Five Years and TWO Babies Later


Aug 21, 2023

You may be asking yourself – wait, are Anna and Ryan having ANOTHER BABY?!  Do I have your attention, because I have really BIG NEWS! 

It seems unreal that our journey with Refuge started 5 years ago.. And in a way, as I look back it almost feels like we had our first baby 5 years ago and named it Refuge Photography. It took all of our time, money, and energy. New parents – can you relate? 

You see, five years ago when we used a credit card and bought our first camera.. We had NO clue how to operate that camera. That’s right, we decided to launch a photography business without even knowing how to use a professional camera – manual mode, what’s that? And running a business, well they didn’t necessarily teach this on the school bus, classroom, or football field when we were teaching public school. 

But what we did have was burning hearts to show people the love of Jesus and that they are beautifully and wonderfully made. And we had a goal. And if we can be fully open with you, our goal seemed completely unattainable and like we were probably being unrealistic. You know the “who am I to do this, or how could we possibly” thoughts that you have when you think of a goal and you can’t see the path to get there.

A Goal So Big

What was this goal that seemed so unreachable? It was our goal that within 5 years we wanted to build our business to where I could come out of the classroom and be full time. And maybe, just maybe one day (if we were lucky) we could both work together in our business full-time.  

Well I’m here to say that God’s plans for Refuge have been more than we could ever think or imagine. Because we’ve watched as He’s moved through things like the following:

  • We both went full time in our business only 17 months after launching it.
  • We started and grew a team of photographers from the ground up.
  • We moved states away to a place we had only visited once, and call home – 30A, FL.
  • Our business has served over 300 Refuge brides and counting.
  • We both get to be present parents with our baby girl. 

Honestly the list could go on and on with evidence of how His plans are far greater than ours. Because friend, we aren’t smart enough or “good enough” to be able to make those things happen on our own. The past 5 and a half years can truly be summarized with Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”

And while the past 5 years have been amazing – they haven’t come without hardship, pain, discomfort, and a whole lot of pressure. 

Especially the last 10.5 months… Because 10.5 months ago we were introduced to the biggest surprise, that has turned into the biggest blessing of our entire lives!

Alys Kate Elizabeth Leonard

Even if we would’ve been planning for a baby – or if I would’ve been in a season of prepping to become a mom- I don’t think I could’ve ever been prepared for the way this new season of life and responsibility of being a mom has changed me.

And while it’s the hardest change in life I’ve ever had to face, it’s simultaneously been the best.  Because while it’s broken me down, it’s been in the breaking that I’ve been built. Built more and more into who God created me to be. It’s as if I’ve lost myself and found myself all at the same time.  And I have such a deeper and more real understanding of God’s love for us than ever before.

And here’s where I want to be truly honest with you all. In this season of welcoming and transitioning to life with our new baby… I lost sight of our first baby, Refuge.

We were blessed with wonderful women that we’re forever thankful for, who came alongside us in this new season of parenthood and kept our business operating and fully loving and serving. But for me, I found myself feeling spread too thin, and wondering if I would ever get back to the “work Anna” I was pre-baby. And honestly, I questioned if I ever wanted to get back there again. 

There’s No Going Back

I’ve spent the past month and a half away from social media and submerging myself in God’s word to seek clear answers about the purpose God has for us and for Refuge in this new season. The answer I found – No.

No, it won’t be pre-baby Anna behind the Refuge account. Why? Because no one ever grew backwards. So I’m not going back – I’m growing forward.

Baby We’re Back

So after this past month and a half away from social media, I’m excited to be back on social media to share and bring you along as we continue pursuing what God is calling us to! I’m excited to get back to sharing His goodness and blessings with you and to show you proof that God’s purpose and plans for you are better than you could ever plan for yourself! 

So get ready for the confetti, because baby we’re back!🎉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *