Share It : About Emily #2
It's been a minute since I shared my first 'About Emily' post, so I thought it time to share more with you today! Here's my second round of 10 things about me, but we're going back in time for this one. I hereby introduce you to my past 28 years:
1. I was born in 1989 in Austin, Texas. I lived there for 18 years and loved every minute!
2. I went to Baylor University and graduated in 2012 with a degree in English.
3. After college I worked as a youth pastor in Austin for 3 years. My favorite memories are taking the kids to camp in Estes Park, Colorado and mission trips to Galveston.
4. In 2013 I went to Uganda for the first time, and it completely changed my life.
5. I met my husband, Kenton, in 2012 and we got married on October 26, 2014. It was the best day of my life!
6. In 2015 we moved for Kenton's job to Navasota where we lived in a little pink house for 3 years.
7. I started my wedding and portrait photography business in 2016, and I've been full time since September 2017. My favorite lens is my 50 mm, my camera body is a Mark III. I love spending time with people and I really love finding beauty in every session and giving my clients photos that blow them away and make them loves themselves even more!
8. This April, we moved out of our pink house into a cabin in the woods at Camp Allen.
9. This September, we finally moved out of the cabin in the woods and now......
10. Today, we live in College Station! And hope to stay here for years to come!
My dream is to one day own land just outside College Station where we can live in a big house on lots of acres and rescue animals of all kinds, and start a ministry that functions out of our home!
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Baby D's Baby Shower!
My brother and sister in law, Will and Amy, are expecting their first child next month!!!!! This is the first grand baby for my side of the family, and wowowow we're so excited. This little boy is already so loved. We've been ready, but this weekend's shower for Baby D made it so real. It felt like more than a shower for me. I think it did for all of us! It was just special. It was an experience of life. It was
family coming over after the Walk for Alzheimer's in honor of my Uncle Jeff
bear onesies hanging from twine over the fire place
Mimi drawing a heart shaped apple for Baby D's first alphabet book
Amy opening a stuffed chipmunk from my cousin Natalie and all of us laughing
my little cousin Shelby Kate drawing a Narwol on a notecard for Baby D
pretty flowers by my friend Chelsea and Mimi's pumpkin bread on a pretty white plate
bear cookies that were so good they barely made it to the shower
my cousin Becca drawing a super buff Zebra for Baby D's homemade alphabet book
prayers written for Baby D on bear notecards designed by my cousin Kate
a pile of light blue baby clothes gifted by friends and family
everyone seated around a french farm table coloring with crayons, snacking on egg and potato frittatas, being free
a spontaneous girl cousin group photo outside
empty mimosa glasses on tables
anticipation for this precious little boy we love so much already
Life doesn't slow down. But Saturday felt like it helped delay the turn of the page a little bit. Soaking up all the small details, breathing in moments sown with love, my family and I rejoiced over a new life and enjoyed precious time with the things that matters most: people.
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What has the locust eaten in your life?
Kenton and I religiously watch Dancing with the Stars. It's happy. We love the dancing. And there are stories. Last night it had me choking back sobs. A contestant I'd previously stiffed my nose towards had me reeling with empathy after she shared the story of losing her mom to cancer. Kenton looked over with concern, then mused, "Vulnerability just connects people." All the reasons I would have not voted for that contestant no longer mattered. She's real to me now.
Since January this year, I've been walking out of a hole in the ground. I've shared that we lived in a small town for three years, but I've never shared that those 3 years, while laced with sporadic beauty and joy, were overall pretty difficult. Maybe one day I'll get as real as that DWTS contestant, but for now I'll just share that I've been on a journey of recovering my sense of self.
Part of this journey has been discovering how I protect myself from pain. I've learned that 9 times out of 10, it is by controlling my choices, and always making the right one, that I avoid discipline or suffering of any kind. Basically, I always did/do the right thing. Maybe you can relate. You don't want do screw up and suffer the consequences. You'd rather do it right the first time and be in the clear with yourself and others. To a certain degree, this ingrained behavior can have honorable motives. I mainly just didn't want to hurt other people. But I also really didn't want to hurt myself. So as long as I was meeting the expectations of people who knew me, they were good with me and I was good with me. No demerits, no wrinkles in relationships, no problems.
