Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Road of Life

Every year as December nears its end I start thinking about what this year has brought me.  Then, I suppose as a natural progression of thought, I begin to think about what each year of my life has brought me, and, therefore, my life in general.  I can honestly and very thankfully say, that I have lived, and am living, a very blessed life.  I have a family that is loving, supportive, and just slightly nutty.  I've been through a few rough times, but times just don't seem as rough when you have someone by your side.  The older I get, the more I treasure the people that have been there and will be there until God, Himself, chooses to take them away.  It's never bothered me to get older.  In my mind, I'm still 14.  I haven't felt any differently on a birthday since I turned 14.  And then, I think it was only because there was a boy that was actively pursuing me (fast forward 12 years and he still is), making me feel more "adult."  Ha.  Adult.  What exactly does that mean, and why was I in such a hurry to get there.  Now, I've been married for six years, have a two-year old daughter, bills, responsibilites, and a few....okay, more than a few, extra pounds.  What blows my mind is how quickly I got here.  I mean, I honestly don't remember portions of the last 12 years.  As my sister and I have discussed, we know we were there because there are pictures as proof that we were present, but, for the life of us, we can't remember being there.  Now I know what all the "old folk" meant when they said that the years move by faster the older you get.  I guess time really does fly when you're having fun.  I can definitely say that, other than a few not-so-fun moments in the past several years, it has been a lot of fun.  I'm looking forward to the future, to the new year and beyond.  And since I don't feel any older than 14, I think it's perfectly acceptable that I still act 14 every now and then, especially with that boy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

a blog about photog

As a work-from-home mom, I started this blog to help grow my photography business.  Photography has always been something I enjoyed, from the time my parents bought me my first Polaroid camera.  I would go outside and take random pictures of flowers, leaves, insects...whatever I could find, and couldn't wait for the few minutes it took for the picture to develop to see what I had captured.  I remember the first digital camera that I had (my husband bought it for our 1-year anniversary) was a Fugifilm Finepix.  It had a macro setting on it, so I went outside our home and got up-close and personal with our azaleas while the morning dew was still clinging to their petals.  Digital was wonderful for me, because, honestly, I'm not that patient of a person, and being able to see what I captured the moment I captured it without having to wait for development was a very, very good thing.  I'm getting better, I suppose - having a child makes patience more of a necessity.  Then a year or so ago, my father passed down his old school Konica Minolta 35 mm SLR camera.  I was in love.  The freedom and ability to adjust the aperture and shutter speed to create the effect that I wanted on top of being able to focus on my subject manually was wonderful.  It took me a few rolls of film to get the hang of my new "old" camera, but it was worth it.  The only downfall was that I had to wait, sometimes for more than an hour (ugh) to see the images I managed to snag.  (I told you patience wasn't my strong suit.)  It was like the days before Christmas every time I took a roll to be developed.  I had finally grown accustomed to waiting for shots when my family did the unthinkable. 

I had been saving for a Digital SLR camera for a while, but, anyone that has children and a life, in general, knows that things come up.  Medical bills and unexpected expenses take precedence over cameras.  So, imagine my surprise on my 26th birthday when I opened my present to find a Canon EOS Rebel with lens and gadgets galore from my family...all of them!  I may have shed a tear or two - it's all a little fuzzy now.  I was just so thankful that they came together to do that for me.  It meant, and still means, more than words can ever express.  You see, it's more than just a camera.  It's an escape, a vacation from the pressures of life when I look through the lens.  There's just something about taking pictures that I find relaxing.  Maybe it's because it allows me to "focus" on one thing and zone out all the other white noise around me.  I don't know.  All I know is I love it.

I get excited every time someone calls or emails to set up a shoot.  I'm keeping my prices low right now because I want the practice and, frankly, because I enjoy taking pictures for people.  I think it's important to capture life's moments in a tangible form for posterity.  There are few things I like more than flipping through my Gram's old photo albums and seeing life through their eyes for a moment.  Now, if I could just get on top of actually putting pictures into albums...

