Farewell Sister Brisco

23 years, that’s how long Sister Brisco has been a part of my life. She’s known me since diapers. Literally. And I can honestly say, she’s had a HUGE part in molding me into the person I am today.

Saundra Brisco (Sis. B) has been in children’s ministry for 50 years. She stared in ministry when she was just 16 years old. This past Sunday, we celebrated her 23 years of ministry at my home church, Montgomery First. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, I didn’t think this day would ever come— Sis. Brisco is retiring. Of course, you can’t leave us until we throw you one over the top Farewell reception complete with over a thousand balloons, bagel bites and a slit walking clown.

As a child I remember Saturday morning Easter egg hunts, parents night out, spring break trips to Butts Mills Farm and even Kids Camp. I remember the first solo she gave me in a baseball themed program. I thought I was hot stuff in my white and red baseball tee. I even remember the time she had me dress up like a toy soldier and glued fake side burns on my cheeks for Christmas. Ouch! We’ve made lots of memories through out the years, Too many to count. But through those memories have come a lot of teachable moments.

If there is one thing that I would have to classify as ‘The Biggest Thing Sister Brisco Has Taught Me” it would be: How to Love People. I’ve had the privilege of serving under her ministry, working side by side with her week after week. We’ve even traveled the world together and I can honestly say she’s the same person in Montgomery, Alabama as she was in South Africa, Ecuador and Guatemala. Her heart for kids is something special. I can vividly remember standing outside a elementary school in South Africa in 2009, dusty dirt roads, kids running around who haven’t eaten in days, showered in probably weeks, but it didn’t matter. She saw someone who needed love, and that’s what she gave them. Wether it was a hug, prayer or even a smile– She could’ve cared less about what their background was, the color of their skin or how well dressed they where or what they smelled like. She once  said to me “Evan, Happiness comes when we learn to love others.” Talk about ah-ha moment, in the middle of Africa at that. I’ll never forget it. Today I find myself loving on those who are in need, who may be different from others and it’s credited to her and the values she spoke into me at an early age.

Speaking of traveling together, boy have we done our fair share together. From Kids Crusades, field trips and overseas adventure we’ve been side by side. I LOVE telling people about the time Sis. B decided to wear white pants on our 16 hour flight back to the states from South Africa and spilled diet coke on them 45 minutes in our flight—she had a bing brown stain for hours. Or the time we were in the Canary Islands and she didn’t like the tuna casserole the sweet church ladies offered her, so she pretended to eat it and threw it in the bushes. They saw her plate was empty so, they brought her more. You know what she did next, she threw it in the bushes again, and they brought her, yet another round. We laughed for hours. I could go on and on with stories, life lessons and memories we’ve shared but I’ll save those for my trip to visit you at the beach.

Sunday night I overhead people saying “It’s bitter sweet. We hate to see her go.”, but I say it’s all sweet and no bitter. We’ve laughed together, cried together even hooted and hollered. We’ve done life together but For now, I suppose two inadequate words will have to do: Thank you. Thank you for accepting me, loving me, teaching me, laughing with me, and most importantly praying for me. Thank You for being an inspiration not only to me, but those in our church, our city, our state and even the world. I won’t say “Goodbye”, I’ll just say “Until we meet again.”. I Love You Sister Brisco.

Humbled

Yesterday, I did something that I typically wouldn’t do. Something that most would’ve considered out ordinary for me. I left my blog camera’s at home and told very few people what my plans for Wednesday afternoon actually were.

Why?

Because I wanted to do this for myself. Most of you are probably thinking I spent my day at the spa or shoe shopping but I didn’t. I volunteered at a local nursing home. I didn’t do it for publicity. I didn’t do it because a family member is a resident. I did it because I saw a need.  2015-12-02_0002 Mrs. Alberta Woodson has been volunteering at 6 different nursing homes and rehab facilities in our city for years. Residents look forward to seeing her walk through the doors each year for their annual Christmas Party. She leaves not detail untouched. Showering each resident with gift after gift. They don’t get just a candy cane– Mrs. Woodson does it up right. Wether it’s 40 patients or 200 they all go back to their rooms with an arm full of goodies.  Lotion, shampoo, socks, fruit baskets, cologne and they even get a few new clothes.

