A Seersucker State of Mind

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8/8/16

Christian Creative: Maggie Mills


Introducing to you the beautiful creative behind Maggie Mills Photography. You can see her passion behind her words and the images she produces. I am so excited for you to read a little more about Maggie today.

Tell me who are you? 

I’m Maggie, a Charlotte-based Wedding & Portrait Photographer! I graduated from App State with a degree in Commercial Photography & Spanish, and am now living in Charlotte building my business in the new Charlotte market! I am also working as a freelance commercial photo assistant during the week. I am originally from Winston-Salem, but spent 2 years in Mexico as a missionary with the Presbyterian Church to assist in the construction of a medical clinic for the indigenous people of the area. 

 I hate these kinds of questions but tell me three quirky or weird facts about yourself. 

I have seen FRIENDS an insane amount of times (it’s actually playing the background right now), I totally freak out when I see a puppy because my heart cannot handle that much cuteness all at once, and I drink an insane amount of La Croix in a day. 

When did you realize you had a passion for photography?

My parents always told me to love what you do and do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life! I found photography through a whim, actually through myspace (eek awkward middle school angst), but was drawn to capturing the world around me in a new and exciting way. I started with nature photography and really struggled with the idea of portrait photography because I thought it was like the awkward yearbook photos at school. I didn’t understand the power that was in connecting with someone and capturing them through a photograph. Once I figured that out and was able to find a way to do good through my photography was when I really felt like I had found it. I was desperate to find a bigger connection to my work because of my love for service and I wanted my photography to have a bigger impact beyond just taking a pretty picture. 

Favorite trip or location visited? 

My favorite place in the world is a city in Mexico called San Cristobal de las Casas. It is about 2 hours from where we lived in Mexico, and while it is not the actual capital of the state of Chiapas, it is the cultural capital for the state. There are many indigenous groups that surround the city and they all reconvene there. It has a beautiful colonial style with narrow streets and cobblestone everywhere. It is absolutely beautiful and I love the richness of the culture and the people that make the city so unique. 

As a Christian Creative, how can you worship God through your photography? 

I love this question! I think there is a huge problem in our society with people loving themselves for who they truly are and for who God has created them to be. Societal standards of beauty have completely distracted us from our own inner beauty that is unique, powerful, and incredibly special. My hope is that through my photography I can help people see and love themselves more clearly and deeply. It is so important to allow yourself to fully open up to your photographer so that they can see and capture your true self. So that when things get hard and you begin to lose yourself in the craziness of it, all you can look back to the print on your wall and remember that on that day you felt beautiful, powerful, capable, and most importantly, like your true self! And maybe you don’t feel like that today, but on that day you did. So for her you can try. It is a small change but overtime it can change how we view and love ourselves more powerfully. 

And not just through individual portrait sessions, but also capturing the love between a couple is so important because it is a physical representation of you feel. The love in someone’s eyes is such a powerful thing that sometimes I’ve had to stop in the middle of a shoot just because I was so overwhelmed by what I was seeing. To show people the love and joy that they radiate can do incredible things for a couple in bringing them closer together and reminding them of the core of it all: love. Similarly that can serve as a reminder to them when things ultimately get rocky, that their love is bright and strong. 

My hope is that my photography can serve as reminder of what is good and true in people’s lives, and I believe that God has given me this incredible opportunity to serve people and Him through my work. He has created these things to be celebrated and cherished, and I believe He has called me to capture the beauty of the life He has so graciously given to us. 

What photo session has been your favorite so far? 

Oh wow, that’s a tough one! Interestingly enough, it hasn’t been with a couple (even though couples are my FAVORITE!) and not even in natural light. It was a shoot I did with my sister while I was in school in a studio class. Our midterm was to photograph a person in the studio using what we had learned about studio lighting. Pretty simple. So I chose to photograph my sister’s body with dramatic low-key lighting to accentuate the natural landscape of the human body. It had always been something that fascinated me. But what was so incredible about this shoot wasn’t the images themselves, even though I love them! The power that lies in the these images is the story behind them and the girl who I was photographing. 


I chose to photograph my sister’s body as art. My sister who is in recovery from an eating disorder. Her body that she has taken through hell and high water desperately trying to love and accept herself for who she is. The images I was able to produce for her are an incredible symbol of her journey of self-love and acceptance. It was an experience I will surely never forget, and one that has shaped my own views of the power of photography for those who struggle with their own acceptance. 



 What advice would you tell your 16 year old self? 

To be patient. To love. To be painfully honest with yourself. To trust the process and put in the work. It will be SO worth it, I promise. 

If you had a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would it be to? 

Back to Spain where I traveled abroad and to take my boyfriend with me for a trip around Europe. 

What has God been teaching you lately?

To trust Him and His plans for me. This has been a time of transition and discernment for me as I’m figuring out my next steps. I took a chance that was really scary but put my trust in God, and man has He delivered! It has been a quite an adventure so far and I’m so excited to see what’s next! 

What is your regular order at your local coffee shop? 

Iced Vanilla Latte with soy milk

If you could photography ANYONE and I mean anyone, who would you photograph?

Eeeek, I don’t know! Is it bad that I don’t have an answer for this?! I think just the most in love people I could find! In love people are my favorite because they are just so stinking happy and it always makes for the best images! 

What is your favorite Bible verse? 

Isaiah 43:1-7. It serves as an incredible reminder that we are created by a powerful God that loves us beyond measure. We are his beloved. Not to fear because we are his. Wow! 

Find Maggie's work on her blog as well as Instagram. Give her a like on Facebook too!

Thanks for reading today's Christian Creative.

8/3/16

Christian Creative: Hannah Everly



Okay, this girl that I am about to introduce to you is a true gift. She is such a light and a true joy. At a young age, she was able to gain success. Let's not even mention how cute of a human being she is. Oops, just did! Anyways, today, we are talking to the ever so sweet, Hannah Everly.

·       
Okay, let's get started, Hannah! Shoot me three quirky thinks about yourself! Go!

  1. One time I entered a photo/dramatic write up of my cat and I in a “cutest couple” contest as a joke and the lady actually put it in the newspaper as one of the entries alongside all the normal couples. I’m probably going to frame it and hang it in the studio somewhere. Proudest moment of my life. 2. I drink a milkshake every day instead of coffee. #adulting 3. One time I went out through my garage to get something from my car and turned to go back in and it was locked. Not even kidding… I sat down on the gravel and sobbed for 30 minutes despite the fact that literally every single member of my family was home if I had just walked up to the front door. When you’re in a life or death situation you just aren’t thinking straight. My family will NEVER let me live that down. Also one time I shaved off my eyebrow. But anyways…



When you first opened your business, what was your vision?

·         When I first opened my shop I was 14 and I honestly was just hoping to make about $30 month, which was what I used to get as my allowance. Lofty goals, ha ha! Looking back I’m really glad I didn’t start out knowing that it was exactly what I wanted to do because I think I would have put a lot of pressure on myself and missed out on the fun of the journey! Even though I know now that it’s what I want my career to be and have certain goals and hopes for the future, I try not to spend *too* much time looking forward, and enjoy where I am right now! Hopefully one day I’ll have my own storefronts and more employees and such, but then I’ll never be able to go back to where I am right *now*. I LOVE having a small enough business to where I get to personally interact with all of my customers and followers and I don’t want to take any of that for granted! So I think it’s awesome and important to dream big, but always live in the present and enjoy every second of it!

What have been some obstacles that you have had to overcome?

·         Probably the hardest thing was just that I had NO idea what I was doing!!! I didn’t have the slightest idea how to run a business or be taken seriously, and I really didn’t have anyone to ask at the time. The best part of being an entrepreneur is that no one tells you what to do…. And the worst part is that no one tells you what to do. It was a very “trial and error” experience and I still cringe thinking about some of the mistakes and bad decisions I made in the beginning, but that’s how you learn! No one can do everything perfectly so you’re going to make mistakes. You just have to figure out how to grow from them and move one!

What has been your favorite skirt that you have designed?



·         My FAVORITE skirt I’ve ever made isn’t in my etsy shop yet, but I’m hoping to have it in there someday soon! It’s yellow gingham with a trumpet skirt so it’s super spinny, which is the most important part. ;) I haven’t perfected my pattern for it yet or figured out how to make it for all different body types yet, but I can’t wait till it’s available! My favorite one I have in the shop is probably black and white polka dot one because it looks good in the summer with a hot pink top and in the winter with colored tights. A win-win!

You are such a young entrepreneur? What do you have to say to all of the other young entrepreneurs?

·         Don’t be discouraged by your age! Use it to your advantage! There are lots of amazing entrepreneurs out there… but there aren’t very many *young* entrepreneurs. You’re getting a huge head start if you already know what you want to do and you’re taking strides to make it happen! Also don’t ever feel pressured to do something you don’t love. Not very many people know this but Hannah Everly wasn’t actually my first small business endeavor. I was on the brink of starting a different business that my parents had spent a lot of money and I had spent a lot of time on, but one day I realized I hated it. It didn’t bring me any joy and I wasn’t excited about it at all. My parents were awesome and didn’t pressure me at all or make me feel guilty for not going ahead with it. My dad always told me “Find something you love to do and find a way to make money at it… and you’ll never work a day of your life.”

What has God really been revealing and teaching to you lately?

·         Hmmm… right now the thing that I’ve been meditating on is the idea of serving others. One of my favorite verses at the moment (I actually have it written on my hand) is Matthew 20:28, “just as the Son of Man did not come to *be* served, but to serve.” I love having it as a constant reminder that even if someone does me wrong or hurts me, that’s not what matters. I’m here to point others to Christ and love and serve them, even if that comes at my expense! I’ve also been learning a lot about trusting in Christ. Trusting that He will work all things together for good and learning to trust in His timing.

If you could style any person in your skirts, who would it be?

·         TAYLOR SWIFT!!!! Lol but really tho…… I also have a girl crush on Blake Lively, Zooey Deschanel, and Sadie Robertson!

What is a Bible verse that you live by?

·         Ah this is always such hard question because I can’t ever pick just ONE! One that encourages me often is John8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Dang what an uplifting verse, am I right?!?!?! Anytime you’re feeling down and discouraged just remember that I Christ you walk in LIGHT where no darkness can reach you! 

I had so much fun interviewing Hannah! Follow her on Instagram and check out her shop!

7/24/16

Focus on the I AM | Redeemed Study



I am re-studying Exodus. It blows my mind at I am re-studying Exodus. It blows my mind at how once you re-read something, you realize you missed so much, or you begin to connect the dots much faster. I LOVE Exodus. It truly illustrates how God's beautiful plan and trust worthy promises always follow through. 

Today is day four of Kristin Schmucker Redeemed Study. We study here how God spoke to Moses. While Moses was tending his flock, the Angel of the Lord appeared through a burning bush to him. Let's step back a few steps. Moses was a high living Egyptian. His life was pretty good. Yet, Moses still served humbly and meekly. Okay, we can step forward now. Burning bush. Moses was called over alone -- away from everyone so God could speak to Moses. Moses was set apart.  When we draw ourselves away from the world, sometimes we can see a lot clearer what God wants for us. I, personally, am a victim of FOMO (fear of missing out). The feeling of rejection overwhelms me. I feel victimized but really I am just being sanctified. Purposely, God sets us apart, so we can hear clearly His plan. 

Exodus 3:7 // "And the Lord said: "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their tasksmasters, for I know their sorrows."

God tells Moses that He has not only seen, heard, and known the plight of His people, but He has also come. He sees His people's hurts. He hears His people's cries. He promises to fulfill His promise that He made to Abraham way back in Genesis -- He would deliver His people to the promise land. Okay, here is where God reveals His great plan. He asks Moses to be His messenger. Moses is tasked to do God's Will. As Christians, that is our mission -- carry out God's will and give back the praise. Quickly, Moses saw that He was not equipped on His own. He tried to make excuses. "His speech did not make him a qualified person to do this". Moses was not an eloquent speaker nor was he quick on his toes. That did not stop God. This is an example of how God does not use the qualified. He uses His people -- His people are not perfect. No, Moses could not do this on His own. With God on His side, he was more than equipped. Our own weaknesses consume us. We tend to focus more on ourselves than our God. When God told me to go into the middle school ministry, I was hesitant. How could I speak to these kids? I jumble my words and don't always have the words to say. How could I do this? 

"It is so easy for us to focus on the "I", but the Lord is the I AM" - Kristin Schmucker. 


We may not be Holy, Mighty, and Worthy, but our God is. I quickly realized that I am being called for a purpose. This was not a mistake. In my weakness, He will fulfill it with His power. 

Do this study with us! Purchase it in Kristin's shop.

7/18/16

Christian Creative: Jordan Lee


I am so excited about today's Christian Creative blog post. I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite bloggers. Jordan is absolutely the sweetest and has taught me to dig deeper into the Word, because it is such a wonderful gift. 

Hey, Jordan! Tell me who you are!

 I'm Jordan Lee - author, blogger, speaker, photographer, and friend. :)

When you started your blog what was your vision?

 My blog was a complete accident. I started with an Etsy shop where I sold items that I had written calligraphy on (mugs, journals, etc.) but was so overwhelmed with the logistics as my social media presence grew that the Lord really drew me to writing. So I added a blog tab to my website and attempted to follow the call. Since then it has evolved greatly, but it wasn't exactly something I had planned.



 You're a blogger. You got to tell me some of your favorite aesthetically pleasing or most favorite places to visit! 

 My favorite place in the world is the mountains. I love exploring, hiking, and being so submersed in God's creation that cell service and accessing my blog is out of the question. I draw most of my inspiration from time alone with Him outside.

When did you start Bible Journaling? 

 I started Bible Journaling in 2013 when my boyfriend at the time (now fiance, soon to be hubs) gave me my first journaling bible. I'm pretty sure this was way before it was cool and trendy, but I loved it the same amount I do now!

Who was a mentor that really encouraged you to grow your walk with Christ?

 My mama, hands down. She's wise and sharp and witty and committed to Jesus. She has always challenged me to be grounded and humble regardless of how much success my ministry has. Having this truth spoken into my life over and over is what I credit my growth to. Also, my fiance has been a big mentor and influence in my life, always challenging me to reach outside of my comfort zone in the name of Christ. Pretty sure SoulScripts would not exist without his constant encouragement.

Your photography is absolutely stunning. What is your favorite photo editing platform?

 Adobe Lightroom!!!!

Okay, here is a real challenge. Coffee or Tea?

 Coffee. Latte, hold the whip.

God has been doing some BIG things in your life. What has He been teaching you?

 God has been teaching me that rejection is a good thing when we are working for Him. I recently had some disheartening news from a publisher but the Lord is teaching me that what feels like rejection is actually a tool for refining His ultimate, good plan for our lives.

Like I said, your photography is gorgeous. What has been your favorite session so far?

 Oh gosh, I'm not sure I can pick a favorite. One I especially loved was a city engagement in Indianapolis. The couple was so in love, so pure, and so full of joy. The man had his favorite verses tattooed down both arms to create full sleeves, and they ended up adding a really neat visual effect against the city and golden light! Editing these two was a blast! But I love all of my clients - they each bring something unique to the table.

What is a verse that really anchors your soul?

