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At the end of the year we took some time to reflect on 2012, what worked, what didn’t, and what did we need to improve on. We came up with so many things and took the entire day to refocus and get ready for an amazing 2013. We talked about so much, but at the end of that day I knew that I wanted to be more organized this year, so that I could be more productive in my work and spend more time on what matters.

I set out on a search for what was going to be a game changer for me and help me start the year off right. I had been following deisgner Emily Ley for awhile, and I knew that she had a planner so I decided to check it out. I fell in love. She sold things a la carte which I loved. I could buy the pages that I wanted, and that would help me organize the areas I was needing help in. I also bought lots of goodies from Martha Stewarts collection at Staples which is amazing!

I added dividers and spent time thinking through the areas in my life that would need their own tab. Before my simplified planner I was using a mixture of my memory, ical, and a spiral notebook. Let me tell you, having it all together is way better!

I thought through what my sections would be and I came up with these:

1. Calendar
2. Home (Grocery lists, meal plans, projects, etc.)
3. Work (To do lists, projects, goals, etc.)
4. The Big List (Thank you to the fab Katelyn James for this one that I discovered in this guest blog post for Justin & Mary.)
5. Blog (Blog topics, upcoming posts, etc.)

Once I had my sections decided I inserted journal pages, to do lists, calendar pages, grocery lists, etc. and started dumping everything into my planner. Now I can’t imagine a day without it. It takes a weight off of me, because I don’t have to remember everything. When I need to remember an appointment, deadline or idea, I write it down and then my mind is clear to work without feeling like I need to remember something.

I think the most important thing is finding what works for you. This works for me, and helps me get things done. What helps you stay organized and get things done? Always looking for new ideas.

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Tammy Damore

I didn’t think I needed this, and now that I see it explained…………I will be watching for her new inventory to come in. Thanks doll face, u love you bunches!

I have this in pink (of course!) and love it!!!!!!

Stephen Booth

Nice! getting organized is going to be huge for me this year. I just developed my first CMS to manage sessions from lead to image delivery this weekend. I’m sure others do it better, but at least I’m making progress. And progress feels so good!

Jeremy Schmucker

That is awesome. Keep an eye on the blog later this week for a post on how we organize from inquiry to wedding. :)

Kristin Layne Peddicord

Love this! Thanks for sharing :D

Alli McWhinney Photography

OH that is a great idea, that so much for sharing!

Kristin Schmucker

So glad it was helpful!

Kate Monroe

I am absolutely swooning over her planner. I’m definitely going to invest in it when she launches the new stuff! What are using the washi tape for? I’m pretty sure washi tape is one of my favorite things ever.

What’s Next

This past week we had the opportunity to attend What’s Next with Justin & Mary Marantz. It was one of the most transformational things we have ever done for our business. It prompted us to have so many conversations about Why We Do What We Do, and what is next for our business. These two are a wealth of information, and we have learned so much from them. They are amazing photographers and brilliant business people. We got there early to help the crew set up and had a blast getting to know the whole crew. These are some amazing people with huge hearts to help other business owners. Here are a few images from the amazing day in Dallas.

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Tammy Damore

Looks like it was a blast, so pretty too!!!

Catie Ronquillo Wood

We totally should have gotten a picture together! :)

Abilene Texas Wedding | Beth + Brody

They met at summer camp. They were both counselors, and had a passion for teaching kids. The thing was, they were going to be there all summer and they weren’t allowed to date in front of the campers so they wrote letters. Though they saw each other every day their relationship began with summer camp letters. They got to know each other and soon they were rearranging their schedules so that they could have the same day off.

Beth and Brody are two of the sweetest, most genuine, and down to earth people we have ever met. The kind of people you feel you have known all your life after meeting them just once. Their wedding was a perfect reflection of their incredible faith and the love that they share for each other. We were so blessed to be a part of this day.

Beth and Brody, Thank you both for choosing us to be a part of your wedding day. We have been so blessed over the past few months, not just to be able to photograph you, but to be able to count you as friends. We are so thankful that God allowed our paths to meet. We hope that your first days as husband and wife have been incredible. We can’t wait to see what God has planned for both of you!

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Tammy Damore

So classy, I love them all.

Karen McNear Johnstone

Gorgeous pictures and a fabulous couple!

Janice Keefer

gorgeous pictures and gorgeous bride!

Caitie Sheppard


stunning! What a beautiful and unique bouquet!

My Journal and Spending Time on What Matters

I mentioned in my 2013 goals, and a recent Instagram photo that journaling as I read Scripture was one of my goals for the year. I was really excited when several people asked questions about how exactly I journal, so I promised that I would do a blog post about it. I have been doing it for awhile and I really love it. I feel like I soak in so much more when I journal as opposed to just reading a chapter and forgetting it a few hours later. So, this year I want to make a point to do this even more.

Last year, at the recommendation of a friend, I listened to this sermon about how to study the Bible by Matt Chandler who is one of my favorite speakers. This along with a little tweaking of what worked for me is how I started journaling the way that I do.

The basic system I use is the SOAP method.

S – Scripture. First I read the passage. I usually limit myself to one chapter so I am able to meditate on what I am reading. I then write out in my journal the verse or two that stuck out to me most when I read the passage.

O – Observation. Then I take a moment to think on what I read. How the context plays into what I read, who the verses are speaking too, when it is happening, etc.

A – Application. Next, I meditate on what I have read and how it applies to my life. I try to be specific about how I can apply what I am reading to my life. I write a paragraph or two about what I have learned and how it applies to my life.

P – Prayer. The last step is prayer. If you are anything like me your mind wanders. In a way to combat the million thoughts that are swirling in my head, I write out my prayer, or at least a shortened version of it at the bottom of my page.

That is my basic process. It has been so helpful to me and I hope that it will be to you as well. It has definitely helped me move away from reading Scripture and just going through the motions and not even being able to remember what I read because there are so many things to think about. If you have been looking for a better way to do things, especially at the start of a new year, I hope that this will be helpful. It is simple, and it doesn’t take long, but it is so important. This year, I want to focus less on the silly little things that waste our time (Facebook anyone???), and more on making what matters happen. This is definitely one of those things for me.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” -Psalm 119:105

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What an inspirations post Kristin! Thank you so much for blogging your S.O.A.P. method, I love it. Journaling and being more structured in my ‘1on1 with God’ is one of my goals for 2013 as well. On this 16th day of January, I am not suceeding. But I’m not giving up. You have given me a new approach and I pray it helps! THANK YOU and GOD BLESS!

Cat Neumayr

I am so excited about doing this! Reading my Bible is my favorite part of any day, but I do sometimes feel like I just read so much and I don’t remember everything. I think Luke and I will both love this. Where’d you get your journal?

Erin Broskie Brown

I read your blog earlier about how writing things down helps you stay focused and keeping track of your 2013 goals. So I decided to try and it has been working great! I feel like I get more out of scripture when I do what you have written above!

Kristin Schmucker

I use a moleskin notebook. They come in packs of 3 and they fit in the back of my Bible which is awesome. I got them at Barnes and Noble.

Rachel Stephens

LOVE THIS! Thanks for sharing =).

Kristin Schmucker

So happy to hear that Erin!!!

Cat Neumayr

I also notice you guys read NIV, Do you like that best? I grew up with NIV, but the preacher at my old church taught out of NASB, so our bibles are NASB. Our preacher now teaches out of NIV and it seems so much easier to understand than NASB. Thoughts?

Cat Neumayr

Wait – I think what I saw as NIV was actually KJV! Now I bet you’re thinking my NASB is easy!

Jeremy Schmucker

Lol…too funny. It is KJV. You know how old school we are Cat…lol

Victoria Tiedemann

One of the heads of my church district (CM&A) is alllll about SOAP though I had never seen people outside of my church mention it, so this was really cool to see! Your handwriting is lovely, by the way.

Karen Jeselskis Ramsey

Thank you for posting this! Very helpful, I love it!

