FITZGERALD – 10 MONTHS

Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,just because,my family,portraits — admin at 12:18 pm on Friday, March 30, 2012

As I write this – Fitzy is 11 months old – but I’ve been a little behind on blogging. He has been teething like CRAZY – those top teeth are a PAIN to come in! He has been clingy and whiny and sleepless – it’s been a rough couple months.

BUT – he is beautiful and awesome and cuddly and started pointing and walking with his pusher-walker toy thinger – I think that’s the description on the box!

WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT FACE!

He is so ridiculously cute – is that okay to say about your own kid?

I love love LOVE that outfit – might have to use it for his one year photos!

HE IS SUCH A LITTLE PUMPKIN!

His eyes just sparkle and shine. He is such a sweet boy – the best medicine for us at the moment!

THE P WORD

Filed under: bardenisms,my family,newsworthy — admin at 3:28 pm on Thursday, March 29, 2012

First read this from my hubby – he is pretty much awesome.

I remember the first time he told me he had a “problem” with pornography. I honestly thought – okay – what guy doesn’t? Not a big deal. Right?

Wrong. I don’t really remember it coming up much in our marriage at first – not sure if it just didn’t or I don’t remember that far back.

In recent years there have been times that Jared has confessed to me that he was looking at photos online.

The first emotion I felt was selfish – why isn’t he attracted to me? Why aren’t I enough? That isn’t the issue at all – at least in Jared’s case.

Something had been triggered and he needed to “get high” – as he explained in his blog.

Thankfully – by the grace of Jesus – I haven’t been angry with him. Hurt – yes. Confused – yes. But never angry.

We talked about it – holding him accountable – not putting himself in the position where it was easier to give in. It helped. I would ask him every once in a while if he was having problems or temptations. I always thought that asking might bring up the topic and make it worse if he hadn’t been thinking about it. But it’s what I needed to do.

Last year – Jared was in a very dark place. I was pregnant with Fitzy – we should have been in a very happy place. But he was angry and depressed and not himself AT ALL.

We were enjoying a Saturday morning and out of the blue he said to me – I need to ask you something. A million thoughts ran through my head – and being a pessimist I jump to worst case scenario. I stopped in my tracks and waited. He said – I need you to stop doing boudoir sessions. Immediately I knew why. I started crying and told him I was sorry. I didn’t mean to make him stumble. Just the fact that he knew I was photographing those sessions made his mind race. I told him – absolutely. Yes. Whatever you need.

I LOVE photographing boudoir sessions – strange – I know. But I do. I provided the service for engaged and married women as gifts to their husbands. I felt fine about offering this service and never doubted it. Until then. Now – if you are a photographer and you are offering these services – I’m not saying you shouldn’t. But when the man I love is struggling because of something that I’m doing – I stopped. I’ve had to tell inquiring clients that I no longer offer the service – all the while thinking – oh but I love those sessions! I love when a woman looks at a photo of herself and sees how beautiful she is – especially when she doesn’t feel remotely beautiful.

Jared had explained it this way. Let’s say that you did a boudoir session for me – and gave me a book. Believe me – it would be AWESOME – but it wouldn’t be enough. Eventually I would need other images to fulfill that need and desire and it would get out of control. What if your client’s husband struggles with pornography – and once he gets the book of his wife – it makes him stumble. And something you meant to be beautiful turns out to be a stumbling block in his life and their marriage. God has blessed your business so much and I would hate to see this be a reason why you would struggle in that success.

So I stopped.

This is a paragraph from Jared’s blog -

“Now, to the ladies. It’s important you really try to understand how we crazy men work. Please don’t make things any more difficult for us than they already are. Please pray for the man in your life who faces the temptation of lust literally everywhere he goes – movies, TV, music, magazines, the book store, grocery store checkout, you name it. Talk to him and be open and honest with him. And if/when he admits he has a problem, don’t nail him to the wall. Yes, it hurts to know the person you love has fallen into this trap, but love him. Talk to him. Work with him. Pray with him. Pray for him. Pray for him. Pray for him. He is your man to “go to bat for” before God’s throne. So do it. And support and love him. Did I mention love him? Love covers a multitude of sins. God’s love, flowing through you, will be used to release the chains of bondage in his life. I guarantee it.”

