Monday, November 26, 2012

a good day is any day that you're alive

Yesterday was my birthday.
To me, birthdays are a great reminder of things to be thankful for, and luckily for me, my birthday always falls around (and sometimes on) Thanksgiving.
Yesterday was also (dun dun duuuuuun):
Heath and my one year anniversary! He asked me to be his girlfriend on November 25, 2011. Yay for multiple celebrations!
::Sorry for my poorly written photo comment on Instagram that put some of you in a frenzy. My bad. There aren't going to be any Ringlets running around any time soon, I hope.
We decided to do it up right last night by cooking new and different things. I used our new Kitchenaid stand mixer we got from my mother and made a delicious strawberry cake with strawberry icing...ahem...from scratch. Shout out M-Stew for the recipe.
I baked it in the afternoon and listened to Babel by Mumford and Sons on repeat while Heath took a Sunday nap. This may have been one of the greatest birthday presents I could have gotten. Baking is something I just love to do. By the way, can I just say how much the song "I Will Wait" has stolen my heart? Because it has. I am now heartless. It's fine...
Isn't she pretty?
Since this was a MAJOR celebration, Heath and I forwent our usual chicken we cook on the weekends and got a little crazy: we got a couple ribeyes from the grocery store, and that's all she wrote. I had never cooked steak before but last night I became a friggin' champ. I cooked them on the stove and then in the oven in a cast iron skillet (my dad would be so proud). Then...THEN...I got extra crazy and jazzed those sons of guns up with a little Pioneer Woman. Yes, you heard me. PIONEER WOMAN, I LOVE YOU. I made her legendary Onion-Blue Cheese Sauce that put both Heath and me in the most lovely of food comas. If you're feeling adventurous and not caring about your diet for the night (clearly this was a lost cause), do yourself a solid and try it. I'm having leftovers tonight, and I'm not ashamed.
Once the steaks were done, Heath and I went to the living room for a quiet, lovely dinner celebration. We talked about what we were thankful for, how crazy it is that we have been together for one whole year, and what a lovely year it has been. To me, this was the best kind of Thanksgiving meal I could have asked for.
Here are a few iPhone photos from the night. 
The Hunk being the cutest...because he just can't help it.

holy smokes. be still my heart.  

one year of loving Heath Ring is one year well spent.


Later we sat side by side and shared a massive piece of cake. And then I did not share a massive amount of insulin.
At church yesterday, the sermon was on thankfulness and being content with what one has. I feel like I am constantly being challenged in this area. Sometimes I fail but when the victories over myself rise, they are just too sweet. The pastor referred to the old hymn "Count Your Blessings," and it was hard to not have this stuck in my head the rest of the day. "count your blessings, name them one by one. count your blessings, see what God hath done."

My challenge to myself these past few months have been to live a life of thanksgiving, not just this particular time in my life. I want my life to be one that honors the blessings I have received because they are not ones I have earned. I wanted to throw out some of the things I am thankful for (in no particular order):

10. My house.
As much as it can be a pain in the rear because The Pearl is SO OLD, I just love my little house and all its charm. I'm thankful for a lived-in home, one that Heath and I are slowly but surely making our own. My school threw us a wedding shower and since we didn't register for anything (because we definitely don't need "things"), we asked if maybe they could throw us Home Depot/Lowes giftcard shower and those ladies and gents DID NOT disappoint. Yay Project Pearl!

09. My jobs.
Man...getting to invest in some pretty fly kids every day is not for the faint of heart, but boy, do I love it! My kids rock my world and are constantly teaching me new things every day. Things about life, things about myself. I can't imagine doing anything else for a while. I love my job so much, in spite of the paperwork :) I am also grateful to work at a gym that gives me an opportunity to lead other's in their road to physical health. Shout out to athletic gear! Also, I love being a photographer and getting to work on the side. What a treat it is to still do this and being able to enjoy my clients so much.

08. My family
The Simwells are the glue that holds me together at times. They are some of the most incredible humans of all time. My family is a force to be reckoned with: we love with a selfless love that seems unbelievable at times. We have endured a lot together, and seeing where we are now, it is just so humbling that I got so lucky to spend many of my best and worst memories with them and be loved. Always. No matter what.

