*L* FAMILY

Filed under: an hour in the life,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle — admin at 11:21 am on Monday, April 15, 2019

JUMP!!

JUMP!! JUMP!!

I LOVE THOSE SHOTS!!

Maybe – MAYBE we’ll get ONE shot!!

LOOK AT THAT – EVERYBODY is looking in the same direction!

Cindy – THANK YOU so much for asking me to photograph your family year after year!!

*L* FAMILY

Filed under: adoption,an hour in the life,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle — admin at 11:57 am on Friday, April 12, 2019

I’ve been taking pictures of Cindy and her family for a few years now!

We met on a beautiful April afternoon and captured their family exactly as it is!!

I ADORE THAT SHOT!!

Stay tuned for the rest of their session!!

MAKING THIS HOUSE

Filed under: bardenisms,family,just because,my family,my town,newsworthy,project,the marriage fight,word of God — admin at 5:14 pm on Sunday, March 31, 2019

Wednesday night I sat down to write a blog about this house. This process. This pain.

And I wrote and wrote and re-read and cried and SOBBED and hysterically SOBBED. And what I read was mean. Not nice in any way.

In all the things we’ve gone through – miscarriages and infertility – relationships gone wrong and pornography – a manic breakdown and the depression that came after – I’ve been able to write.

I’ve been able to say hard things – admit fears and doubts. Be raw and honest.

And as I list those things we’ve been through – HARD things – IMPOSSIBLE things – this was ridiculous. It’s a house. I can make it through ALL those things and not THIS “little” thing?!

I knew that those words would be whiny. I knew that those words would be really hard for some people to read. And that night – I exploded. And I erased everything I wrote.

Because it was mean and angry and hateful and … I was not in a good place. A really really bad place.

I went upstairs and told Jared through sobs that I was going to bed. He sat up straight and said – what’s wrong? (I was acting like someone had died) I said – ALL OF THIS. ALWAYS. THIS!!!

I laid in bed and sobbed. I think the last time I cried like that was nearly 6 years ago when Jared told me the depths of his addiction. He sat on the bed and said – do you want to be alone?

And that guy – that amazing husband of mine that loves me so very well – he was stuck either way. I was having one of those “don’t touch me – hug me” moments. Have you ever heard of them? Experienced them? Just me – okay. I’ll try to explain. There are times when I am so angry and out of sorts that the last thing I want is a hug – but don’t you dare walk away from me. Hug me – don’t touch me. Love me – leave me. WHY DON’T YOU DO WHAT I WANT!! (but – I don’t know what I want) So what is a guy to do with a crazy wife – remember when Jared was diagnosed bipolar and the people in my life were like WHAT!? JARED!? I mean – you – yes. Makes complete sense – but Jared – no way. It was one of those moments. Are we sure that it’s really him and not me that’s bipolar?!

So he stayed with me – not touching me – until I reached out for him. Because really – I was mad at him. And I’d like to tell you that I am really good at accepting blame for the things I do. And I am. But THIS – I didn’t do this. He did this to me. I didn’t want to live here. He made this decision without me. Which isn’t totally true. I did tell him that I didn’t want to live here. However – two people needed to sign papers and he didn’t forge my signature. And please don’t think that I’ve been living the last 14 years punishing him day in and day out for this decision. I haven’t. But – when I’m living in skunk – when the ceiling falls down – when the pipes freeze over and over – when there are men working on my house – especially rooms I don’t even walk in – I blame him. It’s not pretty. I don’t love admitting it. But I tell myself that I’m justified in my actions. I am miserable. He should be too. And since he’s not – I can make him. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! Please tell me that you’ve thought this way too. Or am I alone in this!? Like – the hug me – don’t touch me moment!? It’s awful. It’s shameful. It’s not grace. It’s not love.

It’s anger. And what is anger based on!?

I mentioned on FACEBOOK after our people showed up to work on our house with us that I LOVE my people. My Aunt Lori is one of my people – she didn’t show up yesterday – but she texted me after the word vomit I did end up putting on the interwebs. After a few questions and answers she asked me this – anger is usually based in fear – so what are you afraid of?!

Listen – just let me be mad okay. Let me be angry and be a jerk and be justified in my actions and my words. I’m hurting and I want EVERYONE to know that it’s NOT MY FAULT and it’s an injustice. And you should hurt too.

And then my people swoop in and ask hard questions and show up and let me cry and be mean.

I’m afraid of two things – 1. That I will live in this house that I hate forever – this house I never wanted to be in and be stuck. 2. That we will have no wiggle room in our finances and be stuck.

She said – that’s when I ask myself – what is the worst that could happen? THAT is the thing that I somehow have to turn over to God. THAT fear!!

Jared has been dealing with some anxiety lately – and I always ask him – what’s the worst that could happen? Nothing close to those things have happened. So – what’s the problem?

Our anxieties manifest in different ways.

In general – Jared’s cause him to curl up on himself and not do much and think.

