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Green Eyes and Gifts

It was second grade.  We were in the middle of a themed week in school.  Monday was something like “Funny Hat Day”, Tuesday was “Opposite Day”, and so on.  In the middle of day, some mildly motivated voice would come over the public announcement system requesting everyone that had complied with the theme of the […]

When God Calls the Heart

Sometimes our hearts are called to do something big – big enough for the heart to palpitate between the giddiness that comes with dreaming of all the possibilities and the anxiety that comes with the sheer reality of it all.  I was reading in Ezra this morning about the exiled Israelites that were finally given […]

Tis the Season!

What better time of the year to have a maternity session than during the season all about the most famous pregnancy of all?!  And what better place to have the maternity session than in a greenhouse nursery!  After all, it is the time when you’re preparing for the baby and getting things ready in the… […]

Christmas Ideas from Around the World

Thanksgiving weekend tends to be the kick-off for Christmas traditions.  This year we were in Grand Rapids, MI at my sister’s house, so we got to enjoy the Christmas tradition at Meijer Gardens – Christmas and Holiday Traditions from Around the World.  Having worked on a very international team when we lived overseas, I, of […]

3 Pro Tips for Thanksgiving Photos

It’s the week of Thanksgiving!!!!  Since you’ll be gathered already and have smart phones with fancy-shmancy portrait modes, I thought I’d throw out a few pro tips to make the most of the family photos that will inevitably take place this week.  Then you can post your photos with pride and not find yourself wishing […]

God Must Think I’m Strong

A few weeks ago I was catching up with a friend via text because one of her Facebook posts caught my eye, and I realized that I had very little idea what was going on in her personal life.  To say she had been thrown a curve ball in life may be an understatement.  She […]

Drummer Girl

“What?! I was in band, too!!!” I love it when I find connections with my clients, but this senior girl is infinitely WAY cooler than I ever was. First of all, she’s on the snare in marching band, which is the drummer responsible for keeping everyone’s March in step. I still remember our drum corp […]

Stay With It!

Jesus spoke truth when he said, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.” John 4:48 Our humanity severely limits our boundaries of faith to the point where that statement becomes truth. I also know we have a small amount of true faith because we’re told in Matthew that if we […]

Maintain Good Will

All the fun begins with the planning sessions I have with clients before the portrait sessions.  They usually start out polite, with a lot of I-don’t-know’s and not-interested-in-much’s. With just a little patience and digging around, personalities and interests do start to pop out.  What I’ve learned is that we are so fascinated (sometimes intimidated) […]

Merry Adult-ing!

Ah, the victory of successful adulthood – having your stuff together enough to be able to send out a family Christmas card (no matter what your family looks like)!  I’m so glad I was able to help with this one! My neighborhood association had a block party back in September, so I threw in a […]

Homegrown Handsome

This senior session was so special for me because he’s the son of one of my best friends.  I stopped at one point, with my jaw dropped open, and just stared at my friend. “Do you realize,” I said, “that he is less than a year away from when we first met each other?!” Shaking off […]

One Big Family

Despite air that felt like a heat wave coming off a frying pan, everyone’s face had tiny jewels of sweat framing their good-natured dispositions.  After all, this was a family that gathers together frequently and with much enthusiasm.  How could a balmy July evening stop that kind of bond?

Summer Nights

Here in Indiana the most common conversation is the weather.  It’s so ___________ (fill in the temperature).  We all act like whatever the weather is, it’s unusual – but that’s Indiana!  You never know what to expect!  We have something called a forecast, which many of you have in your local news segment.  We have […]

Happy Father’s Day!

