Thursday, August 27, 2009

This is why I always do afternoon kindergarten...

I'm not a morning person. If it were up to me, I'd roll out of bed around 9 and loll around for a couple hours and really start my day around 11. In fact, when my kids were smaller I had them trained to sleep in to 9 or 10 themselves. It was awesome. When Nathan started Kindergarten, I knew myself and put him in afternoon K. It was great. I was dreading first grade when school would begin at 9. He was late a lot that year. It probably didn't help that I was pregnant with Clara and sick the whole year. When Aria began K, I knew it would be better to only have 1 kid to get ready in the morning and she could wait til noon. I was right, it was perfect. We even managed to get Nathan to school on time for his second grade year.

But, alas, times have changed.

I now have a first grader and a third grader. That's two kids that have to be to school by 9 AM every day. That means two kids to feed, make lunches for and find socks for (we can never find socks around here). Two backpacks to load, two library books to keep track of, etc, etc. I know you'll tell me to get things ready the night before, but I'm not so good at that. It's in my DNA. I'm incapable of organization.

Most morning, it's not so bad, at the very least I can get backpacks ready the night before. And since I usually just throw on sunglasses and drop them off, I don't have to get ready for the day myself.

But today I wanted to go in with them which meant I had to shower. I didn't get much sleep because Gabe has a cold and when he coughs, he throws up. So I barely dragged myself out of bed at 8 thinking Nathan and Aria would be up at least. But they weren't. So I get them up and ended up having about 40 minutes to make breakfast, make lunch, find socks, get myself ready, etc. We got in the car at 8:55, hurried to school and barely made it. In all the rush I didn't even get my camera out for first day of school pictures. Luckily, I had my phone with me.

So that's all ya get.

Tomorrow will be smoother. It will.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Better School Picture Day - Seattle Style!

I've had some requests and as it turns out, I will be in Seattle on September 12th. So....

The Better School Picture Day
Saturday, September 12th, 2009
1:30pm - 3:30pm at Coulon Beach
$35 per child. (it's a bit more to cover shipping, if you have more than one child, it's $35 for the first and $25 for any other kids) I spend 5-10 minutes with each of your children. Just long enough to get 3-5 great shots of them. Your pictures will be fully edited and presented in an online gallery. The $25 pays for the sitting and THREE fully edited full-resolution files on a Data CD with rights to print.


Email me at to set up a time!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Better School Picture Day!

Do you hate school pictures as much as I do? I never get them. Usually I just take my kids out right before school starts for the year and get pictures of them. I can print them myself for pennies instead of paying ridiculous prices for the school picture guy to take a generic head shot. I know some people get them just so they have a picture record of how their kids are growing.

Well, I have an alternative for you. Why not have that same record, only more creative and cheaper? This year I'm offering a better school picture day. For only $25 per child I will meet you at Manito and will spend 5-10 minutes with your child, taking several pictures so that you will end up with 3 great images that I will burn to a data CD for you. You can then make all the prints you want! So, the info...

The Better School Picture Day
Saturday, September 19th, 09 AND Tuesday, September 22nd, 09
5:30pm - 7:30pm at the rose gardens at Manito Park.
$25 per child. I spend 5-10 minutes with each of your children. Just long enough to get 3-5 great shots of them. Your pictures will be fully edited and presented in an online gallery. The $25 pays for the sitting and THREE fully edited full-resolution files on a Data CD with rights to print.


There may be a morning session, but it depends on my kids' soccer schedules. lol. Email me at or call ASAP to set your appt time. Oh, and tell your friends!

Here are some examples of what you'll get.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

My talk

You don't have to read this. I just like to keep copies of my talks and this is my journal. :)

Throughout this year we've been hearing talks centered around the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. Each of us has been reminded of our standards concerning accountability, gratitude, education, family, friends, dress and appearance, entertainment and the media, music and dancing, language, dating, sexual purity, repentance, honesty, sabbath day observance, tithes and offerings, physical health and service. Today I was asked to speak on the conclusion of the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet which is to go forward with faith.

I read what the pamphlet had to say about going forward with faith and I broke it down into a few key points. First it says to ask ourselves, "Am I living the way the Lord wants me to live?" Then it tells us what to do to be sure that we are.

