Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all who come across my blog! I am so thankful for another year of doing what I love in my "spare" time. For those of you who don't know me personally, photography is my fourth job-wife, mom, accountant (yes-accountant) and photographer. It is my outlet and a very special gift. I am so thankful that I found it and I am so thankful I see things a little differently because of it.

Part of my job is photographing newborns. I get to meet little humans as they start their journey. They are beautiful, undefiled, and full of promise. I consider it an honor to get to meet them at this precious time. I also get to see parents, many of them first time parents, as they begin their journey. There are no words for the immediate expanding of your heart that happens when you become a parent. I love getting to talk to parents about it.

I had one particular photo that really struck me as I began to think about this blog post. In thinking of the true meaning of Christmas-the birth of Christ-I was humbled. I thought about how much God loved us and gave his only precious son. I thought about how he allowed him to come to earth to stand in the gap for us. As a parent I cannot imagine giving my son so that others could live and yet that is what was done for us. I leave you with this picture of a precious child and ask you to think about his gift to us. He loves you and he loves me. What better gift could we receive?

Merry Christmas, friends!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-Nelda's story

I recently had the unfortunate task of having “The Talk” with my six year old. Thankfully, it wasn’t THAT talk, but it was the first of what I’m sure will be many talks about self-esteem.

This came about because she saw two neighborhood friends playing outside, and asked me if she could play outside with them. After I told her to put her shoes on, she went tearing out the door. Two seconds later, she was back inside. She looked sad and slowly sat down on the couch. When I asked why she wasn’t playing, she said they had told her she couldn’t play with them. I wanted to beat their rude little butts. Why are girls so mean to each other? It’s something I’ve seen way too often as I watch my little girl growing up. Something that I experienced growing up and something I wish I could shield her from.

I want to tell her that kids were mean to me too…. They made fun of my big glasses, curly hair, and crooked teeth. I’m reminded of how I was made fun of for being too skinny and having chicken legs. I remember when I gained the dreaded “freshman fifteen” in college, and how happy I was to finally be able to gain weight! (What?!!??) All of these experiences made me realize as an adult something I could never grasp growing up. We are all unique, beautiful individuals, and we will never be the same as the next girl. And because we will never be the same, there will always be something you can be teased about.

It took me a long time to realize this. Even in my twenties, I was still trying to “fix” myself. I got braces as an adult. I also got Lasik to correct my horrible vision. I gained weight so I wasn’t so skinny. I don’t pretend to have it all figured out in my thirties, but I do know this: I still have chicken legs. But these chicken legs have carried me through countless miles and hopefully soon, my third half-marathon. I also have a tummy that isn’t as flat as I’d like or breasts that aren’t as perky as they used to be…and I could have these things “fixed”. But I’ve decided not to and instead I wear my mommy marks proudly. If I want to teach my children to love themselves as they were created, I should provide a good example of that. I gave birth and nursed two healthy, beautiful children with this body, and I want them to know how proud I am of that.

I think back to all of these things in my life: the lessons that have taken me years to learn and that I continue to learn every day. I think carefully before responding to her. I weigh my response cautiously and hope that I can start building in her a strong sense of self. I hope one day she will hear my voice inside her head when she experiences disappointment or hears mean things. If I do my best, I know she will have something she can fall back on as she learns to navigate the self-esteem minefield ahead.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I heart faces "black" challenge

I was so excited when I saw this week's theme. I just took photos of my daughter dressed like Audrey Hepburn a few weeks ago. It was her idea. She saw a calendar at Hobby Lobby and asked if I could dress her like that. I didn't have to be asked twice. She had so much fun and even gave me some of her own fun poses, but this is my favorite. Be sure to check out the other amazing entries at

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It has been a crazy fall! DFW family photographer

I feel like the blog has suffered some major neglect! I have photographed some of the cutest kids and families. Here is a little of what I have been up to.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-Carol's story

I am an impatient person. All my life I have searched for how to get there faster, how to skip that step, how to get the answer without reading all the details, skim the rules and get started, cut to the chase. If you ask my mother she will say this is still a real problem for me.

Getting "there" faster can catapult you to the next fun, exciting thing and can give you a constant barrage of new things to focus on but the quickness robs you of enjoying the moments that got you there and will most likely cause you to miss out on deep, meaningful connections with those who may be on the journey with you. You definitely don't have time to look back and keep up with those you bonded with in the past. In my particular instance, it cause me to make some mistakes and miss opportunities I may have achieved if I had not been moving so fast.

