Abilene Senior | Emily

A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of hanging out with this beautiful girl as we captured some fun senior portraits. Emily is so full of joy and excitement and energy. Her smile is radiant and her laughter is contagious. We had a blast!

First, we started off in downtown Abilene…

[We were in a parking garage. Oh yes.]

One of my favorites…

Then it was a quick change into an adorable little black dress. Love!

I told you she has a great laugh… 😉


Emily is quite the explorer. After another quick outfit change, we climbed up on top of the railroad tracks and found this awesome wall.

We then took a quick drive down to Buffalo Gap Historic Village outside of Abilene. It was a great location–so many cool old historic buildings!

Emily, I had such a lovely morning with you! Keep being your joyful self! 🙂


{emily and natalie}

I had the pleasure of taking some holiday pictures of these two lovely young ladies right before Christmas break started.  Emily and Natalie are the sweet daughters of my wonderful debate coach at ACU.  The three of them together makes a hilarious combination.  Thanks for sharing your gorgeous smiles with me, girls! I had a blast! 😀



My life…in ornaments.

So, way back when, my family used to have this Christmas tradition.  Every year after Christmas, we would go ornament shopping and each person would get an ornament that symbolized something important from that particular year.  Of course, as more and more Maisano kids kept appearing, ornament shopping became a little rarer.  But since I’m the oldest and I therefore get all the benefits that come from that esteemed position…I have a lot of ornaments.  This year when we were decorating our tree, I thought it would be fun to put together an ornament timeline of sorts and see what my life looks like…according to my Christmas tree ornaments.  This is what I found…

A loooooong time ago, before my 13 years of home education, I went to preschool.  Yay for socialization!

Then there was that year that I was in the Christmas play at church.  What part did I play, you ask?  You guessed it…the donkey.

Next came the oh so important milestone of learning to ride a two-wheel bike.  And of course, subsequently crashing and nearly killing myself on multiple occasions.

This was from one of the two years we had Disneyland passes.  Texas people: I don’t have anything against Six Flags…but it just doesn’t compare.

This was from the year that I was in a musical production of Anne of Green Gables.  Which also, incidentally, was my random episode of a seizure and subsequent hospitalization the night before the first performance.

Speaking of musicals, there was that other time when I was in the musical The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  I played a singing skunk.

Before we moved to Texas, I did ballet for 6 years.  As a result, I have lots of ballet ornaments.  Read: LOTS.

This is from the year that Beth and I ran a fairly profitable homemade cookie business (okay, it was profitable for two little kids), aptly named Sister Cookies.  It was supposedly going to fund the horse that we were going to buy.

This was from the year we went through a hard-core knitting phase in my family.

And last but not least, this is my most recent addition to my ornament collection.  No, I didn’t play a sheep in another musical.  I bought this one in New Zealand last November, where the sheep outnumber the people nearly 10 to 1.

And there you have it.  A history of my life through ornaments.  According to what hangs on our family Christmas tree, my life has been defined by playing animals in musicals and ballet.

I think I’ll add a camera this year.

beautifully today

I have never thought of myself as a very creative person.  And so when the time came to come up with a new business name, I panicked a little.  Formerly, I was just Toni Michelle Photography, which is cool.  I guess.  But after working on re-branding my photography business with help from IPS, it didn’t seem exciting enough.

The main idea that I wanted my business name to convey was the joy of the present.  I like pictures that turn very ordinary events into beautiful memories.  I believe that there is beauty in the now.

“Wherever you are, be all there. live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” [Jim Elliot]

Joy and excitement in the here and now?  I won’t lie; oftentimes I am frustrated by the ordinary.  “It’s just simply today,” I think to myself.

But is it?

Not simply…

…it’s beautifully today.