Thursday, December 2, 2010

Beautiful Brokenness

My sister and business partner, Erin is one of those people that just have natural talent. She was definitely born with a God given gift to be able to take something so ‘messy’ and ‘ugly’ on the outside (at least what the ‘normal’ eye would say is messy and ugly), and make it not only beautiful, but overwhelmingly breathtaking.

Sure, I can say all of these things because she’s my sister. But, it’s the REAL, HONEST truth. She just gets better with time – and, she’s almost done with her degree in Graphic Design as well! So many talents she has. It’s a joy to learn from her – even when we want to beat each other up! Hey, we’re sisters. What can I say?! :-)

Here are some photos she recently took in Gary, IN. If you’re not familiar with Gary, it’s one of those places that on the outside might be perceived as not so beautiful – not so aesthetically pleasing. But the beauty of life is there is beauty in everything … even in the messes we come across – in the brokenness all around us. Hope you find these photos as AMAZING as I did.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Musicians: Dan Allen

A few weekends ago, we photographed a beautiful pair, Alison and Adam. At their reception, we had the privilege to listen to and photograph an amazing musician, Dan Allen. He's the type of musician that you could listen to any time, anywhere, any day!

Check out his music and his wedding and event DJ company, DJ DA Mobile Entertainment. You won't be disappointed!

Here are a few shots from his amazing performance!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just Married! Alison and Adam

Love is lovely. That’s all there is to it. It’s an amazing feeling to love and to be loved – and one can only know those feelings if they choose to give love and then love in return.

Last Saturday, we were able to celebrate with a beautiful pair, who you could definitely tell shared equal admiration for each other.

We met Alison and Adam back in March. And they were one of those couples that you KNEW were in love.

Their dreams of beginning their lives together came true on a beautiful fall day. They were married in the same church where Alison's grandmother was married - it was only fitting to Alison that she share her special day there as well. It was a beautiful ceremony - and the fun followed. It was a blast to be a part of it all.

It’s amazing when a bride decides you should be the one to document visually, the most important day of her life. It’s quite an honor, really. Thank you for letting us be a part of your special day Alison and Adam. We're excited for your life long journey together! Congratulations!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thankful for Angels

It’s funny how life throws you curve balls. While I think it can drive a person mad when those happen, I think those unexpected things also make you VERY aware of what’s in front of you and all of the AMAZING blessings in one’s life.

On Friday, October 15th, my dad was in a motorcycle accident. When I heard the news, I was a little taken aback. My dad actually called me from the emergency room. Not sure how he found a way to sneak his phone in, but if you know my dad, you wouldn’t expect any different!

My dad actually told me to not worry. He said he’d be out in a few hours and it was nothing major. Again, if you know my dad, he likes to play things down, so I knew this wasn’t just a minor thing. However, I knew he was saying these things, so I didn’t worry – and to not cause a panic amongst my other three sisters. That’s just the way my dad is … always looking out for his four girls, even when he’s the one who’s suffering or hurt.

I called my sister Erin, just to let her know what was going on. As we talked, we both realized our dad was probably hurt pretty bad. I called my boss to let him know what was going on – he immediately said GO. (I’m so thankful for both of my bosses; they care so much about their employees and I’m so blessed they allowed me to drop everything and go.)

I got to the trauma center at Memorial Hospital, about an hour after they brought my dad in. I walked to his room, not really sure what to expect. But when I pulled back the curtain, my heart sank. My dad was strapped down, blood everywhere, his neck and head unmovable, and wounds from head to toe. It wasn’t the scene I was expecting. However, my dad was awake, alert – we weren’t quite sure of his injuries, until the ER doctor came in and informed us of some internal bleeding in the brain. A neurosurgeon was immediately called – and the doc was optimistic that everything would be ok.

Hospitals can be daunting. Downright scary even. But that day, I was thankful that I was at the hospital, waiting with my dad, and not getting a phone call saying ‘we’re sorry, but he didn’t make it’.

As we sat waiting for the doctors, I just held my dad’s hand. He couldn’t move, he just had to stay still. While I can’t say I enjoyed seeing him lying there in pain and the uncertainty of it all, I did treasure that moment, when I realized that God had saved my dad that day – and that we all had another day with him.

As we waited, and waited, he began to tell me what happened. I knew this was uncharacteristic of my pops. He’s very cautious, overly cautious – so I knew whatever happened, it was the alternative that was the best, to save himself, and protect any others from harm.

