Category Archives: thankfulness

Recent Events…

HOLY COW… another month GONE! 

Facebook has definitely taken my attention away from my blogging.  I don’t even know where to begin to catch up. I still have so many pix from my trip home to NY this summer that I want to share, but haven’t managed to make time for it.

The past month in a nutshell…

Being photographed by Hanson Fong was a lot of fun. I haven’t received portraits from him yet, but then again, I haven’t asked him for them either! I keep “meaning to.”  I wrote to him on Facebook right after the convention, but then never followed up.  For those of you who aren’t on Facebook, here’s a couple pix…

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Here’s one of my favorite images that I shot of Ryley while everything was going on during Hanson’s workshop…I just couldn’t stand watching everyone else photograph her and not get to myself! SOOOO glad I did, because this image inspired me to update my look… this is something I’ve been playing around with.         Whatcha think?   I’ll use these for my children’s portraiture business card. This is the front and back of the card, plus a new logo I’m considering. Feel free to give feedback

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Ryley turned THREE on August 25th, the day after Hanson photographed us. What a blessing to have Hanson Fong create her 3 year portraits!  The image I saw on the back of his camera was phenominal…competition quality.  He’s such a great person & teacher.   Jerry said, “Now I know why you like to attend these photography classes so much!”

The school year has gotten off to a GREAT start. I’m busier than ever… working solely with 4th grade this year. I thought I’d be less busy, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way. It takes A LOT of planning time and extra hours outside the school day to make our inclusion program work successfully. On a lighter note, Jerry & I are now both official business partners for my school John N.C. Stockton Elementary. We’ve been helping out through our businesses by volunteering our talents over the past 2 years, so this year we made it an official commitment.

Finally, this past weekend, I walked in the Inaugural Stop Child Trafficking Now Walk. I never knew that Human Trafficking is the SECOND largest criminal industry in the world, second only to drugs! The number of children trapped in sexual slavery is staggering. Florida is the 3rd ranked state in the nation for it’s number of child sexual slavery cases.  To learn more go to http://www.SCTNow.org .   Also, check out my pix from the event on FACEBOOK!

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I’ve never done any kind of fundraising before that I can remember…and I signed up only 5 days before the event. So I set my goal at $100. I met my goal and have continued to receive contributions this week! I’ve almost doubled my goal!!!  That’s pretty exciting.  I believe in this cause because when I was young, my mom taught me about ‘bad people’ who do this sort of thing to children. It’s stuck with me my whole life…every single day children are sold and forced into prostitution and VERY YOUNG CHILDREN are raped to create pornography.  This organization is the first of its kind, because its focus is AWARENESS of the problem and CONVICTION OF CRIMINALS through Special Operative Teams. Other organizations focus on rescuing children only, which does nothing to DETER and PREVENT this from continuing.  “The efforts of a single operative team will do more to save children than millions of dollars put toward rescuing victims!” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uMbE5bvV2c Link to a good, short video explaining exactly what the Special Operative Teams do & how:

http://www.sctnow.org/contentpages.aspx?parentnavigationid=5813&viewcontentpageguid=503caffe-d8d0-498b-996a-9a01134b898c

In the picture I have a SCTNow.org sticker on my shirt, because they only printed 400 registration signs for participants to wear.  There were a BUNCH of people wearing a sticker instead, so that shows how good the turnout was for this inaugural walk! Next year, I imagine it’ll be at least twice as big. Go to this link to view my donor page &/or make a donation

Please help me in praying that this organization will continue to grow and succeed!

Love & blessings, my-signature-75dpiweb

PS…I have lots more photos from the walk in my  Facebook photo album 🙂

Happy Mom’s Day!

I’ve been up since 3:00 am – just enjoying the peace & quiet, and working on photos of course. I hope everyone had a Happy Mother’s Day!

I spent a lot of time playing with Ryley this weekend. She’s so much fun!

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Ryley’s 2 years and 8.5 months old – that’s all really!

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Jerry was very sick all weekend, but he managed to muster enough energy for a 5 minute photo session in our front yard.   A little bit of trivia – Jerry & I met 7 years ago on Mother’s Day weekend 🙂

Have a great week!

Love & Blessings, my-signature-75dpiweb 

Family, Birthdays & Orlando

Just a quick post.

On Monday March 9th, it was my brother Brandon’s b-day. On Tuesday March 10th, it was my husband Jerry’s b-day AND my sister Jacki had her second baby that morning! I only have cell phone photos of her though. Sara Ann Tothill was born at 6:38am on  3/10/09 weighing 6 lbs 10 oz.  She is PRECIOUS!    Both mine &  Jacki’s middle names are Ann 🙂

Jacki went into labor the night of the 9th, and I was so excited text messaging everyone I could think of, that I must have forgotten to turn my alarm to ‘on’ when I set it.  Either that or I slept through it (again).  Luckily, my friend Debbie called me at 7:35 am (I have to leave for work at 7:30 to make it on time).  It was one of those delirious, crackly voiced  “What time is it???…Deep Gasp…. HOLY CRAP  I’m LATE!” moments.  As I was FLyING around the house to get out the door, my phone buzzed.  There was a pix message of sweet little Sara Ann, just born, laying in just her diaper….and that’s how I found out she had arrived safely. It was such a relief, since it had been a long pregnancy & Jacki was sick a lot.  A flood of gratitude rushed over me and I cried like a baby … THANKING  THE  LORD as I rushed out of the house.  The only photos I have are on my cell phone, so I can’t share 😦   just yet.

I just put new photos on Facebook from this past weekend. My brother Brandon, his wife, niece & in-laws were vacationing in Orlando last week. They spent Brandon’s birthday at Disney and the rest of the week visiting all the parks.  Jerry, Ryley, and I went down on Friday, hung out, had dinner at the Polynesian Resort, spent the night, had breakfast with some Disney characters, then we took Brandon & Ashley to the airport.

At breakfast, Ryley was very excited to get to meet Mickey. Unfortunately, Stitch came to our table first. . . . . .

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Stitch trying to greet Ryley

Ryley let out a blood curdling scream when Stitch tried to say Hi to her (which I DIDN’T get any photos of, because she needed comforting). Ryley flew out of her chair so fast that she left her shoe behind!  She had never seen him before, was terrified of him, and cried hysterically.

Lilo came over and fussed at Stitch for scaring Ryley.   

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Then, Mickey came over and covered his ears trying to make Ryley laugh.  She wasn’t having any part of him either though.  This was the best we could do for a photo of Ryley with Mickey….

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Notice she only has on ONE shoe??!!! I can relate…I’m that way with spiders

On Sunday, I took Ryley to Blockbuster, found Lilo & Stitch, and she rented it.  Now Ryley LOVES these photos  and loves to tell the story.

To see more fun photos from our trip, click on this link  to my Facebook page.

Gotta get to bed. . . . . HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!

love & blessings, my-signature-75dpiweb   xoxo

horsin’ around

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 This weekend, I spent some mother & daughter time with Ryley on a ranch.  A little known fact about me – I LOVE HORSES!!!  Ryley likes them too, but has never been around that many horses at one time.

 

We went to photograph our friend Ashley, the daughter of Ryley’s child care provider Stephanie. Ashley spends most of her free time at this ranch. I’ve been wanting to see her ride for ages, so I finally made time this weekend. Her horse’s name is Bucky, she’s been riding him for a long time, and he LOVES her. He follows Ashley without her having to hold the reigns!

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ISN”T  THAT  AWESOME!!?? 

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This one looks cool full size. Your eyes get drawn into this rugged all the movement with the hooves and dirt flying, then you notice at the top that the riders are wearing  ‘pink’  t-shirts! 

  

 

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Ryley’s first experience with stinging nettles (sp?)… at first I thought she got stung by a bee!  Poor little thing.     Miss Stephanie to the rescue

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Didn’t take long to forget about the sting!

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Ryley loves Ashley

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You don’t see this every day…

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They say you’re not supposed to mix b&w  with  sepia,  but I like to…    looks MUCH better full size

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Ashley has beautiful eye color!