I’m gonna admit something here that I would rather not – but here goes. When I was younger (but the oldest of the group of girls that I did this with) we would get dressed up in our tightest pants and shortest shirts and go to the pool hall. And play pool. And crazy music. And dance. And then when the guys would oogle at us – we would be DISGUSTED. Absolutely appalled at their perverseness for looking at US – we were just there to play pool. Riiiiiiiight. Seriously? And I was the “leader” of this – oh gosh. Girls – FORGIVE ME for dragging you into and supporting THAT.

This is where it’s gonna get touchy – and hoping I don’t offend anyone – but c’mon – we were TOTALLY looking for the attention. Now – what if one of those men had followed us out to the parking lot and tried to hook up. When we were in there flaunting it and showing off – what were they supposed to think we wanted? To play pool? Seriously? Think girls. THINK. I’m not saying that girls that act like that are “asking for it” or that guys shouldn’t control themselves – BUT – what say we help them out as much as we can by NOT dressing like hookers!

I had a conversation with a friend recently – we both decided – if Jesus wasn’t residing in our hearts – we would totally be hooking it up with our outfits and even some actions. Or – God hasn’t given us the bodies we want yet – because we would totally be dressing like hookers! I’m gonna go more with that first one. Now when I was acting like a hooch – Jesus was totally hanging out in my heart – but I wasn’t listening. I’ve grown up (some) and matured (some) and have an awesome husband who helps me understand these things. Jared will occasionally say to me – yeah – you can’t wear that to church. On a date night to dinner and a movie – sure – but church? C’mon. Or playgroup with the kiddos? When I really don’t see anything wrong with it – until he points it out. Oops.

We want to be attractive and attracted to our spouses or potential spouses. For some of us – even just random guys in pool halls. When you grow up with low self-esteem or the ugly duckling – you want someone to think you are beautiful. So many times the women that are hurting or have been hurt misread that attraction and sex for love. It becomes about control and needing someone – anyone – to love you – not about attraction. And certainly not about love.

I absolutely encourage you women to love on your man who is struggling with this issue. LOVE HIM. We all have ugly skeletons in the closet. We all have our own addictions and issues. Pornography is one of the most uncomfortable ones to talk about – in my opinion – but it’s out there damaging WAY too many men and WAY too many relationships. Listen to your husband. Love him.

 

 

RELIGIOUS

Filed under: bardenisms,just because,word of God — admin at 1:00 pm on Thursday, March 22, 2012

I don’t consider myself religious – then I looked up the definition – but I still don’t.

I have a few questions – if you don’t have Jesus hanging out in your heart – why not? Is it because religious people turn you off? Is it because you feel bound by too many “rules”? Is it because it scares the (insert whichever word you want) out of you?

re·li·gion – noun

1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.

5.the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.”.

Yes – I have a set of beliefs concerning the cause of the universe – especially creation – with devotional and “ritual” observances. I have a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. I have a specific fundamental set of beliefs that are generally agreed upon by a number of persons. 

But I still don’t consider myself religious. When you think of a religious person – what comes to mind? I’ll tell you what comes to mine – and remember – don’t be offended if this slightly resembles you or your church.

To me – religious people know their bible verses – they attend EVERY church function – they use guilt to make a point – they sing in the choir – they are better than you and are always quick to point that out – and they “pray for you”. Behind closed doors – they have secrets. The things they are calling out in others – are EXACTLY what they do – just justified. It’s not a relationship with Jesus – that’s religion. It’s a ritual – a holier than thou attitude.

I’ve said this before – but I mess up. Quite often. I hurt people with my words and actions (most of the time it’s just me being me and I’m not doing it deliberately) but there are times when I purposefully hurt someone. We all do it. Sarcasm is a lovely form of communication for those that equally appreciate it – but it can also be a mask for true hurt. I judge. I am NOT perfect or pretend to be. If you thought that I was a “perfect” Christian and then read this blog or saw my life or my facebook page and something disappointed you – I am sorry – the ONLY reason I am sorry is that you thought I was perfect. Not so much. At all.

