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a few of my family’s photos and some true life story updates

016-fam16Last year, I was doing pretty good blogging through my photo shoots up until October 31st, when I just went silent on the blog. Every single fall, I get a little overwhelmed by editing all the sessions for my clients, which I prioritize over blogging. It’s okay, it’s just what happens. :) So, I wanted to write a little about my life and what has been going on with me, since I usually try to work in some true life story tidbits when I blog photo shoots, and like I said, I had a couple months of radio silence over here.

Let’s jump right into it, and I’ll intersperse my monologue with some photos of my beautiful family – taken with the help of my nephew’s girlfriend, who was a trooper putting up with me and with the cold weather on the day we shot! Thanks, Maddy! <3

Okay, so about those life updates… Late last year, my Grams and I started throwing around the idea of moving in with my sister Amber and my niece Laila. There were various reasons for the plan to move, one of them being so I could start really saving up some money. My family and my boyfriend and I all went through Dave Ramsey‘s Financial Peace University in the fall, and for the first time in my life, I started applying the stuff I’ve been hearing for years about money {my parents are longtime Dave fans – they paid off all their debt years ago}. So, I had some momentum going and wanted to push it and start “living like no one else, so I can eventually live like no one else”… Don’t punch me for using the cheesy Dave Ramsey line.

052-fam16My boyfriend, Jonathan, was also part of the decision to move, since we know we want to get married at some point, and I wanted to start saving for that and also help transition Grams to living with someone else {Amber} for when that day comes. And now I’m going to dive {very shallowly} into some personal stuff that I was hesitant to share… The second week of December, Jonathan broke up with me. We were apart for about three weeks, and we are back together now, as of my birthday, New Year’s Eve. I am not going to into that too much, other than to say, we each had a part in the breakup, and I believe we both learned some stuff during those difficult three weeks. Most people tend to share the high points of their lives and gloss over or simply don’t mention the low points. I really desire to be very genuine and authentic here on this blog, so I didn’t want to pretend this breakup never happened and just go along like the month of December wasn’t a very painful time for me. On the other hand, I understand why people often gloss over the messy true life stories, because some things are and should be private and unnecessary to share full details with the world at large. All of that to say, December was a hard month for me. I had decided at the beginning of the month to move, then I was single for about three weeks, during which I was moving and the holidays were happening.038-fam16To counteract the gloom and doom tone happening here, I will say that December was also good for me. I leaned into my relationship with God like I haven’t in awhile, and He caught me and held me and filled me with the sweet peace that passes understanding. On the physical side of things, I was able to purge a ton of stuff while packing, and I do mean a ton. With the awesome help of my family, I dropped off enough thrift store donations to start an entirely new thrift store! You think I am kidding, but ohhhh I’m not! It was a much needed clean out of a lifetime accumulation of stufffff. And it feels so good to have less of it now!img_8761I think because I was in such turmoil over my love life, I was able to clearly see that all the clothes, shoes, magazines, hats, scarves, belts, knickknacks, odds and ends I had been stockpiling weren’t really enriching my life. Instead, they were smothering any new growth in me. Suddenly, it became very easy for me to let go. I am far, far from ever becoming a minimalist, but I do feel that something in me has fundamentally shifted, and I hope to stay on this path of never being buried under junk again. I do mean this all quite literally, and I hope I’m making sense. Even if you’ve never fought hoarder tendencies, you must know someone who has, and can probably grasp what I’m saying.

