January 2014 Archive

Cost Rica Mission Trip {December 2013}

IMG_7729 As I write this post today, it is the beginning of the 1st Global Impact Celebration (GIC) at our church, First Baptist Church of Troy, Alabama. It’s a big deal, a really big deal and I am so thankful it is happening!  Over the past few years, Acts 1:8 has been the focus of our church  – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” – and our pastor, Luke Lane, has been amazing as he has lead us with God’s direction to this point.  Brother Luke’s heart is full of compassion for the lost and he has a huge desire to see his church family be a part of God’s army.  My heart has certainly been impacted as a result of Acts 1:8 and as a result I have gone on 3 international mission trips in the past 3 years – Nicaragua, Mexico and most recently, my family and I went to Costa Rica.

It was such a blessing to serve alongside the people in the above picture – their hearts are amazing and I am encouraged by each and every one of them!  It’s hard to put a mission trip into words… it’s one of those things, you just have to experience for yourself… to see the reality of poverty and the brokenness of this world, you just have to put yourself in the midst of it; and also to see missionaries serving sacrificially, is a humbling experience & I am so thankful to come alongside the amazing missionaries I have met thus far and serve with them!

There is always a way to serve, even if you don’t get on the plane and go!! You can begin by serving in your city, in your community, in your state, in your country and also to the ends of the earth! See those bracelets below?  As a result of the Rainbow Loom and the overflow of bracelets at my house, I thought it would be great to take them to Costa Rica! Many kids (and parents) gave bracelets for us to hand out to the kids in Costa Rica! That opportunity, to just make Rainbow Loom bracelets,  gave many families the chance to talk about missions, to pray for the poor, to pray for the hearts that would receive the bracelets and it allowed them to serve and to be a part of this mission trip!  Thank you to everyone who sent bracelets – they were a big hit!!


The focus of this mission trip began with a vision God had given to Mrs. Leda (one of our Costa Rica Missionaries).  Her desire was for us to blitz the community of Esparza in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, invite them to a “Christmas party,” and lay the groundwork for her local church to evangelize this community in the days, weeks, months & years to come.  We sent boxes and boxes of gifts and supplies ahead of us, as well as packed in our luggage, to help make this Christmas party a hit!  It is a blessing to see the joy and surprise of so many kids as they receive some of the simplest of gifts.  However, our desire wasn’t for them to receive temporary contentment and joy over clothes, food, or toys…..our desire was to give them the greatest gift they could ever receive, the everlasting joy and contentment that only Christ Himself can give!  Sure they had physical needs in the community of Esparza, and we used these physical needs to open the door to share with them about their overwhelming spiritual need.  Esparza is a community where darkness reins, where drugs, alcohol, and prostitution are prevalent, where poverty beats you down from birth.  Praise God He has defeated death, and this hope was what we went to share, to shine a light in a community that so desperately needed it.  May God radically change the hearts and souls of the children and families of Esparza, may His light shine bright through the efforts of Jose and Leda and thier local church as they evangelize in this community!


In LOVE with the eyelashes on this little girl!!!costarica3

Below are 3 of 4 sisters who lived with the family where our party was hosted! They have had a difficult journey, but God has graciously placed them with a loving family who insisted on keeping them all together!  This also brought Jose & Leda into their lives to love and care and pray for these girls!  Our kids played with them for hours… forget the language barrier, just let a kid play!!! It was really cute hearing them try to say Drew’s name… we do not exactly roll the “R” the way they do, so it was a good laugh!costarica2IMG_7304IMG_7588

We served over 500 people ice cream (they got dessert first because it was melting!!), a warm meal and drink! They were so thankful and it is a humbling experience to see families and kids enjoy something as simple as a warm plate of chicken and rice!costarica10costarica8I had the best time photographing the beautiful faces of the kids that came to the party! Beautiful smiles and so much joy in each and every face!costarica9At the end of the party, each and every kid received a gift bag full of goodies along with some fruit and even some clothes and shoes!  Such a simple act of love, brought so much joy to the hearts of these kids!costarica6costarica13costarica12costarica11costarica7costarica14IMG_7721Please pray with us as Jose and Leda and their local church continue to evangelize and minister to the community of Esparza.

