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A New Years Reflection for 2019

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Happy New Year! It’s only taken me 14 days to pull myself together for a New Years post.  A little over a week ago I was fresh off of a reflecting, dreaming and goal setting night away with lots of stirrings in my heart and plenty of things to process. Instead of leaving the weekend with a “word” for the year the sweet Lord took me on an unexpected journey through His Word where He gave me lots and lots of life giving words of truth and three things to hold on to; a reminder, a promise and a plan.

Yes of course I got to some actionable goals eventually and revisited and refreshed my Business Plan for the coming year. But there was a lot that needed to happen before any of that could take place and it all took me by complete surprise.

A Reminder - Lamentations 3:22-24

For the first weekend of the new year fellow creative and I Sarah Sandel (who is a gifted writer and has a blog that she’s currently re-vamping but you can bookmark it by clicking here) set out on a goal-setting, dream-casting night away at the beach with visions of soaking up the warm Florida wintertime sun from the comfort of a cozy seaside chair, journal and laptop in hand. We planned for updated glow-y headshots as soon as we arrived in the warm golden hour light. Up and over the skyway bridge we didn’t lose our excitement even over the high hazy complete cloud cover. “It makes a lovely ‘light box’”we said in true photographer form. And then just two miles from the hotel the dark clouds overcame us and the heavens let loose in torrential rain. We unloaded semi-dry under the valet awning and walked into the hotel lobby lit by dim afternoon lights. Not quite what we had imagined.

We opted for an early dinner, then hopping right into our work while postponing the headshots for the morning which was calling for sunshine. As I sat down to dream in front of a window with the view of the ever darkening night cloaking what I only knew to be the ocean beyond I opened my first worksheet from The Well Summit and read the first verse...

“The LORD'S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."” Lamentations 3:22-24

“Oh wouldn’t that have been nice to be reading in the hopeful soft morning light,” I thought to myself. I love the quiet softness of the light at the start of the day when expectations are held lightly and hope abounds. But then I thought, most every glorious sunrise I’ve ever experienced involved getting up before the sun for some reason or another.

Morning always starts in the dark.

I lifted my eyes and stared into the darkness outside the window in front of me and had one of those deep breath moments where I knew the Lord was about to do something big and maybe kind of scary in my heart. I had no idea what it was and surely didn’t know if I was ready for it but there was no doubt it was coming either way.

And that was the start of things for me. In order to step into the hopeful morning light of 2019’s dreams and goals I had to start things off unexpectedly in the dark with the reminder that His compassion and faithfulness is new every single hopeful, softly lit morning.

A Promise - 1 Peter 5:10

I have to admit I always cringe a little at posts that are enthusiastically waving goodbye to a hard year, proclaiming their best year is yet to come. I truly believe you may not always get to choose the experiences and circumstances of your life but you do get to choose how to frame them. And my general aim is to choose to focus on the good, the joyous, the growth in the midst of struggle (but more on that later). And yet being the highly sensitive person I am, that hard and heartbreaking stuff doesn’t just slip by. It sits and lingers in my soul whether I choose to admit it or focus on it or not.

So at the end of 2018 when I sat full of hope and excitement to reflect back on the year and dream towards the next I was genuinely surprised by instant tightness in my chest and the hot tears that came on like an unexpected storm on a day calling for sunshine. It was unnerving. It wasn’t what I wanted to do with my time and it certainly wasn’t where I wanted to turn my gaze and focus.

2018 held some pretty heavy heartbreak and I realized in my reflection that I was still holding onto it all. The lingering heartbreak of another year on this earth without my dad, a dear friend battling some heavy medical challenges, witnessing sweet friends walk further and further away from the Lord and the goodness He had for them through obedience to His word and His truth and then there is the general heartbreak and pain that comes from watching loved ones walk through hard things they have no control over. As I prayed through tears the Lord gave me these sweet words of encouragement, hope and a promise of purpose from His Word.

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

There is a purpose!

I love the sweet promise that comes in the very first word of this verse, after. The suffering is only for a season and there is a time that comes “after”. There is an end to it. Praise. But the end only comes on the other side. And the other side only comes by walking through it. 

