Everyone has a story.
yet we needn't go far to discover complex treasures in people.
So we're starting with Chicagoans we know.
This series is meant to live.
It's meant to cause us to look at the people we sit next to on the train, share buildings with, work with, & do life with everyday...
as people with stories we'd like to hear.
They may or may not appear glamorous.
But since you’re reading this, we'd bet you know beauty abounds.
These stories are maps of the providence over our lives.
Perhaps these stories encourage us to engage with that frame of mind.
Our friend & designer Chelli Look of CHC provided her beautiful studio for these portraits to come in this series.
We're excited to begin here with you. Stories to come...
Old Town, Chicago
Lauren's gorgeous lace gown from BHLDN
This moment was extra special as Lauren's grandparents placed a lasso rosary over them, signifying unity.
strolling through their venue's courtyard garden
A New Leaf
Flower design by
Her & His
Let them eat cake
on the dancefloor
congrats, Lauren & Adam
More than a honeymoon or anniversary shoot, these photos recall our special day, the gratitude for one year as husband & wife, & they mark the beginning of a new journey for us.
Just a week before, I'd left my 9-5 to pursue photography, to rest, to heal, to make white space for things I care deeply about.
This is an Ebenezer for us
I'm learning to embrace adventure—home or abroad—and to be bold in allowing God to narrate the lives He's calling us to.
His way is much more poetic, that's for sure.
This was our second day in Paris. We were at the Louvre.
Our first crêpe
"We'll take le sucre un, s'il vous plaît."
And the first of many on this trip
We walked through the Louvre almost every day, as it was just a few blocks from our AirBnB
A took this one
And this one ;)
to the gardens
And to the other side of the Louvre—a busy Rue
"... In your light do we see light." - Psalms 36:9
Could not have dreamed a more perfect fall day
Andrew took the rest of these
Paris, we love you
"It was all a dream" / But it wasn't!
At one point Kat asked where the flowers will be in her hair - Devin
I said, “You know, I actually don’t know where I’m going with your hair. I’m just listening to where it wants to go..." - Devin
we found our flowers from Fleur & the eucalyptus from Trader Joe's
This burgundy ranunculus is my favorite flower
Kat garnishing with Rosemary
we chose a mixed-color palette of both cool & warm
to honor the end of summer & to celebrate the return of autumn
I expected my visions to come true & for everything to pull together. - Kat
It was easy to see & expect this with all of the flowers & trinkets we had pulled from our own homes, reflecting our own styles.
I didn't expect all of our visions to collide so perfectly. To come together in a way that was beyond what I had imagined. - Kat
Dev chose wax flowers for our hair
Kat & Baby Fin
It's easy to describe a vision & think you're on the same page, when later you see that you are not. This was not the case here. - Kat
Lettering & food styling was done by Kat
Kat led prayer
I didn't expect God's presence to be so strong. The entire scene, it set the tone. - Kat
We cheersed to new adventures & to God's providence over our lives
Seeing everyone's creativity & passions come together to create an evening that was not only beautifully designed & executed, but also restful & relaxing—it was so good for the soul. - Devin
The pink hues of the last of His rays in the sky, the deep blue water that catches your breath every time, & the golden untouched grass, hidden away behind the hustle & bustle of the city.
We weren't in Chicago anymore. We were in nature, in God's presence, for a moment of escape from it all. - Kat
"The Son is the radiance of God’s glory & the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1:3
A signature red
The heart of the home (the kitchen)
"Good coffee, light & a little breakfast is my happy place."
these are just a few of Anna's plant babies
"In creative work we never 'arrive'–even in our successes."
"... Once we start to think we have, we become stagnant & lose that posture of being a constant learner."
"I love when my cat Isaiah sleeps on my desk while I work from the studio."
"God has been extremely gracious to me in the work that I do! It's ridiculous to taste & see that sometimes."
"I think we don't realize how much we have to fight to become the people we are supposed to become."
The Lord wouldn’t be my everything if he didn’t allow me to go through all I went through.
I have such an appreciation and draw to silence.
no matter how I’m ‘feeling’ I have to drench my mind in truth and prayer. It is the only way to make it through in this fallen world.
Every good thing that I do desire & pursue—discipleship, family, relationships, community, career in web development—are under the will of God.
However He chooses to shape them, in that good will, I will gratefully accept. I love his surprises.
The lake is a free treasure I appreciate.
Because my parents weren’t physically present (they had moved back home). Recounting the struggles will require a book.
Now knowing our Heavenly Father the way He has gracefully allowed me to—it was all for a purpose. I won’t trade it.
The call He has put on my life, is the same for all his children: true worship and glory of his name.
The conservatory has this calming effect on me
Because I’m in the trenches of a transition, I have a really hard time gaining perspective.
But, that's why I’m so grateful for my friends and community.
When I can’t see outside of my very limited perspective, they’re right there pointing me to Jesus & to hope when I feel hopeless.
“Whom have I in heaven but you. There is nothing on earth I desire besides you. My heart and my flesh may fail me but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” — Psalm 73:25-26
Everything is so intricately beautiful.
The Desert House soothes all my senses.
God has surrounded me with friends who love life & are intentional about learning.
We bike around the city, hammock in parks, & discuss topics that challenge our way of thinking.
This is incredibly inspirational. I’m reminded to put one foot in front of the other & to keep on moving.
Bethany & her roommate Katie's apartment
"Most days can be made substantially better by having a cup of freshly roasted coffee ... I love making my coffee at home, bringing it to the hospital in an old plaid Thermos..."
"Music was a deep part of my life growing up. It feels as essential & natural to me as breathing ..."
"... it's how I externalize a lot of my internal processing, how I channel, release, & regain energy."
"[As a music therapist,] knowing that even if things aren't completely whole or healed yet,
I am able to witness & help give voice to the fact that healing & change are happening, & I get to be a small part in that process.
"It feels almost impossible to describe, but there are these moments in sessions when the music, the patients, myself, & the relationships among those unique things settle
& create a beautiful space for peace, healing, growth, and restoration."
"'You Satisfy' ended up being a prayer..."
"... just voicing that desire to be in His presence."
"... To know His fullness, & the desire for the restoration to wholeness ..."
"... that can only come from truly knowing & experiencing Him."
"[Chicago] definitely was not on my long-term plan radar ..."
"... But I love it now & feel continually more like this will be where I end up putting down roots."
You can read
my full interview with Bethany on the blog.
The Taylor's home
is replete with creativity
greetings from Asoka & Koneko
the day's lesson:
create planters for vegetables using water bottles
Atticus wasn't sure about it ;)
filling the bottles with soil
pick your favorites
Elly chose to plant basil
"As a teacher,
God is revealing the value of the student inspiring the creativity of the teacher and the necessity of patience and perseverance."
The homemade planters are ready to catch some rays.
Their Bird of Paradise
books upon books
"Play & imagination are Atticus' jam right now."
Elly watching Lucy cut and sew a leather ring
"Lucy's bucket is filled when she makes with her hands."
some of their first pieces
voilà! Aiyana sporting a leather ring by Lucy.
star wars fan for life
May the force be with you.
polaroids in Elly & Lucy's room
Elly prepping her paper for water coloring
"She is so observant and communicates best through written word and images on paper."
Lucy paging through some of Elly's journal illustrations
"[Elly] also connects with music in ways I don't naturally. It has been so enriching to see. I have learned to quiet myself, slowdown and listen in new ways."
"Lucy enjoys history because of her fascination with culture and anything she can do with her hands will keep her attention for hours."
artwork by Elly & Lucy
'Each of us bears some small but complete spark of His Divine image.'
"It is like unwrapping an incredible gift with each layer that is discovered in my children. And an incredible part of the beauty of God I get to see in them as they grow each year."
When my customers walk into this space, I want them to be like, “Oh. This is it. Ok, I get it.”
One of my favorite spots in the studio
is over there when the sun is coming in and maneuvers from side-to-side
I believe we can worship the Lord through whatever we orient our hearts to and how we decide to show up, knowing that He is within us and our environments.
Whether it’s music, a book, a podcast, something constantly has to be going on in my ears to help me zone in.
coffee, obviously. Fuel.
Something God’s shown me is how worshipful my craft can really be with Him.
It’s not just a worshipping on a Sunday morning thing; it’s worshipping with my hands.
When I get in the zone,
it’s the most liberating incredible experience-high I can have
My desire is to become a voice of conscious consumerism, not only in the city of Chicago, but within my industry, using CHC as the tool to show how it can be done.
My heart is to really focus on how I can I bring the best product to my customer-something she can invest in knowing it’s U.S.A.-sourced, it’s Chicago-made, & it’s giving back to somebody.
that doesn’t leave out really beautiful design
& really beautiful craftsmanship
My full interview with Chelli is on the blog.
My sister Jess has always loved animals
She & her husband decided to adopt a puppy after they were married. (They also adopted two brother kitties Felix & Sebastian.)
That's River. They named her so because she was adopted by the Ohio River.
our mom has always called her "blonders"
Jess says River's
"... a gentle soul. For being 60 pounds, she's very delicate."
the anticipation of spring
Devin's work corner at Red 7 Salon
Devin applying the balayage technique to Lauren's hair
time to rinse
Her go-to products are by
the transformation to balayage
Kat - balayage / Devin / Lauren - balayage
Devin's heart is as vibrant as her hair.
Andrew, Kat & their puggle Rocky
Praises for winter's thaw
"It is good to give thanks ... to declare your steadfast love in the morning." — Psalms 92:1-2
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." — Lamentations 3:22-23
Kristen's mom & baby Elan
Waiting for brother Judah & "Tata" David to arrive
Judah - meet your brother Elan
Tata & son
Kristen's parents Stan & Jeanie
If you know them, you love them.
Kristin has always been deeply kind, poised, and nurturing.
I know she & Scott will be wonderful parents. (Update! They had a baby girl & named her Madelyn.)
It's something to behold to witness a friend you've experienced so much life with experience one of the most miraculous & amazing things of carrying a child.
I was honored to capture them just a month before they welcomed baby Madelyn into the world.
on a Saturday morning
Scenes on Green Street
Wandering the West Loop is one of my favorite things to do because it's replete with good food and cocktails, beautiful industrial buildings, and it's just outside the hustle & bustle of the city.
I'm always chasing light.
The following week she reached out to me for graduation portraits.
What struck me most about Maureé was her quiet confidence. In our short time together, it was evident she is a woman of faith.
And she has a fantastic sense of style.
It's a beautiful thing to witness people fully know they are children of God.