Thursday, March 05, 2009

farewell blogger

well friends, this (i think) will be my last post over here at blogger. i am officially migrating my blog over to my new custom blogsite at!

it's a very exciting new chapter in the life of illuminate photography and i hope you'll swing by and check it out!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

session photo book

i just finished working on a photo book for one of my very favorite clients. stephanie had me come over and photograph her and her mom and her two beautiful daughters before they went to see the nutcracker ballet for christmas. boy, i'm really catching up on the jobs this week! it feels good!

here are just a few of the page layouts in her 7x7 book. you can check out the rest of the book here.

i so love designing photo books! now i've got to start working on my next photo book project putting together a sample book using this awesome family's pics from their fall session 'cause guess what?! photo books are part of my new packages... which will be officially rolling out next week! so i figure i better have a few samples, right?

i'm getting excited! and also feeling a little pressed... in a good way! i work so much better and more efficiently with a deadline. and i can't wait to roll out all of my new changes coming up! i just tweaked my plans a little bit on the new website design. it's gonna be awesome! and less expensive. and less work. win. win. win. oh yeah, i'm a happy camper.

Friday, February 27, 2009

more christmas pics

christmas 2008! wow. so i guess i'm a little behind on working on my personal pics, huh?

and another fun thing i learned this week is that my monitor needs serious calibrating. don't worry. i ordered a calibrator the other day. it should be here by monday. i know you were worried. i ordered some test prints from my new printer and realized my monitor is brighter and more yellow than reality, so now the perfectionist in me wants go back and color correct all of my pictures before i post them, but in keeping with my new resolution to be more real, nope i'm not gonna fix 'em. here they are... a little pale. oh well. that kid's still cute, you gotta admit. although in these christmas morning pictures it looks like we need to get him out in the sun a little bit more. =)

so can you guess what jonah's big gift was for christmas this year?!

thanks once again to our wonderful friends the noes we were able to give jonah a gently used riding device. last year was the cozy coop they gave us before we left illinois for texas. this year we busted out the big boy tricycle that's been hiding out in the garage all year. and look... his feet actually reach the pedals!

i love this picture! this was one of the test shots i ordered as an 8x10. i can't wait to find somewhere to hang it up.

this was jonah's 2nd favorite gift this christmas... a matchbox lightening mcqueen. i do believe jonah has him sleeping in bed with him tonight.

he can't even stop playing with "cars" long enough to look at the camera.

we were dog sitting my sister and brother-in-law's pooches over christmas.

"good moose... no moose! my bike!"

"thomas tracks" from grandma & grandpa. another favorite this year. i love when jonah says "henry". it sounds like "hungry".

dave's sister leah and her boyfriend scott and cousin kaleb and scott's daugher madyson came over for christmas dinner. scott made an awesome seafood lasagna. here's jonah and madyson takin' a spin around the house. it was cute. madyson was steering and pedaling, and jonah was just happy as a clam getting a free ride and thinking that he was steering.

whoo, all that bike riding and excitement made me hungry! when's dinner? i'm ready.

merry christmas, y'all!

what's the right way to spell y'all anyway? y'all or ya'll? anyway, merry merry!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

hope now

so some kinda big news... dave was laid off on monday. apparently his company is doing some "right-sizing" and decided to eliminate his territory.

dave and i have both been praying that something would change with his job. he's been traveling soooo much lately with no end in site and it was just really taking a toll on both of us. dave and i are both confident that God is up to something amazing and we're actually excited to find out what it is. dave got the news from his vp of sales at 1:45 on monday afternoon and by 5pm he already had an interview set up with one of his company's customers that he used to work with. so because of that (and many other things) we trust that God is truly in this situation and has been preparing us both for it.

the other amazing thing and i think a big reason why when i got the news i didn't freak out is that for the past month God has been showing me nothing but passages about trusting Him. dave actually told me last week that he was concerned that something might happen since it was so evident that God seemed to just be shouting at me "trust me!" (proverbs 3:5-6 and psalm 37:3-7 in particular).