I have a relationship with Jesus. The thought that church attendance = a ticket to heaven – I don’t agree. Same with knowing what verses to throw at people to make YOUR case – that’s making the Bible work for you. I love to share Jesus’ love and work toward bringing light to a dark world. I love knowing that I am in His hands – ALWAYS!

It’s been QUITE a dramatic year for me. AND. I. HATE. DRAMA. Now listen – I KNOW that I am a pretty – okay – VERY dramatic person. Personality speaking. But that does NOT mean that I thrive on drama and crap going on in and around my life – but this past year has been QUITE full of it. Someone pointed out to me that the drama I’ve been dealing with involved fellow Jesus lovers. ONLY fellow Jesus lovers. CRAZY right? If I love Jesus and YOU love Jesus – shouldn’t that be it? In a perfect world it would.

As I type this I have a friend whose dad is in the hospital after a massive heart attack. There is a family across town mourning their little girl after a tragedy. Someone lost their life in a car accident last week in town. We have homeless – hurting – abused – lost people ALL around us. There are children being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery around the world. People who are at the end of their rope – turning to drugs instead of Jesus. Babies being aborted at all stages of life. Children who eat paint chips because food is not coming. THESE are what we need to be passionate about. Helping and saving the lost. Not our first world problems.

As people – we should be working TOGETHER to help. As Christians – especially. As FAMILY – most importantly. Why is it that we can’t see past our little differences? Why is it that we can’t forgive. Why is it that we can’t listen? Why do we continue to hurt – to make ourselves feel better?

And it’s about stupid things – at least in my case. Hiding your wall from me on facebook and then when I delete you (cus I can take a hint) – you think I’m the one with the problem. Asking what I’ve done wrong and ignoring me while people in our family suffer cus we can’t sort this out and get together. Telling me that the forgiveness I asked for was insincere. Blaming me for an issue with your friend and therefore asking me to never speak to you again. When I don’t even know what the WHAT you are talking about! A suggestion of an inappropriate relationship that my husband had (which he didn’t and doesn’t) and the aftermath. The insecurities that I have NEVER had to deal with before. The questions – the conversations – the CRAP. Getting into an argument with a dear friend that definitely did some damage to our friendship – because we couldn’t agree to disagree on matters of alcohol and visiting more than one church. These are issues that are absolutely ridiculous to be fighting over – to be worrying over. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS. not even.

THAT is the religious crap that I can’t deal with. Don’t get me wrong – we should be holding each other accountable and looking out for each other. And we are going to have differences in opinions – but are those differences THAT big of a deal that we ruin relationships over them?

I hate to even reference it and admit that I hear about it through a friend (cus I don’t EVER watch filth) but that GBC show – is kinda sorta maybe most likely absolutely true to life. Like I said – I would NEVER watch it – so a certain someone I know (who doesn’t mind watching filth) tells me about it. One character justifies her behavior through those certain Bible verses that are applicable to justify certain behaviors. She looks down on women that work in the “trashy” restaurant in town only to find out that the restaurant brings in LOTS of money to it’s owners – who would that be? Why she and her husband of course – but no one knew that. She’s the lead in the choir – she can’t have people knowing that they OWN a place like that. Another woman is living a lie in a loveless marriage – getting it from anyone BUT her husband. Judging everyone BUT herself for their horrible lives. But THEY are the “good” people. But like I said – I wouldn’t know – I don’t watch it. Ever.

When people think of me – or remember me when I’m gone – I want them to say – Danielle loved Jesus and loved sharing about His love. She loved her family. She was a good friend (cus sometimes I’m ONLY a good friend – not great). They could say or think lots of other things. Some might even say – that Danielle – she was a good person. But it doesn’t matter. Being a good person will not get you into heaven – what it does once you get there – is up to debate. But it is NOT your ticket in. It doesn’t matter how many church services you attend – how many charity events you set up – how much you give to the church – what Bible verses you know by heart (or at all). It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that you have Jesus in your heart – in your life.

 

 

FITZY & *E*

Filed under: babes,baby barden,friends,just because,kiddos — admin at 12:31 pm on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A week or so ago our friends had some serious sewer issues – so we said – come on over! We’ll have a sleepover! We have a baby – we know what it’s like with kids!

HA.

They have three kids – ranging from 10 to almost 4. They were good kids though – really they were!