07. Elliot and Eden
Yes, my nephew and niece get their own number. When Elliot arrived, I remember looking down at his tiny face, into those big black eyes and thinking, "how in the world is it possible to love someone this much?" He made me believe in love at first sight. He made me feel grateful that a piece of my dad was being born into this world: the same blood that ran through Elliot and my veins, also ran through his. And now, there will be another one. My heart won't be able to stand it, I fear.

06. The Rings and The Smiths
Heath's family has opened their arms to me from the beginning, and I am so grateful to have such wonderful in-laws. Seeing both his mother and dad on Thanksgiving was such a treat. We are so blessed.
05. My mother
Talk about someone who fights for those she loves. I cannot ask for a better example to follow than my mother. She has always been one of my closest friends and the person I could always talk to. Her prayer and guidance and discernment is how I am where I am today. I cannot imagine any other person raising me. I love her more now than I ever have. After losing my dad, I realized she is the closest thing to him that I will ever have, which makes me see so much of him in her. It is weird, I know.
04. My friends
I have been blessed with some really lovely creatures that I am honored to be able to call my friends. One of my favorite sayings is "Friends are the family you choose." I just love that because it is so true. I have kept some and lost some, but the ones I have lost have taught me almost as much as the ones who have remained constant and true.
03. My spiritual walk
Speaking of constant things, I cannot fathom my life without my walk in Christ. Talk about a faithful friend. The one that encourages you but isn't afraid to put you right in your place. I am nothing without Him. Daily I am challenged and reminded of this fact. There really aren't words to do it justice. So I won't do it the disservice.
02. Musicians
Music is a way for me to get inspired and be creative. I am always so grateful for any and all inspiration. Plus, music is a way for me to feel things deeper than words can express. It gets me motivated when I don't want to and relaxed when I do. It also is a way I reach my kiddos at school, which is huge for a nerdy English teacher :)
01. The Hunk
My darling. My best friend. My partner. The one who will always make sure I get the good fluffy towels for my shower before he does. The man who gets up with me when my blood sugar crashes and fixes me peanut butter and honey toast while in his boxers and with bed head, no questions asked. My love who wakes me up when he hears my breathing change because he knows I'm having a nightmare, so he does what he can to stop it. That precious fella who when I chuckled nervously while standing in front of the jacuzzi tub at our honeymoon, freaking out enternally about dropping my towel, gave me the biggest smile and put his hands over his eyes and said, "I won't look until you tell me to." The man whose voice singing songs at church is my most favorite singing voice in the world. Yes, that one. I guess you could say I'm thankful for him.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

my single favorite

my single favorite photo
of my single favorite day
with my single favorite person.

{photo by Heather Canterbury}

Friday, November 2, 2012

invitation love

I have a confession to make:
our wedding invitations were probably my favorite thing about our wedding (leading up to it). Our love story is such an intricate part of who we are, and I knew that our invitations needed to, in some way, display that.
Trying to find the right invitation for us was tricky. We were on a budget and wanted something simple, yet hard to forget. We didn't want something fancy. We wanted something that was us. I did further research and found an incredible wedding invitation by designer Matt Dorfman for his 2008 wedding, in which he used different type to outline he and his fiancee's story. Instantly I thought: this is for Heath and me! What a great way to display our story!
So, I sat down with Heath and wrote down our story. That was by far the easiest part. Then, I tried to figure out how I was going to create it. I hadn't a clue, so I consulted some friends, and they pointed me in the direction I needed with InDesign CS6. I did the 30 day trial, tried to fiddle with it...and was at a dead end. Feeling at a loss, I grasped at the last straw I knew, which was a woman I had worked with in our journalism program here at school. She works for the local paper, so I asked her granddaughter, who was a former student of mine, if she knew if she could help me. Ms. Pat contacted me immediately and said she would be happy to do it for me, if I would just bring me a copy of the story, she would have the proof in a couple days. What a huge blessing!
So, a couple days later, I went to the local paper to see my proof, and my heart nearly left my chest. It was absolutely perfect. Ms. Pat told me of a local paper store in town to get my paper. We needed 11X17 paper, 2 invitations were to be printed on each piece of paper, then cut in half vertically. I showed up to the paper store and had to stifle a giggle. A little old man ran it. On three of the four walls, there were deer heads, fish, and other animals mounted. On two of the four walls, there was John Wayne photos and posters.Was this REALLY where I was going to buy the paper to make my wedding invitations. Here?!  I asked him if he had any 11X17 thick linen paper in cream. He went back to get me the 31 pieces he had left. I noticed a sign that said, "no debit or credit cards," so I whipped out my checkbook, and he laughed, "Girl, it ain't but $2.00. Take the paper. How about you run $2.00 by the store tomorrow?" (and that's just what I did).
After I left the paper store with my paper, I took my design and paper to the Office Depot in town and asked them to print and cut them in half for me. Ms. Pat showed me how to fold them to where the actual invitation would act as its own envelope. After I got my stamps (almost $18), I got a sharpie pen and addressed them by hand.
So for under $30 I got the most meaningful invitations I could have hoped for.

