Thursday, December 24, 2015

More Than a Baby in a Manger

One night unlike any other night in history… One night that didn’t involve any decorated trees or hefty men sliding down chimneys. Not one sugarplum fairy danced in a dream and there was no such thing as elves.
Just one night. One holy night.
Dreams. Angels. Doubt. Fear. Confusion. Commitment. Long dusty roads. Labor pains. No room. One open manger.
The night of God lying aside His glory to come to earth as a tiny human baby.
Grown fully in His mother’s dark and quiet womb, He was the Light of this dark world.
That O holy night when a scared and pregnant young girl and her man lay in a foul-smelling barn floor beside dirty animals was the night the Holy Creator burst forth into our atmosphere just as the prophecies promised… and as a messy and crying newborn.
This brand new baby has a name.
With his little feet and tiny ears, He was Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
As His relieved and weary mother gazed into her newborn’s eyes, the Savior of the world, who would one day banish sin and death, was staring back at her wide-eyed.
As Joseph proudly held his son for the first time, He was holding the true Son of God, the only Son who is One with His Heavenly Father. Joseph cradled the Sovereign Almighty in his calloused hands.
Before Jesus could even eat whole food, He was the Bread of Life, the food that fills our soul and satisfies to the deepest part.
Before He took His first step, wobbly and clumsy as any toddler could be, He was the Good Shepherd, giver of guidance and protection.
Before He uttered His first word, He was The Word. He embodied the words of God.
God with us.
As he started growing tall and strong, He was Rabbi. Prophet. High Priest. He knew well and was all about Father’s business.
He was more than the son of a carpenter.
To the frantic wedding party, He is the Miracle Worker.
To the royal official’s son, He is Ultimate Physician.
To the possessed and oppressed, He is Deliverer.
To the sick and dying, He is Healer and Life-Giver.
To the withered hand, He is Strength and Might.
To the stormy sea, He is Ruler.
To the blind, He is Sight.
To the darkness, He is light.
To the crowd, He is the Cross-Bearer.
To death, He was Conqueror!
To the grave, He was Over-Taker!
To the world,    HE      IS     SAVIOR!
There is no other! That once baby in the manger is the very one who died on the cross of torment to SAVE this world that He longs for and loves. He is love. He is Savior. He is Almighty God!
This Christmas, may we all be reminded that it. is. all. about. Jesus.
Because, to Christmas, Jesus really is the reason.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” {Isaiah 9:6,7}
“And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” {Luke 1:31-33}
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
{Matthew 1:23}
Oh, Holy Night will turn into Oh, Glorious Day when our Savior comes back!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What Will Your Response to Fear Be?

There are things that I have missed out on because I was afraid. For me at least, fear tends to be the leader in my life. Before doing something, I think of why I shouldn't do it because of fear... fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of messing up. In conversation, I would say fear is my foe. So why do I keep him as near as a good friend?
It's just a couple days until Christmas. My mind wanders to Mary and what all she must have went through. An angel clothed in glorious white stood in front of her and just his greeting to her sent her into a panic. I know I would have fled. But she doesn't.
She listens to his angelic voice... "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:30-33)
Whoa. So, Mary is going to be overcome by the Holy Spirit of God and become miraculously pregnant with a Savior King who will reign forever. I would be terrified. Can you imagine her racing mind? That's kind of a big deal, being the earthly mother of God in human flesh.
Mary could have said no. She could have ran the other way and tried to forget the whole thing. She could have let fear and doubt and worry consume her. She could have told God how unfit for the job she was and let that guide her. I mean, she is merely human like you and me.
Mary truly could have let fear overcome her to the point of disobedience like I am so prone to do.
Listen closely to her response... "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)
Did you catch that? Read those words again. Let them really sink in. Imagine her in a room with the angel who just told her this catastrophic news and watch her face light up with confidence in her God as she obediently proclaimed, "I am Yours, God. Have your way in me!"
In earthly terms, she was staring the impossible right in the eye and saying, "Let's do this." She was staring at fear saying, "You can't stop my God." She didn't succumb to fear or the future reality of possibly being mocked and even killed for being engaged to a man yet being pregnant (more so, not with his baby). But nothing can stop a trusting servant who is obedient to God.
I want to be more like Mary. God has called me (and the rest of His children) to walk through this life in faith, to love others when it hurts, to be obedient to Him even to the point of death. I want to be like Mary, fearless because she trusts in her God... obedient to her Master... faithful to her King...
I want to look abandon fear and comfort and security and say to my God, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