Back in December this family received a gift voucher for a free family session at a baby shower.  The expecting mom was trying to decide when to use it.  She’d never had maternity photos, so maybe that was an option. She liked the idea of newborn photos (especially with three older siblings to dote over […]

Firsts and Lasts

I know you’ve walked into a small business before and seen a framed dollar bill behind the counter.  It is the first dollar bill they made in sales, and so its significance is frame-able.  There’s just something about “firsts”.  This session was a first for me – it was the first time a senior’s family […]

Stop Pre

It’s not often I meet someone that I’m taller than, but I was taller than this senior guy – when he was five! I may have continued being taller than him for a few more years, but we moved overseas for several years and I lost track of the height comparison. Let’s just say the […]

The List

Have you ever stepped back form an intense moment and observed yourself and the context of your surroundings?  It’s a sort of philosophical out-of-body experience, and at some point in this last year I found myself doing just that during a Sunday morning worship service at church.  I don’t remember what song we were singing, […]

Guest Post: Easter Traditions

I was recently delighted when one of my favorite bloggers, Heather Kiffe, asked if she could cross post one of my blog posts to her blog (The Cookie Exchange)!  I have previously highlighted her writing on my Facebook page for those who want to dig into their Bibles, but need suggestions as to where to begin.  Read just one of […]

Music, Art, and Reptiles

Believe it or not, this is not my first senior girl portrait session that has included a bearded dragon!  But that’s not what makes her so interesting. I’ve known this senior from the sidelines at church.  I’ve watched her grow up – a mini version of her mom.  Then I left the country for several […]

Proof in the Details

I’ll never forget the panic welling up from the bottom of my gut all the way into my throat. Headlights were aimed through the fog at the landslide of cheeseburgers, broccoli and cheddar potatoes, and chili-soaked soggy fries that had been released from the dumpster behind my first place of employment – Wendy’s. With gloves […]

Taste and See That the Lord is Good!

I love that the Lord teaches us through metaphors.  He uses our life experience to give us insight into his character and his ways.  I will be reading through the Bible, and a verse will jump out at me because it is so relevant to my circumstances.  Other times, I’ll see a verse that is […]

Mundane, I Think Not!

I came across this much needed reminder when I was reading my old journals. Written in June of 2000, this prayer still holds a lot of truth for me now – especially after the drudgery of winter when I’m tempted to think that life is mundane and trivial.

Teaching Life Skills

Last week was full of incoming freshman orientations, which got me to thinking… Am I ready for this?! Is he ready for this?! Forget high school, is he ready for life?!?!

My Window Testifies

I live in Indiana. Northern Indiana. I live in the sweet spot of northern Indiana, where we’re just below the lake effect snow, but north enough to enjoy a true winter. That being said, even this weather is crazy! I sit and watch the weather forecast with disbelief. Less than a week ago it was -15° F as the […]

Home for Christmas

This couple picks the worst weather days to move.  They’ve moved a lot – and they are very organized with all their experience.  Seriously organized.  But the weather likes to test them every. single. time.  They bought their first house this summer, and we helped them move.  It was hot. It was rainy. Of course! […]

While Shepherds Watch their Sheep by Night

As the Christmas season bustles in with music, tastes, and twinkle we often get giddy with anticipation thinking about the glorious event of God entering into our world – heaven intersecting with earth in the most tangible way imaginable.  God had been engaging mankind since creation, but he was always headed to this point – […]

Gift Ideas for Grandparents

Being a grandparent is sometimes tough – at least when it comes to gift giving.  The weekly store ads can be intimidating with 3-5 different kinds of gaming systems and dolls that look like they may not have the most altruistic motives.  Let me encourage you to take a step back and remember why you’re giving […]

Real Family Gatherings: Part 3

Part 3: Planning Tools and Strategies for Keeping the Joy Do you feel like you’ve met some new friends and gotten to “visit” in their homes?  In this series you have met three very real and very different women, and read about their favorite family gatherings.  Now it’s time to reveal their ah-ha! moments and […]

Real Family Gatherings: Part 2

Part 2: Reasons for Gathering In the last post I introduced you to three different women: Kelly, Amy, and Marcia.  While very different, they all valued gathering their families together.  Because I was interviewing them just before the big holidays, I assumed the family gatherings that we would be talking about would be for the […]

Real Family Gatherings: Part 1

Part 1: Meet Real Women I found three different women who had one thing in common – they love gathering their families together!  Otherwise, they couldn’t be more different from each other!  Perhaps you’ll really relate to one of them and the tips and survival strategies that they share! By the way, did you miss […]

Real Help for Real Family Gatherings

With turkey only 37¢ a pound this week at Meijer (for those of you in the Midwest), I thought this would be a good week to share some recent interviews that I have done about family gatherings.  In this upcoming series you will meet three very real and very different women, read about their favorite [...]

