AH. Colorado. I could seriously sit down and write a love letter to Colorado right now. But I will spare you my verbose tendencies and instead just share some photos. There is no place, in my opinion, that can replicate the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. RT if you agree ;-)
Matt and Allison Taylor (third to last photo with their cute kids!) led Grant and me through our premarital class this past spring. When Allison texted me to see if I'd be interested in doing family photos for them, I was like "UH...YES!" They're such an awesome family, and they were an integral part to Grant and me feeling more prepared for marriage. I've been blessed by them - and I was blessed by this photo session because, I mean, just look at how cute these kids are.
Here are a few favorites!
(These photos were taken on Father's Day. My mom took Chase for a swim, and then he was in a super goofy mood sitting on the couch. Every time my mom came near him, he started to giggle. If you read / look at nothing else, please look at the last picture on this post. PURE JOY!)
Most people will tell me that growing up with a sibling who has special needs must make you more patient. Maybe I am more patient than I perceive myself to be, but it feels like my most defining quality might actually be impatient. And just like with everything else - with Chase, my patience wains.
Chase has always been a part of my life, though. And I love him. I wouldn't change any aspect of growing up with him, or my life with him now. Chase has Congenital Encephalopathy. More specifically, he does not have proper myelination of his brain. Messages that easily transmit within our brains simply do not transmit within his. Myelin coats our brains, allowing information to pass along. Since Chase's brain cannot do this, he is severely delayed.
Chase is 21, almost exactly 2 years younger than me. He cannot speak, he has limited understanding, and he cannot communicate information. A typical demonstration from him for "I want food," is grabbing someone's hand and sitting them down at the kitchen table.
But he communicates emotion better than any normal person I know. It's because he's so unashamed, unfiltered, uncorrupted. Chase has no concept of social expectations. He does what he wants, when he wants, where he wants. He speaks his mind. That comes in the form of squeals (so loud), giggles, angry grunts, tears, huge grins, furrowed brows, blank stares ("I'm bored" or "I'm pretending to listen to you"), frustrated frowns.
This is my favorite thing about Chase. He has no choice but to be authentic, and his childlike joy will never cease. Even when he is upset, he recovers quickly and that joyful disposition returns. Lately, I have struggled deeply to find my joy as I watch my childhood slip away and my adulthood become my reality. Chase is a sweet reminder of the joy I used to know so well.
He is a reminder that I can still experience that joy no matter my circumstances - I just have to work for it a little more than I used to.
One thing I know: if more people were more like Chase, we'd all be a lot better off.
Blair and I went to high school together, and now we're both back around the same stomping grounds here in Dallas TX. It was a blast to get together and hear about her life - and take some photos while we caught up!
I recently went on an adventure with my sister in some Mitscoots gear and we took some photos along the way. This company is right up my alley because they have a mission beyond just distributing clothes and making money. They are employing the transitioning homeless. People who once couldn't sustain their lives are now experiencing the empowering world of employment and self-sufficiency. What a blessing this company is. My partnership with them is ongoing, so you'll see more photos of their products by me in the future.
Annabelle and I are 5 years apart but we grew up feeling much closer in age. We've always shared a lot of the same interests, and we've always both been a little too sassy for our own good. Our parents will attest to this. Still, Annabelle was often the wiser sister in so many ways - she can maintain a level head in stressful situations; she is immensely more patient; she dedicates herself to her schoolwork much more than I ever did; she has always been much kinder to me than I deserve (seeing as I was the bully-big-sister when we were younger).
Despite the age gap and how much I dislike when she blasts rap music in the car (lol), Annabelle is one of my best friends. Getting to do her senior photos was mostly hilarious because it felt like just hanging out as usual - me trying to focus on the task at hand, her seemingly unable to stop distracting me with weird stories.
Annabelle is going to Carnegie Mellon in the fall! I'm pretty proud to be her sister. Here are some of my favorite pictures I took of her.
Senior portraits are slowly becoming one of my favorite photo sessions! I love getting to be a part of this celebration as seniors leave home to go to college and begin to wonder - as Pepperdine put it - where their deepest joy meets the world's deepest hunger. Basically, where passion and purpose collide.
I loved taking these photos because a lot of our time together was just Grace and me getting to know each other. And Grace was willing to do whatever when I came up with strange ideas for a photo, or made her stand in the same spot for a really long time.
