2017 Year In Review Part One

Another year, y’all! I debated back and forth doing a Year In Review, but time hop kept reminding me of past posts and I loved looking back. So, my hope is that years from this one we just entered, that this post will bring a smile to my face and yours. Babies don’t keep, do they? But, memories sure do. Forever and ever.

I know when people think about photographs of their families they almost always go towards the end of a year so they have them done when it’s peak fall and perfect for Christmas cards. But, the first half of the year has my heart, too. So, I am going to start this year in review in January, February, and March. Most people see gray. Most people see cold or frigid. Most people don’t see the beauty right in front of them. Most people wouldn’t consider the first part of the year for a session, but I am hopeful these will show you the beauty that can be found if you just open up your eyes to see.

Love is right in front of you and within you. Capturing your life right now is a gift. Don’t forget that as you turn the page to this brand new year.

Love y’all for loving me. Loved looking back on your lives and our time together, my friends.

XO SR

FL:R

Booking 2018

Hiring someone to capture your life is a pretty big deal! This is a time you won’t ever get back unless you have photographs to remind you. So, my hope is that you took a really deep look into who I am and what my photography is all about! And, my wish is that if I am the right photographer for you, then I will meet you soon to capture your life! There are a lot of us out there, so pick the one that you believe will capture your life in a way that you want to treasure forever. It’s truly an investment worth making.

I have a feeling 2018 is going to be one for the books. Hope to hear from old friends and looking forward to meeting new ones, too.

Love, SR

FL:R

Amy Smith - I’m definitely interested in booking something this year!

Looking back, staying present, remaining faithful

I woke up early this morning with a game plan of sharing so many sessions with you that I hadn’t this past year before the New Year. You know, to get you all excited about booking me sometime in 2018. I am just being honest here. But, I looked over at a book a dear friend gave me that’s simply but overwhelmingly titled, “He Leads Me”, a study of Psalm 23. It’s my favorite verse in the Bible. But, I don’t know if Tanna knew that when she gifted it to me a few weeks ago. What I didn’t realize until just a bit ago was that I skipped right over Psalm 23.1 and landed my first morning preparing my soul for 2018 in Psalm 23.2. Waters of rest. You might wonder how I could skip verse 1 so easily, but if you know me, you know my early mornings start really early. My mind is never clear and I have a tendency to jump on social media and let the world overwhelm my soul first. And, that’s exactly what my plan was this morning. I was going to get on my blog and share with the world the work from this year. Instead, I had someone with a much better plan. Rest, Sara. “He leads us to green pastures. He takes us exactly where we need to be. He knows that on our own we may not choose the best things. We are easily distracted by the world around us, but He leads us to the green pastures that He has prepared for us. He places us in the land that is good for us. We may not always understand His plan, but we can trust that He is bringing us to a good place.”

I picked #nofearnewyear as I welcomed 2017. Some choose a word. I chose a phrase. What I didn’t realize when that was laid heavy on my heart, was that God was going to ask me to fly a lot this year. And, not just in an airplane. It’s a phrase that I stood bravely by 80% of the time. I failed a lot, too. I said no when I should of said yes. I said yes when I should of said no. I said, “I can’t do that!” so many times. But, there is so much growth in the overcoming and in the failing, y’all. So much growth in understanding that sure, I can’t do that on my own. BUT, GOD. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4.13 So much growth in believing that He wouldn’t set me on a path if He didn’t want me on it in the first place. And, if I fail…it’s probably because it wasn’t meant for me anyway. Even if that means not meant for me right now. EVEN IF that means not meant for me ever. God’s plan is always better.

As I look back on this year I kinda sit back in awe. A year of light and darkness. Our Pastor preached Sunday about how when the night feels the longest it’s when we are closest to the light. And, if I could choose how people remember me it’s that even when it was dark in my life, God’s light overwhelmed me in a way that no one could ever explain. That even when it was loud, chaotic, and scary, that peace was my center. It’s taken me a long time to get here. But, I am so grateful to be here.

When I think back on 2017, I think of all the captured life. Even the last moments on this side of heaven for one. That was one of the hardest days of my life doing this work. I think of new life and first moments. I think of first words, first clap, first giggle, first step. I think of new homes, new journeys, and restoration with some. I think of big families that come together for one day because they know it matters and that the conflicts don’t. I think of those babies in Haiti every single day. I feel my heart and how it beats differently since that trip. And, I think about what it will be like to go back next year. I think about all the life captured in 2017 and how much of your beautiful life you have hanging on your walls to cherish forever. And, I think about my own boys. Every single moment of every single day. That I do this work for God and one day they will get to tell their own children about it all.

