Tag Archives: love

An Open letter to the Brokenhearted

I’m sorry. Those are words that you need to hear, but you may not have heard them yet. So, I am sorry that you are hurting.

You are hurt and confused.  You thought this relationship was the end of the games, the confusion and the hurt. You’ve thought, “Given the pain I’ve been through, there can’t be more.” Yet here you are again, alone with the pieces of your fragmented heart, wondering how it could happen again. After all of the time that you spent rebuilding and learning to trust again, how are you sitting in your room, crying over someone?

It will be your first inclination to close off that wonderful heart of yours. You are thinking, “That’s it. I’m not doing this again.  I don’t ever want to hurt like this ever again.” Please don’t hide that light from the world.  Not everyone will speak lies.  Not everyone will betray you.  Not everyone will hurt you in your weakest moments.  But everyone DOES see that glittering light that shines from your soul, and they are drawn to your love and joy. Don’t let him/her steal that from you on top of everything else.

You are asking yourself, “How will I ever trust anyone again? How will I ever trust myself again?” You will.  Not today, and probably not tomorrow; but you will. How do I know? Because that’s what makes you you.  Your resilient heart, your enduring optimism, and the light that you see in every other person. You have your own beautifully unique way of reaching others. Only you can love people the way that you do. Don’t let anyone put out your light.

Don’t run away from those wonderful friends and family in your life; those people who see your worth and never capitalize on your love.  They will endure with you, encourage you, and speak truth to you. (Even when you don’t want to hear the truth).  They will listen with love and care for you in the ways that you need.

Do listen to your feelings.  Do feel. Do process with your closest people. Do trust again, it will be worth it. The right person will never let you feel like this. The right person will never let you question your worth. The right person will see you, all of your darkness and scarring, and they will still choose you.  The right person will make you feel like you are the only person in the world that they could possibly love. The right person will be the one who makes you feel alive again.

For now, let that person be you.  Love You with all that you have.  You are worth loving.  Your heart is worth protecting.  Your mind is worth knowing.  Your soul is worth celebrating.

You will wake up one morning and the ache will be a memory; you will breathe deeply into your soul and celebrate the new adventures you are about to embark on. When that day comes, I hope I can join you on that journey.

 

love ehjae

Moment

Life is full of moments.

Moments that stand still

Moments that fly by, where you soar high

Moments when you can’t see and you can’t breathe

and you begin to wonder if you’ve ceased to be

       Anything

Worth loving

——-

NO

——–

We

need

to see

that this is not who we’re meant to be

That life is full of these moments

So that we know what it means to be free

How to capture unique and intriguing ring shots

 

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about my ring shots.  To be honest, this is one of my favourite parts about shooting weddings. Every couple has a different set of rings that represent their personalities and their love for each other.

Almost all of my ring shots are taken with my AF-S Micro Nikkor 105mm 2.8 and ALWAYS in manual focus. I cannot emphasize the importance of knowing how to focus your lens manually. If you aren’t comfortable doing this, practice with random objects around your house and don’t settle for anything less than a crystal clear, crisp image.  The crispness is beautiful and when I can capture that moment when it’s in focus, my heart melts.

If you are really struggling with focusing your lens, you may need to calibrate it. To be honest, I’ve been struggling lately to find the focus points, and am going to calibrate my lens when I have a chance. Wondering what I’m talking about?? http://photographylife.com/how-to-calibrate-lenses 

A huge part of photography is engaging in the world around you to capture the essence of what is happening. I don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” way to capture ring shots, and I really don’t want you to just take up my methods, because you should find your own artistic way to express your art.

I’ll try to tell you a bit about the background behind the shots that I’ve taken and hopefully guide you towards your own ring inspiration.

How to capture unique and intriguing ring shots
Using your surroundings (Nikkor 105 mm, ISO 160 f/9 1/160)

This couple married under a big tent out in the country, and we were surrounded by a beautiful prairie landscape. It was a no-brainer to gather some of the wildflowers together. The sun is setting just behind and above this shot, creating a soft, yet bright glow.  I had to stand on a log to capture this shot.

How to capture unique and intriguing ring shots
Celebrating the couple’s heritage (ISO 1000, 50mm, f/3.5, 1/160)

The groom’s grandfather owns and rebuilt this beautiful Thunderbird, so the couple had the wonderful pleasure of riding around in it all day. The groom’s ring is actually a nut from his longboard.

How to capture unique and intriguing ring shots
Using Whatever you have around you (105mm, ISO 400, f/10, 1/125)

The couple from this wedding had their reception in a dark basement of a hotel.  We hadn’t had time to capture some ring shots while we were doing our formals outdoors, so I wasn’t sure what we were going to do.  But then I noticed the bartop. Shiny, glittery and PERFECT for a reflection shot of the ring.  I used my flash pointed upwards, off camera and remote triggered.  (There was a counter directly above for the flash to bounce back down on the ring)

How to capture unique and intriguing ring shots
Using Home Decor  (Sigma 150mm, ISO 400 f/3.8, 1/400)

This shot was taken at the bride’s home as she was getting ready. She has a beautifully decorated home, and works as an interior decorator. It seemed fitting that this gorgeous textured plate would be a perfect background for her even more gorgeous ring. This shot was taken in natural light, with the window to the right of the photo. This is one of the shots that took me a painstaking amount of time to capture, because of the amount of light being reflected, it was difficult to focus on the ring.

A couple of tips:

1) Close up that Aperture.
Even though the shots are macro, a smaller aperture, or a deeper depth of field is good to aim for when you are using a macro lens. Don’t worry, you’ll still capture that nice bokeh effect.   If the lens is wide open, you will have a harder time focusing on all of the intricate details of the rings.

 

2) Do anything for the shot 
Don’t care about what you look like while you are taking the photos. Sometimes we worry about what it’s going to look like while we lie on the floor, or underneath a tree. DON’T. If you are inspired, do it. Your bride will thank you for it.

3)Try something new
Inspiration can come in super weird forms. Once while I was capturing some detail shots, I noticed a cool soap dish in the bathroom.  Don’t stop yourself because something seems unconventional. (But if you are going to take ring shots in the bathroom, don’t forget to plug all the drains. That could be a really bad day otherwise)

Have any thoughts? Additional tips? Questions? I’d love to hear from you.

Let the wedding bells “ring!” 🙂

love ehjae

Stop Waiting.

As a wedding photographer, I encounter a lot of well-intentioned happy people in love, and several unhappily single people. As a result, a common thread surfaces. My singleness.

There are so many blog posts are articles written by married people about how important it is to wait and cherish your single years. As a single person reading those, they can be inspiring– but the underlying message STILL seems to be that single people should be happy being single so that they can be happy being married. I just wanted to write a “quick” note to all of my single friends.

What about being content in your singleness for that sake alone? Not every one gets married, and we need to start removing the perspective that marriage is the ultimate goal in life.  Yes.We’re made for relationships; we thrive together. Why is there this obsession with a romantic relationship being the ultimate goal? When did marriage become THE fulfilling relationship to pursue? I have so many deep and fulfilling friendships in my life. I would say that if I was to enter into a relationship, that those friendships would be the reason any romantic relationship could thrive or survive.

I’ve gotten to a place in my life and in my heart where God has captivated me so entirely that THIS relationship is the one that I want. I don’t want to pursue a romantic relationship unless I can see how it would be a part of what is already happening in my life in regards to the journey that I’m on with Jesus and I would want that guy to feel the same way. As a result of that, I am SO happy with loving myself, and getting to know myself more and more each day. I love pursuing growth and understanding in myself.   It’s almost like I’m dating me!

