Behind fears

As I mentioned previously, me pursuing photography has definitely had it's run of uncertainties and I have just flat out been nervous to give it my all and give myself to it.  What if I'm not as good as I think I am?  What if people think I am the worst photographer in the world?  What if I only get clients by asking them, hey, uh can I take some photos of you?  But, I heard another photgrapher say to "creat your own game;"  if I create my own game, using my own pieces, I will not have to measure up to someone else and will always come up on top.  This game is called mine.  I have no option but to win.  Plus, if I have God's blessing, I will do nothing but grow and be the best that I can . . . at the work of His hand.

Here is my game plan:
-Remember that I am doing this because I have a passion for it (despite of "bad shoots")
-Put myself "out there" and be daring . . .
-. . . but be willing to fail
-Remember my style and not change it for anyone.
-be myself and not be afraid of people not liking my technique.  Those that like it, like it and those that don't,  don't
-Listen to His voice and follow His lead.

So, here's what I have done.  First of all, I've created a page on Facebook for people to "like" and keep in touch and hear updates about how things are going with this passion I am pursuing.  Second, I have deleted my LeilaniNicole Photography blog; I want people to get to know the real me . . . not a censor for a blog about photography (after all, that's what my future website will be for).  Third, I am just going to dive in; I am not going to hide behind my fears.  I am going to chase after this as though I am certain God wants me here and I will give it my all.  People don't grow hiding behind fears. 

Posted byAshley C. at 5:03 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Stop looking.

My and my Lover's conversation last night went a little like this:

Me: Baby, I really wish you could understand how much I feel like God is showing provision with me   wanting to do photography.
Him:  I understand.  Just make sure you continually pray about it.
Me:  Ever since talking to Krissy that one day, I really have been and ever since, I have felt more encouraged and feel like every time I turn around, more doors are opening for me.
Him:  Is this really what you want to do?  You have a passion strong enough to want to do photography for as long as God enables you?
Me: Yes.
Him:  Alright.  Stop looking for a job.  Continue working on your photography and stay at Omni until God moves you somewhere else.  This is where you are now and God has provided this for you.
Me: *crying* Really?  You're really supporting me with this?
Him: *kisses my forehead* Yes.

And the conversation above is just another example of why I am marrying this guy. 

Thank you, Father.

Posted byAshley C. at 9:39 AM 0 Love Notes  

Finding peace

Since my last post, I've been doing a lot of talking to God.  I've been asking Him to point me in the right direction and lead me where He wants me.  I'm tired of stressing about where I'm going to work (and be a sufficient provider to my future family), how I'm going to use my degree, etc.  I'm done.  I've prayed, asked God to provide, and I'm leaving it in His hands. 
Since I've been praying about this, I've been feeling more and more confident in my photography; visualizing myself in the future being successful; having peace knowing that I am exactly where He wants me.  The only problem is that I do not want to get my dreams mixed with His desires.  I want to be 100% sure that I am listening to His voice and not the little voices in my head saying this is right
Since praying about this, I've been given the most encouraging words, photography advice, and "plans" in ways people want to use me.  I've been thinking big.  Really big.  From out of nowhere, I've been feeling sooo inspired and have so much hope for my photography busines.  But, please God, if this is not for me, I pray that you would shut this door and guide me to the door that you've had waiting open for me. In fact, what if where I am now is exactly where He wants me? That would be pretty sweet!

In the mean time, I will continue trying to bring in clientele and get people aware of what LeilaniNicole Photography is.  I am pretty sure that God will make Himself crystal clear . . . I find sooo much peace in knowing that. 

Posted byAshley C. at 3:31 PM 0 Love Notes  

I thank God

Remember that job that I was so eager to hear back from?  Well, I didn't get it.  And guess what, I thank God.  Remember the job before that, that I was eager to hear back from?  Well, you already know that I didn't get it (and turned the new offer down) and . . . yup, you guessed it, I thank God.  I thank God because he has placed other people in those positions . . . people that He wants in those positions.  I thank God because the girl (a girl I know) that got the first position I applied for loves it; looking back, I cannot see myself in that position.  A woman that has been unemployed (and is much older than I am) got the second position.  I am glad.  I have a job right now and she doesn't.  This all means that God has different plans for me; plans that I will love, enjoy, and be thankful for.
I was talking to my boss today and she told me that she has plans for me: stay at Omni, doing photography on the side, get married, and have a baby.  Ha!  Those plans sound great to me . . . that would be awesome if those are the plans that God has in mind, too.  At this point in my life, I love where God has placed me.  I love that God has placed a new passion in my heart (photography) and it would be amazing to be able to chase that passion wholeheartedly.  Plus, I can't really complain about my boss, either.

