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Merry CHRISTmas, happy holidays!

Merry Christmas, Readers! I hope you all have had an enjoyable Christmas with friends and family. I know I sure did. Jordan and I have been blessed to travel and see both our families this holiday. We have enjoyed plenty of family time with delicious foods, and though we are feeling a bit worn down, we feel so thankful for the time to visit and see family before we start a crazy, hectic new year.

Below are a couple of photos from our time spent at my hometown in Pennsylvania. I also was able to get a bunch new photo equipment so we went on a walk around town and I was able to try out my new 85mm lens. Make sure to keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post about all my new photography toys 🙂

Have a safe and healthy new year! 🙂

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Every year my mom makes nearly a hundred cookies, these butter cookies are my favorite 🙂
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Copper watching the UPS guy dropping off packages.
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Jordan and I before heading to my church’s Christmas Eve service.
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Doesn’t Jordan look handsome? I bought him this suite as a christmas gift. Due to his line of work, he doesn’t wear suites often, so I cherish the moments when I see him all dressed up like this. 🙂
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Christmas 1986: My parent’s first Christmas together as a married couple. One of my favorite ornaments.
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I always love coming home to a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree.
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Christmas lights are my favorite 🙂
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My parent’s still fill stockings for us three kids 🙂
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As a child, I use to hate getting socks for christmas, now they’re one of my favorite stocking stuffers!
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My hometown 🙂
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My new camera bag! (Make sure to keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post where I discuss all my new photography gear.)
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When we took our 8-month old puppy to the park, she spent hours chasing all the squirrels up trees.
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Love these two ❤
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FETCH!
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Story, our 8-month old puppy, and Jordan are best buds 🙂
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Best buds 🙂 I can’t wait to get to Montana one day so these two can do some serious hunting!
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Story Anne, my sweet girl ❤
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This handsome man makes me smile uncontrollably 🙂
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Hometown, USA
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Story trying to make friends 🙂

Find your passion and someone to enjoy it with

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I remember receiving a blue plastic camera with a role of film when I was about 8 years old. Let’s just say that roll of film didn’t last long. I took photos of family, my barbies, my dog, food and basically anything that was around. There wasn’t much thought behind the photos. The composition was horrible, the lighting was terrible and I’m sure a majority were out of focus. I took photos of everything though and that habit didn’t end there, but I’d like to think the quality has drastically improved 🙂 I went through my fair share of point and shoot cameras all the way up through high school. I thought it was just a hobby and that I would never actually be good enough to really invest in any serious equipment or make a career out of it.

It wasn’t until I was in college when I started taking photos for my university’s newspaper and was enrolled in a photography class that it all clicked for me. I invested in an entry level Nikon dslr (Nikon d3200) and fell in love with and finally understood the mechanics of photography (aperture, shutter speed, ISO.) I felt most comfortable behind the camera and editing photos became therapeutic for me. I knew I had found something that I loved and could do with it never feeling like a chore.

In the years since, I was a reporter and photographer for the Effingham Teutopolis News Report. I focused mainly on feature writing and photography; exactly what I love to do.  I was blessed to receive this job right out of college because it affirmed God’s calling for my life. I was meant to be a storyteller. I also invested in a full-frame Nikon (the Nikon d610) and a few more lenses and my love for the art has increased every day and I push myself even more to challenge myself and get better at my craft.

I feel lucky to have found my passion early in life, but that doesn’t mean that I have reached my full potential or that I don’t need to practice, because I do, always. I have come a long way from the plastic camera and roll of film days but I have so much further to go.

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” —Ella Fitzgerald

That brings me to the following photos…

One of the best parts of life is when you get to share a passion with someone you love. Having a passion comes with highs and lows, twists and turns. Photography and starting a business has made me feel every emotion in the book and I don’t know where I would be if I was going at it alone.

My boyfriend Jordan reminds me constantly that I am never alone and that he is more than willing to be my second shooter, proofreader, model to practice new equipment on and assistant at a moments notice.

In the midst of traveling due to Jordan’s job, I easily get frustrated with moments where I can’t be out shooting or when I can’t get my ideal clients because of my constant traveling. Jordan knows this all too well and he does an amazing job cheering me up in these moments. In this case, we were in Florida and I went a couple weeks not shooting much of anything and Jordan looked at me one day and said “Let’s got take pictures” and it literally almost made me cry. We went to a local park and walked around and shot photos all afternoon. I feel incredibly blessed to have found someone who not only understands my passion but encourages me and is willing to jump in and be apart of my passion.

