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Today I don’t have many clever thoughts to share.  I am drawing a bit of a blank.  I am in a pre-Thanksgiving-food-coma or something like that.  The only interesting thing I can think of is this handwritten sign I have seen close by my work.  It keeps popping into my head.  It just says “Chimney Sweep” and it lists a phone number.  Did I mention that it is lettered by hand?  So charming.  I just want to call the number so that I can hang out with a real live, modern day chimney sweep.  When you think chimney sweep, you think Bert from Mary Poppins, right??  Admittedly, Bert freaks me out just a little, so I am not sure why I want to meet this homemade-sign-maker chimney sweep.  I guess it is my eternal fascination with the human race.  And I have to think that someone who would choose chimney sweep as a career would be somewhat interesting.  Add onto that the fact that he/she makes their own signs and puts them out to advertise on street corners, and I’m sold.  And you know what?  There is actually a fireplace in my house, so I would have a valid reason to contact this fascinating individual.  So, we never actually make a real fire in it…maybe it’s because we need to have the chimney cleaned first! 

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got.  A chimney sweep who hand letters signs.  Hmm.

So I guess I will share a photo from a recent session that I absolutely adored!  This little fashionista is Layne.  She has a better wardrobe than most girls my age.  She’s nine. 


I will share more of this shoot in the future, because it’s just too much fun to keep to myself!


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dealing with grief and giving thanks

Yesterday was a busy day…as was the day before that…and the day before that.  I have been going at a seemingly nonstop pace, and I pretty much love it.  One negative aspect of my recent jam-packed schedule is that I tend to forget stuff more often than usual.  Okay, so I am always pretty forgetful, not just when I am extra busy.  Maybe it’s because I am advancing in years.  Or maybe it’s all the drugs I did in my past.  Oh wait, I never did any drugs.  So much for that dramatic tale excuse.

I even forgot a photo session this past Sunday.  Yep, I just admitted that on my blog.  Fire me, kill me, or whatever.  I am human.  And hey, it wasn’t a wedding, so we just rescheduled for this Sunday.  My client was very kind and understanding.  Whew. And just fyi, I tend to remember weddings…and this session had been moved around a few times to different dates… Okay, I’m done with the explanations.

Now we’ve established my busy-ness and my forgetfulness.  So, when my mom called me yesterday to see if I could attend the OKC Thunder game with her and my dad, I wasn’t all eager and thrilled like I normally would be.  First of all, I had completely forgotten that she had mentioned it to me previously.  And secondly, I had stuff to do.  You know, because I am busy.  I told her that if one of my siblings were able to go instead, that was fine with me.  She responded that my sister Mandi and my nephews were going, and that my brother Abe couldn’t go because of work.  I knew that my sister Amber was out of town watching my niece Laila play basketball, so they were out.  That left one ticket…and me.  So I was in.  And I am so glad I was able to go, because this thanksgiving week, it gave me a great reminder about being thankful!

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{my super-crazy-fun nephew Daxon, breaking it down on our way into the game}

Because let me just tell you about those tickets.  They were special.  No, they weren’t courtside seats or anything like that.  They were up in Loud City, which was very fun; but the location of our seats wasn’t what made them special.

This is what made them special:


The above image is part of a letter sent to my mom along with the tickets for my family to attend the game.  As I have mentioned, my younger brother Jack was killed last year while serving in the Special Forces in the Philippines.  And ever since then, I have been overwhelmed by the remembrance and support of others.  Like these high school students, who just wanted to do something for families who have suffered a military-related loss.  Wow.

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{my good looking, good-hearted parents}

When my mom explained to me last night where the tickets came from, I was touched.  Really touched.  My busy schedule and list of stuff to do went out the window.  I was thankful.  Thankful for kids who are aware and want to help in some way.  Thankful to be spending time with my family…something that has been all too scarce for me lately.  Thankful for the amazing family I have.

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{my hot and clever sister Mandi}

See, ever since Jack died, I have struggled a little with family get-togethers.  In the past, before, family time was one of my favorite things in life.  But since Jack is gone now, even when we are “all” together, we aren’t…  So it has been strange.

