Why Simplified? Because It's Changed My Life, No Really!

Today, August 1st, has oddly similar feelings to Christmas for me. 

Maybe it's because all the fall candles are coming out, so it's gearing me up for another season, or maaaaaybe it's because The Simplified Planner that I've been prepping for 2 months now STARTS TODAY!! 

Bah! And all the Type-A's screamed HOORAY! 

My Favorites:

A Simplified Life

Grace, Not Perfection

The Simplified Planner

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See, my love affair with all products from Emily Ley goes back to this past Christmas when I asked for her book, A Simplified Life. Obviously, it was around the New Year, and I was in a season of truly desiring more simplicity and organization but unable to pave that road for myself. 

I began reading A Simplified Life, fell in love with Emily's simple (ironic?) writing style and beautifully designed book, and soaked up everything she had to say. I literally either bought or suggested the book for several people I know, hoping it was as beneficial for them, as it was for me. 

Because to me, it honestly wasn't just about simplifying, organizing and setting routines for your home. It was about getting my life back. And it was one of the big things that helped with that.

Whoa. That's a big statement right there. 

But really, it's just how I felt! Emily talked about how "simplifying" was different from "minimalism", in that she's not telling you to get rid of everything but to determine the need and purpose for the stuff you have. If it does, then find a place for it--not several. For example, all the medicine goes in one cabinet; all the cleaning supplies in another--everything should be able to be found easily and simply. 

Slowly but surely (actually, it was super fast), I began to transform our home, and I began to feel weight lifted off of me, less stress and more life. It was shocking to me how the routines and organized spaces left me feeling like I had more room for what mattered: it literally affected my spiritual life. I began to simplify all compartments of my life and find more time and space for what mattered most. 

So after I devoured A Simplified Life and everything she was about, I quickly became a fan girl. I promptly purchased her August-December 2018 planner, and it STARTS TODAY!!! EEEP!!! 

Like I knew she would, she helped me organize and plan my days for the months to come. In the prep days (what I've been doing the past 2 months), there's room for your routines, morning and night. She guides you through this and other meaningful ways to set yourself up for success. The kind of success that only a super talented type-A woman or a woman with years of wisdom can--I have to imagine she's both ;-) 

So here I am, launching with probably many of you, as we get to begin implementing our new planners!  

I've already been practicing my morning and evening routines, and as simple as it sounds, it has been SO life-giving, so productive and so freeing. 

I'll share some of my routines for you to show you just how simple they are yet fitting for ME. I tried to think about what I wanted to get done, what I needed to get done and what caused me stress in my life if I didn't do it. It simply has been so refreshing. But it's important to note (and this is a reminder to myself) that this is not some legalistic, check-list to mark. It's more of a heart-pumper for me. I hated how it was instinct for me to roll over in bed and immediately jump on the Insta scroll. What's worse is then I would not be disciplined in spending my time doing more meaningful things afterward and my day would feel BLAH. 

Like I had no control. But this structure from my planner was just what I needed at just the right time in my life, and it's been so fruitful. I do have control: it's completely my choice. And yours. 

So my encouragement to you is: come up with a similar list that's fitting for YOU. What are your pain points? What are productive, necessary things you need to do? Things that you wished you were more disciplined with? What can you realistically do everyday (with added grace with the baby wakes up earlier than you expected or #lifehappens). Make your routine, and like Emily suggests, put it next to your bed as a visual reminder. 

It's been sweet for me, and I totally have control to add/tweak my routine as life changes and goes on!

My morning routine: 

1. Wake up to my alarm (not always Luke) & drink a glass of water then stretch. 

2. Hygiene: brush teeth, wash face, get dressed (because when you work from home, this can happen much later in the day)

3. Make coffee and read from my bible--specifically truth, not from a podcast, Insta post, blog--not that these are bad at all, but I felt convicted about the way I was seeking truth; journal my prayers & text any friends who come to mind

4. Insert Luke: feed him, read with him, and let the playing & day begin!

My evening routine: 

1. Feed Luke, brush Luke's teeth, bathe him, read to him, say prayers & put him to bed 

2. Hygiene: shower, brush teeth & all the things

3. Go through and answer unread texts from the day (this used to weigh SO heavily on me but now there's a time)

4. I write down my top 3 work/life priorities for the next day that I can realistically get done

5. Update our family Instagram account (@thedavenportsdoadventure) so it updates our future Chatbooks then I put my phone up for the night (I had gotten months behind until I implemented this, and now it's EASY)

6. Read 15 minutes for enjoyment (currently reading Girl Wash Your Face...& 8340 other books) 

7. Visit with Jordan about the day & then watch TV with him & pray

You know when you find a particular food or restaurant you're obsessed with? Or workout that you believe it so much? You just want to shout it to the world to convince them how it's making your life better, and that's my feelings about all things simplified. 

If you feel half the way I have the past 7 months, then I am happy for you friend! Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about the books or planner! Or hey, don't hesitate to reach out and tell me what products YOU love best! I just ordered my Home Base Binder and CAN'T WAIT for this! 

Happy planning friends!

4 Myths About Eating Disorders & How they Apply to YOU | By Ashleigh Partin

I usually am pretty vocal about the things that I'm passionate about, but I have purposefully have kept quiet about one of them that hits close to home. I either have been 1) too embarrassed 2) unsure how to share or 3) didn't feel a sure calling to share publicly via social media. But the truth is, I care so much about others I see struggling, because of what I walked through in the past. And lately, I've been reminded of the several years I walked through disordered eating. I have seen it in people around me, in people unaware they're trapped in it and have felt with some of my loved ones and brides. 

So when Ashleigh reached out to me about guest blogging, I felt it was the right fit for what's been on my heart. I desire for others to read these myths she's debunking on my blog today. I desire for others to feel freedom from the bondage they may feel to food. And I desire for my brides to feel confident and beautiful as they prepare not just for their wedding days--but forever. 

