lessons from a driver’s license

Last week I finally renewed my three-weeks-expired driver’s license at our local DMV office. You may have seen my tweet about it, but, I actually had a fairly pleasant experience at a convenient little kiosk that helped me get in and out of there in a mere couple of minutes. But, rest assured, this post isn’t about the newfound conveniences of local government (’cause, well, no others come to mind).

No, what struck me yesterday afternoon as I opened up my new license and let it take the place of the card that has sat in my back pocket for the last four years was how different life is now versus then and, quite frankly, how different I am. So, let me describe to you the differences between old me and new me (and, in the process, humiliate myself by showing off my ghastly and incredibly unfortunate license photo from five years ago)…

(I told you it was terrible)

I’m in college, two weeks from graduating. I’ve got the perfect home in an MC dorm room, and have been spending the last several months interning with Kelly Moore-Clark and have this subtle idea that maybe I would like to pursue photography a little bit more intentionally. Last month I purchased my first SLR camera–a Canon Rebel. My first wedding as the primary photographer is three weeks away. I own one lens, one flash, and my new camera. I’m all set.

I’m dating the prettiest girl I know and am saving feverishly for an engagement ring–hoping the few weddings I have booked will help me arrive at the funds needed to make the big purchase. I’m pretty sure that if I asked her to marry me tomorrow, she’d say yes. Let’s hope I’m right.

I’ve decided to work full-time at Mississippi College upon graduating. Since I’m not positive what I want to do with my life, it will be a good opportunity to pay the bills and buy me some time to find my career calling. I can’t wait to have a real job, an apartment (!!!), and be done with school!

Life has never been better.

Hmm, where to start? Well, I’ve been married to the only girlfriend I’ve ever had for  2 & 1/2 years. She’s the only girl for me. Period. I loved her when I met her, but have fallen in love with her in an even bigger way over the last five months as I’ve watched her carry our first baby with a courageous spirit and pronounced grace. A little girl named Meg will be changing our lives forever in August. I can’t wait to meet her, and I really hope she looks like her mom.

Last year, we were able to build our first home. It’s literally perfect for us. It’s right in Olde Towne Clinton (I hope I die living in this community), and just two blocks from my studio. Oh yeah, my studio!…

The business is such a tangible reminder of God’s gracious provision in my life. I started “followell | fotography”–officially–four years ago and have shot right at 125 weddings since then. It’s been incredibly busy, but I haven’t grown even the slightest bit tired of brides, grooms, cakes, sparklers, flowers, dresses or tuxes. I love the stories I’m asked to document, and even more the people whose lives tell them. I know that I’ve had the best clients a photographer could ask for. Just last week, the business was awarded membership into the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP). I’m the first (and currently only) Mississippi photographer to be a part. What blows my mind even more, though, is that the photographers who sponsored my application (and, coincidentally, have been my greatest creative inspiration since the start of my business) have become great friends. Ben & Erin Chrisman are about the classiest people I know and have become fast friends of ours. I hope to make many outrageous memories with them in the years to come.

I’ve had Heather Vines around at the studio managing the world for nearly two years and can’t believe that I’ll be seeing her go in just three weeks. I’m excited for the experiences that lie ahead for her and Eliott (as they move to Australia!), and excited about Sally Garcia joining the team. But, I am certain that there are certain voids that will always exist after Heather’s departure from f | f.

A community of friends surrounds us that pour goodness into our lives daily. We feel so supported in all of our endeavors because of the people that believe in us and motivate us toward living lives rooted in the gospel. We are richly blessed.

So, marrying the wife of my dreams, starting a business, building a home, and a baby on the way… while things are crazy and happening so fast, I am completely certain of this: life has never been better.


Thanks for the opportunity to take a few minutes to be introspective and rant on about the greatness of my Savior and the way He’s carried me so graciously the last four years. And thanks to so many of you who care enough about my world to read a bit about that journey. Honestly, all I can do now is exclaim my excitement about the next 4, 5, 10 years and where they’ll take the Followells…

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  • Lisa Tilley-NewmanApril 13, 2011 - 11:11 am

    What a lovely read! Thanks for sharing.

  • Amanda HillApril 13, 2011 - 11:45 am

    Very happy for you guys!

  • Micheal WalleyApril 13, 2011 - 4:24 pm

    Your blogs always inspire me! I have so much respect for you and how the Lord has shaped your life. Thanks for being awesome.

  • Rick RenfroeApril 13, 2011 - 9:47 pm

    I can’t thank you enough for posting this. Your description of meeting your wife & the whole saving for engagement & marriage… down to wanting your daughter to look like her make me smile. I would say that it reeks of Ephesians 5.. but it doesn’t stink at all.. if anything it is quite the pleasant aroma of sweet incense to Jesus! :-) What smell? What kind of pleasant? Well, maybe pancakes.. I’m sure God is in favor of pancakes right? (note: no intentional “diss” to Waffle-House… I’m not saying they are the demon to IHOP’s angel or anything..)

  • alanaApril 29, 2011 - 8:06 am

    what a blessing to read this first thing this morning =)
    you are the poster child for JOY Robby. Keep on giving Him the praise and just WATCH Him show off for you! Blessings!

  • ChristinaApril 30, 2011 - 12:08 pm

    So enjoyed reading this Robby! Life inspires life! All the best to and for you! God is good!

  • StephAnie SmithMay 27, 2011 - 12:46 pm

    Very cool – you shot our engagements and wedding mere months after that first license was issued! How cool is that?!
    My license expires soon – I might just have to steal this page from your playbook on my own blog :)