Do Farmers Deserve Praise or Condemnation?

DSC_2604

 Our farmers deserve praise, not condemnation; and their efficiency should be cause for gratitude, not something for which they are penalized.

— President JFK

How true these words are! However, you will hear a much different story in a Raleigh courtroom. There, lawyers will tell you that farmers deserve condemnation, and what they do on a daily basis should be penalized in the form of a huge lawsuit.

What did they do to deserve such condemnation? They existed.

These farms have been here for decades. The farmers, along with their families, raised and took care of pigs throughout the years.

And now… now, they stand to lose it all.

All because certain people made a judgement and condemned them.

Here is where I get confused. I thought we lived in a society that was promoting a judgement-free zone. But, I guess there is an exception to farmers.

It is OK to judge and condemn them.

It is OK to bully them and attack them.

It is OK to assume who they are—greedy, careless villains.

It is OK to blindly believe what other people say about them—polluters and bad neighbors.

No, it is not OK!

It isn’t OK to give false and misleading facts.

It isn’t OK to sue farmers and take their entire livelihood.

It isn’t OK to judge them when you haven’t even tried to get to know them or understand their practices.

It isn’t OK!

I don’t know why farmers have a bullseye on their backs. I don’t know when it will stop. I don’t know how all the lies got started. What I do know is these farmers don’t deserve it. And I know that I, for one, will stand by them, praise them, and thank them for all they do!

 

 

 

Colin & Mallory |Engagement Session

A few years ago, Garrett introduced me to his new roommates who were also his fraternity brothers. One of those roommates and brothers was Colin. A year or so after this initial meeting, Colin introduced me to Mallory, his new girlfriend. I liked her on the spot, and remember thinking “I hope she’s the one.” Turns out she was! I love these two and can’t wait to see them get hitched in July! I was so excited to take their engagement pictures at NCSU and am equally excited to share their story and photos with you all.
 wm28

How it Began: Mallory’s Side

Colin and I had actually been orbiting around one another since freshman year! He was study partners with one of my good friends (Deanna), although we never met until sophomore year at his surprise birthday party! However, a friendship never developed until our senior year, after Colin joined the College of Natural Resources Ambassador’s Program, and I returned from study abroad. Over the course of the fall semester of our senior year, we worked together on different committees and projects, and finally got to know one another. We always joked because we had mutual friends that we were both very close to, but it took over 3 years for us to become friends.
We started dating February 7, 2016. So, I guess that makes close to 2 years now! It was actually after a Christmas party for the CNR Ambassador’s program that we started talking to one another. Colin, being the southern gentlemen that he was…and maybe having a little crush, stayed after to help me take care of trash and recycling. Needless to say, after 2 hours of cleaning and (mostly) talking, I was completely smitten with this dashing blue-eyed blonde boy from the South. He was so patient with me over the  next 2 months, as I was dealing with a lot personally, and we were both trying to figure out if dating as second semester seniors in college was a “smart” move. I’d say it’s the smartest decision I ever made in college!

How it Began: Colin’s Side

Mallory and I kind of have a funny beginning to our relationship; I technically met Mallory in my sophomore year of college at NC State. It is actually pretty mind blowing that Mallory and I’s circles overlapped so much during that first year but we never actually met, we had heard of one another but that was the extent of it. Therefore, we sort of floated around one another that entire start to college.

Sophomore year rolled around and I had a party for something (there is always a reason to celebrate) early in the fall semester of 2013, and I invited Deanna, who also brought Mallory. I remember meeting Mal but it gets a little hazy with time. I remember thinking wow she’s cute.

During fall semester 2014, I was determined to join the College of Natural Resources Ambassador program. One of my best friends, Eanas as well as Deanna (Mallory’s best friend) was a part of the program. So I was asked to help Eanas put together an activity for the 85th Anniversary celebration for CNR. After the event, I was helping clean up when I really noticed Mallory. I was in awe! Have you ever met someone and thought wow they are beautiful, and then when they speak your speechless? Well, that was me. That night I found out that she was in the Ambassador program too. Shortly after that event I was invited to interview for a position on the CNR Ambassador team.