Drum Roll, Please

This session was the longest drum roll of my business yet.  You know how when something great is about to come and the orator requests, “Drum roll, please!”?  This client first contacted me in June for a senior portrait session at the end of October.  I always send out an easy questionnaire so I can […]

Buy a New Camera

The deals are starting to arrive to your inbox, your mailbox, and your social media ads – it’s shopping season!  Is this the time you were waiting for to buy that nice-looking camera?  Don’t let ignorance be the only reason you don’t take advantage of an incredible deal.  Let me break down the essential specs […]

Father Dearest

Parenthood is tough.  It is.  So is single parenthood.  Tougher, from my observations.  I have so many friends and family that are gripped with grace and doing an incredible job with single parenthood.  I realize they may not see it that way because they are in the middle of the forest.  I want to stop […]

5 Holiday Shopping Tips for Family Overseas

I have never been one to do Christmas shopping before late November – aside from the occasional find during garage sale season.  However, if you have family overseas (or your church has adopted a family overseas), then keep in mind that packages can take 2-4 weeks to arrive, so it’s time to start shopping! Don’t […]

Read Me a Story, Grandma!

I have taken a lot of pictures of grandchildren.  It kind of came with the territory when I lived overseas. I was the adopted aunt for other families, so I brought my camera with me to all the “family” gatherings and snapped pictures that I know I would find precious if I were living an ocean away […]

Where to Find Family

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and can be found where you least expect them.  The thing is – find family!  I have lived long distance from family all my life.  I always had access to immediate family, but grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles…  They always required a concerted effort and at least a weekend to go […]

Laughter For Everyone

It was such a magical evening – the leaves were starting to turn, pushed into a funny little dance by the gentle breeze.  As soon as the family stepped out of the car I saw that precious little toddler girl.  She was angelic looking!  I was so excited with all the surprises I had brought […]

Handkerchiefs and Aprons

It’s pointless. I feel helpless. Does faith really help? Do I matter? Often in the midst of overwhelming circumstances these are the statements that float to the top of my mind (well, my heart, really…).  I turn to Scripture to be reminded of the truth, and this particular passage has captured my attention – especially […]

When the Teacher is a Rotten Apple

For the longest time I wanted to be a teacher, because it was a teacher (several, actually) who saw the potential within me and inspired me to do something with it.  I also have the gift of seeing the potential in others, and I naturally want to bring the best out in them as well.  […]

Posing Secrets for the Average Woman

For all the women out there who hate having their photos taken – here are my favorite Photoshop-free tips for better portraits!  Because… Admit it… One day your kids are gonna love seeing you in these photos (and you should, too)!

What Have I Become?

A few months ago I got a text from a friend that read: As I was reading this morning I came across this for you.  I don’t know why I was supposed to give it to you, but it was a feeling.  Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but […]

Welcome Home, Little One

Have you ever thought your family was complete, and then there was one more – and you thought, ‘How did we ever live without her?!’  Meet this family!  Not only are they loyal and kind and generous and adventurous and… (yes, they are 100% all those things)… They are dreamers, and they inspire others to […]

Boy or Girl?

