fashion for dressing for a photo shoot

family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner
From early childhood I had two loves, clothes and cameras. I spent equal amounts of time watching my dad put together and clean his Minolta 35mm and playing in my mom's closet full of heals and shoulder pads. Into high school I fell in love with photo journalism and went to college in hopes of finding some way to study photography. In a turn of events that I honestly can't even remember, but I think might have mistakenly had something to do with what the responsible choice might be, so I instead went the sensible way of pursuing a degree in fashion merchandising. I can not explain the choices, but I can say how thrilled I am that my job now brings me back to both of my loves. 
It is my biggest thrill when I get to be involved in dressing clients or at least working their clothing choices into a story and our location.
family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner
This is the Chino family. If you have been around my blog much at all they will be familiar. They are family and friends and were some of the first people that I photographed regularly. They are also always completely willing to go and wear what I want. Alison and I have approached photographing their family in many ways over the years. We have started with a pair of tights we loved for Mary Polly or that I found this building that I don't think I will be able to talk other people into entering or that we must photograph the family camping even if none of us have showered in days or like this shoot we are really starting with a concept. Last summer the Chino family moved to Scotland and before they left we wanted to document this stage of their lives. It would be a time for them to cling to one another, packing all their belongings and pretty much taking all they could carry to chase a dream. Right away I thought of a train station and really had visions of Harry Potter, subdued colors and baggage.
family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner
In all aspects I would call this a styled photo shoot, from the clothes to the location and even props. This type of photo is certainly not for everyone or for all seasons, but I love it as a way to bring in what is important or happening with your family at a certain point. SO today I will give a few tips on dressing for a styled shoot, though some might apply to any photos or just life.
family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner
1. Think about what you want to say. Alison is a blogger so we knew we wanted the photos to tell a moving overseas to do super smart school stuff (my words, as I still don't 100% understand all the smart things Taido is doing).
2. Love what you are wearing. I think this is important in life, but certainly important for photos you will repeatedly look at and hopefully have up in your home...also your kids will look happier if they don't totally hate what they are wearing. Give them something that feels like a win. With Alison's kids we usually give them choices of things that will work starting with the one that cares most about clothes and moving down accordingly.
3. Think from head to toe. I love shoes and they do matter and an accessory or two goes a long way. I love how much is added to these photos by the addition of the ties.
4. Make sense together and try on before. You want to make sure things fit, especially important with kids who are known to grow overnight. Also just seasonally and such you want it to flow together. It was a 90 degree August day when we took these photos, but we wanted them to be seasonally ambiguous so just think that way. I also lay things out as I start to pull clothes and make sure they work in a variety of groupings. This really matters when you start to work with more color, like most design pick color in odd numbers so you can easily mix it up.
5. Color matters. I am a girl who deeply loves color so as we started to pull for this I was struggling with the lack of color, but I knew that in this case it would really help the location and props to pop if we stayed neutral. Also it felt very studious and European to be subdued and serious with color. In picking color for a personal shoot I always imagine how the images fit into my space, I go with colors that make sense in my house.
6. Have fun. Clothes are probably the single most intimidating thing about having your photo taken, but they don't have to be. At the end of the day if you have fun with it that will show.

family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner
Happy Friday everybody!
family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner

spring seniors (central arkansas senior photographer)

senior photos, senior guys, arkansas photographers
Seniors, It is your time!
This past week I have photographed two wonderful seniors. I often admit that these are some of my favorite sessions and these just reminded me of that fact. It is an exciting time. A fun time to say who you are and enjoy some attention all on you.
senior photos, senior guys, arkansas photographers

senior photos, senior guys, arkansas photographers

senior photos, photography, little rock, baseball photos, senior baseball pictures

senior photos, photography, little rock, baseball photos, senior baseball pictures

senior photos, photography, little rock, baseball photos, senior baseball pictures

senior photos, photography, little rock, baseball photos, senior baseball pictures
Hoping that more warm days are on the way and I would love to work with more seniors. Give me a call to set up a senior session before graduation. AND it isn't too early to start planning for the 2014-15 seniors. I would love to get you on my calendar!
senior photos, photography, little rock, baseball photos, senior baseball pictures