Well there was a problem. At a certain point, the system will break. And then you're left with the reality that the system originally implemented to be a protector, has actually been a thief. There are so many things I didn't do in my life because I was afraid to fail, afraid of what people would think, afraid it would hurt or cause damage I wouldn't know how to manage. A one word way to describe this is fear. Choosing the safe side looks like the best, most logical choice, but in the end, it's dangerous. More damage is done hiding in the dark than free falling in the light. All my safe choices built a little cage around me and I lived within it for many years. I had no idea I relied so heavily on doing the right thing to be okay. So it took God moving me to the wilderness of small town Texas and stripping away everything I knew to really see that.
Fear is a prison guard.
Faith is a patriot.
And patriots do crazy stuff. Peter. Paul. Stephen. Martin Luther. Mother Teresa. ... Jesus.
This morning as I did a mental scan of all the times fear kept me on the sidelines, I remembered a bible verse about bugs:
So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten..
God is about redemption, right? I mean it's like his main deal. He sent Jesus to give us another shot, to redeem us. So that's the first part of the good news: nothing in your life or my life is beyond the redemption of Jesus Christ. God will restore to me the years, the chances, the dreams that fear has eaten.
For we live by believing and not by seeing.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Faith is bug spray. Open up the can of belief and exterminate the locusts. Real life--joy, peace, love, contentment--that's the real stuff attained only through invisible means. I've lived by sight for a lot of my life. Doing the things I knew would be "safe" and protect me from failing and disappointing people. I didn't even know I was doing that. But now that I do, I know that real life is not found through sight--what I see is the 'right' thing to do--but through faith. So I know all that stuff the locusts named Fear and Doubt ate can and will be redeemed, because faith is bug spray, and God is the exterminator. And He's always available and free of charge because Jesus paid the bill.
This blog post is a thought barely formed, so maybe it's not fully making sense to you, but I don't care. I mean, I do sincerely apologize if this has been confusing and a huge waste of your time to read. But I don't care if this post is imperfect. I'll hit "publish" in a minute and let the imperfections in my writing be vulnerability. I'm still learning all of this. I had a lot of pressure on myself to have a lot of things figured out by late 28, but I'm beginning to see that it's actually taken me this long just to discover that I really have a lot of work to do to undo all those years of effort of trying to have it all together. Funny, right? Keeping it all together is actually what tore me down. This time I'll do it differently. I'm going to just do stuff. I'm going to speak from the heart and not from the head. I'm not going to care what people think or if I'm meeting expectations - theirs or mine. I'm going to have dreams. Dye my hair pink and buy lots of succulents. I'm going to pursue dreams. And probably take dance classes. I'm going to do all this, and I'm going to hold a can of bug spray as I do. And I'll start by hitting publish.
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5 Things to Make You Smile This Month
Drab is a drag. Maybe you need a simple change to bring some color to your life. Here are 5 things I'm loving this month!
And BONUS: Loving baby pumpkins. $5 at HEB. Throw in a crock or a bowl and you're ready to roll.
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This morning I apologized.
I apologized to my friend Melissa for not meeting her at that rock on Bull Creek we're agreed to meet and eat our Chick-Fil-A. She was quite forgiving that I got distracted and missed our chicken rock date. In real life she was a little more perturbed and asked how I dared to leave her waiting. Dream Emily has some real nerve.
I've been editing photos all day, listening to a Ben Rector album I discovered and found his song "Old Friends." Here's a tid bit.
No one knows you like they know you
And no one probably ever will
You can grow up, make new ones
But truth is there's nothing like old friends
'Cause you can't make old friends
This song perfectly touches that nostalgic feeling my subconscious was focused on last night. That or I'm really just craving Chick-Fil-A. I actually wrote about it on my Instagram yesterday. That feeling of "the good old days" and the people playing center stage in your memories. How we crave simpler times.
But thinking about the days and people I miss makes me realize all my days are days I'll miss. Every day is a gift. And every detail of every day is a highlight. Like Bowie laying on my feet right now. Like a box of half eaten Tiff's Treats in my pantry. Like photos to edit in Lightroom and plans for dinner later tonight. Like the glass on my desk, half full of water with lemon. Lots of gifts. Rich beyond my dreams now, rich beyond my dreams back then, too.
So this one's for all my old friends. You only get old friends by getting old, right?
Momo, Chick-Fil-A at Bull Creek the next time I'm in Austin?
