the past & present

S-I-M-P-L-E

Once upon a time I had a baby. A fifth baby. And my life has been simpler every since. Something about carrying her changed me. Something about knowing it might be the last time made me slow down. This morning I danced with her in the living room to “Simple” by Florida Georgia Line. I’m sure it’s meant to be a romantic love song, but as I danced I realized that to me, this song is about her.

“The way your fingers fit in mine
It’s five plus five, not rocket science
This day in time, that’s hard to find, it’s true
The road we’re on ain’t a traffic jam
It’s a Sunday drive on a piece of land
It’s paradise as long as I’m with you

It’s like one, two, three
Just as easy as can be
Just the way you look at me
You make me smile
Ain’t no need to complicate it, we both know that’s overrated
We’ve been there, it’s safe to say it ain’t our style
It’s just that simple, S-I-M-P-L-E
Simple as can be.”

Simple. S-I-M-P-L-E . Life is simple? Right!?……But truly, I’m finding it can be IF you make it so.

Hear me out…

I call moments like this personal revelation, (you can call it the universe having your back or whatever you please) but the message heaven sent me shortly after Vivie was born was to, “Simplify. Add quality. Prioritize eternity. Serve.” That was to be my new slice in life. Once upon a time it was to follow a big weekly schedule that allowed me to get so much done and I did. I dreamed. I accomplished. I made it all happen. And now I’m learning a new flow to life. A simpler way. And it brings me so much more joy.

The last two weeks I’ve spent my time “tidying up”. A little Marie Kondo. A little help from heaven to think of innovative ways to make my house feel bigger. A few trips to the DI. And it’s worked. (Except for the giant plush leather chair that’s now in my office, things feel better. And even at that, the chair IS better. It’s just not what I thought I wanted in here. It’s not dainty and cute but it sure gets the job done when it’s story time with three kids fighting for my lap. And so it stays.)

Last week, in the midst of tidying up, I ran away to Atlanta to attend Imaging USA. This past year I didn’t enter print competition, so there were no awards to be won or degrees to receive. I went to be inspired. Not so much as a photographer, but as a person. And it worked. It’s at least brought me back to writing, something I love so very much. I have new ideas for my business, but a longer term plan to make them happen, not the usual get it done now feeling I have every other project. This year I will blog. And it won’t be just about client work. It’ll be about finding my voice, about putting good into a world that so desperately needs it.

So here we go for today. Let me say it simply. Heaven has your back. Period. You may not believe in such a place but I do! And no matter what message you need to hear in life, it will come IF you first ask a specific question and then second, slow down long enough to listen to the answer.

Next. Simplify. Get your house in order so you have time to do what matters most (I’ll give you a hint…it’s not cleaning, but you can’t thrive in chaos either so just get rid of your junk and problem solved. The house will clean itself!)

Then add quality to everything you do, especially your relationships with people, in particular your family. They are your future and eternity. Serve them first and if you have any time leftover, fall in love with your neighbors. Just trust me on this one. Being surrounded by people you love is where you’ll find the most joy.

Now back to dancing and that FGL song:

“We used to live on Instagram
Worry ’bout who all gives a damng
‘Bout where we’ve been and where we ended up
Then I met you and you met me
And all the rest is history; an epiphany
That all we need is us”

Let me repeat that. ALL we need is US-insert our family and our neighbors-as in the real people who live next to you that you can actually get to know and serve often. And SO much less stuff. Just thank your clutter for serving you well and then send it on its merry way. After that, your floor will be wide open to, yep, you guessed it, dance. With a cute baby if you have one (it feels less awkward that way). But if you’re fresh out of babies, borrow one. Chances are his or her parents could use a night out anyway.

So…..ya. That’s my sermon for the day. Straight up Florida Georgia Line. Sorry if you’re not a fan. And now some pictures because that’s probably why you’re here right?

Right. And I have a ton of pictures to share with you. Four fat albums worth to be exact, and that’s just my personal family stuff…There’s also last year’s client work, and this year’s client work and…

Wait. I thought you said you were only blogging this year. And keeping your kids alive?

Well yes. But I am still shooting. I’m just limiting my bookings so everybody stays happy and gets the fabulous service they deserve. So I have 3-4ish wedding bookings and a handful of portrait sessions left for 2019 which means I need YOU to send your favorite engaged people (or any couples wanting to celebrate their love with a portrait session), you know, those couples that “spark joy” (if you’re missing the humor here you’ll have to check out Marie’s book next time you’re at the library…). Have them email me, liz@etfphotography.com, and then I can set up a time to chat with them on the phone, or if they’d like, I now have a big fat comfy chair for them to sit in at my home office…

Anyway, on with the pictures. They’re gonna seem random I know. But these lovelies are my kids last year at this time. Viv was a month old and I was on my maternity break hankering to shoot. So I played around with fabric & florals with the girls and then decided to celebrate/document Peirce’s cereal only diet to one day look back on and show to his wife when their son refuses to eat anything she cooks…

These are the album spreads I created from their sessions that are part of my newly printed books. I plan to share the spreads with you a little at a time throughout the year. Leave me a comment and let me know which session you loved most. My kids ARE super competitive so yes, your comments might cause a fight but I say let the games begin!

p.s. I entered this image of Hazel in the local print competition this year. I wanted it to do so well and it didn’t. So it gets one more chance to shine below, uncropped and presented as I did for print comp. I titled it, “Orchid Masquerade Double Exposure” which as I type it now I can see is really a horrible title. I was trying to explain the double exposure part and in the end I don’t know what story it’s telling but I’m her mom and she and I like it. So there haha…

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