** A little note about this series I’m titling Inspiration.  As an artist I am so blessed to use my talents to create for all of my beautiful clients.  As I move further along in business I am learning the importance of crafting and creating for myself both in photography and with other mediums as a way of filling my creative well from which I can draw for both personal and client inspiration.  This series will be place I can share these  sessions with you; where you will see me stretching my creative muscles, learning and trying new things.  All of these sessions began with a fictional story so that there would be purpose and intention to all of the imagery.  I hope that the messages of love, hope and purpose will bring encouragement and inspiration to you all. Enjoy!**

Being young and in love they never believed they would ever want anything different for their lives.  Freshly graduated, finally married to their high school sweetheart and beginning their business careers in the heart of the big city they felt as if all of their dreams were coming true.  And then, a surprise positive sign on a pregnancy test, the first ultrasound that revealed not one but two little miracles and life as they knew it would be forever changed.  Boxes were hurriedly packed from their bachelor apartment near the financial district to a townhouse near a park with swings and a slide.  Late work evenings were exchanged for late night feedings, office meeting for play dates and business trips for family vacations.  Life was good, but they both felt their heart for their family’s future slowly shifting towards one of time and space.

Growing their family somewhere along the way became more important than their moving up the career ladder.   This time around it took a little longer which gave them the opportunity to keep dreaming.  With the positive test would come another move; however this time their hearts told them they needed to leave the big city, their careers and the life path they had once created together.  The longing of their hearts for time and space to grow their family, to nurture their relationships and for their children to play and imagine and dream didn’t quite fit within the city limits.

A bigger moving truck moved them down the highway, far from the city lights to the rolling hills and starlit skies.  They were uncertain about how it would all work, but were confident it was the right decision.  As they unpacked their boxes and began creating their home in a tiny white farm house they dreamed of the life their family would have here.  Of the time they would spend sipping sweet tea watching their children laugh, dream, and play in a place where the grass was fresh and the air fresher.  They prepared the nursery and the land at the same time so that they and all of their children could learn to celebrate sustainability and the time and space it takes to live with rich purpose and intentionality.  This farm would offer them the freedom to dictate their own schedules, to embrace the natural rhythms of the earth, the harvest and of replenishment without the obligation to technology and hustle.  This space would allow them to join their children in their day dreams and to encourage them live with wild imaginations.

They were finally home and all that was ahead of them was time and space; to live a life that was as big and open as they wanted to create it to be.
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A huge thank-you goes out to Carl & Andrea of Greener Pastures Eco Farm for letting us use their beautiful farm to shoot this session.  Your land and own story were such an inspiration to me as we worked on creating this story.  I cannot wait to see how God will continue to bless your family as you continue to seek greener pastures!

These two are getting married tomorrow!!!  And in honour of that I thought I would share a piece of their love story with you all!

Nic and Allie were snuggling on the couch in their first home after dinner one evening when Nic started fiddling with a ring on Allie’s right hand.  This ring was one he had given to her years before, as a way of telling her he loved her then.  As he studied this ring, he told her that she should really be wearing it on her other hand – as a way of telling other guys she was spoken for – even if it was “unofficially” :).  Allie teased back that she wasn’t going to do that because the diamond wasn’t big enough for her left hand.  At that moment he slipped off the couch, onto one knee and pulled out the bigger diamond he had been hiding in his pocket and asked Allie if this this one would do.

Tomorrow Nic gets to add one more ring to Allie’s finger and Allie gets to give one to Nic too.  These rings will not only indicate to the rest of the world that they are each other’s beloveds, but they symbolize the eternity they will spend loving one another.

I can’t wait to celebrate the beginning of your marriage with you both!!

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The definition of joy is: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.  The beautiful love story that you see below is one where joy came before the exceptionally good or satisfying “thing”.  This love story is one where joy was chosen and lived and loved in waiting; in faith kept that God would answer prayers, heal heartache and mould this family onto the path He had for them, in His own way and in His time.

Karina is one of my dearest friends, a fellow teller of beautiful love stories and one of the most happy people I know.  Her personality is bright and colourful and the word joyful would have been a word I would have used to describe her at the start of their becoming a family of three journey and throughout; even when she was having to choose joy instead of experiencing it as a result of something exceptionally good.  She has inspired me to see beyond my current circumstances and not allow them to influence the state of my heart; to choose joy and love and look for them in the everyday.

All these photos are my representation of not just the joy in the journey to and birth of a child, but more so  how literally choosing joy was the greatest gift this family could ever receive – their own perfect Olivia JoyKurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3281Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3279Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3278Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3280Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3285Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3290Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3284Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3287Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3293Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3288Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3289Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3286Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3292Kurtz-Orchard-Wedding-Photographer_3291
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  • Karina Vaandering - Carolyn!! This post is so beautiful! Thank you for your kind words 🙂 I am so thankful for you and your support in prayers and love throughout our journey!! These photos are SOOOOO special to me. I am so grateful. I am smiling so big right now!! Thank you!

  • Jessica Van Zwol - These are wonderful! Yes, this is a truly Joy-filled family 🙂

  • Megan Huggins - LOVE!! such a beautiful story to tell 🙂

  • Monica Hodges Sweeney - These images are stunning!! I know Karina will cherish them forever! Great work!!

  • Liesje JV - Thank you Carolyn! So in love with these photos! You take them just the way Karina loves….and what a beautiful story to match! I love your talents and know God is using them for others benefit. So happy to see cute little Olivia with her mom and dad at the end of the story!!

I’m so excited to share with you all one of my all time favourite weddings!  Although this sweet couple has been married for awhile (happy almost second anniversary Jason & Avery!) I still look back on this day fondly and feel very blessed to have been a part of it!  This wedding fits so well with the heart of my brand and was so full of inspiration for me – I wish we could go back and celebrate it again!

