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Return From a Narnian Winter

February 12, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Disclaimer:  This post is strictly personal.  To say it's been a cold winter is putting it mildly, and I am thankful for it!  Last year's winter was so warm I felt like I missed out, but this year made up for it with 2 snows so far.  In Alabama the Beautiful, we don't see the white stuff too often, so we shut down the city and have a par-tay.  We (yes, you know who you are) buy all the milk and bread that Walmart has to offer and hunker down for some snow fun.  I know some people from the North think we are lightweights, and we are lol... otherwise we would move North.  

NarniaReturn From a Narnian Winter On a more serious note, winter can be the coldest time of year on the inside of us, and can occur in any month regardless of season.  Life's weight bears down and all we begin to feel is cold inside, like it's never going to end.  C.S. Lewis writes in The Problem of Pain, "Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear.  The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say, "My tooth is aching" than to say "My heart is broken."  Indeed.  I could try to write something encouraging here?  Yes, that's a question mark lol... There are so many places to receive encouragement for your suffering, but I would encourage you differently in this moment.  We experience trials and pain all through life- thankfully for most it's just in seasons and not forever.  I would ask you to look, in the midst of your frozen Narnia, at the beauty that is still there.  I KNOW it's not easy, but you won't be there forever and God has given you a special opportunity to see Him work for your good.  James (yes, the guy that wrote that little book in the back of the Bible) encourages us to "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have it's full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  (James 1:2-4).   JOY?? Really?? Yesssssssss... JOY!  There is somehow beauty in the suffering because we become stronger and it takes more to shake us.  We see God take care of us and our faith grows.  I have recognized God so much more during my times of winter (and this has been a tough one) than during the happy times.  I STILL would choose the happy times, don't get me wrong lol.  So yeah, today it may be raining but the sun will shine tomorrow, that's great and we need to hear that,  BUT!  We need to learn to rest in each moment and wait.  We overlook so much waiting for those spring flowers to appear, and there's plenty of time to return from Narnia.  :-) 

 

 

 


Moriah: Oak Mountain Senior Session

January 12, 2018  •  4 Comments

I have always heard that the painter's house is the last one to be painted, and apparently the same is true for a photographer's family photos being edited. (Sorry, Mo!).  When my sister, Kelly, was up for Thanksgiving, we got together at my Grandmother's house for Mo's senior portraits.  It was really special to me that she asked to shoot them there, as my Grandmother passed away this summer and her home has always held such a special place in my heart.  We even used some artifacts of my past- Grandmother's red velvet chair that occupied the same spot in the living room for, hmmm, my whole life.  We also incorporated the old sign for the place- my Grandmother named their farm "Back O' The Moon" long before I was born, which I absolutely love, and for years the sign hung at the entrance to their drive.  

Moving on from an era of life is tough, as you well know.  When this place is no longer ours, I will be so thankful that we shot Mo's pictures there as a final homage to all of the love found here.  We have preserved it as it was in preparation for the changes that life inevitably brings.  I am so proud of the beautiful young woman Moriah has become.  Thoughtful in everything she does, she chose a place with meaning and that is how she makes all of her decisions.  Mo, you look beautiful as always and I can't wait to see what you do with your life!  My prayer for you is that you find the thing that satisfies, whatever it may be.  I would like to say a special thanks to Kelly of Captured Portrait Designs in Wiggins, Mississippi for her beautiful shots.  You will also see a photobomb by big sister, Michaela- what are sisters for?  To each of my beautiful daughters, I love you so much and I am so proud of you!!  Oak Mountain High School Senior 2018!

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Stella: Lifestyle Newborn Session

January 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

If it's appropriate that my first blog post occur on New Year's Day, then it's even better that my first session of the year be a newborn session!  Documenting all phases of life is so important to me, and what better way to start the year than by documenting a person's beginnings?  I have been photographing this sweet family since Nathan was a baby, and now baby Stella has made her way onto the scene.  Due to complications, Stella was born early and spent some time in the NICU, so she is actually a few weeks old at her session.  I say this to say- it's never too late to document this precious time!  Since my newborn sessions include baby's family, you will see that big brother Nathan got in on the action as well as mommy, Mandi.  Mandi and Josh, you have a beautiful family and I want to thank you for the opportunity to watch it grow!

Stella's Newborn Session

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A New Year

January 01, 2018  •  Leave a Comment
Shannon Dale PhotographyMaria and Michael's Vowbook  

Happy New Year, Y'all!!

As I contemplate the possibilities of 2018, I think about the blessings received and lessons learned over the last year, and I look toward a year of growth and change.  While the New Year heralds vows, resolutions, and great intentions for most, I ask myself what will I do this year that will really matter?  My resolutions may last a good solid 3 days, and then what?  And why even?  I evaluate my life, both personal and professional, and pray to God that I get it right this time lol... you know EXACTLY what I mean so don't even act like you don't ;-). 

I am going to just be bold and put a few things out there, and I hope some of you will be encouraged to share some of your thoughts in the comments.  As Hermione Granger once said, "Fear of the name increases fear of the thing itself."  Profound words from such a young lady.  I realize we aren't on the cusp of battle with Voldemort and the dark side, but I believe it helps us greatly to say something aloud- to just get it out there.  I believe it is important to set realistic goals, to make promises, to commit. 

I want to learn to love my God more dearly, to see Him more clearly, and to follow Him more nearly.  I want to be like the birds of the air who don't question where their next meal is coming from.  When I pray, "give me this day my daily bread," I want to understand what that really means... just enough for today, Lord.  I want to grow toward the point where anxiety has no power over me (yes, God has His work cut out, but thankfully nothing is too hard for Him).  I want to be there for my family and loved ones, to love them as myself and to give them my best ME, especially my children who did not ask to be here on this earth.  I want to better appreciate the journey instead of missing things along the way in my haste to reach the destination.  

Professionally, I want to serve my clients to the best of my ability.  For me, this means photographing all aspects of life through the years.  I want to know my clients and be a friend, to preserve memories for families and their future generations.  I want to strive to become better at seeing light and capturing emotion, as well as continuing to learn the technical aspects of my craft.

 

Shannon Dale PhotographyMaria and Michael's Vowbook  

 

I know this post has little to do with actual photography, and I promise to make up for it in future posts.  I have wrung my hands over the pressure of The.First.Blog.Post.Ever. and procrastinated as long as I could, but it just seemed fitting that the first post ever fall on the first day of a new year.  I hope it helps your wheels to start turning about your life as well- what do you want from life this year?  What should you expect from this blog? I honestly have no idea lol... so we will journey together and I look forward to growing and going with all of you!    

PS.  Don't judge my use of punctuation and grammar.  It's pointless.  And I realize the last line sounds a little Bob Ross.  

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