To the real superheroes.

Happy mother’s day. To all mothers out there- know you are appreciated. Know you are loved. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed, your love does not go unfelt.

To every woman who has carried and birthed a child. To every woman who has never heard an appropriate THANK YOU. To all mommas with dirty shirts, wrinkled dresses and undone hair- know that you are seen; you are noticed.
To give selflessly, to love unconditionally, to put someone else’s well-being and happiness before your own. To possess the innate desire to accommodate and satisfy another, while watching your days get longer and your nights get shorter. To YOU I give the credit. Your hearts I salute. Your sufferings I treasure.

Cheers to the lack of structure and the unprecedented schedules. Cheers to the tears shed in private and the pain felt in secret. Cheers to the sacrifice, the occasional relinquishment of your own dreams and plans. You are seen. Momma, you are noticed. And today is about YOU.

The plans for this Mother’s Day’s story wasn’t this. We had brainstormed and creatively planned the course of this story. The colors and the joy; the playfulness captured within the images. We had worked out the perfect plan. A plan which I had fit it into my busy and inflexible schedule. We had the story, the interview and the moodboard; we had a strategy. But life never happens this smoothly, at least not for the mother. The life of a mother is about the constant change and adjustment, the constant growing, learning and praying for a new capacity to undertake circumstances.

When my son became sick on the day of our elaborate shoot and story I was again reminded of the fact that my life is unpredictable because its not my own. No matter my plans for this shoot my priority is not a selfish one.

When looking at my child, everything gains perspective. No responsibility comes before; no deadline is relevant. But isn’t that what life is about anyways? To be given the gift of love greater than the love for yourself. I would like to say I apologize for the fact that my Mother’s day post didn’t turn out as I planned, but truth is, I have no time to apologize as I need to go be with my son.

All mothers out there- I salute you.


Shot by Hannah Burton

Ixiah

Its Tuesday, 6:17am. I got up at 4 something so I could get some work done before Zion woke up, and the first thing I read on my phone was a text from Wendy Strong. Wendy is a mom of 4, a wife (whose husband is currently traveling with my husband) and as strong of a woman as her name would suggest. The text read:

"Just in case your mind is playing tricks on you today: You matter. You're important. You're loved. And your presence on this Earth makes a difference, whether you see it or not."  She continues, "I know when the boys are away and doing really cool things that sometimes it actually sucks being home. Saturday for me was crazy and a day I wish I could forget, so if you're having a crazy sucky day when everything seems to be going wrong and your kids and life are driving you mental, I want you to be encouraged that we actually are playing a major "non glamorous" role and to keep pushing through and know that you matter, you're important and that you got this. Praying that you're all having a great day and that when the kids are in bed tonight, that you find time to rest and chill out and not be overwhelmed with the business of our everyday lives."

So, you might be asking yourself, what does this text have to do with these photos? Well, not much. But this editorial looks especially "glamorous" to me. It is glossy and sunny, we aimed to create a 'bronzed goddess' look, rich in color and contrast. But when these photos were being taken the conditions were not as glam. Hot and sweaty sun, hard to stand on rocks, a 2 year old boy a few steps away who was about to either tackle me to my death or fall down the rocks at any given moment. Any moms reading this would understand the multitasking abilities that it takes to watch your child and keep them safe while trying to focus on something else. I've obviously had much worse days than this one and definitely have dealt with much bigger problems than the simpler day to day struggles. But I still felt like I should mention the not-so-glamorous conditions that produced these glamorous images. Its easy to just show our best, but its the REAL that connects you to people, its the vulnerability that brews compassion. 

The point is not to complain or to compare our difficulties, the point isn't to say that balancing life is tough- we already know that.  The point is to remind you that we are all on the same boat, trying to navigate life without knowing where its taking us. Its easy to look at someone's life and assume they have it easier than we do, that if only we had their lives, then we would be happy. But things are never as glamorous as they look. People never have it as easy as we think. And because of that, we are always better off together, supporting each other and encouraging one another. 

"Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

I hope you enjoy 

X Es

 

Editorial for Ixiah - Shop at http://ixiah.com/eboutique/
Produced by WHOOLAND LLC
Photography: Hannah Burton
MUA: Rachel Julia Artistry
Creative Direction: Me

Even When It Hurts

Hillsong United released a live video for one of my favorite songs on the Empire album 'Even When It Hurts'. The video is amazing and the download is made available HERE with a donation of any amount to the World Vision Syrian Refugee Fund.  

I am absolutely in love with this video. Everything about it. From the creative concept, to the song and lyrics, to the people, to the hearts that are so obviously projected through the talent, but used for much more than just making beautiful melody.

Not only is this song beautiful, but this song is a weapon. I wrote something on these lyrics on a previous post HERE. Our hope is that this song, the video, and our collective generosity will bless people everywhere. Check it out and enjoy xx

 

"Following the journey of the song through the first four times we ever played it live, from studio to arena— There is a parallel to be found within the narrative of seasons and days, the constant-unpredictibility of life, and the unchanging, unfailing nature of God and His faithfulness — and what singing His praises unlocks in us. In this journey, the song serves as the constant and honest-confession within us, as the environment and atmosphere changes like the seasons come-and-go around us.

Even When it Hurts is a Praise Song – not exactly in the new-traditional happy-clappy-Sunday-morning sense — no, this is the kind written to sound its loudest in the cold-lonely-silence of the darkest night, or the heart-drenched-desperation of the heaviest of tears. It’s a song that finds it’s voice in the moments and seasons where to all common sense and logic, to sing, and be thankful for anything at all, let alone sing a song of praise to God, makes no sense at all – when the fight seems lost and all strength gone with it – when it’s hard to even find the words — louder then, this is that kind of praise song.

If there is anything to be taken from our own hardship and God’s grace and compassion toward us — and even if we are still waiting in our own difficult night for the morning to come, there is perhaps nothing more powerful that we could do, than to take our focus off ourselves, and help others who are suffering.

We are making the download available on our website below – but humbly ask that you would consider donating an amount to the World Vision Syrian refugee fund.

Together we are believing that our generosity, will ring even louder than our song, and will tangibly become the miracle to the desperate plight and prayers and of so many who have lost everything – It’s impossible to fathom the enormity of the crisis, and the turmoil people have been through, and are going through – forced to flee the oppression and war-ravaged-hell-on-earth they once called home, and the daunting uncertainty of all that is before them.  (Spread the word / share the links / share the video)

LOVE."

 

 

 

An explosion of Color.

I love changing things up. There are always so many creative thoughts going through my mind, so many different vibes on my inspiration board. Why not be both classic and silly? Play with both beautifully simple black and whites and explore explosions of color? If we have been given the freedom and capacity to create, the free will to choose love and recognize beauty, why wouldn't we open our minds and hearts to the bigger picture rather than confining ourselves in the "safe"?

Its all abut perspective. Abraham Lincoln once said “we can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” We complain about this generation that has become so promiscuous and irreverent, but what are we actually doing to shape this generation? Are we even relevant and appealing?

When I speak about creativity I don't only speak of art. Creativity, to me, is to have the understanding of how to not necessarily adapt but help SHAPE our culture. Create a new beautiful, define the new "goal", live by the moral standards you say you believe in and present that as the new cool. Figuring out how to align your life with the Word while having an impact  and understanding of the World. Why try to separate and divide what is meant to be united for the same purpose? Isn't our duty to utilize the tools God has graced us with to glorify him in our individual ways? But for whatever reason we still choose to play safe. Culture doesn't define us, we define culture. The closer we get to our creator the more creative we get. The more creative we get, the more we can help shape culture. 
 
“How is it, that for many of us, being a good Christian is nothing more than being a good person? The entire focus of our faith has been the elimination of sin, which is important but inadequate; rather than the unleashing of a unique, original, extraordinary, wonderfully untamed, faith.” 
― Erwin Raphael McManus

Whoever tells the best story shapes the culture. 
 

Shot by Hannah Burton
Art Directed by me