It’s crazy to look at the three of them and think – oh man – I have to call my mom and say sorry for being crazy when we were little.

They jump and kick and want everything to be EXACTLY fair. They get along great and then the next minute they are wrestling.

In the midst of a quiet moment – I caught these!

Maybe these will be at their wedding someday – ya know – when *E* is 30 and Fitzy is 20!

*B* family – we LOVE you guys and are so thankful for your friendship!

 

10 MONTHS

Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,just because,kiddos,my family,portraits — admin at 12:37 pm on Friday, March 16, 2012

Dear Fitzy -

The moment you wake up in the morning you are smiling! We have our snuggle time and then we read some books. You started giving kisses – open mouthed and sloppy! You climb the stairs in record time! You wave bye-bye when people leave the house! You and dadda have conversations that sound like this – hi da! hi fitzy! hi da! hi fitzy! You walk along the furniture and will be walking on your own soon! (although I can wait for as long as it takes you)

A few weeks ago I took some photos of you playing in the kitchen!

This is my FAVORITE picture of you yet! I love your brown eyes (just like mine – bags and all) and your little teeth showing through your smile. You have your dada’s mouth – he has no upper lip either!

You are so happy and cuddly! You make my heart smile – especially on a sad day!

LOOK AT THAT FACE!!

You are so curious!

You are loved.

*N* TURNS THREE

Filed under: babes,beautiful,family,just because,kiddos,portraits — admin at 1:57 pm on Wednesday, March 14, 2012

*N* and his family were some of the FIRST winners of the BEAUTIFUL contest – in 2010! (I think it was 2010 – I tend to lose track of time!)

He is such a cute little guy and is getting SO big!

It’s an absolute miracle that I have him in front of my lens. This little guy has been through more than most of us will go through in a lifetime – having several surgeries on his little heart!

Jackie – thank you SO much for having me capture your miracle! I am truly blessed by your little man!

 

JESUS LOVES YOU

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,friends,just because,my family,TMJ,word of God — admin at 1:57 pm on Monday, March 12, 2012

So.

I have a much smaller online presence at the moment – as far as FACEBOOK is concerned. I created a new account to rid my life of the drama and the insecurities that I have been feeling. It’s helped – a little. But the bad part about that is that I’m not reaching as many people as I was – in terms of photography exposure or sharing the love of Jesus!

But I still have this blog as an outreach – so here goes!

I feel that I’ve always talked about my faith and shared it with you but I don’t think I’ve ever really told you how MUCH Jesus loves you and wants you. And how I found that out.

When we were little my grandma Trout took us to Sunday School. I don’t remember the first time I asked Jesus into my little heart – but I am told that I did. In 1990 our grandpa Trout died of a heart attack – Christmas day – it was awful. He was young and it was so unexpected. I was 9 – which meant my dad was 27 when he lost his dad. I remember the day so well. It didn’t snow – we got bikes for Christmas and rode them around the trailer park in our winter coats. Samm and I got NKOTB barbie dolls. I got a Magic Nursery baby that I named Kevin. It turns out he had a twin sister that was sent to me in the mail – I named her Kristen. I was standing in the hallway when the phone rang. My mom answered and I could tell by the tone of her voice that something was wrong. Very wrong. We all sat on the couch and cried with my dad. Christmas has never been the same. It was the first time I saw my dad cry. The second would be when he dropped me off at college.

Little history – my parents were young when they met. My mom was a senior and my dad a junior. They got pregnant as my dad’s senior year started. They got married in January of 1981 – my dad turned 18 in March – I was born in May – he graduated in June. My dad went to work at a local factory while my mom stayed home with me and they had Samm 15 months after I was born. Derek and I are two months shy of being 4 years apart. When we were young – my dad drank. My mom drank too – but after she had kids she stopped. I can remember a handful of occasions where my parents would fight while/because my dad was drinking. My dad will tell you that he didn’t drink for leisure or because he liked the taste. He drank to get drunk. My mom’s parents drink. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my grandpa drinking anything but beer. I can remember countless occasions and parties at my grandparents where they were drunk. My mom did not want to live this life. She did not want us to live this life. She told my dad several times that it was alcohol or his family. Thankfully he chose the latter.