I’ll be honest with you though, I was unsure of what I was getting into. I hate hospitals and nursing homes. I don’t know what it is but it just freaks me out.  But I left South Haven nursing home yesterday  afternoon a better person that I walked in.

2015-12-02_0001 Thanksgiving has come and gone but the spirt of the holiday keeps on giving. I stepped outside to grab some extra cookies out of the car and when I walked back in I will forever remember the minute I stepped foot in the cafeteria. Nurses, volunteers and residents were gathered around  a boom box singing an old hymn. You couldn’t wiped the smile from my face. It was something I’ll hold in my heart forever.

Thankfulness is a choice and when we choose to be thankful our emotions have no reason but to be exude joy. It can be the smallest act of kindness, but when it’s given out of gratitude it’s bigger than we imagine.

As American’s we sometimes get so caught up in our bubble that we forget about everyday life around us. Wednesday was a day that I needed. A day that took me back to reality and made me realize a life isn’t so bad after all.

Thank You Mrs. Alberta Woodson has a servants heart and obeying the call that was placed on your life years ago. I was honored to be a part and look forward to Monday.

 

#Columbus14

What’s going on America? It’s been a while Huh? I thought summer was suppose to be chill and boring once you grow up and become an adult, right? WRONG! This summer has been packed with adventures, weddings, traveling and more traveling. Over the last week I was in Columbus, Ohio for the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival.  Growing up in the AG, Fine Arts has been a part of my life for years. From drama, photography, music and even human videos, it’s in my blood. I’ve done it all.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Assemblies of God and Fine Arts, here is a little re-cap video from this year’s festival. FA is discovering, developing and deloying your gifts for ministry. The best way I have found to describe nationals is, America’s Got Talent for Church Kids. There’s everything from vocals, dance, photography, show choir, to puppets, poetry songwriting, Walking the halls of the convention always provides some head turning.
I have officially reached the age cap for the festival and this year I was invited to be a guest evaluator. Nervous didn’t even describe my feelings. I remember getting the email from Jack and Lori (the festivals coordinators) like it was yesterday. I was floored, honored and humbled. As a past national fine arts award of merit winner, it meant TONS to me that they would even consider inviting me to come and invest into the lives of hundreds of students from around the nation. I’ve stood where they’ve stood. I’ve practice hours upon hours and worked my tail off. It’s not easy, but for me it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve been a part of. 2014-08-02_0002 While in Columbus I had the pleasure of evaluating with some of the Finest. After receiving their comments and critics for years, it was pretty exciting to finally put a face and name with their sloppy handwriting. 😉 Evan G. Cooper dot com readers please give a round of applause for my new friends Lauren, Chase and Lori. I think we laughed more than anything. We had a blast together and my week in Columbus was greater than expected because I got to spend it with them. 2014-08-02_0004 Friday night was the Celebration service for the Festival. It’s like the Oscars of the event. This year the event was hosted by former Fine Arts baby and American Idol contestant Angie Miller.  We were priveleged enough to have a student from our group take home a national award of merit this year. I have known Garrison for years. Watching him work year after year as he entered photo after photo has finally paid off.  I couldn’t be more excited for him and his win. Thanks for letting me have a small part in helping you achieve one of your goals. 2014-08-02_0003 Writing comments on a sheet of paper for 10 hours a day straight, 3 days in a row is beyond exhausting, but we ALWAYS make time for a little fun. Kings Island, Here We Come! 2014-08-02_0001 Oh and Jenis Ice Cream.  Goat Cheese and Black Cherries, YES PLEASE!!!!! 2014-08-02_0005 With all of that being said, Fine Arts is more than a comptetion as I mentioned above. It’s about developing your gifts and talents for ministry. To be in the same city with 12,000 talented individuals, watching their performances, listening to their songs is nothing short of amazing. But having the opportunity to invest in their lives was certainly the icing on the cake. Thanks Columbus for having me. It’s been a pleasure!! I’ll see you guys in Orlando next year, well If Jack and Lori will have be back. 😉 Oh I’ll be starting a campaign very soon… I’m determined to host the Celebration Service next year.  Move over Angie!!!

