Let’s see here…

How do we do this? How do we take pictures of our family of 6, plus Phillip’s brother and his family, and Phillip’s parents? How do we do it in my house with my stuff?


Here’s the setup. Two alien bees, one with an umbrella and one shooting through a big diffuser thing. My 30D on a tripod hooked up with a remote release. For some reason this remote release won’t work with my 5D. Crappy iphone pics…



Then we have the practice… Yes, I took these of myself. Yes, they’re awesome.






Then we have the real deal. So did we do it? Did we get a good family picture of all of us? I had to swap a couple of heads in Photoshop, but we got it!



We also got these winners. I know these will make the folks proud. I think we all should be pretty proud.




I didn’t use the remote release on these. Debbie took these.





And my favorite…


And then I got a few individuals of the kids. It was mostly successful.




This bow looks better!





But not completely successful.





I also tried to get a few of my four kids together. Also, not really successful, but pretty funny.





So there you have it. All of the foolishness, all of the setup…all worth it.

So, there’s this building.

There’s a building in town that I drive by several times a week. It’s vacant. It’s been vacant for years. It may be falling to the ground for all I know, but it’s got GREAT light. Every time I see it I wonder about it. For months I’ve been thinking about this old building. Is it for sale? For lease? How much is it? Is it total crap inside? Would renting/buying a building help my business or eat every bit of money I bring in and then some?


And so every time I see it, I just keep driving. I never stop to inquire or write down a phone number.


Being in business for yourself is risky. And I really haven’t taken very many risks. And I know that one of these days I’ll have to step up my business or it will never grow bigger than it is now.


So anyway, there’s this building that I’ll continue to drive past several times a week and wonder… When? How much? Can I do it? How? Would it be crazy? Is crazy all bad?

Summertime

Summertime,
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high








Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry



One of these mornings
You’re going to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky











But till that morning
There’s a’nothing can harm you
With daddy and mamma standing by





Summertime,
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high






Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry


Renewed.

I’ve only written about this topic a few times. I think it probably makes some people uncomfortable. Maybe not. I don’t know.


Anyway, in October of 2008 I became an affiliated photographer with an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. It’s an organization made up of professional photographers who donate their time/talent to go to hospitals and photograph new babies who are either close to death or have just passed away. At first thought, it might sound morbid. And I think that’s where people get uncomfortable and turn off their listening ears.


But when I heard about the organization I had to do it. Had to. I couldn’t sign up fast enough. And in that time I’ve worked with about 12 babies and their families. Each baby and family, precious and unique in their love and their grief. Each experience beautiful and draining. There is something about being present at the birth of a child that just seems Holy. There is something also Holy about being present as a family not only welcomes their new baby, but also says goodbye at the same time. In every hospital room I was in I felt like I was standing on Holy ground. I haven’t felt as enveloped by the presence of God and so used as an instrument for His purpose in my life as I was on those 12 occasions.


But at some point in the last year or so my heart for serving in this ministry sort of got squashed or something. I got “too busy” or whatever. Maybe I became too disconnected from my own pain of my pregnancy losses. Maybe I started thinking it was just a crazy thing to do. Anyway, about six months ago I was up to renew my affiliation and I let it lapse. I just kept not getting around to it.


I just now got around to it. Some things are just too important to put off any longer.


Is it difficult for me to enter a room with a shattered family and introduce myself, and then go to the baby and smile and tell them their baby is so beautiful?? Is it hard for me to take that baby in my arms, the same arms that held my own son after he was born way too soon, and look at that sweet baby with awe? Is it awkward to then make the mental shift to a professional and “glove up” and take the only photos this family may ever have of their child? Does it break my heart? Yes, but God hasn’t entrusted and equipped a whole lot of people to do it. God calls us to do hard stuff. We can do the easy stuff without being asked to. We can do the easy stuff without God’s help.


It would be easier, and has been easier the last 6 months or so, to not be called for these situations. It’s a call you never want to get. And the calls tend to come at very inconvenient times. But if God calls you to something and gives you the gifts to do it well and you choose not to do it, you really are missing out on something Holy. I’ve been missing out on something Holy by avoiding doing this.


I have permission to share these photos. This permission was given to me by baby Caleb’s mom. Usually it’s the baby who isn’t going to make it, but in this case, Mom was terminal and the baby was most likely going to be okay. I was there the first time she held her son. These photos will be treasured by their family for a lifetime. And I don’t share these to pat myself on the back. I share these to point to the One who gave me my story, to the One who created me to be a photographer, to the One who gives me strength to walk in the hospital room and “glove up” and do the thing He’s called me to do.



Are you avoiding “gloving up” as I have been? Are you up for a renewal? Are you missing out on something Holy?