choosing joy

Today marks a milestone of what has been both a joy filled and devastating journey I have been on over the past few months. The journey is not over however, in fact on this journey is a road I will hold close for a lifetime. This is a road I will dream of, a road I will forever walk and grieve. This is a road that changed me eternally.  The path on this road however is now diverging as some news I needed to hear was given to me today. With that news comes relief that things progressed as well as they could have given the circumstance, and sadness that the way I envisioned the future to be was never to come to fruition in the way I had hoped and prayed for, at least not upon this earth.

I have felt feelings never experienced before in my life these past weeks and months.  I have come to Jesus and turned from Him at the same time.  I know deep in my soul that turning to Him is what will bring me peace, and I am working on living that truth.  Somehow throughout all of this, I have emerged as a stronger person. I was not trying to and during this time I felt exactly the opposite.  I felt weak, vulnerable and broken.  At any moment of the day, I still feel that crushed spirit.  However I know that is not all I am.  Now that the haze has cleared just a bit, I can see that I am stronger than I thought or ever gave myself credit for. I am certain that more challenges and pain will come along in my life, but as time goes on I will look to myself at this season of my life and I will know that I am capable, I am resilient, I am tough, I am a “trooper”. (a word coined by my husband to describe me)  This certainly is not a pat on my back or some act of praise to myself.  It is a testimony to the strength one can only attain by the grace of God.

Although my eyes have been {and still are} clouded by a mist that seems constant and my cheeks tear stained many days and nights along the way, the light still remains. The light of faith in things I have not seen.  I am sure those tears will never fully be wiped away until I meet my Maker, and I am accepting of that.  I have received a beautiful gift that I am forever grateful to God for giving to me. This preciousness will never be forgotten and will remain an ember that burns deeply within me. This spark of my heart can never be diminished no matter how much time passes. This treasure beyond words holds a piece of me that belongs to no one else and will always be there no matter the year, no matter the month, no matter the day, no matter the hour, no matter the minute, no matter the second.

It has been a long winter.  The frigid ice, blowing wind, never ending snow and bone chilling cold has been no stranger to me.  In the same way, there has been a winter in my soul.  Frozen over feelings, constant numbness and wicked chill haven not escaped me this winter.  With the warmer months now upon me it is a catalyst and sign that times are changing.  The earth keeps moving and I can choose to stay cold or be open to the light and warmth that inevitably comes whether I am ready or not.

And so today, even though it is difficult, I am making the choices that will lead me out of the winter.  I know it will not be easy, and I know that I will continue to have moments of icy chill.  I am not so ignorant as to believe otherwise.  That being said, I will work hard to make the choices that will lead me to becoming a better and more open person, whose broken heart will not control the future.  I will allow this pain to refine me into being a light for others.  I will offer up this suffering for those who also are in experiencing the same.  I can choose to do all of those things and more.  And so, I choose to embrace the sunlight. I choose to be strong. I choose to be faithful. I choose to see the blessings. I choose to hope.  I choose to be grateful.  I choose to share.  I choose to be changed. I choose to remember. I choose joy.

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think SPRING!

Hello internet!  As we here in the Buckeye State are braving the cold and icy chill of January I have an lil’ somethin’ that may just HEAT things up!  This should also get some of you thinking of the warmth and yumminess that is SPRING!

I have a quick little announcement and instead of taking the easy way out via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter {all of which I will post this info to later as well} I thought I would make the session announcement on the blog today.  Coming this SPRING are  {limited} BOUDOIR sessions!!!  I decided to break convention and not do sessions for Valentine’s day, but instead a welcoming into spring.  Eeek…I am so excited I can hardly stand it!!!!

