To me, this is what freedom looks like. This leaf, done with gathering its own glory is the perfect window in which to view the true glory. When I found this fragile beauty in my yard last week I immediately bent down to pick it up. It held within its tender frame the similar magnetic powers of a newborn child, with vulnerability it’s greatest strength. This paradox sends me swooning and I want to be like this leaf.
Let me be like this Father. Let there be nothing in me to hold on to offense when the enemy of my soul slings it unreservedly in my direction. Let hurt pass right through me so that it never grows into bitterness and resentment, thus rotting my bones. Let there be nothing in me that insults and injustice can stick to, only you who fills the broken spaces.
Yes Father fill the broken spaces.
Help me not to seek my own glory, but rather be a perfect place for others to see you. Pass through me, fill me, your breezes blowing through my tender frame. May I be buoyed up and carried by you, weightless on my own as I throw off everything that hinders me.
Hebrews 12:1 ~”Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us…”
This is a sweet story for so many reasons. I was honored that Chelsea asked me to be part of her special day with Eric. I have known Chelsea for a long time. She and my Annie and three other precious girls have been best friends since middle school. They called themselves the fab five back then and still do. There were many sleepovers and late night walks on the farm over the years. When they graduated high school and went their separate ways they made it a point to stay in each other’s lives. They have lived out intentional friendship and in doing so they have created a bond that will likely last a lifetime. I am so blessed to know courageous and beautiful young women.
I loved hearing Chelsea and Eric’s love story. They met at Winshape, a Christian camp in Rome Georgia where they both worked. They both smiled as they recalled that moment. As time progressed they began arranging their duties at camp so they could spend more time talking and getting to know each other. It wasn’t long before they knew something very special was happening. It was a perfect match. Both of them love the outdoors and an active lifestyle. Both of them love Jesus and people. It is pure joy to be with them.
Eric and Chelsea elected to do a first look, enabling them to see each other privately before the ceremony and then have photographs taken. This alleviated some stress for them and for their guests who would have been waiting a long time in the summer heat after the ceremony when the bride and groom usually do photos. I highly recommend this!
Their wedding was beautiful and so much fun. Both of their families were such a delight.
Oh and the flower girl? She’ll be famous one day. What a beautiful precious child!
Thank you Wegesin and Latimer Families for allowing me to be part of such a lovely day. Blessings and best to you Chelsea and Eric!
Thank you to the fabulous Heather Wall of Heather Wall Photography for being so fantastic to work with. You are a star!
They were married at the lovely Wheeler House in Ball Ground, GA.
I have been looking forward to photographing Josh and Mekinnah’s wedding for some time now. Their engagement shoot found here was one of my favorites of all time. They are so at ease with each other and such genuine people. I have known Mekinnah’s family for over 15 years. Her mom was the first person to make me feel welcome at our church. She has a smile that lights up a room. I will never forget her kindness to me then as she reached out her hand to me and introduced herself. The whole family is that way. Not a faker in the bunch. They are authentic followers of Christ and they love people. Josh and his family were just as special. Our day together was pure joy for me. I loved every minute of it, and as you can see there is no scarcity of beauty in this group. The best part is, their hearts shine even more beautifully than their outward appearances.
Josh and Mekinnah pledged their love and commitment to each other in the presence of God and their family and friends on May 17th at Silver City Farms. It was a perfect day.
Love you, Josh and Mekinnah. May you have a lifetime of blessings and deep joy.
Thank you to my second shooter Sterling Graves who always does a stellar job. You can find more of his work at sterlinggraves.com.
And now, a million pictures. How could I choose?
Last night a storm rolled in over the ocean. We were all in awe of the glory. We lined up like sardines on the back deck to photograph it from our individual perspectives. Johnny and Chris and I bravely headed down to the shore to get a few images before the lightning got too close.
I instantly felt my smallness in the face of this storm. Chris and Johnny stood faces to the wind as I took a few shots. The sky was breathtaking, almost literally.
I am grateful to find my smallness, to realize I have no control and that I can surrender to a God who does. I must. He is a God who loves me and has every detail handled. I have been plagued with stomach issues for almost two weeks now and it strikes fear into my soul. Several years ago I battled a bacteria for over a year that could have taken my life. The pain of that season, the memories of bleak hospital stays and the worry that was so thick at that time, all hang around my spirit like anchors endeavoring to pull me under. I have to remember my God is like that storm. He is enveloping, taking me wherever he pleases. He is to be both feared and trusted. He has the power to heal and the strength to carry me.
He is in control and I am not.
Best of all, this King of all kings loves small me.
And you. What are you carrying that you need to cast into the clouds today? It’s all his anyway.
“You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.”
I am taking in the beauty here at Atlantic Beach this week with my family. Capturing those that I love in the midst of that beauty is one of my favorite things in the world. The light within that had dulled to a tiny flicker is beginning to warm and glow again. I love photographing the glory that God breathes into the earth and people. As I am shooting I realize the laughter that is spilling out like music is my own. I am happiest finding and capturing joy with my camera.
I am finally exhaling that breath I have been holding for some time now.
I am my father’s daughter. I feel it most when I am at the beach. It was his favorite place to be. He was happy to collect seashells and sea glass, build sandcastles and fish the day away. He always wanted a place by the ocean. I remember the wind gently moving and rearranging his graying hair as he stood looking out over the water. The blue in his eyes matched the deep hues of the ocean. I could see the boy in him by the sea.
I too find my little girl self by the sea. When I was little my parents would sing to me “All day all night Mary Anne, down by the seashore sifting sand…”. I could walk the beach for hours studying the gifts that God lays out on the shore. Every morning there are new treasures to find. I believe it is his joy to hide gifts for us to discover. I imagine him smiling when we find and delight in them.
I have had a wonderful time photographing my kids and their cousins on the shore this week.
Here are a few from our time so far.
Psalm 42:6-8 ~”When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.”
The phrase “come about” in sailing means “to change course so as to be sailing at the same angle but with the wind on the other side.” I wish I had a beautiful sailing photograph to illustrate this but I don’t. Just the lovely roses from my garden.
I am off balance. I need to reset and rest. I am tired and wondering who I am and what I am about anymore. While raising my beautiful pups I had several people unsubscribe from my blog and I am okay with that. (They emailed me personally to do so.) I can only be who I am. One of them even chose to write me and tell me how breeders like me are responsible for all the puppies in the rescue facilities. That hurt after I have tried so hard to raise puppies who would be blessings to their families. I work so hard to try to do things well. A little too hard I think. I am reeling from my puppy rearing experience. And yet, I plan to do it again next year. It was a true meeting of the things God put in me. I have a deep love for animals, a strong mothering instinct, (which is temporarily not needed in my world) and I love to photograph sweet things. It was a good thing, but a hard thing.
I have come to terms with the fact I am not like other famous bloggers or photographers. I am just me. We can only be who God has for us to be. I cannot lead the world in blogging or book writing. I started a 365 this year and failed terribly. I raised puppies and fell off the face of the earth. I have clients and friends wondering if I am ever returning to my previous life. I wonder that too. My husband would like to take me on a date without my worrying about getting home to take care of animals. My house is a wreck. I was deeply hoping I could replace my 15 year old carpet with puppy money but that is not working out so well either. The truth is old carpet cannot tell me who I am. Only God can.
So here I am sitting on my back porch pondering the beauty of the roses on my table. I am seeking a grateful heart. I am asking the Father to help me to come about. I need the wind on the other side of the boat now. I confess I am a mess. I confess I go to the extremes in everything I do. Only he can keep me from capsizing.
He holds me. He holds all of it.
Finding my way by counting one beautiful grace at a time. Today it is roses on my table.
Psalm 18:28 ~”You make my lamp bright. The Lord my God lights my darkness.”
Okay this is a tough blog for me to post. The pups are 7 weeks tomorrow and they will be leaving soon. I will probably not get to do another portrait shoot with them. My heart aches a bit as I write this. I am such a mom. My days have been very busy though. It kind of goes like this: Wake up at 4 am and feed pups and get them to calm down because they want to go out. Clean out puppy litter tray and go back to bed. 6:30 am get up and take pups to outside pen to play while I clean their indoor pen. Go outside with them and play with them. Bring them in one by one because they tend to run in all directions when loose and then feed them again. Wipe them down with baby wipes and check them for ticks. They then sleep for a couple hours and we do it all again every 2 hours for the entire day until 11 pm. Flop into bed and fall deeply asleep. Repeat at 4am.
Here is what I am leaving out. ~ Lots and lots of snuggles and kisses. Telling them how sweet and wonderful and good they are. Praying over them. Checking to see if they are eating and drinking. Photographing them. Calling them by name and teaching them not to bite and to potty in the right places.