I cannot say I have been cured of this issue but I can say that I have learned to slow down. Once my twenties were officially a thing of the past (and they really did go by in a blink of an eye), I had an awakening that kind of sounded like this: "WHOA!! How do you slow this thing down?? There is NO WAY I can be 30 years old."

Something happened. I needed my friends more than ever. I needed my parents more than ever. I need to make more money!! And it hit me: the priorities must be in line. Now! I started to slow down and become aware of what mattered to me. I started to take the time to do the things I wanted to do--taking that painting class, getting a dog (that tethers you to the house for sure-talk about a slow down), spending some time alone and not running errands. Being still.

I feel I now have a pretty decent sense of self. That is not to say that I even remotely think I have it all together. It just means that I am more accepting of the twists and turns that come my way instead of running so fast and trying to control it all. I do think that I have been able to slow things down and enjoy the moment and those who are in it with me instead of looking ahead to the next moment. However, it is sometimes a daily challenge to make those decisions.

I think that friendship, especially women-to-women it is extremely important. I think that women are in a state of unprecendented roles. We don't have mothers that have seen the world that we face. Now, more than ever, we have to rely on our peers as support and to show us the way. I have witnessed a lot of competition between women that ends up tearing each other apart instead of helping each other out. I have been so fortunate to have some incredible women as friends who have always beens supportive of my crazy ideas, actions and alway been there to hug me, let me vent, cheer me on, etc.

Most recently, I have spent quite a bit of time without my friends as most of them are just starting their families. As most of you know, that can be a defining moment in a friendship. People start to lost touch and move on to friends with more in common. I have been brave and putting myself out there with some other groups of women and it has been eye opening. Some other women are just mean to each other! The competition of what car you drive, whether you are married, whether you have children, whether you will work or stay home, where you got your clothes, etc. is ridiculous! My message is-be kind to each other and support one another. It makes life so much better.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I heart faces-let them be little challenge

This weekend we had my company picnic. The kids were playing and having fun so it was the first thing I thought of when I saw this challenge. Be sure to check out the other amazing entries at iheartfaces.

Let them be little.
Let them get their face painted!
Let them get their clothes dirty.
Let them believe in Santa and the tooth fairy.
Let them them play with your jewelry.
Let them know life is good!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

He needs your vote!

One of my clients was chosen as a finalist for America's hottest husband in Redbook magazine. I was so excited when I saw the picture they used for his write up was one I took. Please vote for him! Click on this link.

Cultivating Confidence-Stacy's story

I grew up in a small North Texas town where I truly lived a cross between Mayberry and Friday Night Lights! There is a lot to be said for growing up in a town where everyone knows you – a place you could safely ride your bike and leave your house unlocked. We were at church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights. During this time I don’t really remember ever thinking that I couldn’t do or be anything that I wanted. There was a lot of time spent with family and friends. It was a great place to grow up, and I am blessed by the experiences I had there.

Somewhere along the way – I think around middle school or maybe high school – I started hearing things that made me pause. Things like: “Wow, you are a lot bigger than your Mom.” “You are built just like a fullback.” “You definitely are well endowed.” “You don’t need to eat that.” I don’t really think these things individually bothered me so much at the time. I was active in sports and school organizations, spent a lot of time with my friends, and truthfully was probably too busy to think too much about it. I do, however, remember wanting to be pretty. Like many girls my age, I wanted to enter the SEVENTEEN magazine model search. I filled out the form, had a friend take my picture, and prepared to mail the application. You can imagine my surprise when I was encouraged not to mail it because I “wasn’t the type of person” they were seeking. It was certainly a case of a loving person trying to shield me from disappointment, but it was then that I really started questioning some of the other comments that I had heard.

After high school, I went off to college. It was here that being the “nice” one was reinforced. I somehow always fell into the “nice” category – never the “pretty” one. I had experienced a bit of this in high school, but it was definitely magnified in college and shortly after. I was the person who was the guy’s friend and helped set them up with my prettier, more desirable friends. This discouraged me, so I tried dieting and running only to have my body fail me. I couldn’t maintain the limited calories and exercise schedule without passing out or getting sick, so I had to give up the control. That summer break, I heard, “I guess weight can look okay on some people”, and “you would look a lot better if you could lose about 10 pounds.”

As I progressed from college into the real world, the comments continued. “Why don’t you get the mole removed from your face?” “You should wear your hair differently so that your face doesn’t look so round.” “You do not need to wear sleeveless shirts because your arms are too big.” “You really don’t have the body to wear that.” And finally my favorite: “I have never seen boobs so big in my life. I told my wife you made Dolly Parton look like a teenager.”

Just before and right after I was married, my body failed me again. I struggled with health issues that affected my fertility. After I married, I had two painful miscarriages, and I wasn’t sure I would ever be blessed with a child.

