Friday, September 18, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 130 -- One I'll Frame

In my last post I mentioned that I was an English major in college. Needless to say, a mind trained to recognize symbolism sees a wealth of material in this photograph. I'm not even going to dip into meaning I see in this picture. Before I share my thoughts of deep meaning hidden in this unposed capture, I'd love to know, what, dear reader, do you see pictured here? What strikes you about Brielle's real-life effort to make her way into the building behind these massive doors? I'd love to know!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 128 -- Strength...and Vulnerability

With Zhenya's wedding behind us, I had the chance to do a newborn photo shoot today for friends. As I began to edit the pictures tonight, I couldn't get beyond this photo. Perhaps my attraction to this particular capture hearkens back to my past. I was an English major in college, and I see symbolism here. What a vivid representation of the the newborn's vulnerability and his daddy's strength! I even love that Dad's ability to protect his family is even apparent in the callouses on his hand. In order to get his best chance at life, this little guy will need his father to shelter and protect him until someday he is a man. God has been good to give this newborn a father who is all in.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 126 -- Guard Duty

As I was making an adjustment to my camera settings during this mini session with our newest grandtreasure, their family dog ambled into the area. I quickly adjusted my focus so that I could get her furry front legs in focus with little Jillian just a blur in the background. Now this has turned into one of my favorite photos from visit there.

Monday, June 22, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 121 -- The Best I Could Do

On my last night with Aaron and Anna's family, I was outside toward sunset with their two oldest girls. Brielle asked me to draw a picture of her with sidewalk chalk. I'm afraid my best effort was a bit simplistic. Thankfully, after this moment of contemplation, the 3-year-old was happy with result, although I didn't manage to catch her delight with my camera. God abounds in steadfast love!

Friday, June 19, 2015

365 People Photos: Numbers 118-120 -- Happy Sister

Brielle has been so gentle and loving with her newborn sister. I never would have imagined that a photo shoot with a 3-year-old and a baby who is only 3 days old could be so effortless! I thank God for the opportunity to capture this brand-new sister love!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

365 People Photos: Numbers 115-117: Unexpected Treasure

When I packed to come help our oldest daughter with the birth of her third child, I packed a few lightweight scarves. My hope was to have the chance to use them to photograph Anna and Aaron's newborn daughter. This afternoon I dug the scarves our of my suitcase. Baby Jillian was sound asleep and I had my chance to take some photos. As I was photographing the newborn, her oldest sister was playing with one of the scarves. When I glanced over my shoulder, I was stunned by how beautiful the 3-year-old looked draped in pink. I snapped these shots as Brielle danced around the room in a world all her own.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 114 -- Rain, Rain Go Away

Where Brielle and Evelyn had been happily playing in the driveway an hour ago, now a deluge has begun. Little Evelyn was fascinated by the downpour.

365 People Photos: Number 113 -- So Summer

Evelyn and Brielle playing in their family's driveway this morning as I weeded the front gardens. God is so good to give us the warmth and color of summer! Shorts, sundresses and flipflops. Life just doesn't get much better!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Joy So Small

Three years ago today I became a grandmother.
Three years ago today I learned that that God is even greater than I had understood Him to be.
Three years ago today I experienced His goodness in a 6 pound, 7 ounce bundle named Brielle.

365 People Photos: Number 111 ~ My Daddy Loves Me

In my last post in this series, I commented that sometimes a picture taken from behind can tell a powerful story. For this adoptive mama, this is one such photo.

The bond between our daughter, Zhenya, and her daddy is plain to see in the loving grasp of their hands. I can only imagine that for a girl who had no father figure until God placed her in a family through adoption, the security in having a dad who treasures you must be deliciously reassuring. Being loved by your father must communicate to a former orphan that your life has value, despite all the subtle messages to the contrary up which you've received.

In reality, as touching as this photo is with its tale of a father-daughter relationship, this picture represents something far more significant than earthly adoption. For those of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ's death on the cross as the payment for our sins, we have been eternally adopted by God. And with that familial relationship, our Heavenly Father tells us that He will uphold us with His righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10). What a promise! I don't know about you, but I need the loving grip of the hand my Abba-Father for each step of this adventure called life!

(If you would like to know more about Zhenya's growth into womanhood and her upcoming marriage, please visit our family blog: Unto Him We Live.)

Friday, June 5, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 110 ~ A Girl's Best Friend

God has made our Kirsten (age 20) such an animal lover that recently she lugged our long, lanky mutt, Bella, out on the deck to view a particularly beautiful sunset.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 109 ~ Love...Laughter

Auntie Zhenya and Evelyn (20 months) at the zoo in April. This photo makes my heart sing! I am such a blessed mother and grandmother!