I was stuck.  Literally.  In a hole.  I had been concentrating on composing my shot and not falling into the lake that was less than a foot to my left, when all of a sudden I couldn’t move forward.  It wasn’t a creative block; my right foot stepped right into the middle of a small […]

Just Five Smooth Stones

When I come across “ah-ha!” moments in life, I like to record them. Sometimes it’s something I’ve never thought of before, and sometimes it’s an incredibly well-worded explanation to a truth that I’ve been experiencing but lacked the words to express.   And sometimes, they’re the perfect thing that you needed to slay your giant. We […]

Backyard Shenanigans

Superman and flower gardens have no chance at capturing my attention like these two kids did!  The expressions and posture of a 5 year old boy, whose entire world is colored by his imagination, are so much fun to work with.  He is also into superheros and Star Wars, so I had plenty of common […]

How to Survive Transition

Summer has traditionally been a time of transition for my family.  When we lived overseas, it was always summer when we moved – like, a BIG move; an over-the-ocean-move.  So summer was always a time of packing and goodbyes and unpacking and hellos.  Many families move in the summer (maybe just across town), adjusting to […]

One Big Step

This family was stumped.  Why was their little boy in the hospital so much?!  In fact, when I met the mom this one year old little boy was crawling around – undaunted by the world around him – but he should have already been walking…  After a stressful first year of multiple hospitalizations the doctors […]

The Not-So-Terrible Two’s

Summer is here!!!!!   This was my first backyard session of the season, and it couldn’t have been more perfect – and most people wouldn’t have expected that since the session featured a two-year-old!  But if you were a lightning bug watching that evening while you were waiting for dusk, you would have joined in the […]

10+ Ideas for Family Reunions

I love and loath family reunions.  I love the idea of gathering the generations and preserving memories and relationships.  I love looking for the family resemblance (not only in physical appearance, but in passions and talents and personalities).  What I loathe is not knowing who everyone is.  Most people, I’ve learned, actually do more of the […]

10 Ways to Memorize Scripture

For All Learning Styles Do you ever feel a little less than confident about where you’re going spiritually? Memorizing scripture is a method of “getting behind the wheel” and seeing that the Biblical route will really get you to where you want to go – closer to God. The more scripture you memorize, the more […]

I Love Old Photos

You know those families that laugh really loud and shriek when they’re excited, and could be crying from fond memories in the next moment?  I come from one of those families.  Our shoulders shake when we laugh, we sometimes snort (I may snort more often than others), and we end most conversations with a contented […]

Preparing to Say Farewell

10 Ways Friends Can Help without Driving You Nuts When everyone knows you’re moving, especially far away, the most popular question is, “How can I help?”  In the middle of the chaos, you might not be able to think of practical ways for them to help because there is so much decision-making that depends on […]

By Design

Last weekend I taught at a women’s retreat, and (like always) I was so impressed with what I learned!  The theme was “By Design” and my simple statement was that we are designed by God (the ultimate designer) to know Him.  But what really struck me was the illustration of when two voices resonate.  You’ve […]

Overcoming Overwhelmed

When we came home after almost a decade of living overseas, I was obviously overwhelmed.  I had been living in prolonged survival mode.  Our organization has excellent member care, and I remember during the processing of the last term the counselor suddenly interrupted me and confessed that she was stumped as to why my faith […]

#whoiam

NOTE: A link to a free printable is included in this blog post! My signature product is the Family Journal, and I loved adapting it to the Senior Photo Book.  Why?  Because I think we miss too many important ah-ha! moments in life when we pass over the details.  God loves us, and he proves […]

Off-the-Wall (and on-the-wall) Ideas for Portraits

In the process of keeping myself educated and constantly refining and developing my products and services, I’ve been taking a Creative Live class for a new idea that will help clients do something with their amazing portraits (thank you, Lori Nordstrom).  I came across this ah-ha! moment that I couldn’t wait to share with you – […]

Life Needs an Emergency Drain

It was one of those days.  I had recently made a goal – move more – and I had just come back from the Y wishing I had moved less.  I was sore all over.  “Doesn’t it feel good, though?” I remember someone 20 years my senior trying to encourage me.  I pushed my tennis […]

16 Spring Break Ideas for Tweens (while you keep working)

This year we don’t have the luxury of being able to take off of work to enjoy a whole week off with our tween son.  I have been trolling Pinterest for ideas on how to still make it a fun spring break for him, and they got even more ideas rolling around in my mind!  […]

When Long-Distance Hurts

I was at a meeting last night, and we always open with personal updates.  It is a distinct privilege in the family of God to carry one another’s burdens to the One who CAN and WILL do infinitely more than we could ask or imagine.  And so we do that for one another on this […]

To the Moms of Graduates

As it warms up (I say that tongue-in-cheek because the radio station is proclaiming a winter advisory for tonight – the fist night of Spring), people are either thinking about two things: Spring break or gardening. Unless you’re the parent of a graduate! And then all you can think about is how you’ll pull off […]

The Perfect Saturday

Who says winter isn’t a time to take photos?  If you’ve ever heard of “lifestyle photography” and thought it was for avid fishermen, think again!  Looking at the photos of this family’s Saturday morning make me want to grab my family and unplug for a day!

Sister, Sister

This post was a long time in coming!  I have held on to it since SEPTEMBER!  It’s not that I haven’t gotten around to blogging, it’s better:  These sisters had the brilliant idea of doing a surprise photo shoot for their family so they could give them beautiful and meaningful gifts at Christmas time!  Therefore […]

I Hear Voices

I recently had my hearing checked – mostly to prove my husband wrong, but partly because I was worried he was right.  And I procrastinated for a couple years because I have a dear friend who did the same thing and walked out of the test with hearing aids!  It was a complete shock to […]

Birthday Boy

Kids grow up all the time. I know this! It happened to me and it’s happening to my son.  But sometimes kids just get stuck in your mind at a certain age.  I’m forever running into adults that I knew as kids or teenagers and exclaiming, “You’re all grown up!”  First of all, I’m not […]

Family for the Holidays

We finally got that rain date in (see Rain, Rain, Go Away), and it was a beautiful day – even if we did opt for indoors in the end.  This family was in high spirits, and I have to say a special thanks to a best friend that came along and helped bring out some […]

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I communicate a lot with my clients prior to a shoot. I want to make sure everyone is comfortable and prepared (and excited)!  I communicated more than ever with this family because on their shoot date and their “rain date” was… rain…  I grabbed a few umbrellas and we made the most of it, but […]

Small Town, Big Dreams

Here in Indiana, fall has finally arrived! I love fall, and I anticipate its arrival with utter glee.  Speaking of anticipation, I was also really anticipating this senior shoot.  We were waiting for just the right length of curl and just the right shades of color, and hoping that the two would overlap perfectly.  The results?  […]

Tall and Handsome

Fall ushers in my marriage anniversary, and I still remember like it was yesterday this guy getting ushered into my wedding – in a stroller!  And now the kid I could put on my lap towers over me.  Granted, I’m a space efficient gal, but gracious he’s tall!  Thank goodness for step ladders and hills! […]

Simply Sweet, Simply Stunning

I took her brother’s senior photos last year, and now it’s her turn. It’s hard to say who was more excited for the session: her, her mom, or me!  Even her brother came (although I’m not sure how much of a choice he had).  Ha ha ha!  But he wasn’t the only one…  I love […]

High School Sweetheart

When you move, you never know what your neighbors are going to be like. We’ve had some great ones and we’ve had some… well…  The neighbors we have right now are fantastic!  The ones to their right have been so encouraging with my photography, so I was really excited to take their oldest daughter’s senior photos!  […]

My “Ah-ha!” Moment

It’s generally a good practice to record your “ah-ha!” moments.  Take the time and let them really sink deep – past your mind and down into your soul.  That being said, I recently had an “ah-ha!” moment. This year I have been concentrating on the journey rather than the destination.  Did you ever have parents […]

How to Learn Photography with Camels, Cliffs, and Capes

There we were, scaling up the side of a cliff with our camera bags trying to convince us we were headed in the wrong direction and our tripods repetitively slapping the outside of our thighs as if to say, “Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.”  As my foot faltered for the next iron rung of what was almost […]

A Shop Designed for You!

Squeal!!!!!!!  I love finding the perfect personality mug in the store... say like the checkout line at Marshall's or TJMaxx...  I have one that says, "Don't forget to be amazing" because of such a line.  So I thought to myself, if you start your day with a great mug, then why not start your online [...]