I have struggled since high school with my body image. What can I do to make myself feel more beautiful, and will I ever see myself the way God intended are two questions that I constantly ask myself. I know that I am created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). I also know that He knows the number of hairs on my head (Luke 12:7). If He took the time to make each of us this unique and knows us so intimately, then shouldn’t we value ourselves as much as He values us? Why do I and so many others give the devil this foothold?

I’d like to say that I am confident in my beauty and have overcome the struggle. I have not; however, I am striving each day to remember that I am here because of a God that loved me so much that He died for me. Since God loves me so much that he made no one else like me, can’t I try to love the way He made me a little more? My pastor Ed Young recently spoke about this and termed it living with “Godfidence.”

My story has a happy ending…God blessed my husband and me with the most precious, healthy son seven years ago. My body didn’t fail me then. I have also learned that the struggles I have experienced are in part so that I can empathize and encourage so many other friends who have also dealt with insecurity and infertility. In the end, my daily goal is to strive to view myself the way my Creator made me. I want our entire family to exude “Godfidence”, and I especially want my son to know the eternal definition of beauty!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

Monday, October 10, 2011

I heart faces-raise your hands challenge

This week's challenge at iheartfaces is "hands." My entry is also a sneak peak to a new project I did to challenge my own creativity. I love that the girls are holding hands while laughing so hard. Be sure to check out the other amazing entries this week!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jack is one-Irving, TX children's photographer

I love this story. Jack's parent have some awesome friends. They looked up photographers and ran across my website. They then gave Jack's mom a gift certificate for a session with me. Coolest.Friends.Ever! So if you never need a unique gift idea--a session gift certificate is available!

Mom decided to use the session to document Jack's first birthday. This guy is the cutest. They also brought Fred to the session-Jack's faithful companion. There is just something about a little guy and his dog.

This is mom's favorite!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thank you for voting at I heart faces!

I wanted to sincerely thank everyone who voted for me at iheartfaces. My photo won fourth place overall. I honestly was astounded! I appreciate your vote and the fact that you enjoy my art!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I heart faces-people's choice

This week's challenge is people choice with an image taken this summer. I just love this picture of my friend. The saying "happy girls are the prettiest" is very true. I think she is gorgeous. Be sure to check out the other amazing entries at I Heart Faces.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I heart faces-touch of sun

This week's challenge is touch of sun. I just loved the effect of the sun on this picture. Sun flare can be so scary at first, but I have learned to love it. Be sure to check out the other amazing entries at iheartfaces.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-An encouraging word

I am playing catch up at home. I have been away on vacation and am getting back to taking pictures and catching up on the blog. I asked a few friends about getting their picture taken for my blog series and they were all feeling a little blah, which I totally understand. A lot of my friends are moms and work. It is hard to strike a balance between all the things you think you have to do and taking care of yourself is usually last on the list. I just wanted to tell you this--I know I am not perfect, I know I am not the smartest person, I know I am not the best photographer, I know I am no supermodel. I am finally learning to be okay with that. I try my best to better myself and learn more and hope to encourage others along the way. We all have something to contribute. It's up to you to use what you have been given.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I heart faces-white challenge

I haven't been too active on I heart faces. Summer has been very busy. When I heard this week's challenge was white, I immediately thought of this picture. My sweet girl. Be sure to check out I heart faces and see the other fun entries!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-Nicole's Story

Everyone wants to be loved.
I wanted to be loved.
I searched for love from all the wrong people.
Some were "best friends".
Some were boyfriends.
One person I didn't find love from was myself.
For me love equaled confidence and self esteem.
Middle school and high school I hated myself. I hated the way I looked. I didn't like being me. In middle school my "best friend" told me that pretty much everything about me was wrong. That validated what I was feeling. I also had a "best friend" tell me that a boy that I liked me and wanted to talk to me. Then when she saw that I was excited she laughed and told me she was just kidding and wanted to see how I reacted. Those were just a couple of the things that made my self esteem plummet in middle school.

High school came around and all I longed for was a relationship by a guy who didn't have to love me because I was family but because he wanted to love me. But I wasn't good enough. I was on Homecoming Court starting my sophmore year thru my senior year. I was Class President my sophmore to senior year and Student Body President. Even having titles like that I never got dates.