Kristin Ungerecht

LOVE this. I’ll have to check out that sermon. I’ve been operating in a similar way… though it’s been subconscious. I’ll read the Scripture, mark up my Bible as I go, write out any key verses or words that stand out to me, and then review all my notes and pray over specific things. I’m in Genesis right now, so I’ll be reading about Rebekah and something she does stands out to me and I pray for a similar heart in that respect, etc. Love it. :)

Kristin Schmucker

Love that Kristin!

Caitie Sheppard

Thanks for being so transparent, Kristin! I love and look forward to all your blog posts… Looking forward to establishing some new routines in our new home in San Antonio! Love you! I

Kristin Schmucker

YAY!!! Thanks for being so encouraging! So glad you are in TX!

Josh-Danielle Venable

Thanks for this post. I’ve always felt that when I read so much, I get less out of it. Perfect way to achieve quantity and quality. I think I shall try it!

Kristin Schmucker

I hope that it is helpful to you!

[…] can’t wait to keep going, and the more I read, the more I want to read my Bible. I read this post about journalling and Bible reading and realised that writing is the way I process, so it makes […]

Kristin girl! Amen and God Bless you! This post has made me bold enough to start studying my bible! I just finished The Letter of James and tomorrow I start 1 Peter! I am so excited! See I am newly catholic and though I grew up going to various churches and knowing of Christ and how he died…I just got it. Like a light bulb moment after a discussion of faith with my Jason and hitting bottom and not being afraid to take Gods hand and listen to his voice.

YES! I had heard of this, and was stuck over O, ha! I’ve pulled back this year and have been reading, making notes about what jumps out and about application, and prayer journaling. I wanted to take a year to read. Just read. I feel paralyzed by a fear of not understanding context and misapplying something I’ve noticed. When I was praying through a Bible reading plan at the beginning of the year, the idea to not STUDY popped up (hmm, I wonder why). My goal is to read through the entire Bible this year (and if it takes me into next year, that’s fine), and then start back through to do deeper study. It’s been so rewarding, and I’m already looking forward to studying more. Thank you so much for writing about this!!

[…] of the Bible, so I’ve been trying to journal with the SOAP method (see more about that here).  I’ve also tried to share a bit of what I’ve learned over on instagram, using the […]

Our Why

This past week we had the privilege to go to What’s Next with Justin & Mary. It was an amazing experience, and definitely one of the best investments we ever made in our business. There were so many things that were talked about, but there was one thing that stood out for us. Mary spoke for a bit about why they do what they do, and it sparked a long conversation for us on the way home. We had to really dig deep and ask each other why we are wedding photographers.

One of our top reasons for running our own business is so that we as a family can spend more time together. Our faith and our family are our biggest priorities, and the fact that we work together, running our own business means that we are able to spend more time together, and more time with Stella.

Our light bulb moment came though when we realized why we do what we do. We could have another business, I suppose, that would allow us to stay home with Stella and work together…so why this? Why Wedding Photography?

It comes down to this. We want to photograph weddings for people that aren’t even alive yet. For the children and grandchildren and even great grandchildren of the bride and groom. We want to tell their story, we want to document their love and the beginning of their family, and we want to preserve it in an heirloom wedding album that will be passed down from generation to generation. We know this is important because we have a little girl, and pretty soon she will start looking at our wedding album. She will look at it every year, and then one year she will pull it out with a ring on her finger as she starts to prepare for her own wedding. And someday, when we are gone, I hope that she will show it to her grandchildren, and tell them about where their family began, and how love never fails.

I was a history major in college and used to dream of working in a museum, teaching others about what the past means to us today, and about the people that shaped our history. I traded in that dream for another when I became a wedding photographer. I didn’t realize at first just how similar these two dreams were. But, the fact is, I am still a historian. I document the history of the people that God brings across my path. I tell their story, so that future generations will look back and know that they were real people who lived, and most of all who loved.

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This is wonderful guys!:)

Love that you shared something so personal…

Margo Hein Stewart

Love it Kristin!

Josh-Danielle Venable

That was beautiful.

Tammy Damore

That is beautiful!

Eryn Crawford Kesler

love love love! I think my why is similar. It’s still taking shape for me…J&M The BIG NEXT definitely pushed me to define it too. Love this post!

Caitie Sheppard

Beautiful….so glad you’re blogging every week day! <3 Love you!