This is us.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

on listening to one's mother

::NOTE: I wrote this in the wee hours of my wedding day. The wifi at our hotel was on the fritz, which is why I am now just posting it.

As many of you know, today is my wedding day. I am currently wide awake while my bridesmaids are sleeping so soundly in nearby beds of our hotel suite. My mind is racing with the promise of the day, and my heart has never been so full. When your heart is full, you become more grateful and clear-headed, and right now, since I cannot for the life of me find slumber, I want to give those reading some pretty sound advice:

Listen to your mother.

When I was about 5 years old, I got my bottom bruised while at Vacation Bible School. The bruise was ugly, and what was even uglier was how I got it. It was formed by the hands of a boy in class who actually pinched it pretty hard. I remember it seeming like something so fierce. What I remember even more than that is the conversation that my parents had with me on the way back home from the church. My parents are the best teachers I have ever had, and they taught me a lesson that night that I never forgot. My mother said, "Jordan, you are in charge of your body. No one touches you without your permission. Even your booty, you are in charge." What happened next is one of my favorite memories and something I have yet to live down with my family. I sat in the back seat and said with an assured but tearfully cracking voice, "I'm in CHARGE of my booty!" Of course this caused giggles from my parents. But right then at age 5, I made one of the most important decisions of my life: I chose to be in charge of my own body.

Let me say, I was always one of those kids who tried to be a pleaser. All it took from my parents was a look of disappointment, and every white flag I had was waved. I took everything literally and most of the time, my faith was the cause of it. I was the kid that hurried my parents to our hotel room in the Bahamas because I hadn't read my Bible that day, and it was getting close to 11:00. I lived in fear for a while of disappointing my parents and disappointing the Lord. I like to think it was out of respect. But a life of fear was not for me. After taking and then later teaching a True Love Waits course, I felt like my promise to the Lord was a signed contract in my mind. There was no backing down. Once I got to college, I took a few health courses and learned more about sex, disease, and the likes. Then my choice to abstain from sex not only was spiritual but also a health-concious decision. There are so many things going on out there; I just didn't want to be a part of it. I didn't want to invite any of it in my body.

Many women do find empowerment in their bodies. They use their sexuality to get things they want. They flaunt, they conquer, they eventually hurt others, and often-times, themselves. I witnessed this a lot growing up with some of my schoolmates. Girls gave their bodies freely, and while at first it was fun for them, the fun died away and the happiness they thought they had was short-lived after they were disposed of after the deed was done. Witnessing this and hearing my mother's voice in my mind, I never gave anyone control of my body. The advice I received 22 years ago helped me get to this point in my life, and I couldn't be more grateful for my mother's words. While some find power in giving their bodies, I have, thankfully, been of the opinion that self-control is empowerment. I am humbled and so blessed to say that I have saved myself for my wedding night, and Heath is the first and only man I will give that part of my body to. What an incredible gift it is to me. I hope it is the same to him, as well.

This choice I made cost me some relationships in the past. I had some major relationships in my life. There were some guys who were very blunt and said, "Jordan, you're really nice and everything, but you know...I am going to want that so...maybe this should end because if you aren't going to do that, then I'm not sure if this is going to work out." It wasn't a hard choice for me, really, to say, "well, ok, then. It was fun. See ya later, dude." Sometimes there would be a shocked expression like the guy couldn't believe that I was ok with things ending, like he expected me to say, "Oh, no!  I can't imagine not being with you, so yes! We can have sex now. I changed my mind." Silly men...

