Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolution.....

Well I don't usually make new years resolutions...probably because I've never been able to keep them BUT I do have things that I WANT to change/start doing in the new year.
2009 has been a very unexpected year...It's definitely had it's ups and downs. 2009 has been one of the most challenging years ever...I went into it with a plan in my head for how it would go...that plan was crushed. I honestly believed that 2009 would be a year of joy, and the new beginning for a family. Instead, it was a year of struggling to believe truth and that the Lord was good. It was also a year of unexpected blessings[photography]. During my struggle with infertility, I've struggled to have hope. Last week, I was telling Kaz the below story...

A friend of mine is pregnant and doesn't know yet the sex of the baby. She went to Target and found this baby bedding[for a girl] for a really good price. She bought it in hopes she will have a girl but also because it was a great deal! The week of Christmas, I went with my friend Sabrina to Target one day during lunch. Sabrina has 2 children so we were in the children section when I ran across the bedding. I honestly stood there for like 10 minutes debating on whether or not to get it....BUT in my mind I kept thinking why would you do this Amy? You don't have children....I've also had a dream similar to this in which I was seeking childcare for a child that I don't yet have.
So while I was telling Kaz this, I said it's really sad to me that I would even think those things. It's sad that I want children that bad...He completely disagreed with me but I was in a hurry to get out the door to meet a friend for lunch so we couldn't really talk about it then.
So I met my friend  for lunch who also has PCOS and just recently had a miscarriage. As we were talking, my heart broke for her because I could see how much pain she was in and how alone she felt....She's in a place that I've been in for way too long....a place where it feels like no one cares and you are all alone...a place where life isn't fair because you can't have what you want, but everyone around you can....a place of lies and despair instead of joy and hope. As we were talking, I started telling her a little of my journey and how where's she's at is perfectly normal. I told her about the Target instance and how down I had gotten  because of my crazy thoughts about buying baby bedding for a child that I may have one day. She made the comment to me, "You are so strong...I wish you could hear what I'm hearing. You have hope Amy. You are expecting the Lord to bless you with children"... I hadn't thought of it that way. As I started thinking about it more I realized she was right. I DO HAVE HOPE! I have hope that the Lord has a perfect plan and that He does want to bless us. I have hope that the Lord is leading us down the path He wants us to take, even though its not the one I would have chosen. I have HOPE that He is going to use me and Kaz and our story....
The title of my blog is Our Journey Together....I chose the word journey because a journey has a beginning and an end. It's purposeful, not pointless. It involves activity, not passivity.  Our Journey thus far has had its ups and downs....After meeting with my dear friend, I had HOPE. I had so much joy that I literally wanted to scream it out!!! 2 days later I was in a pit again....I went back into my shell of believing that no one cared, and I was all alone, and I was a burden to all my friends....This struggle with infertility is a journey....
What I want for 2010 more than anything is to fight to believe HOPE. It will be an everyday battle but I'm prepared for that. In 2009 I've missed out on a lot.....I haven't gone to friends baby showers because it made me sad...I haven't visited friends in the hospital after the baby was born because it was too hard.....I've distanced myself from people who had children because I didn't want to get too close....I can't promise all of these things will change...BUT as I fight for truth on this journey I can only pray that the Lord will continue to transform my life and allow me to experience joy in other people's blessings! This is my heart and my prayer for 2010......


HAPPY NEW YEARS! May the Lord bless you and show favor upon you in this new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dedication....or insanity.....

So I went running this the SNOW! It was by far the coolest run I've ever had, AND also the hardest run I've ever had!