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A Thursday AFternoon Bible Burst
This little post is for you - a Thursday afternoon pick me up, a bible burst if you will. A quick, true, and all together good little bible study just for you.
I promised it would only take you 5 minutes to read so here we go!
Take just a minute to let yourself quiet down. You're in the middle of a crazy day and a lot has probably happened since you last talked to God/reminded yourself of truth. Think of all that has occurred from when you woke up until this moment. Go through your day and your thoughts in double time, doing a quick recall and scan of today's events. Now, let it all go. Take a second to breathe in and breathe out. Slow down just for a few breaths. Seriously - let yourself do it. Let yourself get still for a minute...
Okay. Now, that you've centered yourself a bit, read the verse below and allow it to reset your mind in the middle of this hectic workday:
God has put all things under the authority of Christ. Eph 1.22
Ahh. Breathe that in. Breathe it out.
God has put all things under the authority of Christ. There is nothing that Jesus doesn't have dominion and power over. Which means that if Christ lives in you, there's nothing you, through Christ, don't have power over either. It may not feel that way or look that way all the time (I know sometimes my days start messy and end messy), but it's true. Nothing can truly take us down because in the end, Christ is authority over all things.
Now, again go back and think of all that's already happened today and apply this truth. Then, dive back into the rest of your workday with this in mind, too. God has put all things under the authority of Christ. All things! Traffic, cranky professors, bossy bosses, bad reports, harsh critics, negative self talk, battered relationships, bad news - all things under the authority of Christ. I like to write these reminders on my wrist so I'm constantly reminded throughout the day. I encourage you to write this down somewhere so you can go through the second half of your day in peace, regardless of what happens, because God is has authority over it all!
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The Homestead | Estes Park Colorado
I have been coming to Estes Park with my family each summer for as long as I can remember. My Gdad's cabin nestled beneath Teddy's Teeth has been a sweet reprieve for my entire family for generations. Built in 1902, my Gdad and Mimom are the 4th owners of the cabin that, as you can imagine, has become quite a legacy in my family. We are beyond blessed. It is special for endless reasons, but to me it feels like home, and it always means deep, soul saturating rest. Each time I come the cabin, I leave new, refreshed, free and full. I was reading in bed the other morning and looked up at the light coming in my window and was moved to document this cabin that has meant so much to so many.
So, Welcome! Welcome to touches of Mima, Gdad's epic hat rack and vintage photos of Longs, Blue Calico, Blue Spruce, Gdad's Texas flag, fire in a stone fire place, old photos from growing up, front porch sitting, Gdad's Aspens, creaky stairs, the old piano, birds on the feeders, and sleeping June poppies. Welcome to The Homestead.
The living and dining room: laughter, gather, study, rest, front range views.
Upstairs: open windows, old piano, blue hallways.
The King Room: Texas flag outside and pretty vintage napkins.
The Trundle Room: twin trundles, mountain folk, hilarious/ridiculous old time photos of all the cousins.
The Princess Room: prettiest floral details and dusty blue accents.
The Creaky Stairs: I used to skip the second step so I could sneak quietly.
Downstairs Rooms: Touches of Mimo and Gdad everywhere.
Outside: firewood, chipmunks, birds, mountains, Aspens, front porch chillin, collected antlers, and the bear that's been around longer than I have.
Cabin, sweet cabin.
And a few bonus photos! Some moments in and out of the cabin from our last family dinner with all of us overlapping time in Estes.
My brother Will prepping the chicken, the table set for all 8 of us, and everyone chillin in the living room before dinner.
And extra bonus: If you're ever in Estes, the Estes Park Brewery makes incredible beer. My personal favorite is the Long's Peak Raspberry Wheat.
Okay, the end. :) To sum: filled with gratitude for the continued legacy of my Mimom and Gdad and forever grateful for the special place Estes Park and The Homestead hold in my heart and the heart of my entire family.
Desert Diary #3
We're experiencing quite the phenomenon over in our neck of the woods here in Texas. If you live anywhere remotely close to the coast, you'll be driving along asking yourself, "Is there a fire? Did the smog suddenly become depressingly visible? Or are my sunglasses just super smudged?" No, none of the above. This haze we're experiencing is dust blown more than 5,000 miles across the Atlantic from the Sahara Desert in Africa.
That is surreal. I'm looking out the window at a hazy grey, what should be a blue 9 am sky, here at camp, and it's just mind blowing to think that this dust was once in the renown, rough and tumble Sahara Desert. It is all quite mysterious for me personally, because in the last two days I've done a lot of reading and thinking about desert seasons. I've written about them here before (post #1 and post #2), but honestly, as my personal desert season has continued to linger on, I've quit writing about it and just been quiet. But today, with this Saharan haze suspended above, it just feels right to write.
There is so much I could say about desert seasons in life, but today I'll keep it simple and brief. Seasons of spiritual wilderness, waiting, wandering, whatever you want to call it, can be painful and difficult. Often such seasons can stir questions of doubt and why God? I think to a normal human, this is logical. Naturally, when things start to get weird, we stop and think, "Okay, what's going on here?" I believe this pause is one of the beginning steps God wants of us in a desert season.
Right now, I'm reading a book about Moses that Chuck Swindoll wrote, and it's absolutely amazing. In a chapter I just finished, Swindoll narrows in on Deuteronomy 32:10-12. I don't know what your desert season looks like or what you're going through, but regardless, the following is true:
He found them in a desert land,
in an empty, howling wasteland.
He surrounded them and watched over them;
He guarded them as He would guard His own eyes.
Like an eagle that rouses her chicks
and hovers over her young,
so He spread His wings to take them up
and carried them safely on His pinions.
The Lord alone guided them;
they followed no foreign gods.
The italics are mine - I wanted to make those phrases stick out. This passage is referring to how God acted on behalf of the Israelites during their 40 year desert season (they literally wandered through and lived in a desert for 40 years following their exodus from captivity in Egypt). This portion of scripture comes from a song Moses sang over the people right after Joshua becomes their leader (Joshua will be the one to lead the nation to the Promise Land). Moses sings that in the desert God did 4 things for the Israelites. And today, briefly, I want to say that God is doing the same for you in your desert.
1. He surrounds you.
If you've been in a season of wandering, you know it can be incredibly lonely and isolating. Actually, in the book, Swindoll says that isolation is a really important part of the desert. When every day feels like a losing fight against whatever hardship this season has brought upon you, it is incredibly easy to believe that God has abandoned you. Not so. He has surrounded you. He is all around you - on every side. He is with you in the isolation, Immanuel. But not only is he with you, surrounding you, He is watching over you and guarding you.
#2. He watches over you and guards you.
If you feel God has abandoned you, it is easy to believe He is no longer watching over you and protecting you. I get it. The wilderness presents an every day battle against the lie that God is not good or faithful. But, have you ever considered that this wilderness season is God doing just that, watching over and guarding you? Perhaps in a way we can't understand, this season is the very thing we need most. In a way we can't fathom, this time is God caring for us more than He ever has in the past. Not a day is wasted with the Lord. His law is perfect, reviving the soul. His statues are trustworthy, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7) I believe this time of struggle, this desert, is God watching over and guarding you in a way so intense and loving you wouldn't believe Him if He told you all He is doing on your behalf. You couldn't ask for or imagine the beautiful things He will do through this time in the wilderness.
#3. He carries you.
You're exhausted and disillusioned and every night you fall into bed at the end of your ability to go on. He is carrying you. When your feet fail you and you don't have the strength to move, He picks you up and carries your feeble frame. Look for this. In my wilderness, this has looked like daily bread. Like tiny, perfectly portioned provisions to get me to tomorrow. I'll be utterly at the end of myself and He shows up, right on time, with a love note to tell me He's got me, that He's carrying my heart in His hands, and that He'll bring me home. He doesn't give me any answers or tell me when this time will end, He just tells me He's near, and I've learned that even at the end of myself, that's really all I need. More than answers to my questions or guidance or and end to my desert season, I really just need to know that He is carrying me.
#4. He guides you.
Perhaps you feel directionless. You have no idea where to go to get out of this pressing, yet wholly purposeful, desert season. He guides you. He will give you the daily bread you need to continue trusting. And, when the time is right, He will give you the direction you need to walk on. I believe this will be the last thing He does, because it will mean the waiting is over and it's time for you to enter the next season, the Promise Land, if you will. But don't rush to this step. He will give you the steps you need when it is time. No day is wasted with the Lord. If you don't know His guidance yet, then you don't yet need it.
