My Life

for momma

For my Momma, this year I did something a little different for Mother’s Day. Normally, I share sweet words about how she has been an awesome parent to both my brother and I. This year I decided to switch it up, just a bit.

You see, my Mom wasn’t just a parenting figure to my brother and I. During high school I had three very close friends whom, throughout life and to this day, still call my Mom, “Mom.” She reached out in a way many people may not have done, for what reason I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a motherly obligation that I won’t understand until I’m a Mother – personally I think it’s just that my Mom is that good-hearted. She was there when things were high-school tough, she was there when hearts were broken, she opened her doors to them and let them stay when they felt they had nowhere else to go. She had Christmas stockings for them, special trinkets of love she found at yard sales, birthday cakes with their name on it. She bought yearbooks and senior pictures for them when they couldn’t afford it, parented when she needed to be their parent and treated them like they were her own flesh and blood. She took them in on holidays when they couldn’t be with their families, she drove them cross-country so they could spend a summer with their parents, she washed their laundry while they napped. She attended their wedding and years later, upon witnessing heartbreak, sat them at the family table at my wedding so they could feel safe once more. There was a very distinct reason they called her Mom…in so many ways she was an extension of their own flesh and blood Momma.

This Mother’s Day, on behalf of “your girls”, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, Momma! I hope you enjoyed these two pictures, framed, to put on your desk at work. I’m proud to share you with them – they were lucky women to have a piece of  your heart!

(credit to Purple Shutters Photography for above picture)

I hope you all had an incredible Mother’s Day!

love (the things we do for love),
jenifriend


where you go i will go

Let’s face it…I’m a sap. An ooey gooey crybaby sap. I cry when I watch Glee (Really? Who does that?!) and I sniffle a little when I see newborn babies. I’m a sap, though, because I’m passionate. I’m passionate about love. I’m passionate about life. I’m passionate about the individual journey’s we each take. I’m passionate about photography. I’m passionate about my husband.

Every couple has been there…the rough patches. The times when your foundation shakes and you’re certain the rug will be swept from underneath you at a moments notice.

Well baby, our foundation shook. It shook hard. It devastated us for a long time and forced us apart for many years. At the end of the day, though, my heart never left you. Though I’m quick to admit I denied my feelings, I never questioned our relationship. Even when we were apart, there was no question that you were special.

“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16

I’m here forever.

love (our what-used-to-be shaky foundation),
jenifriend


it’s time to reveal the story…

One year ago I practically disappeared from the face of my blog and all social networks. While I was discreet about the occurrences of my personal life, a lot took place. Like…a lot a lot. There were many a whisper and serious curiosities from spectators and friends, wondering wtf was going on in my life. To this day, I haven’t shared much aside from the fact that I’m really really happy. As we’re approaching the one year anniversary of one of the more transitional moments in my life, I thought it a good time to finally reveal the story of how I got to where I am right now in one year.

So there I was, waking before the sun to have my first dose of java and partake in a little painting. It was the same routine I’d had for one month. One month of living in a really cute apartment with french doors and a porch that received the sun from dawn until dusk. One month of Ho-Ho’s and red wine for dinner. One month of being single. Never did I think I would be here again.

In four weeks time I dropped almost 20 pounds. I had saggin’ bottom pants in a way that was far from cute and my tops were on the verge of becoming parachutes. On a whim, I met up with some friends for an impromptu shopping trip. Rarely did I find myself at the mall – I am a thrift store shopping kind of gal – but the thought of buying brand new clothes for a brand new me was enticing. I had no idea that making a visit to Express would change the course of my life forever.

So there I was, feeling very Pretty Woman-esque, with an unlimited budget for new clothes and several women doting over me to help whip me into fashion shape. We won’t talk about the tutu they tried to put me in, but the rest of the items fit where they needed to and had me doing a Dirty Dancing cha-cha in the dressing room. Stacked to my height was a heap of clothes I was en route to purchase. As I rounded the corner of the dressing room I heard one of my friends say, “Oh.my.GOD.” I’m thinking she found another awesome top that I just had to try on, so I venture towards her only to run into the one person I never expected to see. Him. The guy I couldn’t speak badly of, no matter if it was a matter of life or death. The guy I used to tell people I would marry one day, but he broke my heart before we had the chance. That guy. Jeff.

Surrounded by mounds of clothes, his heart-stricken Mother and my two extremely nosey friends, we briefly caught up:

Hi. Hi.
How are you? I’m good how are you? I’m great.
How are you and so and so doing? We’re doing good, thanks for asking. Aren’t you married now?
Um…no Jeffrey…we called it off.

[Enter record stopping and Jeff’s Mom letting out an excited gasp]

Wha? Oh my gosh Jen, are you okay? Yeah, I’m okay. I’m really good actually; it was the right decision for both of us.
Well that’s good. Well I’ve gotta run, my friends are waiting on me. It was really good to see you Jeffrey; I’m happy to hear you’re happy!

That was it. That’s all it took. Unknowingly, the seed had been planted in both of us. We didn’t see nor hear from each other for almost two more months. It is around that time when you’ll hear the second part of this story. 🙂

There’s a reason this shopping bag hangs, framed, in our office. It bares the truth of what rekindled in that store one fine day in May. We didn’t know it and we didn’t plan for it, but love had found us.

love (that it’s been one year – almost),
jenifriend


happy birthday momma!