Yes, it was a difficult season in many ways but I am absolutely certain it wasn’t without purpose. As I reflect back I can begin to see the places He was so graciously perfecting, confirming, strengthening and establishing myself and the loved ones around me in this season too. What a sweet gift that through obedience to His truths will forever change our lives the lives of our loved ones for generations to come!

This past week I’ve taken time to process and pray and slowly release those heavy burdens and sufferings from 2018 that I’ve carried for far too long. I have clung to the promise of purpose found in His word and am choosing to focus on what sweet treasures lie on the faith filled other side.

A Plan - Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8

With a reminder of His faithfulness and the promise of purpose tucked into my heart I can finally look forward with focus and hope to the coming year. This year I plan to turn my gaze towards Philippians 4:8 things and dwell there. Truth, honor, righteousness, purity, oh-so-lovely, respectable, excellent and praiseworthy things, that’s where I will be.

This year I hope to turn my camera towards more things that take my breath away, inspire me and make my heart skip a beat, like genuine love stories, lovely light, beautiful little meaningful details, gorgeous vistas and lots and lots of film worthy moments. I hope to continue to build encouraging relationships with my friends and clients that always point them back to Jesus and His sweet glory. I hope to collaborate more and work on building not just a healthy team but a Caroline Maxcy Photography Family (more on this soon). I know without a doubt that I thrive in community professionally, personally and spiritually and life is just way more fun with the right folks by your side.

Personally I hope to encourage my husband more, serve my church family and community more and walk more and more in the obedient rhythm of daily discipleship and growing faithfulness. Of course there are health goals, friendship goals and maybe trying to make this the year I start being on time to things. No promises. We hold these type of New Years goals lightly around here. And then there is that little goal I made long before all of this processing that I didn’t think much of at the time, to witness more glorious, quiet sunrises even if that means it starts in the dark.

An Unexpected Christmas

A Shepherd’s Field on the hills surrounding Bethlehem, Israel | Contax 645 , Fujifilm Pro 400h 120

A Shepherd’s Field on the hills surrounding Bethlehem, Israel | Contax 645 , Fujifilm Pro 400h 120

I started writing this Christmas post to accompany this image from the hills surrounding Bethlehem early in December. With anticipation and expectation I had asked the Lord to teach me something new about the Christmas story this year and a few weeks into December I thought I knew what it was going to be...

When we toured the holy land we found ourselves standing in the blinding sun squinting, peering out at shepherds fields and ancient gardens that hold stories from the black of night. A place transforms based on light. A field doesn’t seem so far away from a city in the daytime when you can see it in the distance. You can’t even glimpse the stars, though they are surely there behind the veil of brilliant blue. The fullness of the light of the sun oftentimes blinds us from the small moments in powerful stories told in the dark. Yet there we stood in the shade squinting our eyes because our tour didn’t include any nighttime stops though the stories they held surely did. On that first Christmas Day a new beginning came in the dark of night lit by handheld lamps and far away stars.

I thought that was it. God comes down in the silent black of night to bring us the everlasting light. Yes, what brilliant truths that message holds! I planned to pray and ponder over it all throughout this season as my work slowed and the holiday festivities commenced.

And then the unexpected happened. An unexpected death, an unexpected whirlwind of a trip for a funeral, unexpected sleepless nights, unexpected tears, unexpected stories. Missed meetings, rescheduled photoshoots and unsent Christmas cards and gifts all added to the list of the unplanned.

The unexpected interrupted the well laid plans I had for this Christmas season. But then isn’t that just the very heart of the Christmas story?

And there it was. If a baby born to a virgin isn’t the most unexpected story I don’t know what is. I’m sure those shepherds in that dark Bethlehem field were never in a million years expecting the heavenly hosts that would interrupt their silent night. Certainly no one thought our Savior would ever come as a humble baby boy born in a back room stable within cool stone walls. 

Our God is a God of the unexpected. Though none of it is a surprise to Him.

Maybe this Christmas season what I really needed to learn is instead of agonizing over unwelcome surprises in the night to lean in and look for Him there too, like the shepherds on a Bethlehem hill lit by starlight on that very first Christmas night. 