My anxiety comes out in a controlling rage. Mine cause me to explode and do ALL the things – ANYTHING except sit and think. Let me FIX something. ANYTHING. ALL THE THINGS. I’ve been organizing and getting rid of STUFF. And don’t get me wrong – I LOVE doing this. But it’s also a coping mechanism for my anxiety. I’ve been helping my people get rid of STUFF. Because I can’t sit still. Maybe I do operate in a sort of mania?!

Yesterday we tore off the back porch to get ready for the siding on the back of the house – the last step – in that process. When Sierra asked what we needed – Jared said we had a few things but not much. I said – we have 3 hammers. Cus – let’s be clear – we’ve got NOTHING and NO IDEA. The only idea I have is that I hate this and it’s huge and swallowing me up and it’s awful and horrible.

So Sierra & Jose came with their tools at 9. Cody came with his tools. That’s it. That’s all that said – we will be there. So this is it – take it away guys – cus we don’t know where to start. But – Dan and his family showed up. Jason and his son came. Scott – a friend I haven’t seen in over ten years – showed up. Mark showed up. Johna came. We had lots of kiddos in and out – running around. We had lots of hands filling the dumpster. We had lots of guys climbing on the roof and ripping it apart. By noon – the dumpster was full – pizza was served and the unsightly porch was gone – the only evidence being a few shingles here and there and the discoloration on the house from the old and the now exposed.

Jose and I were talking about the potential this house has (which is really hard for me to see – mostly because I don’t even want to) and I told him that my REAL fear is that someday I might like this house.

I typed that in a whisper. Because I don’t want to tell you. I don’t want to admit that. I don’t want to be … wrong.

PRIDE is a crazy thing. We would rather stay in anger and despair and be MISERABLE than admit that we might have been wrong. We might not have been justified in our actions and jerkiness.

I was telling Johna and Sierra this later – and Johna said – but we love you. The people that love you and are cheering for you aren’t going to say – I told you so.

Johna said something else that made me think – (everyone seems to love our house and see the potential and she’s no exception) but she said – you Danielle – are so unique – I can’t imagine you in new construction. This house is so … you. And I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. We walked through the house – into the attic – where Jose said – oh yeah. We can do this. And this – and this. We can do this!

I didn’t cry yesterday – but I’m crying now. Because in less than 3 hours yesterday – our people swooped in and fought for us. For me. When I have been MISERABLE and mean.

And like I said – my people swoop in and ask hard questions and show up and let me cry and be mean. BUT THEY DON’T LET ME STAY THERE.

THAT IS GRACE.

I recently had a conversation with my sister about the things we’re doing that hurt each other. Jealousies and assumptions and anger and blame and … you know – really fun stuff. But it was the first time that we’ve had that conversation (cus we’ve had it a bit) and actually figured some stuff out.

Missy texted me the lyrics of a song that she thought of when she was praying for me.

My friends – my family – my people – they strengthen me. They help me. They get it – but they also know that you can’t stay in it.

I love you guys. SO MUCH. I can’t thank you enough for speaking truth and life and love and hope …

I’m a realist who tends to fall on the pessimist end of things. That deep and lovely dark – we’d never see the stars without it. I believe that life is mostly about the hard things.

Hope is a hard one for me. The glass isn’t only half empty but the water has also run out.

Life IS mostly about the hard things. But it’s also about the people that swoop in during the hard things and point you to hope.

I still don’t love this house – dare I say it … yet. Maybe I never will.

I’m still really afraid of how much this all costs and how we’re going to do it and still live. Not survive – but thrive. Really LIVE!

But while the water seems to have run out – God hasn’t. God doesn’t. He gives us hope in Jesus. And His water never runs out.

TEN YEARS

Filed under: bardenisms,just because,my family,my town,newsworthy — admin at 12:46 am on Sunday, March 31, 2019

Ten years ago I was leaving my secretary job to start photography FULL TIME!!

I needed 24 weddings a year to make what I was making at my secretarial job – and I had 24 weddings that year!!

Sometimes when I look back on those photos – I think – WHAT WAS I THINKING! Isn’t it crazy how styles change – shooting & editing!

I can’t believe it’s been TEN years already yet only – how can that be!?

I have met so many AMAZING people because of that decision! This camera and the eye God gave me. The chances that you took on me.

I’ve watched you graduate and get engaged and get married and have babies. I’ve been in the room when your child takes her first breath. I’ve witnessed you pledge your lives to each other. I’ve photographed you when you knew that your time together was coming to an end – the last photos of you as a family. I’ve cried with you. I’ve smiled with you. I’ve loved with you. I’ve lost with you.

I’ve met families who continue to ask me back into their lives time and time again. THIS is the greatest honor.

Because of this blog – I met my best friend. Because of this blog I’ve come to know over a hundred women who are wanting to be mothers. Waiting for a baby. I’ve prayed with them and cried with them. I’ve celebrated with them and mourned with them. I’ve been able to see into your lives – to give you moments captured in time.

When I first started this whole photography journey – there weren’t many on the scene – and now … there’s quite a few. I’m not nearly as busy as I once was – and it’s kind of a hard place to be in. I long for the business. I want to photograph ALL the people – okay – maybe not ALL … BUT – I also want to enjoy these growing kiddos. I want to spend time as a family – making memories for our own walls.

I’m not quite sure where even this year will take me – trusting – REALLY trusting the God knows best. Exactly the people I need to meet. Exactly the places I need to be. It’s really overwhelming when you think of it – all the minute details of your life that matter – really really matter. Turning left instead of right. The insanely different path your life would take from such a small choice.

THANK YOU for making the past ten years AMAZING! THANK YOU for asking me to still your moments. THANK YOU for welcoming me into your hearts and homes.

GRACE

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,an hour in the life,babes,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,newborns — admin at 12:13 pm on Friday, January 18, 2019

The boys could not WAIT to meet the little miss!!

Well – Fitzy couldn’t wait! So – we took Missy & Cody lunch on a Sunday and spent the day watching cooking shows and snuggling that sweet little thing!

I have a SERIOUS problem!!

BABY GIRL – you’re such a sweet little miracle!

*G* TURNS SIX!!!

Filed under: an hour in the life,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,parties — admin at 12:33 pm on Thursday, January 17, 2019

MORE OF EVERYTHING PLEASE!!

BABY SHARK DO DO DO DO DO!!!

I just LOVE his expressions!!

OUTSIDE IN EARLY JANUARY!? YES PLEASE!!

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY *G*!!!

*G* TURNS SIX!!!

Filed under: an hour in the life,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,parties — admin at 1:14 pm on Wednesday, January 16, 2019

RAWR!!!!

That guy – he’s DARLING!

That guy – that’s his aunt he’s hugging – his aunt before she’s a momma herself – that SPECIAL bond!!

I CAN’T EVEN DEAL!!

ONE MORE PARTY POST!!

*G* TURNS SIX!!

Filed under: an hour in the life,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,parties — admin at 12:41 pm on Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Can you believe that I’ve known Stephanie for TEN years!? I really can’t!

I also can’t believe that her biggest little guy is SIX!!

*G* had a JURASSIC PARK party – so I had to show him my tattoo – because it’s also my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!!

Stephanie was an aunt to this sweet girl before she was a momma to her own kiddos – and it’s such a BEAUTIFUL bond!

BEST SHIRT EVER!!

Stephanie may have opened up her little guy’s gift to build it – BEFORE the party started!!

It’s VERY dangerous to have a baby around me when I have a camera – birthday parties – weddings – you name it – I WILL FIND THE BABY AND TAKE ALL THE PICTURES!!

Stay tuned for MORE of the party!!

BABY GRACE

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,an hour in the life,babes,birth,family,just because,lifestyle,newborns — admin at 12:34 pm on Sunday, January 13, 2019

I spent the afternoon with Missy & Cody about a week after Grace was born – getting baby snuggles and taking some pictures!!

WOULD YOU LOOK AT HER ROLLS!!

I mean – honestly – LOOK AT THAT FACE!! ANGELIC!!

Hey baby girl – you better get used to the clickity click of that camera!!

ABSOLUTELY DARLING!!

Grace upon grace upon SO MUCH grace!!

THOSE SQUISHY LIPS!!

I just can’t stop!!

Those shots – MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!!!

BABY GIRL!!! YOU ARE ACTUALLY HERE!!!!

WELCOMING BABY GRACE

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,an hour in the life,birth,expecting,family,just because,lifestyle,newborns — admin at 12:42 pm on Saturday, January 12, 2019

THIS!!! THIS MOMENT!!!

Watching Missy bring this sweet girl into the world was one of the most impactful moments of my life so far!

I’ve walked the past 7 years with her. There has been so much pain and heartache – followed with so much joy and grace – and now – GRACE! It was overwhelming!!

Those are my favorite shots!!

Birth tricks you – you have your baby and it’s AMAZING – but then you remember that it’s not over!

THIS PHOTO – SO MUCH in this photo!!

LOOK AT THOSE FAT LITTLE FEET!!

AND – AND I GOT TO CUT HER CORD!!! SERIOUSLY – such a beautiful moment!!

OH BABY GIRL!!! I just can’t even deal with how much you are loved!!

SO CLOSE TO 8 POUNDS!!! WHAT!!!

Cody – holding his baby girl!! After she was born – I turned around and hugged him while we both SOBBED – SO MUCH GRACE in this picture!!

CODY & MISSY – I know I’ve written it so many times – I know I’ve told you SO MANY times – but thank you!!

THANK YOU for letting me walk so closely with you. Thank you for asking me to be there for her first breath on Earth!!

You guys – I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!

I spent 18 hours in the life of Missy & Cody – 18 of some of the most intense hours in anyone’s life – and we still love each other – AND – AND – I didn’t miss it!!

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