My first real boyfriend was at the end of my junior year. He was voted most handsome and very popular. It didn't last very long. He told me he loved me and then a couple days later he broke up with me. I was heart-broken. I asked why he told me he loved me if he didn't want to be with me and he said, "I knew that was what you wanted to hear". My second boyfriend told me he loved me. He cheated on me. I asked him why he told me he loved me. He said, "It was extreme infatuation" and took it back. I saw that I was not lovable and something was wrong with me. Another guy I liked but never dated came over one night and sat down on my bed and said, "I know you have always wanted to be with me and I like you, but I am afraid something better is going to come around." WOW. Awesome. At this point of time the Lord started to work on my heart. I told him I hadn't waited around for him and didn't need a guy like that.

After all of my bad luck with guys I decided I just wanted to be friends with guys and meet new people. I met a guy and we hung out. Once he found out I was still a virgin the calls stopped. I called him and asked him why he didn't call anymore. He told me that he couldn't be friends because of my virginity. This was the time I began to change and started listening to what the Lord was trying to get through to me. I didn't need a guy for me to feel loved, beautiful, important, or successful. I didn't have to give a part of me away to be loved. I was loved by my family, friends, and the Lord. I finally saw myself as beautiful but not because someone else thought I was but because I finally got a glimpse of how God saw me.

I am loved. The Lord has blessed me with an amazing husband that is more then what I could have dreamed of. He loves me for me. I look back now and the guys who I dated weren't the real thing, they were stepping stones. I praise the Lord for allowing me to finally find love in myself so I could allow someone so great as my husband to love me. I know what true love is.--the love of our Lord and Savior, the love of my husband, kids, and family. I pray that I can teach my daughter to not find her confidence and love in people, boys or things, but that she will look to the Lord, who will show her what true love is.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Maddie-2012 Guyer High School Senior

This is Maddie. She is my 2012 senior rep for Guyer High School. I had originally picked a vacant lot to take her photos and much to my dismay it was bulldozed of all the beautiful trees and long grass just two days before. I just knew the natural setting was perfect for her natural beauty. Luckily, we weren't far from on my favorite locations. She is so beautiful and inside and out! I am thankful our paths crossed. Have I mentioned I love photographing seniors? Be sure to spread the word!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-Emily's story

My daughter, Ava, is four years old. She is a beautiful child, and was born with the best possible combination of genetics. She has dark hair, blue eyes, and her daddy’s long legs. Ava is like most little girls and loves to watch princess movies. Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, we’ve got them all. Second only to princess movies is her love for her own reflection in the mirror. I fix her hair every morning while she smiles at herself, and it’s one of my favorite times of day. A few months ago, I caught her standing on a stepstool in her room, frowning at her reflection and twirling her hair. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me she wished she had yellow hair like Rapunzel.

Becoming a parent is a profound experience, and there are so many aspects to raising a child that I feel completely unprepared for. This was one of those times, and I quickly reassured her she was beautiful just the way God made her. Still, the comment bothered me for the rest of the day. The thought that a sweet four-year-old is looking at herself in the mirror critically, and thinking that she doesn’t add up to some cartoon breaks my heart.

I started thinking back to when I was growing up, and about how much energy I wasted worrying about looking like someone else. Wanting to ditch my thick glasses to have perfect vision like this friend, or straight teeth like that friend, or long hair like another girl. Waking up at 5:30am to fix my hair just so, or put on eye make-up exactly like the picture in the magazine. Worried about what this person or that person might think of my new clothes.

I was brought up in a church home and have known about Jesus my entire life, but it was only after forming a personal relationship with Him in high school that I discovered true happiness. I began to spend more time in my Bible and less time in the mirror, and I realized I did need a makeover: a makeover for my soul. True peace comes only from Him, not from approval from anyone else. If we waste our time chasing a cartoon view of beauty, we’ll never achieve that and we’ll end up empty.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I still wear sparkly eye shadow, paint my nails, and layer on the highlights. You will rarely find me without big earrings in, and I won’t even walk to my mailbox without a coat of mascara on. But now I do those things now because they are fun to me, not because they make anyone else happy. 1 Samuel 16 says, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

I still get out of balance some days, and I can spend too much time worried about how I look. I compare myself to someone else and wonder how I could change to attain some silly, unrealistic level of perfection. But I’ve noticed that when that happens, I’m focusing way too much on me. How I look, what other people think of me, who I can impress. When I spend time focusing on Him, and time working on making my heart reflect Him and His love for me, everything else falls into place. And that’s the message I should be passing on to my daughter.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sam turns one-Denton, TX Baby Photographer

I love meeting new clients. I had the pleasure of photographing this little guy as he turned one. I was so glad to capture him doing the things he loves--listening to music, dancing and playing with sticks. He was such a champ in this 100 degree heat. As long as there was music, he was happy! Thank you so much mom and dad for choosing me to document this fun period in his life!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-Robin's Story

Confidence: A feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities.

