Alex Reed and Muddy's Grindhouse | Memphis, TN Brand Lifestyle Session

"Let's talk about it."

Alex Reed is a woman not afraid to tackle the issues, and shake off the stigmas attached to her profession as a dietitian. You can even find her website here. 

AlexandraReed_Dec2017_-18.jpg
AlexandraReed_Dec2017_-7.jpg

When I first moved to Memphis, I immediately looked up the Memphis brand of Tuesdays Together, a group of like minded men and women who create, build, and support eachother through small businesses and hobbies. Its a unique sort of networking, as it focuses on lifting each other up for the sake of the bettering Memphis as a whole. Their motto? Community Over Competition. 

Alex, also known as @NotAFoodCop on Instagram, talks bluntly and openly about the confusion that surrounds food in 2018. The Diet Culture that has consumed the American Woman (and man), can seriously mess with body image and stress. Obsessively counting calories, demonizing foods, and needlessly restricting make for a stressed out individual that can barely eat an ice cream cone without some serious guilt. And Alex is out there to help you, and whoever else wants to read or listen, debunk some serious diet myths. She writes as a dietitian for GirlBoss, and you can find her speaking at foodie events and leading food tours here in Memphis and in Nashville. She's a powerhouse.

AlexandraReed_Dec2017_-44.jpg
AlexandraReed_Dec2017_-81.jpg
AlexandraReed_Dec2017_-75.jpg

When she approached me about getting portraits, I instantly knew that she wanted to showcase her relaxed and fun outlook on food. She chose Muddy's Grindhouse, a memphis icon, for her shoot and I knew it was going to be a good session. We got there on a Saturday morning this fall and shared some coffee and pimento cheese scones while talking about some great Memphis finds. (Thanks for helping that new-to-memphis girl out!) She's a natural in the front of the camera, and introduced me to one of the best coffee shops in midtown.

AlexandraReed_Dec2017_-90.jpg
 Muddy's Grindhouse has some of the best coffee, in the cutest mugs. 

Muddy's Grindhouse has some of the best coffee, in the cutest mugs. 

AlexandraReed_Dec2017_-55.jpg
AlexandraReed_Dec2017_-59.jpg
 Pimento Cheese scones are one of their specialities, and a delicious one at that!

Pimento Cheese scones are one of their specialities, and a delicious one at that!

Thanks again, Alex, for a great time at Muddy's Grindhouse, and for being a familiar face in Memphis when I'm exploring the city for myself. 

Best of luck out there-

Kaitlyn Becker Johnson

Do you know any businesses that need their photography updated for their website and social media? I'm your girl! Send off this blog and refer them to contact me here: CONTACT KAITLYN!

Sunrise Couples Session Memphis, Tennessee

Lindsay and Kevin Julian are what you'd call a "Power Couple."

 

KevinandLindsay_Dec2017_-17.jpg

 

Yes, they live in a bustling city with interesting jobs, a beautiful home, a fur baby kitten, with building projects and fun possibilities on the horizon. But that's not the kind of success and power that I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind of power couple, the kind of marriage, that can make it through anything that life throws at them.

This year Lindsay and Kevin started drawing up plans for new projects they wanted to build this year and next, but they also suffered confusing and relentless injuries from herniated discs, back and neck pain, and more. It was a hard year for them, but I've never been more proud of how they have handled it as a couple; with even more relentless prayer and patience.

As family of Lindsay and Kevin, I can say that they are great models to me and my husband. I am so thankful for them.

KevinandLindsay_Dec2017_-4.jpg
 A little bit of the sunrise behind the Autozone Building.   

A little bit of the sunrise behind the Autozone Building.

 

The two were such troopers to get up before the crack of dawn to drive downtown and take pictures on top of the Autozone Building in Downtown Memphis. Ever since Kevin started working there and showing us the beautiful skyline at the top of his home office, I wanted to do a session there.  

