I really don’t know what better way to explain it except that I just love these two. So much.  Tom is my best friend, Sara’s, brother and Jamie is his incredible fiance.  They are both just such amazing people and so much fun to be around.  Take their engagement session for instance.  We had decided to meet at Osaka Gardens down by the Museum of Science and Industry.  Of course…as soon as we pulled up we realized the entire area was gated off and there were signs everywhere that said. “CLOSED FOR CONSTRUCTION.”  What are the chances??  So we walked around for a few looking to see if there were any alternate entrances.  Once we ruled out that there weren’t we stumbled upon a little sliver in the fence.  And by sliver I mean maybe big enough to fit my right thigh….on a skinny day.  We all kind of looked at each other and without really saying anything, silently agreed and proceeded to break into Osaka Gardens.  We squished their dogs through this tiny opening and one by one made our way through.  I’m not going to lie…there was a minute when half my body was on one side of the fence and half on the other…that I thought I might be stuck there forever.  These hips don’t lie.  But we successfully trespassed and made it in…and didn’t stop laughing the whole time.

 

Tom and Jamie…I feel like since we’ve broken the law together and gotten away with it this makes us best friends for life.  :) I love you guys so much and I can’t wait for your wedding tomorrow!!!  If it’s anything like your engagement session…it’s going to be a blast.  One more day!  xoxo

 

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I can’t even begin to explain the kind of love these two have for each other because it’s not something that can be put into words.  It’s something you feel.  Every time you are around them…you see just how madly in love they are not only with each other but with this beautiful life they have built.  The little looks they give each other from across the room.  The goodnight kisses that John never forgets…no matter what.  The joy on their faces when they are surrounded by the family they love so incredibly much.  The laughter and love that comes from spending 45 years together….there just aren’t words to describe it.

 

I asked John and Julie once what their secret was and they said…there was never another option.  So simple yet so incredibly powerful.  Because the truth is…life isn’t this picture perfect fairy tale.  There are ups and downs and lefts and rights…but when you love someone the way John and Julie love each other…you buckle up and enjoy the ride because no matter what you’re in it together.  If Gary and I have half the marriage these two have…we will have enough happiness for ten lifetimes.

 

So as you can imagine, when they decided to renew their vows after 45 incredible years of marriage I had to be there to document it.  Surrounded by this incredible family that they created….they promised 45 more years of a truly epic love story.

 

John and Julie…thank you for including Gary and I in your special day…and letting us crash your vacation.  😉  You both mean the world to us and are such incredible people.  I know I speak for both Gary and I when I say that you are two of our favorite people on this planet and the fact we get to call you family is just icing on the cake.  Thank you for being part of our lives and including us in yours…we love you so much!!!!!!

 

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John planned a little surprise serenade.  So many tears…

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Lola (who married Gary and I)…came down to officiate their ceremony.  Let me just take a minute to explain how amazing she is at this.  Lola hands down made our ceremony everything that is was and she did the exact same for John and Julie.  She has this incredible ability to put love into words that make every person there feel it.  She creates ceremonies that are nostalgic and sentimental and so uniquely yours.  If you are looking for someone to marry you…please call this girl.  You won’t regret it!

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John also surprised her with a dance…I think she was a little excited.  😉

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The first word that comes to my mind when I think about Heather is magnetic.  From the first time I met her at our Turning Tides Retreat I instantly wanted to be around her.  She draws you in and within seconds you can tell that there is something so incredibly special about her.  She’s genuine and candid and takes a sincere interest in the people around her.  Her creative spirit is something that not only attracts you to her but inspires you to your very core.  To be honest, I don’t get to be around Heather as much as I’d like because she lives on the other side of the country…but somehow, no matter how little we talk, I know she always has my back.  And watching her grow into exactly who she is meant to be has been so incredible.  She’s not only coaching women to be their truest and happiest selves…but I truly believe she is creating a movement.  This girl is changing lives and is without a doubt my #wcw.

 

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HEATHER BRUCE ALLISON

 

I get such immeasurable joy out of coaching women to find their juiciest love — helping them to fall in love with themselves, to fall in love with their lives, and to bring in their best love and relationships.  My heart leaps, the grin spreads across my face, and I do a giddy little dance of joy when one of my clients has that a-ha moment that suddenly shines the light of love on her self, on her Soul, on her path, and on what she deserves in her relationship.  When I can hear the ‘squeal’ in the words of her email, thanking me for this new-found joy in her being, in feeling truly seen and cherished by her man for the first time, or in allowing herself to see her own beauty in photographs for the first time.

 

I know why they call these our “gifts.”  Yes, I am grateful that this is an ability I’ve been given, and that I continue to nurture and grow year after year — to listen, to support, to encourage, and to help unleash the power of my fellow goddesses — but they call these ‘gifts’ because I feel like I am on the receiving end of the sparkliest, most glittery one every time I am able to be a conduit for Love for another woman.

 

I’m truly, madly, head over heels in love with this path.

 

But — while I feel so honored to hold the torch for these ladies, as they follow the path to their most beautiful love and lives — I want them all to know, to really really know, that, even with my training and practice and my ability to stand for them, I still bump my head on the low days and the rough edges of my own life, and I am right beside them in forging MY most beautiful love and life.

 

I stumble.  I have hiccups.  I forget my self-love so much that I consider letting this seven extra pounds keep me from basking in a weekend at the lake with girlfriends.

I cry when I feel overwhelmed.

I have moments when I let Fear get the better of me (and I fight it all. the. time).

I feel alone sometimes, even surrounded by loved ones, because I feel like the weirdo most of the time.

I’m constantly insecure about my photography — even though it fills me and brings me and my clients joy.

I’m so sensitive that I feel it is my greatest trait AND my most difficult flaw.

When big, giant things are happening in my life, I pull in — true to my Piscean nature, this little fishie swims out to the deep, deep parts of her ocean where you can’t find her, until I’m ready to come play in the sunshiny shallows again.

I wish I were funnier.  And more intelligent.  And taller, and skinnier, and that my ears weren’t weird.  But I still love myself madly, even when I’m also mentally punching myself.

I procrastinate like a world champion. (Just ask Lauren how close to her deadline I submitted this post.)

 

And if they saw the ridiculous state of certain parts of my life, they’d wonder how I get anything done:

I currently have approximately 23 books that I have started and have yet to finish.  I seem to feel about ‘fresh books’ the way I feel about macarons: “(Gasp!) Oh, look!! Oooooooh, that one looks amazing, I have to have that one too!”  I do have the very best intentions of reading all of them, but I honestly don’t know how anybody expects me to finish a book when there are so many NEW ones all the time.

‘Hot mess’ is really the only way to describe the state of my car.  I keep meaning to clean it, and then I shrug it off.  I’m *almost* to the point of not feeling embarrassed about it anymore… but not quite.

There is a stack of canvases just waiting for the touch of my paintbrush — and countless ideas for paintings — and they’ve both been hanging out in the corner waiting for me for at least 2 years.

I have so many ideas, and so many things I want to do, and — like the half-finished books that surround me — I’ll often start them, make some headway, and then launch myself into the next idea before I finish.  (The one exception so far has been Love Coaching + Photography — which tells me I’m truly meant to be doing it.)

I have mail still going to my last two addresses because I simply can’t seem to get around to updating it.  I even have a couple things still going to my parents’ house, where I haven’t lived since 1994.

The sheer amount of cat hair along the edges of my home is both a sign of how frequently I vacuum and how patient my man is with me.

My personal Gmail inbox is currently at…. let’s see…. 5,164 unread emails.  UNREAD.  Also like books, I tend to subscribe to a stupid amount of newsletters and then seem to only read about .07% of them.  I think that I believe the business and marketing and spiritual learning will happen through virtual osmosis.

