to make myself feel better, I thought I'd go ahead and share some of the photos from my bridal/boudoir shoot with my fabulous photographer, Jessica

I went through the photos and chose some that weren't too risqué. There aren't really any that are too much, but I'd feel better leaving you with some mystery. Anyway, we took these photos more than a month before the wedding at my cousin's beautiful house. The location was a neutral ground for everyone and my cousin has the most perfect bathroom and private porch, so it was wonderful. 

My dress hadn't been altered yet, so we had to be a little strategic about those photos, and the props I used were either from one of my grandmothers or one of Kyle's, so they were all very nostalgic. Me, nostalgic. Imagine that. 

I made a photobook from Shutterfly with these for Kyle on the wedding day, along with his axe I bought him from Best Made Company. (More on that later.) 

For the boudoir photos, I wore a pair of high-waist, light pink lace underwear from American Apparel with a lace bralette from intimint, as well as a little nighty I've had from Victoria's Secret for years. I liked these because they were so girly and vintage and didn't make me feel too scandalous. I love boudoir photos, but some of them I've seen are just…well…a little scary. To each her own, but I wanted mine to be fun and pretty and a little pin-up-y, and I think Jessica captured that balance perfectly. I felt comfortable with her, and not just because I've known her my whole life, but she really just makes you feel relaxed and excited to have your photo taken. 

When it was time for the bridal portion of the shoot, I put my dress on with my hair clip and did a few poses on the porch where the sun was finally coming out and the lighting was nice. This was such a weird feeling…I had on my wedding dress and was taking photos but it wasn't my wedding yet. I sort of realized all at once, "I'm going to be doing this for real soon." So weird/exciting/wonderful.

After a couple hours, Jessica had taken a zillion photos and we wrapped it up. We all joked during the shoot that I'm the cutest I'm ever going to be, so we really need to document it!

If you're not sure what to get your soon-to-be husband for a wedding gift, I really recommend this. It's special and romantic, and even if you don't want to go the boudoir/photos in your underwear route, you can always just have some pretty photos taken of you in your dress.

Find a photographer who understands what you're going for with the photos and makes you feel comfortable. Jessica and I had a shared secret Pinterest board where we could both pin examples of photos for each other to see, which really helps give your photographer an idea of what you're going for, and will let you see the styles your photographer likes.

Also, Jessica and I are in contact all the time. She is great about texting me with updates on the status of the editing or previews of photos she's really loving. Find someone who is open with you and doesn't disappear after the shoot or event, but also remember that they need time to get all the photos ready and they probably won't be finished the very next day unless they have magical powers (and probably horrible photos), so it's best not to stalk them, either. I haven't had to contact Jessica myself much at all because she is so good at keeping me updated, and because I have seen Jessica's work and love it, I haven't been worried about the photos at all.

She actually texted me this week and told me the wedding photos are in the mail, so of course, I'm obsessively checking the mailbox. I can't wait to get them and eventually share some here.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on boudoir photos, and if you have any questions about my photos or working with Jessica, just let me know!