and i have to say at this point it almost feels a little bit crazy. i honestly did not feel one ounce of worry when dave told me the news. and God has really just been giving us both that peace that surpasses understanding in the midst of this seeming storm.

i just love philippians 4:4-7. i have it stuck to my bathroom mirror... "rejoice in the Lord always. i will say it again: rejoice! let your gentleness be evident to all. the Lord is near. do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." what a great reminder.

and then on the radio this morning they read this verse and it just jumped right out at me. i know that james 1:2-4 almost seems counter intuitive, but that's what makes God's Word so intriguing... "consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

consider it pure joy while i face inevitable trials? huh? but what if i don't want to be mature and complete? oh come on! sure you do! what could be more fun, right!?

thankfully romans 1:2-5 gave me some insight into why in the world this even remotely makes sense... "and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

oh! so it's because through these trails God grows my character. and that character is producing in my heart hope. and hope, man, what a concept to think about. God is the God of hope. he has the capability to fill us with joy and peace if we just trust in him. and when we do that we will simply overflow with hope. we won't even be able to explain it.

so really this just all comes down to hope. wow. and that sentence just reminded me of this amazing song by addison road called "hope now" and so i went searching for it on youtube so you could hear it and i found this video by the band talking about hope. great great stuff if you have a few minutes.

and here's the actual music video to their oh so lovely song...


everything rides on hope now
everything rides on faith somehow
when the world has broken me down
your love sets me free

when my life is like a storm
rising waters all i want is the shore
you say i'll be ok and
make it through the rain
you are my shelter from the storm

ok so changing gears just a bit. even though my brain and my heart both get it this is nevertheless a trial. so if you're reading this and feel led would you please say a prayer for us? please pray that dave would find another job soon and that God would provide for us so that we can continue to save for a house. also please pray that God's glory would shine through this situation and that God would continue to give me gentle reminders to persevere in trusting Him! God is good all the time. He will not leave us or forsake us. and if we just continue to delight ourselves in Him he will give us the desires of our hearts. His Word says it and i believe it.

and please let me know how i can pray for you. are you facing a trial? are the waters rising? i hate to sound like a cheesy Jesus commercial, but if you have questions or want to know more about this crazy God who can give you peace in the midst of it all, drop me a line. he's for real, yo.

and i just couldn't put up a post without a pic. these are flowers we got for faith's birthday last year (gosh, i can't believe she'd be almost 4 on march 7th. it's coming up so fast!) and this is my all time favorite verse about hope and joy and peace and trusting God that totally just fuels me...

Monday, February 16, 2009

too late for christmas?

as i was working on something else this afternoon i came across the pictures from christmas day this year and realized i never put them online. and since dave's on the road again this week i thought i'd share this pic of jonah and his favoritest daddy from christmas 2008.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

happy valentine's day!

boy, those dance lessons from christmas time are really paying off...

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seriously. how much does my kid rock? seriously.

really really serious about his music on his rad "air guitar".

mad hatter angry rock drummer face.

just playin'! i just can't be mean for too long.

rockin' out with daddy. it's a shame neither of them could ham it up even just a little, what with mama taking the pictures and all.

"oh my gosh. dada you're so funny!"

see, i know a little air guitar myself...

"so a guy walks into a bar with a duck under his arm..."

"it gets funnier every time! let me tell it again..."

wouldn't it be awesome if jonah and his little friend preston really do grow up and are in a band together. this will be their album cover. mark my words. and they'll use it in their rockumentary too.

these pics were from the rock star daddy / kid party at our church last weekend. my kid and our church have something in common... yep, they both rock.

