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.

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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.

Mary Fields Photography

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!

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!

The Way It Should Be: Jenna + Logan

Mary Fields Photography

Some wedding days are characterized by stress. I can’t say that it doesn’t make sense to me, it’s a lot to pull off and you hopefully only do it once. This wedding day, however, was characterized much differently. She laughed the whole time. So did he. As I spent the day with her especially, I remember thinking, “This is the way it should be.” You are so excited to marry your best friend, the love of your life, that the day is full of joy and you are calm because nothing else matters. Nothing but saying “I do” and starting your life together. So, that’s what this great couple did on a beautiful Sunday in Dallas, TX and I was so privileged to be there as they laughed, danced and simply enjoyed the day they had been waiting for, for oh so long.

Logan and Jenna, I cannot tell you how fun it has been to get to know you over the last few months. I love the way you make each other laugh, the way you love each other and the way you keep your focus on the right things. Your wedding day was purely a joyful occasion for all who were present. I know that this has been a long time in the making and so I hope you are enjoying finally being husband and wife. I am confident that the years to come will be full of laughter, love and changing the world around you for Christ. You two are a special pair!

Enjoy some of my favorites from their Dallas wedding! As always, I have too many but really…can you blame me with these two?

Happy Tuesday!

Stunning Jenna. Stunning.

Ladies and Gentlemen, THIS is why you do a first look. The reaction on his face along with the PLENTY of time we had for portraits makes it all worth it.

Best reaction ever.

Logan gave Jenna her wedding present and then the two took some time to pray together. Another reason for a first look…you wouldn’t be able to have that sweet time together.

Seriously you two, you made my job so easy.

We were definitely in some yummy light here guys. Logan and Jenna are very familiar with my ‘yummy light’ giddiness.

Definitely a favorite.

Exquisite bouquet.

Oh I love this. They are going to spend so much of their life laughing together.

Jenna, seriously you were such a beautiful bride.

These groomsmen were such troopers…

Such beautiful ladies.

Neon green socks. Hilarious. I can always count on the guys to be crazy fun. And this is definitely not posed…

Praying before the ceremony.

Love this shot of Logan and his mom. So sweet.

Married!

Ok, so really awesome. Logan made Jenna’s wedding band out of a quarter. Apparently quarters before 1964 were made out of 90% silver so he spent hours hammering it into her ring. If you look inside the band, you can still see the year and the word ‘liberty.’ How cool is that?!?!

Love it.

A daddy dancing with his daughter. One of my favorite parts of the wedding day.

So we managed to sneak up to the top of the building for some Dallas skyline pics and I am SO glad we did. Some of my favorite shots of the whole day!

Yes…this did happen. Jenna and Logan are known for doing lifts (even at our engagement shoot) which is way fun. Even more fun that they would manage it in a wedding dress and tux. Awesome.

Perfect.

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.

Love is In the Air: Beth + Tommy

It’s funny the places life takes you. There are people that come into your life early on and through life’s twists and turns, they remain. Our families grew up together. There were four girls in our family and three in their’ s. We were all the same age though because we cheated with twins. Both families found their church home at a little church downtown that met in an old theatre. It was simple…VERY simple…and there weren’t very many of us. However, one thing was true. We were a family. The church was called Believers Fellowship and that’s exactly what it was. A fellowship of believers. We loved each other dearly, did life together and literally grew together. Beth is the eldest of their three girls but we were close enough in age to still cross paths quite often. I have pictures of us at church picnics with us all in crazy costumes. We even spent a hot summer in Tyler, TX together as we both prepared to go overseas on a mission trip in high school. Oh the stories we could tell of life in our small town in Oklahoma.

Over the years Beth and I have kept up and managed to still cross paths every now and then even though our lives have led us all over. In many ways I attribute my interest in photography to her. She used to always take her camera everywhere and take snapshots of daily life. We’d sit at the bottom of my steps in the house I grew up in, talking until late at night with all our friends. I remember she’d just pull out her camera every once in a while and take a snap shot. “I want to do that someday,” I’d think to myself. And thanks to her inspiration, that someday has come.

