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2017 Fall Mini Sessions

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2016 Fall Mini Sessions

Click below to view a collage of this year’s Fall Mini Sessions at Anderson Orchard.

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Looking Back on a Year of Giving

As most of you know, my “One Word” for 2014 that I chose was “Give.” I never knew how many different ways I could give. The idea of choosing one word for a year is that you will live it out and change your life for the better. Well, 2014 was full of giving opportunities for me and it did change my life. After consciously choosing to give for a few weeks, it became natural, and I found that I just started doing things that were giving back to others or giving my time or friendship, love, whatever it was freely and unselfishly. So, I challenge you to pick ONE WORD for 2015 that you think could change your life and stick with it for the entire year.

So, since I am photographer, of course I took many different pictures throughout the year documenting many of the different ways I gave to others. Here are just a few:

2014 started off with me giving my entire purse to a drug dealer who happened to be in the right place at the right time. As I went to pick my children up from daycare (at our church), some man saw that my car wasn’t locked as I entered the building and stole my entire purse with Christmas money and all inside of it. I always lock my doors and even tried to that day, but for whatever reason, the remote key didn’t lock the doors. My purse that was stolen was a Christmas gift that I only had for about 3 weeks, along with a 3-day old phone and some cash totaling near $300-$400. Gulp! Wow! Didn’t expect to give like that!1002375_10151981787082857_2014381124_n
I had some Chinese food and got this fortune. I found a friend that really needed a hug and shared one.

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I gave some time and elbow grease to a group in Indianapolis doing amazing things for God. They converted an old nasty and filthy (literally) strip club in a rough neighborhood into a community center to provide children and families a safe place to hear about the amazing things that God can do and just be loved for being there.

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There is a laundry mat next door to the community center, so we stopped by to pay for people to do their laundry.

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I raised money and donated it to the American Lung Association to help fight lung cancer, as well as doing my first ever Fight for Air Climb up the Chase tower in downtown Indianapolis (47 floors).

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Then there is the typical way to give to your local Goodwill store or our local Churches in Mission. I donated all of this, plus another full load.

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I spent a day teaching inner-city children the importance of some life skills (how to save and spend money in the economy through the Junior Achievement Program.

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Once again, God required me to give some things that I hadn’t intended to, but in the end, new and better things were waiting for me. In the photo below, I was on my way to work when a young buck leaped into my windshield and totaled my car, sending me to the hospital with blood gushing out of my head. God blessed me that day because I left the hospital with no broken bones and no stitches. The deer didn’t make out so well though. But I did give a young man a nice deer to have some fresh deer meat to feed his family.

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For the second year in a row, I organized our church’s effort to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children across the world to give them some Christmas cheer a s apart of Operation Christmas Child.

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I gave up a lot of time, sweat, and effort to repaint a family member’s house.

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I gave my time to help coach my daughter’s summer baseball league. I got to enjoy watching the children develop their skills, learn new things and have a winning season!

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I worked on developing my inner crafty self and made all of our children’s grandparents this plaque below. It was made from scratch, with lots of love.

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I gave my time on a Saturday morning in December to help host an event for all of these Riley hospital heart transplant patients. Wow! These children are seriously amazing and learning about what they have to go through on a daily basis was heart breaking.

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Last, but not least, I gave away a couple of photo sessions to very deserving families. This family is of course a military family and I wanted to simply give them a photo session to thank him for his service and dedication to our country.

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This family below was one of 3 lucky winners to a give away that I had for very deserving families. I wanted to give back to a few families who have had a rough time over the past couple of years and this family lost several loved ones among many others. So during their photo session, they let balloons go and shared some very special moments with each other. I was so honored to be able to capture that for them.

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I gave to others in many other ways throughout the year, these are just the few that I have photos of. As 2014 comes to a close, I don’t plan on giving up on giving. It’s become a natural thing for me and I plan to continue giving in my everyday life. For 2015, my new word is POSITIVE. There are so many difficult and negative situations, people, etc. So, just reminding myself to put a positive outlook on everything and a reminder for me to be positive and to help others see that even though things might be rough, there is always something to be thankful for and to count your blessings. What will your word be?