A side note, I just finished editing my best friend, Errika's maternity photos.  They are at  Check them out!  And as always, if you know someone that needs photos done, share me with them! ;-]

Posted byAshley C. at 6:45 PM 0 Love Notes  

I know that

Often times we forget exactly how big God is.  We (more specifically, I) worry about the smallest things and try figuring out ways to put our hands in the issue, stir it up, and see what outcome we will get.  We forget to pray and ask God for His help . . . and when we do pray and don't get the answer on our timing, we make an attempt at playing God again (only to find ourselves in the same hole!).
After reading another blog today, I was reminded that God is big.  He knows what we need before we even know what we need; He's working on our prayers before they even leave our lips.  One thing that I've been learning though, is that we need to show God our need and dependency for Him; sure, he knows, but it takes a whole lot more for us to put our faith into practice.

I am recently engaged.  My fiance works in the construction business and because this is the down time, he could be getting laid off any day now.  I work but not getting the best pay; I cannot find another job that I am even remotely interested in . . . or even know where God wants me.  We are planning a wedding and trying to pay off bills.  I want to live in something we can call our own.  I want to start a family as soon as possible.  The problem with all of this is that my faith is not big enough to bring me through these worries.  My God is, though.  I know that.

Posted byAshley C. at 9:08 AM 0 Love Notes  

I finally have it back . . .

and it's shinier and blingi-er than I remembered!  :-]  I now feel like yeah, that's right!  I'm engaged.  Uh-huh!  I like people knowing that I'm engaged to this good-looking fella.  Mine.  Forever.  ;-]

I don't know if I mentioned this already, but I started reading a book called Inviting God to Your Wedding (by Marsha Williamson) and I highly recommend it to any woman getting married.  The book talks about the difference God makes when you include Him in your wedding plans (hence, Inviting God . . . ).  From a Christian perspective, the author also talks about whether certain wedding "traditions" are in fact traditions, or faithless superstitions, moving on from the past (and past relationships), the importance of celibacy, etc.  I have been reading a chapter a night and feel good after reading it.  It's definitely thought-provoking and helps you look at your wedding day at a whole different perspective.  I like that she covers everything from A to Z . . . something that all of those wedding books, magazines, websites, checklists (blah!) do not cover.  Plus, she is nudging women (and men) to invite God to their wedding and advising how to establish and keep a relationship going with Him throughout the entire marriage.  I can't wait to finish this book and apply it to our wedding! 

Can't go wrong with inviting our Creator, the One who knows all, to your wedding. ;-] 

Posted byAshley C. at 3:20 PM 0 Love Notes  

e-session plan

So, now that we've been engaged for almost 3 weeks (so weird!), we have finally made plans for our engagement photos.  My cousin, Ray will be doing them for us at Navy Pier next weekend; I am so excited!  I am still trying to figure out what to wear . . . I think I want to do a dress and heels for some and then a more casual outfit for the others.  I just want Josh and me to look purrrty! ;-]    We don't have any pictures of us that are frame-worthy, so this is going to be fun!  I'm wondering how this will go with a photog shooting a photog; I'm afraid I might be too "try this," "don't do that," "shoot at this range," blah blah blah.  It's kind of just how I am haha! 
But then again, I don't know how I'll be able to take pictures without my engagement ring, a locked jaw, and a "crook" in my neck.  I'm just pretty broken down right now . . . hopefully all of those problem will be fixed by the end of this weekend!

Posted byAshley C. at 9:01 AM 0 Love Notes  

500+ memories

I just finished going through all of my photos on Facebook and right clicking them and 'save as' onto my computer.  They have to be restored since *sniff sniff* all of my other photos were stolen; but we won't talk about that because I've learned to just let it go and move on.  BUT, as I was going through 500+ photos, I felt like I was going through this emotional rollercoaster ride.  Here are some things I learned and felt:
1) I looked so much better last Summer when I weighed 129.
2) Some time soon, I need to get back to Indonesia and rescue my heart.
3) I need to go back to Naples, FL and rescue the other piece of my heart.
4) Josh's muscles are/were enough to make me melt.
5) On that topic, I've got one very handsome fiance.
6) Josh and I have changed so much (looks wise).
7) We were not very active this Summer.
8) I cannot and will not look the way I do now on our wedding day.
9) Me and my Lover have been lots of places together.
10) I've been to 3 weddings in such a short time-period.
11) My nephew is pretty much a grown man now. Nooo!
12) While writing this list, I am thinking about how much I want to give my fiance a kiss and eat ice cream . . .