Food Friday...cookies cookies

For this food Friday I won't be sharing any recipes, but some fun cookie photos because cookies are really the only food I have made in the last week. For the last three years I have been a part of a team of people making cookie dough for a fundraiser for our youth spring break ski trip. We sell and make three kinds of cookies and each student makes money for each bag they sell. I am in charge of the snickerdoodle cookies. I think the first year I made around 1,500 cookies and though it is hard to imagine now I made them all in my home kitchen, batch by batch in a kitchen aid mixer with the help of half a dozen high school boys. Since then we have moved the operation to our church kitchen. I am beyond thankful for this kitchen and huge mixer and so many helpers. This year we made 4,500 snickerdoodles with the help of about 20 people and got it done in about 6 hours. I think in total this year the students sold 15,000 cookies! For snickerdoodle alone we used over 15 dozen eggs and 44 pounds of butter and after writing that I think I might take a nap. 
I hope your weekend is filled with sweet things. It will be a while before any cookies are made in my kitchen.
a few cookie recipes I love...
oatmeal cookies by Alison Chino
key lime meltaways by Smitten Kitchen
sugar cookies by Martha Stewart

Arkansas flower and garden show...and giveaway

Tickets for the AFGS Giveaway provided by  Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, but opinions are all mine. Giveaway details below.

On a much colder day a couple weeks ago, I gathered with some of my AWB besties and got a sneak peak into the Arkansas Flower and Garden show. It was a super fun night out filled with beautiful things and eat & drink treats. 
We had a personal floral lesson with Chris Olsen. The whole thing had me wishing for warmer days and thinking maybe, just maybe it isn't too late for me to give gardening a try. I do adore flowers, but my few efforts at gardening have not gone well. I am excited to go to the flower and garden show and get some ideas for my dream garden. 

Since I have procrastinated I am giving away six tickets at the end of the day today(2/19) on Facebook. Stop by my personal or photography facebook page and enter to win tickets to the AR flower and garden show that is this weekend (2/21-23).

i love 14 US

photos by Josh Hejl
Peter & I have been married 14 years

As a girl who loves love I must admit that I entered our marriage a bit naive about real love. I was and continue to be crazy about you, but I have found that love is less happily ever after and more for better or worse. It has taught me to be incredibly thankful for the better and to take the worse with much patience and grace and to hope that you will do the same. 
On this Valentine's Day I am thankful that you are the one I am on this journey with. You are my best friend and my absolute favorite. 

My dearest Whitney,

I love being with you. I love playing games with you. I love watching movies with you. I love driving with you. I love working with you. I love dreaming with you. I love doing projects with you (even if you don't like them sometimes). I love vacationing with you. I love figuring out our kids with you. I love hanging out with community with you. I love taking pictures with you (whichever side of the camera we are on). I love sleeping in late with you. I love going out to eat with you. I love all the times. The good times are so good. And the bad times are worth doing for all the good. I love you dearly. I am so grateful for you and all you have put up with over the years.

You are my favorite.