Not sharing often here was intentional. I wanted to put my focus where it needed to be. I am so thankful you guys let me be me and tell you all about what God has done. I can’t wait to share what He does in 2018. Even if He calls me to rest a lot more. And, if you’re wondering what my word or phrase will be for the New Year. It’s remain. Remaining faithful. When I asked siri this morning synonyms for remain she said : REST, stay, continue, stay on, persist, be, abide.

God is amazing.

Happy New Year, My Friends. So much love from me to you.

Thank you for continuing to call on me to capture your life. It’s a gift that I will never take for granted.

Love, Sara Rose

FL:R

note from kristen

From the moment Sara knocked on our front door almost 5 years ago and walked in and hugged and loved like I had known her all my life, I knew she would become a special person to our family. I have honestly never met anyone so warm and HAPPY before Sara. It’s interesting to me how many times her name is talked about in our household. My child prays for her specifically by name, my husband mentions her when he talks about how he can be a more positive person, I think of her every time I see something happy – a butterfly, a rainbow, an inspirational quote. Whenever I need a little pick me up – I go read Sara’s Pinterest board. It’s true. She exudes all things HAPPY. We have laughed with her, cried with her, kissed booboo’s, told funny stories, shared personal struggles. She never forgets our story. She has prayed for us, sent well wishes in tough times, and shed positive light on every situation we have faced.

Every session we have is my favorite. I tell my husband every.single.time after we leave our time with Sara – “I don’t remember smiling for any of those pictures”. But you know what – I did. REAL smiles. Open mouthed laughs. Scrunchy-nosed giggles. All from the heart. These visual reminders of how precious my kiddos tiny features are through every stage of their life are absolutely priceless. How tiny their little feet once were to how big long their legs have grown. We are incredibly thankful for you, Sara! Your heart, your love, your talent… but most of all for your friendship. Seeing SRP photographs of other families warm my heart not only because I know that they’ve got images they will treasure forever, but because I know what a blessing she is to everyone she meets.

XOXO,
K. Smith

FL:R

note from meleia

I will always remember people telling me growing up, “Time goes by so fast!” As a child, I didn’t understand that saying. As a teenager and college student, I didn’t understand it. Even as a young newlywed, I didn’t understand. It wasn’t until I myself became a mother, that I truly began to understand what it was that others, including my own mom, were actually talking about. And boy were they right! Holy moly, the days are fleeting! How is my first born 3?? And how is my baby a few months shy of turning 1?? My boys are growing right before my very eyes… at lightning speed it seems like! I have been blessed beyond measure. Somehow, the Good Lord saw it fit for me to be a mommy to these two sweet boys. I wish I could bottle up every moment with them, never forgetting a single second that I am able to spend with them. Sure, many days are hard, but the good completely outweighs the hard, a million times over. I wouldn’t trade a single second. I believe that is why these pictures, these beautiful moments of real, every day life, are so special to me friend! You have taken your God given talent and truly captured my family. You aren’t just an amazing photographer, but you are a genuinely kind soul that just gets people! You get that boys will be boys who may not want to pause and smile for a picture, but run around instead. You get that sometimes a baby just needs some time to fully awaken from a nap to get the best shots. But, how sweet are the ones you take while they are running around being goofy. Or waking up and warming up to you. Our life is definitely not perfect. I would never pretend so. But, I believe that is the beautiful thing. I am totally ok with that. And I love that your pictures show that! So again…thank you sweet Sara for these beautiful pictures that I will treasure forever!!!

These are just some of my favorites you have taken of my family….

FL:R

story behind the painting

There’s always a story. I want to believe that anyway. Or, just maybe, Jesus has just wired my heart that way. I remember sitting in one of my college courses and I had a professor tell me that my writing wasn’t….well….good enough. I’ll be the first to admit my grammar could use some help, but I love to share stories. And, although that teacher hurt my ego a little that day, it hasn’t stopped me from writing. The story behind the painting is going to be one of my favorites to tell as the years pass and my boys get older.

