Meet the Gregory family. A joyful, fun-loving, Jesus filled family that I had a BLAST spending time with recently!
The Gregory kids gave Ms. Karen a family session for Christmas. With a very active family of seven, we had to overcome some scheduling conflicts to make this family session happen… and I’m so thankful that Mr. Todd was such a trooper and didn’t allow his ankle surgery and cast stop us!
I first met Ms. Karen and oldest daughter Lauren when I was a missionary in downtown Jackson at We Will Go Ministries. In fact, the Lord spoke Isaiah 26:3 to me through Lauren just before I moved to the Middle East. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” This is a Word the Lord knew I would need as I faced so many challenges in the years to come. I met second born Rebecca this past fall when she became one of my 2019 #meridithleebrides !! I loved every second of my time with her and fiance Adam in December at their engagement session and I can’t wait to shoot their wedding in May!
The Gregorys chose Downtown Jackson for their session, and I am loving the urban feel of their images! We spent time on the corner of Capitol and Congress Streets, as well as just down the street at the Mississippi State Capitol. I especially love the shots in front of the white brick wall around the Govenor’s Mansion!
Karen and Todd, as I spent time with you and your amazing kids, the Lord kept bringing Psalm 127:3-5 to my mind. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” You have raised up your children in the way they should go, and now as you begin to release your arrows out of your nest and into the world I feel the Lord saying to trust Him to continue to build their lives on the firm spiritual foundation He laid for each of them. Oh what a beautiful heritage the Lord has given you in Lauren, Rebecca, Alyssa, Noah and McKenna!
Joy and Jonathan’s wedding was a beautiful, Christ glorifying day at The Chapel at Livingston where family and friends came together to celebrate the love these two have for one another. Every detail of the day was simply perfect. As I captured my last wedding of 2018, my heart was encouraged as I recognized threads of the Gospel of Christ beautifully woven though each and every detail of the day. Both the Marble and Holland families overflowed with love and joy as they came together in this special day of celebration! It was such an honor to capture these special memories for these special families.
Throughout the day I got to hear even more stories about how Joy and Jonathan met. I knew the story about her friend yelling Jonathan’s name across the quad and pushing Joy to ask him to her Mississippi College social tribe’s dance. But I did not know that on their first date Jonathan asked Joy to share her testimony, and she in return asked him to share his. Their relationship began with a foundation on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, and I know their marriage will continue to build on that same foundation.
During their first look, Joy and Jonathan exchanged special gifts. Joy’s gift to Jonathan included not only a Taylor guitar engraved with Ephesians 5:19, “Sing, make music in your heart to the Lord.” but she also gave him a beautiful journal where she had been writing out prayers for him and their marriage during the 40 days leading up to their wedding. After exchanging gifts they sat together on the dock and sang their first worship song to the Lord. I know this special guitar will be a cherished family heirloom used to teach their children and grandchildren how to worship with their whole hearts.
In the photography world there is a lot of discussion about finding your ideal client. These discussions usually include a certain style or high-end look. For this missionary photographer, my ideal client really loves Jesus and chooses to put Him first. I am so honored to share a few of the beautiful images from my ideal client’s wedding day below.
As Dan & Ronit’s wedding day approached, we all watched the weather closely. Praying for the Lord to move the rain and provide a beautiful clear day for their Christmas themed backyard wedding. But His plans were different, and the Terrica of Southern Productions was able to contact all the vendors and move everything to the MSU Riley Center Grand Opera House. This wedding day’s vendor team went above and beyond to make Dan & Ronit’s wedding day every bit as beautiful and special as their original plans. The show must go on and Terrica and her team brought everything together beautifully!
This family holds a very special place in my heart. They are a HUGE part of my husband’s testimony of how he met and surrendered to Jesus.
The story begins with Ben, Mr. Gary & Mrs. Jamie’s son. Ben was the first person to invite Lee to a men’s prayer breakfast at Hillcrest Baptist Church. Lee experienced the love of Jesus and began going to church at Hillcrest where he surrendered his life to the Lord. During this season of early faith and growing in the Lord, Mrs. Jamie became what Lee calls his “church mom.” She and Mr. Garry loved him well and showed him what a godly family looks like. They are all a huge part in Lee’s spiritual foundation, and I was so honored when Mrs. Jamie contacted me about taking family portraits for them while everyone was gathered for Thanksgiving!
