Part of Me Blog

the one tool that has radically changed my parenting and my prayer life

lissa-anglinComment

I am no expert on parenting. My oldest is currently 6 years old, so I'm still new to the game. I have, however, made it out of the foggy rollercoaster of the toddler stage with at least one kid (still gripping that handrail preeeetttttyyyyy tight with the second kiddo, though...)

Read to the end to see what these water bottles have to do with my prayer life! 

Read to the end to see what these water bottles have to do with my prayer life! 

We'd prepared for our firstborn son, Knox, with great intention- researching name meanings and praying over God's Word for a life verse that would help him define his purpose in the world. But now that he was here- the only prayer I got around to was, "God, please let me get some SLEEP!" (Let's be honest, I still say that one a lot).

And unfortunately, that is my prayer default: fear or stress-driven pleas for a change of circumstances or a detached "please help so-and-so". My prayers lack the depth and communion with God I so desperately need. But in those rushed moments, I find it difficult to tap into God's truth for my life so that I can pray with the right perspective.

So when I first heard my dear friend, Joy, speak on this subject, it was such a breath of fresh air! I'm so thankful she chose to share this method. Because I have my "focus words", I can pray with intention for anyone- or anything- in a powerful, intentional (even measurable!) way. I can't wait for you to hear about this- because I think it will immediately transform your prayer life, just like it has mine.

And now here's Joy:

Image by Patty Urlaub

Image by Patty Urlaub

Hey everybody! My name is Joy Urlaub. I’ve known Lissa for about 12 years. She is definitely my coolest friend and I love getting to share life with her! My husband, Brandon, and I have been married almost ten years. We have two kiddos. Barrett is six and Analeigh is three.

I am excited to share something with you today that has transformed the way I pray. I call them “focus words.”

Before I began using focus words to pray for different people, the list of prayer requests and people I wanted to pray for became so overwhelming. I didn’t even know where to start.  Sometimes, with my all-or-nothing mentality, I became so overwhelmed with prayer needs that I just wouldn’t pray at all. I would think about different issues and circumstances throughout the day, but thinking and praying are two very different things. I didn’t feel like my prayers were adequate. They definitely weren’t specific. My prayers lacked power. When I pray through a focus word, I am able to take what were once blurry and rushed prayers and bring them into focus. They create a focused and meaningful prayer time for me, especially when I pray for my family.


I’ve explained it all below, but if you would rather watch a video, I've linked two sermons I preached a while ago using the same concept at the bottom of this post. I hope you find this method of praying for your family to be encouraging! 


Do you remember the old prayer acrostic “JOY”? Jesus. Others. You. It was a model for how to pray. Praise JESUS for what He has done. Pray for OTHERS. Pray for YOURSELF. Focus words are essentially the same thing—an acrostic that serves as a model or guide for your personal prayer time. I have chosen different words for specific people in my life. I pray the word MIGHTY over my son, Barrett. Below is an example of how I would pray through the entire word. 

Lord, I pray you would raise Barrett up to be MIGHTY for the Kingdom of God. 

M--I am so thankful that he MADE a decision to follow Jesus this year! (Side note: When my husband and I started praying the word MIGHTY, one of our prayers was that Barrett would MAKE a decision to accept Jesus and that he would truly begin to understand salvation. That is one of the specific prayers God answered this year! Barrett accepted Jesus last October.) Help Barrett to MAKE good friends and MAKE wise choices. Allow us to MAKE time to connect as a family. I pray Barrett would be a godly MAN in the way he protects and treasures women and in the way he fights for the powerless. 

I--I pray Barrett would be a man of INTEGRITY. Develop in him honesty, a strong work ethic, and character that is above reproach.

G--GUARD him and GUIDE him. GUARD his heart with peace, his eyes from impure things, and keep him safe. GUIDE him. I pray that his heart would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Help him to hear you above the noise in our world.

H--May Barrett be HOLY and set apart in his generation. Give him a HUMBLE heart. 

