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veterans day ~ far from average

27261_1391522997017_448221_n(1)The above paper was written by my younger brother, Jack.  He wrote it his senior year of high school.  Since Jack was killed while serving in the Special Forces as a Green Beret back in 2009, my family has treasured all the mementos we have of him, as families who lose a loved one tend to do.  I am forever grateful to his English teacher for the book of papers written by Jack that we have to read through now that he is gone.  See, teachers, you really do make a big difference! :)

The paper above is especially meaningful because of how Jack went on to live out his wish of proving to people that he was far from average.

In truth, Jack was never ordinary or just an average guy.  He was always so smart, with such a cunning sense of humor; a man who listened more than he spoke, gave the best hugs, and was always looking out for and helping the underdog.  He gave really great advice and was always wise beyond his years.

I miss Jack every single day, but there are certain days of each year when I think about him more and the ache is a bit stronger.  Obviously, Veterans Day is one of those days.  However, with as much pain as there is in thinking about losing my brother, I am also so fiercely proud of him and the difference he made in this world during his twenty-six years here on earth.

While looking through photos on Jack’s memorial page on Facebook, I was again reminded of one of the ways he changed the world.  Jack and his Special Forces team were helping oversee the building of this school in the Philippines when Jack and his teammate Chris were killed.  Now, the school bears their names.1233407_10201914354998009_2059258260_nAnd I just realized how this post came full circle, as it started with a paper written by Jack as a school assignment, and ends with the legacy he left for kids in another part of the world: to grow and learn and go on to change the world in their own ways.1236031_10201914354758003_1489962961_nI’m so thankful I live in a day and time when we, as Americans, honor and appreciate our veterans.  Much can be argued or debated when it comes to war and such, but I think we all agree that those who have sacrificed so much of their personal lives deserve to be recognized.  Thank you seems inadequate.

~abi~

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photo shoot ~ last year’s headshots of forrest

IMG_5414_1I’m coming off a really great weekend, full of time spent doing photo shoots for great friends and hanging out with old friends I hadn’t seen in awhile.  One of those friends whom I hadn’t seen in forever was this guy, Forrest.  After hanging out with him for a bit last night, I was reminded of these headshots I did for Forrest last year.  I never posted them before, so I thought now was a good time. IMG_5386_2Just so you know, Forrest is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met.  Someday when he’s famous I’ll be able to brag about doing pix of him back in the day. :)IMG_5369_1IMG_5342_1IMG_5318_1IMG_5324_1IMG_5181_1IMG_5280_3male headshotsIMG_5434_1IMG_5526_1These last couple images aren’t headshots, but I had to show his sweet outfit.  Forrest, like me, is a lover of thrfited clothing.  I love his style! :)IMG_5569_1IMG_5617_1When I was hanging out with Forrest last night, he was strumming a guitar, which is the most natural thing in the world for him to be doing at any given moment.  I am always so envious of people who have musical abilities.  I love, love, love music!  The other day during small group time at church, we were talking about what we would do if we knew we would be successful at it.  Without a doubt or any hesitation, I said I would totally be a rock star if I could be!  :)  Since that is definitely never going to happen {darn!}, I will just have to settle for enjoying the music of my talented friends like Forrest. :)

~abi~

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wonderful wedding wednesday ~ kyle & kiley’s first look, and a prayer request

wonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kiley

Last year, I had the privilege of photographing this sweet couple’s wedding.  But it would be remiss of me to just mention that fact, since my ties with Kiley go much farther than simply photographing her wedding to Kyle.  I’ve known Kiley since she was thirteen or so, I believe.  My sister coached Kiley and her twin sister when they played basketball in eighth and ninth grade, if I remember right.  Kiley and Kelsey were over at our house many, many times during their young teen years.  When the gorgeous twins turned sixteen, I did a sweet sixteen photo shoot of them.  A couple years after that, I did their senior pictures.  But prior to that, in the summer of 2008, we went on a somewhat epic road trip out to visit my brother Jack and his wife Ashley in Seattle.  That trip was the last time I ever saw my brother alive, and Kiley and Kelsey, along with my niece Laila and my sister Amber, will forever be a part of those fond memories of the last days I spent with Jack.