When Heath and I first started seeing each other romantically and it was obvious this wasn't going to be a fling, I dreaded having "the talk" with him. I prayed, "Dear Lord, please let him be above this. Please let him be different. Let his reasons for wanting to be with me be more than this, and if they aren't, let me have the strength to walk away with my head high." And I am happy to report that he was and is. Heath has encouraged me in my choices and has been so supportive of me and respectful of my body in ways that I just can't even describe. He is the only man that I have been romantically involved with who didn't try to push the envelope when it came to my body and sex, which made my attraction to him grow, which made my choice at sometimes difficult. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be marrying him in about 12 hours.

I don't want this to sound like a public service announcement or anything. I write this not to say anything about people who share a different belief than I do. I write this not to boast. I write this to get these thoughts out, so I may rest my mind. I also write this to encourage. I encourage you, young ones, to listen to you parents. Listen to their wisdom. Absorb it, appreciate it. You can live a very fulfilling life that doesn't involve sex, if you don't want it yet. I played sports, travelled, was Homecoming Queen, lived overseas, taught, loved, and lost in my life. I have no regrets, including my choice to be in charge of my body. The choice wasn't easy, I will say. It was difficult and taught me a lot about myself and self-control. While we live in a world that tells you that your body is yours to do with as you please, we tend to only see that as a way to encourage our sexuality. Just remember this also goes the other way. I am no expert, but I will share with you that I never had a friend who shared with me about a guy that she regretted NOT having sex with. Usually, it went like this, "Now we aren't together anymore and I just feel like such an idiot because we had sex a couple weeks ago and now we're through." (It was never, "Oh, Gosh. Now we're through. If I had JUST had sex with him...") Being dumb to the subject, all I could do was hold her hand and say the words "I'm so sorry you're hurting." Any time I did this until now, it solidified my choice; it made me grateful.

Live the life you love with no regrets.

P.S. I would like to thank my mother, Karen, for being my crazy cheerleader all these years. I cannot believe I am on the brink of marriage. I wouldn't be here and be so happy without your love and support. Thank you for giving me a set of values to follow and for making it clear that even if I stumbled, you would be there to love and help me. Thank you for showing me what character and integrity are and their importance in life.
I love you,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

on turning water into wine

Forgive me if the next few (or way more than a few) posts are about my wedding or moments during or after. This feeling is all too new and exciting. Once we get photos from our photographer in the next month or so (btw. She is Heather Canterbury and is the CAT'S PAJAMAS!) it will be please brace yourself, my loves.

I have a post that I wrote the night before my wedding, but I am saving it for tomorrow or the next day, I think.

My first post about the wedding involves my father, who as most of you know died 5 years ago today. It may sound strange to you for me to talk about a wedding post that involves my deceased dad, but trust me, he was there.

The Lord's first miracle was keeping a wedding party going by turning water into wine. This could have been a very frightful thing for the bride and groom (or let's be honest, the bride's mother). By this time, they probably hadn't been married but minutes or a couple hours max and BAM: everything suddenly wasn't all roses and rainbows. They faced a (small) problem right off the bat. The Lord then provided them with what they needed, which was his very first miracle.

The wedding planning was such a fun thing for me and my mother. She rocked it out with her creativity and thriftiness. I have witnessed so many weddings through being a photographer. I had a pretty good thought process on the do's and don'ts, the things that I have seen that worked, the things that hadn't. I tried to trouble shoot as much as I could. I wanted our day to be full of joy, but there always seemed to be something amiss, no matter how much we checked things off lists. As much as I wanted to fight it, I knew it was the fact that my daddy wasn't going to be with me. In a way, I was moving on to next big thing in my life. Though these types of moments are filled with so much rejoicing, there is always a piece that is missing in our puzzle. Him.

October was his favorite month. It is the month that held his birthday, but it is also the month that held his death. It is a bittersweet month for my family because we know this was his favorite time of year, but October 30th always hangs on at the end like whale with its mouth wide open ready to devour the happiness leading up to it.

When Heath and I got engaged in September, we knew we didn't want to wait very long but we wanted to have enough time to plan a small family-based wedding. We both chose October because we really wanted to have a Fall wedding because Summer weddings in Arkansas are too hot.

October 27th: I feel as though I had a small miracle of my own this past Saturday; though by many, it could have been viewed as a problem. But as the Lord does, he turned my water into the sweetest wine.

