Part I The Lie We Believed
I am starting a new series called… Drum Roll Please…. We are Luke & Ashley. Don’t you like that? I know so original!
After our session with Katelyn and Michael which you can totally read about here, we decided that we needed to become more vulnerable in who we are.
It is important that our clients can relate to us on not just a professional level but on a personal level. You see we truly are passionate about our clients.
It doesn’t matter if you were a family that booked us when we were just starting out, a high school senior getting ready to start their life, or a couple who is engaged planning their wedding.
We value each one of you and we want to be more than a photographer. We know that we were called to encourage, be an example, and a friend to those we serve.
And we truly are thankful for all those who trust us to capture fleeting moments in their lives.
When you get to know us you will realize that we are passionate about photography, coffee, and finances. Photography is our gift, our job, and something we love to do.
Coffee is the door to fellowship for us. When we invite you over you will most likely have a cup of Luke’s coffee.
Coffee sets the tone for good conversation, laughter, and trust in our home.
We are also very passionate about finances. Not in a way where we want to balance your checkbook, crunch numbers, and talk the stock market.
That actually is kind of boring to us.
We believe that God calls us all to be good stewards over what he has given us. When we are good stewards then life seems a little more at peace and we have vision for the future.
When we are not good stewards over what he has given us (and this can be applied to everything in life), then things can get pretty messy. And this is where I want to share our story.
Our story of the lie we believed and how we are overcoming it today.
10 years ago Luke and I got married. We were both Airman in the Airforce and even though I was only a E2 and him an E3, we were doing pretty well just starting out as a couple.
We got our first apartment and began to live our newlywed life together.
The problem came shortly after. We knew we had money coming in, but it seemed like we never had enough. I mean when you get married, your supposed to buy stuff right?
So we began to buy furniture, computers, electronics, cars, and of course after about 2 years…a house.
Again, we were doing alright but not great. Now we were both E-4’s with BAH and a baby on the way.
You would think we would begin to plan and save. NOPE. Our wants and desires for the moment came before the need to save and plan. Now with a baby on the way it was time to buy baby clothes, crib, strollers, and all that other stuff you think you need when you first become pregnant.
We believed the lie. The lie that we deserved things. We deserved whatever we wanted because we worked for it. We believed the lie that when we wanted something we shouldn’t have to wait.
So we began to not only live beyond our paycheck, but we began to get into debt.
Charging cards here and there and thinking we were okay because everyone else was doing it and we could make the payments.
Then November 2006 my sweet baby girl was born. 7lbs of pure sweetness. My heart was full and I knew I just couldn’t leave her and go back to work.
Lucky me my maternity leave ran into my date of separation. So December 2006 I was out of the military.
We soon felt the effects of going from two incomes to one. We began to sacrifice our wants so that we could meet our needs. However, there was still no plan of action. The only reason we were sacrificing was because we had no choice. So then after my daughter turned 8 months I decided I needed to go back to work. I got an awesome job as a mammography technician.
With an amazing baby sitter and an awesome paycheck you would think things would change. NOPE. Our behaviors never changed and we began to spend again more than we had.
2008 Luke got out of the military. No job waiting and me working only part time. We had debt stacking up against us and we were beginning to feel the weight of it all.
March 2009. We purchased an existing water delivery business. We had no experience whatsoever on how to run a business.
It sounded great until once we took over we realized the equipment would need to be replaced. The whole store would need to be relocated and they owed a lot of people a lot of money.
It was a rough time. Our marriage was strained. I had to quit my job and help with the business. Our annual income that year was 14,000.00 I am not sure how we made it.
December 2009 we welcomed our 2nd baby girl and May 2010 we closed the business. We walked away with 86,000 in debt. Luke got a job making 12.oo an hour and I was at home with the 2 girls. We were facing bankruptcy, lawsuits, and the sense of failure was looming over us. It was humiliating, depressing, and a very dark time.
This was all because we believed the lie that it’s okay to spend outside your means. It’s okay to charge up those credit cards as long as you can afford the payments.
We were dead wrong and we definitely learned the hard way.
But great news! That is not the end of the story and I cannot wait to share with you how that time in our life shaped us into who we are today.