Every year we have been lucky enough to spend a few days down in Destin, Florida. I have so many wonderful memories growing up there so being able to continue this tradition with my own family has been such a treasure. I never work during that week, Terry shuts down his work, and we just try to be together. Time is fleeting. Seriously. Our boys were just toddlers last year, right? Nope. We are one year away from middle school now. How did that happen?

During our week of beach-loving-rest, there’s one photo that T has gotten of me with the boys every year that I love. It reminds me of the quote, “Our memories of the beach will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.” I love sitting on the beach with my guys. I love talking about whatever it is they want to talk about that summer. We talk Jesus. We talk family. We talk friends. We talk about what our favorite part of the week has been and things we still hope to do before we head home. And, we always talk about the school year ahead. I feel like I still have their ears as I whisper so much hope into their little hearts. It’s something I pray they will want to do with their dear old mom for a long time.

Artist and dear family friend, Pam Mack, has been creating magic for as long as I can remember. And, when I had this photo sitting in front of me I just knew it was time to invest in something I will treasure for the rest of my life. And, now…I have this beautiful painting of a memory that means everything to me. I cry thinking about who all I will get to tell the story behind the painting to. My daughter-in-laws. My grandchildren. And, anyone else who will listen.

I asked Pam if it was okay if I shared her information with all of you, because my hope is that more people put beautiful art in their homes. And, what better way to do that than to take a portrait (maybe that I took of your family) and have it turned into a beautiful painting. Christmas is coming…..

Love, SR

ARTIST: PAM MACK | em : pamela.j.mack@gmail.com

FL:R

notes from a working mommy

I love my family. They are truly my world. I am a working mommy to two kiddos. My job requires me to travel each week for 3-4 days. I have a fabulous husband who holds down the fort while I’m away, allowing me to do a job I love. We have our happy moments. We have a blessed life. Our children constantly make us laugh by the funny things they say or do. But I’m not gonna lie, its not always easy. Neither is this mommy gig. Sometimes its just plain hard! I have guilt for being away and the things that I inevitably miss. I have guilt for when I’m home and not on my Mommy A Game. Sometimes, I feel like I can’t win. I put too much on my plate, and spread myself too thin.

I am, by nature, very hard on myself. I worry that my being away will cause my children irreparable harm later in their lives. I see posts on Facebook from my other mommy friends and I’m sometimes slightly jealous of their ‘perfect lives’. But deep down, we all know this is not true. At least, the perfect lives part. No one has a perfect life. We post our happy moments, but rarely our unhappy ones. We push down our self doubt to hide it away from the outside world.

We had our pictures scheduled for August 3, 2017 this year. Like every year, I was eager and ready to add an updated collection to our list. I got home from work the day before from a particularly tough trip, and I was exhausted. The day we had pictures, I had a million and one things to get done. I picked my kids up early from daycare in order to get them bathed and fed and ready for pictures at sunset. We were all tired. I was not at my best. I was a little too short tempered with them at times. We arrived at the lake for pictures after an hour and a half in traffic. However, all of my anxiety began to wash away. Sara began snapping away, and I could tell these were going to be great photos. And, they were. They are AMAZING!

I received my email from Sara that my pics were ready. She added the sweetest little note in there, “Editing these photos brought me joy because YOUR JOY is so very real and wonderful.” I teared up reading that. She had no idea how tired I was that day. She had no idea how going to bed that night, I asked the Lord for forgiveness for my short temper and asked for guidance in those moments especially to do better for them and for myself. And looking through those photos, I saw the JOY too! I saw LOVE! I saw HAPPINESS! I saw my beautiful family with all of our perfect imperfections. I saw the love in my children’s eyes that I sometimes allow myself to doubt.

So even in those moments I feel like I’m at my worst, I can look at these pictures and be reminded of the JOY. Its so tangible and real. Looking at the pictures makes my heart want to burst from all of the LOVE. The tough parenting decisions, the mommy guilt, and the tough love sometimes is hard to follow through with, especially when you want to take the path of least resistance. But, these pictures prove, to me at least, that its worth every hard moment. I see their innocence, their love for us, and their love for each other. What more can you ask for? Maybe, just maybe, I’m doing something right. So, I’ll give myself a little grace. Life is hard. Parenting is hard. But I’ll continue to seek His guidance, forgiveness, and love. And, I’ll continue to give thanks for all of my blessings. “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart.” Psalm 9:1

-Kelly

FL:R