Thank you so much Ashleigh for your wisdom, heart and willingness to help others! 

Good morning LDP family! Big thanks to Lindsay for letting me take over the blog today. I love the brand and community she has created, and I am stoked to share with y’all a little bit about where my heart is and how it relates to YOU!

Let me introduce myself: My name is Ashleigh Partin, and I am a Registered Dietitian living and working in west Texas. Before your eyes get hung up on the word “diet” in my title and you assume you know what I’m here to say, take a deep breath and give me a chance to prove you wrong! I own a private practice, Ashleigh Partin Nutrition, where I specialize in nutrition counseling for eating disorders and disordered eating. I proudly denounce all things diet, and I work with my clients to relearn how to use their bodies’ internal cues to guide their eating. I firmly believe all foods (yes, ALL foods) can fit into a healthy life.

This week, February 26th through March 2nd, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I could talk all day long about eating disorders (just ask my husband), but I have a few specific myths that I want to bust with you guys. I know y’all have jobs to do and families to take care of and weddings to plan, so let’s jump right in.

MYTH #1: I am not sick/thin/small enough to deserve help.

TRUTH: Do not be held captive by this lie!! First of all, NO ONE can identify an eating disorder simply by looking at a person. When I say eating disorder (I’m going to start using ED to abbreviate), your mind probably goes straight to a very thin, emaciated white teenage female. While this CAN be an image of someone with an ED, it is only the tip of the iceberg. EDs occur in petite frames and broad frames, small bodies and large bodies, men and women. And even outside of the diagnosable EDs, there is a whole spectrum of disordered eating that needs to be addressed as well. To put it simply, if guilt and shame over food or body image are affecting your life, YOU DESERVE HELP!

MYTH #2: This is normal.

TRUTH: Excuse me while I leap through my computer to grab you by the shoulders and say DO NOT BELIEVE THIS SHAM! Diet culture has normalized so many unhealthy, dangerous behaviors, and just the thought of this gets my blood boiling (not just a mild simmer, more like full on ready-to-pour-over-your-ramen-boiling). Let me speak to the brides-to-be here for just a sec: Do NOT let your wedding day be overshadowed by dieting or body shame. While I absolutely want you to feel good and be confident, that comes from loving and taking care of yourself, NOT from a certain dress size or a number on the scale. You should be able to look back in ten years and remember the joy of your first kiss as husband or wife, not the fear of eating your own cake at your reception or the anxiety over buttoning those last buttons on your dress (side note – You are not meant to fit a dress; your dress is meant to fit you!!). Moral of the story: EDs and disordered eating are not normal, and there are people (like me!) trained to help you overcome your struggles!

MYTH #3: Anything worth doing is difficult. It’ll be okay as long as I lose weight.

TRUTH: Hark the herald angels singing NO NO NO NO NO. EDs are incredibly dangerous. Some of the common health consequences of EDs include fatigue, hair loss, poor skin quality, muscle wasting, and heart failure. EDs actually have the highest fatality rate of ANY psychiatric illness. Let that sink in. Whether you are in a full-blown ED or somewhere on the spectrum of disordered eating, seek out help! Losing weight or fitting into a dress may seem worth the world to you now, but I promise, they are NOT worth your health or your life. Do I sound too harsh? Are you thinking that I probably need to take a chill pill and not be so hard on diets? I beg to differ. Want to know the #1 precursor to an ED? Any guesses? DIETING.

MYTH #4: If I abandon my rules, my weight will spiral out of control.

TRUTH: If you have been living with restrictive food rules and forcing your body to a lower weight than is appropriate for you, then yes, giving up your food rules may include weight gain. In other cases, abandoning food rules may lead to weight loss or no weight change. I like to explain to my clients that my goal is to help them find their “natural body size”, the size they are able to comfortably maintain. This means the weight where your body rests (usually a 10-15 pound range – scientific term is set-point weight) when you eat and move intuitively. Your body is wicked smart, and when you start trusting it, you will find a far more peaceful, complete form of health than dieting could ever provide you.

I hope that this post challenges you to think about your own food behaviors. If you identify with any of the myths above, please do not feel foolish. When it comes to figuring out how to eat and take care of your body, I think a quote by Maya Angelou says it perfectly: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” If it is time for you to start doing better, here are some resources that you might find helpful:

Ashleigh Partin Nutrition, LLC

214-693-2249

ashleigh@ashleighpartinnutrition.com

Facebook: @ashpartnutrition

*Located in Midland, TX, and taking long-distance virtual clients on a case-by-case basis. Please call for more information.

National Eating Disorders Association

www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Helpline: (800) 931-2237

Find an Eating Disorder Dietitian in your area: http://www.eddietitians.com/treatment-finder/

*Disclaimer: This post is intended for the public and is not meant to replace professional treatment. The goal of this post is to increase awareness of eating disorders and provide resources for struggling individuals to seek appropriate care.

Love You A Brunch | 2016 Wedding Couples

This post has me smiling for all sorts of reasons! A fall-themed brunch with several of our 2016 couples who we love? That's enough reason right there!!

Rewind a couple months ago when I initially had the idea and desire to host a brunch for our past 2016. I knew Jordan would think I was crazy (because I wanted to host it at our house that we're still fixing up), so I gently suggested the idea and told him it was something for us to think about but that I really wanted to do this. I pitched the idea to my friend Kate, of The Everyday Hostess, who is a master at party planning, and when she responded so positively and was already sending me ideas from Pinterest, I felt like it was meant to be. As for the communication in our marriage....

Well, I promised Jordan that I'd start early and have it all covered. AND that our house did not have to be perfect, because perfect is boring, and we've put so much love into our house so that we CAN host people we love! 