Three generations including Mrs. Jamie’s mom, their two grown up kids, and six grandkids made this portrait session quite an adventure! We had a lot of fun chasing the littlest of the family and trying to get them to laugh and smile for the camera.
As I have prayed for your family, the Lord reminded me of 1 Peter 4:8-9 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Mr. Gary & Mrs. Jamie, you love well and show hospitality like no other! I pray that these images are a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that I was able to freeze time and capture the memories of these precious little faces that are growing so fast. I hope these images will be a family treasure for generations to come.
I woke up Friday morning to a torrential downpour. My heart sank as I thought about the family session I had planned with this beautiful family that afternoon. Before I even got out of bed, I checked multiple weather apps. All were in agreement that the rain should move out by lunch. I emailed Allison to share my findings and give her a few options: location change to avoid mud, or reschedule for a latter date. I was overjoyed when she replied choosing to brave the weather and go with my location choice of Parham Bridges Park! The walking trails would keep everyone out of the mud, and there are enough trees for the images to look like we are lost deep in the woods, giving them the outdoors feel they wanted!
I am SO THANKFUL they trusted me! Not only was the location perfect, but the Lord parted the clouds revealing the dreamiest light streaming through the trees!! This beautiful family + the dreamiest golden hour light = I had the hardest time narrowing down over 1,000 images to my favorite 20 for the blog!! Ok, so it was impossible. I finally got it down to 33!
The love this family has for one another is evident in through their joy and laughter! And Emerson, this precious girl!! She was the star of the show!!
Matt, Allison & Emerson, I have prayed for each of you as I have edited your images. The verse the Lord has given me for your family is Psalm 126:2 “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. It was said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.'” The Lord has indeed done great things for you, and greater is yet to come! He has such big plans for your family! May the Lord continue to fill you with JOY and LAUGHTER all the days of your life!
I first met Jonathan & Ashton Spann when they came to We Will Go with a volunteer team from Pinelake Church. They were working with another We Will Go missionary and sharing about a mission trip they had recently returned from. That mission trip was to the same Middle Eastern country that I was planning to move to at that time! We connected and shared our hearts for this beautiful country and people that Jesus loves so much! That was now about six years ago and Jesus has taken all of us on crazy adventures with him!
Since then, the Lord has moved the Spann family into Midtown Jackson to share the love of Jesus! As a missionary, I am so excited to reconnect with like-hearted friends who are advancing the Kingdom in our city! And I am expectant to see how Jesus is going to use our friendship to encourage one another as we raise our littles on the mission field and live out the two greatest commandments to love God and love our neighbors on a daily basis.
Jonathan, Ashton & Sadie, the Lord sees you. He sees your heart. He sees your sacrifice. And He loves your willingness to obey no matter what. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Focus on Him! Do not take your eyes off Him to even notice the storm going on around you. He has called you out onto the water. He has called you to walk on the water with Him. As I pray for you now, I hear the chorus to the song Oceans by Hillsong United.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders Let me walk upon the waters Wherever You would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Savior
His plans for your family are better than you can ever imagine!
Happy Birthday Lia!! Beautiful girl, you are loved and blessed beyond measure!
Lia’s mom Jamie and I first met a few months after I moved to We Will Go Ministries in downtown Jackson. It wasn’t long before Jamie also was called to be a missionary with WWG and we became roommates for the first time. While the Lord was preparing me to move overseas, He was giving Jamie a vision of “crossing the Jordan” and taking new ground in Mid-Town Jackson. Jamie and Lia now live in a beautiful home she restored on McTyere Avenue near Milsaps College. Jamie and Lia are sharing the LIGHT of JESUS in a neighborhood that is important to the Kingdom!
Lia’s first birthday part was a sweet gathering of family and friends. Jamie incorporated many beautiful family heirlooms in the decorations and serving pieces… special ways to remember her grandmother. She even made her grandmother’s fried apple pies that have become a family birthday tradition!
Jamie, thank you for the honor of being part of Lia’s special day. We enjoyed celebrating your sweet baby girl!
Do you have a friend that you KNOW the Lord put in your life? There is just that God connection that draws you together and connects you in such a special way. I am blessed to have a hand full of these “God Friends” in my life, and today I want to introduce you to one of them.