Just before we left for Christmas, I found out I was accepted into the Ambassador program! I was stoked!! Subconsciously I think I was just excited I had a reason to be in the same room as Mallory.  Upon returning to school in the spring of 2015, I started training with the ambassadors, but here is the curveball–Mallory wasn’t anywhere to be found. I found out almost a year later that Mal had left for study abroad at the very end of 2014. So the idea and excitement of the pretty, yet mysterious, girl from the 85th anniversary began to fade.

I returned to school for senior year with a lot of anxiety about graduation and my future career plans. Finding a girlfriend was not anywhere on my radar.It was just a few weeks into first semester senior year when Ambassador meetings started back, and I, as always, was running late. The meeting ended and I quickly gathered my things and rushed out the door, not even noticing the girl in the front row was the 85th anniversary girl!  It wasn’t until later in the fall of 2015, when Mallory presented to the group that I saw it was her! All the attraction rushed back to me! I needed to talk to her, but “you gotta play it cool” was what I told myself. It wasn’t until the annual tree decorating party that we finally had a real conversation. The event began to wound down, and everyone started to leave. Mal was on the clean up crew, so, being the gentlemen I was, I offered to help. I was finally having a conversation with this beautiful girl. We talked for almost two hours. Over Christmas break all I could think was how do I randomly text this girl and not come across as weird? I knew she liked hunting and so did I. While on break one of my buddies killed a monster buck. Of course, I posed with it acting as if it was mine and took a picture. I later sent that to Mallory. Yes, that is how I decided to start the conversation–bragging on a deer I didn’t even kill! I let her believe it was mine for a little while before I sent her the real picture of me with my four pointer! I had a tonsillectomy just after Christmas and this led to our first date. In my fog of pain medication I was texting her some crazy things, but I managed to talk to her about the NC Art Museum and how we should go there together…

Mallory and I have been dating for one year and nine months, for the first three months we were both in school finishing up undergrad and finding jobs. For the next year she was in Canaan Valley, WV and I was in Windsor, NC– a total of 357 miles apart. That year apart was probably one of the most difficult times I have ever experienced. We would see each other every 5th weekend, but it was a tease. We slowly figured out how to manage the distance, and facetime became our best friend.

By Christmas of 2016 we had talked about getting engaged. We both knew we wanted to get married but we had concluded that it would be too difficult to be engaged long distance. We wanted to wait until we were within a couple of hours of one another and were both established–well that was the plan we thought we had.

The Proposal: Mallory

Fast forward to May 29th, 2017 and we are wrapping up a fantastic weekend at the Outer Banks. Colin is notorious for surprising me with vacations, and since we had been long distance for a year, I didn’t think much of it. I kept joking that he was hiding a ring, and even pretended to go through his suitcase looking for one. However, it was all a joke because we were still long distance (via a 7.5 hour car drive) and said we would never be engaged while being so far apart. Well, I had told him the day before that I would be fine with an engagement at any point…little did I know it would be the very next day.
Before we left the island, we drove down to Cape Hatteras National Seashore for one final sunset stroll on the beach. Oblivious, as always, I couldn’t understand why Colin was acting a little distant and chalked it up to him being sad our vacation was ending. So, I continued to do my thing, which involved chasing down sand crabs and examining dead seabirds #biologistprobs. I was a little bit ahead of him, and turned to show him something, when I saw Colin beginning to drop to one knee.
NOW. Let me tell you. This is not the first time Colin had dropped to one knee, because he thought it was oh so funny to joke around and do this occasionally. *tsk tsk* You know how I responded? “Colin, get up. This really isn’t funny.” To which he responded by pulling out the most beautiful ring from his pocket. As far as I can remember, I choked out “is this real?”, before falling into his arms and sobbing. Yep, I sobbed. Honestly, it took me a long time to compose myself and recover from the shock of what was actually happening.
Of all the ways I could have imagined my proposal, it could not have been more perfect than that moment. It was so simple and intimate. There was no one else around and no big extravagant display, just Colin and I, kissing, laughing, hugging, crying, and celebrating. We relished in that moment until the sun sunk beneath the trees.

