he put a new song in my mouth

Shawn and I are not the same parents we were 4 years ago when we were expecting Knox. We had no idea what an honor, a challenge, and an adventure parenting would be! We have struggled the past couple of years to get pregnant and stay pregnant, and though it has been a rough season in our lives, we wouldn't take it back- God had taught us so much. Beyond my nagging, pushing, trying to do it myself, God has patiently refined my heart and taught me to fully trust Him with this area of our lives (and we still get to re-learn that every day). I have a new level of thankfulness in my heart, a new perspective on God's plan vs. my plan. It's hopeful. I was thinking on this the other day and this scripture came to mind: 

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.
— Psalm 40:3

That's really what it's all about. I'm hoping you'll see my story and realize how perfectly impossible it is without God.

What's exciting, though- is that not only did He put a new song in my mouth, he put a baby in my belly! That's right- I'm pregnant, and just entering the second trimester! 

We will still be pursuing our adoption as we welcome this baby girl. It is amazing to us how God has worked out his timing in this aspect. As our wait has gotten longer for our adopted child, God brings another in the meantime!

A few words on her name, Liv Caroline:

• Liv means "life". It is a simple way for us to utter our thanks to God for the life of this child! 

• Caroline means "a song of joy and happiness". A perfect description of how we feel. Carrol is also my middle name, as well as my mother's and grandmother's. We love a good family name, so this is our way to keep the tradition alive. Plus, we also love the Neil Diamond hit, haha. 

Thank you to all who have prayed for us in this journey!

bert + jessica • engagement • midland, tx

I always send my couples a little questionnaire before their engagement session. It helps me know what type of location would fit them best and I also get a good feel for their personalities and style. When I read Bert + Jessica's responses, I KNEW we were bound to get along great. :)

These two are funny and compliment each other so well. They both landed in Midland through the oil and gas industry, found each other, and from the first date pretty much knew they were going to be together for the rest of their lives. That's pretty wonderful, and it's clear to see why they knew so quickly...they just go together. 

We shot their session in downtown Midland at the little park where they got engaged, and then headed out to Midland Country Club for some portraits just before sunset. It was a gorgeous night. Thanks, Bert and Jessica- can't wait till January!

jake + lauren • wedding • kent hance chapel

Jake and Lauren's wedding was one that reminded me how much I love what I do. I just never get sick of watching two families come together, two people be genuinely excited and anticipating this next chapter of their lives, and all the gorgeous details that make the day special. When we arrived I realized fully just how intentional Lauren and her mother had been in their planning when I saw all the beautiful details throughout the chapel. Pretty gold, ivory and white pillows lined the benches at the entrance. College Flowers did a stunning job with the florals- and there were so many sentimental details as well- such as Lauren's mother's pearls wrapped around her bouquet.

Jake and Lauren chose to do a First Look, and I loved what Lauren had to say about it: "I had never thought about doing a first look before meeting Lissa but after hearing the idea I am so glad we did. I knew I would cry during the ceremony and I knew if the ceremony was also the first time I saw Jake I would cry even more! Having a chance to see him beforehand didn't eliminate the tears at the ceremony but it did allow me to be able to focus a little more on the ceremony itself and what we were doing. The best part of doing a first look was getting to be with him alone for just a few minutes. It's the only time we had together, just the two of us, all day until after the reception was over. It was also very handy to be able to go straight to the reception because we had already taken all of the wedding party and family pictures!"

These two had an intimate and sweet ceremony- which led into a warm and welcoming reception where all the guests were fed delicious food and enjoyed each other's company. Marla Felton created an exquisite cake for Lauren and Jake chose an ice cream cake- which was the perfect compliment! I have to say that we loved listening to the musician, D.G. Flewellyn- he was fabulous! 

Thanks so much, Jake and Lauren, for having us on your wedding day. I so appreciate your trust and congratulations!

Ceremony: Kent Hance Chapel, Texas Tech University

Reception: The Overton Hotel

Wedding Gown: Sophia Tolli, Bliss Bridal

Bridesmaid's Dresses: David's Bridal

Groom/Groomsmen: Men's Wearhouse

Hair: Gavino Salon

Garter: HannaBellaDesigns, Etsy

Bride's Ring: A. Jaffe

Groom's Ring: Benchmark, J Keith's Jewelry

Bride's Headband: Bliss Bridal

Wedding Stationery: Miss Social Butterfly

Unity Sculpture: Unity In Glass

Florist: College Flowers

Bride's Cake: Marla Felton

Groom's Cake: Cold Stone Creamery

Catering: The Overton Hotel

Trolley: CitiBus


kuhrt + lindsey • maternity • lubbock, tx

Shawn and I got married a few years before the majority of our close friends. During the first several years of our marriage he was practicing/playing/touring regularly with A Road Less Traveled, and I'm thankful that our little ARLT family never got too annoyed with "the married couple" that made some logistics more difficult. :) 

Then we got pregnant. It was really exciting, but I worried that our dating/engaged/freshly married friends' annoyance level with our life happenings was about to go through the roof. Really, though- it turned out that baby Knox got MORE attention and love than we ever expected. And my friend Lindsey was always one of those people who was excited to see my new baby and show us how much she loved our new little family. 

Fast forward a few years, and it's our turn to watch our friends have a family of their own! In fact, Lindsey gave birth to TWO beautiful little girls just a few days ago (talk about a well-timed maternity session!). Their family has doubled in size and I can't tell you how many friends and family have eagerly anticipated the twins' arrival. 

Of course, Lindsey carried twins like she was born to do so (and she clearly was). This momma hardly complained and the joy she has for her girls is something that is sure to be a constant theme as she and Kuhrt raise them. 

Thank you, friends for letting me capture this special season for you! Congrats- you are already fantastic parents!

adam + megan • wedding • louise hopkins underwood center for the arts

How much would I love to photograph a wedding inside of one of my favorite art galleries in Lubbock? VERY, VERY MUCH. That gallery would be the LHUCA, and the couple that let me do that would be Adam + Megan. These two were very intentional about many aspects of their wedding, which really made it a fun experience. It was also incredible to watch them during their ceremony, where emotions ranged from nervous anticipation, to pure enjoyment, holy reverence, and joy. Loved it all.

Oh, and you also need to know that Megan spent 10 hours adding the gemstones to her wedding shoes- that's a serious DIY! Thanks, Adam + Megan for having us- and congratulations!

garrett + brytni • destination wedding • playa del carmen, mexico

I am convinced there isn't a more beautiful landscape than the turquoise-blue water of the Riviera Maya. It's stunningly beautiful. Add all your closest family and friends, and it becomes quite magical. Shawn and I got to be a part of Garrett and Brytni's wedding celebration- and I can't tell you how honored we felt to be there- to witness the joy and laughter and gorgeous scenery firsthand.

I'll look back on this day and think of all the laughter we got to photograph. This crew was so laid-back and just straight up happy to be in paradise. There were great food and drinks, some hilarious scripture translation, scantily-clad onlookers to the ceremony, and mad dance skills. Garrett and Brytni- thank you so much for having us along- and congratulations!

jacob + julie • engagement • lubbock, tx

These two are getting married in less than a month- and photographing them on a beautiful, unusually mild West Texas day was all I needed to remember the excitement and anticipation of being so, so close to that big day. I've known Jacob since college- and loved getting to meet his bride, Julie. These two laughed so much (and so well) together- it's easy to see why they are tying the knot. It won't be too long before you're seeing them as a bride + groom- but until then- enjoy their engagement session images!

kaydence • newborn • lubbock, tx

This is a story I am incredibly grateful to write this morning. It's about my friends, Shane and Leah. We first met when they started coming to our Life Group (these people are literally our support "life" group- they have prayed us through so many seasons!). They told us they were waiting to adopt a baby- due to a back condition, Leah would not be able to have biological children. Seeing as Shawn and I had just started our adoption process, I was immediately connected with them- no matter the different circumstances- adoption is a unique journey, and one I am certainly glad I don't have to do alone! I knew that God had placed them in our lives for a very specific reason.

Almost two years passed- with no news. Then, one day, Leah said she met a birth mother who wanted to have Shane and Leah adopt her baby. We were all elated! The baby was a girl- which is what Shane and Leah had been praying for. They knew they wanted to have a baby girl and name her Kaydence. 

Side note: Adoption is tough for a person who likes control (like myself). There is so much that you just cannot control. Timing, circumstances, paperwork, governments- all of these things depend so little on you and your abilities (despite my best efforts, haha), but still have such an effect on your journey. So, little things like the ability to select gender, age, even name- those are what you hold onto in times where it feels like the wait will never end. 

Months passed, and Leah attended doctor's visits and shared life with the birth mother. A few weeks before the due date, though- everything screeched to a halt. The birth mother had decided to keep the baby.

This is the hard part. Though it is good for a child to be with their biological parent, we were crushed for Shane and Leah. I felt the same feelings for them I'd had when mourning a miscarriage- losing something you never really had. Such an empty feeling. To top off the pain, Leah had just had a hysterectomy in an effort to help relieve her back pain more effectively over the long term.

Our hearts were broken for them, and they grieved. After a while, Leah told us that they had decided to open up their gender preferences to boy or girl- though admittedly it was something they were still wrestling with. Their hearts still wanted a girl, but they also wanted to be obedient to whatever child God might have for them.

Then- out of nowhere it seemed- they were contacted by their agency. A birth mother was interested in them- and she was due in 3 weeks! They did say, however, that the baby was a boy. Trusting God, Shane and Leah met with the birth mother, who immediately selected them as the parents of her child. They attended every doctor visit she had left- and soon, they found themselves in a hospital room, awaiting the birth of their baby boy! 

Back in Lubbock still sat a nursery full of girl things- "Kaydence" was still written on the wall. There had been no time to transition the room before the birth! So they'd packed the few boy things they had before leaving.

They wouldn't need those few things, though. Low and behold, when the baby was born, it was a baby GIRL! I still cry thinking about how incredible and evident God's promises must have been to them at that moment. God had given them the baby girl they'd prayed for for so long. Birth and adoption are truly miracles. 

So, it was my honor and blessing to get to photograph these three. There hearts were ready...the room was ready...and God brought baby Kaydence at the perfect time. 

trey + jamie • wedding • irving, tx

One of the things I love best about the DFW area is that though the metroplex is basically one giant blob of smaller cities, each city still retains it's own personality and charm. Trey and Jamie were married at First Baptist Church Irving, TX- and I was surprised to see the old main street and quaint buildings. This wedding really had a small-town feel- the reception venue was literally right down the street- and I think that really added to the intimate feel of the day. 

I loved photographing these two getting married. Trey definitely had some nerves before their first look, and Jamie- true to herself, laughed and enjoyed it all. They both cited seeing each other for the first time as their favorite moment. Thanks so much for having us, you two, and congratulations!

julian • 1 year old

Last time I got to photograph baby Julian he was in-utero :). It is really amazing to realize how much happens in that first year of life- this little boy is one of the happiest, most content little fellows I have ever met. He loves being with his parents, and though he gave me plenty of smiles, I also loved his curious/concerned face. Thanks for a great session, Jeff & Nanci- you have one sweet little boy!