Gosh, I feel very vulnerable right now.img_8798Anyway, in addition to all of my purging, I also had Grams to help pack. And Grams loves her stuff. All of it. Clothes and jewelry and shoes and angels and butterfly decor and every piece of paper she has ever received ;) and weird little fun plastic bits and random everything you could imagine and then some, plus a million and one shelves to stack and pile it on. She has it and wants to keep it! So, huge shout out to my family for helping Grams and I purge, pack, and move our stuff. What a daunting task it was! And what a relief to be settling into my sister’s house, with less things but far more peace of mind. :)img_8800And now to go back and touch on the breakup and subsequent new start of my relationship with Jonathan… I can honestly say that I love him so much and I want nothing more than to build a lifetime together with him and only him, and I know he feels the same about me. Yes, we broke up for bit, and obviously something like that doesn’t happen after a year and a half together without some rough stuff leading up to it. But, by the grace of God, and in a huge, obvious answer to prayers, we are together again and working hard at making our relationship better in so many small and some big ways. I humbly welcome any prayer on our behalf, and I want to sincerely thank those who knew what what was going on and prayed for me and for Jonathan. I felt your prayers and am living God’s answer. Thank you. I love Jonathan and I’m so proud to be his girlfriend and happy to have a fresh start with him. That’s about all I have to say on all that, I guess. :)img_8873I hope I haven’t made it too awkward around here by giving you such an intimate peek into my life and what has been going on. I promise I will be back to blogging pretty photos this week. And I also have another true life story to share once I have a little more concrete facts to give you…and this one I’m pretty excited about! It’s not nearly as cringe worthy as talking about a breakup. ha! Thank you guys for reading and not judging me too harshly. :) <3

I will end this by saying: I cannot state enough how thankful I am for the strong support system I have in my family and friends. I love you all so much!

~abi~

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Kelly BeaneJanuary 11, 2017 - 1:06 am

I am so proud of you! For being vulnerable and sharing. You never know how much this could help someone else. For staying faithful and rooted in the word of God. He has a plan for your life and I love seeing it unfold. For PURGING! Girl, I know how difficult that must have been and what a fresh start it will provide you with. I love you tremendously and pray for you consistently! So ready to see what 2017 holds for your life!

[…] a few of my family’s photos and some true life story updates […]

photo shoot ~ emma bright’s newborn portraits

07-newborn-girl-potraitsHiiiii! Before I hit my busiest part of the year this past fall and left this poor blog hanging, I was in the middle of sharing posts from Gabe & Ashley’s amazing Texas summer wedding. I will share the rest of that in the next couple of weeks, but I needed to just jump in with a blog post, today, to kick myself back into blogging gear this new year!

So, this is perfect, precious, sweet Emma Bright. She was born way back in August of last year. {You can see Emma’s mom’s maternity session by clicking here.} Here are some of my favorites from Emma’s at home newborn session.01-newborn-girl-potraits02-newborn-girl-potraits03-newborn-girl-potraits04-newborn-girl-potraits05-newborn-girl-potraits06-newborn-girl-potraits08-newborn-girl-potraitsOh, hey there, baby girl. :)09-newborn-girl-potraits10-newborn-girl-potraitsEmma’s parents are diehard OKC Thunder fans {in fact, her dad’s proposal to her mom included a Tweet from THE Russell Westbrook – legendary stuff! :)}, so we had to get a few shots with a basketball {pun intended ;)}.11-newborn-girl-potraits“Mommm, I don’t wanna practice dribbling, I’m sleeeeepy.”12-newborn-girl-potraits13-newborn-girl-potraits14-newborn-girl-potraitsI always like to try to grab a couple pix in the crib, just to show how tiny human newborns are. :)15-newborn-girl-potraits16-newborn-girl-potraitsRachel got this soft little crown for Emma to wear, and I loved it! I think Emma did, too. :)17-newborn-girl-potraits18-newborn-girl-potraits19-newborn-girl-potraits20-newborn-girl-potraitsRachel & Charlie~

Thank you for trusting me to document your perfect baby and your sweet little family! You guys are so cool. :)

~abi~

 

p.s. I am mentally planning a life update blog, coming soon! So check back. Happy New Year!

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gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ the details

72-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsI’m back with the second post from Gabe & Ashley’s perfect wedding day at Stonebridge Wedding Venue in Blum, TX. You can read more about this special wedding {and why it meant so much for me to photograph} in the first post here. Today, I am sharing all the pretty details.

Ashley’s talented sister in law, Michelle, made the beautiful bouquet, above.

