Monday, October 28, 2013

Imperfection & Nostalgia - October Black & White

For the next few months I will be linking up with a fabulous group of ladies as we share so of our favorite images in Black & White.

Most of you who have been following me for some time know my love for black & white.  There is just something about it that draws me in and warms my soul.  Add a bit of sunflare to the image and well, it just makes me want to dance.   This month I'm sharing a few images that are full of all the glorious imperfections of sunflare, over exposure, haze and dust.  Images that remind me of simpler times, when all the photos were black and white, and kids played out in the yard until dark.

To see some more wonderful black and white images hop on over to Nadia's page and view her end of summer black and white images.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Little Things Thursday - The Not So Little Task

It's been awhile since I've posted.  Our family has had quite the adventure, but we are now happily settled into our new home in the midwest!

Part of that journey included the experience of doing our laundry at the laundry mat for a couple of weeks, no small task for a family of 9.  Encouraged by Kim, who was following my journey on instagram, I took my camera along to our last laundry mat visit and captured a little laundry mat lifestyle.

This week you'll find me happily doing the laundry at home in my new laundry room.  Kim, thank you for pushing me to get these images.

Linking up to today with my irl, bff, encourager friend Kim over at:

Little by Little

Monday, September 16, 2013

Letters To Our Daughters - September

Summer has come and gone all too quickly and now we are headed into fall and it's time for another letter to my daughters.  Each month I get to join in with a wonderful group of ladies as we stop and savor the moment in our parenting of our girls and reflect over our journey and share.  This month I'm linking to Kelly of Real Life Photography
"Dear M.,

Your enthusiasm and joy for life just sparkle and fill my days with sunshine.  I love your impulsiveness and how you throw yourself fully into whatever it is you are doing.  I love your sunny disposition and how nothing gets you down.  In preparation of our move you asked me if we would be in our new state for your 6th birthday and when I replied yes, you asked me if you could invite all your new friends to your party.  You never doubted for a moment that you would not have new friends.  When your sister told you, that you didn't have any friends there, you simply replied, that you did, you just didn't know their names yet.  You don't let negativity settle on you, you simply meet it with optimism, I pray that will always remain a strength in your life, for what a gift optimism is.  

I love the relationship you have with your siblings.  You hold your own place with the older ones, always dishing back whatever they give you, yet adoring them all the same despite how they tease you.   When J was teasing you and told you he was more awesome because he was taller than you, you didn't miss a beat in quipping back that you were more awesome because you were tiny.  Once again you embraced who you are with confidence!  That confidence gives you such strength.  You are also a playmate to your younger brother, leading him, as a good older sister should. 

I love how carefree you are, you really could care less what others think of you. You spin and twirl to your hearts content, no matter where we are.  You leap and jump overflowing with love, laughter, and life.

I love you sweet one and I pray you will always remain confident in who you are for you are uniquely you.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Little Things Thursday

It has been a long while, too long in fact, since I've had the opportunity to link up with one of my irl friends over at her blog for Little Things Thursday. Today I am taking the time to join back in!

When I was in Uganda I discovered the deliciousness of Coca Cola made with real cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. To top it off it's in glass bottles. While Coke was my favorite all the little kids their loved the treat of drinking an Orange Fanta. Wherever we drove their were advertisements pasted up for Ice Cold Coco Cola. I still laugh about that because due to the lack of electricity and refrigeration everything was a nice 80 degrees or so.

Since I've been back in the states, I have discovered that you can buy coke bottled to be sold in Mexico that is made with the same yummy sugar, so I have been a regular customer at my local Hispanic Market just for their coke.  Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon not only coke but a variety pack of fanta, sprite and coke at my local Costco.  My kids were pretty excited as well.

Little by Little

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Letters to Our Sons - August

I missed my link up deadline this month but I still wanted to take the time to celebrate boyhood.

Here's to the energy and inquisitiveness that sums up boyhood to me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Letters To Our Daughters - August

Summer has flown by and it is time once again for me to link up with a wonderful group of ladies as we share our thoughts to our precious daughters.  This month I'm linking up to the fabulous Lauren of Three Leaves for Love make sure to check out her post.

"My Little Bear,

What a gloomy summer us sun seekers have had with all the rain.  I am thankful for the little sunshine we had, and that I had you to bask in it with me at the pool.   I am also thankful for the moments of running through puddles, dancing in the raindrops, snuggling while reading, cooking, coloring....that have filled our days.