It happened right before I was walking down the aisle. I dreaded walking down the aisle by myself. It wasn't like I didn't have anyone who could have done it. I had originally asked my mother if she could because she is the closest thing I have to my dad. She told me she didn't think she could do it emotionally, and the more I thought of it, I didn't want to rob her of getting to see her oldest daughter walk down the aisle. So, I resolved with walking myself, and the more I let the fact resonate, the more encouraged I felt about it. I am a 27 year-old woman who has lived independently for 5 years. I wasn't a 20-year-old who still lived at home to where it would be customary for the father to "give away." Even if my dad had been with me physically on Saturday, he wouldn't have been "giving me away" to Heath. I was willingly giving myself to Heath, all on my own.

Feeling empowered, I waited behind the door after my bridesmaids left down the aisle and was standing on the stoop of the church alone with Heather, our photographer. Before I could catch myself, I said, "Hey, could you get a picture of my bouquet, please? I have a picture of my dad in it, and he died 5 years ago." Once the words left my mouth, I felt this huge lump form in my throat, and I thought that I was going breakdown and then there would be no bride walking down the aisle and everyone would think I had ran away and was rejecting Heath and so on and so forth... (crazy how the mind just takes off before you can catch it).

The bridesmaids song was getting to a close and I knew I had to suck it up because there was the most beautiful man waiting for me to come to him. I took a deep breath and then all of a sudden, the song was over. The song that I was walking down the aisle to (Saeglopur by Sigur Ros) was supposed to be starting. My brother Callahan was in charge of the music that day. I had given him 3 cds, all numbered with directions. #1 was supposed to be music playing while the guests were arriving, #2 had 2 songs: the song that the bridesmaids walked down to and mine, both cut and faded, all he had to do was push play, and then #3 was the song we were walking down the aisle to once we were pronounced. As I nervously waited behind the door, waiting for the piano/ xylophoney music, it never came. All of a sudden the previous song came on, then it abruptly stopped. I heard a slight shuffle and whispers and thought how strange it was. Then I heard it start and stop again and then I got a bit concerned. The left door of the church was open and is the door I entered, slowly I put my hand out in the open giving the number 2, and I heard the giggles. After Andrew saved the day and Saeglopur started up, I had the biggest smile on my face. You had to know my dad to know what a big prankster he was. I find no surprise that the music mysteriously messed up when it was a pretty cut and dry thing. When it was supposed to have started, I was on the brink of getting upset. By the time it actually did start, I found myself giggling and feeling like this was the most perfect way to enter my wedding. Quite fitting. As soon as I entered through that left door, all I saw was my Heath standing at the end with the best looking smile I have ever seen from him. When I got to him, he gave me a big hug because he knew that it really was a big moment for me, walking alone.

But as I said before, I was not alone.
Not at all.

photo of my dad when he and my mom were dating, which is what he looked like when they got married later that year.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

the story of us

I cannot believe that this post is actually being written. It is a rich, humbling experience and one that I am so very excited to share.

I'm getting married, y'all. Yes, the infamously single Lady Jordan Simmons is on the precipice of leaving the land of Singledom. While this has been a most affable and lovely home for many years, let the party start. :)

One of the most surreal things about all of this is the response and love we have experienced throughout our entire relationship. Before we were engaged, we had so many people comment on our relationship, asking me about what we did to remain so happy.  We laugh, we argue, we play, we get mad, we cry, we smile, we forgive, and we love deeply and live simply. And for us, that is enough.

So, let me tell you about our proposal. :)
Saturday, September 1, 2012 is my new favorite day.
It started like most weekends that Heath and I share together when I'm visiting from Benton: we each slept in, one more than the other (I make no apologies. YOLO). We shared a late lunch with his best friend at our favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in a neighboring town, and then came back to his house to veg/get his laundry done. It really was a most unassuming day. We then went to his mother's house because Heath was putting steps on the sides of his truck with his stepfather. Afterward, we came back to his house, so he could take a shower to clean up from working on his truck. After he got cleaned up, he decided to watch football while I decided to grade papers from this past week; we would grab a late dinner afterward . So, I walked outside to my car to get my school bag, and when I came back in, Heath was standing kind of awkwardly in his living room. I walked over to his couch, not thinking anything about it. Before I knew it, that wonderful creature was slowly getting on one knee. I gasped and started saying "WHAT?! What is happening?! No! Are you SERIOUS?!" And let me just say, we were both in tears before he could even get his words out (Sorry, babe, I had to be honest). At this point, my mind was going a million different places, but I listened to everything he had to say because I didn't want to miss a word, and then Heath said, "You know how I feel about you, I always have. I don't really know what I am supposed to say here but... I've loved you since the first grade, and since we've been together, you have made me a better man, and you make me want to be a better man for our future. Will you marry me?" And of course there were multiple yes's and kisses and many tears by both parties, and we held each other for a couple minutes. Then he put the ring on my finger, and we just stood there, hugging each other. I've never felt so content in my life. Afterward, we drove to his parents house to share the good news. Then we made a path that went from my sister's house to my grandmothers house, then finally my mother's house. We didn't want to call or send texts: we wanted to give the news from our own mouths. What a beautiful night full of love and thanksgiving.