Friday, April 17, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 108 ~ Courage in a Small Package

I was surprised by Evelyn's willingness to walk bravely up to this alligator statue at the zoo this week. I don't think I would have approached all those teeth ~ even if they were brass ~ at a year and a half old!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 107 ~ In a Toy Store

Recently Grandpa and I visited Ohio. On a rainy morning, our best bet for an outing appropriate to our two-year-old and one-year-old granddaughters was to just go stroll around the local mall. Of course, I took my camera along and was looking for all possible photo opportunities. I loved when little Evelyn absent-mindedly picked up a teddy bear from a basket of the cuddly creatures. This little pixie was so overwhelmed by the wall-to-ceiling contents of the store that I'm not sure that she even realized what she had in her hands. I eventually had to rescue the bear because little Evelyn was tugging at the tag as she stood in awe of her surroundings. This little girl is truly a masterpiece lovingly crafted by the Maker of All!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 106 ~ Daddy Love

Last night we had a long wait at our local airport waiting for our daughter, Sarah, to return from Zambia. (For more on this, see our family blog Unto Him We Live) During that time 12-year-old Hope, our eleventh child, talked and talked with her daddy, sharing her heart with him. During a break in their conversation, I couldn't resist urging them to pose in front of the airport's flag. Hope is a curious child, and her daddy is willing to field question after question as she wraps her mind around her ever-expanding world as she prepares to enter her teens later this month. I'm so thankful to God that my man is such a great father!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 105 ~ With Grandpa

Just real life this time. Last week the we traveled to Ohio. Just the two of us. An awesome trip! While we were there, we took our two grandgirlies out all on our own. It was raining so our "adventure" was just a stroll around the local mall. We had a blast! Here Grandpa is pictured with 18 month old Evelyn.

Monday, March 9, 2015

365 People Photos: No. 104 ~ i heart this girl!

Next month our family will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of 17-year-old Christina. I can't believe how blessed I've been for a decade to be the mother of this beautiful blond with the sparkle in her blue-eyes. She is a gift from our great God who places the lonely in families. I thank God for Christina each day. Her presence in our home delights me!

Monday, March 2, 2015

365 People Photos: No. 103 ~ Ten Little Piggies

This precious beauty is the daughter of dear friends of Aaron and Anna. I was in town just days after she was born and was blessed to be allowed to photograph her. I love how wrinkly her sweet little feet were!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 102 ~ Peace

I've been in so many orphanages. I've heard so many stories of the hardships endured by the fatherless. I've watched so many times as my own children ~ added to our family through adoption ~ have had to wrestle through trying to make sense of a past that doesn't make sense. As a result, spotting my granddaughter, Brielle, intent on something as innocent as a favorite picture book while sitting on her nursery floor is like a breath of peace to me. Childhood as it should be. (For the effects on a child whose life has been marked by trauma, watch a 12-minute video that just may change you... ReMoved.)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Parenting with the Wrong Heart

O Most Holy Father,

I humble myself at Your feet. I am humbled at the very thought of being allowed into the presence of the Creator of the Universe. I am in awe as I remember that You have told me I am Your chosen. I am beloved by You, made holy by You. (Colossians 3:12)

Despite how low I sense I must go in the presence of my King, there is an irony in my life. I am far too apt to exalt myself when I interact with a certain child in our family. Your word says that "The way of the sensible is to understand his way" (Proverbs 14:8) As I assess my own way, something is clear and something is wrong. Right now I am too likely to be haughty in my thoughts toward this kiddo. I look for the worst in this child and, inevitably, find something with which to find fault. Once I've zeroed in on what I want changed in my child, then I bring a sense of...well...quiet disgust to my words of correction  I can only guess that it must wear heavily to live under a continual cloud of your mother's disapproval.

O, Lord, I beg for Your help. I know this cycle is sin. I am casting Your words behind me rather than living Your way. Lord, I want to truly turn away from looking down on my kiddo. I want to love my child. I want to be downright zealous in my affection for my child. I beg You to help me. I need You, Jesus. I cannot crawl out of this miry pit on my own. I plead for the great grace of repentance. I ask for a broken heart. I implore You to undo what I've become and remake me to be like Your son -- kind, gentle, compassionate, humble. O, Lord, please help me.

"Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.
 Do not be eager in your heart to be angry
 for anger resides in the bosom of fools."
~Ecclesiastes 7:8b-9

Monday, February 2, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 101~Love The Vibe!

Love, love, LOVE the mother-son connection that God allowed me to capture. The eye contact between our daughter, Alison, and her three-month-old son, William, makes my heart sing! What a smile this new momma is getting from her little guy! I'm also tickled that in this picture William's daddy is in the background, surveying his "kingdom" ~ the house Eric and Alison will soon be purchasing, Lord willing (for details on this see A God Story in our family blog Unto Him We Live )

William is being held here by his other grandmother, Tara.

Monday, January 19, 2015

365 People Photos: Number 100 ~ A Serious Reader

Our grandson, William, is such a smiley little guy at three months that this picture does nothing to reveal his personality. However, I couldn't resist the chance post the photo just to use the pun in the title.