October was one of the harder months this year, physically, emotionally, and mentally. We experienced life loss, vacation plans cancelled, Wayne taking his boards, unexpected health conditions, personal conflict, and exhaustion. I won’t sit here and negotiate between the good and the bad; I’ll admit it was heavy laden. I was vulnerable to the temptation of discouragement when things happened one after another. Something I was processing this month was the fact that the Lord never promises us rewards for obedience or pursuing His righteousness, He promises Himself. Even while things piled up, we are given the choice to walk through these moments with hope, because His goodness is still evident if we are willing to experience it. I’m grateful the Holy Spirit always gently led me there to that hope, even when I was tempted to choose differently or even failed to trust.
A lot of the month was a covering from our family and friends. We had a ton of help this month. With going out of town, boards and minis, our people came in to take care of our littles and make memories with them. They didn’t allow us the chance to even ask before they stepped in with extra babysitting hours, care packages, and special treats for the kids.
A really special moment I witnessed was Selah and Ethan dancing together in the middle of the kitchen. Normally, he tries to dance with her while she vehemently denies him, but this month she has shown more of an interest in dancing and music. I played his current favorite song “Honeypie” by Jawny and saw this cuteness overload (bw picture).
One afternoon, I was called by some friends who I haven’t seen in years. They were in town for about 48 hours and stopped by my house to have a socially distanced hangout in my front lawn. They even had lawn chairs and a blanket! It was the highlight of my week to be surprised by them!
Tori, the kids and I had a picnic sushi lunch date in the park to celebrate 5 years working with MP! I’m a bit late in celebrating my team this year (their anniversaries were all in Sept), but am slowly moving along with the celebrations. We remembered all of the things the Lord has done through the 5 years and how MP was the catalyst for a lot of good gifts that came after.
Molliner Photography officially had its first double booking date! Kim had a wedding in Gainesville with my brother and Wayne and I were in West Palm for another wedding. Our wedding was really sweet because Wayne used to be in youth group with the groom and the bride is my sister’s BFF. Two worlds collided!
The very next day, I got to finally photograph our 2020 engagement session giveaway winners! Jenna, from Baug-Haus, joined in as the florist and stylist for this engagement session in Ft. Lauderdale.
The weather wasn’t too gracious with us at the end, but we made it work and shot in the POURING RAIN. The couple danced around in the rain as Jenna held my film camera, my bag, and my umbrella as I shot. What a sight behind the scenes that was and what a sight inside of my camera.
After that weekend, I took a midweek solo getaway. I had extended time with the Lord (uninterrupted!), ate cheesecake in my king bed while watching The Bachelorette, laid out by the pool, had some worship/prayer time in an empty downtown plaza, got a massage and my first facial ever. It was restful for me to just take care of me.
This served Wayne because he was able to have the house to himself to study and the kids had some extended time with grandparents. I’m pretty sure the kids had an okay time…
We also had 24 mini sessions this month! Some highlights:
- I had 5 couples/families that chose to drive from out of town for Fall Minis. The sacrifice of the drive to have me photograph their families wasn’t lost on me. What a gift.
- I got to photograph a family (of 12) who had never had a professional family picture taken outside of a photo at a wedding!
- Many of our past wedding clients chose us to continue photographing their milestones and their growing families. These kids have grown up in front of my lens. We even had some surprise pregnancy announcements!
- I found new locations for both South Florida & Gainesville minis.
The first picture was the start of our Gainesville Fall minis and the last picture is the very end. WE MADE IT!
I had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday with my family this year. I actually got to celebrate with both sides. My parents and Wayne’s have become quarantine buddies, so their friendship has really blossomed this year. It was surreal to celebrate with both sets of family, but it felt like good times. Both my parents’ sides did all of the birthdays and holidays together, so this birthday was special to me. It made me so thankful for unity in family.
The very next day was my actual birthday. After having breakfast with my parents and the kids, I drove back to Gainesville. My Gville quarantine crew met me at my house for dinner in my backyard. We celebrated with the charcuterie board of my dreams, assembled by my friends! We took out my dining table and placed it under the market lights so that we could have the most magical ambiance. Chill, lo-fi music played in the background as we picked at the food and had the freedom to sit there and just BE together. It was perfect.
ps. If you’re in need of an epic charcuterie board, I know a girl who’s love language is curated spreads.
Later that week, I got to celebrate with my Emily. Though we are states away, we hung out on FaceTime for hours! We baked brownies together, caught up, and watched/discussed The Bachelorette together. Even Thomas joined in!
This month I learned that Ethan wants to be a superhero, a “batographer” (photographer), and a doctor when he grows up. We also learned that Selah is able to get from one side of the house to the other in .2 seconds, so eyes have to be glued to her at all times.
Wayne took his licensing boards at the end of this month and got a hotel to lock himself up in a cave and study. It was four years of a doctorate program crammed into one 5-hour licensing exam, so he had to be physically and emotionally be absent to prepare. This was especially harder for me this month. I just really missed him.
BUT, we ended the month with a TON of quality time. We had the most special Halloween together. Friends of ours dropped off costumes for the kids and a bag of Halloween tattoos and treats. We used those treats and put together a scavenger hunt game for Ethan since we couldn’t trick or treat. We got easter eggs and put drawings with clues inside of them. Next to each egg was a special treat that Ethan could add to his bag.
Selah was a baby shark… but the headpiece didn’t last long.
Deuteronomy 31:8 says “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” There were pockets of sustaining reminders that the Lord fulfilled His promise of Himself, which lay aside the weight of discouragement for a moment. He showed His grace in quality time with people I love, even in the midst of a pandemic. He showed His provision and covering when an emergency situation arose. He showed His rest when I was gifted extended alone time, even within the busiest month for Wayne.
His goodness does not fail, even in a harder month.