Alicia & Noel | Fort Wayne Winter Wedding

Alicia & Noel’s winter wedding in Fort Wayne, Indiana was on the same day as one of the biggest and first snows of this winter! Alicia and her bridesmaids started the day getting their hair and makeup done at In Touch Salon with drinks from Mocha Lounge next door to keep them warm. (Why every salon and coffee shop don’t move in next door to each other is beyond me because it’s brilliant if you ask me!)

 From there, we all headed to the Foehlinger-Frieman Botanical Conservatory Gardens to get the majority of the portraits for the day. Thank you Lord for climate control.  The Botanical Gardens are really popular place to get photos in Fort Wayne during the winter since all of our trees are pretty much bare from mid November to late March, but fortunately there were hardly any other people there getting photos on Noel & Alicia’s wedding day and we practically had it all to ourselves!

Even though I’m so grateful I didn’t have to sacrifice my fingers and toes in order to get the majority of our portraits outside, if you stick around till the end, you’ll see the adorable “just married” photos we got to take outside in the Joseph Decuis emporium courtyard and then on a picturesque street in downtown Roanoke as big fluffy snowflakes floated down.  Noel put his jacket on Alicia and it was just like one of those adorable end scenes in a Hallmark movie.  It was the perfect way to end the day as they ran back inside to stay cozy and enjoy their intimate dinner reception with their closest family and friends.

Alicia & Noel, thank you for asking me to be your photographer, and for being so fun and easygoing to work with! I can tell that you two are a great fit for one another, and I pray for the best blessings on your marriage and your life together!

much love, Anna

Your Dreams Will Not Surprise You

This might sound a little harsh,

but I think its important that we all just stop expecting our dreams to surprise us.
After listening to, reading, watching, and conversing with all sorts of people I would consider to be successful in many different arenas and capacities of life, I’ve found 3 things to be true in all of their stories: 1. They experienced failures in some capacity. 2. They got back at it at least one time more than however many times they failed. 3. They chose and executed a mindset, drive, and the actions that made sure that success would follow at some point in their lives.

People who have been successful have lived their lives in ways that warrant their dreams becoming reality, so they couldn’t and wouldn’t be surprised by their success.

When good things happen to us, we love to cite “luck”, “talent”, “belief” and “being in the right place at the right time” as the reasons for our recent “good fortune”.

And sometimes, those are the reasons why we experience little tastes of what could be the abundant lives we wish we could be living all the time.

But when the things we’ve always dreamt of while looking at the backs of our eyelids become realities before our wide-open eyes, it’s almost always because of something more than just “luck”.

The truth is that the life we want really is possible for so many of us, but we will never be surprised by it. In fact, if we are surprised by the life we want all suddenly coming true, it might cease to be the life we really want.

As lovely as it would be to wake up one day and have our dreams ready and waiting for us like gifts on Christmas morning, its incredibly rare that this would ever be the reality.

Sure, sometimes something great will happen, seemingly out of the blue, and we think that maybe the rest of our wildest dreams will also unfold in the same serendipetous fashion, but I’m here to tell you that most of your dreams WILL NOT SURPRISE YOU.

I would dare to suggest that in most cases, they will come true only if, when, and after you have come to EXPECT them. After the kind of life you live would only make sense to bring about the outcomes you’ve always dreampt of.

No matter what your definition of success, wildest dreams, or deepest desires, I believe one of the things that will take you the closest to them is to let go of the belief that one day, all of the sudden, we’ll wake up and these marvelous things will all be waiting for us on our doorsteps.

If they’re honest, many people don’t really believe that their dreams will ever actually come true anyway, so as an excuse for not actually doing anything to achieve them (and to keep themselves from looking foolish for ever even trying at all)  they let themselves go on wishing, hoping, and praying that if these dreams are meant to come true, they’ll just *surprise!* show up and become true for them one day.

Instead, we could be spending the same energy gathering the courage & gumption to live the kind of lives that remove roadblocks & any trace of doubt that our dreams will, in fact, become reality for us one day.

They say that if your dreams dont scare you, they’re not big enough.

I think we should live our lives in such a way that even our biggest and scariest dreams have no choice but to come true.

much love,

Take care,

As I’m writing the majority of this post, I’m actually writing on my phone on a cardio machine at the gym, happy to be back after close to 2 weeks off. I never chose to stop coming, I just thought I was too busy or that the work I was doing, (that I also enjoyed btw) was more important, and that staying consistent with good habits of health was something I could do “later”. 

