Every great success story starts with a dream. For me, my dream was to always have a camera in hand and a great story behind every shot. In Kindergarten, it was bringing my camera to Show N’ Tell when everyone else brought toys. In middle school, it was getting to know the employees at my local photo lab. In high school, it was an essay I wrote about my 'dream job' of being a photographer.
I have been truly fortunate to watch my lifelong passion of photography bloom into a career and source of happiness in my life.Part of that happiness comes from my love of children and embracing that in my business. My adoration for kids allows me to engage them in a way that makes sessions feel more like a play-date! Whether it’s chasing them around trees or fields, chatting with them about their favorite flavor of ice cream or watching them laugh while I make a funny face, I find it truly uplifting to be a part of their world.
In the same way that every picture tells a story, so too does my blog. I use it to capture pieces of both my professional and personal life. It includes client session photos, engaging stories behind those clients, and even little glimpses into my own family, friends and interests. The curls in my daughter's hair and the cool rock my son found are just a few of the things that inspire me every day!
BOOK: GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD AUTHOR: Jennie Allen SUMMARY: The Bible talks a LOT about our THOUGHTS. In this book, Jennie Allen focuses on common lies and thought-patterns that negatively affect our relationship with God, ourselves and others. Each chapter deals with a problem, then offers a SOLUTION that helps to STOP these negative beliefs, while focusing on God’s TRUTH.
YOU’LL LOVE THIS BOOK IF…
If you’ve felt yourself spiral into negative thoughts and fears, you’ll love having a practical way to get OUT of those patterns!
QUICK-FACTS: Faith-based? Yes! Easy read? Yes! Age group? Any
Being a huge over-thinker myself, I love how she separated negative thought-patterns, then offered a Godly approach instead.
For example, when we’re spiraling in: * NOISE or DISTRACTEDNESS, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through STILLNESS. * ISOLATION? …back to God through COMMUNITY. * ANXIETY? … TRUST in His good and sovereign purposes * CYNICISM? WORSHIP * SELF-IMPORTANCE… HUMILITY * VICTIMHOOD… GRATITUDE * COMPLACENCY… SERVING HIM and OTHERS
Also, after a personal season of depression, I really appreciated her ‘disclaimer’ at the beginning of the book: “I am not suggesting that you can think your way out of mental illness. I am not. I have experienced seasons of anxiety so brutal that I was paralyzed.”
“How we think shapes how we live.”
“What we believe and what we think about matters, and the enemy knows it. And he is determined to get in your head to distract you from doing good and to sink you so deep that you feel helpless, overwhelmed, shut down, and incapable of rising to make a difference for the kingdom of God.”
“Every lie we buy into about ourselves is rooted in what we believe about God.”
“When we begin to think about our thoughts, perhaps for the first time, we can stop the downward spiral. We can reset and redirect them. That’s our hope. Not that we would wrestle each and every fear, but that we would allow God to take up so much space in our thinking that our fears will shrink in comparison. I love the quote from A.W. Tozer that says, if God is “exalted… a thousand minor problems will be solved at once.” “
“You and I have been equipped with power from God to tear down the strongholds in our minds, to destroy the lies that dominate our thought patterns. We have the power and authority to do this! Yet we walk around acting as if we have no power over what we allow into our minds.”
“If you have trusted in Jesus as your Savior, you have the power of God in you to choose! You are no longer a slave to passions, to lusts, to strong-holds, to sin of any kind. You have a God-given, God-empowered, God-redeemed ability to choose what you think about. You have a choice regarding where you focus your energy. You have a choice regarding what you live for.”
“We are not made to think more good thoughts about ourselves. We are made to experience life and peace as we begin to think less about ourselves and more about our Creator and about others.”
“It is true that choosing community over isolation can be downright scary. It requires us to take a risk.”
“When we realize we’ve bought into the lie of our own greatness and we make the shift to choose humility, we then can follow the example of Jesus, who, “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped…” who “emptied himself…” who took on “the form of a servant…” who “humbled himself…” who became “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” When we mimic the qualities that motivated these acts, we put God in His rightful place. We replace the lie of our greatness with the trust of who God is- and how needy we are apart from Him. Humility becomes the only logical posture of our hearts.”
“I know it’s all the rage these days to talk about how amazing everyone is, how we’re each special and talented and enough. But I have to tell you, I don’t find these ideas in Scripture. We find our “enoughness” only in Christ. If anything, God’s Word tells us to camp out on the opposite view from the one our culture holds: when we’re weak, it’s actually a good thing, because Christ’s power is made more evident in us.”
“…D.A. Carson has observed, “People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-drive effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.” “
“That singular thought- I choose to serve- leads to our taking risks on Jesus’ behalf, which leads to our taking our eyes off ourselves and to seeing the needs of others for a change, which leads to our taking action to the glory of God, which leads to a deeper longing to worship Him. These moments of unbounded worship then prompt us to long for even great spiritual adventures, which makes us willing to take yet another risk.”
“Because Jesus told away from the crowds to be with His Father, you can choose to be still with God instead of distracting yourself.
Because Jesus chose to live in community with twelve men before He ascended into Heaven, you can choose to let people know you instead of isolation yourself.
Because Jesus trusted the Heavenly Father in His deepest moment of grief before He went to the cross, you can choose to stop being afraid of what the future holds and trust God.
Because Jesus had every reason to become a cynic about the world’s brokenness yet constantly chose to love sinners, you can choose to delight in God and the people around you.
Because Jesus won the victory over sin and death and has made us “more than conquerors” through His love, you can choose to be grateful no matter what.
Because Jesus didn’t leave us alone but promised us the Holy Spirit as our helper, you can choose to get out there and do something.
Because Jesus chose these things, you and I can choose to do the same.”
“It’s not easy to stop believing lies. We can’t simply sit back and wait for our minds to heal, for our thoughts to change. We train. That’s how truth gains victory in the battle for our minds. We stick our heads in our Bibles day in and day out. You might not be able to fully grab hold of truth on day 2, but on day 102, it will be talking hold in your heart and mind. We wake up in the morning, and rather than get on our phones, we get on our knees and submit our thoughts to Jesus. We invest in healthy relationships and intentionally go to them when we start to spiral. We choose well. Daily. Moment by moment. We train our minds. And when a new temptation to spiral presents itself, we trust our training.”
During the isolation-season a few months ago, I volunteered with The Front Steps Project in hopes of bringing a smile to families faces through photography.
Mary, an energetic and happy stranger at the time, reached out to see if her family could be a part. She then asked if, while I was in her neighborhood, I would want to photograph a neighbor. Before we knew it, there was a SPREADSHEET of EIGHT different families!
I arrived in Mary’s neighborhood hoping to GIVE a smile, but instead, I was the one who RECEIVED the blessing! Mary had arranged HAPPINESS and LOVE for me at each stop in the form of cards, notes, baked goods and more!
Even from afar (as she and her family stood above me on their porch), I knew Mary was an awesome person! So, naturally, I was so happy when she reached out to schedule a family session with me!
Thank you, Mary, Scott and girls! I hope to see and photograph your family again!