365 Days of Love: Melissa + Zach

Mary Fields Photography

365 is the number. Love is the measurement. 365 Days of Love that is. That’s what this sweet couple celebrated recently and I was privileged to document it.

Zach and Melissa’s love for each other is so clear. They met in Missouri in 2007 at a coffee shop and dated for a short time before their paths took separate turns. She headed overseas and he stayed put. About a year later, those paths reunited in Dallas, TX coincidentally…or maybe not so coincidentally because you see, they were meant to be. He proposed in 2010 and they married in 2011. Now, a year after they said their ‘I Do’s,’ they are still celebrating their love.

Wanting to keep track of all their adventures together in the years to come, they decided to do an anniversary shoot each year that commemorated something special about that particular year of marriage. Yep, LOVE that! When they contacted me with the idea I was more than onboard. We met early in the morning to escape the summer heat and had such a blast! Since this was their first year together, their first apartment was particularly special so we made that our location. Being a sentimental addict, I loved this idea. We spent the morning doing things they enjoy doing together and simply celebrating their first 365 days of love.

Enjoy some of my favorites from the shoot!

Happy Friday!

Melissa made these awesome little flags and got Sprinkles Cupcakes which are to die for. Really.

There are some great walking trails around their apartment and they love taking walks together. It made for a beautiful first spot.

Mary Fields Photography

Melissa…you are beautiful.

If you are planning a wedding this is a fabulous idea. They had their wedding guests write them a card at the wedding for them to open on their 1 year anniversary. What a fun idea!

Yeah, this light was too good to be true.

Favorite.

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They love to cook together so we headed to their kitchen and did some early morning baking. SO fun.

They also love to drink coffee so these were a fun gift. Seriously awesome mugs.

We then headed out to the porch to take some pics with this cute sign. Love it.

Love and coffee. Can it get better?

They both also love to read together which I greatly admire. I need to read more…

Yep, another fav. The light made me get really giddy. If you are a past client, you know what that looks like!

Married! And loving it!

With the summer sun coming up in full blaze, they were troopers and headed out for just a few more. Love this tree.

ONE YEAR!!! I told them they needed to close every anniversary shoot incorporating something that represented the year they were celebrating. This one was easy. 25 may be a little more difficult!

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A Special Place: Growth, Primary Colors and Giant Leaps.

It has been part of my life for over six years. It started in 2006 which feels like just yesterday. I was a nervous sophomore in college, unsure of what it would entail. My sister and I drove together from the plains of Oklahoma through the Ozark hills, reassuring one another that it was going to be alright. “We will be fine”. Secretly, we hoped that the other person actually believed it because truthfully…neither of us really did. We pulled in to the gates and I had to hug her goodbye, reluctantly releasing my safety blanket. My sidekick. Desperately praying in the car, I drove myself the rest of the way to my kamp (yes, I meant to spell that with a K) hoping that it would turn out ok. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out ok. No, it turned out wonderful. Life-changing. Monumental. Pivotal. Special. Invaluable.

My six summers at this camp, four in college and two on full-time staff, were sweet years that I cannot put a value on. I believe that all of life is a process in making us who we are to be but I also believe some serve a greater purpose to that end. Those years and that place are more precious to me that I can express so I won’t even try. Moving to Texas nine months ago and leaving the Ozarks in the rear view was without a doubt what was next in my life. I believe that wholeheartedly and refuse to look back. However, one thing will always be true. Deep in the Ozarks, tucked away in the hills, there is a little kamp on Taneycomo Lake that will always feel like home. The colors are red, blue and yellow. The houses are log cabins, marked by years of kids who wanted to leave their legacy, just hoping to be remembered. The entertainment is void of iPods, Wiis, Angry Birds and Halo, replaced with bows and arrows, canoes, and slip n’ slides. The fashion trend is mis-matched and make-up less with the coolest kids wearing crazy costumes that make no sense and at the same time make perfect sense. The forecast is somewhat unpredictable except generally mornings are crisp and the evenings are thick with humidity. The relationships built are life-long, even though so little of your life is actually spent together. You’d never know that though as those few weeks/months seem to carry more weight than years anywhere else. You see in this little world, the stage is one of pure and simple joy. Laughter is the soundtrack. Smiles are the wardrobe. Children and staff are the actors. But above all, growth is the story.

It’s a place where faith is cultivated. Wounds can be mended. Fears are overcome. Comfort zones are left behind. Leaps are taken. And lives are changed. Lives like mine.

