The secret behind Valentines Day

So every Valentine’s Day growing up I would receive flowers and a treat or stuffed animal from a “secret admirer” delivered to me during class from as young as I can remember. This always made my Valentines super special because I was always so worried I wouldn’t receive anything because I was afraid no one liked me.  It made the day so much better for me and I’d spend the rest of the day looking around wondering who my secret admirer was. Was it the cute boy that sat behind me? Or the blonde boy who never looked at me as we passed in the hall? Or the boy everyone considered a dork but I knew he was sweet? It was exciting to try to guess.

Fast forward to my first year of college. (Yes, I received flowers every year even through my Senior Year of high school) and I didn’t get any Valentines. It was a sad year for me. I was talking to my mom about it and about how much it meant to me that someone liked me enough every year to send me a Valentine.

Pause....

The look on her face was so sheepish I about died. “IT WAS YOU!!!!” All those years you let me believe a boy liked me enough to send me a Valentine?? At first I was a little upset, only pacified by the fact that at least some of the years It was someone other then just my moms valentine I was receiving haha. But then... I got to thinking how much it had always meant to me, and how much trouble my mom must have gone through every year to make sure I had a secret valentine. And then I realized how much she must have really cared about me and making sure I felt loved and cared about growing up, because as adults we all know that our parents are the last ones who’s love means much when we are teens and think we know everything.

So there’s my Valentines story haha. Now I have a Valentine who brings me Black tie mousse cake every year and doesn’t judge me when I shove the whole thing in my face. 😁🤓

I know Valentines is not a happy time for everyone, and some people feel really sad about it. I hope you get a Valentine today, but if you don’t, be like my mom and find someone else to give a secret Valentine to, and make their day. You never know who's life is made better by even a small Valentine letting them know they are thought about.  Let them know they matter and they are loved.

No matter how Valentines Day May look for you....

Excuse me while I go stuff my face with chocolate!! And I hope you are doing the same! Happy Valentines Day!

And while we are at it...Book a couples session with me this month for 20% off :)

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Celina Sevilla Senior Photos // Utah Senior Photographer // Class of 2018

It makes me super sad when my dancers I've been photographing for years finally reach senior status and graduate and move away!  Makes me tear up a little everytime. It's crazy to watch these pretty dancers grow up and move on while I'm still here in this little valley.  But it's fun to see what they do with their lives and where they go and the adventures that life takes them on.  It's especially fun when they come back and I get a chance to photograph their weddings, so I usually get to see them again and keep contact, which makes me super happy!  Because each of these dancers definitely hold a special place in my heart. 

Go spread those wings you gorgeous girl! Keep dancing, and live a million dreams!

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KLC Family // Logan Utah Family Photographer

Andrew is a fellow photo friend.  I met him when he was teaching a photo class at USU.  He is funny to be around and keeps things nice and light.  I like that we swap family photo sessions sometimes.  It's always great to have a talented friend in the industry, and when he has a smokin hot wife and adorable children with dimples it's an even bigger plus!  Thanks Andrew for always trusting me with your memories!

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If you can't let it out....

It’s three in the morning and my soul fills stirred, like there is a fire bubbling up inside of me. I take a deep breath and a sob escapes my lips, I put my hand over my mouth and silently cry into my sheets, my body shakes with each silent sob. I pray that my angel dad will wrap his arms around us all and cocoon us in peace. A song he use to sing comes into my mind. I come to the Garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the son of God discloses, and he walks with me and he talks with me and tells me I am his own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

I hate seeing those I love suffer. I used to see this as a sign of weakness. Crying. A lack of faith. A giving in that the thing I’m sad about can’t be made better. That It wasn’t ok to feel sad and pain because then I’m showing a lack of faith in God’s plan, but I don’t feel that way anymore. In the Bible it says And Jesus wept. He knew all that would transpire, he had an absolute belief in God, he knew those he would bring back to life or create miracles for and still he took the time to mourn with those who mourned and comfort those who needed comfort. Its taken me a long time to know that it’s ok to cry. It’s not a lack of faith that things won’t just be what they are to be. It’s loving, and caring, and standing in a space of caring with those you love. The feeling of sad doesn’t last forever. It makes way for feelings of joy, or anger or a variety of other feelings, but allowing sad is ok too. Allowing yourself to feel, process, and release all emotions is ok.  Difficult emotions are not our enemy, they are a practice in releasing, letting go. When you express these feelings to others for some reason they are uncomfortable with those feelings you express, as I myself have always been. We want to tell them to have more faith or toughen up when others are experiencing feelings of sad or anger or empty. We see it as weak and self pity. We try to fix it.  Rather then just allow it. 