T--Let Barrett know the TRUTH about who he is and to whom he belongs. He belongs to you, Lord. He is yours, and you have entrusted him to our family. I pray he would always feel secure and loved. Help us teach him how to be a responsible member of our family. I also pray that you would give him a TEACHABLE spirit. 

Y—I pray Barrett would live for you all of his days. Let him live for you while he is YOUNG. No fear…no regrets!

One of my favorite things about using focus words is that when I have time to pray through the entire word, I can do so. Other times, when Barrett just crosses my mind throughout the day, with a single breath I can pray, “Lord, make Barrett MIGHTY.” God knows the depths of that word for me and I know all that it means. So, with a simple, one line prayer, I am speaking truth and power over my son. 

We've been intentional to post this in August, because so many parents are sending their kids to school this month. Because of that, we have a great opportunity and responsibility as parents to pray for our children.

As a mom, one of my greatest callings is to pray for my children. Psalm 127:4 says, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” I am called to be a warrior for my kids. The best way to fight for the hearts of my children is through prayer. Barrett started kindergarten last year. I have never felt so out of control as I did the morning I left him at school for the first time. I actually remember wearing a t-shirt that said “warrior” on it that day. I needed the reminder that even if I was a weepy warrior, I was a warrior nonetheless. There is a war waging for our families every day. There isn’t time for me to feel overwhelmed. There isn’t time for vague and generic prayers. It is time for me to pray powerful and effective prayers for my family.

My husband is a youth pastor and every semester I lead our teenage girls in a Bible study. Last fall, we read The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson. (If you haven’t read this book, I recommend it!)  In one particular chapter, Mark Batterson talks about the responsibility of a parent to pray for their children. During our discussion that week, I asked the girls, “How many of you know your parents pray for you?” Almost all of them raised their hands. Then I asked, “What do your parents pray for you?” Only one of the fifteen girls in my living room could answer that question. Only one could tell me specific prayers her parents prayed over her. Do you know how she knew? Her parents pray using a focus word. She knows her word and all that it means. I want my children to not only know that I pray for them, I want them to know what I pray for them. I want them to be able to rejoice with me when we see God answer a specific prayer in their lives. 


If praying this way is appealing to you, here are a few suggestions as you get started:

  • Brainstorm some ideas. Include your spouse and even your child if they are old enough to help think through the word. Before my husband and I landed on “mighty”, we thought about other words like “brave” and “strong.” “Mighty” just came together powerfully for us. The longer you pray through your word, it will expand and revise itself. You may even have different words for different seasons of life. You don’t have to pick one and stick with it forever.
  • Once you choose a word and complete a meaning for each letter, go back and find promises in Scripture and other meaningful verses to go with each letter. Praying through and memorizing Scripture is crucial. Here is one example of Scripture from Barrett’s word. For the letter G, GUARD him and GUIDE him, I pray Philippians 4:6-7 over him. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understand, will GUARD your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • Every morning before Barrett leaves for school, we ask him, “Who are you?” He replies, “I am a MIGHTY warrior.” He has also memorized Judges 6:12. “The Lord is with you MIGHTY warrior.” Choose a mantra for your child that declares the word you are praying over them and say it often!
  • Use a visual aid! Make a notecard or sign (or we have a really fun way below!) with your focus words and meanings and place it on your child's bathroom mirror or in the car so you can see it on your way to school.

Check out these videos to hear me speak more about the focus words I pray for the girls and guys in our youth group:

It's Lissa again...

Isn't that incredible?! I love that focus words give you the opportunity to really consider how you intercede for others and specific points to pray about. This year, I am making some custom vinyl decals for Knox's school supplies that include his focus word and offering them to you!

You can stick the decal on your child’s pencil box, lunch box, water bottle, etc. and every time they reach for that item, they are reminded that they have warrior parents and a faithful God who is working to accomplish great things in and through them. These also make great name labels!

Type in the promo code "JOY" at checkout to receive 30% off 3 or more decals!

I will close orders August 18th.

Focus Word Decals
5.00

Decals are 3- 4" in length, depending on the custom text. If you need a specific length, please let me know when you check out (there is a place on the order form).