2013: One Last Glimpse

Oh my stars y’all!!!  2013 has finally come to a close. I don’t know where to begin!!  It has been one Heck of a year! If you would’ve asked me what 2013 had in store last year on New Years Eve I would have told you, “I have no idea.”  Literally! I was scared to death!

In December of 2012 I made the decision to pursue my dreams–  I knew that whatever I wanted to happen or dreamed of happening wasn’t going to happen without bathing my dreams and goals in prayer. So, after lots of prayer and multiple conversations with my parents, I quit my full time job at Kim Box Photography,  took a leap of faith and jumped in to Evan & Co. full time. Looking back on that decision I wouldn’t  have changed a thing. I’m so blessed that the Lord has allowed me to do something I’m passionate about and love so much! I can’t put into words how thankful I am for all the experiences, clients and opportunities that were put in front of me in 2013. It really has been the best year of my life.

The quote from Walt Disney is ALL ME. Just ask my family and friends. It’s the perfect representation of 2013.

 

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Ok, you’ve been warned… this post is full of iPhone Pictures (the best camera is always the one you carry with you) and lots of pretty pictures from professionals. Don’t mind the mix!

I started 2013 out right– a ski trip with some of my closest friends. We loaded up the van and headed to West Virginia. I’m not a cold weather fun, but everything is better when you’re with friends, right?  2014-01-02_0003

As if one ski trip wasn’t enough, I hopped on a plane and headed to Colorado for 2 weeks after I arrived back from WV. I LOVE it there. Good food and lots of laughs. 2014-01-02_0004

Late January Aubrie, Kim and I  held the 2nd Annual Souther Bridal Faire. It was Bigger and Better than the previous year. We had over 500 folks come through the doors and over 200 Brides. Never did we think it would be what it is today. Aubrie and I took the stage to welcome the guest and open the show. I LOVE this shot, “I forget to take my gum out”. 2014-01-02_0007

I set up my first EVER bridal show booth. I think it turned out pretty good. Aren’t those calligraphy place cards FANTASTIC?? Poppy Pedals help take my booth to the next level. Of course everything was Yellow! It’s my FAVORITE color! Photos By: Nikki P

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This might have been my BIGGEST moment of 2013– I picked up the keys to my 2,220 square ft office. I felt like a grownup. 2014-01-02_0009

Thankfully I was in my new office just in time to prep for Paul and Stephanie’s wedding. Her bouquet is (I think) my most FAVORITE I’ve created yet. I just LOVE all the bright colors– they pop so well. Photos By: Josh Moates | Kim Box Photography  2014-01-02_0012 2014-01-02_0016

Next up is weekend I’ll NEVER forget. We had 3 weddings. Yes, I said 3!! I thought Sharon (my assistant) was going to kill me We’ve never worked harder. To this day I don’t know why I agreed to it, but I did and We rocked it out!

First on that weekend’s agenda, Ashley and Meghan’s beautiful Friday nuptials. Isn’t she stunning. Her and her family were beyond precious. Such sweet, sweet people and I couldn’t have been more excited to be a part of their day! Photo By: Josh Moates | Kim Box Photography

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My cousin Tyler said I do to his beautiful Bride Penni that weekend too. I LOVED her color combo.So beautiful– lovely shades of purple and pinks. Photo By: Brooke Glassford | Colorbox Photography  2014-01-02_0013 2014-01-02_0015

Lastly we rounded out our busy weekend with a stunning wedding in Selma, Alabama for Peyton and Andy. I just LOVE her. Her wedding was inspired by an antique Wedgwood Box. I’ll be sharing her photos on the blog very soon! Their 1 year anniversary is approaching. Photo by Josh Moates | Kim Box Photography

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One of my most FAVORITE things as a planner and event designer is getting to show the Bride and Groom their reception space before all of the guest arrive. I just love this photo. It’s framed sitting on my book case at the office.

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I styled 2 shoots for the Wedding Edition of RSVP Magazine. 1st up, a feature on honeymoon attire. The call time for this shoot was killer but the private Jet, Prada Sunglasses and Louboutin shoes totally made up for it!

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Also in that same issue of RSVP Magazine my friend Rae and I pulled together this FABULOUS Nautical inspired shoot for a special feature. Isn’t that  J.Crew gown perfection? Gets me every time! Photos By: Aubrie Lemon  2014-01-04_0001

I attended a charity event with the Bill and Giuliana Rancic. I gave her some hair care tips. 😉 I look back at these photos and think, what was I wearing?

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Kimberly and Davis said I-Do in April and her bouquet might be close 2nd for “Favorite bouquet” I’ve created. Isn’t it beautiful? I LOVE that color combo, shades of red, burnt oranges and ivory. Photos By: Faith Burkett | Kim Box Photography  2014-01-04_0002

We had kind of a lull during the month of May but picked right back up in June with Katie and Joe’s beautiful wedding at The Oaks Plantation. I die every time I Look at these images. They are stunning. That butter-y sunlight couldn’t be more gorgeous! Photo By: Josh Moates | Kim Box Photography 2014-01-04_0004 1150812_10200276007054022_138115990_n

June was the a busy month. We knocked out a few weddings and hopped on a plane to Austria. MOST.BEAUTIFUL.PLACE.EVER. I wrote a full post about our trip here. Check it out!  2013-07-26_0009 2013-07-28_0010 2013-08-03_0002

August started with a trip to Orlando for National Fine Arts Festival. While there I had the opportunity to meet one of my Favorite Authors, Mark Batterson. If you haven’t read any of his books do yourself a favor and go pick a few up. I posted a recent review on The Circle Maker here and also his newest book, All In here. While in Orlando, I was honored to receive a national award of merit for photograph I shot while in Guatemala. We even took a field trip to Universal Studios and Island of Adventures. I think I rode the Hulk like 10 times. LOVE that ride.  2014-01-05_0002

My sweet friend over at Hannah Akers Photography enlisted my help to throw a Bridal Shower for her friend Kayleigh. The details were PERFECT. I am obsessed with that floral cake topper and those strawberry baskets we used for the table arrangements. Photo By: Hannah Akers Photography 2013-09-02_0001 2013-09-02_0002

August was a busy, busy month for us. We rounded out the month with 2 weddings. First up, Marcus and Jasmine. I don’t think I could have met anyone sweeter. I wish I had a recording of the phone call between her mother and I after the wedding– So Sweet. It was a pure joy to be a part of their wedding. I can’t wait to update our site with some of their gorgeous photos. Photos By: K. Bryant Images  

2014-01-04_0005 2014-01-04_0009 No only did we get to be a part of Kayleigh’s Bridal Shower, We were a part of the wedding too. She was as sweet as they come. Despite the rain and No Chicken Fingers, her day was PERFECT! Photos By: Hannah Akers Photography 

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September was full speed ahead with 4 HUGE Weddings. My good friend Nick said I-Do to his beautiful bride Elizabeth on a Hot (Like 100 degrees hot) September Saturday afternoon. I just recently posted about their wedding here. Photos By: Josh Moates | Kim Box Photography

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Hevan and Jarrod were up next. It poured and poured rain on the weekend of their Big Day, but I couldn’t have asked for a more understanding and go with the flow bride. She still texts me randomly and tells me how perfect everything was and that she misses her flowers. Photos By: Kim Box | Kim Box Photography

View More: http://kimboxphotography.pass.us/miller Lastly, Alexandra and Ron’s beautiful wedding at Anderson Gail Farms. I LOVED this focal arrangement the most. Why? Because we had something else in mind, but our container broke on the way up, so we had to improvise. It came out 10x better than what I imaged. Photo By: Blue Moon Studios  2014-01-05_0003

October, a month I had been waiting for. We’ve been planning #thechapelmarket for so long and it was finally here. You can read my full post about The Chapel Market here.

