A Bunch of Firsts

First Year.  Just about one year ago I packed my bags and headed South with a new husband and a new description-military wife. Putting those two things together can cause some crazy consequences and it did for sure! I traveled a lot, learned a ton of new things (and practically another language of acronyms lol), and gained many beautiful friendships and hard life experiences that I wouldn’t give back.

Moving down South also turned into a fantastic time to finally give time to my passion of photography.  Though it took several months to get established and acquainted with people, my knowledge began growing right away. I gave a face lift to my blog and thought how great that was! Who knew by the end of my time in Georgia, I would have created an actual website with a portfolio full of my clients and friend! I look at my new website now with my perfectionist eyes and cringe a little at the discontinuity of the shoots with all the different watermarks and even different styles; but that’s where I see my growth so I will leave them as they are. Soon enough my website will continue to be filled with the “style” I have landed on and the “beginning shoots” will be pushed to the back where not many will go to find.  But I still will from time to time when I need to remember where I came from instead of getting frustrated that I’m still not yet “there.”

Amidst all my family, baby, couples, seniors, and even three wedding shoots this year, I added another and now favorite “shoot” to my repertoire: military reunions.  And hence my two worlds and passions joined.  I would be remiss to try to explain what a military wife’s life looks like because all are different, but do know this:

The bonds are strong. The pain is real.  The nights are lonely. The reunions are beautiful. Minutes are cherished.  Days are a delight. Months are longed for.  Support is essential. Strength is a must. And the ability to live for something beyond yourself is required. 

Becoming a military wife, just like any other big step in life opens yours eyes to a world you just couldn’t quite get a grasp on before.  I look forward to the day I become a mom so that I can finally truly thank mine for all the countless hours of time and sacrifice she put into my life.  Of course, I thank her now; but I know the day will come when that thank you has much more meaning to it because of experience.  Hence, my respect and admiration for military families has grown insurmountably.

This year I have had the privilege of supporting my husband as he became a U.S. Army Ranger. To most of you, you probably aren’t quite sure what that means, and I wouldn’t blame you either.  I had no idea and probably wouldn’t have had any idea if I weren’t a military wife. Let me educate you just a little before we come to the fun pictures of reunions and graduations.

Ranger Tab website

 

     Ranger School is one of the toughest and most elite training courses that an Army soldier can go through.  It consists of a minimum of 61 days of intense training where the solider is trained to pure exhaustion pushing all limits of both their body and mind. It contains three phases designed to train the solider in all areas relating to small unit tactics. Recycles (having to do the phase over again) for any phase can occur, and often do, pushing the days until graduation further away. Communication with family and friends is very limited with a piece of mail here and there. The start date is always certain but the end date ever looms. And with that, the wife and family waits.

     Our own particular “Ranger” journey didn’t come without its own struggles and frustrations. Humbling lessons were learned and perseverance was not a word far from either of us.  Along the way I formed many bonds and learned well the support of other wives. And this is where my love for reunions began.  From beginning to end, I formed strong friendships with these Ranger sisters knowing that mine would soon be going, or waiting for mine to return home.  I felt privileged to capture such a beautiful time and landmark in their life: their sweet reunion after months of separation and finally pinning that TAB on their man. Step with me into their lives for just a moment and try to grasp the emotions seeping through the captured memory….

Congratulations again to all of these families and thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a special moment in your life!  🙂

Dan & Bre Baker: Ranger Class 03-13

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Ben & Jenny Poth: Ranger Class 04-13

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Matt & Jess Longar: Ranger Class 04-13

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Steve & Mandy Bauer: Ranger Class 10-13

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Chance & Courtney Hoggle: Ranger Class 11-13

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Sean & Amanda Callahan: Ranger Class 01-14

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Micah & Corinne Ables: Ranger Class 01-14

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Chris & Rachel Corneilson: Ranger Class 01-14

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Finally, the day came that my own husband would finally become a Ranger.  After the months and months of waiting, it almost seemed surreal that his was finally here. Another “Ranger Sister” of mine from the beginning was going to be able to share in this exciting time with me as well! Our faces when we saw each other said it all! We were finally done…

Friends and Family piled in the bleachers that bitter cold (at least for Georgia) Friday morning two weeks ago and watched as their grandson/son/brother/friend became a U.S. Army Ranger.  All 168 Rangers reciting the creed that they now are to live by and live up to.  It was thrilling, it was empowering, and it was great to finally be on the other side of the camera.

James & Courtney Bond: Ranger Class 02-14  🙂

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So with that, I will say Welcome! Welcome to a little part of the life I love.  Welcome to a new way of showing a passion of mine.  I hope you have the time to explore a little. Thanks for reading! And, as always, remember:

Love: why we live   Hope: what we live for   Faith: what we live by

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