*The above photos were submitted by each couple and were not taken by Stacy Lynn Photography.
Let me start by saying I had a love/hate relationship with this contest. I LOVED reading all of the stories that came in. I truly want to thank each and every person that took the time to share your story with me. I feel so blessed to have been able to hear/see the uniqueness of each couple that wrote to me. On the other hand, this made it SO hard for me to pick a winner. Joe was laughing at me because I kept saying, “I don’t want to decide…I want them ALL to win” and I took forever to make a decision. With that being said, I did have to chose a winning couple BUT I also chose a “runner-up”. The runner-up will receive a mini-session with Stacy Lynn Photography :) Here is a “paraphrased” version of the winning couple’s story.
I remember when I first read Shandiin & Stefan’s story. I was so intrigued. I couldn’t wait to read more. It was like reading a great novel…but it was real. Their real life love story. Shandiin grew up watching her parents serve in Native America ministry. She admired her father’s heart and it was then that God planted a seed in her heart. She longed to find a man who had a heart to serve in this area, but as time went on she realized the rarity of that desire. In 2006, she spent the summer serving with her parents in their ministry and met a man! They became friends. Soon he made it clear that he desired to move beyond friendship. While this seemed alluring, word was that this man was a “Mr. Casanova” so she decided against pursuing a relationship. Don’t worry…this was not Stefan, BUT it was Stefan’s friend. Meanwhile, Stefan had just graduated from Bible school and was now serving troubled native youth in Arizona. (Remember Shandiin’s childhood desire for a man with a heart to serve Native Americans?!) While Stefan loved serving, he needed some encouragement from someone who had “walked in his shoes”. He had sought out a man named Rob, but instead got connected with…Shandiin’s dad (who worked with Rob)! Months later, Stefan meet up with “Mr. Casanova” who was still upset that Shandiin had not given him a chance. (Keep in mind Stefan had no idea who Shandiin was at this time nor did he know that his new “mentor” was her dad). Being the good friend that he was, he agreed to “myspace” (hey, it was a while ago) Shandiin to tell her how great “Mr. Casanova” is in hopes that she would reconsider. Shandiin received Stefan’s myspace message, however, she was not interested in talking about “Mr. Casanova”. Instead, she saw Stefan’s love for the Lord and heart for serving a forgotten people. From there it didn’t take long to see that God had been preparing them for each other all along. That seed that was planted in her heart was not just a “childhood dream”. God placed that desire in her. What a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness. I want to finish with some of Shandiin’s words.
“We married in December of 2006. We have started up our own business and now work closely with Native American Tribes. Our desire is to see this people group come to love the Lord and take pride in becoming hardworking individuals, able to rise above the hopelessness found on these reservations. We will be celebrating our 4 year Anniversary on December of this year. One of the reasons we feel we deserve this free couples photo shoot is that we have a 2.5 year old and have just welcomed our newborn in the mix. With a toddler and a newborn, we would view this shoot as a much needed date! Kid free!!! It’s also easy to loose focus on each other when life gets chaotic. A screaming newborn and a vibrant toddler take a lot of time and energy. It would be wonderful to have beautiful pictures to document this season of our lives and to refocus our commitment and love for each other. These pictures would be such a blessing!”
Shandiin & Stefan, THANK YOU for sharing your story with me. It’s beautiful. I can’t wait to get you two in front of my camera. I know that your love for one another will shine through. Lots of love! -Stacy Lynn
Aubrey & Montana, you guys are just awesome. Your story was simple yet deep. I find you two interesting, unique and FABULOUS. As the runner-up couple, you will get a mini-session with Stacy Lynn Photography. Can’t wait!
To everyone who entered my contest…THANK YOU! Again, I wish I could have chosen everyone. Your stories touched me. I appreciate you taking the time to “show me your love!”