“O little town of Bethlehem

How still we see thee lie

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep

The silent stars go by

Yet in thy dark streets shineth

The everlasting Light

The hopes and fears of all the years

Are met in thee tonight”


Loss at Christmas Time

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As the Christmas season has been coming upon us my heart has been heavy for those who lost someone dear to them this year. Christmastime can oftentimes be the hardest. I think back to that first Christmas without my dad. After 34 years of celebrating alongside him, things were painfully different. I know the ache. If you've experience loss, you know it all too well too. And for anyone whose lost someone this year you are in my prayers and have been on my heart for the past few weeks. 

And then...

This past Sunday we lost a dear loved one ourselves. My husband’s step dad, my father in law, unexpectedly passed away on a sunny Christmastime Sunday. We gathered in the hospital, shocked, holding each other up, the stinging reality burning into our hearts yet still strange to our heads. It can’t be true. 

We just took family photos last week. Arms around each other. Cracking up over Doug and his “farm boy” stories as always. I just can’t be true.

We aren’t made to understand death because it’s not what we were made for. In the garden death wasn’t in the original plan. That was ushered in with forbidden fruit and the temptation to believe that God was holding something back from us. The knowledge of good AND evil that we now possess stings on a Sunday afternoon in a small hospital room. Death was ushered in. 

As much as we are enamored with the beauty of this world it’s at times in death when this place feels like a lack-luster foreign land. Our hearts ache for home. Our souls long for heaven. And yet God meets us here. 

Four years ago when I lost my dad the lights of my earthly world dimmed. I held anger, frustration, fear and questions in the dark. But when the lights are dimmed our ears can’t help but tune in to the still small voice of our Comforter. The whispers I received from my precious Savior in the dark are treasures I could have never received anywhere else. 

Much as the light of the world came to meet us as a baby in the quiet black of night, our Savior still meets us there. In the messy, unexpected, dark places He whispers treasures our hearts may not even be able to understand at the time and He gently, slowly, in His perfect timing lifts our gaze to see where "yonder breaks a new and glorious morn".

A Miami Family Vacation — Key Biscayne Miami Photography — Silver Sands Beach Resort

If you follow me on Instagram you may have gathered that my family stole away to Miami for the weekend to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday (I don't know what may have clued you in, maybe it was the 30+ images I posted over the course of 4 days). I just can't help it! Miami is such a visually appealing city and then you get my gorgeous family up in the mix and it is a recipe for photo overload. Plus my sister calls this place her home so we have a insta-tourguide for places like Vizcaya, South Beach, Coconut Grove, Wynwood and finding the best food. (Side note: Because my sis lives in Miami I have no travel fees for wedding photography in the area. Yay for Miami weddings!) 

We opted to stay a hop skip and away from all the hustle and bustle on the island of Key Biscayne and found ourselves the quaintest of retro Miami places, Silver Sands Beach Resort. If you are looking for Miami luxury, glitz and glam this is NOT the place but if you want to step back in time and experience a little bit of vintage low-key Miami this is DEFINITELY your place. It was just perfect for what we were looking for for the weekend. And as an artist it was a dream… the retro feel, the swaying palms, the vintage architectural details, those aqua doors! All weekend long I plotted and planned for the photo session I had worked out to do with my 13 year old niece for a photo class I was teaching. I wanted to walk my class through how I go about a photo session and this place was the perfect setting, put a gorgeous gal up in the mix and voila… photo loveliness. But… as many photo shoots go things didn't go as planned… when we actually got around the the session the 13 year old wasn't up for it (oh the temperamental-ness of being 13). Luckily I have a 19 month old model of a nephew that is always up for photos (or rather, allowing me to chase around after him with my camera while we try to keep him as happy as possible.) And to top it all off I got myself a great teaching lesson for my photo class where I was able to talk through finding light, making compositional decisions, working through challenges, being present in the moment and telling a compelling visual story all along the way in a real life setting. Win!

Here is a glimpse into a low key morning of Miami fun! And to find out more about how I capture these type of images join me for my next This is the Day Photo Workshop or Highlands Art League class. Enjoy!

xoxo, Caroline

Washington Instagram Mania — Seattle and the San Juan Islands Travel Photography

I'm back! For those of you who don't follow me on Instagram you may not have even noticed I was gone. For those of you who do, you are more than likely all too aware of my recent travels. Hehe. Over the course of the past few days I have been from one corner of the US and back again with a whirlwind Washington trip in between (and about 40 Instagram photo posts too.) My dear friend from grad school, Lauren, has lived in the delightful city of Seattle for just over a year now so I figured it was high time for a trip and I couldn't have hit it at a better time. Lots of sun and perfect outdoor activity temperatures made for a stunning trip (and lots and lots of gorgeous photo ops.) And with my busy as ever fall photo season coming up, with a handful of super exciting weddings and a fall family photo calendar filling up, this artist needed some time to step away for creative rejuvenation to launch me into the season with a joy and excitement like none-other. Mission accomplished.