After his dad died – he sat down and read the Bible (my dad is probably the most read person I’ve ever met). He didn’t want to believe. He didn’t want to “be saved” – he wanted to read it and then put it down for the piece of fiction it probably was. But that’s not what happened. He read it and thought – CRAP. I HAVE to believe. I can’t NOT believe after reading it. We were all baptized as a family when I was in middle school – which is when I really remember trying to actively live a life honoring Jesus.

I always invited my very best friend to youth group. We went on the trips together – mostly to be near the guys we thought were so cute (sorry aunt L) (totally honoring Jesus – right?) (as a quick side-note – the first guy I had a real crush on was named Jared – crazy!) ANYWAY – I had a purple teen Bible that I took notes in and tried to remember to do devotionals. For me at that time loving and living Jesus meant not doing the “bad” things that my friends were. Drinking – smoking – having sex – skipping out on the movies – swearing. Drinking was NEVER something I wanted to be a part of. I watched my mom go through it with my dad and with her parents. Besides – we were babies. But I was ALWAYS there for my friends. I was always the mom that took care of everyone – and I’m not complaining – it’s the role I wanted and loved. My parents had ONE rule. Don’t lie to me. If you lie to me – you have no more privileges. So I didn’t lie to them. We went to the Sayre Theater once and everyone wanted to leave and walk around town during the movie – I was like – NO WAY! My mom will kill me. Oh – she’ll never know. But I couldn’t just sit in the theater by myself – right? So I sat in the park – on a bench – in the dark. And then when my friend’s mom picked us up – I called my mom and said I was sick. She came and got me and I just cried. I said – I’m so sorry – we left the theater and you told me not to. I didn’t know what to do. I was such a rebel right? Anyway – that is my middle school existence.

In high school I stopped hanging out with those friends but still didn’t take part of the drinking and messing around. I always stood up for the underdog – or tried to. I got picked on and shoved to the side. But I always stood up for what I thought was right. And no one ever noticed. Or so I thought. My drafting teacher pulled me aside once and told me that a guy in our class had mentioned me to him after class. He said – what you see is what you get with Danielle – she does what she means and means what she says – and you ALWAYS know what her beliefs are and she always sticks to them. It’s awesome. Now – that same guy picked on me quite a bit – but I was making a difference.

In college I met a girl named Trudy. She was my RA. She took me in. I was so homesick and so miserable. I would bring my Bible in at night and read. She would ask me questions and we would look them up together. I would invite her to church with my cousins – she never came – but I always asked. I transferred to Mansfield in the spring and we stayed in touch through emails. So many emails. At the end of the semester she called me. So scared. She had just read the first Left Behind book. She said – the only person I thought to call was you. I don’t want to be left behind when Jesus comes back. What do I do? So I told her. You ask Jesus to be yours. You ask Him into your heart and life. You love Him. You are called to serve Him. That’s what you do. You tell Him that you are a sinner and that you need to be saved. You need to be saved from hell. You need Him to save you. You accept His precious gift of life that He gives us. He died for us. DIED. He was born so that He could die. So that we wouldn’t miss out on an eternity with God. That’s what you do. And she did. She was baptized later that summer. She was the first person that I ever helped come to know Jesus – to accept Him and His love into her heart! It was amazing!

We stayed in touch and helped each other through the rough times – the mistakes we made – the tears and the hurt. The mistakes – did I say that one? I moved into the suite and met the people that would form most of my college memories. I met Josh and we became fast friends. I tried my best to show Jesus’ love to them – failing ridiculously at times – of course. I fell into the role of mom again and took care of my roommates. Josh and I were tight – I found out his dad was a pastor. He started coming to FCA and CCC with me and we formed a really awesome group of friends. I loved Josh – but differently than he loved me. I was his dear dear friend. I hung onto hope – still being best friends. I made more mistakes. Several. On my 21st birthday I drank little bottles of Jose Cuervo – cus it WAS my 21st birthday after all. I felt like CRAP. We went up to the university to shoot pool and I laid on the couches. I cried. I apologized. I cried. I am NOT a fun drunk.

