Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Farewell {for now}

No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth.
Robert Southey

Have you ever watched a struggling team, clearly the underdog, win a championship game? Have you ever known someone, who despite enormous opposition, now living a colorful, dynamic life? What is it inside of us human beings that is always cheering for the less favored, the less talented?
There's something fascinating about the thrill of seeing someone who seems to have no strength left reach deep down, tap into a supernatural courage and overcome all odds, and expectation. It's the sweet taste of redemption. Redeeming time of hardship and long hours of training or struggle.
In efforts not to over dramatize, let me put this in perspective. I can't say that I have recently broken any world records, or found a miracle solution for providing clean water for the whole world. However I have experienced something extraordinary these past months. I have witnessed first hand, for the first time, God's redemptive power in my life. It all started with losing control. The striving ceased. Anxiety lessened. Trust (faith) increased as I sat back and walked through open doors instead of trying to bust 'em down myself.
It's like my life has shifted from a first person, to third person perspective. I am not writing my own story. The pen is not in my hand anymore. Instead, the pen is in God's hand, and I am able to sit back and read. What I've noticed is that my life has been marked with a strange peace, unending joy, and giddy excitement. I savor every sentence, yet I can't wait to "turn the page" to see what the next chapter holds.
This summer has been the best thus far, by far! I am thankful for my family. I will never be able to repay them for their loyal support and loyal love. I am thankful for my friends. I have connected with some of the most passionate people this summer, specifically at Substance Church and been continually challenged and encouraged. I wish I could thank EACH of you in this note for your friendship and the unique joy you bring. If you're reading this, you are precious to me. Know that.
This summer has been marked with random excursions, blissful conversations, summer night shenanigans, great food, and beautiful people. Literally too good to be true. But it is true!
Let me take a moment to say this as well: I know that this hasn't been every one's experience these past months. May I have the privilege of empathizing with you? Because that underdog, the "least likely to succeed"...that was me. The past 3 years especially, has been an up and down internal struggle that manifested in several different ways. I thought the dreams I had were simply too extravagant, the odds were stacked WAY against me. I know me. I know what I do...what I've done. The thought of being someone great, or rather used by someone GREAT, seemed impossible. But the tears, the depression, the sweat, and ultimately God's faithfulness has granted me the "win".
I am the weakest link that has become the strongest. I am the loser that has just won the greatest prize. I wear the championship ring proudly and loudly. That ring holds a purpose and meaning for life. The hope of things to come, the strength, the Grace TO DO. Who knows that God loves when the odds are stacked highly against us in order that He may take them and show off His magnificent power??
The ironic thing is, this is all spurred by allowing myself to read my story verses trying to write it. Life is no longer a "strive-fest" but a "rest-fest". A rest in the One who gives me and leads me each step which has been planned out perfectly beginning to end. I know I will "side step" the plan occasionally, but no matter how many steps I get from the Path, it's always just one step to get back on track.
So it's far well for now from my home in Minnesota, for the final year in my home in Alabama. It seems like it'd be hard to leave in spite of such a wonderful time. But there is much to learn, much to do, much yet to be revealed. I am so excited to continue to share this journey with you Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. I pray that your time of redemption comes soon, because if you're not already wearing it, there is a championship for you to wear. I guarantee it's a big, blingy, and perfectly sized ring just for you. Also, that you would take heart during the process.

"Let us fix our eyes of Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2

Farewell...for now.

Live full, do good, and keep in touch.

Much love,


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Beach Workout

running, a photo by shelley ^^ on Flickr.

Are your workouts lame??
If you find yourself waking up to a sunny morning, a calm lake (body of water), and NO life guards. Try this stellar beach workout. It's a great way to increase cardio and strength with high intensity intervals and body weight strength training. All of which equates to FAT BURN. Gotta' love me some of that. Here is the workout I did the other morning. Keep in mind you can up the reps, speed, or change up the order in any fashion to suit your fitness level. Push it. Don't take it easy just 'cause no one's there ;)
But better yet challenge a friend!
A Beach of a Workout:
(If you dare...)
I did this all in the sand on the beach. For sprints I ran the beach longways which was about 200 yards. Running on the sand is much more of a challenge, but great for strength for fine tuning the littler muscles and increasing speed. Slap on a swimsuit if you're feel hardcore, because you will be getting wet.

Warm up with a 5 minute jog
  • 50 Walking lunges
  • 50 Mountain climbers
  • 2 Minutes Plank
Repeat this 3 Times
  • Sprint to the end of beach and back (200 yards)
  • 25 Push ups
  • 25 Tricep dips (find a bench or curb)
Repeat 5 times
  • 25 Jump squats
  • 25 Sit ups (You can do different variations)
Repeat 3 times
Now that your good and sweaty, (this took be about 30 minutes) dive into the water 'Baywatch style' and finish with 30 minutes of aqua jogging. (Don't laugh. It looks pretty strange.) If that's too fancy for you, swim laps. End with some good stretching. I guarantee you will feel your legs a little upset the next morning.
You'll get over it.
Good luck!

Lollipops & Umbrellas {a photoshoot}

I had the privilege of working with the lovely Allison and Greg along with their three smiley kids, Gunnar,Wyatt, and Maren. They were wonderful sports as we pranced from boulder to boulder in the heat of late afternoon. We met at a photographer's dream location, Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Lake. Newly remodeled gardens and stone formations...there were garden tools scattered just waiting or their modeling debut.
These are more pictures than I usually post, however I was in a mood to splurge and share with you some simple beauty. May it inspire you to do something sweet.
Thank you Allison and Greg for allowing me to spend time with your family. Next time I will remember to bring some portable fans!

Sister love.


What a catch!

Mother and daughter.
This could be Colorado!
Praising the Lord!

Boys will be boys...

The color of the lollipop and hair are frightening similar.

Pretty color palette, sea green and red-pink.

Got 'em.

A proud mother's moment.

Cheers to lollipops, umbrellas, and smiley families!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Miller Family {Uptown Edition}

I was pleasantly surprised when Hannah and her brothers called me to spend the afternoon photographing them for a birthday surprise for their mother. (Awww...) Of course, Hannah was the instigator of the whole shindig, but her brothers Tony and Jake were great sports. We met at Jake's house in Uptown and we ventured close by to all sorts of little nooks and crannies so readily available in the city. Despite constantly wiping the sweat from our brows, and dodging sun when possible, it was a wonderful afternoon! (Ending with Sebastian Joe's ice cream helped a little too ;)
I so enjoyed my time with the studly Miller clan. I'm telling you, these people could easily rock the modeling world with their suave looks and cool style.
Thank you Miller's for spending time on the other side of my lens! Your momma will be so proud :)


Hannah you're such a grill head.
This about sums up the sibling dynamics.

Love for the momma.
Notice the sweat rag Jake cleverly brought along :)
Thank you unsuspecting citizen for letting us use your scooter for a prop...
Hannah you are beautiful.

Athletic all around to say the least.
A little lift never hurt anything.

Good catch!