They can easily be put on any hard, smooth surface.

There will be NO proofs/previews of your design before printing, so please be sure to enter your desired text correctly when ordering. 

Sorry, no local pickup. It will be more efficient for both of us for me to mail it straight to you!

I will do my very best to make every design look great! I will contact you via email should there be a problem with your order.

Quantity:
Add To Cart

Hunter + Brityn • Wedding at Eberley Brooks

PHOTOGRAPHYlissa-anglinComment

I hope you guys are prepared for a photo-heavy post- because there was just too much awesome at this wedding to NOT share. I loved getting to work with bride Brityn because not only does she know exactly what she likes, here style is a gorgeous mix of funky and beautiful, which of course I loved capturing. Speaking of things Brityn likes, there's Hunter- her groom and now husband- who is also pretty great himself. :) These two endured some HOT Texas heat and glaring sunshine for photos, which I could not appreciate more. Their entire wedding day was full of special moments I can't wait to share with you. 

As you'll see, there were many gorgeous details curated by Brityn, her wonderful mother, and some very talented vendors. Their wedding was at Eberley Brooks Events, one of my favorite venues in Lubbock- and it was decorated so beautifully by Grayce Floral. The beautiful pearl necklace she wore was also her grandmothers. Brityn said, "My nana passed away when I was in the 5th grade but she was always such a special part of my life. Knowing that I could have her right there with me all night made everything perfect! I had planned on wearing that necklace at my wedding since I was 15 years old."

Brityn and Hunter are a teacher and coach- and so the arbor they were married under was adorned with the coolest collection of vintage children's books I have ever seen (swoon)! They actually painted a canvas in lieu of a unity candle (how many brides would be unafraid to sling paint during their ceremony?!?)- but it was totally special and worth it. 

Their cakes were also to die for- the floral watercolor + gold combo- oh my goodness, perfection! Oh, did I mention we busted out some smoke bombs for a few sunset photos? Seriously love this couple!

When I asked Brityn about her advice to other brides, she said, "If your groom tells you throughout the process that they don't care and for you to do whatever... ALWAYS still ask for their input! They really do care especially when it begins to get down to the day! Also, just breathe and make it your own! It doesn't matter about anything unless it is what YOU want! If it's a detail that matters to you than do it 100%".

Definitely some great advice! Thank you, Hunter and Brityn, for letting us capture your wedding day! It was a blast! 

Venue: Eberley Brooks Events

Wedding Dress: Hayley Paige from Bella Bridal Boutique

Groom + Groomsmen: Men's Wearhouse

Bridesmaids' Dresses: Adrianna Papell

Hair: Kali Hale

Makeup: Anyssa Gray

Floral: Grayce Floral

Catering: Joan's Catering

DJ: West Texas DJ & Ronnie Eaton

Stationery: Minted

Custom Wedding Bands: Sterling Silver Shop- Etsy

 

Vintage Camper Summer Mini-Sessions!

PHOTOGRAPHYlissa-anglin1 Comment

Super excited to announce that I will be doing a limited number of SUMMER mini-sessions on August 5th. I have never offered minis in the summertime and I am so excited about the details of this one! (For my families that typically do a fall mini-session, don't worry- I'll be offering those as well at the end of Sept.-Oct.).

The details:

This Mini-Session will feature a vintage camper scene in an outdoorsy location. There will be lots of posing options for families, kids, couples, etc! BYO flower crown :) Check out my mood board-this is the actual camper we will be using:

I'll be shooting in 20-minute time slots, which is typically the perfect amount of "happy time" for little ones. 

A $50 non-refundable deposit will be required to book your session. I will invoice you after confirming your time via email.

If you'd like to book a mini-session, fill out the form below and please list your first and second choices for time. 

TIME SLOTS AVAILABLE:

4:40

5:00

5:20

5:40

6:00

6:20

6:40

Name *
Name
Phone
Phone

Can't wait! Please feel free to email me at lissa.anglin@me.com with any questions!