Posted byAshley C. at 3:17 PM 0 Love Notes  

Something . . .

 . . . has been tugging at my heart since the engagement.  No, wait, let me reword that: Someone has been tugging at my heart since the engagement.  For example, I typically listen to a lot of secular music; anything from country to rap to Christian music.  But, in the past week and a half, I have had the strongest desire to listen to Christian music.  Music that glorifies the God that brought Josh and I together.  I have no desire to listen to secular music, in fact, I am kind of grossed out by secular music.  I am going to be honest, my relationship with God has not been the greatest.  I wouldn't consider myself "running" after Him, it's more like a slight jog, then seeing something on the side of the road that distracts my jog . . . then remembering what I was supposed to be doing.  It's been cold, inconsistent, blah.  But . . . something in my heart is stirring.  Stirring to put on my armor, get as close as I possibly can, and follow my God.  Follow my God because He is ready to prepare me, my future marriage, and my commitment to my future husband more than ever.  I want to go into this marriage knowing that I have a strong relationship with God; a relationship that is inseperable; a relationship that will create a "oneness" with God where I cannot be easily distracted by things on the side of the road, but continue running after Him as though my entire life and marriage depend on it.
My future husband deserves nothing less than a godly woman that he can trust with his entire life.

Now, if I could only find which road He is on, waiting for me to begin running behind Him.   

Posted byAshley C. at 4:52 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Interview and naked finger

I don't know which I feel more sick about: the interview I have today for the second most perfect job for me (at least, at this point in my life), or that I have to give my ring back to the jeweler until probably Monday. 

I am just very nervous about this interview because I've only got one shot to prove myself to be the best candidate for a position that would be sooo perfect for me.  Not only will I have a new job, but I'll be able to keep the old; I'll be working 60 hours a week, but hey, I am planning a wedding now! ;-]  Actually, maybe that's why I am so nervous.  Work is getting slow for Josh and I know that him being laid off is right around the corner and I am not the most patient person . . . we have a lot of planning to do in order to lock in our wedding more than a thousand miles away.  We can really use the money. 
Come to think of it, after the 3 interviews I had for that other position, back in May, you would think that I would be an interviewing pro.  This should be a piece of cake, right?

Or, maybe I'm just sad that I have to give my ring back to the jeweler today since my diamond is loose.  Before the proposal, Josh got the ring sized and it seems that they forgot to tighten the prongs.  I noticed that it was kind of loose on Saturday; when I told Josh he told me, "It's not loose," but after he really looked at it, he agreed.  We went to the mall and showed it to the jeweler and she was going to take it that day.  It wasn't even going to ship out 'til today!  No, ma'am!  I would like to wear my ring for as long as I can . . . why would I want it to sit at the mall for 4 days, waiting for service?!  So, we are going to drop it off tonight and they say that they will "rush" it, but I wouldn't bank on that.  I am not happy about my soon-to-be naked finger.  :-/  But, I suppose I'd rather have a naked finger than to lose my diamond.  It's only 6 days.  It's only 6 days.  It's only 6 days.

Posted byAshley C. at 7:36 AM 0 Love Notes  

Perfect magnolia

Today, I went to the Jubilee Days with my mom.  It's an annual Labor Day celebration in our town with local arts and crafts vendors, food, a parade, fireworks and lots of other fun things.  As we were leaving, I saw this painting.  Wait . . . I fell in love with this painting.  I have never, ever seen a painting that I had to have.  When I saw this, I immediately thought This is the perfect painting for me and Josh's future bedroom.  I don't know what color scheme we will have, but no matter what it is, this painting will go beautifully with. 