It was a dark, the wind was howling, and it was dipping into that dangerous "below 30 degree" zone that made your bones shiver. But, Lindsay and Kevin dressed as warmly (and quite fashionably) as they could and braved the cold. I'm so glad they did! Take a look at these great moments in the Memphis sunrise!

KevinandLindsay_Dec2017_-24.jpg
KevinandLindsay_Dec2017_-37.jpg
KevinandLindsay_Dec2017_-42.jpg
KevinandLindsay_Dec2017_-47.jpg
KevinandLindsay_Dec2017_-58.jpg
KevinandLindsay_Dec2017_-56.jpg

I love these two so much! And the blessings they bring to my life! I couldn't have asked for a better family, or a better shoot, despite the cold! 

My prayer is that you also see the things in your life that God is working together for His good. Comment below what small things God has been faithful in in your life!

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Becker

 

 

 

P.s. Here's a few fun phone photos from The Arcade, where we had a delicious breakfast afterwards.

IMG_20171209_085633379.jpg
IMG_20171209_075905329.jpg

 

 

The Newbie Guide to Memphis, TN {Part Two}

It's the middle of November, Josiah and I have moved into a rental house, and we've bought a planet fitness membership. Not too bad. Since everything is still new and we're still bobbing around in new waters without an anchor, the small things like a gym or a familiar couch to relax on, make all the difference.

If you haven't read about our first months in Memphis, be sure to check out my first memphis blog, and the Part One of this series.  

We've continued to explore as much as we can, and I've done a bit of exploring on my own as well. Check it out!

Shelby Farms Park & One and Only

I could easily break these up into two groups, but for the sake of these pictures, they go together. 

My husband and I love all sorts of food, from Tex-Mex to Barbeque and Memphis has no shortage of Barbeque. One and Only is right near us in Cordova, and conveniently located near the lake at Shelby Farms Park. We had a quick date of sandwiches and laughing until loud sirens told us that sunset was kicking us out. We ended up finishing dinner on the porch at my sister's house.

MemphisPhotos_21.jpg
MemphisPhotos_24.jpg
 Maybe this is his real smile, maybe its not. ;) 

Maybe this is his real smile, maybe its not. ;) 

Tamp & Tap on Poplar Avenue

This was a fun little stop on a Saturday morning. I was so happy to meet a new friend, Sarah Sherlock, for some coffee, and a breakfast sandwich. Of course, by around 10AM I was so ravaged with hunger that I ate it too soon to even remember to take a photo. It is a smaller version of the Tamp & Tap in downtown Memphis. I got a delicious iced americano and got to finally have a conversation with this beautiful lady who I found on LinkedIn (yes, people still used LinkedIn), who in turn gave my resume to a recruiter that helped me get my current job. A small connection that God worked together for his glory.

Sarah Sherlock is a spunky and intelligent person that you just have to know! She moved here over a year ago and just a few minutes into our conversation I realized she was determined to be a "Memphis Local!" Sarah and her husband, like me and my husband, both met at Liberty University and ventured out to what God had for us somewhere else. It was such a happy coincidence to see that other LU grads were in Memphis. Sarah told me about the great opportunities to be involved in ministry; God had truly provided for her family and it was encouraging to see someone really love Memphis like she does. She's an amazing public relations employee for St. Jude's ALSAC and head of the Memphis chapter of PRSSA. What a go-getter! Thanks again for meeting for coffee, Sarah!

City & State Coffee Shop, and Broad Avenue

MemphisPhotos_39.jpg

I was a bit too excited for coffee at City & State. 

I had looked at their new fall menu of drinks that included maple, pecan, caramel, and pumpkin as well as flavors like matcha and charcoal. I had been liking every post on instagram of theirs, and even figured out different routes I could use to get there. This was one of my "holy grail" coffee shops. As an amateur coffee connoisseur who appreciates good baristas and artistry (have you seen my coffee documentary?), I went for the first recommendation of both the barista, and my new friend Katie Davidson. I got the Iced Bon Bon coffee, which was like a creamy americano with a splash of cinnamon. YUM. Katie, got the hot version, above, which has a tactile experience; you have to pour the shot into the mug of the other half of the drink yourself. Fun! All together some amazing drinks!

