Between the shadow and the soul / a beloved engagement session

“I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. ”
― Pablo Nerudauntitled (127 of 647)

mm1-2

untitled (229 of 647)

mm1-3

untitled (448 of 647)

untitled (466 of 647)

untitled (64 of 647)

 

untitled (610 of 647)

mm2-2

 

untitled (405 of 647)

mm2

mm2-3

Time for some photographs…

I know I haven’t posted many sessions lately…and my website is currently down…not the best business plan for a photographer, I know. After all the adoption stuff went down in the winter, my mom suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in her home down the street from us. I’ll be sharing more about that heart-breaking loss eventually. It’s been the hardest season of my life. I’m hoping that one day, I can look back and see, as Henri Nouwen wrote so beautifully, that “In our own woundedness, we can become sources of life for others.” I’m still trying to find beauty and grace in the midst of the brokenness of life – and I have gratitude for the ways God works and for the people in my life.

465B8954

Here are a few shots from Hawaii, where Dan and I went just after the memorial service for my beautiful mom. We were blessed with an amazing gift of a place to stay on the North Shore of Oahu. And then we took a week to explore the beauty of Kaua’i. I have lots of images and stories to share about our time, but for now, I’ll just post a few. I intend on writing more in the coming months- it’s healing for me. And have some thoughts even about combining my blogs and websites all into one so I can have one place – where everything lives.

untitled (210 of 214)

465B9663

465B8806

 

465B9655

465B9734

I’m so, so grateful for this time… It was a healing and restful time to bask in the beauty of God’s creation without having to go right back to work after such a heart-breaking loss. I’m still broken and hurting, yes, so much more than after the adoption fiasco…now that all just seems like nothing compared to this.  But with God’s help, and with the prayers and support and love of so many amazing friends and family, we’re getting through it, and I’m humbled and thankful.

 

A personal update

Hello there,

Some of you may have already seen this post on my adoption blog or via my Love Roots facebook page, but in case you hadn’t, I wanted to share here. As I said in my FB post, I don’t care much to keep my business too separate from my personal life…and to be honest, I really can’t. This business is an extension of who I am… so it only feels right to keep you all in the loop. We’ve gone through another heart-breaking failed adoption (this happened in November right before the holidays). So I have been harder to get ahold of. I’ve been struggling to keep my head up with everything and I haven’t been able to take on as many shoots because of all of this. I don’t know what the next few months hold, but I know it is going to take some time for me to move forward. I don’t share this to bring anyone down… just to be honest and authentic, which is sometimes painful and not pretty – but it’s real. If you care to know more, read on.

—————————–

I know my last adoption blog post was still a bit ambiguous, because at that time we didn’t know anything for sure about what happened to the babies. And even now, I’m not sure that we know for sure.… but we have a conclusion from the detectives.

She lied.

About everything.

For nearly five months.

Everything we had believed and trusted was false. The hope of adopting twin baby boys by Christmas. The sonograms, the baby bump, the gifts she gave us for “the boys”. It’s still astonishing to us that someone would deliberately deceive another person (or in our case, many people) into believing something so important, so life-changing. I still feel like it was all just a really bad dream. Unfortunately, a bad dream that left us with a $7950 loss, hours upon hours of (now useless) paperwork, background checks, home-study updates, phone calls, e-mails, fund-raising, and emotional energy. It all seems lost.

But God.

D_A-1072

He promises that with Him, nothing is lost. He promises to those who love him, that He is the repairer of broken walls, that he brings beauty from ashes and makes ALL THINGS new. Honestly, I’m having a hard time believing this fully right now. But I have to keep trusting and keep praying, “I believe…but help my unbelief”.

I’ve had some really important conversations lately and I’m thankful for the beautiful truth-tellers in my life who remind me. It’s ok for me to be heart-broken over this. It’s ok that I’m not joyful today. It’s ok to feel like my faith isn’t strong right now and that I don’t have to hold it all together. It’s ok to say, ‘yes…I feel like I’m in a wilderness”.

I struggle with grieving – I think because I’m often comparing my broken-ness to others’. In my mind I tell myself, “yeah this is hard…but it’s nowhere near as hard as….. (fill in the blank: human trafficking, slavery, homelessness, dying of a curable disease with no one to help, etc., etc.)  But my friend pointed out that I would never sit across from a friend or someone with tears of suffering and say, “yeah…well that’s not as bad as….” And she’s right. I only do that to myself.

Why is it so hard to allow ourselves to feel the pain of suffering? I think especially as a Christian, we might believe the lies that “you should be joyful always….your suffering is not important because you have Jesus who suffered, you should be grateful for what you do have and bring your pain into perspective…” Even Jesus would say this is a huge lie that needs to be tossed to the wayside. Jesus wept over the suffering of his loved ones. He kneels down beside the broken and cries too. Not because He is hopeless, but because He is Love.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!
 Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness
 and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43

I have much more to say about all of this, but it will need to come out in waves. I hope that somehow, this all will be an encouragement to someone out there. Maybe someone will find this who is in a similar place, and needs the reminder that IT’S OK. We don’t have to have it all together. We don’t have to be sad and quickly get over something. Pain is pain – and it all matters to the God who is Love.

————————————

Thank you all for your kindness and patience to me during this time. It’s been hard. Really hard. And lately I’ve wished I could hide in a cave for a few months until we can “figure this out”. I’ve also wished I could run away to a far off land and disappear for awhile.  I then I wished that I could just show up to work somewhere and come home and get paid, rather than run my own business and make things happen through all of this.  To in the name of honesty and authenticity, I just wanted you to know. Thanks to those who have prayed and continue to do so. We are so grateful.

With love and gratitude,

Abby

Give Hope.

Africa changed me.

In the three times I’ve been to Africa, I’ve come back a different person, a better person. I’ve come back with a deeper love for people, a humbled heart, an amazement of the people I met.  The first trip I took was to Ethiopia in 2010. I went with my mom, some great friends, and an organization that does community development and orphan-care throughout the region and other parts of the world. I wrote a bit about that experience here and here.  The second and third trips were to Uganda, where I fell in love more deeply, and made connections that will continue to shape my life. I wrote about my first trip to Uganda with Beauty for Ashes (about being deeply loved) here and about being free and fearless here. 

makehermerry

I met some incredible women, who have lived difficult lives in one of the poorest places in the world. Women who work so hard to provide for their children, whose biggest wish is that their children would get an education so they could somehow have hope out of the poverty cycle that so many find themselves in.

We have an opportunity to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

What if we spent our lives on behalf of others?

What if for Christmas, we gave the gift of education (life-changing education) to our family and friends on behalf of the beautiful children I had the privilege of meeting across the world?

hope

I would love to invite you to join a village! Or give the gift of education this Christmas. It’s so fulfilling knowing that we can be a part of someone’s life across the world- and we can make a LIFE-CHANGING difference for a few special kids who want nothing more than to go to school.

To give, please visit Beauty for Ashes Uganda and select “one time donation” if you’d like to pay for one or two (or more!) kids to go to school, or “join our village” to become a monthly partner and make a sustainable impact for these mamas and kids. At this point, we are still in need of about $11,000. But as always, I know God will provide. It’s amazing how he brings people together to provide for these precious kids.

Click on the links above or feel free to e-mail me if you have questions! You can download any of these photos and print to give to your family or friends when you present their gift!

Thank you for changing lives and BRINGING HOPE this Christmas <3

mamashappy

Colorado Beauty // Prints for Sale!

Hello, Friends!

Every day I’m in awe of the beauty around me. For real.

Most days I am just amazed at how beautiful our world can be. And it helps to remember and be grateful for this, especially when times can be hard, when people are suffering, when the world might seem as if it’s falling apart. I’m grateful to have these daily reminders that there IS beauty. And beauty can bring Hope.