So, when all of this came to be, my heart was just exploding for all of these reasons:

Hosting couples who are very special to us, baking my my little heart out, enjoying all things fall, plaid and pumpkins and doing it with Jordan. 

Kate's vision and plans were far better than I could've imagined. I told her I wanted a fall-themed brunch with a mimosa bar, waffle bar and quiches. She took that and made what you're about to see extra lovely! 

Our "We Love You A Brunch" themed get together was more fun than I could've imagined, and it made my heart even happier when couples recognized each other from my blog, discovered small world ties and got to know one another, as well. At one point, we all came together in one big pow wow around a table and continued talking, laughing, learning more about one another and sharing how they all found/met me! 

Gosh, but mostly, it was so fun to see all of these couples again. You have no idea, but by the end of your wedding day, we've experienced so much excitement, sentiment and joy, planned over multiple consultations and exchanged so many emails that I feel like I've known you forever! It made my heart happy to see everyone just laughing, relaxing and having a good time as newlyweds.  

And of course, we had to get a family picture (thanks Tucker!), so naturally, Jordan cued everyone to share phrases of what I would tell groups to do! Ha! So....yeah. There's that! Hilarious, y'all! :) 

A huge thank you to Jordan who served me well these past few days when things were a bit busy around here, to Hayden who made the wine holder gifts for everyone, and Kate who, once again, styled an incredible party. All of our vendors made this brunch extra special! 

Love you all a waffle lot! ;-) My heart is full, and you allowed this little dream of mine come true in our perfectly imperfect home on such a lovely fall day. 

We truly missed the other 2016 couples who were traveling or afar--know that you're loved, and we hope to hug your necks soon! 

How To Nail Your Engagement Session While Having Fun | The Fitting Piece to the Puzzle

I always walk away from engagement session so energized and joyful. For many reasons, but two of which being: 1) I feed off of the couple and love witnessing their chemistry together 2) photographing couples in love is something God has wired me to be oh-so passionate about and find thrilling.

Sometimes I walk away from them extra energized (meaning extra talkative and wired for the next couple of hours). Jordan can explain in more detail what this looks like! Oops! ;-)

While I’ve never doubted the love or excitement shared between a couple during their engagement session (thankfully, all my couples are quite smitten!), there are some couples who unknowingly have the secret piece of the puzzle during their engagement session.

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Expectations

I feel like there are two kinds of brides during an engagement session:

One bride who goes into the session expecting to be loved on and have fun, because...she's smitten over her fiance!

Another bride who desires to look like her favorite Pinterest poses, because she is so excited to have memories like those! 

Both--completely FINE! 

Now, while I wish I could say that I fall into the first category, I definitely cheese it in front of the camera and aim for those Pinterest shots I’ve seen instead of just letting Jordan wrap me up in his arms and giggle or rest naturally with him. So I’m not pointing fingers, but simply suggesting what I've witnessed photographs best. I hope to encourage some of you with this blog post!

Please do look through past blog posts of mine, Pinterest, Instagram or wherever you find inspiring engagement pictures.

BUT.

Do know that those dreamy images where your fiancé has romantically pulled your neck in for a kiss while your eyes are closes and it’s like you’re melting in his arms as he lands one on your lips—that pose happened naturally for that couple on Pinterest, because they were in love in front of the camera while the photographer was guiding them. Not posing.

TRY TO

That photo where your fiancé has you wrapped up in his arms as your heads meet so naturally as if you’re meant to fit together as a puzzle piece? Those work so much better when you:

are relaxed and present in the moment, acknowledging who you’re taking pictures with;

why you’re taking these pictures;

what these pictures will mean to you later;

and generally aim to love on your fiancé and have fun.

BE YOU. You know the way you cuddle together on the couch? The way he comes up behind you in the kitchen and hugs you tight? The way you lean in and lay your head on his shoulder or kiss his cheek? When your expectations are to just be YOU with a little coaching and guiding from me, it just fits. The fitting piece to the puzzle is connected. 

AVOID

specific advice from others that suggest what to do with your eyes, hands, body, etc.;

thinking too much or trying to hard;

unrealistic expectations.

Let me guide you and orchestrate sweet, romantic and fun moments to naturally unfold for you. 

If you’ve been in front of my camera, you know that I do suggest poses for you, but you do not stay in those specific poses for long. I’m constantly talking to you, telling you to sway this way, walk that way, look down, whisper in her ear, and so forth. I’m hoping to create candid moments for you, but what the best is when couples take this and laugh, cuddle and flirt through it.

It’s the best when I can almost literally see my brides melting in their groom’s arms when I suggest poses, and that relaxed act of just being present in the moment automatically allows them to look so natural, dreamy and fit together so romantically. 

So when you’re in front of my camera, remember this: you are marrying this fiancé in front of you. You love them. Remember, you love them! Those butterflies and feelings of nerves mixed with heartfelt excitement on your proposal day? Wrap those up and let all of this be present with you during your session. Forget about how much time it took to pick out an outfit, your previous work day, the meeting you have with your caterer next week—and just be in each other’s arms, hug each other tight and take advantage when I tell you to go in for the “slowest kiss imaginable”. ;-)

It’s the couples who naturally come to their engagement session with the expectation of loving who they’re with in front of the camera who leave me feeling so energized and excited after their session. They make photographing them so easy, contagious and “Pinterest-worthy”.

So when you’re preparing for your engagement session, let the perfection go and the playfulness exuberate the love and joy you share between the two of you. 

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SWOON!

Turtle Creek Bridals | Lauren | Dallas, TX

Natural, natural, natural. 

Goodness, this bride is such a natural beauty! Natural in front of the camera, and just so naturally gorgeous with her long, beautiful hair and soft features. I feel like she just blossomed and truly felt beautiful in front of my camera. 

