Tuesday, December 30, 2014

stephen & andrea


Guess what I got to do on Christmas Day?

My favorite thing in the whole, wide world: an engagement session. Even better? It was for my brother and my soon-to-be sister-in-law!

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It was a short one due to the lighting and the December chill and the busy day, but it was so much fun. :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

merry christmas and a happy new year


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It was crisp and sunny and the whole world sparkled. I took my sister and brother riding and I gave my horse a head massage. The mountain stood stark, white, somber against the sky. Beautiful.

Twenty fourteen. It was good. I didn’t really make any resolutions, yet I made memories. I accomplished important things.

I got married. I wrote a book (the first draft anyway). I read the Bible in 180 days. I photographed a wedding, an engagement, four seniors, and a maternity. I got my resting heart rate down to 56. I taught myself Photoshop (well, a small percentage of the many things it can do). I took a business and marketing class. I got two kittens.

I spent it with Jesus, in awe.

For 2015, I hope there will be just as much life and light and joy. I hope there will be new goals met in my photography business, my writing, my health. I look forward to following Jesus next to my husband into our second year of marriage. It will be good.

Happy new year. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

december, a list


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Tillamook vanilla bean Greek yogurt with oats and honey granola. The main reason I even eat breakfast.

my husband… duh.
my kitties.

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

listening to:
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music.

Forever and Once Upon a Time.

to Jillian’s No More Trouble Zones and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism. Deathly, but they feel so good!

this amazing landscape photographer from my home county.

new friends. :)

to visit my Pennsylvania family in January!

my horse.

working on:
a theological study on abiding in Jesus.
yet another ballet curriculum and recital routine.
marketing my photography.

for grace upon grace.

for the peace and joy of the Lord.

Monday, December 1, 2014

happy december


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I’m on the tail end of a really nasty sickness as December is ushered in with glorious sunshine and twenty degree nights. Here are two pictures from my Thanksgiving weekend—the first, taken as Sam and I drove away from my beautiful Klickitat Valley on our way home from the holiday feasting with my family; the second, God’s glory painted on the skies over the farm a day earlier. I stand in awe, I see myself as I am and I repent in dust and ashes. I’m thankful for the grace of God.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

grace upon grace



I have been told that I am a writer.

I started writing stories when I was ten years old—about the same time I started journaling every day, jotting down silly details about a very ordinary ten-year-old life. I’m twenty now, and every day of the past ten years has been recorded by my pen.

But you have often read my laments that I just can’t find any words. That there is nothing inside of me to say. I called it writer’s block and I called it lack of inspiration and I eventually just denied the idea that I was ever meant to be a writer.

I was quite wrong.

On Sunday, November 9, I sat in church listening to a sermon about grace. For the first few minutes I let my mind wander—I know grace, I thought smugly. I don’t need to hear this. But as Pastor Karl went on, it occurred to me that my mindset alone proved that I was indeed in desperate, dire need of grace.

Grace is called God’s indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15). Grace is God’s favor toward me when I do not in any way deserve it. Grace is the Holy One letting Someone else volunteer to take my death penalty. Grace is every breath that I take and every day I wake up with health and vitality.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.        - John 1:14, 16

And sitting there listening to Pastor Karl say again what I have heard a thousand times throughout a lifetime of churchgoing, but this time finally letting the words penetrate my hard heart, I felt again this almost foreign urge… to write.

Since then, I’ve been writing an average of two hours a day. It’s not a story, but rather an exploration of some key biblical truths about a topic I feel very strongly about: the biblical functioning of the church body. Maybe it will be a very long essay; maybe it will be a book. I don’t know. But it startles me how easily the words come when at the forefront is not a self-oriented goal to write something amazing, but a gazed fixed with awe on the nature of the God who inspires every word.

Friday, November 7, 2014



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Though rain pours down every day outside my window, it’s been a long dry spell for words in my heart. I want to write, but it’s just easier not to spend those hours, discouraged, staring at the blank page. It’s easier to decide “to heck with it all” and pretend I never was and never wanted to be a writer. Words come few and hard, with jagged edges like broken glass. They make me stare myself in the eyes and read a mile of silent stories and wonder if anything I’ve done in this short life so far has meant anything bigger than myself.

Because I want it to. I want it all to mean something. I want them to be able to write on my gravestone, “She invested herself in what she knew could change the world.”

… I want Him to be able to say “Well done.”

Thursday, October 30, 2014

goals (revisited)


About two and a half months ago, I posted a few of my goals for the rest of this year. I’m a little nervous to go look at them again because I’m pretty sure none are fully accomplished, but several are in progress and sometimes I think that matters more.

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So here goes.