 

 

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What’s in a Thyroid Scan?

Many of you are aware that I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in January 2013. It has been a long and inconvenient road to recovery, but I am so very thankful and blessed that I had a cancer that is for the most part, very treatable. My treatments mostly only consisted of surgery to remove the thyroid completely to prevent the opportunity for it to grow back inside the organ. There is always the possibility of the cancer coming back in different areas of the body, which is why it is important to have regular check-ups, blood draws, and routine scans to ensure there is no cancer. Many people have asked what is involved in doing a scan for cancer, so as a photographer, I decided to document the event in pictures. This is probably one of the rare instances that I will post something personal on my photography blog, so don’t worry about this becoming a regular thing! At my October 8, 2014 doctor’s appointment for my bi-annual endocrinologist check up this year, my doctor decided she wanted me to do a full body scan to ensure that there wasn’t any sign of cancer since my next check up will not be for a whole year! Beginning the next day, I had to go on a 3 week long low-iodine diet. This is honestly the worst part of the whole scan process. 3 weeks of not eating out at your favorite restaurants or being able to eat anything with regular iodized salt. Pretty much, you can ONLY eat fresh fruits and vegetables, egg whites, up to 6 oz. of fresh meat per day, or anything with no salt. Unsalted peanut butter is disgusting! If you want to be able to have salt on anything, you have to make everything from scratch (including your own salad dressing) with Kosher salt. Sea salt or anything from the ocean is off limits due to the very high levels of iodine. So, needless to say, I spent 3 weeks eating more healthy than any other time in my life. Enough about that awful part of the process… The scan takes about 5 days to complete the whole process. The week of my scan, I went in on Monday, October 20 to get my first of two thyrogen injections. Thyrogen® is used as a preparation for treatment with a form of iodine to remove left over thyroid tissue in patients who have had surgery to take out the entire thyroid gland for a certain type of thyroid cancer (known as well differentiated thyroid cancer) and who do not have signs of thyroid cancer which has spread to other parts of the body. 20141020_145215 20141020_153913   There is a lot of waiting that goes on in this process…waiting in the waiting room, and then waiting for the pharmacy to provide the injection to the nurse. 20141020_151005   After I received the injection, I stopped by the lab to get a pregnancy test. Don’t worry, no scare of being pregnant, but it’s required prior to me taking the radioactive iodine pill. All was good, as the pregnancy test came back negative.      Tuesday, I had to travel back to the Cancer Center again for my second thyrogen infusion. 20141021_161502 20141020_145323     Wednesday, it was time to take the radioactive iodine pill. The reason I have to be on the low-iodine diet is so that any possible thyroid tissue left in my body will be so deprived of iodine that it will immediately absorb the radioactive iodine, which in turn kills off any of the tissue remaining. After taking the radioactive iodine, I had to sleep alone for 3 nights and not be around the children much (which mostly means not allowing them to sleep in my bed or hold them much for about 3-5 days). 20141022_101027 The radioactive iodine comes in this tiny little lead jar, which is delivered in a lead box (that looks like a cooler) just a few minutes prior to my appointment. I pop the pill straight from the little glass tube. And then leave the hospital. Life is normal (well, as normal as can be while being radioactive and on a low-iodine diet) until Friday morning. I returned to the hospital Friday morning to get my full-body scan. The scan takes approx 40-50 min. (10 minutes for my lower abdomen, 10 min for my chest, and then 20 min for my neck area). Yep! I laid in the tube for 40-50 min with the rectangular scanner section about 2 inches from my face. It’s not uncomfortable or anything! <sarcasm> 20141024_101629 20141024_101658   After my scan, it was finally time to be able to eat one of these… 20141024_120216 I drooled for 3 weeks waiting to have one  of these. :) I also had to do one final blood draw to retest my thyroid levels. The best part is that after all of this inconvenient effort, my results came back negative for any cancer!!! Praise the Lord! I remain cancer free!!! God is good!