And of course, it wasn't hard for me to reassure her of that! 

The fun thing was she looked just as beautiful and more on her wedding day, because she had Matt next to her. It was seriously the neatest thing to witness their excitement and joy on their wedding day. And I can't wait to share that with all of you!

But for now, I'm excited to share her bridal portraits we took in Turtle Creek. 

Her lace dress, her gorgeous smile and beautiful locks! One for the books, y'all. 

Hugs Lauren!

LDP's 3 Year Anniversary | Part Time to Full Time Photography

This time of year always gives me all the feels. 

Like. I pinch myself. 

Rewind...

...a little over 3 years ago: Jordan and I had just gotten married on June 1, 2013 in my hometown of Artesia, NM where we had been putting all of our time into planning, creating and executing our dream DIY wedding in my family's barn. Oh, and going to school. That too! We finished up our undergraduate degrees, and then we heard wedding bells! It all happened so quickly. 

I was telling a friend of mine today while we were getting pedicures that I remember throughout my wedding process--the bridals, the wedding--thinking how fun it must be for Jess (our wedding photographer) to get to take pictures.

But. I never thought about myself actually pursuing or doing this. 

I was always that girl. 

You see, I was always the girl with the disposal cameras when we were younger; the girl with the digital camera throughout my high school years (the girl who over posted to FB, more so); and the girl with the DSLR camera in college who didn't know how to use it (yep, so true. automatic all the way peeps). 

That spring before we graduated and got married, another one of my besties/roommates got engaged. Our other roommate (thank you Jordan!) encouraged me to take engagement pictures of Jess and Ryan, because they weren't sure what they were going to do for them, and you know, I had a camera. Why not!? So one Sunday after church, we set out in the blaring hot sun (totally midday) to take their engagement pictures. 

Golden hour? What's that? Hehe. 

But you know what? It was fun having a couple, who's so in love and excited, in front of my camera. Instead of farmland and sunsets, which I was particularly comfortable with! 

So what changed...

Well, once we returned from our honeymoon and started getting settled into our little apartment, I entertained some interest I had gotten after I posted Jess and Ryan's engagement pictures to Facebook. Because, you know, when you post on Facebook, it clearly means you're a professional. Oops! Not judging. I did it! 

So I took my kit lens and DSLR on Auto to a session, and I loved it. I even edited it in a program that came with my laptop--clueless. This is when the idea of....could I? should I? 

After posting a few more of those pictures on my personal Facebook, I received more inquiries (not sure how, but thank you guys! you got me started!). Not only that, but my husband Jordan told me I was good. Thanks for lying Jordan. It obviously was a well-thought out lie. ;-) So again, naturally, I drove over to Starbucks one night, and I took the leap. 

Our apartment was so new to us, after we'd gotten into town from our honeymoon, that we didn't have internet. So I used Starbucks', and I took the leap to create a Facebook page for Lindsay Davenport Photography. 

Wham Bam I was legit! A true photographer in business ;-) 

But really, I drove home that evening actually very emotional. I was emotional, because 1) that's me. Hi, I'm Lindsay, and I'm a major feeler. And 2) I had a feeling this was actually something that could have purpose. 

Today 

So here I am today, reminiscing on these past 3 years of busyness, hustle, passion and grit. These past 3 years of mistakes, lessons learned and humility gained. These past 3 years of new experiences, beautiful scenes and new friendships. 

Overwhelmed. Thankful. Humbled. 

The past 3 years consisted of 2 years pursuing photography while in graduate school and a year working full time as a speech pathologist. While I definitely have my regrets, which I may share in a later post, I'm so thankful to have 2 careers that I can say I truly love--a more variable career and a steady career, should we need it in the years to come. Both which leave me feeling fulfilled and energized. 

While this next year looks like a heavier load of photography before baby Dav comes, I hope to continue to pursue speech pathology in some form, whether PRN or part time. 

But for today, I can't believe I can finally say it, but I'm going full time with photography after 3 years!

I can't thank or hug you all who have been in front of my camera, commented or left encouraging emails/messages or attended workshops. You are who have made LDP what it is today, and this is me trying to thank you, if I'm not able to personally. 

I feel like I am the best me when I am behind my camera interacting with people. 

In the future

You can expect a Lindsay Davenport Photography workshop to be announced for this upcoming August/September, more 1-1 mentoring opportunities, more bridals, engagements and weddings and quite frankly, more coffee date opportunities, because I hope our time together doesn't end on your wedding day! ;-) 

Hugs to all and cheers to 3 years! 

Lindsay 

Dallas Turtle Creek Bridal Session | Alysa

Turtle Creek treated us so well with all its various locations for Alysa's bridal session.  She just so happens to be a sweet friend and past roommate of my sister-in-law, and from what I gather from plenty of sources, she's about as genuine as they come.  And I definitely sensed that from my two times of having Alysa in front of my camera.  

We took her bridals in Dallas several weeks before her wedding this past Saturday.  It was a lot of fun finding that backlighting and using her flowy, gorgeous wedding dress to create memories for her and her family. Please take note of her wedding shoes and baby's breath crown, because I kind of can't get enough of them! 

I look at this first picture below, and I can't help but see how much Alysa radiates so much joy and peace. Like her Maid of Honor said during her speech this past Saturday, she doesn't have to worry about what others think about her, because she is so content and rooted in the Lord. I want me some of that, myself! 

I'm excited to share Jake & Alysa's wedding on the blog later this week, but for now, enjoy this beautiful girl in her wedding dress! 

Lindsay Davenport Photography Promo Video

Happy Thursday everybody!!!

I'm just going to leave you with this, and let my video do all the talking! :-) 

When It Click Films and Photography created a promo video that truly captures my heart, my personality...and our brand! I have to give a special thanks to our sweet couple, Sam and Meagan, who also made this video possible. You'll see shortly how adorable they are together!

