Monday, February 28, 2011

1st birthday = a miss blog post, an exhausted mommy, mild chaos and super cute photos!

So... I am late posting for the first time since my photography New Year's resolution... drat! (BTW, that means two posts this week!) I was completely slammed last week with all kinds of non-photo-related yet important tasks to do... a visit from my mother-in-law, taking care of a sick little guy, taking a friend to the ER and to her re-check, getting everything together for a 1st b-day party in Florida and somehow making sure the house looked "perfect" before we left incase someone came to show it.

Somehow I survivied the week, and I have to give God all the credit for my sanity and productivity on Friday morning. I have NO EARTHLY idea how I got so much done in one morning so that we could leave on time! Thanks, Abba, I couldn't do anything without your help! My little guy's 1st birthday party was perfect! He devoured his cake and presents and had a blast playing with balloons and wearing his giraffe party hat, and as it happened our house did show on Sunday afternoon! PRAISE GOD! And now we're all home safe and sound! I'll post the "1 year old" photos that I took last week ASAP, but for now... here's a shot of my little buddy in all his b-caked glory!

Have a marvelous Monday!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Senior Portrait Discount!!!!

Those of you who are seniors or know seniors who still need to have their senior portraits taken before graduation, please read and pass on the information below!

This spring I am hoping to really add to my Senior Portrait portfolio, so I am offering a discount to seniors who book a session with me in MARCH or APRIL 2011. EVERY senior who 1) likes my TJBA facebook page and 2) books a session in March or April will receive 20% off their print purchase of $50 or more. Additonally, the 1st THREE seniors who book will also receive 50% off their sitting fee.

If you know of any seniors who are looking for professional outdoor portraits at a reasonable price, please pass this info on to them! Sample Senior Portraits and my prices are available on my website: Please email me for more information at


NOTE: For those of you in Tallahassee, I will be in town March 19-27, and if you book that week the above discounts will apply to you as well!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Trisha's Bridal Shower

Last Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of shooting a Bridal Shower that my friend Tania threw for her sister-in-law-to-be. Can I just say, "what a fun group of ladies!" I don't think the laughter stopped from the moment they walked in the door until the last one left. Trisha's favorite color is pink, so fittingly that was the theme of the party, as you can tell from the "detail" shots below. Trisha and Terry, have a wonderful wedding day, and may God bless your new life together!

( I'm not sure why blogger insists on posting some photos super small like this?)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WWJD - Part 3

(This is the last installment in my WWJD posts.)

Even on the heels of a great fasting experience, while I was reading a book about starting your photography business, I started to covet new equipment again and began to allow myself to feel inadequate as a photographer. I felt like I couldn't in good conscience market myself a "Pro" if I didn't have "Pro" gear, yet I wanted so bad to be a "Pro."

Fast forward a few more days to Sunday afternoon. I was sitting down reading The Cost of Discipleship, and I began to feel convicted that I was not obediently following the call of Christ in my life. I know that he called Peter and Levi (and others) to leave their careers (their personal choice for their life's path) and follow his call, and I began to ask what that was supposed to look like in my life. I can't very well leave James here to fend for himself while I go off to Nicaragua (or elsewhere) and "win souls to Christ." But I also knew in my heart that James is my calling, and raising a child to love and seek God with all their heart is without a doubt a very worthwhile calling. Quickly I began to ask if my photography was the desire I was to give up in pursuit of Christ's calling. The same old struggle was fresh again as I battled my selfish desire to succeed as a professional photographer and my spirit's desire to please my Savior and Lord. In times like these I love to journal, so I began to feverishly write out my thoughts, frustrations and confusion to God. Below is part of today's entry:

How am I to know what my calling is? God, why do I have such a passion for photography? Why do I hold myself to such a level of perfection? Surely I can glorify you even without a better camera, but when I look at the quality of my photos I am dissatisfied. And I feel like throwing up my hands and saying, "to heck with it!" But then I would miss the chance to glorify you with my craft. I want to be content with glorifying you rather than seeking perfection but then why can't I let that drive go? What I want to do I do not to and what I do not want to do I do. Why God?... Where is the balance between this driven personality that you have placed in me and satisfaction in less than perfection in what I do? Why must this unique blessing [the drive] you gave me be so easily twisted into sin? How do I make the most of your gift [of photography] without being extreme with it?

Thankfully, God also gave me a wise counselor in my wonderful husband, and after letting me vent all my frustrations, desires, disappointments, etc., he calmly explained how he believes God looks at my callings- mommy and photography. And it clicked.

Yes, I may get frustrated that I spend most of my days re-doing what I did the day before (or in some cases just minutes before) like washing dishes or changing dirty diapers, but those things are all important, and just because I am called to something, doesn't mean that I will "like" every moment of it. "Do you think the disciples were always thinking, 'Yay! I love walking miles and miles in these sandals following Jesus all over Israel!'", he asked. "Or when Stephen was being stoned for his faith was he thinking, 'Yeah man! I love these rocks! They are so much fun!'?" Point well taken.

So that brings be back to WWJD. Jesus did you "like" everything you were called to do during your ministry on earth? Obviously, you didn't enjoy the cross, but did you ever think, "I'd really rather rest than heal the rest of these people, but I'll do it anyway" or "I'm tired of teaching, but this is why I came?" You were fully God so you fulfilled your calling perfectly, but you were also fully human, so there must have been times that you were tired or burnt out, but you chose to press through those feelings. I am called to do the same.

So, what would Jesus do? I believe he would keep washing dishes and changing diapers no matter how pointlessly repetitive it seemed. He would keep playing blocks with James and putting them back in the box again no matter how impossible it seemed to keep anything put away neatly. And he would keep shooting (photos) no matter how frustrated he got with the graininess of his photos in dark light or the lack of time he had available weekly to "better his craft." He would seek to glorify God by showcasing His amazing creation in new, beautiful ways and by providing tangible reminders of special moments to families who couldn't afford a "Pro" with more expensive gear and correspondingly high prices.

I have a purpose... a calling if you will... in my photography. I want to become as proficient as possible at using my equipment and patiently wait for God's timing in "upgrading" if that is part of his plan. I also want to be satisfied and confident providing the best services I am capable of to my clients at prices that they can afford. And I want to look for "divine appointments" to use my photography talents to make an eternal impact for God's Kingdom!

To Him be the Glory,


Monday, February 7, 2011

WWJD - Part 2

(This is the 2nd installment of three WWJD posts.)

I wrote in one of my last personal posts about struggling with the idea of balancing my desire for pursuing photography with being the Mom that Christ has called me to be. This is not a new idea. Admittedly I have an easily-obsessed personality because of my natural drive for excellence, which often morphes into perfectionism. At times it is so bad that if I can't do something well (a.k.a. perfect), I'd rather not do it at all. You can probably see where I'm going with this.

When I started getting into photography, I would spend hours outside photographing various parks in Michigan or parts of our condo community to practice my new-found passion and talent. Very quickly, I became obsessed by it. I would spend hours and hours editing photos and researching techniques and professional photographers blogs and advice. Then we bought our first house and James came along, and I didn't have as much time or money to pursue photography, and I began to feel frustrated because I wasn't progressing as fast as I had nor was I able to purchase the new equipment that I felt would take my photography to the next level. The last couple of months I've gone back and forth between feeling obsessed with the idea of pushing forward and getting better and feeling guilty because I wanted to spend some much time on it. I even began wondering if I should give it up altogether because felt that I was dangerously close to making this God-given passion into an idol that I placed before him in my life.

Fast forward to two weeks ago... I decided to take a week-long fast from photography. (Yes, there were posts on here that week because I set them up ahead of time so that I would not default on my photography resolution.) But for a week, I didn't pick up my Nikon, read blogs or magazines, edit photos or even let myself think about photography outside of snapping a few fun shots of James in the tub or playing with Daddy. When I decided to do this fast, I knew it would be hard, and I feared that God might use it to show me that I had to completely give photography up for Him. But even so, I went into that week ready to hear what he had to say. And I have to tell you that that week was such a breath of fresh air. James and I had fun playing every morning, I went to the gym, I got all my housework done, I had some awesome personal times with God, and just rested. It was a very needed break. When I was done, I didn't have a sense that I needed to "give up" photography, but that I needed to back off from it a little and discipline myself to focus more on my "mommy calling" and just trust God to take my photography where he wants to. It was so freeing!