 

City & State also has one of those instagram-worthy shops attached to the front. Selling all local artisan wares from clothing to stationary to some of the best all natural body products. What was great about the store was the variety. It wasn't just a few candles and a few gifts scattered in a nice display, but a robust amount of product. You knew if you left and were thinking about something later that you could definitely come back. Definitely a store you would need to check out on a visit to Broad Avenue.

MemphisPhotos_47.jpg
MemphisPhotos_59.jpg

The best part of City & State was the company. Katie Davidson is another great story.

Katie came to me by the friendship of her friend and former bridesmaid, Kati Long, who ended up living in the upstairs apartment of our little house on Langhorne Lane in Lynchburg, Virginia. Kati worked in Marketing with me, and as soon as she was searching for a place to live, I knew she, and her husband Micah, would be great housemates to have. When I started the move to Memphis, Kati was gracious enough to connect me with her old friend over text message. When new Katie and I started texting, and I mentioned trying out City & State, she was already sold. It was one of her favorite places already! After some coffee and breakfast, she suggested looking at some of the cute shops along Broad Avenue. 

Falling Into Place Shop

This store is one of my favorites in Memphis. I'm a sucker for small gifts and local treasures. I like a store that has a well-crafted card section, simple art, and products that were intentionally picked to add to the overall feel of the store.  Your in store experience is just as important as selling. I only bought a few cards, but I'll definitely be back. I recommend Falling Into Place to so many others looking for a Memphis-local shop that is perfect for holiday gifts for friends....or yourself.

MemphisPhotos_50.jpg
 One of my favorite Memphis banners.

One of my favorite Memphis banners.

 Also part of "Falling Into Place."

Also part of "Falling Into Place."

Overall, another great exploration of other roads, alleys, and spots in Memphis, TN. 

I'd love to hear your suggestions on what I should see, where I should eat, or who I should meet next! Leave a comment and tell me below!

 

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Becker

 

 

The Newbie Guide to Memphis, TN {Part One}

I have been here two months. Whoa.

 Shelby Farms' FedEx Forum attached to Kimbal Musk's The Kitchen.

Shelby Farms' FedEx Forum attached to Kimbal Musk's The Kitchen.

As someone who loves cities, tourism, coffee, food, festivals, and meeting people, everyone in my life expected me to "do just fine" in Memphis. I'm a natural people person who likes to be an open book and invite people in, even when I have no place to invite people to. But, there is also a real thing called sickness, depression, and time, and some real obstacles have pushed me to change my big dreams of exploring, to tentative driving and occasional adventurous meals. I'm not in Lynchburg. I don't know the culture, where to park, or how to interact. I'm a conservative 20-something with the dreams of a passionate vivacious networking personality and the actual guts and bravery of a timid kitten. But don't count me out, my bravery will come.

Germantown Fest

This was a great "welcome to Memphis" starter festival for me and Josiah. We had my sister and brother-in-law as guides to the part of town nestled in between Collierville and the millennial-havens of Midtown and East Memphis. This was just outdoorsy enough to be a festival, and just organized enough to be an arts bizarre.

MemphisPhotos_6.jpg

Booths were filled with "Happy Fall Y'all" metal pumpkins, organic honey, booths of fresh apples from Whole Foods, and a scattered few LulaRoe booths. Hidden behind the hundreds of booths in the wider open space, was the Festival part of Germantown Fest. Corndogs literally brushed with gobs of ketchup and  mustard, called Party Dogs, along with local Mem Pops, organic pizzas next to local beer brews. 

The line of cars to get into  the festival was truly the only barrier. The sheer numbers of people getting out on a nice hot end-of-summer September Saturday was impressive. Heat doesn't keep Memphians away from a reason to celebrate.

MemphisPhotos_12.jpg
MemphisPhotos_2.jpg
 These are "Party Dogs" in Memphis!

These are "Party Dogs" in Memphis!

Cooper Young Festival

Cooper-Young was the festival that we were 'warned' about.

Co-workers around my age told me to get there early and then just hangout in a restaurant or bar for the afternoon to watch the game and stay out of the crowds. People in the generation or two above us told us to just avoid it all together; or at least wear fanny packs, bring water bottles, and bathe in sunscreen. We took most of this "Warning: Prepare or Die!" advice, and did some research. We decided to bike to the festival and park a mile or two away. We had heard there were bike racks in the heart of the revelry that we could park, and we were right. So far so good. Except for the part where I opened up my backpack to realize I only brought my Instax camera and forgot my newly charged Sony A6000 back at home. I guess I had only 4 film shots to really capture the day. #HereWeGo

 My 4 Instax camera moments from the day. 

My 4 Instax camera moments from the day. 

Just a few seconds in, and it became obvious that we weren't in Kansa- ....Germantown Fest anymore.  The steel pan booth was the first booth we visited, quickly proceeded by the organic cleaning product booth where I bought the citrus orange all-purpose cleaner. It was a hot day, and I immediately downed my one water bottle and searched for the booths that gave out paper fans to passerby. But once we found a good (but overpriced! sigh.) quesadilla and strawberry lemonade to share, and sat down in front of a talented Flamenco guitarist, the heat subsided. 

We bought local Memphis t-shirts, and I grabbed stickers at the Choose 901 Memphis booth. This is the festival to go to if you want to dive in to what Memphis is all about. I even spun the wheel at the Opera Memphis booth to see if I could get free tickets and ended up singing a poorly composed version of Happy Birthday to them. Oh well.  It was still an amazing experience, where I got to meet local artisans and makers in the Tuesdays Together Memphis group, and eat delicious food.

MemphisPhotos_18.jpg

Overall, this festival is not as "crazy" as others made it seem. We arrived around 11Am and left at 2PM (the cool part of the day....) and walking was fairly easy, lines were reasonably short, and food was plentiful. I totally recommend attending the festival and going in the evenings if you can for the local music, something we didn't get to do.

Enough about festivals- now on to the local attractions and foods around Memphis! 

City Silo Table + Pantry

City Silo landed in my lap by a long train of happy accidents. 

When I first heard I was moving to Memphis, TN I immediately looked up this creative networking group that I had been somewhat a part of back in Lynchburg. If I was going to find other photographers, designers, or creative people this would be where they are and lo and behold- it was. I started following the Instagrams of a few solid businesses in the group and struck up a comment-friendship with dietitian-extraordinaire Alexandra Reed. A few days later I got an email from my website (which is the best thing to get in your inbox...someone used my contact form! YAS. ) asking to meet up and discuss portraits and life together at none other than a beautiful healthy but delicious City Silo.

This little place is not tucked in between two Waco, Texas Magnolia-esque sillos, but in a quaint  shopping strip in the Sanderlin Center. As soon as I got inside it was clear that the creators put a lot of thought into how the brand's "clean and healthy" messaging was placed. The "pantry" aspect lines the far left wall with local coffees and other amazing tidbits that are perfect for stocking stuffers or professional coworker gifts, or just to eat yourself, to be honest.

But let's get to the food. This isn't your run of the mill "farm to table" overly-organic place, but a place that strives to deliver locally grown comfort food that even a fast-food loving, deep-fried-pickle connoisseur would like. I got a Green Goddess smoothie bowl that touted the health benefits of kale, avocado, and other super foods. It tasted delicious and I felt so satisfied that I was barely able to finish. My new friend Alexandra got a mushroom burger that made my mouth water just looking at it. 

MemphisPhotos_30.jpg

Definitely go here for your casual friend dates, a business meeting, or even those ever-so-awkward online meetings that you want to attend in public places that fall between hit and run coffeeshops and sit down 5 course dinners. This is the place to go to satisfy all sorts of palates, tastes, and allergy needs while not breaking the budget. My dinner was no more than $10.50 with tax. 

