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happy birthday to my fun and adorable roomie, gram!

IMG_0233Today is my Gram’s 88th birthday, and I’m getting ready to go to lunch with her and one of my cousins. But we started off the celebrating a bit early with a surprise homemade-ice-cream-and-brownie party for her on Sunday. It was so much fun! She really was so surprised! Here’s a few pix from our fun little family get-together.IMG_0235Gram loves butterflies and angels and all things bright and cheery and flowery. I picked up this pretty tablecloth and the butterfly string light at Dollar General, of all places. :) {Bargains, y’all.} The cute little green swan {duck? …bird…} was a thrift store find for less than a dollar from my favorite, Heart & Hand. The flowers came from our back porch and the angel was something I had found at TJ Maxx and given to Gram for Christmas, I think. I also found those cool candles at TJ Maxx – look at the colorful flames! :)

Here’s Gram being shocked when we yelled surprise. haha! I love her so much!IMG_0242IMG_0247IMG_0260Lots of brownies, lots of candles…IMG_0265And of course, had to grab a pic of my two favorites: my hot boyfriend and my cute roommate! :) These two get along so well, it makes me heart-melting-ly happy!IMG_0271birthday

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photo shoot ~ kylie’s spring senior portrait session

01 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraitsWhen Facebook informed me that today is this sweet girl’s birthday, I thought I should go ahead and share some of my favorites from our most recent session. Kylie is a senior at Mustang High, and we split her senior portraits into three sessions so we could incorporate the different seasons each time. We did these spring ones just a couple of weeks ago, and I love love how they turned out! You can see the previous two shoots here and here. {You might wanna click those links if you’re looking for outfit inspiration for a photo shoot — Kylie has great style! :)}02 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits03 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits04 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits05 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits06 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits07 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits08 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits09 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits10 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits11 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits12 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraitsI developed quite a crush on these pants during our shoot. How fun are they??13 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits14 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits15 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraitsTropical vibes right here in good ol’ Oklahoma… :)16 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits17 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits18 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits19 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits20 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits21 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraits22 beautiful outdoor spring senior portraitsHappy birthday, Kylie!! I’ve loved each of our sessions during your senior year! Thanks so much for choosing me as your photographer. :) It’s been so fun! <3

~abi~

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Kelly BeaneApril 26, 2016 - 4:01 am

I swear again and again she could be your mini me. ;) You have captured her style and beauty wonderfully throughout this year. Awesome photos!

cleaning out my closet ~ an earth day post featuring schoola AND a peek at all my shoes

02 maximalist closetI’m pretty excited to share this post with you today, but first things first. It has to be said: I have way too many clothes and shoes. Way. Too. Many. I know this. And I love it. #sorryimnotsorry ;) I will say, the older I get, the looser my grip on my clothing and shoes has become. I get rid of stuff much more readily now than I used to, and I’m pickier about my purchases as well. I’d say that about 85% of my clothing, if not more, is still purchased secondhand — I’ve just learned to spot high quality items. #thrifted #thrifting #yesiknowhashtagsdontworkonblogs

But all of this leads perfectly into what we’re going to chat about today, as well as a little tour of my closet. So even if you lean more toward minimalism than I do, please keep reading. I promise this applies to you, too. Plus you can gawk at the photos of all my stuff. 

Right up front, I’m gonna tell you something pretty exciting for me: this post is in collaboration with Schoola, and they sent me a bag of clothes for posting this. And in alllllll my years of blogging {since like 2005, back on MySpace, ha!}, I’ve never been compensated for a blog post before. Now, granted, I got clothes and not money, but I’m still pretty excited about it. Receiving compensation for blog posts is a touchy subject with some people, and really that’s a topic for another day; but this collaboration was too perfect of a fit for me to pass up. I’m genuinely excited to share with you about this cool company.