2013-10-23_0014 2013-10-23_0007 2013-10-23_0003 My graphic designer Amanda finally walked down the aisle. You can see a FULL post from her and Tj’s Big Day here. Photo By: Nick Drollette View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/claybrook Michael and Elyse’s wedding was picture perfect. Jonathan Kohn captured it beautifully. I don’t want to give away to much, there’s a post coming on Thursday! Get Ready! It’s a stunner! 😉 View More: http://enlove.pass.us/elyse--michael View More: http://enlove.pass.us/elyse--michael April and Corey’s November wedding was totally them 100%. I can’t wait to show off all of the reception photos. The Bride is an avid reader and we incorporated TONS of old vintage books into her table centerpieces. It turned out just lovely and I would be silly if I didn’t mention that bouquet. So happy with the way it turned out too. Aren’t those roses beautiful? Photos By: Shae Owens Photography  2014-01-04_0013 2014-01-04_0012

My family and I took a quick trip to Gatlinburg, TN  for Thanksgiving. So much fun just to get away from the hustle and bustle of work. Despite the faint cell phone service and tiny bed, I made it! Aren’t those iPhone pictures the best? 😉  2014-01-05_0001 I think the BIGGEST honor of 2013 was when I received a phone call about decorating the Governor’s Mansion. I still can’t believe it happened. I posted the entire run down here. Not only was I asked to decorate the Mansion, I also decorated the State Capital. So FUN!! Such a HUGE honor! 2013-11-26_0019 2013-11-26_0012 It’s been 2 years since I met this sweet family and 2013 was the year we kicked our friendship into high gear! So FUN!!  They asked me to snap their picture for their Christmas Cards and of course I couldn’t say no. I wrote an entire post dedicated to #thegodwingang here. 2013-11-26_0002 They were also kind enough to let me into their home and decorate it for the holidays. So happy they LOVED it. If you missed the complete run down on our holiday mantle post, be sure to check it out here Photo By: Nick Drollette   View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/cooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/cooper So excited to be a part of Chris and Michelle’s big day! She wanted everything pretty neutral and romantic. I LOVE how her bouquet turned out. It fit with everything so well. Photo by: Nick Drollette 

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Finally we ended the year with Patrick and Kim. Their Saturday evening December wedding was just lovely. No amount of rain could stop us! I am dying over her Christmas-y bouquet. Oh and let’s talk about her dress… that woven pattern is perfection. She rocked it! Photos by: Brian Moats 

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2014-01-05_0005 We had to get one last Christmas Craft in before the holiday break, so Layla invited me over for an afternoon of crafting. We had a blast! It’s always a treat when I’m with her. She wrote about it over on her blog. Check it out! If you haven’t heard of her, She’s FABULOUS! Subscribe to her blog, NOW!  2014-01-06_0003 I finally got around to mailing my Christmas Cards. After I dropped them off at the post office I went officially went on “vacation”. My family and I had a wonderful Christmas. It’s been a tradition for years… We go to the Movies on Christmas afternoon. This year we saw Saving Mr. Banks. It was STELLAR. Emma Thompson was a pure genius. Oh and the best part about Christmas… I even got a few things off of my Wishlist— My Mom did good! Oh and Lindsey too. Her and Baby J gifted me the book I wanted.

2014-01-06_0001 We ended 2013 with one last celebration…I couldn’t imagine spending New Years Eve with anyone else. We’ve been doing it for years, why stop now? My sister even came down to surprise Hannah. It wouldn’t have been the same without her.

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Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! You guys have made this year what it has been. My heart is so happy and full and wouldn’t wanted 2013 to be any other way. We’re ready to tackle 2014. It’s going to be a wild ride! HOLD ON! 😉