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Scarlett-Lillian-Blog

So I have a confession to make.

I keep trying to quit photography.

Gulp.  I have feared sharing that publicly for fear of sounding ungrateful because I know clients will read this, and I know on the other side of this computer screen is someone who would love to quit their day job to be able to have a photography business. And I’m sorry if I have made you roll your eyes, my intention is to not appear ungrateful. But my intention is to be truthful to you that being an artist who also has to wear an entrepreneur hat, it’s well, sometimes… just hard… Some days it is downright hard owning a business, and keeping up with nurturing it after you have birthed a dream.

As most photographers do, we turn our hobby into a business because it starts out as just that. A hobby. A love, a passion, that in the beginning, we have to keep pinching ourselves that people actually want to pay us to do this for them.  “This is too good to be true,” we secretly think feeling as if we just hit the jackpot.  “To get paid to do what I love, there’s nothing better!” we feel in the beginning.

Then tax season hits and takes all our hard end money that we confused for profit.  Then that first upset client hits that forces you to evaluate if there are better ways to run your business.  Then your equipment breaks and you have to use any left over profits to upgrade gear. Then photo shoot after photo shoot, editing becomes boring and monotonous, and all that newfound joy getting paid to do our passion becomes… well… a job. My fellow photographers out there, can I get an amen?

So in 2014, I quit cold turkey.  I announced that my husband and I were retiring from photography for good.  After 7 years of shooting, first on my own, and then with my husband, I was worn out and burned out.  Stephen ventured on to find a career in sales, and I needed a break creatively.  I needed a break from the pressure of photography being our only job that supported our married life bills, and how hard it can be to juggle those bills during the slower shooting seasons.  To break up the creative monotony, I tried other things, like a clothing line, and virtually decorating homes.  And while it was fun to try other things, I just never felt like those other things were meant to continue on in the way photography seemed to resonate so deeply in the heart of my clients. So in 2015, I decided to give photography another try, but this time, instead of taking on every kind of shoot, I tried to specialize in just one category.  Senior girls. And I had a blast, a renewed sense of passion stirred inside of me creatively with how every senior session is like a mini fashion shoot in this day and age!  Before I knew it, word spread throughout the local girl squads in each school, and I became booked every weekend in under a year.

But when I wrapped the end of 2015, with our baby on the way through adoption in the spring of 2016, I told myself again, ok, for real this time, I’m going to quit photography. I had waited 5 long years to become a mom, and I wanted her to be my absolute first priority once she arrived.

Then that cheesy quote kept playing out to be true… “If you love something, you must let it go, if it comes back to you, that’s how you know it was meant to be yours all along.”

After her arrival, photography kept coming back to me.  More inquiries keep flooding my inbox.  More texts from past clients hit my phone from those who want to hire me again.  And well, I swear, I kept trying to quit photography. So during late nights rocking my sweet Bara Faith, it left me reevaluating if I should continue accepting bookings. If maybe, my time wasn’t over yet as a documenter of life.

It has all reminded me so much how this act of letting go is like our Christian walk.  God asks us to surrender our ways so that He can bless us with His ways far beyond what we can ever imagine.  I have found over and over again, He asks me to let go of something deep in my heart, sometimes to take it away for good to give me something better in it’s place, sometimes to give it back resurrected as a new creation.

I have been praying, “Lord, if photography is a gift you have given that you want me to keep pursuing that blesses others, then restore my passion. Because I don’t want to do this half hearted. I want to do this because I know it’s absolutely Your will for me to continue.”

And when I opened His word, He answered me with this:WorkForTheLordSo now, after a maternity break soaking up the beginning days of motherhood, last weekend I dusted off my camera and stepped into shooting season again.  With the addition of our sweet baby girl, I was able to take some time off to simply be a mom and transition to the joy (and exhaustion) I have waited so long for. But with this new season, my blog needed a make over to reflect a lot of personal changes (baby, farmhouse, mommyhood, oh my!).  And with it, I am announcing I am now taking on a limited number of weddings and family sessions again in addition to my senior sessionsIf you are interested in booking one of these with me, you can email me here!