When my long-time friend, Jackie, asked me to contribute to Cultivating Confidence, I immediately went out and started asking people “what makes you feel confident?” I learned for some it is their appearance, some get it from their success and others from their intellect. For me, confidence came when I learned to be self-reliant and independent.

When I turned 15 years old, the first thing I did was find a job. I couldn’t wait to go to work. I wanted to earn my own money to buy whatever I wanted without having to ask for anything from anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I had wonderful parents who took great care of me but money didn’t grow on a tree and I didn’t like asking for things that weren’t essential. Once I began earning my own income, I found myself becoming more and more independent. Even though I still lived at home, I bought my own car, paid for my own clothes and even had braces put on my teeth. The ability to do that on my own gave me great confidence.

My senior year of high school I decided to join Business Professionals of America (BPA) so that I could go to school half a day and work half a day in an office environment. The program director placed me in a secretarial position with a local law firm as well as enrolled me in a number of BPA competitions. Good grades never came easy for me (which is why I rarely got them) but the world of business did. I excelled in my job and won regional, state and national business awards. Confidence boosters!

After I graduated from high school, college didn’t appeal to me. I wasn’t fond of school work and it seemed asinine to pay thousands of dollars to do it; risky I know. I knew what my strengths were so I set out to join the business world equipped, not with a college degree, but with a ton of confidence in myself and my ability to succeed. 20 years later I have helped build a very successful pipeline consulting company, which we sold in 2009. Today my time is spent building a new company called Big Little Fudge (a natural transition I know). The thing is, I knew absolutely nothing about pipelines or how to manufacture a food product. What I did know was that I couldn’t do either one unless I became an expert in them. With knowledge comes confidence, with confidence comes . . well . . anything you put your mind to...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-Kristin's story

I grew up in an abusive home. My mother was the abuser. I don’t think she ever intended to be an abuser; she’s not a mean spirited person by birth. But she is a troubled person with a lost soul and an inability to cope with life’s stresses. She had a rotten childhood and I’m sure struggled with her own self esteem issues (in fact, I know she did). But the difference between me and her is that alcohol was her coping skill and I chose forgiveness. As an adult, I feel sorry for her, but there was a time I also felt sorry for me.

Growing up with a mom who is an alcoholic does tremendous damage to a young girl’s self esteem, not to mention the fact that the one woman in the world who is supposed to be your role model is absolutely incapable of fulfilling that role. I never felt like she really accepted me or loved me for who I was. I was too fat – she doesn’t like fat people. I was clumsy and awkward. I had glasses and acne. And, I had a broken heart. She probably has no clue the extent of the damage she did to me because we just don’t talk about it. It’s still a secret to most of people in the town where I grew up. But, when I found myself going down the wrong road, making terrible decisions, and putting my life in danger, I made the conscious decision that my life would be different. I would not be a statistic. I would not repeat her mistakes and end up with a miserable regret-filled life.

I had a few great close friends that I could confide in, and through the grace of God I was also provided some adult women role models who are strong, caring and loving, who provided the guidance and support my own mother could not. I had my dad too, who I am close to, even though he was a total enabler for my mother’s addiction. Through therapy I learned to accept myself. But the one key for me to move forward was forgiving my mother. Now, I didn’t say I have forgotten all that I went through. But it’s a lot of work to carry around anger, resentment and sadness, and I just don’t have the time or energy to waste on those emotions. I wrote her a card telling her I forgave her, and never gave it to her, but that was enough – I got it out on paper. Do I like how I grew up? No. Would I change it if I could? Yes. But, you know, it shaped me into the person I am today. It’s through those experiences that I learned what NOT to be. I learned what kind of mother I would not be to my future children. I learned to work through difficult situations and cope with the stress in a healthy way – not by drinking myself into oblivion. I learned that you create your own happiness. I learned how to trust in God. But most importantly, I had to forgive to let go. And I vowed that if given the chance, I would get it right with my own child.

I have a relationship with my mother today, and it’s amicable, but we’ll never be close. We don’t have the kind of relationship that some of my friends have with their mothers, which I do kind of envy. But, now it’s my turn to live up to my promise to God. I have a beautiful, amazing little girl who has changed my life and made me realize there are no limits to the amount of love I have for her. I would do anything for her. I would die for her. I will choose my words wisely and never put her down or ridicule her. I want her to be strong, independent, and confident in herself. I will always lift her up. Even though I was terrified to be a mother, I am proud of myself. I am not perfect, but I am doing my absolute best to lead her down the right path and give her a strong foundation for creating her own happy, fulfilled life.