DANIELLE & CLIFF – SHE SAID YES

Filed under: just because,lifestyle,love,marry me,portraits,wedding — admin at 12:01 pm on Thursday, February 22, 2018

Danielle & Cliff wanted to capture their love in EVERY season!

Our last engagement session – WINTER!!

Danielle works cross-country and trying to get together for a first snow – seemed tough – but we managed on the FIRST try!!

SWOON!!!

I LOVE THOSE SHOTS!!

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

Danielle & Cliff – I cannot WAIT for your wedding – it’s coming up quick!!

THANK YOU JARED BARDEN

Filed under: bardenisms,family,just because,love,marry me,my family,project,the marriage fight — admin at 11:50 am on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I shared a post recently that I wrote in 2013 thanking my dearest Lori for being my cheerleader in life. For helping me remember to NEVER lower my standards in life.

For a boy – for a job – for friendship – for ANYTHING. For helping me establish good self-esteem at a young age. For helping me hold onto that attitude throughout life.

For showing me what a life dependent on Jesus looks like. For showing me how to love like Jesus.

And it got me thinking about someone else that I need to say thank you to.

In November – Jared and I went to a marriage conference – one like we’ve never been to. We were strongly encouraged to spend LOTS of time focusing on each other – and not only encouraged – but the conference was arranged so that you DO get to have lots of time focusing on each other.

Over the course of that weekend – I was able to share something with Jared that I’ve never really been able to put into words before. Or even thought about putting into words before.

I have a good sense of who I am. I am unapologetically me. BUT – Jared Barden helped me be that person even more so!

Before Jared and I started dating – I was trying HARD to win the affection of someone else. I wasn’t totally myself – in hopes that I would win the attention I was hoping for.

But Jared – he saw me in the moments when I wasn’t trying. The moments when I was simply myself and not scheming to win someone over. And he loved that person.

He loves me at my best. He loves me at my worst. He loves me when I laugh too loud at the movies. He loves me when I’m whining about living in this house. He loves me when I haven’t shaved my legs all winter. He loves me when I shave my head – actually PREFERS when I shave my head.

Because I am so secure in his love – it allows me to be even more unapologetically myself.

When Jared and I started talking – like I said – I had NO intention of dating him. The thought wasn’t even on my radar. But when I talked to my mom about it – in her quiet wisdom – she said – you’ve spent so long trying to win someone else over – if you tell this guy no – you might be missing out on the rest of your life.

Our first date – we went to my brother’s soccer game. He sat with my dad. On the way over – we had talked about what we wanted out of life. I told him that my family was REALLY important to me. If he didn’t mesh with them – deal-breaker. If he didn’t want kids – deal-breaker – cus I was born to be a momma. And if he saw anything that was a red-flag on his end – let me know. We started dating with a goal in mind. Marriage. I didn’t want to date for years and years without any idea of marriage on the table.

But – my dearest Aunt Lori and my sweet husband aren’t the only reasons for my strong sense of self and security.

JESUS is. Really He is the ONLY reason.

Psalm 139: 13-16

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God MADE me – he saw the beauty of His creation and thought that the world ALSO needed ME. And YOU. EXACTLY THE WAY I AM.

This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect. I’m not. I need to change. To grow and learn. I can be a better sister. A better friend. A better wife and mother.

BUT – God isn’t telling me that He will love me WHEN I change. When I become the best mother and wife. He tells me that He loves me NOW. In all my imperfections.

He knows that I had something to give. That YOU have something to give. Your existence is not an accident. It’s amazing to think about the specific conditions that must happen for life to start. Temperatures. Timing. For life to stick around. When I think about that fact that if another sperm had fertilized the egg that is now Fitzy – we would have a completely different child. A child that we would love and cherish – but NOT Fitzy. Not Enoch. And we wouldn’t miss them because we wouldn’t know them – but how different everything would be. It’s not coincidence. It’s God.

He orchestrates every small detail of our lives – and every BIG detail. And you my friend – YOU are a BIG DETAIL!

BE CONFIDENT. Not cocky. BE SURE OF YOURSELF IN CHRIST. BECAUSE HE IS SURE OF YOU!

And having an Aunt Lori and a Jared Barden doesn’t hurt your confidence. Find the people that love you. Really genuinely love you. People that aren’t afraid to call you out. People who encourage you. I’m not talking about compliments for compliments sake. I’m talking about the people that speak life into you. And the people that give you constructive criticism. The people that love you and want you to be the BEST version of you that you can be.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,my family,my town,newsworthy,word of God — admin at 11:51 am on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Jared and I stopped giving Christmas gifts quite a while ago – typically because if we see something we want – we get it. Obviously – within reason.

We don’t really live life that way anymore – but we still don’t give gifts to each other.

BUT – Fitzy and Enoch shopped for us and for each other – so we were REALLY looking forward to opening those gifts!

That little handwriting – the excitement he could BARELY contain!

We LOVE our puzzles!!

Fitzy got Enoch a fence for his animals – his many many animals!

Enoch got Fitzy marbles and a car! And Enoch was SO surprised – he thought the things he picked out were for HIM!

We did get Jared a little gift – STAR WARS FOR LIFE!!

Fitzy picked out this sweatshirt for me! He said – MOM! It’s so ugly – I KNEW you would love it!

And the leggings – they were ONLY FOUR DOLLARS MOM!!

He asked if I would wear that sweatshirt EVERY CHRISTMAS! Yes sweet thing. Always.

Enoch got Jared a book of 5-minute STAR WARS stories!

And he got me a STAR WARS activity book and a mosaic sticker book!

Fitzy got a set of knives and his VERY OWN CUTTING BOARD!

We’ve played that game SO MUCH already!