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{my too-cool-too-cute nephew DJ}

But last night, my heart was warmed by my parents’ witty repartee.  My soul was comforted by the casual conversations with my sister.  My inner child was entertained by my nephews’ awesomely hilarious remarks and my spirit was buoyed by their laughter.  We cheered and yelled and screamed together.  And we weren’t complete, but it was special and it was fun.

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{my smarty-pants-cutey-pants nephew Jace}

And I am thankful.

People never ask me what it’s like to experience the unexpected loss of a sibling.  They probably don’t want to bring up a painful subject.  Plus, who really wants to talk about tragic death?  But if someone were to ask me, I would say it’s something like this:

You might go to a basketball game with your family, and have a great time.  And then, on the way home, you realize with a jolt that the reason you were able to go to that game that night is because some high school students in another state wanted to reach out to people who had suffered a loss.  And even though it’s been over a year, you experience a bit of shock once again as you realize that you are that person who has suffered a loss.  Your younger brother is dead.  And then the familiar and yet strange emotions of loss, grief, pride, comfort, hurt, healing and even thankfulness wash over you in waves, all within a brief moment.


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Bethany LarieNovember 23, 2010 - 10:19 pm

Abi, Im crying! I am so thankful for you in my life. Im sorry for your loss. although I am extremely proud of you and your families strength. I don't know if I would be able to continue to be strong! I pray for you guys daily and do really think of you often. I miss your beautiful smile and friendliness all the way around. I love reading your blog. It just reminds me of what a great Godly Glamorous girl God placed in my life. I'm sorry if I have ever seemed selfish to you. I love you and your family!!!

JacquelynNovember 23, 2010 - 10:51 pm

I'm sitting at my desk crying, friend. First of all, for you, on your behalf. Second of all, because I really needed to read this. I have been seriously considering skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family this year. I just can't imagine it without my best friend, my partner in crime, my sweet grandma. Who am I going to talk to? Who is going to laugh at all of my jokes? But, this is a good reminder that I can take this opportunity to be grateful for the rest of my wonderful family.

Soul sister. Like, for reals.

. sarah .November 23, 2010 - 11:53 pm

Tears here as well, Abi. I cannot imagine that feeling of not everyone being at a family get together for the rest of my life. I'm so sorry your family has had to endure such a hardship, but am comforted for you that you all have Him to rely on! Praying for you and your family as the holidays approach!

AnonymousNovember 24, 2010 - 12:15 am

It may not be something you ever get over… just get through. Stay strong. You are beautiful!!

AnonymousNovember 24, 2010 - 12:43 am

You really did a good job putting it down in writing I love you Abi MOM

if you are like me

If you are at all like me, you mostly watch award shows just to see the fabulous clothing, right?  For me, the real appeal of being a celebrity wouldn’t necessarily be the screaming mobs of fans or the huge paychecks, it would definitely be the opportunity to wear amazing dresses, shoes, jewelry, hair and makeup to award shows and galas.  I wish we lived in a grander time period or society, where we had the opportunity to dress for balls and formal events on a regular basis.  Of course, then I would need to be part of the high society set, for which I surely don’t qualify.  Alas, a girl can dream, right?

And speaking of dreaminess, since I no longer seem to have time in my life to watch award shows, I just turn to one of my very favorite fashion blogs to get a fix of the glamor, elegance, and drama on the red carpet that I crave.  The lovely and hardworking Fashion Critic over at Red Carpet Fashion Awards is always up to the minute on the beautiful, quirky, or insane styles worn by celebrities to all the major and not-so-major events.  If you missed the American Music Awards last night like I did, check out this link to view all the styles on display there.

After all, why consume a few hours of your life watching an award show, when you can just see all the highlights online the next day {or even that same night}?  You know the famous Kanye/Taylor Swift moment awhile back?  Was I watching that award show?  No.  But thanks to Twitter, I was aware of the incident immediately, and was watching it on YouTube within minutes.  Oh, internet, what would I do without you??


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. sarah .November 22, 2010 - 5:39 pm

Abi, I love reading all your fun recent posts!! :) Keep em coming!!! And yes, life without internet…what would we do!?!

busy busy-ness

Sometimes I get in this bizarre zone where I am editing photos like crazy, and I feel all scattered even though I am concentrating.  It’s usually when I am determined to bust through some shoots and get them done and sent out to people.  I work best under pressure, so I give myself deadlines and work like mad. 

Today is like that.  I am leaving in a few hours to go to Dallas.  I have a couple of shoots there tomorrow, and I will get to spend time with my best friend Jen. 

God has blessed me with a lot of photography sessions over the past couple of months, and I am putting in the hours of back end work to get them processed and put on disc or emailed to people.  So, today I am just writing to say that I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I pray that you experience the blessings God has for you.  I hope you will get to spend some time with family and friends and that you will be refreshed.

Love to you all.


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ashley o.November 20, 2010 - 5:36 am

Thanks for keeping us updated! enjoy Dallas and good times with good friends!

JacquelynNovember 20, 2010 - 8:34 am

"experience the blessings God has for you"–love that!

I emailed an ex tonight because I'm afraid he is still … well.. not where he should be (whoa too much info for a blog comment) and I couldn't think of the right little sentence to say. All I said in the email was "I'm praying for you". Praying that he is experiencing the blessings God has for you would have been puuuuurrrrrfect. Darn.

Have a lovely weekend. :)


What is it that makes your heart pound and your pulses race?  Most of you are probably thinking about a person of the opposite sex after that question.  And trust me, I’ve been there.  But, as a single girl, what gets my heart throbbing on a regular basis is not some hot guy…It’s photography.  Waaah-wah, I know.  But it’s true.  My photography not only provides me with a creative outlet, it is also the perfect tool to connect me with others.  People.  Because photography might be my passion, but people are my true love. 

I can’t even explain the thrill I feel as I look through my camera and see someone’s heart.  And when I am looking through the photos after a successful shoot…well, talk about pulses racing.  I get so excited that it’s just dumb.

This bridal session of my friend Jade was one of those shoots that really delighted me.  When I first got to know Jade awhile back, I knew immediately that I wanted to photograph her and became better acquainted with her from behind the lens of my camera.  I convinced her last year to let me do a very fun shoot of her out at the state fair.  I guess she liked posing for me, because when she got engaged, Jade contacted me to photograph her bridal portraits and wedding. :)  We did her bridal session this summer, out on some gorgeous land in Binger, OK {thanks to the Opitz fam!}. 

Now that Jade’s {beautiful} wedding day has come and gone, I can show off these photos!  Two factors made this shoot amazing for me.  One, Jade completely trusted me and was willing to go wherever and do whatever to get good photos.  And two, she worked it like a model!  Seriously.  Check it out…














You are sweet and good and beautiful, and I love you!  I am so happy that we became friends.  I am so happy for your happiness with Vincent!  I am so happy that you chose to have me be your wedding photographer.  In fact, everything about you makes me happy. :)



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Kathleen MillerNovember 18, 2010 - 8:53 pm

Abi you are so talented it's crazy…we will see your name in Magazines and books someday and be able to say "i knew her!!!" I absolutely CANT WAIT for Dec. 4th!!

jaredwanzerphotographyNovember 18, 2010 - 9:43 pm

love the lighting!!! perfect photos!

ScottNovember 18, 2010 - 10:37 pm

Amazing!!! – Sherie

Kelly BeaneNovember 19, 2010 - 10:04 pm

Ahhh, breathtaking images!

[…] I’m back with another Throwback Thursday wedding inspiration post.  This one is a lovely fall wedding that I photographed a couple of years ago.  The bride, my sweet friend Jade, is a girl with a great sense of style.  You can’t tell in this pic so much, but her wedding dress had a high-low hemline…two years ago.  Just call her a trendsetter. {You can check out more of that fab dress and Jade’s gorgeousness in this Bridal Portrait post.} […]