P.S. All of the photos in this post were taken with my cell phone, so the quality and lighting are not professional quality.

Posted in Life, Uncategorized Tagged , , |

GIVE-Away Winner #1 – Deb Norman

Wow! Where do I begin? I have known this family for many years as they are best friends with my aunt and uncle. We’ve been camping together, enjoyed Holiday World together and many other family events. They are pretty much invited to every family get-together that we have for my dad’s side of the family, so we call them family. When my aunt nominated Deb for the Give Away, I instantly knew that she was one of the winners.

Her husband, Bob, was a postal worker and was shot in the face a few years back as he was trying to deter a bank robber at his local bank. He was extremely fortunate to live and now carries the bullet around with him in his pocket to remind him every day of his good fortune. In January 2013, her son, Jeremy, passed away unexpectedly. He was the loving father of a little girl and the son of an amazing woman. Just a month later, Deb’s mom passed away. The one thing that stands out to me about this couple and family is that even though their faith has been tested time and time again, they always have a smile on their face and are filled with laughter. Somehow, someway, deep inside of them, they have found the way to overcome grief and heartache with joy and laughter.

As you can see in the photos below, that this family loves to laugh and enjoy life. They brought balloons to honor their father, son and brother Jeremy. Then, in the most special of moments, set them free to float up to heaven. If you can’t tell, this family really touched my heart and I was so honored to be able to do this session for them.

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Safe Travels!

Sicheres Reisen (Safe Travels!)

I’m so excited (and nervous!) for my handsome young cousin, Austin, to have earned a scholarship to be able to travel to Germany for a year of school! This will be such an amazing opportunity for him to learn and develop as a young man! Let’s just hope that he learns “good” things and not how to drink adult beverages and yell German profanities at people. Hopefully these photos will help to hold mama over until he returns in 10 short (or long) months…

 

Posted in Life

Thank You!

Many of you may remember a few weeks ago when I asked to find a military family. Well, I found one with the last name of Berry. Brandon is a member of the National Guard. The purpose of wanting to find a military family was to be able to offer a family photo session as a “Thank You” for his service to our country. It was an honor to photograph this family! And a simple “thank you” is never enough for what our military men and women do for our country. In honor of the nation’s recent birthday celebration (July 4), I present to you the Berry family…

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Baby Photos

I just ran across this article and thought I would share with you all on this beautiful Friday morning. We can all use a good laugh once in awhile. I’m happy to say that I don’t have any photos of little ones that look like these. :)

http://scout.cheatsheet.me/27-baby-photos-bad-theyre-good-lol/

Posted in Children Tagged , |

Mother’s Day Tea Time

Tea for two? This year’s Mother’s Day theme was a tea party. These sessions were so much fun! Watching mom’s pretend to have tea with their little girls was a true joy. They put everything they have going on in life aside for 30 minutes to spend with their little girls (and boy) for this special occasion. The weather was perfect, the little ladies and gentleman were absolutely adorable and the mothers were gorgeous! It couldn’t have been more perfect!

I wish each of these mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day!

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Say Yes to the Dress!

Saying “Yes” to the dress, your wedding dress, might be one of the biggest and most exciting moments in a woman’s life! Most women vacuum seal their dresses up and probably never use or see them again…at least until they decide to sell the dress or give it to their daughter. What else are you saving it for? Every bride dreams about someday giving their beautiful dress to their “little girl.” Well, there is a new fantastic idea to out to help mother’s cherish that moment a little sooner…by letting their “little girl” try on her dress when they are only a few years old. This session was so much fun for me! Getting to photograph a little girl wearing her mother’s wedding dress is just precious and priceless! The girls had so much fun posing and pretending to be brides! This makes me want to pull my dress out it’s hibernation and do this with my daughter.

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