Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shingles and Siding

A little closer :) They won't be able to finish out the brickwork on the front until things warm back up, but we've got shingles and siding, and they are working on the furnace this week.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Sands Family

The Sands family was one of my favorite sessions of the year. It was a crisp, cold November day, certainly the kind of temperatures that bring about rosy cheeks and runny noses, but you'd never guess it from the pictures. Dean is a good friend of mine. I get to enjoy his company at our men's bible study, so long as there's not an animal within 1000 miles that needs to be hunted down (Dean lives, part of the year, for hunting), or there's not a half-inch of snow on the ground... hee hee.
Kris, on the other hand, is his better half. It's easy to tell, as she keeps the home fires burning, and I don't ever see her without a smile and something encouraging to say. She's also got a great big heart to serve God with.
Often times I see Jera in her own world, which really just reminds me of me when I was a kid. I could never keep myself from drifting into my own imaginations either, and while I eventually had to step into reality, I still miss losing hours in another place, simply to play. Just like her mom, when she smiles and it's from her heart, the whole room warms up.
Garrett on the other hand, is really getting deep into his guitar. Some of the more emotional shots was capturing his intensity as he picked those strings.
He and I got to lay down a blues melody this weekend after church, acoustic to acoustic. I hope my boy picks up on music that way. It would be fun to pass it on.
One great thing about their shoot was that we did it at their home. Everything was comfortable, and the colors were very rustic and earthy. From the old chicken coup to the wavering barn with it's own yarns to tell, we all seemed to step into a story that was aching to be told.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


We can't put them all on this page, but here are a few of the Christmas Cards we've designed this season...

Monday, December 04, 2006

His Words

My cousin wrote me a letter the other day, telling me that the scripture on this site had spoken to her and encouraged her, as this has been a hard time in her life. Gods words, written thousands of years ago, and yet they speak to us. Here. Today. What she read was in effect exactly what she needed to hear.

I can't tell you how many times in my life that His words have spoken to me, at just that right moment.

Today is one of those days. I know it's hard to convey, but taking this leap to build the studio, taking on employees, incorporating, while a blessing, has been hard on my family. Some days it's just easier to not see the forest for the trees, and we need God to remind us just what we are here for.
My mom sent me an excerpt from a sermon today. It's His word, and it was, exactly, what I needed to hear. There is so much truth, so much comfort, I'd be a fool not to share:

'I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned
the secret of living in every situation,
whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”
Philippians 4:12 NLT

The Apostle Paul got it right. He had learned the secret of contentment.
Earlier in his letter (Philippians 4:6, 7) he laid it out for the people.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.”

Heavenly Father, I remember the old saying that guilt is concerned with the past, and worry is concerned about the future, but contentment enjoys the present. Teach me how to enjoy the present to the full. I get tangled up when I try to correct the past, and I am frustrated when I try to take care of tomorrow’s problems today. Keep me focused on what I can handle today. I know that will lead me to your peace, for which I thank you in advance.

This was written on the floor of our church when it was first built. It's truth will outlast us all...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Quick Update

Just a quick update on the new studio. The roof is on, soffit is finished, windows are all cut out, and the digging and concrete are complete... now Old Man Winter can do as he pleases.
One more day closer to having to pay for it... :) Anybody have a spare quarter...million?


I had several amazing shoots with seniors this year, and some really great kids to work with, but Patricia was one that really stands out in my mind. She had this burning red hair with these stunning, jaded eyes, and the contrast was very vivid. Her warmth combined with the sunny outdoors really made the colors pop.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

April & Family

These are far and away some of my favorite maternity pictures this season.
April was radiant and purely glowing with motherhood, and it was certainly a priviledge to get the chance to capture the relationships. It's such an exciting time in the life of any family, and there are so many emotions brimming over...it's like waiting for Christmas morning, biting your nails to unwrap this amazing, perfect little gift, and watching the clock tick-tocking. :) Nothing to do but wait until it's time.... patience has never been a virtue of mine.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Handprints :)

The porch at the new studio was a good back porch. Nice and scquare, beautiful, with a nice foundation. So on the day before Thanksgiving, with ants in their pants, my kids got to sign their names and leave their mark on a very small corner of the world. They pushed their hands into the cold gray mud and I signed their names, careful as anyone can with a dull knife and setting cement. Yep, it was a good pack porch.