But before I go through those, I want to talk about faith a little bit. Because how can we go forward with faith if we can't define faith? Some people view faith as an abstract concept. Something that is hard to come by, something that people either have or don't have. I don't think that's true. I think faith is something everybody can have. In 2nd Nephi 31, Nephi tells us that we must endure to the end. To be able to endure he says we need to follow Christ's example. Then he tells us exactly what he saw Christ do that we must emulate. In verse 17, "For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost." So step 1 to realizing our faith is to repent, be baptised and accept the gift of the Holy Ghost. Most of us here can check this off the list, right? Then Nephi tells us that doing those things puts us right on the straight and narrow path. Pretty simple, right? It's like the gateway to the straight and narrow. We all started there. Then he says wait a second, are we done? Nope. We wouldn't have even gotten that far without a little something called faith. Faith in Christ. Faith in His word and "relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save."

So we started with obedience and hope, which leads us right into faith. But then verse 20 says "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." I like the phrase 'a perfect brightness of hope'. I think it's a beautiful description of faith. I think hope is easier to wrap our brain around. We all hope for things, right? Well, if we have hope, we have faith. Moroni said "Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope."

But then we must endure to the end. The simple definition of endurance to me is to just continue to keep the commandments. We started there, if we want our faith to grow, we should keep it up. D&C 136:42 tells us to be diligent in keeping the Lord's commandments so our faith doesn't fail. Henry B. Eyering reminds us that "great faith has a short shelf life." He says we must continue to exercise obedience to build our faith. Elder Uchtdorf said "Enduring to the end is a process filling every minute of our life, every hour, every day, from sunrise to sunrise. It is accomplished through personal discipline following the commandments of God."

Now let's go back to the question posed in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. "Am I living the way the Lord wants me to live?" It tells us exactly how we can live in order to answer yes to that question. First, we need to pray. "To help you become all that the Lord wants you to become, get on your knees each day and express to Him the desires of your heart. He is the source of all wisdom, and you need His help. he will hear and answer you."

Second, we must read the scriptures daily. "They are a powerful source of personal revelation and a constant strength to your testimony." I know for myself, daily scripture study has more impact on my every day life than almost anything else I can do. When I take the time to read my scriptures everything else is easier to deal with. I'm more patient with my kids, I have more energy to take care of my responsibilities and I'm just happier in general.

Third, we must remember our baptismal covenants and be true to the Lord and to His Church in all circumstances. We're reminded that the authorities of the church will lead us in paths of happiness. That reminds me of 1 Nephi 11:17 when Nephi says that while he doesn't know the meaning of all things, he does know that the Lord loves us, His children.

Finally we must be humble and willing to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit. We need to place the wisdom of the Lord above our own wisdom.

Then we're given a promise that if we do these things the Lord will make much more out of our life that we can by ourself. He will increase our opportunities, expand our vision and strengthen us. He will give us the help we need to meet our trials and challenges. We will find true joy as we come to know our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, and feel their love for us.

I know sometimes that's easier said than done, but I have a couple personal stories that illustrate how perfectly this formula can work if we'll let it.

I'm the sort of person that follows my feelings more than any sort of logic. Some of you know this story but it's a perfect example so you get to hear it again. 10 years ago I was working as a traveling photographer. I had just received my endowments and I was doing all those things I just mentioned. I was praying daily, reading my scriptures daily and attending the temple weekly. I was very much enjoying traveling all over the western United States and getting paid to take pictures. I met a lot of great people and saw a lot of cool things. But there was one little thing that was nagging at me and that was church service. Because I was rarely in the same city two weeks in a row, I couldn't hold a calling. I attended church wherever I was but I couldn't serve in the church. Every time I opened my scriptures I would see verses about service. I was starting to get really antsy and feeling like I needed to stop traveling and hold still long enough to hold a calling but I couldn't do that unless I quit my job. It didn't seem logical to quit. I was making really good money doing something I loved, but I knew what the Lord wanted me to do, so I put in my notice. As soon as I did that I was flooded with calm. I knew it was right. The day after my final shoot for this company, I went to the First Presidency Christmas broadcast at my stake center. While I was there I ran into the institute choir director and he asked if I would accept a calling to be the pianist for the institute choir. I knew this was why I had quit my job so I of course said yes. 4 days later I went to choir practice and that's where I first met Dave.

So, I went forward with faith by quitting my job. I increased my obedience by accepting a calling which increased my faith enough for me to take another big leap of faith. Only 7 weeks after that day that I met Dave, we were married in the Seattle Temple. Now if that wasn't placing the Lord's wisdom above my own, I don't know what is. Nearly 10 years and 4 kids later, I have a much better view of where the Lord was leading me then and I'm so glad I had the faith to go forward.

