Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

thank you.  just thank you.  you people are amazing.  the last month has been quite a beautiful roller coaster for us.  a beautiful, epic, once in a lifetime, award winning movie kind of beautiful.  we have received countless emails from folks around the world sharing their stories with us.  heartbreaking stories along with blissful ones.  but more than anything, people just wanting to live life alongside us as we walk through this adventure.  in a way, we have felt isolated the last few years, putting off friends and activities because of being “too busy” and all the while not knowing when we would be able to surface for air.

one of the most frustrating things to my heart is continually telling my kids “i’m busy, just a minute, honey” and putting them off.  my heart has ached so many nights realizing that i never did give them my attention and had just tried to more keep them occupied.  and so, after years of this kind of a heavy heart, we finally went for it and decided to just leap!  and now for the first time, we are breathing.  in preparing to be out of our house  next week, we have spent pretty much every night the last week going through boxes that we’ve had in storage for years of things from our childhood.  letters, photographs, home videos, drawings and books.  it has been incredibly special.  i’ve sat on the floor of my closet with my hands full of photographs, some of my grandparents from when they were my age, during the war, when they were vibrant and desperately in love.  and photographs of me when i was a child, seeing so much of my own babies in my face.  reminiscing, grieving, with every emotion inside of me just dripping down my face.

we have had to make decisions of what to keep and it has been so eye opening.  so many meaningless things, so much money wasted.  we have our very special things, of course, but from now on we will not buy things just for the sake of buying.  no more buying random stuffed animals from target to keep them busy in the cart or having extras of anything.  we are having to be so very intentional and the children are watching.  they are seeing us choose them over the stuff.  they are surely experiencing the transition in different ways, we have had quite a few days with clingy little ones and tantrums (mostly because our hands have been so busy packing) but in the teaching part of this we are able to explain to them why we are making this life change.  we have talked so much about the fact that we will get to be together and they won’t have to have a babysitter, they won’t have to miss us.  that for at least the next six months, they are 100% our priority.  we have been brainstorming on ways to make the adventure even more fun… we plan to have our own little prouty family ‘adventure scouts’ with challenges and badges and such to keep everyone excited about the new destinations and such.  what’s that saying; that it will not be easy, but it will be absolutely worth it.  it is so true.

we talk about how what made our house a home was not the walls but the people.  and living in the trailer, we will be closer and time spent will be much more quality and with intention at every step.  we have had quite a few people ask us if we are worried about not getting enough alone time with all six of us living in one room and the answer is absolutely not.  we may need to take a breather and a walk alone every now and then but more than anything, we are so excited for this.  our children are never happier than when sharing a room together and here’s the thing… if i found out that one of us was diagnosed with something terminal, i would surely not want my space from any of them!  i would want to savor every single second.  and this is the point of this – the live like every day is our last.  to stop putting off our happy life.  to embrace the people that matter most and create a place for us all to grow closer, to laugh a lot more and to live life alongside of people instead of hiding out.

my oldest, gracie, will get to watch me photograph families along the way, and she will hear their stories too.  she will get to observe me living out my creative passion and being fulfilled as an artist and a woman, being able to share joy while providing for our family and our journey.  i hope she will treasure it all in her heart and pursue her passions wildly.

i am looking forward to sleeping next to my husband every single night.  so often in this house, we separate and work until the wee hours with one of us waking up the other on the couch in the morning.  i miss sleeping beside him.  that’s the good stuff.  and in the mornings the kids only have to walk a few steps to snuggle in to talk with us or tell stories rather than run straight to the television.  so much to look forward to.

so, thank you for embracing us and loving us and praying for us.  thank you for taking time out of your very busy days to encourage us.  we read every word, sometimes more than once.  this community of women, in particular, that i have connected with on instagram and by blogging is something so very special.  you get to see the strings that connect us and how we are all living somewhat parallel lives.  in the quiet of difficult days, you see that someone else gets it.  we aren’t nearly as alone as we thought we were.  i have been so blessed by you all.  our family is eternally grateful.  and we can’t wait to meet some of you along the way.   :)

don’t be afraid to DREAM BIG!

dream big_web

also, i wanted to share this amazing video with you about a spectacular human being, zach sobiech.  i watched this video of his last days living life to the fullest and haven’t been able to get it off of my heart and mind since.  i don’t often share things like this, but i was so changed by it that i cannot help but share it in hopes that it changes you too.  be prepared for a good cry.

Posted in our journey to simplification, Personal Stuff | 32 Comments

Our 2013 Travel Dates!

hello there!  we have been working on figuring out our exact destinations for the next six months and feel we have a good enough idea of our schedule at this point to be able to share it!  so, this is (pretty much) our schedule for the rest of the year and what availability we currently have to shoot sessions along the way.  in the past with travel sessions, i have booked up quickly once we announce dates and they are first come, first serve.  being with my family will be so very important to me while we are traveling so i will be taking limited sessions in the cities along the way.  so, all that to say, please don’t hesitate to email me at joy@wildflowersphotos.com if you are genuinely interested in hiring me to photograph your family and live along our travel route!

our adventure itinerary:

june 3rd  - july 14th:  our journey begins!  northern california, oregon & washington and then back down to southern california.  the month of june is packed solid but we do have a few days in the first week of july where i could possibly book an oregon or northern california session.

july 14th – august 5th:  ventura county, california.

august 6th – 8th:   st. george & salt lake city, utah

august 10th – 12th:  jackson hole, wyoming

august 13th – 17th:  yellowstone, wyoming

august 18th – 23nd:  whitefish, montana

august 24th – 29th:  coeur d’ alene, idaho

august 31st – september 2:  san francisco, ca

september 3rd – 5th:  sacramento, ca

september 6th – 15th:  healdsburg, ca

september 16th – 21st:  central coast, ca

september 22nd – 26th:  thousand oaks, ca

september 27th – october 1st:  orange county, ca

october 2nd – 14th:  san diego & temecula, ca

october 15th – 18th:  prescott, arizona

october 21st – 23rd:  colorado springs, colorado

october 24th – 27th:  denver, colorado

october 29th – november 7th:  waterloo & iowa city, iowa

november 10th – 12th:  tulsa, oklahoma

november 13th – 16th:  oklahoma city, oklahoma

(we do plan to spend several weeks in the nashville, tennessee area at the end of december!)

november 18th:  austin, texas bound!  we are hoping to find a small, humble house with some land to lease somewhere in the texas hill country where we can park our trailer as a guest house, let the children run free, grow a big garden, get our first puppy and raise chickens, sheep, goats and maybe a cow (so a barn would be a bonus on the property too, lol).  i will still be shooting sessions and teaching mentorships and workshops out of austin and donny will be starting his own pool business in the area.  life will be slower and much more intentional.  we will still travel often and hope to visit the east coast in spring of 2014!

if you hear of any folks in the texas hill country with a little country house on some land that may be looking to lease it starting at the end of the year, please let us know!  ;)

travelblog1

Posted in News, our life on the road, Personal Stuff | 39 Comments

hello, i’m joy!  sunshine chaser, child of God, mama to four & wife to one good man.  we traveled all over looking for a place to call home and we found it.  we live a simple life out in the country with bare toes and happy hearts.

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