Muddy's Bakeshop

This was also a happy accident. Thanks again to expert networker and brave soul Alexandra Reed (Go read her stuff on Girl Boss and on Instagram: www.instagram.com/notafoodcop), she convinced me to grab a tea or cupcake over at this local icon. There is apparently another Muddy's in the heart of Midtown Memphis, but I'm glad I got to get a taste for it at a not-as-busy location during a quiet Thursday evening. 

I grabbed a Mint Grasshopper cupcake, and a bag of locally brewed coffee made specifically for Muddy's (a gift for a friend back in Virginia!)

MemphisPhotos_34.jpg
MemphisPhotos_36.jpg

 

Overall, the first few weeks of exploring were fun, and showed us so much about how Memphis has a good time. Most cities have a heartbeat for making life better for its inhabitants, and Memphis has a big one. The city is full of the Memphis Grizzlie's motto "Grit and Grind", and from the neon glow of jazzy Beale Street to the sunshine and party dogs of Germantown, there is some serious Grit and Grind going on. A buzz, a hum of people working behind the scenes to make businesses, create spaces, and invite people in to the adventure this is Memphis.

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Becker 

 

 

COMMENT BELOW!

I'd love to hear your favorite parts of your favorite city in the comments! Give me more ideas on what to go to next! The farmer's market? The jump trampoline park? A local sports team game? What are your favorite things in your favorite city? 

How to survive a 2 week road trip across America

When I told my coworkers that my husband and I were driving across America to see as many national parks as possible, a wedding, and more....in just 2 weeks, they thought I was crazy.

Shucks, they still think its crazy. I had my boss look me at me and say "Sounds nuts, Becker. Good luck." Queue the eye roll.

Not many people get excited about road trips, hiking, camping, and roughin' it like Josiah and I. We had a very close group of friends that loved it, but at the end of the day, we were still the couple that would fully prepare for a campout. We have it down to a science of how things are packed, in what order, and what foods to bring. Honestly, we should be professional campers. Is there such a thing?

DSC03243.jpg
DSC02130.jpg
DSC02137.jpg

In march, when we were looking at flights to California for my brother-in-law's wedding, Josiah looked at me and said "I'll prove to you that driving out there is cheaper. Gas, food, National Park pass, campsites. I'll prove it." So, he made a list of everything he could think of, and even with a little wiggle room we thought...we might as well do this now!

So on June 26th, we headed off for Knoxville, TN towards Memphis, TN (at this time, mind you, we had no idea we would be looking to live in Memphis.) and on to route I-40. We traveled across Texas through Amarillo, then to Holbrook Arizona, Kingman Arizona, and then to California. The way back was a slightly more northern route through Arizona, Las Vegas, Utah, Denver Colorado, Omaha, Illinois and then back home. Its was an exhausting 2 weeks, but absolutely amazing at the same time. I took tons of video, which got made into this lovely montage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsYes0JolQw

 

DSC03064.jpg
DSC02627.jpg

 

All said and done, its was a huge undertaking. I do wish I had photos of each piece of planning we do prior to the trip, but I do have the words to tell you, so here it goes!

 

