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Thursday, September 29, 2011

3 Simple Joys: Yummy!

Thinking about my blessings again and want to share 3 simple joys with you.

1. I love that my children spend their days in a classroom where their teachers love watching them learn, and do crazy fun experiments to make learning fun for them!

2. I love that my oldest has developed that good old Lebo competitive spirit, even when it comes to stacking cookies!

3. I love Oreo cookies! And apparently so does my little guy!

What are you 3 simple joys today?
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tis the season!

Can you tell I'm excited about the holiday season?

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Local News!

My photos made the local paper! Last week the Pottstown Mercury featured an article on my friend, Lori McHale, and her nonprofit business, Designing 4 Hope. Through this business, Lori uses her talents as a professional interior designer to redesign bedrooms for children with terminal illnesses. Lori is truly someone using her extraordinary gifts to serve God and to serve others. She's fabulous!

The article featured my photo of her (shown here) as well as some of the images I took of one of the room makeovers she did- that of my new little friends, twins Gavin (who has Leukemia) and Dempsey (his awesome sister).

How exciting to have my images and name in the paper! Even more fun was that the article came out on my birthday! But for me, the best part has been working with Lori, watching her serve those around her, and being a part of something this honorable and beautiful.

Kudos to you, Lori. You are a blessing to so many!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Contemplating Races

This past weekend I ran my first, and possibly last, big race- the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia. It was an awesome experience and a tremendous accomplishment for a non-runner like me. My sister-in-law came up from FL to run it with me and we had a great time. I was so proud of us!

But even greater than that was celebrating a milestone of a race I'm still running. My little girl turned six this past weekend, marking another wonderful moment in the marathon of mommyhood.

Being mom to my three babies has been the most challenging and most rewarding experience of my entire life- and I'm sure all you moms know exactly what I'm talking about. It is truly awesome to watch as these precious little babies grow into little people, amazing little people who touch your heart like nothing else in the entire world.

But sometimes this amazing marathon brings us face to face with some hurdles, hurdles we wish never to face. Such is the case for another precious little boy I know and his wonderful parents. My friend Gavin is fighting Leukemia, something no 4 year old should ever have to fight. His race is filled with hurdles and obstacles, and his race has some pretty steep inclines right about now.

For much of my race this past weekend, I thought about Gavin and he inspired me to keep going. I wouldn't quit, I refused to stop and walk, because a brave and wonderful little boy kept me motivated.

I finished my race, and it was easy compared to the race that Gavin is still running. Please pray for Gavin, that God will supply him, his twin sister, and his dear parents with His love, comfort, peace, and power.

Gavin, keep running, buddy! You can do it! I'm cheering for you, praying for you, and I believe in you.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Amazing Gracie!

Every so often, I'll photograph a family or a group, and a child will just take over. This past weekend, that child was Gracie. As the 3rd child in a family with 4 kids, I was struck by how easily and effortlessly Gracie stole the show. Older brother and sister were more concerned with each other or whether our session was over (they had better things to do than pose for portraits, they had friends to meet and games to play!). And baby sister was still too young to know who I was or why I was following her around. She just wanted mommy and daddy. But Gracie knew. And Gracie captivated me. She smiled for me, laughed with me, struck some poses, and showed me why even though she's 3rd out of 4, she will NEVER suffer from lack of attention! Gracie was simply amazing!

Her stunning beauty certainly helped too! Wow! Dad, you're sure gonna have your hands full with this beauty! Thanks Gracie for a wonderful portrait date! Like I already warned your mom, I may be borrowing you from time to time. My camera simply LOVED you!
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Cawfee Tawk Tuesday! Fun Times!

Yesterday was the first Monthly Monday Mommy Playdate! It was planned for 9:30am, this month at Mandarach Park, and I was so happy with the turnout! There were about 10 moms who came out to join me on what turned out to be a bright and sunny morning! And for a good chunk of the hour, we were the only moms at the park! It was great fun!

As I told the moms there, I see the purpose of our Monday Mommy dates as three fold:
1. It is a great way to meet and connect with other moms with kids who our the same ages as our own!

2. It is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with our kids while meeting new moms. I'm not sure who had more fun during our hour together, we moms or the kids!

3. It's a great time and place to take a couple of select tips and try them out! New and old friends, quality time with the kids, and an hour of practicing our photography! A sure recipe for fun and success!

At our mommy dates, I will be focusing on compositional tips- tips that you can use immediately, regardless of whether you're using a point and shoot or a fancy DSLR, tips you can use whether you are a seasoned pro or a newbie (mom or photographer!).

Yesterday we started with 2 basic tips:
1. Get closer! This was the very first pointer I ever heard and put into practice and it is still my favorite. Getting closer removes outside distractions, and leaves no question as to who your subject is. And it allows you to get close enough to actually connect with your child! Which leads to...
2. Simply engage with your child. Forget "say cheese" and going for the perfect shot. Just follow him around, spend time with him, talk with him, play with him. Bring your camera along for the ride and just shoot him being him. The expressions are more genuine and you get more of them!

I followed my own pointers and am sharing my favorites from the morning. These were the few I got between great moments with great ladies, and multiple trips up and down the huge slide at Mandarach! Don't know who was more tired after our play date- Mikey or me!

Thanks for spending the morning with me, ladies! I've got a couple of great ideas for the next outing and I hope to see you all there!
Bring a friend!
And keep shooting!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

3 Simple Joys

I am trying to be more aware of the simple joys around me every day, and it might be particularly good for me to do so today, with all this dreary rain! I encourage you to join with me! It would take all of 2 minutes to come up with a list of 3 simple joys in your life. And I'm sure you'd agree, the more time spent on this challenge, the longer the list grows.

Here are my 3 simple joys today:
1. The joy of my children's faces as they start another year of school. It amazes me how Scott and I could create three kids who are so different! So wonderful, each in their own way.

2. The joy of day 1 at the school my children attend, Coventry Christian School, and the feeling it gives me to leave my children in such good hands, surrounded by such wonderful people!

3. The joy of knowing the One who has blessed me with three precious children and one special school- and so much more!

What are your 3 simple joys today? Share them with me. Share them with everyone!
Have a wonderful day!
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Baby Steps for Mom: The eBook!

Are you looking for ways to improve your photography? Do you live with the most beautiful children you have ever seen but have little idea how to capture their beauty on a day to day basis? Are you frustrated over how they do amazing new things every day but none of your images seem to show it? Well maybe you need some Baby Steps!

"Baby Steps for Mom" is my new eBook filled with simple but valuable tips on how to improve your day to day photos of your own kids. Get great shots of them between portrait sessions! After all, they are amazing every single day!

And the best part is... it's FREE! By simply joining our mailing list (enter your email in the subscription bar above), you'll gain access to the JLP newsletter, with the free download of this eBook!

You can start improving your "mommytography" today!
Enjoy the book, and let me know what you think!

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Finally! A Reason To Love Mondays!

Monday mornings just got better!

Join me on the second Monday of each month for

Monthly Monday Mommy Dates!

Each month we'll pick a different place to play. Kids will enjoy playing with new and old friends. Moms will enjoy chatting with other moms. And I'll be sharing a few portrait tips that you can use right then and there. The hope is to make connections and improve our "mommytography", all while spending time with our kids. What could be better?

So join me this month! Our first date is on Monday, September 12, from 9:30-10:30 at Mandarach Park. All you need is a camera and a kid!
And hey, bring a friend! The more the merrier!

Can't wait to get together!
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Farewell, Sweet Summer Days

I know you are experiencing it too. The school supply list is almost completely checked off, the kids are either already back to school, or headed back in a few days, and the long and lazy days of summer are pretty much behind us. If you're anything like me, you fluctuate moment to moment from feeling excited to be in a routine again to feeling your heart break at the thought of an empty house next week.

This summer was fantastic wasn't it? Did you spend it at the shore or did you head somewhere shady and quiet? Was it filled with summer camps and squeals at the local pool, or with hikes in the mountains and evenings under the stars? Our days were wonderful, filled with so much laughter!

We became fans of a new family sport! (the next Michael Phelps perhaps?)

We delighted in our patriotism!

And we enjoyed savoring our sweet teeth! (some more than others, ahem, Scotty boy)

We were captivated by the beautiful sights! (though we were, of course, too chicken to partake)

We took advantage of a great new hairstyle and a crazy photographer mom! (He's getting too old, don't you think?)

We made some wonderful new friends! (Everyone, meet Kit...

...and Monkey)

We goofed around doing some old tricks! (She's been doing this since she was two)

And wow! We learned some new tricks too! Go, Scotty, go!

We celebrated the birthday of someone very special! (Lord, please help us through the twos!)

But, best of all, we I savored the blessing of my beautiful children and my precious husband- even if he is a Sox fan!

What were the highlights of your summer? I'd love to hear your stories!

Farewell, sweet summer! Welcome, fantastic fall!

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