Oh fellow single friends, my hope and prayer for you is that you could discover this in your life.  Be so content, confident in who you are and happy with yourself that nothing can sway you. There is nothing more satisfying than to pursue life fully, embracing what is NOW and enjoying life alone. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-relationships. I have an open heart and open hands to what the future holds, but my life is already so rich in love and joy as a single woman.  Other people are much more dismayed about my marital status than I am.When I use the phrase “If I ever get married” a gasp can be heard, and I’m assured, “Don’t worry,  you’ll get married someday.” I’m not worried. If I end up married, I end up married. If I end up single all my days, I end up not married.. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “How are YOU single?” If I wanted to be in a relationship for the sake of having a relationship, I could. That’s not the point of life though.

IF I ever marry, I will be able to say without a doubt that the guy I end up with was someone so incredible, so perfect for me, that his life was so aligned with the direction I was headed that I was willing to give up my singleness for him.  Because, YES, being single IS THAT AWESOME.  Sure, that sounds pretty crazy. Maybe even selfish.  Isn’t it more selfish to sit around waiting for some unknown, desperately putting everything on hold, and not doing something purposeful with our lives? Let’s start being more protective of our hearts and our lives. Don’t forget that you ARE worth loving, you are loved.  I’m so tired of this whole “True Love Waits” idea. You’re not waiting. A true, perfect, selfless love has already come for you.

 

 

One step at a time

I’ve discovered a peace in my life lately that has settled into my soul.

Unshakeable, unbreakable, yet fragile and vulnerable. That’s how I feel.

I can look back on my life and see moment after moment of brokenness, but moment after moment after moment of the light breaking into that dark brokenness. I want to be real. I want to be genuine. I want people to know that they are loved; That I love them; That the love that pours out of me is an outpouring of the love I’ve been given.

How much do I share from my heart? How much of my soul do I bare? Somedays, the darkness is unbearable and all I can do is cry out one single word. “Jesus!” He just knows. I know that some of you who may read this don’t share my beliefs. I don’t care, because I’ll love you just the same. But if I could only express the comfort in knowing in those dark, dark moments that He knows and loves me despite my shortcomings.. Oh.. if I could only share that with the world.

the change in my life

Over the past couple of years, my life has consisted of so much change. Since I graduated from high school, I’ve moved 9 times. My heart has gone on more rollercoasters than I would care to admit. I’ve gone to school, then not gone to school, then back to school more times than I want to even figure out.  These are all things I’ve chosen to pursue.

It’s taken me THIS long to realize that I’ve had the wrong perspective. I’ve been praying about everything the wrong way.

Every time something changed, every time my heart broke and the ground fell out from underneath me, I clung to this:

I trusted that God had a plan.

I prayed for my circumstances to change and come into alignment with that plan; That something crazy would happen so that I would know with absolute certainty what the future held.

But that’s not really what needed to change. My Heart needed to change.

I’m not saying that it’s bad to pray for a change in circumstances, but I don’t want that to be the first priority. Now, I’m trying to pray for my heart to come into alignment with His regardless of my circumstances.  Why not declare the things that are known to be true over the uncertainties that give me anxiety? No matter how I feel, even if the numbness has overtaken me, I will declare His truth.

Life is uncertain and full of change, I don’t know what’s next.

He is unchanging, forever the same and one thing that I do know is that He is good.

I stumbled upon this song today accidentally, but it totally expressed what I’ve been feeling in my heart. This song is a declaration of the truths that God has been revealing to me lately. I’m overwhelmed with the ways that He continues to remind me every day about how much He knows my heart and cares about me.

His light shines and my heart glows.

STUPID

I’ve cried after every single one of the tests I’ve written this year in school so far.

(Yes. I am a sensitive person. Perhaps overly sensitive.)

After every one of these exams, the greatest lie that I’ve had to battle is this one:

“I AM STUPID.”

Of course to which, all of my lovely friends (when I’ve expressed this struggle) have lovingly responded, “You’re not stupid.”  But of course, I don’t believe that. It’s because I’ve stubbornly chosen to dictate my worth through these numbers

What I’m realizing is that it comes down to this silly fact that in our society, we base our identities on numbers.

Weight

Calories

Facebook friends/likes

How much money we make

How many relationships we have or haven’t had

How much square footage in our houses

How old we are

How many countries we’ve visited

GRADES

There are so many other numbers that we use to dictate our worth.

WHY do we do that?!

I’ve chosen to believe that all there is to me is what you see,

what can be measured by a one or a three, but really- in reality

if my worth was completely based on something created,

then I am flawed like a Picasso

out of key like an old piano

swept

     aside

But what if my worth was based on a perfect love? A perfect creator?

Someone who sees me, who loves me, and adores me and tells me my purpose is for something greater?

What if I saw myself the way that He sees me?

Then the numbers would fall away

I would see the beauty and  the design of my brokenness,

masterpiece created by a Master Artist

I could hear that perfect pitch, my verse in harmony

  just a small piece of the Great Symphony

Swept

up

by the gust of great love,
a fierce wind that shatters the prison of numbers

I could be free, if I would only believe that He is the only number that matters. He’s the ONE who cares for me. He’s the ONE who created me.  He’s the ONE who died for me.

I am not stupid. I am not dumb. I am blessed to go to school, and to learn, but more than that: I am blessed to be known, loved and called worthy by a perfect Creator who loves with His perfect, unconditional love.

Renovations on a dungeon.

Down in the dumps.
Feeling blue.
Not quite myself.

One of my favourite characters puts it quite eloquently as being in the “depths of despair.” (Thanks Anne Shirley)

One of the things that has always frustrated me in my life are those moments when the darkness creeps in.

The joy that I so easily embraced suddenly becomes contaminated by that tar-like void that seems to contaminate and seep so quickly that suddenly I am suffocating in a quicksand pit of despair, loneliness and depression.

“Why?”  I always ask myself.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.  Yet, sometimes I do, but I don’t know know how to change my behaviour.  Instead, I allow the lies and shame to seep in further and isolate myself from people who love me, who can and want to pull me out of the pit.

A couple of dear friends have been challenging me by being transparent and sharing about their struggles.  How often do I admit out loud that I don’t know the answers, that I am struggling to even think about picking up my Bible, and *gasp*, sometimes I just don’t want to go to church. Yet at the back of my mind, that truthful voice is telling me that this has been where I discovered my joy, love, freedom, family, salvation, hope, truth, grace and forgiveness for even the darkest, most shameful, disgraceful moments in my life.

I’ve been challenged and humbled by my own words.  I’ve often said that we are weakest and most vulnerable when we are isolated from each other. We were made for community, to grow together, to love together and even to be weak together, which actually makes us stronger. Yet, in the past couple of weeks, a true hypocrite, I have been isolating myself and avoiding the people that I need the most.

More of my hypocrisy: It would be so easy for me to spend an hour looking and thinking up words of wisdom and thinking of spiritual ways to guide and help my fellow-downers through this journey. I would come up with an eloquent way to express how I had entered into and then defeated the darkness that I had supposedly now conquered.
I haven’t conquered it.  I won’t.  Not on my own. I’m not the one who will defeat it.  Scratch that.. I’m not the one who HAS defeated it.

This post is not about my great thoughts or revelations on the Bible. This is about my weaknesses and being transparent.

I am still struggling.

So once again, challenged and humbled, I am writing to expose the darkness that has been overwhelming me and to ask for help.  I can’t do it on my own.  I’ve been trying to do it that way for a long time.  But it’s so clear that that’s not the way to do it.

Yet, in the midst of this pit of despair, there has been a peep hole of piercing light.  It never fades, and the warmth that emanates from it is almost delightfully painful in comparison to the emotionless, cold, dark corner of the dungeon that I have chosen for myself.