A little history about my running...
From the time I was 5-high school I played softball. Every summer growing up I played traveling softball, and then also in high school along with volleyball and basketball. When I got to college I started out on the FMU volleyball team but that was never my dream. A lot of other people encouraged me to play BUT I never wanted that....So I started playing intramural sports and then started running. I had to be active...It was something that I craved. In the peak of my running I was running around 5-6 miles a day. In high school I had Osgood Schlatters disease[in my right knee]. It didn't bother me as much in high school, but with running it killed me. It eventually got to the point where I couldn't even cross my legs because it hurt so much! I stopped running in 2008-September 2009. I simply couldn't do it...One day I could run 3 miles, the next day I could hardly walk. I had been to several doctors for the problem in high school and every one kept telling me it would go away[which is should go away]. Mine never did[there's only like a 1-2% chance that it won't go away]. So my doctor told me I needed knee surgery[which happened in Feb 2009]. Since then, I haven't had any problems with my knee!
Since knee surgery I haven't really been motivated to run because I've been so busy with photography, and because of the emotional roller coaster I've been going through with infertility. I simply didn't care...BUT things changed back in November. Every thanksgiving my mom, dad, me and Kaz run in the Turkey Trot in Hartsville SC. I knew that I needed to start running in order to be able to run in the turkey trot. I started running and haven't been able to stop. I have that passion and desire again....I LOVE it!
I'm so thankful that the surgery was successful and that the Lord has blessed me with running again. My problem back in college with running was I was so hard on myself if I ever missed a day...Well I had that same problem today...I mentioned in yesterday's post that I got sick yesterday. I was still sick this morning AND it was snowing BUT I didn't care. I wanted to run! Kaz and I ran 2.3 miles. It was so beautiful running in the snow. We couldn't see the trail because everything was white, and the snow steadily came down while we ran...IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! The trail that we run up here in Illionios is in a park. It's a 1.5 mile loop that goes around a pond. At the pond there are hundreds of geese. LITERALLY....HUNDREDS. I'm always so scared when I see them because if they were to attack they would destroy us BUT if you clap they go in the other direction. They were so pretty this morning in the snow I didn't even care about clapping. It was honestly the coolest run I've ever experienced! Below is a picture from after our run!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 23 degree weather.....

I've decided to train for a half-marathon! I started the training the day after Christmas...Saturday and Sunday me and my dad ran 3 miles each day in Hartsville SC. I loved getting to spend time with him,  but I also love running through Hartsville. It's such a neat town and has so many old historic streets. [Right now]I run about an 11 minute mile, which isn't fast but for now my concern is not the time, it's distance.
Kaz and I flew up to St. Louis yesterday and I knew that running up here would be a problem because it's so cold...BUT I told Kaz I didn't care how cold it was I wanted to run....So this morning I woke up, put on 3 layers of clothes and we started our run. It was very hard and when we finished I couldn't feel my legs but we did it...3.4 miles! It was 23 degrees this morning, and we literally ran through snow and ice. To tell you how hard of a run it was[due the coldness and we ran on a dirt trail instead of pavement] I ran 10 minutes slower than the previous 3 mile runs! Afterwards I felt great....Now I'm sick:(
It's supposed to snow tonight, but I've already told Kaz no matter how bad I feel, or how cold it is I still want to run tomorrow...even if its just a mile! I'll keep you posted:) Below are a few pictures before our run from this morning...

Also, if you are a runner check out Runner's World Online. It's a great place to keep track of your runs, routes, miles, etc. You can actually customize routes online before you leave the house and it will tell you how far the route is! Very Cool!!!! Check it out....

Monday, December 28, 2009

The problem with being a photographer....

......Don't get me wrong-I wouldn't change that, but I always take pictures of other people that I want taken of me and Kaz. Kaz tells me I'm too picky because anytime I give someone a camera to take a picture of us I'm always disappointed. See this is what goes through my head as I hand them the camera...I'm giving this person my camera to take a picture of me and Kaz...BUT really I already have the picture drawn out in my mind. I KNOW what I WANT it to LOOK like....BUT it never does...PROBABLY because the person taking the picture isn't a mind reader:) I can't tell you how many times this has happened. So I decided that I wanted my good friend Amanda to take a few pictures of me and Kaz out in the country where I'm from. I went into it not having any specific ideas...I just wanted Amanda to use her imagination. She did a great job...I'm not a huge fan of these pictures BUT NOT because of how she took them but because of how critical I am about myself:( but they are good pictures and I wanted to share a few...
This picture was taken at my grandmothers old house...

I LOVE this picture....TOO BAD my eyes were closed:(
On a dirt road....
So later that day after church, I told my mom I wanted her to take 1 picture of me and Kaz with my new tobagon(I hope I spelled that correctly:) ). So I gave her the camera, told her exactly what I wanted and loved the outcome!!! SO I made her a take a few more....
This picture was just too funny to pass up showing...
Our family....[as of now]

So I'm very pleased with these pictures...I LOVE photography and love seeing people happy...This weekend I got to be on the other side for a few minutes:)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

my life(in 2009) according to facebook....

