alison & duncan: married

August 23rd, 2011 by sharaleep | 6 Comments »

ok.  where to start.  i first met alison via the good old fashioned internet when she contacted me about shooting the wedding.  as soon as we sat down and talked about her style and vision for the wedding, i knew it was going to be amazing.  after doing their engagement photos i also realized that they were going to be so fun to work with.  the day arrived and my expectations were met in the best way possible.

alison poured so much of herself into this day.  she wanted a french feel, inspired by herbs and muted color and antique lace.  she also wanted it to be different.  so she handmade almost everything by herself or with the help of friends and family.  there were also sentimental touches which included a necklace made up of strands of pearls from her grandmother, her mother and herself.

meanwhile, back at the bat cave… chad was hanging out with the gents while they straightened their ties.

and then it was time.

and if you think that was it for the beauty, never fear.  there are more to come…we haven’t even made it to the ceremony yet!

shout outs to:

chad doerksen: second shooter (a stand-up guy)

blue heron nature reserve: shoot location (they were awesome and the place is clearly beautiful)

jan martens : flowers (speak for themselves!!)

treat bridal consignment : alison’s dress (the owner is so sweet to work with)

minter and richter designs:  duncan’s ring (so so amazing and the service was excellent)

emily siebert: official bang cutter/ribbon tie-er (sister/maid of honor extraordinaire)

alison priebe: anything else that looked amazing, including the girls’ clutches (she sewed them), her veil (she made it), the boutonnieres (she arranged them), her headpiece (she assembled it)…you get the picture.

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Posted in event photography, weddings |

chambers family: celebration

August 10th, 2011 by sharaleep | 2 Comments »

as i mentioned in my last post, marriage is on my mind. so what better time to highlight this lovely family who are all together celebrating lionel & lucille’s 50th anniversary.  curious as to what 50 years looks like?

pretty darn cute, if i do say so myself.

so cute, in fact, lucille just couldn’t seem to get enough :)

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Posted in families |

12 years.

August 9th, 2011 by sharaleep | 15 Comments »

so this is what 12 years looks like:

photo cred: chad doerksen

i never really pictured the 12 year anniversary.  it’s not one of the numbers that stands out as significant or is addressed in pre-marital counseling.  there’s no “itch” attached to it and no huge milestone celebration.  but something about 12 was different for me. i sat in church sunday morning and was suddenly overwhelmed with gratefulness for 12. you see, cliff and i didn’t think we would make it past 1. we didn’t get that glorious first year that some newlyweds rave about. or second year. or third…you get the point.  so being here at 12 is a big deal.

marriage is hard. it’s an everyday choice to…fill in the blank. care. love. listen. stop. serve. forgive.

being in the thick of wedding season has given me even more opportunity to think about what that commitment these couples are making actually means. and if i could say anything to each of them it would be that it is worth it. whether the storm comes tomorrow or 10 years from now, your marriage is worth fighting for.  it’s worth those times when you say you’re sorry even if you’re not at fault. it’s worth picking up the socks and throwing them in the laundry for the tenth time this week instead of harping on him to do it. it’s worth listening to the same story she’s told you about that great aunt you’ve never met and never will meet for the third time without rolling your eyes. and it’s worth fighting for through the big stuff too. through lies and deep hurts and life change. i pray for every one of these couples as i drive to their wedding…that they would know that love and commitment is about so much more than this one day. and that as they walk through the tough stuff, there is such great reward waiting for them.

what kind of reward, you may ask?  well, here’s what does 12 looks like for us:  i worked on friday while cliff watched the kids and got home at midnight after a late reception.  cliff let me sleep in until 8 on saturday morning while he fed the kids breakfast, i ironed our clothes and we headed out to a wedding for the afternoon and evening (that’s what “dates” look like at this stage of life). on sunday as a special treat to ourselves, we let the kids watch a movie before church so we could have an hour of peace. went to church, had cheeseburgers in the park, played in the backyard all afternoon, had farmer sausage for supper and watched an episode from the first season of wonder woman after the kids went to bed.  glamorous?  not even close. but how incredible is it that i get to live this un-glamorous life beside the man who has seen it all.  all my crap, all my mood swings, all of the worst. the fact that he chooses everyday to be with me…to serve/give/listen/etc speaks love to me louder than words ever could.  and we have three beautiful children who drive us absolutely crazy while filling our lives with so much joy. i am so so so blessed.

