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Jen Wood Photography bio picture

Hi ...

A little about me: I am completely in love with my sweet husband (Jeff), our beautiful daughter (London), our dogs (Jack and Morgan), and our life.  My other loves (in no particular order): family, spending time with great friends, warm socks, hot baths, traveling, camping, campfires, the great outdoors, autumn, being out on the lake, fishing (when we're catching something), 80s music, my girl's sweet and contagious smile, wine, my own caesar salads, laughing and then laughing some more. I am genuine. I am sentimental, often to the point of total sappiness. I am passionate about photography and have been for over 30 years (wow, maybe that dates me a little). 

It is my hope to not only share with you some of the work that I'm doing and show off my awesome clients, but also to let you into my life just a little.  It's hard for me to find time to work on personal things when there is real work to be done, but I'm going to try ... really, I am.

So, sit back and peruse these pages.  If you see something you like, please leave a comment. Who doesn't like a little blog love?  If you'd like to be notified when something new has been added, please feel free to subscribe to the blog (RSS or email) above.  Thanks for stopping by!  

Adkins Family …

Every great once in a while, people cross your path that you just click with … instantly. It’s like your “chance” meeting wasn’t really left to chance at all … like it was divinely orchestrated! Christine was one of those people for me. Our first meeting together was our planning appointment and was supposed to be maybe an hour. Over two hours later we were still sitting in her comfy living room chatting away … about our families, about our businesses, about our faith and the way God was currently working in our lives. We did manage to get some session planning in there somewhere.

One of their favorite places to relax and recharge is at their cabin at Fall Creek Falls State Park. So, this was a perfect choice, especially given the fact that Fall Creek Falls in the Fall (yes, I’m a little behind on my blogging) is absolutely gorgeous! So, I met up with Christine and her two favorite people, Jon and Laney, at the cabin. We spent a beautiful late afternoon walking, making s’mores, drinking iced tea and lemonade on the front porch, crafting and watching football! By the end of the session, I felt like I was part of the family … I was piled on the couch watching football with them (Jon let us girls into his man cave).  It’s an understatement to say that I adore this family … all three of them!

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- Peggy Currie - Thank you so much for posting these wonderful pictures of my beautiful niece and her precious family. Love them so much.

The Gilmer Family …

Reading, tea parties, guitar lessons, castles … all in a day’s fun at the Gilmer household!  Loads of fun, personality and sass … the two littlest Gilmers kept me laughing and on my toes. I loved everything about this family and our session!

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God Still Moves Mountains! The Mountain Family …

2013-02-Mountain-119(left to right – October, Keeper, Tom, Mercy, Reagan, Isabel, Liza)

I’ve perched myself in front of the computer several times over the last couple of weeks TRYING to write this post … TRYING to do their story justice! Words seemed to fail me. I’ve sat staring at a blank computer screen.

Until today! They’ve waited long enough to see these! “Just write,” I tell myself.

The Mountains … what a beautiful family!

I’ve known Reagan (and her siblings and parents) since college. So, we’re friends on Facebook, and over the years I’ve followed her and her husband as they built their beautiful new home on the lake, as they home-schooled their 4 children, as she’s shared her issues with food and gluten and dairy-free recipes, as they all earned belt after belt in taekwando, and as they shared their adventures in farming and beekeeping.

And then last fall, I started following their story of meeting Liza, a 15-year-old orphan girl from Ukraine, who had been in the country through a summer hosting program.  Liza was about to age out of the system.  In the Ukraine, when orphans turn 16, they are turned out to survive on their own.  Most girls turn to prostitution and 15% commit suicide.  She would turn 16 in November.

Reagan says she fell in love with her the moment she met her.  And from day one, it was instinct … they had to bring her home.  But they were up against the clock.  Could they do it before her birthday? Before she was no longer adoptable? Before she would be turned out to a life of the unthinkable?

So, I “watched” (via Facebook) … November 11, 2012 was the big day. Reagan, her husband, Tom, their 4 biological children (October, Isabel, Mercy and Keeper) and Reagan’s parents, Gordon and Sherrie, boarded the plan from Raleigh to Philadelphia.  They were on their way to bring their daughter/sister/granddaughter home!

Shortly after I saw the post that they’d landed in Philadelphia, I saw another from Reagan that said, “My wallet and 3 passports went missing between here and Raleigh. Please pray.” (My heart sank for them!) Then another post, “Flight to Frankfurt leaves at 5:35. They won’t let me on it. Ukranian government won’t see Tom without me. And won’t reschedule.” (They had critical meetings they HAD to make or the whole thing wouldn’t happen.) Then another, “No more flights until Tuesday (it was Sunday) and we won’t get to Kiev in time anyway. A new passport takes longer. Photo copy won’t work. They will punish us by not rescheduling and won’t see Tom alone. We could lose her.” Then another, “Wallet stolen. Tom and mom left without us. Going home. Broken.”

