Alabama Dirt

IMG_1529One of the first things I noticed about Alabama was the red dirt. Not initially. I was too busy trying to find things about here that I didn’t like. That first visit was so full of emotions…it was honestly a good trip but I came home feeling more sad and empty.
When we officially moved here, I noticed some construction by our new house, and immediately the red clay dirt caught my eye. How could it not? It’s so stunning. Especially in the heat of the summer against the deep greens of the wooded area that surrounds our home.
Naturally I wanted to go play😉
I can remember playing in the dirt as a child. Wyatt is my little dare devil- he is all boy. I don’t know who teaches them these things…but he just loves all things dirt and silly and messy and fun. I found a little spot while out driving, and we swung by there one evening just for the fun of it.
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These pants are big brother’s. The suspenders were worn last year for a family session- he’s grown into them! Last year they were so loose and falling off. We had to pin them up and keep messing with them. Not on this day! My how he has grown:)

So I guess this is my first official session here in Alabama.
I finished all my Houston sessions today…now the real adventure begins?
And like Wyatt- I’m ready to get dirty and play.

Alabama Adventure

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I can’t believe how much our lives have changed since we first met in 2003. Too young to know what was ahead…
In 2009 we bought our little mulberry house with so many dreams in our hearts. It is the perfect little starter home and it needed so much love. We worked in the yard every weekend, we did repairs and upgrades, we poured ourselves into our home. We were proud and we had plans.
I take comfort in the fact that the plans we made are different than the way it turned out. What a good life, indeed. As we say goodbye (for now) to the little home where it all started, I have been reflecting on the sweetness that was that experience. We built a life there. One that was messy and crazy and fun and most importantly *ours*.
We made lifelong friends on that cul-d-sac. We made lifelong memories in that yard.
We cried, we loved, we struggled, we fought, we laughed, we played…we homed that house hard.
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I couldn’t stand the thought of this house not being ours. It was our first. We brought all our babies home to this house.
So we decided to keep the property (and thus a part of our heart) in Texas. Renting out and maintaining a house that we adore so much has a certain sense of accomplishment and reward to it.
I feel like it leaves us open to other possibilities and helps me feel more grounded there.

We leave our mulberry house to explore what else this life has in planned. This move was certainly never on our radar and leaving family behind has been quite difficult. I don’t feel like myself right now.
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I look at that first picture from 2009 and I can’t believe how young and full of hope we were.
The older, more cynical me, wants to hold that girl, look her in the face and tell her how hard it’s been. How different the plans are. Prepare her. But then…I look at the last pictures taken there. Same house. Same flower bed. Same two people. Full of hopes and dreams and love and excitement. It’s still there. That girl is still there. Some fear yes. But my, look how we have grown! Look how the yard has changed because of those fears and tears and hopes and love.
Our children- we toiled and struggled and cried out and prayed and now we stand on the other side, arms full and hearts overflowing.
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As I write this, tears flow freely. The heat streaming down my cheeks…a raw reminder that growth is painful but so good for me. This has been hard but I think that the mulberry chapter needed to be closed.
We needed room to grow and change and be challenged.
Alabama will be as good as we make it.
Just like our little starter home in Texas.

Don’t dig up in doubt, what you planted in faith. – Elizabeth Elliot

Alabama

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Today feels heavy and full of mixed emotions. Today, my family is making a huge leap of faith: my husband accepted a job that will take us to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

When we first began talks of this transition, I secretly hoped the offer would be no good, or something comparable would turn up pretty quickly in Houston. I was confident and thus pretty relaxed about the whole idea- after all, I don’t travel much and I’m a Houston girl: born and raised. Why would we ever make a move? But we knew there was a chance.

As fate would have it, the offer was good and a decision was made. Not before a lot of self-exploration and discussion and tears of course (I had begun a list of all the things I hated about Alabama and all the things I would be losing as a result of this move). Like I said: mixed emotions. And I honestly don’t think I am done crying or mourning the losses I will experience as we move through this life-changing event.
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What I will say is this: I know there is a plan and I have given in to it. This is beyond me and I am facing it with open arms (even through the tears). I’m trying to find positive things to appreciate about this move and slowly giving my heart over to the idea.

To my loyal clients and friends: not all is lost! I will continue my business in Alabama and I intend to travel back to Houston frequently for limited sessions. As we transition and move and get settled in, things will be quiet. But come fall, I will be making trips back and booking as I am available.

This will be a good thing ultimately- transformative, restoring, and full of opportunities.
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I want to thank everyone who has invested in our lives, our family, our business…the people who hold up my heart, who carry me when I cry and who celebrate my joys with me. I want to hug all of you and look you in the eyes so you can really feel the pieces of my heart that you have. Because you have them- when we became friends, when you touched my life, you got a piece and it’s forever yours.

“I give you this to take with you:
Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can
begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.”
― Judith Minty, Letters to My Daughters

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Ashley offers on-location, natural light photography in Alabama: Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Northport and surrounding areas. She is available for Family, Child, New Life and Maternity Sessions.
Book your session today! Session Pricing and Information.

E-mail: info@ashleynewmanphoto.com
Phone Number: 832-771-7211