I like to divide my wedding albums by category.

The name of one such category is in fact "The Little Things". I've always been a big fan of the little things, the small details, those precious and often unremarkable things that could easily be forgotten over time. And in weddings in particular, there is a lot to remember. That's why we hire photographers, to document everything so we don't forget what happened. I always like to go for photographs that particularly focus on things you won't remember. The exact flower combination in your bouquet? Or how about the garter that you bought from Michaels in the clearance section? The type of shoes the groom wore, and whether or not he wore brightly colored socks? They may not seem all that important, and they may even be easily dismissed, but sometimes the little things are the exact things that make or break the day. Without your ring photos, how will you ever remember a time when they weren't smoothed out and buffed up from years of faithfully wearing them? I know that when I first saw a photo of my parents' rings, I was shocked! They used to have the most beautiful vining engraved on the sides, full of details, and perfectly polished. Compared to the rings' conditions now, you would barely believe they were the same. And my parents have been wearing them for 25 years this May....So imagine what they will look like even further down the line?!

what about outside of weddings? Do the details, the little things matter even still?

Of course!

In fact, the song that inspired this blog post is a sweet and simple song that has one message - I'm better off since I've met you.

I'll tell the world, I'll sing a song.

It's a better place since you came along.

your touch is sunlight through the trees

your kisses are the ocean breeze.

everything's alright when you're with me

you're my favorite thing.

It was a particular favorite of mine in 2016 (thank you Spotify Wrapped for keeping that record) titled "Better Place" by Rachel Platten. Remember her? She wrote "Fight Song", that absolute banger of a relationally based empowerment song that swept the female side of the nation? She also a wrote Better Place. She sings about how the little things, the details of life around her, are far more noticeable and special to her because of this special person in her life. She notices the little things because she's in love. And even though my perspective doesn't come from a romantic love, as Rachel's does, it still comes from a place of love. When I take a long hard look at my photo wall, I see faces of people I love, I begin to notice the other things in my room and in my life that reflect the love between myself and those people I hold dear. My pop figure collection, the sticky notes of bible verses, eyeliner marks on my closet door, painted messages made from nail polish painted impulsively one summer night, a set of beanie boos on my shelf, my Christmas tree (yes it's still up) decorated with chosen ornaments and even more gifted decorations, my big fluffy cat with eyes big, round and blue, laying across my comforter watching me photograph my room. My collection of eyeglasses. It all matters. All those little things allude to a far greater thing - a person with a life that is special and unique to her. So, take a walk with me. If for no other reason than, like my brides and their little things, I'll be able to look back and remember what it once used to be.

"Romanticize your life" - Them

I see videos, pages, books, posts, and more touting the romanticized lifestyle. Trust me when I say that is not what I'm trying to do. I think it's good to love your life, but I'll be very honest when I say that if I were to suddenly be with Jesus tomorrow, no longer living on this earth, I'd be totally and completely fine with that. No, I'm not suicidal, I have no wish to die, I just know that this isn't the best there is to offer. This life is hard, and no matter how many fun filters I put on it, the colors aren't always beautifully vibrant, or aesthetically neutral. When I talk about my little things, I'm bringing attention to small items that feel like Emma.

I have a lot of mirrors in my room - not because I think I'm the most beautiful thing to look at, but because my Mom decorates her home with mirrors, therefore I decorate my space with mirrors, therefore I am used to having a lot of mirrors around, therefore when I go someone's house and they have no mirrors I distinctly notice.

I collect glasses frames. Not just to collect them, but to match all my moods and outfits! If I could, I would only ever dress in monochromatic outfits. I'd still probably have select colors to wear, but I'd only wear clothes and accessories in that specific color all day! My collection of frames allows me to do that, in a far more minute way, and I probably won't ever stop collecting.

Pop Funko Figurines. My absolute favorite useless toys on earth! My mom thinks they're creepy, but I love my funkos! I have a collection of 90 pops, with my newest addition being Gunther (character from Friends) given to my by my friend, Taylor. You know? That's one of the reasons I love Funkos so much. Half of them are purchases that I made, but the other half are gifts from dear ones. For example, I have 4 Dumbledore figures. Three minis, and one regular size. The regular sized one is a gift from Jerma (my friend). The regular one is my favorite. Obviously! The first superhero funko I got was a gift from my, now married, friend Kaity. She gave it to me as a Christmas gift the first year we were friends. She was in 8th grade, and I was a junior in highschool. She gave me a Wonder Woman figure, and I took it as a huge compliment. Another gift, my Bucky Barnes and Captain America, were from the only roommate I may ever have, Hanna. We technically bought them together, but we both got Bucky and Steve. We were Bucky and Steve. We both filled different roles throughout our friendship, but we were true friends through thick and thin. Less-so friends now, whenever I look at my Winter Soldier and Captain figures, I think of her and remember all our own adventures together. I could go on and on, because as I said, about half of my figures were gifts, and I remember where each one came from (plus I wrote the name of the giver on the back of the funko's head). They are treasures to me.

