America.

“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” -Thomas Jefferson

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”- Abraham Lincoln

“We dare not forget that we are the heirs of that first revolution.” ~John F. Kennedy

“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.” -Ronald Reagan

Happy Independence Day!!!! One of my favorite holidays because for one day out of the year, we celebrate together. Thankful for the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for my freedom. May I never take it for granted.

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A Day Of Much Significance: J Star, Big Macs and Leap Day

I’d like to make this post long and sappy because I’m that type of person. My love for sentiment is ridiculous. In fact, if you measured it in cheeseburgers it would be a Big Mac. Or a Whopper. If measured in Cold Stone Creations it wouldn’t be a Like It or Love It. Nope. It’d be 12 oz. of Gotta Have It Goodness. And if measured in the liquidy goodness that makes the world go round, it would be a Trenta not your little ole Venti. Starbucks that is. Yep, unless you have no affection for the yummy goodness of all things fast food/ice creamy deliciousness/ the monopoly of coffee…I’m not sure I could illustrate it more clearly. I love sentiment.

As much as I love sentiment however, I am caught in one small problem. Long sappy posts require time, energy and effort. Unfortunately, there is too much to be done today to allow myself such a post. So I will do my best to keep it brief.

Why the need for a sappy sentimental post you ask? Well, today is a day of much significance. In the words of Desi Arnez (for all my I Love Lucy lovers out there) “let me ‘splain.” You see, today is the last day of February 2012. I know I know. Monumental right. You are itching with a need for sentiment right along with me. Ok, maybe that doesn’t seem of much significance to you but it does to me. February 2012 is important in my small world for one BIG reason and that reason being that I started my blogging career in February 2011. I funny post to look back on now. If I only knew what life ‘Behind the Lens’ would include. Now, what may seem small to you is quite monumental for Mary Fields. I started this journey a year ago with very little idea of where it was going or why I was doing it. An adventure that I had never anticipated but one that I am so grateful for. In the last year I have blogged 100 times and had 30,000 views. Humble amounts for sure but numbers that make me grateful. Grateful because it’s been a wild ride. This blog has been an outlet for life’s growth, challenges, tears, joys and experiences. It has prompted me to more passionately and intentionally pursue three things that I love…photography, the art of words and my Savior. It has challenged me to keep pushing myself, even when its scary and unknown. It has been a Big Mac, Gotta Have It, Trenta sized gift and I can’t wait to see what I’ll be blogging about in February 2013.

If that’s not enough sappy goodness, let me top off the significance of this day with the fact that not only is it Leap Day, but tonight I get to meet one of my favorite photographers and role model in this industry! Could this day get any better?!?! Looking forward to blogging about my time at The FIX with none other than J Star herself. I just might bring her a Big Mac to celebrate.

Here’s to new challenges that turn into life’s sweetest sentiments!!! Happy Wednesday!

Masterpiece…and What’s Ahead on the Blog.

Every artist has what they consider to be their greatest work. The peak of their talent. The ultimate. The best. The crescendo if you will. The product that they want everyone to admire. The product that THEY admire. The one that they are most proud of.

Their masterpiece.

“It’s the best one I’ve ever made,” she said to Beth when she sent her a picture of her bouquet. “It’s my favorite of all time.” Even though I haven’t seen all of this florist’s work, I can pretty much say that I wouldn’t doubt it being true. Beth’s bouquet, and really all of the bouquets were breathtaking. Seriously. I’ve seen a LOT of wedding bouquets and these were stunning. Jaw-dropping. They were masterpieces.

As I was editing these pictures of the flowers from last weekend, I was elated with excitement at their beauty. I began to think about what the florist said and ironically it fit perfectly with what I had read this morning. I have been so incredibly blessed since moving to Dallas to be able to be part of The Village Church. What a wonderful gift it has been to be enveloped into a church body that not only loves worshipping together, but also has an affection and reverence for the Word of God. A dynamic combination. We have just started a new series as a church on the book of Galations and it has been wonderful thus far. In our home groups we are going through Timothy Keller’s Galations study and today’s lesson was about being God’s workmanship. Paul is giving the account of his own story and how God had shaped it.

