Looking back…

I was talking to my mom about an event 2 years ago, and that motivated to glance back at pictures from then.  In the process, I stumbled across family pictures that I had not yet processed.  As I looked at them, I just marveled in thinking about how much these children have grown in just 2 years.  Here are pictures from my cousins, who I now get to watch grow on a weekly basis 🙂

Location:  National Harbor, Washington, DC Area
Date:  May 2013

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Little Ballerinas

This past weekend I had the opportunity to watch my nieces at their ballet classes.  What a real treat that was!  As I watched their tiny bodies flutter and glide in various ballet positions, I was motivated to go back to my ballet workout video… I was motivated, but I cannot say that I turned that motivation into action!  Still, it was really inspiring to watch a 3 and 5 year old concentrate on these movements and achieve them!  Here are a few images from my recent visit!

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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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Cell Phones Can Take Decent Photos TOO!

I started taking photos with a little Pentax 35mm with a zoom lens. I thought I was something special in those days… Then I took my first photography class with a 35mm Minolta SLR camera, and I realized that most of my work before that point was pretty sorry. Before I stepped into the SLR world, I had no control of aperatures and f-stops… and I didn’t know any better. But as Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” After a couple of years with the Minolta, my parents upgraded me to a Konica-Minolta digital SLR, and now I really knew how to get some good photos… and even if I didn’t know, I would keep playing around with the settings until I got just the right photo. Sadly, Konica-Minolta was bought out by Sony, and at that time, I did not want to take the ride with them to another brand… So I made the switch to Nikon, and haven’t looked back since! People eventually started paying me to do what I LOVE with my camera, and that money was often reinvested into equipment and tools for editing photos. I had a look that I was after – a polished, clean, professional look. I did not want blur or grain, unless that was the mood of the photo, and I definitely did not want EVERYTHING at the same level of depth of focus. All this to say when cell phones started getting cameras on them, I was not phased. Even with the latest and greatest iPhone, I had no plans of saying good bye to my trusty Nikon digital SLR.

So fast-forward to 2014. As I have let the business go in order focus on teaching, I have also picked up my trusty Nikon less and less. Sometimes, the battery isn’t even charged… I can go for months without even cleaning off memory cards – I never would have conceptualized this between 2011 and 2013, when my business was really booming. There are times that all I have is my cell phone… and with children, there are times (more than not) when all you will have time to pull out is your cell phone. If you have a good eye, you can take a decent picture… but if you have a Photoshop app, you can make that decent picture look somewhere near great 🙂

In this post, I am sharing some pretty decent pictures I’ve taken with my cell phone over the past year.  Now, by no means am I saying that I kissed my Nikon good bye.  As a matter of fact, the images from my last posts have only been achieved with the Nikon, but I am not going to rule my celly out for some moments.

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