Steve + Stacy

You are so beautiful, I am so proud of you and the woman that you have become, you are going to have a wonderful life, I love you so much….

Words that every woman should be told at some point in their lives. The exact words that Stacy’s mother told her as she buttoned each precious button on her daughters wedding dress.

This day was full of so much love, so much peace and joy that you could feel it in the air. Steve and Stacy chose to have an intimate ceremony at their church home surrounded by their closest family and friends. It was an incredible, sweet and beautiful ceremony. The joy filled tears where seen throughout the room.

I loved that Steve and Stacy were not shy about the foot of snow that we trudged through to get to their first look location. It was so them! We laughed and smiled the entire time. After the ceremony everyone headed to W.A. Front and Company in St. Paul for drinks and a meal. The setting was absolutely perfect. I loved the warmth of the room as everyone mingled and shares stories with one another.

Florist – Forever in Bloom Floral

Hair & Makeup – @kmorenson & @allieknutsonhair

Venue – W.A. Frost

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My Husband is Crazy!

Strong words? Maybe, for some anyway. But not for us!

I have heard those words so many times over the last few years.

I have even said them.

I sat on a beach in Florida once talking to Jason on the phone while I watched our oldest daughter play in the waves. He said, ” I have something to talk to you about.”

“OK,” I answered, thinking nothing of it at all. As I watched Paisley play and rubbed my 24-week pregnant belly, he told me about what God had been teaching him. We were on a vacation without him since he was busy with work. He continued to tell me that he was going to work only part time for his current company and work the rest for the church for pretty much no pay- that we needed to honor this call.

I said ” I think you’re crazy, but OK.”

I will never forget that. It was October of 2012. I immediately told my parents about his decision. They gave me interesting looks and also said, “OK”

Not even a year later he left his full time job to work full time for our church as a Youth and Associate Pastor. It wasn’t long after our second daughter was born.

So we went from two pretty good incomes to a pretty small one and my income as a photographer, which is never reliable.

I got asked by a lot of our friends, “Are you guys crazy?” and, “What are you thinking?”

And now we are here. We have added another child, Jason finished school a few years ago and is officially ordained, and we are now planting a church!!!

He struggled for a while with taking possible jobs with other churches, doing interviews and visits. But nothing ever felt right. He woke up one morning and said “Babe, I think I have to plant a church.” This time I didn’t say, “Are you Crazy.” I said, “I know.”

So many people would look at this and think that it was dumb, that it would be an irresponsible decision for a husband and father of 3 to pretty much go jobless and start a church.

I don’t see it that way. I think he is crazy brave. It takes so much courage to fully walk in faith. To get up everyday and push towards a goal that you can’t see. To also continue to lift me up when I am feeling unsure. When I can’t see this plan. When all my fears and anxiety set in. It takes bravery. He is the bravest man I know.

And all along, God has been faithful. That’s how I know we’re doing the right thing. We have NEVER been late on a payment, missed a meal, or had empty tanks. In fact, we have lived bigger and fuller lives in the last 2 years than I could ever have imagined. Because let me tell you what- we serve one crazy God.

A God that is not afraid to dream big and push us to the limit so that we can also see His plan. He is a wild God, so what is stopping us from believing Him?

I’ll tell you what it is. It’s our own fear.

Fear of failure

Fear of judgment

Fear of letting go of this world’s crap

Fear of looking silly

Fear of looking crazy

Fear, fear, fear…

We serve a God that’s not afraid. So when will we learn to stop being afraid ourselves? Start thinking differently about the crazy ones. They are the ones who might just have something figured out.

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Mason & Selin : Ceder Lake Engagement Session

When I went to Florida last March to photograph Steven and Hope’s wedding I never anticipated meeting a new client.

Selin walked into the bridal house and introduced herself right away. I instantly wanting to be her friend. She brings light into every room she walks into. We got to spend most of the wedding day together. She was Hope’s personal attendant! We hugged as I left the wedding and said we would stay in touch!

