santa barbara photographer | yellow bird shower inspiration

As a Santa Barbara Photographer who is in love with color and design my heart beats fast as I post these photographs.

This yellow bird bridal shower has beautiful DIY elements throughout as well as local flowers, vintage glassware, oil cloth tablecloth and a homemade delish brunch.

Whether you’re hosting a wedding shower, baby shower, birthday party or dinner party, be inspired by the colors, placement of candy, design elements, food and flowers of this yellow bird bridal shower.

Much Love and Many Congratulations from you Santa Barbara Photographer, Katee Grace.

http://kateegrace.com  |  capturing + loving life  |  xoxo  |  katee grace  |  santa barbara photographer

body image | beauty

The other day a dear friend asked me if overall I was happy with my body. I replied yes.  Of course there are things that could use more attention or improvement, areas that aren’t perfect, but I’m happy with my body overall.

At first when I responded to my friend’s question, I jokingly said that “well, I listen to a lot of music talking about hot our bodies are…” which is true, but I don’t think that is nearly as affirming as the specific appreciation from loved ones.

As I’ve thought about that question since she asked, I thinking about why am I comfortable and happy with my imperfect body.  As I thought about it I realized a lot of it is largely credited to the influence of my loved ones who’ve been very declarative and specific in their appreciation for me, all of me, my heart, my failures, my body, my hopes, my weaknesses, me, just me.  My friend Amy whose voice I hear in my head when I put on makeup and when I don’t saying “you’re beautiful Katee, you don’t need make-up.” Which is so freeing because I’ve learned to like looking at myself in the mirror without makeup but also enjoying make-up, freely.  My friend Michael who has told me how gorgeous I am, interrupting my insecurity admissions midsentence to tell me in a way so convincing and serious that I would be insane to contradict him, and silly to not take to heart his words.  My second mom and dear buddy Lulu who not only laughs with me at the outlandish things I say and do, but has also affirmed my womanhood in encouraging both cute as well as hott outfits, complimenting my figure and encouraging me to wear more form fitting clothes. Poppa Dale who has not only told me that I have gotten more beautiful since he’s known me as well as pointedly going out of his way to write a beautiful card telling me with that kind fatherly tenderness how stunning I was at our friend’s wedding.  And of course many more, because my friends are awesome and their intentional with their words of love and praise.  And some of them kiss more than an Italian family at a wedding, so if their words don’t get you then their hugs and kisses will.

In scripture God tells us that he knit us together while we were in our momma’s tummy.  My mom use to tell me this all the time, she always encouraged individuality in giftings and beauty, and I now see, this has been the groundwork for much of my life.  There can be so much striving and comparison among girls especially, instead of stewardship and appreciation for both ourselves and each other.  But this doesn’t just happen.  I think that beauty is something that God has created women to long for and to be nurtured in them.  Beauty comes from within to be sure, but is also something to appreciated and nurtured on the exterior.  In the times of the Old Testament, the process of beauty for women was, well a lot.  That said, attention given but not an obsession, which can often be the way of it in our culture.

All the folks I listed above said these things to me after either living with me or living next door to me, seeing the good, the bad and the ugly, but still these were their sentiments.  I don’t think we have to be “all done up” and in our best to embrace the beauty that God has created us to carry, though that is nice, I think the beauty that He has created within us is not so dependent on our rockin’ body or fabulous hair day, but something that comes through more powerful than those things alone.  But that’s another article.

I remember hearing the adage concerning how we walk into a room to be of the mindset “oh there YOU are!!” instead of  “oh here I am.”  And I believe this is helpful in truly noticing the beauty in each other, expressing an appreciation for that beauty and calling it out.  If we are so focused on our insecurity, our need for affirmation, the cycle will continue and we will be too caught up with our own reflection to ever affirm the beauty in those we love so dearly.

My point:

I want to encourage my friends honestly and truthfully and for them to feel how wonderful and beautiful they really are.  No flattery, but the truth. 

Beautiful by Pharrell and Snoop

 

1498_dazey-2

perspective | understanding | death

Growing up my mom had this Indian Prayer plaque hanging in my bathroom which read

“Grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins.” 