 

Ended the trip with a shot of this cute little fella who was wishing he was a little taller

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Well, how’s that for catching up on posting photos???    Have a great week!

Love & Blessings,my-signature-75dpiwebxoxo

PS ~ IF YOU ARE AN EMAIL SUBSCRIBER, THIS  IS ONE OF THE NEW LOOKS I’M PLAYING WITH… Click on the link for my BLOG to see it on the web…

 

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This is what it looked like before I changed it…

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 Dark version…

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CERTIFIED!

Our annual Professional Photographers Society of North Florida Christmas Party was the other night … a night full of surprises.  First, I was given this beautiful basket full of home-made chocolate goodies made by several of the women from our guild.  Deeeeeee licious ! ! !

 

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Next, I was awarded the Jim and Adrienne Abrisch Scholarship, which is a paid Florida School tuition for May 31st-June 4, 2009 at Daytona Beach Community College. Since only new members are eligible to apply, it was a one time opportunity for me.  Applicants had to submit a written application answering multiple questions, such as what photography means to you. I couldn’t believe my ears when part of MY essay  was read by our president just before announcing the winner of the scholarship! The scholarship program was begun in honor of Professional Photographers Society of North Florida members Jim and Adrienne Abrisch after they were killed in a plane crash on December 12, 2001.  They were dear people who were greatly loved and respected.

Chris from Desktop Darkroom was on hand to photograph us again this year and did a fabulous job.  He took this photo of me and Mike Permenter.  Mike had a large influence in my next surprise.

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When I got home and opened my mail, I found out that I passed the image submission phase of my certification process! In August I passed the written exam. Then I had to submit 20 images to a panel of Certified Professional Photographer judges.  Thanks to Mike, I passed BOTH the exam and the image submission on my first try. Mike is not only an awesome photographer, he is also our local PhotoShop guru. He helped me study for the exam, critiques my work, and gives me advice whenever I need it.   I have to thank Rick Ferro also, who gave me some valuable constructive criticism on several portraits I was considering to submit.

 

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Thanks for reading and sharing my excitement!  I probably wouldn’t have been able to attend Florida School if I hadn’t won the scholarship. You have no idea how grateful I am to have won. I thank  God for these blessings!

Don’t forget…. JESUS is the reason for this season!!!  Let Him shine through you during this crazy, busy holiday season.  Much easier said than done, I know, but really…. we’re too blessed to be stressed, right!? 😉  

 

Lots of Love & Blessings,

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Infant Loss Awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryley was born through an emergency Cesarean. Her heartrate suddenly plummeted, and a rush of people came into my hospital room and started prepping me for surgery before I even knew what was going on. Of course, all the emotions and ‘what ifs’ start racing through your mind, while trying to trust in the Lord and have peace that everything will be okay. I can barely write this wihtout choking back the tears even to this day.  She was born 20 minutes later, and I’ll NEVER forget the feelings of relief and GRATITUDE that washed over me the moment they brought her over that curtain to introduce her to me……. many aren’t so fortunate. I can only imagine the agony I would have experienced if it had gone the other way.

With that knowledge, and the immense gratitude that I feel each and every day for having my daughter, I decided to use my photography to bless others in need. I was honored when NILMDTS reviewed my photography and accepted me into their organization!

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is a non-profit organization that sends a professional photographer to hospitals for families experiencing the loss of an infant or child. This service is completely free to the families we serve, and we do not receive any monetary compensation for our work. The NILMDTS photographers provide each family with a beautifully designed, black & white slideshow of the photos they take at the hospital. The images are truly priceless, and greatly help families through the loss of their infant/child. 

I am honored to be involved with NILMDTS ….especially knowing the profound impact it has upon the families that need this service!

Please keep reading & consider the gift of preserving a family’s few brief moments with their precious little baby…… for a Lifetime!           YOU   can help provide that!!!

Love & Blessings,

            

    

    

 FROM NILMDTS HEADQUARTERS:     

With an average of 2-million hits per month on our web site, imagine if everyone contributed just $5 to the organization!

