Favor Real Estate – Company Headshots

When you live in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, it’s very likely that you’ll run in to some of the kindest people…even if it’s just out and about doing errands, at Kohl’s! 

After we chat over a few items and then our military backgrounds, we were comfortable enough to share each other business cards, and out of that came a beautiful friendship and these updated portraits for this sweet couple! As always, very honored to capture moments and images that families will love, as well as to update some business photos as well! 

Also, you can find these images at Favor Real Estate…talk with the Peterson’s if you are interested in an awesome property management duo to help your real estate needs! 

Artists Inspired Blog Circle – White

Artists Inspired Blog Circle – White

December. The month of giving and receiving…and hopefully more giving. This month, our Artists Inspired Blog Circle is doing the color “White” as our theme, and I couldn’t be happier. I started out a touch saddened by the prospect of not having snow (we don’t get “snow” here in Oklahoma City very often…if we get cold stuff, it’s often ice!), but as the month has gone on, I decided to take this an entirely different direction. And, what prompted it? Well, it wasn’t exactly what I would have anticipated.

Around mid November, I saw an article floating around on Facebook and, to be quite honest, it broke my heart. I actually hate that I’m going to post it for it to have a bigger audience, but in order for you to follow my post and my words, it is fair to give credit to where this came from. Here it is:

7 Reasons Not to Participate in Operation Christmas Child This Year

Now, if I haven’t lost you all together, and you really decided to take a peek at this opinion piece, and have come back to reality, you may see why I’m a little saddened by this author’s blog post. And to be clear, I don’t follow this person, nor do I know who she is. This just came across my feed, sadly. If you know me and my family at all, you know that we in fact participate in Operation Christmas Child every year, and have for quite some time. It’s a family tradition, but beyond that, it helps us each year, amidst the holiday buying and busy-ness to stop and consider the lives and needs of others.

Below is one of the first OCC’s we took part in. By the looks of it, it’s around 2011. Our traditions typically come in the form of doing things with our kids, and this is one thing we knew we wanted to teach early on: the gift of giving.

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Okay, so before I go much further in to Operation Christmas Child, let me go back and revisit the theme of our “White.”

White to many people can be interpreted or symbolized, as pure or innocent, maybe even unblemished. I often think of Heaven and what I imagine it to be like, good and pure. Scientifically, (or maybe visually) white is the reflection of all the colors of the rainbow. Something so great and powerful, and pure and good at the same time. This verse from Revelations stands out to me:  “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Rev. 19:8

I’m not going to take a pictures of a bunch of snow, snowflakes, flowers, or fog or clouds or even foods with white. I look forward to all of those things if my fellow Circle Members share those (trust me, these ladies are TALENTED!) But, no. Not my take. Instead, this month, I’m using the symbolism of “white” as I described above and share with you about one of our family traditions…Operation Christmas Child.

Now, what is Operation Christmas Child?

Operation Christmas Child is a missionary project that is part of Samaritan’s Purse. The details on Samaritan’s Purse can be found hereBut the mission statement is:
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I’m by no means a rocket scientist, but I think it boils down to a nondenominational evangelical organization that helps people through various types of situations around the world. And yes, it spreads the love of Jesus Christ.

Operation Christmas Child takes a direction that gears its efforts towards children — often the victims of poverty, among other things, due to where they are around the world. Each year, around mid-November, Christian churches and individuals around the world pack up regular shoeboxes (or, ones they donate for the cause) to fill with goodies. These “goodies” can range from toys to hygiene items to underwear to sports equipment. And probably tons of other “things” but at the end of the day, they are bringing not only these “things” to CHILDREN who may not have otherwise been given ANY GIFT in their lives, but the boxes bring hope and encouragement. And love.

 They let children know they are not forgotten. They are important, valued, created for a purpose, and someone way across the world is thinking of them and praying for them.