Soon after she reached out to me about her own engagement!!  I couldn’t be more excited for this couple!! Mason proposed on April fools day at Minnehaha falls. He had gathered all of Selin’s closest friends and family and surprised her!

They wanted their engagement session to be near the water. Their wedding will be at a lake resort this July! I am so thankful for meeting this couple in Florida of all places. They have brought so much joy to my life. I can’t wait to celebrate with them on their wedding day.

 

 

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A Maui Family Session!

Our recent trip to Maui was incredible on its own. Then we were introduced to this beautiful family. We sat on their front porch and ate a dinner spread, drank wine and talked about life, kids, ministry and shared our dreams for the future.

Having the opportunity to photograph them made the trip that much better.

Hello! Beautiful family on a beautiful beach in Maui? Need I say more?

Casey, Brie, Georgia and Isaac it was so wonderful to meet you all the way in Maui! I cant wait to get to know you all better!

 

Location: Oneloa Beach

Dan & Kristi’s Chic Country Wedding

Last fall Dan invited his girl friend Kristi to go out and practice shooting arrows with him. Little did she know that Dan had a big surprise planned. Dan kept encouraging her to hit the target correctly and when they finally got it a sign fell asking if Kristi would be his bride!

How awesome is that engagement story? From there Dan and Kristi dreamed about the perfect fall wedding on Dan’s family farm.

And it was just that! I was completely blown away by the attention to detail and all the hard work that they had all put in to the big day. It was so beautiful. From the hand made arch that Dan and Kristi said their vows under to all the painted sign’s and the sweet florals that hung around Emma (their dogs) neck. The day was perfect!

Dan and Kristi were married in the corn field that his family has tended for over 40 years. His dad Bob, told me that “this is God’s land” and he was so proud to have his soon be getting married on it.

Right after the ceremony we all jumped on the tractor trailer for a ride down dirt roads and ended the night dancing to an awesome country band.

Dan and Kristi!!!! Congratulations on your wedding day and thank you so much for having me.

 

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Venue: Fernbrook Farm – Maple Grove MN

Dress: The Wedding Shoppe

Flowers: The Fabulous Flower Market

Bridesmaid Dresses: Davids Bridal

Cake & Desserts: The Thirsty Whale

Band: Dirt Road Dixie

Draping: Festivities

Tables, Chairs & Tent: Metro Tent Rental

Walkway Sings: RPM Graphics

Men’s Suits: Men’s Warehouse

Hair & Makeup: Anita Olson

Videographer: Devin Winter

Cater: Divine Swine

 

 

 

Guided Nets.

The Lord tends to work in themes of my life.

All the books I have been reading and the studies I have been doing all seem to point to the same things, yet…

I find myself still trying to do it all on my own.

The Lord also tends to use others in my life to speak to me. I am often found in a conversation giving advice about what the TRUTH says, when I need to hear it as well. And then as I walk away I feel myself saying, “Oh! I see what you did there God… Good one.”

The saying, “God never gives you more than you can handle,” has been around for as long as I can remember. Before I really started trying to understand the gospel and the jealous God that I serve, I too believed this saying.

But, it’s a lie. Sorry if I just crushed everything you have ever believed.

God wants us to rely on Him for our needs, not ourselves. If he only gave us the things we could handle, we would NEVER truly go to Him. We wouldn’t really NEED His help. And oh goodness how I need Him!

When we feel overwhelmed, over worked, over tired, sick, weary, sad, depressed, busy…. this world will tell us to fix it ourselves. Take the pills, drink the drinks, watch more Netflix, sleep with the guy, sleep with the girl, eat that dessert, buy the dress, the purse, the shoes, the Starbucks. Cover it all up for a short time, but guess what. It’s all still there in the morning, staring us in the face, and then we get up feeling all the feels all over again.

What we are forgetting is to fall on our knees. To come back to the truth. Without God, we will continue to try (and fail) to do this life on our own.