In closing, I’d like to say again, it was a blessing to serve alongside those that were a part of the mission trip!  Serving alongside church members and friends creates a bond like no other!  It was also such a sweet time with my family!  I pray that missions will continue to be in the heart of our kids and they will shine Jesus’ light wherever God may lead them!

As always, I love to end with a video…Click HERE to enjoy a recap of our mission trip!  If God tugs at your heart to “go”, I encourage you to do it… be a part of His plan!!  “Seize the opportunity and be a part of God’s dream….God’s plan is going to be carried out with or without us.” – Dr. Luke Lane

Alex & Chance {Engaged}

IMG_0481This amazing couple is so perfect and so precious together! Alex & Chance met in the 3rd grade, became high school sweethearts and survived a long-distance relationship for the past 4 years; they have a love for each other like no other!! This is certainly a result of their faith and God’s perfect plan for them to spend the rest of their lives together! Alex’s family has been in my life ever since I can remember! She has 4 amazing sisters, and I am blessed to call one of them a best friend of mine! Alex is the baby of the family, and she is the last Graham girl to tie the knot! I am confident it is going to be a very special day celebrating the marriage of Alex & Chance with their amazing families and friends!

IMG_0449Alex1HOW DID YOU AND CHANCE MEET?  Chance and I met in the third grade, when we were both in Mrs. Curtis’s class. I was the girl with big thick glasses and Chance was the cute little boy who had just moved schools. I don’t really remember much from then, but Chance tries to tell me that I had a huge crush on him, way back then. Chance and I remained friends throughout elementary school and middle school. We started dating in March of our freshmen year of high school. We graduated high school and then moved on to college. Chance stayed in Troy and I moved away to Tuscaloosa, AL. Long-distance has made our relationship so much stronger. We learned to rely more on the Lord and not each other. We also learned to appreciate our time together more often.IMG_0422 (1)

IMG_0487Alex describes her groom as patient, caring and genuine; Chance describes his bride as beautiful, intelligent and honest.  They are both as loving as they can be and a joy to be around!! Alex2TELL US ABOUT THE PROPOSAL:  I was headed home from Tuscaloosa on October 10th, not expecting what was to come. My sister, Holly, just had a baby on October 2nd. Chance had been to visit Holly and Ellen in the hospital and had been to see them several times since being home from the hospital. None of this was a surprise to me, since Chance and I are both family oriented people. Chance loves my nieces and nephews and I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual. (They are all about Chance). I talked to both Chance and Holly on my drive home, not knowing they were sitting right beside each other. Once I got home, Chance picked me up from my house so we could go see the kids. This was the normal routine for us because we typically always go see Holly and the children as soon as I get into town. On the way to Holly and Dax’s, I tried getting Chance to take me to Owen’s soccer game, since it had already begun, but he insisted that we go see Ellen first. Chance was very talkative the whole way to their house; however, I did not think anything of it. Of course I walked straight to the nursery to see Ellen. I leaned over in her crib; I did not see anything, picked her up and still did not see anything. As I was holding her, Chance said, “She is beautiful, isn’t she?” Agreeing, I looked down again, and there was the ring tied to a pink ribbon around her wrist. Chance was shaking as he tried to get the ribbon untied. He got down on one knee and told me “These past six years had been the best years of his life and that he wanted to spend many more with me.” He then asked me to marry him!IMG_0484IMG_0387Alex5IMG_0135 (1)Alex4IMG_0343IMG_0281 (1)IMG_0288Alex3IMG_0328

Their favorite things to do together are  go on dinner dates and spend time with their families.  That has to be the dream of every parent, to hear their grown kids say that!! They enjoy playing with their nieces and nephews every chance they get, which means lots of little people in this wedding!!!

Alex & Chance, thank you so much for choosing us to be your photographers!  You guys are amazing, I love the love you share together and I can not wait to be a part of your wedding day in June! To see more sweet moments from their engagement session, click here!

Ryan & Chase {Married}

blog cover

This sweet couple has a very special place in my heart, just as all of my couples do!  I met Ryan when she was an Alpha Gam here at Troy.  She made a sweet first impression on me, she was constantly smiling, so fun-loving, reliable, optimistic and hardworking! I have known Chase and his family many years after being a part of the same church family! His parents taught us Sunday School and through the years I have grown to love his entire family and they have certainly been role models to me as they walk with Christ daily! Chase has such a calm spirit and is talented beyond words and is just a genuinely sweet, caring guy! (Please keep reading what they have to say about each other below… it will melt your heart!!) I knew them separately before they even knew each other and when I heard they were dating it made my heart smile! God is just so good and I love seeing His plan unfold as He brings a bride and groom together, that compliment each other so perfectly!  God’s gift of marriage is certainly portrayed though Ryan and Chase and I just love the love they share together!  I am thankful I was able to capture memories of their engagement and their wedding day and I know they will treasure these memories forever… Ryan and Chase, I look forward to seeing you grow old together!

What three words would you use to describe the style of your wedding?  Rustic, Southern, and Perfect

Our favorite detail of the wedding was:All of the hands that touched the wedding to make it happen, we are a very loved couple.holibuk1IMG-100 (1)holibuk2Did you have something borrowed, blue, old and new? If so, do tell!  I loved my something borrowed, blue, old and new. My something borrowed was one of my best friend’s and bridesmaids veils she wore on her wedding day. My something blue was a ring of my grandmother’s. I had a pair of earrings Chase bought me for a birthday as my something old, and I couldn’t wait to wear them! And my amazing wedding dress was my something new.

IMG-130holibuk6If you did a “first glance”, are you glad you made the decision to do so? Why?  We did do a “first glance,” and we couldn’t be happier that we did. After a year’s worth of stressful planning, our hopes were built upon everything coming together with perfection. However, we could never imagine the feelings and emotions that came from seeing each other for the first time; it made us realize that none of the other “stuff” truly mattered. Ryan – Seeing Chase for the first time was so special. Having him there was all I needed that day and it just set the tone. It was wonderful to get our jitters out and spend a couple minutes just the two of us before the ceremony. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything! Chase – The second I saw Ryan, I knew the only thing that mattered was having her there; she truly made my wedding perfect.holibuk4IMG-155 (1) IMG-156 IMG-159holibuk3IMG-163IMG-167Groom, how would you describe your bride?  Without a doubt, Ryan has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. With religion: she has strengthened my walk with Christ in my constant need for salvation; with college: she gave me ambition and drive, ultimately reawakening my passion for my profession in graphic design; with family: she has shown me a personal desire for adventure and new beginnings; with relationships: she has proven how subtle beginnings can turn into pure and everlasting love. For the first time on our wedding day, I saw Ryan in a different light than I had ever before. For the first time, I saw her as my bride, my wife, and my partner in life. As stunning, elegant, and absolutely breath taking as she was on our wedding day, I know she will forever be my bride, and I cannot wait for the life God has prepared for us in the future. My words alone could never describe my bride, because she is so much more than that to me and my life. She is my life.

IMG-170Bride, how would you describe the groom?  Chase is honestly the most caring and passionate person I know, and an amazing man of God. I knew his love was different almost immediately; he has the most pure and genuine heart. He is one of the most talented people I know, and is so humble not to recognize how amazing he is. God knew just what he was doing when He put him in my life. He is my balance. We’re complete opposites and it works so well! He makes me creative, calm, and strive to be a better person. He supports me in everything I do. I can’t imagine spending my life without him; it has looked so different with him in it and so much more wonderful. And did I mention that he is so handsome; that’s just a bonus!!IMG-171 (1)IMG-175IMG-178 (1)IMG-180How did you meet and how long did you date? Tell me your love story.  Chase and I met through my college roommate and her now husband; they played in a band together. Through subtle hints from them, we finally went on a date at small local sandwhich shop in Troy. After that, we attended a couple of football games together as well as some camping trips, and then we were practically inseparable! We dated for about three years as I moved off to Montgomery for work and then to Nashville for about a year. We’re so excited to finally be in one spot together!

