We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an
urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are
homesick most for the places we have never known.
This year has been a great adventure! So many of our prayers have been answered and we have been shown an abundance of Grace, so much more than we ever could have imagined. Our family has grown and we’ve seen so many wonderful place and done some incredible things. We have enjoyed another year together on this earth and for that we are eternally grateful!
2015 will mark our eighth year of marriage & our fifth year in business as full-time photographers. Those are milestones to us and we are counting our blessings. As we approach another year, we take time to reflect on where we have come and where we hope to be. We ask, “what are we doing this all for? What is the point? Is creating pretty photographs and raising a family enough?” These questions and more are brought to the table and as ideas and goals are tossed onto the drawing room floor, I come to the same place of unrest.
It isn’t that none of it isn’t good enough, rather it is the opposite – our life is so good and yet we feel called to be apart of something much bigger. The wanderlust hasn’t silenced, but grown louder over the last few years. That feeling of wanting more is dangerous one and can lead to discontent and an anxious heart longing for the next best thing. Where can we go next? What experience can we have that is better than the last one? What can I buy that will make my life better? I too often ask myself these questions, not only in my personal life, but also for our business. How can we continue to strive to be more and yet be happy with where we are?
We’re called to be content, in times of both plenty and hunger, abundance and need – in every circumstance – and yet be diligent stewards of what we are given. This tension is where we live; striving to follow the Jesus’s teachings. I cannot even begin to understand all the plans that God has for us, but we prayerfully move forward with hope that He will continue to write His story through us. We are his letters. 2 Cor. 3:3. And as we continue to tell the stories of others, we are constantly reminded of our own, which was bought with a great price.
So we must continue to glorify God with what we have been given and look for new ways to share His Good News! Our greatest adventure on this earth is living out His commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might and love one another: just as I have loved you. LOVE IS OUR GREATEST ADVENTURE!
So when feelings of wanderlust arise, I need look no further than the person next to me to experience the adventure that comes from loving sacrificially. Right now Katie and I are in the season of raising and teaching our six children. They are our mission field, one day we hope they too will go and fulfill the Great Commission. We seek to cherish every moment we have been given with these little souls and we cannot wait to see how God will use them for His purposes. Lord willing. We are being shown how much work there is yet to be done in our own lives; a work that will take an eternity. One day, we pray God will give us a new harvest.
While God’s creation is truly AMAZING and it all points to His awesome power, taking it all in and serving our family isn’t why we are here. We are called to a higher purpose; to love and point others to Christ, making disciples through sharing the Gospel of His life, death, and resurrection. I pray that our life and our work is doing that. We want what we do to be a blessing to others and showcase the majesty of His wonders in all our lives.
Thank you for allowing us to be apart of your journey and we hope you have a blessed New Year filled with many more opportunities for adventure! God Bless & Happy New Year.
While in Utah, I had the pleasure of spending a later afternoon with these two talented creatives! From Photography to Fashion Makeup, these two are one remarkable duo. One of my all time favorite things is sharing what I’ve learned and experienced, generally through trial and error. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I am more than willing to share what I have learned over the past 10 + years spent behind a camera + computer. I am still learning and hope to continue to learn until my final breath.
If I could go back and have a talk with my 14 year old self holding a Pentax Plus. If I could only utter one word it would be “believe.” This one word has changed my life. The problem was I didn’t believe … I could do it. While at the time, I didn’t know what IT was, I know I wanted to do IT and I wanted to be the best! Fear prevented me from chasing my dreams. And excuses kept me from believing, but faith, no matter how small, has the power to transform us.
I still don’t believe that I can do it, at least not alone.
How can we take credit for anything as if we did it all on our own? All we have, all we are, and all we ever will have is a gift. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 None of it is earned or deserved. Our life is not our own, we were bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). Therefore I must honor God with all I have! This doesn’t stop because I own a business or because I am a photographer. Photography is the platform that God has given me to further showcase how remarkable HE is, not how great I am. I am but a lump of clay that I pray God is using for his special purpose. We’re called to live quite humble lives, but at the same time proclaim the GOOD NEWS!
So what does any of this have to do with photography? Great question. I am still figuring it out, by God’s grace.
I want to speak your love
Not just another noise
I want to be your light
I want to be your voice
Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I do not want to say a word
Unless it points the world back to you
Hawk Nelson: Words
This is my WHY! I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
If only I had believed the truth; the truth that caused every ounce of my being to surrender – to give up what I wanted, to stop writing my own journey. TO STOP WORRING. I wanted all the pieces to fit together PERFECTLY. Instead of trusting the words of Jeremiah 29:1, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I tried to make plans that didn’t include Him or his word.
Moving forward, I now know Jesus as the author and perfecter of faith, who said “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” I was once a lost sheep and I expect that I will continue to stray from the path that God has planned from me, but patiently he calls me home.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
This is one of my favorite verses in the bible. It depicts such a remarkable moment of compassion and grace between a father and son. As a broken man, I long to love my sons (& daughters) this way; forgiving, compassionate, and patient. God has been so incredibly patient with me. I am learning to expect less and give more. I pray for the heart of a servant (and the mind and body of a superhuman.) I’m still waiting for the superhuman part, but coffee works for now.
I am not perfect. My photographs are not perfect. Nothing about me is perfect, but God is and he has given me everything good for doing his will. I have great comfort in knowing that I have everything I need to live out my purpose on this earth. So to those who are searching, whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, all the while giving credit to the one who gives you the very air within your lungs and the light that passes through your lens. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” This is the best advice I could give to anyone.
These three sisters just so happen to be my cousins. I like to think of Emery County as my home away from home. Half of my family lives here and these are my where my family tree takes its roots. There is something about waking up and seeing mountains to the west and desert to the east. Utah is truly unlike any place on earth, this includes the people. There is something in the water here or maybe it is their mixed Danish/English/Welsh/Irish/Scottish/Swiss/German/Icelandic pioneer heritage that can attest to not only their unique beauty but also their enduring work ethic and dedication to family. When the girls aren’t striving to become doctors, fighting fires, chasing owls, rodeo-ing, raising horses, showing sheep, solving crime scenes, watering fields, or modeling on the side, they can be found somewhere between Cedar City, Utah and the Colorado boarder driving.
I am honored to share my last name with three as I am for all myfamily in the west. Growing up, it was photographs that helped me feel connected to a family I only saw once every few years. Now that all my family is on one side of the Wasatch Mountains, it makes it a little easier to see them all in one trip. Katie and I look forward to visiting again very soon, and who know, maybe one day we will have a vacation home in the Mountains. It helps to dream.
Our plan are to head to Emery County this spring, with the hopes of teaming up with another cousin of mine , who just so happens to be a photographer herself, to photograph local families and seniors. Would sure love to photograph a wedding out here soon! I might have to wait a little while longer to see one of these three ties the knot.
Crystal is expecting in a few months and has never had bump/maternity photographs taken. Her daughter Brin came along for the ride and we are sure glad she did. I know that some day these will mean a great deal to all those who discover them. This shoot has a slight vintage flare to go with the abandoned Utah Farm and rustic landscape. Crystal looks like she could be right off the pages of a 50’s lifestyle magazine. Her hair is killer.
There is something about the way the sun reflects off the earth out there that is so different from here in Wisconsin. I always wish I could have spend a few days just with my camera – like I did when I was a teenager. I use to shoot rolls of Fuji 400 film when I visited my family in Emery County, Utah. The muted colors and the desert is such a contrast to the landscape of the midwest. I hope to take on many more commissions in the west, maybe someday it will become my home away from home.