Not long after getting into WA we hopped on a ferry to the San Juan Islands and spent a full 24 hours soaking it all in from our home base of Orcas Island. The next few days were spent in a sunny Seattle complete with hiking to a driftwood and pebble covered beach, oysters on the water and watching a glorious sunset on the sandy shores of Golden Gardens (while eating pie, yes, pie on the beach.) I have a whole slew of "big girl camera" photos to sort through but in the meantime you can check out some of my favorite iPhone/Instagram photos from the adventures below. And if you so happen to want to have the opportunity to follow my everyday life adventures including trips like this head on over to my Instagram by clicking here and come on along.

xoxo,
Caroline

Caroline Maxcy's Seattle and San Juan Islands, WA Instagram photo favorites.

Caroline Maxcy's Seattle and San Juan Islands, WA Instagram photo favorites.

Where Joy and Heartbreak Collide. God knows.

I am a firm believer in the Lord being present in all things. Even our calendars, our schedules, where things butt up against one another, where stories are told in the intertwining of the two. He is at once personal and profound. He is present in the single story that is being told in my life and in the lives of everyone, everywhere for all creation in all of time. God knows. God knows it all. And this past weekend for me, where joy and heartbreak collided, was no different. Plans were changed, things shifted and rescheduled and I found myself with my camera in hand going from session to joyous and heartbreaking session one right after another all weekend long. It was one long continuous prayer, an on-going conversation with God. And on a weekend that seemed a little too heavy the Lord handed out just enough time, just enough grace and just enough strength to make it through.

Last Thursday I received a Facebook message that was geotagged as coming all the way from Uganda. A young woman, a brand new mom was asking if I could come over to the Tampa airport on Saturday night for their family's homecoming celebration. Jamie and Paul had just adopted Elijah Namanya Samuels and after six weeks in Uganda in the process of things they were now heading home. I was there. Of course, I was there. So after a breathtakingly beautiful family photo session on Saturday afternoon I hit the road with just enough time to make it to the airport as their plane was about to touch down. I joined a a group of about 30 other folks all there to welcome Eli with glittered signs and balloons and stuffed animals galore all donning their matching t-shirts with the emblem of a tree and Eli's given name "Namanya" meaning "God knows." You see just 9 months ago, last March, 1 month old Eli was found abandoned in a forest, beneath the trees. Malnourished, tiny and frail Eli made his way from an orphanage to a hospital to a foster home. By 5 months old he weighed less than 10 lbs. In steps Jamie and Paul when they are matched with him in July and they have tracked his growth and made their plans to make him their own. And on Saturday they stepped off the plane in Tampa greeted by their closest family and friends (and me and my camera) and they brought Eli home for the very first time. 

God knows.

I left that joyous shoot, late on Saturday night and crashed at my best friend's place in Tampa, setting my alarm for 6:30 for the next day. I collected my things, hugged goodbye and hit the road again back to Sebring arriving just in time for the graveside ceremony for a six year old boy, Branson, gone too soon. 

We talked about God's goodness, we rejoiced for the gift of our saviour Jesus, we lifted our voices in song and then we stood there in the open field, a group of no more than 50 of Branson's closest friends and family, clutching bundles of colorful balloons. To each his own. A sea of red, blue, orange and yellow hovering above our heads. Contained. Then at the cue we simultaneously loosened our grips to release the delicate ribbons from our fingers. We opened our hands and let go… 

The breeze of the day caught them and as they gently lifted into the heavens above so did our eyes. So did our hearts. We followed them with our gaze (some comically getting stuck in a nearby tree). A sea of color dispersed in the morning sky, fading into tiny specks in the white of the storybook clouds. Joy and heartbreak intertwined. Released. Branson was at last home.