But this world will tell you that you’re being week and needy.

“Chin up, you can do it, you’re fine, it’s all going to be alright.” Sound familiar?

I claim to be a pretty independent woman. Unfortunately, that has gotten me into trouble. I find myself falling back into the routine of handling it all. Making all the calls and shots and getting my ducks in a row on my own. It pretty much fails every time. I find my anxiety high and my temper short. I am the complete opposite of the woman that I want to be. The woman who I know God has made me. And I feel anything but confident.

I want to start a different movement. A movement that needs our mighty King. He is called the Savior for a reason! A world that needs one another and asks for help.

After Jesus died and rose again, his disciples where left to go about their lives without him being physically present with them.

One afternoon they decided to go fishing together. They were doing what they always had done- these men where top notch fishermen. This is what they did for a living! But that night they caught nothing. (John 21:3)

Jesus/Rabbi/Teacher then appears to them on the shore and tells the disciples to cast their nets to the right side of the boat. The net is then so full that they can not haul in all of the fish!

If he had to remind the disciples to depend on Him, I need so many more reminders. And I’m sure that is what he is doing to me daily. It’s just that I am often too caught up in trying over and over to do it alone that I miss his still, small, teaching voice in all of the other noise.

He will provide for us all that we need. He will come alongside us in our hard times and guide our nets. We just need to remember how much bigger He is. How much we need Him. He has not changed. God never will. But our selfish and unbelieving hearts so often try to go it alone. So I will fall today on my knees and remember that all I have is from the father. And none of it is mine!

This heavy plate Lord I give to you. Guide my net daily and keep my eyes fixed on how much I need you. I don’t want to live a life that doesn’t require you.

The Stair Climber

It was just a typical day, a very normal morning at the gym. I have come to love my workout time and really look forward to going to the gym! I get time with a girl friend or all alone with my podcasts and my kids typically have a blast playing in the kids area! I have found I am a better person when I get to workout on a regular basis. I don’t know if it’s something to do with the serotonin or some hormone that gets released (I’m no doctor), but I think that’s a thing right?

Back to the gym… I hopped on the stair climber to warm up and was soon joined by a friend. We only know one another at the gym and have never actually hung out outside of that.

We started talking about life and how one another is doing, what we have been up to and the weather. Then she asked me a few questions about my age, the kids I have and my husband. When she found out how many years we have been married she actually asked me “so you still like, “like” him and everything?”  This question actually shocked me! I was taken back by the response. But, in chewing on it for some time now, I think I understand.

My response that day was “YES.”

Yes, I actually still like him.

Yes, we are actually still happy.

Yes, I actually like him more now than I did the day I married him.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

However, I think she was taken back by my response. I think she expected me to start on a rabbit trail of all the ways he has made me angry, all the ways he has disappointed me and let me down.  How we look happy, but really he is super annoying and I do everything!!!

I think that it’s the norm to speak poorly about our husbands. That has been the norm for quite some time. And please hear me when I say that I am guilty of it, too. I have joined in on the husband bashing, the talking about him as though he is a child, so please know that I have been there too.

But what if we started to change that? Looking back on any conversation I have had with friends about how unhelpful my husband has been, or the latest fight we have been in; What kind of picture are they getting of him? Definitely not the one that I want them to see. I want them to know that he is so good! That he works crazy hard for us, that he is a great encourager and father. That he has a super big heart and that he is always willing and wanting to hear me.

I know that for a lot of women they don’t have a great spouse for one reason or another, and for that I am so sorry. And I pray that you can get help and help for your marriage.

But, for the good guys, let’s talk about them like they are good guys! Because they are! I can’t imagine how I would feel if I found out that Jason was bashing me to a group of his friends. Telling them about all the places that I fall short in being a good wife and mother. Because beleive me- I fall super short every day.