Monday, February 09, 2009

caption please

Thursday, January 29, 2009

cousins are the best

jonah with his cousin katarina. can you tell neither of them mind having their picture taken?

the photo lean...

oh kat! you're so fun!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

finding my path

i feel like God has really been blessing me lately. we've had this really good thing going and it's just been amazing... and refreshing. it's not all perfect and sunshine and roses all the time, but over all things are just going really well right now.

i'm feeling peace in the midst of busyness. the pieces seem to be falling fairly easily into place with my whole business relaunch thing. i'm taking time consistently to read and study on my own even without an assignment... which is something new for me. my relationships are rich and growing. i'm feeling relaxed about the direction my life is heading and i think a lot of it has to do with proverbs 3:5-6...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

i read this verse a couple weeks ago in my daily Bible reading (on january 11th to be exact) and i actually wrote it on a post it note and stuck it to my bathroom mirror as a reminder to trust God. it is such a great reminder that if i just leave my future in God's hands i don't have to worry about the direction i'm heading or trying to control any of it. it's been so freeing.

and i know that soaking in this verse for the past couple of weeks is just where i'm supposed to be because God keeps on confirming it. earlier this week i got a note... yes, a real live snail mail paper and pen note from a friend of mine.

the front of the note card was printed with this quote: "i don't have to figure out why or how or when. God has a plan, and i'm committed to it. that commitment frees me from having to worry about the details." -barbara johnson

and inside my friend wrote "...i pray He will continue to make your path straight so you can focus on living life with Him & enjoying."

and it's funny as i was writing this blog entry jeremy camp's song 'open up your eyes' came on...

And the time has come to realize
And see the plan you've been designed for
So face the fear of all unknown
And see the heart inside
So open up your eyes
So open up your eyes

Throw yourself aside
and hear the gentle cry
Of the voice of peace that gave up all to fill the void inside

Give away the fight,
release your foolish pride
the very bond is broken down you need to leave behind

...ok, so jump forward a few hours. i started writing this entry last night. saturday night. and i went to bed before finishing it. well this morning we went to church and guess what? we sang a song i'd never heard before and just guess what the lyrics were?!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

i'm not really sure if a message gets any more loud and clear and in your face than that!

i'm trusting, LORD. i'm trusting. sometimes i don't understand, but i'll trust you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

update on the illuminate relaunch

ok folks, i have some exciting stuff going on over here! i don't even know where to start. i've moved my illuminate relaunch date back to march 7th... a significant date for multiple reasons. i feel like using bullet points today so here's why march 7th is so awesome in neat and tidy bullets...

  • it's faith's 4th birthday (she was born in 2005)
  • it's the date i quit my "real job" at aramark in 2007 after we had jonah so i could stay home with him (he was 6 months old)
  • and now 2 years later (2009) it will be the date of my business's relaunch! so exciting!
wow, i'm seeing a something-exciting-happens-every-2-years on march 7th theme here.

and since i'm so into bullet points tonight we'll just continue with this theme...

i feel like i have SO much to do before my big go date in 43 days from today! but i'm feeling quite a sense of accomplishment as i looked back tonight over everything i've already done since the beginning of the year...
  • got an EIN number
  • joined the PPA
  • officially became an LLC!
  • opened business checking & savings accounts
  • got a business credit card
  • hired a CPA
  • got organized! yay! you should see my neat and tidy binder and file drawer. it almost makes me swoon with happiness.
  • handled all of my tax paperwork
  • got set up to be able to accept credit cards
  • set up a fedex account with a nice discount through the PPA
  • set up an office max account for some nice discounts, again through the PPA
  • and my big exciting news for today... i hired a graphic designer to design my logo! (which btw i looooooove! thank you brooke!) i can't wait to unveil it... soon, very soon!
things still on my to do list before 03.07.09...
  • complete & turn in my application for equipment insurance
  • complete & turn in my application for liability insurance
  • write out a business plan and a marketing plan (including client perks)
  • update my portfolio with new images
  • revamp my website with new logo and colors
  • possibly get a flashy new flash site for more wow factor
  • figure out (and this is a big one) who all of my product suppliers are going to be and what products i am going to offer
  • order samples of said products with my updated portfolio images
  • contact past clients to find out if they would like to order any of these products that i find so i could see them and photograph them
  • figure out my new package pricing and what's all included
  • figure out and order packaging, postcards, new business cards, moo stickers and other marketing materials
  • figure out an email marketing program/website to sign up with and import my client database; design exciting relaunch email newsletter thingy
  • set up website analytics
  • oh yeah... and take care of a 2 year old and not forget who i'm married to and continue with my Bible in a year reading program (which 23 days into the year i am still keeping up with - yay!) and of course all of the other fun stuff i do in my regular everyday clark kent life
i'm feeling quite ambitious. ok, well i it's 12:43am and i should probably get to bed, so i'm just going to leave you with one little sneak peek clue about my new business identity...

