Josh & Ja'Neice

These two celebrated their first year of marriage with a anniversary photo session! If you haven’t heard, this is my very favorite way to celebrate an anniversary... Or any occasion for that matter!

We got together early one morning and the summer light was perfect and the cottonwood floated in the light breeze all around us. It was more than dreamy and set us up for the sweetest photographs.

I’m pretty sure that these two forgot that I was even there. They danced and laughed in the sunlight and took the time to just celebrate one another and the first of many many years to come. Watching these two together gives me so much joy and I cannot wait to see what the future 50 years holds for them!

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine."

Song of Solomon 8:3

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Sunrise Anniversary Session

Most of you reading this blog post will know the incredible story of Chase and Corrinn Sims. If you don’t know the story, I’ll fill you in as much as I can. But you can also read all about their story on their website, so follow this link to read and be encouraged by them.

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I met Chase and Corrinn Sims a few months shy of 5 years ago. They were newly married and had moved to Fort Collins, CO to be a part of a church plant that I was also involved in. I helped move them into their apartment on a chilly November night. My first impression of Chase: He had packed about 400 books into one box and I was tasked with moving it into the house. (It was SO heavy, and thus remains a very vivid memory.) But this little detail has always stuck with me and actually taught me a lot about him.  Chase loves to learn, he is intentional with studying God’s word, and those books were merely tools in the hands of a truly gifted preacher and teacher.

Corrinn: Powerhouse. Speaker of truth. Spirit Led. Fire fueled. Fearless. This girl is beautiful inside and out. She is an encourager and truly cares about the people in her path.

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The almost two years we spent with Chase and Corrinn are full of some of my greatest memories of community. Their apartment was consistently full of parties, game nights, house guests (some more long term than others…) and bible study. We lived life with them and they lived life with us. They showed us all how to give of ourselves for others and for the gospel.

If you can’t tell already, I genuinely care about these two people and their impact is not lost on me. And for most of my readers, I know it’s not lost on you either. You know them. You are loved by them.

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Fast forward to 2015, Chase and Corrinn moved to Texas to be a part of another church. We were sad to see them leave, but it became clear very quickly that God’s plan for them was perfect. Chase was diagnosed with a brain tumor in early 2016 and they began the long journey and fight that is cancer. (This is the part where you should really really take my advice and go read their blog.) The number of people praying for this couple during this time was outstanding. Probably reaching to the tens of thousands.

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Corrinn wrote this two years ago… “to those who are standing on the mountain and those in the valley, live your life in such a way that people know it could have only been the Lord who took you by the hand and walked you through your darkest nights, raging waters, and swiftest torrents– Only God. Psalm 124 says “If the Lord had not been on our side…Then the waters would have engulfed us; the torrent would have swept over us; the raging waters would have swept over us.” I hope our story is never shared without the words “gracious miracle,” because the waters HAVEN’T overtaken us, they HAVEN’T swept us away. We are still fighting and pursuing wholeness and holiness because of God’s perfect performance through our entire journey."

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So, I cannot share even this brief version of their story without including the same… They were given a gracious miracle: both in his illness and in his healing.  Their story is one that I wish everyone could see and be impacted by, no matter what your journey includes or has in store. That’s mostly why I share it today, because their genuine faith and their continually trust in the Healer is inspiring and incredible.

So here we are today, 2018. Chase and Corrinn celebrated 5 years of marriage in August. They celebrate clean scans every few months. They celebrate life. They praise the Lord for fighting for them and alongside them. They praise the Lord for the healing.

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The impact of this couple on my life and the lives of so many others is deep and wide.  It was my greatest joy to be able to document their life and their love in this season.

 

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

   you have loosed my sackcloth

   and clothed me with gladness,

that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Psalm 30:11-12

Your story is my story too.

You know, we all have a story, and it is far more vast than your engagement day, your wedding day, or any other big day can tell. But that’s the beauty of a photograph and a collection of photographs… they begin to tell the stories in your larger story. This intent of this blog post was to tell you all about me and my story and help you understand a little more about me.. But ultimately, I wanted to write a blog post to help you understand how I see you.

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I see you. I see that your heart melts a little when he holds your hand like that, or grins at you out of the corner of her eye. I see that you can’t believe that this moment has arrived. You may have never even expected that it would… yet here it is.

I see the joy that wells up inside when you get a sneak peak of your engagement photos. When you realize that you looked pretty darn gorgeous, even though you changed your outfit 35 times and got your makeup done by a pro because you hoped it would make you look even better.  

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I see you on your wedding day. Shining in that white dress. Looking extra regal in that tux.

I see your nerves, and mini-freakouts all the way to the chapel.

Do you know what else I see?

I see that your heart melts for a guy you never thought you’d end up with.

I see that your beauty is actually joy radiating from the inside out.. And yeah, your makeup looks pretty, but YOU are beautiful without it.

I see that you are wearing a dress you spent the last three months or (three years even) working hard to fit into.

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Those nerves? Yep, I see that they are instantly calmed when you look into the eyes of the person holding your hands at the altar.

I see that guy looking in your eyes and you feel like you won the lottery. Well, you did. Never forget that.

You know why I can see you this way? Because I am you.

I never expected my dream guy would become my husband. (That's us in the next photo by Sarah Porter Photos!) I had plenty of reasons to think this, but somehow that guy saw me too. I never ever expected to walk down the aisle and feel like a princess.  I spend excessive amounts of time picking an outfit for a photoshoot or gosh, just to go to work every day. I agonize over the littlest of flaws and to be honest, I always want to lose 5 lbs.

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So I see you. I see the way you’re feeling and how hard you work. When I tell you I think you look beautiful, I mean it with all my heart. I want the photographs I take of you to represent so much more than the memories you're making. I want to help you see what I see!

I see you girl. I see all the things you don’t and all the things you may want to hide, but it’s my mission to help you see them and believe them about yourself too.

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Ryan & Ashley

And when you speak, angels sing from above
Everyday words seem to turn into love songs

Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be la vie en rose.

It’s only fitting that I open with these romantic lyrics from La Vie en Rose, because these are the words to the song that played from the music box as Ryan proposed to Ashley earlier this year. Ryan had the music box engraved with the coordinates from where they met so many years ago on the top of the box. He surprised her with the gift near the Poudre River and shocked Ashley as he got down on one knee to ask her to spend the rest of their lives together.

We revisited this spot to photograph Ryan and Ashley’s engagement photos and the fall colors and cool air simply enhanced the tender moments they shared there together.

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One of my favorite parts of engagement photos is how genuinely the appreciation, romance, friendship, and joy just flow between the two people. While the relationship may be seasoned, this phase of life is so new and fresh and sharing it together is such a special time.  Ryan and Ashley were no different and their excitement over one another was evident. There was no lack of laughter and sweet little kisses as we spent a few hours together documenting this time in their lives.

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I asked Ashley to share some of their story with me, in hopes that I could get to know them and their love story more fully. Of all the things she told me, this is what I can’t stop thinking:

“After what we calculated to be around 25,000 miles of traveling, or exactly one full trip around the circumference of the earth, we finally landed in the same state.”

These two have gone to great lengths to love and serve one another well. My prayer and hope for you, Ryan and Ashley, as you build your lives together, is that you’ll never forget the love you had when you first started. The love you had when you made that trip around the world,  just to know one another more deeply.

xoxo,
Riley

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