Milestone Mansion Bridals | Brittany

This past Saturday Brittany married her best friend at the Milestone Mansion in Aubrey, Texas. Their wedding was the epitome of classic beauty and joy combined to create such an incredible memory for everyone. Just a couple weeks before their wedding day, I was able to photograph bridals for Brittany at their venue. After seeing how beautiful Brittany looked--with her hair, makeup, veil bouquet and her incredible bow-- I could hardly wait to see how how the rest of their wedding day would unravel. It's hard to beat such a brilliant venue as the Milestone. As you can see, it's colonial beauty is just breathtaking. We enjoyed golden hour and the use of Love, Lace & Vintage Charm's vintage sofa. It added a special touch to her bridals that just tickled me. 

Sweet, beautiful, genuine brides like Brittany are truly ideal for me. They make my "job" as a photographer so delightful. She truly displays inward and outward beauty that was easy to capture. I can hardly wait to share with you the rest of their wedding day, but for now, I am glad to share her bridals! 

Venue: The Milestone Mansion

Hair & Makeup: Leigh Jacobs Salon

Florals: Coco Fleur Events

Vintage Couch: Love, Lace & Vintage Charm

Photographer: Lindsay Davenport Photography 

Taylor & Lindsey | Featured Friday on the Harris'

A couple weeks ago, I began my Featured Friday series where we featured the McGuires. We interviewed them with some fun and serious questions and loved their responses! I truly love the idea of reconnecting with past couples and letting them share with (us!!) future bride and grooms planning their own marriages and weddings. Plus, you if you've been following us for a while, they'll probably look familiar to ya! ;-)

So today, we featured Taylor and Lindsey who married last year on May 24th at the Roswell Country Club. Like they'll tell you, they were surrounded by loved ones who were all so joyful--including us! They just celebrated their one year anniversary, and we're loving the wisdom they have to share in their interview--as well as hearing the silly things that make them laugh at each other!

What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

Lindsey: I loved my whole wedding day, but one of my favorite memories was getting to greet all of our guests in the receiving line. Standing with our parents, Taylor had a brief chance to meet a lot of my aunts and uncles for the first time and I got to meet some of his family friends for the first time. It was awesome to see how many people truly cared about us, and supported our marriage. It was almost overwhelming how loving and happy everyone was. 

Taylor: I remember standing with Lindsey and looking out on all the people in the audience who were there to watch us get married.  That feeling of being surrounded by so many friends and family all in one place who are there to support you and love you is an extraordinary feeling and a memory I won’t forget.

What one piece of advice would you give to a bride & groom planning their wedding right now?

Lindsey: Hmmm… I think I would tell them to make sure they are planning their marriage, not just their wedding. While wedding plans take up a ton of time, they also take up a lot of conversations. My advice would be to take a date night with your fiancé at least once a week and make a rule to talk about other things… wedding plans are off limits. I mean, you don’t need to be legalistic about it, but make it a point to work on your relationship…because after all, that is the point, right?

Taylor: Always register for the NON-STICK pans! Otherwise, you will hate yourself.

Describe one of your favorite dates since you’ve been married? In your home or out on the town?

Lindsey: Some of my favorite dates since we’ve been married have been the “unplanned dates”. We try to have date nights once a week, but that doesn’t always happen. One of my favorite dates may seem pretty ordinary, however, to me it was really fun. One time we were in the middle of a busy/stressful week, it was Wednesday 8:00 in the evening after a meeting at church when we realized 1) we had to make dinner and 2) we would not be able to have a date night that week. So we decided to just go eat at our favorite Mexican food restaurant. It was almost 9 before we got our food, but it was nice to break the routine and spend quality time with each other in the middle of the week. 

Taylor: I really enjoy biking to the NMSU pool from our house, swimming some laps, and catching some rays before we bike home.

What is your favorite meal your spouse makes? 

Lindsey: Taylor makes a simple meal called “10 can soup” that is so yummy to eat on cold winter days. 

Taylor: Pretty much any recipe she gets from Pinterest is a homerun!

Tell me what makes marriage worth fighting for?

Lindsey: The fact that marriage is a reflection of Jesus’ relationship with His body of believers makes my marriage totally worth fighting for.  In the Bible, Jesus never leaves or forsakes His believers, no matter how many times they mess up. He fights for His bride, and gives His life for her (the believers). Knowing that Jesus would die for me, even though I disappoint Him far more than Taylor could ever disappoint me, makes my marriage worth the fight. Not to mention that Satan hates and tries to destroy everything good. And God made marriage to be good.  God is stronger much more powerful than Satan, therefore, I can rest secure that there is no situation that Taylor and I go through that can break us apart if we are truly seeking God. No matter how much we can hurt each other, God has the power to bring healing. Having that security in God makes me secure in my marriage. 

Taylor: The vows we made to be committed to each other, when life is great and when life sucks, is worth fighting for.

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received since being married?

Lindsey: Always continue to date. It is so true that we need good quality time together every week. The busyness of life gets in the way of quality communication. Date nights are a perfect excuse to hang out and have uninterrupted alone time. 

Taylor: Don’t go to bed angry- especially with the big issues.  Taking some extra time to wrestle through our arguments has been worth the sleep lost in order to prevent resentment and speed the healing process.

What makes you giggle about your spouse?  

Lindsey: Oh there are many things that Taylor does that make me giggle. But one of my favorites comes when I am riding with Taylor on long car rides. When we go on trips Taylor makes me giggle because he mouths the words to all his favorite songs and makes up hand motions to go along. I have my own personal concert, and even though he is being silly, it is very attractive. ☺ 

Taylor: Lindsey’s cute grumpiness in the morning often makes me (silently) giggle.

What piece of advice would you share with a future husband and wife? 