 

 

Your donation truly will make a significant difference  in the continued success of NILMDTS.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is recognized as an IRS 501(c)3 charitable organization (Tax ID#77-0656322) and your donations are always entirely tax deductible.  When you donate, you will receive a thank you card that serves as your receipt as well as an enclosed card you may to send to the family of whomever you made the donation in memory of.

 

  

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With the Month of October being recognized as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, The Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation holds its Annual Fund Drivefor six weeks starting in mid-September and ending in October. 
 
President Ronald Reagan enacted Proclamation 5890 in October of 1988 to recognize that each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States alone end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a newborn child.  Reagan stated, “A national observance offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn or newborn babies.  It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members… ”    

 
If you are in a place to make even a small contribution to NILMDTS, please know that doing so will continue to allow the organization to provide improved resources, training, communication, and other tools necessary in support of our amazing contingent of professional photographers who provide the gift of free remembrance portraiture to families in need.
 
Our next project we are working on is an online, interactive webinar version of our Formal NILMDTS Training taught by Co-Founder Sandy Puc’ allowing anyone in any country with access to a computer to complete the course online.  Donations help make programs like this a reality! 

 

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Your Donations Support the Organization in Many Ways –   

* By supporting the continued education of our volunteer photographers 
* By allowing us to further our outreach to hospitals and hospices across the world 
* By offsetting the costs associated with outreach efforts including Formal NILMDTS Traingin Seminars 
* By supporting the Family Forum which creates a productive and supportive haven for healing 
* By supporting the Photographers’ Forum which provides a helpful environment for our member photographers to express their feelings and receive advice on the various issues that they face in this noble work 
* By supporting the day to day operations of our Headquarters Offices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, HAPPY DAY!

Just a real quick post today to share some good news … 

I’ve shared a couple stories from my trip down to Orlando for the Florida Professional Photographers Convention.  What I haven’t mentioned yet, is that I took the Certified Professional Photographer certification examination while I was there. Yesterday, I received a much anticipated letter in the mail which read, 

“Congratulations, you passed the exam.”  Oh, happy day 🙂

Becoming a Certified Professional Photographer is essentially a three part process. First you have to submit an application.  From the time of acceptance you have 2 years to successfully complete the process. One part is passing a detailed examination of your professional photography knowledge, which encompasses a wide range of content, including an understanding of technical skills, composition, proper lighting, etc. This is the part I passed.

The second part is to have my images reviewed by a panel of experts and be judged Qualified. I will be going through that process this fall.

Just like teacher certification, you have to recertify every 5 years. This proves you’re continuing your education, staying current in your field and maintaining the level of expertise required to be a Certified Professional Photographer. It’s especially important now that the digital era has increased the number of inexperienced, low-cost photographers.

Currently, there are very few professional photographers in the United States who have earned this credential; only around 5% or less. For example, out of the hundreds of photographers at the convention, there were only 5 of us who took the exam; some who didn’t pass the first time.

So it’s a great way to stand out from other photographers, and help potential clients choose me over someone else 😉

I have to thank my mentor Mike (The Photography of Mike Permenter), and professional photographer friends Keely (Mikkean Photography), Kim (Kim Kirk Photography), Scott (Shutterly Perfect) and Tammie (Amore Studios) for motivating, encouraging and supporting me through this process!  And of course, I wouldn’t be where I am without my early start in Jacksonville at Gumps Sports Photography with Jeff, Karen, Lorrie, and Angie (who encouraged Jeff to hire me)!

You guys ROCK!!!

Here’s a quick pic of me and Keely during the conference goofing around outside PF Chang’s in Orlando, taken by Mike Permenter.

 

Goodness, this wasn’t such a quick post after all!  Thanks for reading!!

Love & blessings,

PS~ I wrote the post fast this morning and forgot some things. I remembered that the last thing I did before I opened my exam book was to thank The Lord for my talents that He’s blessed me with, and I put my exam in HIS hands. I thanked Him when I read the congrats letter, but HE should have been the first person I publicly thanked. 

Thank you Lord and please help me with my forgetfulness! Amen.