An Orientation Birthday

My birthday last week happened to fall on the first day of my last freshman orientation session at SFA. (Techincally, depending on where I go from here, it very well could have been my last freshman orientation session ever. So crazy.)

I had thought about both things going into the day, but didn’t really think about how appropriate it was that they would coincide.

The day was full of phone calls, text messages and Facebook wishes for a great birthday. It never fails to make me take a second to stop and appreciate how many good people I have in my life, and how thankful I am for them!

But this year, it went a step farther than that.

As I looked at Facebook, I started to realize just how many of the people who were sending birthday wishes my way are in my life because of orientation. People I’ve worked with. People I’ve worked for. Students I’ve helped. Students who have worked for & with me. Colleagues across the nation.

And it just really moved me to think about just how much my choice to apply for Double T Crew more than a decade ago has really filled my life.

So as I head into a new year of life, and a new phase of my career, I’m happy to take some time to look back. It’s been a long road of lots of birthdays spent working alllll day, but there are definitely much worse ways to celebrate. Because usually, I’ve been able to spend it surrounded by some of the best people I know (like this girl… dang, Adrian, we were babies!!)

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So to all of you who sent kind words and birthday messages, thank you! And to those of you who I’ve met through orientation in some form or fashion, just know I’m glad I made that choice as a college freshman. It’s been one of the best ones I’ve ever made.

1 Year Portraits – Lila

This family, y’all. This. Family.

I just can’t get enough of them! I am so so so thankful to have been able to take their maternity portraits, and family portraits as little Lila turned 6 months old. They have their hearts in the right place as they focus on God and on each other, and its just beautiful to witness. Plus they’re just darn fun to be around!

I also love that I’ve been able to photograph them in the same location each time, a location tied to their family. And each time I fall even more in love with the way they are with each other.

Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field

I always love seeing little girls in their daddy’s arms… maybe it’s because I see first hand how sweet that is when I see Max holding Peanut & Pumpkin, or maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a daddy’s girl too, I don’t know. But I do know that I love it.

Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field

O my goodness y’all… this little one loves. her. mama. I thought my heart would just melt when Whitney asked Lila to “give her sugars,” and that sweet girl leaned over and planted a big one right on her lips! Nothing like those messy little kisses!

Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field

This moment just stole my heart that day, and it stole it again as I went through the session’s images on my computer. The way Lila is leaning into both her mama and daddy. The look on Whitney’s face as she breathes in her little girl, and breathes in the moment. The look on Chris’ face as he looks at his little one and holds his two girls. The way the light glows like it’s their love radiating out of their bodies. Love it.

Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field
And because y’all know I am big on showing the realistic side of parenthood along with the pretty side… I just had to share this one! Too funny!

Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field

A quick change and it was Lila’s turn to steal the show! Can’t believe she’s one already!!

Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field

That face! So darn cute!
Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field

Can we just talk about that adorable little outfit? The Minnie Mouse shirt. The pink converse. The jean jacket hoodie. And the bow that miraculously stayed in for pretty much the whole shoot!

Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field Nacogdoches photographer fall family and 1 year portrait session in a sunlit field

Happy birthday, Lila! Thanks for sharing those adorable little grins with me! And Whitney & Chris – once again, THANK YOU for letting me be the one to photograph your family. It’s an honor.

Real Friendship

There are people in our lives we like immediately. They become part of our day-to-day lives and we’re ok with that. As life seasons change and we move into next stages, sometimes those people may fade out of the day-to-day. We don’t intentionally let them go, but they fade out.

There are people in our lives who come in with a bang and leave just as dramatically. They are friends, until they aren’t anymore.

There are people who drift in for a short time, and then drift right back out, sometimes almost unnoticed.

 

And then there are the few and far between. The ones who come into our lives, and little do we know that they’ll never leave. No dramatic endings, no fading out over time. They are there for the long-haul.

They are there in the good times, celebrating with you. They are there in the hard times to listen to your heart through your ugly cries. They are there for the moments you’d like to forget, and the ones you lock in the deepest parts of your memory. They are there to tell you what you need to hear – even when you don’t want to hear it. And they are there to tell you that you can keep going – even when you feel like you can’t. They are there to believe in you when you need to be reminded that your dream is worth believing in. They are there for silly dance parties in the car, and they are there for the deep life conversations.

They see you through life’s milestones and changes, and their heart just keeps growing right along with yours. They are the ones who no matter the time or distance between you, they always feel like home. They are the ones that pick up right where you left off. Every time. They are the ones who have become a part of your family.

If we’re lucky, we’ll have a few people like this in our lives.

Me? I’m blessed enough to not only have people like this in my life, but to get to celebrate two of them today as they reach another milestone.

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Thank you Gina & Adrian for being constant friends in my life over the years. You both mean the world to me, and I am so thankful to get to call you my friends! You are both true blessings in my life, and I wish you nothing but the best in the year to come! Love y’all!