It should be said that I adore flowery language and terms of endearment. I am exceptionally fond of both the smiley face and the heart emoji and I use them often. If this were a 2 way conversation, I would get many an "Amen" and "yes, yes she does." Some of those in agreement would be my family, the absolute divine loves of my life.
I am married to Rick whom is hands down my very favorite person. After 25 years of marriage, he knows all of my best tricks and loves me anyway. I like to believe it is because he knows my heart and likes me. Together we share 5 kids, 4 by birth and 1 charming chap by marriage.
I am blessed to share the passion for photography and business with our oldest daughter, Meghan. She walks with me, challenges me and most of all inspires me every day. Meghan is wildly creative and constantly accepting opportunities that make her a better artist. Drew, her husband, is the athletic director and junior high history teacher at Concordia Lutheran School here in Peoria. I am a fan of his bow ties, his passion for history and his students, his singing voice and his love for our daughter and granddaughter.
Concordia is where all 4 of our children graduated grade school before heading on to a public high school. It is in that little building where they each learned who they were fully in Christ. Standing on that foundation, they have been made brave.
Savannah at 21 found her way to Georgia where she is delighting in Southern Charm and humidity. One day we all envision a life lived under that Spanish Moss of Savannah. She is our leader in this regard and I admire her deeply. Moral of the story: Be careful with the naming of your beloveds. It could take them far from you.
Eli at 19 loves live music, skate boards, good tattoos and very small "they can close at any time mom" ear gages. I love that he is confident enough to be working rather than in college right now. I love that since moving out on his own, he hugs me tightly. I love that he knows how to play the violin.
Ruby is lovely at 16. She is kind and beautiful. She raises the bar for each of us to be better people in her thoughtfulness toward others. She is also humble and wise allowing herself to lean in to each of us knowing we may have a pearl or 2 of our own wisdom to share with her. This is a rare quality especially at 16.
Then there is Finley June. She is a year and a half fresh. She belongs to Drew and Meghan but really she is each of ours. She loves living room dance parties, blowing bubbles and walking outside for really, really long periods of time. She can blow said bubbles in the house. I would never have allowed this of our children, but you should know it is really fun and brings no harm to anything at all.
I am going to stop short of confessing that we love pina coladas or getting caught in the rain. Instead I will tell you that I am profoundly moved by what God has given us in Burnt Toast Photography. The name once meaning little, coming from a Jimmy Neutron movie that we all once loved, now means so much.
I see the 3 T's now as a whisper of the Holy Spirit who was present long before we ever realized what was happening. It was 6 years ago when we traded a guitar for our first camera. Since that time and Meghan's senior photographs, I have been surprised countless times by people, by beautiful images and by learning.
Photography is not easy. F stops, shutter speeds, editing, websites and communication . . . Egads man! And let's just say that I am a very stubborn learner. I am doing it though! Sometimes smiling and sometimes stomping I, We are doing it. We are living this beautiful testimony out in our life. As in most of God's plans for us, He has done his part. He has gifted us with a creative eye and dare I say alluring personalities. He has provided us opportunity to upgrade our equipment from that first traded camera. And now we try to continually do ours. We are learning and growing with an excitement that can only come from above because on my own, I really love sitting and talking and drinking wine. Good sometimes just not all the time.
I did not know in the beginning that I was entering into such a partnership as I have with photography. To be honest, I still can't believe it today. Like any good and long lasting relationship, things over time have caused me to fall even deeper in love with this art. The blessings have far outweighed the hard days of learning. And the people . . . Oh my goodness! the people.
The moments I have witnessed through out these years are almost scandalous. It is something, that a girl like me should be invited in and have the privilege of sharing some of the most beautiful hearts and moments of people. I have sat quietly capturing a father's kiss and word of love to his daughter just before she becomes a man's bride and in turn a young mans first glimpse of his love coming down the aisle. I have clung to a girl who didn't quite know how beautiful she was until her photograph came on to the screen. I adore the smile of a boy's face when he takes something his mama made him do, #btsenior, and makes it into something of his own. I have handed a tissue to a woman to meet the tear falling down her cheek when she sees the fruit of her labor having gathered her tribe together for a family photograph. Peeking over the shoulder of a new mom and dad seeing this miracle, this baby, captured in print for the first time is so sweet.
(a print is so much more satisfying than a phone).
Unique angles, beautiful color, timeless black and white images, countless expressions, hands, dimples, eye lashes, toes: I love them all. God simply knew I would.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know there are a lot of photographers doing a lot of amazing things right now. Perhaps we are the exact right one for you. If so, I just thought this might prove helpful or interesting in some way.
The above photograph is of Samuel L. Jackson and me.
Taken by his mom, Jessica.
Thank you and much love.