Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm still here!!!

I didn't die. I swear.
But I don't really have a good excuse for not posting.
I guess I just haven't had much time.
So here's a short one to let you know I'm still around. And taking pictures. And enjoying my hilarious kids. And loving my amazing husband.
On a short side note, I realized tomorrow is New Year's Eve just a few hours ago. I'm officially old.
To redeem my ridiculously ancient self, I'll show you a couple of picture of one of my favorite young'uns. There's more to come soon. I promise. (Cross my heart)

Um, yeah. I'm in love with him. And his hugs and open-mouthed slobbery kisses. One could say that I'm wrapped. Hopefully all that cuteness bought your forgiveness...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A few thoughts...

I've been overwhelmed by so many beautiful people in front of my camera and so many thoughts to share that I haven't posted. Yeah, I know. Kind of backwards. So I thought instead of stringing together words in what I hope is a somewhat pleasing manner, I'll just share a few things that struck me in the past week.

When you run into a door, it is most likely the door's fault. Give the door a timeout. (My little lady literally did this. Her exact words after running into said door, "Time out, door!")

Dance. Any time. All the time. And don't worry what other people think - just dance.

Snuggles with your favorite girl, popcorn, and a capella music courtesy of the show, "The Sing Off" is a recipe for great memories.

I need a new computer with more storage... Sometimes our Mac gets upset with all the work I want to do on it...

The elephant noise coming from your favorite little man can entertain you for hours... And yet, if someone my age did it, I would not be entertained at all.

The story of Jesus' birth is kind of scandalous. I never realized it until I tried reading and explaining it to my three year old. More on this later...

Presents do not wrap themselves, no matter how much you wish they would.

Well, there's a lot more to share and more pictures to show, but for now, I'm going to have a chocolate milk date with the cutest little three year old I know. And because pictures make everything better... Here's two of my favorite little people:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love at first click...

We'd had several phone conversations and played phone tag a few times. And I already knew I was going to love spending time with her. She's the kind of client that makes you ridiculously thrilled to answer your phone. You already feel like she's a good friend.
When I walked in and first officially met the rest of her family, I was in love. Her husband was so kind and gracious. And he's the kind of guy that couldn't begin to hide his love for the two beautiful ladies in his life. (And he's patient seeing as he helped me completely rearrange their living room numerous times)
And their little lady? Um, there are not words. She oozes a nearly lethal combination of cuteness and sweetness. I fell in love, I'm not gonna lie. (I mentioned her to Jayden, so we'll see if anything develops down the road)
So, incredible Moline family, thank you for letting me join your family. Capturing your giggles, snuggles, kisses and stolen glances was such an honor. And hanging out with you? I loved it. Thank you for your hospitality, your willingness to rearrange your furniture and your transparent adoration of one another. You all rock.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I don't really know who even reads this crazy compilation of stories and pictures of my awesome family, thoughts on life and pictures of BEAUTIFUL people who are wiling to step in front of my camera, but in light of that, I wanted to share something special with you...
Several artists within our church got together and tried to help us experience Advent (the season of celebrating and entering into the experience of what it was like to wait for Jesus to come) in a new way. Through their mediums they helped us understand the darkness and what it meant for Jesus to enter the scene as the light of the world.
One of them struck me. Like, I couldn't take my eyes off of it. It was an exhibit called "Secrets". When you went back in to view the piece that was nearly hidden in the back corner, you saw something standing nearly 3 feet tall that was enclosed by fabric. I walked over beside the piece and looked down in. This is what I saw.

Chains and barbed wire came together to create a sea of entanglement. I couldn't get the image out of my head. I walked away and started to wonder what would happen when we got to the light portion of the experience. What are they going to do with that? Is there another piece waiting to replace it? Would the chains be gone?

That's what. Exposed. Messy. Open. Out there. It wasn't completely fixed at that moment. It wasn't clean and neat and pretty. It was a mess, but it wasn't hiding anymore. A light shown onto it illuminating all that had been hidden and somehow also made it beautiful.

I will draw no conclusions for you. That's not the point of this post. It just spoke to me in a way I can't seem to put words around and I just felt like I should share it with you. Thank you, Emma for sharing it with our church. And for prompting me to put it all out there in my own life instead of trying to hide, because with the entrance of the Light of the World, all the rules have changed and I don't have to hide anymore. You rock, lady.