I am so very grateful for that place in the hills and so I’m especially grateful that I get to spend two weeks there taking care of some of my favorite kiddos. I’ll be kid-sitting for a camp family these next two weeks and I am pumped! Thankful for a job that has some flexibility of schedule! I’ll still be working (wedding this weekend in Lubbock!) and updating the blog but it will just be intermittent with some cute little ones and crazy stories of summer camp! Here’s to places that make us take leaps of faith and conquer our fears!

Happy Tuesday!

Laugh. Play. Love: The Houston Family

Words cannot express how much I love this family. Seriously. I have been so privileged to know the Houston’s over the last 7 years and watch as their family has grown. When I first met them, there were only two cute little ‘blondies’ and as you can see…things have changed since then!

They are a family that values exactly what they are. Family. They laugh a lot. They play a lot. And they love A LOT. Since I started my photography business, even from the very beginning almost three years ago, they have been my number one client. Melissa has been so gracious to see my interest and has sought me ought, giving me the opportunity to practice on her beautiful family. Our first family shoot was in the freezing November weather. It was about 30 minutes long because everyone was miserably cold…and I had VERY little idea of what I was doing. Surprisingly, we got some good shots but I think it is a true statement that every shoot we have done gets better and better! What a blessing to not only be able to witness such a wonderful Christ-centered family, but to have the privilege of capturing them.

When I was in Branson recently, Melissa and I spent some time dreaming up a themed shoot and I love the way it turned out! Matt and Melissa have the most beautiful photogenic children that it really is unfair to the rest of the world. However, I am certainly not complaining! We had a lot of fun dreaming it up and putting it together so I hope you enjoy some of my favorites.

Matt and Melissa, thanks for giving me a chance even in the beginning and for continuing to believe in my talents. It’s been a joy to watch your family these last 7 years and I look forward to many more! The Houston’s will always have a special place in my heart!

Happy Tuesday!

This sweet girl was a little distracted by her fruit snacks…but she’s still the cutest thing ever.

Ok, so talk about melt your heart. That smile is award winning…

Mary Fields Photography

The one boy in the family (besides Dad of course). Got to hold his own.

Mary Fields Photography

Mmmm.

What a cutie…and those blue eyes are a photographer’s dream.

LOVE this shot.

This girl is seriously the most thoughtful little girl ever. She has an old soul and I love it!

The oldest. And what a good job she does at it! Can’t believe she is as grown up as she is!

Sisters.

Bubbles are the best for photo shoots.

And glitter confetti…

Mary Fields Photography

Beautiful girl.

All of these cuties were in a wedding recently and so we wanted to get some good pics of them in their wedding outfits. They were ridiculously cute. Especially this little one who decided she’d cheese it up for my camera.

Talk about handsome.

I promise I did not pose this. She is just a natural.

She has been a silly band fan since the beginning and is still rockin’ them today. I love her dedication.

So grown up and such a beautiful little girl.

We had a mover but I love this shot anyway!

Again, what a beautiful family.

An All-Star Team: Marissa + Peter

Mary Fields Photography

She is a gem. That woman who you look at and think, ‘I’d like to be like her.’ She is faithful. Patient. Kind. Godly. Joyful. A GREAT cook. Nurturing. Warm. Compassionate. Fun. Not to mention Beautiful.

Marissa is what you would call a catch. I mean really, she is an All-Star to the max. I’m sure she has her faults as we all do, but you can’t be around her for two minutes without wishing she could just rub off on you. Maybe if you just stand a little closer her All-Starness will have some affect on you…like osmosis. Well, this All-Star has been waiting for the Lord to bring her co-All-Star into the picture and not just waiting, but waiting patiently. Her faithfulness is uncanny and her standard for the man she was waiting for didn’t waiver. How wonderful too that the Lord did not disappoint.

They met about three years ago at the Kanakuk Institute where she is the Dean of Women, loving on the female students so very well and so very faithfully. He was a Chicagoan who had traveled the world and by a crazy connection had found this Bible training program tucked away in the Ozarks of Missouri. They were just friends for that year, although she was instantly endeared to the man that he was, the kind that is All-Star material. Upon graduation, he headed off to Hawaii and so she thought their roads were separated. A year later, however, his road brought him back to that little town in the hills and his heart began to be drawn to this catch of a woman. He would visit the summer camp she was running simply to be around her and to build that friendship he hoped turned into more. As summer ended and fall began, their friendship strengthened and her heart was more and more endeared to this man she had fallen for long ago. When he confessed his affection for her she was giddy with excitement.  After four-ish months of dating, he knelt to the ground and asked her to be his bride, seeing as everyone has the gem that was before him. On a perfect Saturday in early May, they joined hands and said their vows, promising forever. Their guests sat in a beautiful chapel overlooking the lake in that small Ozark town where it had all begun, and everyone was thinking the same thing about this All-Star team. It was worth the wait.

Marissa, words cannot express how serious I am when I say that you are a gem. You are genuinely a model of a godly woman. Thank you for being such a sweet friend over the years. Being part of your wedding was an incredible blessing for me as I got to witness the great faithfulness of our God. Peter, there are few that would deserve a woman like Marissa but simply put…you do. What a match the Lord has ordained! Wishing you both the best in the years to come!!

Happy Sunday!

(And once again…there are too many. Apparently my ‘working on it’ isn’t going very well)

Marissa and Peter kept a chain to count down the days. They saw each other for coffee that morning and broke the last chain together. Sweet.

Peter wrote her the sweetest note for his ‘Wife’ and she of course had to share it with her girlfriends…duh.

You didn’t know that I was a make-up artist on wedding day as well did you? Just call me Wonderwoman.

And this is my other Wonderwoman half. My sister the hair stylist. She’s the best.

This wedding chapel is beautiful and both Marissa and Peter wanted to get married here, even before they were dating.

I had to post these in honor of Mia, Marissa’s mini cooper. The get away car and her baby!

Somehow cowboy boots remain a theme in my work and its totally unplanned. I love it though.

Sweet moment between the bride and her mother. It’s moments like this that make my job so fun.

Marissa, really you were a STUNNING bride.

Can you tell she is an All-Star by the number of friends she has?!? See, I’m not the only one that thinks so. Pretty girls.

Beautiful bride.

Marissa’s niece was the flower girl and I am so glad I was there for this moment…seeing her aunt for the first time. Moments like this are priceless.

And see what I mean about him being an All-Star too? Obviously he is well liked!

Praying before the ceremony. What a blessing for me to be there in the midst of this.

Here comes the bride! Peter’s face says it all.

I think he’s excited or something…

This reaction to being pronounced ‘husband and wife’ is the best ever. Not to mention what he was given permission to do because of it…

Officially Mr. and Mrs.!

Love this.

So…there was this really awesome Rolls Royce.

Marissa LOVES coffee so there had to be a coffee bar. However, they went the extra mile and roasted their own coffee beans as a gift for their guests. The Bo and Mo blend (Peter’s nickname is Bodie). Can you say awesome?

Coolest ring story ever…Marissa bought this ring for her future-husband several years ago when she visited Israel. Now, Peter gets to wear it for the rest of his life.

The original woman in his life as observed by the new woman in his life.

Marissa’s sweet grandfather asked her to dance…and I cried.

Most precious thing…a dad and his daughter dancing.

Sweaty boy getting his groove on.

We snuck out just in time to catch the sunset over the lake.

Best exit ever. Marissa surprised her groom with fireworks before they left…

And Mia takes them away…

Marching On: Shelby Senior Photography

We bonded over marching band. No shame. We both love it and don’t care in the slightest what other people think. Sometimes I’d take her home from small group, she’d put her instrument in my back seat and we would laugh and talk about all the ins and outs of high school marching band. The competitions. The thrills of performing. The relationships that develop within your section and the unity you feel. The joy of making music. We understood each other and spoke the same language. A language that no one else understands and yet one that was so special to us both. I loved it.

Shelby is one special high school senior. We first met over three years ago at a church service that met in the Branson YMCA. She may not remember but I do, clear as day because I thought, ‘this is one cool freshman.’ Immediately it was clear to me that she was well beyond her years in wisdom and understanding of biblical truth. Her passion for the Lord and her pursuit of a life based on His calling was uncanny and so rare in someone so young. Over the next two years I had the great privilege of being one of her small group leaders and watching as she continued to develop into such a beautiful and godly young woman. When she asked if I would do her senior portraits, I was thrilled and honored!

Shelby, thank you so much for letting me do these portraits and for allowing me the privilege of sharing in your life these last three years. You are a gem. It is so rare to find someone so young who is equally as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. I know that wherever you go, as you pursue the Lord, that you will do wonderful and amazing things. I cannot wait to see what is in store for you and all the places He will take you as you keep ‘marching on.’ Love you bunches. (And let’s be honest…we know the truth. Marching band is the bomb.com…double click.)

Enjoy some of my favorites from our shoot!

Happy Tuesday!

I have always said that I wish I’d had red hair. I still say it. You are gorgeous Shelbs.

Love that flower. Love it.

Shelby had the coolest location picked out for this shoot. An old building near her house that had burned down years ago. SO cool.

Work it girl.

Every time I see the one on the right I gasp a little. Simply stunning.

Don’t worry it was safe…I think.

Favorite. So natural.

Seriously. Your eyes are ridiculous.

I may have freaked out a little when she showed me this ivy wall. Perfection.

Stunning.