Isn’t it funny how we think we’re the ones writing our own stories. It’s our hands that guide the pen, or our fingers that type the words on the pages of our life.  We love to think we’re the ones in control, but then we flip the page and what’s written was nothing we as the “authors” had planned on writing.  And perhaps we do attempt to draw out a “rough draft”, but ultimately there’s an Editor who has the final say in how the story will go.  This Editor develops the plot and usually throws in a twist or two.  I’d say a few times we, as the author’s of our story, have disagreed with changes made to our writing. But as we all learned in English class, every good story has to have a conflict…and a resolution.

The story of Blake and I was definitely a twist thrown into the book of my life.  The first time I ran into him since high school, I’d been living in the mountains of Ocoee, Tennessee and loving every minute of it.  I had come home for my birthday and was planning on hog wrestling with my out-of-town friends who didn’t really believe that was a thing. (I proved them wrong). Anyway Doctor Kennedy, who is a good friend of my family’s and the local vet at Hilltop Veterinary Clinic, had told me to come over and grab some leftover salmon he’d made that he wanted me to try. Of course, I am not one to turn down food so I hopped in my little Celica and booked it over to the clinic. As I was getting out of my car a black truck pulled up beside me and from that stepped two well muscled man-legs in a pair of red wing boots who happened to belong to a very handsome and smiling Blake Voges.  My heart-rate picked up a little bit. Immediately I felt guilty because I happened to have a boyfriend at that time. It didn’t, however, keep me from having a short conversation with Blake.  He told me his dog Fargus had broken his leg back in July and needed to get the pin taken out.  I told him I was living in Tennessee and had come in for the weekend.  I invited him to come watch the hog wrestling match. He invited me to come out on the river. And then we went our separate ways.

I went home and spilled everything to my mom.  I felt so guilty. Why was I flirting with this man when I had a perfectly nice guy back in Tennessee?  She told me perhaps I needed to think about that.  A month went by.  Then two.  I came home over Thanksgiving break and ran into Blake again.  This time we talked for a long time.  And this time I realized I needed to break up with the guy I was seeing.  Not an easy decision to make. I had to pack up my whole life (which I LOVED) in Tennessee and move back home and in with my parents.  (The Editor of my story had definitely decided to throw in a curveball.)  However, Blake and I started hanging out, going on runs together, then a date or two, and before I knew it…I coudn’t imagine the story of my life without Blake in it as one of the main characters.

Where before it was MY story leading me from one adventure to the next, now it was Blake and I, and with each turn of the page something crazy and exciting and new was taking place and I couldn’t wait to see what the next chapter would hold for us.  We went from kayaking in the snow to rock climbing Red River Gorge to completing a Tough Mudder to booking a four week trip  to Costa Rica.

The day he proposed we were planning on going to the island and camping.  It was August 28th, a Wednesday and we didn’t expect anyone to be there.  However, when we pulled the boat to the island’s shore there were three other boats there already.  I was clueless as to what Blake had up his sleeve so to me it wasn’t a big deal.  I set my chair in the sand and then proceeded to get out my book and pour myself a glass of wine.  Two of the boats took off leaving one left.  Blake told me he knew the owners and walked over to talk to them for a bit.  I sat soaking up the sun and enjoying the breeze.  After a while Blake came back and I saw that the other boat was taking off.  Blake said they had to get home because they were working the next day.  What I didn’t realize was that he told them he was going to propose and so they took off. (Sneaky man).  Then he told me he was going to go watch the sunset and took off across the island. 

A photo from my chair.

Blake and Fargus getting ready to watch the sunset.

I strolled over to join him.  I started to tell him what a perfect evening it was. How I wanted to remember it forever because the weather was perfect, the sunset was perfect, and I never wanted to forget it.  He laughed and said, “Really? You never want to forget this evening?” And I said, “No. It’s a great day.”  He said, “Allison, do you know how much I love you?” I laughed. I said, “A lot?”  And that’s when it happened. He dropped down on one knee.

To be honest, I thought he was messing with me at first. That is, until I saw the ring. How could I have missed it?

I still look at my hand at least 50 times a day because I can hardly believe it’s real.

I didn’t sleep at all that night. I turned the light on in the cuddy of the boat and and stared at it until Blake made me turn it off because he was worried I would run the battery down.

Now it’s our story we’re writing together.  The last few chapters have been pretty great. I can’t wait to see what the next pages and chapters hold for us.  Every good story has a little adventure, a conflict or two, and definitely some romance.

But to think . . .

Our story began at a little place called Hilltop.

*Thank you Emily Higuchi for photographing these amazing images of Blake and I.