i love 13

 Sarah & Charlie

Charlie and I met in August. I was still on a "Boy Break." I had made a pack between me and God that I would not date for year. It was time I figure out who I was without a boy influencing my decisions. We were both graduate assistants. We had to attend a seminar about how to teach undergraduates and then practice giving a lecture to each other before they let us go and teach real students. He says he saw me sitting outside a classroom getting ready to go in and do my practice lecture. He remembers every detail down to what I was wearing that day. I however, only remember being completely annoyed by this boy who kept trying to make small talk. After the seminar was over he asked me where I was going and I said back to my office. He wanted to know where my office was and when I told him in the exercise phys dept. he said Oh me too, I guess I'll see you there. I however did not believe him because I thought I knew everyone in my dept, but obviously I had not met the new boy yet. I was sitting in my office telling my two office mates the story about meeting this crazy guy who thought we would be working together, when before I got done with the story he shows up and is peaking his head into our office. He says, "see I told you, I'm just right down the hall from you." I was very rude and tried not to pay too much attention when he introduced himself to my office mates and he finally left. They all laughed and immediately picked up on what I was trying to deny that he was totally into me. No matter how rude I was, he came by every day. My office mates would giggle every time he came by. I would try to sneak out before he could see me but some how he would always catch up with me on my bike ride home. He would ride several blocks out of the way just to talk. One day he finally asked me out and of course I said no. I did finally come around to enjoying his company and wanting to hang out, however I was still on my "boy break." I told him I could not go out with him until after October when my "boy break" was over. He asked me almost every day if I would change my mind. We became very close friends over the next couple of months but so did everyone in our dept. We all hung out together. I would never hang out alone with him. Finally, October came and I remember him asking me if my boy break was over and could we finally go out on a date. I agreed to go out however was very clear that I was not ready to get into anything serious. I remember we went to spaghetti warehouse and then watched a movie. We ended up spending more and more time together and had a blast but I could tell he was more into me than I was into him. So over Thanksgiving I broke his heart, I had to break it off because I didn't want to hurt him. It broke my heart too because I knew how much he cared for me and I knew it was going to hurt him. We so called "took a break" but continued hanging out just not as much alone. Over Christmas break I had learned that a tumor we had been watching on my thyroid kept growing. I had it removed and learned it was cancer. I had to go back for another surgery. Charlie came down to be with me during this time. He sat by side during recovery. Patti Abbott tells a story about when she first met Charlie she knew that he was in love. She says he sat on the end of the couch while I was totally zonked out and would rub my feet and just sit with me. My recovery time was much longer than we thought because the tumor was cancer so it was in question if I would be able to return to school. Charlie had worked it out with my professor to teach all of my classes. He and another friend also input all my data from my research project so all I had to do when I got back was run the stats and write the paper. I was able to return to school Valentines day week. He was at my house when I came home. He had cleaned and made sure everything was perfect for my arrival. I had missed a month a school and realized I missed a month of him. He maintained all my classes and helped me catch up on all my school work so that graduation would not be delayed. It was then when I realized how much he really did care for me, that his love was real. One of Charlie's great characteristics, and also something that can drive me nuts, is that he is always persistent and pursued me every day. That summer I graduated and he left to go coach baseball. I had promised I would take a trip to go see him. One of my best-friends girlfriends from college was also living not very far from where he was coaching. I will never forget when I stepped off the plane and saw his face I finally realized what he knew this whole time. He would be the man I would marry. So that is the story of how we met. The two key words though are persistence and pursue. My year of "boy break" I was doing several bible studies. Two of the key things that I got out of my year of single hood is that God will always pursue me no matter what mistakes I make or how far I try to push. That He will always be persistent in his pursual for me. Charlie mimicked that and was his aide in winning over his bride.
To Sarah, These are dates and experiences I had and felt before we got married. I happen across them often and remember them like they happened yesterday. I'm so glad to share them with you. ~August 19th, 2004~ I had just walked into Kaufman Hall to complete my TA Instructor training when I saw you. You were walking in my direction and I absolutely couldn't keep my eyes off of you. You were beautiful. You were wearing a black top and blue jeans with your red hair highlighting an already amazing presence. I was crushed. I just had to talk to you. So I did. You didn't have much to say to this brash guy invading your space. Why would you? I was just another guy. When you told me your office was close to mine, I couldn't help be excited. After I left Kaufman Hall that day, I met up with Eric Mathe at Jimmy Johns at Campus Corner. I told him all about a gorgeous Redhead I met at our training. You had me right then. ~October 9th, 2004~ I had traveled to Lawrence, Kansas to hang out with Eric for the weekend at KU. You had traveled down to Dallas for a wedding. I was missing you so much and couldn't stop thinking about you all weekend. During my time there, Eric and I had many heart to hearts about life. It was there that I told him I was going to marry you and that we would be my best man. ~January 3rd, 2005~ You had cancer. I had traveled up to Little Rock to visit you. I had never met your family before. I remember pulling up your driveway and this old orange cat was just staring at me the whole time. Giving me a good rundown. He didn't move a muscle. Just looked at me like a concerned father would look at anyone trying to date their daughter. This was a serious cat. As I walked up to your parents house, your mom was there to greet me. She showed me great hospitality. Before I really got to see you, she had offered me an egg and ham sandwich. How could I say no? A couple of days later, OU was playing USC in the National Championship game. I was sitting on the couch rubbing your feet while you were passed out. Your dad was sitting on his leather chair, and as OU was getting crushed by USC. My blood was boiling and your Dad kept making snide remarks about OU to me. "I thought you guys could play football!" "What kind of game is this?" "They look like a highschool team.". Being a man that carries a lot of pride on how my Alma Mater performs, this was a serious pill I had to swallow. I just sat there and took it. Later on in the game, I remember turning my head and looking at you as you were sleeping. Suddenly, the game really didn't matter to me at all. Only you did. ~May 3rd, 2005~ I was leaving for Arizona to go coach baseball. I stayed at your house because my apartment was packed up. You were graduating and moving back to Arkansas. Nothing was clear in our relationship. The only thing I knew in my heart was that I wanted you. We stayed up most of the night talking and just hanging out. I remember not wanting to leave. I would have given anything to not go and to stay with you in that moment. The sun started coming up and it was time to leave. You gave me a kiss and a good hug that still stays with me today and always will. A piece of my soul lives in that moment. ~January 15th, 2006~ Donating plasma to get gas money so I could visit you in Arkansas was a pretty common occurrence for me in those days. The clinic would pay me $50 to donate my blood. I did it happily. Needless to say, money was definitely tight. I loved my trips to Little Rock to see you then. I would leave early on Friday and stay as late as I could on Sunday. It was 5 hours on the dot from my house to your doorstep. We had grown so close in the previous months and we had talked many times about where our relationship might go. I wore my feelings for you on my sleeve and you knew how much I loved you. It was time to pop you the question. I had bought the ring. I had planned out how I wanted to propose to the very last detail. There was just one big thing I had to do. Talk to your Dad. Man was I nervous. I had hidden your ring in my trunk under the spare tire like there was even a remote possibility you would have ever found it. I didn't risk it. I wanted you to be surprised and I didn't want you to stumble across it. I opened up the trunk and got my prized possession out of there. I bravely walked up the stairs to your parents room. I knocked...... "Come on in!" Larry called. My palms were sweating, I was as nervous as that orange cat outside. I opened up the door....... There was Larry..... In his underwear.... He was was changing clothes and was so polite. "What's going on Charlie?" It was now or never. I told him how much I loved you and my intentions I had for you. I showed him the ring told him of my plan. He spoke with me for awhile. He asked me questions about my faith and how I planned to care for you. It was an experience and a rite of passage every man should go through. He gave me his blessing (after he put his pants on) and he was very excited. We drove to his office and he called Sandra. She met us there, and he shared the news. She was surprised and wanted to see the ring. She was very happy for us both. The next Sunday, you would go on a scavenger hunt and I would propose to you "Where the trees whisper". We would be married 9 months later to the day. It was the best decision I have ever made. Sarah I love you so much. I hope these stories bring you joy. I have so many more. With love, Charlie

