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It’s something I’ve been thinking about for years.  I had accepted Jesus as my savior long ago, and for the longest time kept thinking to myself “Why haven’t I been baptized yet?” There were no reasons for why I hadn’t, I just didn’t.  Then a couple of months ago I felt the stirring in my soul.  It was time.  I wanted to do it and it was going to happen.  So I emailed my church and asked when the next immersion group was and got on the schedule.  For the weeks leading up to it I was so excited.  I knew that God had already given me grace and washed my previous sins away when I accepted Jesus long ago, but it felt like more with this.  It felt like all the insecurities, all of the guilt I had for them were really going to be gone for good now.  I was so excited to tell Nick what I had decided, and after it all spilled out of me he looked and me and said, “I want to do it with you.”  Ya’ll.  Can you think of anything more exciting and romantic to do with your spouse?  That brought the excitement level up about 20 notches.

Leading up to the day I felt like I had to do something to get the sins I was washing away out of my heart “officially.”  So I decided to write them down and carry them with me while I was baptized.  I filled that sheet up, with some little and some big.  The ones that had haunted me for years and the ones that were just from weeks prior.  I folded it up small and slipped it in my pocket so the water would flood over those words and erase them from my past and that paper (the words are on the back side, I spared you from reading them).  I didn’t know what do to with the paper afterwards, I toyed with throwing it away, but there was something sentimental about it to me, so I put it into my prayer box.

Cut to the day of, and I was so eager, and restless.  I just wanted it to be 5:30 so we could go to church and do this!  We have an amazing fountain in front of our church, where the baptism was going to take place.  When we walked into service I couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous it looked.  The sun was beaming down through the clouds, shining over the Jesus statue, and it just felt like all was right in the world.  It felt like God was with us and just as excited as me.  I even thought to myself how cool it was going to look with those light beams shining down on us as we were immersed into the water.  

The service was wonderful, just as so many before it at my church.  But this one focused on the margins in our life we leave open for God.  The small time we etch out of each day to devote to Him, learning in the word and just allowing ourselves to rest and be still.  He spoke of how we fill our days with work, kids, errands, and stress and most of us don’t leave time for God.  The words washed over me and visions of all the rest I was going to carve out for Him were already being put in my phone calendar in my mind.  As the service drew to a close we heard a crash of thunder, so loud that it bellowed through the room.  I looked at Nick and said, oh my gosh, it’s storming outside.  Sure enough.  It was.  But have no fear we have a covered overhang in the front of our church, so they moved the tank there and we carried on!  By the time we got out there the rain had stopped.  The clouds were ominous, and as we stood there speaking our renunciation of sin and profession of faith I watched bolts of lighting strike behind our pastor.  It was surreal.  It reminds me of the Old Testament, when God would speak through the clouds, and the sky would rumble and shake.  He was certainly there with us!

The baptism was wonderful, I felt so at peace and happy, and was beaming from ear to ear.  Poor Nick.  His was wonderful as well, but Pastor John and Pastor Todd accidentally bonked his head on the wall on the way down and it made THE LOUDEST sound.  You could hear everyone watching go “ohhhhhh.”  You can even see it on Todd’s face in the pictures (which made me laugh so hard, sorry Nick).   We joked that God had to knock the sin out of him.  Minus the mild concussion we were so happy, and ready to celebrate!  We had a friend’s birthday party to get to right after and felt like it was the perfect way to celebrate.  Which was wonderful, for about an hour, and then true to Marchetti fashion drama came our way.  Before I get to that, look at how wonderful the baptism was! My goofy grin 🙂 and Nick, with his closed mouth smiles because he doesn’t like the way he looks when he smiles with his teeth (insert face palm here).


Getting to the next part of the evening.  Which by the way I only feel like telling you this part because of what came from it.  Another stirring that I felt like God’s purpose was for me to share.  So…… we’re at dinner now.  I am in the middle of talking to friends at the table, laughing and having a great time when I felt the sharp pains start shooting in my stomach.  It was a pain I’ve felt many times before, but I tried to ignore it.  Then they came on stronger, with no breaks in between.  I looked at Nick and I said, we have to go.  I think I just had another ovarian cyst rupture.  With no goodbyes to anyone we got up and raced out.  In the pouring down rain I begged Nick to just take me home.  I didn’t think I needed to go to the hospital and thought if I could just get home to my pain pills (I had from the last time this happened) I’d be okay.  5 minutes later we were in the garage and in an attempt to get inside I fell to the floor.  It came on stronger and I looked at him and began to sob and told him there’s no way I could make it, he needed to take me to the hospital.  Praise God we had a babysitter there already so he just ran inside, asked her if she could stay longer, grabbed me some PJs, pain pills, and off we went.          