Monday, December 14, 2009


There is so much to post and so little time...
So in lieu of a typical post, I'll share a small snippet. Quite honestly, you might enjoy this more anyway.

Here's a conversation that I had last night with my favorite little lady while we were playing doctor and taking each others' temperature...

Hannah: Can you do the other one? My other armpit has a favor...
Me: You mean a fever or a favor?
Hannah: A favor. (Said in that, "Duh, mom" voice)
Me: Okay, just checking...

I love her. And my little J-man.
Hope this post finds you having a rock awesome day. Stay tuned for more stories, thoughts and pictures...

Speaking of's one of the little lady herself...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Banjos, Guitars and lots of Love

It’s in the way he looks at her. It’s in their shared glances, their warm embrace, the tender placement of his hand on her back. It’s in the giggles, the tender cheek kisses and the stolen glances they shower on their precious little ladies.
It’s love.
Even a couple of hours with them leaves you completely aware that you want love like that in your life. And it leaves you in awe of the beauty of a family. The perfectly imperfect mesh of M&M’s, diapers, music and Elmo’s World that is the stuff of life…
We are blessed to call this precious family our friends. They are ridiculously talented. They are composers, guitarists, banjo-enthusiasts, writers, baristas (okay, well only Devin, but when your spouse works there, you learn how to throw down a good cup of coffee…) and all around awesome people. Their little ladies fill a room with excitement, mad dancing skills and enough adorableness to stop traffic.
They are part of the leadership of our church and I cannot tell you how often I thank God for bringing them here. They have filled our hearts with greater wonder and awe for God. Their humble honesty has provided open spaces for us to stop hiding behind fake facades. Their servanthood has blessed us all. And their children... Well, see for yourself how much joy they’ve brought everyone… (And I love seeing the friendship between my little Hannah and Nadia. And Jayden seems to have a thing for Mardi…this could get interesting.)
So…thank you, precious friends for carving out some time to be in front of my camera – especially on such a special day. Andrea, happy birthday again. I don’t know if I could put words around how grateful I am that God brought you into this world and then brought you to Chicago where I could have the privilege of knowing you.

I am so in love with this picture and these people...

Nadia, you get 10,000 cute points

They have a banjo hanging on their wall. It does not get cooler than that. Except to hear her play it...

So Aun, Anthropologie called and they want you to model...

Girl, you are gorgeous...

More pictures to come, but a certain little man who has my heart wrapped around his finger decided to wake up from his nap. I'm off to play blocks, tickle his belly and kiss him far too many times...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Drum Roll Please...

There are not words. None.
When I first had the idea of doing a free photos session contest as a chance to have people share their story, I was excited. I couldn't wait to see who people nominated and what they would share.
On Wednesday of last week I was starting to doubt myself as a photographer, but I was hoping at least one person would share part of their story. That would be fine. Even if it was just one person...
Five people bared their lives in such beautiful ways, I found tears forming in my eyes. Their stories were beautiful, brutal, honest, exposed and yet full of hope. I was blown away. People were so raw and the beauty in the sharing of their stories stirred up so much within me.
And then I realized...I'm supposed to choose a winner.
Each story was different. And quite honestly, there's no comparing stories. Every person's story is beautiful and unique. So...
They all win.
Yep, executive decision made.
So...Jana, you're parents will be signed up for a free photo shoot on my next trip to Louisville, as well as Jessica and her family. And Megan, that session you signed up's free. And Mary Ellen, your pictures are being taken. And I couldn't be more honored, or more excited.
So ladies, thank you. Thank you for sharing your story. I cannot tell you how completely amazing it was to read each one and to think that you would share so honestly and so beautifully. Thank you for not backing away from the difficult, the painful and the challenge, but in facing it, finding the sacred, the beautiful...the life. Please keep sharing your stories. They need to be told. We need to hear them. And I'm honored that I got to read them and enter into those moments through your lens. Now I can't wait to put you guys in front of mine...