Even though this doesn't tell about where my heart has been this year, I love that it includes some of my most favorite memories in 2009!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cake and good friends.....

I went to see my good friends Anne and Chris last Thursday night in Columbia. They just had a sweet little baby girl (Ashlyn) back in October. Anne and I were roommates in college at Francis Marion. Our set-up was pretty cool….We lived in an apartment on campus with 2 other girls (Crystal and Amanda). In the 2 apartments next to us was some of our other good friends, including Chris (Anne’s husband). So we had lots of late nights together hanging out, watching movies, and doing your normal crazy college stuff!
When I stayed with Anne and Chris last Thursday night, we started laughing because it honestly felt like we were back in college. We had so much FUN!
I’m offering a new session in photography called “The Cake Smashing Session”. It’s basically a session where a cake, a child, and a birthday are mixed together and the child digs in the cake while I snap the shots. To see an example of what I’m talking about click here.

Cakes can be expensive, so Anne and I decided to try and make one. First we “dirty iced” our cake (I learned the terminology from Cake Boss)! Then we started rolling out the fondant and dying it. Now Anne and I had all of the “stuff” we needed for the cake, BUT we were totally un-prepared for the fondant. We didn’t have a roller or any shapes to cut it out with so this is what we ended up using…

Roller-Baby Bottle
Round Shapes-Highlighter pen top and baby bottle top

Below are some pictures of the process…..
Dirty Icing the Cake...

Dying the fondant...

Our cut outs...

The finished product.....

For our first cake, I say it came out pretty good! We were pleased….

I loved getting to spend some time with Anne and Ashlyn because the last couple of times I’ve seen them I’ve just taken pictures of Ashlyn and haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time catching up. I loved holding Ashlyn and getting to know her a little! She’s such a sweet baby! To see some of the pictures I took of Ashlyn on Thursday night click here. Below are a few pictures of my time with Anne and Ashlyn!

I had a great night having some crazy fun and spending time with great friends!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No Hablo Espanol….

Do you know how to speak Spanish? Well, I should but I don’t:( I took a couple Spanish classes in high school but I don’t remember anything…A couple funny stories about my ability to speak or understand Spanish

1. I went on a mission trip to Mexico about 12 years ago. When I went to introduce myself to a Hispanic boy I said Aloha instead of Holla!
2. A little history on me and Kaz…I was Kaz’s first girlfriend. He used to be so nervous in some of the little things…The first time he told me I was pretty he sent me an email (because at the time he lived in Charleston and I lived in Florence) in Spanish and told me I was pretty. I had absolutely no idea what he said and actually had to translate his email on a Spanish/English Translation site:) It was really sweet:)

The whole reason I’m bringing this up is because Sunday night driving back from church I “tried” speaking Spanish to Kaz. This is how far I got…

Holla! Mi LAMA (like the animal) Amy. He immediately started laughing…
So I tried again by counting…Uno, Dos, TRACE(like the name)….
Failed again….He said I mix Spanish with my country accent:)

Oh well, Maybe I’ll learn one day!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A good friend and an engagement.....

So I have this friend Amanda…
Amanda and I grew up in Patrick, SC and our parents land literally touches but we were never friends growing up. We went to the same church, are fairly close in age, but attended different high schools. I’m unsure of why we weren’t friends but we just weren’t. In 2005 I moved down to Charleston to be closer to Kaz (when we were dating) and Amanda had just started at the College of Charleston ....for various reasons we met up randomly for dinner….and the friendship began! Amanda is one of my closet friends now. She was such a big part of mine and Kaz’s relationship. Over the last few years, she has had her eye on 1 guy (Bradley), who just happens to be one of Kaz’s good friends. Amanda and I have prayed for so long for this relationship. Back in August, they started dating and got engaged this past Friday night! I’m so excited for them!!!! Now I know this is a random post, but the whole point of it is that the Lord is faithful to His children and is faithful in His promise to give us the desires of our hearts. Bradley and Amanda have both been so patient and faithfully prayed for one another and the right timing to date, and eventually be together. I remember all those times Amanda would call me frustrated because things were awkward, or she just wanted to give up, BUT the Lord was faithful and heard her cry and has given her not only a best friend but a Godly man who patiently waited and listened to the Lord and His plan. The Lord is good and wants only the best for His children.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 100:5
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

So whatever you are struggling with right now…Remember the Lord hears your cry. HE is FAITHFUL and GOOD. I have to remind myself of this daily….