Lindsey: I am no marriage guru, I’ve only been married a year. One thing I have learned in that year is something very simple, but good to remember is to always be honest. Marriage is unique because it is a safe place. It is an environment that should be free from judgement, therefore, it is okay to be honest. Talk about everything, even the awkward stuff. 

Taylor: Never stop being a student of your spouse.

Jonathon & Maria's Debt Free Journey | Our Trip to the Dave Ramsey Show

“WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEE!!!!!!!”

Jonathan and Maria screamed together in the presence of everyone at the Dave Ramsey show, employees included. This time had finally come for them! 21 months of budgeting, eating more in than out and taking the advice Dave Ramsey gives through his Financial Peace University class led them to their last house payment and a feeling of joy and relief. Just moments before they aired on the Dave Ramsey Show, Jordan and I were able to visit with and get to know them and their cute little son Jacob. I’m tellin’ ya, he was a cutie! When Jordan asked if it felt any different once they made their final house payment, and Maria had to admit that it actually....did! Yeah, it really did! 

Jordan has always been a fan of Dave Ramsey and financial advice.  When we were engaged, we took his Financial Peace University class at our local church. This is an area in our marriage where Jordan leads us well, and I learn a lot from him. Jordan's favorite pastime is to listen to the Dave Ramsey Show on his phone--present or past podcasts--he'll listen to anything. He’s very good in this area, and I’m thankful for the ways he’s blessed our business with his knowledge. I’m pretty sure I was capable of blowing $$,$$$ on lenses and camera gear a couple years ago when we started our business. BUT. This man here kept our business on a debt-free track, which we’ll share in another blog post later. Hey, just another way we compliment each other. ;-)

For now, we want to share the story of this beautiful family right here. We were so encouraged by their story and loved being able to visit with and ask them questions.

What was also special for us is we not only got to meet Dave and this sweet family, BUT we got to photograph their debt free scream for them. And then it hit us. We aren’t limited to only using our gifts and gear to save wedding day and anniversaries memories—we can photograph the excitement on the daily of people we meet on the road! Or anywhere! I truly experienced the same feelings of nerves and joy that I do on wedding days as I stood there waiting to start snapping their debt free scream. SO MUCH FUN! We loved that the entire Dave Ramsey team stopped what they were doing to show their respect and excitement for the family, as well. You'll notice that they clapped and celebrated from the balcony above as they screamed. The atmosphere was just awesome. Join in on the excitement we experienced by watching their video here and reading their story below! 

We were thankful they shared their story--what worked for them and their drive for becoming debt-free--with us for you to read here:

Our journey started 3.5 years ago. Maria and I took Financial Peace University when we were engaged. It started really great discussions about our future and what we wanted our life to look like.  We both had the desire for Maria to stay home with our future kids and we knew it wasn't going to magically happen. We had to be intentional. That was our drive to start and finish this journey.

One of the hardest parts was the beginning....figuring out how to budget and using the envelope system. It was hard for both of us to use only cash, but we decided to give it a few months. Once we got the ball rolling, it became easier month by month.  We put a budget meeting on our calendar at the end of every month to review the previous and next month budgets. This communication was so important and has really helped us grow closer together.

We didn't have any debt when we got married, although I had paid off a 20K student loan before we got married. We started saving as much as we could for a house down payment. After two years in an apartment, we were able to put about a 50% down payment on a 155K house.  We had Jacob a couple months after we moved in to the new house. After he was home and healthy, we started putting all our extra money towards the home.  We were able to pay the house off this year after about 21 months.

It was so awesome to walk in to the bank and make that last payment! We remember starting this journey thinking how daunting it sounded to pay off our house. Hearing other success stories was so encouraging to keep us going.  The journey was challenging at times, but definitely worth it. We feel such an emotional weight lifted off of us by having absolutely no debt. It's hard to describe, but it's real. Maria and I had our motivation to do this so she can stay home with our kids. We are so excited to have her do that very soon!

Thanks again Jonathan and Maria! Jordan and I are so happy to have met you and been encouraged by you! 


Spencer & Ali | Featured Friday on the McGuires

I had this idea. This idea that somehow past brides & grooms could encourage and share their joy and wisdom with future couples and others who click to open the blog posts on Fridays. Now I can't claim this idea fully, because even though I had the desire, I didn't know how to fully execute itMy business/creative/blogger/encouraging buddy Jessica Paxson and I were walking in Uptown Dallas last week when she shared this idea with me. The idea that I can feature past couples on my blog, and they can share the funny, the real, the advice they feel is appropriate for those planning weddings and more importantly diving into marriages. An interview basically. 

As a wedding photographer, it's so much more to Jordan and me than just documenting a wedding day. We hope to not only document the undeniable joy, presence of family and friends and labor of love put into the wedding day, but we hope to create relationships with our couples. Relationships that can continue on after the wedding day. We are on their team. Being married ourselves, we understand that support and wisdom is a huge blessing in this crazy adventure, and we want to provide that to our couples. So....we created Featured Fridays! 

We're letting past couples who have anywhere from a few months to a year of marriage under their belts share with all of you! The first couple we featured is the McGuires. Spencer and Ali married nearly a year ago on July 26th at the Farm and Ranch Museum. Their wedding was beautiful, and their interview is the perfect post to kick off the features! We ourselves were encouraged!! Enjoy and share with any engaged ladies who are planning not only a wedding but a marriage!  

What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

The first look, definitely. Spencer’s nerves had been building and building as the day progressed, but when he saw me (Ali) it was a huge relief. It also was just such a sweet moment to be able to see each other, tell each other how beautiful/handsome the other looked and share an intimate moment together before the ceremony. 

What one piece of advice would you give to a bride & groom planning their wedding right now?

Stay organized, but go with the flow. It’s really important to be on top of everything when planning a wedding because disorganization breeds stress for everyone involved, but it’s also important to go with the flow because not everything will turn out exactly as planned. This is such a sweet season of life-you never get to plan a wedding again! So plan it well, but have fun with it too. :)  

Describe one of your favorite dates since you’ve been married? In your home or out on the town?

For Valentine’s Day, Spencer took me to a restaurant in town called The Funky Door. You see, he originally told me that he would cook me a meal at home because eating out on Valentine’s Day gets too crazy.  Not going to lie, secretly I was a little bummed. Well, Spencer ended up surprising me with a reservation at this restaurant I had been dying to go to for weeks! We each indulged in a 5-course meal (dessert + drinks included). YUM. 

What is your favorite meal your spouse makes? Ali? Spencer?

Ali: I LOVE when Spencer grills. Fish, chicken, asparagus, you name it. Deliciousness!

Spencer: My favorite meal that Ali makes is jambalaya. (It’s actually a recipe that was passed down from my (Ali’s) youth minister!) 

Tell me what makes marriage worth fighting for?

Honestly, marriage is an awesome opportunity to know and be intimately known. You share literally everything from finances to the same bed, so you will come to learn everything about each other (good and bad). To know and love someone deeply is so rewarding and absolutely makes marriage worth fighting for. 

Also, marriage is worth fighting for because you know that your spouse will have your back. There may be times that having your back means that your spouse doesn’t side with you on things, because it is not the right thing to do. But during those times, you see (eventually) that your spouse was right, even though you may not admit it, and they were just looking out for what is best for you and your family. This relationship and the promises that are made on your wedding day to be there for each other, in good times and bad, sickness and health, is what makes my marriage worth fighting for. It’s a permanent best friend by your side, who doesn’t want to fight for that?

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received since being married?

While we were on our honeymoon, a friend sent us a blog with some advice (along with adding her own two cents in). The one thing I remember from that advice is to always make an effort to go to bed together. With Spencer working and me being in school, I had just assumed that we wouldn’t go to bed together very often. After that, I made it a point to almost always go to bed at the same time as Spencer, and it’s been awesome. It gives us an opportunity to debrief about our days, do our devotional together, and pray together. Going to bed at the same time is really rewarding!  

What makes you giggle about your spouse?  

Ali: When Spencer is about to tickle me, act like a turd, etc., he always makes a certain face. I know what’s coming so I almost immediately start giggling when I see the little hidden smirk on his face. 

Spencer: I am a very light sleeper, so when I feel Ali get out of bed in the middle of the night, only to find out she is sleep walking, makes me giggle. There are times when I let her wander aimlessly around the room, and watch her as she tries to form sentences from words that don’t belong together. Then there are times when all she does is jumps out of bed, throws open the curtains, then violently jumps back into bed. That definitely makes me giggle.

What piece of advice would you share with a future husband and wife?

Jump into a bible study/devotional together right away. It’s a little awkward at first, but it just opens the door to sharing struggles and victories; and it continually reminds you that you guys are on the same team, fighting the good fight together. 

Thanks so much Ali and Spencer! 

Joys,

Lindsay 

An Open Letter to the Anxious Bride

Like most brides and myself nearly 2 years ago as a bride, the feelings of anxiety and stress creep up so easily when we realize we have only XX amount of days before this event we've been planning for months is about to unfold.  But really, this isn't just an event that's taking place. Yes, it's most definitely a grand program that you and other have put a lot of dollars, love and time into, but it isn't just that

I had a bride text me today who admitted she's felt nervous and as if she's forgetting something. She lays in bed at night and anxiety creeps in as she thinks and plans.  My heart felt for her, because firstly, I have had some dark nights in my past where anxiety crept in at night to haunt me and secondly, I've also been there as a bride. I get it. I really do. I've felt it; I've experienced it. And I was reminded of the most important thing--the marriage.

Dear anxious and tired bride, 

Your wedding day is just around the corner, and you have a lot on your mind. There is a lot that most definitely could be on your mind! It's totally valid. But aside from the unknown, the worries, the stress, there are some pretty amazing, pretty beautiful, and pretty exciting times ahead for you...

So let's focus on them!  

Remember that this day is entirely about you two.

You and your fiancé. Your fiancé and you. Period. Continually remind yourself of that! You are not only planning a wedding, but you are planning for a marriage. As much time, love and effort you invest in your wedding, invest the same into your marriage as you prepare and begin your lives together. Can you imagine how prosperous our marriages would be if we did that!?

Think of your fiancé and what you love about them. You are totally and completely committing your life, heart and desires to and with them. It's an exciting day to take in, and I'm not sure it's fully comprehendible in a 24-hour day! You can beg to differ, but it flies by whether you want it to or not! So take time on your wedding day to pause, remember, and feel. My favorite moment to photograph on a wedding day is the portion of the day where we document the bride and groom. I remind them beforehand that this is one segment of their wedding day that they get to spend together, just the two of them. In each others arms. And once they realize that, it's such a rush for us to photograph and savor!

It's not about a perfect wedding, but a wedding with purpose. 

Just to clarify, I'm kind of stealing this one from Lara Casey in a paraphrased kind of way! Any who, try not to worry about the perfect, nitty gritty details of your wedding day. I am naturally the kind of person who would do this. So instead, I told myself that I would work as hard as I could to get whatever I could done, but once the Monday before my wedding hit, I wrote down those extra little details and asked loved ones to help me with them. And guess what? They helped me! And those couple little things that I didn't cover? It really doesn't matter today. And I don't even remember them.

It's not about a perfect wedding day but the purpose of the wedding. Really--why are you getting married? It can be a very deep, evaluative question! :-) 

The surface answer is to marry your love. To spend the rest of your life with the man you love! To become one with your husband. To continually be reminded of what selfless and service looks like. To laugh for the rest of the days of your life! 