He was traveling down Mishawaka Ave., heading to a hair cut appointment, when he spotted the car. The car was heading out onto the street from a side street, ignoring anything in its path, including my dad and his bike. Maybe the person was on their cell phone – maybe they were speeding – maybe they just were oblivious to what was around them. I’m not sure – but my dad had to react quickly. He hit the brakes, as the other option would have been to hit the car. The outcome to this story would probably be VERY different if he made that choice. However, he made the choice to lay his bike down – that’s a choice I believe saved his life.

After hitting the brakes, everything became hazy. He knew he was on the ground; he knew he was in the middle of the street. All he could think of was ‘I need to get out of the street before I get hit’. After attempting to get up, and unsuccessful, a passerby stopped to help. It turned out, the man was a doctor – he told him to stay still, and to not worry about moving. The paramedics were called and they were there in an instant. The doctor stayed with my dad until the ambulance pulled away. We later learned that when the paramedics arrived, there was no doctor – no sign of him anywhere. My sisters and I believe it was his angel, God sent that day to protect him.

The next few days were rough in the hospital, as recovery is never easy from any type of accident. But miraculously, my dad had no broken bones. Just badly bruised and beaten up. The docs were of course concerned with the internal bleeding – but they did everything they could to control it. They also inserted a device into his leg to prevent any blood clots from reaching his lungs. He’s had those before, so they were doing EVERYTHING they could to prevent any internal injuries from becoming any worse.

Those days at the hospital, while frustrating for my dad to be there, were great times spent with him and my sisters, plus the countless people who came to visit him. My little sister Elysia and her little boy Cooper flew in from Colorado after hearing the news – and while the circumstances weren’t the greatest, we all were grateful that we were celebrating his surviving and not the worst that could have happened. Our hearts were filled with thankfulness – abundant thankfulness.

My dad was able to go home after three days in the hospital – although he was on tight restrictions. Without much of a fight, we were able to convince my dad to stay at our house. It was a great few days of all of us spending time together. We were even lucky enough to have a couple amazing ladies cook us amazing dinners. WOW. What a blessing.

And I can’t forget the moments – watching the playoffs. Although the Yankees lost, it was great to be able to watch them with my dad.

It’s funny how traumatic and often scary situations make you realize what’s right in front of you. Not that you don’t realize them before – but somehow, someway those instances serve as a reminder to never take life for granted. Never take the people you love for granted – because it could all be lost in just a moment’s time.

I can’t express how much I love my dad – and honestly, I couldn’t imagine life without him. While the road has been rocky the past few weeks, and he’s still recovering, it’s truly a miracle that he is still here – let alone walking, talking, and enjoying life.

I thank God daily for how he protected my dad that day - how he sent an angel to watch over him and guide him to safety - and I’m reminded of how lucky we are to serve a God who protects those we love. Thankful, thankful, thankful ...

(This picture was taken a few years ago - doing one of the things we ALL love to do with our dad - watch the Cubs play! Although they lost, it's a memory we all cherish.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Boys Just Wanna' Have Fun

It's been a few weeks. We apologize. Sometimes life gets a little hectic, you just then have to sit back, take a breath, and really, take each day, each moment at a time.

It's a beautiful thing, life.

A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to snap a few photos of our precious cousins, Cody, Cameron and Chase. While they made us work for their smiles, they were so much fun to be around. They have an infectious laughter and bond among them. And while the song tells us 'Girls Just Wanna' Have Fun', we could definitely tell these little guys wanted to have just as much fun!

We snapped these photos on the lake, where our aunt and uncle live, in Elkhart, IN. It's quite peaceful there - and when you add the mixture of laughing from little ones - it makes the scene, the moment, that much more perfect.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't Stop, Believing!

I was thinking about the road ahead today. Sometimes there is so much uncertainty – so many ‘unanswered’ questions that constantly race through our minds. I wish there was an OFF button – but perhaps that would lend us to NOT dream the dreams that make life worth living. I think EVERYONE has a dream; that ‘thing’ inside of them that keeps them going – that keeps them waking up each day and saying ‘I can do this’.

I know the road is never easy – it’s downright difficult some days. But in the end, I think it’s really all worth it. While I can’t say I’ve reached the end – there is that light that I can see; the light that makes the chase to get there that much more exciting – and the anticipation is intoxicating.

