Of a Personal Nature

I’ve been toying with the idea of making this blog more personal…pouring out my heart, I guess you could say. A place to share my vulnerabilities in the hope that others going through similar circumstances might be encouraged, or be able to vent as well. Don’t get me wrong, I will still definitely share sessions and photography opportunities, but I also feel like this might be a good way for you to truly get to know me. 

So, let me tell you what is on my mind:

First of all, I am sick. And it really sucks. It sucks when you are sick period, but it is so much worse when you are a parent. I am definitely the wallowing type. Whining, crying off and on if it’s bad, sprawled out on the couch kind of person when I am sick (honestly, I’m like that to an extent when I’m not sick too!) But I just can’t indulge in that kind of behavior with a mobile almost-11-month-old. There were times today that I felt weak and wanted to collapse, but Isaiah needs me. Diapers, feedings, making sure he’s not swallowing something he shouldn’t. I felt just bad enough today to feel miserable but not so bad I felt like it was ok to ask Hubby to stay home from work. 

Urgh. I’m ready to start feeling better. I haven’t felt 100% for at least a month. 

The other thing heavy on my mind tonight is loss. I have been missing my mom SO MUCH recently. I miss seeing her face. I miss hearing her cackle. I miss the silly face she used to make when she was mad (she would cross her eyes and purse her lips…no lie! My siblings and I can all imitate it! She eventually learned to control it, though we could tell she was really mad when we saw hints of her eyes crossing!!) I even miss the things I never got to do: I never got to call her or talk to her as a married woman. I never got to call her for advice about my baby. I never got a picture of her holding my son. She never got to meet him. She barely got to meet my husband. I miss seeing my mom and dad holding hands…not that I don’t like my step-mom. Sheri is such a huge blessing in our lives and I love the blended family that we have become…but, oh, I miss my mom. 

Tonight we watched an episode of one of our favorite TV shows on Netflix, one where I relived my mom’s painful death and the overwhelming grief that followed. Most of the time missing Mom is a dull ache…but tonight it is as sharp as a knife. Buried deep in my heart and my gut. 

 

It would be just like me to have a Debby-Downer as my first blog post that is more personal…hopefully, despite the tears I shed while writing this, you will come back to see happier posts down the road. 

Much Love from me to You.

<3 Amy Lou

Another Year Older

And hopefully another year wiser. 

Tomorrow I will be 26. You know, I had to sit down around Christmas and do the math to figure out how old I am! You know you are getting older when…

I blame mommy brain. 

Speaking of being a mommy…It’s been tough the past few days. Isaiah has been congested, so he hasn’t been sleeping well. Which means me and the hubby aren’t sleeping either. Last night we did “shifts” and that seemed to work out ok, but we are both EXHAUSTED. Goodness gracious. 

Even with not feeling well, Isaiah is such a sweet, happy baby. He is such a goober. I’m looking forward to him feeling better again. Sucking the snot out of his nose with that bulb thing is the WORST.

I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to stay home with him. That’s one of the reasons photography is so important to me. Not only is it something that I love to do, but it also helps me stay home with my baby instead of having to go to work and put him in day care. It is such a blessing! 

So, happy birthday to me! I’m glad to be who I am, where I am, with the people I have surrounding me. Including you. <3

 

<3 Amy Lou

Three Years

I got a notification from WordPress today that it has been three years since I signed up for this wordpress blog. While it hasn’t been in constant use, this “anniverary” of sorts is pretty significant. That means it has been three years since I started trying to do photography as more than just a hobby.

I have to admit, at times it has been rough. I’ve been discouraged {a lot}. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve grown, and I’ve learned many lessons along the way. Sometimes I sit here and shake my head when I think of what I did when I first started doing this. My first five or six sessions were done with a point-and-shoot camera and edited on a free editing website called picnik, which is not around anymore. I made all the “rookie” mistakes: I tilted the camera ‘artistically,’ I took pictures of people on railroad tracks (even a pregnant friend of mine!), and I WAY over-edited my images.

But even when I look back at those images that sometimes make me shudder, I can’t help but be proud. There is a spark that I see in the pictures, however bad they are. A spark of creativity that has remained with me and is the reason I still love doing what I do. This learning process has been HARD and there have been a few harsh awakenings along the way, but I am so blessed to be doing something that I love and that challenges me on a daily basis.

So, for “grins and giggles” as my mom used to say, I am going to post a side by side comparison for you. My first family session {December 2010} was with my good friend Gena and her sweet kids. I had the pleasure of taking their family photos again last month {December 2013} because, thank goodness, even after that first session she still believed in me!

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December 2010ImageDecember 2013

The Start of a New Year

There have been several {failed} attempts to regularly update this blog. I know, I know. My bad.