Now it's a perfect back porch!
So this Thanksgiving, this picture sums up what I'm most thankful for.
These handprints. :)

Because those little prints came from the hands of two healthy, live-and-kickin' rugrats that I love with all my life. Little hands, guided and pressed into the cement on our back porch in our new studio, on the ground that we bought with a promise. And the best part is the foundation.
Their foundation, in Christ. Stronger and more everlasting than any old piece of concrete, in the knowledge that they are my God's masterpiece. His workmanship. That's what I'm most thankful for today.

...Okay...that and pumpkin pie. :) There can be more than one thing to be thankful for, can't there? ;)

The First Shoot in the New Studio....Unofficially :)

It's still a work in progress, but they put the roof on this week and things are really taking shape. We christened the new studio with the first unofficial shoot! While the kids have ants in their pants, Kari and I are just a great big bundle of anxiety...such an odd mixture of emotions, churning away in our little family.
Wanna hear a great piece of advice I heard this week? If you didn't, too late...
"Attempt something so impossible that unless God is in it, it's doomed to failure."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Steph & Justin

Steph and Justin had a very unique wedding. Part Aussie, Part American, and as casual and comfortable as they come. Almost everything was candid, and the day just flowed.

It was the first time I got sidelined by the priest, but it was my fault. I didn't understand that in that church I wasn't allowed to capture them walking down the aisle, not until he walked up and told me to get!

No big deal, we still captured everything, just from more creative angles. :)

Granted, there was more running around than usual. I got to go truckin' around with the Father of the Bride from one location to the next, from the neighbors house to the old church full of Aussies in their undershorts, getting ready for the day, to driving down some country roads to find a good looking barn with some colorful character.... Yep, a barn.

Something so ordinary to folks up here, but according to Justin, unknown in Australia. So Steph's dad worked it out with some friends, and by the end of the wedding we were following the bride and groom down a gravel road in a hand-made, mint condition Mustang convertable...to a beautiful old barn. It was speckled red and grey from those long years of cold winters and hot summers, and the owners had actually considered slapping on a fresh coat of paint. I'm glad they let it go one more year, because the beauty of timelessness was there, somehow, captured and worked into the wood, and it gave their images a quality as unique and beautiful as their relationship.
I'm glad we got to be there with them to experience the day, because these two share a great love, for life and for eachother, and that's part of what makes this job not really a job at all, but more of an inspiration.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Press On

Even through the grudge of today, that pit in the stomach feeling, I still know that our God has a plan. And His ways aren't our ways. I KNOW without a doubt that people were healed, forgiven....hearts and minds were changed, and seeds were undoubtedly planted DEEP in the hearts of every neighbor who watched one of those precious children run up to their door with those smiles, and put that flyer on their doorstep. We may never see the fruit of this labor, except in little ways. But His works were accomplished, the best we knew how. We only have to trust that He picked up where we left off. :)
For example, I don't think my kids will EVER, EVER be for abortion. I think it's something deeply engrained, to respect life and protect it, to stand up for what is good and holy, and stand against anything or anyone who opposes that.
THAT is a blessing, and no vote will ever change that.

'For the heart of this people has become fat and their ears are slow in hearing and their eyes are shut; for fear that they might see with their eyes and give hearing with their ears and become wise in their hearts and be turned again to me, so that I might make them well.' (Matthew 13:15)

Monday, November 06, 2006

They Understand...Can We?

At the Vote Yes For Life headquarters in Sioux Falls, a little boy named Caleb helped me bundle flyers...for hours. He was there before me, and he waved goodbye as I was leaving. My help was a drop in the bucket compared to him.
He helped until we were finished, and he did it gladly. He smiled and made it a competitive sport to see who could finish 25 flyers first. With all my try, he still won 8 out of 10 times. :) He added spirit to my efficiency when he made a simple remark, "Just think, we've got thousands of flyers here, and even if we just change one persons mind, that's one more baby that we might have saved." It was so clear to him. Matter of fact. Simple Truth.

His daddy was just within earshot, manning the phones, running down an endless list of South Dakotans, just with the hope of spreading that simple truth. I was proud of that man, a stranger I've never met, and may never meet again.