Nerves are completely okay. 

When you are diving into something new or unknown, more often than not, it would be abnormal if you weren't nervous about it. And in this sense, it's okay. If you're nervous, it's not a bad thing. It's okay to feel anyway you want in the midst of such a new adventure. But when you feel these rising, refer back to my two points above, and let that be your therapy. Just remind yourselves of the facts in the journey, and these nerves can hopefully be replaced with excitement! Fact is: you're going to become a Mrs. 

Times will be beautiful, fun, and full of memories, but they will also be difficult, trying and full of grace.  And it's completely worth it. It is so completely worth every bit of it. Jordan and I can both agree to the good times and bad being ultimate marriage-shapers. 

And you can take these with a grain of salt... ;-)

On another note, aromatherapy, massages, and a glass of wine with girlfriends worked for me before my wedding day too! ;-)

And on another tangent, the following could be inappropriate... but going into my wedding day, I told myself that 1 thing was most likely going to go wrong. Out of the 28407 opportunities there were, statistics showed that at least 1 details wouldn't pan out accordingly. And unfortunately, I was right. But when I was, it didn't sting as badly! Jordan and I had made large, wooden J&L signs and drilled holes in them. We strung lights twinkle through the letters and planned to hang it above the barn our in which our reception took place, but the wind said otherwise! It was okay though, because at the end of the night, I had my honey! 

Here's to hoping this resonates with some of you brides who are saying, "I do" to their honey soon! Enjoy every second of your wedding day, the moments leading up to it, and the future with your sweetie! And share my mini counseling session with a bride who could use it! :-)

We are continually praying for all of you couples' wedding days and marriages. 

Joys,

Lindsay 

(And that's me and my sweetie below! Thank you Leah Grace Photography for the photo!)


Insecurities: 3 Suggestions to Seeing Yourself as Beautiful in Your Photos

There are plenty of reactions after seeing sneak peeks of your last photo session--positive or a negative.

I'm going to hit on the two extremes of these reactions. It's been subtly brought to my attention that our (and I'm going to stay consistent with this "our") insecurities rise to the surface when we're placed in front of the camera. I'm confident we all have them, and they all manifest differently in us. I decided a blog of encouragement was in order. 

I am the perfect example of working through insecurities, and I specifically have examples that involve being in front of the camera. Let me take you back to my high school senior pictures. I was the ultimate winner of insecurities. I could not feel comfortable in front of the camera; I was hyper-critical with the results; and I ultimately did not enjoy the whole experience because of this. Doesn't that sound…horrible? Sad? Had my confidence, selfishness and worth been placed elsewhere, I would have told you that my senior pictures were: "amazing", "so much fun", "a wonderful memory of my high school years". But if you notice, that's not how I remembered those pictures, unfortunately. I truly want to change this mindset around for myself and for my clients. 

Here I am on the other side of the camera, and I have plenty of encouragement for you and wait for it…myself! 

Jordan and I took pictures with other local photographers last May, and I began to notice old tendencies: I still found that I was hypercritical of myself. I felt uncomfortable in front of the camera, and in the beginning, I just couldn't quite enjoy it. And then it hit me….I, I, I.. me, me me!

During and after our photo shoot, I asked myself, "Why not just have fun with Jordan during our shoot?" "I should just relax and be in love, like I am?" "Do I want to enjoy these photos forever or be negative?"

I came up with 3 suggestions to seeing yourself as beautiful in your photos. These are three suggestions to seeing yourself as we do, as your spouse or fiancé sees you and more importantly how God sees you--how He created you. Uniquely you. And yes, I use these, and they are what have encouraged me throughout the years since my high school senior pictures. 

 Photo by Deztography

Photo by Deztography

1. These are for you, but they're not.

When you think about it, your senior pictures, your engagement pictures, your family pictures, are you the only one who's going to enjoy them? Isn't your fiancé excited? Your grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles? Take away the selfishness and the "me, me, me" of the shoot and think, "my grandchildren will enjoy seeing us so in love someday" or "my parents will love having a professional senior picture of me showcased in their living room". I mean, how much can your family really enjoy having these prints made to display if they know every time you walk by it, you will pick out the negatives that nobody else notices?? I had to tell myself this in my most recent session- these are currently for me, but someday they will be a great memory to pass down to my children and grandchildren- "their parents and grandparents were so in love!"

2. Be uplifting.

You're only beating yourself up if you see your photos and immediately critique them. The Bible has something to say about this: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29

Matthew 15:18 talks about whatever comes from out mouth precedes from the heart and defiles a person. Our thoughts are so impacting! My encouragement to you and me is to stop those negatives thoughts at the root when they begin. When you see yourself, think positively: "man, my hubby (or fiancé) looks cute!", "look how big my smile is!", "these will definitely be cherished", or "hey, I'm fiiiine!" ;-) Just flatter yourself, okay!?

Start doing this…yesterday! 

3. View yourself how God sees you. 

Quite simply, my most comforting verse through my darkest days of insecurities in front of the camera or not, was: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13

Okay just take a second there…and meditate over that. Helllooo!! You're gorgeous in His sight! I can't imagine He's smiling when you're critiquing your every square inch in that photo. He wants you to see yourself the way He sees you. 

All to say, if you enjoy your spotlight in front of the camera and if you can take away the selfishness and criticism, photo sessions can be so much fun. As a photographer, it's saddening when beautiful people overlook the beauty, love and joy from their photos because their blinded  by their insecurities. This is your time to be engaged, to be graduating, getting married, celebrating an anniversary, and the list can go on! ENJOY it and everyone else around you will too…forever!

I truly hope this is encouraging to at least one person, because I know I could have used this during my high school years. I hope this reaches those who most need it, and I would love for it to be shared. 

You're lovely,

Lindsay