The Proposal: Colin

We had been praying that the next step be the right one and for God to show us where he wanted us to be. One day when we were on our “date day”, (date day was something we began doing early on in our stint of long distance, where we would make sure we did nothing but date each other that entire day) we were early for a movie in Greenville, NC. I suggested we go into a jewelry store to try on some rings just for fun. This is how I figured her ring size out!

I had been praying hard about getting a ring. I had saved up some money and was ready. I went into Bailey’s the next week (late Feb of 2017), and began designing a custom ring for Mal. The jeweler and I, over the next two months, worked out every detail of that ring. I even helped pick each diamond. I did it this way because it was extremely important to both Mal and me that our ring be as environmentally friendly and ethically sourced as possible. That being said, I decided to have a lab-grown diamond be the center stone. Lab-grown diamonds are pure diamonds that are grown inside a laboratory which eliminates environmental and cultural destruction of communities in third world countries where diamonds are often mined. I also picked out each small diamond that lines the band and the halo for the center stone. These are natural grown diamonds mined from the earth. It was not financially feasible to get these as lab-grown diamonds. I did, however, get to pick diamonds from a company that provides documentation on where the diamonds came from and the environmentally and socially responsible methods in which they were mined. So needless to say, I poured my heart into that ring.

I have the ring and am holding on to it. I kept telling myself we should not be engaged while long distance. We still facetimed, and the conversation of marriage and engagement becames more and more common, especially as it got closer to the end of Mallory’s contract in West Virginia. It was now May 2017, and Mallory was coming down to NC for a long weekend. Her birthday is June 2 so I decided to plan a trip to Nags Head, NC. As I was packing for our trip, I kept feeling like I needed to take the ring. I buried it deep inside my suitcase. We had three days at the beach, and we spent every minute of them laying in the sun. It was the very last day, and we decided we would pack up the truck and head to the beach to layout one last time. While laying on the beach, the topic of engagement came up once again. This time Mallory had a different opinion. She said, “I have been thinking and praying about it a lot lately, and well, I think I am ready, whenever it happens it happens.”The fireworks start going off and I thought to myself “God, this is why you wanted me to bring that ring.” So now I am laying on the beach thinking I have the green light– how am I going to do this?

As we left the beach, we headed north to Duck, NC for lunch and to walk on the boardwalk. We returned to the truck and started the trip back home. Just before we got off the Outer Banks I asked, “would you be up for an adventure?” and of course Mal being the adventure/travel crazed one she is said “of course!” We changed course and drove halfway down the coast of NC to Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We hit it almost perfectly. The sun was setting, no one was around, and it was beautiful. As soon as we pulled up to the lighthouse, Mal was in a fit to use the restroom. I casually got out and said I had to go too. Well, I let her get about ten steps ahead of me and when she rounded the corner to the bathrooms, I ran back to the truck and began frantically digging through my bag. I needed that ring! I found the ring, pulled it out of the box and slipped it into my pocket. The most nerve-racking walk on the beach you can take with the person you love is when you have an engagement ring in your pocket!

As we walked along the beach, we talked, chased crabs, Mallory taught me about shorebirds, sand crabs, and all the other beach critters (as any biologist would). We got to this perfect place. I mean it is gorgeous–the dunes slightly slope down and fade away revealing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and the sun was setting directly behind the giant structure. As Mallory was facing away from me taking in the amazing view of the lighthouse, I pulled out the ring and got on one knee. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I was doing this. I was doing this without a plan. I mean she literally less than 12 hours ago said she wanted to be engaged. I wondered if she ever had a clue it would be that same day. So I got down on one knee and said, “Mallory you make me the best man I can be, you make me the happiest man on earth, will you…..” and she interrupts by saying “IS THIS REAL!! OMG!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS?” Cue the waterworks. She fell to her knees, started sobbing and shaking her head yes. She never fully got out the word “yes” but I knew she accepted when she stuck out her left hand and was waiting for me to slip it on her finger. That was the best way I could have ever proposed. She was extremely happy and so was I–we still are! We are currently both in NC and are planning our wedding for 7/28/18, and happily counting down the days until we are finally husband and wife!