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Here’s a bit more from the Operation Christmas Child site – under the link for Eternal Impact.
Operation Christmas Child — Eternal Impact

For the record, when my husband and I decided long ago to start contributing towards Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, it wasn’t through blinded following. We researched Samaritan’s Purse and OCC. We spoke with friends in our home church and others. To be honest, this is the first time (reading the Emily Joy Poetry blog noted above) that I have heard anything negative about OCC. Now, to be fair, I have watched other documentaries and have heard of other missionaries describe a couple of the highlighted points by the blog, but never about this one. For instance, I do recollect watching a documentary in particular about the shoe industry and how sending brand new shoes *can* put shoe makers/cobblers out of business in some villages. And that there is a natural disruption in the economy for some communities.  And that does make sense.

Now, I am going to touch the points on which I firmly disagree.

Seven, actually.

1. Okay, we get it. So this girl doesn’t like or approve of Franklin Graham or what he believes and teaches based on his desired to share the gospel BASED ON BIBLICAL SCRIPTURE. Why NOT take millions of children and deprive them of gifts at Christmas. All in the name of not wanting to support one man, and the vision of countless others. Sure. That makes TOTAL sense. Let’s not follow a calling that we may have from the Lord (to help children through this ministry) based on our dislike of one person, who might not share our beliefs, but who, according to Facebook and Twitter, is an awful person. With a heart to help people.

2. Nevermind, back to number 1. Quite frankly, I try not to meddle in the financial affairs of others. My guess is that Franklin Graham is a highly educated businessman who is successful in leading his companies/charities/organizations to receive the donations that they receive. So, although I don’t know for certain, a quick glance here, courtesy of CharityWatch, leads me to believe the statement and link posted in the blog regarding Graham’s salary pulls towards the bias the author wants to see. I’m far less interested in what he makes for his hard work, and more interested in knowing what he does with it. But, again, that’s between him and God. Not us. Unless something comes back saying all of our donations didn’t get to the children or the money was improperly used (and according to this, it wasn’t – you should check the percentage for compensation of leaders), I’m good with Graham, the mission, and his salary.

2. Really this time. Because number 1 is making me very sad. It was suggested that the items in the box would be random “cheap trinkets” and essential junk that no one would be able to figure out how to use (in many cases). I cannot speak for everyone. But I know the years that we have donated, “cheap” is NEVER what we were going for. Now, useful, small to fit in the box, interesting, fun, hygienic…those things we did try to find. But never “cheap.” In fact, I just took back about $35 worth of things yesterday that wouldn’t fit in our boxes this year! They were filled to the brim and we were sad that those didn’t make it in (and yes, boxes, but I’ll share more on that later, because I can address another “reason not to give”). The list of items that are suggested and approved is here. Now, again, I’m not genius, but I would think that hygiene items, school supplies, a fun stuffed animal, and maybe a yoyo would be AMAZING for child. You know what, heck with what’s IN the box. Haven’t you ever received something and just been happy that someone thought of you?! I have. Imagine someone, a child, perhaps, who has never received a gift in a shiny red box. Or wrapped in wrapping paper with fun characters. Do some people just throw “junk in a box?” Maybe. Did those who prayerfully sought guidance and were led to share from their hearts? My guess is a resounding, “no.” Do some people get seasonally off items? Sure, but I’ve also received a few things that weren’t exactly my cup of tea too, but I am always grateful. I know that not every is like that, however, but on the chance that there are a few out there that truly do love and appreciate the thought of these gifts (and, maybe the gifts themselves) isn’t it worth it if we as a Christian Family are willing and able to give?

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3. Oh, I’m going to enjoy this one. The local economy may be disrupted. <sigh>…Is this by the cheap “junky trinkets” that no one will know how to use? Seriously? If you wanted point number 2 to stick on some level, this point should not have been mentioned. Again, I agree that something (like shoes) might disrupt the economy. Or even grain and rice. But the gifts we send to children…especially if they aren’t useable – see number 2…are likely not going to hurt the vendors there. The point was made that these items are typically vastly different than the normal toys there for the particular culture. So this shouldn’t be an issue based on your own argument.

