• Julie of Julie Anna's Joy

I drove down the mountain we live on last week into the neighborhood below and saw pumpkin décor lining the exterior of one of the best-groomed yards on the block. As a lover of summer and warm weather, I shuddered. Eh, pumpkins in August--- I’m SO not ready!

Don’t get me wrong I get it, cool nights, sweatshirts and campfires, football--- for those of you die-hard PSL gals, it’s your dream season!

I’m a bit jaded by fall, and have a love/hate relationship with it. For the better part of my adulthood I had to travel for work extensively from September-November. The season for me is associated with fast paced days, living out of a suitcase, seeing the change of the season out of a state car window, and being away from routine with my family. While those demands lessened over my career, the deep jaded wounds are still there.

I think what truly made me cringe seeing that autumn décor the last week of August was the rush ahead mentality. Planners may criticize this thought, and this inability to jump on board with fall décor now. But for me it’s something about being present and not rushing life.

Anyone with young children gets this--- I don’t want to rush ahead, I want to savor. I want to savor one last swim in the backyard pool—one last hot day with a popsicle in hand, one last neighborhood walk without a jacket. These little things, this chapter of life I have now-- with elementary aged school children has been a blur, and I want to savor it all with eyes wide open.

One of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist writes about being Present Over Perfect (if you haven’t read this book or listened to the audio version, you need to). This is a philosophy rich with meaning especially for mothers who work outside of the home. I feel a guilty tug of conviction reading those words PRESENT OVER PERFECT, but also the freedom to let go and be. Be perfectly imperfect, but present. I STRUGGLE with this concept daily, weekly, okay-- hourly. But if we put the pumpkins up in August, we aren’t drinking in the season. For gardeners or even just food consumers, it’s like our lives are full and rich in tomato growing season but we are tired of tomatoes and want a kiwi that has to be imported. Living now, living here with what’s around us is so important, at least to me.

So, as for our family--- from July 4th – Labor Day we have patriotic décor, summer flowers (even though they are wilting a bit) in the pots at our entrance way, and we WILL savor this season. Mid-September we will welcome fall. I will put up the harvest décor, and break out my favorite sweet cinnamon pumpkin hand soap, and try my best to cheer on the Washington Football team (that’s another set of thoughts for another day).

Until then, grab a popsicle or ice cream cone, put the windows down and soak in the present. This is my encouragement to myself, and to all of you who happen to stumble upon this little outlet of expression.

*For those of you not residing in the Mid-Atlantic region, I know this entire read is laughable to you. We are Marylanders and truly do live deeply in seasons.

On the photography side of life, I have enjoyed getting out in the sunflower field for senior portraits and doing some family photography as well. Here is a little glimpse behind the scenes for you and of some recent work. Thanks as always for the support and interest in my life as a photographer and beyond.

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  • Julie of Julie Anna's Joy

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

This Wednesday marks 5 years I’ve put my love of photography and my gifting of the art (every aspect of it—working with people, engaging kids, and creating an authentic atmosphere) out into the world publicly! I was blessed to do my magic just last week with this beautiful family. After creating a collection that will soar into the 100+ for images delivered, and 30 personal favorites (highlighted here), I simply had to expand upon a simple Facebook post. So here’s to dusting off this corner of the world (my not so used blog space), and giving a deeper glimpse into the McKenzie/DeVore family session.

In looking over their collection from this hour family session, I am truly touched by the imagery captured. I am moved by sibling interaction, the love and support of a grandmother, the genuine partnership of a couple, and the thought that every human on this planet should be blessed with a great-grandfather and friend like “Ack.” I’m thankful to have captured this session in the heart of Myersdale, Pennsylvania, keeping at the roots of the McKenzie family, and the beloved site of the state’s annual Maple Festival. What a sweet, classic, and inviting backdrop to mirror the love of this family!

This year, 2020, one we so cleverly entered claiming to “see more clearly,” has taken so many of us on our own journeys. I have lived spring and early summer of 2020 as a thrown-into-it homeschool mom/computer technician like many. Most recently, I started a new full time “day job” at another college. Still rooted in the same community, but challenged in new ways. I know I’m beyond blessed to say I secured a new job in the whirlwind that is this global pandemic we call COVID-19. But unlike many, I have felt relatively calm this year, and most of all at peace more times than not. I am thankful to be at a place in life to be unapologetically me and to see where it takes me.

For my life as a photographer, getting behind the lens is such a gift to center me into who I am, and in looking back on these photographs I feel proud. I’m proud I took the jump to share photography with all of you 5 short years ago. I’m proud of my unwavering faith that I claim delicately but boldly, and stand on to shine light to others who can’t seem to look up. I’m excited to work with a bride and groom I signed on for 2021, and the many other families whose lives are interestingly woven into mine, through photography and beyond….

In this space I have the platform to share a tiny piece of who I am-- where I’m at in life, and what I strive for-- I hope I empower you, the reader, the one who stumbled up on my work and my words. May you breathe deeply, live life in color, and give whatever it is you’re doing your best shot!


#myersdale #myersdalepa #pafamily #pafamilies #pafamilyphotography #capturinglifespreadingjoy

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  • Julie of Julie Anna's Joy

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

When I launched my first blog post back in February I had no clue what this year would look like….this year, my “lucky ’19.” There is no way I could’ve seen what choices I would ultimately make due to the climate of my “day job” career of fifteen plus years. But there’s also no way I would’ve predicted the support and provisions made for me through my life as a photographer and beyond

Ringing in 2019 with my family

The last few months have been a whirlwind. Ones I will not soon forget. They are days and months full of raw emotion, life choices, big decisions, and unwavering faith. I am reminded of the peace I have in the God I serve in these days. If you don’t have that peace, I want it for you--- yes, you--- whoever stumbles upon my little corner of the internet world. If you don’t know anything about faith or God or the love I experience through knowing Him, just start with a prayer--- it is a powerful tool. While I'm not placing the same value on it, music is a powerful tool too. The songs I’ve claimed for this season in life are “Symphony” from Switch, and “Fighting For Me” by Riley Clemmons. If you’re going through a time of uncertainty or trying to figure out what your next right thing is, do yourself a favor and listen to these songs with a careful ear and an open heart.

I did not make any promises when starting this blog that there would be a central focus or general topic I would cover. This is probably a good thing, because it’s evolved to be a general hodgepodge of thoughts, a vulnerable look at me on the other side of the camera, and an occasional glimpse behind the scenes of what provides me this space in the world of photography.

Speaking of which, the past few months I have been busy with photography sessions and was even featured in a new publication. From traveling to Florida to do my nephew’s epic senior session, a lifestyle shoot on a ranch with a real life cowboy, to multi-generational family shoots, to fall and holiday minis--- this gift I have been given to use my camera as a tool which highlights the good in life is something I DO NOT take for granted. Not one bit, not ever…. I’m so thankful for life as a photographer, and the opportunity and light it has brought me and to so many others.

While I’m still and will forever being trying to figure things out, here’s what I know to be true. 1.) Bold faith is rewarded. 2.) Don’t rely on others to make choices you are convicted to make for yourself. 3.) Don’t worry about what others think (an anthem of my life really). 4.) Life worth living is on the other side of fear.

If my words have challenged you, or helped you in any way please let me know. I like to think the authenticity I am sharing here is not to be lost. Here’s to one day at a time, to strong character, to steadfast faith, and the love of an art form that brings the human experience to life.

Here are some behind the scenes images from the past few months and few of my favorites I was able to capture.

#ourdailybread #switchmusic #rileyclemmons #mdmountainside #christianphotographer #capturinglifespreadingjoy

www.odb.org https://www.life.church/switch-music/ https://www.rileyclemmons.com/ www.mdmountainside.com/weddings

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