  1. Plan your route and what to see
    1. We did precise calculations of how long it would take to get to each stop. We made a list of places we couldn't miss,  and places we would go to if we had time but could be cut. It was so important to have that communication of expectations.
    2. We are National Parks people. We wanted to see the unique landscape and treasures unique to that region. Because of that, we bought a national park pass that's good for a year. Definitely a plus for us. We aren't big city people so even though we passed through places like Denver and Las Vegas, we weren't spending a lot on sightseeing there.
  2. Plan your accommodations
    1. Plan on camping, using hostels, or staying with friends if you're trying to go the economical route. At the beginning of our trip I posted our list of locations to friends, and a few volunteered a night's stay. #Worthit. Some nights we stayed in KOA cabins with air conditioning which was like a luxury hotel for us. Set your expectations early on.
  3. Plan your gas
    1. Get a gas card or a travel card. OR, if you don't want to be limited to a certain brand, just wing it and look for the cheapest gas. BUT DO NOT wait until your tank is empty. Fill up in cities before you get to the expensive desert regions.
  4. Find ways to make it fun for everyone
    1. My husband just wants to see the natural landscapes. He's an explorer. He wanted to get to every national park and then some. 
    2. I am a photographer. I needed a project to work on. So, I bought a portrait lens for my Sony A6000 and in every state or big stop, I took portraits of the baristas that served me coffee. It was awesome, and I'll write a blog about it soon. I even plan on creating a educational talk about starting conversations with strangers. It was the only way to keep my creative mind at ease while being cooped up for 15 days.
  5. Don't be ambitious with food. Plan to eat out a few times
    1. We cooked almost every night. We were doing this trip to actually save money, so we bought food along the way that we could cook on our own camp stove. We didn't cook over a camp fire to save time, which was a very smart choice. Make compromises where you need to, and communicate what local foods you want to try.
    2. Try local food that you can't get anywhere else.
      1. In Moab, Utah I wanted to try the local drive-in and nitrogen frozen ice cream. Those were worthy purchases. 
      2. Colorado has a famous restaurant called Beau Joe's Mountain Pies. The crust end is so thick and roll-like that they make honey dipping sauce to go with it. Its a must try.
  6. Establish standards for your comfort, cleanliness, and timeliness
    1. For us, we knew that the car would get dirty and possibly smelly, so we invest in deodorizers. I can't stand bad smells, so that was a priority to me. 
    2. We kept the car in order for the most part. Dry goods and cooler were in the same accessible place every day. Snacks, maps, fan, and water were in the same place everyday. Establish a system that you can loosely stick to and not get mad when your car mate changes it up or improves upon it on day 3 or 4.
    3. Keep a good bed time. Especially if you're traveling through the heat and need to be at certain places before the 12-4pm heat hits. We were quite bad at this. We would stay up too late and leave too late. Plan for sunrise or sunset moments because you might never see that landscape at that time again.
  7. Keep a visual record
    1. For us, that was in the form of my video taking and picture taking. You don't know when you're going to be back, so take so many photos. I take a lot of photos of moments that weren't particularly about the locale, but about the people. I'm bad about including myself in photos, so I missed a lot of my own reactions and moments.
DSC02752.jpg
DSC02833.jpg
DSC02347.jpg
DSC02995.jpg

But preparing for a road trip is not just a list of practical things to check off. Because frankly, I did everything in the above list, and things did not go as expected.

You know why?

Well, after two weeks on the road Josiah and I had changed. We had encountered a world of possibilities where people of all social classes, backgrounds, languages, and financial means were traveling together on the open road. We had changed, but time seemed to have stopped in our little home town. We wanted to scream out "Does no one else see how different I am?!" "Does anyone realize what else is out there?...WHO else is out there?" Our eyes had been opened to everything we can do, and could do, if we followed God's call to leave the comfort we were in. 

We let the experiences change us, and we learned from them. I met people I would never talk to because I put myself out there in new ways, creating imagery through coffeeshops (more on that later). We climbed mountains in sweltering 115 degree heat, and ate Colorado Mountain Pies. We've stood at on top of the mountains of Virginia, the edge of the Grand Canyon, on the cliffs of Horseshoe Bend, and at the shores of California to come to the realization that God is greater than our wildest dreams.

A road trip is an amazing experience. Its not a resort, there are no massages, and showers might be hard to come by, but I recommend doing it, and doing it well. 

DSC02705.jpg
DSC03182.jpg
DSC02448.jpg
DSC02682.jpg
DSC02956.jpg
DSC03278.jpg

So what's the secret to surviving a 2 week road trip?

Letting go of your expectations and letting yourself be open to change. Don't hold on to the plan too tightly, and plan on drinking lots and lots of coffee.

Let God be in control, and you'll find yourself finally at peace with the world.

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Becker 

DSC03339.jpg

What's really going on in Memphis, TN?

We moved to Memphis, Tennessee in the middle of Hurricane Harvey on a Thursday. I couldn't see more than  20 feet in front of me, my hazard lights were on, and two tornadoes had touched down in Decatur County.  All I wanted was to be warm and drinking hot chocolate with my friends in Lynchburg, Virginia, and it was 708 miles behind me.

 A quick few photos with Dani, one of my best friends and LU Marketing co-worker.

A quick few photos with Dani, one of my best friends and LU Marketing co-worker.

It was too late to turn back now.

Today marks two weeks at my new job at Stash Home in Memphis, Tennessee. The hurricane is gone, my stomach is settled, and I have the brain space to be blogging, so that's good news. But its all so scary and new. Quitting your job and moving across the country may sound exciting at first, but the glamour does wear off after all the goodbye parties and packing is done. You are left in an unfamiliar place with not a lot to go on. It can be discouraging, but I know you, if you're reading this, are cheering me on from a distance! Please keep doing that. Keep texting us, and calling us. We're exploring and learning, but we do still miss all the familiarity of home.

About three months ago we had decided to commit ourselves to pray more for what God had in mind for our skills. We knew that we liked Virginia, and our friends there, and that God was using us. But, we also knew that we were itching to be used in different ways, learn new things, move, and possibly improve our finances in the process. It was time for a big change. 

We can't honestly say we're doing great. The world's measurements of success are not God's measurement of success, and we have to remind ourselves of that everyday. The process is harder than we thought. We're still searching for a place to live, a job for Josiah, a church, and friends. The basics. All the things that you take for granted when you have them. 

 

 Our Gospel Community Small Group August 2017, the week before we moved to Memphis, TN.

Our Gospel Community Small Group August 2017, the week before we moved to Memphis, TN.

 I was part of a traveling ministry team, playing electric violin and acting in dramas from September 2010-December 2013. These people were my closest family! That's me at the top....with blonde hair!

I was part of a traveling ministry team, playing electric violin and acting in dramas from September 2010-December 2013. These people were my closest family! That's me at the top....with blonde hair!

 Playing Viola, as part of Atlas Rhoads at Christmas Coffeehouse as a student, December 2013.

Playing Viola, as part of Atlas Rhoads at Christmas Coffeehouse as a student, December 2013.

 Attending a ReHash designer meet-up cookout with friends from school and my ministry team, Vision Ministries, April 2011.

Attending a ReHash designer meet-up cookout with friends from school and my ministry team, Vision Ministries, April 2011.

We had seven years in Lynchburg, Virginia. 3.5 as students and 3.5 as alumni and employees of Liberty University.  A blessing we didn't expect to have, filled with the most special memories and incredible friends. That's why I've included a lot of college memories in this post. People I roomed with in college dorms, new 'family' I made in my traveling ministry team and at work, and trails I hiked while living in the Shenandoah Valley. The three jobs I had after college at a law firm called Liberty Counsel, Sodexo Hospitality Dining, and as a Liberty University Marketing Photographer.  I wanted to showcase old moments while also showing you what God is doing in our lives. Slowly but surely, we're learning how to live here. 

There are festivals and backroads, and good food and crazy people. There's traffic and accidents, but there's great ministries and friendly neighbors. Its a city that we're living in, and God calls us to meet with people where they are, no matter how ill-equipped or young we feel. (1 Timothy 4:12)

 Attending Liberty University convocation with a few of my favorite room mates, Taylor and Ashleigh, Fall/Winter 2012.

Attending Liberty University convocation with a few of my favorite room mates, Taylor and Ashleigh, Fall/Winter 2012.

 My roomie, friend, and photography mentor for many years, Carla Miles. (www.carlajanephoto.com)

My roomie, friend, and photography mentor for many years, Carla Miles. (www.carlajanephoto.com)

 My staff team at Liberty Marketing Photography, August 2017. Love each of them!

My staff team at Liberty Marketing Photography, August 2017. Love each of them!

So, what really has been going on for two weeks? After all, I haven't really posted on social media except for a post of a park we went to, and some other "stay tuned" announcements. And thats fine. It is really important to me to be present with my sister and brother-in-law, and work on communicating with my non-social-media husband. After being separated by so many states for so many years, being close to my sister Lindsay  is an awesome blessing. We are so thankful to have family here, and our times getting food (and a little ice cream!) together have been great! The rest of our time has been filled with Josiah and I doing all the non-glamorous job searching, house hunting, emailing, driving to apartments to check them out. Not a lot of "vacation-style exploring." 

My job is about a 45 minute commute, made longer by the kind of traffic that would give the most patient person a migraine. My little 2-feet-off-the-ground sedan feels like a little krill about to be eaten by the move-or-die traffic of large whale-like vehicles. Traffic is either moving at 80mph or 10mph. Sometimes I'm parked on the highway. Its confusing. It cuts a lot of time out of my day, and I find myself getting home around 5:45 or 6pm, trying to decompress and make dinner, and then finding its too late to go out and explore, so our evening consist of online house hunting and bedtime. Alarm clock rings at 6:02AM, and I leave around 7AM.  Its not an exciting cycle, but its going to have to do for now before we truly get settled. 

 Hiking  McAfee's Knob June 2016 on a three day hiking trip.

Hiking  McAfee's Knob June 2016 on a three day hiking trip.

There is a mysterious force the compels people to try new things. Its the desire to see if you're capable of learning something new in a new place. The desire to see if the grand adventure of leaving comfortable and diving into the unknown is tangible or just a pipe dream. Taking risks, and praying everyday; that's what we're doing. But we need your prayers too. We truly do.

We didn't have this all planned out years or months ago. We didn't see Memphis, TN as a "destination", or even the place we would settle for the rest of our lives. Even today we don't have a such a place in mind. We're learning to be faithful with the skills god has given us as a couple to serve him, and we know God will provide. The bible tells us in the Sermon On The Mount that the beatitudes, a list of qualities that mark good character and faithfulness, is what we need to focus on. If I was focusing on a checklist of my personal accomplishments and dead set on getting there, I would be severely off course of what God has for my life. I am a sinner who needs God's guidance. 

Matthew 5: 3-11 says

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 We 'walked' in May 2014 as graduates of the School of Communication. We were married a few shorts months later.

We 'walked' in May 2014 as graduates of the School of Communication. We were married a few shorts months later.

 My cousin Elizabeth, who I've had to privilege to live near since she moved to Lynchburg in 2010!

My cousin Elizabeth, who I've had to privilege to live near since she moved to Lynchburg in 2010!

 Josiah and I at the basement studio of Joel (my old coworker and boss at LU Photography) and Janine Coleman's house, October 2016.

Josiah and I at the basement studio of Joel (my old coworker and boss at LU Photography) and Janine Coleman's house, October 2016.

So how can you help us, from miles away?

  • Pray for us, please. It is the biggest tool for helping believers in need.
  • Share this blog post with your friends in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. 
  • Leave a review on Facebook, and leave a comment on this post!
  • Follow @KaitlynBeckerPhoto on Instagram and look at it, or share it with a friend. I just like making friends with people, and yes, I'd love to meet potential customers but first and foremost we are here to meet people and start LOVING Memphis!
  • Send seafood. I miss fresh seafood. Preferably oysters and lobster and scallops. 

 

So here's to all the new things that we're learning. Here's to finding people that love us as much as we want to love others. Here's to good barbeque, Ole Miss, Alabama, and saying "Happy Fall Y'all." Here's to finding what the 25 year-old Kaitlyn and Josiah can do away from the comfort of their first real home. 

 

Here's to Memphis.

 

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Becker Johnson

 Shooting football at Liberty University, Fall 2016.

Shooting football at Liberty University, Fall 2016.

As always, if you're interested in being part of a small email list of "Real Family" subscribers that get encouraging monthly emails, click the link here: SUBSCRIBE!