What if we changed the way we spoke about our spouse? That it became the norm to lift them up, to tell others how great they are. Not to make them jealous, but to just tell the truth. This sweet woman who asked me that question is single. What kind of example are we, as married women, setting for those next generation of wives? Do we want them to think that marriage is no fun, that it’s a bunch of nagging and complaining about the guy you said you would love forever?

Or, can we give them a different picture? Can we tell them how good they are?

My marriage is not perfect, because when two imperfect people get married they will have an imperfect marriage. But, it is a good marriage. We talk about a lot, set time aside for each other, and most of all, lift each other up when we are down. Can you imagine not only what your marriage could look like, but what this culture we live in would look like if we all spoke kindly about one another?!

I want the next generation of wives to be excited about nights at home with their husband. About the years to come spent getting to know just one person and how intimate that is.

What it’s like to serve one another daily, not just in our acts, but also in our words!

Yes my husband screws up, but so do I.

So the next time you’re asked about your spouse, take a moment to remember your shortcomings first- How you don’t measure up to the grace that you have received, before you speak poorly of them. Then, speak good words about him. Kind, loving words and watch how your mind toward his shortcomings will change.

 

 

See ya later TV!

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Over the past few years I have started to see a trend. I’m sure many of you have. If you haven’t, I’m pretty sure you live in a hole.

The world we live in is filled with screens. Everywhere.

Every where you look are screens, and the little ones in our hands are the worst! I’m talking about your phone. However, I can’t life without mine anymore, heaven forbid I actually know where I’m going without my GPS. Thank goodness for WAZE!

It also holds my synced calendar that I share with the hubs. And pretty much everything else that I need to get along with my day, business, and life.

However all these screens have become a real problem.

A few months ago now, I started to notice a really scary trend happening in our house. On the nights that Jason and I were together after we put the kids to bed (which is not a lot due to both of our jobs), we would settle in to our spots on the couch, maybe catch up on our day, turn the TV on, and find one of our shows or watch a movie. Then, more often than not, one of us would fall asleep (usually me), or one or both of us would be on another device at the same time.

As much as we think that this was spending time together because we were both in the same room, watching the same thing… it’s not. There is no communication happening, no eye to eye contact and most definitely no engagement with each other, especially when you’re too busy engaging with whatever else is on your screen, like Facebook or Instagram.

So, I knew that our 10 year anniversary trip was coming up in February. We would be spending 7 full days alone on an island knowing no one else. And I wanted so badly to be able to enjoy time together without a screen. Without the comfort of it.

I don’t know about you, but I so badly want to have a GREAT marriage. A marriage that is healthy and strong. Not just a good one, but a GREAT one! I have chosen to live the rest of this life with this man and I want to know everything about him. I want to soak him up as much as possible and cut out the junk that’s getting in the way.

So for the month of January leading up to our trip we decided to go screen-free for the nights that we were together at home. The first night was honestly a little weird. We both just looked at each other with that look of “now what” after we put the kids to bed. However, we ended up giving each other back massages and talking for hours! Come on now, you know that sounds amazing!! I even learned things about Jason’s trip to Thailand that I had never heard before. Stories about his adventures there that had somehow gotten lost in our every day life. I want to hear all of my husbands stories so much more than any show or movie out there.

Some nights we snuggled up together with our books in bed, or just talked with a glass of wine, but after the first week of no screens, it got easier.

Then one night when Jason was gone for the evening I sat down for some “me” time after the kids were down and found myself totally turned off by the idea of turning on the TV. So, I picked up my book and started to read.

If you’re like me you probably have a list of books or a stack that you have been wanting to read that you keep putting off. We have all the excuses in the world, right? “I don’t have time” though is the biggest one.

What woman has time to read? We have jobs, families, friends, house work, cooking, shopping, planning, a social life and so much more to get done! But wait, how much time are we actually spending watching TV or being on a screen? Now, take that time out and replace it with all those books you have wanted to read. Or insert your own things you have been wanting to do.