4. Racist or sexist boxes. Clearly this chick has either never had children and/or she led a very humorless life and childhood. First, racist boxes? Are you serious? With loving hearts, we Christians are so awful we want to send cheap gifts (from our own money and shipping costs) to people in other various cultures so that we can show the worst sides of our society? The images are cartoons. Yes, they may have some cultural context along with some cartoon-like and fun depictions (I’m part Asian, so I can say this…Asians are OFTEN depicted by those rice hats. And you know what? I’ve never been offended). A Latino child in a native looking poncho? I can’t speak for them, but I would think that a child really would just see…a happy cartoon of children receiving gifts. From various cultures. To address another quick point – we can show compassion to others in many ways, not simply by letting them immigrate to our country. We need to be proactive and create an immigration policy that works. Just letting anyone in to our country isn’t working. Protecting our own citizens does not have to be in opposition to having a secure immigration policy.

Sexism? For the love. There are in fact two sexes. Male and female. I’m sure I could debate forever my reasoning here (cough, cough…science…biology…reproductive organs…) but as far as children are concerned, there are boys and girls. I’m going to keep it simple, though I know there a few complicated exceptions to this general train of thought – just bear with me for the main points to address the article. Girls would be more likely, for instance, to wear an undershirt (we bought those the last few years for our “GIRL Boxes”  – because it seems more age appropriate as we are buying for the 10-14 age group). Did we include a soccer ball in her box? Why yes, we did! And writing supplies and hygiene products, a card game…so many fun, useful (and easy to use) items. And our “BOY box?” We did a younger box (5-9) for him. He got some fun superhero socks (so, totally sexist there, I guess, but given the choice, that’s what my 6 year old BOY wanted to purchase for him), a cup, toothbrushes, a card game, crayons, stickers, and I think a little stuffed animal. But each of our children buy for someone across the world who they don’t know, but want to relate to. And to pray over. Sure, a 10-14 year old girl *could* want superhero boy socks in a size 5, but my guess is the age appropriate gender box would probably be a bit more to her liking. Maybe if one were to criticize less and see the process at work, they’d understand. Knowledge is power, after all.

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5. I’m seriously not even sure how to tackle this one. I’m not sure what kind of “Christian” denomination this author is from, but as I understand it, as a Christian since October 2003, we, as Christians, are to be the “hands and feet of Jesus.” To help those in need. To spread the gospel of our Lord and Savior. To love one another. Giving children a box with presents is a great opportunity MISSED if we don’t take the time to spread the good news of Jesus’s love! If one is a Christian, why wouldn’t they want to share the joyous news of Jesus with EVERYONE?!

6. Here’s the quote that Emily’s missionary friend, Joelle, “The way Operation Christmas Child is presented to kids is that these are gifts from your brothers and sisters overseas who love Jesus and love you, which sounds nice. But ultimately it perpetuates the damage that followed post-colonialism aid, which instills in children overseas from an early age that you need white people to give you things, and in our children, that the poor need our things. In mass and over time, it’s this ideology that actually make poor communities poorer.”

For the love. You could read WAY, WAY, WAY in to a simple act of love and kindness, despite cultural differences and diversity and maybe come to this sad conclusion. But, if you’re someone with love and genuine selflessness, I don’t understand how you can leap from gift giving to post colonial imperialism. One could, however, see that an act of kindness made in honestly and the purest of intentions could perpetuate love and spread the gospel of Jesus. Oh, and save lives. Eternally save lives.

7. This point suggests, incorrectly, I believe that those of us who are participating in OCC and donating to Samaritan’s Purse and other such causes are doing so blindly. So many other things with this one, but I need to close at some point. But, one major point — my children aren’t being taught ANYTHING about trying to assuage “their guilt” (or anyone else’s) by giving. That’s nowhere near the lesson we are teaching our children. We teach them to give out of love and kindness. We teach them that giving is better than receiving. You don’t have to live in my home to see it, nor do you have to have me state this, but my children are some of the most kind and capable children. They give out of love and selflessness. Sure, they are children in America with working parents and they get all they need and then some. But my children are typically the first to offer their earned money for others. My 10-year old daughter actually used some of her own money because she wanted to purchase gifts this year. This isn’t the first instance nor will it be the last. And it has nothing to do with a guilty heart. It has everything to do with being taught the value of life and love. The sacrifice that Jesus made for us.