here goes. are you ready?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

my brother was on the news

don't worry. he didn't get arrested.

apparently marmion academy (where my brother goes to high school)'s soccer team is awesome and they went to Brazil and were on the news.

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my dad sent me a link to the news story and i captured this shot from the video. tony's the one looking really smart and interested in the lesson in the back. what an actor! way to go, uncle tiger!

here's more on the story...
Dear Friends,

The Marmion Academy Soccer Team’s 2007 trip to Brazil was featured on the NBC-Channel
5 program, “Sports Sunday Live” on Sunday, January 11, 2009.

Sports reporter Peggy Kusinski was on the Marmion campus during the week of January
5, 2009 to complete the story begun last spring. Ms. Kusinski interviewed a number
of Marmion soccer players along with Head Coach Kevin O’Connor about their trip and
the work the team did with several Brazilian orphanages.

In case you missed is a link to view the feature on the Marmion Soccer


John K. Milroy

Sunday, January 11, 2009

let me draw you a diagram

jonah playing with his new easel from aunt leah. chalkboard on one side...

dry erase board on the other...

"here thomas, i'm drawing you a choo choo track. see!"

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

regrouping -- reorganizing -- rediscovering -- relaunching

that is my goal for january. for my life. for my biz. just all around. for all of 2009 actually.

i want to tap into the things i love this year. i don't want my packed calendar to run my life. i took two weeks off of everything at the end of december and i feel refreshed and refocused. i still have a long way to go, but i feel like i'm getting there.

one of my 2009 goals is to read through the Bible this year. day 6 and i'm still going strong. i've spent a lot of time over the past 6 years doing Bible studies and going to church and listening to messages and reading books, but i've never read the whole thing cover to cover. i started a couple years ago, but i quickly fizzled out. i think i got bogged down in the old testament. so i found this great new Bible in a year version where you read some OT and some NT and a psalm and a couple proverbs every day. it's a cool format. it's working for me. i'm excited!

the goal i'm quite focused on right now is my business relaunch. in the past few weeks i: 1) got an EIN number, 2) joined the PPA (professional photographers of america), 3) sent in my application to officially become an LLC, 3) opened a business checking account, 5) bought a book about "building your photography business", and 6) hired a CPA (after reading the book). all in that order.

i still have to get all of my tax stuff figured out, but i'm feeling quite accomplished at this point. i officially own my own official business. (that's a lot of own-ness and official-ness). it's so crazy.

next on my list is creating a new logo, new branding, and a revamped website. i'm working on developing my business plan, a marketing plan (which will include lots of client perks) and i want to get more focused on my blog as part of my marketing/communication. also thinking through how to incorporate facebook and sites like that. lots of exciting stuff coming up!

over this past year i've been learning so much about myself professionally and personally. it was kinda a crazy year, but i feel like i've come so far. with my business i feel like i've learned A LOT through trial and error and also by getting feedback from all of my wonderful clients and from my amazing and encouraging friends. i'm honing my skills. i'm realizing the value of spending time on my business and putting my clients first, and not just on taking photographs. i'm figuring out who i am and what my style is. so i'm taking this month to regroup and i'll hopefully be relaunching the new and improved illuminate photography on february 1st.

stay tuned!

Monday, January 05, 2009

possibly tested on elves and snowmen, but...

in case you have no idea what i'm talking about, check out the 4th thing on the list. this was on the back of my new method hand soap. i peed a little.

...never tested on reindeer. bahhh!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

jonah's 1st symphony

at the ripe ol' age of 27... months.