Peace in the Morning

Something I miss most when I'm out of town is being able to start mornings with my husband reading our Bibles.  Our eyes may feel a little heavy, there may be a yawn or two, but it's a daily practice my soul needs.  I recently heard that even if you don't feel a big emotional lift or connection from practicing daily Bible reading, that we can be encouraged to know it's a habit that honors the Lord - one the Holy Spirit can use it in his time, how he pleases. 

One of my favorite Christian apologists, Greg Koukl, once said on a podcast that reading chapters at a time in Proverbs can be like eating an entire chocolate cake in one sitting - it's rich!  If you're looking for an idea to start reading the Bible more, reading a chapter (or even just a few verses) of Proverbs could be a great way to start.

I've been giving a lot of thought to how photography fits in - how I can honor the Lord, serve others and fight against the temptation to chase after glory for myself.  I think photography has become an extension of worship in my own life.  It encourages me to notice beauty and inevitably leads me to reflect on the creator of that beauty.  Celebrating marriages, the birth of a baby, the excitement of siblings meeting their little brother for the first time - I can't help but walk away in awe of the Lord.  That's my ultimate hope for these pixels on your screen, every image, that it would be crafted with a grateful heart that acknowledges God and points you to him.  I hope you leave this little space encouraged.

Baby Ian Session

This session with baby Ian and his mama Victoria was a joy to photograph.  Seeing Victoria's affectionate responses to Ian's cooing showed how happy she is to be a new mother.  Also, his feet!  Does anyone else think baby feet are one of the most adorable things on the planet?  Victoria, thank you for entrusting me with capturing these sweet moments of you and your little Ian.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." Psalm 127:3

Chelsey Nelson Photography: Open for Business

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Welcome to the home of Chelsey Nelson Photography!  It took me a while to figure out what I really wanted to do in life. At least to me, 26 years feels like a while!  I've heard that once you decide what you want to do, you'll realize there was a trail leading you there that you'll be able to recognize throughout your life.  That was so true for me!

Hint #1. When I was seven years old, my family had to evacuate our home due to a tornado coming through and making it unlivable.  The sweet family who took us in for those first weeks after the tornado had a collection of photo albums on their bookshelf chronicling their every day memories and family vacations to the Florida Keys.  I'd spend hours going through them, over and over again, fascinated to learn about their family history.  I think it helped me feel connected to them while I was sorting through what it was like to technically be homeless, away from what was familiar.

#2. What was the first thing I ran to when we got to my grandmother's house each visit?  The picture collages hanging throughout her house.  I loved seeing me and my cousins as little kiddos, and the chic retro glasses my aunts and uncles sported to classic 90s BBQs.

#3. At the age of 14, I began to obsess over our family collection of home videos and photo albums.  It was around this time I also realized how awesome my big brother was!  I already had a lot of respect for him, but there's nothing quite like watching him make sure I'm OK after sliding off a tricycle ("Jelsey, ar wu OK?" *heart melts*).  Those photo albums helped me peek back through time, a theme throughout why photography means so much to me and a core factor in why I'm passionate about offering it to others.

#4. Once I upgraded from disposable cameras to a Kodak point-and-shoot to take on a mission trip in high school, I took it with me everywhere.  That nugget lived in my purse at all times, capturing youth group shenanigans that are thoroughly documented on Facebook.

#5. I fell head over heels with blogging.  Reading them, writing them, proofreading them - you name it.  But you know what?  I realized that I loved blogging because I liked the photography!  Every part of it.  Styling the shot, finding the right angles, editing, etc.  But even at that point, I was afraid to think of myself as "creative" because then there would be a standard I might not reach (an invisible, mysterious one mind you, like so many of our fears!).

Now I see a dotted line woven through the roadmap of my life.  After all, what was the first thing we rushed out of our home after the tornado hit when we heard "gas leak!" (no joke)? Our pictures!  It was the sentimental value in the memories the photos represented that made them so valuable and irreplaceable.  My hope is to give that gift to others - beautiful images that will represent special memories, become family heirlooms, and tell the story of each legacy represented, because it matters.  If you'd like to invite me into your story to capture your life, I'd be honored.  Whether it be a special event, family and couples portraits or some fresh head shots to land your next gig on LinkedIn, you can get in touch with me here, or leave a comment below to let me know you stopped by!  Here's to big things coming!

Big shout out to Jenna Kutcher, who helped me take the plunge and taught me how to make a good net to catch my fall ;) And thanks to my sweet new friend Laura of Laura Cook Photography. God brought you into my life at just the right time. Thank you for creating images that reflect my brand so effortlessly.  To my husband, Derrik, who lovingly challenged me to to do something about my dream instead of getting lost in talking about it.  You are the greatest gift on earth Jesus could have possibly granted me.

I think that's enough mushiness for this post! Thank you for reading this and being part of my journey.  It means so much to me.