My point with Operation Christmas Child and our Artists Inspired “White” Blog Post theme: the act of sharing their love through gifts is one of the greatest joys of innocence and purity and love and honesty that I know. My children don’t know about any of the “7 Reasons…” in that blog post. What they know is that there are people out there in need. They don’t need toys or yo-yo’s, or stickers or candy or games, but we do have them to give, and moreover, my children (and thousands of others!) want to love and share to others. And if that love comes in the form of a shoebox of items (toys and so much more), given with the purest of intentions and love, and guidance of missionaries and leaders who want to help these countries, then my prayer is that these gifts are well-recieved, and that more people in this world see the purity in giving just as my children and my family do.

These images are from this year’s drop off. We started at First Moore Baptist Church, but had missed the pick up due to some missed days at church. So, after we found the new drop off location, we traveled a few miles down the road to Emmaus Baptist Church. So thankful for a community of Christians who are willing and able to share the love of Christ with other in this way!

My cuties. They love giving. Not just to OCC but to so many causes.

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We are thankful to have had one of our favorite best friends with us for the drop off.
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The tree was gorgeous at FBC-Moore…we had to stop for a picture. Trimmed in purple…a majestic color to honor our King.
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Peyton wanted to join in…and of course we welcomed her! After all, not quite a decade ago, these two beautiful girls were besties going to FBC-Moore’s First Learning Center Program!
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And, probably the most touching images and moments. Just a couple shots to make sure I could join them in prayer for our Boy box and our Girl box.
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Love. My Mommy heart wonders what he was thinking. It could have been about the journey our boxes would take, or the child that would open the package he’s holding. Or, as a 6 year old, it could have been about Pokemon! But in any case, I know this child’s heart and that these moments are special to him and that he will pray for this box and the child who receives it for a long time to come. After all, isn’t that the most important lesson?

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I apologize for the lengthy post, but I hope you understand why I chose to write a bit more for this month’s {White} theme.
So thankful you all took the time to come by my blog. A special thank you to a few of my proofers for this post which obviously has my heart in it! I loved having friends and colleagues, Nikki Smith and Rachel Haynes go over a few key points with me, and that they took the time to review and help me with the draft!

Also, Elizabeth Willson is one of the most generous and talented photographers I know (you can find her FB page here, and I am so thankful that we’ve connected for me to have gained much insight from in this post, and many other things! Her spiritual beauty and heart for giving and being compassionate are incomparable. With her help, I wanted to add a couple of informative videos as well. If you are interested helping in Operation Christmas Child and maybe need a nudge to overcome some of the skepticism you may have heard, please consider watching the following, all from Samaritan’s Purse:

Good News. Great Joy.
(The impact beyond the shoebox “gift” that these children feel – it’s more than handing out a box and receiving a toy. It’s about the eternal impact of Jesus on their lives.)

Church to Church
(The hands a feet of Jesus, hard at work to give glory to God’s Kingdom. Christian to Christian, church to church.)

Lives That Are Changed
(If you aren’t sure about the impact, please watch some of these stories! Individuals are helped and change, communities, churches, and countries. What a profound impact from a simple shoebox.)

Next up in our Artists Inspired Blog Circle is the talented Nikki Smith of Nikki Smith photographer/storyteller (Facebook page). Click here to see Nikki’s take on this month’s theme – I assure you that you’ll love it…she’s one of my favorites to follow!

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

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September 24th – Lightning in OKC

Welcome back to Oklahoma City…we have Lightning Storms again!

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This one is one of my all time favorites…between the silhouette, the foreground, the framing and the color…it’s just perfection!
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Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Orange

Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Orange

Orange

November is here and we are already halfway through this month! How can that be? One more month until Christmas and not too far after that, a whole New Year will be knocking at our door.

