Monday, November 8, 2010

Orange Week at I Heart Faces

It's "Orange" week over at I Heart Faces! I took this photo of my daughter in our backyard a few weeks ago. She is just starting to lose some of her shyness around the camera and gave me some sweet, genuine smiles.


Go over to I Heart Faces to check out all the great entries!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Heart Faces - Constructive Feedback Friday

It's Constructive Feedback Friday at I Heart Faces today! I am submitting a photo that I took a few days ago. I have done what I could to edit it but I'm not happy with the results. I can't make it pop. I don't like the dull colors of my daughters' sweaters nor do I like the skin color of my daughter on the left. I know it is a bit over-exposed and maybe I just won't be able to get it to look the way I like.

For some reason, neither Flickr nor Picasa is letting me post this photo any larger than this today. So sorry to make everyone have to click on it to get it bigger. :(

50mm, ISO 400, f-5.6, 1/60

To view on Flickr:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mentoring Give-Away!

Go over to The Maternal Lens to see this amazing mentoring give-away! Oh how I would LOVE to win this!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Heart Faces - Vroom, Vroom

This week at I Heart Faces, the theme is Vroom, Vroom...meaning that there has to be a photo of a vehicle with wheels and a face.

I knew right away which shoot I would use a photo from. I took my daughter out in the backyard a few weeks ago to get some photos of her with an antique buggy I found at a nearby antique shop.

Here is my entry...

Go over to I Heart Faces to see all the other great entries!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Heart Faces - Beach Fun

The theme at I Heart Faces this week is 'Beach Fun.' I took this photo of my son a few weeks ago while he was trying to catch a wave with his boogie board. He kept falling off but he sure had a blast!

Go over to I Heart Faces and check out all the cool beach shots this week!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Heart Faces - Purple

This week at I Heart Faces, the challenge is the color purple. The photo has to have a face and the color purple in it. Here is entry. My youngest son was playing with the cars out on the deck yesterday and I noticed that one of them was purple. He was so intent and having so much fun moving them around on the bumpy table.

Head over to I Heart Faces to see all the other great entries!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Heart faces - Pets

It's Pets week at I Heart Faces. This photo is one I took last week when my 6 year old daughter caught a butterfly. She is the insect whisperer of our family.

Head over to I Heart Faces to see all the great pet entries!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Heart Faces - Celebrating Teens

It's "Celebrating Teens" this week on I heart Faces. This is a photo of my 19 year old son embracing my father at graduation from Basic Training. We hadn't seen our son in several months and he had been through grueling Army boot camp. At the graduation, we watched the military formations and listened to some speeches and then we were free to 'go find your soldier.' Bedlam ensued as we all rushed out of the stands to find our loved one. This is the moment that my father and my son found each other.

Head over to I Heart Faces to see all the other great entries!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Heart Faces - All About Babies

Believe it or not, I had nothing to post for this challenge. I finally decided to head down to the nearby pond to see if I could get some photos of the six baby swans who just emerged from the nest about a week ago. They are so cute! The parents were willing to let me get pretty close. I had to process it with sepia due to some annoying green leaves that I couldn't clone out of the photo successfully. Black and white just didn't work--so sepia it is. I know...boring...

Head over to I Heart Faces to see all the other great entries!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I Heart Faces - Yellow

This week at I Heart Faces, the theme is yellow. Last week we found some adorable rain boots in a box in the basement. I had completely forgotten about them. They were yellow--perfect! So out we went to try them out. rain.

Go over to I Heart Faces to check out all the beautiful entries!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Heart Faces - Flowers

This week at I Heart Faces, the theme is flowers. I spotted these daisies when I was in line at the McDonald's drive-thru, where I find myself too often. The daisies were actually out by the dumpster. ha. I went back that evening with my daughter to see if I could come up with a 'flower' shot for IHF this week.

Go over to I Heart Faces to see all the other great entries!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Amy Wenzel Workshop

Goodness...where do I even start? It was such an amazing experience. But first, I must give you an airline tip. I flew Midwest Airlines for the first time. I had never heard of them before this trip. Imagine my delight when they served...

wait for it...

not pretzels

not peanuts

not Chex mix.

They served chocolate chip cookies.

Warm ones. Yes, warm, straight out of the oven.

As in gooey chocolate, cookies that fall apart because they are so warm. Ahhhhhh....

I would fly them again just to get those yummy cookies. And guess what? They just merged with Frontier and Frontier is going to be adding the chocolate chip cookies to their flights. I know it's kind of pathetic that I get so excited about chocolate cookies. I have a serious weakness for them. It's sad really.

