A Mom Win this Week, Let it Go...

IMG_0916bburnished.jpg

I wish she was still this little. Life was so much simpler when the kids were younger. Mom problems are a daily thing, aren’t they? I mean, are they getting the right amount of love, discipline? Are they getting enough of my time? Is the laundry washed or do I have to stay up late doing laundry? Dinner, dishes, work, homework, errands, business, responsibilities… They can get a bit overwhelming sometimes. Okay that’s a tad of an understatement. Very overwhelming sometimes. I mean I was up late last night with my daughter helping her put the finishing touches on her independent study week project because she “forgot” to do a few things we had discussed days prior, and then assured me she had done. Now, I keep thinking about her (and my son who had a project due today, as well) praying she doesn’t bomb her presentation from nerves. She is so shy, my sweet princess, just like me.

But I digress… My biggest prayer in life is that my children love the Lord with all of their heart, mind and soul. Am I teaching them that? Am I a true example of that? God reminded me this week, that He really is in control and that He’s got my back. I don’t have to be perfect, because He will take the reigns when He has to. Wait a minute… Take the reigns? Ha, ha. There I go again. He’s got the reigns. As my kids grow older, and as I now have a legal adult as a son, I pray even more and advise a lot less, well because as an adult, he has to make his own decisions, make his own mistakes, learn his own lessons. That, by far, is the toughest thing I have had to do as a parent. Well earlier this week, I was praying, asking God, “Well are you really talking to my sons? Are you really showing them the way to go? Are you really making yourself known? I mean, I can talk and talk but I’d rather be quiet and let you speak to them, but can you just tell me you’re doing it? That they are hearing you?” Basically, I’m asking God to show me He’s doing His job as the sovereign God of the universe, to show me He’s fulfilling the promises in His word. He must truly sit on His throne and laugh at me. I truly do picture that. But you know what He does, He shows me anyway. He blatantly shows me He’s on it, just to lovingly appease me. It’s not a “God wink”. It’s a huge God bear hug. That’s the nature of our relationship. He loves me as His daughter and appeases me every time I need it. For a long time, I was blind to that, but that’s a story for another day. Which leads me to…

Never mind the fact that last week God blatantly showed me He is avidly working in my 14 year old’s life, blatantly showing Himself to him and Danny (my 14 year-old) in turn being obedient to His God. Never mind that He has many times shown me this with all my children. I needed another little reminder that He is talking to my kids, that it’s not just my voice they hear talking to them about faith and right vs. wrong. So there I am silently praying all day, chatting with my Father. And right at bedtime, my beautiful, sweet, loving, sassy nine year-old princess going on fifteen runs downstairs and starts yelling at her brother. I mean she went off on the poor, innocent, deer-caught-in-headlights teenager who had been helping her print images for her project half the day. She was accusing him of taking her “brown box with stones” that she loves so much from her dresser. He assured her he hadn’t touched it. “Yes, you did! I saw you leave my room earlier! I know you did something to it!” She screamed. Of course, I interjected, trying to ask the valid question of, “Why in the world would your 14 year-old brother want your box of stones?” I mean, seriously! She was adamant! After ensuring Danny was not the culprit of such a senseless act, I asked him to go help her find it. They found it immediately. Guess where it was? On her night stand. She hadn’t looked there, of course. I made her apologize to him and get in bed. Five minutes later I’m laying in bed next to her, as we do every night, to read our mother-daughter devotional. She was still upset, but I think it was more because she was wrong and had to apologize. But, I may be wrong. I hugged her, we chatted about the situation a bit. I told her I’ve flown off the handle before, that I’ve made assumptions and had to apologize, too. I reminded her we all make mistakes, but need to learn from them. We opened the devotional for that day. Our norm is that she reads the Bible passage and I read the devotional.

I will never forget the Bible passage she had to read only five minutes after yelling at her brother, making assumptions, not listening… It was Ephesians 4:29-32.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

She started crying again. I couldn’t believe it! I hugged her and kissed her. I told her, “My love. Isn’t it amazing how much God loves you? Isn’t it amazing that just five minutes after what happened, He has you read this? He is gently and lovingly correcting you. He is loving you towards Him”. It made me think of how He loves me and lovingly corrects me towards Him every day. And if He does it for me, why in the world will He not do it for my children that I fight for on my knees daily? And I thanked Him. I thanked Him for loving me so much, that He is constantly reminding me that He’s in control, that He’s answering my prayers for my children, and that He is lovingly talking to them every day, even if I don't see it all the time. I’m not supposed to. These conversations are mostly between Him and them, as they should be.

