you are beautiful | dallas, texas

Chris and Ashley McAfee moved from Chicago to Texas only a couple of months before our session.  With many boxes still stacked in the garage and that lingering “new house smell”, they are beginning to make this house their home.  Their two little ones celebrated 2nd and 3rd birthdays the weekend I was blessed to take their pictures and they were full of constant movement and constant giggles.  As a mom, I know the toddler years are so chaotic and fast paced, it is hard to grasp onto a moment long enough to let it form into a memory.  They wiggle out of hugs.  Cry for milk.  Beg to snuggle with a favorite book then quickly become distracted by a squirrel on the windowsill.  Always ready for the next adventure. I am happy to have captured some of those slippery everyday moments for Chris and Ashley.  I hope each of these images will one day help trigger a landslide of memories from this beautiful season of family life!

Thanks Chris and Ashley for trusting me with your story.  xoxo

Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration.  Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there.  -A.W. Tozer

by Molly Flanagan

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what i did on my summer vacation | outer banks, nc

We have a family member of a family member that very graciously allows us to stay at their beach home in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This year, the weather was pretty terrible most of the week, so I didn’t find the light all that inspiring to take pictures, but I tried to pick up my camera at least a couple of times a day. When we got home, I uploaded the files to my computer and then forgot all about them until recently. I am really happy it turned out that way, because it has been such fun to relive our family vacation through these moments of our time together.

And our attempt at a self-timer family picture… those always go so smoothly.  :-P

And here is a link to last year’s summer vacation.

by Molly Flanagan

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brooks family | family photographer | greenville, sc

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I met Stephanie, Ellison and their sweet little girls (and two puppies) for the first time a couple of weekends ago when I rang their doorbell early in the morning in the pouring rain, them in their pajamas just starting the day.  I normally would have rescheduled because of the weather but, being so close to Christmas, it wasn’t possible.  Part of me was nervous but another part was really excited for the challenge of shooting in icky conditions.  C.S. Lewis once said, The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.

I am so glad that we didn’t reschedule for more favorable conditions, because it was a great reminder for me of why I love such a real approach to family photography.  There is no use in waiting for life to be “perfect”.  Waiting for perfect weather or perfect clothes or a perfect home… well that will never happen!  To tackle a photographically unfavorable day proved to me on a deeper level that family isn’t about the house or the light or the clothes.

Material goods & self-glorifying domestic perfectionism are definitely not the heart of the home. The heart of the home is found in the relationships nurtured there and the comfort offered to one another – comfort we have first received from God, the Father of compassion, and then share with one another. – Carolyn McCulley

Stephanie+Ellison moved into this new home only a couple of months to have more room their growing family.  I am so honored to have helped tell a piece of their story- the beginning of a new season for their family as they are figuring out their new normal.  A cozy, lazy, rainy  Saturday morning with cups of coffee and blueberry pancakes.  Perfectly imperfect.

Merry Christmas!

xoxo

P.S.  Ellison is a brilliant custom woodworker and the Harry Potter inspired play kitchen you will see in a picture below is one of his creations.  Amazing!

by Molly Flanagan

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an episode of actual experience | bonus features

Every November I torture myself by committing to a picture-a-day project called, “an episode of actual experience”. The name was taken from the definition of the term “slice of life”.

slice of life: An episode of actual experience represented realistically and with little alteration in a dramatic, fictional, or journalistic work.

I posted a picture to my Facebook page each day of the month. There were quite a few pictures that I took that didn’t make the cut, so I figured I’d post them here.

“Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece.” ― Pope John Paul II

 

 

the parsons | kansas city, missouri

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When I was at the Parson’s house, I overheard a conversation between two of their friends.

It went something like this:

***

Friend 1:  Every time we come to see Jer&Ash, my kids go home and sniff their clothes with huge smiles saying, “We smell like the Parsons!”.  There is just something about their house, I am not sure what it is because our house is very similar and it doesn’t smell like their’s at all.

Friend 2:  Oh, we do the same thing.  I actually figured out what it is.  Their laundry detergent.  It’s Gain. We switched so we could smell like them.  It has to be Original Scent though.

***

I came home and told my husband that when we run out of our normal detergent I am going to try Gain just to see if it really works.  Part of me hopes it doesn’t work, because I think the thing that attracts people to the Parsons is bigger than the way they do their laundry.  There is something about them that makes you want to be like them, and you can’t quite put your finger on it.  They aren’t fancy.  Their mini van is old and the door is kinda broken.  Sometimes life gets busy and the laundry piles up so high that the brothers have to wear their swimsuits in leu of shorts and underwear.  They are imperfect, yet everyone that meets them wants their smell.  So then, what exactly is it about the Parsons’s life that smells so deliciously fragrant?

In 2 Corinthians 2:14 Paul ends his letter saying, “Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

That’s it!  They smell like their Father.

Spend enough time nuzzled in the bosom of your father, and you will come away smelling of musty aftershave and pipe tobacco.  It is the smell of being loved so big, the fragrance lingers long after the warm embrace ends.  It is free and wild and never-ending.  It’s a scent so distinct and beautiful, that it covers broken hearts, broken promises, and even broken van doors.  And reassures you that, in His arms, everything is 100% – for sure – totally – going to be alright.

The Parsons are imperfect people that depend on a perfect God, and the fruit of that relationship is so evident in their lives, you can smell it.

We recognise and enjoy the comforting, satisfying, pervasive sweetness of what is fragrant, but no human words can adequately convey the effect of a sweet scent. It can be recognised, but it cannot be described…The fragrance of Christ is like the Father. It conveys the sweetness of the Father’s love, the glory of the Father’s character, the desirable loveliness of the Father’s goodness. All that we can say is that this fragrance was the quality which brought the Presence of God to men. And all that we can say to describe the fragrance of a truly spiritual life is that it reminds men of Christ, it brings the atmosphere of His Presence near to men… By new birth we, too, have the heavenly deposit within us, and it is that heavenly life which provides the fragrance of Christ, for it is His life being lived out through us. Paul speaks of this cloud of sweet smelling incense being diffused “in every place”: it goes where we go, for it is a very part of our inner life. -Harry Foster, on The Fragrance of Christ

 Music:  As a beggar, I come to Thee by Luke Morton, 2012

by Molly Flanagan

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