Cousins… A FUN weekend!

I have always ADORED my niece, Madison.

She is sweet, playful, creative, BOSSY ‘occasionally assertive’, fun, confident, helpful and holds true to her strong morals.
If you knew her, you would realize that she could have pretty-much hand-picked any guy she wanted to date in middle school or high school.

BUT, she did something SO different.
What she did would actually be considered ‘weird’ compared to what other girls her age were doing in their middle and high school years.

Instead of getting ridiculously distracted with immature boys and dramatic break-ups, Madison spent her time pursuing her artistic passions, leading summer camps at her church, focusing on school and earning money- often times working two jobs.

The result? 
Madison is confident in who she is and hasn’t settled into the ‘norm’ to fit in with the crowd.
Instead of blurred-vision that comes with worldly distractions, her focus is pretty clear.

She wants to finish college.
She wants to date intentionally- no recklessly or casually.
She wants to do her part to share Jesus’ love and make a difference in other’s lives.  (She’s already served on several mission teams here in the United States, but, she’s leaving in a few weeks to go out of the country to tell others about Jesus and serve those less fortunate.)

So, it’s clear why I, personally, love Madison.  But, the COOL thing is how much RAYNA loves her too!

Over the past few years, Madison and Rayna have developed a very close relationship.  Madison watches movies with her, lets her sleep with her, paints her fingernails and toenails, makes her favorite cupcakes, gives her bubble baths and practices fancy new braids in her hair.

Even though we’re hours and hours away, I make a conscious effort to keep Madison in Rayna’s life.  Because if there’s ANYONE that I’d like to help influence and shape who Rayna becomes, it’s Madison.

So, in keeping with my ‘Madison-tradition’ that we seem to do several times a year, we ate a really delish meal, laughed at super-immature things and took a crazy amount of pictures outside our lunch spot.

Here are just a few of Madison and Rayna together.  Totally un-posed.  Totally natural.  Just loving on one another…



Thank you, Madison, for taking a few of me and Rayna together!  DSC_5105n

(Does anyone else WANT Rayna’s hair, or is it JUST me?!?!)blogDSC_5110n


Madison even took a new one of me where I could update my blog photo… DSC_5129n


Okay, I might have to explain WHY this photo that Rayna took is so special…
As you can see, there’s a ton of free space in the image.  (This is exactly how she framed it.  No cropping done.)  But, in terms of photography, choosing to make the subjects only 1/3 of the photo (instead of totally filling the frame with JUST the subject), is QUITE a skill.  A lot of people have to work hard to learn and remember this ‘rule.’   But, as I’ve seen with lots of Rayna’s photos, it seems to come very naturally for her!DSC_5149nDSC_4951n

When I said that it’s our ‘tradition’ for me to have fun and take pictures of Madison EVERY time we get together, I was serious!
Here’s just a FEW of her over the years:


Summer Visit to Georgia

Winter Trip to Mississippi

Winter Trip to Arkansas: ‘Love Languages’

Summer Trip to Arkansas

Christmas in Arkansas

Madison’s 15th Birthday in MississippiYou’ve GOTTA’ see Rayna as a 3-year old!

2010 Trip to Mississippi

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