So...if you haven't already, head over to the discussion board on my facebook page and read the entries. And though the contest is over, if you're up for it, share your story. I read them all, probably at least three times. And I cannot tell you how much I love hearing more about your life.
And precious winners, we'll be in touch and be scheduling everything! I'm excited!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


She's sitting in a waiting room. Her life has basically been lived in the doctor's office for the past few months. Today she sits waiting...hoping...praying to know why her body has decided to complicate her life in such a way.
Last night we sat across from each other, Christmas-y red cups in hand and some sort of Holiday mix playing in the background. (I know this, I'm ADD.) I looked into her face and couldn't believe that I had the privilege of sitting across from her. I sat in disbelief that God would give me a friend so genuine, a friend so dedicated, a friend so beautifully honest, and a friend that has faced such a ridiculously rough road for her 20-something years of life thus far and holds within her a beauty that only hardship, forgiveness and God's faithfulness can yield. And as we both found tears welling up as we visited the reality of the unknown in her life and the scariness of it all, we exchanged that knowing glance.
God is here. She will find some way to put one foot in front of the other. She will hurt, she will cry, she will accept help and she will wrestle through all of this with a large group of people who love her. People who realize we need her in our lives. People who realize that she has so much to teach us about the beauty and the sacred in life.
I looked deep into her eyes and told her, "I don't think this is forever."
Right now, she is sitting and waiting to hear for sure what disease is impacting her body. The next few months will likely be filled with new medications, lifestyle adjustments and likely time in physical therapy. The doctors may pronounce that her body is starting a lifetime of fighting itself and has just recently decided to show her. But there is hope. Because quite honestly, God can heal her. And though I don't sense from talking with Him that it will be right now, as odd as it sounds, I believe He is going to one day.
My friend humbles me to the core. You know who you are. So let it be said, thank you. Thank you for sharing your life with me. Thank you that you're such a good friend that I know you're probably reading this because you care about me and for some reason you are gracious enough to read my scatter-brained musings on life. Thank you for the way you love my daughter and show her what love looks like. Thank you for making my family your own. Thank you for the hard work you have done in life to forgive. You have no idea how often I find myself in tears as I see in you the beauty of what it means to be free. You could be so bitter, you could be so disheartened with all that life has dealt you, but are free. You are free to love and dance and ridiculously bless everyone you come in contact with. I want to live so much more like you do. I sometimes tear up as I thank God for all that He has faithfully brought you through. Your life has literally been a living Hell so many times, and yet you have survived and you have wrestled and you have come out reminding everyone around you of the beauty He has to offer. Thank you. Thank you that you'd let me share life with you. I can't even begin to put words around how much you mean to me. Thank you, friend. And thank you that even as you sit waiting for a life-altering diagnosis, you are probably making the entire medical staff laugh and enjoy their day a little bit more just as you are yourself around them. Gosh, I adore you.
Today I sit waiting. Computer at my fingertips, brain unable to think of anything except her. And I wait.
So, if you're reading this, know that there is hope. Because my friend knows this. Know that God is there, because my friend would want you to know that. And laugh, because my friend would recommend it on a daily basis. To aid the laughter, here's a little picture for you. My friend graciously loves my kids and I think she will enjoy this. So friend, this is for you. And hopefully other will enjoy it as well...

As my friend would say...Bring it on. Especially when you've got ear muffs on...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

To Theo...

He's consistent. He's steady. He is loving when I give him absolutely no reason to be. He does all the tasks that I find annoying. He makes me laugh when I feel like I can't go on. He is the right brain of all that I do. He never hesitates to find my keys. He is my second shooter for weddings and basically makes it insanely wonderful for me, WHILE capturing beautiful images. He feeds children and reads books in ridiculously hilarious voices that captivate us all. He is amazing.
And I love him.
Thank you, Ted. I don't say it enough, but I have no idea what I would do without you. Thank you for entering my crazy world and loving me enough to stick around even when I don't give you a good reason to do so. Thank you for encouraging me, believing in me, reminding me and teaching me. Gosh I don't know what I'd do without you. You are my best friend, the love of my life and the king of hilarity. I cherish that I get to go through life with you. The fact that you choose me brings me to tears. I love you. I cannot wait for more shared laughs, more sweet kisses (sorry if my brothers read this...) and more joy shared with our crazy, wonderful children. (And hopefully less whining...) Thank you. Thank you for being you in my life. You're amazing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A little snapshot

I have had a nearly constant headache for three days. Therefore I became non-existent in the blog world. Instead of piecing together my thoughts, here's a few pictures to show you the joy that's been on my computer screen and a sneak peek of what is to come...

One day my headache will be gone. Until then, I'm gonna go resurrect our Christmas tree and make special cookies with my adorable family. You all rock. And don't forget!!! Enter your story for a chance to win a free photo session!