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Hi, I am Nathana Clay from Columbia, Missouri. Here are 10 fun facts about me:

1. I am mom to three kids: a five-year-old daughter and twin two-year-old boys. My life is crazy beautiful–emphasis on the crazy.

Our house is loud. All three of our kids have big voices and personalities. As a more quiet introvert, this can be tiring. But I love our chaos. And our kids are amazing, full of life and creativity. Being a mom is the hardest and best thing I have ever done. I am constantly amazed at how much my kids love each other. As an only child, I always wanted siblings, so it makes me happy to see them become best friends.

2. I have major weaknesses for coffee, ice cream, and donuts.

Really, I love good food in general: BBQ, Asian foods, pizza, Mexican, etc. Also, eating ice cream after the kids go to bed with my husband while we watch The Great British Bakeoff or The Office is a great way to end the day.

3. I am a 1w9 on the enneagram and an INFJ according to the Myers Briggs personality test.

This means a lot of things–but as a photographer, it means I am going to do my best for you. I want to know you, relate to you, and capture the beauty of your family in a meaningful way. And while I am naturally introverted, I really do love being around people and getting to know new people. I may not be in-your-face aggressively outgoing, but I promise that I look forward to meeting you and becoming friends.

4. When I do have the chance to slow down, I enjoy hiking, drinking coffee, adult conversation with friends, reading books, playing board games, crocheting, and photography.

Slowing down is rare with young kids. But we are learning how to find rest and connection in the chaos. It is part of the beauty of playdates with other moms–conversations with hundreds of interruptions!

5. Our dog Hazel is the most laid back dog in the world.

When we were looking to get our first dog we were living in a second-floor apartment. We called about pug puppies, but the person told us we should check out this other easy-going, low-maintenance dog who needed a good family. I wish I could thank this person. It was love at first sight. Also, a total blessing. God knew we would need an easy dog. Three moves and three kids later, Hazel is still patient and awesome.

6. I love the movie Dan in Real Life. I am always up to watch it again.

The music, the casting, the situational humor. I love it all.

7. One of my favorite sandwiches is peanut butter and tomato.

My mom made these all the time in the summer with fresh garden tomatoes. I had no idea this wasn’t a thing until college. I still eat these sandwiches. My husband frequently reminds me that it is gross. But I think it tastes sweet, juicy, and amazing. The tomato does need to be a flavorful, juicy garden tomato. Roma tomatoes from Walmart will be a sore disappointment.

8. Nebraska Runza sandwiches are amazing. And yes, chili should be served with cinnamon rolls!

Here is a link to a homemade runza recipe. You really should try it. Also, seriously, try cinnamon rolls and chili together. You will thank me.

9. I love the works of John Neihardt–a Nebraska/Missouri poet.

As a Nebraska girl transplanted in Columbia, Missouri, where he eventually lived and taught at MU, I feel very strongly connected. My husband learned about my love for Neihardt’s poetry before our first date over 14 years ago. And it is my not-so-secret dream career (outside of phoography) to become a John Neihardt scholar. Or at least photograph the annual conference in Bancroft, NE. #goals.

10. My Bachelor’s Degree is in English and Secondary English and History Education.

How did I go from education to photography? Well, I have learned that life rarely goes how we expect it will. My husband graduated with a Bible degree and was a youth minister for a few years. Now, he is a Bible teacher at a local private school. He teaches middle school, and ironically, his first major (before switching) had been middle school education. As a child, I dreamed of traveling, writing, and photography. I guess, in terms I didn’t know then, photojournalism. As a shy child, I never thought I would photograph people. Slowly, I have grown less shy and more confident. I also discovered after having children that I love photographing families. As our family grew, I learned how important family photography is in preserving memories. Time moves fast, these years are fleeting moments we never get back. My desire is to capture the beauty, love, and connection you have. I have always loved reading and writing poetry, and I believe photography is an outgrowth of that. There are so many similarities in how I observe and capture.