Sometimes I get requests for photos to purchase for gifts, for the home, or for Christmas presents. I’d love to sell some of my photographs for those who might like a daily reminder of the beauty that exists today and every day.

Below are a few photographs I’m selling (they will come without the watermark). Prints and Canvas art will range from ($10- $155) All photographs will be printed on fine art paper with a beautiful matte finish. Please contact me if there’s something that catches your heart and I’ll make you a print or canvas and get it shipped to you! Please note that if it needs to be there before Christmas, we need to place the order ASAP (Forgive me for being a little late to the game!) Please e-mail me at loverootsphotography (at) gmail.com and include in the subject line “prints for sale”.

Thank you for your support, friends.

With love and gratitude,

Abby

 

1. Winter in Garden of the Godsuntitled (87 of 242)

2. Rampart Reservoir, Woodland Park 465B0419

 

 

3. A Colorado Mountain Pass
465B7605

 

4. Great Sand Dunes National Park

IMG_5226-2

5. Paint Mines Sunset 465B2623

6. Wild Horses in Southern Colorado untitled (74 of 93)

7. Aspen Groves and Mountains

IMG_3534-2

8. Arizona Moon and Cactus

465B8452

9.  Wild Horse Crossing

untitled (60 of 93)

 

10. Moonrise over MountainsIMG_1491

11. Autumn Sunset

untitled (24 of 864)

12. A Life of Whimsy

IMG_3425

 

 

 

 

Beloved : Ian + Kate

Deep conversations, random adventures, hearing wild coyotes while camping in the wilderness, prayer nights about the suffering of trafficking victims around the world, a trip to Ethiopia…Kate is someone I’ve had many great experiences with. We had spend hours talking about many things- one topic that would come up were her hopes for a soul-mate, a man who would love God, love her well (and be able to keep up with her adventurous heart!) And here he is! Ian proposed to Kate while kayaking in his home state of North Dakota a few months ago. They are obviously in love and it makes me so happy for my friend…for answered prayers and for meeting soul-mates.

iankate1

iankate1-3

465B0365

465B0359

465B0276

465B0267

iankate1-2

465B0245

465B0084

465B0583

465B0562

465B0592

Here’s to a loving and adventurous life together…filled with laughter, growth, joy and depth.

465B0626

An Update from Thailand

465B2045

I’ve spent over a week here in Bangkok, Thailand with the Unseen Ministries team. Walking miles through the crowded city streets and riding the BTS, buying street food on our way to the ministries we’ve been working with, taking photos, talking about life. We’ve had the honor of getting to know two amazing organizations here : Dton Naam and Home of New Beginnings, both of which serve young people who have, for one reason or another, gotten caught up in the industry of sexual exploitation. It’s so common here that it’s considered “normal” or “a way of life”. But the interesting thing is, this “way of life” only seems to be common for the poorest of the poor. It seems to be “normal” only for those who have had no other choice but to sell themselves in order to help their family eat and survive. We’ve been learning so much from those we’ve worked with and encountered here – and even from observing with our own eyes and camera lenses. I have so many things I want to share, but we’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the time to sit and reflect much. let alone come up with the right way to explain what we’ve experienced.

One thing I’d love to share is that there is HOPE here. There are people that care and have made a home for those who would otherwise have none. I believe that God is at work here through these organizations (and others we have not even met), and is bringing healing and hope.

When Teryn asked the girls at Home of New Beginnings what they love about being there, many of them said “FAMILY”.

One word that contains more meaning to these girls than we might ever know.

465B3714-2

Tomorrow we leave the city and head south. I’ll hopefully have more time to share more soon, but in the mean-time, feel free to check out Unseen’s blog to read more. After our trip, we are helping provide new media / websites / video and photos for Dton Naam and New Beginnings. I can’t wait to share when everything is ready!

So grateful to be here.

3I5A2446

(photo of me by Anthony Delao)