I met Jared and like most moments in my life – drama ensued. Jared was breaking up with his girlfriend – we got together not shortly after – I still had feelings for Josh. Lots of people were hurt and mad. Our friends eventually forgave us. They came back – most of them. They were going out one night and wanted me to go with – but I don’t go to parties – and I certainly don’t drink – that was evidenced earlier. Stupidity followed – to prove a point I drank. To prove the point that I was NOT fun. Josh was there the night of my 21st – he tried to reassure everyone that it was NOT a pretty sight. But I still did it. I went to the party. Jared was waiting in the dining hall for me to get back. I was crying and apologizing for getting drunk. Crying cus I was a horrible person. Josh looked at our friends and said – see? Told you so. That was the last time I drank. Jared and I got engaged a few months before graduation. We had a party at Jared’s parents and Josh gave me a card that said – thanks for being my light in the dark. I cried and hugged him – realizing that I wouldn’t be seeing one of my best friends every day – like I had for the past two years. Josh was a groomsman in our wedding – we are going to his wedding next month. I still cherish those memories and know that God put me in that suite for a reason. I messed up and made mistakes. But I was also the light I was hoping I would be.

Jared and I got married. We hosted different friends and family when they needed a place to crash for the night or weekend or month. Or semester. I mothered – like I always do. I messed up – like I always do. We were very comfortable with Jesus. Not going outside the box – not being challenged. Then I thought I was dying. I had horrible pain in my head. The left side of my face would go numb. I thought I was having a stroke. I would feel so much pressure in my head that I wanted to cut it open. For the first time in my ENTIRE life – I got on the floor and prayed. Crazy Christians do that – not me. I couldn’t believe that I was brought to the point of laying on the floor to cry out to God. I had more and more conversations with Him. Asking Him to help me – begging Him to help me. Praying I would make it through the day. After two months my doctor diagnosed me with TMJ disorder – very severe TMJ disorder. At last – an answer. But not an answer to the pain. For two years I tried it all – steroids – mouth pieces – acupuncture – herbal remedies – nothing helped. For two years I prayed and prayed and spoke Psalm 46 over and over and over and over and over. I pasted it to my desk at home and work. I had to remind myself EVERY DAY that God would help me. That He would save me at daybreak – just like the verse promised. I had never experienced such reassurance as when I would read that verse. I would put the whole thing here – but I want you to go look it up. Google it – whatever. It was the first place I opened my Bible and it was meant for me. Exactly for me. I felt for one of the first times in my life that God was really speaking to me. After two years of absolute awfulness – I was referred to Lewisburg to Dr. Robinson. He gave me the “retainer” that I wear now and improved my life 200% – and Jared’s life. He loves Jesus and I totally believe that God ordained our meeting. I blogged about it a little – way back.

Then we got pregnant! Then we miscarried. Then we were very very angry. Then we were very very depressed. For a very long time. It was a very dark time and I was VERY angry with God. I had arguments with Him. I won’t go into much detail – if you haven’t read the blogs – you are welcome to go back to the archives and read. They should be under baby barden or go back to March of 2009 and go from there. I blogged. People read. I blogged more. People read. I couldn’t believe that the hell we were going through would be of benefit to anyone. It was. I met SO many people who were also trying or had lost babies. I was able to photograph those people when they found out they were expecting. I was able to help them through their pain – pray for them and with them. I was able to converse with God without raising my voice nearly as often. I was able to share how Jesus loves me and you.

I was able to share a miracle. We got pregnant. We have an amazing baby boy. We’ve lost another but we hold onto Jesus – and each other. We are a little stronger than last time.

And now you are up to date on my life.

Life isn’t perfect. We all screw up. I think I’m right and you are wrong – most likely. When I am wrong – I will apologize – most likely. I am stubborn and sarcastic. I am confrontational. I will not allow you to walk all over me. I will defend myself and my family. I will agree to disagree but when you get mean and start throwing accusations – I’m not putting up with it. I am judgemental – even though I try VERY hard to not be – or at least keep that crazy at bay. I am loud. I am obnoxious. I like to be the center of attention. I like to be the boss. I love. I love my baby and my husband. I love my family and my friends. I love my readers and my clients. I listen. I encourage. I give great hugs. I pray. I don’t put up with ridiculousness. I am honest. I am loyal. I am confident – most of the time. I am passionate and emotional.

