Whenever a new Star Wars movie is about to come out, it makes me do stuff like this...
Brock and Emily found me in a Google search when they were looking for videographers for their wedding. When we first met and started talking, somewhere during the conversation we found out that we both go to Eleven22! So I do not believe we met by accident. :)
Brock and Emily had a beautiful wedding at one of Jacksonville's most incredible venues, Epping Forest Yacht Club. But my favorite part about this couple, AND their wedding, is that it put Jesus first! And you can hear it coming straight from both their hearts in their vows to one another. So come along and take a look at the wedding highlight reel from their special day and join me in saying congratulations to this amazing couple!
I met with Josh and Olivia and instantly knew one thing--I am going to LOVE working with this couple! From the moment we sat down and first started talking we hit it off. They are my people! And it made the tasks of shooting their wedding photos feel like fun and not work. That is always a big plus!
They had an AMAZING wedding on the beach that we thought might not happen when just moments before the ceremony a massive thunderstorm came barreling through, but luckily it moved on and the result was actually just perfect. Cool weather with surprisingly ZERO wind and a nice soft light tone throughout the sky for good pictures. Everything ended up being perfect and I can't imagine it happening any other way.
My favorite part of the wedding ended up being when Josh got on the microphone during the reception and shocked all of us with his personal rendition of "I'll Be Your Crying Shoulder" that absolutely blew the roof off the place. I've seen a few grooms over the years attempt to sing to their bride that didn't go so well and so I always have low expectations. But oh boy, Josh singing....man I have never seen anything like. Someone get this guy an agent!
Ok take a look through and join me and congratualting Josh and Olivia on their big day!
About 8 years ago, I took a vacation to Jamaica. After going back a second time for a mission trip, I am not sure I could ever vacation to Jamaica again. (Keep reading)
The tale of two Jamaica trips...
The last time I went to Jamaica, (we'll call that trip "Jamaica A") I stayed at one of the Sandals Resorts. I remember landing at the airport and getting onto the shuttle with a bunch of other tourists. The next couple hours we cruised down the coastline highway drinking Red Stripes and listening to Bob Marley. I remember looking out the window and seeing some of the impoverished Jamaican families living in shacks and run down old homes. At that time, I was about 9 years removed from the last mission trip I had gone on to Peru. In fact, I was about 9 years removed from living out my faith in any kind of meaningful way entirely. I was living for myself and whatever made me feel good at the moment. So when I saw the conditions and how much they resembled past mission trips I'd done, I just did what anyone on vacation would do. I said "wow look at them--that is sad" and then buried it deep down so I wouldn't have to deal with any feelings of guilt while I passed right by them on my way to the resort. Eventually we pulled up to Sandals and we came up to a massive gate. It slowly opened, we drove through and then the gate closed behind us. And the people in need that I saw were closed off behind me. I no longer had to "deal with them" causing me any guilt for all the fun I was going to have. I was free to just enjoy myself.
We spent a lot of time poolside, drinking unlimited mojitos and eating as much as we wanted. We got to do a zip line and some waterfalls too and sure those were cool. Then on the last day we sat on the resort's man-made beach watching and laughing as pasty white northerners would run into the water only to find out that the floor is made of sharp rocks and not sand. We'd laugh as one by one they'd go running in and then slowly (and painfully) walk back out shouting "ouch-ouch". Yeah it was funny, I'm not going to say that wasn't a memory from that trip I enjoyed. But....THAT was the highlight for us. Sitting on a fake beach drinking beer watching drunk tourists cut their feet. Eventually the trip came to an end, we got back on the bus, and came back home to Florida. Was it fun? Sure, it was fun. But 8 years later, it did absolutely nothing to change any lives. Now that trip just rings a bit hollow.
Now let me tell you a little bit about "Jamaica B."
Last week I went back to Jamaica but this time, it was a much different story. 21 people (including myself) went to Jamaica, and 21 people had their lives changed forever. Not one of us came back the same person we were before we left. Instead of watching drunk tourists running around a fake beach with mojitos in their hand, I watched the people on my team step out in BOLDNESS and love and care for the men, women and children of Jamaica with a passion! The very people I turned my back to 8 years ago. Far more rewarding than any vacation experience could ever offer. And on top of that, I witnessed first hand bravery like I have never seen before as people on my team pulled together and helped one another work through some of their deepest most painful struggles. Many late nights with a lot of tears. And it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I cannot even begin to put into words how incredibly PROUD I am of each and every one of them. On behalf of my AMAZING co-leader Jenn Heller, I just want to say to you all, Adrian, Arden, Aruna, Ben, Brenna, Caitlin, Carrie, Diana, Diane, Doug, Hailey, Kaylie, Leslee, Lori, Matt, Mike, Michelle, Ryan and Sharon......WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!! I am absolutely honored to call you my friends.
I'll let the images tell the rest of the story. We worked hard but we had a lot of fun too. Take a look at some of our shots from the Eleven22 Jamaica B mission team. And if anything in here tugs on your heart and you want to know more about what these kinds of trips are all about, just ask. The door is open any time. You just have to take that first step of faith and walk through it. coe22.com/missions
Want to see last year's trip to Panama? Ok. Go here: adamszarmack.com/panama
Catie and Billy found me on the Glass Factory website and I am VERY glad they did because when we got finished with their shoot this past week, I walked away with an engagement photo that easily skyrocketed to the very top of my all time favorite list. Hint, it was the thumbnail of this post but in case you somehow miss it, scroll down and it's the one that should make you stop and say "wow." Ok so enough boasting about myself and the cool photo I took. Because if it weren't for these two awesome people who braved the storms of that day and still went out for their engagement session, we'd never have that photo anyway.
