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February 25, 2017

white walls and overalls



My top two most-asked questions:

1. what do you use and how do you edit your photos?

2. where are your black overalls from?

So I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and tell you about both!

First off, how cute is my sister Kelly, and friend, Sarah?!

They're roommates and best friends and I seriously have the best time watching them interact. They are so different, but somehow they're friendship just works out perfectly haha.

Anyway... I asked these two if they wanted to go take a few pics and we hit up downtown. Apparently everyone had the same idea because you would not believe how many people we saw walking around with cameras. We actually ran into friends and had so much fun goofing off and snapping pics.



Ok now getting into camera and photo details...
Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional photographer and have got so much more to learn, but this is what I'm doing and I like how its going soooo...just learning as I go! But I have loved taking pictures since I was in middle school. I would practically drag my sister outside for a photoshoot. We laugh so hard at those pictures now, but hey you gotta start somewhere! And finally Kelly comes willingly for a shoot!

1. I shoot with a Canon Rebel SL1. I think its one of the smallest Rebels maybe?? Its been such a good lil camera though and I love it! Its small and easy to travel with. But really, a lot of my photos are just shot on my iPhone. It's amazing the difference lighting makes. I am all about that lighting. Also learn your camera. When I stopped using the automatic setting it was the difference of night and day in my photographs. I've been using a 50 mm lens lately that I bought right after Christmas, and its amazing. Almost all my friends I've told about it have gone out and bought it. As far as lenses come, its really inexpensive. I shoot in raw, which takes up a ton of space, but gives me so much freedom in editing on my computer. Which leads me to the next point...

2. Editing. I've always loved editing pictures. I seriously could sit it and do it for hours. I've been through a ton of editing apps and the winner is, duh duh duh.....

VSCO

VSCO is so amazing. I love the clean look they're filters have. It comes with presets then they have a shop where you can purchase more. A few of my favorite and most used: A9, then any of the E's, K's, and some of the M's. 

Snapseed is a good app for lighting fixes. I'll do that sometimes before I take the photo into VSCO. 
So those are great apps, but I do most of my editing in Adobe Lightroom. It is such an incredible, easy to use software! And fun fact, if you're a student theres a good chance you can get it for free through your school. I can though Liberty so I'm assuming others school do to?? It's a great place to do basic edits on lighting and color. But I also bought a set of presets from VSCO for Lightroom. I have the classic package and I love, love, love the presets. Thats what I used for these pictures!











Ok, lets talk for a sec about my black overalls. Y'all, I don't know why I love them so much but I do!!  And I honestly don't see myself stopping anytime soon. Literally every time I go to put them on I think "Should I really?" but then I put them on and I'm really just feeling myself and I'm like "yep."

I got them two years ago at H&M for $39 and I've wanted a denim pair ever since. But I'm picky about the fit and didn't want to spend a lot of money. 2 years I looked. 2 stinking years. I finally caved two weeks ago and paid for a pair from Madewell. So obsessed with them and can't wait to show them to ya. Ironically, my shirt and my shoes are both from Madewell too. I could get this shirt in a few other colors and wear it everyday for the rest of my life. No joke. 





(Just my natural state of awkward lol)



And can we all give it up to Jade for her amazing outfit! She's the coolest.






Love themmmmmm.

I hope this helps you in your photography endeavors! Just have fun with it and shoot whatcha like...and have fun! Also follow some photographers you like on Insta and get inspiration from them, and check out Pinterest. Ok any other questions leave them in a comment and I'll try to help you out!

overalls: similar here, here, here, and here. (the last ones are the new one's I got!!)
shirt: similar herehere and here 
shoes: similar here and here

camera: here




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February 15, 2017

My Testimony // God's Faithfulness


Looking back on my life I just cannot help but praise the Lord for His faithfulness. It is obvious how His hand has been upon me and a joy to see how He continually is working all things for His glory and my good. He has been with me on the mountain tops and the low valleys. He takes the low blows dealt by the enemy and brings beautiful things out of them. I can look at the hardships from the past and know that in the struggles to come He will never leave my side. John Piper says, “In all your setbacks of your life as a believer God is plotting for your joy.”

