This time.

"And take my voice and pour it out
Let it sing the songs of mercy I have found...
Cover me, so all the world will see
That I have nothing without You"
Less than two years ago I went to Mexico. I was 16 and was joining our church youth-group on a Missions Trip. We were going to an orphanage near Juarez for a week, and I was really excited about it! However, my life was a little different...I had just gotten my precious Nikon D50 and decided not to take it :( Even up till the last night of packing I was thinking about it. I just couldn't imagine have my $450 camera and $50 lens stolen or broken. What would I do?!?! I had just made the decision that, yes, yes I was going to do photography. My whole career would be ruined if something happened to my brand-new camera! So D50 stayed home.
This trip also happened the summer before Senior year. My friends and I were the oldest going on this trip, we had one.more.year. of high school left, but more importantly we had a whole summer ahead of us before that last year.
We were loud, young, crazy and quite fun, if I do say so myself :)Its funny to me to look at this journal that one of the orphans was drawing in. That journal was half-empty, and now it is filled with quotes. thoughts, concerns, joys and scripture from Senior year and even the summer after. How did it go by so fast?I remember talking to lots of different people about my business plans. How I loved weddings and dreamed of being able to shoot them. I remember telling people how I wasn't going to school, but was going to dive into this. Some were concerned, some were really excited. I remember telling someone that I wouldn't be ready to shoot a wedding myself for at least two years. I remember sitting on the playground swings one night and trying to explain to Julie how amazing these photographers named David Jay, and Jessica Claire, and Sarah Anne were. I was telling her about the different shooting styles around the country. Being the good friend she is, she listened and at the right times she nodded her head. "Cool, Kristen."
And it was cool to me. SO cool. I wanted to be a part of this wedding photographer world sooo badly.

It literally gives me chills to look at what God has done. I still feel like that little 16-year-old-high-school-girl with a head full of dreams, a new camera and a bad addiction to photography blogs.
What happened? Less then two years later I look back and can say that I have interned with Sarah Anne, and shot about 5 weddings with her, met and shot alongside Jessica Claire, met, hung out with and shot with David Jay. My goal of ten weddings this year has been doubled and then some. Photographers who I have followed scrupulously know me when I am at conventions, some e-mail me asking me questions.
Are you kidding me??? Are you serious?
There is no logical explanation. It's not because I am a photographer-prodigy who can do things that no one else can. It's not because I am even very good! It's not because I have impeccable business skills, or because I know the ropes of the industry. I most certainly do not.
It's because of God. It's His kindness to me. I like to think of myself as someone who is adventurous, daring and has big dreams.
Well, God has taken my "big dreams" and wow-ed me. On my desk sits a little card that has been my "theme verse" for my business since I was 16. "For the Lord has blessed the work of yours hands. These years He has been with you. You have lacked nothing." {Deuteronomy 2:7}

Today I leave for Mexico, again. This time hired as Kristen Leigh Photography. And God has been with me. He is blessing me in a way I do not deserve. He excites me, inspires me and loves me. It leaves me undone with gratitude for my King!

I must go finish my packing now, but I just had to shout from the roof-tops, if you will, how grateful I am to God!

See you when I get back! Adios Amigos!

"Take my time here on this earth
And let it glorify all that You are worth
For I am nothing
I am nothing without You"