a cozy home at christmas time

 It's Christmas week, y'all! We are finally enjoying the season full force. Last time, Joe and I opened presents from each other (which was amazing) and made homemade choco chip cinnamon cookies, and listened to Christmas music. Tonight, we are snuggling up on the couch to watch It's a Wonderful Life! Then, Christmas break begins... 'tis the season!
I haven't posted much because last week my husband was super sick so I was busy taking care of him and making sure I didn't get sick either! I had a Lysol wipe in my hand all week. Thankfully and praise God, I didn't catch it! I wanted to share a few photos of just a bit of our Christmas d├ęcor around our home. And of course, a few photos of our sweet pup. Because next Christmas will be a whole new ball game with a little baby scootin' around the house! All of these ornaments were given to us and each Christmas, I am reminded how blessed I am to be Joe's wife and now a soon to be mom! Merry Christmas!



Friday, December 18, 2015

Pregnancy Update - 30 Weeks


Pregnancy Catch Up  

How far along: 30 weeks!

Size of Baby: 16 inches + 3 pounds!

Symptoms: I still take nausea medicine at night and other than that, I still have a bit of my 2nd trimester energy thankfully! I also have an iron deficiency so I have been taking supplements daily. Praying for my levels to normalize before baby comes so there will be no complications!

Hubby: So awesome! He loves being a daddy already. He always talks to her and sings to her and tells her how much he loves her! He cannot wait to see her!

Total weight gain: +6 lbs. which is pretty good for being ten weeks away from due date!

Maternity clothes: Oh yes. I've been wearing my trusty maternity leggings with sweaters.


Sleep: I still get up constantly throughout the night to potty and now, the back pain is real life so it's tough to get comfortable throughout the night! I have started waking up around 3 am wide awake. I guess my body is preparing for those late night feedings with my girl!

Best moment of this week: Oh my goodness, so many things! Last Thursday, my mom, brother, and sister along with Joe's mom came to visit us and go with us to our girl's 4-D ultrasound appointment! Can you say PRECIOUS!? The room had a big couch and theater screen so we got to see her loud and clear! Her head was snuggled up beside my right hip ad she was cuddled up next to her placenta so we didn't get a full picture of her face but we saw most of it! She was smiling a ton (which was amazing!), sticking her tongue out at us, and opening her sweet eyes! Since we didn't get a good photo of her entire face, they let us come back the next morning for free! That time, she was showing out for us. She had her toes up in her face and was being so sweet.

We also had our big family baby shower Sunday! It was nothing short of PERFECTION! My mom and family did the most amazing job putting it together. I had 28 hostesses if that tells you anything! I cannot wait to share photos with you all next week!



Miss anything: Nope!

Movement: She is so active! I can feel her moving almost all the time and she kicks nonstop! She definitely has her daddy's long legs!
Food cravings: I have been craving apples and icing lately!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Strong odors still make me a little queasy but not as bad! Also, for some reason, spinach has not sounded great lately even though I know I should be eating it but I can't make myself!

Have you started to show yet: Oh yes! I am all belly!!


Gender: A GIRL! We decided to announce her name at the baby shower this weekend...


Happy or moody most of the time: I have been super happy almost 24/7. I do cry almost three times a week though, but only later at night if I'm not in bed yet. Haha! I get really emotional about things around bedtime.

Looking forward to: Seeing her sweet face in ten weeks (or less!) Her due date is February 27th which is my birthday but everyone seems to think that she will come before that!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Steadfast Love {a free printable}

I wanted to share a little slice of encouragement with you this morning...
What an amazing truth.. that His love for us is steadfast and never failing. It doesn't matter what we do or don't do.. we don't have to try to measure up.. God's love for us isn't based on what we can do for Him but by what He has already freely done for us on the cross! The things we do for God should be fueled by our love for Him, knowing and believing that He is who He says He is... not by trying to please Him or earn His love.
You can walk freely today knowing that His love for us never ends!
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
 to him who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
 to him who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
 the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.."
Psalm 136:1-9

Monday, December 14, 2015

Our Perfect Christmas Babymoon

Our first baby is going to be born in less than three months... I can't believe it! We are so excited to have a new little love in our family. Both Joe and I have always dreamed of being parents one day. It's almost a dream that it's actually happening! Joe and I are also super intentional about putting one another first in our own lives because we just love each other so much. We don't want that to change after the baby comes and we know that it doesn't have to! We want to date each other even after we are old and grey so getaways like this one only make me more excited that I have such an awesome husband. We wanted to celebrate this Christmas season in a special way since it's the last Christmas ever without kids.. ever! What better way to celebrate than to a mini getaway to Opryland Hotel in Nashville...


These are just a few of the hundreds of photos we took! We had the best time. The staff were so kind, the resort was gorgeous, the food was yummy. On the morning before we left, my sweet husband brought me breakfast in bed... my favorite Starbucks coffee and delicious food. Then, we shopped until we dropped for two days and headed to spend the weekend with our families! We cannot wait to take our kiddos back here in a few years for Christmas since there were so many things to do for families with kids. It will be so fun but this weekend just the two of us will always be our favorite! It was the best weekend ever!

Friday, December 11, 2015

To My Mom on her Birthday...

 To My Mom on her Birthday,
I am so thankful for you! You've always been the most kind, gentle, and selfless person I know. The way you sacrifice for me and my siblings and the whole family every day will not go unnoticed by our Savior.
You have raised us to be God-fearing and loving. You cared for us and loved us and supported us when we were young and growing and still do now that we are older. Despite all that happened as we grew, you never let any circumstance or trial interfere with how much you loved us. You always put us first before yourself.
You showed me how a mother should raise and love and treat her daughter... with gentleness, warm hugs, lots of "I love you's" and lots of prayer. Thank you for loving me in my teenage years. I never meant those mean words I spoke and I 100% blame hormones, haha. I always looked to you on how to act and although I may of not lived it out then, I still remember how you treated others with kindness and how you always prayed. I always thought of you as the best mom ever. I still do! Thank you for being patient with me through the years and for being such an amazing mom.
I can't imagine all of the tears, sweat, heartache, joy, and pain that went into raising us. Being a mother takes so much sacrifice, I see that in your life. Yet you have NEVER once complained about being a mom. You adore your job as a mom more than anything and I'm so glad that I have such a good role model to look up to once our little girl is born in three months.
Thank you for loving Joe like he is your own son. We both love you so much. I'm so thankful that God gave me you for a mom because you showed me how a parent should be. Your love overflows for your kids. Thank you for being such a compassionate, warm and inviting, patient person. This world needs more moms like you. I want to be just like you when I grow up. You have shown me how to be like Christ in the way that you are so sweet and meek and kind.
Thank you for being so funny. I see myself in you so much as I grow up. We tell the same jokes, laugh the same way, and now that I am grown and married and can look into your life from the outside looking in, I see overwhelming JOY. You are always laughing, smiling, cracking jokes, being silly, and that is something I love.. something everyone who is around you loves! God definitely uses you to make people smile.
Mom, I love you so much and I'll always be your little Katie Bug. I'm so glad that my little girl gets to have a grandma as amazing as you. She is going to have an amazing role model to look up to and I'm so glad that you are you.
Happy birthday, you young pretty thing.
Joe, Penny, our little baby, and I love you!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Baby It's Cold Outside Shower Inspiration

As soon as I found out that we were having a little girl in February, I knew that I wanted to have a snowy, Christmas-esque baby shower! I wanted light, girly, and airy colors with a touch of the white Christmas season since the shower would be in December. My mom and I started browsing Pinterest and came up with the best compilation of inspiration!
 I wanted to share a few ideas that helped inspire us with you before I share the photos of our actual baby shower next week!
We loved planning the baby shower and had the most amazing time. Joe and I feel so loved! We can't wait to share our real baby shower with you all soon. God is so good!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why I Decided to Follow My Dreams Professionally


I've always had a camera in my hand. I've always loved capturing fun and exciting and special moments. I used to play with those old school Polaroid cameras in my grandma's attic. Every Christmas I would ask for an updated camera of the one I had. I'm pretty sure I was selfie queen before it became a thing.

In high school (otherwise known as that time to figure your entire life out), I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I decided I wanted that because they didn't have to work during summers. I didn't think that my photography passion could get me anywhere and since college was something that EVERYONE was supposed to do, that was out of the question. I pushed it to the back-burner and stuck with the iPhone selfies.
I really felt that God was calling me to not worry about college. In my mind, since I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, college was kind of a waste of time. Why spend tons of money to get a degree that I wasn't going to use anyways? I felt like there was something different for me. Despite all of the backlash and judgmental whispers I received from well meaning people, I was confident that eventually I would know whatever God was calling me to. A couple of years later, I met my sweet husband. I seriously captured every single moment of our relationship. (Now, two years later, I can look back on the photos from our second ever date... such sweet times). That really brought back my love and passion for photo and capturing life's little moments. I asked my parents for a new camera that Christmas and thus reignited my passion for photography.