The woman selling her work was in her late 80's or maybe even her 90's.  On every single piece of art she had, she had her signature along with a Bible verse.  As I was standing, staring at this painting, deciding how I Earth I was going to be able to pay $40 for it with a $10 bill in my pocket, people were walking by making comments on her work and she told them that on each piece of her work, was a Bible verse and when people complimented her on a painting, she recited the verse.  For the 5-10  minutes I was standing there, she must have recited about 5-7 verses.  Her reciting the verse wasn't the only beautiful thing, but just by her glancing at the painting, she knew what verse she chose for that piece.  The verse placed on my piece is a reminder of how awesome God is; how perfect He has made everything.  Her work had me sold.  Her being a Christan woman made it even better.  With there being Bible verses carefully placed on each piece made them perfect

Genesis 1:31a -- God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

Posted byAshley C. at 1:45 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Yankee Candle. Amazing.

Welcome to my Yankee Candle exhibit. Oh, you prefer "cheaper" candles? Gasp! Maybe you have never gone through a season with the real, pure smell of one of these guys. It's possible that my addiction doesn't rest in the candles themselves, but the feeling I get one I light one up and it automatically brings me to that season. See, for each season, I've got about 2 favorite scents; if one of my candles gets discontinued, I won't only write a hate letter to Yankee, but that season will no longer be in existence to me.

For Spring, I'm not really that picky because Spring is probably my least favorite season and if it never happened, I wouldn't really mind. But, this past Spring, I burned "Drift Away" and also purchased "Beautiful Day" but never burned that one although it smells really good.
When Summer draws near, there is nothing that can really make it seem closer than burning "Macintosh & Peach," "Macintosh," or "Beach Walk." Yes, all three. Not at the same time, but kind of in their turn. If you noticed, Macintosh isn't in my inventory . . . that one just doesn't last more than a week with me because I never blow it out. But, I do keep the Macintosh car fresheners. All the time. In fact, that's what is in my car every season except Fall.
Fall. Oh. My. Gosh. Fall is my favorite, favorite, favorite season. I love how warm and cozy Fall feels. I love wearing jeans and a hoodie when I go out, but I would rather sit in the house with my candles lit and watch a movie. But, my favorite Fall candles are "Pumpkin Spice," "Autumn Fruit," and I just found another that I like (and was on sale) called, "Autumn Leaves." I only have the car freshener for that one. I am sooo eager to burn my Pumpkin Spice candle (and eat pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread, and sleep all day), but I will not allow myself to do that until the first day of Fall. Otherwise, every day will be Fall for me. Even in July.
Winter is another one of those seasons that will not exist if Yankee didn't exist. I think that God intended the scents of Winter to be captured only by Yankee Candle. My favorite Winter scents are "Mistletoe" and "Christmas Eve." There is no way Winter would be Winter without that Mistletoe candle. Amazing.
And if you've got a man in your life that hates those "girly" candle scents or is just afraid to light a candle in fear of another male friend coming over unexpected, the perfect scents for him are "Midsummer's Night" and "Mountain Lodge;" both of those are manly, cologne-y scents. My man chooses those two for his car fresheners. :-]
I just realized that I am beginning to sound like a commercial or advertisement for Yankee Candle. Eek! I mean, if Yankee wants to give me free candles for writing this, e-mail me for my address! ;-]

Posted byAshley C. at 9:46 AM 2 Love Notes  

It's all coming together

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine posted something on her Facebook that she was leaving her position at the high school and was eagerly looking for someone to replace (to refer to the principal) her because she wants to be a stay-at-home mommy.  So, I asked her about the position, applied, and waited.  Well, yesterday I got a call from the vice-principal asking if I was still interested in coming in for interview.  The catch: I've known him since 7th grade!  He was my gym teacher 7-8th grade and my dean 9-12th grade; so, he knows me pretty well.  :-]  Oh and *fogging nails, wiping them on my shirt* he said I was one of his favorite students.  Hopefully this means something for me!  haha  I will be going in for my interview on Tuesday.  Oh, I forgot to mention the best part: I will be able to keep the job I have now, too!  BUT, as I've learned before, I will not be counting my eggs before they hatch.  I will just be praying that God opens and shuts doors as He sees deemed . . . just as He's done before.  I like it that way. ;-]

Also, I was thinking . . . If I get this job, I will have teacher's hours, which means no August 13th wedding.  Not to mention, Josh's sister and dad both work for/in schools and for the construction business, August is the most difficult with turning projects over.  What were we thinking for this to work out?  We want to be able to take 2 weeks off of work to get married, go on our honeymoon, and settle into our new place of residence, so August just will not work out with ours or our family's work schedules.  SO, this means that it is highly possible for us to have a July wedding!  That means sooner!  :-]  I briefly mentioned all of this to Josh over the phone while he was on his way home from work, so he probably didn't really soak in all that I was saying so we'll definitely have to sit down together with our families and figure out what works best for all of our schedules.  He reminded me to be open-minded for dates but I WILL NOT have a wedding later than August.  I just won't.  He needs to be my husband sooner than later.  Plus, I can't take time off work, the vice told me so.  ;-]  It's either July or December and he must be crazy if he thinks I want to wait until December 2011! 