Heath's proposal was simple, earnest, and genuine: absolutely perfect. Heath and I have over the year of our relationship seen proposals that were large and full of bells and whistles, and our reaction has always been the same: why? It just isn't us. We both agreed from the start that something like that should be uncomplicated and intimate. We knew that when the time came, we wanted it to be just us. Apparently my family and his didn't know exactly when it would happen; they knew it was soon (because he came asking for their blessing). So, seeing the excited reactions from our loved ones made it all the better.

We would like to both say "thank you" for all your kind texts, calls, comments, and emails in this most exciting time in our life. We don't have an exact date set, but we don't want to wait long, so we're thinking October, if we can even last until then :)
a fun one from last night :)


Saturday, July 21, 2012

singing in the rain

I have heard this song a bazillion (not really) times before and never really soaked in the lyrics, but after recent life developments and hearing it on a drive home from some utter craziness, I. just. l o v e  it.

Story time:

Once upon a time there was a girl named Jordan (yes, ya smarty pants...yours truly) who bought a delightful little house and affectionately dubbed it "The Pearl." This girl felt so grownup because she was making adult decisions and everything seemed to be going well. She lived in her humble abode for one year, and shortly after that anniversary, she left her home for a long weekend of caring for lovely creature known as Boyfriend after his oral surgery but checked her mail first to find a letter from her mortgage company saying their records showed she had no homeowners insurance in their records as of the one year anniversary. They also said in that letter that they had tried to contact her insurance company to remedy the situation (to no avail). Naturally, Jordan had a small stroke and first thing the next morning called and left an urgent message with her agent (who didn't return). After never hearing back, she found out from another agent that her policy was listed as "inactive." This agent who was helping her promised to get with her actual agent to figure out what the problem was. Later that day she heard back from her actual agent, and he added with a nervous giggle that she had not had homeowner's insurance for the whole of the first year of owning her house, even though she had paid for it...

(insert the losing of religion here)

Before you think that this post is to smash the insurance company with whom I had thought I had a policy, it is absolutely not. It is a post of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for a God who protected me and blessed me beyond measure.

A couple months ago, I had signed up and paid for the last class I had to take for my journalism certification. It was through a local community college and it was online. However, I received the news a mere 3 days before class was to start that it was being cancelled. Frustrated, I looked for an online class in journalism. I found one at a state school, but it was way more than the community college. Panicking, I just accepted the fee and signed up. Truly, though, I let that rob me of so much joy for nearly a week. I was grumpy and upset because I had had some plans for home improvements this summer and now (especially after buying the brand new edition of book) things were financially tight. Wah wah wah...Debbie Downer in the house, y'all. In. the. house.

Fast forward to the previous story and the predicament. No homeowner's insurance. Once the shock wore off and I realized I had been unknowingly been living on a prayer, I was beyond grateful for a God who would take care of me in such a big way. Luckily, I had had a year of no accidents. What had happened was after I had closed on my house and had gotten the keys, my agent contacted me and said that my policy was going to have to be rewritten because my house was so old (1944). He told me they were going to be issuing me a refund and that I was to sign it and send it right back to them. He said it was just some awkward steps that had to be done. So, I did that and never looked back. I didn't hear from him but didn't think anything of it. In the same bundle of mail that I got the notice from my mortgage company, I also received another check for the same amount the one had been the year before. That was another thing that I addressed with my agent, and he said that he never received the check and because of that, he put my policy as inactive and assumed I had cashed it and gone with a different agency...not the So, without given a letter or phone call stating the contrary, I lived life thinking The Pearl was insured when it was not. This new check was actually the old check reissued because their account department showed that my check had not been cashed or anything, so they automatically reissued it to me.