Grace is a part of my project with Preemptive Love Coalition, which, if you've read any of my previous posts, by now you probably know what that is. If you don't, it is an organization helping refugees in Syria and Iraq and for all of 2017, all of my photos are going towards helping them. So thanks to Grace, a generous donation was given to Preemptive Love as a result of these photos.
If you'd like to be a part of my efforts / photography, please don't hesitate to reach out! Here are some of my favorites from my time with Grace.
This past weekend, I got to take pictures of Ruby. Ruby's mom, Rachel, is the director of development at Touch A Life and I was her intern in the summer of 2015. Working for her and getting involved in the mission of Touch A Life (so incredible) led me towards where I am now - doing social media / digital marketing for nonprofits!
Ruby is total 100% pure joy, and though it's impossible that she's a perfect baby, she seemed like one to me (so I'm wondering the secret in the Brown family's DNA). This girl was all open-mouth, all-gums, no-teeth-(yet) smiles all day long. I loved getting to spend time with her and her parents, and see that the joy that flows from her is just an overflow of the love her parents have for her.
I mean, just look at the picture above this...there's no other word for it except joy.
Ruby is a part of my project for Preemptive Love Coalition, which means that all of the proceeds from her photos went straight to the organization to help refugees in Syria and Iraq.
Ellie and Nicole have been best friends since the beginning of middle school, and they're about to graduate high school together (and head off to their next adventures). We had fun walking around Deep Ellum on this spring afternoon, and I loved getting do their senior photos!
These two are a part of my project with Preemptive Love Coalition - instead of paying me for the photos, they just donated to this organization. Preemptive Love is working to help Syrians and Iraqis who are suffering through their home becoming a war-torn land. Nicole and Ellie have been able to make a positive impact on the refugee crisis through our photoshoot.
These are my favorite moments.
The Priceless Co is based out of Baton Rouge, LA. It was founded by Beka Burch, a woman with an amazing heart and a calling from God to fight the sex trafficking industry.
"Today, we have sent thousands of dollars to our partner, Freedom418, in South East Asia, and have helped women pulled out of trafficking experience love, freedom, and hope through safe housing, a restoration program, career training, and education."
The Priceless Co is able to accomplish this through Beka's creation of jewelry she's made out of coins from different countries in Central and South America. She also designs shirts, which serve as reminders of a woman's innate value. Each woman was fearfully and wonderfully made. Whether you believe in God or not, you can resonate with this. You are a unique individual worthy of love and respect and dignity, as is every woman (and man) on earth. Shop @ Priceless Co, and help empower women who have been told over and over again that their value is in something outside of who they are as people.
My sister is one of my favorite human beings on the earth, so of course I'm always capturing photos of her.
She is an artist, currently recreating some of the most controversial art in history, bringing even more controversy into it. Each controversial piece features controversial characters from current day. Below, you'll see photos as she recreates the Last Supper with rap artists sitting in the seats where Jesus and his disciples would have sat.
Though I can't paint (at all), I've had the joy of watching Annabelle grow as a painter since she first picked up art. I have always loved watching her process, as she turns simple brush strokes into something most people cannot create.
Mallory is a professional dancer (and a beautiful one). She has an assured grace about her that makes all of her movements seems so light and effortless. I've gotten to watch her dance multiple times over the years, and she's always such a joy to watch.
Mallory decided she wanted to be a part of my project with Preemptive Love Coalition, so we did a shoot Saturday afternoon. Her dance partner from her time at SMU joined us, too! His name is Mike Stone and he was such a joy to spend time with. He is a professional dancer as well - equally as talented and graceful as Mallory.
I became close friends with Catherine through an awesome place called Sky Ranch, fondly referred to as "Skranch." That place builds such rock-solid community that it was no turning back. In 2012, when Catherine went off to Texas A&M and I went off to Pepperdine, our friendship stayed strong - and has continued to do so up until this point in 2017 when we finally live in the same city again.
It's been awesome being her long-distance friend and even cooler being in the same city, especially because Catherine is someone who pushes me to grow + keep creating - even when I feel discouraged.
Catherine is a part of my Preemptive Love Coalition project - her entire shoot goes towards their cause. Here are some highlights: