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Laura Duggleby Photography

Embracing Life; The McConnell Family; Northwest Indiana Lifestyle Family Photographer

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Embracing Life; The McConnell Family; Northwest Indiana Lifestyle Family Photographer

Embracing Life for All Its Meant to Be. 

The page flips, 

You let your imagination wander.  

Birds are chirping, 

Squirrels nestling in, 

The drips of snow melt outside your window pane as you think back to the sunshine of fall.  

Heart stirring to big dreams and wide adventures, 

But then also remembering the simplest of things bringing the greatest joys.  

Life is full of one thousand moments a day, 

Constant movement of time, 

An ever passing continuum of events. 

And yet, here in this passing moment, taking it all in is the best place to be.  

Observant.  Present.  Fully paying attention.  

Feeling the kick of the small new babe growing inside the womb, 

Listening to the laughter as the little ones play, 

Calming a fight and having gratitude in the gift of life brought your way, 

Affirming a questioning heart as doubts and fears come your way.  

Attending to the deepest questions wandering within your head, 

To bring you back to the greatest truths ever told in scripture.  

Moment by moment, 

Day by day, 

Year by year, 

Fighting for Joy.  Living with Intention.  Embracing life for all its meant to be. 

 
 

Simplify. 

Do you ever feel as if you are missing all the moments happening right in front of your eyes because life gets too busy?  Or you are so caught up in maintaining everything in life before you, that is just begins to feel overwhelming, draining and unreachable for true rest?  Well, I have been right there with you friends.  Lately, I have completely let life and all of its demands take hold of pieces of my life, and what that has done is cause more stress.  So, I have started incorporating some tools back into my life to help me wade through the waters, back to joy.  It isn't always easy.  It is a constant fight, a choice, and a never ending battle to say, I am not giving up.  But it is oh so worth it! Below I have a guide I created with some of the tips that I have started incorporating that are helping me in this journey of less stress and more joy.  

 
 

Letter to the McConnell Family 

You guys, truly you are one of the smartest families I think I have ever met! But truly, there was such a sense of calm contentness among you.  I love you each take care of each other and open your arms wide to the needs within your family.  Each person turning to the side and being available for the one beside.  You truly are the most gorgeous bunch!! 

Aiden- You have the sweetest temperament and the kindest persona about you.  You can tell the wheels are always turning, you are observant and wise.  Slow to speak, but quick to listen. A trait I so admire.  I hope you never change sweet one, for you sure are a treasure! 

Finn- You are a caretaker through and through.  You love your siblings fiercely and make sure everyone has everything they need.  You take great concern for others, over that of yourself.  You are humble, and generous.  What a gift you are!! 

Kiera- Little miss beauty.  You have the purest heart and the kindest smile.  You are incredibly smart and so well put together.  The second little mother of the family.  There is also this joy that just spills over from you.  Your compassion is contagious and feel I could just sit in a room with you and soak it in for days.  Never lose your light Kira!  It is a rare thing to behold. 

Declan- Such a cuddler!  I love how much you adore and look up to your older siblings.  You love without regard and it is poured over in return.  Keep enjoying every second of this life! 

Eve- The spunk and life of the family.  You are going to be quite the leader one day.  You have a bold personality, and love the spotlight.  You are full of laughter, and ideas.  Your imagination runs wild, and I hope that only continues to grow and you lead generations with a fierce longing to change the world.  Never let go of that beautiful fire you have about you dear one. 

Sean- Stable and kind.  Your personality is so calm and humble.  You lead by example and with abundant generosity.  Your children love to be in your company and Christine is ever radiant with you by her side.  You give without reserve and love beyond borders. What a blessing to your whole family.  

Christine- I always knew you to be a giver.  From meeting you at Mops, and hearing your few but amazing inputs, I knew you were something special.  You are one who doesnt need to speak a lot, but when you do, my goodness everyone better be ready for a heartful of wisdom.  So calm and kind.  Yet, when I was able to witness all of your children, there with you, my goodness did it give me a broader perspective of just how wide your compassion and love for your family spreads.  Your children just simply look to you in full love and admiration.  You are the apple of their eye.  They fall into your arms, in full comfort and affirmation.  You build them up and provide the emotional security that they need.  And as for Sean, he beams as he looks at you, his beautiful bride.  You are the closing piece that keeps everything running, all things in order.  And yet, much larger than that, you bring continual hope, peace and an unconditional love for all those you come in contact with.  What gift it was to get to know you a bit through Mops and even moreso through our time together.  I will never forget. 

 
 

Figuring out the ebbs and flows of this life with you, 

Laura 

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Abiding within the healing; Anderson couples and portrait session; NW Indiana

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Abiding within the healing; Anderson couples and portrait session; NW Indiana

Abide in the healing

Let go of the hindrances, the burdens holding you down.  

Be fully present within the space you are currently in.  

Abide there, soak in the aroma of the atmosphere.  

Breathe it in deep, for healing may spring forth.  

Allow the sun to rest there, illuminating you thus more, filling with joy and overflow of the heart.

 Let it all go and experience the fullness of grace and presence.  

Complete presence, renewal, peace.  The overflow of the heart. 

We do not know the happenings of the future, nor shall we ever, 

It is beyond our capacity, 

And yet, we can know, as we abide, complete peace.  

We can rest in knowing that although we have hurts and struggles, 

Pain sometimes more than we can bear, 

Yet we can still trust that it has not been overlooked.  

It is in good hands, in the hands of our Father.  

And may we rest, as He knows the future, that it is for our ultimate good. 

And may we rest in knowing that joy can exist too, amongst the pain. 

It does not have to be one or another, 

They can exist together, in beautiful collision of each other. 

So may we come, abide with the one who knows us best, 

And then abide with those whom we have community with.  

Abide, around the table, in rich community, and rich healing. 

For healing happens from within to begin, 

And with friends to continue the healing.  

Today, I simply wish that we each find out space to abide, then heal in the spaces we each need.  

Abide within the healing. 

 
 

Blossoming Community 

I first met Elena several months ago through a creative group that I am a part of.  I quickly realized that we were going to become great friends.  Something about the way she carried herself, her overwhelming joy that just lit up the room from the moment she entered.  I knew she was someone special right away, and as I have gotten to know her more and more over the last several months, it has only further solidified all of my initial thoughts. 

But one of the things I most appreciate about Elena and am so grateful for is the way that she fosters community, fosters people being around a table together, spending intentional time with each other.  This day in age when our schedules are over crowded, and our heart and relationship space even more so, what a beautiful gift to cater people back to being with each other, with tasty food in front of them. 

Elena is a food and travel blogger.  And from what I have tried out so far from her recipes, her stuff is so so good my friends!  But the beautiful thing I love about Elena is her heart behind it all. She truly fosters joy at every turn.  And she is a living example that joy and hardship can beautifully collide.  Everyone's life has hardships and struggles, but Elena chooses joy over bitterness, community over reclusion.  She chooses life and light over death and darkness, and I think we could each use more of these choices in our lives! 

To find out more about Elena and her beautiful food blog, check her out here: 

https://www.savorparadise.com

 
 

Things are Better Together 

And one thing I have learned within my own life and journey is that things are better together.  Here is a little letter to Elena and Ben, about the cutest couple I have ever met! 

Elena and Ben: 

Oh my goodness you two!  Elena, I knew you were filled with joy, but when I met you Ben, I knew that you two were just perfect for each other.  Ben, you are so full of jokes, laughs and smiles all around.  The compassion, grace and kindness you show towards Elena is unmatched.  Always speaking highly of her and encouraging her on in all that she does.  Your words are seasoned with grace and love, a beautiful endearment for Elena.  And Elena, full of true kindness, and I will say it again, joy.  It flows out of you my friend.  It pours from your heart, and comes out through action. And you too are so quick to speak highly of others, especially of Ben.  You run first into his arms and enjoy the love that he brings.  You each fill each others cups with compliments and grace, stepping hand in hand together to each new adventure ahead.  And what a beautiful journey it has already been, hard in spaces, but beautiful all the more.  So, may the years ahead be just as beautiful my friends.  There will be valleys for sure, but may the mountains rise higher, and the inner joy fill the valley days.  May you be able to rejoice in each other, and rest completely in the grace that is there for you each day. 

 
 

Rest and Abide 

This week, and this entire holiday season, I hope and pray you are able to rest and abide, to slow down, get still and allowing healing to take place where it needs, and give yourself grace to not do all the things this year.  I hope you are able to spend time in wonderful community with your people and soak that in.  Rest and abide my friends.  Rest and abide.  Presents do not fill the soul, but presence with our Holy God does.  May we seek presence over presents this season.  

~Laura

And don't forget to check out Elena's Beautiful company Savor Paradise! 

https://www.savorparadise.com

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Be the Light; Portrait Session; Northwest Indiana Photographer

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Be the Light; Portrait Session; Northwest Indiana Photographer

Choose Light. 

"You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden." 

When fear presses in, choose light.  

When darkness creeps in, choose light.  

When valleys come, walk step by step, keep moving forwards to the hill where the light cannot be hidden.  

When hard days come, cling to the light, cling to hope. 

When depression hits, choose light. 

When disappointments linger, choose light. 

When relationships fail, choose light. 

When health declines, choose light. 

When storms are waging, hold on tight dear one, and light a candle, choose light. 

When hearts are heavy, drink deep the light of faith. 

When burdens run deep, choose to trust the light that never fades.  

For light covers darkness, light heals hurts, light restores and redeems, a light on a hill cannot be hidden; light, it is the rescue for our desperate souls. 

Choose light.

 
 

The Unexpected Blessing 

I first met Missy at a photography conference last year in Seattle.  We both had traveled there, and happened to end up in one of the same classes.  In time, we discovered that we were both ex gymnasts and now budding photographers.  AND that we had both competed gymnastics at the collegiate level within the MAC conference, AND we both knew my old coach.  Seriously, it was crazy!  We clearly became instant friends, and I have just so treasured getting to know Missy little by little over the course of this past year.  She is everything kind, compassionate and loyal.  She loves her family intensely and gives of herself in radical ways.  She radiates life and hope, and joy simply from chatting with her, as well as her consistent encouragement and support.  She is one of those people you meet, and you can't stop thanking the Lord for His generosity in bringing a person such as Missy into your life.  She truly brings light into the dark spaces.  

 
 

Be the Light

I just love that Matthew 5:14 states that a town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  It is such a reminder to me that first off, in life we have to work for things.  This town was built, it took time to cultivate, but it also consisted of people and community.  But, then, they built on a hill.  I can only image the labor that was involved, transporting goods and supplies to built this town, up and down a large hill.  I am sure it was timely, I am sure it was hard, I am sure there was mess involved, and I am sure there were times they wanted to give up.  But, they didn't and once completed, it could not be hidden. It was a beacon of light, a treasured masterpiece to be adored.  And this is the same with Christ.  I sometimes feel like an uphill battle, daily choosing light, but once we experience His presence, His true light, once we remind ourselves of the truth of the gospel, the hope we have access too, well true light abounds, and it cannot be hidden.  The Lord is above all, and in all and through all.  He cannot be hidden, His love and light will radiate far beyond our wildest dreams or imaginations.  So dream big, reach far, run higher than you thought you ever could, because I know that nothing is too big for Him or too far beyond His reach.  So, if you are feeling in darkness, keep walking up that hill sister, for He will meet you at the top of that hill, and He is with you every step of the way as you climb out of the valley.  

And as we discover His light, our only response can be to Be the Light.  To spread hope and love to those around us, and I just LOVE that this is what my friend has decided to do with  a special project within her photography.  She is currently running a project called BE THE LIGHT, where she is offering a free photography session to someone in need.  I think if we each did this, if we each chose ONE way that we could give of ourselves, how much more light we could have in this world?  No doubt we will always have darkness too, for we all struggle with our own things, myself included, but the beauty of it is that we can wake up and remind ourselves that grace exists admits the darkness and the light is still there, the hope is still there.  It never fades.  

So, please check out more of what Missy is doing here:

 
 

Accept your Sphere of Influence

So, my friends, may we each remember our sphere of influence.  May we hold tightly to it, and work hard within it.  May we spread the light where we are able, running to Jesus on the hard days, and easy days alike as we desperately need His outpouring and love over us.  May we be quick to listen, slow to speak, and negligent to judge.  May we go first to apologize and may we go first weeding through the darkness in our own hearts so that light truly has a chance to burst through.  For the world is waiting, the world needs more light, the world needs more truth, the world needs more people to stand firm and be the  light.  You are the girl for the job sister.  You've got this! 

~Laura 

 

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