Captured in 2012

This year I was honored to capture four families, two seniors, a maternity session, a brand new baby girl, and two professional headshot/commercial sessions (which was a first for me). Each captured image signifies something wonderful: a new life, a student marking the end of the high school experience, or the gathering of extended family. Thank you for entrusting me with capturing these special moments! Thank you for allowing me to freeze a moment from 2012 for you to always remember.

  I chased this little guy all around when capturing the Young Family.

Went to Jerusalem Mill to photograph the Sovereign Grace Church team.

Had tea with these two, Sarah and Scott.

The Young Family's birthday celebration and family gathering.

Jessica and Brian expecting.

The lovely ladies of Riley & Associates.

Shaune's Senior Session.

Sweet Paige's newborn session.

Garrett and Family at Cromwell Valley Park.

Hunter's Senior Session.

Resolute 2013

This year I want to focus more closely on fewer goals. Sometimes smaller, more doable goals pull me away of larger, harder to obtain projects. Now that I'm homeschooling, I also find that I have less time or mental space to work on projects, even in the evening, when I need to plan and get ready for the next day. I also don't want to be working all. the. time. and value a quality of life that revives me, not wears me out. Plus, we are hoping to amp up the work on our house to really get it FINISHED, really finished. So that work will be taking up my time as well. So, here's what I'm looking forward to growing in and accomplishing in 2013!

  • Spiritual: choose one large portion of Scripture to memorize.
  • Personal photo project: 12 in 12 (one family picture a month).
  • Professional photography goal: purchase a PhotoVision Target and learn to use. Rework/update all pricing. Switch to using flash drives instead of dvds for client digital negative purchases.
  • Writing: With Child book proposal. For real this time. This is scary to write down for me because it's so close to my heart and writing a book has been something I've wanted to do since, well, as long as I can remember.
  • Health: figure out an exercise routine that really works with my life. The only time I have to work out is the evening and I struggle with being worn out by the point kids are in bed. I'm trying to work out before the kids are in bed. Also, when I have a photography deadline due, I tend to use that time on photography instead of working out. But I really need to get a better healthy balance in this area.

What goals do you have for the new year?

Goals | A Year in Review {2012}

You all know I love goals! Last year I posted my goals for 2012 and here's the reveal: where I failed and where I was successful. Goals help me think through my year and I don't feel bad if I didn't reach each one. They are something to aim for and it helps me think of areas I want to concentrate growing in. So without further ado . . . 2012 New Year Goals:

  • Continue memorizing large portions of scripture (Just want to remind myself to keep doing what I’ve been doing). Pretty much failed at this. I tried James 1 but it was rough going and I eventually gave up. The good thing is I did constantly review passages I previously memorized, so they're pretty cemented in my brain.

  • Writing goal: write a blog post once a week. Yes, I was pretty good at this. I wanted to get back into blogging more regularly and I carved out one day a week to set aside time to blog and sometimes I was able to get multiple posts done that day.
  • Personal photo project: 12 in 12 (one family picture a month, inspired by this post). Yes and no. I did not successfully capture each month. However, I have more family shots than ever before, so that was a success, even if some months were missed.
  • Revamp backend of photography process: website, blog, Lightroom presets to speed up processing, (goal for January). Yep. Got everything where I wanted it. 
  • Revamp visual branding of Danielle Jones Photography (goal for January). Yes.
  • Writing goal: publish something in Thriving Family and (in)courage, broadening my article writing venues. Thriving Family published a short piece I wrote and although I submitted to (in)courage, I did not hear from them.
  • Writing goal: put together a book proposal (Summer Project). Not quite. I did reread and rework all of my work on With Child. I got good feed back from it when it was used by a friend to help mentor new moms.
  • Create more one-on-one time with each of the boys. Kind of. I tried to take on child at a time with me whenever Josh was home. Even if I was just running errands, concentrating/talking with one child at a time made the time more special.
  • Start a regular workout routine, 2x a week. Ugh. Not doing well in this department. More like 1 time a week. Ever since having Sophia I've struggled with this and something needs to change!

Now, for next year's goals . . .  

 

 

Christmas Tour 2012

It's been several years since I've participated in a Christmas House Tour, however, this year I'm joining up with The Inspired Room and Cottage Magpie to share my little house's Christmas decor. My house doesn't have much space, so it can take some creativity to make room for seasonal decorations. I love using natural elements in my home so greens are used inside as well as out.

