the mertes family

My heart simply cannot put words around the love I have for the people in these pictures.

Liesel, Luke and your precious Mertes children, we Paulsons LOVE you.  As in literally – we have not stopped talking about all of you.  You have our hearts.  Times infinity.  I just ache that I waited so long to email you, Liesel.  Thank you for the grace and love you’ve showered on us.  For sharing your pain.  Your hearts.  And your joy.  Honestly – you have already been a part of restoring my heart just by sharing yours.  Our time with you will forever be lodged in my memory as a day my heart grew bigger just from spending time with all of you.  I hope you love looking through all the love present in your family.  I’m overwhelmed by it…

And please, oh please, take the time to fall in love with them and their honesty and their pain-filled wisdom and honest journey on Liesel’s blog.  I plan on writing more later, but the oven timer is dinging, dinner must be served and I simply cannot wait another moment before I share the love found in these images.

 

 

the paulson family

Love.

I was convinced for the longest time that it was a feeling.  And it is.  Yet, it’s more.

It’s a choice.

It’s one more hug.  It’s choosing to come back and try again.  It’s pacing floors at 1 am with an infant who decided now was the time to party. (A party you wish you could kindly decline attending)  It’s seeing the best in your spouse when you’re so sleep deprived you mistake formula for creamer in your coffee.  It’s living a portion of your life in the bathroom because the sound of the shower is the only thing that seems to comfort your little one.  It’s football holds and one more story and trying to take care of yourself so you can care for others who need your help.

These parents keep showing up and choosing love.  The road has not been easy, but they keep choosing a story that tells LOVE.

 

Sweet Paulson Family,

Sometimes I fear it could come across as a sappy, too easily spoken phrase when I tell you how much I love you.  I try to find bigger, better words with more weight and grandiose-ness, but they never find their way into my mouth.  So here it is, plain, simple and yet so profoundly felt – I love you.

The way you two have loved your daughter through these months has inspired me and challenged me.  It’s beautiful, really. 

And sweet little baby girl, oh, I love you.  You are filled with so much LIFE inside a sweet, little body.  I imagine it’s been hard.  There is so much to discover, so much love to share, so much to do and I see that your little body cannot quite keep up with and allow you to do all that’s brewing in you.  You are a gift.  I cannot wait to see how you change this world – because you will.  You will melt hearts and bring joy and life to all the people you meet.  I’m hoping and praying though that you can be patient with yourself along the way.  It’s a hard thing to learn for those of us with so many dreams and so much brewing in us.  You’re ready to tackle the world and yet your body isn’t quite allowing you to do so just yet.  Hang in there, sweet girl.  Rest in the love your mommy and daddy (and extended family) are pouring over you.  It will come.  In the meantime, please, oh please, would you consider sleeping through the night?  And trying some deep yoga breaths for your mommy and daddy?  It helps.  I promise.

The good news though?  Your mommy and daddy love you no matter what.  They are already showing you that.  And that, my sweet little niece, is the most beautiful of gifts.  May your heart always know what they are showing you now – they will love you NO MATTER WHAT.  Because that kind of love?  That’s what changes the world…

Love,
Aunt Amy

PS: Yes they are way too many photos, but when you’re the proud aunt (and sister-in-law) – you get to post AS MANY AS YOU WANT!!!!

the mackey family

There’s a history here.

The amazingly beautiful woman in these pictures?  Her name is Brooke.  And I’ve known her for 13 years.

This means that for the past 13 years, I’ve known love.  And laughing so hard that my sides hurt.  I’ve known what it feels like to be listened to – the kind of deep-soul listening that leaves you feeling like your time was sacred and mattered. I’ve been encouraged.  I’ve been blown away by what it looks like to have a heart that loves God and loves others – to the point that it hurts.

I even got to watch this beautiful lady walk down the aisle to the incredible man as I sat with my little 2 year old Hannah and my husband.

So when Brooke let me know they would be driving through Atlanta on vacation and she asked if I could document her sweet FAMILY – I had tears in my eyes and I’m pretty sure my heart did a back flip.

(Side note: These two are INCREDIBLY talented photographers in Bloomington, IN.  You can go see their work HERE.  That’s also one more reason it was such an honor that they would choose me to document their family.)

Brooke, Jeff and Little Miss – thank you for sharing your love and your joy with me.  Throughout our time together I felt this pause in my soul – the kind where you are just in awe over what God has done – over how the story has weaved and turned and done things you couldn’t have imagined.  And here I sat – soaking in your sweet little 8 month old who oozes love and cuteness and kindness and I couldn’t help but think, “Thank You, God.  Thank You, God.  Thank You, God.”  I am so grateful for each of you and for the time to spend with you.  And that we’ve been able to share parts of this journey together…

 

Just so you know…this is one of my favorite pictures in the history of EVER.

camping

Six kids ages 2-8.

Thunderstorms.

A skunk that wasn’t afraid of us.  (I was most certainly afraid of him)

Frogs.

Snake warnings.

And amazing friends.

“I’m not sleepy, mommy!”

Releasing their frogs into the wild…

“Look, Mom!  I caught a fish!!!”

 

Worn out toddlers who refused to nap.

 

These boys…

 

This happened a lot.

 

Jumping on hotel beds is a must.

 

And then J had a pretty epic and terrifying face wound.  He’s doing MUCH better now.

 

 

 

happy anniversary: caroline and jr

One year ago these two started their lives as husband and wife.  They are love and grace and kindness embodied.  Caroline and JR, I love you two.  I struggle to put words around all that you’ve walked through in your first year of marriage.  You’ve leaned into one another and walked a difficult road hand in hand.  I pray this year is filled with laughter and joy and so much more hand-holding.  Thank you for inspiring me, teaching me and bringing my heart so much joy with the thought of you.  Happy anniversary!

F a c e b o o k
T w i t t e r