Luke and I had the fun opportunity to be photographed by the incredible Samantha Lauraina a few weeks ago. We have friends and family in common, but this was our first experience with her as a photographer, and let me just say- SHE IS AMAZING.
Samantha is so creative and imaginative, has a fantastic eye for detail, and is just crazy talented.
We had such a great time with her, which to me always says something, because getting couple or family photography done can feel awkward, unless the person doing it makes you feel comfortable and at ease, which Samantha seems to do effortlessly.
Please go check out her other amazing work at SamanthaLauraina.com , follow her on Instagram @s_lauraina, and then hire her to make you look waaaay better than you do in real life. Uh, I mean..capture your natural good looks so well!
Here are some of my personal favorites from our amazing shoot:
The last time we did a photoshoot without anyone around (like kids or bridesmaids) was our engagement photos, and it's a funny feeling to compare the two.
While both are artistically stunning, I look at these and the couple who I see is much more recognizable to me than the young, hopelessly in love couple I see in the old ones.
In these, I see a beauty that comes only with some years and roots.
I see two people who know each other deeper, laugh harder, and have learned how to serve and protect each other better than we did back then.
Almost like rings in a tree trunk, its incredible to me how different two people look after experiencing joy and loss together.
We have felt the change of Young Love turning into Old Love, where there is a far more intimate comfort with each other and with that, more tendencies to get too comfortable. Where it's easy to stop making the effort here and there and let ourselves get bothered by the little things.
Life can be really hard.
This past year, I've struggled with depression, the pain of relational conflict, and a heartbreak from my past. Likewise, he's carried his own burdens and has taken challenging risks.
No matter what it is, from parenting to paying bills, there seems to be endless opportunities for two people to shut down and withdraw.
But life is also so beautiful.
It's amazing to watch God growing the person next to you in strength and grace, and for you to grow alongside with them.
It's incredible to feel the weight of bitterness lifted when you apologize to each other, and you both forgive often.
It's a blessing to delight in shared interests and just have fun together.
And it's remarkable to be continually vulnerable about your fears and struggles with someone and for them to deeply care and never once act like your darkest spaces are too much for them.
These rings in our tree trunk, and the roots below it, are made up of pleasure and pain and all sorts of ordinary things in between.
And this ordinary life with the ordinary person next to us is worth fighting for.
It's worth it to engage when it would be easy to withdraw.
It's worth it to cling to each other for dear life, when shutting down seems almost too natural.
Take a good look at your tree amidst the mundane.
It's more alive and exquisite than we realize.
Someday when we are old and wrinkled, when our roots have weathered many more days of storm and sunshine, we will never regret all the micro moments when we chose to engage and all of the big moments when we laid down our pride.
I believe in my soul that never giving up on each other will be one of life's greatest rewards.
Because I am his and he is mine.
And in the end, it's him and I.