If you’re a reader that has not found your passion, a person to share your passion with or both, you are not alone! I’ve been there!

In high school, I had no idea what my passion was and it took me years to figure it out. I remember praying to God  asking Him to show me what path I was suppose to take in life and he eventually revealed it to me. But honestly, I still pray this prayer every night because let’s be honest I don’t have all the answers and will always need God’s guidance. I also remember praying many nights for him to bring me an amazing, godly man and I would get so impatient waiting on His timing. I would see all my friends with boyfriends and going on dates and in my head, I would think “Okay God, where’s my man? I think it’s about time you bring me him.” God had other plans though and when Jordan appeared in my life it was at the perfect moment, a moment I wasn’t expecting him.

My advice to those who are still waiting for God’s timing on these issues, my advice is to keep praying and following what makes your heart happy. God puts desires, dreams and passions on our hearts for a reason. It is then up to us to act on them and use our passions, desires and dreams to glorify His name. And for those who have found their passion and the someone to share it with, continue to work hard and grow at your passion and don’t be complacent. Continue to love what you do and the people who surround you.

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Jennifer Lauren Photography– First Blog Post

Hello readers and fellow bloggers!

I am so excited to finally begin blogging and making connections in the blogging and photography world. Before I get started on introducing my photography, hopes and dreams I have with my blog, etc., let me tell you about myself.

Myself in a nutshell: I’m a photographer, journalist, Christ follower, coffee drinker, dog lover (I have three), Netflix binge watcher, daughter to amazing, caring parents, middle child and sister to two free-spirited, protective brothers and girlfriend to the best boyfriend a girl could ask for. I have a passion for capturing and telling people’s stories through a pen and lens.

I attended Waynesburg University– a private Christian University in southwestern Pennsylvania—and majored in Journalism and Electronic Media. I always enjoyed taking photographs, but it was at this university that I fell in love with the art of photography. Though I loved telling people’s stories through my feature writing, it was the storytelling through photography that I enjoyed the most.

I was the Chief Photographer of the Yellow Jacket, Waynesburg University’s award-winning student news publication, named one of the best non-daily papers in the region by the Society of Professional Journalists. I was also the Photo Editor of the Mad Anthony Yearbook and the Programming Director for the Waynesburg University student chapter of Society of Professional Journalists. The fourth floor of Buhl Hall was like a second home and the Department of Communication was like a second family. I still remain in touch with many of them and the beautiful campus will always have a piece of my heart.

Let’s just say the four years I spent at WU were some of the best years of my life.

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The “COM” girls at graduation.

After college, I was a reporter and photographer for the Effingham Teutopolis News Report. I focused mainly on feature writing and photography; exactly what I love to do.  I was blessed to receive this job right out of college because it affirmed God’s calling for my life. I was meant to be a storyteller.

The saying “All good things must come to an end” is true though, because eventually I was at a crossroads where I had to choose between a job I love and a person I love even more.

I met my boyfriend Jordan my junior year of college. I wish I could tell you and my parents that I met him at church, but nope, I met him at a bar. Not my ideal of meeting, but boy I wouldn’t change a thing!

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Jordan and I celebrating my 23rd birthday in Alabama. I traveled 10 hours to spend my birthday weekend with him. There’s no one else I rather spend my birthday with.

We have been together over two years now and we spent a good part of the two years apart—a year and a half to be exact. Jordan works in the pipeline construction industry and anyone who knows someone in the pipeline industry knows that “pipeliners” travel a lot… I mean A LOT. Jordan has been in pipelining for six years and has lived in 12 different states. Jordan and I did long distance until graduation. After graduating, I went to live with Jordan in his hometown of Effingham, Illinois. I settled in and applied and received a job and made Effingham my home. It wasn’t my forever home though, because soon enough Jordan left for Alabama and I was left in Illinois.  Anyone who has done a long distance relationship knows that it is not easy. It got to the point that something had to change.

That’s when I left my job in Illinois and packed my car and traveled to Lake City, Florida; where Jordan just recently finished a job.. I plan to continue on traveling with Jordan for the next few years, taking photographs and doing freelance work, while also saving money for our dream home in Montana.

My dream is to have a successful photography business while also continuing freelance work in the journalism world. Though my experience has been mainly in photojournalism, I love portrait photography. I feel that my photojournalism background helps me to better capture people’s stories through my photographs.Entering into the photography and blogging world is exciting and slightly intimating, but I am looking forward to growing and learning and making Jennifer Lauren Photography the best it can be.

I’m blessed to have you follow along on this beautiful journey.

God Bless.