Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Things you might not know

Things you might not know about me...
-It takes a LOT of cream and sugar for me to actually enjoy coffee.

-I get serious anxiety over a lot of things that would seem so trivial to most.

-If someone is short in their response back to me, I always wonder if I did something wrong.

-My obsession with donuts is real.

-I'm super adventurous at heart. I loved skydiving, white water rafting, canoeing, but there's still so much more I'd like to try (ahem, bungee jumping, Caleb?!)!

-I don't care how bad it is for me, Mountain Dew will always be my favorite drink.

-My parent's didn't get married until I was 4, and then got divorced when I was 9.

-I never finished my college education and still struggle with feeling inadequate when it comes up in casual conversation with strangers. BUT I know it wasn't God's plan for me at the time, and there's no saying I can't finish someday if I felt like it.

-My mom is a traveling nurse so unfortunately we don't get to spend a lot of time together, and I miss her to pieces!

-I overthink everything.

-Caleb and I both have a big heart for youth/young adult ministry. We're so grateful God has given us an opportunity through our church to help lead and encourage the amazing teens/young adults!

-I have a VERY small family. One brother. My Dad is an only child. My mom only has one sibling, so I only have two first cousins (and they are both much younger than me)! So it was fun marrying into a family MUCH larger than mine!

-I got baptized on my 18th birthday, then went skydiving. One of the coolest days of my life!

-I'm a receptionist by day, photographer by night/weekend.

-Caleb and I love our Bengals, even when it's not easy to be a fan!

-I absolutely love to encourage people, especially when they least expect it. You never know how much a simple text message or hand written note can change someone's day!

-We'll finally be out of debt this year, and it feels AMAZING!

-I have green eyes and have learned to love them as I've grown older! My freshman year of high school my mom let me get colored contacts and I got the most fake looking deep blue color. I look back on those photos with embarrassment ;)

-I hardly ever paint my nails -- maybe once/twice a year (and that's usually when I decide to spoil myself and pay for a manicure)!

-My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:18, and I love how simple this translation is.

Well there ya have it, hopefully you learned something new ;) what's an interesting fact about you??
Happy Hump Day!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Our weekend: donuts and photo shoots!

Friday:  We attended the Basketball Senior night for one of our youth group students. It was epic! They CRUSHED the other team!

Saturday: Caleb woke me up and said we were going to the flea market! I didn't feel that those plans required clean hair so you know this girl threw a hat over her leftover curly hair and called it a day ;) The day got even better when Caleb agreed to DONUTS on the road! Then, the lady made my weekend when I asked for a regular glazed donut and she told me she had a hot fresh one in the back. Legit the best thing I've ever tasted.

Later that evening Erin and I had a girls night in! Including some of the best things on earth: coloring books, buffalo chicken dip and a hilarious movie. I love nights like that. Just talking for hours, catching up on life, and unwinding!

Sunday: I did something a little bit outside of my comfort zone by photographing a head shot/brand session for a new friend, Carly! She owns Surcee Florals. She's so so talented and seriously SUCH a sweetheart! I couldn't help but edit a few right when I got home, so here's a sneak peak!

After that, we shot a sweet session with this adorable family! Tara is one of Caleb's (many) cousin's, and it was so fun hanging out with them - they live over an hour away so we don't get to see them as often as we'd like! We had a great time during their session, and seriously, how cute are they!?

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Happy Monday, lets make it an awesome one!!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Suck {and sweet}

Suck || Being so busy. We have something going on every evening this week and I'm a little exhausted.
Sweet || Having all these plans has given me the chance to spend time with SO many people that I love!

Suck || Being irritable.
Sweet || Convincing myself I deserve some fudge so I'm not so irritable.

Suck || How expensive a bouquet of flowers can be.
Sweet || How pretty they are anyway.

Suck || Working until 5:00 this new year, and not getting off at 4:30 anymore
Sweet || Being thankful I have a day job.

Suck || How long it takes to prepare a homemade dinner.
Sweet || When Caleb went back for seconds. #winning

Suck || Having to throw your hair in a greasy ponytail because you woke up late.
Sweet || Getting those few extra minutes of sleep.

