A Seaside Collaboration with Annmarie Swift Photography

Today I am excited to share with you the finished product of a collaboration that I mentioned on Saturday. I have been fond of Annmarie’s work ever since I saw the beautiful way she captured the weddings of some dear friends last year (here and here) and most recently the engagement session of another dear friend of mine. Her photography is beautiful, classic, full of light, and even more filled with a sincere love and care for connecting with every client and capturing the moments that matter most.

Life lately has been rich in community, and through several mutual friends and a few gatherings Annmarie and I connected this past fall and got talking about how we both appreciate the other’s style of work, something that I credit to our mutual love for New England and all the quaintness of this place we call home. With all that to say, I was really excited to receive an email from her at the end of December proposing that we collaborate on this project. By combining her take-me-there-now images of Rockport, Massachusetts with words written in my loose, flowy watercolor lettering, we created a set of seaside lock screens to adorn the phones of her newsletter subscribers as they step into a year of new beginnings. I’m smitten with the finished project and I hope they are, too!  To view Annmarie’s portfolio, click here. To subscribe to her newsletter, click here.

If you are interested in linking arms with me for a collaborative project, I would love to hear from you. Simply send me a message at kyla.mary@icloud.com with the subject ‘Let’s Collaborate’ and share with me what you have in mind!

January 6th + Part of My Testimony

I had originally written and scheduled a post for today to share my perspective on why I set goals, but then I received an email from someone who is having surgery tomorrow and took one glimpse at the calendar that placed a burden on my heart for this one instead. On this day two years ago, I saw God’s hand in one of the biggest ways of my life so far. I was in the thick of my back injury and meeting with all kinds of fears and resistance in coming to terms with the impending need for surgery. Stepping into a new year with that kind of anxiety and lack of control was weighing heavily on my spirit and resulted in viewing life through a dark, foggy lens. Then God showed up in a way that was big and simple and tender and real all at once.

I woke up that morning and crawled out of bed and into the pages of my journal, a place where I had been wrestling with God and His voice for weeks. I was exhausted, weary, and was at the end of my rope. In hopes of gaining some semblance of peace again, I jotted down a journal entry that would forever mark the place where God did a profound work in me:

Dear Lord, I feel like I am not good enough for you. I continue to stumble and fall, putting earthly desires, temptations, and trials before you. I see other girls my age in small group who seem to have it all figured out. They unabashedly love you and search for you and serve you. My self-image is poor right now. I want to love you first. I want to place my life at your feet every day, even if I have to surrender my life to you several times each day. I want to live a life that is worthy of your love and grace. I am a broken sinner, but I am saved by Jesus who bridged the gap between my brokenness and You. Please Lord, change my heart and align it with your wonderful plan. Please change the way I think. Please refine my heart through these life struggles, rather than damage and batter it to bits. I overthink and overanalyze the simplify and beauty of a relationship with you. Please forgive me for my continual wrongdoing. I want to live a life that honors you. (January 6, 2014 – morning)

At the time, I didn’t yet know that God was going to overwhelm me with His peace and presence later that day and would later carry me through a process of surgery and healing that was undeniably stamped with his fingerprints. In Him meeting me in that first step of faith, I was able to see that His hand had never left me. He just wanted me to call out to Him quite simply and to look to Him in faith. I journaled again that night before bed to try to place a stone to mark the marvelous work that God had done.

I am struggling with accepting my back injury. I need to remember that you have my whole life mapped out in a beautiful way and that you don’t make mistakes. However, you give us free will to make decisions on our own. That is where I struggle deeply. I do not want to alter or mess up your plans with my own poor choices or by simply making the wrong decision. Right now my back and residual pain, worry, fear, numbness, anger, doubt, shame, self-pity, and obsessiveness is taking up so much brain space. As someone who desires to grow in a deeper relationship with you and succeed creatively, I need to take that space back. Please put the right people, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and information in clear view so that the weight of this does not lie on my tired shoulders any longer. Please wash all the negativity from my heart, soul, and mind. I trust you Lord. Please carry me. (January 6, 2014 – evening)

And friends, He did. He wants to carry us. We are His children, every one of us. Look up to Him expectantly in light of who He is and what He wants to do out of His infinite love for you.  He wants us to look to Him, reach up to Him, and trust.