i love 13

Bryan & Sarabeth, married 20 years

"Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!"

I fell in love with you when I was 18-years old. All it took was one night. You didn't even know. You walked into a room filled with one hundred other people, and you were aglow. Your smile. Your confidence. (Your curves.) But, maybe most importantly, your whole-hearted laugh. You had me. 

You weren't my valentine that year, but you have been every year since. I'm still star struck by you, my dear. I still can't believe that you'd have me.

You are my love, and you're all I need. 

Thanks much,


My mom always worried that I would go off to school and marry a long, tall, Texan and never come home. I'm not sure she considered what would happen if I married the tallest Texan I found and brought him back to Arkansas with me, but I'm so glad that's what happened.

I love the way you know me, the way you let me dream and then help me find ways to make those dreams happen.

I love the way you make me laugh. I love that there are years of shared jokes between us.

I love that now we've spent as much of our lives together as we have apart. I'm ready to tip the scales in the other direction now. I love that I look forward to whatever comes next with you.

I love your optimism, your fearless inappropriateness, your creativity, your generosity. I love that each of our kids has some of the best of you in them and that I get to watch you be their dad.

22 years ago, before we ever went on a first date, you told me that you used to like me but you didn't anymore. I still can't believe that line actually worked, but I'm grateful that it did. 

And also that you were lying. :)

Love you, Bryan Jones!


i love 13

Brad & Kellee, married 14 years

Dear Bradley,

Oh, once in your life you find someone… Who will turn your world around. Bring you up when you're feelin’ down. Yeah, nothin’ could change what you mean to me. Oh, there’s lots that I could say, But just hold me now ‘Cause our love will light the way.
Baby, you're all that I want, when you're lyin’ here in my arms. I’m findin’ it hard to believe we’re in heaven. And love is all that I need, And I found it there in your heart. It isn’t too hard to see We’re in heaven.

Love, Kellee

Dear Kellee,

I’ll stop the world and melt with you. You've seen the difference and it’s getting better all the time. There’s nothing you and I won’t do. I’ll stop the world and melt with you.

Love, Brad

love you Lake Village! sometimes a song says it all.

i love 12

Bob & Anna, married 17 years
I started dating Bob (then he was called Robert) the summer I was 16 years old. I'd already known him for years by then and I'd had crushes on him on and off, but even though we were friends, he'd never shown much interest.  That summer he started hanging out with me more.  We'd talk on the phone, linger after hanging out with friends, make late night ice cream runs.  But, he waited until halfway through the summer to actually ask me on a date.  He was holding off until he turned 16 and could drive us.  I was starting to think it wasn't going to happen and then, finally--he turned 16 and we went on our first date.  Now it's been 23 years and countless dates later--as we pulled into our garage last week after our last date I had one of those surreal reflecting moments where I thought about the life we'd built together and all the experiences we've had and how we've already been together a lifetime and still that first date seems like yesterday.  When he was smiling on my doorstep ready to go.   I had no clue that I was embarking on a lifelong journey with the love of my life.  I'm glad I went.
Anna and I often reminisce about when we first met. Because our parents were friends in high school, we were, at the very least, acquaintances in elementary school – eventually becoming friends in junior high. 

There are two prominent memories that I have of our relational dance. The first is riding the ski lifts of Monarch in Colorado together when we were 15(ish). We were on a Spring Break trip with Young Life at the time and I may or may not have been seeing someone else. Anna would always ski with the boys and could do her fair share of flirting. I was quite intrigued and subsequently figured out how to end up together on numerous ski lifts. It was high above the (of course, double black) slopes that I first realized Anna was different. She was one of the few I could have thoughtful, intelligent, and authentic conversations with... realizing not only that an attraction was present, but that we saw the world in a similar way... all of which would significantly influence the following year.

My second memory was roughly a year later when I was hanging out with a few of my closest friends late one night. The conversation had inevitably turned to "girls"... which eventually led to ranking the girls we would want to date. Yes, this happened. I remember lying awake that night and asking myself if I would be willing to marry any of the girls we had talked about. For numerous reasons... Anna was the only one I was willing to say I could marry (at the age of 16).

I called her a few days later. And we've been together ever since. 
Each year better than the last.

i love 11

 Michelle & Justin, married 11 years

Dear Michelle,
 This journey we’ve been on the past nineteen years has had its fair share of ups and downs.  When I reflect on these blessings and tragedies, one constant through all this is simply you.  The major blessings in our life, such as, marriage, children, health, a home, peace, support, and balance, have your fingerprints on each.  Our tragedies have been subdued with your support and love.  I would’ve never imagined in a million years that the beautiful girl down the street that rode our school bus would become my wife.  I remember praying for my future wife during those years and had no idea that prayer would be answered so soon.  Who would’ve imagined you would become the woman you are and sacrifice so much of yourself for your family?  I didn’t know then how much strength and faith you have, and had no idea I could love someone like I do you.  This ride is amazing and I never want it to stop.


Dear Justin,
When we were young, I would think to myself that I love you, not just for who you are, but who you were going to become.  I was so right because you are one of the best people I know, and I actually tell strangers that when describing you.  I'm married to one of the kindest in a sea of wonderful people that we have in our lives.  Today, I told someone when I want to be a nicer version of myself I hear your voice in my head saying, "Michelle, is that the loving thing to do?"  What a blessing to have you as my partner to find peace and love in a life that can be chaotic and in a world that can disheartening.


i love 10

Bobby & Amy, married 8 years

Bobby and I will have been married 9 years in September, and we dated 6 years before that, starting when we were 15. I could tell so many stories and write so many words to say what Bobby means to me. I literally don’t know who I would be without him. A few months ago, when the Chino Family left for Scotland, I made them a playlist of “Scotland Jams” (you really would be surprised how many great artists are at least loosely connected to Scotland!). It ended up being all classic rock. I made a playlist for Bobby on our anniversary last year of some of the songs that are sentimental to us and have meant something over the years. I made it on his computer under his spotify account but, knowing that Bobby would rarely choose through his own free will to listen to classic rock, I felt safe naming the playlist “Scotland.” Sure enough, he never touched it. I thought sharing some of these songs with you would give you a glimpse into us, Bobbo Baggins and Ame-bo Bright.