I am a puppy mom. I will be so sad to see them go.
They have wonderful homes. All of them. And all of them will have gotten the best start in life possible. I am foster puppy mom.
And yes there are tears ahead.
Oh and favorite puppy memory? Chris and I taking a blanket out to the outside pen at night and lying down right in the middle of them. We looked up at the stars and I laughed and giggled as they came up one by one licking our faces and biting on our ears. Sigh.
Okay, here they are in the order of their birth for the last time. You can see their 1 day old pictures here at maryannemorganblog.com/goldendoodle-puppies/.
Chris calls him “old number 10″ in his best Jimmy Stewart accent. He is named after Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves. He is my little athlete. I love his happy demeanor. He is always glad to see me.
Levi’s owner brought some Levi jeans for him be photographed with. He didn’t seem to mind. Happy, snuggly Levi. This puppy loves to cuddle. I think I will miss his kisses and hugs the most. His blue eyes take me off guard often. What a precious boy.
Curtis’s owner brought him a blue polka dot bow tie for his picture. I think it suits him. This puppy is so sweet natured. He is very calm. He walks up to me often like “Hi. Can I sit in your lap?” I love him. Precious Curtis!
I let Teddy hold onto Bearly, Katie’s favorite childhood bear, for his portraits. They look so much alike! It’s hard not to say “awwwww” when you see Teddy. He just has the curliest face and sweetest blue eyes. Teddy loves to snuggle too. His owners will love him and he will love them back. Precious Teddy.
Duke! This is officially my leader puppy. He is the first to do everything (including figuring out how to get out of his pen today). He is so social and never meets a stranger. He and his owner are perfectly matched. I see lots of good times for them ahead. I love this boy.
Bella is my quiet and graceful beauty. She has long legs and walks softly like a dancer. She is also calm and rarely barks or whines. She is always observing, but is not afraid to come ask for a kiss and hug. She is my beautiful Bella.
This curly-faced, soulful-eyed girl has stolen my heart. She is still Princess London. This dog has the most gentle spirit. She is my shy puppy. She is slow to give your her trust but once you have it she will be all about you. She is such a sweet girl. I will miss you London. You are a bright spot in my day.
Alas, the perfectly sweet Scarlet. She has a big heart and spirit. I love her little bark, which she uses often to tell the others what to do. She is probably my second in command. You wouldn’t know it from this sweet face, but she is kind of in charge of everyone. Well, except Duke. I love this little face. She melts my heart with every glance. Yeah, crying when she leaves.
Be blessed my little puppies. You will always have a piece of my heart. Take good care of your new owners.
your foster puppy mom.
I am so happy to finally post Sam and Michael’s wedding photos. It has been a busy month for me, raising a litter of puppies. I had no idea how much work I was in for. But at last, their images are finished. I am so happy to share them. They had a miracle on their wedding day. The forecast said there would be rain. Everyone was preparing for the worst, with the wedding being outdoors. I stopped by Target on the way home from the rehearsal the day before to buy some emergency umbrellas. Then I prayed, “Lord, please give Sam and Michael a beautiful day for their wedding. Please blow the rain away for one more day.” I know I was not the only one praying this. There were many other prayer warriors asking for sunshine that day, and the Lord heard our prayers. It may seem silly to pray for sunshine for a wedding, but God cares about all the details of our lives. He blew Samantha a kiss when he gave her a beautiful sunny day to pledge her love to Michael.
They were married at Callanwolde Arts Center. Such a beautiful venue. They also included a lovely tea ceremony to honor Samantha’s traditional Chinese heritage. It was so sweet to observe this.
Get ready for a lot of images!
A big thank you to my amazing second shooter, Sterling Graves. You can see his site here at sterlinggraves.com.
Blessings, Sam and Michael. Thank you for trusting me with your precious memories.
Posted on 01. May, 2014 by maryanne.
The pups were 5 weeks old yesterday and I am getting behind with my weekly update. Hard to believe they will be gone to their new homes in less than 3 weeks. I will miss them. This endeavor has been a lot more work than I thought it would be, but it is so very rewarding. As they get older, they are getting more difficult to round up and clean up after. Mornings are the hardest, after a full night of them making messes for me to clean up. However, walking into to see their happy faces first thing every day is something I have come to love. I confess I don’t know how to anything halfway. I give everything I do 100%. That is why my blog has fallen off and I am not doing any photography. I have one job until these pups are in the hands of their new owners — to take the best care of them possible. I am not sure how I will go back to my pre-puppy life, but I know my husband is looking forward to taking me out on dates again.