I won’t go into all the gory details.  I’ll just say, this is about the 4th time this has happened to me.  Only one other time did I have to go to the hospital.  The others I was able to push through the pain and deal.  But this one was different.  This one hurt worse than all of those other times combined.  And at the risk of sounding totally insane and over dramatic I have to say this next part.  I KNOW it sounds crazy, but there is a purpose to me sharing this part.  At one point before the pain medicine kicked in, the pain was so intense I felt like I was going to pass out.  I couldn’t breath, my heart rate dropped, they had to give me oxygen, and  I couldn’t even keep my eyes open it hurt so bad.  As I closed my eyes I thought to myself, God, is this your timing? Is this just another cyst, or is it something else?  Am I about to die now that I’ve been baptized?  And at that moment, whether that was his answer or not (or the medicine kicking in), I felt peace.  Peace that if I did die, everything was okay.  And peace that if I didn’t, everything was still going to be okay.  Like I said, I’m trying not to be over dramatic here, but in THAT moment it’s what I felt.  I didn’t know if it was another cyst, or a burst appendix or something else entirely, but it didn’t feel like something that was going go be over anytime soon and if it was something worse, I was prepared for it (spoiler alert it was the ovarian cyst, and nothing else).  And the peace that I had in that moment was only attainable by God himself and following Him in humble obedience.  God’s blessings are meant to point others to Christ, not ourselves, and so I felt like it would be a disservice NOT to share the amount of mental peace I had in that moment.  Like David wrote in the Psalms, while his enemies surrounded him and he thought death was near, his love for God and the total peace that came with glorifying Him was enough to have peace in those uncertain moments.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;

he drew me out of deep waters.

He rescued me from my powerful enemy,

from my foes, who were too strong for me.

They confronted me in the day of my disaster,

but the Lord was my support.

He brought me out into a spacious place;

he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

The irony in all of this, is that after I got home from the hospital I found that margin we heard about in church service before the baptism.  I found my rest, and my time to be still (sure it was forced on me and I could have done without all of the pain, but still).  In between napping and sleep I sat up and turned the TV on.  Before I could choose my Netflix program, I put the remote down and thought, NO.  This rest is a gift, instead of the TV why don’t you finish the last few pages of the bible study you were working on this week.  Ya’ll.  I had about 4 pages left in my week long assignment.  You want to know what those 4 pages were about?  Baptism.  I read Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 28 and more.  And each and every verse was about BAPTISM.  And how Jesus calls us to do so in following Him.  I laughed so hard, called Nick into the room and told him about it.  He doesn’t get nearly as excited as I do about these things (but COME ON!).  It was almost like God was saying, “Hey! Guess what!  If you would just take the time to be with Me each day I’ll keep talking to you.”

So I urge you, if you have felt a stirring in your soul.  To learn more about God, to go to church, to take that next step and get baptized, listen to that stirring.  Take it from someone who didn’t grow up in a Christian household, or know much of ANYTHING about the bible, there is peace in this life.  It’s available to anyone and everyone.  No matter how dark your past, how deep your wounds, just take that first step and I promise you won’t regret it.

Well we made it.  Survived the summer of mom working more than usual, just a couple of days of camps, no vacations, and just pure imagination and a back yard.  I asked them in a perfect world if we could do anything in the last couple of weeks what would it be.  They said, just more of what we’ve been doing.  No requests for water parks, or anything flashy.  Just more time outside, lizard hunting, swimming and NO errands or schedules. LOL.  They truly value being home, and not having to race out the door.  In fact, one day last week I told them I would do zero work, and they could choose what we did all day.  It wasn’t anything crazy, but Alivia must have asked about 20 times “Are we in a hurry mom? Do we need to finish this soon? Are we allowed to take our time at this?” My children clearly are aware of the hustle and bustle of our life!

I started the tradition of back to school pictures when Caden entered kindergarten, and have been taking them every year since.  I love going to school the week or 2 before we start back up, so we can take them without people being in the background, and I don’t have to worry about having my camera with me on the first day.  It also helps having over an hour to get them to cooperate, because Lord knows I have to take 500 pictures just to get 100 good ones (oh those fake smiles).  Every year it tests my patience to the core, but each time I look through the pictures I’m glad I put up the good fight.

This year’s pictures were so much more special to me, because it’s the first time they will be in the same school.  I imagine, much like the yearly bluebonnet pictures, I will try to keep this tradition going until they graduate and they will no doubt fight me on this once they hit the “too cool for mom” phase.  Hopefully bribery never goes out of style.  She’s just so excited to be in this big kid school, and they’ve already started mapping out when they are going to see each other in the halls.  In the pictures where he’s holding her hand and walking he was giving her the low down on lunch, recess and pajama day (I wish I would have videoed it).  And sister with her rolling back pack.  My word ya’ll.  Knowing she had to wear a uniform this year, she spent WEEKS trying to figure out what backpack she wanted.  She wore the edges down on the Pottery Barn backpack catalog, and INSISTED she have a rolling one.  She had seen girls rolling them down the halls and thought it was the coolest thing her little eyes had ever seen.  She finally landed on this pink and navy puppy dog which just fits her personality so much.

I’ve officially got one kindergarten melt down under my belt (mine, not hers) and fingers crossed I got it all out of my system.  She’s just so strong, brave and fierce.  She’s been counting down the days until we start up, and since meeting her teacher this weekend she’s been talking about her new teacher non stop.  My sweet girl I pray you never lose that fire.  The one that drives me up a wall most days, but will no doubt be used to rule the world one day.

There are times when I’m at church, and a message speaks so loudly and so clearly to me that it brings me to tears.  Not boo hoo tears rolling down my face (well sometimes), but soft subtle, single tear drop down my cheek type tears.  Moments where I know God is using one of our pastors to speak to me and let me know He hears me, in all my prayer and supplication.  Yesterday was one of those days.  We had a new youth pastor who spoke on the power of prayer.  Praying not just in the big moments, when you need God more than ever.  But in the small ones too.  The times you may think are insignificant, are never that way to Him.  It’s something I’ve been practicing for the past couple of weeks in my business.  In fact, I have a post it note on my laptop that simply reads “pray first.”  Before I dive into emails, before I open photoshop, before I grab my camera, I pray.  Simply pray.  For guidance on what to do, the words to speak earnestly, the ability to accomplish the goals asked of me, all to glorify His name.  He iss who gives me my talents and He is who blesses me in every aspect of my work.  It’s made me feel more fulfilled, and more at ease in my day.  Knowing He’s guiding my path.  As I listened to our pastor speak these words yesterday, “Pray humbly, pray frequently, and pray persistently,” I had a vision of these printable cards.  I don’t know why, but I couldn’t get it out of my head, with the quite whisper to make these for anyone who needed to hear His message.  I scribbled these 3 lines down, along with the verse he followed it up with and made a mental note of what to do.  I have no clue if anyone will want these, but I felt called to so I did. I put them on my website as a free download.  You can print them, download them to your backgrounds, share them, whatever you may want.  I made a 4×6 version and an 8×10.  I may make some more later as laptop background screen sizes.  We shall see.  Until then, this is what spoke loudly in my heart, so I’m doing what I felt called to do.  I hope it brings you peace and is just what you needed on this Monday!

Free Prayer Sign Download from Jessica Marchetti Photography Free Prayer Sign Download from Jessica Marchetti Photography

 

Free Prayer Sign Download from Jessica Marchetti Photography

Free Prayer Sign Download from Jessica Marchetti Photography

Texas bluebonnet season is one of my absolute favorite times of year.  I mean what other time of year do you have a smile on your face as you drive along the highway?!  You can’t help but be in a good mood when they cover everything with their vibrant shades of purple, sometimes mixed with the pink and yellow wildflowers.  I’ve started lots of various traditions with my kids over the years and most of them have petered out already, but their pictures in the bluebonnets are one that I strive to never break.  I swear they will be 30 years old and I’m going to make them come home and pose in the bluebonnets for me.  I mean just look at these cuties over the years here, here, and here.

Every so often, I step back and take some shots of the bluebonnets by themselves and this year they caught the light so well for me that I just kept snapping.  I loved how these turned out so much that I added them to the Etsy shop.  And even though I tell my kids not to pick them, while I was photographing one child the other went on a hunt for the perfect bouquet to bring home.  Since I didn’t want them to go to waste, I did a little still life photoshoot with them at home and made sure to add my favorites from that to the shop as well.  Click here to shop the still life and landscape shots for sale. 🙂

Jessica Marchetti Texas Bluebonnet Photography Wall Art

Look at these faces. I mean can you even?!

I get all teary eyed just looking at those comparisons!  They look so old now.

Jessica marchetti Texas Bluebonnet Photography Wall Art

Jessica marchetti Texas Bluebonnet Photography Wall ArtJessica marchetti Texas Bluebonnet Photography Wall ArtJessica marchetti Texas Bluebonnet Photography Wall ArtJessica marchetti Texas Bluebonnet Photography Wall ArtJessica marchetti Texas Bluebonnet Photography Wall Art

I love how these turned out!  I may even add some bible verse scripture over some of them for the biblical section of my art shop.  They’d even look great as a memory or prayer box.

Well it’s been a blessing that I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t had much time to focus on my own projects, but things finally calmed down just enough for me to play catch up!  At the end of January I was able to take a quick two day trip to San Diego with a dear friend of mine.  She was going out there on business and even though she was working from sun up to dinner time, she thought I would love a chance to explore with my camera on my own.  I can’t stress this enough, have friends who know your needs and love you enough to suggest such a thing.   It was a perfect break from the chaos of work + mom life.  No one needed anything from me, for a blissful 48 hours.   I loved every minute of it.


I rented a car and drove up and down the highway bouncing from beach to beach breathing in the fresh air and feeling the ocean spray on my face.  ALONE.  I can’t stress the alone part of that enough.  As moms/wives we tend to hear a constant stream of noise that starts from the time we wake up (usually to a kid staring us square in the face) until our eyes close at night.  As much as I love my husband and my friends, I had never been on any type of trip like this where I found myself alone for a large portion of it.  I didn’t think I’d like it that much, but turns out it’s pretty amazing (for a couple of days that is).

I hiked the hills of Torrey Pines, alone.  I visited the Japanese friendship garden in downtown San Diego, alone (ironically with my best friend in town).  I bounced from La Jolla children’s pool to Scripps pier, back up to Point Loma to watch the tide pools crash into the walls of the cliffs, ALONE.  I didn’t speak to a single person for most of the day, listening to any song I wanted on Spotify (no angry children hollering they don’t WANT to listen to my choices).  I didn’t pressure myself to photograph anything in particular, to get a certain amount of images.  Most of the time I didn’t even take my camera out of the bag.  I just enjoyed God’s beauty all around me and enjoyed the freedom.  I guess I shouldn’t say I didn’t speak to anyone, I had an ongoing conversation with God throughout the entire trip.  Every 5 minutes I was praising Him for everything.  All His amazing works in the cliffs, the waters, the formations and praising Him for allowing me to be able to be there.  It was truly a blessing He provided, and one I will forever be grateful for!

San Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica Marchetti

 

In the end I did come away with some images I deemed worth of adding to my Etsy shop.  Here are the ones I added, if you click on the images they link you to my Etsy shop to purchase them online.

San Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica Marchetti

San Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art-1

 

With or without kids, the sea lions at La Jolla children’s pool are definitely worth a visit.  I could have watched them flop around all day.


San Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica Marchetti

San Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica Marchetti

I spent one of the days doing nothing buy hiking. From Torrey Pines hiking trails to The Scripps Pier beach area, and rounded it out with the Point Loma tide pools hiking trails and historic lighthouse.  I have to say, with as much hiking up cliffs as I did I totally thought I’d shed a pound or two, but alas this trip couldn’t be that perfect.


The Japanese friendship garden in downtown San Diego was worth the trip.  The flowers were starting to bloom and all of the koi ponds, streams and water features were incredibly peaceful and relaxing.  I went here towards the end of the day (after hiking all morning) and basically sat around falling into a trance depleting what energy I had left.


San Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica Marchetti
San Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica MarchettiSan Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica Marchetti

I somehow managed to muster up enough to zip across town to the Sunset Cliffs to watch the sun go down.  My marathon exploration trip of San Diego was such a fun little treat!  I gave myself a super quick recharge of the batteries, added some works to my Etsy shop and had a couple of great dinners with one of my best friends.  Praise God for all of it!!

 

San Diego Travel Photography Wall Art Jessica Marchetti