Here is my favorite part from today’s study:

“The word “workmanship” is very important. It is the Greek word poema from which we get our word “poem.” It means that every believer is essentially a work of art – God’s art! Consider how artists work, whether they are writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, etc. They labor long and hard and with the utmost care and detailed attention. Sometimes they do very little – only a stroke here or there. Other times they make massive changes. But always they seek to bring the raw material into line with an artistic vision. Thus, Paul is telling us that God labors over all believers throughout our entire lives, intervening, guiding and shaping us – all to bring us into line with the vision He has for us. That is mentioned also in Ephesians 2:10: “created . . . to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has a particular set of “good works” for us to do, for which He prepares us our whole lives.”

Know that, like that stunning bouquet, when you are found in Christ you are a beautiful masterpiece, His workmanship, created with great care and great purpose!

Happy Thursday!!! Enjoy some shots of this gorgeous bouquet. I mean really…it’s one of the most beautiful arrangements that I have ever seen!

(Sneak peek of other posts to come!)

I don’t know whether to cry or squeal at this shot…so I’ll do both! One of my favorites from the weekend. Since I was the MOH (maid of honor), I did my very best not to get stuck behind the camera but to enjoy being her number one girl. However, I couldn’t help myself here and there so get ready for some really fun shots of a REALLY beautiful wedding!

They are wonderful and it was a blast during their engagement shoot! Can’t wait to show you more of Autumn and Brian’s Florida engagement. Seriously some of the best three hours ever!!!

The Joy that is Alyssa Joy: Portrait Photography

We met almost four years ago inside the gates of K1 Kanakuk Kamps. There is some dispute about when exactly it was but regardless, it has been a while. She was having what some might say a ‘rough’ summer and for some reason she deemed me someone she could trust. The next summer she came and worked for me in the kamp office. Yes…I meant to spell that with a K. We are serious about our K’s at Kanakuk Kamps. It was a summer to remember as both of us worked for its entirety. We endured three and a half long months of ridiculous humidity, crazy office girl skits, maybe a little bit of drama that inevitably comes from working/living closely with 7 women, LOTS of kamper mail and even more frustrating parent phone calls. However, it was also a summer of great growth for both of us and the development of a really special friendship. We spent the next two summers working alongside one another and shared many a phone call during the off season. She might tell you that she looks up to me and would like to be like me ‘when she grows up’ but what she doesn’t realize is that she is wonderful all on her own. She is the one of the most creative people I know and has an incredible knack for making things look beautiful. She is poised, confident and passionately desires to bring glory to God. She is gifted in discipling and loving young women to Christ. She has a love for God’s Word and desires to apply it to her life. She is bold, adventurous and unafraid to take risks. (Sometimes those risks get her in to trouble…every summer at kamp she has either injured her knee AGAIN or gets hit by a car. No joke.) She is stunningly beautiful on the outside and yet she values inner beauty far more. She is a woman after God’s own heart.

My favorite thing about Alyssa Joy, however, is that I get to call her friend. She might argue and call me a mentor or something silly like that, but in my mind she is a dear friend. We’ve walked a lot of life together over the last four years and it hasn’t always been easy or pretty but it’s been sweet. There couldn’t be a more fitting middle name for this blonde blue-eyed beauty because that is exactly what she has been to me. A joy.

Alyssa, I think you are a gift and growing into a wonderful godly woman. I can’t wait to see where the Lord takes you in the months to come! You are going to do big things no matter where you go. So very grateful for our months of exhaustion, uncontrollable perspiration, frustration, laughter and memories in that K1 office. Never forget the most important thing, ‘L.I.G. IT” Love you!

(Alyssa and I did a portrait session a while back just for the fun of it. Here are some of my favs from the shoot. She is too gorgeous for words so I had a hard time choosing. PLUS she had just had knee surgery and so she wasn’t very mobile. She was a trooper though and fought through it. That characteristic may be why she had to have knee surgery in the first place but…)

Happy Friday!

Fav. Love that laugh.