Zaya Rae's 1 Year Session

PHOTOGRAPHYlissa-anglinComment

This little miss turned 1 year old a few weeks ago and I was excited to photograph her. It is always amazing to see how kids' personalities grow and develop in that first year- and Zaya Rae reminds me of my Liv- sweet and spicy all in one. :)

She had a Hawaiian themed birthday party and I loved the onesie her momma got from Baby Squishy Cheeks and the adorable felt flower crown from Fancy Free Finery. And of course, we had to get big brother Shaddix in on the action- he has grown so much as well! 

We ended the shoot with some ice cream at Holly Hop Ice Cream Shop here in Lubbock- it was the perfect spot to celebrate this little one!

the top ten reasons we heart family camp

lissa-anglin5 Comments
Much of our free time was spent on this turf lawn which was great for the kids. There were always plenty of sports balls and bikes with helmets available to play with anytime of the day.

Much of our free time was spent on this turf lawn which was great for the kids. There were always plenty of sports balls and bikes with helmets available to play with anytime of the day.

We just spent a blissful week at Family Camp in Glorieta, NM. This was our second year to go, and it was just wonderful. I have to admit, when we first heard about family camp I thought it sounded like more trouble than it was worth. Traveling with kids (especially ones in diapers) can be a pain- and often we end up more exhausted on our way home than we were before we left. Thankfully, that is the complete opposite of what we've experienced!

Now that we've proven that our first visit was not just a lucky fluke, I think we can say that we are absolutely sold on family camp. It has been the easiest, most fun dip-your-toe-in-the-water of family vacations we've ever done- and we'll be hoping to go back as much as we can as kids grow.

Love this group of friends! This was after playing archery tag.

Love this group of friends! This was after playing archery tag.

Glorieta’s family camps are designed so well, you guys. My default mindset for vacation is that we need to do it ALL- make sure were pack in every little thing- so that we really get the most bang for our buck. As you can imagine with littles, this often leads to tantrums, over-tiredness and frustration. I hate having to “miss out” on things because someone needs a nap. But family camp is a total departure from that mindset, and that is one reason I love it.

So, in true Lissa fashion, here's my list of all the reasons we LOVE family camp:

 

1. The schedule is entirely flexible.

Each day, they have 3 scheduled activity times where you can sign up for what you’d like to do. All of the activities are at varying levels- but most all can be attended by younger (elementary age) kids and up. Some of our favorites were archery tag, drift trikes, mountain biking, and zip lines- but there are also plenty of low key activities like putt putt, R.C. cars, slingshots, as well as a huge game room that is open for play which includes a foam pit (Knox’s fave), board games, air hockey and a snack bar with ice cream and candy. At the beginning of the week you sign up for activities, and here is the beauty of the whole thing- you can sign up for every activity, and then decide last minute to not do any of it, and it is ok! I took at least 3 naps (yes, I TOOK NAPS!) during activity times when my kids were happily having adventures of their own. 

Our little friend Brynnlee with some of the awesome counselors. Our counselor, Grace, is on the left. :)

Our little friend Brynnlee with some of the awesome counselors. Our counselor, Grace, is on the left. :)

2. Childcare.

Our first time at family camp was last year, when we had a 5 year old and a 1.5 year old. That is quite a gap in ability as far as activities are concerned- and it was never a problem! During the activities in which we wanted to take just Knox, we could take Liv to childcare and know she was being well taken care of. The childcare area is large and always well-staffed with counselors who know your kids’ names and are excited to play with them. They were also successful in getting Liv to nap which meant we weren’t dealing with a cranky toddler the rest of the day. They also have BOB strollers and hiking backpacks you can take and use for the week when you do want to take your little with you. Liv LOVED being in the hiking backpack and the stroller was handy at times when we were tired of carrying her and also had stuff to haul.

3. Your own personal counselor.

At camp, every family gets their own counselor who is there to check in on you, take kids to the bathroom, help with plates at mealtime, carry things and just generally love on you. This one thing is so incredible- and it makes the whole week such a relief! I cannot say enough about how amazing the staff at family camp is. They work their tails off and play every role throughout the day- and it’s all because they love Jesus and want to serve well. I am so glad my kids have the privilege of watching these college students model this type of service. 