wmwm1wm29

wm4wm40

wm36wm35

wm2wm37wm38wm39wm30

wm3wm23wm21wm22wm19wm18wm20wm17wm34wm27wm33wm12wm13wm11wm10wm14wm15wm16wm9wm8wm7wm25wm5wm31

Hardison Family| Waynesborough Park

Growing up with three brothers, I know that photo shoots can sometimes be a bit of a struggle. However, the Hardison boys were perfect models (and so were their parents)! While we had a bashful start, by the end, there was a constant stream of “cheese” being said, and as boys will do, they found sticks and ran around.  I’m thrilled to be sharing the Hardison Family’s photo shoot with you!

wm2

wm17boyswm18wm16wm14wm15wm13wm3wm12wm11wm10wm9wm8wm7wm1wm6wm5wm19wm4

Our Engagement Pictures

I’ve been dreaming of having engagement pictures done for a long time, and it finally happened!! My dear friends (and future bridesmaids), Joanna and Emily, were gracious enough to brave the heat with us for a few hours for pictures. I am so grateful for their friendship, camera skills and sweet spirits! Thank you guys!

IMG_8705

We started at the NC Art Museum which is a favorite place of mine and Garrett’s. After melting a bit, we went down the road to our next location, but not before having to pull over for me to frantically dance and beat my dress. Wasps stuck inside your dress somewhere who decide to sting your leg and hand tend to make one do those things.  I survived, though, and we made it to our second location–NC State’s Beef Unit where Garrett and I first talked to each other during a judging contest. We laughed a lot, but also managed to get some serious photos. Gideon says the pictures make him seasick, so that’s your warning if you’d like to continue viewing.

Regardless, I am beyond excited for May 19, 2018 to roll around so I can marry the man God picked special for me!

IMG_8051IMG_8029IMG_8077IMG_8120IMG_8123IMG_8130DSC_7820IMG_8141IMG_8161IMG_8252IMG_8262DSC_7875DSC_7870

IMG_8258

DSC_7830

DSC_7836DSC_7840DSC_7848IMG_8410IMG_8384IMG_8380DSC_7904DSC_7895DSC_7912DSC_7911IMG_8351DSC_7974DSC_8040DSC_7991DSC_7992DSC_7993DSC_8002DSC_8034DSC_8035DSC_8037DSC_8032DSC_8016DSC_8065IMG_8602

IMG_8587IMG_8581IMG_8589IMG_8554IMG_8551IMG_8678IMG_8655IMG_8711IMG_8737IMG_8733IMG_8732

Jennifer Marshal Phillips |Bridal Session

I am so excited to finally be sharing these bridal portraits with you now that Jennifer is officially Mrs. Phillips. The wedding yesterday was gorgeous! I was so honored to take Jennifer’s bridal portraits and stand beside her as a bridesmaid. Jennifer is beautiful from the inside out! I’m so thankful for her friendship over the years and am so excited for her and Brooks. Congratulations guys!

DSC_4913

DSC_4915DSC_4815DSC_4779DSC_4779bwDSC_4775DSC_4816DSC_4809DSC_4800DSC_4823DSC_4836DSC_4866DSC_4879

DSC_4831

DSC_4964DSC_5004DSC_5009DSC_5018DSC_5018bwDSC_5019DSC_5028DSC_5027DSC_5039DSC_4787

944633_10201792214676465_2085987381_n
I’m pretty sure this was a good 5 years ago. The wedding dress looks a lot better than the cap and gown 😉

Brooks & Jennifer | Engagement Session

Meet Brooks and Jennifer…the soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Phillips. They met at college and will graduate in May. Brooks is set to be a full-time youth pastor, and Jennifer plans to teach. These two are total goofballs with each other, and I love that! It was a touch chilly (snow fell the following day), but these guys were naturals in front of the camera. Needless to say it was a fun shoot!

I am so excited to share with you these photos. Jennifer and I have been friends for a long time (we were both homeschooled and went to the same church), so I was ecstatic to be able to take her engagement photos.

The Details: Jennifer’s ring was once her grandmother’s and the quilt in the pictures was made by her other grandmother. It was very special to have those family momentums in such a special event as an engagement. We took their pictures at Historic Yates Mill Park in Raleigh. At the end of the shoot, Jennifer asked me to be her bridesmaids. Brooks and Jennifer will wed on May 27!

dsc_0195dsc_0172dsc_0189dsc_0203

dsc_0230dsc_0230dsc_0232

dsc_0262dsc_0306

dsc_0300dsc_0299dsc_0334dsc_0332dsc_0340

dsc_0282dsc_0462dsc_0373dsc_0389

dsc_0367dsc_0391dsc_0432dsc_0462dsc_0438dsc_0428dsc_0407dsc_0457dsc_0456

dsc_0030

dsc_0518dsc_0531dsc_0499dsc_0501dsc_0496dsc_0505dsc_0542dsc_0548

dsc_0583

dsc_0632dsc_0632dsc_0625dsc_0647dsc_0685dsc_0655

dsc_0655

dsc_0687dsc_0690dsc_0712dsc_0696dsc_0775dsc_0775dsc_0469

 

Mary Dunn||Senior

I’m somewhat in shock that this girl is now a senior in high school. Mary, the daughter of Dale and Angie Dunn, is someone I have watched grow up over the years. She is so very vivacious, beautiful, well-rounded, and full of sass.  Mary is heavily involved in 4-H, has competed nationally in the Make It With Wool Competition, volunteers at the hospital, and shows cows.

She will graduate from Wayne School of Engineering High School and has been accepted into several colleges. She eventualy wants to go on for occupational therapy. She has a bright future ahead of her, and I can’t wait to see where life takes her!

dsc_0864dsc_0855dsc_0853dsc_0861dsc_0864dsc_0868dsc_0872dsc_0872dsc_0894dsc_0886dsc_0814dsc_0803dsc_0906dsc_0819dsc_0840dsc_0915dsc_0961dsc_0992dsc_0938dsc_0944dsc_0944

dsc_0661dsc_0678dsc_0680dsc_0680dsc_0693dsc_0725dsc_0725dsc_0738dsc_0754dsc_0751dsc_0762dsc_0774dsc_0774

dsc_0618dsc_0614dsc_0606

dsc_0626

dsc_0658dsc_0644dsc_0582dsc_0578dsc_0568dsc_0590dsc_0586

Jacob & Joanna||Engagement Session

My dear friends Joanna and Jacob are engaged! Joanna and I became friends at Campbell, where we suffered through many classes together, endured really late nights compiling the yearbook for Campbell, traveling with the ethics bowl team, and having late night talks and laughs. She has become one of my closest friends over the years.

Campbell is also where she and Jacob met. I’ve watched their relationship over the past 5 years, and they always have a great time together.

Jacob proposed in Florida on the beach underneath the stars. Let me tell you, I was beyond excited to get the text message of a sparkly ring on Jo’s finger! I was also super excited that Joanna let me take her engagement pictures.