Congratulations Amanda and Bradley! Kaz and I are so happy for you!!! Below are a few pictures of my sweet friend Amanda!

Amanda is on the far right........

Bradley is on the far left....

The happy couple......

Thursday, December 17, 2009

26.2 Miles...

Kaz has been training a couple of months for the Kiawah Marathon that happened this past Saturday (12th). He has put in hundreds of miles training for this along with 2 half marathons throughout the year at Folly Beach and Washington DC. He’s been so dedicated even when we were on vacation he would still get up every morning (before I even thought about waking up) to go run. He finished the marathon in 4 hours 20 minutes and I’m SOO proud of him and his hard work. Below are a few pictures from the marathon!

Kaz and Chad(a good friend) trained together. Below are their pictures!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It is well....

Yesterday I was sitting in our office waiting on my computer to re-start and looked up on the bookshelf and saw my old journals from college. Occasionally, I'll sit for hours looking and reading back through them...Most of the time it makes me sad because I feel like my relationship with the Lord is so much weaker than it was in college. BUT yesterday I was very encouraged. I came upon a page where I had written down the hymn "It Is Well." This hymn has so much meaning in my life, and I have treasured it dearly over the last 8 years. When I've gone through trials and basically been down, this hymn has given me encouragement. I can remember driving back to college from my grandmother's funeral...It was a sad time because it happened so fast and my emotions were going crazy. I was mad, sad, hurt...I didn't know what to think or where to turn and this song came on the radio and I remember wishing that I could just play it over and over because it gave me hope, and made me realize that the Lord was with me....That I was loved and that my grandmother was with Him. It's funny because those same emotions and thoughts came back to me last night...
Our friends Julie and Caleb just welcomed their first child, Jude into this world. We took dinner to them last night and got to see the little handsome man. Caleb was telling us about his first experience with Jude and how he looked up at him and grabbed his finger with a tight grip. I'm a crier..I cry if I see someone happy or sad, but I had to fight back the tears last night because all I could think about was will that be me and Kaz someday. Will we be able to experience that? All of these thoughts and emotions flooded through my spirit but as we were leaving the house I remember my journal and what I saw that day....It is Well, It is Well, It is Well. The Lord is good and has a perfect plan...

I would love to know if there are any ways that I can pray for you...Maybe your spirits down or you're just going through a trial of your own please email me so that I lift your request up to our Lord. So I leave you with this...

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Laguna Beach....

Part 2:
The last 3 days of our trip were spent in Laguna Beach, CA. Yes, I wanted to go there because I liked the reality show soo much:) Actually, in college this was my favorite show. Me, my roommate Cyprian, and good friend Wendy would watch Laguna Beach every week! Ok back to the trip…We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Laguna Beach BUT this wasn’t your typical Holiday Inn. It felt like we were staying in a little French quarter inn. It was so elegant and every room opened to a closed corridor that had a pool, hot tubs, tables, flowers everywhere, and little quaint restaurant. Our shower was completely tiled in everywhere and had a little bench inside. Our TV was about a 50 inch, and the bed looked like the most expensive bed I have ever seen let alone slept in. I loved the hotel! Below are a few pictures…

While in Laguna, we didn’t do a lot. It was such a neat town that most of our time was spent traveling around to really see what Laguna had to offer. Almost all of the shops and restaurants were mom and pop stores which was really cool. It wasn’t commercialized at all. We walked on the beach a lot, went in almost every shop we saw, ate at some great little side walk restaurants, and drove through the hills to see all the houses. I think that’s the part I liked the most about Laguna-It was so beautiful to look out and see these big cliffs and the ocean, and then look behind you and see mountains. Kaz is a big runner and has been training for a marathon actually coming up this weekend. While we were there, he was dedicated and would run these crazy high hills everyday and loved it. Me on the other hand, it made me sick to my stomach to think about running up hills so steep but Kaz loved it! The only thing Kaz asked to do while we were there was go hiking at Laguna Canyon. We parked our car, started hiking and then all of sudden I saw this sign:

TERRIFIED…That’s what crossed my mind. When I read the part, “mountain lions have been known to attack without warning” I literally could picture us walking and this happening. Fear set in and wouldn’t leave. Now my sweet husband knew if I saw this sign I wouldn’t go any farther, and he was right…He tried for me not to see the sign but it was too late. We hiked all of 50 feet and then turned around. Most husbands would get mad, but Kaz didn’t. He understood and we still had a great time…I think we went to the mall:)

Overall, our trip was great and it was a much needed break from work and photography! Below are a few pictures of Laguna Beach. I would highly recommend going:)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

90210....and Khloe Kardashian....