Ashley & Gabe orchestrated their day to play out a bit differently than most weddings. They started things off with a barbeque dinner and games for guests to enjoy. They each had more casual ensembles for this part of the evening. Here’s Ashley’s dress she wore for the dinner.69-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details74-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsAnd the wedding dress, for the sunset ceremony and dance party after! :)68-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details73-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsI love a good bow tie! This one was perfect.87-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details86-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsStonebridge is full of lovely, serene moments like this sweet vignette.85-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsThere’s also a grand building, perfect for receptions, called Tuxedo Hall. Inside, these amazing chandeliers totally stole my heart – as evidenced by the million photos I took of them! ha. I just love how this place has such a cool, modern vibe.70-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details71-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsThe reception decor was a real family affair, with Ashley’s sisters and me and my sisters, plus Ashley’s friend Lindsay, all pitching in to set up this loveliness.78-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsWhen I was in elementary school, I agonized over my cursive penmanship {just ask my mother – I seriously stressed over my homework!}…Well, all that practice is still paying off, and allowed me to contribute my handwriting for the little chalkboard signs. ;)76-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details75-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details77-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsAshley named her tables with the titles of country songs – a nice nod to her Texas upbringing. :)79-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsNo modern wedding is complete without the perfect hashtag, right?!80-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details81-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details88-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details82-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsAshley’s friend Lindsay not only stood as her maid of honor, she also baked and decorated this incredible wedding cake!83-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details84-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsThere was a special table set up to honor and remember Ashley’s first husband {my brother Jack} and Gabe’s brother Elijah. They both gave their lives in military service. Even now, as I’m typing this, I tear up seeing this beautiful tribute.89-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details90-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsI’ll be back soon with more to share from this most special wedding. <3

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[…] gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ the details […]

gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ the bride and groom

005-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingYou guys, I have to tell you about this wedding. This is Ashley & Gabe. They’re amazing. And so is their story. As you read, you will see why this is one of the most special weddings I’ve ever shot.

About twelve years ago, Ashley became part of my family when she married my brother, Jack. Even before that, she had become a close friend of mine and my sisters. We were all overjoyed when she and Jack met, fell in love, and got married. They had five brief and gloriously happy years together before Jack was taken from this world too soon, at the age of twenty-six, while serving as a Green Beret. That same year, 2009, Gabe’s brother Elijah’s life was also cut short while serving.

Then, a few years ago, Gabe and Ashley met while working for TAPS, a wonderful organization that provides help to those who have lost people in the military. They began dating, and I was so very happy for Ashley. I could tell when I talked with her that Gabe was special. Then when my family met Gabe, it was so apparent to me this was such a God thing.

It’s difficult for me to put this all into words, but I’m going to try my best, because I want you all, but mostly Gabe and Ashley, to understand how their relationship has been a balm to my soul. Ashley could have met Gabe and “moved on” with her life. She could have left my family back with the heartache of losing Jack. She could have turned the page and not included us in the next chapter, in all the chapters to come. But she didn’t. And Gabe, he could have felt intimidated by the looming shadow of Jack, with our family coming along into his new relationship with Ashley. But he didn’t. Gabe was steady and confident and loving and understanding. And Ashley was and is full of joy again, so in love again.

Gabe and Ashley live in Texas now, and they’ve come up many times to visit. Gabe’s sister-in-law and niece live here in Oklahoma also. And we all get together when they are here, and I just look at this jumbled family gathering, and I think h0w God pieced us all together from broken hearts and interrupted lives. And it is so very special.

In August, Gabe and Ashley got married at the beautiful Stonebridge venue in Blum, TX {seriously, it’s stunning – but I’ll write more about it in posts to come}. I had the privilege of photographing their wedding. As you can imagine, it is one of the most meaningful weddings I’ve ever done. I have about a million favorite photos to blog from it, but I thought we’d start today with images of the gorgeous bride and handsome groom. :) Their wedding was unique and included a wardrobe change for both of them, which I loooove. Here they are in their first outfits, but keep scrolling to see what they wore for the second half of the evening.010-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding011-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding001-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingI have to throw in a huge shout out to Darla, who did a fantastic job on Ashley’s hair and makeup!012-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding002-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding004-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding003-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingSee how they look at each other?! It’s a beautiful thing.006-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding007-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding008-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding009-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingThe above outfits were worn for the first part of the evening, which included a barbeque dinner, fun games, and mingling with guests {again, I’ll share more in posts to come}. Right before the ceremony, Gabe and Ashley changed into something a little fancier. The moments alone when they first saw each other after changing were so sweet!

