As my husband kissed me goodbye on his way to work this morning, I smiled to myself. We are not the same people who stood under that tree and under that banner two years ago. Marriage has changed us. Shaped us. Challenged us. It has chipped away at our selfish pride and brought as a replacement the sweetest of change. While the newness of marriage has begun to wear off, the profundity of daily commitment and growing together is beginning to take root and when I think on that, I get so excited for the days ahead. I am confident that they will be days that are made up mostly of the mundane and the uneventful. Days that to the average person would seem to be lackluster and without much glamour. To me though, I think those days will be the ones that shape us the most as we continue to daily learn to live out our vows and to help each other walk more faithfully with Christ. Our wedding day was one of the sweetest days of my life, marked by overwhelming joy. Yet, every day since has served to only add to that joy, both on good days and bad, and because of that, I think the best is still ahead.
October is a special month for my husband and I. It's a month of celebrations and well...if you know me at all, you know that makes me a happy gal. In the span of a week, every October we celebrate our half anniversary (1.5 years and going strong), Jimmy's birthday, our engagement anniversary and the anniversary of the day we met. Whew! Let's just say, in the words of Anne Shirley, 'I'm glad I live in a world where there are Octobers!' It's a special month for me and mostly because of my blonde hunk of a husband. Three years ago today, I got set up on a blind date by some of my clients (now friends) and I honestly thought, 'am I crazy?!?' Blind dates are 9 times out of 10 total disasters and I wasn't sure what my expectations were for this one. Yet, when I opened the door for him to pick me up, I have a feeling that God was smiling at His handiwork.
I feel like I might tear up a little bit writing this blog post. No shame. You see this week, it's officially been five. FIVE! Cinco. That's right, five years since I took one of the biggest leaps in my life and left the security of working for someone else and stepped in to the crazy world of self-employment. It has officially been five years since I went full-time with Mary Fields Photography.
It was July 4th weekend, just a little over two years ago and what was seemingly just another Independence Day celebration was in fact a day that changed their lives forever. Mutual friends got a group together to celebrate the weekend at a lake house and both John and Caroline were invited. It was the first time they had ever met and both took notice of the other. He was taken of course by her beauty but even more by the way she carried herself: confident, secure and joyful. As the weekend went on, he got to see more and more her love for Jesus and that won Him over most. When I asked her what she noticed first, she jokingly said the new mustache he had grown was quite a statement maker...but really it was his leadership and humility that caught her most. As their relationship has unfolded, that continues to be her favorite thing.
Her mom helped her zip up her dress and as she turned and looked at herself in the mirror, it hit her...she was a bride. Her face immediately took on the most beautiful smile and she turned to her bridesmaids with a scream of excitement. They responded with claps and tears and smiles as big as hers. She was about to marry the love of her life, forever making a covenant with him before God and all her closest friends and family. This moment was indeed one of great rejoicing!
She's strong. She's gentle. She's determined and tenacious. She's smart. She's hard-working. She's selfless and creative. She's gracious. She's fun. She's joyful and a blessing to us all.
That's my mom and last month she turned the big 60! Not her favorite thing I suppose but let me tell you, my mom has more energy at 60 than I have at 30 so she's doing pretty well! Her favorite thing is to be on the water (that Florida girl in her) and so we planned a surprise lake weekend for her with all of her family. It was a special few days and if you can tell by the smile on her face in the pic above, she had a blast. There were 27 of us, 21 adults and 6 grandkids, which made up for a 'packed' full time. We jet skied, boated, watched college football and soaked in the sun as fall quickly approached.
I had so much fun with these two as we walked the streets of downtown Dallas and then finished with a sunset session over the water. They are getting married on April Fools next year in her home state but wanted some Dallas engagements so I was happy to oblige! Neither of them are native Texans (which I secretly love) but their paths brought them both here to the city and not long after, those paths crossed. They have so much fun together, are at ease in each other's arms and were a joy to photograph. We toasted with champagne as the sun set in celebration of their love and journey together. Their April Fools Day wedding will be a blast, I have no doubt!
Oh Internet, today's Take Me Back Tuesday post is an all new one for yours truly. You see, I'm stepping out into a new adventure that is really going to rock my world and also require so much more of me than I'm used to giving. You see, I'm 'going back to school.' (Don't worry, I'll still be doing all things Mary Fields! I'm just exploring a new adventure as well!)
Now, to set the stage for this, I must give you a little background. You see, I've always loved school. I love to learn and I was always that kid who was self-motivated in her schooling. You know, the annoying kind that was always panicking and swearing that she would fail...only to get an A in the end and make every one of her classmates roll their eyes. Yeah, not proud of it. I wish I could say this was because I was brilliant and a little Miss Smartie Pants but the truth is my pants are just normal. Not really a lot of Smartie just a lot of eagerness to see that A on my report card and a 'do whatever it takes to get it' kind attitude. Some might call it an unhealthy amount of perfectionism (cough cough). But we will call it eagerness....So, I was the good student.
Here's the thing, every time I do a bridal session, I get so anxious to post something but then of course, I catch myself. Wouldn't that be terrible!? Instead, I have to wait until after the wedding to show anything. Well, guys, I've been busting at the seams to show this bridal session! Caroline is absolutely STUNNING! Seriously, one of the most beautiful people and her dress was gorgeous. Literally, every shot I took I thought to myself 'They are going to have such a hard time picking their favorites.' What is even more special about Caroline though, is how her outer beauty is equally (if not more) matched by her inner beauty. She radiates the joy of the Lord and is such a witness to who He is and the work He is doing in her. Truly, she is a joy to be around.
Well, I have finally gotten around to finishing my Italy post...yep, almost three months after we returned. Let's just say my only good excuse is that I took a BAJILLION photos so going through them all and deciding which ones to show has proven to be more challenging than I thought.
Nonetheless, here is the last half of our trip that I am lovingly calling, 'The Honeymoon Redo.' For the second half, we traveled north to the Tuscan region which is breathtaking. We loved our time out in the countryside. We went to all the Medieval towns, went to a winery, rode horses and just relaxed. It was wonderful. And yes, we did eat lunch with a peacock at our winery...no joke. We then headed to Florence and spent the last part of our trip seeing the art the city had to offer, eating lots of gelato, strolling the streets, meeting new people and truly just taking in the city. It was probably our favorite stop.
These two are getting married on Saturday and I can't wait! I've been meaning to post their engagements for forever and so I figured why not post it the week of their nuptials! So, here it is...
I had heard of both Caroline and John long before I had met them because of mutual friends. My husband had been in a bible study with John and thought he was such a stud. Some dear friends of ours worked with Caroline at their church and had nothing but the best things to say. So, naturally, when they emailed me to talk photography, I was pretty excited! We met for a consolation and I could immediately tell all of people's praises were so true. This couple is the real deal.
Oh, these two make me smile from ear to ear. Seriously. I remember when Taylor and I skyped for the first time to discuss me shooting their wedding. I got off the computer and told my husband, 'I feel like she and I would be good friends. We just clicked.' Well, when I met Mark, I felt the same way. These two made me feel like I had known them for years and they were so much fun to photograph...especially since their session included a sunset canoe ride!
Tears rolled down both of their cheeks as they read each other's notes just before the entered the chapel to become husband and wife. They were in different rooms and had no idea that the other was reacting much the same. Sweet words of love and affection were written on those pages and they both shed tears of joy. Blessed. That is what they felt and what they expressed in their written words to one another. To marry each other was in their minds, one of God's greatest gifts to them and they didn't want to leave it unsaid.
Buongiorno! That's Italian for good morning and so fitting because today, I'm taking you on a walk through Italy. Well, part of it anyway. After weeks of thumbing through my 4,000 images (not even joking) I've finally narrowed it down enough to do some posts. It's still kind of long but can you blame me!? I'm dividing it up in two (maybe three posts) so hang with me if you're interested in seeing snapshots of our Italian adventure. We had the trip of a lifetime and I fell in love with this amazing country and culture.
"I can't wait to fall more and more in love with each other for the rest of our lives." Those were Chad's sentiments as he thought about the days ahead of him and Morgan and it made me smile.Their love for one another was so evident on that April day in the beautiful hill country of San Antonio and I know it will only grow. The day started bright and early and all of Morgan's closest friends piled into her bed with her at the La Cantera Hill Country Resort. 'Morgan, you are getting MARRIED today!!' they said and hugged their friend tightly with the sweetest excitement. As you will see in the photos below, these two are SO well loved by many and in my opinion, that shows that they love well themselves.
This precious little boy just had his first birthday and so I had the privilege of documenting his sweet family in celebration! We played in the park, learned that having your parent's 'swing' you is one of the greatest thrills and we ate lots of puffs :-) I love seeing the simple joys of life through the eyes of a child and sweet Bennett is full of joy. Enjoy some of my favs from this precious family session!
I can still remember the first blog I started and how incredibly nervous I was to even put my work out there because woah, what if people didn't like it?!? Yet, my friends kept nudging me to be brave and start a photo journal of sorts to share my thoughts and my images with others. As I've been working on this new project of mentoring other photographers and business owners, I began to remember that first blog and how it was nothing fancy or special but oh, how it remains special to me. It was a monumental risk that I took, one that required so much courage, and it proved to be one of the most defining moments in my career.
It's crazy to think about but I started Mary Fields Photography over five years ago. In those five years, I have learned a LOT (through both my successes and failures) and it has been a roller-coaster of learning what it looks like to be a small business owner. You might say it has been a wildly imperfect adventure but oh, has it been fun. In those five years, I have been asked numerous times to sit down with aspiring photographers as well as business owners and share my knowledge and experience. Let's be honest, it can be super scary to launch a small business but having people to chat with who have braved that road ahead of you can prove to be incredibly helpful. In fact, I had those people when I first started my business and I am still so thankful for their investment. Well, over the last few years and through my time with these aspiring entrepreneurs, I have stumbled upon a new passion: teaching the art of photography and small business. I love helping people find their voice in their industry and learn to confidently take each new step while staying true to themselves. What a privilege to be able to share what I've learned and to hope that it helps others as they walk their own journey.
We walked through the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Rome, gazing at countless numbers of stones that though now crumbled, were once built to show off the power of the dynasty they represented. Stones littered the ground, many of them etched with ancient writings that I could not make out, giving the whole place a strangely eerie yet majestic feel. You could tell that at one time, these stones were layered to form the most beautifully jaw-dropping structures and that the people who once graced their steps would have felt like they owned the world. In many ways, they did. Being part of the Roman empire at that time would have meant being a member of the greatest empire in the world. They would have been at the pinnacle of civilization at that time. Yet, walking through those ruins, I found that that was exactly what they were. Ruined.