I was a little stumped this month with our Artists Inspired Blog Circle theme of “Orange.” I considered quite a few regular “events” or ways to capture orange. But it all seemed too forced. I’m not an “every day shooter” — I pick up my camera for sessions, when something strikes me (like the November 2016 Supermoon), or when I want to capture a family memory. Rarely do I get the chance to go out and shoot for “me” or “just for fun.”

Below are some of the “orange” things I considered…

Most of the orange leaves have turned, and to be honest, don’t look as pretty as I’d want to photograph. I didn’t go hunting for anything special — just saw what was around my neighborhood, but nothing jumped out at me.

Then of course, I have tons of orange decor around my house, but nothing felt inspired to me.

I considered sunrises and sunsets…those have all of those golden yellow, orange, vibrant tones, but that seemed too pushed as well.

Two nights ago, my littles went to an Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball game, and were invited out on the court baseline to be there when the players were introduced — HOW COOL! But, though pretty awesome, I think I’ll save that post for another day.

You know what was totally natural? My children, who are my muses, doing their normal thing for Halloween, and me capturing and blogging. No, these images aren’t technically beautiful or super “wow” images…but they are us. In fact, I don’t think any of these were really thought out before I pulled the camera…I just snapped a few, and these will be our memories this year. And, I’m okay with that. Daddy had to leave the day of Halloween, unfortunately, so the kids and I did what we could with him before he left, and then of course, we were left Trick-or-Treating without him. We are so, so thankful for amazing friends to come over that night and enjoy our Halloween celebration with us.

My little Pikachu and my little Charmander, all dressed up for Halloween, doing their thing. These were taken after a family session…my babies were with me, and though very dark, we found some light and I went for it anyways. I’m glad I did…

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To be 100% honest, I don’t think the ones below are actually edited. At least, not all of them. We are ALWAYS late pumpkin carvers, and this year was no exception. We did this the day before Halloween, before Daddy left. I have HORRIBLE house lighting (and am always so jealous when I see great house light!) so really, I needed to edit these. But, it’s the memory that’s important…and these are tradition!

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Check out this LIGHT!!!

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This one has become one of my favorites! I LOVE how this turned out, regardless of how many times people picked on me for the 11×14 frame STILL being empty in the background! 
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Before our guests arrived…I needed to keep my lil’ Pokemon from eating all of the Halloween treats! We started a tradition several years ago of making Halloween Party Food (even just for our family) and the kids love it and look forward to the surprises each year. This year, they were able to help me get ready for the party, which was awesome!

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We had Pumpkin Poo, Witches Brooms, Witch Fingers, Ghost Poo, Bloody Fingers, Halloween Punch, Jack-O-Lantern Quesadillas, Werewolf Scabs, Mini Mummies, and Chili…for the grown ups. 
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I was SO ant-“Halloween” decorations. Fall decorations…all day long. But Halloween?? Eh,not sure what message that sends the kids. However, when DADDY makes a deal with Big Sister about good grades and graveyard decorations…he sticks to his word.

And deals with the wrath of Mommy.
So, they go out a few days before, and they are put up within a day or two.

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I’ve decided I need to take more pictures of my beautiful new home! The kiddos are standing in front of it, so it’s in the background. It’s been an adjustment, but we’ve started to enjoy being here quite a bit, especially because of our friends. And we are very thankful for the house and the neighborhood that Jason picked out for us to live in.

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Along with taking more pictures of our home…we have a super cool looking entryway! I decided that it looked pretty cool with the pumping lit up in front of it, so I captured a couple angles!
We have one Pikachu Pumpkin, and one sort of scary face pumping, completely carved by Sweet Caroline!
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Finishing out the blog by sharing our Pikachu Pumpkin!
My little guy wanted this one SO BADLY, and Daddy did a pretty great job!

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I hope you enjoyed my take on {Orange}!
So thankful you all took the time to come by my blog!

Next up in our Artists Inspired Blog Circle is the talented Elizabeth Willson of It’s Still Life by Elizabeth Willson. Click here to see her take on this month’s theme – I assure you that you’ll love it…she’s one of my favorites to follow!

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

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Inspired By: Imogen Cunningham

For those of you who may not know, I am a contributing artist and team member with an AMAZING photography community called By He{Art}. You can find us HERE on Facebook, and you can also check out our blog, located HERE.