Since starting the no TV challenge in January of this year I have read… 7 BOOKS!!! SEVEN! Seven books in 3 months!!!! That’s more books than I can even say I read in college. And they have all been for pleasure. Books that people have recommended to me and I always said “I don’t have time”. But really, I wasn’t making it a priority. I was filling my time with Netflix or, dare I say, The Bachelor… Which I didn’t watch this last season for the first time in over 8 years! And guess what, I didn’t miss it.

When I sit and think about my favorite memories with Jason, I don’t think about all the shows we have binge watched together. I think about one of my favorite nights that we stayed up really late talking on our porch, we completely lost track of time getting lost in each other. Or the nights we creep into our room and spend the evening in bed.  When it comes to time with my kids, one of my favorite recent memories is playing an impromptu game of Pictionary in the kitchen for hours one night! It’s reading to them, having loud dance parties in the kitchen (or on the deck when it’s warm), watching our baby boy figure things out or chase his sisters around. None of it has to do with any kind of screens.

 

Jason and I have been closer than ever, have had better communication, and I am so glad that we can now be in silence together, yet not get weirded out by it. For those of you ladies reading this thinking… “Krista, you’re crazy- my husband would never go for this” I promise you he will because usually it means more time together in the bedroom. Wink Wink!!! When you start making each other the priority instead, you come back to the center that set you on fire.

We only get this one life, this short period in time and I don’t want to spend it looking at a screen. This doesn’t mean that we will never watch TV again. Just last night we caught the end of the Wild game together!  It just means that we are more clear about the role we want it to have in our life.

I read a quote today from the book I’m reading that said “live each day as if you are terminal, because you are” ~ The Broken Way

We are all losing time everyday. And we are the ones choosing how to fill it. So, no more excuses about time. Every excuse you make is just that, an excuse. What will you choose to make a priority?

Start with just a week of no TV in the evening, no screens after 4pm, see how it feels. Fill your time with the things you haven’t had “time” for. Then, if that works, try 2 weeks, then 3, then 4 and so on. I promise you won’t remember the last time you turned that thing on. And this can be any screen. Your phone, the video games, the TV, tablet, whatever it is for you.

I want to encourage you in this. I know it wont be easy- a good change never is.

 

The books I have read since January…

Present Over Perfect  – By: Shauna Niequist

Chasing Slow  – By: Erin Loechner

The Magnolia Story  – By: Chip and Joanna Gaines

Nothing to Prove  – By: Jennie Allen

Uninvited – By: Lysa TerKeurst

Wild and Free – By: Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan

The Broken Way – By: Ann Voskamp

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If you have any great book suggestions for me, let me know! I am writing them all down in the “to read” notes on my phone! I highly recommend all of the books that you see here.

I have been loving this TV-free life. I am currently searching for the perfect piece of art to replace the TV in our main living room. I am totally serious!

I want to find comfort in the quiet; in the places that we are called to seek out each others company. I want the voices of those around me to be the loudest. That being my husband’s, then my kids, and in the super quiet of the mornings when I am all alone, I want that voice to be the one of my maker. He can only speak when we are willing to listen. I think I have learned so much in all this. In this busy screen-filled world that we have found ourselves in. And that is the other theme that’s breathing into us all. Like a slow breeze that you just realized was there. We are hungry for something quieter, something slower. Full of less noise, a slower speed and much deeper relationships. I pray that theme will soon take over before it’s too late and we all look like the humans from the movie WALL-E.

 

When the chickens need to go.

 

Hi my name is Krista and I have a problem.

Maybe it’s not so much a problem as it is my own little secret. A secret that I walk around with daily and yearly holding really tightly to. I am about to tell you my secret because frankly, I just don’t care what you think of me, or at least I’m trying to get batter at not caring. Plus, if I’m looking to ya’ll for approval, my priorities are way out of line.

So here it is…

I am a people pleaser and I care a lot about what others think.

UGH!!!!!

Well now that I have that out of the way… My hands are actually sweating as I write this. I’m not kidding it’s gross.