I think I use to feel that one should just “get over” the loss of loved ones but the older I get, the closer I grow to God, the more I realize, as C.S. Lewis points out throughout his book “A Grief Observed,” that the loss caused by death is grief that is a process and not a state.  It’s been almost 17 years since my Dad passed away and sometimes it feels like it was yesterday.  Right now it feels like it was yesterday.  I think especially this time of year is hard because I have such great memories with him.  Him BBQing, going to the creek, the country, stopping at this funky little stand that sold sweet potato pies and pulled pork (probably the only one in all of Oklahoma), eating watermelon in the evening sun, riding bikes, many things that are my childhood experiences.

The last time I went to see my mom and she asked me if we could watch old home movies together I had to decline.  Watching them makes me so sad and to be honest, the pain has been more than I’ve known what to do with.  If she asked me today, I would say yes, not because it’s easy but because I’m ready and willing to go to that place and go to that place with her.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize the loss that she experienced when my father, her husband of 17 years, passed away.  My mom came from a fairly hard life and when her and my dad got married in her mid-twenties, they began enjoying life together and building a life together.  My dad had gone through a rough time of his life so as a distraction from the pain, he got a second job working the graveyard shift at a local cafe where my mom worked mornings.  My mom, completely oblivious to the fact that my dad was interested in her, was shocked when he called her and asked to take her out.  Their relationship grew and they married.  They were a really great team!  My dad loved my mom so much.  He was very kind, a very hard worker and creative in making things beautiful around the yard for her.  Though I lost my dad, my mom lost her man with whom she as an adult had built a life with, this man who was reliable and stable, her world radically changed.  Loosing a parent is hard, but I think loosing a your husband or wife would be something far more shaking.

It’s been easy for me in the past to wish my mom would just get over the fact that my dad is gone, but time and God have shown me the unnaturalness of death, the intense pain that forever resides deep in the heart when we loose those we love.  We were created for the garden, we were created for eden, a place without death.  Grief is a process and not a state.  Jesus knows exactly how to comfort us because He knows us intimately and fully, an his comfort is not empty but is truthful about our pain while simultaneously filling us with life and peace because as the scripture states “a mind set on the spirit is life and peace.”   To be with God, to receive his love, to pour out the truth of my heart to him is the basis of it all.

At the end of “A Grief Observed,” by CS Lewis, he states

“But then of course I know perfectly well that He can’t be used as a road. If you’re approaching Him not as the goal but as a road, not as the end but as a means, you’re not really approaching Him at all.”  

And I think this is a pretty appropriate response to the need of healing and comfort that comes with the loss of loved ones, the loneliness of life, the deep needs of the human heart, to draw near to God for the sake of being near him, not gaining my personal understanding of a theological viewpoint I wish to validate, but just to be with Him.

I miss my dad a lot, and that doesn’t change because he left when I was young and he’s never coming back.  And that’s okay.

mother’s day

I love my mom more than words could express.

We’ve been through a lot together.

Growing up I was always really close to my parents.  As an only child, vacations and family days were just me and them.  When my dad died when I was 12 years-old it was just me + mom.

As a mother mom you’ve always shown me unwavering loyalty, dedication, support, and love.  Not to mention a beautiful hope for the dreams growing in my heart.

Regardless of anything I would do… Mom has been….

•  • Always There •  • Ready to Help •  • Ready to Stand Up for Me •  • Protect Me •  •

Mom knows things!! She is not perfect and that kind of pressure should never be put on anyone. But as someone who knows God’s voice and has been with me through my whole life, she knows things and I’ve found her opinion should always be listened to.

I love and respect my mom.

•  •  Her honesty and openness with me have not only brought us closer together in our relationship but have shown me even more clearly how beautiful she is, inside and out.

Vulnerability and safety should be in continual operation in our relationships and to experience this with my mom is a gift.

I miss my mom.  I wish I could have her over for Sunday dinners.  I am thankful for my mom’s prayers for me.  Her knowledge that ultimately I belong to God.

I love my mama a lot and hope one day I will be willing to open my heart enough to love someone as much as a mother loves her children.