This beautiful Lake Huron wedding is one I hope will inspire all of my future couples as a way of encouraging them them to create a wedding day that is rich with meaning.  For I believe that when a couple chooses to celebrate their love, their family and their future purposefully their wedding will be the perfect marker for them to return to on their fifth, twenty-fifth and fiftieth wedding anniversaries to help them and their families to be inspired to keep making their love story more beautiful with time.

Jason & Avery’s wedding day was abundant with things they hoped to fill their life with –  family, friends, cottaging, Lake Huron, local food, laughter, sunsets, and time spent sitting around a fire roasting s’mores.  They were crazy in love and wanted their wedding day to be an amazing celebration this! It was the first day of their married life together and so they wanted it to be meaningful.  Everything that was a part of their wedding day had purpose and was important to their love story, right down to the flat wear.

Their biggest decision was the setting they wanted to celebrate in and for them it was easy.  They decided to take advantage of the natural beauty that Ontario’s West Coast had to offer and chose to enjoy the outdoors for every part of their wedding from their first look, wedding photos, ceremony and reception at Avery’s family cottage where she and her sister’s spent many summers and holidays growing up.

They got creative and selected simple and meaningful details and table settings.  The table wear and flat wear were all pieces that belonged to their families and their centre pieces were repurposed and some featured locally grown seasonal flowers (peonies – my favourite 🙂 ). They both love to support local, small businesses and decided that their menu would highlight the best food that Huron county had to offer.

If I could give all of my future couples some advice in their wedding planning, it would be to think like Jason & Avery did.  To take your love and the life you hope to live together and use it as the best source of inspiration to create beautiful and meaningful details that will tell your love story on your wedding day, and more importantly for the many days of your married life together.  I hope you all enjoy!

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I have been thinking about seasons a lot lately.  Not just in the physical sense of winter, spring, summer, fall;  but mostly in the metaphorical sense of the word seasons, mainly life’s seasons and business seasons.

The last two years have been quite a “season” for our family and for my business.  The quietness on the blog and really any of my sporadic online sharing and community building is a good indication as to what life has really been like behind the scenes.  In this season I have struggled to get content – my thoughts and photos out there/here – and really engage with others because of the time challenges I have faced.   Four small kiddos, a business still in it’s growing stages, a big move and so much more has made this season of my life and business feel plain old exhausting.

Although this season has been tiring and challenging, I am learning so much from and through it and that is what I want to share and hopefully encourage you with today.  It is my hope that my thoughts might help you to see differently and appreciate more the seasons you find yourself a part of.

Grace & Intention:   Every season has it’s unique challenges.  Whether you you are a couple thick in the throws of planning a meaningful wedding; or you are a brand new mama learning the new routines of an amazing, but slightly terrifying, little one; or you are a small business owner trying to figure out how to survive busy season – all of these seasons are tough.  I am learning that I can only truly flourish in each season when I embrace it and extend myself grace as I am experiencing it.  Offering and accepting grace to work and grow within the boundaries of a season is so freeing.  It allows you to become intentional with the time and resources that you have and to make decisions about how you will use these boundaries to help you continue to grow instead of allowing them to limit you.  Abundantly giving yourself grace daily (or even hourly on particular days) allows you to find the joy in even the most challenging seasons and helps make the lessons and experiences you are learning and having become ones you don’t ever want to forget.

Beauty and Length:  Staying inspired is one significant way that helps me more easily embrace the challenging aspects of the season I am in.  The parallel’s between the natural seasons and the harvest season remind me of so many truths.  “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” Ecclesistes 3: 1.  The promise of new life, bounty, harvest and then periods of quiet are helping me reference where my life, family and business are at and help me find the beauty that is present in each season.  As a mother of littles and small business owner it is so easy to get lost and discouraged in the busyness and immediate challenges of each day, or the middle of my current season.  Screaming babies, homework, piles of laundry, emails, editing, post office runs, etc. can quickly create a mountain that feels insurmountable.  However, when stepping back and remembering that “the days are long, but the years are short” helps put into perspective that there will be an end to this all – children do grow, client work gets completed and life does go on.

In remembering “that the days are long, but the years are short” we can find and really see the beauty that each season presents. New growth – a baby’s first words and a couple’s happiness with their engagement photos; bounty – a house turned upside down as the tickle monster creates ripples of laughter and a wedding day that has gone as perfectly as the couple plans; harvest – an extra long snuggle and sweet whisper “I love you Mom” and a beautiful box of prints that tell the story of a beginning of a family; replenishment – a quiet house upon becoming empty nesters and a sweet thank you card received in the mail. There is beauty in each part and season, it is up to me to find and dwell on it.

I’m so excited to share with you a special project that one of my amazing 2015 couples and I (with a little extra help ~ see disclaimer below) worked on over the course of their engagement period.  Johnathan and Natalie were so sweet and had me photograph their love story in each of the four seasons at the same location to really capture the beauty and changes present in each one.

I truly hope that these photos will not only be cherished by them and their family for many years to come, but more importantly that they would serve as a tangible reminder to give themselves grace through their life seasons, embrace each season with intentionality, help them to remember that the days might feel long at times but the years are so short, and to always search for the beauty that can be found in each of life’s and their love’s seasons.

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A big thank you to my amazing friend Karina for taking the winter photos from this series.  I was soo pregnant with the twins that I wasn’t able to capture this part of their love story and Karina graciously helped us out!

  • Nicky Koscinski - I really love that idea! I think my family is part way there for all 4 seasons! Maybe a spring and summer photo shoot with you is in order 🙂