 

It still feels terrifyingly like being naked and jumping out of an airplane whenever I post a part of my heart and soul on the internet.  I am not sure I’ll ever get used to the ‘naked skydiving,’ but I will keep doing it (as I’m doing now) with the intention of spreading Love, letting my Soul shine, calling to my tribe, and letting every woman know that she can do it too…

She can be just as ridiculous and just as weird, and she can still let herself shine.

 

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  • Kristen - July 22, 2015 - 4:53 pm

    Great post! I don’t know you but I smiled the whole time reading this, partly because it was so genuine and vulnerable and partly because at least half of those things describe me, from feeling different down to the crazy car and cat fur everywhere! Have a wonderful day!!ReplyCancel

 

When you’re a wedding photographer it’s very hard to plan anything on weekends very far in advance.  There are a few summer weekends I take off every year but things like concerts have to sort of be a spur of the moment decision.  Which is pretty much why until now…I have not seen Taylor swift in concert.  I try to reign in my love of T Swift but like the rest of the world…I am obsessed with her.  I mean how can you not be…I’m also positive we are going to be best friends one day.  You just wait.  Anyways…here’s how my epic weekend of Taylor went down.

 

I had been planning on going to the Sunday show for a while now.  I was stoked and couldn’t wait.  Then…my best friend, Stefanie, sent me the best text message ever.  A few days before the concert she texted me and said she had gotten 10th row Taylor tickets for Saturday night from work…and we were going!  I literally almost died.  Not only was I going to get to see her two nights in a row but I was going to be TENTH ROW!!!  And then my attempt to reign in my fangirl went right out the window.

 

Let me tell you…this girl can put on a show.  I went twice and could have gone ten more times.  I danced my little heart out and had the best time with some of my favorite people ever!  And as cheesy as it sounds…it’s incredibly inspiring to watch someone who worked her a$$ off to make her dreams come true and to be a part of what I’m sure was one of the most amazing moments in her career.

 

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Night one…amazing.  I even sort of met her mom when she came around to say hi to all the fans on the floor.

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Me…really freaking excited.

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So close….

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An epic ending to an epic show.

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Night two with my ladies.  Love these girls!!!!

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Oh photographers…

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Everyone got a wrist band that would light up different colors at different times.  It was incredibly cool to see.

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You go Taylor.  Way to kick some serious butt.

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You may have noticed on Instagram (@lwakephoto) that Gary and I were galavanting across Georgia last week.  Gary’s aunt and uncle were renewing their vows after 45 years (their love is just amazing….much more on them and their amazing ceremony coming soon) and we flew down to be a part of it.  Being the savvy travelers we are we flew into Atlanta and rented a car to drive the fourish hours to Tybee Island.  I sat in the backseat and worked until my battery died so we could fully enjoy our little weekend away.  And man did we have a good time.  Spending time with John and Julie and their amazing kids and grandkids was just what I think we both needed.  A little beach time…family time…and let’s be honest, lots of wine time.  :) We drove the long four hours back to Atlanta so sad that we had to leave but so incredibly grateful to have these people in our lives.  And I cannot WAIT to share the photos from their renewal…cue the tissues.

 

In the meantime here’s a little look at our trip…

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Walking to dinner on the beach…

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The whole crew.

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It was incredibly hot…like seriously on fire…but the light was so beautiful and nothing cools you down like an ice cold beer.

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Lola bought me a wine glass with a pineapple on it!  She knows me so well…

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Headed to the beach for the renewal.  It took about 30 seconds for my hair to turn into Amazon woman chic.

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Gar and I trying to be cute when I just sweated half my body weight and hair literally went psychotic.

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Reception dinner at the Crab Shack.  Such a fun night.

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We took a quick stroll through Savannah on our way home…and took a selfie to prove we were there.

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