Monday, December 27, 2010


Amanda Dickerson, Rebeka Barclay, Kayla O'Hern

Sisters.  We fight hard, but we love harder.  I think the only people that can really understand the relationship that sisters have is...well, sisters.  There are three of us.  Amanda is the oldest, and Rebeka is the youngest.  That leaves me smack dab in the middle.  With only a three year span in our ages from oldest to youngest, we've always been very involved in each others' lives.  We went to the same dances and knew the same people.  The issue you have with siblings is that sometimes people forget that you are not the same person.  For three girls born of the same two parents, although we have similar moral and religious beliefs as well as academic achievements, we are very different in our personalities.  Amanda is the dependable, responsible one.  I am the smart-alec, comic relief of the family.  Rebeka is the performer, with more vocal and dance talent in her pinky finger than Amanda and I have in our entire bodies.  We all have our flaws, just like everyone, and we're to the age now that instead of trying to deny them, we find the humor in them and embrace the traits that set us apart from each other.  Amanda exaggerates.  I have a short fuse.  Rebeka laughs at inappropriate times.  There are more things, but, after all, these are my sisters and I will not betray all of their faults, or mine for that matter.  It's interesting to see how, as we grow older, there are things we all three have in common; like the fact that we are all teachers.  And there are things that are different among the three of us or that two of us have in common while the other is of a different style.  Amanda and I love reading historical romances and watching romantic comedies.  Rebeka loves more true-to-life reading and watching psychological thrillers.  I love to shoot guns.  Neither of them do.  Amanda and Rebeka both teach English and literature.  I am a science teacher.  The list goes on and on.  There is one thing, however, that all three of us feel pretty passionately about...our family.  It is perfectly acceptable for us to argue with each other and say things about each other that we shouldn't, but that is a privilege that we have, as sisters.  We'll get over it, and within a day or two will make up, and it will be as if the argument never occurred.  If anyone else decides to make such comments about one of us, the defenses go up and the protective nature in all of us comes out.  Don't mess with my sisters.  They are my best friends - the ones I turn to when no one else can possibly understand.  They know just what to say or not to say.  They know how to listen when I just need to vent.  They also know they can tell me something I don't want to hear, and, although I may lash out for a few minutes, that I'll get over it and realize they only said it for my benefit.  They know how to make me laugh until I cry and cry until I laugh.  I love them.  They are, after all, my sisters.

(photos were taken with Kayla's Canon Rebel with the use of the timer)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

70 degrees in the days before Christmas and 30 degrees the day after...just another crazy winter in Mississippi!  My daughter didn't mind the cold, though.  She'll run and play in any weather!

Monday, December 20, 2010

"It's Santa"

That's it.  That's the look of awe and wonder at my daughter's first sight of Santa Claus riding on the fire truck at the Gillsburg Christmas parade a few weeks ago.  All she could talk about...all she can still talk about is Santa Claus coming to town and bringing his "goodies." It breaks my heart to think of how quickly these years of innocence will go by.  She's definitely ready for Santa's arrival, and she's been telling Baby Jesus all about it while she rearranges my nativity into a more Callie-approved style.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fix It Friday

This is my first time to participate in Fix-It Friday.  This is the original image (not my own, and a beautiful one at that):

(Photoshop CS4) I added a slight vignette and a diffuse glow filter

Then I selected just the couple and did a black/white conversion then inverted it, then adjusted the vibrance...the end

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gentle Giant - I Heart Faces: Week 50

When I saw that this week's contest on I Heart Faces was for Pets, I was so excited!  I looked through the photos I've taken over the years of our puppies (our normal pet of choice...besides that one creepy tarantula) and had narrowed it down to two choices.  Then I came across this picture.  I double-checked to make sure I could use it since, obviously, I don't have a giraffe as a pet in rural Mississippi.  This picture was taken at Global Wildlife Refuge in Folsom, Louisiana in 2009.  Giraffes are quite possibly my favorite land mammal outside of puppies.  They are such beautiful and graceful animals, and it was an amazing experience to have this gentle giant eat food right out of my hand!!  My daughter, who was one at the time, was actually able to pet this magnificent creature...something I much preferred to her almost getting eaten by an over-zealous camel earlier in the trek.  