Every time someone rang a bell, it was a sign to the volunteers that there was another vote for life. And children, some not older than 3, would then belt out their best whoops and hollers and hooray's with every ring...out of pure joy.

Mothers of all ages were bringing in food for those hungry souls, cooking up a storm of soups and sandwiches, and I listened as a young lady told my son she'd flown from the Carolinas to help, and another group of kids just out of high school had driven across the country to offer themselves up, to be plugged in and used wherever the need may be.

A fresh group of volunteers had just arrived when I walked in the doors, Youth With A Mission. And what a mission they'd undertaken!

Over against the wall a woman was taping up little snippets of positive news articles, in every nook and cranny, an encouraging soul.

My 7 year old boy stood, reeling, with a look of anguish on his face, when he realized that the speckly-patterned trim taped all around the walls were actually the footprints representing the number of babies who'd been lost to abortion in our state alone... there were 33,000 of them.
"Thirty-three thousand..." he whispered, his ability to speak trailing off...I watched him as he tried to concieve that number. My little boy, who is such a whiz at math...

There were kids of all ages, running and playing, teenagers calling on the phones, even a huge sign on the wall with thousands of signatures, from a church in Edmond, Oklahoma. I heard someone say, "If only kids could vote, this would be a victory, hands down, because they all get it."

The next day I got to witness something that brought tears to my eyes.
My little girl, helping to canvas our little town with those same flyers.
Walking those many streets with the same smile and sweet nature as the little boy who'd helped me the night before.
She'd been helping her mommy, she said, telling people who didn't know that we shouldn't hurt babies.
It wasn't about a choice, or politics, or anything else. To that little girl it was just that simple. We shouldn't be hurting them.

We'd began just after lunch, and now the sun was setting, and yet there she was smiling and full of joy. Tired, but happy, because at 3 years old this little one knew that it was worth it. That what she did...mattered. She was here, with us. Walking. Talking. Smiling. Breathing. Her heart was beating heavy, because while my feet were dragging, this little one was still running to every door!
Just think how many little boys and girls didn't get the chance to run. I wonder how many of them would be racing to the doors of every home in America, if they'd just been given the chance.

Life does matter and it is our job to stand up for these little ones, for the ones who can't stand up for themselves. They can't do it themselves, not yet, not like these children who could, the ones who walked the streets.
To me I think it's just as simple. They say that the baby isn't alive, then why do we have to kill it? That boy or girl has done nothing to deserve death. If we just leave them alone, they grow, they live. They walk, they talk, they cry, they giggle, they love, they smile...they live. So let them live.
Please Vote Yes For Life tomorrow. You mattered.
So do they.

The night before the vote, I sat at a table with volunteers, trying to call people to talk about how important this law really is, the snowflake that could be the beginning of the avalanche... a woman next to me was there too. She didn't know how to begin and neither did I. Neither of us were any good on the phone, and we were, well, frankly, paralyzed... that was until this little boy walked up with his daddy.
"My son's been dying to get on the phones and talk to people. How about he just pushes the numbers for you, and you can take it from there?"
"Uhhhh....okay... Sure." The woman said.
"Are you ready?"
"....I guess so."

Thanks for helping us get over our own fears, Caleb...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Steph & John

These are just a few of my favorites from John & Steph's wedding.
It was easy to tell that Stephanie was having alot of fun. Everytime I looked her way, her eyes were dancing. John was calm as could be. No worries, just gettin' married... I still don't know how he pulled that off. Maybe because with a girl like Steph, how could a guy go wrong? :)
We had just a little bit of rain, but it wasn't a problem at all for these two. Instead of letting a little weather cloud their day, they chose instead to be thankful for one another. The worries of the day slipped away as John held the door and the umbrella. Stephanie stepped outside into his trusting arms while we snapped a few shots, and we got to once again witness a beginning.
By the end of the ceremony, the world was fresh and everything smelled and felt renewed. It was a great way to begin a marriage.

Monday, October 30, 2006

That's One Smart Cat

I always had my sneaking suspicions about my cat, until I came home unexpectedly this weekend and found him in the Lazy Boy.... I mean, I knew he was smart, but this?