I’ve been a believer for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the church and with parents as home telling me about Jesus and praying with me since literally as far as my memory goes back. I remember as a little girl wanting Jesus to live in my heart. Now I’m not sure as to what degree I could understand and comprehend, but I did want that, and as I grew my understanding of Him grew and turned into a relationship. Now I suppose whenever that relationship started was when I would actually say I was a follower, but that’s the thing, I don’t really know when that defining moment was? Looking back on my life there are so many defining moments in my faith. Maybe it was that first hardship in my life where my faith really did become my own, I honestly don’t know, but that was the first time I really was faced with deciding what I would do with my faith. That was in middle school. My dad had been diagnosed with Lyme Disease when I was in 4th grade and the reality of that sickness began to sink in as I got a little older. The reality was my dad was feeling so bad that we were starting to fight and argue and he wasn’t always able to do the things with me that we used to do. I remember a specific time when he had to leave church early and my mom, sister, and I came home and thought he was dying. I was in middle school and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about this. No one understood. So I started talking to God. It was a mixture of knowing I needed God, but also being mad at Him. So many “Why God? Why’s”. I think this was the first time I had to decide if I would continue to trust God, and I think that was also the first time I realized God was the only one who would ALWAYS be there for me. And He was and He has been. Not to say my situation got better when I decided to trust Him with it, it actually got worse when my whole family was diagnosed, but my attitude and my heart was better. Honestly sometimes I still will have “why?” moments, but it is always outweighed by the truth He has given me in scripture and the good He has brought out of it. I have always loved Jeremiah 29:11, ‘“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans for a future and a hope.” I know this doesn’t mean I will have smooth-sailing for the rest of my life, but it does mean He is ultimately working things out for my good, but also my story is part of a bigger picture. I am reminded of that bigger picture when I look at all the lives my dad has gotten to speak into and witness to only because they have an illness in common! God has taken something the devil meant for harm, and is continually bringing good out of it.

            Another defining moment in my life was my high school years. I had decided I wanted to hold out for whomever God had for me when it came to dating. I told God I didn’t want to just date around, but I wanted His best for my life. That waiting period was tough though. I feel like it’s funny talking about it now, because I did get married so young, but those 4 years of not dating in high school was hard. We look back at high school and laugh because, well, it’s just high school, but those feelings are still so real, and often so valid, even as a teenager. I struggled a lot with my worth then…wondering why certain boys didn’t like me or wouldn’t date me? Was I not pretty enough? Was I not funny enough? Skinny enough? Or was I too much. Too loud at times? Too quiet at times? Too awkward? But during that time I grew so much in my relationship with the Lord. I searched His Word to see what He thought of me. I looked at His promises to remind me of how much He loved me and how worthy He thought I was. He told me I was beautifully and wonderfully made. He told me there was no flaw in me. And who was I to look at my Maker and tell Him He was wrong? He showed me that I was worthy of a man of God, because He showed me how much I was worth! God taught me I didn’t need a man to complete me, because I was already complete in Him! It was at the point when I fully surrendered not only my actions, but my desires to Him, that He brought a God-fearing, young man into my life.

            Another one of the biggest defining moments in my life was my first year of marriage. Not only a defining, but refining time. Looking back on it now the majority of my problems were coming from health issues. Little did I know my birth control and my Lyme Disease were getting the best of me. It was hard. It was the most confusing and painful time of my life. It was so rough because what were actually health problems, I was thinking were spiritual problems. This was a time of real soul-searching and scripture-searching. I have never questioned my faith more. During a time when my body and my mind didn’t feel like my own, it was a fight to believe what I had always known to be true. But even in my doubt and confusion, God’s word was the only thing I could go to for truth. Honestly I didn’t feel it to be true a lot of the time, but I had to know in my heart it was true and remind myself. I had to proclaim that truth in my life. God brought me through it and praise Him for that! I am to the point today where I can thank Him for that valley, because it was a huge growing time and He has revealed to me so much good He has brought out of it. He also has proven Himself true once again, by sticking by my side throughout the whole thing.

            So today, I just speak of God’s faithfulness in my life. He is good. He is sovereign. And He is

 working all things out for my good and ultimately His glory. He’s not working for our happiness, but 

for our holiness, and He’s teaching me that is the moments of pain and sorrow that I am being made 

to look more like His son.