The six of us who run By He{Art} have a vision to help create a safe place for photographers, new and seasoned, to feel comfortable sharing images without the fear of harsh and unwarranted CC (constructive criticism) and to find encouragement and support amidst a sea of other photographers. As hobbyists or professionals and everyone in between, it’s often hard to stand out as creatives, and we envision a place where people want to share and be seen for the art that they create.

One of the ways that we help our photographers grow and share is by offering weekly themed challenges. Our September might have been the most memorable month of weekly themed challenges yet! Our Founder, the lovely Jenn Franzin of Pretty Pixels Photography along with Holly Nicole of The Timekeeper, was able to create a month of shares that were {Inspired By: } a set famous artists. We were all {Inspired By: Ansel Adams, Francesca Woodman, Henri Cartier-Bresson}…and the week that I’m about to share with you is my personal take on the theme {Inspired By: Imogen Cunningham}.

Much to my dismay, I wasn’t able to go out and shoot specifically for this theme; however, I did manage to find a couple botany images that were already converted into the deep, high contrast black and white style that is so characteristic of Cunningham’s work. A couple, I also had to convert, and I am happy to say that I am very please with the results!

For more information on the talented Imogen Cunningham, you can look HERE to find out about her life and see some more of her work. We also did a short biography on Cunningham and shared a few inspiration images at By He{Art} if you would like to pop over and see those as well!

{INSPIRED BY: IMOGEN CUNNINGHAM}

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Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Pink

Pink

In stark contrast to last month’s epiphany from Facebook (you can see my “Gold” Artists Inspired Blog post here to read up on this!), this month, surprisingly it came pretty quick to me what I would make this post about. First, a few ironies to share with you!

I’m not a huge pink fan. I don’t think I look particularly nice in pink.
It was a always a little too girly for me. And I still consider myself fairly “girly”…but not “pink girly.”

And then…I got pregnant 11 years ago with my first born child. My total surprise baby.
A GIRL.

At this point, PINK began to rule my life. I had pink on the brain. Pink dresses, pink shoes, pink room, pink stuffed animals.

Here’s a snapshot of this phase.
Whoa. My face put on a little weight in these…I didn’t realize that until many years later, thankfully. Just as a heads up, this was 7.5 months and 8-ish months pregnant.

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Anyways, I came home from work one evening, and my sweet husband, Jason, had painted her (Baby Girl White) room pink. Like, it was really PINK. I was (and am still to this day) VERY indecisive. I had no idea what color to paint it. The choices seemed endless, but thankfully, my husband knows this about me, and just goes with it. He makes decisions when he knows I’m overwhelmed. A surprise pregnancy can do that to someone, especially while working until the day before delivery.

Clearly, we didn’t have a professional photographer…or even a good camera with us. But, at least I still have this. And no comments on how awful I looked, or that I wasn’t actually clothed. I thought pregnancy was rough with her (throwing up morning, noon and night for six full months)…but delivery nearly killed me. No, really, it did. A couple blood transfusions and a couple extra days in the hospital helped but it was a while before I was “me” again.

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You might not be able to see it all…but that whole room is like Pepto Bismol Pink. My husband and I used to joke around that it “glowed” in the hallway…and, it did. 100_03842    100_05872

***By the way, don’t judge all of these images like they are “professionally” taken…some will just be old memories, thrown in there for your amusement.***

And then, as the years passed by…guess what?!! I became quite a bit more decisive, and she wore girly pink outfits from Gymboree. A lot.

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These were actually at Gymboree Play and Music.
We essentially lived there, which was great since we made awesome friends!

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Seriously, isn’t she the cutest?! No bias. AT ALL.

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Fast forward about two years…my classic thumb sucking babe.

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And then…this happened, and thankfully, I was still able to dress her. In pink.
This is First Grade…

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As a few more years passed by, aside from the fact I seemed to be aging at the speed of light with a now 10 year old daughter, I had a huge revelation. Actually, I have them almost daily.

My daughter HATES PINK. She detests being “girly.” She’s not a fan of princesses and cares more about comfort than style. And, let’s not get started on how I have to beg for her to wear dresses or jeans (mostly jeans).

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This is my little daydreamer. And, thankfully, she DID cooperate for a pink outfit for our Disney trip in 2015; however, she nearly bit my head off and ask how I could insult her by asking which princess was her favorite. Yep. My kid.

And do you know what? Although I have to remind myself sometimes that my vision for her was a *touch* different…she’s PERFECT.
ABSOLUTELY PERFECT IN HER NON-PINK, NON-GIRLY, NON-PRINCESS-Y ATTIRE.

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She’s a Daddy’s Girl through and through. She loves Spartan Races (like mud runs with obstacles), she enjoys running and working out with Daddy. She hates doing dance, cheer and gymnastics.

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My kid. She’s the GIRL in the white shirt, up against all those other kids. Her teammates (boys) weren’t even close to helping her out. She ROCKS.

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Head to head with another…trying to run the ball!

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And here she is…charging full speed. She has also learned how to head butt (??) the soccer ball on her own, and use her body to stop the ball too. SO CRAZY.
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But you know what? She is her very own person. She’s not a mini-me or mini-person to mold in to how I want her.

At the OKC State Fair in September of this year. Isn’t she gorgeous?
My little dreamer.
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Doesn’t everyone take a picture in the doctor’s office when then have a check up? When my kid looks like this, I sure do!
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God designed her perfectly as she is — a true miracle — and a huge blessing with one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know.

Her baby brother ADORES her. Pretty easy to see that, even if you’ve never met them before!
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She’s always been a Daddy’s Girl. He’s loved her for EXACTLY who she is. He’s always known she’d be amazing, regardless of life’s crazy demands (and Mommy’s crazy expectations).
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Could she be any more amazing?
(aside from those pre-teen moments, of course 😉 )
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I mean really, how many 10 year olds can do this?!
Yes, she took this amazing picture!

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Here’s to my non-PINK child — one that I won’t try to mold or picture any other way than the perfection that she is and that she is meant to be.

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You know what’s even more amazing? She loves me and accepts me for exactly who I am — her very flawed, very imperfect mother.

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So thankful that God blessed me with the most amazing little girl.
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“Every good and perfect gift is from above…”
James 1:17

I hope you enjoyed my take on {Pink}! Next up in our Artists Inspired Blog Circle is the talented Elizabeth Willson of It’s Still Life by Elizabeth Willson. Click here to see her take on this month’s theme – I assure you that you’ll love it…she’s one of my favorites to follow!

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

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Graham Family – Fall 2015

As Oklahoma fall quickly approaches (can you believe that school is starting in less than a week?!), I am reminded of the gorgeous Alabama sessions that I was able to capture this past fall! I had so many amazing clients, and each and every session was gorgeous! This session was no exception – a beautiful family of a Mommy and her handsome boys! I had the privilege of getting to know Mom just a bit through MOPS and I was delighted when she asked if I was able to get her in for a session. Turns out our military husbands know each other as well, and though our time in Montgomery with them was short, I’m glad we were able to capture these Montgomery memories.

Our move to Oklahoma City has been good over all (with all of the bumps that come along with a military move), but I’m happy to already have sessions booking for fall, but I’ll always remember these Montgomery sessions!

We had a wonderful time, and those boys of hers couldn’t possibly be any more precious! Those smiles melted my heart, so I know she has her heart full of love…

Seriously…isn’t this a GORGEOUS family?!
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Love, love, love!
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These are always some of my favorite shots!
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I seriously couldn’t choose…color, or black and white?!! So, I did both 🙂
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SUCH CUTIES!!! I love those precious smiles.
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Always fun to sneak some images in of Mom and Dad…
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She is blessed…
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Melt my heart.
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Some photographers are very particular about what type of session they are doing, but while I’m out there for a session, if you need a head shot, just ask! I am not that particular…I just love taking pictures! And seriously, she’s stunning!