After marrying my husband, we moved to a new city and I had no job. I was pretty good at being a housewife (I finally nailed the laundry after a year). But I knew that I couldn't just sit at home all day everyday because then I would go crazy. "Should I have went to college?" Those thoughts started to creep in so I struggled with that for a while before my sweet and supportive husband nudged me to pursue what I loved and had a passion for... photography.

I'll be honest, at first, I was super scared. "What if I fail?" "What if I'm not even really that great and no one books a session?" I wondered what people would think of me. I loved photography and capturing people and memories but I didn't know a thing about lighting or manual settings or editing. So, I did what all wise people do...I spent hours on YouTube learning all I could. At first, I was too cheap to invest in anything but my time (which I have learned better now) but I learned as much as I could. I started taking photos of family and friends to get some experience. My dream of being a photographer was coming together...

In high school, I could have went along with what everyone was telling me to do which was go to college to spend money I didn't have on something I didn't have a passion for. During that jobless season, I could of gotten a job that I wouldn't of enjoyed (of course, if I would of had to, I would have. Being an adult is fun like that). I could of let myself be led by the pressure to make people happy. I could of let myself be led by the fear of failure to not step out in faith and start a photography business.

I realized that the passion I had for photography was part of the gifts and talents that God had given me. I had an eye for it, a passion for it, and I realized that that was a gift from God! I can't just waste that.

So, I took that leap of faith. I didn't do it for the money. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I would even make enough to keep the business going. I just really loved photography and I wanted to pursue it. It was scary and exciting. My husband blessed me immensely with an amazing camera and my photography business took off. I'm roughly two years into it and I've grown so much. While I'm not making thousands and thousands of dollars and I may not be the best in town, I love it. Giving people captured memories on paper, treasures that last a lifetime. 

I've always been hesitant to "follow my dreams" because as a Christian, I want to please and glorify God in my life. But I realized that everything can be done for Him. I have the opportunity as a photographer to bless others (in so many different ways!) but it's really more of a blessing to my heart. 

Photography brings me joy and I want to use it to please Him and to give others a treasure that lasts beyond lifetimes.

That's why I decided to become a professional photographer.

And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
                                                         What if you fly?”                                                         
                                     --- Erin Hanson

If you are in the TN region and would like to book a session, let me know! I love meeting new friends and we do travel for weddings!

Read the original post here on my photography website: Why I Decided to Become a Professional Photographer
Do you have a story about how or why you chose to follow your passion professionally? Share it below!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Looking Forward to the Future

Hey friends! As you can see, Disqus decided to delete itself from my blog so all my former comments are gone and while they did return last night, they are gone again this morning.
 I would LOVE it if you would comment on my post from yesterday (especially if you left one yesterday but it's gone today) and let me know how you like the new blog design + site. I have many awesome things in store for you all over the next few months!


+ I'm SO overjoyed with how my new website turned out. This week, I'll be sharing my rebranding process with you along with some behind-the-scene work that the lovely Audrey White created just for my blog! So come back this week for that!
+ In other news, we get to see our sweet girl (28 1/2 weeks along!) this Thursday on a 4-D ultrasound. My mom, brother, sister, and mother in law are coming down to spend the day with us so be on the look out for an update on that exciting stuff!

+ Also, this past weekend, Joe and I enjoyed a relaxing little weekend by ourselves in an amazing Christmas resort. I'll be posting photos of our little "babymoon" this week too!

+ I love the Advent season so soon, I will be sharing what my mornings look like this Advent season!

+ Last Friday was the official day of entering the THIRD TRIMESTER. I seriously can't even believe it and I can't wait to write about it!
+ Yesterday was the launch day of this amazing new blog! The rebranding process couldn't of been easier or more perfect and the outcome is so energizing! As long as I can get my comments to working, I'll be happy as a clam!

+ I shared a fun little post about what's in my purse.. it was really fun and I enjoyed getting my camera out again! Being a photographer, I got used to only getting it out when I went to work but this reminded me how much I love taking photos of the little things!

+ I shared a little update on what's currently going on this season.. I love the holidays!

+ Week 2 of Prayers to Pray During Your Pregnancy went up last Tuesday and Week Three is next Tuesday so please stop back by to check it out if you are expecting! If not, share it with someone who is! Praying has been such a huge priority in my pregnancy!

I want to leave you with this gorgeousness from She Reads Truth... I am so thankful that Jesus is my perfect Savior!