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The Mabi go to NYC | Tupelo, Mississippi Photographers

I’ve never felt the power of prayer and the power of social media so much as when we were in New York for Spring Break last week. I’m amazed by the people that followed our journey pre and post illness. Here’s a recap for those who missed it.

Last week we took the kids to New York City. It was their first plane ride as well as their first time to a big city, and they loved it! We explored and ice skated in Central Park, managed to find a bit of snow to play in and saw the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry. We found a great 2 bedroom apartment a few blocks from a subway station on the Upper East Side that was our home for the week. We only saw it twice a day as we were exploring the city all day, every day.

Long story short, we hit all the major tourist attractions: Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Toys R Us, FAO Schwarz, Serendipity, Ellen’s Stardust Diner, Empire State Building (or “Umpire State Building”, according to Jack), Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim Museum (or “Googleheim”, according to Jack, again), Madame Tussaud’s, Cinderella on Broadway (girls), Aladdin on Broadway (boys), Dylan’s Candy Bar, The Discovery Museum, Rockefeller Center, Top of the Rock, and New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Allow me to explain my last “attraction” — When we went to the Top of the Rock on Friday afternoon, Emily very quickly came down with a migraine and felt nauseated. We managed to get a few photos before we had to take her home (hence why she doesn’t look like herself in those). She slept for a few hours before waking up vomiting with pain in her chest and left arm. Josh called his friend from Tupelo that is a nurse in the city. She recommended New York Presbyterian Hospital — it’s where she works, and they have a great pediatric unit. They went to the ER around 11 pm, and she was admitted to the ICU with pneumonia a couple hours later. She didn’t seem ill during the week, but evidently had a virus lurking around the whole time.

Needless to say, we were quite scared and overwhelmed. People talk about how New Yorkers always band together and support each other. Well, we were blessed with double hospitality from native Mississippians living in New York. Thank you to all the people who offered to help (at home and in the city). We’re truly blessed with so many great people in our life. The power of God through prayers was strongly felt. We are ridiculously humbled. I caught myself crying many times over the weekend. Not necessarily all out of fear since we felt like Em was in good hands. It was more in response to the incredible overflow of love from everyone.

Saturday Chloe, Jack and I visited Emily at the hospital. However, we didn’t want them to be cooped up their last day in New York, so while Josh stayed with Em, I took Chloe and Jack ice skating as planned. We had fun and did really well considering we’re from a town that only has access to an ice skating rink because of indoor hockey. That is, until Jack took me down with him in a puddle of inch-deep water. Needless to say, we left shortly thereafter to buy some goodies for Emily. After dinner with her, we made one last trek to Serendipity. We didn’t get a table until 11:30, took the subway home and finally got in around 1 am.

Emily was not released in time to make her flight home as planned. However, she was taken off of high-flow oxygen early on Sunday and was walking around by lunch. I had a family friend help me with all of our luggage and give Chloe, Jack and me a ride to the airport. Josh had a friend deliver and eat dinner with them. It was tough on us to have something so bizarre, scary and unexpected thrown into the trip. But we’re glad it happened at the end — after Em did almost all of the touristy things. She did say that once she started feeling better, she enjoyed the one-on-one time with her daddy and the flight home alone with him on Monday. 

It was a crappy ending to an amazing week, but nevertheless, a great story. It’s been amazing to see people throughout the week who have mentioned the situation. It’s baffling to think that so many people saw our story develop on Facebook. It’s wild and a little weird at the same time. But I honestly believe that she healed as quickly as she did because of everyone that prayed for her. That is one way that social media is truly awesome.

Here are some of our photos from last week. You can find more on my Instagram account.

Here’s to the next Mabus Shenanigan — may it be fun, adventurous, and not involve hospitals!

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Annie - March 21, 2014 - 8:59 am

I love all of these pics! I’m so glad that Emily is feeling better. xoxo!

Katie + David | Married | Tupelo, Mississippi Wedding Photographer

Katie and David had a very romantic backyard wedding with close friends and family. The lawn was decorated simply and beautifully with fall flowers, pumpkins and classic white lights. October weddings are my favorite and this was no exception. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Bates!View full post »

Jamie Bennett - March 7, 2014 - 8:49 pm

Love it. This is beautiful. Is it in tupelo

Mary Meghan - March 23, 2014 - 10:35 pm

Yes, it’s at the home of a friend of the bride’s mother. It’s gorgeous!

Natalie + Josh | Married | New Albany, Mississippi Wedding Photographer

Natalie and Josh were married on a gorgeous September day in Natalie’s grandmother’s lawn outside New Albany. The weather was perfect for a country chic wedding. The attention to detail was amazing from the lanterns in the trees to the awesome cake setup with the crates. I had amazing photography help from the wonder Jennifer Hudson and Will Reedy was the videographer. No doubt that Natalie and Josh have fantastic memories captured to cherish for a lifetime. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your special day!

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Darden + Ron | Married | New Albany, Mississippi Wedding Photographer

As I catch up on some blogging with the amazing help of my friend, Amy, I begin with Darden and Ron’s summer wedding. They were married in New Albany among loving friends and family. Ron is the New Albany High School football coach, and was blessed to have the team present for the wedding. During the exchange of rings, Darden and Ron presented Ron’s daughter, Molly Addison, with a ring of her own.  It was such a special day, and I’m so honored to have been a part of it.

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Finding balance when I’d rather be eating ice cream

“I kind of wish we’d stop obsessing about improving ourselves all the time. I’m simply suggesting that maybe you can show up for life as you are.” Glennon Melton (excerpt from her Our Sacred Scared post)

Call me naive, but I truly believe that the world would be a much better place if we could all learn to love one another and treat one another with respect — and I believe that begins with learning to love ourselves. We live in a terrifying world of comparison with often unrealistic expectations. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we should be doing that we completely neglect the joy of now. We fail to be. We fail to live. We fail to love.

For example, I fell off my 18 month gym wagon this past fall. I beat myself up for it every day knowing that I should be working out and not sleeping late and eating Doritos and ice cream like my life depended on it. Finally, someone asked me if I couldn’t just accept that perhaps my body is trying to tell me that it needs a break. Indeed this was a concept that I blissfully accepted.

During my six month hiatus I ate loooots of sweets, breads, and fried foods. It was amazing. I’m a cheap date, too. Just give me a Totino’s pizza or a fried pizza stick and some no sugar added Kroger chocolate ice cream with Hershey syrup, and I’m good to go. (Yeah, I realize that doesn’t make sense, but the no sugar added tastes better to me for some reason.)

Fast forward to last month, and let’s get real.

  • I’m rotating the same few articles of clothing because putting on jeans is beginning to resemble the early scenes of Dazed & Confused. And god help me if they are fresh out of the dryer.
  • Lethargy holds me captive every afternoon, and I’m resorting to coffee for help. (I only like my coffee in the unhealthiest of ways: the ever elusive Frappuccino with whip cream. So if I’m drinking real, grown-up coffee, you know it’s serious.)
  • I’m not as mentally sharp as I had been. I haven’t dipped into a depression or anything like that, but things just haven’t been as clear as they are when I’m exercising regularly.
  • As much as I don’t want to admit it publicly, I was extra pitiful while walking around the Museum of Natural History in November — I had to stop in the middle of a flight of stairs to catch my breath. I’m not proud, but I can’t very well be ashamed of it either.

Those are a few of the most glaring consequences of not exercising regularly. Now, this post is not about exercising. I don’t enjoy reading people’s gym posts anymore than you do. I’m just using that as an example of how I have the perfect recipe for hating myself because I’ve cooked this meal before. I’ve beat myself up for this time and time again.

Back to Glennon’s quote above — this seems like a perfect oxymoron: stop obsessing about improving ourselves and show up for life as you are. Neither she nor I are saying to stop improving yourself. I’m a big believer in self-improvement. I’m naturally a very resistant person to all that is good for me. Historically, I’m blissfully skilled in the art of self-sabotage and convincing myself that complacency is preferred and good for me.

Therefore, I constantly work to find balance and love myself regardless of whether I actually achieved balance today.

  • I work to find balance between eating all the foods and not being able to enjoy a meal for fear of exceeding my recommended caloric intake to fit back into my “skinny” jeans.
  • I work to find balance between working until midnight (and/or continuing to work from home until well past midnight) and going home before six.
  • I work to find balance between eating out every meal of the week and cooking some meals at home.
  • I work to find balance between being the photographer/accountant/media coordinator/project manager/office manager who works with her husband all day and being a loving wife at night (regardless of what events transpired at work — If you work with your spouse, you understand).
  • I work to find balance between spending every day with friends and family and setting aside some alone time.
  • I work to find balance between going to bed before 10pm and staying up until 4am.
  • I work to find balance between sharing too much and sharing just enough. (This post may be teetering…)
  • I work to find balance with the secular world we live in and the time with God that I crave — that I need.

Internal peace was once defined to me as being able to be the calm in the midst of the storm surrounding you. Life is typically a lot smoother when we’re positive. It’s not always perfect — Murphy’s law is often inevitable. But I find that when I’m not angry at myself for being a failure at ______, I’m able to separate myself from the storm much easier.

If God created me in His own image, am I also angry at Him for being a failure as well? As a square is a rectangle yet a rectangle cannot be a square, God is never angry at us for failure. I can at least find peace in that. I can find peace in trying. I can find peace that God loves me no matter what. And He loves you no matter what, too. Let’s learn to love ourselves as God loves us.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“We loved because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:16

“To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.” Proverbs 19:8