Once again they will appear in the order of their birth. They have grown so much since that first day (found here – www.maryannemorganblog.com/goldendoodle-puppies/).
Murphy is still our little social butterfly. He loves to play, but he is very sweet and easy going. I will miss his happy face.
Levi is my little snuggler. He loves nothing better than to get into my neck and hug me. I am going to miss his little hugs and kisses. His new mommy will love him so. He looks like he will keep his ever-so-blue eyes.
Curtis is also such a sweet boy. He loves to snuggle too. He has such a happy outlook all of the time. His eyes also look as if they will stay light in color. So handsome, Curtis.
This little guy is stealing everyone’s heart on my Instagram feed. He does look like a little teddy bear, and is so very sweet. He is another blue-eyed boy.
Duke is such a smart boy. He is the first to learn something and wants to be in the middle of everything. When I was teaching the pups to follow Janey to their pen, he was the first to trot right along side her. He will be such a good boy for his new owner.
Bella is such a precious girl. She often sits at my feet and looks up into my face. She is very perceptive and in tune with what is going on around her. Such a smart sensitive girl. Love her.
Oh my goodness, the soulfulness of London’s eyes. She is my deep thinker. She is precious, precious, though. I love this puppy! I am excited for her new owners to finally meet her.
Scarlet, or Spanky as I often call her, is full of life. This puppy wraps herself around my heart every time she looks at me. I have to tell her to stop. It’s too much, sometimes. She was born last, but is certainly not the least. She rules the roost in the puppy pen, telling everyone what to do. She likes to talk and uses her little voice to let you know her thoughts. I will miss her most of all.
Posted on 23. Apr, 2014 by maryanne.
Well the pups are 4 weeks old today and it’s time for their weekly portrait. Photographing them is getting more difficult every week. They have to have a full tummy, but not so much that they are too sleepy. It’s a tenuous line. I love it though.
I have to say this has been a rewarding yet difficult job for me. Very different from my photography job, but much like my mothering job I had when the kids were babies. Cleaning up messes is not so fun, but those snuggles are hard to beat. I will miss them so when they leave in 4 weeks. I told Chris he will have to hold onto me. I will definitely grieve these babies. However, they all have wonderful homes and that is such a blessing. I love sending their new owner’s images and videos of them as they are growing.
Once again I am listing them in their original birth order. You can see their original 1 day old pics at www.maryannemorganblog.com/goldendoodle-puppies/ to see how they have grown. The more straight coated ones are now beginning to get their waves and curls and the curly ones are getting curlier and curlier. Irresistible!
Here they are at 4 weeks.
Green collar boy is Murphy, named after Dale Murphy, so I had to include at least one Braves image. He has such a sweet personality. He loves everyone.
Blue collared boy is now Levi and has the prettiest face. He is very loving and always wants to snuggle with me if I am in the pen. So so sweet.
Orange Collar boy is now Curtis. I caught him reading Max Lucado’s God Thinks You’re Wonderful. I think he may have a future in ministry. He is the quietest, calmest boy. Sweet Curtis.
Yellow collar boy is aptly named Teddy. He looks just like a little bear cub. Teddy is another snuggler. He loves to lick faces and cuddle up to you. Good boy, Teddy.
White collar boy is now Duke. He is my smart boy. He has been the first to learn how to use the puppy litter tray. I am hoping he will teach the others to do the same. He is also a cuddle bug.
Pink collar girl is now Bella. I am always singing to her, “Bella, Bella, Bella!” When I go into the pen she always comes and sits at my feet and looks up at me. What a sweet, sweet girl. She is getting little curls in her ears now. Yes, she and the other two girls are princesses.
Purple collar girl is now London. Well, princess London around here. She has the sweetest face. She always looks so serious, but she really loves everyone. A princess has a lot to do, so I am not surprised by her serious expressions. Give it to Jesus, London.
Red collar girl is now Scarlet. She has found a wonderful family and I am so happy for her. I thought about keeping her, but she found such a good family, I could not keep her to myself. I look forward to seeing her grow up. She will be close by, thankfully! She is a little diva with a big heart. She is my most independent puppy. She is always stirring things up with the others, trying to get a game going. She and Murphy tend to be the social butterflies.