Head on over to I Heart Faces today to enter your own Pet Pic!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

O Christmas Tree

Traditions.  They are such an important part of the holidays, at least in my family.  New PJs on Christmas Eve every year for the little ones, cheese toast for breakfast Christmas morning, decorating the tree, watching the old school Rudolph movie, and listening to the same exact tape of Christmas music I've listened to during every one of my 26 Christmases!  It's just not the same without it!

Now that I'm a Mama, traditions are even more important, and so is starting some new ones for my family.  And so, this year we went to the Christmas Memories Tree Farm in Fernwood the weekend after Thanksgiving to pick out the perfect tree.  I'm hoping it will be a long-lasting tradition.  I love live Christmas trees, and, now that we've found a species that doesn't cause me to double-over in coughing fits, I look forward to sharing that tradition with my family.  Callie picked out the tree with me, her daddy, and her Uncle Cott in tow to help.  "Cut it down, Daddy.," she said as she pointed to her favorite tree.  It was a beautiful day full of beautiful memories.  I snapped the picture below at my Mama's house, where we went to help decorate her tree (another tradition).  Their artificial tree is a towering 9 feet or so, compared to our 6 foot tree, and Callie was mesmerized at the enormity of it all. 

 P.S.  See the post from Sunday, Dec. 5th to find out about my FREE PHOTO SESSION GIVEAWAY!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tis the Season....for a Giveaway!!

Nothing gets me into the spirit of giving quite like Christmas.  Christmas is all about one very special "gift" after all...the gift of Jesus!  My gift to you, well one of you anyway, is a FREE PHOTO SESSION for you, your family, your grandchild, your pet, your...whatever.  The giveaway is for a free one-hour photo session at your home or other location, with a free proof sheet of all images, and free editing on the images you choose.  All you have to pay for is the travel cost (35 cents per mile roundtrip) and any prints you want. 

To enter comment on this post and tell me your favorite thing about the Christmas Season!  You can also gain more entries by:

1) following this blog
2) signing my guestbook
3) liking my facebook page and commenting on the post about this giveaway!

It all ends on December 31st, and I'll announce the winner after the first of the year!  Spread the word to all of your friends and have a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas is near...

I'm not one to start putting up the decorations just yet (I do try to hold off until the day after Thanksgiving), but if a Christmas carol pops out of my mouth every now and again this time of year, I don't fret over it too much.  Christmas is, by far, my favorite holiday for many reasons: 1) Celebrating the birth of Christ, my Lord and Savior, 2) Spending time with my family...all together, 3) Seeing the look on the kids' faces, 4) The food, the smells, the lights... and the list goes on.  I was able to semi-convince my daughter to allow me to snap some pictures of her in front of my new travel Christmas backdrop this morning.  I just wanted to share a few of the ones I was able to take in the minute and a half of time she allowed me before she was lured away by Mickey Mouse, or was it Dora?!  I still have a special package price available for Christmas Portrait Sessions booked through Monday, November 15th.  You can see my older posts for details or give me a call or email me if you'd like more information or to book your session.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Heart Faces - Breast Cancer Awareness

This is Miss Scarlet Morgan Dickerson, my beautiful niece and the newest member to our family.  As a mother to a daughter myself, the subject of Breast Cancer Awareness is very important to me.  While, so far, none of my family members have suffered from the disease, my mother and I both have fibrocystic disease of the breast.  My mother has had a few surgeries to remove cysts or growths that were questionable as to their malignancy, and, thankfully, all have been benign.  My prayers go out to all of those men and women who are fighting the battle with breast cancer and to their loved ones as well.  May God Bless you!