For you reading this, I am continuing to keep a camera in my hands, and continuing to write from my heart. Because that’s what has always kept me connected to your heart in each season of your life as well. For those who keep asking me to photograph you, thank you for continuing to trust me to document your life’s most precious memories.  And for those I’ve never photographed, but you have been a loyal blog follower all these years, thank you for continuing to let me share my heart with you, as you have trusted me with yours in return.

Sig

WE BOUGHT A FARM HOUSE Y’ALL!

Fixer-Upper-Farmhouse
Not OUR house, but the Fixer Upper Farmhouse is a big inspiration for the fixer upper farmhouse we just bought and are moving in to right before our baby girl arrives!

Tomorrow, Stephen and I celebrate our 5-year wedding anniversary, but we are giving each other our anniversary gift a day early, because today, that gift is, we are closing on our forever home.  Today, we bought a farmhouse!

With our baby girl on the way in May, the last thing we imagined doing… again… was moving. Even though we’ve been in a temporary rental, I was good where we were, already had her room waiting, and the closet full of an overflow of pink tutus. Not to mention, the fundraising we’ve been doing for our adoption, the last thing I wanted to add on top of remaining adoption fees were now moving expenses. Siiiiiigh….

But what’s that saying, when you make plans, God laughs.  And over the past few years, I’ve realized He loves taking us out of our comfort zones. With this now being our 4th move in 3 years, some days I feel like the Israelites taking 40 years to get to the Promised Land, when it should have been a 3 day trip, with my grumbly “Are we there yet?” whine. And although I knew the current house we were in was only a transition home, I’ve just been ready to get to our own Promised Land and finally call a house a “home.”  A forever home, to be specific.  That place where we can plant roots that becomes “our” family home over the decades. We’ve been bouncing around from home to home the past few years, and I’m happy to say THIS farmhouse is where I see us growing old together creating our family history. And this home already comes with so much history because it’s a historic 1951 farmhouse on an acre and a half of land that we look forward to soon welcoming people at…

THE KNUTH FARM

Est. 2016

Who out there is a HGTV “Fixer Upper” fan of Magnolia Farms?  Yeah, me too.  I’m a bit obsessed.  And what started as a daydream of “ohhhh let me just go look on Trulia and see if I can find a farmhouse for sale in the area as cute as Joanna Gaines’ house” turned into, oh my gosh, there’s one available, on my favorite hanging Spanish Moss Oak Tree covered street I always wanted to live on.  But knowing our baby girl was on the way, the last thing I wanted to do was move… again. So I put the daydream aside and continued watching Fixer Upper obsessing over all things shiplap and barn doors and repurposed wood.

Ok, back up… yes, in my past homes, my style has been NONE of the above. When I told my cousin about our farmhouse, even she laughed with “You? A farmhouse? Would have never guessed that one!”  But honestly, there are so many different sides of me, and the foundation of who I am and where my roots come from, as my dad used to always answer when I asked what our family nationality was, “Your bloodline is Southern, that’s all you need to know!” (hence being named after the greatest Southern heroine of them all, Scarlett O’Hara, ha!) And because of it, I’ve always wanted a very Southern home with charm and character beyond the usual Florida stucco cookie cutter home, which has been so hard to find in our area.

And so, though I tried to stop thinking of it, I couldn’t get the farmhouse for sale out of my head and I decided to go check it out one day. One showing led to another and led to putting an offer in knowing there were other offers and we probably wouldn’t get it, but next thing we know, they accepted our offer and oh my gosh did that really just happen?!?!?!?  Paging Joanna Gaines… gonna need some help here to merge my glam sparkly decor into “Farmhouse Chic” as I’m calling it! Hahahaha! Though our past few homes have been ultra girly glam with bold colors, and I loved it for that younger season of my life, this new house will be mostly be lots of clean white, black and pastels. Like our back country kitchen door, I’m turning pastel pink. Because, you know… I still need my pop of pink after all (and trust me, baby girl’s nursery will be abundantly pink to have one room in the house for my obsession). But after years of lots of pops of color, as I’ve grown older, I just want more simple, and I love the look of simple and clean as in these inspiration Pinterest Faves I have pinned.