Then the beginning of last week (my first couple of days back from the fast) I received a confirmation that I had been selected to photograph the Tallahassee Homeschool Graduation again this year! I was so excited, and it was like confirmation that God is still in control of my photography journey, and if I will let him have the reigns, he has an exciting ride in store!

And because a post is just boring without a photo... here's a neat one I took at the park near our house.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

WWJD - Part 1

(This will be the first of three posts.)
Remember those W.W.J.D. bracelets that EVERYONE was wearing back in high school? (Half of them sadly having no earthly idea what WWJD stood for.) Of course, WWJD is an acronym for "What would Jesus Do?" which came from the classic book, "In His Steps" written by Charles Sheldon in 1896. In the book, a pastor asks his congregation to commit for one year to ask themselves "What would Jesus do?" before they do anything or make any decision, and then act based on the answer to that question, and subsequently, that challenge changed their lives.

That idea has been in the back of my mind for the last couple of months. This is your fair warning now that in this post I am not holding anything back for fear of offending someone with my spiritual convictions. So if you are prepared to come along on the ride, read on.

Many of you know that my dad is the Senior pastor of Canopy Roads Baptist Church in Tallahassee FL. I am very proud to be a p.k. (pastor's kid), but that's for another post. This year most members in their church have committed to do a year-long "Radical Experiment," which you can read about here if you want to know more, and my husband and I have made the commitment as well. It promises to be a spiritual turning point for many of us, but it will also be a year full of spiritual warfare and self-evaluation. I feel like, I have already run a spiritual marathon in just the first month of this commitment, and who knows what the next 11 will hold?
This post will likely become one of many as God is working in me this year. Part of the radical experiment is committing to meet weekly with other believers in small group or mentor relationship. Jim and I are already members of a Sunday morning Life Group at our church, but recently I've been hungering for something more (not that I'm knocking Gene's lessons because he definitely puts in a lot of prep time and does an awesome job). I wanted a one-on-one relationship with someone that I could be completely open with who would hold me accountable and push me to grow in my spiritual walk with Christ. So a friend, Keri, and I have started meeting every other week for mutual discipleship and accountability. We've decided to start off by reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was the "real deal," staying true to his Christian convictions in Nazi Germany even when it cost him his life. We're just two chapters into the book and already I'm having a "meltdown" of sorts! This chapter is called "The Call to Discipleship," and it starts out talking about the calling of Peter and Levi, both of whom immediately dropped what they were doing (fishing and tax collecting respectively) and followed Jesus. Bonhoeffer talks about the importance of immediate and complete obedience and being willing to drop everything that we have considered important in our B.C. (before Christ) life in order to follow Christ. He connects faith and obedience stating, "only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes" so the two most co-exist in order for either of them to truly exist at all.

By this point you're probably thinking, "What does this have to do with photography?" Just hold your horses, I promise that I'm getting there. ;) But I think this is enough for one post. Check back tomorrow for more!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Balancing work and home

I decided it's time for a personal post again. So here goes...

Recently, I've really been struggling with how to balance being a mommy and pursuing my photography career. It's so funny to even hear myself say that because before I had kids I thought it sounded strange that a mom would be torn between her kids and her job. I always felt like once I had children, they would be my whole life. I guess maybe that was partly because I hadn't really found a job I was passionate about yet. Don't get me wrong, I loved being a Spanish teacher because it gave me the opportunity to be a mentor to my students and be there when no one else was, but I never had any desire for "climbing the ladder." I had no aspirations to become an administrator or even to pursue my masters. I was happy just being a teacher and mentor until God blessed me with kids. Then we moved to Michigan and God started me on my journey in photography. Read more about how that started here.

And ever since then, I've found my true calling and passion in photography. I could (and sometimes do) literally sit for hours editing photos, researching new cameras/lenses/etc., reading other photographer's blogs (like Jasmine Star and Jem Photography) to get ideas, or learning more about photography techniques.

I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I'm sad when I hear my little guy wake up because I'm thinking, "Not yet... just a few more minutes."

I think it's all about balance and priorities though, and I'm praying about how that should all look. Praying for the peace to enjoy my passion for photography and for the wisdom to know when to put it aside and just be mommy. And I know with time it will all fall into place.

Yes, it actually does snow it Georgia. Although we usually don't get this much. We took the opportunity after our big snow to get a couple cute snow photos.