the bradshaw family

There are some segments of God's timing that just astonish me. For the past few weeks, the weight (and wait!) of our seemingly-unending adoption has been hanging out in the background of my thoughts. I've been sitting with the restlessness of knowing something is coming, but I can't do anything about when it will happen. And then, God gives me a great gift in my everyday work. The best part is, this story isn't even about me-

The Bradshaws have been waiting for their little one for some time as well- I have been following their infertility/adoption journey online and could relate to so many different aspects of it. So, I could not have been more honored to get to photograph them and their son finally together. Sweet baby Boone is just precious- he cuddled up the entire session and hardly made a peep! In between moments of me gushing over their beautiful home (Sara is an architect and photographer in her own right) and hearing about their adoption process, Boone slept peacefully and gave us the occasional grunt and yawn.

Thank you guys, for the opportunity to photograph you all together- it was like salve to my heart! And congratulations! So excited for your family!

rainy day

It was a grey, rainy day here in Lubbock yesterday- a vast difference from the high 80's we were experiencing just last week- and I wanted to challenge myself to shoot in the darker environment within our home. So, I photographed Liv doing her thing at home for a bit and then when Knox got home from school, we decided we'd better go splash in those puddles! Once we came inside and were warming our feet, my mom showed up with the cutest Valentine's cookies from The Cakery. Turned out to be a pretty wonderful afternoon. 

Here are the images I shot- these everyday moments always end up being the ones I treasure most!

I shared more images and some info behind how I shot these with my private How To Work It Facebook group. If you're interested in learning how to work your fancy camera, check out my online workshop here!

These were all shot with my Sigma Art 35mm lens.

If you are a part of my How To Work It group, just click this image to be fast-tracked to the behind-the-scenes video (you will need to log in first).

In this one, I share my thought process behind how and what I was shooting, my settings, and a few tips on how to make your images better. Hope this is helpful for you!

Hayden Kate's Nursery

My niece Hayden Kate is due any day now so last week I wanted to capture a few images of my sister, Layne, at her roundest and loveliest yet. :) I am OBSESSED with the gorgeous wallpaper she put in her nursery so I asked Layne if she wouldn't mind sharing a bit about Hayden's room here on my blog! 

So, here is Layne with a little tour of Hayden's room!

When I started dreaming of the little room I would soon rock my sweet baby in, my first thought was that I wanted it to be a place that felt warm and peaceful.  If you have seen other parts of my house- this would make sense to you- my husband will kindly refer to it as “50 Shades of Blue.”  Ha. I like the color blue and honestly had to really focus on not making her room totally blue.  I was unsure of where to start and my mom gave me the advice of “Find something you love and go from there!”

So my search began and while browsing Pinterest, I came across this blog where she featured a floral wallpaper used in her daughters room that I loved.  After browsing the Ellie Cashman wallpapers, blowing up my mom and sisters' phones, I finally settled on the Dark Floral II Black Saturated XL (200%) Wallpaper .

The rest of the room flowed from there!  Because I splurged a little on the wallpaper, to stay under the budget, we found a lot of the other items at estate sales, Craigslist, and garage sales!  I cannot take credit for all of it, I had a lot of help from my talented family and friends.  

Crib: Craigslist find- distressed with “Dust of Ages”

Bedding: Target, our goal was to keep it clean and simple!

LubbockWeddingPhotographer_2325.jpg

 

Plates: Peter Rabbit plates, my Mom scored these at an estate sale!

Mobile:  Made by my sister Lauren and I- but lets be real, mostly her!  My favorite part about it is the blue band at the top- It is my belt I wore with my wedding dress that Lauren also made. 

Mirror: Garage Sale, again scored by my Mom

Unicorn: Target

Curtains: TJ Maxx

Dresser:  Antique store find by my Momma (she did a lot of hunting for me:))

Chandelier:  Pottery Barn Kids, bought ages ago in college!!!

Glider: Gift from my in-laws from Babies 'R' Us

Quilted Blanket:  Made by my talented sister.  I am in love with the details!!!

Toy shelf:  Garage Sale find! 

Toy bins: Target

Shelf: piece of wood from a friends old house (Whitworths)

“You are my Greatest Adventure” painting: made by my talented momma!!

Wreath:  One of my favorite pieces of her room.  This wreath was my sister, Lauren's, idea.  At my Lubbock shower ladies wrote prayers on leaves for Hayden Kate.  Their words will be cherished forever and to know HK’s room is covered in prayers puts this mommas heart at peace. The flowers were also crafted at the shower! Lauren took both the leaves and the flowers and created the most beautiful, meaningful wreath. 

Owl: Target

Blocks: Estate Sales, you guessed it- my momma found them!

“Hayden Kate” bunny sign and “Isn’t She Lovely”:  Maggie McMurry with: @lettermemarie on Instagram

“Hayden Kate” banner:  made by my sister Lauren

China cabinet : a piece of furniture from the house we grew up in

 

I feel so blessed to get to bring Hayden Kate home to a room filled with love, prayers, and awaited adventures.  While I feel like her room itself is a gift, the gift of life from our Savior far exceeds anything I could add or put into her room.  We feel extremely blessed and excited to meet our baby girl!

kirby + shiane • wedding • legacy event center

Kirby + Shiane were married at the Legacy a few weeks ago on a chilly January day. It was such a fun and special wedding- when I first met with Kirby and Shiane, they told me how much they loved kids- so much that they had 10 of the sweetest flower girls I have ever seen (and several very handsome young men as junior groomsmen/ring bearer). I was expecting a little chaos because there were so many kids (which is totally ok- that's pretty much my life, haha!)- but amazingly, the kids added so much playfulness were so well behaved. 

Their friends and family were also amazing and willing to stand outside in the cold for a few portraits- all because they love Kirby and Shiane! Shay from Candelaria Designs did all the florals and I loved them all against the wine colored dresses. The ceremony was also special because they were married by Kirby's uncle. 

Thank you guys so much for letting us be there to capture your wedding day! Hope your Disney honeymoon was magical!

ty + brooke • wedding at autumn oaks

I have known Brooke for several years through church and have had the pleasure of watching her grow, fall in love, and become a really beautiful woman who is surely impacting the Kingdom. I was honored that she asked Shawn and I to photograph her wedding in December. 

I hadn't met Ty until the day of his wedding, but when I did, it was clear why Brooke can't hold her smile back when she is around him. He is fun, caring and thoughtful- a perfect compliment to his bride. 

These two were clearly having SO MUCH FUN on their wedding day- which is pretty much ideal in my book! Their wedding day was full of sentiment- sweet times of prayer, people close to them leading the ceremony, and special music. But the excitement they were feeling was totally contagious- like a huge dollop of whipped icing on top of an already scrumptious cupcake. 

I absolutely loved the mismatched bridesmaids' dresses and the gorgeous florals from Lou Dee's Floral and Gift. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Lust!

life lessons almost a decade later

Wow, you guys- what a wonderful weekend we have had! Our church hosted a bunch of teenagers for a Disciple Now weekend and our youth pastor and friend, Brandon, booked Shawn's old band, A Road Less Traveled (I guess they still have a FB page!), to play worship, as well as another great friend, Jason Bishop to speak. It was especially neat for me because it had been a few years since all of us had been able to get together like that. 

This photo is missing mark morgan (and his wife liz), who played guitar with arlt in the later years, and several volunteer roadies and crew who we get to call friends. :) i was just thankful we got one iphone photo with all these faces in it!

This photo is missing mark morgan (and his wife liz), who played guitar with arlt in the later years, and several volunteer roadies and crew who we get to call friends. :) i was just thankful we got one iphone photo with all these faces in it!

It's hitting me now that sometimes you don't realize how sweet a season is until it is over. For over 10 years, Shawn pursued music with a few friends, and none of us would have guessed what God would do that little pocket of time. I'm not sure I'm the right one to write about this, really- because I was never actually in the band, but since Shawn and I started dating in high school, I sort of just stuck around, getting to watch from the sidelines- and I'm thankful for that unique vantage point.

It's not often that you get to live life with the same few people (who you aren't already related to) for almost a decade. And when I say "live life", I mean waking up next to your husband on a rumbling RV at 2 am to the sound of metal music blaring...because it's Kuhrt's turn to drive. I'll also never forget washing my hair at midnight in a Wal-Mart bathroom somewhere in Tennessee with one of my best friends and another "band wife", Shanna. :) I'll admit, there were times when it didn't feel like a "get to", but more like a "had to". Collectively, we went through college, silly part-time jobs, the rise and fall of MySpace, breakups, late-night practices where nothing really gets accomplished, music videos, band managers, tours, many, many miles and even each other's weddings. It didn't ever hit me that "big" life things were happening in the midst of the gigs, weekends away, and frivolous arguments about how the merch table looked. There were many years where the guys wondered if they were ever going to "make it". Now I think we all realize that they were already there. 

Looking at everyone today- the guys, their wives and kids, other special friends who have influenced our faith in the past decade- I almost couldn't handle it. It was too overwhelming. I cried, because seeing their faces made me realize just what God has done for me- someone on the sidelines- through them all...it's still too amazing for me to grasp.  I could never fully express what these people mean to me- because it has almost taken 5 or 6 years for me to really understand the role that each of them have played in my life. Because of them, my worship is deeper, my thankfulness is greater, and my gumption is stronger. I've seen prayer at work, forgiveness happen, and God show up when you least expect Him.

I am so proud of my friends. I hate that we aren't all huddled together in one physical location anymore. But as much as I would love that comfort, I am glad we are not. Because amazingly- and this is just simply Jesus and how He works- we are all doing new things. Things that God has planned for us. Life has definitely become more complicated. A large part of me just misses those simpler times- and I know I've got on my rose-colored glasses today- but our problems seem so much bigger now. We are no longer 19 and 20 year olds who enjoy going out for dinner at 11:30 (because now that hour of night is reserved for sleep or Netflix binges).

But in my heart, I know and can trust that where we are (albeit not together) is good. Why? Because God has proven Himself in every season of my life. Jason Bishop, the speaker for the weekend, and his wife, Caryn, started our first small group about 10 years ago when he realized we were a bunch of 20-somethings without much focus. The message that Jason spoke today was on facing our giants and preparing a way for those who will come after us. I know he had probably tailored it for the teenagers who had been at Disciple Now- but how fitting for someone like me to hear it today. (You can watch the whole message here, including worship by the band.)

This weekend I have felt a sense of displacement. It has been wonderful to spend time with people who have known me so well for so long- but constantly realizing we are all in a new place with different circumstances was heartbreaking. Truthfully, I didn't like all the life change we brought with us- the weight of careers, family, doing actual "adulting"- ugh. Can't we just go to IHOP after the show?

When I spoke to God about this- He reminded me to look for the good. Just as I am now able to see all the good He gave us in the ARLT years- there is a wealth of good NOW. There are wonderful careers blossoming, new relationships formed, several beautiful baby faces and more to come. By God's grace, we are all happily married, still pursing the Kingdom- and THAT is what matters- beyond our physical distance and new circumstances. God has clearly given us a new opportunity to have a sweet season of life- one where He does so much more than we realize. 

I think that's what really hit me today- that I wasn't, in fact, ever on the sidelines. God was much more creative than I made Him out to be- orchestrating something completely amazing in each of us- through the music and the miles- at the same exact time. We were getting to live life together, and as God was using each of us for one focused purpose for that season, He was also preparing us individually for the next. I got all of the benefit- the life lessons, the deepening of my faith- without ever having any of the musical ability. :) 

Thank you, friends, old and new- for being willing to go through it all with us. The stories that God weaves are truly the most beautiful. I see and appreciate all the good God is doing in you and how it blesses my life. Let's press on!

And if you're feeling really sentimental, or have no idea what I have been talking about, go watch their old videos. There is a lot more hair in that footage than there is now :).