Friends

Settling In | Personal Post

So with our recent move we've been house hunting and trying to figure out where to live. It's been quite a journey. With viewing 19 houses already I feel like a pro! I definitely have my list of what I do not want and what I do want very defined since we've seen so many places. 

I do have to say I am ready to be settled. After four years and four international moves under my belt, I'm done with packing, selling items, and saying goodbye. I have to say though, even with all of these moves, this last goodbye was the hardest for us. The day we left I held one of my closer friends for 10 minutes while she bawled (and I was too, I must confess!). It was unnerving, especially since I don't know if I will ever see her again. Yes the world is changing and globalization is happening, but she is very poor and I don't think she has ever left the country...or ever plans to. I'm thankful for the time I had with her and I hope and pray the best for her and her family (and everyone else we met).

October 2016 - My friend teaching me how to make Biriyani. 

October 2016 - My friend teaching me how to make Biriyani. 

Sorry for that somber bit! I am excited that we are here and that I will make new friends--just sad about what we left behind. Joshua and I feel that we'll be here likely the next three years, so we feel we can make roots a bit more and actually be a part of our community than previously. There are some photographic societies that I hope to jump into here and who knows where that will take me! I guess time will tell. :)

So how do you handle transition and change? Do you embrace it or run the opposite way screaming? :) I think I can say that I'm embracing it this time and trying to keep up with everything that's happening. There's a lot going on so time will tell to see how we do. :) Pray for us! 

Have an awesome day and be on the lookout for part two for my master's project!

-Ashley

Emily | Baby Portrait

If you've been following me lately, you will notice most of my pictures are travel oriented. Back in the day (about 5-6 years ago) I was primarily doing lifestyle portraits, which included families, babies, engagements, etc. It was a fun and exciting time that really set me up well for where I'm at today.

So when my friend, Mary Kathryn, approached me about doing her baby's portrait, I jumped on the chance. To be completely honest, I was a little nervous since I hadn't done one of these in so long! However, despite my nervousness I feel like these turned out well! 

Thanks Mary Kathryn, for giving me the opportunity to take pictures of your beautiful daughter!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look. Feel free to leave a comment and say hi! I love meeting my readers!

-Ashley

Meet Mary Kathryn | Portrait Project

Mary Kathryn is an amazing woman. We met about 8 years ago when we both did Celebrate Recovery (CR) together at our church, Watermark. I was quite nervous to do CR and before starting the program, I really thought I didn't need it. Oh how I was so wrong! I needed the healing in my life just as much as anyone (maybe more!). 

The group of girls that I was able to do CR with I will never forget. In fact, I still am in regular contact with many from the group. When you go through something like CR, the people you walk through it with definitely are keepers and friends for life.

Mary Kathryn is an enjoyable and fun person to be around and she's so patient. When I see the interaction of her and her children, I am always encouraged and hope that I will have the same love for my children one day. I love her heart and her desire to follow God wherever he leads. I've seen that played out in her life many times and it's so awesome to watch! She's a good listener, too! Seriously, if you don't know her, you're missing out! :)

I'd love to share your picture on my blog, reader! Leave a comment below or email me (ashley@transparentlifephotos.com).

-Ashley

Meet Kaycee | Weekly Portrait Project

I really enjoyed meeting Kaycee this past January in Washington. I met her through her sister, which is a good friend of mine, and I felt so blessed to meet and hear more about her life. 

That's what I love about this project. Taking photos of people, hearing their stories and learning about the experiences people go through is both stretching and encouraging. It reminds me of how we are all so similar--we might all have different stories, but we are all humans desiring to make a difference. 

To be encouraged by Kaycee's story, read below!

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For seventeen years I was the youngest of four girls. I thought a lot about having younger siblings, but never really thought it would happen. At the age of seventeen we started foster care, which I loved, but it was also heart breaking when we had to say goodbye. Then at the age of nineteen, in November 2012, our family’s adoption of two siblings from Uganda was finalized and they got to come home! For the first time I had younger siblings, and for the first time I had a brother. A little over a year ago another adoption went through and we gained another brother, this time from Ethiopia.

Many times when people find out how many siblings I have, 16 (including foster siblings), they react in shock and they go on to say how in awe they are with what my family has done. For me it always throws me when they say these things. I never thought about how much it takes for what we do. It’s just what we do. We say yes to God. Especially with my adoptive siblings, I could not possibly imagine not having them. At times, it’s like we have all been a family forever and that there is no difference between us. The way my family is put together has been such a blessing and has shaped me to be the way I am. 

-Kaycee


To share your story and picture on my blog, leave a comment below and we'll set something up! Thanks for stopping by!

-Ashley

Meet Jen | Weekly Portrait Project

This gal. If you know her, you know how amazing she is.

I met her about nine years ago in Dallas when she had no kids and had been married for two years. How how much time has changed since then! Now four kids and married for 11 years, this woman is still strong and working diligently to raise her kids in a way that is pleasing to God. I hope that when people see me with my kids in the future, they say the same thing about me! 

In my life there have been many unexpected blessings as well as challenges, as I'm sure most could claim. At the end of everyday I just have to say "thank you Lord that you are in control and I am not and that none of this surprises you". Some days that is harder to say than others, and when I can't say it, I pray it. :) 

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

-Jen


Thanks for checking out my weekly portrait project post! If you want your picture taken and you're in the Houston, Texas area, leave a comment below and we'll take your photo and share your story! 

-Ashley

Bittersweet

Coming back to Texas after spending time in a cold climate (like the photo above) makes me very happy I'm not from those areas! This photo was taken in Denver, Colorado as we were walking around with some great friends of ours. I miss them already. 

Having great friends in multiple places is a bittersweet thing. It's so fun to visit them, but leaving can be disheartening. Some of these friends I am not sure when I'll see them again. For this reason, I'm so thankful that social media exists--facebook is really a way I can keep up with everyone. I guess one great thing about having friends in several places is that wherever we go we'll have someone to hang out with! :) Be blessed today!

-Ashley

Meet Samantha | Weekly Portrait Project

This gal is awesome. I met her nine (what?!) years ago in Dallas, Texas, at Watermark Community Church. We joined a community group together and our entire group over a two year period became such close friends who truly shared life together. We shared meals, sorrows, struggles, homes, etc. It was an amazing two years that I do miss. Over the years our group has disbanded, but when we're together it feels like we pick up right where we left off. I could have spent so much more time with Samantha and her family when we visited Colorado! 

I asked Samantha to write something about herself and this is what she said: 

My family and I recently moved from big city Dallas to rural Colorado. We are loving our new town and the natural beauty of the land all around us. I prefer to start my mornings with iced coffee and a whole lot of Jesus to get through the day.

I'm so thankful for this great friend. Thanks Samantha for letting me share about you on my blog! Samantha is also a writer, so you should check out her facebook page here. 

If you want your picture taken for my portrait of the week project, leave a comment below and we can plan something out!

-Ashley

A Family Photo Shoot

Last year I had done several family photo shoots for other expats in our city and then I failed to post them online! Whoops. Anyways, I still want to post them because they are too cute not to share. 

This family is very dear to my heart and I'm so thankful that God allowed us to get to know each other over the last couple years. 

What's amazing is how much these kids have grown since I took these pictures! When I look at these pictures and then look at their kids in person, I am amazed at how big they are! I hope you enjoy these. It's much different than what I normally post these days! 

At this point, the kids started having small meltdowns, so it was amazing we got two of them to look at the camera! :)

Thanks for looking! Tomorrow I will be back to posting the photo of the day!

-Ashley