holibuk5IMG-184IMG-189IMG-199IMG-212 (1)IMG-206IMG-207 (1)Tell me all about the proposal!  Chase and I love the outdoors and anything adventurous. We had gone on numerous camping trips, so when this was planned, I thought nothing of it… We planned a camping trip to get together with some of our closest friends as well as celebrate one of the couple’s anniversaries. We bought some food and firewood and even a celebratory bottle of champagne for them. After a long drive on Friday and setting up camp, the two other couples finally arrived. We got in our tents to get ready to hike and rock climb the next day, and down pours the rain! It didn’t ruin our fun, but we weren’t able climb like we planned since everything was wet. Instead, we packed a lunch and went on a hike down to this amazing waterfall. Once we made it to our stopping point, we took some pictures by the waterfall and got ready to eat lunch and explore. Chase took me to the side to show me something down the river and all of a sudden got down on one knee! I was shocked! He asked me to spend the rest of my life with him and of course I said yes. Our friends had the camera and captured it all. Everyone was in on it and I had no clue! We went back to camp to celebrate and even popped the bottle of champagne, which I ended up buying for myself and not even knowing it. It was perfect! IMG-218IMG-219IMG-221IMG-223IMG-226IMG-227IMG-230 (1)holibuk7IMG-233IMG-235IMG-236IMG-240IMG-250holibuk8IMG-277IMG-280 (1)IMG-285IMG-295IMG-302IMG-300IMG-304IMG-297IMG-306IMG-309IMG-310 (1)IMG-314IMG-143IMG-407IMG-434 (1)IMG-440IMG-442 (1)holibuk9IMG-454IMG-456 (1)holibuk10IMG-475 (1)IMG-478IMG-482IMG-212 (1)IMG-213Describe your favorite thing(s) about your reception:  Chase – The most memorable part of our reception, for me, was being able to play for the father/daughter dance. The first time I met Ryan was with a guitar around my neck, and being able to play for the beginning of our life together is a memory that I will never forget. Ryan – My favorite part of the reception was having all of our friends and family there to celebrate. It was a huge reunion and so wonderful to have everyone’s love and support. We had our traditional Alpha Gam ceremony which was so special to have some of the most important women in my life there for me that day!IMG-543 (1)IMG-545IMG-553 (1)holibuk11IMG-564IMG-570IMG-573 (1)holibuk12holibuk13holibuk14

Ryan: Some of our favorite touches of the wedding came from the Groom himself. Chase is a graphic designer and he designed every print element of the wedding, from the invitations to the guest “book”. We used a poster of our save the date that everyone could sign and we could later frame it and hang with his other artwork throughout his career. The remainder of our wedding was mostly DIY. I cannot thank my family and friends enough for the time they put into making this day perfect. They were our vendors, and it wouldn’t have happened without them.

IMG-636 (1)IMG-640IMG-638IMG-640What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life?  Chase and I are just so excited to finally be in one place together! We look forward to settling in and making Nashville our home. We can’t wait to explore and travel together, and have as much adventure as we can before we decide to have children, an adventure of its own! We’re so excited to be on this journey together!

To see more sweet memories from Ryan & Chase’s special day, click HERE!!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Landmark Park, Dothan, Al | Florist: Martha Lynn Drinkard of Jean’s Flowers, Troy, Al |Wedding Cakes:Denise Loveless | Reception Musicians: Clay Watson – Neil Clayton Band | Bride’s Gown: Bridal Bliss, Inc., Homewood, Al | Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden | Hair Stylist: Shelly of Epix Salon, Troy, Al | Makeup Artist: Anna Kelly, bridesmaid | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff, Bridal Bliss, Inc., Homewood, Al | Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Vera Wang, Men’s Wearhouse | Paper Products: All design work was done by Chase, the groom