They have decided to follow Jesus… No turning back, no turning back!

A month ago, my niece and nephew publicly displayed their decision to follow Christ. Like their parents, I watch proudly as they were dipped into the water and emerged.  What truly touched my heart was that they made these decisions at such an early age.  For me, I was baptized with full understanding of the commitment I was making at the age of 15.  I was not pressured to do this, but the Holy Spirit nudged my heart to make this public declaration around that time.  However, when I see my niece and nephew and their siblings, I see God’s hands on their lives – at 9, 7, 5, and 3.  You see, these children consider their choices and match them up with God’s Word… And if they don’t line up, they choose something better.  Now, by no means am I implying that these children are perfect little angels that never make the wrong choice.  No, they are human, but they have allowed Jesus and the Holy Spirit to lead them and guide them in all truths.  And as I think about their paths, I think about the pitfalls that such an early decision will help them avoid – the devil may still try to distract them, but God will get the ultimate victory in their lives.  And that victory is going to come because as you will see in the pictures, they have such a cloud of witnesses about them.  They have a strong community to support in their seeking the Lord’s face and honoring Him in their lifestyle.  2 Proverbs come to mind.  The first is in the Bible, “Train up a child in the way in which he should go, and when he is older he shall not depart from it.”  And the second is an African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  I am thankful for my cousins Jonathan and Letty, who pray over, pray with, and train their children in the ways of the Lord.  And, I am thankful for their family, extended family, friends, and church family, who surround these children and point them back to the Father who is in Heaven!  To God be the glory!

See images from their baptism below.


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Rappin’ for the King

My cousin decided to enter a rapping contest, so he asked me to film a video for this contest.  Of course, I was thrilled at the opportunity to try something new.  Now, he did the real edits with bringing the scenes together.  I simply video taped and then applied filters in Lightroom.  It came out pretty nicely though!

Here is a link to the video of “Jon Payne

Jon Payne's Video

Dr, Teacher, Author, Biblical Scholar :: Portraits

A little over a week ago, I had the pleasure of photographing Dr. Dennery, who is a teacher, author, and biblical scholar.  Our paths first crossed years ago at church, where she not only led Bible study, but she also led the sign language ministry.  Before meeting her, I had never seen someone passionately do sign language interpretation as she did.  She is beautiful inside and out, and it was my pleasure to capture her in this portrait session.      Below are select images from this session.

Dr. Dennery in red Dr. Dennery in turquoise Dr. Dennery in black and white Dr. Dennery in casual dress

… They encamp all around me!

On Friday morning, I was headed out of the house with my favorite new tea mug, which was given to me at Christmas time, and despite looking at the weather online, I did not see the layer of ice that covered the steps. Needless to say, I fell down the first set up steps (about 6 or 7) just as quickly as I went to take my first step down.  The next moment I looked up, and was in the middle of these steps laying on the ground.  Thankfully the only real casualty was my favorite new tea mug… But the entire encounter reminded me of how blessed we are (I was). There are so many moments that could have gone a LOT worst, but God sends His angels to protect us! Thank You Lord!!!!  As I reflected on this fall over the weekend, I remembered how I had 2 car accidents in 2011 and walked away from both without bodily injury – my cars were another story, but they were easily replaceable!  Don’t take for granted the fact that God keeps us from dangers seen and UNSEEN!

My favorite tea mug is now broken