Well, they didn’t go home. She was stuck in the Philly airport with 4 exhausted children and her father while Tom and her mom were on their way to Ukraine to see what they could do on that end. Reagan reached out to her Facebook friends for help. She could only do so much. She asked people to post their story and ask for help. They needed passports NOW! I have NEVER seen friends and strangers rally like they did to get them help.  People were up all night for a couple nights, calling state representatives and news stations and anyone they could think of that might be able to expedite their passports.  Their brother-in-law, Toby, who also lives in Raleigh, went to their house late that night, got their birth certificates and DROVE them to Philly! And for those who didn’t know what else to do or who else to call, they called on God to make a way. That’s where I helped. It was the only thing I knew to do. People who didn’t even know them were praying. Their story spread like wildfire and captured the hearts of thousands!

Two days after their original flight, Reagan, the kids and her dad boarded the plane, new passports in hand, to Frankfurt and then on to Kiev for what I’m sure was a pretty emotional reunion with Tom and Sherrie.  They made their critical meetings.  And days later finally got to hold their Liza!

There’s no way I could detail their entire adventure. They’ve already done that anyway AND they were the ones actually there. It’ll be much better coming from them! To read their story, you can find their blog at: http://myfarawayhome.blogspot.com.

In short … they saved Liza and made it home on Christmas Day!  Though that’s not the end of the story. It’s really still just the beginning … there’s a lot of adjusting now that they’re all home.

It was unreal the roadblocks they came up against on their journey … day after day after weary day! The missing wallet and passports were just the beginning. But God made a way around EVERY one of those roadblocks and He was there with them in that dark and scary place! He showed them and countless others that He still moves Mountains … literally. And through the Mountains’ obedience and trust that God had a plan, eyes have been opened to the many many TEENAGED children around the world who still need homes.

In fact, after hearing the Mountains’ story, a family here in the US has started the adoption process for Liza’s best friend, Alona, who will be 16 in July. Again, it’s a race against the clock!

Tom wrote in one of the blog posts while they were there, “We could think of no possible reason that God would allow the theft of the passports just as we began our journey to do something he has commanded: to care for an orphan.  But a dozen politicians, several news stories, hundreds of friends and potentially tens of thousands of strangers later, God has been praised and glorified- and we are not a moment behind our original schedule.”

During their time there, I felt the Lord nudging me to do something. I WANTED to do something, but WHAT? As I started listening more, I felt like He was telling me I needed to photograph the family.  But we live 10 hours from them (when they’re home) and I simply didn’t have the extra cash to get there. Plus, I wasn’t sure we could swing it with me being gone for a couple days (I DO have a toddler). Logistically, I just wasn’t sure it would work. So, part of me just kind of let it go, thinking I couldn’t make it happen. But there was a bigger part of me that COULDN’T let it go. Once they were home, I wrote to Reagan and told her that God had been speaking to me about somehow trying to tell their story … this new chapter in their story … in photographs (obviously, I couldn’t tell the Ukranian part). I wanted to do it at their home, but I told her I wasn’t sure how I could make it work. We talked back and forth about it. Then a couple weeks later, she wrote saying that they were coming to Tennessee for a visit. Her parents live about an hour from here. She wondered if we could do it there. SO, one cold day in early February, our mutual friend Tara, her son and my London drove with me to Lebanon, Tennessee and I photographed the Mountains!

Down by the creek … one of their favorite spots on the property.

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Then I spent some time with each of the younger Mountains (in no particular order).  Meet Isabel …

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And Mercy … (Unfortunately, I don’t have many of her sweet face. I don’t think she was in the mood to be photographed much that day.)

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And Liza …

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And October …

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And Keeper …

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Reagan has pictures of her holding each of her biological children when they were babies … black and white images against a white background. She has them in her bedroom. One evening, Liza was in looking at the pictures and asked where hers was. It was then that Reagan realized she needed to get some of the two of them in a similar setting. That’s when she messaged me and said they were going to plan a trip to Tennessee.

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Just Tom and Reagan …

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Tom and the kids …

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Finally, just for fun, I’m sharing a couple pictures they took that day. This is Isabel and me on the trampoline.

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Me, Reagan and Tara …

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Liza and I. This is what I look like after a 6 hour shoot back and forth between inside and outside in wind and cold and the occasional snow. Liza looks gorgeous!

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