Puzzles and games. Crayons and notebooks. Undies and matching shirts. And a lego set for Fitzy – one I’ve been holding onto for FOUR years!

I love that they didn’t need LOTS of presents under the tree. And almost everything I got them – I had bought on clearance throughout the year!! WIN WIN WIN!

Fitzy was VERY VERY excited about this lego set – he’s seen it in the closet for SO LONG! And he wasn’t expecting it because he isn’t 9 yet! And you should be 9 to build then on your own!

He worked most of Christmas day and the day after – with only a tiny bit of help from us!

I really really do not enjoy winter – but Christmas – I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas with the ones you love – snuggled up nice and warm doing ALL THE THINGS you love!

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS EVE

Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,family,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town,parties,RAY,word of God — admin at 12:29 pm on Monday, February 19, 2018

My mom has had this nativity for as long as I can remember – and she let us borrow it for our Christmas Eve service!

Our Christmas Eve service had cookies and hot chocolate and some cookies and fireworks and bonfires and cookies – did I mention the cookies!?

That guy – he wants to be a hunter like his Pa!

My bestest – she’s the bestest!

Those boys love their Mara!!

That gorgeous little guy – he’s super sweet!

That special bond between a grandmother and her little guy!

I love witnessing the world through a child’s eyes! Everything becomes so MAGICAL!

Enoch really didn’t LOVE the fireworks – he ended up inside – away from the BOOMS!

I hope your Christmas was spent with the ones you love – we LOVE our church family!

CHRISTMAS EVE WITH THE NEIGHBORS

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 12:17 pm on Sunday, February 18, 2018

We always spend Christmas Eve day with Jared’s parents – making breakfast and opening gifts.

Eating pizza for dinner – but this year it was Subway since my gallbladder decided to give up on me AND Enoch is dairy-free and prefers Subway!!

I would love to tell you how delicious that french toast was – but I made it with coconut milk so Enoch could eat it – and coconut milk (while good for you) is very very fatty – so I avoided the yummy french toast!

THAT GUY! I cannot believe how big he is!

Enoch took that photo – it’s so perfect!

He also took that one – a BEAUTIFUL shot!

We’ve taken a family photo every year since Fitzy’s first Christmas!

LOOK AT THE CHANGES THROUGH THE YEARS!!

Fitzy was VERY VERY surprised to get this game – a game he was asking to get NEXT Christmas!

Mom-mom was NOT surprised to get this ornament! She had opened it earlier in the month – when it was incorrectly delivered to HER front door! I had texted her to let her know there were a couple of packages on the porch for her – candles from her order for Fitzy’s school. Little did I know – the mailman had accidentally dropped off our packages at their door! So – she opened it! But I still wrapped it up and gave it to her Christmas morning!

For our first Christmas as a married couple – I got Jared some undershirts. He opened the package and said – OH – these are NOT the ones my mom gets me.

And I’ve never gotten him any again. So – his mom got some THIS year for Christmas!

Those pictures – while I was editing them – I stopped and took notice.

That sweet face. That big guy. He made my momma heart soar the moment I saw him – the moment I knew he was in our lives!

He continues to make my momma heart soar! He has such a tender and kind heart!

They went to church in their jammies!

I LOVE THOSE SHOTS!! MY SWEETEST BOYS!

My sweet family and my sweet Missy!

I’ll post about our Christmas Eve service at church – but I had to take a quick shot of Jared and his boys before bedtime!

We had such a BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS EVE!! How was yours?!

*W* FAMILY

Filed under: family,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,portraits — admin at 11:57 am on Friday, February 16, 2018

I ADORE THOSE SHOTS!

Matching Christmas pajamas – THE BEST!

If you don’t know what to do next year for Christmas photos – DO THIS!

Snuggle up in your jammies – read a book – write a letter to Santa AND eat Christmas cookies! AND LET ME COME PHOTOGRAPH YOU!

Viky – thank you so much! I love seeing your family year after year!!

*W* FAMILY

Filed under: family,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,portraits — admin at 12:09 pm on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Every year – Viky and her family have their Christmas portraits done!

I’ve been taking his pictures since his FIRST CHRISTMAS!

I LOVE that shot on the right! Hanging the stockings!!

THOSE MOMENTS – they are my favorite!

That’s only HALF of them – stay tuned for the rest of their session!

GUESS WHO

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 12:12 pm on Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Fitzy is LOVING all the games lately AND WE LOVE THAT!

He taught Bacca how to play GUESS WHO – it’s an easy one!

Isn’t that the most DARLING little gift?!

If you want one for you or your family – check out Russian Stitches!!

I’m pretty sure Fitzy won EVERY TIME!

*C* FAMILY

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,family,holiday,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 12:20 pm on Monday, February 12, 2018

Victoria took advantage of my mystery sale LAST year and got a free mini-session!

I hope to see you next year – I LOVE photographing your family!

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

My dad and my brother – they have a special bond too! And if you look at my dad’s pictures from high school – you’d think it was my brother!

I’m so thankful for the time our kids get to spend together – even if it’s only once or twice a year!

That shot MIGHT be my favorite shot of the five of them together! You can’t even see Fitzy’s face – but you can still tell that he’s smiling!

That smile on little *J*’s face – AHH! And *R* – she LOVES her cousins! You can just SEE IT!

G – she’s the ABSOLUTE BEST!

I got my brother and sister-in-law a big print of this photo for Christmas!

*J* needed his THREE year pictures – THREE!!

My sister – she’s been trying to get that Enoch-guy to love her for his WHOLE LIFE! Sometimes he does!

G and her little *J* – AND BLACK & WHITE! THE BEST!

*J* LOVES calling the cows in! AND he loves his G!!

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