Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Easter. We spent it at my parent’s house and had some time to reflect and enjoy each other’s company and what Easter is all about. Jesus’ resurrection.

While we were there, Ellie was crying pretty bad and started mumbling, “Ma ma ma ma.” My mom asked if she could stop eating to take care of Ellie and I said, “No that’s ok. You keep eating. Sometimes, you just need your Mama.” Then I thought to myself, “Why am I telling her this? She knows this already. She’s MY Mama.” Later I had a chance to really reflect on it. Does she really know that? I mean, surely she knows that sometimes she really needs her Mama, but her Mama passed away 10 years ago. Surely she still needs her Mama but no one is here that she can call Mama. Then it struck me pretty hard. I never want to know the feeling of needing my Mama and her not being her.

I can’t relate to anyone who has lost their mother. All I can do is express my deepest sympathies but secretly, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, “I never want to know what living without my Mama is like.” Death is a part of life. That’s inevitable. Someday, I will need my Mama and she won’t be here. My first inclination is to always try to find a way to make sure that that never happens, but in reality, it’s going to happen and it’s going to be a pain I never want to know and it will cut deeper than I could ever know. Morbid, I know.

I’ve asked my Mama several times to let me photograph her, but she still says no. When she’s ready, she will ask, but in the mean time, the most recent pictures I can think that I have of her are from over a year ago when my dad, Carly, and her were picking oranges from their orange tree at my childhood home. They’ve since sold the home and moved much closer to us. I want pictures of my parents. I know, as women, we don’t want to be photographed. All of our insecurities rush in as soon as we sit in front of a camera and we see things in ourselves that we don’t like. Even if you can’t get past that, can you at least get past that there are people in this world that love you and don’t see those things? We just see you? We see our life together, our joys and sorrows, our smiles and tears, and life in between?

Some days, I really need my Mama, but I don’t tell her. And I should. My children always let me know when they need me and I know someday, that will stop too. The small things are precious and we have to savor them while they last because nothing lasts forever. Why shouldn’t I give her that same blessing? It was my Mama who I turned to in my darkest time and that’s the last time I can remember her truly knowing that I needed her. I love my Mama. She’s needed more than she knows. XOXO

Carly and Mom

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Carly 1 MWP copy

I’ll admit that I had no idea what to name this post. “Mother’s Day” seemed too cliche and far off, “Being a Mom” also felt too straight forward. I felt like it didn’t invoke any emotional response in me and if it didn’t in me, how would it in my readers? I love Proverbs 31, as I am sure many women do, and in doing some research for this article, I came across an article a woman wrote about being at a conference and looking for art prints to help support ministry and came across prints with various sayings on them, one of which was “Real Love Bleeds.” You can read the article here, but those three simple words suddenly made the idea of love make so much more sense.

You see, lately, I’ve been feeling myself get really short and irritable with my toddler, Carly. Oh my sweet, sweet Carly. I love her deeper than even I could know, but she’s entered that terrible 3 phase where every word that comes out of my mouth invokes a response that sends her over the edge. “No, we can’t wait another episode of Sesame Street.” “We just ate lunch.” “It’s quiet time…” “Because you have to take a quiet time in the afternoon…” “No you can’t have quiet time on the couch…” All of these things are world ending to a 3 year old. It’s really began to wear on me and I’ve found myself getting short and sort of apathetic towards her.

On Saturday night, Colby went to put Ellie (our almost 9 month old) to bed and Carly and I went out back to enjoy the weather while the sun was setting. We decided to grab some bread and go down to the lake to feed the pekin ducks (they look like the Aflac duck and we named them Minnie and Daisy) and while we were throwing food to them, I happened to get a glimpse of something just at the water’s edge. January is when the ducks (in our case, mostly mallards) mate around here and come mid March, all the females disappear and only the males are out swimming and quacking. This “something” was a male mallard, but he was sitting awfully still right up against the shore… not moving… I walked over and my heart sank. He was dead. It must have just happened because he wasn’t there when I was outside enjoying the morning before the girls woke up. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had a Mommy duck waiting for him to return with some food while she sat on her eggs. My heart was broken for this little mallard and the potential family he has trying to keep warm somewhere.

At that moment, Carly spotted me and asked what I was doing. I suddenly found myself in the situation of having to try to explain to my 3 year old what death is. How do you possibly explain the concept of death to a 3 year old? I did the best I could, but it made me realize how apathetic I had become over the last couple of weeks to her and in that moment, I sat down in the grass with her, took her hands, and told her how much I loved her. Of course, she loves me too, but she said, “Let’s go over there to those ducks” like it was nothing.

Carly 3 MWP copyYou see, real love bleeds. It is the kind of love that people who believe “real love doesn’t hurt” can’t ever understand. Real love DOES hurt. Real love hurts the worst because that love is so deep within our souls. Deep love is great love and great love is just like what Jesus brought to us when he chose to die so that we could have eternity with Him. Bleeding love is the ultimate sacrifice; the kind of love that means you’re willing to sacrifice everything for that person. It’s the kind of love I have as a follower of Christ, it’s the kind of love I have as a wife to my husband, and it’s the kind of love I have as a mother to my children. It’s easy to get caught up in the frustrations of day in and day out with a toddler in THAT phase and forget that these little people are people too and in need of knowing that bleeding love we have for them.