They're treasured because of how I associate them. I associate, I see them, think about them differently because of the person. And because I treasure them, I keep them in a little box. (not the figures, just the little things)

Now, contrary to my brother's belief, I know a lot of girls keep memory boxes, or hope chests, or collect every card they've ever been given. I know that I definitely do that. My cards, my homemade, origami figures sent in the mail from my favorite kid in Sunday school, my first pair of glasses from when I lied about being able to see and was given bifocals, my first digital camera, best-cousin-friends-forever bracelets, the corsages I was given at my first school dance, and my last school dance, buttons I found on the road at the county fair, concert bracelets, movie ticket stubs, un-sent love letters, grandma's old clip on earrings, letters from my sponsor child in Tanzania, a broken pair of earbuds that I'd grown really fond of. I keep the things, the little things, that remind me of my people and my life. The older I get the more I think I'm truly scared of forgetting or being forgotten, and maybe that's why I keep all these things, take all the photos, and make an annual video of my life.

Practicing Seeing.

But, I also think that not enough people do that kind of thing. Humans, overall, don't practice seeing other people. I think that's why lines in movies such as "I see you." have such an effect on people. Because it's a phenomena that they crave, yet don't know how to act out. I have watched people notice the little things because I first sought them out. I could call it my super-power, but I think I'll give credit to my creator instead. He's the one who designed me this way after all. I was told recently, in the kindest compliment I've ever received, that I see people differently and I am able to show them their best parts because of that. In the humblest way I could possibly say this - I think they may be right. I don't mean to sound arrogant, so if you hear that forgive me. But, a long time ago I asked the Lord to help me see people the way he sees them, to photograph this couple the way He wanted. That prayer changed my life. It was the best photo work I'd ever done, and it started me on this path of showing people what God intentionally designed. Before then, I didn't have any practice, or discipline, in using this sight. I often related to Joseph, a great man of the bible, walking up to his father and older brothers and telling them, "Hey! Someday y'all are gonna bow at my feet! God told me so!" Foot = Directly in mouth. Basically, I used to be really obnoxious, and my words were often misplaced, ill-timed, and borderline wrong. It wasn't until I asked the Lord for some help that I started seeing consistently lovely results. I even started seeing imagery when I looked at people. Humans became God's greatest work of art in my eyes. Someday I'll go into detail about my "aesthetics" and how I used to compile pictures of things that I thought matched the personality and vibe of my loved ones. Now, I no longer collect images the way I used to, but I definitely do it in my head. I keep thinking about the song that I mentioned before. "It's a better place since you came along." When I think about calling, about why I'm here, I usually come back to this same concept - I am supposed to tell people how and where they make things better. I'm supposed to show them how I see God at work in them, how they use what He designed for incredible purpose. And when I truly get introspective, step beyond the fear of forgetting, beyond what is potentially my own pride, and really think about it, I think that is why I keep the little things I treasure. I value it (whatever it happens to be in relevance to) so much that I seek to remember every occurrence. I want to remember all the times that others made me feel seen differently. Yes, it may be a little selfish. But, I think that's okay. I think it's God's little gift to me - To remember.

When memories fade, when photos yellow, when friends move away, loved ones pass, the faces in the congregation start to change, when assistant photographers decide to move on, when boyfriends and girlfriends start to change the dynamics of the group, when something becomes the "new normal", I have my little things to look back and remember what made that person so important to me from the very beginning!

Extraordinary Magic

"You won't believe it, and strange as it sounds

Extraordinary magic follows you around

And the camera can't catch it, you won't see it in the mirror

If I say look behind you, you turn around, it disappears

But I see it, I see it

I swear I do,

I see extraordinary magic in you."

I have loved this song since the day I heard it. I first listened to this song because I had a crush on a boy. He loved the artist, so I did, too. Now, I love it on my own, and (ironically) he's moved on from this artist. I related to this song more than I think I had ever related to a secular song in my life. I know this is technically a romantic love song, but it never felt that way for me. It was a love song to every person I had ever felt Pragma or Storge towards (haha, go look it up.)

I decided to end this post with this song excerpt because not only is it a part of my "little things" (I have it written on a note on my wall, as well as written in many letters that I have yet to/may never send) but I think it is the best way to verbally express to you, the three people who read this blog, what I mean when I say I see people differently. Now, I want to make it clear that I DO NOT go around talking about this with people. I don't brag about this. I love that it's mine, but I also know that God gives and he takes away, so for the time being I'll write about it here on this little blog of mine. And if it ever does fade, if I suddenly can't remember - I have this little thing of a blog to look back and remember.

Until later friends,