Photographing Sandra

Posted on 30. Aug, 2014 by .

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Gorgeous Girl

Gorgeous Girl

I have known this beautiful woman for several years now. I am honored to know her. She walks in both elegance and joy. When she laughs the whole world changes for just a moment.

I love my friend Sandra.

I had to talk her into this shoot. The truth is, she has not even the tiniest inkling that she is so gorgeous. She doesn’t have a clue. I was determined that I was going to show her. We had photographed her with her precious children in the 90 degree Georgia weather the week before and I had the idea then to sneak her away to my studio for a shoot all her own. She eventually acquiesced when I begged here (just a bit).

I wanted to show her what a classy woman she is so I planned the shoot with the hair and makeup artist myself. I was thinking classic so we stayed with a 60′s Jackie Kennedy style. Of course with her gorgeous lips she looks like Angelina Jolie a bit. I was like a kid. I had the best time planning all of this for her. She was moving back home to Michigan two days after our shoot and I wanted to give her a special gift before she left. She had given Johnny several things from her house for his new apartment so I wanted to bless her in return. She is one of the most generous people I know.

Some of you may know Sandra’s story. In 2011, she and her family were on their way to her first 5K race when they were struck by another driver. Sandra’s husband Glen later died from his injuries and Sandra had to learn to walk again. It is hard to type these things. She has been through so much. But I have watched God carry her as she placed her shattered life in his hands. She embodies the grace that God has wrapped around her life and the lives of her children.

That’s what I see when I see her. Grace personified.

This year, Sandra took the opportunity to publicly extend forgiveness to the woman who had struck her family’s vehicle that day. The video of her doing that got around and Sandra was invited to share her story on The View several weeks later. I was so proud of her. She handled herself with the grace and love that only God can give.

Sandra moved home to be close to her extended family where she can rest in their support as she continues her journey of healing.

I will miss you Sandra. I am so grateful that we crossed paths even if just for a little while. Thank you for your obedience to God and your willingness to live out vulnerability and love. You are a beacon of light and hope for those who are searching for him.

Look how beautiful you are!!!

Also thank you for letting me love you back.

Always your friend,

Mary Anne xxoo

I Corinthians 13:3-7 ~

” If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”

Graceful

Graceful

Joyful

Joyful

Joy in the Journey

Joy in the Journey

Sandra

Sandra

Stunning

Stunning

Classy

Classy

Family

Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunshine

Posted on 28. Aug, 2014 by .

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Covered in Blessings

Covered in Blessings

There is a sea of sunshine just outside my front door. My pasture is covered in tiny yellow flowers. Not the pasture to my left, or the pasture to my right. Just mine. When I was pondering this thought out loud to Chris this week, he said “God knows who lives here.” My insides fluttered a bit. The thought of God knowing me like that and gifting me with something so uniquely and extravagantly made me feel a bit giddy.

And surprised. Does God really love me that way? Out loud and in front of everyone?

I have been called Mary Sunshine since I was a little girl. My mom and dad both called me this not really knowing the other did.  When I met Chris he soon followed suit. I began to realize that anyone who really knew me, knew my secret nick name. But God? Does he call me sunshine too? Yes, I think he does. To be known and loved at this level is the cry of all of our hearts, isn’t it?

Beaming from the Ground

Beaming from the Ground

And there is something else. This flower is called bitterweed. Not only does this seem ridiculous to me, but it astounds me because my first name Mary means bitter, with Anne meaning grace. I am reminded of the the beauty that has come from the deep pain in my life –the grace that has washed over me but at a great cost. Does it look like this?

If I am careful to release my pain to the only who can heal me will bitterness blossom into beauty? Yes, may it be so.

Bitterness can blossom into beauty. And my Father calls me Sunshine.

Isaiah 61:1-3 

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort those who mourn,
     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.” 

Walking on Sunshine

Walking on Sunshine

Grace

Grace

 

 

 

 

 

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