4. Food and lots of coffee.

We are fed WELL at family camp. In the morning, there is a made-to-order omelette bar on top of great cold and hot breakfast options. There is coffee pretty much all day in some form or fashion, and I think we spent most of our dollars on the delicious lattes from the coffee bar. There was not one meal that we didn’t like! Because the food is good and we had help from our counselor each meal it made mealtime so nice. They had also scheduled several dinners where the kids and adults ate separately so that we got to have some adult conversation.

5. Date Night!

Did I mention date night? It was so wonderful! There is plenty of family time to be spent all throughout the week, so it is extra special to have this scheduled in. We had 2 full hours of "prep time" before dinner during which we had time to shower/nap/get ready before dinner at 6:00. At 6:00, we got to have a delicious steak dinner in the prayer garden, which is lined with aspen trees. We all sat at 2 top tables and one of the counselors played the violin. All the while, our kiddos were being entertained and fed by the staff. It was wonderful!

6. Hotels and hall monitors.

The family camp at Glorieta gets to stay in the Hall of States, which is the hotel-style dorm. It is just like a hotel room- towels and linens are provided, everything is nice and clean- so there is really not “roughing it” as far as lodging goes. Another huge perk- from 8:00-11:00 pm. there are hall monitors (a.k.a. counselors) in the lobby who are monitoring the halls- which means once we got the kids to bed, we could go out and have a coffee, play games with friends or sit on the rocking chairs and have a mini-date. The hall monitors knew our room numbers, our kids, and our phone numbers should they wake up (which they never did). 

7. small size = containment of wandering littles

Family camp exists in a fairly small space within the whole campus of Glorieta. Because most of the main activity happens around 1 main building, it creates a very safe space for kids to run around. By the end of the week, we trusted Knox to get where he wanted to go. There was no hovering. Pretty much everyone is a parent and so there is a lot of looking out for each other.

8. Time to parent with intention

Every morning, we got to worship with our kids. It was such a sweet time. I loved hearing my kids sing those same songs on the way home, and I love that those songs are teaching them about God! We also got to have Bible Study every morning- the littlest kids were taken to childcare and school-age kids were split into age groups where they had their own Bible Study time. Our speaker and did an incredible job not only casting the vision for what godly parenting should look like, but equipping us with some real-life "do-ables" that we could start immediately. It is also a huge blessing that both the worship leader and speaker this year were friends we know well and highly respect- so wonderful!

I don't know that we would have ever thought that intentionally about our family and how we parent had we not gone to family camp. Because of this week, we have a solid vision for what our family is about and how we can make sure that other people can see that as well. So thankful for that!

9. Community

We had several families from our church go the same week we did, and that aspect is definitely one of the biggest long-term perks to this vacation for us. We were able to see our kids bond in ways they would have not been able to. Being able to share experiences (outside the church building) with these families is just invaluable. At family camp, we don't have any pressing appointments, no stresses of the day and so much time to sit and talk! I was so encouraged and blessed by the women who went this year (and last). I know that we would have still enjoyed Family Camp without the friends, but they definitely add to the sweetness. 

Since we went over the 4th of July, they had a patriotic night with sparklers and a game of capture the glow stick. I went to put Liv to bed and at that time she decided to have major FOMO and wanted to go back out and play! So, sparklers in pj's is what we did!

Since we went over the 4th of July, they had a patriotic night with sparklers and a game of capture the glow stick. I went to put Liv to bed and at that time she decided to have major FOMO and wanted to go back out and play! So, sparklers in pj's is what we did!

10. It’s not too expensive!

There are not many vacations that compare in price. Family Camp currently has a program cap of $2860, which we could easily spend on a vacation as a family of four. If you sign up early, they also offer a discount as well, which helps! 