When Kiley got engaged to Kyle, she contacted me and booked me to shoot their engagement portraits and their wedding.  I was immediately impressed with Kyle when I met him at their engagement session; and then when I met his awesome family at their wedding, I was so happy to know that Kiley had ended up with such a great guy and such a wonderful extended family.  Kiley’s family is pretty great as well, so I knew these two had a really good support system around them.  What I didn’t know was how much they would end up needing a solid support system.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, let’s talk about these photos for a minute.

Kyle & Kiley had one of the sweetest “first sight” meetings that I’ve ever photographed.  They were just so full of nervous excitement, and so enamored with each other, and so focused on filling each moment of their wedding day with godly love.  It was a special time, and I wanted to share it here today, since I’ve never blogged any of their wedding photos before.

wonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kiley

wonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kiley

wonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileywonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileyThis was actually them praying together before they removed the blindfold.  If that’s not a perfect picture of putting God first in a relationship, I don’t know what is. :)wonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileywonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileywonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileywonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileywonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileywonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileywonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileywonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileywonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileywonderful wedding wednesday day ~ kyle & kileyI’ll never forget being behind that church with them, watching their precious reactions to seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day.

Kyle and Kiley are now expecting their first baby in about a month.  Just a few days ago, Kyle was diagnosed with stage 3 Lymphoma.  This is one of those things that just tears at your heart and brings up all kinds of “Why?!” thoughts.  But I know God is in control and is holding Kyle & Kiley in His capable hands.  Kiley has displayed tremendous strength, courage, and trust in the face of this diagnosis.  Knowing Kiley for all these years now, I know her faith runs deep.  It’s amazing to watch her praise God in the midst of this ordeal.  Please pray for Kyle and Kiley and their baby on the way!

~abi~

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Cheryl martinNovember 6, 2014 - 2:39 am

I am crying now, she is such a sweet girl! And as we know we do not understand GOD’S plans in lives! I will be praying for this young family!

hurt and loss

IMG_2816Today, my heart is so heavy for my friend Taylor, who lost her brother Hunter in a car accident this past weekend.  Taylor has been my niece Laila’s best friend for years, and as such she has been like another niece to me.  My heart just breaks for her, as I know all too well the pain of losing a brother so abruptly.  I have constantly been lifting Taylor and her family up in prayer since I heard the news, and I ask that you stop for a moment and do the same.

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Kelly BeaneOctober 28, 2014 - 3:12 am

Such a tragedy. Will lift her family up for sure, I can’t even imagine their pain!

wonderful wedding wednesday ~ a peek at a gorgeous fall wedding in oklahoma

IMG_3003You guys.  I photographed the most beautiful fall wedding this past Saturday!!  I just couldn’t wait to share a few of my favorites.  I mean, really, how could you go wrong with such a stunning bride and a wedding held in a pecan grove?  So lovely!IMG_2763IMG_2832IMG_3830IMG_3868IMG_3937golden hour bride groomIMG_3984love kissIMG_5382Wow.  Just wow!!  What a night! :)

Dylan & Samantha~

Hope you are having so much fun on your honeymoon!  Your day was just magical!  Thanks so much for having me as your photographer! 

~abi~

p.s.  Big shout out to Amanda and the crew at Planned 2 Perfection for coordinating such a perfect event! :)

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KristenOctober 23, 2014 - 2:35 am

Beautiful!! Love the adorable pumpkin photo too!

Abi RuthOctober 23, 2014 - 3:34 am

Thank you, Kristen! I loved the pumpkin ring holder as well! :)

Kelly BeaneOctober 28, 2014 - 3:11 am

Such lovely images… and I love the pumpkin ring holder too! :)

Dylan YoungOctober 28, 2014 - 4:21 am

Thank you so much for everything Abi! Love the photos here on your blog. Can not WAIT to see all of them! :)