God has never left my side, and I know that he is the reason for my hope and the peace that has never left my heart amidst all of the craziness that has happened in my entire life.

The beautiful thing is the simplicity of this truth and revelation that first broke through the wall around my heart( and it continues to do so every day) :

It is the moments like these, when we are shamed, naked, starving and covered in our own filth, that Jesus says, “Yes, I love you. I choose you.”

And that is how my God turns my dungeon into a palace.

 

Greetings from Uganda!

Greetings from Uganda! We have had power for a bit today, so I’m hoping that it will last until I’m done filling you all in on some of the craziness out here. First off, GOD IS GOOD. No one has gotten sick and despite being tired and a bit overwhelmed by everything that we have been doing and seeing, we are all doing really well. I didn’t realize how incredibly blessed I was to be in this beautiful country with these 9 other people. In the course of a couple of days, I have grown to love them and trust them with my life. I am really sad to even think about the fact that I will not be with them for much longer.. so I’m just not going to think about that. I wish I could upload some photos, our wonderful roommate who was already here is allowing me to borrow her laptop, so I obviously don’t have any photos on here for you. Shannon and I are sharing a room with this girl, her name is Christine.

There is so much joy in this house. We have conquered some pretty intense things together and legitimately seen the power of God at work. It’s funny. I was very curious about why I felt so strongly about coming to Africa, since I never really thought that I had a heart for this place, but I’m beginning to think that I see why I’m here. I have fallen in love with this country and its people. There is one girl in particular who captured my heart from the beginning. She has the most beautiful braids with green beads at the ends. Her name is Peace. The first time I saw her, she walked right up to me and took my hand. She’s a very quiet little girl, but she just looked up at me and smiled. We continued to have a mutual agreement that we liked each other and sometimes we would just stand holding hands and she would look up at me and I would look down at her and we would just smile and sometimes even giggle at each other. I was captivated by her smile and her joy, but I also began to notice that she favours her right hand and has a limp. One day Jimmy, our contact, came up and showed me her burns. They cover her upper thighs and stomach and back. He told me that she had been playing with another kid who had matches. He accidentally lit her clothes on fire and since they don’t have fire education out here, she didn’t know “stop, drop and roll”. Instead, she walked all the way home to get help. By the time she arrived at home, her clothes had melted into her skin. She spent 4 months in the hospital and has only recently been released. Her story blew me away because no one would be able to tell that this girl still lives in excruciating pain. She doesn’t complain. She has the best attitude and tries to be involved in everything with the other children. I was blown away by the truth in her name. She is full of Peace. She is so incredibly beautiful and I love her to the brim. (probably overflowing, to be honest)

We were able to deliver lights today.  It’s so incredible to see what a difference these lights make for families.  Today one of the families was living in a cement building with no windows. The women are sick with diabetes and cancer and are unable to gather together the money to buy kerosene, despite its terrible affect on their health.  We turned on the light that we gave them and the entire room just lit up and they were so excited.  The main mother in the home actually gave a couple fist pumps.  I feels to blessed to see how these lights are changing people’s lives.  Like how unworthy am I to be here and get to see this first hand? I am so thankful.  So extremely grateful.  Thank you to everyone who helped me get here both by supporting me financially and by praying for us.  We have NEEDED those prayers more than I can say.

I don’t know what else to share. There is just so much to say. There are so many things to ponder and reflect upon, and there are so many feelings I have yet to express or even to be realized. I am so glad that I am here. I want you all to know that we are safe and thriving over here. Things are amazing, and we are all incredibly blown away by the hospitality, love and blessings that we experience daily out here.

I felt like I should try memorizing Ephesians while on this trip, so I thought it very fitting to end this with a verse that I memorized today.

“For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared us in advance to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Love you all!

Affoyo 🙂

ps. they gave us African names and I thought I should share mine with you. They named me Lakeesha which means “full of mercy and kindness”….. I know what you’re all thinking. It’s pretty awesome, eh?