Click here to check out more info on Family Camp:

https://glorieta.org/summer/family-camp.php

All of the opinions in this article are my own and NOT sponsored by Glorieta or Camp Eagle. We just had so much fun I wanted to share!

my wonder women tribe

MOMLIFElissa-anglin1 Comment

You guys, Shawn and I just saw the new movie Wonder Woman. I know- #latetotheparty...but, kids. 

It is literally 12:00 a.m. and I am ready to hit the gym. I can't be the only woman who just wanted to go kick some ass after watching that, right?! Simply. Amazing. 

I loved so much about the movie- there is not one aspect that I felt was ill-conceived or executed- and I am NOT a typical superhero movie lover. I can't even tell you the last superhero movie I saw- but Wonder Woman was just awesome. 

Enough about the movie. This post really isn't about that. This post is about my friends. You see, somehow on my wandering train of thought, the movie got me to thinking about real-life wonder women. I've got to believe that the main reason Wonder Woman (the movie) has been so popular since it debuted is because every woman wants to be her. And why not? She is a total badass.

But I started thinking about my friend group. I have such an interesting array of friends- some I've shared years of memories with. Some I've grown very close very quickly with. Others that I don't typically see eye to eye with yet we still need each other. And I realized just how many Wonder Women I get to be around, day by day.

I have a friend who prays so consistently for me that she will check in on me just to let me know she is still interceding for me- even after I've already given up on it and stopped even talking to God about it.

I have a friend who devotes at least half her week to pouring meaning and purpose (and food and other necessities) into kids who literally do not have any real understanding of family or unconditional love.

I have a friend who confronts conflict like it is something to be glared at, worked out, and once it's all over, smiled at with a "good game" pat on the back.

I have a friend who has witnessed friends betray her without apology, and yet she still persists in being genuine, graceful, and true to herself and Jesus.

I have a friend who chooses to hope and speak gospel truth in the face of infertility and purposefully loves on many kids each week (including my own).

I have a friend who isn't afraid to love a little girl that needs it- even though her foster daughter's future is still unknown.

I have a friend who isn't afraid to say "depression" or "anxiety"- no matter what uninformed misunderstandings it may bring (including my own- can we add forgiveness as another attribute as well?)

I have a friend who isn't afraid to leap- and change all of her life circumstances to do just what God has called her to do.

I have a friend who chooses to live uncomfortably- to raise her children in a new and different culture- just so that they might meet a few who need to have their lives changed forever.

Y'all, I could go on and on- the truth is, most of the incredible women I get to be around day in and day out are undeniably brave overcomers. They choose to do the good thing even when it's hard. And that is so stinking beautiful. 

Proverbs 31:17 (the Virtuous Woman passage) says: 

She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

After seeing Wonder Woman, how appropriate is that?!? Regardless of the battles we are fighting, it takes a warrior to win the battle. It takes a Wonder Woman- and it doesn't take much to recognize how each friend is a Wonder Woman in her own right- every single day. 

Makes me thankful for my tribe of believing women- and more encouraged to continue to "gird myself with strength" in my own battles. What's so incredible is that the movie I watched tonight IS real, and is playing out right before our eyes. Yes, I do wish I had a cool sword, ridiculously gorgeous fishtail braided hair and a truth lasso (I mean, how amazing would that be to use on a 6 year old boy who loves to...shall we say...alter the truth?!?)- but I do have my own, very real weapon in the God whom I know goes to battle for me (Deut. 1:30). And, if you're a woman of faith, you do too. 

Thanks Wonder Woman. Maybe I'll braid my hair tomorrow.

big announcement!

PHOTOGRAPHYlissa-anglin1 Comment

I'm so excited to announce that my camera workshops (yes, that is plural!) are now available online! I've recently launched TWO courses on Skillshare:

The How To Work It Series

This course is designed to teach the beginner how to shoot their camera in manual mode and truly understand how to work it!

Here's a little preview:


- AND -


The Workflow Like a Pro Series

This course takes you through my workflow in Adobe Lightroom and shows you how I organize files and edit them.