 

remembering her sacrifice and love, honoring mom this mother’s day  |  xoxo  |  katee grace

contentment in the present chapter

Looking forward and hoping for the future to be good is healthy I believe but a constant focus on certain things in life changing and a discontentment with the present season is not only frustrating but seems to steal a thankfulness for the good things in this season as well as keep us from actually engaging with the season in life we are in.

I find myself continually hearing God ask me to relax and enjoy the journey.  Stop trying to figure out how a, b and c fit together but engage in the present with a,b, and c, relax, trust God and be free.

It seems that as humans we have this continual thirst for more, continual grasping for the next good thing that we are hoping for or expecting.  But God is so insightful and so plainly says “Godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.”  (1 Timothy 6:6)  According to Webster, to be content means “satisfied with what one is or has.”  In the amplified version of this scripture, it says to have “an inward sufficiency.”  Being quiet and knowing that God is more than enough and He has way more insight into our lives and ability to grow our lives and us than we could ever muster up and to recognize how deeply satisfying just being with Him is.  I recognize in myself that when I am most content in the season that God has me, whether it be extra challenging or filled with a bit more ease circumstantially, that contentment and satisfaction has thankfulness as a fruit as well as a general enjoyment of life.  As I allow the supposed frustrations that I should feel at a given stage in life to begin to usurp the contentment in God’s goodness to me in this season, I not only begin to find myself less present in each moment but more frustrated and more dissatisfied.  To be dissatisfied with the current season that I am in would mean that my life is not filled with love and hope but with greed and lust.

Sometimes we can get sucked into the pressures around us.  The pressures to be on track with other people, or the pressure to be in the season that someone else is in, the pressure of thinking that the grass is greener on the other side when the reality is that both lawns need water and attention and can both grow and flourish and will both have weeds.

A few months back I was chatting with the mom of a family whose kids I regularly babysit for and she was asking me what I was doing the following day and I mentioned something about getting home so I could get to bed because I always wake up early even if I don’t have to.  She so casually and quickly said “Girl, you better sleep in! There will be a time when you’ll have kids and you’ll have to be up early…”  Since that conversation I have made a conscious decision to sleep in more often when I can.  There are so many things in the season that we are in that are a gift from God to us and if we are over-occupied with getting to the next season we will miss them and this cycle will just continue for the rest of our lives to the point where we could miss our whole life waiting on the next thing.

Instead of looking at areas of my life that I hope continue growing and changing and focusing on the lack of growth and change, resetting my mind to say like David said “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage,” (Psalm 16)  will yield more of a harvest of rightness and God’s will for me in my life than the focus on the lack of ____.

Whatever the chapter of our lives we are currently in, God has unique and beautiful gifts for us in them, deep truths for us to understand and grasp and ultimately a full experience of engaging with Him and with those around us in the moment.

In choosing contentment and thankfulness, I find a propensity in me to live free • enjoy the journey • relax and trust Him, which is exactly what the Lord is constantly asking me to do.  I think life is better this way…

xoxo | katee grace | much love + peace to your heart

1498_dazey-2

there is no difference between the sacred + the secular

One of my all time favorite texts from scripture is Acts 17:26-29 And He made from one common origin, one source, one blood all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined their allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their settlements, lands, and habitations, so that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.

Often I look for God in big things, I want to do things that matter, to have a life without purpose is one of the most frightening things.  But to understand that where I live is on purpose, who I live with, live next door to, who I run into at the market, who I work with and all of the joys and challenges of life are opportunities divinely appointed by God for me and those around me to find him, this is what I desire.  I love how the text says “feel after Him and find Him, although he is not far from each one of us.”  Ahhhh! For a girl who is needs lots of physical affection, this warms my heart immediately.  And I know as soon as I truly begin to feel after Him and look to Him I can get lost in His love.  What a gift.

But what if, what if these things that seem so menial are of His beautiful divine plan, what if it isn’t so complicated.  What if the gifts of prophecy and encouragement and knowledge are to be played out in our lives a little more naturally and simply than a grand show at a local church?  What if God wants to download huge amounts of love through us to the man at the art museum or the lady at the market?  These things take not only a sweet abiding in the love and presence of Christ but also a boldness and humility that I really want.

A few months back I was chatting with a friend about her boyfriend’s business and a series of business meetings he was at.  She shared a bit of how she’d been praying for him, he would send her a message with what was going on and she would start praying.  She made the statement about how it was like he was on a mission trip the way she was praying for him and the connections and the business and everything.  I was so humbled and yet since then have been asking the Lord to show me how to live more this way.  What if there is no difference between the sacred and the secular?

Where have we boxed God in?  Have I missed God’s intentionality in the circumstances I am finding myself in today? Yesterday? Tomorrow? 6 months ago?  Next Week?  He has something beautiful for us to walk in to bring His will and His kingdom to this earth each day, are we choosing to enjoy and walk in those things?   The other day my dear friend “A” made a great comment “If you are keeping one foot in the past you can’t walk forward.”  There are situations divinely designed for people to experience God, for us to experience His ways and love, and they aren’t just across the world, they are in the next room, they are down the street.

may we walk on in the love and fullness of Christ.

much love + peace to your heart, katee grace 🙂

Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | Stages of Baby

Having the privilege of capturing photographs from mommy’s prego belly through the journey of life is one of the things I hold closest to my heart working with Santa Barbara Newborn Photography.  This season of life is absolutely heart warming in every way to capture through Santa Barbara Newborn Photography and I am so grateful to capture these moments from day 1 through the precious growing stages of life.

Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo
Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo

From meeting Heidi through a mutual friend while she was still pregnant I have had the privilege of capturing photographs of baby M before he was even born then through Katee Grace Santa Barbara Newborn Photography capturing his first few days as well as his sixth month birthday.

Enjoy these precious moments captured by Katee Grace’s line of Santa Barbara Newborn Photography.

Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo
Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo
Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo
Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo
Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo
Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo
Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo
Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo
Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo
Santa Barbara Newborn Photography | xoxo

To book your custom Santa Barbara Newborn Photography session or other Katee Grace Portrait Session call Katee Grace at 805-637-7412 or email katee@kateegrace.com | http://kateegrace.com

All sessions designed around you, your relationships, your style, your loves…

your moments + my camera = your unforgettable memories | xoxo | katee grace

 

Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Campaign for Youth | Annual Generosity Raising

There are two scriptures that comes to mind as I begin writing this, Jeremiah 29:7 “seek the peace and welfare of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captive; and pray to the Lord for it…”  and then “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person?” 1 John 3:17.  From the standpoint of a follower of Christ, giving money, time and possessions should simply be from an overflow of the love and goodness of God that is experienced on a personal level.  Seeking the welfare of others from a place of being filled with love from God and those around us greatly enriches both the fullness of our love as well as the amount we are able to pour forth into other’s lives.

Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Healthy Family Home

The Santa Barbara Family YMCA is not only a gym, though I love their spin classes and the great options for pilates and yoga, but our local Santa Barbara Family YMCA is a preschool to working families, a place that continually organizes and grows their after-school care programs, summer camp and leadership initiatives among the youth and young children in our community.  These precious ones are privileged to find a haven from the unhealthy peer pressure and media influences that can so easily distract and cut into their individual value and life purposes.  It has been such a pleasure to come alongside the hard-working efforts of the staff and volunteers of the Santa Barbara Family YMCA this year in raising the funds to help children and families who are struggling financially to still have opportunities to “learn, grow and thrive,” as the YMCA themselves say.

From instilling and understanding water safety to subsidizing after-school childcare for four months for a family in need, the possibilities are endless concerning the impact your generosity to the Campaign for Youth will make this year.  Summer camp is one of the aspects that reaches kids in our community, with time set aside to nurture and strengthen them in a focused and intentional time with a staff that is committed to growth in healthy relationships and encouraging good character and general thriving as an individual.  I read an account by a young girl who attended camp last year and how she was so excited to spend time with her “second family” and after touching on the facts of a specific counselor’s “caring personality, helpful attitude and fun sense of humor… caring for each and every camper” she ended her school report highlighting her time at the YMCA summer camp about by saying how she can “never explain how grateful I am (she is) to have a great role model to look up to.”  It’s this girl and other like her in our community, looking for role models whom they can emulate, who will benefit from your generosity.