So...the workshop. The first night, I had dinner with Angie Arther (I Heart Faces), Amy Wenzel and her husband David. All of them were so warm and delightful. We had a great time swapping stories. I kept thinking while I was sitting there, "What in the world am I doing here and how did I get this amazing opportunity?" It was truly wonderful to get to know such neat people who love God and want to live out His purpose in their lives.

The following day, the workshop started. Amy only takes 20 students at a time, and there were 19 of us there. She spent the morning giving us ideas on how to pose subjects and help them decide what to wear. In the afternoon was the photo shoot. We were originally supposed to be outside, but the weather was horrible--an all day rain. Instead, we did the shoot in a hotel sitting area that had windows all around. I was amazed at how we did not need a beautiful background to get great shots. Amy demonstrated how we could use the available chairs, backgrounds and light to come up with some great photos.

I will share some of the photos, but there is a caveat. There were 19 of us shooting and although we were taking turns, we still weren't always able to shoot from the angle that was best. Also, I do not have Photoshop yet, so I wasn't able to edit these with the cool things I learned.

This little guy was so cute--and completely terrified for the first 30 minutes of the shoot. I guess I would be too, if I saw 20 women with camera's aimed in my direction. This is not the angle I would have liked to have shot this--but it's what I had. hee...

This beautiful young lady was a high school senior. She was there to help us develop our ability to take senior pictures. I was amazed at how the background turned out. The silver in this background was a pair of elevators. The red chair was available in the room, so we used it.

These two little girls were adorable. Oh my goodness they were so fun to photograph. And they were soooo patient. This was a couch in the room with a less-than-stellar background, but it worked. Notice that the little girl in the red is very sharp but the little girl in the purple isn't. That is because I had to focus on one of them, so I chose the one farthest away. Normally, when taking a photo like this, you would stand directly in front of them so that they would both be in focus.

Another unusual background...she is sitting in front of the hotel restaurant. The orange is from the lights, and if you look closely, you can see the TV. Thankfully, it wasn't on. You can also see a patron sitting at his table. (But you're not really SUPPOSED to look for those things. I'm just sharing it because it IS possible to take a nice photo with a not-so-nice background.) I have a lens that does the nifty blurring of the background, but if you have a portrait setting on your camera, you should be able to get some blurring. The portrait setting is the one with a person's head. If you put it on that setting, though, you may only be able to get one person clearly. The camera will focus on the nearest object. If you have more than one person in the photo, you need to put them on the same plane...not one farther away from you than the other.)
Another angle of her in front of the restaurant. It's actually a pretty cool background since the blurring allows you to get some cool looking lights and shapes. It's called 'bokah.' Photographers will swoon over a great looking bokah.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Heart Faces - Collage

I was on vacation and arrived home too late to participate in this week's I heart Faces photo challenge, but thought I would post my collage anyway. :)

There are lots of cool collages over at I Heart faces this week!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Comfortable Christian

Comfortable Christian.

This should be an oxymoron.

But here in America, I think we have it a bit mixed up. We think that the evidence of God's blessing is that we are comfortable.


Jesus never modeled comfort for us. In fact, He basically said that to follow Him was an invitation to come and die.

Well, that doesn't sound too appealing. How do you get followers when that is your tagline?

He even said strange-sounding things like, "...whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 10:39)

What does that mean? I read an illustration this morning that explained it perfectly. A horse trainer was describing the 'breaking' of a horse. "Until horses are broken they are only consumers. When they are broken they are not less alive, they are more alive. It's as if they have found their purpose, what they were made for. There is such a unity then between horse and master. Wild horses might seem spectacular as they race across a canon, but they are of no use to anyone but themselves. A horse that has been broken with love and respect is an animal in rhythm with it's destiny." (Gifts For Your Soul, pg. 129)

There is a popular brand of Christianity right now that is teaching that life is all about feeling good, being entertained and staying comfortable.


In my personal experience, I only feel alive when I am bowing to the will of the Master...the One who created me...the only One who knows what makes me tick and what will make me live in exhilaration and freedom. Yes, freedom. It is a perplexing paradox to come and die so that you can be free. But try it my friend, and you will experience it. Die to your own desires, die to your longing to be comfortable..and let's face it--we all love comfort.

And how does one do that?

It's not easy. Another paradox is that we KNOW what we should do, but we often don't do it.


It's a constant struggle with our selfishness. But God will help us if we ask Him.

So ask...

Come and die...

And be free to live a life of purpose, meaning and excitement. I promise you, you will not regret it. There is emptiness in our own comfort. There is fulfillment in following Christ.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Amy Wenzel Workshop Giveaway


Amy Wenzel is giving away an amazing gift to the person who sends her a story that inspires her.