on your next anniversary, would you take a minute to savor it and then drop me a line and tell me about it?  i’d love that.  here’s to celebrating every year like it’s 12 :)

Posted in my family |

lucy: new life

July 31st, 2011 by sharaleep | 6 Comments »

sweetness abounds.

early on in the session, we must have done something to offend this poor dear because she was not happy.  and just when we had started to lose hope for “contented baby” pictures, we stripped her down.  apparently all she wanted was to be free.

little did i know when i first arrived that this grammy is a mennonite girl.  and she can cook.  and if that still doesn’t make any sense to you, go buy this and thank me later.  all i have to say is: paska.

thank you gorgeous family…you’re one blessed little babe, lucy!

Posted in baby pictures, families |


July 31st, 2011 by sharaleep | 20 Comments »

for those of you who check in here regularly (i do not presume to think there are many, other than my mom…and amber who comments on nearly every post and oh how i love her for it :), you may or may not have noticed that it’s been a little quiet the past couple of weeks.  this does not mean i haven’t been working…quite the opposite.  i’ve been working hard to balance my professional and personal life and haven’t always been that successful (ask the people whose calls i’ve taken several days to return “sorry!”.  oh and you could ask my children too).

the thing is, in the midst of my busiest photography season ever, we decided to move.  this was not a decision that came easily and the process of it once it was made was even harder.  because it wasn’t just a matter of moving from one house into another.  for the past two years, our family has lived in community.  “ don’t we all live in a community” some might say.  yeah, but we don’t all live in a commune,  and as weird as it is to say, that’s kind of what we’ve been a part of.  a group of people who came together with a common mission, living together, sharing our stuff and our lives.  and it was wonderful.  friends became family. we began to challenge each other to live more simply and to honor others and God with the choices we made.  we saw people move in and move out, watched babies grow and big boys go to their first day of school.  we saw people quit jobs and start new ones, saw (so many) dishes broken, had shelves collapse and saw gardens grow.  we got frustrated.  with one another and with ourselves. we laughed and cried and were moody and made fun of one another and played silly games and cooked for each other and avoided each other and cleaned up each other’s messes (sometimes willingly.  sometimes not.).  we saw a wedding (we were all there) and a baby born (we were not all there).  we called ourselves a cult as a joke because we knew people were wondering and hoped that saying it first would diffuse their fears (we think cliff’s mom might still think it’s a cult.  but i’m okay with that).  there was almost always someone around to talk to, to watch a movie or go for a run with.  there was grace in difficult moments and celebration in milestones.  and love.  lots of love.  not always the warm fuzzy kind, but the true kind that perseveres and hopes and doesn’t fail.

so you can see why it was hard to leave.

but here we are, a growing family.  we were just feeling like it was time.  not to pursue a new path but to embrace the place we are in life and run with it.  and just as we were talking through that, an opportunity presented itself: the house my grandpa built.  the perfect amount of space for us inside and an abundance of space out.  and four doors down from my parents (so close i think i can hear my mom dreaming up the next way she’s going to spoil my children:).  and in a sweet little town not far from work and friends and community.

it feels pretty special.

i don’t really have many memories of my grandma and the ones i do were of her when she was sick.  but as i hung my first load of laundry on her line today, i could vividly picture her doing the same.  my grandpa i knew better and all sorts of things about him flooded back as i walked down the driveway and checked out the grapes growing on the vines in the back and heard my dad talk about the number of nails grandpa had used in the kitchen cabinets.

we don’t know how long we will be here, but we’re going to love every minute of it.  and our kids…oh our kids.  so excited.

and we love visitors!  please come by.  we’ve already had a few lovely and unexpected drop-ins.

future engagement shoot location??