Most importantly I am loved. By Jesus. I am wanted. He died for me – and if I was the only person on the earth – He would have died for only me. I’m loved by my family and friends – but that doesn’t compare to how Jesus loves me. It never will.

Here’s the thing – people will fail you. Always. Your parents – your husband – your wife – your sister – your pastor – your best friend – your kids. Every time.

But Jesus NEVER does. EVER. He never forgets you – He never abandons you.

But Danielle – you miscarried TWO babies – don’t you feel like He forgot you? I did. But He didn’t. He was there – watching over us and holding that little babe’s hand in His.

But Danielle – what about my parents – they died – where was your God of love then? He was there. He is always there.

We live in a world that isn’t perfect. It’s sinful and broken. God created us with a free will. We chose sin. We wanted it all – who doesn’t? But those promises that satan was whispering in Eve’s ear were lies – they ALWAYS are. There is a battle for YOUR soul. God loves you but satan just wants to increase the population of hell – he hates you. He puts doubt in your mind. He stirs the pot. He asks the question – where is your God now? If this God loved you – He would have saved your baby or your parents – He doesn’t love you. In fact – no one REALLY loves you. Those are LIES.

There is a passage in Luke that my dad always brings up in response to questions like this. It talks about a tower falling and killing eighteen people. Were those eighteen people more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? Jesus says NO! But unless you all repent – you will also perish. My dad sums it up like this – Hey Jesus – what about those people that died? What about that tower? Jesus says – here’s the thing – towers fall – people die – did they deserve it – no! But it happens. That’s why you need to be right with God. It could happen any time.

Because our world isn’t perfect – people get cancer – people are murdered – people are abused and abandoned. Babies are aborted – children are kidnapped. We live among thieves and liars and rapists and murderers and horrible people.

God loves us. He LOVES us. OH HOW HE LOVES US. Why can’t He stop the murdering and the abuse and the awfulness that is our world? Because we are sinners – because we chose sin. God didn’t create us to be drones – to be robots that bowed down to Him. He created us to love and to breathe and to choose. With that choice comes sin. It sucks. BUT HE LOVES US. He loves us SO much that He sent His son to earth. Born a sweet innocent baby – to take on my sin. Your sin. EVERY SINGLE SIN. Because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our horribleness – He died in our place. So that we could live. So that we could live forever in God’s presence. Without pain and anger and sin. Without fear and doubt and worry. A life full of worship and love.

We are here to love God and to love on each other. We are here to share this awesome news! God loves YOU! Accept His Son as your Savior. He will save you from hell. Admit your sins – your awfulness – ask Jesus to take them for you. Lay them down. He loves you and wants you. He is waiting.

AMANDA & KYLE – SHE SAID YES

Filed under: love,marry me,wedding — admin at 12:26 pm on Friday, March 9, 2012

I met Amanda in college – I can’t even remember how! We reconnected on fbook (which I am off again) and she took advantage of the 2000 likes special!

We met in Watkins Glen on a BEAUTIFUL February afternoon!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE THAT SHOT!!!

I cannot take credit for that shot on the left – Danielle Dickerson did one very similar that I saw and I had to try it! Thanks to Danielle for the inspiration! I still like hers better!

LOVE THOSE ONES!

OH WAIT – and those ones!

The shot on the left is my NEW favorite!!

Thank you so much for asking me to capture your engagement! I cannot WAIT to see your wedding photos!

*L* – 6 MONTHS

Filed under: babes,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 1:33 pm on Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I love this family! I love watching *L* grow and change!

LOOK AT HIS ARM ROLLS! I LOVE IT!

He is so happy and chubby! (Remember that chubby is a HUGE compliment)

TOO CUTE!!

OH MY HEART!

Lauren – thanks so much for asking me to capture your growing boy! I will see you in 3 months!!

*K* TURNS THREE

Filed under: babes,just because,kiddos,portraits — admin at 12:41 pm on Monday, March 5, 2012

Stephanie brought her niece over after their family session for some pictures – she is ADORABLE!

GORGEOUS!!

ISN’T SHE BEAUTIFUL!

*K* and her sweet Grandma!

Stephanie needed a shot of her sweetness to take home with her! We got a great one!

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