This will be a 2 part post…
Part 1:

At the end of October, Kaz and I went on our annual vacation/anniversary trip to California. This year we spent 2 days in Hollywood and then 3 days in Laguna Beach. I was very excited about this trip because I have always wanted to go out to Hollywood! A little confession…I’m a reality show junkie! I love reality TV. A few of my favorite shows are The Hills, The City, The Rachel Zoe Project, The Kardashians, etc….A little history-Kaz and I in the past have tended to travel to places that have appeared on some of my favorite reality shows. Now at the time Kaz didn’t know this but….:) For example: When we got married we really wanted to go on a cruise but our wedding was on a Sunday and most of the cruises left on Sundays, so we had to change plans. I mentioned Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Now personally I would have never known of this place BUT thanks to Laguna Beach (former reality show on MTV) I knew about it and wanted to go! So we started looking for hotels and I remembered the name of the hotel where the kids on Laguna Beach stayed and thought it must be nice so we stayed there as well and it was amazing! So we had a great time in Cabo and our hotel was amazing thanks to Laguna Beach!

Ok, so backing up to our trip to California….every time I travel I always look for celebrities (I call it putting my goggles on). Kaz thinks I’m crazy because I always say Oh that looks like…and in reality it’s not I’m just trying so hard to see someone famous! Well this will sound crazy but in September and October I went on 3 trips to New York, DC, and California. I prayed that I would see a celebrity in 1 of those places…I know, crazy! So our first hotel was in Bel Air at the Luxe Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. I knew nothing about this hotel except that it was very nice. Below are a few pictures of our swanky hotel….

We arrived at our hotel and I was given a gift certificate to the hotel spa from some friends of ours, so after checking in Kaz said let’s go to the spa so you can make your reservation. The following occurred:

• I opened the hotel door and immediately I heard a voice that I recognized!
• I looked and walking down the hall toward us was a camera filming 2 people.
• I looked closer and recognized that the 2 people being filmed was Khloe Kardashian and Bruce Jenner.
• I was in total shock and could not take my eyes off of them
• The camera man, Khloe and Bruce walked past me and if it wasn’t bad enough I then turned around, looked back at them, and opened my mouth just as wide as I could. I was in total shock!

I was so excited to see them because I love the show, prayed to see a celebrity, and they were staying in the room right beside us! It was a great start to our trip! Now I was telling my good friend Brittainy this story the other day and she said “Who’s Khloe Kardashian?”. I couldn’t believe what I heard but for those who don’t know who Khloe or Bruce are, below is their picture!

The Hollywood area was a lot different than I imagined. Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time but it’s a lot different than it appears on TV shows and movies. Here’s an example! One thing that Kaz and I did was buy a stars home map. It’s basically a map of all the stars homes and addresses. We only went to 2 of the homes but while we were driving around we came upon Beverly Hills High School. Well I’m a fan of 90210(the old and new show) so I asked Kaz if we could stop and take a look around. We literally walked around the entire school and I was so confused because I saw nothing that was on the show. Now I realize a lot of shows are filmed on sets, but I knew the shots of the school were probably filmed at the school. I was very confused and perplexed…..Kaz didn’t care but I talked his ear off about it so he finally told me to research it. I did and this is what I found!

90210 was actually filmed at Torrence High School about 20 miles away from Beverly Hills High School. Torrence High School is not even in the 90210 zip code. I never knew that and when I started researching it I was floored at all the other interesting facts I never knew about this show and many other movies. Below are pictures of both Torrence High School (which most of you should recognize) and then Beverly Hills High School!

Beverly Hills High School
Torrence High School

I could honestly go on and on about our time in Hollywood but I won’t:) Check back tomorrow for a post from our time in Laguna Beach!