Suck || Hitting traffic every morning.
Sweet || Being grateful that everyone on the road is safe; including me.

Suck || Sweating my butt off trying to make a silly fort in our living room before Caleb got home.
Sweet || Seeing his face when he walked through the door!

Suck || Not having President's Day off of work.
Sweet || Still having a mostly obligation free weekend, woo!

*borrowed this post idea from my sweet blog friend Shelley long ago! Thanks, girl!
I hope everyone has had a great week, so far! Enjoy your Thursday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dear Caleb,

Thanks for pursuing me, even when I'm not very nice.
Thanks for kissing my eyes when I have a bad headache.
Thanks for cleaning the house on your days off.
Thanks for encouraging me when I'm feeling down.
Thanks for making me laugh every. single. stinking. day.
Thanks for gifting me my first Bible 8 years ago today (wow)!
Thanks for being a kid at heart, and reminding me life isn't always serious.
Thanks for lighting my favorite pineapple candle before I come home.
Thanks for explaining movie plots to me when I'm totally lost.
Thanks for your morning texts.
Thanks for always making me feel safe.
Thanks for always cooking breakfast on Saturdays.
Thanks for being the most selfless person I know.
Thanks for being my best friend.
Thanks for being you.

You're amazing, and I not only LOVE you, I really, really like you, too!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snap happy weekend!

Friday consisted of not making dinner so we had a quick little date night then a walk over to Petco but of course, no puppies were there to cuddle. We made our way back home and popped in a movie and fell asleep on the couch. I kind of love when that happens; even though we wake up at 3am with kinked necks.

Saturday was our very first wedding of the year and I have to tell ya, the butterflies were doing circles in my stomach. I don't know why I was so nervous because once I saw the bride and started photographing her details, all the excitement and skill came back to me! We had a long day, but it was worth it! The bride even had a donut waiting for me and said she "knew I loved Holtmans" - umm can you say IDEAL CLIENT?! ;)

Sunday we heard a great message at church about being the hands and feet of Jesus and showing compassion/kindness like He does - and it really inspired us going into a new week.

I had a fun session scheduled with some friends to capture her cute belly, as they are expecting their first baby girl!

That evening I skipped out on youth group because I had WAY too much work to catch up on, and it was much needed. No distractions (except The Office, of course), and it was great!

I'm feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another week!
Hope everyone had a fun weekend!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday, but kind of not.

Today is Friday and the office is filled with chocolates, donuts, cake pops and homemade goods. I really thought this wouldn't happen until Valentine's Day, but hey, I'm not complaining. As the Receptionist at my company, I've been thinking about "stepping up" my receptionist game (reminds me of The Office, every time) by bringing in homemade goods, planning fun little events, etc.!

Yesterday at the all-employee quarterly meeting, I was given a plaque for my 5 year work anniversary. I have to say I never thought I would be here for 5 years, but I'm super thankful I have been. It was super sweet to hear the CEO's talk about me so highly and to get the quick little "congrats" from my co workers throughout the day! Although answering phones and keeping track of the conference room schedule isn't my life calling or anything, I'm super grateful God planted me here all those years ago. I've made some really great friendships and have some awesome memories, too!

Transitioning into my other work life now, we have our first wedding of 2017 on the books tomorrow! I have to say Caleb and I are both excited, but a little nervous. This happens every year, before the first wedding, the feeling of "what if we forget how to do this" kicks in. Yet somehow we end up picking up right where we left off and enjoying ourselves and before we know it the day is over.

This week was rather uneventful...if you don't count the night I cut my finger open while cleaning a kitchen knife, ugh.

Some highlights of the week?
Ordering a pizza because who cares on a Monday.
Forgetting responsibilities and starting a new show together.
Getting more paid-time-off because I hit my 5 years at work!
Making my first cup of coffee for the year!

I hope everyone has a fun weekend ahead of them! Make it awesome!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


God is a pretty good matchmaker. Back in 2012, after Caleb and I got engaged we stumbled upon Joe & Amanda's website. We instantly clicked and they became our wedding photographers. Fast forward to 6 weeks after our wedding and they hired us as their first associate photographer team. We're so grateful for their friendship and how awesome they both are. We've learned so much from them as photographers, and friends! Today, I wanted to let Amanda take over my blog and share her heart on the topic of anxiety. I struggle with anxiety a LOT and this hits close to home for me, so I hope you'll tune in and say hi!


We all do it.

We all have anxieties because we are wired this way. Anxiety is typically defined as a restlessness, an uneasiness, an “anticipation of a future threat.” It’s normative, biological and meant to be a defense mechanism to keep us safe. But sometimes  we worry excessively and things get out of hand. We have intrusive thoughts, we don’t leave our home, we avoid certain people, we resort to self-harm.

I remember the day I casually commented to my husband how every time I drive over a bridge, I think about what I would do if my car went into the water. He just stared at me. Apparently, this was not the way everyone thought. 

All this worry takes up precious space in our days and our minds. Why can’t we just trust?

Isn’t that what it boils down to? It’s an issue of trust and fear and control.

We are untrusting that things will work out. We fear a scary ending. We respond by attempting to control and manipulate and mold the outcome. Otherwise, the world falls apart, right?

When I see a patient for the first time with concerns for anxiety, I teach that a certain amount of holistic self-examination needs to take place. What might I be anxious about? Am I reflecting on a past trauma? Am I dealing with another chronic illness? Am I getting restorative sleep? What has my diet been like lately? Am I becoming too dependent on a particular substance (or behavior) to help me cope? Am I getting consistent exercise? What state are my finances in? What state are my relationships in? Could there be a medical reason for my anxiety? Am I neglecting my spirituality practices? Am I overwhelmed because of the demands on my time? What am I doing that brings me joy? Excellence in all of these areas contribute to happiness and peace.

Once this self-reflection takes place, then we can get on with tacking the healing.

So, these are my recommendations for dealing with anxiety (I use all of these myself DAILY). 

Maintain perspective. Let’s consider the true gravity of all this and put this thing into perspective. Is this really a catastrophe? What are the chances of my fear actually coming to fruition? What will the actual, true result be of the situation that I’m stressing over?

Have a plan. When I’m in a situation where the outcome is unknown, I try to envision the worst possible ending and plan my reaction. If the worst does actually happen (chances are it won’t), I’ll be ready. Having this plan in place gives me another tool in my tool-belt. Increases my confidence. Makes me a little less scared.

Pray your little butt off. Well, really this should be thing #1. But let’s be real. It isn’t, even though it should be. Philippians 4:6-7 tell is this: Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Interrupt anxiety with gratitude. This is one of my absolute favorite Truth Bombs and really a great way to re-wire your brain. Every time a “what-if” comes to your mind, replace it with a “thanks-God.”

Weed out the sources, if possible. What sparks your anxiety? That negative person on Facebook? Hide her. That doomsday co-worker of yours? Limit your conversations. Recognize your sensitivities and restrict your exposure.

See someone about it.  If you think your anxiety might need the help of a professional, consider seeing a therapist or mental health practitioner. There is no shame in this and you are in no way a failure if you have to be on medication to stabilize your anxiety. At the same time, medications are not magic pills and cannot solve all your problems. Remember, the key is holistic treatment.

I’m reminded of one of my absolute favorite worship songs called Sinking Deep by Hillsong United. Speaking as someone whose anxiety seems to be extremely rooted in fear, this is a mantra that I repeat to myself every time I feel that trickle of worry. It incorporates elements of deep breathing, mindfulness, giving over trust, giving up control, and remembering that God’s got me.

All fear removed, 
I breathe You in, 
I lean into Your love.
Oh, Your love.

DISCLAIMER: Thanks for reading the above, but whoever you are: unless you are living in my household (which I think I would have noticed), it’s very unlikely that I have any idea what sort of medical history, medication regimen, allergies, and any other health intricacies you carry. Therefore, you should NOT interpret the above as medical advice for yourself, and instead present this information to your personal clinician for consideration.

Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry by Amy Simpson
The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook By Dr. Edmund Bourne
Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above all Others by Steven Furtick
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk
Truth Bombs by Danielle LaPorte

Amanda practices at the Lindner Center of Hope in Mason and writes at