Thank You!!!

lr_I6A7377bburnished.jpg

Every January, I look back on the previous year and determine what I did right, what needs improvement, what I want more of, and what I need to say no to in the new year. I cannot help to be overwhelmed with gratitude for each and every one of you. Thank you for allowing me to capture your beautiful families, your gorgeous children! To each woman who trusted me in capturing your inner and outer beauty, you let me in to a very vulnerable place! Thank you for trusting me! My three kids and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love serving you all, and we love being a part of your lives. Thank you for the referrals. Thank you for trusting me enough to share my name with friends and family! 2018 was a record breaking year. Thanks to my Heavenly Father and thanks to your trust in me. It was the busiest, craziest year we have ever had! April-December are a blurry whirlwind. I am beyond thankful and ecstatic for what God has in store in 2019. 2018 was a year of struggles and victories! The victories were bigger than anything else.

On 1/1/2018 I chose two words to focus on for 2018. I prayed over them for days asking God to guide me on which two words they would be. He gave me FAITH and FOCUS. I wrote in my journal that I would focus on my relationship with Jesus, my family, my businesses in that order and that I would accept no distractions. I asked God to grow my faith. I wanted unstoppable, unmovable faith. Faith that can move mountains. I researched Bible verses on faith and focus and prayed them into my life. Isaiah 43:2 was one of those verses on faith that just became a constant prayer for me. Well let me tell you, I passed through the waters in 2018 and He was with me. I passed through the rivers and they didn’t sweep over me. I walked through the fire and I didn’t get burned. He stood in the fire with me and protected me from the flames. I came out stronger in every aspect. He grew my faith alright. He did so by allowing me to walk through some of the most difficult situations I’ve ever experienced but gave me the victory every single time, in His timing. It didn’t always look how I wanted it to look. In fact, it never did. But in retrospect, I’m so glad. Because His way is always better. All of this gave me laser-like focus for His will And only His will in my life, my family, my business. I accepted no distractions just like I promised Him. Not only did I focus on my relationship with Him, my family, my business, but through it all he made me focus on something I totally was not expecting! I told you He does things His way and His way is always better. He made me focus on how He sees me! Who I am in Jesus:

I AM REDEEMED

I AM STRONG

I AM MORE THAN A CONQUEROR

I AM CAPABLE

I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH

I AM SUCCESSFUL

I AM RESILIENT

I AM PERSEVERANT

I AM A COMFORTER

I AM A BEACON

I AM HIGHLY FAVORED

I AM LOVED

I AM WORTHY OF ALL HE HAS DONE, ALL HE HAS GIVEN ME AND ALL HE HAS IN STORE FOR ME

2108 was absolutely amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing. And you helped make it amazing. Thank you for following me, thank you for trusting me with your health, with your memories, and for sending so many referrals my way!

We are going to rock 2019! I urge you to take a look at what you allow in your mind and in your life. Do not focus on who the world says you are. Focus on who God says you are!! Much love and success to you in 2019!

You are worthy

This little princess truly came in to complete my life when she was born.  God has used  her in tremendous ways to speak to me, comfort me, and love me through her.  One of my favorite things in the world is to photograph women and show them their beauty.  I love speaking life into these women and show them their worth because as women, we are prone to think negatively of ourselves.  It is the enemy's biggest victory to speak death and destruction into our lives and we don't even realize what's happening until it may seem too late (but it's never too late for Jesus, because what the enemy means to use for evil in our lives, God will use for good to triumphantly lead us into our calling).   Sometimes we don't realize the lies we have listened to in our heads until we realize that we are in a relationship that is beneath us or until we realize we believed the lies the enemy or others have said about us to the point that we settle in so many ways and stop believing for God's best in our lives.  If he can bring a woman down, he can attack her children and her family.  When you doubt God's goodness, when you doubt His love for you, get on your knees and look up.  Seek Him with your entire being.  We don't even realize sometimes how worthy we are of nothing but the best because we are daughter's of the one true King of Kings.  The Bible says that if we believe Jesus is the son of God and we confess with our mouth that He is King and repent from our sins, He is faithful and merciful and forgives us of all our past and calls us children of God.  This means we are co-heirs with Jesus.  Do you realize the power in His grace?  We are called sons and daughters.  This means I am a princess, the daughter of the King of Kings.  Yet so many times we settle for the enemy's lies in our mind, all around us.  I have chosen to set the example for my princess.  I want her to realize now, at this age, the power she has at her disposal just because she has been redeemed and called the daughter of the King. It's amazing how when I tell her how beautiful she is, she always looks at me as if I'm just telling her that because I'm her mother and have to say it.  The self-doubt starts so young.  So I speak life into her daily.  I affirm her daily, but you know what?  It had to start with me.  I had to use God's truth to affirm daily who I am in Christ and realize that I am created for greatness.  That is the only way I can do the same for my daughter and for my boys or for anyone else that God puts in my path.  So, every day, no matter how I'm feeling or what life throws my way, I remind myself and declare these things:

