central Illinois photographer

Kids are honest...

Friday Truth Time

Every Friday tune in on Facebook or Instagram for bits of my story 💗

Kids are honest. We all know this. If you want to know how things REALLY are.... ask a toddler. 🤣 The other day I had a realization...

My 3 year old was at church and someone said... "Wow... you look so beautiful in that dress. And look at that pretty curly hair!" 💗 Her response: "I know [with the biggest grin on her face]." 

I'll be honest, at first I totally laughed to myself. Clearly she just doesn't have manners. 😜 Doesn't she know that when somebody compliments us we are supposed to respond with a really awkward "thank you" and stutter around stating aloud some self-deprecating, humble comment. 

Person: "Wow you've lost so much weight." 
Us: "Thank you, I still have so far to go. Ugh..." 

Person: "Your hair looks amazing today." 
Us: "Really? Thanks. I hate it. I wish my hair was _________." 

And then it hit me. Maybe she's not wrong. Maybe I am. We have gotten into this habit of not knowing how to admire ourselves. We are quick to say something negative about ourselves in response. I don't believe this is because we are seeking attention, I believe its because we are insecure. Compliments embarrass us. We don't know how to handle them.

But ya'll, we are all worthy of being admired. We live in a culture where we are not allowed to admire ourselves, especially not publicly or outloud. If we do, we are at a risk of being considered vain or prideful. Why? Shouldn't we learn to unconditionally accept, approve, appreciate, forgive, trust and love ourselves? 

I mean... your not perfect... and neither am I. But I am good at some things. That's not selfish. It's honest. And yet, we are so reluctant to name and claim our own good qualities. But the more we practice speaking kindly to ourselves and about ourselves, the more powerful we become. When we speak out-loud the things we are good at, we give ourselves the freedom to live up to our full potential. We stop trying to imitate others and start living the life WE were meant to live. 

It's time. It's time to love yourself. Respect yourself. Admire yourself. Forgive yourself. Accept yourself. Trust yourself. Love Yourself. Nurture Yourself. TODAY IS THAT DAY. 

Let's start now... I want each of you to channel your inner 3 year old and name 3 things you admire about yourself. 

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How my last child got her name...

A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I would be revealing bits and pieces about me and my story over this coming year because that is what I have my clients share with me. <3 If you want to be one of the first to read these, head over to my Facebook or Instagram and stayed tuned every Friday morning!

I have three beautiful daughters. They all have unique names. 

My oldest daughter is Elise (means consecrated to God) Annalea (combo of her two grandma's middle names).

My middle daughter is Annistyn (it means resurrection) Nicole (my middle name)

This is my third, and last beautiful daughter is Audrey Chase. I didn't want her to be my last. I come from a big family and wanted a big family. But I have truly terrible pregnancies. I struggle from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (as well as a number of other ailments 🤣) and it gets worse and worse each time. I've had 5 pregnancies and 3 births. 2 babies were lost, something I know many of you have suffered also. Knowing that Audrey Chase would be my last... we decided to name her after my dad Audie --> except the feminine version obviously 🥰 and then Chase (my husbands name). My dad was named after his dad who died of a massive heart attack while his mom was pregnant with him. My dad grew up fatherless but that didn't make him any less fit to be a father to us. In fact, it was just the opposite. Because of his upbringing, he was the best dad EVER. And the PERFECT person for my last little girl to be named after. <3

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Beginner Camera Class...

Do you have a DSLR gathering dust in your closet? When you take it out to take images, does it just make you frustrated? It's time to learn how to use your equipment to its greatest potential. One-on-One private lessons with Me, you, and your camera. I promise that by the time you leave your FIRST SESSION you will be confident enough to walk out and shoot in manual mode (the one where you choose ALL the settings)! You don't need photoshop or any editing software to make your photos look amazing 👇 (See second photo below). You just have to learn how to use what you already have! You can do this... let me show you how! <3 Click here for more details or to purchase your spot in the class today!

One of the hardest things about motherhood....

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One of the hardest things about having kids is knowing that they were never meant to stay in your arms. 

While we will forever be changed by the days they explored the world safely within our reach, they were meant to walk, and run, and discover for themselves. They were created to touch, see and feel. Our arms will always be outstretched to hold them, but a mother also knows that motherhood, with each passing day, is a gradual process of letting go. 

One day they will find it better to sleep in their own bed instead of mama's arms and they will sleep all night long! One day they will have more friends than just mommy & daddy. One day they will pick out their own clothes & take care of themselves. And while we are their voice right now, one day they will have their own voice. 

Time may be a thief but it is also a joyous gift. And as momma's the greatest gift in our lives is the time spent with them. <3

Hold them a little longer today, mama's. As you already know... it goes WAY. TO. FAST.

Above is Murphy as a newborn. Enjoy some of the images from her 6 month session below!!!!

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Where my name came from...

I ask a lot of my clients. I ask them to be open and vulnerable which is never easy. I ask them to tell me about them. Their likes and dislikes. Their strengths and their weaknesses. I want to know their story. I want to be able to produce images that when they look at them, they are brought to tears. For what they are seeing is not just a picture of them but a picture of their soul. 

I realize that telling ones story is not an easy thing to do. We all have doubts and fears. Which is why I'm implementing this *new* little exercise for all of you here on social media. I'm not sure what I'm going to call it... (if you have any ideas let me know 🤣). But every Friday I'm going to reveal little truths about myself. Some will be silly icebreakers, some will be more deep, but all will be 100% honest and true. Because, if I expect you to be vulnerable with me... I realize that I have to do the same! <3

So here is the first one... 

My name. I was, in fact, named after the little mermaid. My parents took my 2 older sisters to the movie theater to see it when my mom was pregnant with me. My dad REALLY loved the name. So he told my mom, "yup! We are naming her Ariel." Before that I was going to be named Alexandria. I am the third girl and all our names start with A's. Ashley, Amber, and Ariel. Did I get made fun growing up because of my name? No... not really. Other than the occasional "mermaid" which didn't really bother me. I've always loved my name. I even considered naming one of my own children after a Disney character just to keep that little thing going. <3 So now its your turn... were you named after anyone special or do you have a special story regarding your name?

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