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I loved playing with this image to give it a bit more of a fall look…they loved it too!
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Jen Woodhouse – Construction-Themed Kids Workshop Party

When our military family moves from one location to the next, we often wonder what type of friends we’ll have and if we’ll find “that” family (the good “that”…not the bad “that” 🙂 ) – the one  that we can get along with and essentially become family with. You know — the friendships where both husbands and wives get along and the children play and enjoy hanging out together, and no matter what everyone loves each other? These friendships are not always easy to find, but we were so, so blessed in Montgomery, Alabama the day that our new friends walked in to the church that my husband and I had been attending for almost two years. A God-thing? I think so! The intrigue of this sweet couple may or may not have also been sparked by the identifying “look for the man with a murse.” After the service, lunch…and then the forever friendship!

From that day on, our husbands formed a special <read in to this, “crazy, fun, off-humored”> relationship while Jen and I … well, we are both more on the introverted shy side (and normal!), which both of us will admit…we were typically just humored by how “off” our husbands really can be! We always enjoy our time together, but the guys typically stole the show in our discussions and get togethers (which, inevitably turned in to work conversations or…discussion about movies, or The Walking Dead). Both of us being self professed work-a-holics (we’re both Moms, first, but also both being self employed pulled us both in directions to work a lot!), we didn’t really get to know each other as well as I’d have liked until towards the end of our time in Montgomery. No worries though — we so enjoyed our time, and hopefully we can more than make up for it moving forward!  These were our church friends, after church lunch friends, our Mexican food loving friends, our husband’s have a bromance friends, and we both wish we had spent more time hanging out friends! And just like that, 10 months passed us by, but not without a lot of fun memories in between.

One such memory was Jen’s Bug House Building Kids’ Workshop/Construction-Themed Party. Jen Woodhouse, over at The House of Wood, is a ridiculously talented military wife and DIY Blogger who designs and builds furniture and provides the plans to her projects for her followers. (these are among her other various talents, including leading worship and singing/songwriting/piano-playing…I’m sure there’s so much more that I’m hardly doing her justice…she’s seriously one of the most talented people that I know!) Jen invited our family along with a few other families to enjoy a Construction-Themed Party that she hosted through her work with Home Depot. I’ll add a few images, but you can find the rest in her blog, which is below. If you aren’t following Jen yet, you NEED to! This woman, this friend…I’m blessed to call her and her family that…she’s amazing, and has so much to offer on how to build furniture, do projects, decorate, and even survive the world of being a military spouse.

What a blessing it is in our military lifestyle that we can meet, become fast friends, and know we’ll continue our friendship through the years! We already have plans to meet up…they’re only a few hours away in Texas, so if we need a break from Oklahoma, you can bet we’ll be meeting them in Dallas for a mini vacation (and Mexican food!)

And, our construction-themed party started!

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Jen and parents helped the kiddos out…look at all that concentration!

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Making sure everything was just perfect!

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When the kiddos needed a break, these yummy treats were close by!

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Is this not the coolest pizza cutter/cookie cutter ever?!
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One of the final products! I think this one is like camouflage!

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She even caught a bug!

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This was definitely a hit! Thank you, Jen Woodhouse!
We love and miss you!

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Three Generations – Foster Family 2015

Three Generations – Foster Family 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t deny it…one of my all time favorite family sessions!!!

I loved meeting this AMAZING family boasting three generations of beauty and love. Truly, they are a family that I one day aspire to have. I enjoyed photographing everyone…but I think Grandma Joan and Grandpa have my heart. What a blessed family to have these loving grandparents to have started this family. I had to capture a few special ones of just them towards the end, so be sure to keep scrolling since I couldn’t just choose a few.

We had this special session in Pike Road, Alabama, along one of my favorite and most scenic fall session areas. The fence, road and lighting are perfect for the look that they were hoping for. When I tell my clients I do a combination of “posed” and “lifestyle”…this session is exactly what I have in mind!

Although rebuilding my photography business in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as a portrait and lifestyle photographer, I will ALWAYS remember how beautiful this session was, and what it meant for them to allow me to capture these special family moments.

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