Now for the good stuff:
  • I was able to get insurance with another agency for a better deal than I had gotten with my former agency. Hallelujah.
  • That reissued check was actually my very own. It was for me, not to send anywhere but to my bank account.
  • And the  k i c k e r:  that check covered the class and book that I was griping about earlier. It was about $20 more.

So let me just tell you, I am amazed and astonished at how the Lord's timing is just always so spot on. He kept me safe this year. He blessed me physically, emotionally, and financially. It gives me chills; His provision never ceases to amaze. I wonder how many blessings I have missed out on because I was upset about little things that are trivial. This whole singing in the rain thing; I'm definitely working on it.

Basically...I want to be this guy


Monday, April 16, 2012

spring has sprung, y'all.

saturday was a busy day for me, but the highlight was definitely taking spring photos for these 3 lovely gals. it was a fun day, for sure. i had a few minutes today, so i picked a couple from each to share.


Monday, April 2, 2012

leah + billy

my dear friends billy and leah are GETTING MARRIED, and i couldn't be more thrilled. this post is overdue but i wanted to wait until they had a chance to look them over before i posted about them.

leah and i met my freshman year at OBU. we lived on the same hall (Franny C East 3!) but didn't really realize it until our boyfriends introduced us because THEY lived on the same hall as well. welp, boyfriends eventually left, and we ended up having a truly beautiful friendship out of the deal. a few of my favorite memories include (but are not limited to) : campus drive arounds and sitting in cars singing outloud, the zaragon photoshoot in hot springs, chi delta winter formal, playing manhunt at 3 a.m, and of course, the infamous Fayetteville trip (oh my...)

through the years, we've kept in contact and last year when i realized i had gotten the job in benton, i was beyond thrilled to be next to leah again. we had boyfriend breakups around the same time (again...) and being reunited just made things so much better. i remember our first time to hang out with billy at a travelers game. i thought to myself, "this boy has for leah." (they'd known each other for 8 years) sure enough, i was right. i remember the excitement of the first date. hearing about the introduction of the families. then she and i formed what was dubbed "the sunday night family" with billy and his roommate tom. we got together every sunday night after church and shared a meal together (some of my favorite memories). through all this, i watched them fall in love. when billy told me he was proposing, i was ecstatic i was even MORE ecstatic when i realized i would be witnessing it all go down in hot springs.

these two are two of my all-time favorites. i am terribly saddened to not be able to be in or attend their wedding (boo for scheduling conflicts but yay for extremely lovely couple whose wedding i'll be shooting the same day in kansas!). HOWEVER, i am supremely honored to be shooting some of their photos before. we had just days to plan this because shortly after the proposal, billy headed out to palo alto for a new job. as you can tell, my friends are so fun (wish i could show the outtakes. ha)

probably my personal fave :)

much love to you my sweet friends. i have enjoyed so much getting to be part of your journey.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

growing up

there is that moment (for me it was in my late teens) when you realize you are growing up and that's that--no going back. some take it better than others, and being the old soul i have always (ALWAYS) been, i never took it well.

lately, i have taken the idea of aging gracefully and thought about what a beautiful thing that truly is. now before this thing gets out of hand and you think this post is all about me (pshhhh...), it most certainly is not.  growing up has always been something i've thought about in the strict reflection of myself. recently, though, those thoughts have swiftly kicked my boo-tayyy when i realized that not only have i grown up but so have my younger siblings. the babies (the youngest 4) will forever hold that title with me, no matter if they're 6 or 36. jade and callahan are closer in age to me, so it was no shocker that we'd evolve into the adults we've become.

but my heart literally fell when i looked at these photos of my sister, cameron grace. camie just got her braces off and is following in her sisters's footsteps in loving accessories and clothing. my mother asked me if i'd take her out for a quick photo session to celebrate her cuteness and the liberation of the teeth (we've all been there, right? isn't it the greatest feeling EVER? i swear i could have been the 'chubby bunny' queen after my braces were off--all that room!) so here i was looking at this super cute young lady who i held in my arms, diapered her butt, saw off to kindergarten (and then a week later, i started my freshman year of college), now with a big ol' future ahead. she was my family's very first adoption and stole our hearts immediately.

growing up. we're all doing it, so why does it feel like i'm just now figuring this out?

and my personal fave:

yay, camie. celebrating you and your future. you are loved more than you will ever know :)