For years I have worried about my presence, both in person and online. When you’re in the line of work that I am in it’s very important that people like you and the work you do, otherwise you will not be successful. At least that has been the lie that I have been believing: that I should have it all together…

The pretty home, pretty well behaved kids wearing the newest trendiest clothing (that is always posted), awesome clothing myslef, great Instagram-worthy pictures everyday, the perfect meal plans (obviously gluten, meat and dairy free), pretty hair, makeup, pastors wife presence, books, captions, attitude, animals, rocking body, schedule, etc, etc, etc…. fill in your own.

But guess what???? I can’t do it all and I am so not perfect, ask the guy I take it all out on the most! My sweet husband who is just trying to help when I snap at him.

It all hit me one morning a few months ago. My morning routine looks like this most days: I wake up at 5am, I start a load of laundry, make coffee and get in a half hour or so of time with the Lord, switch the laundry load to the dryer, let the dogs out, feed the dogs (at this time we had 2 dogs), start breakfast when the rest of the family is waking up, fold laundry, unload dishwasher from night before, get everyone eating breakfast, get dressed, me + 3 kids and get our oldest Paisley ready to get to the bus, oh crap…. I need to feed the chickens. Go downstairs put on all my snow gear, fill water and food pails, and march my way out to the chicken coop and do that whole dance. Come back in get everyone ready and out the door we go!

Now on this particular day I happened to look at my Fitbit while I was on the way to the gym at 8:45am for my morning work out. My step count was already over 4,000!!!! WHAT?!

That’s when I realized that something had to go and when I thought about getting rid of the chickens my first worry was, “what will everyone else think of me”?

You see for the last 4 years, since we have lived in the country, I have wanted to have this beautiful picture of what our lives look like here. I imagined gardening with my kids while they ran around with chickens and dogs and I taught them about green beans and where they come from, then we would go to the front yard and swing on the tree swing and blow bubbles and watch the chickens, dogs, and cats, and play all day. Well guess what… I suck at gardening. No really, I am so bad at it. I killed things for 2 years and didn’t know the first thing about it at all. The kids stressed me out every time they would “help” me by picking things that were not ready that ACTUALLY did grow by accident. Or they would be off where I couldn’t see them getting into trouble, or I didn’t even get outside to do it all because my job requires me to be at my computer most days and that time is spent working while my kids nap (or let’s just be real… watch their tablets).

So I quit gardening and built a studio over the garden and when it was all finished I stood there in a super man pose and said, “yep, now THIS I know how to do”! I didn’t feel like a failure when I gave up on the garden- I just knew my limits. I admire those who can grow food and plants with ease and who love it, I just don’t. And that’s OK.

My fear in getting rid of the chickens though came from what I thought, or maybe still think, you would think of me. Haven’t I painted this cute picture of a rocking mom boss who lives in the county with her 3 perfect kids, husband, and animals and we all live in namaste harmony together while I delight you with with pretty images of my beautiful clients and my dreams all come true?! GROSS, I am so sorry if that’s how you feel about me.

I want you to know that letting it go is OK. I would hope that you don’t think any less of me that I no longer have chickens to take care of. And if you do, I ask you to check yourself. It takes a strong realization to understand that all this pressure we put on ourselves actually comes from us. You are the one who fills the calendar, who makes the play dates, who says “yes” to more and who is doing this to yourself. Essentially, you are making the choice to be crazy and to keep taking care of the chickens.

Don’t worry- they went to loving homes and maybe someday I will get more chickens because I do have this super cute coop in the backyard! But for now, while my babies are young, I would rather take care of them and take the unnecessary things off of my plate. So that I can be a better wife, mama, friend, business owner and woman.

What in your life is equivalent to my chickens? Something that needs to go so that by 8:45am your Fitbit doesn’t read 4,000 steps? I am still in the process of taking things off of our plate. Most that know me well know that I say “no” to a lot more. So, let’s work on this together and it will all start with you.

I wanted to leave you with some unedited goodness! Some images that sum up a little bit of reality for us.

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