Here we are, at the beginning of a new year, and I figured, it’s time to try again! Business has been booming {as well as family life!} and this is the PERFECT time for me to share my love, my life, and my photography with you. It will still be a place for previews, specials, and business related materials…but it will also be a place where we can {live} life {TOGETHER}.

So here’s to the New Year! May your 2014 be blessed beyond measure!

<3 Amy Lou

What? Another {BIG} Announcement?!

You ready for this? Announcement #2 is…

{Mommy&Me} Sessions!!

What does that mean, you ask? First, let me tell you why.

I had an amazing mother. She was an amazing woman of God, a wonderful, kind, encouraging woman with a distinctive laugh, and my best friend. She went to by with her Savior 4 1/2 years ago due to Lymphoma. It was unexpected {She hadn’t been diagnosed}. I miss her every day. So much.

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{Mom} a few months before she passed away

And now I have the blessing of having a stepmother. My dad got married 2 weeks ago to this amazing woman who is also dedicated to the Lord, has a great sense of humor, and is an constant source of encouragement in my life.

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Dad and {Sheri} with my grandparents. Photo courtesy of LauraLee Photography

With Mother’s Day coming up {in memory of my sweet mother, and in honor of my wonderful stepmom} I am offering {Mommy&Me} sessions. No matter how old you are, where you are in life, you should always have pictures of you and your mom. I feel like I don’t have enough with mine because she was always the one behind the camera. Please don’t face the same regret.

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My normal session fee is $75, but if you choose to do a {Mommy&Me} session, it is only $50.* This includes an hour session and 15-20 finished images on a disk within 2 weeks.

*In order to qualify for this special, there MUST be a mom {or stepmom, female parental guardian, even mom-in-law} and she MUST be in the pictures. You might have to do some convincing to get her {in front} of the camera for once.

 

“The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.”

~William Goldsmith Brown

<3 Amy Lou

The Announcement You Have Been Waiting {Anxiously} For…

The month of April is Autism Awareness Month.

Autism Awareness is something near and dear to my heart. Why, do you ask? Because Sweet Pea is near and dear to my heart.

You see, Sweet Pea is my nickname for my little sister, Shannon. At 2 1/2 years younger than me, she is one of my closest  friends, a confidant, and my cuddle buddy. And she is autistic.

Sisters. Shannon is in the middle, surrounded by Jennifer (left) and myself (right). Courtesy of the amazing Mia Coelho

When you first meet her, you would never guess that she has had to deal with a learning disability her entire life; she is a high school graduate, in college at a major university, and has had a few job opportunities. By the time she was in 10th grade, she was able to take all regular classes and no longer needed extra help in the classroom, and for that I am so proud. It wasn’t always like that.

Shannon in the arms of our beautiful mom, and myself in the arms of Dad.

I didn’t know better when I was growing up that her development wasn’t the same as other kids her age. I was only 5 or 6 when she was diagnosed. I do remember that she was always on a different level than my other two siblings and myself; her attention was drawn elsewhere by what I thought were the strangest things. She didn’t really start communicating verbally (I don’t want to say talking, because she could talk, but it was mimicking with no true understanding) until she was around 5 years old. Through much dedication from my mother (who later went on to be a Special Education teacher) and her amazing teachers, she has shown so much progress. It still amazes me to this day how far she has come. I am so proud and inspired by her.

<3

So in honor of my beautiful, incredible, smart, talented Sweet Pea, and in honor of Autism Awareness month, I am offering any session* free of charge to families affected by autism in any form, from mild Aspergers to severe autism. I hope to not only reach out to these families but spread awareness of these wonderful, beautiful people who may seem a bit different in the eyes of the world, but are precious in the sight of God, and were created in His image.

For more information about autism, please follow these links:

http://www.autismspeaks.org/

http://www.autismunited.org/

*Unfortunately, weddings cannot be included in this offer.

<3 Amy Lou

A year in the making…

It’s been nearly a year since I last updated my blog, and for good reason! It has been SO INCREDIBLY crazy in my world. I’m still in school, I went to Israel last summer, I graduate in May, my Dad got married about a week ago, just to give you some highlights. 

At times this past year I have been discouraged in my photography. I’m not growing as fast as I’d like. I don’t have the time I need to invest in this as a true business…not that I am making enough to call it that yet. And this business is hard, expensive, and can be hostile. And understandably so. I’ll post more about the experience of growing this past year, both the pains and the joys, in a later post.

As I’ve said before, I am alive. I might not be able to post much until I graduate, but after that I am going to endeavor to write at least once a week. What use is a blog if I don’t write in it?? lol.

<3 Amy Lou

P.S. I’ll be making an exciting announcement on here in a few minutes!!!! Get ready for it! (No, I am not pregnant!)  

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