To get all the info on Schoola, you can click on over to their site. But I’ll go ahead and give you an idea of what it is and how it works. Basically, it’s an online thrift store that sells nice women and children’s clothing and shoes. It’s kind of like a consignment shop in that they ask for higher quality donations — but instead of you getting back a portion of the sales, they donate a portion {40%!!} to schools in the U.S. and around the world. I love this idea so much! Here’s a screen grab from their site that explains it a little more:

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 2.25.52 PM copy17 maximalist closetThe awesome thing is, you can request donation bags and then you just fill them up and mail them off, no postage required from you! Isn’t that amazing?? I just want to tell all of my mom friends this for when they are getting rid of clothes that their kids outgrow. I mean, could it be any easier?? And it’s for a great cause! Win, win!16 maximalist closetI easily filled the two bags they sent me and I’m gonna drop them off at the post office this afternoon.19 maximalist closetToday, April 22nd, is Earth Day. The purpose of Earth Day is to celebrate this beautiful planet we live on and to encourage us human beings to take better care of it. I’ve always had kind of a hippie spirit, so shopping thrifted clothing is right up my alley. But I know a lot of people shudder at the thought of digging for buried treasures at a local thrift store. {I can’t relate, but I sort of get it, I guess…. ;)} Schoola is such a good solution for that, since they sell clean, nice clothing. Instead of fueling the big, crazy clothing industry, you can shop right from your home or phone {yep, there’s an app for it} for high quality secondhand clothing. Plus, you’re helping keep clothing out of landfills. On top of all, that, you’ll be benefiting education!

What are you waiting for?? Start shopping today! Or, do like me and use this as the perfect reason to kick off a little spring cleaning and request a donation bag so you can start passing along some of the stuff you don’t wear or your kids have outgrown!

Now, here’s a peek into my closet, in all its overabundance. :)01 maximalist closet03 maximalist closet12 maximalist closet04 maximalist closet05 maximalist closet06 maximalist closet15 maximalist closet13 maximalist closetI’ve got a few photos of family members tucked into all the madness in here. My nephews’ cutie baby faces help calm me down when I’m stressing over what to wear. :) And I keep several air purifying plants in here to keep it all so fresh and so clean, clean.14 maximalist closetSo many shoes………And there’s more, keep scrolling. Ha!07 maximalist closet08 maximalist closetI have a pretty good system that works great for me: I’ve hung all my tops in order from sleeveless to long sleeves, grouped by color within each category. My dresses over on the other side of the closet {pictured up above} are also sorted by color. It really does help me find what I want to wear more quickly and easily.09 maximalist closet10 maximalist closet11 maximalist closetThis is the actual outfit I’m wearing right now. {I snapped these pix before work this morning.} It is 100%  thrifted, from top to shoes. I should’ve tossed a scarf on, too, but I didn’t think of that until after I left. I shredded the jeans myself, and I’m pretty pleased with them. :)18 maximalist closetNow, even though the whole point of this post is to really push my love of thrifting on you ;), or at the very least get you to donate {#reducereuserecycle}, if you’d just really prefer to buy new clothes, guess what?? You can do exactly that and still help benefit schools through Schoola! See, Schoola has partnered with ModCloth and they have a whole section of adorable, new dresses you can shop right here!

If you think your blog would be a good fit to partner with Schoola, check out there affiliate page.

Whew! I think I’ve given you every bit of info I can. I’m just so excited that there are companies like this out there! Thanks for reading this novel. :) Happy Earth Day, friends!

~abi~

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Kelly BeaneApril 26, 2016 - 3:59 am

Sigh, your closet is pretty amazing! I’m checking out schoola now and can’t wait to find some awesome secondhand clothing without the effort of sorting. For me it’s about the time that takes, so how awesome of them to make it easy and accessible. Keep up the awesome blogs!

a wonderful tool for helping the foster care community

03 Care PortalYesterday, I attended the launch for CarePortal in Oklahoma County. This is a new and exciting initiative of the 111Project.  Years ago, the 111Project was vital in bringing awareness and stirring my heart for those involved with foster care. For several years, I volunteered at a foster care shelter here in OKC, until it was able to close because of more people opening their homes and hearts to these precious kids. The 111Project, partnered with local churches, has been a huge part of seeing so many kids taken into homes; and now, they are bringing the CarePortal to Oklahoma. CarePortal is a genius if simple idea: an email network where social workers can enter needs of foster children, foster families, or parents trying to bring home their children, and The Church can meet those needs. I say The Church because it’s not just my church or any one church with the opportunity to be the hands and feet of God here. Yesterday, as church leader after church leader stood and introduced themselves at the launch event, my heart was overflowing with joy at seeing God’s people come together to make a difference!

You can read about CarePortal {and get all the info you need in order for your church or small group to get involved in such an awesome opportunity} by clicking on over to their page on the 111Project’s site right here: http://www.111project.org/careportal/

Here are a few photos from the launch event yesterday.06 Care Portal02 Care PortalShout out to Robert Davis, representing my church: Life.ChurchNW! :)10 Care PortalMy pastor’s wife, Amy Groeschel, opened the launch event in prayer, and shared her heart for the fostering community.14 Care PortalCool side note: Chris Campbell, who works for 111Project and is heading the CarePortal launch, is the husband of one of my very favorite bloggers, Ashley, over at Under the Sycamore. I have read Ashley’s blog daily for years and years. It’s always cool when my worlds collide like that. Also a big part of the reason I love living in Oklahoma so much! Everybody is so randomly connected to one another! :)43 Care PortalAt the end of the event, Chris submitted the first request for Oklahoma County. What an exciting opportunity we have at hand here, friends!42 Care PortalBe sure to click over to the 111Project site and spend a little time opening your heart up and learning: http://www.111project.org/ <3

Happy Thursday, friends! It’s a good week!

~abi~

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Chris CampbellApril 22, 2016 - 1:29 am

Abi thanks so much for your sweet and beautifully written post. We are so blessed to be a part of what God is doing across our state and thanks for capturing it!!!!

Abi RuthApril 22, 2016 - 9:35 pm

thank you, chris! your comment means a lot to me. i admire all the work you and your family do for the foster/adoption communities.

Kelly BeaneApril 26, 2016 - 3:53 am

You have a heart of gold and I always love to see what God is doing in and through your life! What a wonderful project and I am so excited for this to help the Oklahoma foster care community.

photo shoot ~ matt & kadie’s engagement session in a gorgeous nature setting

012 golden hour engagement photos neutral outfitsThese two…..they’re simply gorgeous souls! And such a fun couple, too. I just love them!001 outdoor engagement photos neutral outfitsI feel like I have such a special connection with Matt & Kadie. Kadie’s mom, Kathy, is my amazing mentor who has taught me more than I can put into words here. Kadie’s dad, Robert, is a leader at our church who has helped me so much during some of my darkest days and then has also been there during my bright times, too, offering encouragement for whatever I am facing. {Also, side note: my boyfriend and Jonathan and I are about to finish up a pre-marriage course with Robert and Kathy that has been so wonderful! But that’s a post for another time.} Anyway, Kadie is a sweet, sweet soul who is a testament to her parents’ coolness. :) Matt is one of the most personable, godly guys I’ve ever known. He was an intern at our church for our youth group, and I got to know him when I was a volunteer with the youth. I watched as he and Kadie fell in love, and it made my heart so very happy!

I had wayyy too many favorites from their engagement session, but…sorry I’m not sorry for sharing so many! :) The lush nature setting was perfect for these two, since many of their dates and even their proposal involved hiking in the great outdoors. I’ll let the images do the rest of the talking for me now. :)002 outdoor engagement photos neutral outfits003 outdoor engagement photos neutral outfits004 outdoor engagement photos neutral outfits005 golden hour outdoor engagement005 outdoor engagement photos neutral outfits006 outdoor engagement photos neutral outfitskssing laughing couple golden hour007 rock road engagement photos neutral outfits008 rock road engagement photos neutral outfits009 rock road engagement photos neutral outfits010 rock road engagement photos neutral outfits011 golden hour engagement photos neutral outfits013 golden hour engagement photos neutral outfits014 golden hour engagement photos neutral outfits015 golden hour engagement photos neutral outfits016 golden hour engagement photos neutral outfits017 golden hour engagement photos neutral outfits018 golden hour engagement photos neutral outfits019 golden hour engagement photos neutral outfits020 engagement photos by creek neutral outfits021 engagement photos by creek neutral outfits022 engagement photos by creek neutral outfits023 engagement photos by creek neutral outfits024 engagement photos by creek neutral outfits025 engagement photos by creek neutral outfits026 engagement photos in ball caps neutral outfits027 engagement photos in ball caps neutral outfits028 engagement photos in ball caps neutral outfits029 spring time engagement photos neutral outfits030 spring time engagement photos neutral outfits031 spring time engagement photos neutral outfits032 spring time engagement photos neutral outfits033 spring time engagement photos neutral outfits034 spring time engagement photos neutral outfits035 sunset engagement photos036 sunset engagement photosMatt & Kadie~

I really can’t wait for your wedding {and I’m sure you guys feel the same ;)}!! You two are the best! Thank you so much for choosing me as your photographer! <3 <3

~abi~

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Kelly BeaneApril 26, 2016 - 3:50 am

These are some of the sweetest photo! I have to say though, I am absolutely in love with that black and white with their hands and the lake. Such a great job Abi!