So my encouragement to you? Enjoy the desert. It truly is a time for romance. He surrounds you, watches and guards, carries and guides you. You have no reason to fear. He is near. Enjoy this season because it is important, even necessary. What do you gain from seasons of lack? Abundance. To understand this, you must experience it. Enjoy the dust, enjoy the barrenness, enjoy and thank God for every moment of waiting. Praise God every night, as the Saharan sun sets on your desert season, because you know He's with you, making the barren beautiful, and this too shall pass.
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Seems so weird to write a post introducing myself, but I figure maybe you'd like to know who you're hearing from in all these posts. I'll start doing short installments of introductions because that sounds like fun, right? So this will be the first of my "About Emily" posts, and I'll stick to the basics!
Here goes nothing.
#1 - I am a believer.
I had to start here because this is what drives every aspect of my life. My faith in God is my root system, so my hope and prayer is that everything that grows out of my life would reflect my love for Jesus. I grew up in a Christian home (actually I'm a preacher's kid), but my faith became my own the summer before my freshman year of high school. That was when I decided I wanted to really seek God on my own, and the moment I did, I found an intimate relationship with Him.
#2 - I'm married!
I've been married to Kenton Boone for almost 4 years now and I love him dearly. He is my greatest cheerleader, encourager, hero, and best friend. We're very different, but we're also super similar if that even makes sense? Our most common date scenario is getting Cane's, eating in the car while we watch one of our shows (right now it's Brooklyn 99 AND I LOVE IT) and then getting fro-yo. Maybe that's sad to admit, but that's a super restful, happy date for us.
Photo by friend and fellow photographer, Shelby.
#3 - I'm a portrait and wedding photographer.
I've been doing photography since 2016, but I went full out, full time, and started my business (Emily Boone Photography) in October last year. I absolutely love what I get to do and growing more skillful in this craft is one of my favorite things and driving forces. My favorite thing about shooting weddings is getting to invest in my couples by being an encourager and supporter in addition to a photographer they can rely on. I also love shooting portraits, couples and newborns, and getting to enjoy the more leisurely pace and atmosphere of portrait photography!
Photos from a styled shoot I did last year.
#4 - I still go to summer camp every summer.
That's right! My husband is a summer camp director at Camp Allen, and for the past three summers we've packed up our lives and moved out to a cabin in the piney woods of Navasota, Texas. Summer camp life is as fun and crazy as you'd expect, and a bit challenging too. While Kenton leads staff at camp all day, I work on my business from our cabin and spend a lot of happy time with my lovely coworkers, Bowie and Howie.
My fur babies in our little cabin.
#5 - Home is my favorite.
Like, my favorite. I love to decorate and fully live in a space. I love and need days where all I do is stay at home. This is something I've known about myself since I was in college at Baylor, but the past three summers of living at camp in a cabin in the woods have shown me how important my space is to me. Having a pretty, special area for me to write, work, and unlock the creative part of my heart is a huge part of maintaining balance in my life. Living in a cabin that isn't ours for three summers has taught me to find that creative space regardless of my circumstances. But it's also taught me that it's okay to do what I need to do to create an environment where I can work and write and dream!
A few moments from our home in Navasota last fall before we moved out this summer.
#6- Exercise and outdoors!
Two of my very favorite things that define who I am and where I came from. I've loved outside my entire life. I grew up water skiing at my Gdad's lake house on Lake Austin, playing horse in my back yard with my sister, and making mud slides at my cousin's home on the green belt in south Austin. I also love and crave activity, and in addition to being an avid hiker, stroller, and equestrian, I've been a member at Yoga Pod in College Station since January and it's been the best thing ever.
Photos from our recent staycation at Gdad's Lake House in Austin.
#7 - We're moving to College Station/Bryan in the fall.
We have been living in Navasota for the past almost three years, but after feeling some nudges from the Lord, we're moving to the BCS area when summer camp ends. We're super excited about the move and I'm thrilled for the doors it will open with my business and community!
Bonus Fact - I hit 26 and suddenly needed glasses.
This one is just for kicks and giggles, but I recently developed an astigmatism (getting older is so fun) and Kenton (in good humor and so lovingly) will sometimes poke fun at my "football eyes." Apparently astigmatism is caused by having eyes that are shaped more oblong and less spherical. Also, everyone says I look like my mom with my glasses on.
Photo from a Doobie Brothers concert with my dad and sister. This was one of my first outings with glasses last year, haha.
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