10 Ideas for Long-Distance Families

I recently ordered prints from our last eight years of living overseas (way too long of a time not to print photos, by they way.)  As I was sifting through a couple thousand pictures trying to decide which images to print, I came across photos of activities that our son’s grandparents had planned.  Every time I see […]

We’ve Moved!

I can’t believe what the housing market was like this summer!  We have friends that put their house up for sale and within six hours it was sold!!!!  Now that the flurry of buying a home has somewhat (maybe not) died down, I thought I’d give a nod back to these first-time homeowners, who did a welcome home […]

Long Distance Cousins

Having lived long distance from my cousins all my life, I was especially thrilled to have the chance to take these photos of this set of cousins. The oldest two our going to be seniors… on different continents! I’m so glad their parents took the time during their limited visit to the States to pause […]

So Much More than a Photo Book!

This is it! This is the thing that I’m launching my business for!  This is the big idea that I can’t believe no one else thought of! This is my labor of love!  And it’s ready to go!!!  See the video below for a first look at my family journal! Why have a family journal? […]

Growing Together

Giggles and sunshine are always contributing factors to a fun session, but this one had it in abundance!  This family is anticipating the arrival of their next member, and every single one of them are so stinkin’ happy about it!  I loved, too, that they brought a stethoscope with them since Mom and Dad met […]

Hope Hurts… Or Does It?

Hope hurts.  It does!  Especially when you bring it along an arduous journey with you.  It’s like packing a silver candelabra to hike across the desert expecting to use it when you arrive to the promised palace at the end.  The candelabra is your tangible hope for things unseen.  It is the taste of the […]

Gather Together

We have known this family for years.  We had their kids in our youth group.  We were friends with their parents.  We have eaten at their house many times.  And it is always a treat!  If you’re ever invited to eat with this family, be sure to arrive early, because the food prep is just as […]

This is Us

This family, through challenges and blessings, refuses to quit smiling.  They push each other on, encourage one another, cheer loudly (albeit sometimes too close the other’s ears… perhaps on purpose…). They have something that they refuse to let go of: a family built on faith…. And the promise of ice cream after the photo shoot!

Little Boys Do Grow Up

I just completed a senior session and it’s time to reflect! #1 It looked like the weather was going to kill our session, but then we just got creative with the setting.  Lo and behold, the weather cooperated for us (thanks, God!) #2 His mom couldn’t have been more proud!  When they held hands my heart […]

The Hunt Becomes the Treasure

I’m shifting into a new season – learning to live outside of survival mode.  I’m transitioning from a period of years where there has been a lot of confusion, emotion, misunderstanding, shouting, and miscommunication. There has not been a lot of hope or encouragement just sitting around to be stumbled upon. It has become a […]

Limited Time Offer!

I find deals.  I research and I find deals.  That’s how we ended up with a dog.  Did I want a dog? I’m still not sure, but there was no doubt the rest of my family did.  They even had a name picked out for a good two years before we got the dog! But […]

This is it.

I can still feel the hard cracked surface that I’m sitting on, there – on the bleachers just inside the gym.  I’m back in junior high and the anticipation two-stepping in my stomach and twitching my fingers can hardly be contained.  It must have been the last day of school or something equally festive for me […]

Learning to Listen

I’m learning to listen.  Period.  Just listen; without retort or excuse or submitting additional information. I have a friend who is taking a counseling course, and the first two lessons and practicums were just on listening.  She said it was really hard to learn how to listen without contributing anything – no paraphrasing, no voicing […]

I do not…

We were sitting on my porch, my friend and I. She was reminiscing about a book she was reading (by Shauna Neiquist, I believe). A revolutionary thought had presented her with a pronounced freedom – to create a list of things that you are not. For example, “I am not a gardener,” my friend admitted […]

Mental Aperture f/1.8

I can relate to author Ann VonKamp, who relates that her tools of introspective focus are ink on a blank page and the lens of her camera.  In fact, in writing this I’m penning my thoughts on the first fresh page of a new notebook.  I can’t tell you what a giddy joy this is! […]

Large Support Team

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