Sneak Peek: Small Group Portrait Photography

Sneak Peek of tomorrow’s blog! These LOVELY women were my senior high school small group back in Branson and I adore them. Can’t wait to show you more this fun group tomorrow. Check back and fo real…I’ll post it. I know I can sometimes make empty promises but this one is almost finished so really…check back tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

A Heart That Climbs Mountains: Dovie Senior Photography

It’s the Christmas season which automatically makes me think of your typical seasonal staples. Of course the reason for the season. Jesus Christ. In addition, you have Christmas lights, trees and mistletoe for all you romantics out there. You have egg nog, Christmas cookies and candy canes. You have Rudolph, Santa Clause and good ole Frosty the Snowman. Of course, then there are the Christmas movie musts. Elf, which I originally thought was just pretty mindlessly stupid but like any movie like that, the greatness comes from your ability to quote it. So, it’s grown on me. “Santa! I KNOW him!!!” Or you have my personal favorite of ALL time, It’s a Wonderful Life. There is no greater movie. George Bailey is my hero in so many ways. Then of course there is the children’s favorite and Jim Carrey’s most ‘hairy’ role, The Grinch. I can’t say that this is a personal favorite of mine but it has become a Christmas classic if you will.

Now, I know that I am the queen of strange lead ins and this may be one of my strangest but as I got to thinking about Dovie, this sweet senior, I started thinking about the Grinch. Hang with me here. The Grinch is a man with a cold heart, he hates Christmas and he hates people. All that changes however when a sweet little girl with crazy hair comes into his life. The difference between these two individuals is that one has a small heart with a disdain for all people and the other has a strangely ‘large’ heart for such a small stature with an undeniable love for people. This is how I would describe Dovie. (her name alone is peaceful) She is like Cindy Lou Whoo. She doesn’t have strange hair and she is not a Who who lives in Whoville, but she has one of the biggest hearts I have ever encountered. If you just spend a few minutes with this beautiful girl you will immediately notice that she loves people with a reckless abandon. She loves deeply. She cares intensely. She lives passionately. Much in accordance with that little blonde from Whoville, her heart is that all people experience true love and she would climb snowy ‘Mount Crumpit’ in Whoville to see to it that they do. However, the love that she cares about is not the Christmas cheer kind of love that the Grinch needed. No, it’s much bigger than that. Her heart is that people know the true saving love of Jesus Christ.  She wants to know Him and she is desperate that others know and follow Him as well. I am confident, after spending over two years watching this sweet young woman live life and grow, that she will be much like Cindy Lou Who. She’ll climb mountains in the days ahead and see to it that people whose hearts are ‘two sizes too small’ grow into hearts ‘three sizes too big.’

Dovie, you are a treasure. Seriously. You have been such a delight to watch grow over the last two plus years and I cannot wait to see where you go and what you do. Your love and passion for Christ is contagious and people will see it no matter where you go. Keep loving people the way you do and they will be changed for the better. Your passion inspires me and I’m so privileged to know you! You are truly beautiful inside and out! Love you!

LOVE the smile on the right.

Another random fact is that Dovie has the cutest style ever. I am always so jealous of what she wears. Best part, she gets most of it from thrift stores! SO awesome!

Stunning.

Work it girl. Look at the model face!

There was an awesome old homestead by her house. Gotta love the Ozarks and the things you find.

I am obsessed with how the door frames her. Perfect.

I think her mom was making her laugh in this one. Wish I could take credit.

A little bit of sass which I love 🙂 Look at those eyes!

So naturally beautiful!

Notice the dove around her neck.

Her parents gave her this ring. So special.

My yummy light prevails again.

Yep one of my favs. I wish I could remember what she was laughing about here. It was probably me saying something dumb like ok, “I want you to laugh.” That always brings out natural laughter at the absurdity of fake laughter. Photog trick.

Album cover.

Yes yes and yes.

Oh girl. Look at those eyes. Gorgeous.

The one on the right makes me miss the natural beauty of the Ozarks. The tall grass is perfect.

How cute is she? Oh to be 18 again.

Seriously Dov, your eyes are beautiful!

This is the one where your father kills me. You look BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Again with the light!

Wish I could pull off bangs like this. You rock it.

These shoes were perfect.

Fav. Fav. Fav. Look at your face! So modelesque.

Her outfit was so cute and the purple photographed so well.