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There are always leftover green at the farm where we cut our tree, so I gather an armload to bring home to make a wreath put on the front porch.

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Advent calendars are a favorite with the kids. These were actually mine when I was little.

However, some of the doors are falling off, so I think next year we'll have to get a few newer ones!

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Our basket of Christmas cards are tucked into a corner of the dining room. At dinner each night we select a card and pray for the family it represents.

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I love our wooden nativity set. It's our centerpiece on the table and usually looks as it does above! :)

But that's okay, I wanted to have a set the kids could play with. However, I thought I'd let you see it set up too.

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Christmas books are stacked everywhere! A tray holds an angel picture, hand-painted in watercolor by a dear friend.

Also, homemade coasters another friend crafted for me sit on a side table.

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The Nutcracker was given to me by a co-worker and is a hit with the kids.

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I make up for not having a fireplace and a mantel by decorating the top of this book shelf to go with the seasons.

At Christmas it holds our Jesse Tree. I cut branches from the backyard and put them in a pitcher so as we go through the advent readings each night, we can hang an ornament on it. The readings and printable ornaments can be found at A Holy Experience.

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Thanks for visiting!

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Desperate Need

In today's reading from Nancy Leigh DeMoss' The Quiet Place I'm reminded of the true meaning of this Christmas season. It's not about "nice holiday cookies and get-togethers. But a divine visitation, necessary to deliver us from our spiritual captivity and meet our desperate need."

Our desperate need has been tragically highlighted this season by the terrible shooting in Newtown, Ct. We are in desperate need for restraint and protection from violence. We are in desperate need for comfort. We're in desperate need for healing. We're in desperate need for reconciliation  We're in desperate need for peace. We're in desperate need for all of our brokenness towards each other and God to be healed by nail-scarred hands.

Such healing can only come from a personal divine visitation. 

Such a visitation has already come to the world, if we'd but accept it. If we'd allow Him to enter into our lives and change us from the inside out.

"And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” -Luke 2:9-14

There is little I can do personally, in light of this tragedy, to ease any of the suffering. But there is one thing I can do: "While Jesus is representing me in heaven, may I reflect him on earth," (The Valley of Vision, pg. 18).

Jesus, help me show your love and compassion everyday to all I meet, to every person in my life. Help me reflect you.

Mary: A Humble Heart

With Child
With Child

In 2011 I wrote a series entitled With Child: Meditation on the Meaning of Motherhood. Great with child myself, I wanted to look deeper into the lives of women in the Bible who experienced motherhood and glean from their lives. With Christmas soon upon us, I thought it would be great to look back at the lives of two women who figure into the Christmas story: Elisabeth and Mary.  So I'm reposting an updated version of Mary's story. I hope you find it meaningful.

Inconvenient.

If ever there was an inconvenient pregnancy, it was Mary’s. Her pregnancy was not only miraculous; it put her in a tenuous situation. As a virgin engaged to be married—worse case scenario—Mary could have been stoned to death.

There’s so much I wonder about. What did her parents say? When she went away to visit Elizabeth for three months and came back starting to show how did she deal with the gossip? Did she remain silent or did she share the angel’s message? Was she laughed at and ridiculed? After all, even her betrothed, Joseph didn’t believe her story at first (Matt. 1:20-21).

I wish I knew the details. But what I do know is that Mary did not bring up these potential challenges and fears to the angel who visited her that miraculous day. Although they certainly must have come crashing into her mind the minute the angel told her she’d conceive a child.

What she did blurt out was, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

After receiving Gabriel’s answer, she responds with incredible humility:

“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

John MacArthur writes about Mary’s response in Twelve Extraordinary Women: “There’s no evidence that Mary ever brooded over the effects her pregnancy would have on her reputation. She instantly, humbly, and joyfully submitted to God’s will without further doubt or question. She could hardly have had a more godly response to the announcement of Jesus’ birth. It demonstrated that she was a young woman of mature faith and one who was a worshiper of the true God.”

How I long to respond to the inconveniences in my life like Mary. I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said.

Motherhood is all about inconvenience. The physical discomfort of a swelling body is just the beginning. Then comes the intensity of labor. Next up is late night feedings, poopy diapers, and perhaps inconsolable crying? The reality that one’s life really isn’t one’s own anymore. Of course, joy is experienced in every one of those situations, but sometimes, it’s also just plain inconvenient.