Jennifer Chrisman says “When we fight against emotional pain, we get trapped in it. Difficult emotions become destructive and break down the mind, body, and spirit. Feelings get stuck, frozen in time, and we get stuck in them.

It’s ok to feel those feelings and get them out. Western culture is uncomfortable with this idea of letting emotions out. Let them be uncomfortable. It’s not weakness or a loss of faith that miracles can occur or that all things have order and a plan. It’s standing in a space to say to another... I feel your pain, and I’m here with arms wide open to walk through it with you.

So if you are hurting, in pain, anger, joy, whatever you are feeling, I will stand in that space with you!  I will respect where you are, and support you in going on your journey. You deserve the space to feel what you need to feel.  I support you.

Engagements// Shanda Call Photography // Wedding Photographer

Its been a year since we took this sweet couples engagement photos!!  I wanna go back again!  They had me smiling from ear to ear.  They were so tender and sweet together and made every moment of their session so much fun.  They are so full of life and so full of absolute love for one another.  It was freezing cold outside and they still wanted to wade out into the water for photos.  They both have a love for Alaska and rain boots.  

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Thanks to my amazing associate Dycie Leishman for assisting on this shoot!

Decaria Family Photos

I really love photographing this family each year!  They are about the most shy family I ever get in front of my lens, and I just love it.  Each year these boys get a little more and a little more comfortable with me, and these adorable parents get more and more use to me making them get all snuggly in front of the camera.  It always makes my heart full to see the changes from year to year as I get to make friends and photograph families over and over.  And I will take cute shy smiles like these any day!  It was freezing cold out and we were all shivering but they were all troopers!

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Alexis Senior Photos

I'm a huge fan of my beautiful seniors I get the opportunity to photograph!  In the past I have limited how many seniors I take, and because of getting so many requests for this year, I've opened up more senior photo spots.  Now is the time to get yours booked!  Especially if you are graduating in 2019 and want Spring of Fall photos.  It's always a good idea to get them out of the way and done.  You won't regret it when you are filling out all those college papers and finishing up all your classes to graduate.  Let me help take that stress off of you!

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Emma Neilsen Family

These guys are so adorable!  Having three girls myself, I have a special place in my heart for other moms and dads with three little girls, and look at sweet these three are!  We had a lot of fun playing together on this shoot and playing games for giggles.  I love this sweet mama too!  She is always so kind, and I love her cute French accent!  Thanks for coming to play with me every year!  I love my repeat customers, which is why when I raise prices, I still give my families who have been with me year after year a great deal.  I love them, and I appreciate them.  YOU are who make this dream possible for me...to be able to record family memories for generations to come. 

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That shaking feeling you get in your chest before it bursts wide open and tears apart.

I went to post my blog posts today and I just couldn't get it done.  This morning on my family text thread we received a text from Jack my brother in law.  "Met with my oncologist this morning.  Besides the blood clot (in his lung), the CT scan showed growth in the abdominal wall cancer.  Also, new small cancer growth in the lungs and nearby lymph nodes.  I will start chemo next week.  I will also stay on blood thinners indefinitely." Jack has had stage 4 liver cancer he has been fighting for 2 years.   And more bloody noses then I'm sure he ever wanted to deal with in his life. The 5 year life expectancy for Stage 4 liver cancer once it spreads to other areas of the body is not good.  3%

We had thought it had been getting a little better.  We were of course hopeful.  There is no real cure for stage 4 liver cancer.  And the survival rate is not good.  But we tend to be a hopeful people and we believe in miracles.  Even after losing our precious Charlie to cancer a year ago, we are still hopeful and believers in miracles.  Some may call us crazy.  That's ok.  We have seen miracles happen before. Just not always the ones we expect or hope for.

Jack has been in my life - my whole life. He married my sister before I was even born.  He has always been a second father to me.  Someone I could go to with the hard questions, and someone who  always had amazing advice and a huge patient heart.  Oh man could he deal with grace during hard conversations.  I went to him in tears more times then I can count growing up, and always left uplifted and with direction.  He is just a part of me, just like my siblings, just like my mom, just like my dad.  I've known them all the same amount of time, fully immersed in my beginning. 

And I can't start crying because I know once it starts it's just not going to stop.  I feel that shaking in my chest.  The tight constriction, the shakiness that begins...right before it opens wide and everything comes out of you in one loud ground shaking sob.  Watching those you love suffer, and hurt, and go through day after day in pain, is so difficult.  

Look.  Jack is not one to act depressed in the open eye, or show much difficulty.  He lives on a lot of Faith and he works hard on staying upbeat.  But I'm pretty sure all this is taking it's toll on him.  He has constant bloody noses and a lot of pain that keeps him up some nights.  I can't even imagine all he goes through.  His life has been a devotion to his family.  He has worked, and even continued when his health is allowing him, to work to support his family.  It's a struggle most days.  Here is a little more about what he is going through and a way to help this wonderful family if you can.  Every little bit helps.  Cancer is expensive.  It takes it's toll in more then one way. https://www.youcaring.com/jack-mason-523566

Love you Jack.  Hang in there.

Utah Senior Photographer // Cameron Senior Photos // Salt Lake City

It's never too soon to book your Senior Photography Session!  I only take a limited number of seniors each year, so be sure to contact me to get on my calendar!  I love getting the chance to run around with my seniors and see the world through their eyes and capture what matters to them.

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Seth + Kylee Engagements// Logan Utah Engagements // Utah Weddings

These two love to laugh.  Their whole session was laughing and fun with little sweet moments in the middle of all that laughter.  They find so much joy being with one another....

Utah Birth Story//Brielle Birth Story// Brigham City

Her face went white as a sheet and she looked as if she was going to pass out.  The placenta was having a hard time coming out.  They laid her back, put oxygen on her and the room filled up with doctors and nurses everywhere...

Logan Utah Photographer // Denise Albiston Family // Logan Canyon

I often run into single moms or dads who struggle when it comes to family photo time.  They aren't sure if they need to do them, if they should bother, or if it's just going to feel awkward.  I tell them all that this is the phase of life they are in, so embrace it, document it, it's still you and your children creating memories together.  And I love the sessions.  There is always this special bond between them all, this sacred space they all hold for one another.  It was especially true for these three.  I loved seeing how they interacted together, the fun they had together, and all the sassy-ness they threw around haha.  

I met Denise while I was doing shoots at USU when she worked there, and I've loved keeping in touch with her and doing little commercial photo projects for her, I was so excited when she finally booked her family shoot!  They are all gorgeous and so much fun!  She looks like their older sister instead of their mom she's so gorgeous!  So fun to play with you all - thanks for freezing for a good purpose! ;)

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Salt Lake City Utah Photographer // Sheldon and Angie Peck Family// Albion Basin

This family holds a super special place in my heart since it's one of my older brothers.  I remember when I was just little Sheldon went on a service mission to France.  I thought it was so cool to have a brother in France.  Being the youngest of 11 children, I was pretty use to my siblings kinda just coming and going....

Utah Family Photographer // Jami Rayfield Family // Utah

Oh man I can not even tell you how much I love Jami!  I feel like my life was so blessed to be able to have her be a part of it.  She is amazing.  She is kind.  She is good.  She is real.  I just really adore her.  I am always so thankful that our paths crossed accidentally.  It was the perfect accident for my life, and my life is better for it. When you meet a truly good person, you never want to let them out of your life.  This is definitely true if you ever get the chance to be friends with this girl.  Last year she did a lot of my marketing for me, and she was so fun to work with.  Then they moved and she didn't have good internet access at all and couldn't get it in the area she was in so I eventually had to hire someone new, and while I absolutely love my new gal, I also miss working with this amazing human being who has taught me so much by example.  The first birth story I ever did for her was published on Beyond the Wanderlust here - and was such a tender sweet story, you should be sure to check it out!  Love you and your family so much Jami!!!

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Cache Valley Birth Story // Kristin Ackerman // Birth Stories

Kristin is an amazing photographer herself - so it's always a little intimidating when another photographer asks you to photograph a special occasion for them.  But I was excited to meet her and be a part of her special day.