 Psalm 37:4: Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Where can I find you on social media?

You can find my blog at www.soulscripts.com. Follow along with me on Instagram

7/14/16

Surrounded by the Greatest Artist's Works


I am all about visuals. I am a visual learning. I put two and two together better when I can see it. That is why I love God's creation. I love that I can see Genesis 1 come to life through everything I see. The glorious mountains are a testimony of how God's hands are so intricate. The beauty in the skies of sunrise and sunset show how our God is the greatest artists of all. The crevices and ridges in each stone reveal how detailed He is. He is so detailed. Out of His hands, He declared everything good. EVERYTHING! Not just one thing, not just two, EVERYTHING. He never compares His work. He declares it all good -- nothing is left out.

 When God says something is good and perfect in His sight, you better believe it! 
There is a reason I love hiking so much. I love walking in the midst of silence. I love exploring the beauty around me. Adventure is always on my mind. I feel like that is some cheesy quote, but it's true. I love seeking something new. My heart longs for a thrill. As I hike here in North Carolina or in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, I am always reminded that I am in the presence of something bigger than me. I am in the presence of God's own handiwork. I have taken for granted the gifts that He has provided me. My mind had lost its wonder. Stay ever in the wonder of God. Be like a child. I love watching children in toy stores (I don't say that in a creepy way). I love watching their expression when they see this one thing that totally captivates. They are totally in awe. All of their focus is on that one thing. They stare at it as if it's the most amazing thing in the world. To them, it is.
Do we stare at God's work like it's the most marvelous thing? Do we have the amazement of a child in a toy store? I am guilty of not being in that same awe. I am guilty of my eyes not being totally mystified by God's divine grace.

We were created so that we can enjoy His work with God. We were created to bring back that worship -- bring up our praises. His glory is impressive beyond agree. His artwork in not of comparison. Have a fire in your heart -- a desire in your thoughts to be in wonder. Every detail of this earth and every detail of our life was molded and created in God's hands. I, personally, think that is amazing!






7/13/16

Above All Else, Please, Guard Your Heart




My heart is wandering in all different directions. God has put a fire in my soul. He has put a desire in my heart that has not ceased. He is revealing to me His perfect plan for me. I am thankful. Thankful that He is a good God -- a God who's promises never fail. He is a God worth putting my faith in. He is a God who I could write a love letter that never ends to. I could go on and on and on and on and you guessed it on about the goodness of God. I'll save that for another blog though (wink wink). I am in a place where I am confident. Confident in my hope of the future. In pursuit of this uphill battle, God has been pursuing me. He has been pursuing my heart. He is an endless pursuit for me -- for us.
That gives me so much joy -- so much belonging. He is relentlessly pursuing me as His daughter. He wants a further connection. He wants a deeper relationship. He wants be the center of our core. Piece by piece, He is breaking me to mold me -- form me. He is showing me that to get to my high I have to start at my low. Lovingly, He is embracing me. He is telling me to guard something very valuable. He is telling with every inch of my soul to protect my heart. 
As I write letters to my 8th grade girls of my small group soon to be freshman, I write three words that speak volume -- guard your heart. Your heart is a valuable possession. We are so fragile and susceptible to lies. I write in these letters to my three girls to do everything in your will to protect your heart. Let the Holy Spirit be your guard. Strengthen it with the power of the Word. Be beautiful inside and create a soul that honors God. I tell them to fill themselves up with truth. Your heart creates who you ultimately are. It can be easily broken if you aren't relying on God. It cannot be fixed without the healing hands of Him. Withing your heart, everything flows from it -- love, peace, kindness, sincerity, anger, anxiety. That all comes from within you. 

Proverbs 4:23 // "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

Whilst writing these letters, I was reminded -- one's life reflects the heart (Proverbs 27:19). Being beautiful inside is far more precious than physical beauty. Pretty souls are way more attractive. Kindness goes a long way. While tools of knowledge, strength, beauty are great, your heart attitude is far above them all. This reminder is to not be taken lightly. Worthless things are not called to be guarded. This is a worthy thing. Make this a top priority. Remind yourself daily. Your heart is as if a river. It flows. It has the potential to flow out goodness and wealth. Once it is intoxicated with muck, it is hard and a long process to get out. Guarding your heart does not mean to be in constant fear of the muck. It means create your boundaries. Rely on God. Don't lock up your heart and put it n the shelf. Living in fear is not what we are called to. Yes, our hearts will be broken. As a young woman of God, I am not going to tell you that if you strive to guard your heart, it will never be broken. I am telling you if we cannot guard our hearts alone. The pressure of guarding our hearts on our own is too much. It is fear bounding. If we let God have control, peace will arise. 
I have always been clueless on what this phrase meant -- what every pastor and leader meant by these repeating words. It never was clear to me on how to protect myself. I was relying on instructions rather than God. I was relying on myself to figure this out. It never came so clearly until I realized -- I cannot do such a difficult task by myself as I am only human. I am susceptible to sin, but God isn't. He is loving. He is kind. He is sincere. He is where my heart desires to be. Guarding your heart is not putting a wall up. It's not putting a wall of fear up. It is putting it in the hands of Christ. 
I leave you with this -- win the battle within your heart with God as your leader. Let Him be your victor. Dig deep into the word and root yourself within truth. Above all, be diligent and guard your heart.

7/12/16

Christian Creative: Faith Teasley

I am excited about this new edition of Christian Creative. Of course, I have said that about every edition, but oh well! I interviewed the lovely, the talented, Faith Teasley. Her photography is absolutely phenomenal. She is an artist. Her art is simply God-gifted, and I am so excited for you to meet her.





Tell me who are you? 

I’m a coastal wedding photographer in love with life, my Savior, film and saltwater.  




I hate these kinds of questions but tell me three quirky or weird facts about yourself.

I’m allergic to high fructose corn syrup,  if there’s a coffee shop nearby I will find it,  and I play drums for my church’s worship team (not a weird fact, just a fun one!).  




When you started your photography business, what was your vision?

My vision from the beginning has been to provide beautiful, tangible memories for couples in love.  I believe my couples' stories are beautiful and deserve to be told.  


Favorite trip or location visited? ​
Ahh such a hard question!  I adore coastal towns.  Bald Head Island, NC and Charleston, SC are two of my favorites.  I also really love Nashville, TN.  


​As a Christian Creative, how can you worship God through your photography?​
I believe that when we are using our passions, we are naturally glorifying God.  Photography ignites a passion in me that I know is God given.  It brings me such joy to photograph others, and to show them how beautiful they are.  Every person I meet through my business is an incredible opportunity to show God’s love.  


What photo session has been your favorite so fa​r?
My absolute favorite would have to be Alexandra and Michael’s elopement in Charleston, SC.  After getting ready at a beautiful hotel in downtown, we headed to Botany Bay on Edisto Island.  We trekked our way to a driftwood-laden beach, and they were married on the shore with only their pastor, my assistant, and myself in attendance.  The scenery was breathtaking, and the couple’s love for one another was equally as beautiful.  Photographing by the ocean is my happy place.  








What advice would you tell your 16 year old self? 

Seek God always.  Cultivate your passions.  Never give up, and don’t settle.  Dream big!


​If you had a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would it be to?​
Anywhere!  Haha!!  I love to travel.  I would love to go to Europe or somewhere tropical.  




What has God been teaching you lately?

Trust, trust, trust.  Trusting in Him, His timing, and His goodness.  


If you could photograph ANYONE and I mean anyone, who would you photograph?
I’d love to photograph Amanda Cook, simply because I’d love to spend time with her and her husband Jacob.  Amanda’s album “Brave New World” wrecked me in the best way.  


Please do yourself a huge favor and follow this girl through Instagram and her blog.

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