• NEWS:

    I will be in the North Carolina Outer Banks and Raleigh between roughly October 4-15.
    If you would like for me to tell your family's story email me at
    hello (at) mollyflanagan (dot) com.
    It would be fun.
    So you should do it.
    xoxo

Oliver’s Third Birthday | Personal | Anderson, SC

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Despite the lingering pacifier and parti-time diapers, my sweet baby Oliver isn’t a baby anymore.  He is stretching out, speaking in sentences, and trying hard to keep up with the big kids.  Every year I try to take some pictures of my kids on their birthday, but, like most moms that like to take pictures, it is not easy to find a healthy balance between being present in life while also trying to record some of it.  I don’t want to annoy my kids with the camera and I don’t want to be so consumed with getting “the shot” that I miss being engaged in moments with them.  Therefore, I don’t pull it out very often.  However, when I look back at times when I have photographed them I am SO thankful for those pictures.  It is unreal how much I FORGET, and seeing pictures allows the good memories to flood back in to my life.

Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and take pictures of Oliver throughout his birthday (minus a couple of hours at the YMCA pool).  My absolute favorite part of my day lately is putting Oliver down for his afternoon nap.  My older two were not very snuggly sleepers but Oliver and I have gotten into this lovely habit of reading two little books, and then snuggling until he falls asleep.  He always puts his pudgy little hand on my cheek and falls asleep just like that.  It is the best.

I ask my older kids the following questions every year on their birthday.  This was Oliver’s first go at it:

Favorite TV Show – At Marlee & Gretta’s, the guy with the pancake.
Favorite Movie – Watching “I like to move it move it.”
Favorite Food – Eating pancakes
Favorite Fruit – Popsicle
Favorite Vegetable – Water
Favorite Color – “Godzilla”. I say, “No color.”  He replies, “Oh, brown”
Favorite Restaurant – I like to go to The Bubble Store (I have no clue what that means)
Best Friend – Cogan and Ruby
Favorite Dessert – Snails.  I don’t eat snails, they can bite me.
Favorite Drink – Sprite!
Favorite time of Day – Birthday!
Favorite Sport – Basketball and Spaceball
Favorite Train – To go in the tunnel
Favorite Mommy – Runs over, pokes my side and says, “You!”
Favorite Song – He says, “No, you say ‘what is your favorite burp?’”  I say, “Oh, what is your favorite burp?”  He replies, “My mouth.  I already burped.”  Upon asking a second time, he sings the Barney Song
Favorite Book – Reading for the nap.

Being a parent is just heart wrenching and my kids aren’t even crazy yet.  Here is a blog post from Ruby’s third birthday.

 

by Molly Flanagan

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when she’s all dressed she’ll ask for some music | lifestyle photographer | jacksonville, florida

Making pictures is a big deal to me.  Something that I enjoy on a borderline obsessive level.  But the longer I have this hobby, the pickier I become when choosing to click the shutter.  For me, documenting life isn’t about haphazardly recording events that transpire, but looking beneath the surface for glimmers of truth… trying to take hold of something that can’t be held.  The longer I strive for this goal the more exciting it becomes to chase those glimmers, but also quite discouraging.  There is beauty that I feel in my bones but I can never actually communicate it the way I feel it.  Like a child grasping for water diamonds flashing on the surface of a lake, in all my striving I fall short.  Jonathan Edwards said…

To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.  Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives or children or the company of earthly friends are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance.  These are but the scattered beams, but God is the sun.  These are but streams; but God is the fountain.  These are but drops; but God is the ocean.

What I am chasing is grander than streams, greater than drops of water.  There is an ache inside us all for something… more.  And that more is there.  In this world that is mostly broken and frightening, there are glimmers of Hope.  Priceless water diamonds, momentarily reflecting the glory of the Son.  On this side of heaven we will never be able to fully grasp them, but it is still fun to try.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

… Enough of my rambling.  It was a pleasure to meet Jen Harkleroad (whom I first met through my class on Chasing Water Diamonds through The Define School), her husband Carl and two funny girls while I was in Florida last month.  As we did all the normal family things like blow bubbles and read board books, I hope that I was able to reflect some of those glimmers of truth hidden in their lives.

by Molly Flanagan

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orlando, fl | travel dates

Guess what?! I will be in the Orlando, Florida area in May and am available for in-home family sessions on May 24+25th. Normally my rate for travel sessions is $3000+, but I am offering my local rate which begins at $525 to shoot your session + a 40-page book of select images. An additional travel fee may apply for more than 25 miles out of Orlando, to cover gas. If you would like more information please send me a note through the contact form or email me at mollyflanaganphotography (at) gmail (dot) com

Yay!

by Molly Flanagan

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circumstances break men’s bones | greenville sc

A little over a year ago, I met the Geurinks (a missionary family living in the jungles of Brazil) to take some pictures for their Prayer Cards.  (You can see them here).  A month before they were set to return to Brazil, Michael (the dad) was taxiing an ultralight plane, hit a small ditch and found himself with several fractures in his skull, broken legs and severely crushed ankles.  After surgeries on his face and legs, Michael was unable to put any weight on his legs for several months and endured even more months of physical therapy to learn how to walk again.  By God’s grace, he is now able to get about quite well (with some added help from a cane) and they hope to finally return to the Amazon this summer!