The photographs below show another project that will benefit from the generosity of our community towards the Santa Barbara Family YMCA.  A program that could not only revolutionize the quality of life for not just one generation but many to follow is the Healthy Family Home program in which the Y partners with the Sansum Clinic to get kids and families on board with a healthy lifestyle.  This program is 6-8 weeks long and consists of one session per week as a group, meeting together, exercising in a fun and engaging way together, eating healthy food and being accountable to one another about the exercise and eating goals set and reached the previous week and loving encouragement for the days and weeks to come.  Watching the intentionality throughout the PE Class portion of the program of the instructor engaging the kids and families individually and their response to these prompts and encouragement was nothing short of complete enthusiasm and full engagement in these healthy activities. The food prepared with the participants in mind was full of flavor and completely healthy, abolishing just one more stereotype of healthy eating.  The staff of this program knew each family and engaged every individual from silly songs to making their delicious veggie wraps, encouraging comfort and confidence.

If Community Giving to families is something you’re into and this is an avenue that really touches you, then please email or telephone me about how I can set you up to give to these kids of Santa Barbara. katee@kateegrace.com  or 805-637-7412

Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Healthy Family Home
Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Healthy Family Home
Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Healthy Family Home
Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Healthy Family Home
Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Healthy Family Home
Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Healthy Family Home
Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Healthy Family Home
Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Learning to eat HEALTHY
Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Healthy Family Home
Santa Barbara Family YMCA | Healthy Family Home

much love + happy weekend!

katee grace of katee grace photography

capturing + loving life | http://kateegrace.com

Click HERE to view the Santa Barbara Family YMCA website

Santa Barbara Family YMCA | this ADVERTISEMENT © YMCA

Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Senior Portraits + Family Portrait Sessions

Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography

I met this beautiful and fun family this past year through a mutual friend and a fundraiser for a outreach project for the children of Thailand.  While booking the photography session to capture Max’s senior pics I was invited to their beautiful home with breathtaking views to determine the best time of day for various locations for shooting at the house.  Shooting senior pics in beautiful locations such as Mt. Carmel in Montecito, the Santa Barbara Mission or the Carpinteria bluffs are just a few of my favorite public locations, but shooting family photographs and senior pics at someone’s home is truly special.  We mixed this photography session to be both one for capturing senior pics as well as some family photographs of both their kids, brothers and sisters share a sweet friendship that sees many changes throughout a lifetime and truly one that is an overwhelming joy and privilege for this Santa Barbara photographer who grew up as an only child.

Senior Pics | Max + Sydney

Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography
Santa Barbara Senior Pics | Katee Grace Photography

As I look back over these photographs, the fun time we enjoyed together shooting, at home viewing photographs for ordering after the shoot and the Vincent family’s extremely welcoming and kind hospitality to me while I was in their home, the random run-ins and facebook followings and am so thankful for this family.  It’s sweet to see how just doing the things we are passionate about and truly care about and enjoy, in this case, the children of Thailand, brought this sweet relationship to be.

| Katee Grace Photography is now booking for Senior Pics, unique + beautiful just like you |

http://kateegrace.com | katee@kateegrace.com | 805-637-7412 | capturing + loving life | xoxo

santa barbara beach wedding | gavin + mollie

Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer

Just around the corner from Padero Lane, this Santa Barbara beach wedding was beautiful and natural in design and feel.  This sweet Santa Barbara couple shared their love of Ojai with me and so we packed the car and headed over the mountain from Santa Barbara to the natural beauty of Ojai for their engagement photographs, exploring the sites, barns, fruit groves and quiet streets that would so compliment the photographs from their Santa Barbara beach wedding.  Planning a Santa Barbara beach wedding has the setting already taken care of, especially here at Loon Point, with the commanding cliffs, quiet and off the beaten path.

Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer
Santa Barbara Beach Wedding | Santa Barbara Photographer

Whether it’s a Santa Barbara Courthouse wedding, Santa Barbara beach wedding or a Santa Barbara winery wedding, the sky is the limit with locations and photography in Santa Barbara and so are the whimsical and romantic feels associated with each unique Katee Grace Wedding Collection.  Contact Katee Grace at katee@kateegrace.com for detailed collection information and securing your wedding date for 2012.  Katee Grace, Santa Barbara Photographer, 805-637-7412 or katee@kateegrace.com

your moments + my camera + your unforgettable memories | xoxo | katee grace | http://kateegrace.com