  • build the upper body strength to do pullups and handstands

Okay…. I still can’t do a pullup or a very good handstand. But I can do more pushups than ever before, a pretty solid headstand, and a better cartwheel than ever. And I’ve started practicing a pullover on the bars at the gym where I work, which uses a lot of the same muscles as a pullup would.

  • consistently run at least 5 miles a week

This has taken awhile (mostly out of lack of motivation), but this week already I’ve run half my 5-mile quota, and I’m about to head out and do it again. :) The running itself is really a piece of cake… it’s the getting out the door that’s hard!

  • cut my sugar intake

Haha! I knew this one would be good for a laugh down the road.

  • actually eat like a normal human being so I don’t feel so awful all the time

Here I have had some success! I’ve taken up eating breakfast before working out in the morning, and that has done great things for my strength and stamina. Headaches have fortunately been few and far between. :)


  • create a 2015 photography package and pricing list that is a good fit for my business model

I am accomplishing this as we speak by taking an amazing photo business marketing class online. I’ve already learned more than I ever thought possible in five weeks, and have been carefully crafting a new business model for 2015. :)

  • blog my first Olympia senior portrait session

Done and done well, if I may say so. :)

  • finish my New York Institute of Photography course

This one has been very, very slow. I have a few projects that require very specific models and props that have been hard to come by. Anybody know where I can find a wide-brimmed hat at this time of year? I’m talking like Kentucky Derby wide-brimmed!


  • become less self-sufficient and make a point of seeking out community with other believers and my husband

Sam and I have started going to a really great homegroup for young married people at our church, which has helped this area of my life a lot. I’ve made some new friends and gotten more involved with my new church, and I love it!

  • do an in-depth study of the Biblical timeline of end-times events

I did get my timeline out the other day and cross-referenced everything, but I’m still very confused on one key issue despite poring over commentaries as well as my Bible. Hopefully I’ll reach a conclusion sometime soon.

  • find a role of Bible teaching and disciple-making in my local church—even if it’s informal

Still thinking and praying a lot about this.

  • live with open hands

This will probably be on my goal list for as long as I live. It’s not so much a “new year’s resolution” kind of goal as it is a daily goal, an hourly choice to let go of this illusion of control. But God is patient and good, always.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014



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I can’t explain what it’s like to go back home for a weekend. To smell and see and feel things that belong to another era of my life—a time that seems distant and dreamlike to me now. Funny, terrifying, that the very place that defined my first 18 years could feel so far away so quickly. I am afraid of a long future away from the wide-open sky and the watchful mountains, the land that brought me up.

They’re right when they say that new places change people. It’s not the kind of change that comes in a sudden, painful stab—it’s the kind that slips in unnoticed until one day, months or years in the future, you begin to feel a nagging ache. When did it start? Where did it come from, exactly? What does it even mean? You’ll never know. But it’s there.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

all things new



It’s October, and the yard has a  thick carpet of merry-colored leaves. Trees reach their blazing sunshine-clad branches toward a sky too blue to seem real, and if only there would be a hint of chill to welcome back boot-and-scarf time of year everything would be quite perfect.

I can’t walk fast in the fall. It’s like the world is brand new and I have to see it all afresh. Hurrying ruins this God-given moment to just breathe in the new season, and I hate that everyone seems to think green lights are mandatory even during such a time of magnificence.


We take moments of silence at funerals and prayer rallies, but we let life drown out the beautiful moments and the awestriking views. There’s little time for wonder in the 60-mile-per-hour, redlight-greenlight world.

But when I see Mt. Rainier rising like a foaming wave from the eastern horizon, or the clouds brushed pink over the Black Hills to the west, I can’t just go onward in indifference. It’s like the world has a new coat of paint—a thrilling foreshadow of what is to come, when one day this beautiful but burdened Creation is remade into something even more perfect.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Revelation 21:1-5a

Sunday, October 5, 2014

nisqually national wildlife refuge


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These first October days have been sunny and sweet. Sam and I have been housebound by sickness all week, yet just seeing the sunshine filtering through the windows and the yellowing maple leaves in the backyard has been delightful. Today, finally well enough to go out, we took a leisurely stroll down the boardwalk at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, soaking up fall colors and a big sky and a rare view of Mt. Rainier.

And about the heron… I’ve been trying to capture a Great Blue Heron for years on camera. We get them in the swamp at home sometimes, but they’re very, very skittish and I’ve never been at the right place and right time. I saw this heron at a distance, but it was well beyond the public access part of the refuge and I don’t have a 600mm wildlife lens, so I moved on. Not even ten minutes later it just so happened to fly across the marsh and land like ten yards away! I was able to move in close enough to easily fill the frame just using my 135mm lens—not a very shy bird. :) Definitely a day of triumph on the camera front!


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