 

 

What happened??? One minute it’s 98 degrees and I’m on the river playing volleyball and the next thing I know, I wake up to snow and 10 measly degrees!  Wow. Talk about time flying. Just in case you were wondering, I have been keeping pretty busy with my photo work. Kevin and Brittany’s wedding took place over Labor Day weekend.  It may have been a few months ago, but I think it would be a shame not to post them.

The cuteness!

These girls…CLASSIC.

Of course, I have to give a shoutout to Cori Meunier of Two Become One Events for coordinating the wedding and keeping everybody on track.  Such a relief!

…and then comes the party…

The boys just couldn’t keep up.

Another great day for the books.

 

You know, I absolutely love photographing weddings.  It’s exciting and fun and you have to be on top of your game 100% of the time.  But . . . there’s also something special about the Senior Portrait Session that I just can’t get enough of.

Maybe it’s the energy they bring to the shoot, or the excitement written all over their faces, “It’s finally my turn!”

I remember the feeling.  The nervousness and excitement about where my life was going to take me after graduation.  Where did I want to go?  What did I want to do?  Who did I want to be?


There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell the Senior me . . .

. . . Don’t be afraid to go out on your own and stop worrying what everybody thinks.

 Enjoy your single life while you can; you’ll find the one you’re searching for, so just relax and have fun.

You’re going to make some HUGE mistakes; keep your chin up and learn from them.

Don’t choose a career because you feel it’s what society deems acceptable.  Do what makes you happy and find a way to make it work.

You are so much stronger than you ever believed . . . so have faith in yourself.

But let’s be honest here. If it was possible for me to go back and have a chat with my Senior self, would the “Senior” me have listened?  Probably not. These are lessons we have to learn by ourselves, through our own experiences.  So as I photograph these Seniors and wonder what their future’s hold, I ask them about where they plan on going to college or what they want to do after they graduate. Then I smile to myself because I know ten years down the road they’ll look back at these photos and think to themselves, “If only I could go back in time and tell myself then, all that I know now.”

I’m looking forward to seeing what your future holds Meranda!

 

Did you know the meaning of the peacock feather is symbolic?

For many cultures it represents renewal and immortality.

That’s kind of how I think love is supposed to be; constantly changing and renewing itself.  Becoming something you didn’t realize it could be and surprising you all of the time.

I’m not sure if Aundrea and Eric were aware of this symbolism or not, but I thought it was the perfect theme for an unforgettable wedding.

(Gotta love reflections.)

(There was a breeze.) ;)

HOORAY FOR THE NEW MR. & MRS. SCHAEFFER!!!

 May your love be ever renewing.

Wanna know why I love my job so much?

It isn’t the hours spent editing images in front of my computer. . .

. . . it isn’t the fame and fortune that so easily follows a career path as that of a photographer. ;) . . .

. . . it isn’t even the freedom to be as creative as I want.

The best part?

The people I meet and places I go along the way.

Congrats Leigh Ann & Ryan!

Dear Papa,

I never knew 6 years could go by so fast.  Know what else I never knew? Six years later I would still be able to remember your laugh and the sparkle in your blue eyes that stayed even when the chemo did its best to smother it out.  Six whole years and I feel like every time I walk into your house I’ll hear you laughing with Mama in the kitchen. That speaks of the kind of man you were; when I can hear your laugh in my mind like I just saw you yesterday.

So many things have happened since you left, I don’t even know where to start. I’ve traveled to Europe again and stayed in Germany with “Schwinny” and his family.  (You made an impact on Sven too you know.  He took it pretty hard when he found out you were no longer with us.)  Austin married an amazing and wonderful woman named Sarah. You would have loved her. (She can bake almost as well as Mama). Brooke is pregnant again, but this time she’s having a girl to help even out the playing field of their family. ;) Last week I went on a trip to Acworth, GA with your sister to visit Bob and Julie. We talked about the trip we all took together to the Gulf when I was a kid. You and Mama and her and Gus and Mom and Dad. I was so young, but I remember the oranges on the trees and you telling me I needed to go outside and play so I could “get brown”.

I met somebody that I think you would have really enjoyed spending time with.  He has a sense of humor that reminds me so much of you sometimes. Nothing ever gets him down. I wish  you two could have met. Sometimes I wonder if maybe you went to one of Evan’s games or perhaps you were both at the gas station or something and you crossed paths and he has no idea. It’s a small town. It’s more reassuring to think that the two of you really had met at one point in time even if you don’t remember it, because you are one of the most important people I’ve ever had in my life and I can’t really stand the thought that you two never met.  We drove past the cemetery on our motorcycle the other day. (I’m sure you aren’t too thrilled about that, but I promise we wear our helmets and play it safe.)  Anyway, I had him stop.  I brushed the grass clippings off of your stone. (I’m sure nobody else notices that type of thing, but Blake’s taught me a thing or two about proper cemetery mowing etiquette.) ;) He told me he was sorry he never got a chance to meet you and then asked if I thought the two of you would have gotten along. I could just see it in my head – you and him trading stories and me listening to you guys and just laughing the whole time. You would have loved him.  Plus, he gives Mama a run for her money in euchre.  That’s saying something.