Here's a preview of this class:

 

 

 

 

 

Both of these classes include 4 video lessons, PDF notes and my heart and soul :) 

If you've never used Skillshare before, they are currently doing a promotion where you can get 2 months for FREE! Yes, that is right- you can go through my entire course for FREE for the next two months. It's kind of wonderful.

Click below to get signed up!

camera myths • what camera should you buy?

lissa-anglin1 Comment

It's one of the questions I get asked the most:

I want to buy a nice camera that takes great pictures. Which one should I buy?

There are MANY great options on the market- but I have to say- you're asking the wrong question....because my answer is:

It really doesn't matter. 


As long as you buy a new-ish (made in the past 5 years or so) DSLR (one that can change lenses) camera made by a major brand (i.e. Canon or Nikon), you're good. Any camera that has been made that recently will be more than capable of taking the photos you desire. 

Trust me, I know- my first real, professional Nikon was a 2 megapixel camera. TWO MEGAPIXELS. I made HUGE prints from those image files...and now my iPhone shoots images triple that size!

In fact, if you are eBay savvy, you can get some great deals buying cameras used! That's right- I buy most all of my equipment used or refurbished. Of course, I do have my equipment serviced yearly by the Nikon factory to be sure it is in great working shape. 

You can also rent a camera from places like The Lens Depot or Borrow Lenses so that you can have a test drive before you buy.

If you still need to be told the EXACT camera you should buy, check out Recommended Cameras on KenRockwell.com. I have loved Ken's reviews and found them to be accurate throughout my career.

What DOES matter- is the lens you're putting on that camera. 

Your lens is essentially the "eye" of your camera, and your camera body is the brain. If your eyes can't see well, they won't be able to help the brain create a very good image. 

So, if you're the average DSLR hobbyist or just starting out- get a good camera body- and then choose to really invest in great lenses. 

More info in this video, and some helpful links for you below:

P.S. This is the lens I recommend for your first lens purchase! It doesn't do everything, but it packs a punch for it's small size and price! ----> Nikon  Canon

Here's a great article on a crop sensor vs. full frame sensor. 

that crazy plant lady

lissa-anglin3 Comments

I've been calling myself that lately- because I am trying. really. hard. 

My mom gave me an "heirloom plant" when we got married 11 years ago- apparently, it was one that she had been given by her mother and KEPT ALIVE for who knows how many years...I didn't get the memo and promptly killed it- along with any other green living thing I acquired for the next 9 years or so. 

I've killed alllll the "easy" plants. Moss, succulents, ivy...you name it, my black thumb has killed it.

So, when we moved to the house where we now live I knew that one day I'd have to face the huge front flower beds. They span probably 25 feet, and get basically no sun. Sounds fabulous, right?!? The previous owners had put down english ivy that required zero maintenance but was actually choking out some of our trees- so it had to go. 

Last year, with the help of my mom and sister, I planted a ton of stuff. I asked the internets what to plant- did as much research as I could, and then put it all in the ground. Some of it grew, some of it didn't. So, I'm in my second year of plant-babying and so far I am LOVING IT. 

This year, I decided to simplify- just a few sure-fire plant types and a lot of patience. 

Here's a list of what I'm growing in the front of the house:

  • Snake Plants (on either side of my front door)
  • Foxtail Ferns (Knox's pick, which I have grown to love)
  • Asparagus Ferns (always a reliable one for my mom)
  • Hostas (I hated them last year but they've come back faithfully and doubled in size!)
  • Wild Violets (groundcover- it survived a West Texas winter!)
  • Caladiums (at least I'm hoping- these dudes are still sprouting)

Everything except the caladiums actually overwintered really well. I pulled all the ferns into the house for the winter and they seem to be happy to be back outside.

Another addition are these coleus which make me think of old ladies for some reason. I love the pink + green combo which are also in the caladiums I planted. 

I scored about 15 terra cotta pots at a garage sale a few months ago for $7! Some were cracked or chipped, but thus far all have worked out just fine. I also found several larger ceramic planters half off at At Home and those are the larger white and black ones you see in the photo above. 

We have said that this year would be our year to work on our backyard. While there is a LOT going on there- I'll save that for another post and just tell you about what I've worked on so far. 

