Author Archives: Melissa Lloyd

I’m an on-location, natural light, creative, portrait photographer focusing on maternity, newborn, family, + children. This blog combines my latest photography work, glimpses into my life, and things that inspire me.

For whatever reason, I have turned into a poor sleeper the last few months. My brain has morphed into one of those Vegas strip neon signs…you know, the obnoxious ones where the top light flickers on, as if it lacks the stamina to remain lit for very long…then each neon letter wakes up one-by-one and when all the letters are fully ignited they blink obsessively as if they are screaming at you…then the bottom bulbs comes on with the same worn out enthusiasm as the top lights. And if your eyes and brain haven’t been over-stimulated enough, the entire sign starts flashing on and off as if it was having some sort of seizure. All you can do is look away to avoid the eyestrain and impending cornea damage. Those signs. That is my brain. When my head hits the pillow at night…it turns into one of those blaringly loud, insufferable, neon signs. Annoying.throo the lens photography family photographer san antonio

The past few weeks I have laid awake contemplating weeds. Yes, you read that right…I said weeds…those ugly things that breed in your yard…the garden demons we dump chemicals on with the hope of exercising. Over the last 13 years, I have lived in five houses, in three different cities, in two different states and the weed growth in each of those yards has been of the miracle type. If the HOA gave awards for “Most Weeds in a Yard”, I would be accepting the honor on behalf of a grateful neighborhood.  I’ve come to realize that one of my super powers is my unparalleled knack of growing all sorts of weeds in all sorts of climates. <curtsey>. For a long time, I blamed the soil, the previous homeowner, not enough rain, too much rain, a depleting ozone, the companies that sell weed killer (does that stuff really kill weeds?), el Niño, neighbor kids who were out to get me, etc. But recently, now that I am in house number five, I have begun to contemplate that maybe there are weeds in my yard because I have a brown thumb and suck at lawn care. Maybe. I haven’t fully adopted this rational for my weed infested yard. I am just kicking the idea around at the moment…no definitive conclusions have been drawn as of today…

throo the lens photography family photographer san antonio Who thinks about weeds at 1am?!? I’ve tried various things to sleep at night…hot tea…hot bath…reading…I’ve even tried counting sheep, but I lost the little fur balls in my weeds. The only person who appreciates these lawn terrorists is my five year old. She calls them flowers and loves on them as if they were daisies or tulips. We’ve told her that these “flowers” are not flowers, but she rolls her eyes as if she is frustrated that she was placed in our family and is forced to deal with our low-level thought patterns. To her, the dandelions that make my skin itchy and my nose run are sunflowers. Those white ones that kids blow on and make wishes are delicate, special, horticultural treasures. She “oohs” and “aahs” over them and picks handfuls of them to create bouquets for me that she presents like $150 floral arrangements from 1-800-FLOWERS. Normally, I would chalk this up to being five, but I firmly believe that God talks to us through small children because they know more than we do.

So, I lay in bed at night contemplating weeds and wondering why on God’s green earth He felt the need to include these annoyances in the master landscaping plan. I could include mosquitoes, gnats, and flies in that thought as well, but that is for another late night pondering. For now, here is my theory: weeds are a fact of life…in our lawns…and in our lives. If our lives were spread out like a great big yard, we would all have weeds. We don’t get out of this life without weeds in our (lives) yards. There would be areas where just one or two weeds pop up…disappointments in life…moments that we gave in to Ben & Jerry…the unnecessary Whataburger stop…the dirty look given to the guy that cut us off this morning on the way to work…unkind words said to us or ones we said to someone else…etc. There would also be patches of weeds…a string of bad decisions, break-ups, hurts, our short-comings, financial hardships, marital difficulties, bad habits, etc. And there would be pastures of weeds…things like divorce, death, addictions, abuse, depression, medical issues, loneliness, feelings of emptiness, low self-esteem, anxiety, and on and on.

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We try to eradicate our weeds with over-eating, over-spending, new relationships, control freak tendencies, becoming worry warriors, buying self-help books, trying new diets & miracle powders, google searching, and whatever else promises to liberate our yards (lives) of these weeds that won’t go away…but the fix is temporary. Some of us bulldoze over the weeds with stubborn will-power and speeding freight- train determination with the hope of ridding ourselves of the unpleasant things that have happened to us…but the weeds just grow back and sometimes they come back thicker and stronger. I have roto-tilled a large backyard and replanted grass only to get a yard full of weeds…literally (and figuratively). Take it from me, and the unfortunate souls who have bought houses that I have owned, weeds are hard to get rid of.

But what would happen if we stopped seeing our weeds as something that needed to be destroyed and forgotten and started seeing them as beautiful wisdom? What if our patches and pastures of yard demons served a purpose?  Maybe we are supposed to see our weeds as the wisdom to know how to love one another. Those weeds that we want to dig up and remove from our lawns (lives) are what gives us the ability to love on someone who is walking a path we have already walked. “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” I Corinthians 1:4

If you’ve lost a child, you know how to love a grieving mother and father.

If you’ve gone through a divorce, you know how to love a person starting their life over.

If you’ve ever lost a job, been depressed, received bad news, made a dumb decision, experienced loneliness, been hurt, then you know how to love someone else wading through those choppy waters.

The how is everything.

When you know how to love someone, the love of God burns through the present circumstances to introduce a hurting human to a loving God who wants to wipe away tears and pour out love like a waterfall. Who better to show love to someone hurting than someone who gets it? If you have been lonely, then you know how the woman at work is feeling right now and how to love her. If you have made a bad financial decision, then you know what your next door neighbor is going through and just how he needs to be loved. Jesus told us to love God and love others. “…so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” Mark 12:30.  I think we have to change our mind set about our weeds and see them through the eyes of a five year old. Maddy doesn’t see weeds…she sees beautiful flowers. She treats them like they are special…bundles them up…and gives them away as bouquets of love.

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Because that is the point of our existence.

To love.

To give away love bouquets.

Love like God loves.

As best as we can.

The best we know how.

by Melissa Lloyd

I love going to the Botanical Gardens for family photo sessions. The grounds are beautiful and make for such a great backdrop. This sweet family was a referral from another client (Thank you Jennifer!). Aren’t the fall colors gorgeous?!? Now that spring is officially here, I am thinking of taking my kids there to enjoy the gardens before the heat settles into San Antonio.

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by Melissa Lloyd

I am not a “look at me!” kind of person… never have been…I was the little girl that hid under the church pew when the pastor said hello to me. Always the quiet one around people I didn’t know. The one labeled shy. Think wallflower. Age has improved this, but I have come to accept that God made me to be exactly who I am… and that is more than fine.

I don’t advertise… I am not a social media expert (in fact, I am terrible at it)… the introvert in me cries out to NOT share my feelings or thoughts for fear of being hurt by others… which has affected what I write on this blog…my SEO stinks because I am not good at tweaking the “whatever” on this site to make Google love me. Honestly, the deck is stacked against me in anyone finding me in this Great.Big.World. But when they do… when someone chooses me out of the deep well of never-ending photographer options in San Antonio to be their family photographer, it’s a big deal. To be trusted with another person’s hard earned money and to take high-quality photos of their family…. I don’t take that lightly and certainly not for granted.

Maybe you are reading this and thinking “what’s the big deal?”… Photographer…Schmotographer…”pick one and get some pretty pictures“. We live in a very disposable society these days… “out with the old, in with the new”… and there is always something or someone new. Always. Someone cheaper. Someone offering “this” or “that”. None more than in the photography world. The market is flooded with photographers these days and when someone says “I want to work with you”… it means something to that photographer. As an artist, when your work and your words can stand out and be seen in a loud, overcrowded, competitive world it is humbling.

For me, when a family keeps coming back for me to capture new moments… well, my cup runneth over. I mean that sincerely. This family has allowed me to photograph their new babies and the beauty of their family numerous times (I think 4 to be exact!). I hope they read this… I hope they know how thankful I am to photograph them again and again… thankful for their trust in me… thankful for their loyalty…

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by Melissa Lloyd

Frozen! Maddy had to have a Frozen birthday to celebrate number 5… which was back in October. I am hiding my head in shame that these images are just now hitting my blog. That mother guilt thing is kicking into high gear right now. 🙁

Anyway, we did it up BIG… Elsa costume… crowns… chocolates… snowflake donuts… blue ice (jello)… cupcakes… streamers… balloons… blue punch… and Elsa and Anna sprinkled throughout the decor. We learned the hard way on her fourth birthday that she expects the decorations to be up as.soon.as she wakes up that morning… it is not good enough for the decor to be ready prior to the party later in the day… upon arising from her sweet slumber, the house must be decorated (apparently this is written into our parent/child contract??) So, this year we got it right and had everything “Frozen” when she woke up that morning.

It was a wonderful day as we said good-bye to 4 and welcomed in 5 with a wave of her Elsa wand. For me, it was a little bitter-sweet… time moves so fast… everyone says that and it is a bit cliche, but birthdays and holidays are these “in your face” reminders to love every minute of this life and the parenting roller coaster… take nothing for granted… with the right frame of mind, it is ALL good… all of it is something to give thanks to God for every single day…

Love this girl. 

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by Melissa Lloyd

I have taken Chris and Jennifer’s pictures numerous times over the years. I’ve been to their home for “girl’s night out” parties complete with shopping, margaritas, and too much good food. Our kids have celebrated birthday’s together. We’ve talked on the porch about kids, life, and all things in-between… shared laughs over lunch… and volunteered at church together. What is so special about Jennifer is that you don’t leave her presence without feeling uplifted… she doesn’t dwell on her troubles… she focuses on the good and encourages you to do the same. She freely gives her time with a compassionate and loving heart to those that need it it.

You don’t leave her house hungry because she shows love through cooking and man, can she cook! Secretly, I want her to open a little restaurant. 😉  There is always room for one more at her table and that is one of the most beautiful things about Jennifer. Family is not limited to blood…. friends and relatives are intertwined together in her home. Spend some time with her, and you will walk away knowing that you have been loved on… what a gift that God gave her and the world gets to benefit from (especially for those of us that call her a friend)… She loves people just as they are…we all need a friend that loves like this… we all need to be a friend that loves like this…

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

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by Melissa Lloyd

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