I’m not going to get into why I’ve been absent for a month in this post – but I promise to discuss it tomorrowish. Today – we jump right into celebrating.

You see, this woman deserves a post. Not only because it’s her birthday or because she birthed me  – which should be stated was the raddest thing she ever did (the latter, in case you were wondering) – but because she birthed this business. I’ll explain.

At four years old I watched my parents divorce and my mom took on being a single mom with a vengeance. Considering the circumstances, she had every right to be pissed off and bitter. She had all the trimmings in her backpack of past experiences to teach my brother and I about hatred and emotional walls and resentment. As the saying goes, it would be an understatement to say she was well-equipped to dish out such teachings. Yet here she was at 21 years old, newly divorced with two young children on the hip, teaching us about love. Teaching us that we are not better than anyone and surely no one is better than us, that the best way to live is to “be”, and that at the end of the day we should never settle for anything less than what we truly deserve.

I say my mother birthed this business because she preserved in me a frame of mind that is diligent and hardworking, confident and joyous, and ever-reminded that everyone is human and equally capable of making mistakes and being loved. I shake what my Momma gave me all the way down into my soul…because that’s how she taught me to roll. I wear my heart on my sleeve and work to find the most intimate source of love existing between those in front of my camera…because that’s how she taught me to roll. I hug my clients after our sessions because I know I’ve genuinely made a new friend…because that’s how she taught me to roll. I stand as tall as this 5’3″ frame can stand and look the mean girls in their eyes after they’ve sassed me and beaten my heart into an ugly mess, and say with a smile, “Take care, I really hope you find happiness”…because that’s how she taught me to roll. Then I bounce back, better than ever…because…well…you know by now…

Mom, I hope that on your birthday you see how much you’ve succeeded through not only your personal endeavors but in the ways that your children have turned out to be honorable members of society. We are out there doing exactly as you taught us, sharing love…sharing smiles…sharing proof that it’s not always easy but dammit it can always be worse. I’m so happy you were born! No one else would’ve been a better fit as a mother for this firecracker. I love you!

love (my momma),
jenifriend


switching things up

It’s a typical scenario…we pack up the essentials and prepare to venture out to our next big adventure. Alongside me, strapped across my chest and resting on my hip, is my camera with my 50mm 1.4 lens. Most every time, I walk away from our recent adventure fully satisfied with the images. But things become redundant and monotonous.

With the snowy weather coming to a halt (I say this immediately following a brief snow shower at the end of March, with a ton of sarcasm) we found our way to the dog park across the street from our apartment. It’s smell-free…who knew large-sized hamster mulch could kill the odor of dog poo…and chock full of nice people wanting to enjoy the outdoors with their pups. We followed in suit with Fritz and I thought to switch things up with my lens choice and challenge myself a tad. So we went through our typical scenario and when it came time to strap my camera across my chest, I rested on it my 70-200mm 2.8 lens.

It’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of life – photography is one of those things though that you really can’t get lazy with. You can’t just always do what you do – there have to be times when you take a different approach and try something different…break your own glass ceiling…be a risk-taker.

Go – be a rebel today. Do something you normally don’t do. You may surprise yourself in how refreshing it was for you personally and how beneficial it was to you photographically.

love (stepping outside of my self-created box),
jenifriend


the life we’re living and all it’s awesomeness

On Super Bowl Sunday we hosted a BYOT party, which was code for “bring your own toppings”. A pizza party in the making, we had a blast with family and friends. While we weren’t huge fans of either team playing, the opportunity to get together with people and get in some hearty laughter and catch-up time sounded very appealing to us.

So there we were…in our kitchen that really only fits two people comfortably, watching 5+ people dance among each other to the various pizza-making stations…in a living room that really only fits five people comfortably, watching 10+ people sit on armchairs, the floor, stools and smooshed together on the couch…in an apartment that we have made our home.

When I think back to where I was five years ago, dreaming about where I would be right now, this was it. This was exactly where I wanted to be. How cool it is to know that God granted me such a wish. Like I told Jeff last night, “I feel like I won the lottery of love.”

Everyday I find a new reason to have my cup runneth over – today’s reason? My husband. Between you and I…secretly…he’s always my reason.

and for giggles…I made this of my always movin’ and groovin’ husband…you’ll have to click on the image to see him in action…apparently my blog site isn’t THAT cool.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

love (my painted man),
jenifriend


half-full and lookin’ like springtime

Okay. Perhaps the warm(er) weather is taking it’s toll on me. I’ll admit I have the bug – I’m more than excited to get outdoors and take advantage of this weather. Jeff and I stared at a cycling website for about 40 minutes out of sheer excitement for the rides we’re going to do this summer. And we made a pact…next June…we’re biking across Kansas. Eight days of Kansas-trekkage with my guy, small towns and communities, my Ipod and a camera…I can’t begin to explain how excited I am!

I have been playing with lighting and the embellishment of backgrounds lately and thought these two pictures appropriate for this blog post. I’m curious as to which you find the more appealing of the two.

Happy Thursday all!! One more day until this beautiful weekend commences…yippee!!

love (when things are looking up),
jenifriend