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February 7, 2017

Life Lately: Ft. Weekend in ATL

Guys, I have missed you!! It's been a little bit since I shared a post with y'all, and I've seriously missed it haha. So I thought I'd just share a few pictures from this past weekend and fill you in on what we've been up to.

We started school nearly a month ago. I took last semester off as we were touring and traveling and had two weddings in the family, but I am back at it! I actually changed my major as well and am super excited about it. I was in Women's Leadership which I absolutely love, but switched into Interdisciplinary study so alongside learning about Women's Ministry I can also study fine arts and learn about graphic design and photography...two things I have always been passionate about. So really its the best of both worlds! (Am I the only one that sang the last part of that line in my head?? Anybody Hannah Montana-lovers out there?)

So yep back to school. Which can be exciting but theres also that routine that comes along with it that can seem a bit monotonous, so I am busy fighting that feeling off and really reminding myself how God's constantly working in the little things even when I feel like theres nothing exciting happening. And its also teaching me to look for the fun and exciting and beautiful things in the mundane. Last week I'd been getting a bit of cabin fever so my friend and I decided to take a little drive over to the town over for coffee and breakfast. Just getting out and looking out the window of the car at the mountains and appreciating their beauty while having great conversation (and yummy coffee!) was so good for my soul.

Update on what John Luke has been doing:
John Luke stays super busy with school, working at the school, and events outside of school. He got a bike for Christmas and has been enjoying riding his bike to school haha.

My friends, Rachel and Lori, and I started a girls Bible study that moves between our houses last semester and we've started that back up this semester and its been so great. I just love seeing all these girls meet and connect and share their hearts while learning more about the Lord. It's so cool, some of these girls met at Bible study last semester and are now best friends and I just praise the Lord for that!! How awesome?!

Another favorite lately has been the various Netflix shows we are watching haha. We are both taking a lot of online classes so we will just sit on the couch with our computers and turn on a show while we do homework. We may not finish as fast as we would without the t.v. on, but it sure does make it more enjoyable! Lately we've been watching Sherlock, Agents of Shield, This is Us, and Gilmore Girls. But This is Us is not a show we interrupt with homework, that one is one that requires full attention. Anyone who watches completely understands. 

So this is pretty much what we've been up to lately on the reg. School, cooking, Netflix and homework, hanging out with friends, Bible study, and lots of time with Pippa! 

This past weekend we took a trip down to Atlanta with our friends Isaac and Amy to meet up with our family and see Sadie speak at WinterJam. It was a really fun quick trip- quick as in, got there Friday night, left Sunday morning haha. But fun-packed for sure! Saturday we spent a lot of time at Ponce City Market. My friend Gloria took me there at the beginning of December and I became absolutely obsessed. Its basically like this old warehouse or something that they just came in with tons of cool shops and completely redid the place, but still with all the old walls and windows and things. Theres really cute and also really tasty places to eat and the neatest little shops inside, with really great stores outside as well. I've never been to Chelsea Market in New York, but lots of people have compared it to that. 

First stop coffee (obviously) then we shopped around for a bit. After lunch we found a ping-pong table and literally played ping-pong for an hour. Sadie came and met us and then we played some more ping-pong with her. It was wonderful. And crazy competitive!




This is my "I'm being sassy because I am out-of-this-world-excited that I just bought a new pair of overalls" pose. Really, its a big deal when I find a pair of overalls I like, because I am very picky when it comes to my overalls. ;)














After quite the photoshoot at a random white backdrop place and then the stairs, we headed off to WinterJam!! Pushing it on time as always, but we made it without a second to spare. If you don't know what WinterJam is, it is basically a huge Christian concert filled with bands and speakers and its amazing. Huge as in like 30,000 middle and high schoolers...ya....HUGE.

John Luke and his mom went up on stage to introduce Sadie and it was super sweet. Then Sadie got up there and absolutely killed it. So cool to see the Spirit working through her.










So that was it! It was a late night followed by an early morning, but so, so worth it. Time with the family is always the best time. Bella came too and I miss those girls so much when I'm at college! During Spring semester we don't really go home, so no matter how short the time is, any time together is good. But now back at it here at school, watching how the Lord continues to bless us in Lynchburg with community and we are v grateful.

Photos by: Isaac Apon

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