You’re still with us Papa.  Every Christmas, every Hunter Reunion, every family birthday, every Sunday lunch it’s like you were just there and left for a second or walked into the other room.  If only you really were and any second you’d come around the corner and see me and call out, “Alli girl!”  But as Ginny put it, “I guess we will always want one more week, one more day…”

Do you remember my best friend Lorin? We went to high school together and then roomed together at WKU. When we found out she had a malignant melanoma and she had to leave for a semester, she once told me that you and her sometimes did your chemo together. I’m sure you’d be happy to know that she’s now a 6 year survivor.  Her chances of getting cancer again are as likely as me getting it, or anyone else for that matter.  Why two of the most important people in my life would get cancer at the same time, I’ll never know. But I can say one thing for certain, it’s made the time that I do get to spend with her and the time I did spend with you all that more precious.

I miss you Papa. Plain and simple. So does Mama. So does the rest of the family. Were you able to have a Hunter reunion in Heaven the same time we had ours down here? I know there have been a few more members of our family who’ve joined you in the past few years. I hope you all are able to get together and reminisce like we still do.

If by some chance you get an internet connection in Heaven, make sure you subscribe to my blog. Or at least start following us on facebook.  Life is pretty great down here.  I know you would love to still be here celebrating it with us, but I promise to try to keep moving forward with a positive outlook the way you taught me.  Tonight I’ll be toasting you with a small scoop of neapolitan ice cream. Maybe if you’re listening really hard, you’ll be able to hear me clinking my spoon against the bowl. There are some legacies that this family will pass down for generations. ;)

Love you with all my heart.

~Allison

http://www.christianmemorials.com/tributes/harold-hunter/

Have you ever wondered what chain of events bring two people together in the first place? Right now as I’m writing this I’m listening to the thunder outside and watching lightning streak across the sky.

I think that’s sometimes how love goes.  Two separate bodies, just slowly rolling along with their lives, and then all of a sudden some force pulls them together and WHAM!!! Their lives collide and create a friction strong enough to produce an electric current.

I could feel the electricity between Morgan and Nicholas from the moment I met them for their engagement shoot.  I think everyone in the bridal party the day of their wedding could feel it too. . .

I think Mother Nature felt it in the air too, because she let loose a light shower that day for good luck. (Mother Nature’s tears of joy?)

Mother Nature wasn’t the only mama tearing up that day. . .

The best part?  The chain of events leading up to Morgan and Nick’s big day was just the beginning.  I’m excited to say that their baby boy, Noah Jaxson Yearby, was born July 25th.  How wonderful is that?!

And it all started with just a little spark.

A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for. -Grace Hopper

Ok. I know. We’ve all been told there are plenty of fish in the sea . . . or lake . . . or pond . . . or the little creek down the road and across the field if you know where to look.  The problem is there are SOOOO many different types of fish, how do we know which one to choose???  There are fish that like to lay low and just chill on their side of the pond, occasionally munching on algae or amoebas or whatever.  There are flashy fish who swim about flaunting their colorful fins while the other fish stare and gaze longingly.  (Or, depending on the fish, look on ravenously and devour said flashy fish whole).  There are the scum suckers who live on the bottom of these bodies of water and feed off of themselves. (Don’t lie, we’ve all dated one or two.) There’s one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. We get it. There are a lot of fish.  It’s so overwhelming! But every once in a while we find the perfect fish for us in the entire school.

I know it’s probably a little cliche for me to start my blog like this, ESPECIALLY since Kevin has sponsors who actually pay him to fish; but I sat down at my computer and my fingers took control.  However, there is no denying that Brittany is the greatest catch of his life.

And of course, he’s hers.

(I wonder what kind of bait they each cast?)

One thing I know for sure . . .

They both know how to set the hook.

 

 

 

So here’s what happened. This past December my friend Kala approached me about doing a photoshoot along with her brother and sister as a Christmas surprise for their parents. I thought it was a grand idea. I mean, they’re a ridiculously good looking trio. Plus they included their adopted, furry-faced family member as well . . . LOVE IT!


The thing is, I was never able to post their photos on my blog because I didn’t want to ruin the surprise. Then after Christmas I left the country and once I got back, life got a little crazy and . . . well. . . here we are. So I know this shoot took place a few months back but I HAD to share the photos. They turned out too good to keep them all to myself.

(Needless to say, we had a lot of fun.)

The chemistry they have was so easy to capture.

I loved working with you all! Hope to see you guys again soon.

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