Jo decided to take the photos at the NC State Fair, and we drafted our other college friend, Emily, to come and be a second camera. Thank the Lord Em came, because let me tell you, Marisa does not do fair rides. We battled crowds, walked a ton, ate some, and took literally 1,000 pictures. So, without further ado, I give you the future Mr. and Mrs. Shires.

dsc_09882dsc_0991dsc_0999dsc_1099dsc_1100dsc_1037dsc_0738dsc_0730

dsc_0901dsc_0891dsc_0890

dsc_0920dsc_0912dsc_0775

dsc_09582dsc_0958

dsc_0749dsc_08962


img_0516
PC: Emily McIntosh
img_0518
PC: Emily McIntosh

dsc_1143dsc_1122dsc_1128dsc_1169dsc_1174

img_0561
PC: Emily McIntosh

dsc_0004dsc_0022dsc_0029dsc_0032dsc_0060dsc_1213dsc_0090

img_0702
PC: Emily McIntosh
img_0937-1
PC: Emily McIntosh
img_0763
PC: Emily McIntosh
img_0782
PC: Emily McIntosh
img_0863
PC: Emily McIntosh
img_0841
PC: Emily McIntosh
img_0630
PC: Emily McIntosh
img_1037
PC: Emily McIntosh

dsc_0130dsc_0190dsc_0206dsc_0210dsc_0111dsc_0143

img_0670
PC: Emily McIntosh

 


Lambing Season- 2016-

When it comes to animals being born on the farm, I think I get the most giddy over the lambs. There is something about those little wooly babies and their over attentive mommas.

DSC_0454

 

 


Aspen was the first ewe to go. We walked outside to 2 little black girl lambs.

DSC_0158

 

Meet Lace….

DSC_0200

and Silver…

I just knew it would be a short time before the next lamb would arrive. I checked several times a day and through the night. Alas, it was like watching a pot boil. Finally, Aspen’s sister, Fiona, had a super splashy baby girl that is all diva. Meet Paisley…

DSC_0322

We now had 3 more mommas to lamb. I made my predictions as to who would go next. Of course, they decided to spite me and go in all sorts of orders. Our old girl Duff, was the third one to lamb. Once again, we had another little girl, but this one was white! Meet Eve…

DSC_0489

DSC_0364

We were down to our southdown sisters. Sybil went first and had a super black little girl. I’m somewhat partial to Sybil, so this baby was really exciting for me. Meet Georgette…

DSC_0375

DSC_0618

DSC_0366

The last arrival was Edith’s little white lamb. Once again, we had a girl. While we just missed her birth, we caught her right after, so she was still getting cleaned off by mom. Meet Evelyn…

DSC_0373

DSC_0299

DSC_0310

We are so in love with our 6 little girls. They are all very different, and have way cool wool. We can’t wait to show them at State Fair. They have already been on several field trips to visit kids and tell everybody about wool.

DSC_0556

Now that lambing season is over, shearing season is about to begin, so stay tuned! For now, enjoy all of the cuteness.

DSC_0385

 

DSC_0392

DSC_0377

DSC_0477DSC_0477b

DSC_0335

DSC_0431

DSC_0473

DSC_0186

DSC_0306b

DSC_0199

DSC_0411

DSC_0452

Ice, sword fights, and boys

Typically, I have a love/hate relationship with the weather, but right now it’s mostly hate. It is causing one heck of a mess around here. The grossness isn’t just about inconvenience, it is causing a lot more work too. The ice caused a lot of limbs to fall, and of course loads of mud. While these photos are from the first ice round, I thought it appropriate considering yesterday’s ice and today’s rain.

DSC_1328

DSC_1316

DSC_1301

DSC_1325

1

DSC_1320

DSC_1308

DSC_1315

DSC_1332

DSC_1343

DSC_1309

DSC_1336

DSC_1350

4

DSC_1284

DSC_1353

During all the cleanup, there was a bit of an accident too.

DSC_1358

How? Well, let’s just say boys will be boys, and let the next picture do the rest of the talking…

DSC_1357

Yes, that is sword fighting. Everything turned out fine, though. Mom cleaned up Isaac’s wound and put some butterfly strips on it. He was good to go, and now has a cool upside down v scar.

6

DSC_1364

Needless to say, the weather is taking  bit of a toll on us. It’ll be fine, though. We’ll just keep praying for sunshine.

DSC_1337