I am thankful that you are a bright ray of sunshine in my life, with your hugs and kisses and the enthusiasm to try new things.  You are ever impatient and always ready to venture off into the unknown and embrace what life has for you and I love this about you.  You are growing up much too quickly, for I would love to keep you little forever, but time will not stand still and I must let you bloom into who you were created to be, despite my hesitation.   

No matter how old you are remember that I love you forever and always you will always be my Little Bear.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Letters To Our Daughters - July

Each month I join up with a sweet and talented group of ladies, as we share a letter to our daughters.  This month I'm linking to the wonderful Kelly Smith of Real Life Photography in Tampa, make sure you check her out as well.

"Dearest One,

You are becoming such a lovely young woman, and I'm enjoying observing your metamorphisis, yet at the same time I want to stop time and keep you young forever.  I know my job as your mother is to raise you up and set you free to go out into this world and transform it with your grace and beauty.  

You've had some struggles lately as you realize how much drama is associated with growing up, but I treasure the opportunities they have given us to talk through things and grow closer as friends.  You've gathered a few jewels as friends along the way and I pray you will continue to nurture those friendships and bask in the warm, fertile soil they provide to grow and be you. 

I know as a family we are faced with some upcoming changes that you are not happy about.  None of us are.  I appreciate you trying to be strong and face them with resilience.  I've told you many times over the past few days to embrace the change and the new opportunities it afford.  I am praying for all of us to adjust quickly and for God to fill each and every need in a very specific manner.  I know how hard it is to trust that He knows best, but time and again He has proved His faithfulness to us and I have no doubt that He will do it once again.

Through all the changes of growing up and moving cross country I am here for you.  Your mother who loves you dearly and fiercely.  I will do what I can to keep you from pain and soften the blow as much as possible.

I love you  dearest one and treasure you and every moment I have with you."



Friday, July 5, 2013

Little Things - Finding The Joy in The Rain.

It's been a rather, gloomy, dreary, rainy holiday week, which means no fireworks to capture, but plenty of low light, rain drops, puddle jumping, and umbrella carrying kiddos who find joy no matter the weather.  Hope you all find joy this weekend as we celebrate the freedom we enjoy!

Linking up this week with my good friend Kim over at

Little by Little

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July - Depth of Field

Time for our July blog circle, with a great group of photography friends.  This month we are sharing on Depth of Field.  Depth of field is controlled by the aperture of your lens and allows you to isolate your subject in a plane of focus.  That sound's a bit technical but this is one of my favorite photography techniques! The aperture ring controls how much light is allowed in your camera.  By opening it up you get more light and also a shallow depth of field, which means only a sliver of focus.  By closing the aperture down you get less light but a larger area of focus and can also create some great starbursts when photographing the sun!  Without further mumble jumble on the subject, here are my favorite photos from June, that show a very shallow depth of field.

1. Do you see the sliver of focus on the nose and finger and car?  Here I drew attention to that part of the story by intentionally using a very shallow depth of field, allowing only those things to be in focus. 
ISO 500 50mm f1.6 1/320s

2.  In this image I kept it soft and peaceful, as well as drew attention to his sweet features by keeping the focus plane shallow and only focusing on the plane which has the light falling across it, thus using light and focus to draw attention to his features.  ISO 6400 85mm f2.0 1/100s

 3.  Here I wanted to draw attention to his profile and gaze, so I kept my field shallow, effectively making him stand out against the blurry background. ISO 6400 50mm f2.0 1/40s

 4.  The next few photos is a series of progression.  My focus plane was the basket on the table.  You can see the ball move into the focus plane through the progression.  Settings: ISO 400 50 mm f 2.0 1/320s

5.  This photo is an example of shallow depth of field not working!   I love everything about this photo except that his hand is not in focus.  I was focusing on his eyes, with a shallow depth of field when he pointed, thus his hand is blurry.  Had I closed my aperture down a bit, I would have enlarged my area of focus and gotten his hand in focus as well.  ISO100 50mm f2.0 1/1250s

6.  Lastly is this example of the fun you can have by closing your aperture all the way down, thus getting a wide range of focus and creating some fun starbursts while you are at it. ISO800 28mm f16 1/400s

I hope you've enjoyed this little mini tutorial on Depth of Field and are expired to grab you camera and experiment!  You can see more examples of this technique by continuing through our circle.  Next up is Kristen , go check out what she is sharing today!!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Letters To Our Sons - June

Each month I join up with a talented to group of ladies as we share a letter to our sons.  Follow the link at the end to read what Julie has written to her boys.

"Dear Boys,

You are all growing up so quickly.  How I wish I could freeze time, right now at this moment, with all of you here.  As the 17 years have flown by since I became a mother, I know the time will pass all too quickly and in the very near future you will one by one leave the nest and venture out into this big world and the life God has for you.  

D, you at this moment struggle with becoming a man, yearning for freedom and responsibility, while at the same time realizing that life is not as easy and carefree as it once was.  It is hard for me to step back and let you make bad choices, but I know that is how you learn, so slowly I'm letting go and trusting you more, and releasing you to be who you were created to be.  Just next week you are venturing out on a trip that without God's goodness, protection and grace would leave me quivering with anxiety.  I know that it is in His purpose and plan for you at this moment, a step towards manhood, and so it's even harder for me to let you take that step...but I am.  I am looking forward to seeing how it changes you, for I know you will come back changed, wiser, more mature and more sure of the direction you should go.  Still I will treasure the last year or two I have with you here at home, under my care and I will savor each moment and pour myself into you, to nurture you and prepare you all I can in the time that remains.  I will always be here to cheer you on, encourage you forward and offer a hug and forgiveness.  You are fast becoming a man, and you make me proud.

J, you too are battling the changes that are quickly turning you into a man.  I know these changes are hard.  Be encouraged to meet the challenges with grace.  Failure is ok, is part of learning and growing.  You will always find grace here at home, from your family and from God.   You take responsibility seriously, but remember not to take on issues that are not your responsibility, for they are burdens that weigh you down and hinder you from living the joyful life God has called you to.  You have the gift of a leadership and organization and I pray these gifts serve you well.  I have no doubt that you will succeed in whatever you set your mind to, for your resourcefulness amazes me.  Stay focused on God and let His way light your path.  Cling to Him, now and stay true to Him as you grow.  Continue to serve Him with your time and you will be blessed.  Know always that I love you and you are so very special!

N, I can't believe you are now 10!  Where did the time go.  It seems like only yesterday you were a tiny babe and then a mischievous toddler, always in my fridge, running and hiding with the milk.  Your little brother reminds me so much of how you were at his age, and makes it even harder to believe how the time has flown.  Now you are precariously balanced as the center child.  Somedays you want the responsibility of your older siblings and other times you run and hide from the work and responsibility, hoping no one will miss you and call you back to your responsibilities.  Unfortunately it works too often and I find you slipping by with bad habits.  No worries, I'm determined to continue to train and nurture you, and pray you too will become a fine young man.  Your sharpness amazes me and you too are resourceful.  You love to research and report, but are easily distracted by video games.  There is not much that fazes you and you accomplish all you put your mind to.  If only I could convince you to put your mind to your chores and schoolwork with that same resolve that you've tackled diving, skate boarding, flying, etc.  As with your brother's I am encouraged, for you all have trusted in Jesus as your Savior and have hearts that desire to please Him.  I  know without a doubt that He has great plans and purposes for you.  I pray that I can continue to direct you and nurture you in His ways, and that you will always remain sensitive to His word.

Little J, you are my baby, but are growing too fast.  It has been hard watching you grow and try and keep up with you older siblings.  I know too well that you most likely are my last baby, and because of that I want to treasure every single moment with you even more than ever before.  It's why you still sleep in bed with us, and I let you get away with more mischief, because I want to keep you little longer.  I love when you cuddle in my lap and fall asleep.  I could sit there and watch your peaceful face forever.  You are determined to grow worked and worked for two days straight learning to peddle a bike.  You try and help me with all the chores.  You follow your big brothers around, doing all they day, and most times succeeding.  You are also fearless, which tends to make me fearful.  I thank God, unceasingly for His intervention and protection over you.  It's just another lesson for me as Mama, in trusting and letting go...a lesson that is never ending in this parenting process, but evolves as you grow and stretches me in my faith.

In ending boys, you are each and everyone a treasure and I am so thankful for the privilege of being your Mama, of raising you up and training you.  Most days I feel as if I'm failing miserably at this Mama job, but I know God is there filling in for all my failure and weakness and you boys are forever forgiving and full of grace and together we are traveling this messy road of life, learning and growing and becoming all He has created us to be and fulfilling His purpose and shining His light and that is what family is all about.  I love you all, dearly!


Now stop by and visit my friend Julie at  Julie Harding Photography and read the letter to her son.