I bought into the (popular and common) misconception that if you enjoy doing something, it’s not really work. I was doing work I enjoyed, but not taking time for other things that were good and healthy for me, and as romantic as it would be to say that doing work you enjoy isn’t work, it’s just not true. 

I neglected things like going to the gym, or taking my dog on a long walk to the soundtrack of my favorite podcasts, or just watching a movie with my husband WITHOUT a laptop open to Lightroom on my lap so I could edit “on the side”. As many times as we all hear it online and in books and from doctors and even from a quiet voice inside ourselves, I’m here to beg you to believe the truth that setting boundaries and taking time for ourselves and our mental, physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health is something we can’t afford not to do. And to do before you have to learn the hard way of being burnt out and stuck in bed feeling like your head is gonna explode (like I did!).

Do it because you love what you do so much that you choose to take a step back and recharge before you go at it again in full force. Don’t just run on the lie that motivation = feeling like it. And that if you feel like doing something, you’ll never get tired of it. We all need healthy habits and disciplines in our lives, no matter how quickly we want to progress and move forward.

You know how discipline never seems fun? How we all sort of get tired at the thought of getting into the discipline of certain things, like exercise, or reading a certain amount everyday, or eating healthily on a consistent basis? As backwards as it seems, I burnt myself out by not disciplining myself. By not taking the time my body needed me to take – working out at the gym, or listening to the wise advice and stories of people who have gone before me in the field of entrepreneurship, or simply indulging from time to time in things that give me rest and bring me a renewed sense of excitement and energy to pursue the things I’m already passionate about. 

I think a contributing factor to the rut I found myself in earlier this week (the rut being, feeling like crap and not even being able to sit up very long before dry heaving), was my lack of focus. Recently, my other side job of being a freelance makeup artist for a cosmetic company discontinued the position I held without much notice (and by *much* I mean *any*). However, because I had already been considering going full time into photography, even though it came as a shock, I saw it as a little bit of a blessing in disguise and I took it as a sign that it was time to go full steam ahead with my passion.

(This is a good time to bring up something I’ve recently found to be true: it’s never time to go full steam ahead, passion or not, if you don’t also have the fuel to do so.)

So I went full steam ahead. 

And I might have had the fuel in the beginning, but I ran out pretty quickly because as I took on more busyness, I didn’t keep up the habits that energized me at a matched rate. Although there was a voice in my head telling me to take time for things like quiet time, reading the Bible, working out, and simply abstaining from working on some facet of photography for more than like an hour of my waking moments, I silenced it with the very valid sounding excuse that I would do it “once things slowed down a little bit”. Simultaneously, I knew that I didn’t want things to slow down because I want to make a living from my passion and grow this business to be bigger, not smaller and slower. So secretly, I knew I had a problem, but it took being brought to my knees (on the bathroom floor, over the toilet, to be gross, but exact) to force me to come to the point I am trying to make now- that doing the things you know you need to do to take care of yourself, are important -vital even – to being able to stay on your feet long enough to reach success at all, let alone see your success last

The solution?

The solution, I believe, is really simple. It’s to be all there, wherever I am. 

It’s to have focus when I’m working, the discipline to stop at a certain time (no matter how much I enjoy what I do), be all there for the people and things that refuel and reenergize me, and then to start the process over again.

It’s setting some sort of plan for how I spend my time, and then giving myself permission to relax and let myself enjoy the moments and people that make life so rich, and the discipline to focus on whatever is in front of me at that time, whether it’s work, or fun (even though, often my work is fun and I’m very blessed that I get to do what I do and make a living from it). 

I’m so grateful that I’m usually pretty healthy, but I’m also glad for this unpleasant “nudge” of being sick that pushed me toward learning how to, and prioritizing, taking care of myself, sooner rather than later.

If you can relate to any part of my story, whether you’re trying to pursue your passion and build your own business too, or go full steam ahead toward anything, please take the time to make sure you have (and will have) the fuel to go the distance and make it all worth it. Sit down (as soon as you’re done reading this, if you can) and write out just a few things that you know make you feel truly alive and energized, and commit to making time for those things, no matter how busy you get, now and throughout life.  Deal?

We’re in this together. 

Much love,