Many of you may not know that I photograph boudoir sessions, but I do and I enjoy them.  I love helping women see themselves as they should ~ beautiful inside and out!  I am looking to photograph more of these sessions as my business changes {more on that at a later time} in 2014, however I am now offering 3 open spring sessions.  Before booking with my there are several things you might want to know about how I document boudoir…

*Size Me Up ~ You don’t need to be a certain size ~ come on ladies let’s get OVER it.  We are ALL unique and lovely creations.  Show what you have ~ curves, no curves, hips, no hips.  There is no size, whether voluptuous or more petite, to beauty.  I will highlight your BEST assets and bring your personality forefront to the session.  We will talk about this beforehand so you are comfortable in front of my camera.  I am a girl’s girl ladies…I got your back!
*Keepin’ it Classy ~ I strive to create and present you with images that are classy not trashy ~ {I think that covers that one!}  But let me add to that and say I love the artistic side of this genre of photography and if you do too, we would probably be a great client/tog match!
*Quality not Quantity ~ I am only offering a limited amount of these sessions.  I run my business differently than some…I want quality interactions not large quantities of meetings.  Your time, session and images are special to me.
*Custom Images ~ Your images will not be like anyone else’s.  While I may use the same location, your images will be uniquely YOU!  We will work hard to create that together.


Quote on photo above  from Terri Guillemets ~ isn’t it FAB?  

I think that about covers the basics of what I am and what I am not as a boudoir photographer.  Now all you need are some session details and booking information.  So here ya go!

Session Date: Saturday April 5th
{these are NOT mini sessions, your session will be personal to what you prefer, however I will be shooting all three sessions on one day}

Session Investment: $200

Session Includes:
 *Time & Talent of Melissa Perry  {hey that’s me!}
*30 minute photo session
*Pre-session planning and inspiration chat
*7 edited images on a flash drive with print rights
*Mini Look Book of Images
*Hair & Make up Application
*Champagne & Strawberries {très chic!}


The details to book this experience are below:
Pay your session fee: $200 {check, credit card, cash}
Begin dreaming your perfect session!

It’s as easy as that!  Now who is ready to book?!
~ xo mel ~

follow through

Dribble, bend your knees, arm straight, use your guide hand, keep your eye on the ball, breath, follow through.  Those words spoken many times by my Dad as he coached me through years and years of basketball training.  All of which helped me become a better player, improving not only my form, but my accuracy.  Indeed following those directives made me a much better shooter.  Those directions also helped me become a valuable member of my team, because after all when you are playing basketball it is not all about one person.  It is about everyone becoming better.  My refined shooting ability was not for selfish reasons.  No, it was to make me an asset to the group.  Who know I would be “shooting” in another way all of these years later.

I am shooting for many things in life.  In an obvious way, I am shooting with my camera.  Capturing the lives and stories of my precious clients.  Trying to encapsulate a piece of their puzzle in a frozen photograph.  Wanting that image though still to bring lifelong memories to them.  I am shooting, not so much for something specific, but for something intangible that may not be described in words.  I am always striving to become a better photographer.  Through practice, through pushing myself, through lifelong learning, through trial and error.  All of which help me to bring the best of myself to the table.  Or at least the best of myself at that moment in time.  I am a work in progress.  Progression…not perfection is such a hard pill to swallow, but one I need a daily dose of to keep me grounded.

I am also shooting for my goals.  With the New Year upon us there are all kind of thoughts and ideas swirling around in my head.  And like most people I have some lofty aspirations that always float in front of me like a dream I can’t quite capture.  This year, however there are some definite ideas, changes and courses that need to be mapped.  I can no longer keep with the status quo and achieve my desires.  This I know.  This I understand.  This I take full responsibility for in knowing that in the past, I have fallen short.  I am shooting for the stars, shooting for a dream, shooting for the best life possible.  A life that at times can feel off course.  A life that at times is overwhelming and without proper priorities in line.  A life that has all of the best intentions in the world, yet continues to come up with missing pieces to my own story.

Anyone who knows me knows that I go all out when I have a passion for something.  I cannot do something halfway.  It’s just not in my blood.  It’s just not who I am.  I, Melissa Perry, am an all or nothing kinda girl.  I am naming it and claiming it.  Sometimes that can be to my detriment, and sometimes that can be something amazing.  I have learned having the type of personality that I do is at times a tricky business.  And I am starting to become ok with that.  I will not labor on what my goals are for now, perhaps another time another blog post will contain a bit more of my heart.  For now I will just say that I have been thinking {for quite some time now} and the time to ponder is over.  The time to take action is now upon me.  It is now time to look to God as my guide, keep my eyes on the prize, breath, and follow through.