Kristin was in a little car accident three weeks before her due date, so she went to the hospital to be checked and they decided to keep her and monitor her. It was a Saturday night and I received a text from her letting me know she was in the hospital.  Since she was so early, I still had some shoots lined up, so I was really hopeful it would still work out that she'd have it when I would be able to make it.

She labored all day Saturday and Sunday, she was at a three for a really long time. By the time she got to a five and they decided to induce her it was 5pm. At nine there wasn’t any change so I decided to go to bed, at midnight I received a text that she was at a 9.5 and there was pressure so hurry! Haha. Births are so unpredictable. When I got there they were all smiles and Kristin was so adorable and funny. She had a cute sarcastic sense of humor and was enjoyable to be around. It didn’t take long at all for that sweet baby girl to make her appearance, a couple pushes and out came a dark head of hair, it took her a minute to start crying, but no time at all to want to nurse. She was a strong heathy sweet baby girl.

Watching Chris and Kristin together was so sweet. Chris spent the whole time loving on Kristin, leaning in to caress against her cheek, holding her hand.  Guys!  Take note!  When your wife is having a baby, there is nothing better then a supportive husband who is right there, easing the wives worries or just loving on her and being supportive every minute of what she needs. Kristin said Chris is like a lion, he is so snuggly and adorable with his girls, I loved watching how he’d just snuggle his head right into them both. There was so much happiness in that little room.  Little 5lb Edelweiss is going to be one loved little girl. 

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Utah Family // Logan Family Shoot // Backyard

I had the privelege of meeting this sweet family when Celsey hired me for her sweet little babies birth story.  See that here

I had such a great experience getting to know some of the family during the birth, and they were all so sweet, I was excited when Celsey's mom Cheryl asked if I could do their extended family photos.  I have a sweet spot for extended families.  And this family has joined that sweet spot in my heart.   

I love when everyone is able to get together, and I think they are so incredibly important.  There is such a short time in life when you really get together with all your siblings and their families and do things together.  Eventually everyone has their own little families, and the times you get together with your siblings families become fewer and farther between. Take advantage of getting those photos and those memories anytime you can!  

Happy Holidays!

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Heather + Cameron Wedding// Logan Utah Temple // Backyard Wedding

Cameron and Heather met while performing in a play together. It is clear that theater is a love they both share! This couple is so much fun! They had a beautiful Gatsby themed wedding, complete with the bridesmaids rocking the 1920’s inspired look and pearls. So many details you guys!  SO MANY INCREDIBLE DETAILS!

Heather and Cameron are both so funny and kept each other smiling and laughing all day!

The couple got sealed in the Logan Temple, and then had a gorgeous intimate backyard ceremony where they exchanged rings and words of love in front of all their close family and friends.

Surrounded by close friends and family, they spent the evening dancing, laughing, and having a wonderful time! The location was so beautiful and the air smelled of smores the whole night! This family definitely knows how to have a fun time! The brides sister sang a special song for them for their first dance together and the groom even surprised his bride with a special song he wrote and sang for her!

Congrats to such a perfect couple!

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Logan Birth Photographer//Brielle Maternity//Birth Stories

I met this spunky mama at Bunco night, and she was so sassy and so much fun!  I was excited when she called me to see if I could cover her birth story.  Of course with my Birth stories I always offer a mini maternity shoot too, so I was able to spend some time with her and her husband before sweet little babies birth.  Her birth story was a first time experience with the mama being in a tough spot during delivery, and it had all our emotions coming out.  Can't wait to share that story with you on another blog post! Stay tuned!

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Logan Utah Birth Story//Celsey Birth Story//Logan Regional Hospital

Having a baby is a tough, emotional, exciting experience.  Celsey experienced every emotion during her birth story.  This is one mama who adores her babies.  Everything she does is to make a better life for her little family, she loves them so much.  She's such a gorgeous kind, tender mama, I've loved getting to know her and see her interact with her little ones.  

Her room was full with all the people who love her and were so excited for this baby to come.  She had support on both sides, from both sets of parents, and her own little family, she was surrounded in love and care.  There was a lot of excitement for this sweet little baby, and just look how adorable and perfect she is!  I love watching babies come into the world, there is nothing quite like it - nothing makes you feel so incredibly full in life as a new little baby.

Congratulations to your sweet little family Celsey!  You are such an amazing woman to watch, I love your drive and your passion, and your authenticity!

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