I haven’t blogged much of my photography this year.
I’ve shot five weddings, some beautiful couples freshly engaged, newborns, and families.
I’ve been able to watch part of Josh and Leigh’s journey, as they’ve parented their beautiful Piper – diagnosed with 22q11.2, a syndrome that’s affected Piper’s hearing, eating and a whole host of other things that have meant a rough start to her tiny life, and a pretty brave one for her parents.
Their faith is astounding. That they would continue to face odds that don’t look like they’re in Piper’s favour, yet they never let go of their hope in God, in the possibility of healing, in believing for a miracle. There is something about a person who’s faced heartbreak head-on. Something substantial and deep and kind. Josh and Leigh are all of these.
And then there’s Piper. She’s a bright spark, signing ‘finished’ in Auslan to her parents about five minutes into our shoot. She’d smiled once, and we were done as far as she was concerned.
And Josh and Leigh bribed her to smile for more photos – as every parent of a toddler ever has.
Her facial expressions are priceless, she observes everything around her and misses nothing, and she is oblivious to how much joy she gives anyone who has the pleasure of watching her.
I was captivated by her little hands the whole time – signing, pointing, and wrapped around the necks of her favourite people in the world. These photos are some of my favourites, ever.
I’ve known Jaslyn for all of my grown-up life.
She is incredibly loyal, and steadfast and so, so fun (seriously, if you haven’t heard her laugh, you are missing out!).
One of my favourite memories of us, is early in my pregnancy with my firstborn.
I was nauseous, and overwhelmed, planning a very shotgun wedding and felt very much alone.
Jaz offered to come and help, and we sat in my almost-mother-in-law’s study, folding and stamping wedding invitations and she gave me a Bible verse.
There is now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
I’d felt like a deer in headlights, all the spotlight on me, on us, on this surprise pregnancy that shouted for all the world to hear you did something wrong!
But her quiet confidence that told me I didn’t have to feel guilty, lifted the heavy blanket of shame I’d been letting smother me.
And then she stuck around, proving her loyalty and blessing me with the sweetest of friendships.
She also introduced me to Grey’s Anatomy all those years ago, and really, what friendship could top that?!
Jaslyn drinks her tea with honey, is thoughtful, generous and has the most gorgeous little family on the planet.
And adding a baby boy to that gaggle of girls recently was very clever indeed.
(If you have a gaggle of little people you’d like me to capture, or even just one, be sure to get in touch, I would love to shoot your family too!)
Their business is coffee.
He grinds and tamps and extracts the perfect honey-coloured liquid. The milk is frothed until it’s thick and silky and he pours back and fourth until the delicate art forms on the top. It truly is the best coffee I’ve ever had. And I’m lucky enough to drink it every Sunday.
Their espresso bar is set up just beyond the doors of our church.
Music plays as a background to the grinding and the tapping and the chatting.
It’s not just the coffee with these two though.
It’s the jovial joking from behind the coffee machine, and the warm greetings.
It’s not just the knowing what type of coffee you’re ordering (flat white, double shot, no sugar thanks) but the knowing who you are, how your family is.
They love people with their coffee, and their genuine grins. And they love each other.
It’s obvious. It’s not a showy over-the-top loving that needs to be announced in a Facebook post. It’s the earthy and real everyday loving and serving that I see. The working-alongside, giving-my-best type love.
And we watched her little belly grow bit by bit, week by week as she wrote our name on pretty paper coffee cups. We saw the anticipation and the delight growing as she did.
And then he arrived and now they’re three.
And lucky me took my camera and spent a little hour chatting and capturing his three-week-old perfection, and the newness of life and the evolution of family. I reminisced with her my own squishy-newborn sleep-deprived days and the wonder and the worry of it all.
But can you see the God-peace in the photos? Because it was there. This tangible peace and awe of the miracle of family and the blessing of a baby.