I was thrilled when Beth called me a few months ago and told me that she was engaged! She and Tommy had met at a work Christmas party and hit it off immediately. Unfortunately, they were based in different cities but that didn’t stop them, love was in the air. It didn’t take long for these two to realize they wanted to be together forever. We met up in downtown Frisco, TX for their engagements and had a BLAST! With Beth being a photographer herself, she practically read my mind the whole session! Oh what a dream. On top of that, their love for one another was so evident that I didn’t even have to try to instruct them. They did it all on their own! Again, oh what a dream.

Beth and Tommy, thanks so much for letting me be part of your engagement season! I had so much fun on our session and can’t thank you enough for trusting me to the point of traipsing around in wheat fields and old, run down, snake-ridden barns. I am so excited for your September wedding and your future together! Beth, thanks for the years of horrible costumes, overseas trips, youth group, staircase talks, candid photos and friendship! Here’s to many more years of crossed paths!

Enjoy some of my favorites of their session!

Happy Thursday!

Happy 🙂

Mary Fields Photography

Beth insisted she wasn’t very good at what I call the ‘Sasha Fierce’ look. I beg to differ. Those eyes are too beautiful to describe…

Um…yeah. In love with this one. Such happy faces.

Dallas Wedding Photography

Looking good Tommy. Lookin good.

See what I mean about those eyes? Gorgeous.

They brought the coolest wine classes with them that they bought in Eureka Springs, AR where they are getting married. I want them…

Yep, this light was a dream. Yummy light.

Tommy served in the United States Marine Corps so I loved that they brought these for the shoot. How often we forget the sacrifice so many give us. Thank you Tommy for fighting for our country and our freedom. Words cannot adequately express our gratitude.

Proud of her man!

So, I drove past a wheat field recently and decided it would be a dream to shoot in. Thankfully, my clients trust me enough to go where I ask…and I hope they think its worth it because I sure do! We ventured off into the unknown of this field…which was pretty high. They were such troopers though and let me be a little crazy. I LOVE the result though so maybe my craziness pays off…

The fact that the moon is in this shot is just icing on the cake.

So…no word except Favorite.

Ok so another favorite. You can never have too many.

Bring those awesome wine glasses out again…of course.

The benefit of shooting in a wheat field in North Texas: There just happens to be a really cool old abandoned barn across the street. Ok…awesome.

I think they are in love or something…

A Blessed Day: Jessica + John

Mary Fields Photography

I follow Jasmine Star (world renown wedding photographer) like she was an ice cream truck on a hot summer day. Like a band groupie on tour. Like Robin follows Batman. Like Luke Skywalker follows Obi Wan. Her blog is bookmarked on my home page and it’s part of my daily ritual to check up on what latest advice/work she has to share. She has shaped so much of how I approach my business and how I seek to work with my clients. You could say she has been my mentor, my Yoda, my Mr. Miyagi. Don’t worry, the rest of the wedding photog industry follows her the same AND I have met her once so I’m not a total weirdo. We even have a picture together which basically makes us best friends.

One thing I remember Jasmine saying on her blog was that she loved when a bride becomes a friend. What an interesting thing to say I remember thinking to myself. However, from the time Jessica booked me several months ago until now, I can say that I consider her a sweet new friend. How cool is my job?

Oh Jasmine, wise you are. Continue following you I will.

John and Jessica are special. They are special because on their wedding day and every day leading up to it, they had one purpose. To honor God in their union. It was the morning of the wedding and she had woken up sick. However, she never flinched. Her goal was to marry John and to humbly commit her life to him, in sickness and in health. Thankfully the Lord was gracious, giving her new energy and health, allowing the day to be exactly what it should be. Blessed.

They were married in a beautiful chapel in North Texas with their loved ones watching in agreement of their vow to one another. The pastor recalled the workings of their relationship over the years and it was clear that God had gone before them, aligning their paths from that day forward. With an incredible amount of peace and joy in that beautiful chapel, they made their pledges, shared communion and were pronounced husband and wife. Oh glorious day.

Jessica and John, you really are special. I did not know you at all before this process started and yet, in my few months of knowing you, I am confident that this is a special union. You both have your sights set on what matters. Eternity. Together, I am sure that you will do greater things than apart. Please know how blessed I was to be part of your engagement and your wedding day. I am grateful for the friendship that was started and hope it continues in years to come.

Enjoy some of my favorites from their day!

Happy Monday!

Ashton Gardens. Gorgeous.

Oh bling bling.

Mrs. Sarver.

