Simplified. And the process that entails.
I've always found much appreciation in a simplified approach.
I'm the wedding-in-a-field type. I appreciate a black and white color scheme. I decorate with white, creme, chocolate and aqua. That's all. Oh and beige, tan, khaki, sand, taupe, burlap, linen, off-white, bright white....I'm that girl.
When shooting, I like to find the most clean of backgrounds and talk with you, learn about you and capture the reactions that genuine conversation illicit. My simple self finds one dress and buys it in 5 colors (yes, 5). I like to shoot with one camera, and nothing more, though a bag stuffed with a couple is always in arm's reach. I enjoy plain, dark chocolate the most and one mirror and one globe on my mantle. One daisy in a blue mason jar suits me fine and I must have the office picked up completely at the end of each day, with everything perfectly aligned against the lines of the desks. Yes. That crazy girl. I prefer clean desks, but I'm growing to accept orderly stacks. Hah.
It's been time, for a while, to simplify here. And I wasn't taking the jump to do it, so the Lord did it for me. The weddings I'm booking connect heart-to-heart with me. The families I'm spending time with love their children, hang them on the walls of their home and smile each time the walk by the portrait we made in a field. We're the same, calm people who value family, heirlooms and sincerity. We find more importance in the marriage than the process of wedding to get there. We stand in a creek bed together on their parent's farm where the groom grew up at dusk and the bride turns to me and says, we love your art and we want your vision, so we're glad to get wet or sit down or whatever. We trust you. Yes, please. I forget that each day I make art. I know I create heirlooms for grandchildren to look over. I know that I'm essentially creating for that silver frame on their mantle of their parents when they were young and chasing babies. And I value that, but it has been such a good, good reward to have folks coming in the door continually that are there on that same page with me.
My mind is simple and doesn't excel at serving when it's stretched across so many folks and their families. And serving is my heart. I want to put your bustle up so you can chat with your maids and smile at your husband, I'm glad to put all the flowers back on the alter the church decorated with and we wedding'd without. It's my joy to change one kiddo's clothes while you tend to the hungry, screaming kiddo in between outfits. I want to chat with your senior about their college choice for 20 minutes when you're running late to an ordering after work. I've found myself calling people by the wrong name, like a mother of 8. While I certainly understand the sentiment there, I haven't reached that point in life. I feel rushed and behind far too often, despite working long, long hours. But God has been good to prune my workload, simplify my office and keep a constant, steady stream of work I love pouring in.
The Lord sent me to Uganda in the early spring, and until I immersed myself in those images this week for submission, I completely missed the point. The big, big point that I lamented on to friends, but failed to grasp myself. There is joy in simplicity. There is purpose in simplicity. There is success and thoroughness in simplicity. There is completeness, focus and a job well done in simplicity. But most importantly, there is joy in simplicity. My heart knows that, my design sense displays that, when I'm lucky my work does, too. But I've certainly failed at holding tight to that.
It's so, so easy to function in this industry and think that an office full of people running a well-oiled portrait and wedding machine is the place to be, or that one computer in a coffee shop makes you less than. The only thing that makes me, Elizabeth, less-than in my work and otherwise is not seeking the Lord to bring me the people he would have me work for.
I was amazed at the joy that flowed out of the Ugandan people in their lack, their simplicity, their need. But my goodness, their need pointed them to the Lord for every single need and every single joy. And they found joy in thanksgiving for what they were given. That's where I want most to be. To find joy in what God's giving this little shop. To find joy in my heart that's craving a simple website, a simple office and work that is appreciated by people striving to create heirlooms of their lives to share with their grandbabies. To recognize that those crazy, lofty ideas are in my heart from a Father who knows mine well.