Kim and I met through a dear mutual friend shortly before I moved to Turkey in 2013. I was a missionary preparing to move to the other side of the world with a one-way ticket, a checked bag and a carry on… and Kim invited me to her home to share my story and vision with a group of ladies from Pinelake Church. These ladies loved on me, honored me, prayed for me, and supported me on my journey with Jesus in such a beautiful way!
Throughout my time overseas, this amazing group of ladies would send me care packages with notes and gifts just to let me know that I was loved and not forgotten. And when I was pregnant with Isaac they sent me a baby shower in a box from half way around the world! Kim’s prayers and encouragement in difficult times helped to keep me going when my flesh wanted to quit. This girl is a prayer warrior, and it has been an honor to be on her prayer list all these years!
Since returning to the US, it has been such a pleasure to get to know Kim’s husband Jared and their three beautiful kids Drew, Abby & Alex. Oh what JOY this family carries!!
Jared and Kim have also blessed us through their financial business, Primerica business by helping us with with our investments, insurance, and a plan for retirement. Their faith shines brightly through not only their family life, but their business practices as well.
We are so blessed by the Nelson family, and I am honored to share these beautiful images with you!
Meet the Perry Family, my dear friends and the heart behind Bursting Barns Ministries in Lynnville, TN. A couple of weeks ago we had the honor of being guests at Bursting Barns for Jill Perry’s Jubilee Birthday Celebration & Ministry Launch!! And come to find out, we were their very first missionary guests!!
Eddy and Jill Perry were in Missionary Nurture Ministry way before they had a name for it. In fact, the vision for this ministry grew from the many missionaries who stayed in their home over the years.
I first connected with the Perry family while I was attending the Iris Harvest School of Missions in Mozambique, Africa in the summer of 2011. Eddy & Jill’s daughter Brooke, then only 17, was part of a mission team from We Will Go Ministries. Holy Spirit did so much in Brooke and I during that week in the dirt, and our hearts are forever knit together! During the fall of that same year, Brooke traveled from her home in Franklin, TN to We Will Go to visit and serve with us in Jackson, and then she returned with her family and church family for a spring break mission trip! This spring break trip is when I met Jill, the two younger Perry sons Brent & Blake as well as several from The Nest Church family. Little did I know, this church family would sew spiritual and financial seeds into my heart, vision, and ministry for years to come!
Over the years I have had many opportunities to stay in the Perry home, which we loving called the Perry B&B! This family does hospitality like nobody else! I have so many stories I could share, and many will appear on this blog in the future as I share my own Jesus story… but as I write this blog post about Eddy & Jill and Bursting Barns Ministries, the first thing that comes to my mind is the word FAITHFUL. What started as kind of a joke about the Perry B&B, became a vision. The vision grew through prayer and prophecy. And now, the vision has become a reality! Check out the full story on the Bursting Barns Blog!
Eddy & Jill, we love y’all so much! We believe your ministry of missionary nurture is VITAL to advancing the Kingdom!! We are so thankful for you and your example of faithfulness to keep pressing forward in order to see all that God has promises come into existence!! Praying for ABUNDANT PROVISION for you ministry so you can continue to nurture, refresh and equip missionaries who desperately need it!
Oh how sweet it was to meet up with Jamie + Lia at Highland Village for a mini-session!
Jamie and I got to know each other when we shared a house together TWICE at We Will Go Ministries in Jackson, MS. In spring of 2011 Jamie moved to We Will Go to serve as a missionary and moved into the Peace House with me for a few months before I went to Harvest School of Missions in Mozambique, Africa. I remember loving our neighbors together on the southern-style front porch of our house, spending so much time sitting in the rocking chairs and sharing the love of Jesus with the homeless and hungry who would knock on our door at all hours of the day and night.
A year later we had the privilege of living together again in Fire House just a few blocks over. Jamie was my last housemate in America before moving overseas to the Mediterranean Region! Looking back I can see how the Lord used us as iron that sharpens iron to grow and refine us both for what He knew was in our futures.
While living at We Will Go, Jamie bought a house to restore just a few blocks away. She has continued to live out the Great Commandment of loving her neighbor as herself from her Mid-Town home where she lives with her beautiful baby girl Ophelia. If you have something to give, Jamie knows who is in need. Jesus has used her gift of networking to advance His kingdom by caring for the modern day widows and orphans in her neighborhood.
Thank you Jamie for all you do! Thank you for loving people well with the love of Christ! And thank you for the honor of capturing these images of you and your sweet Lia.