 I wanted to share our New Year’s card with you all.  I kind of LOVE how it turned out.  I have wanted to send a holiday card out for years now and these got mailed yesterday.  Already following through before we even hit midnight.  Go me! :)  If you are looking for a designer to create you something wonderful please check out Lovely Umbrella Paperie and designer Carolyn.  She is amazing at what she does and really has blown me away with her design talent, attention to detail and knack for “getting me.”   Happy 2014 everyone!

~ xo mel ~

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love remains

There does not seem to be a good enough way to intro these photos.  So I will just speak from the heart.  I have been eternally blessed in life.  This I know without a doubt.  Each and every morning I wake up grateful beyond measure for what I have been given.  No, I am not talking about a fancy car in my driveway, a high paying career, or the biggest house on the block.  And to keep from sounding cliche’ I will proceed.

When I was born I was given the most incredible family a girl could ever ask for and then some.  I will save that writing for another time–another post.  To put it short and sweet I lived {and still do} a charmed existence growing up with the best parents and sister ever!  Fast forward a few years to adulthood.  Enter one tall dark and handsome man.  When I met my husband Chad {then my boyfriend}, I was simply blown away.  Yes, by his good looks, charm and kindness {if ya’ll know Chad you know what I mean}, but more to the point I was equally enamored with his fabulous family.  I was welcomed with open arms from day one.  Hugs, love, and caring enveloped me like a warm cozy blanket on a cold winter’s night.  The family members embraced me and in the arms of their embrace I found myself feeling secure and a part of something very special.  As the years have passed new members have been added to the family.  From engagements, to weddings,  to the births of sweet little ones.   As the family grows one thing is constant.  The LOVE remains.  In fact as if it were even possible the love has grown more deep and has taken over in a new way with each passing day.  Of course not all of our family is pictured here ~ I should tell you that the extended family is quite large.  There are those who have been so wonderful along the way are not all in this blog post.  I do want to give anyone in the Perry, Kramer or Reinhart family not pictured here a big I LOVE YOU TOO!!! :)

On December 21st, a bleak and rainy day, I set out to capture some of the loveliness that fills my life.  The grey skies could not keep us all from bringing light to the dark and from having the fun that is forever present at our family functions.  Laughter and life filled the loft where we held the shoot.  {more on “the loft” coming soon!!!} I will admit, coordinating the shoot was not easy, but it was totally worth it.  Pictured below are my Mother and Father in law, Cherly & Jim {who are the BEST in-laws a girl could ever dream of having, I am choked up just thinking about how much I adore them both…I could go on and on and on and on…}, my brother in laws Jason, Jon & Danny {the brothers I always wanted and never had ~ aka “The Perry boys” – well known for being fun, kindhearted and just the most awesome guys around}, my brother in law Blair {calm, cool and always quite collected ~ he is a perfect fit into the family} my sister in laws Erin, Katie, Ashley & Jen {gorgeous ladies inside and out}, my soon to be sis in law Katie {everyone loves this natural beauty} my nieces and nephews Avery, Rylan, Michael, Cameron & Bella {who bring joy to my life in so many beautiful ways}, Uncle Bob, Gina and cousin Nick {who are also so very special to me}, and last but not least my dreamboat husband Chad is pictured as well.  Not pictured is my Angel in Law Michael Perry.  I am sure he is smiling down on all of us right now and we definitely feel his presence.

In all honesty who would have ever imagined that they would be so doubly blessed?  I was born into a spectacular family and  I married into a phenomenal family.  Both of which God had chosen especially for me.  No, I don’t believe in luck or chance or things just happening.  This was all part of His divine plan.  To say I am overwhelmed with gratitude would be an understatement.  I am humbled by the fact that God has gifted me so richly.  He has given me what truly matters in this life.  I wish there were adequate words to express my feelings and my emotions.  Dearest family, I hope you all know how much I love you and appreciate the gift of each and every one of you in my life.  If I sat down to write for a year I might begin to just scratch the surface.  Even then words would seem to fail at truly expressing what is in my heart.  When all my words are gone, love remains.


~ xo mel ~

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