I recently met up with the Geurinks for the second time the evening before they left for a big road trip to visit churches and families that support their work spiritually and financially.  While here in Greenville, they were staying at a small house adjacent to a church and were working on sprucing up the flower beds when I arrived.  Ian, their oldest son, confessed that he didn’t really like staying in the house.  My first thought was that maybe it was cramped and he had to share a room with his little brother or something.  I asked him why and he said that it was too “stuck”.  I had no idea what that meant!  He explained that in Brazil they live on a boat on a river in the jungle.  And when in the States, they normally live in their bus.  He preferred living in the bus because he knew that every day he could wake up and go some place new.  Being in a house, attached to the ground, it felt confining.  I loved that!  And it was a perfect illustration of the kind of hearts the Geurinks have…

Michael once told me, We’ve always said, “Home is where we are together.” We’re not tied to one particular house or city. Our home in Brazil has been a boat we named Peregrino, which means “pilgrim” in Portuguese, because we truly are strangers and pilgrims on the earth looking forward to a permanent city.

The Geurinks have lived an unstuck life, denying many of the comforts that are often taken for granted, so they can reach and serve the lost and needy in the Amazon.  However, this past year has been quite the opposite.  Stuck in a hospital bed.  Stuck in a wheelchair.  Stuck thousands of miles away from home, wanting desperately to get back to the people that God has called them to serve.

I have been so encouraged following the Geurink’s journey over the past year, witnessing their unwavering faith despite how severely the path of their life has appeared to shift.  They recounted to me many of the miraculous ways that God proved his faithfulness over the past year.  This has been a year of breaking and healing and God proving that “we can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9).  And His plan is always good… even when those steps are marred with a limp and a cane.

Circumstances break men’s bones; it has never been shown that they break men’s optimism. – G.K. Chesterton


If you would like to learn more about the work The Geurinks are doing in the jungles of Brazil or are interested in partnering with them, please visit their website here!

 

by Molly Flanagan

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crackers | clemson sc family photographer

In the fall Nicole wrote on her blog about a tiny moment while I was telling her family’s story.  I wanted to share her writing here because she was able to express the kinds of thoughts that are running through my mind as I am attempting to document the Heart of a Home.  A photograph seems shallow.  A snapshot of something we can see.  A collection of pixels or a piece of flat paper.  But there can be more truth, reality, and miracles crammed into that flat space than our small minds can comprehend.  Thank you, Nicole, for putting into words some of the intangible qualities of life’s “ordinary afters”:

“Momma- Molly took a picture of the broken crackers on the pantry floor! Why would she do that? Shouldn’t we clean them up?”

…because the common is uncommonly beautiful.  Because there is grace in the ordinary details of daily life.  Because it is the moments between the moments you are waiting for where life is fully lived.  Because our family’s true story lies in the detail of what is always around us that the busy work of life keeps us from noticing.

Because when you don’t know what you can expect in life, the ability to do the simple task of eating has a profound effect on how you view the world around you.  Because in the blink of an eye your world goes from neat, orderly and in control to being chaotic, out of control, messy and so incredibly full of love and wonder.  Because when life threatens to take the ordinary out of your day you pause and weep with gratitude over all of life’s bounty from the precious life that you have been asked to protect to the food on your plate to the shelter over your head.

Because sometimes your eyes and mind are so full of what you expect to see around you that it is impossible to pause and see what actually exists in your day.  Because family, love and home are art and beauty in its most natural state.

Because a single image, a grain of salt on your tongue, a smell from the frying pan in the kitchen can ground you in your day and lose you in your life all in the same moment.  Because while that cracker broken on our pantry floor means we need to take the time to care for our home it also shows how very much we already do care for the ones we love, the home we live our lives in and the routines we have in our day.

Because years from now when you all are all grown-up with a life separate from this one, you might find yourself racing through the grocery store to pick up milk and bread and soup and crackers with one crying baby in the cart-seat, one dawdling at your heels and one at home with a fever and you’ll lean down to grab the box of saltines off of the bottom shelf and be suddenly overwhelmed by the image on the box and find yourself thrown back into your childhood when you would spend Saturday afternoon snack time with kefir and crackers and freshly peeled clementines before racing out to the swing that hangs on the old oak tree; and you’ll wipe a tear from your eye before the baby swats the box out of your hand propelling you back into matters at hand.

Because Molly is an artist whose gift allows us to take what is utterly mundane in the life we live and reflect the love, the light, the beauty in the ordinary, the seemingly unimportant fractions of a second in the family’s life where their lives are actually lived. 

Because Momma didn’t see it laying there on the floor while I raced around to hide the broken down cardboard boxes, poopy wrapped up diapers and empty recyclable kefir bottles when Molly pulled into the driveway that afternoon….

…is what I will say when she is older and we can sit together over two steaming mugs of coffee.

Yes love- we should clean them up.

See Nicole’s Storytelling Session here.

Celebrate the Heart of your Home through your own Storytelling Session this summer.  I am available locally and also available to travel to your home. mollyflanaganphotography (at) gmail (dot) com

xoxo

by Molly Flanagan

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