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Thankful Thursday | My Girls

In the fall of 2008, I was house sitting for some friends who were living abroad for over a year and essentially just loving life!  It was just me, myself and I and I was traveling a lot for work and involved in a small group at church and spent plenty of time with my friends… but one evening as I was washing dishes I realized that with where I was in life, there might be other ways that God could use me. I didn’t know about this verse at the time, but 1 Corinthians 7:32 says, “…an unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him.”  Because I didn’t have a family to care for, I was able to devote more time to other things and other people, so I started to pray through that.  Not long after that evening, I remember asking some friends to pray for this very same thing.  Now, while I’ve seen God work in many ways, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Him work this fast… that night another friend of mine called to say that they were in need of more leaders in student ministry at church.  What?!?  Yes, less than 12 hours after I’d asked for prayer, God answered.

The funny/ironic/crazy thing is that I absolutely never in a million years hadn’t really seen myself working with high school students.  Shoot, even when I was a teenager, I was intimidated by teenagers.  But, in reality, God had been working on changing my heart on that long before my friend called me.  So, after a couple of meetings with some of the staff in Student Ministry and visiting Wafuasi (high school program) one night, I ventured out to a d-group (discipleship group) of 9th grade girls.  Talk about intimidating!  There were at least 9 girls that night and they were talking like I’d never seen a group of girls talk.  And that’s saying something! :-)  But, as the night went on, I just felt pulled towards them and I knew that this would be “my group of girls”.

I remember thinking one night during their freshman year that the following 3 years of them being in high school would probably go pretty fast.  But I was excited (and still a bit intimidated) to see what God was going to do.  He has stretched me in ways that I didn’t know I could be stretched.  He’s faced me with situations that I couldn’t have predicted.  He has grown these girls into beautiful godly women.  And it blows my mind that tomorrow they will walk across that stage to get their diplomas and will officially be done with high school.

There have been so many times over the past several years that this day has come to mind… and I just couldn’t believe it would come.  Because even when it seemed ages away, I knew it would come quickly!  I’ve shed many tears this year just thinking about them graduating, where they’re headed off to, and how God is going to use them.  These are my girls!!  They’ve been such a big part of my life these past several years and we’ve walked through a lot together.  It’s a little scary because I keep thinking that there’s still so much to say, so many things to teach them or warn them about, so many things that I still want to talk through with them!  But, I guess it’s just a teeny tiny bit about what it’s like to be a parent.  One day, you just have to let them go :-)

Sarah, Ellie, and Sinead… I know it’s been a crazy four years full of change and laughter and retreats and mission trips and disappointment at times, but I’m so thankful you stuck with us (Ashley, Nicky, Stephanie and me!). I’m thankful that you clung to your faith and clung to Christ through all of it.  I’m thankful that you’ve shared your lives with me.  I’m thankful that you’ve encouraged me with your own faith.  I’m thankful that when I’ve failed, you’ve forgiven me.  I’m thankful for all that God has taught me through EACH of you.  My prayer for you girls – as well as the rest of the students! – is that you continue to cling to Him.  As Dan Dather said in his sermon a couple of weeks ago, I pray that you are walking so closely to Christ that the dust from his sandals covers you completely.

I love you girls :-)

Marla - May 31, 2012 - 1:25 pm

I’m so thankful that you’ve had this ministry with the girls. They’ve come to a milestone in their lives when really life just begins for them. You’ve had a huge part in their formation as godly women. May God show you and Ben what step to take next in serving in God’s family to make a difference in lives.
Much love to you from Mommy

Families | Downtown Greer

It still makes me laugh that even though we only lived 20 minutes apart and both went to church in Greenville, Ben and I had no friends in common when we first met.  It’s just so rare that that happens!  So, we decided to see if there was a couple at church (that neither of us knew) who would be willing to meet with us. We didn’t have any real agenda in mind, but we wanted to have a couple that we both knew equally.  And the blessing that Kevin and Gretchen have been is beyond what we could have asked for.  Many late nights were spent at their house after we got engaged because we just enjoyed talking!  One of the nights that we were over there before the wedding, we got onto the subject of family pictures and how since having their little girl, they didn’t have a lot of pictures that included her!  So, once the holidays went by and it got a little warmer, we met in downtown Greer to change that.

Thank you guys for not just opening your home to us over the past year, but for opening your lives to us and being so willing to walk alongside us as Ben and I started our lives together.  We love you guys!

This might be my favorite picture of all… because this is what a house of 3 boys is like! And Gretchen takes it all in stride :-)

 

Since their baby girl only just turned 2 she was usually in bed when we would get to their house.  So, it took her a little bit to warm up to me.

 

My favorite thing about these next four pictures of the kids is that you can see their personalities jumping out of the images :-)

 

And this one? Well, it melts my heart.

And this one?  It cracks me up!

 

And these two…??? Holy tamoly!

 

#1 – Y’all are smokin’!
#2 – When did y’all learn to model??
#3 – Your love for each other is nothing short of inspiring

I know this was the sneak peek but I just had to include it again :-)  I love it!

After wandering in downtown Greer, we found some grass and trees and finished up with some gorgeous light.

The girls…

The boys…

 

I love this one of the guys!

 

I expect we’ll see this one again at her rehearsal dinner :-)

 

Oh goodness… these boys LOVE their mamma!

I feel like I could say thank you a million times and it would never be enough.  We love you guys a ton and are so thankful for your precious family!

Honeymoon | Tuileries

Yay for Friday!  And not only is it Friday, but it’s the Friday of a 3 day weekend!  We won’t be going anywhere, but I’m thankful for the day off since I’ll be second shooting a wedding today and again tomorrow.  It’ll be a little strange to be at a wedding without Ben, but I’m looking forward to working with some talented photographers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… second shooting is possibly my second favorite thing about being a photographer.  But that’s another post  :-)

Something made me think about our honeymoon last night (of course it may also be all of our brides and grooms who are returning or about to go on their own honeymoons!), so today seemed like a good day for a Paris post!  At the end of our first week of our trip, we wandered out to stroll through the Tuileries Gardens that are in front of the Louvre.  It was a crazy foggy day but it just made the city that much more romantic.

 

What many of you may not know is that my husband has this goofy side… and he cracks. me. up!

 

And what you may know is that he is SO handsome.

I love this shot… with all the Paris traffic and the barely there Eiffel Tower… ahh :-)

 

Our big date night was that night.  We got all dressed up and headed out for Chez Georges… for THE most delicious meal of our entire trip.
The funny thing is that we missed the street to turn onto and were almost an hour late for our reservation!  But they were gracious and still let us eat.
At least we worked up an appetite… and have a funny story to go with it!

Happy Friday!

Being Sick (and a Sneak Peek)

Remember that sore throat I had earlier this week?  Well, it usually goes away until around dinner time.  But it’s also brought some other friends that I will spare you the details of. The good news is that I have a rock star of a doctor who called in some antibiotics for me yesterday.  I can seriously count on one hand the number of times I’ve taken an actual sick day from my day job since finishing college x-number of years ago. And today just happens to be one of those days.  So hopefully with the medicine and some legitimate rest today (I promise I’m getting off the computer after this post!) I’ll be on the mend and ready for the two weddings I’m helping to shoot this weekend.  And of course be better in time for the Memorial Day holiday on Monday!  So, here’s to legit rest, good weekends, and saying bye bye to not feeling top notch!

Be on the lookout for more of this family.  They’re awesome so I promise you won’t want to miss them :-)