Tag Archives: family

Sam & Nick – Wedding Photography

There’s nothing like the view from the middle of something; while most folks might say it’s better to see things from one side or another, being in the middle adds a perspective few truly treasure the way I have. In my family, I sit right smack in the middle of my cousins; I’m the eldest on my mom’s side and the youngest on my dad’s.

As an only child, I often looked to my cousins as my brothers and sisters, especially on my mom’s side. There’s an obligation or unwritten responsibility for someone who is the eldest to “lead” and guide the rest of the group, and with my cousins, this is no different, even to this day. I’ve always looked at the cousins on my mom’s side as my little brothers and sisters. And, growing up, every leader needed a trusted sidekick and that was Samantha, the eldest cousin behind me. As Forrest Gump might say, “we was like peas and carrots” growing up.

I’ve watched Sam struggle with a number of issues to find herself and her place in this world over the past decade and she has overcome a lot to finally get to a place where she wanted. One of the main reasons for this was a boy named Nick, who she met a few years back. He has not only been an amazing companion and a loving partner to Sam, but they strive to make sure each one betters the others life every single day, and that’s something truly magical.

So, when she told me they were getting married, and asked if I would be their photographer, I jumped at the chance. They got married back in August of this year on a gorgeous sunny day in eastern Ohio. I was glad to make the trek out to see my family and enjoy this blessed day with them. The ceremony was held at a local botanical gardens, which was beautiful, and then the reception was a low-key casual cookout style at a local park pavilion… just right for these two.

So, here are 25 of my favorite images from the day… let me know what you think in the comments below!

Thanksgiving

It’s been a week already since I jumped in my car in the darkness of the early morning and, like an ice clipper through the Arctic, made my way through the dense fog of central Illinois on my way east for Thanksgiving.

At the end of my 10 hour journey to northeastern Ohio lay my prize: a warm, inviting home full of loving family and the best food a boy could eat. This year was especially joyful for me; I wasn’t able to make it to Thanksgiving last year to see all my family and I got to see my Mom for the first time since she moved to North Carolina more than a year ago.

This year’s holiday was about reconnecting with family, spending time with those I don’t get to see that often, re-energize my emotional batteries with love and support from my family and, of course, eating amazing food.

I was also blessed with the opportunity to meet a family member I’ve never met before: my amazing second cousin, Melissa, who is a classical pianist and currently pursuing her Master’s in Performance Administration in New York City. For those keeping track, she has only been in the Big Apple since August; having moved from Colorado, let’s just say that she’s had her fair share of northeastern weather.

With another year quickly wrapping up and the Thanksgiving holiday still on my mind, I thought it would be nice to take some time and reflect on some of the things I am most thankful for this year.

Giving Thanks

It seems like we all spend far too much time throughout the year complaining about all the things that we don’t have or don’t get to do in our lives when we should be spending more time realizing all the blessings that we do receive. Here are just a few of the things I am most thankful for this year.

My Partner in Crime
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I would probably be a broken shell of a person if I had never met Caitlin, my fiancĂ©e. She keeps me grounded and is the voice of both reason and comfort when I need them most. I am most thankful for the chance to share my life with her and getting to share in hers as well. I’m also very thankful for the laughter we share. Whenever I am having a bad moment, I know she will be there to remind me that all things in life can be laughed at and that, no matter what, I will always have someone to join me in that laughter.

The Kids
They may not be human, but make no mistake: our three cats, Marie, Sookie, and Bella, are our kids. They fight, they play, and they keep us on Caitlin and I on our toes. Most importantly, they make us laugh and they make us love. I can’t imagine what our lives would be like without those obnoxious fur balls swirling around us at home.

Friends & Family
In my world, these two groups are one in the same. My family, especially my parents, are some of my best friends and my friends are some of the best family I have. With everyone so scattered across the globe and all of us with our crazy schedules, we don’t have much time to stay in touch or see one another, but we do all we can and we soak up what little moments we are given.

This also holds true for my new family; Caitlin’s parents and family have welcomed me with open arms since the day we met and I look forward to the time spent with them as much as I do my own.

Passions & Challenges

I don’t know where it came about, but at some point in my journey, I realized that the meaning of life, for me, is to learn and to love. I’m very thankful for all the talents that the universe has bestowed on me, especially my passion for learning new things.

While I often struggle with not having time enough to dedicate to any one thing, especially my music and photography, and wanting to learn something new, I’m proud of the knowledge I’ve gained and my enjoyment for helping others learn as well. I’m glad I am able to see obstacles as stepping-stones and not stumbling blocks, and that makes all the difference in the world.

Health, Home, & Happiness
Last, but not least, I am thankful for every single day I get to be alive and healthy doing what I love doing most, the beautiful home that Caitlin and I purchased last year, which provides a roof over our heads and a warm place to spend time with one another, and, of course, the ability to smile and laugh, which makes all the things I do and experience all that much better.

Thankful

I can only imagine what it was like to wake up on that peaceful morning in 1621. The small village of Plymouth, Massachusetts filled with a flurry of activity and wonderful smells as the villagers prepared the first Thanksgiving feast. I can almost imagine the feeling of nervous excitement that ran through the crowd of pioneers when the first Native Americans sat down at the tables along them.

While I wasn’t there myself, I’m pretty sure they didn’t call the feast “Thanksgiving” that first year, but the feeling of gratitude toward whatever force was in the universe that saw them through a good harvest, kept them healthy, and let them live peacefully was still the same as it is today. As with most holidays, I don’t think that we all need a reason to close our eyes, say a little prayer, and say thanks to the universal power or to those around us for everything we have received in our lives, but I’m glad that with all the things going on in our lives, we do have a small reminder to say those thanks.

For me, Thanksgiving is about one thing: family. Sure, the turkey is great (I’m a dark meat fan myself) and I live for green bean casserole and pie, but for as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving was a time for family and still is. And not just our biological family, if such a thing still really exists. To me, this holiday is about appreciating all the people in my life who care for and about me, and I them. Friends, parents, future in-laws, colleagues, aunts, uncles, cousins, and more… they are all pillars that I lean on and the reason I continue doing what I do in my daily life: being the best person I can.

Family

While I normally head to Ohio to spend time with my family, this year that word has taken on a new definition for me. So much has changed in my life… I am now engaged to the most beautiful girl in the world, we close on our first home at the end of December, and my Mom, an Illinois native for most of her life, has pulled up roots and moved to North Carolina.

While the definition of “family” might change from year to year, the meaning of the word is still the same in my head and my heart. So, to all of you that I know all too well, and you know who you are, thank you for everything. Keep on keeping on. Love you all.

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