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Gratefulgrams

November Gratefuls

Guignard Mansion | Columbia photographer | Lorin Marie Photography
Baby bald eagle costume | Columbia photographer | Lorin Marie Photography
USC stadium flyover Columbia photographer | Lorin Marie Photography
Thanksgiving tablescape Columbia photographer | Lorin Marie Photography
Gold baby bow clip Columbia photographer | Lorin Marie Photography
Second year anniversary Columbia photographer | Lorin Marie Photography

"If you don't recognize the worth of the masterpiece you already have,
you can waste your life looking for more that doesn't matter." {Ann Voskamp}

Every moment of the day is an opportunity to be grateful, to praise God. Especially in the midst of the hard times. I don't want a life lived that will only be joyful and grateful when it's easy to be joyful and grateful. It's during the difficult times, the arguments, the pits when it is actually hard to practice these disciplines that my heart is actually put to test.

Will I trust my way, the way I think things should go as the best?

Or will I choose God's way, choose to praise Him, to trust Him when I'm not sure how the situations will work out?

One small moment at a time is the best place to begin. Not "when everything is happy as a peach, then I'll be thankful." But now, right in this very moment.

"And we could be like a river of that living water. We could widen and deepen, we could course our way through hard things and plow fresh new ways. And our perspective could reflect a Kingdom, our lives could be a refuge and our choices could be a courage that goes against the current."

1. Celebrating the sweet baby of a dear friend / 2. Dressing up an American trio, complete with a baby bald eagle's silly construction paper beak / 3. Experiencing firsts together - first football game for Maddie / 4. Gathering together with family and food and laughter / 5. A teensy bow for her itty bitty hair / 6. Two years of marriage down, many more to come

September Gratefulgrams

Wedding day portrait | Lorin Marie Photography
St. Lucia Sandels Resort blue chair  | Lorin Marie Photography
Oxford Exchange Tampa | Lorin Marie Photography
Friends with babies | Lorin Marie Photography
At Last wedding invitation | Lorin Marie Photography
Baby rocking chair | Lorin Marie Photography

"God is true to His purpose, not our expectations."
{Dr. Dick Lincoln}

What a difference 12 months makes. 52 weeks of living. 365 days of life.

Looking back over what I was grateful for this time last year and wow! I was pregnant, working full time at an ad agency while running LMP and we were still living in Virginia! Now we have a beautiful 4-month-old, I'm staying at home with her and we have moved to the South (the real South, that is).

And what things have stayed the same! The friendships we've been blessed to form over the years have continued on long after we moved and became parents.

The first photo, where Dean and I are posing as wedding guests, was for our sweet friends Wei and Elizabeth. We're staying with them this weekend when we head back to Virginia for a wedding :) The adorable couple holding hands in the third photo? They are watching Madison while we shoot Hooman and Priscilla's wedding. And the couple in the bottom right photo?  Laura, the sweet bride, will be the coordinator for this weekend's wedding.

If you would have told me five years ago that this would be my life, I wouldn't have thought it to be true. But as our pastor reminded us several weeks ago, "God is true to His purpose, not our expectations." I never would have imagined that I could spend my time photographing couples' love and sharing in their wedding days with them, married to such an incredible man and raising up a cutie patootie little girl whose giggles melt away even the worst of days, living in South Carolina of all places :) (Looking back on my childhood, I always did love the state flag though. Sounds so silly to say that now but whenever we were traveling through SC, I always loved the look of the palmetto and crescent together).

And His timing - goodness, how I so wanted to be married and start having babies when I was graduating from college in 2010. But God had other plans for my life, plans that I couldn't have anticipated, scheduled, coordinated or thought out. Things that I needed to learn, grow through and experience long before any of that could take place. And He is good. The plans He has laid out are for our good, yes, but ultimately for His good, and His glory.

Can I offer a word to any of you out there feeling less than satisfied with your current state of affairs?

Let go of your picture-perfect expectations of how life should be or what it should look like, or what you should have done by this time or your life, or what job you should have by now. Lay them at the foot of the cross and pick up God's yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light. Start living the life He has ordained for you and you will find joy, freedom and peace.

August Gratefulgrams

St. Lucia honeymoon | Lorin Marie Photography
Solly baby wearing dad | Lorin Marie Photography
Pretty wedding details | Lorin Marie Photography
Stay married | Lorin Marie Photography
Three generations | Lorin Marie Photography
Mama and baby | Lorin Marie Photography

"We cannot make things grow...ours is only to grow in grace. Ours is
only to let God grow good things in us." {Ann Voskamp}

This is one of those takes-your-whole-life-to-really-get-it-lessons. I can't be in charge of changing things I can't change - others' opinions, my family's problems, and on and on. I have to surrender it all at the foot of Him who does make things grow.

God is the ultimate gardener and tiller of our hearts. He knit us together in our mother's wombs but sometimes we act as if He couldn't possibly keep working on us now. Take hope, my friends. "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." {Philippians 1:6}

I've been so encouraged by Ann Voskamp's daily email, A Holy Experience, (sign up here) and she wrote about this beautifully last week: "In a world preoccupied with control - the most radical act is openhanded trust. It's happening slowly now: I am learning to fall asleep with hands open, palms waiting and open to the willing sky."

Let us grow in trusting God as He grows goodness in us, grace upon grace.

1. Reminiscing about traveling to the beautiful ends of the earth, like St. Lucia / 2. Daddy + Maddie time makes my heart smile / 3. Giving purpose and sharing the why beautiful capturing pretty wedding details / 4. Couples like this who have made it work over years and years of marriage / 5. Three generations of family gathered together / 6. A sweet photo of me with our baby girl

July Gratefulgrams

Newborn photos | Lorin Marie Photography
Salamander Resort | Lorin Marie Photography
Zoo date | Lorin Marie Photography
Wedding reception | Lorin Marie Photography
Winery engagement | Lorin Marie Photography
Storytime snuggles | Lorin Marie Photography

"The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances."
{Elisabeth Elliot}

Can I get an amen??

I often think, "Well, if God just changed this & this & this, then my attitude would be different or I'd have more joy..." But the truth is, I'm called to be content & have a joyful heart despite all that may be going on around me. Easier said than done but that's where His grace is. Sufficient for my life.

1. It's hard to believe our little Junebug is already 3 months old! / 2. Photographing sweet friends-turned-engaged-friends is the best! / 3. Zoo dates with Hubby / 4. Keeping a right perspective about the craziness that can be wedding days / 5. Getting back to Virginia for this lovely couple's engagement session / 6. Storytime snuggles