I think everyone has a story, so here is mine. My husband and I experienced one miscarriage and seven and a half years of infertility before being blessed with our first son through the miracle of adoption. Four years later, his little brother joined our family, also through adoption.

We had a comfortable life. God had blessed us so much that I almost felt guilty about it. Challenged at a women's retreat to pray for God to break my heart with what broke His, I began to pray that prayer.

A few months later, God brought the plight of baby girls in China to my attention. He sent us to bring a baby girl home. And I was changed. My eyes were opened to a new world--one in which there was poverty, pain and loneliness. A few months later, God told us He was sending us back to China for another. We brought her home and thought we were done. We felt REALLY done! as in old, stressed and tired!

But God... He put another little one on our hearts. Instantly, our hearts changed and we were invigorated with the joy that following Him into the wild unknown can bring. This time, He opened our hearts to kids with special needs. We brought a daughter with a limb difference home. A year later, another little one came home. She would have died in China from her heart condition except that God miraculously ordered events to keep her alive. And we were done. Right, God? Right?

Nope. Not yet. There was another. A little boy who was missing his ear. But God...I am tired and I don't even like kids! But that little boy's face haunted my every waking thought. And so we brought him home.

Two weeks before we went to China to get him, God pointed us in the direction of Guatemala where another little boy with special needs was waiting for a family. Six months later, we flew to Guatemala and right before Mother's Day, I was made the mother of 8 children. What in the world?? God is so funny!

Months later, another little girl with special needs was waiting for us in China. After our paperwork was there, God brought another little one with a severe heart condition to our attention. Miraculously, rules were relaxed and we were allowed to bring both girls home on the same trip.

Last year, we had three, 3 year olds, one of whom had open heart surgery a few months after coming home, and then our family moved from Michigan to Massachusetts. Early this year, our oldest son headed of to Army boot camp. God directed our every step and gave us the strength we needed to get through each day.

I never would have imagined I would be the mom to 10 kids, but God has chosen this path for us and we are on an adventure! I have learned to stay close to Him and that He is totally, utterly trustworthy!

I started taking photos of my kids and it became a passion. My dream is to provide free photos for families whose children are in the hospital and for seniors who cannot afford a professional photographer. I am involved with a calendar project to take photos of children with special needs who have been adopted to use for a fundraiser. We want the world to see that kids with special needs are beautiful and wonderful--not something to fear. I have had the privilege of helping other families adopt children with special needs and I am so thankful God has allowed me to help in some small way.

I also want to go back to China to photograph more of the precious kids who wait for families. Pictures of children speak to hearts. I know because God used the photos of some of my children to grab my heart and want to bring them home. I am dying to learn more about Photoshop and would love to learn all the cool tricks the 'real' photographers use.

Please go read all the other entries at I Heart Faces and be inspired today!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Heart Faces - Hands-On-Fun

This week at I Heart Faces, the contest category is "Hands-on-Fun." The photo doesn't need a face in it this week. I chose this photo of my kids' hands. They love to play the 'hand game' where the person on the bottom pulls his/her hand out and puts it on top, then the next one goes, and so on. My dad taught them this game and they love to play it with him. Next time we see him, I need to take a photo of that!

Go on over to I Heart Faces to check out all the other great entries!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Heart Faces, "I Wanna Dance," Theme

This week's theme at I Heart Faces is "I wanna dance." Here is my entry.

My daughter was born with a foot that is turned sideways because there is no ankle bone. Her leg bones are also much shorter in that leg than her other leg, so she walks with a significant limp. She will be having her foot amputated later this year and fit with a prosthetic. Her limb difference doesn't keep her down! She still loves to dance. One day her older sister dressed her up in this ballet outfit and she began twirling around the room with exuberant JOY. I grabbed my camera and started shooting. She is proof that we can choose to be happy in spite of our circumstances. For my sweet girl, my wish is, "Never lose your sense of wonder and I hope you dance..."

Head over to I Heart Faces to see all the other great entries.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Featured Photo on I Heart Faces!

I was so honored to have this photo featured on I Heart Faces today!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Heart Faces - Best Face Photo

This week at I Heart Faces, the theme is Best Face Photo. It has to be a photo that was taken in the past few weeks.

I chose this photo of my husband and son saying good-bye in the office of the Army recruiting station last week, as my son shipped out to Basic Training. My husband's face says so many things. His eyes say that he is remembering when this brave young man was a tiny tot and then a toddler...and then a pre-teen, and then a teen. It says that he is struggling with his emotions as they embrace and say good-bye. It says he is proud of his son and wishes him every success. My son's face says he is struggling to say good-bye to his family and start a new life in service to his country.

Head over to I Heart Faces to see all the other great entries.