Mama Ce

Life. Each day is a gift. But sometimes it’s hurts. ALOT. We have a choice, run to Jesus or away from him. I’ve seen people do both. This family runs to Him. He is their strength when they have none left. They trust him. Truly. He also gives them crazy joy in times of sorrow.  These photographs were taken a week before Mama Ce started treatment.

“It’s not the chemo, it’s all the love.” – Mama Ce

“The Lord is my strength and my shield;

my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

My heart leaps for joy,

and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7


To all the Mothers…

Being a Mother is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s also the best one. I know I’m not the first person to ever say that, but I wholeheartedly mean it. I’ve never prayed as hard or as fervently since the morning I found out I was pregnant. It truly is like I have four pieces of heart living outside my body. It hurts when they hurt. They all sleep through the night these days, but sometimes their hurts keep me awake. Turning my worry into prayer at 2am is not uncommon.

I keep a journal (if you don’t, you should) in it I record all the good things, sweet things my kids say or do. I make a point of writing in it on the bad days, to make myself remember that good things DID happen that day and I thank God for them.

Two of my kids are adopted. At their adoptions I promised to love them like I gave birth to them. I REALLY do. I had a little girls come up to me one day and say “Does he know you aren’t his real mama?”  I answered “But I am his real mama, he didn’t come out of my belly but I love him and care for him just like he did”. She was happy with my answer and ran off to play.

Being a Mother is a gift. One I’m so very grateful for, even at 2am.

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Beautiful Baby Kate

It’s hard to believe I took these photographs roughly 6 months ago. Six months. Crazy. I remember how much she did not want her photograph taken. How she only wanted to be held. Or fed. Or both. But NOT messed with. Not photographed. I can’t blame her, really. Her parents are pretty great. Although I don’t get to see her NEARLY as much as I’d like, I love you Kate. And your parents too.2015-04-06_00082015-04-06_00062015-04-06_00032015-04-06_00072015-04-06_00052015-04-06_00102015-04-06_0004  

What I learned from my short time in Africa

I clearly remember December 31st 2013, as the clock struck over to the new year I thought to myself  “This is the year I’m going to Africa”. That didn’t happen. So many other things did. Great things. Horrible things. Crazy joy.  Deep sorrow.

It didn’t happen in 2014 like I’d planned but January 2015 was pretty close.

I really felt like it was something I HAD to do. It may sound silly but it was something I needed to get out of my system. I’d dreamed of it for such a long time. I’ve had the privilege of visiting many other counties and seeing so many amazingly cool things but not anywhere in Africa. A friend asked me the other day (joking, but at the same time a little serious) “So when are you moving to Uganda?”. If you know me, you’d most likely ask me the same question; expecting me to have a deep longing to live there, ready to pack up my life and move. I almost can’t believed I’m saying this but I’m really okay living in America. Like really. This is where I am meant to be. Weird right?

To be honest Uganda wasn’t what I expected. Kind of like that movie that everyone loves and talks about. You watch it with HUGE expectations and  leave the cinema feeling a little disappointed. I’m not saying I didn’t love it, I did. It just wasn’t what I expected.

I’ve gone on a long journey of guilt (I always wanted to be a missionary, how did I end up in America?). To a really exciting one of gratitude. Like Uganda pushed a reset button in my life. Helped me remember some things I’d forgotten. Helped me see things with more clarity. I am incredibly grateful!

10 years to the day that I took (most of) these photographs I was standing on a beautiful beach in Australia. Not a cloud in the sky. Surrounded by people I love. Wearing an off white beaded lace dress promising to love a man for as long as I live. I love that we were able to serve in Uganda together.2015-03-28_0003 2015-03-28_0006 2015-03-28_0004 2015-03-28_0012 2015-03-28_0001 2015-03-28_0005 2015-03-28_0008 2015-03-28_0010 2015-03-28_0002 2015-03-28_0011 2015-03-28_0009 2015-03-28_0013

Kammi and Michael’s Wedding. Maplehurst Farm, Mount Vernon WA

As I sit here drinking an amazing cup of organic lavender camomile tea, trying to work out what I wanted to say about this GORGEOUS wedding…

I came across this quote: “Being in a long marriage is a little like that nice cup of coffee (or tea or hot chocolate) every morning – I might have it every day, but I still enjoy it.” – Stephen Gaines 

Okay, so I added the tea and hot chocolate part but I find this so true. I enjoy and LOVE being married. I know Kaami and Michael feel this way and I’m confident they always will. Marriage is a gift, I pray you’ll always enjoy it!
2014-10-28_0012 2014-10-28_0018 Mt Vernon WA Wedding Skagit wedding photographer 2014-10-28_0014 2014-10-28_0035 2014-10-28_00132014-10-28_0036Mt Vernon Wedding Photographer carmylee photography 2014-10-28_0019 2014-10-28_0025 2014-10-28_0027 skagit valley wedding 2014-10-28_0028 2014-10-28_0023 2014-10-28_0033 2014-10-28_0031 2014-10-28_0011Venue: Maplehurst Farm, Flowers: Enchanted Florist, Cake: Xtra Special Cakes, Dress: Zac Posen, Make up: Jilladair, Hair: Carolyn Nicholis, Robes: Etsy

Scott & Kaari’s Wedding, Camano Island WA

The love that Scott and Kaari have for each other is a beautiful thing. I’m so glad I got to witness it.

Genuine, sweet, kind people. A truly wonderful wedding.
cama beach wedding 2014-10-14_0031 2014-10-14_0023 2014-10-14_00222014-10-14_0035 Mt Vernon Wedding Photography 2014-10-14_0032 2014-10-14_0027 2014-10-14_0024 2014-10-14_0034 carmyleephotography 2014-10-14_0030 2014-10-14_0029 2014-10-14_0020 flowers 2014-10-14_0019 2014-10-14_0021

Dress: David Tutera | Cake and food: Donna King Catering | Flowers: Laurie Laing, Jan MacIntyre and Emily Bartelheimer | Hair and make-up: Eastside Hair Salon | Shoes: Beholden Bridal | Reception: Cama Centre |

Ceremony : Camano State Park

Robby and Brianne, Engagement Photography, Sakuma Bros Farms WA

This couple (two of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet) are getting married TOMORROW! It’s been an honor watching you both grow the past few years. Your love for God and love for others around you is a beautiful thing! I pray that God will bless you more than you could ever ask or imagine. And I pray that God will use you both in mighty ways. My family has so much love for you, we can’t wait until tomorrow (especially two really cute little flower girls)!Sukuma Farms Skagit Valley engagement photography 50480018 untitled folder 21 50480016 untitled folder 22 50480022 untitled folder 23 50480021

Decker Family, Sedro Woolley WA

I first met Amber at a Sole Hope shoe cutting party (for more infomation about Sole Hope and the awesome work they are doing in Uganda, click  -> here). She has since organized numerous parties of her own and raised a lot of money for Sole Hope. I’m so grateful for her friendship and for all the work she has done to help kids and families in Africa. Below are photographs of her, her new son, gorgeous girls and super talented husband (he is the reason their house looks so amazing).

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Rachel & Tyler, Bellingham Yacht Club (Hotel Bellwether) Wedding, Bellingham WA

A beautiful love story, a stunning couple, a gorgeous location, a perfect Thursday afternoon.
The Bellwether HotelThe Lighthouse Suite 44090014 Rachel and Tyler1 44080004 (1) Bellingham Wedding Photography 67120033 (1) Rachel and Tyler3 44080025 (1) Rachel and Tyler5 44080032 (1) Rachel and Tyler8 44070003 (1) Wedding Photographer Bellingham 44070025 (1) Rachel and Tyler10 67120003 (1)Location: Hotel Bellwether, Bellingham Yacht Club, Dress: Davids bridal, Flowers: Safeway, Cake: Let Them Eat Cake, Hair and Make up: Kaur Lounge (Hair by Sheridan burkhart and Make up by Christina Alessandra)

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