Watching this whole thing come together (our engagement and possible job placement) is just a small reminder that God has us exactly where He wants us and nothing is more comfortable than that.  ;-]

Posted byAshley C. at 6:02 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

The ring!

And here she is! :-] . . . Oh yeah, and my new fiance, too!

Posted byAshley C. at 8:30 PM 0 Love Notes  

More engagement details

I wanted to come here and share some more information about the engagement that didn't really fit in with the story (and that's too cool not to tell!).  So, you know how I just got back from Tennessee with Josh?  Well, that's not the way our anniversary was supposed to go.  He went into the jeweler's the Monday before our anniversary and bought the ring and needed it sized.  He told the lady that he needed the ring done before Thursday because he had proposal plans.  I guess he already purchased plane tickets for us to go to Florida and he was going to propose to me on the 12th, the day before our anniversary.  BUT, he got a call on Tuesday saying that the ring wouldn't be done until Wednesday night.  On Wednesday, he got a call saying the ring wouldn't be done until Thursday night.  So, there went his plans!  Haha, so, he got his money back for the plane tickets and planned for Tennessee instead.  I don't know how in the world he held that in!!  I am not good at keeping these kinds of surprises in, but evidently he is.  So, when we got back from Tennessee, he picked up the the ring a couple days later. 

This past Saturday, Josh and I planned on going to Chicago and spending the day there at Navy Pier; we were more than half way there, but because we both were tired from washing our cars all day, we decided to turn around and go Sunday instead.  After he proposed and we were talking, he told me that he really pushed for us to skip Saturday and come back Sunday because he didn't bring the ring with him.  He did not want to miss the perfect opportunity to propose, so he wanted to go Sunday.  Haha!  Then on Sunday, he said that there were lots of "chances" to propose, but he wanted to wait for something more . . ."perfect."  And right before I said Just propose to me already he said a very quiet prayer, asking God to please open doors and make this moment that moment.  He thought it was funny because literally 2 seconds later, I told him that.  It gave him the perfect opportunity to propose; and let me tell you what, I would not have changed that for a proposal in sunny Florida on the beach.  Never.  The entire proposal played out so well and simple . . . exactly the way I imagined.

Now, people keep asking if we've got the day picked out yet.  For those that know me and Josh, since like day 2 of us being together, we've always said, "August 13, 2010," but obviously that did not happen, so we have decided on August 13, 2011.  We have also decided (and have talked about for a long time) on a destination wedding in Hawaii with our immediate families (mom, dad, brother, sisters).  We are both more than willing to sacrifice that huge, expensive, traditional wedding and beautiful reception for the chance to get our families together, bonding, spending time together, and becoming one; after all, that's what matters in the end, right? We are still going to have a nice wedding in Hawaii, but only with the 9 of us.  ;-]  But, we've also decided that after we come back from our Honeymoon, we will have a large get-together/casual reception for everyone to celebrate our marriage with us.  
Josh has our planning under some restraints, though.  Haha, he said that we can't plan anything until this Sunday ("Just give us a week to enjoy this right now.").  On Saturday, we are going to open a joint savings account and put ourselves on a so-called payment plan to get us right where we need to be to meet our wedding budget.  On Sunday, I will begin to share lots more details with you all!  I can't wait!  I just want to lay out a budget, get an idea about pricing, plans, etc.  But, in order to fill this "itch" I have, he at least bought me a destination wedding book and a magazine.  :-]

P.S.: Tonight I will post a picture of the ring.  Dunn dunn dunnnnn!  ;-]   Also, this is where I will be sharing most of the wedding planning and lots of other details, so if you want in on the scoop, click the follow button on the side and check back often; I don't want to be one of those annoying people always updating my status about wedding this and wedding that.  Might get annoying to those that don't care one bit.  :-]   

Posted byAshley C. at 5:31 PM 0 Love Notes