There is a spot right outside the kitchen where I have my morning coffee every day. For the past three years, I have gazed upon this spot with disdain. It is a portion of the flowerbed (which, by the way, has never contained any actual flowers) that is just straight up mud where the dogs like to lay in the summertime. It's ugly and doesn't get much light. So I decided to do something about it since I stare at that spot several times a day whether I like it or not. I found some pots I'd been hoarding and bought a few fun plants at the store- and I'm so pleased with the result! 

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This old chair has been sitting in our backyard forever- and now it has some purpose. I used old pots upside down to give some of the pots some height. 

All of these plants have worked well with the limited sunlight- more coleus (the hot pink leafy one), potato vine, and astilbe- the red and orange ones). 

It has been SO NICE to have something pretty to look at in the morning!

Lastly, I planted a few cacti/succulents for Knox. He was pumped to pick some out this year (I'd let him do it last year and so OF COURSE he expected to do it again). These are the ones I am most nervous about. I tend to overwater them, and they don't get enough sunlight because there is no good spot in our yard that actually gets direct sunlight. So, here's to hoping they make it. :) 

Any tips you have for me on this bunch would be wonderful!

Also- side note- can you see the geodes beside the cactus pot? My parents gave Knox a National Geographic Geode Kit for Christmas and it was so cool! You get 10 geodes that contain crystals inside and it includes safety glasses and educational material about them. Shawn and Knox have enjoyed breaking them open every now and then and now this is Knox's "collection". Could be a fun idea for summer projects if you have curious science-loving kiddos- or just ones who like to break stuff, haha!

I'd love to hear what you guys are planting or any tips you have for me as I try not to kill things! 

Andrew + Savannah • Wedding at the American Wind Power Center

PHOTOGRAPHYlissa-anglin1 Comment

I first met Savannah and Andrew in January, when we had the pleasure of photographing Savannah's sister's wedding. I remember watching them laughing together on the dance floor and thinking that there was some serious chemistry between them- and it turns out, I didn't know the half of it- an engagement was coming right up. :)

My parents had 3 daughters (I am the eldest), and so after meeting Savannah's family, which was the same, I felt an instant affection. This has been an incredible year for them- and probably one that they never could have predicted- all 3 girls married in the span of 5 months! And let me tell you, they did it with flair and so much love- wisely hiring Jill Leven to coordinate the two that were in Lubbock.

So, being such a special season, Savannah's mother asked if they could do a special shoot before the ceremony with all 3 girls in their wedding dresses. I loved it- it was the perfect way to celebrate and remember. The rain held off for us for just long enough to capture those photos. 

Speaking of rain, it was there. Alllll there....alllll day. But I have to tell you- it mattered not! Savannah, Andrew, and the rest of their families were so laid back and easy about it all, which made it just wonderful. The couple chose to get ready and do their first look and portraits at her parents' home. Upon entering, we saw Savannah casually talking with Andrew and the rest of their families. It was a relaxed atmosphere, and you could feel a buzz of excitement about the whole house. I am so thankful they trusted us- because we eventually ended up under their carport to shoot some portraits to keep everyone out of the rain. God still provided us great light and some green to shoot against. :)

The ceremony at the American Wind Power Center was an intimate one, including just family- and then the couple welcomed many more guests at the reception which featured the most delicious lemonade I have ever tasted, many familiar faces, and the most stellar entertainment-  the Caldwell Entertainment Players.

Enough talk- on to the photos- and also- check out that perfectly pink dress! Gorgeous! Congratulations you two!

 

 

Venue: American Wind Power Center

Event Coordination: Jill Leven with Eat, Drink, and be Marry

Hair: Ashley Williams, Roxi's Hair Studio

Makeup: Brenda Becknell

Dress: Bella's

Cakes: Jennifer Cisneros and Simply Decadent Bakery

Catering: Jeana's Feedbag Catering

Entertainment: Caldwell Entertainment Players

Floral: Dayspring Designs

Quartet: Ellsworth String Quartet

Linens: