Oh the beauty of Sedona and this couple took my breath away. The day started with hovering thunderstorms and soft winds. Nicole and Justin wanted to get married up in Sedona because of the beauty. They have been together for years and years and have two twin four year olds that are the cutest things in the world. This day was all about family and the love between these two.
The Red Agave venue is perfect for small weddings because everyone can rent out a cabin to stay right on site!! The ceremony and reception is all on the same property with a gorgeous red rock landscape right behind. Justin and Nicole are kind, gentle, funny kind of people. I want to be around them all the time if I could! Justin is a chef and Nicole is a nurse. They wanted their day to be revolved around family, beauty, and good food of course!!
Moments right before the ceremony the lighting struck and let out a big rain storm for 10 minutes! When all was done the wedding day went on without an issue. I always believed the rain is a lucky thing on a wedding day. The heavens are clapping along with everyone else in those moments. The burrito truck was probably their best idea at the wedding!! What a fun idea. They danced the night away with the most lovely speeches given by family members and close friends. It even got me in tears.
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”
That quote basically wraps up Hawaii for me. I am drawn to the water the way some are drawn to the mountains or the desert. I am a water baby through and through. I swam before I could walk. I know God through the water and I know myself better after a good swim. It’s the space where I don’t have to think and I think about everything all at the same time. When I swim it’s my time to process, grieve, be. This trip to Hawaii was much needed after a break up with a best friend. I was able to dream again about life and to remember who I am why I’m here.
Hawaii has it’s way of drawing me back. The last 4 years I’ve lived in Hawaii for an extended time every 2 years. The first time I went for a few weeks with friends I was captured by the magnificent beauty of Hawaii. The steep green lush mountains, the deep blue ocean waters, and the Hawaii culture pulled me in and spoke profoundly to my heart. It spoke about family, that this life may be more about each other than just productivity. It spoke about the water we all come from and to not forget. The second time I went I lived there for 2 months on a farm and visiting sweet friends. It was full and life giving. I learned about myself and the world around me. I learned how to live off the land and live off little. I learned how I was made for warm tropical climates.
This trip… I learned to be. I learned this life we all live…it really can be that good. Shitty things happen but it doesn’t take away from the sweetness and goodness that life can be. So many of us don’t let it happen. We think- well one thing good happened so nothing else can ever go good for me. Oh but I have tasted a different way of living. I tasted one where you can wake up for the sunrise, get work done, go play in the ocean, have long meals around the table with new and old friends. I learned you can actually satisfy the pleasures of your heart and not feel bad about it. You can soak up all that sunshine and beautiful waters all day everyday.
I spent the first 3 weeks in Kailua living with a friend who I shot her elopement. She is wild, amazing, and my soul sister. We played, danced, ate, swam, and talked A LOT. We also swam with monk seals out in the wild one morning. It was an experience I will never forget the rest of my life. I photographed for Nalu – a heal bar, a jewelry company- Bones & Bouquets, families, and couples. It was SO FULL. Everyday I feel like I photographed and it was freaking fun.
Grace and I went to Kauai for a long weekend so I could photograph for Captain Andy’s- a Napali coast boat tour. IT WAS AN UNBELIEVABLE DAY. Hours on a boat, ridiculous views, snorkeling, singing at the top of our lungs while the sun set.
Then ventured over to Big Island to meet college friends and stay at the YWAM base. It was glorious. We laughed SO hard that week…as I do with my college friends. Boat tour, hikes, worship nights, working out, and good meals. I won’t forget those days together.
I finally ended in Maui with a dear study aboard friend, Alexis. She is a florist in Santa Barbara so we rightly so did a few shoots. Family, maternity, couples, boat tour, etc. Met up with Flagstaff friends visiting, ate amazing meals, went to nude beaches, drove to waterfalls, swam till my toes were pruney. I left my heart in Maui. I one day will move there and love the Hawaiian life with my babies…until than I will dream of Hawaii for years to come.