Posted in my family |

ryan & leandra: married

July 29th, 2011 by sharaleep | 4 Comments »

this was my third potentially rainy day wedding of the season and i did my best to fight it.  i thought sunny thoughts.  i wore shorts the day before.  i dreamt sunny dreams. but alas, when i awoke, it was not sunny.  not even close.  so on went my rain boots once again.

but do you think the rain put a damper on any spirits this day?  not a single one.  they were so excited about being married.  so excited.  it could have been snow and i don’t think they would have batted an eye.  and the bridal party was amazing – we trudged around with umbrellas and they never once complained.  and just as we had lost all hope for that bright shiny ball in space, the sky opened up and he shone down.

these two were brilliant walking down the aisle, but very shy when it came to picture time.  still cute, though.  still cute.

and like that, their friends and family dined under clear skies as the sun set over this country town.  wishing you the best of this life, ryan & leandra!

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Posted in weddings |

j&j: engaged

July 17th, 2011 by sharaleep | 7 Comments »

so i’m starting to realize i’m a gusher.  i never thought i was someone who would go on and on about a cute baby or much of anything for that matter, but here i am.  a gusher.  hanging out with these two confirmed it.  thankfully, i had my lovely friend gemma along assisting me, so every five minutes i could turn around and whisper “do you believe how cute this is?” or “oh my word.  could this get any better?”.  so i guess i’m just going to have to embrace it. and i have a feeling i might convert you into one after you see these pictures.  go ahead.  gush away.

josh happens to be a musician (if you haven’t clued into that yet) and has some beautiful music available here.  i may have been lucky enough to have him play at my birthday party this year, so i also know from experience that he sounds great live.  go here to book a show or see where he’s playing.

one last note: this is my assistant gemma.  she is pretty.  and a lifesaver.  and a good light testing subject.

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Posted in engagement pictures |

b-lo: married

July 15th, 2011 by sharaleep | 3 Comments »

there’s something about seeing love, like really seeing love.  it’s big and small and quiet and loud all at the same time.  there’s a peaceful tension, which doesn’t seem to make sense but somehow it just fits.  pretty amazing.  and i get to witness it.  especially on days like this.

this little chapel was amazing.  you know how people usually rush out of the church at the end of the ceremony to get pictures outside? well, we waited anxiously for everyone to leave so we could go back in.

these two are climbers, so someone came up with a last minute idea to keep the rings from getting lost in the hands of two precocious little boys…

and like that, they were off.  another new life begins.

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Posted in weddings |

the teers

July 12th, 2011 by sharaleep | 10 Comments »

for anyone who knows this family, you will know what i mean when i say “the best”.  they are loving and kind and fun and quirky and beautiful (like seriously, how did they all get so beautiful)…the good stuff.

they’ve spent a lot of time in the hospital lately as there was a health scare (which is putting it SO lightly) with “the matriarch” :) (is it okay if i call you that miss j?).  when all seemed to be crumbling, this family united in a way that was so unbelievable and so pure and so not of this world…it was something you don’t see much of these days.  it seems that often in times of crisis, people turn on one another and look for someone to blame, but these good people turned TO jesus and drew together so tightly that there was no force on earth or any other place that could break them.  their faith was increased instead of weakened.  and as they loved God and each other, they saw healing.

so why am i telling you all of this?  well, the family was back in the hospital this week.  but this time it was a celebration.  and i got to be there (i may not have been invited, but that’s what’s so great about this family…they said “come on in”).  they just added a little girl to their brood and their boys were on their way over to meet her for the first time.

and then there are all the gorgeous aunties.  so many gorgeous aunties.

how much do you love how this papa is looking at his baby girl?

i didn’t even plan on blogging this, but i felt like a thank you was in order and this was something small i could do to say it. thank you for the amazing example you have set for me of what it means to believe.  and hope.  and really love.  like really love.  even this mama, who lost 40% of her blood post-labor the night before, says about 5 minutes after i got there…”and how are you?”.  like i said: the best.

Posted in baby pictures, families |

dueck family

July 8th, 2011 by sharaleep | 5 Comments »

sweet.  lovely family, abandoned property, golden light, impeccably dressed children…and mosquitos.  and blackberry bushes.  and drug dealers?  or maybe we just imagined those.  still, it was quite the adventure!  seems it always is when i’m involved :)  thankfully these guys fully went along with my whims and followed where i lead.  made for some pretty pictures, if i do say so myself.

i should clarify.  though kris is a builder and a newly instated realtor(check him out through landmark realty), he did not build, nor did he buy or sell the home above.  just so we’re clear.

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Posted in families |

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