-I am marveloulsy loved by Jesus

-I am fearfully and wonderfully made

-I am dangerous for God's kingdom

-He has given me a wise and discerning heart so I can take the enemy's lies and cast them out.  So I can determine when someone in my life is not good for my life.  

-I walk faithfully before my God

-I am here to soar in Jesus' name

-I am a Proverbs 31 woman

-I walk in the fullness and umbrella of His favor daily for His honor and glory

-My Jesus is my fortress, my rock, my redeemer, my salvation, my refuge, my strength, my provider and my stronghold.  I Him, I have everything I need.  

-No weapon formed against me shall prevail

-He is using me to do great and mighty things in His name

These declarations have not only transformed my view of myself but also have changed my life in every aspect.  I will always make sure my princess knows the power she has because she is a new creation in Christ, a princess, who is fearfully and wonderfully made.  She will grow up knowing that God has a huge destiny for her life and that she will be a woman of influence for His kingdom.  I have learned that I am a lioness fighting for the future of my children.  I am loving having a front seat, watching the transforming power of His love in their lives.  I have made a promise to God that my princess (and my boys) will always see first hand what it looks like to be like a tree planted by the streams of His living water and what it means to bear fruit that never stops.  Remember:  You are loved by the King of the Universe.  He gave His life for yours.  In that alone, there is awesome power that you can only tap into if you give Him your soul.

IMG_3386creamcanvaslr.jpg

Fearless Faith

These are my three loves!  It seems like so long ago. Now they are 17, 13 and 8!  This year my oldest will graduate high school with stellar grades.  I couldn't be more proud of how dedicated these three kids are.  As I've been reminiscing over this image, I can't help but think of all the changes in our lives since this day.  I'm thankful for the journey.  I'm thankful for each day full of joy, each heartache, the lessons and the blessings.  I wouldn't be the woman I am today without it all!   Now, it's the beginning of a new year!  I love new beginnings.  There is so much hope attached to them.  I started the year with a brand new website, a brand new blog, focusing on all that God has in store for me and my three beautiful children.  So, while I have been in the photography business for 14 years and I have been in the health and wellness business for three and a half years (I am an artist and entrepreneur at heart, cannot help that, I'm sure I will have some more business projects in the pipeline soon), I've decided to start a brand new blog to document my journey through my crazy life!  I'm a normal mom who sometimes gets overwhelmed, who sometimes wonders if I'm doing a decent job at raising my kids. Am I balancing work and family well?  Am I out of balance?  I mean, are they going to always remember how much I love and adore them?  Even on those days that they will hate me for disciplining them or for saying NO to something they really wanted?  Do they realize I would jump in front of a semi for them?  I have two teenagers so I sometimes wonder how long until I see the major teen issues come up.  Don't get me wrong, many already have.  I've spent my fair share of sleepless nights, praying, wondering if I'm doing the right thing as a parent!  Too strict?  Too lenient?  Too much freedom?  Not enough?  One thing I know for sure, my Jesus will always lead me in walking faithfully before Him, as long as I ask and as long as I am willing.  And all I can do is ask Him to direct my steps.  While I have been very blessed with the life I have, 2018 is a year for FAITH and FOCUS!  It's a year to SOAR!!!  I'm going into 2018 with FEARLESS FAITH!  I'm excited to be sharing my journey with you!

IMG_0727.jpg