013-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding014-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding015-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding016-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding019-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding017-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding018-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingThey had a sunset ceremony, so immediately afterward, we jumped on a golf cart and raced to the river to grab a few portraits right at dusk. I am in love with the images we got!023-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding024-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding025-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding026-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding027-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding020-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding022-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding021-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding028-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding030-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding029-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingThen we headed back for the after party {dancing! cake! more dancing!}. But first I had to capture some photos along the lighted pathway. So pretty.031-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding032-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingMore posts to come…..

Ashley & Gabe~

I love you guys. I’m so happy you found each other. Thank you for allowing me to capture your very special day.

~abi~

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[…] gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ the bride and groom […]

SheriNovember 14, 2016 - 5:45 pm

Love stories are my favorite!! Ashley has always been such a wonderful young lady. Im so very happy the two of them found one another and also that they included you guys!!

[…] gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ the bride and groom […]

[…] perfect wedding day. Today’s post is my very favorite from this day, other than the one of Ashley & Gabe’s portraits. I always love the ceremony part of wedding days! There’s something so reverent and powerful […]

photo shoot ~ josh’s very fun two year old portrait session

105-family-phtos-at-parkThese are my friends Sam, Rach, and their awesome, energetic two year old, Josh. We’ve done pix together lots of times before, and this time Rachel asked me about maybe doing Josh’s two year old session at a splash pad or park or somewhere like that. I loved the idea, and immediately thought of our perfect downtown oasis the Myriad Gardens. They have a great splash area during the summer that’s really visually pleasing, and there’s a cute park attached to it, so I thought it would be perfect.

We started out with a few family photos on the other side of the Gardens.104-family-phtos-at-park106-family-phtos-at-park107-family-phtos-at-park108-family-phtos-at-parkSide note: Sam and I went to elementary school and high school together here in OKC {in between, I lived in Iowa}. Sam’s brother Jake is one of my lifelong friends. And I posted a newborn session of Evelyn the other day – well, her dad Jorge was in Sam’s class in school. :)109-family-phtos-at-park110-family-phtos-at-parkThen we did some of Josh alone with this cute “two” Rachel painted.

127-2-year-old-outdoor-pictures128-2-year-old-outdoor-pictures129-2-year-old-outdoor-pictures130-2-year-old-outdoor-picturesTo reward Josh for being such a good little model, we headed over to let him play in the water.

132-2-year-old-at-splash-pad133-2-year-old-at-splash-padCan I just say I love, love, love these photos?! It was such a fun session, and perfect for a two year old!135-2-year-old-at-splash-pad134-2-year-old-at-splash-pad136-2-year-old-at-splash-pad137-2-year-old-at-splash-pad138-2-year-old-at-splash-pad139-2-year-old-at-splash-pad140-2-year-old-at-splash-pad141-2-year-old-at-splash-pad142-2-year-old-at-splash-pad143-2-year-old-at-splash-pad144-2-year-old-at-splash-pad145-2-year-old-at-splash-pad146-2-year-old-at-splash-padAfter Josh was thoroughly drenched, we changed outfits and let him air dry at the little park. :)111-family-phtos-at-park112-family-phtos-at-park113-family-phtos-at-parkSam is an Olympic wrestler, so we had to document some wrestling moves, of course.114-family-phtos-at-park115-family-phtos-at-parkI really love these relaxed, lifestyle type of portraits we got.116-family-phtos-at-park117-family-phtos-at-park118-family-phtos-at-park119-family-phtos-at-park120-family-phtos-at-park121-family-phtos-at-park122-family-phtos-at-park123-family-phtos-at-park124-family-phtos-at-park125-family-phtos-at-park126-family-phtos-at-parkRach, Sam, & Josh~

As always, I had an absolute blast hanging out with you guys! Thank you for all the amazing years of photo shoots and even more years of wonderful friendship! You guys rock. Love ya!!

~abi~

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