And while we all rejoice with knowing that Branson too was lifted home into the heavens to experience eternal joy with Jesus, there is a sadness that is found in the vast emptiness that is left behind. When the specks of color could no longer be seen our eyes fell again. The space once filled with one hundred colorful balloons now stood quiet and still. Where we could seemingly still feel the ribbon between our fingers we all knew that we had to let go.

God knows this too.

In two vastly different stories, where joy and heartbreak collide, where homecomings and home-goings are bittersweet, we find the ever swelling presence of God. And for a little boy, Elijah Namanya, he will know a life that his biological family probably never could have imagined. He will be introduced to Jesus and to a God that was there with him all along, from beneath those trees in the forest to the place in central Florida he now calls home. God knows. And for precious Branson, well, he is dancing with that very same Jesus today. God knows.

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 19:14

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 19:14

And as for me… I am absolutely astonished everyday that the Lord has entrusted to me so much joy, so much heartbreak, so much raw and beautiful life to step into, to document, to memorialize day-in and day-out. On a weekend that felt a little too heavy the Lord was more than enough. God knows.

Secret Garden Paper Dress Costume — Fine Art Photography

Tis the season for costume donning. Last year this time in a casual conversation about costume ideas with Rebekah Ritchie Adams I saw her eyes widen with the mention of two words "paper dress". It was decided. We would start constructing her a paper dress (inspired by my own Paper Princess Bride costume from thee years ago. You can check that out here). To start things off Rebekah chose the novel "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett for her inspiration and materials and the next thing we knew we were in a cloud of carefully folded and fanned paper, clear wire, metal fasteners, exacto blades and lots and lots of tape. But the thing that we quickly realized is that each of our "perfectionism" tendencies in crafting meant… an unfinished product come dress-up time. Fast forward one year later, sit us back down in that cloud of paper and voila the dress is finished, and just in time for dressing-up (plus a photo shoot) this year… just barely. 

The dress is an artful construction and representation of the story of "The Secret Garden" and gives new life to the printed pages of an enchanting story. Using pages from that novel and other vintage gardening and botanical books the dress came together piece by folded paper piece to create a wearable work of art, complete with a hidden door tucked between the pages and a skeleton key draped around the neck.

The story of The Secret Garden while enchanting certainly has a bit of a dark feel to it so we decided to style a photographic session around this dark, magical whimsey allowing the story to unfold along the way. We ventured to an abandoned home with a wildly overgrown garden entryway and crept our way through branches and barren thorny rose bushes. Then just past sunset we explored a small forest green and overrun by gorgeous vines. Here is where the story blooms. The results were breathtaking, I'd say.

xoxo,
Caroline

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.” ― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

 

Credits:

Photography: Caroline Maxcy Photography
Hair and Make-up: Michelle Trinder Cathey
Model: Rebekah Ritchie Adams
Paper Dress Design and Construction: Caroline Maxcy and Rebekah Ritchie Adams
Jewelry Design: Rebekah Ritchie Adams (Bekah's Heart)
 
Flowers: Publix Super Market

 

“One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands out and throws one's head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one's heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun--which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with the millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someone's eyes.” ― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

From my Backyard to Mexico and Back — Mexico Missions Trip Videography

Not that anyone is holding their breath for my blog posts but I know that it has been a bit of a long while since I last shared with you all. This summer has been wonderfully full. And while I have been booking and photo shooting all the long the way from a family session at a blueberry farm, to a beautiful baby bump, to my very first boudoir session, to a vintage guitar with a story, a good chunk of my summer has been filled with some incredible opportunities for ministry (my other full time, volunteer, job).

Mid June I loaded up a handful of youth girls in my car on a Sunday night and didn't leave their side until that Friday. We had our Summer Youth Camp, entitled "Be" right in our home town of Sebring, FL where we learned to serve and love our neighbors, being the "hands and feet" of God, right in our backyard. The week took us everywhere from the basketball courts of an inner city neighborhood to singing in the halls of nursing homes and I was the 24/7 mom to an incredible group of young women walking alongside them all along the way. But that is a whole post all on it's own that'll come at a later date...

With just two days to catch up on sleep and laundry I hopped on a plane with another group of incredible youth kids to journey across the US then across the border to spend a week in the Gaudalupe Valley of Mexico. On a missions trip lead by Phil and Mindy Steiner of Be2Live we served and loved on the kids of Casa de Paz orphanage in El Porvenir, Baja California, Mexico. While my head and body is still exhausted from the trip my heart is full and I hope to share more about all of these experiences soon (after I get a little caught up on all the photo work I have been neglecting over the past few weeks). In the meantime I wanted to share with you a glimpse into my Mexico experience through a video I pulled together for a presentation in church this past weekend. This was a seriously quick edit but definitely gives you a feel of the work God allowed us to be a part of for a time.

First Words

From the day I knew photography as a profession may be in my life forever.

From the day I knew photography as a profession may be in my life forever.

I've sat down many times over the past few weeks to start this blog post, the first one on my new blog site, and it just doesn't happen. Every time I sat down to write the post it seemed, well just like another piece of business. And this—these photos, this blog, my business—is so much more personal than that. Frustrated I'd step away, to my new Facebook page to observe the goings-on, to responding to potential new clients, to fiddling with and agonizing over my pricing and whether it is working, and of course to editing photos, burning discs and delivering the final products to clients. I'd go on about the business of things while back at my blog I'd wonder when the inspiration from the heart would come... 

It was about six months ago when I really got serious about setting myself up as a "big girl" business, portfolio site Facebook page and all. I did the research, invested the time, hired a professional illustrator for my new branding (thanks Melissa Herboth!), set up accounts, shelled out some money, announced a date and got myself organized and ready to launch a re-vamped photography business. All of this was an act of obedience to where I found God to be calling me, even if I couldn't completely understand why or what exactly it would look like. It had been seven years since my first paying photo gig and two years since I had been dedicating my time to photography full-time, yet I still hadn't established myself. Despite the fact that God was swinging open doors for me time and time again, I was hesitantly walking through them, cutting my eyes from side to side, uneasy about what lied on the other side. I was holding back. 

I remember the exact photoshoot, the exact place I was standing when I knew that photography was going to be in my life forever, when I let go of what I thought was going to be my professional future and surrendered to what God was laying out before me. I was no more than one mile from my home standing in a private park in a neighborhood that I had never been to before. It was a Florida autumn. The wind was brushing through the trees. Spanish moss infused with the afternoon light swayed about. There was a small, glimmering lake to my left and the gorgeous Florida country-side to my right. 

I felt incredibly fortunate, indescribably blessed that this was my job. 

It felt like God himself was in that breeze. I breathed it in, I couldn't help but to smile and it was decided. 

The family I was photographing that day was lovely as always with a story all of their own. Then a year passed. Life moved on. I was growing a business and moving forward, I had already commissioned my new logo, when the same family contacted me again but this time they were no longer a family as we know it. The mom was on the other end of the line in a conversation that started out with a photo request and ended up with a heart cry of the heartbreak of divorce. I spoke words that day on that phone I didn't know I could speak with a strength I wasn't sure existed. My heart ached and kind of rejoiced all at once. 

I love hearing and telling the stories of beautiful young couples, happy families, and perfectly perfect newborn babies. But every story has it's heartbreak. (As a storyteller we know this all too well.) It is part of being human. Yet putting our arms around one another, lifting each other up and speaking hope and love into someone's life is part of being redeemed. When we are the hands and feet and hugs and encouraging words for God it can't help but to feel good. It feels like we are doing what we were created to do more in that moment than in any other. You see, it was there on the phone that day with a heartbroken woman that I realized that me being obedient to God's calling on my life for photography wasn't about establishing a business it was about putting myself in a place, in the exact place God wanted me, to be used in a specific way that didn't necessarily always involve taking pretty pictures.

I felt incredibly fortunate, indescribably blessed that this was my job. 

I hate it sometimes that blind faith is so hard for me. I hate that I doubt. That I hold back. That I walk hesitantly through open doorways on shaky ankles, peering from side-to-side looking for where the pain hiding in the dark is going to lurch at me from first. But God seems to have the grace and mercy for me as I am learning to trust Him to give me little glimpses of His plans sometimes. And that is what He has done for me with Caroline Maxcy Photography. He has given me a little sliver of assurance that I am walking through the right door, on the right path and right in the center of His will on a humble journey with Him by my side.