Another time that we felt led to do something that didn't make a whole lot of sense was when we moved here. Dave had a great job in Seattle, but we really felt like we were supposed to be elsewhere. We came up with a few cities to consider and Dave started looking for a job. He got an interview here so we came over but as soon as we got here the company told him that they had hired someone else so they didn't want him to come in for the interview after all. But since we were here, we figured we'd do a little house hunting. We ended up finding our house and knowing that it was the right place for us to go, but Dave didn't have a job here. He didn't even have a prospect for a job. But we took that leap of faith again and made an offer on our house. It was accepted and it wasn't until a week or so later that he got an interview for the job he currently has. Again, the Lord had a plan and we just had to go with it until we could see it all.

It's not always marriage and homes that our faith will guide us to. It also says in that promise that if we have faith the Lord will strengthen us and give us the help we need to meet our trials and challenges. That's not always so fun, but it's amazingly comforting to know the Lord is on our side. There was a time when I was prompted that something was going to happen to one of my kids. I didn't know what but I knew I wasn't going to like it and I knew that the prompting wasn't concerning either of the children that I currently had. This feeling stuck with me for over a year and I just did my best to go forward with faith and hope the Lord would help me. It wasn't until I miscarried a little girl that the feeling left. It took quite a while to deal with that loss or to even understand at all but I knew I had been prepared and I knew the Lord was helping me through. It was during that time that my testimony of the savior and the atonement grew and took on a whole new meaning for me.

As I was preparing for this talk, a scripture kept coming to mind. 1 Nephi 4:6. Right before Nephi goes in to get the plates from Laban he says "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do." He literally went forward with faith. So I looked up that scripture in the general conference talks (on the best talk reference website ever) and I came across a talk by Boyd K Packer that I thought was really interesting. It was from the Oct conference in 1994 and he was addressing the youth. He wanted to teach them how to obtain personal revelation. I skimmed through it and he had it broken into topics and most of the topics were things taught in For the Strength of Youth. Things like prayer, reverence, obeying the word of wisdom, sabbath observance, and music.

He has a beautiful description of faith.

"The flow of personal revelation depends on your faith. You exercise faith by causing, or by making, your mind accept or believe as truth that which you cannot, by reason alone, prove for certainty.

The first exercising of your faith should be your acceptance of Christ and His atonement.

As you test gospel principles by believing without knowing, the Spirit will begin to teach you. Gradually your faith will be replaced with knowledge.

You will be able to discern, or to see, with spiritual eyes.

Be believing and your faith will be constantly replenished, your knowledge of the truth increased, and your testimony of the Redeemer, of the Resurrection, of the Restoration will be as “a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.” You may then receive guidance on practical decisions in everyday life."

He ends by reminding us of our need for the comforter.

"Now do not suppose that you will be spared from sorrow, disappointment, failure, fear. These come to all. They are essential to our testing.

When sore trials come, you will learn why the Holy Ghost is called the Comforter.

You must face life “led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [you] should do,” just as Nephi did.

You may not yet have a certain witness that Jesus is the Christ. Exercise your faith and trust in those who do.

I have that certain witness. It came to me in my youth. During those early periods of doubt, I leaned on the testimony of a seminary teacher. Although I did not know, somehow I knew that he knew.

The Lord said:

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

One of my favorite hymns teaches us to go forward with faith.

"Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me."

2 Nephi 31:21 "And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen"

Thursday, August 06, 2009


I don't know if you're familiar with fail blog. Basically it's a site dedicated to funny pictures that people submit of random "fails". For example.

Well, there's another one dedicated to funny baby fails. It's called My First Fail.

I happened to have the perfect picture for them.

So I submitted it....and it showed up today! lol. Go vote for Gabe!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Just some photos from recent shoots

I'm all caught up with proofing so thought I'd share a few. :)

This is my Mom. Isn't she gorgeous?

This antique pram was given to me! I love it!

For family, if you haven't seen these yet...

Chantal's wedding pictures

Kim's Senior pictures

Did I ever link to Katies? I don't remember.

Mae's 18 month pictures

Jovie's 18 month pictures

Mom's 50th birthday pictures

For the ladies

If you're a guy, don't read this. Seriously. Stop. It's way TMI and all about a woman's cycle.

You have been warned.

I'm not going to go into too much depth, but I just had to put this out here in case you haven't heard about it yet.

The Diva Cup.

This little thing is amazing. There's a slight learning curve, but I'm nearing the end of my first cycle with it and I'll never go back to pads/tampons.

~save money
~zero waste
~my cramps weren't as bad as normal (don't know if that had anything to do with it, but it's the only thing I changed, so I'm going with it)
~more comfortable
~no smell
~no need to store a bunch of disposables in your years storage

~learning curve

But it's totally worth it.

There's more details here and here.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions!