Brock // Newborn Session

Photographing newborns is one of my favorite things to do, and I don't think it should be a complicated matter.  The early days of bringing a baby home can become a whirlwind of diaper changes, feedings and shushing to sleep.  They are long and tiring and overwhelming and beautiful,  and they pass oh so quickly.  That's why simple and timeless images are always my goal during these at-home sessions.  Bare baby on a white blanket is quite simply the best.

Welcome, baby Brock.  You are one loved little man.

Starting the School Discussion

Yesterday, my kids, along with countless others, started their first day of school.  In reality, it's a 5 hour, one-day-a-week Mother's Day Out program that we're calling "school", or as I have deemed it "mommy-gets-a-break-day".  And while our kids are still a few years away from the traditional kindergarten age, we've recently started the discussion about how our kids will be educated.  It is a decision that we do not take lightly, and one that deserves a fair amount of discussion.

We live in a country where education is highly valued and pursued.  In the US, we pay taxes so that our children can receive 13 years of free public school, a privelege not experienced in a large part of the world.  We have several friends that work in the public, private and charter school systems, so we know there are men and women who would invest well in our children.  But are those reasons enough to make a decision on how, why and where our children will be educated?  In these most formative years of our childrens' beings, what should be the source of their understanding of the world as God made it?  There isn't a simple answer.

Instead, we have made a list of questions to help us begin to navigate the waters of this decision, knowing that more specific questions will need to be answered as well:

  • What does the Bible say about knowledge, wisdom, and education?
  • What is the role of knowledge/education? What is it's purpose and/or intended outcome? 
  • Does the ability to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a godly life depend on a certain level of education?
  • What role, as parents, do we play in raising up our children in knowledge?  What are our biblically appointed duties in that regard?
  • Thinking outside of the traditional classroom setting, what other sources are there for gaining knowledge?
  • What feasible options are there for education?  {Taking into account the cost of tuition, time, and location.}

In order to answer these foundation questions, we plan to consult a few resources from sources far more knowledgeable than us on this topic.  As publically educated parents who were not raised in Christian homes, Brandon and I need outside opinion on this matter.  In future posts, I plan to share our answers to these questions as we move along in the process, in case there are others who may be facing the same decision.  In the meantime, here are a few of the resources I've been recommended:

Excused Absence by Douglas Wilson

The Case for Classical Christian Education by Douglas Wilson

How Classical Education Shapes Us as God Intended by Bradley Green {via the Gospel Coalition} 

Think by John Piper

If you have a resource you would like to share on the topic of schooling, please leave a comment below.  I would especially love to hear about homeschooling resources. 

And finally, a picture of Eisley and Easton on their first day of school:

Kinfolk Magazine | A Review

I recently received my first copy of Kinfolk Magazine--A Guide for Small Gatherings.  I instantly fell in love.  It is a collaboration of more than 50 various artists, writers and photographers with a focus on why and how we gather.  It is rich with beautifully written prose, interviews, short films and spectacular photography presented in a minimalist design--all of the elements I love in a publication.  Volumes 1 & 2 may be purchased here, and pre-order for Volume 3 is available on Amazon.  Check out the Kinfolk Mag website for a taste of what I'm talking about.

Success | A reflection on life and business

suc·cess /səkˈses/

Noun:   1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

2. The attainment of popularity or profit.

I often get asked this question: "How's business going?".  What do they mean?  Are they asking if I'm swamped with clients?  Do they want to know if I'm making it big as a photographer? Or, are they just making conversation?  I don't really know, so I usually sheepishly reply 'Um...it's going'.  It drives my husband crazy that I always answer that way, but I'm almost always caught off-guard when asked and unsure of how to answer.  So I started thinking after the topic came up at dinner with friends the other night, and I answered in my typical fashion.  The honest answer right now is that business is slow.  Now, that could be because it's January, people just unloaded their bank accounts on buying Christmas gifts, the world outside is brown and leafless, it's cold, etc. But since I'm being honest, I kind of like it this way.  I have time to think, to play, to dream, to plan.  I like the slow-paced life and the ability to breath freely without the pressures of deadlines, uploading photo galleries, ordering products.  So then, why do I always shy away from that inevitable question "How is business going"?

I think it might be because I've been living under the definition of success that you see above.  Now, "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose" part, I'm okay with.  It's the second one that kind of bums me out.  In the age where everyone is keeping tabs of how many Facebook "likes", Twitter followers and blog subscribers they have, the "popularity" part is literally in our faces and in our hands at all times.  It makes me a little crazy.  There is a feeling, myself included, that if no one is talking to or about you that means no one likes you, appreciates your work or who you are.  And while the "profit" part is sort of key to running a sustainable business, it can be a bit of a let-down too.

In light of all this, I'm taking a look at my life and re-defining success.  I began by making a short list of my roles, the major parts I play in my home and in the world.

  • Worshipper of Jesus Christ

  • Wife

  • Mother

  • Friend and Family member

  • Photographer

  • Business owner

Since business owner is last on that list, I thought I should inventory the other roles first and ask some questions.

  • Worshipper of Jesus: Am I actively seeking an obedient, humble, awe-filled, loving walk with my Savior.  Am I worshipping Him for who he is?  Am I making much of Him in all that I say and do?

  • Wife: Am I giving my husband the love, honor and respect that he both deserves, and I am commanded to by the Lord?  Am I giving him devotion and attention?

  • Mother: Am I demonstrating well for them: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?  Am I making sure their basic needs are taken care of?

  • Friend and Family Member: Am I taking time to love and pour into others?

  • Photographer: Am I seeing and capturing images in a way that properly reflect the creativity of God and the creative abilities that he has given me?  Is photography a worshipful experience for me?

Even though I can't with all honestly give a resounding "YES" to all of those at all times, I can to the majority or at least say I'm making a valiant effort at them.  Lastly:

  • Business Owner: Am I dealing fairly and honestly with my clients?  Am I being obedient to the laws that the government has set in regards to running a business?

The answer to that is "yes" as well.

And you know what?  For now, I'm pretty content with being "successful" at the top 5 things on my list. Though I'm still not sure how I'll answer the next time someone asks how business is going, at least I'll know that my definition of success is based on much more than being popular or profitable.


Our Christmas 2012 | Life at Home

Christmas.  I can hardly believe it's already over!  This was our first year as a family of four, and while our Christmas morning was low-key, it was a sweet time for our little family.  While our kids are still young, my husband and I are trying to decide on what family traditions we'll carry on from our own childhoods and which ones we'll start ourselves.  We desperately want the birth story of Jesus not to be overshadowed by presents and lights, and instilling that in our children will be a task we'll welcome in the years to come.   I'm already looking forward to next Advent season, when they are a little bit older and we can start some new traditions.

Eisley decided a couple of days before Christmas that it would be fun to go ahead and open some gifts on her own.  Lucky for us, she was more excited about opening her re-wrapped gifts the second time.  Easton, on the other hand. was much more excited about the paper-tearing and bows than anything else.

I hope Christmas was a sweet time for you all as well.  Here's looking forward to what 2012 will have to offer!