Category Archives: Photography

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getting closer

Only ONE WEEK from today, Goodbye, Magnolia will be out in the world for everyone to read. That fills me with happiness, excitement, and a whole lotta nervous energy. So this week, over on my Facebook Author page, I’m sharing some quotes from the new book as a fun way to lead up to the book release on May 19th! There’s so much going on in Goodbye, Magnolia that it was hard to narrow down what quotes I wanted to share, but I think I chose ones that show some of what Maggie is going through.

I wrote Goodbye, Magnolia back in 2008 after shooting weddings every weekend in the month of October. My mind was already on weddings, so when it came time to write, I had plenty of inspiration. One of the weddings I shot that October was Laura & Steve’s and I thought it would be fun to share the slideshow I put together from that beautiful and very fun day! Click the “play” button in the center to start. Enjoy!

how you live


Driving down a country road one fall evening after an engagement photography session in South Haven, this song – Turn Up The Music by Point of Grace (above) – was playing in my car. I can’t remember if it was on the radio or if I had the CD at the time, but it brought tears to my eyes and it filled me with such a peaceful and hopeful feeling.

I remember that feeling very vividly. It was at a time when Jake (my husband) had lost his job because the company he worked for closed its doors, and my little photography business was keeping us afloat. Barely. It was very stressful and I felt anything but peaceful at the time.

“Wake up to the sunlight with your windows open
Don’t hold in your anger or leave things unspoken
Wear your red dress, use your good dishes,
Make a big mess, and make lots of wishes …”

I longed for the peaceful, carefree feeling this song brought out in me. To focus on the little things, my children, my husband, the beauty of nature, letting go, dreaming, taking chances. No regrets! I wanted to feel like that – happy and hopeful.

“Turn up the music, Turn it up loud
Take a few chances, Let it all out
‘Cause you won’t regret it
Lookin’ back from where you have been
Cause it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did
It’s how you live.”

I wanted a sense of security again, and I prayed for God’s help. And He provided! Time and again. (HERE is an awesome example of that!)

And here was this song, encouraging me and calming me. It was just one of those moments that has stuck with me. I posted the above video back in September of 2007 with just a brief comment like “I’m loving this song right now.” I probably didn’t say more because of the stressful emotions I was dealing with, but I’m glad I threw it up there that day because it was there for me to find again, to remember that things did get better. The job situation worked out. God took care of us.

And I’ve had many days, enjoying the sun on my face, thanking the Lord for the life He’s given me, letting myself be truly happy where I’m at, taking chances, and feeling so hopeful for the future.

“Wherever you are and wherever you’ve been
Now is the time to begin …”

“Make peace with God and make peace with yourself
‘Cause in the end there’s nobody else.”

I hope you’ll give the song a listen. :)
Oh, and here are a few pictures from the engagement session that night.

And if you want more, here’s their engagement post over on my biz blog, which I no longer update, but it remains online for all the lovely people I worked with.

On to today’s giveaway!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY

Last fall, I whipped up these little pocket calendars to match the ING Journals. I am using one every day to keep track of all our stuff. Here’s your chance to win one in the color of your choice. It’s a 2-year calendar with simple, blank calendar pages. No holidays or cycles of the moon or anything like that on any of the pages since I knew I would be writing all over it with appointments and gymnastics practices and such and I wanted every millimeter of space to do that. ;) They are about 4″x7″ in size.

Enter below. Tell a friend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CLICK HERE to see all the GIVEAWAYS on one page!

TGIF! Hope you’ve enjoyed looking back with me this week. The fun’s not over yet! SEE YA’ BACK HERE ON MONDAY!

10 YEARS!

You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY!

I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.

SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

snow day fun


One of my goals this year is to pull out the big camera instead of just using my phone camera all the time. I spent a good portion of my 30’s with that camera strapped to my shoulder, especially for work, and it seems that once I stepped back from my photography business (and got my iPhone), the beloved big camera started collecting dust.

But NO MORE! Yesterday, Chloe bundled up and ran around in the fresh fallen snow for a while, so I went out on the back porch and snapped away. I didn’t take more than a couple dozen photos, but I definitely captured a few favorites that will make their way into the Project Life album.

The beloved North Face. This was what she begged for at Christmas time and she was very happy to receive it from Grandma. We aren’t ones to spend so much on a light jacket like this. I told her this wouldn’t keep her warm enough to play in the snow. She layered it with a sweatshirt and went out anyway.

Love this one. My pretty girl. If my car wasn’t behind her, this would have been a much better shot, but it was too cold to worry about composition at that moment. And I still love it.


I was right. The North Face wasn’t enough. ;)

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

good morning


Welcome to everyone stopping by from the BLOG HOP (scroll down to the next post for that or click HERE). Thanks so much for visiting all of our blogs yesterday and today.

I pulled out the big camera this morning as my first step toward using it more this year. When my coffee finished brewing, the light from my kitchen window caught the steam rising up and I quickly grabbed the camera and got a few shots. This one is my favorite. Looks kind of like a whale or a shark swimming over my mug. ;)

Have a happy morning, guys!

best of 2014

Happy Christmas Eve!

This will be my last post of the year (unless I decide to pop in once or twice next week) and I wanted to again share the “best of”, some of my favorites from 2014. I did this back in 2002, too. It’s such a fun post to put together – looking back through all the photos from the year, reminiscing, thinking about all we’ve done, the good times, the challenges, all of it. Choosing just the highlights is tough. I went through each month’s photo folder and copied all the favorites from that month into a separate folder on my desktop titled “Best of 2014″, then pared them down more once the folder was filled with hundreds of photos.

There are still a LOT of photos in this post, so be patient while they load, then sit back and enjoy my favorites of 2014!

Click above photo to see all my Project Life posts from the year





Click above photo to read about Chloe’s elementary principal jumping from an airplane












Click above photo to see more from our nephew Alex’s wedding”







Click above photo to visit my SHOP and purchase any of the above books/calendars

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you! THANK YOU so much for all your love and support in 2014. Can’t wait to see what the new year brings.

Click above image to read today’s devotion over at She Reads Truth!

hello, monday

Wow! I opened my phone up last night to see if there were any pictures I wanted to share this morning. The last picture I took was on Thursday. It was a quiet weekend mostly spent on the couch or doing housework or moving files from this site to my new web host. Exciting, I know.

The process of switching to the new server will take several days. If all goes well, it should be seamless and the site should start loading from the new host without any interruption. My files are in the process of moving from one site to the other, so hopefully this will all go as planned. Crossing my fingers.

Thanks so much for your patience over the past couple weeks.

While transferring files this weekend, I came across some gems and thought I’d re-share some of them since I took zero photos in the past few days.

Remember that tree I mentioned in the Halloween post (if you were able to see it!). Here are a few more pictures I shared that year. It really was so pretty with the colors and the lanterns. Favorite!



Haha! This is me a few years into my wedding photography business with my Lightsphere, affectionately nicknamed among photographers the “Fong Dong” because of its creator, Gary Fong. I took these with the photobooth program on my iMac. Me with freshly colored and curled hair while I was getting ready to head out to Lindsay and Jim’s wedding.

A couple favorites from 2010 at my parents’ farm. Zach silhouette.

And Jake and my brother Tim being their usual silly selves.

What does your week look like? Mine will be all about moving the website and editing, editing and more editing on the book. Last night I realized that, for some reason, Maggie likes to throw things at people. Breadsticks, cell phones, muffins. I don’t know why. She just does. ;)

Happy Monday, all!

on this day


On OCTOBER 22, 2005, Mom and Dad O, Heather and Jeff, Jake, the kids and I spent an afternoon at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. It’s hard to believe nine years have passed since that day. It was a nice time just walking around, looking at the sculptures and gardens, letting the kids play (and throw a few tantrums … scroll down for that one). I never really did anything with these photos. I think a few of them made it into a year in review book. But looking through them all now, there are so many special pictures here. I may have shared a few at some point along the way, but I never did an entire blog post on it. Probably because this was my first full year of my wedding photography business and I was starting to get very busy.


It’s been several years since we’ve been back to the gardens. I shot a wedding there in the winter of 2007 and we took the kids to see the butterflies that same year, which actually became a scrapbook page that I had published in a scrapbooking idea book once.



Gosh, Chloe was loud back then. (Still is, actually.) I can almost still hear her screeching at Jake because she didn’t want to be up on his shoulders.




Such fun memories. Loved this day. Love these pictures.

Happy Wednesday!

not the photographer


I don’t do wedding photography anymore. It’s been a few years since I officially stepped back from my business to figure out what I wanted to do next. Our nephew’s wedding was the first in TEN YEARS that I was able to attend as a guest. IT FELT AMAZING! No pressure to take photos of anything, except what I wanted to, which ended up being pretty much everything.


What can I say? Old habits die hard. I doubt this habit will ever die, really. I still love photography and I always will. Documenting our family’s moments forever. That’s what it’s all about for me now. But if I’m attending a wedding, I’m sure that need to capture as much of the day as possible will always be there. As it was for Alex and Shay’s big day.


Even though they had another official photographer, I took a ton of my own photos and will pass those on to the happy couple as well. Because it’s the beginning of their family history. When you really stop to think about that, it makes attending a wedding so much more meaningful. Yes, it’s fun to go and see the bride and groom and their bridal party all dressed up, to listen to beautiful music and the traditional vows, and share a meal with family and friends. But that moment, when they say “I do” and pledge their lives to each other, it’s so special to be a witness to that.

It’s one of the things I always loved about photographing weddings. That people invited me into their special celebration and trusted me to capture that most important moment in their lives. OK … now I’m starting to get sentimental and nostalgic about all those lovely couples I’ve worked with.

Alex & Shay, I hope you enjoy this little peek of the photos I took. Congratulations again! We love you both.

a busy week


It’s been a full week around here and I have not found one minute to plan and prepare or even begin to think about sharing here on the blog until now. That is a good thing sometimes. I need to live in the moments and be with my friends and family and do my thing without feeling like I have to blog it.

Having said that, I do want to share.

For not having picked up my DSLR (the big camera) for several months really (except to photograph my Project Life pages and a few shots of the kids on the first day of school), I have used it so much in the past week. First at our nephew’s wedding, then while visiting my friend Heidi (her baby is so cute!), and then with my Mom and the group of ladies she has lunch with every Thursday for like the past decade (a.k.a. the Lunch Bunch. I love it!).

I’m happy to have pulled out the big camera again. I hope to share some of these many photos I’ve taken here on the blog over the next few weeks. It’s nice to just take photos of what I want to, not because I’m paid to. I’ll talk about that a bit in an upcoming post.

Our weekend is starting off rainy, which is making some of the pretty autumn leaves drop already. But it feels like the perfect day to curl up on the couch under a blanket with a hot cup of coffee.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Truth About Drew Kindle eBook is on sale this weekend for $3.09. The price will be going back up on Monday, so get it at the discounted price while you can.

AJAXed with AWP