Even the smallest inconvenience can sometimes send me for a tailspin. In the midst of writing this very post, my boys woke up much earlier than usual from their naps, crying. My natural tendency is not to be happy to see them when interrupted like that. This is my time, after all. They’re invading it. They’re, well, inconvenient. My mother’s heart does not naturally desire to sacrifice for them. I don’t want to give up the time that I thought was allotted to me.

For Mary, the high honor of being the mother of the Jesus came with inconveniences that would culminate in great suffering. Gien Karssen puts it this way: “She was being given the opportunity to subject her motherly desires to the will of God.”

She did this by giving birth in a stable. Fleeing to Egypt while toddlers were slain by order of royal edict, because king was looking for her son (can you imagine living with that knowledge?). Having Jesus leave his family after 30 years to accomplish his earthly ministry and not have access to him as she had before. Experiencing the pain of family turmoil because her other sons not believe Jesus was the Christ. And then the ultimate pain of seeing her son crucified. Indeed, the sword would pierce her side, just as Simeon prophesied.

But her example in all of this was one of humility. Of being aware the story wasn’t really about her in the first place. It was about Him. And this is not more evident than in the fact that Mary herself was a disciple of Christ.

Gien Karssen recaps Mary’s life beautifully when she writes that Mary experienced “unknown pinnacles of happiness. At the same time she had experienced deep heart sorrows which no other woman has or ever will encounter. But her attitude toward God hadn’t changed. She had proven with her life that she meant the words she spoke when the Messiah was announced, ‘I am the Lord’s servant, and I will do whatever He desires.’”

I pray that would be my humble response too—not only motherhood—but in all of life.

Would you be willing to share an area of life where God is calling you to submit with humility to His plans for you? Perhaps it's an area you'd have orchestrated differently, had you been in control.

To dig deeper into the story, read Luke 1-2 

O Christmas Tree

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We've been going to the Hale Tree Farm for several years now. We love driving up there and picking out our Christmas tree. This year the weather was warmer than usual, which made it even more enjoyable. The kids look forward to the mini candy canes they hand out (my kids adore candy canes). The boys wrestled and rolled and played hide and seek amidst the pine trees. It took us a while but we finally found our tree.

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That evening, we decorated the tree. Which means we inaugurate the Christmas season with a glass (or two) of eggnog.

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The little angel boy in the walnut shell remains one of my favorite ornaments since childhood.

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Sophia was enamored by the little dolly ornament that I received from my Aunt Bibby, who has since died. I got it when I was about two-years-old myself. I have many ornaments from Aunt Bibby. I look forward to passing this little dolly onto Sophia one day.

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 I'll be sharing more pictures of our tree and decorations soon when I participate in a Christmas Tour of Homes! I'd love to see your decorations and learn about your traditions too!

Christmas Books for Kids

One of my favorite things to do December 1st is pull out our special stash of Christmas books. There's nothing like snuggling down into the couch while the Christmas tree lights twinkle and reading a good story. I'm over at Ungrind today sharing a few of the titles we're currently enjoying.

Also, I'm constantly looking for new ones to add to our collection. Would you be willing to share some of your favorite titles with me?

AND

Take a peek at some lists some other bloggers have put together:

Cornrows and Meadows: Christmas Children's Book CollectionMt. Hope Chronicles: Favorite Christmas Books - Pioneer EditionMt. Hope Chronicles: Favorite Christmas Books - Around the World EditionMt. Hope Chronicles: Favorite Christmas Books

Enjoy!

We have a Winner!

 

When we went on vacation this year I snagged this shot of Sophia. When we got back, our vacation rental company, Bluewater Vacation Rentals put on an end of summer photo contest where people could submit a photo from their vacation into various categories. Josh encouraged me to submit, or I probably wouldn't have. I submitted the above picture into the "Funny Moments" category.

The ten images with the most "likes" via Facebook were then brought before the Bluewater judges who made the final winning selections. Thanks to so many of YOU who "liked" Sophia's picture I made it to the final ten. And then, yesterday, I got the email saying we won for the "Funny Moments" category!

A BIG thank you to all who voted! We'll be getting $200 off our rental for our next beach vacation!