Jessica, I bet you’ve never had this happen before…

Of course if you are a guy hanging out before your wedding…you’d be watching a baseball game. What else?

Seriously beautiful chapel. The natural light made me a little…no much more than a little giddy.

Their parents praying with them.

Married!

So handsome.

Beautiful girls.

The bride’s one request. Bridal party silly faces. LOVE it. What a fun bridal party.

Jessica, one word. STUNNING!

I may be in love with this shot.

Girl, you are too beautiful for words.

I think he’s in love or something.

So…they make my job way too easy.

Favorite.

John and Jessica Sarver.

Mr. and Mrs!!!!

Love this picture of Jessica and her father. His first girl to get married. So sweet.

They had this really fun part of their dance. It was awesome.

Let me just say that I don’t usually post so many dancing pictures but I couldn’t help it. They had an AWESOME dance party. And in the middle of the day! Impressive!

Ruth, you are way to cool for words. Seriously, I cannot even express how wonderful you were throughout the whole process and not to mention your crazy awesome dance moves!

Pure awesomeness.

Coolest Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom. They danced the whole time. No really, they did.

Oh Lauren, you made this way too fun for me. Can you come to all of my weddings?

Possibly some of my favorite shots from the whole day. Especially the one on the right.

Maid of Honor getting some air. Perfect.

On Days Like Today

99.9% of the time I forget how blessed I am.

.1% of the time…on days like today…I remember.

When we were kids, he’d tell us that ‘He knew everything,’ and of course we believed him.  He’d line us up on his bed and play the ‘tickle game’ which was a love/hate relationship. You would wait in excitement and a little agony just watching his every move to see if you were next to be tickled into oblivion. Every once in a while, he’d look at us with a gleam in his eye and say, ‘You know what you need? You need a MR. BEAR-SQUASH-YOU-ALL-FLAT!!!!” Then he’d tackle us to the floor and just lay on us…squashing us all flat. We’d giggle until our faces were red and we couldn’t take it anymore. At night, we’d sit around the dinner table and he’d come up with some crazy game for us to play. Spell or Define. Math problems. The Whistling game. You may think it’s weird but you’re just wrong…it was wonderful. Sometimes, he’d just pull us into his lap and hug on us, telling us he loved us…the sweetest words for a young girl to hear from her father. Words that have made me secure in myself even until today.

It simply is unfitting to honor him today though and not her also. She was the world’s best ‘stay at home’ mom. Why you ask? She did it without a hint of regret, selflessly sacrificing so much of herself to give us what we needed. She made our home a haven. She was and continues to be the hardest worker I have ever known. On Tuesdays and Thursdays my sister and I would trade off on going to ‘Mother’s Day Out’ and having a ‘Day with Mom.’ I always wished it was my turn for DWM. She’d create the coolest adventures for us, making our days eventful and fun. We’d do crafts, go see the pigs, make potpourri, go on bike rides, make up games in our backyard and so much more. Sometimes if we were lucky, we’d catch her before she put fresh sheets on the bed. Crawling up on the mattress before she tucked in the top sheet, we’d say, “Can you shake the sheets Momma? Can you shake the sheets?!?” Without hesitation she’d just smile and lift up the fresh sheet, shaking it as if she was laying out for a picnic. We’d close our eyes and wait for the soft, fresh, and clean sheet to fall on our little faces. It felt like a piece of heaven. All of my life, she has always looked at us and said, “Who loves you the most?” And I always knew who did.

You see, I am blessed beyond measure. I have the greatest parents in all the world. I’m sure your’s may be great too but I’m sorry to say, I cannot imagine how they could be greater than mine. I have never questioned their love for me and even now, as a full-grown adult, they remain my biggest supporters, comforters, advice-givers, role-models, sounding boards and care-takers. Now, however, as I have moved into adulthood, I am privileged to call them friends.

I realize that today is Father’s Day but since I did not get a chance on the blog to thank my mother on Mother’s Day, I’m taking the opportunity to do both. Momma, you are the best mom a girl could ever ask for. Daddy, you are the best father a girl could ever ask for. Please know that if I ever get the chance to be a parent, I hope I can do it even a fraction as well as you have. Thank you for ‘knowing everything’ and for ‘loving me the most.’

Happy Father’s Day and a belated cyberspace Mother’s Day!