White-Kitchen White-Living-Room-2 White-Living-Room

Y’all… I honestly did. not. think. we would actually get this farmhouse.  There were so many God parting the Red Sea moments involved with purchasing this house that from day one, I have been telling everyone that this house is a true reminder of how God turns the impossible into possible.

I’m not sharing any photos of our house yet because, well, it is somewhat of a fixer upper and needs to be “Scarlettized” over time. Because my first priority is our upcoming adoption and BECOMING A MOM NEXT MONTH! Ahhhhh….  But as I finish projects, I’m sure I’ll be posting some sneak peeks on Instagram and here on the blog as our life unfolds in the farmhouse. (Stay tuned also for a new blog design update I’m working on too to better reflect and share our farm life!)

Some things I’m really looking forward to about this house… after I get used to having a newborn… ha… is having more animals!  I am a huge animal lover and really want to grow a flock of animals to add to our family. For the longest time, Stephen and I have wanted chickens… I specifically want Silkie chickens, or as I call them, the poodle of chickens.  I also want bunnies… and dwarf goats… and maybe a pig… silkie-chickens--30013 White-Bunnydwarf-goat

And Stephen wants a big dog.  Now that we have the yard for a bigger dog, I just might let Poodle Child have a dog sibling… eventually.  Having been stuck in HOA neighborhoods that didn’t allow us to expand our animal family beyond the ducks and geese I would feed bird seed to every morning out on the lake, I’m excited to now have a piece of property that would allow us to grow our animal family, and for our baby girl to grow up learning to care for animals and grow a vegetable garden with her on The Knuth Farm.

I’m also looking forward to fostering community at our new house.  We’ve always loved entertaining, and our new home came with an in-ground bonfire pit, a basketball court, a trampoline, a built in playground and swing set, and I’m adding a porch swing to the front for long chats with girlfriends over sweet tea or homemade lemonade (because our house also came with 2 huge lemon trees draping over the backyard that I love!)  We are excited for it to be a place we can have friends and their kids over to simply do life together, host bible studies, play, and grow old in. It’s now time to plant to family roots.

Another fun fact… we found out our house was in a movie starring Julia Roberts’ brother Eric. Granted it was a cheesy TV movie in the 90s, but when I heard that, I couldn’t help but laugh. Of course, the house I would pick out, was in a movie. That was just God’s sense of humor right there as He knows my love of watching movies, and uh, being extras in movies and TV shows along my growing up.  ha!

As Helen Keller so famously said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all…” And with all the different houses we’ve lived in over the years, that it indeed has been… an adventure. But I’m looking forward to Stephen and I walking in the door later today, and our hearts finally saying “Welcome… home.”

Sig

 

FORTY WEEKS OF CAR RIDES.

WeHavePrayed
A special thank you to Jamie Koluch who put so much heart & soul into this beautiful artwork she hand made that will hang in our baby girl’s room! And a special thank you to each one of you who are also standing in faith with us praying for this upcoming adoption!

One of the things I used to grieve the most with our infertility struggles was… missing out on the excitement of pregnancy.  That joy of seeing a positive stick.  That joy of the first heartbeat, the first ultrasound, watching a little peanut grown into a watermelon, feeling the kicks and watching the bump grow.  I so often felt in my previous struggles to conceive that that significant chapter of my life was robbed from me, and it felt unfair, often questioning God, why I wasn’t allowed to experience those same joys that seemed like a God given right for every woman.

But then this adoption happened… this open adoption where from day one, no we didn’t have the excitement of seeing our own positive stick, but we did have the excitement of being matched and chosen by our birth mom Kassie.  That morning when we got the phone call from our adoption agency, we felt all the same exhilaration as if we had our very own positive stick. And all our loved ones has been just as excited for us as well!  And from the very first doctor’s appointment, Kassie has allowed me to attend every visit and experience every ultrasound. When we are together, she often grabs my hand all of a sudden every time she feels our baby girl kick so I can feel the kicks as well.  She lets me be the one to keep all the ultrasound photos, and even gave me her positive stick to have for keepsake. As we journey together through this pregnancy, I have realized, all of the above I thought I would miss out on, I didn’t end up missing out on at all.  Instead, what God gave me, this unfair God I once thought He was, He saw the bigger picture, and gave me all the joys of pregnancy and so much more.

Because when this pregnancy is over in 2 months, what I’ll miss most about our doctor’s appointments are… not so much the doctor’s appointments themselves, but the hour long car rides to and from the doctor’s appointments with Kassie.  Because it’s in those car rides where Kassie and I have shared tears together, both from each of our perspectives on this journey.  It’s where we have prayed together, through the ups and downs and struggles and victories, both putting our complete trust in our loving Heavenly Father as we both take steps of faith in loving this baby girl each in unique ways. The car rides are where our hearts have been shared, catching up each week, building a friendship, and almost a sisterhood, through this baby girl and how she is merging our families together.

There are so many joys in this journey I am grateful for, like those car rides.  But ya’ll, adoption is hard, and there are so many struggles as well.  Behind the scenes of adoption, there are so many stresses and dynamics… on both sides… that sometimes feel like they get the best of us. Adoption is not for the faint of heart.  Another adoptive mom warned me in the beginning that adoption is so dear to God’s heart that with it comes spiritual warfare.  That the enemy hates adoption because adoption is the very foundation of what becoming a Christian is all about, as we as God’s children are adopted in His kingdom. And the closer this adoption gets, the more I see that spiritual warfare playing out.  Some days everything stresses me out and I’m consumed with anxieties. Some days everything stresses Kassie out, and she tries to laugh that her added hormones don’t help.  Some days outsiders, who don’t understand the beauty of this God written story, have opinions and use their words to harm instead of encourage.  Some days Satan roams around like a roaring lion wanting to speak doubts into everyone’s minds and cause dissension and take our focus off of God’s great thing He is doing here through this baby girl.  It’s a constant fight of faith.  It’s a fight for more faith. It’s a constant daily surrender on my knees in prayer to Jesus that the enemy would stay away from this promised child on the way and away from the beautiful soul God is using to carry her into this world.   Like any baby in the womb, her life is a complete miracle.  God is wonderfully and fearfully knitting her together in Kassie’s womb for a great purpose that her life will be through Kassie’s nature and my nurture that will make up the strength of her body and soul in the years to come as she grows to know her identity as a chosen child of God.  I know He has BIG plans to use her life for His glory. And because of it, each step of this journey must constantly be covered in faith and prayer.

Though Kassie and I face different circumstances that brought us to this place, though some days are harder than others, I am grateful that through it all, God has overflowed my cup. Because it wasn’t just a pregnancy He allowed me to experience, it was also a deep love for a perfect stranger who quickly became new family through 40 weeks of car rides.  And after 5 years of tear filled prayers for my miracle, of all the people in the world, He chose the one in the passenger seat to be my hero to bring my miracle into this world.  No, neither Kassie or I are perfect people, but I love that Jesus can use two broken people to carry out His beautiful story He is writing through both of us committing sacrificially in different ways to love this baby girl.  Only through His grace, through His mercies being new every morning, are we each able to come together and courageously keep walking by faith.  And driving by faith… one car ride together at a time.

I loved this photo I snapped of Kassie sleeping in the passenger seat after a doctor’s appointment and the way my cross on my rearview mirror coincidentally appeared as a shadow directly on Kassie’s belly.  It was such a beautiful reminder that Jesus has His protective hand on our baby girl every step of the way!

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Sig