I hope, on some level, you’re able to relate to this post as I usher in the Mother’s Day season. I created this video to inspire you to be photographed with the people you love. You never know when you won’t have that chance again. Yes, that’s cliche, but it’s only cliche because it’s true. Even if I’m not the one taking your picture, please take pictures. Please be in pictures. Your loved ones will someday come to think of those pictures as priceless. More on our Mother’s Day Sale can be seen by clicking here, but for now, I leave you with this video. I entitled in “Extraordinary” because our lives, even though they may feel ordinary, are extraordinary when we are willing to see it as such.

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the incredible honor of photographing my friend, and business owner of Makeup by Paulina Perez, for her maternity shoot. Paulina is pregnant with her second son and due in just a couple of weeks. Her son, Devan, is just over a year old and wasn’t feeling the photos, but I felt some of the photos of Paulina comforting Devan was more representative of the beginning of Motherhood than anything. It’s when we, as women, are always looking to make sure everything is ok; to make them feel safe, secure, and comforted, especially in a world that is so new and unfamiliar. Here are some of my favorites. What is your favorite part of motherhood? If you’re not a mom yet, what do you most look forward to when you do become a mother some day?

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jacksonville photographer contemporary fashion style glamour portraits, jen shannon, jen shannon photography, contemporary glamour, fashion style portraits, vogue portraits, maternity portraits, glamour maternity, whimsical maternity portraits, flower crown, tulle, sue bryce, modern women portraiture,  portraits, portrait photographerjacksonville photographer contemporary fashion style glamour portraits, jen shannon, jen shannon photography, contemporary glamour, fashion style portraits, vogue portraits, maternity portraits, glamour maternity, whimsical maternity portraits, flower crown, tulle, sue bryce, modern women portraiture,  portraits, portrait photographerjacksonville photographer contemporary fashion style glamour portraits, jen shannon, jen shannon photography, contemporary glamour, fashion style portraits, vogue portraits, maternity portraits, glamour maternity, whimsical maternity portraits, flower crown, tulle, sue bryce, modern women portraiture,  portraits, portrait photographerjacksonville photographer contemporary fashion style glamour portraits, jen shannon, jen shannon photography, contemporary glamour, fashion style portraits, vogue portraits, maternity portraits, glamour maternity, whimsical maternity portraits, flower crown, tulle, sue bryce, modern women portraiture,  portraits, portrait photographerjacksonville photographer contemporary fashion style glamour portraits, jen shannon, jen shannon photography, contemporary glamour, fashion style portraits, vogue portraits, maternity portraits, glamour maternity, whimsical maternity portraits, flower crown, tulle, sue bryce, modern women portraiture,  portraits, portrait photographerjacksonville photographer contemporary fashion style glamour portraits, jen shannon, jen shannon photography, contemporary glamour, fashion style portraits, vogue portraits, maternity portraits, glamour maternity, whimsical maternity portraits, flower crown, tulle, sue bryce, modern women portraiture,  portraits, portrait photographer

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meagan rae, meagans quote, beauty is a radiating presence that transforms the world around you, modern womenI set out a year ago to transform my business. I didn’t know then just how powerful this genre of photography can be. My best friend, Meagan, recently went through a very difficult time in her life. I’ve watched her struggles over the last two years and her heart breaks have broken my heart too. I decided to give her a gift. I wanted to give her the gift of nourishing her soul after such a time in her life. I will have more on Meagan’s story soon, but in the mean time, I wanted to not only post a sneak peek, but extend a gift to you too.

When you contact us now through April 1, 2015 to book your day into the studio, you will have your hair and makeup done professionally and have a photo shoot with me, all complementary. If you have someone you’d like to share the experience with, feel free to bring them too. Their hair, makeup, and photo shoot will be complementary too. Click here to request your experience.

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This was my most memorable wedding I’ve ever photographed. I’ve photographed destination weddings before, but none like this. It almost seemed like a scam when I received Ariane’s email about photographing her destination wedding on the island of CocoCay in the Bahamas, but I quickly realized that it wasn’t. She and Aaron had planned a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas for their guests and on the CocoCay day, they would marry on the island. What an incredible idea.  Not only was this a wonderful trip for them, but also for their guests. Clearly, this would be a memorable wedding for me because I’d never been on a cruise, but I got to spend time with their families and friends, getting to know them, learning how they knew each other, hearing stories about growing up together, etc. My husband also got to come on the trip and carry my bags and assist, so it was pretty amazing sharing this experience with him too. Aaron and Ariane worked incredibly hard to make this dream a reality and I’m so impressed with not only how organized they were, but the amazing people they are and the incredible experience they planned for everyone.

Aaron and Ariane – I can’t even begin to express what an honor it was to be your photographer. Thank you SOOO much for trusting me to photograph such an incredible day in your lives. You both are beautiful, amazing people with such a beauty in your relationship with each other that most have a hard time finding. I’m so blessed to have gotten to know you both and your families and friends. It truly was an honor and I’m so grateful! Congratulations on not only your wedding, but your marriage. XOXO PS: Aaron, you still look like JT!

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