When You Say Nothing At All – Alison Krauss. In 9th grade, Bobby and I were best friends. I heard this song on the radio one night and thought of Bobby and that was the beginning of me liking him.

Angel – Aerosmith. This song never gets old. I remember memorizing the lyrics with the liner notes of my cassette tape. We both loved it before we liked each other, but when he played it for me on our first date in 10thgrade, I knew he had it bad for me.

Dreams – The Cranberries. On that same first date, this song came on and we held hands for the first time. Now I knew I had it bad for him.

Storybook Love – Mark Knopfler for Princess Bride. New Year’s Eve in 10th grade was technically our first kiss. But I remember this one too.

Romeo & Juliet – Dire StraitsMy parents must’ve thought I was crazy. I wanted to be an astronaut and I used to go out and look at the stars before bed. One time, Bobby drove over and we sat on the back of my dad’s Mazda Protégé and he read me a poem he had written for me. He said he was Romeo and I was Juliet and talked about tidal waves and from then on we loved everything that had to do with Romeo & Juliet. And come on, this song is awesome. I tried my hand at poetry listening to Enya but that never really worked out for me.

Thinking About You – Radiohead. Ok, so the lyrics are a little weird but I used to listen to it when we went to our separate houses because I already missed him.

I’m skipping a few songs that are great songs (Dido, Phil Collins, Sarah McLachlan, etc.) but they would probably make you a little uncomfortable and may give you the wrong idea, so we’ll pick back up here.

The Promise – Tracy Chapman.  Bobby and I didn’t go to the same college our freshman year, we didn’t even apply to the same schools. Somehow we knew that we needed to be apart but also needed to stay together as a couple. So we did. And this was our song.

The One I Love – David Gray. This was another one from freshman year because I missed him. I transferred to Northwestern, where he was, sophomore year.

Oh Darlin’ – The Beatles. Ok, so this one isn’t actually on the list because spotify didn’t have it but we danced to it at our wedding so I thought it was appropriate. So what if there may or may not have been an awkwardly long bridge of Paul basically yelling. I’m sure no one noticed.

In Spite of Ourselves – John Prine & Iris DeMent. This is our “we’ve-been-together-forever-know-too-much-about-each-other-love-you-anyway” love song. If you catch us in the right moment, we may sing you our version.

Amy - 

I know you didn't grow up on Adventure's in Babysitting like I did.  To be honest, I probably shouldn't have been watching it at the age I was watching it, either.    Regardless, there's this scene at the end that always makes me think of you.  And of us.

There's the kind-hearted, good-natured, just-enough-wild, girl-next-door babysitter.  She's been through one whirlwind of a day.  And she did it with all with the impish grin and grace of Mary Poppins.

And then there's the nice guy.  Pulling up to the house at the end of a long night.  And he gets out of his navy blue Jeep Renegade.  And walks up to the babysitter.  And one of the kids pops out of the window upstairs and shouts, "Kiss him!"

And then, in perfect rhythm, that song sweeps in.  The one by The Crystals.  That little guitar hook that loops around in sweet circles.  The swishing tambourines and the hollow-bodied drums and, man oh man, the voices of 1960s-girl-group angels.  

And then, those words.  

And then he kissed me.

And then there's a kiss on screen.  And then our story off of it.

And if you turn that song on, and you tune and turn your ear just right, you can hear it all.  In all it's glory.  

It's you.  And it's me.  And it's us.  And, babe, we never sounded better.

Well, he walked up to me and he asked me if I wanted to dance.
He looked kinda nice and so I said I might take a chance.
When he danced he held me tight
And when he walked me home that night
All the stars were shining bright
And then he kissed me.

Each time I saw him I couldn't wait to see him again.
I wanted to let him know that he was more than a friend.
I didn't know just what to do
So I whispered I love you
And he said that he loved me too
And then he kissed me.

He kissed me in a way that I've never been kissed before,
He kissed me in a way that I wanna be kissed forever more.

I knew that he was mine so I gave him all the love that I had
And one day he took me home to meet his mom and his dad.
Then he asked me to be his bride
And always be right by his side.
I felt so happy I almost cried
And then he kissed me.

Then he asked me to be his bride
And always be right by his side.
I felt so happy I almost cried
And then he kissed me.
And then he kissed me.
And then he kissed me

i love 9

Jim & June, my cutie parents, have been married 35 years

So much of what I have to be thankful for begins with a brief conversation at the coffee pot in the break room of my office in 1977. A beautiful girl spoke to me with a smile and a look that I would never forget.
Less than a year later, that beautiful girl had turned my life right side up and made my world a wonderful place to live. Today, 35 years later, after all the change we have been thru together being with her makes my life the best of the best.
If something good has happened to me, she is at the start of it. If our family has a shining moment, it’s because of the way she led our children in the formative years. Today we can pursue our individual interest, spend some time apart, and reunite with the same passion as we’ve always had because of the years of mutual experience, respect and love.
Today, when I see her and I see that smile, that look, that’s been there since that first day, I realize that it truly takes her to make me.….
We will always be Jim and June

From our first date I knew I was in love with this man but I always tell people I think he fell in love with my son (Eddie) before he fell in love with me.  The gentlest and kindest person I had ever met.  And then a year later another child.  We felt so blessed.  Thank you Jim for all of your love and you know I feel the same about you.   Two great kids, a son in law and daughter in law that we love and 4 wonderful grandchildren.  We have had a great journey and I can't wait to see what is ahead .  I love you with all my heart.  

i love 8

Peter & Darby, married 3 years

About four years ago, I told myself and God “If this is where you want me to be, I’m going to be here.” And, here we are. We celebrated 3 years of marriage January 27th, this year.
Before January 27th, 2011 I was pretty good at starting things and not finishing them. Or, just never getting around to it. I’m fighting that guy to this day. Being successful at anything worthwhile is hard work. I told myself, that day, that if anything was worth giving my all, it was you. And, God knew that.
I love you… So much so, that it’s hard to comprehend. At my deepest, truest and worst my heart longs for you. Thank you for the way you love me.

We just celebrated our third year of marriage at the end of January. It doesn’t sound like a long time but I feel like we have covered years and years of ground already. Our wedding gifts are showing wear, and, so are our hearts. We are being molded and looking back I can love that. Our babies are perfect. No matter what the days (or the nights) hold, your love shows me everything good.
God parted the waters for us. My biggest, most impossible dream has come true. Everything else is a bonus. I take this gift for granted, but when I sit down and remember our story, oh my goodness I am amazed.  I am thankful for you; for you changing my life, for your enthusiastic love, for your desires, your ability to father like no other, your acceptance of me, your thirst for our future and let me stop here because I could go on and on and on. Let’s always tell each other these things, okay? I like this a lot.
Peter, I love you.
Always, always I love you,

i love 7

Alison & Taido, married 19 years

Dear Taido,
I remember when we moved back home to Arkansas after years of being away, I felt like we had done our time in the far away places. I both mourned and celebrated the end of that season of our lives. I was so grateful for the time away because it taught us to walk through life alone together. In moving away again I have been surprised by how I am relearning to walk together in a strange place all over again and I am struck anew by the gift that it is to our marriage. Watching you walk with confidence into the unknown has been so inspiring. You hopped in a car and drove it on the left side of the road like you have been doing it all your life and you have given yourself to a completely new world of people, learning and stretching and being open to whatever is next. I'm amazed at how your embracing of both theology and the local church have already opened doors for you that it seems you were created to walk through. And I'm so grateful that though you cannot see the end result of either of our current vocational pursuits that you encourage me to remember that this time and place is all that matters. Today is all we have, and I'm so thankful that we have it together. I would not have it any other way.
With all my love,

Dearest Alison,

As we have sought to re-establish our lives over the last five months in a new land, many of those qualities that first drew me to you all those years ago shine with a new brilliance against the dark Scottish sky. I’ve always been able to appreciate to your adventurous spirit, but your willingness to trust me and leave all else behind in order to begin again has been both encouraging and humbling. Not just a willingness either, but when the challenges of our new life here seem overwhelming your optimism have been the things that have kept me sane and us moving forward. I’ve loved watching you embrace your writing in a brand new way, the stories you’re living and telling, and the creativity with which you are approaching your new projects. When it is all said and done, I believe it will be your dogged determination that carries the day for all of us. My love and appreciation grows for you daily!
Always yours,

i love 6

Stacey & Anthony, married 9 months

Anthony, the first time I saw you, you glowed to me. You were playing the piano at church, and I knew you were something special. I love that you courted me long distance for over three months. I think we bared our souls in those text messages. I remember showing them to my friends in disbelief that any man could be so endearing. Marrying you was so natural, so easy -- like two souls who have loved each other through eternity. And I look forward to spending the rest of eternity as your wife.

Sometimes saying "I love you" seems too weak, too ordinary, too superficial for how deeply I care about you.  I am certain I saw you and perhaps spoken to you before, but it was around this time a couple of years ago that I really met you.  I was at a loss for words. I was awestruck. This chance meeting was a magical moment that floats between reality and dreams.  It took me another four months to decide to throw caution to the wind to chase this impossible dream.
And that I did... I courted you for 200 days, dated you for 100 days, and want to spend the rest of my days with you...
Now when "I love you" does not seem to say enough, this sums it up, "Stacey, you are amazing!"


i love 5

Craig & Julie, high school sweethearts and married 43 years
In the spring of my senior year of high school, I found myself thinking about this cute redhead in math class.  She was cute, smart and laughed at my jokes, so we were off to a good start and ended up going to prom together before I left town for the summer.  Even though we had only had a few dates, we started writing and our affection grew.  That fall she headed for Santa Barbara and I headed for Austin, and we both expected that would be the end, especially since we were so different from each other, but we kept writing.  Over Christmas, her family arranged for me to go with her to a Young Life camp, where I first heard and understood the Gospel.  That began a new journey towards Love for me, and when I finally began to follow Christ, we finally had some common ground that we could build on.  We both loved Jesus and thought we loved each other, so we got married expecting a glorious happy ever after claiming Psalm 118:23 "The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes."

We had very unrealistic expectations and soon had some new verses.  Things about iron sharpening iron and such.  Really, the only thing that kept us together was a promise made.  Since we were not going to bail, we became committed to try and figure out how to make this marriage work.  As God blessed us with children, we had some new common ground and some new incentives.  We wanted to give our children the gift of parents who love each other and we were deeply committed to model for them the joy of the Lord. We are both so grateful for those years.

The departure of our children to their own lives and families has been a hard adjustment, but God has faithfully helped us each to understand each others story better and to accept the fact that we will always come at life differently.  And really, that has been good for both of us.  She has become more adventurous and I have become more organized.  And even more important, we are more and more not just accepting each other the way we are, but loving each other the way we are.  How cool is that?

When Craig and I got married in 1970 we really knew very little about love. We knew we were attracted to each other, and I guess we thought that was love. It was not long before disappointment and anger began to take over in that first year. We were just so different from each other. But when we got married both Craig and I had been very serious about our vows and we had said that no matter what, divorce was not an option for us. So even though we were having difficulty getting along, we knew we had to figure it out. We read books, we read the Bible, we went to seminars, and we were learning a lot about what it really meant to love each other. It just wasn't as easy to put it into practice. As I look back over 43 years together, I realize how much God has knitted us together. We both adored and were so committed to our children. We both worked together to parent them. We both were committed to serving God and did that together in lots of ways. And I learned that the ways Craig was different from me were really good things for me, even those things that drove me crazy. Craig taught me to love the outdoors, and to be willing to take risks in order to have some great adventures. He helped me see how legalism and perfectionism were destroying me and our relationship. He made life fun, and I knew wherever we were he would figure out a way to take care of us. I definitely have grown to love him deeply and could hardly wait to get home to see him after being gone a week recently. He is truly a gift from God to me.

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