*I will briefly re-direct any readers to my sister's incredible work as a photographer, but mainly, graphic design artist at her webpage, Danielle Pajak Illustrations. Do yourself a favor and check it out! In between fantasizing about superheroes and villians and creating emo-artwork of them (just kidding, Danielle!), she is currently working on a stunning and dramatic graphic novel of the story of Elijah from Scripture. Must see!!!
The ideas for this shoot was originally targeted towards our upcoming first-year anniversary (February 10th, 2014!). However, due to our out of state move, we had to make this happen earlier than planned since my sister will not be near us for our first anniversary. *tear* This worked out better since it summarizes the end to the chapter of our life in Arizona where our courtship, engagement, wedding, and first part of our marriage year took place. Yet, it is somewhat disheartening when life happens so fast and you're living a whole state away from your family only 10 months after your wedding! While I love and crave the adventure of a new home and new city to explore, a piece of my heart is back in Arizona with my family and friends and the life-changing church community we experienced at Open Door Fellowship. And, it always will be. I never did much like growing up in ugly, hot Mesa, Arizona my entire life. I always dreamed of the day I would leave it. Yet, somehow it just became home because of all the beautiful people surrounding me and reminding my restless heart that they are my true home, not a location or a place. :)
As one would expect, I found some inspiration for this shoot from Pinterest! ;) The props included items used at our wedding: a rustic twine cake topper with our initials and a vintage 1930s book titled, From Friendship to Marriage. The location we decided on months ahead: South Mountain Trails in Phoenix.
I think the setting sun was a bit of a symbol for us our first year of marriage. We, quite literally, woke up to a setting sun every day since early summer when my husband switched over to a 6pm - 6am work schedule. It was hard. I simply cannot describe how that kind of backward schedule messes with you emotionally and physically, as well as limits you from a lot of outside contact with friends. With stresses from every angle (family, work, and health), it has continually felt like we were living in the dark. The light did go out in our hearts many times, but we made it carrying one another through some unexpected challenges. I will confess that it makes me a little timid as we are coming up on our first year anniversary in 2 months. What else awaits us? I care little to know at the moment. I am ready for normal life. For routine, boring, uneventful, day-by-day, yet lazy and happy NORMAL life. Not forever, I know. Just for a little while. I am always thrilled by changes and transitions, but even I have my limits. It is more of my prayer that we would be thriving in our new life rather than just surviving and getting by day to day. Yet, the sufferings and griefs continue to teach me wisdom and, that, I cannot despise, although my heart be heavy. It truly is the rarest gift of all when your lover is really more of your friend who walks with you by your side and is the first one to teach you about grace in real life. And both of us are learning to receive and to give grace more naturally and it is sweet. Because the Giver of Grace goes before us, I know I don't have to be afraid when life is more raw and realistic than my sensitive dreamer's heart can take. Christ in us, the hope of our glory.
Intense. Introverted. Idyllic.
Those are my words to describe the two of us reflected in these photos. Thank you, Danielle!