Catie and Billy are an amazing couple who are crazy about each other and like to laugh and just be themselves in front of the camera. We had a lot of fun starting at their 2nd story beach house and then found our way down a very cool and rugged painted dock that is sort of a secret spot in Atlantic beach that I am not going to share here so the other beach photographers can't steal it.
Check back for their Glass Factory wedding early 2018!!
Let me start by saying, I apologize for the bizarre title to this blog post. But in a world now where you've got constant media feeds all competing for your attention at once, I needed to go a little bit, for lack of a better word, intriguing with the post name.
If you track along with me on here, you're probably aware that I have written many posts and shared various videos from my pastor at Eleven22. Every Sunday I walk out of that building and feel like I had just my life changed. I cannot say this enough, no matter who you are, where you've come from, regardless of your beliefs, background or past....GO and check out Eleven22. It is a movement AND invitation for ALL people. Repeat, ALL people. No one is excluded. Period. Just come as you are. Leave fancy "church clothes" at home because they don't care about stuff like that.
I could share every sermon they post but this past Sunday's message was one I found particularly important to pass on to others. You may have read a past post of mine that discussed the definition of what "religion" is vs. having a relationship with God. The difference between the two is of absolute utmost importance and should not be overlooked. As I mentioned, in my previous post, being a true Christian is actually the opposite of being "religious." (For reference, you can re-read the post here: Religion Sets Rules. Jesus Sets Free.) This weekend's sermon was a perfect supplement to that topic.
So about that post title...
In this sermon a very important parable is being taught by Jesus. Per the words from Jesus himself (while talking to a group of heavily devout religious people)...he basically told them that (paraphrasing) prostitutes and terrorists are more likely to make it into Heaven than the person who grows up in church being a "good rule follower." (AKA, religious) Why? Because as I mentioned in that older post, you may be surprised to hear this but according to the bible, getting into Heaven has absolutely NOTHING to do with how good/bad you are, how much you go/don't go to church or follow a bunch of rules. Repeat NOTHING. It is not about your activity but rather it is about your IDENTITY. That is why someone can be a Christian without being "religious." Because being a Christian really just means one thing--believing that when Jesus died on the cross it counted for YOU and by putting your faith and trust in him. When you do that, you get a new identity that is a 100% a free gift. And the thing about getting a gift is....gifts cannot be earned. Hence why, being "religious" will NOT earn you a ticket to Heaven. Identity always precedes activity. Therefore, being a Christian is not about being "religious" rather it's about having a relationship. Big difference.
Please take the time to listen to this message by pastor Joby Martin who can articulate it much better than I can. It could be the best news you've ever heard. And if anything in this message intrigues you, PLEASE feel free to reach out to me and let's chat some more. And if you're someone who just thinks I'm totally weird and all this stuff is complete BS, believe me I don't blame you. It was weird to me once too. Call me anyway I'd love to buy you a coffee and share my whole story.
With utmost sincerity,
Nick and Deborah are from the Tampa area but are getting married later this year at the TPC Clubhouse. They made the drive up and I made the drive down and we met for their engagement photos at Washing Oaks Gardens State Park. Take a look through some images from the shoot and check back later on for pictures from their wedding!
Eran and Cait had an amazing wedding held on the rooftop of The White Room in St. Augustine, FL. One of my favorite things about them is the amount of laughing, smiling and giggling that Cait does with Eran while we're shooting. It makes my job so much more fun. It also shows just how crazy these two are about each other! Take a look through some of the images from their big day.
Congrats Eran and Cait!
Mike and Alissa had an awesome family wedding last month at Bowing Oaks Plantation. This was my first time shooting at this location and it is incredible. You can't take a bad picture at this place.
When we first met to talk about their wedding, a few minutes into the conversation we realized we had something in common that was pretty cool. We both go to Eleven22! If you follow along with me on here you've probably seen I that like to talk about Eleven22 a lot. (If you want to know why then watch this.) And our pastor, Joby Martin, performed the ceremony so it just made things that much cooler.
Take a look through some of their images and join me in congratulating these two on their marriage!
About two years ago, I found myself in a place in my life where I was pretty broken and battling some feelings of depression. I kept it to myself and even my closest family had no idea I was feeling this way. I didn't want anyone to know.
During that time, at my place of work there was a spare office that no one was using and so I moved my computer into it without even asking for permission from my management. The reason I did that was because most of the time I was sitting in there fighting back tears. (And losing that battle more often than not.) Occasionally one of my peers would stick their head in and say "Hey what ya doing in here?" to which I would reply "Oh I think I'm getting sick so I'm just doing everyone a favor and separating myself from the group." But the truth was, I didn't want anyone to see me crying. And when it was time for a company meeting, I'd do my best to push all the tears in and put on my best fake smile--holding it as long as possible until I could get back to that office and be alone again.
I needed a Do Over.
And by the grace of God, he gave me one.
I tend to write too much so if anyone reads this and wants to know the rest of my story, please contact me and let's setup a time to chat more. I'd love to meet you and have a heart to heart.
And if you are currently in a place in life right now and YOU need a "Do Over" too, I've got good news...
Here is the Do Over you've been waiting for...