I think we dream our dreams out of pure desire – desires of our hearts, really. Despite all the rockiness on the road to achieve them, the road less traveled seems to be how you can actually get three. After all, when you put your mind, heart, and soul into something, you might fail – but that becomes the catalyst into pushing yourself that much harder – making you stronger, making you believe once again that the sky really is the limit. So keep chasing - and like the popular 80s hit tell us, don't stop, believing, hold onto that feeling! Keep dreaming.

Friday, September 17, 2010


It's amazing how a single moment can bring so much joy and inspiration. Sometimes those moments are hard to come by, but when they do, they completely knock your socks off!

Yesterday was one of those moments. My little sis and I had the privilege of attending the WPPI Road Tour in Chicago and got to hear and meet some amazing photographers.

The highlight of the day came at the end of the show, when Jasmine Star, international wedding photographer and all around rockstar got up on stage and began sharing her story. Maybe you know her, maybe not, but honestly, she has to be one of the most inspiring speakers we have ever had the privilege to hear. While successful and amazingly talented, she also is incredibly humble. She chose to take the road less traveled - and she followed her dreams. While the road always hasn't been easy, she's stayed true to herself and has become an inspiration to so many photographers around the globe.

After hearing her speak, my sister and I were excited about the future. While it's been daunting at times, and failure has loomed, we realized there isn't anything we can't overcome.

After all, following your dreams is never easy - but taking that leap of faith is sometimes all you need to turn those failures into successes - and turn a single moment for someone else into inspiration for them to chase their own dreams.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Reaching the Dream

It's been a few weeks. We are sorry about that. With our other jobs and the craziness of life, sometimes we tend to forget about the things that really make us happy. Like writing and photographing! :-)

Anyway, my most amazing, talented husband Jason is building his own recording studio in downtown South Bend. While there is still much work to do, it's getting closer and closer to being done - which is just one of the MANY exciting things happening at this moment in time.

It's funny how chasing a dream can turn into reality - if we just push hard enough and take leaps of faith. While the road sometimes isn't easy, it's amazing to think that if we just trust in the things that are instilled in us, we can actually achieve the very things we never thought were possible.

I was recently down at the studio, just taking a few photos, capturing all of the amazing progress he and his mates have made - and again, while it's not all finished just yet - it's rather remarkable what they've accomplished already!

Check them out online and enjoy the photos!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Power of Love

It’s amazing how love can change you.

When I was a kid, I remember moments when my parents were happy ... truly happy.
And … I remember moments when happiness was far away … far, far away.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the ‘genetics’ or the ‘DNA’ that I’ve been given, and I’ve learned those good ‘genes’ and the not so good ‘genes'.

I believe my parents did the best they could … they loved us and they tried to love each other.

I don’t blame ANY of my behaviors, choices, or actions on my youth, or my parents … however, I do recognize, from my youth, those things that I saw, those moments where life was all but a happy ‘American Dream’ … I saw in my parents relationship, what I didn’t want to become in those moments… I realized what I wanted to avoid when I met the person I would spend the rest of my life with.

When I met my husband … I thought the love he had for me and the love I had for him could help make me become the person that I always knew I could be … however, it wasn’t that easy when we said ‘I Do’ … I had to confront the very things I never wanted to admit were a part of me.

But … the amazing thing is … although life hasn’t been peaches and cream, and there have been many ups and downs, HIS love has changed me … it has made me a better person … it has helped me become that person that I wanted to be so long ago … sure, I’m still a work in progress, but aren’t we all?

Through the LOVE of my husband … I have learned and continue to learn how much God loves me … He gave me a man who not only loves me in the good times, but also in the not so good times.

As we prepare to celebrate 10 years of marriage tomorrow, I'm reminded of how good God is and how blessed I am to have a man that loves me, unconditionally, wholly, deeply, passionately, whole-heartedly.

So, in the midst of a world ‘falling out of love’ … realize that love … can forever change you, if you truly let it.

P.S. Of course I didn't take this picture - but this is my favorite of our wedding photos the day we said I do. I had to include a photo, of course! ;) What a wonderful day that was - and life together just keeps getting better and better!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thankful ...

I think we all have these ideas of what our lives are going to be like when we are young. We think becoming a ‘grown-up’ is going to make life ALL better; perhaps make like a little easier…OH…if we only knew.

I think the reality of it is we don’t really anticipate the disappointment that life can bring…AND…with that…we don’t anticipate the BLESSING that life can be either…

Sometimes it seems like this double-edged sword that no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape from it…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, yet I think we embrace BLESSING yet dismiss the hard times because, well, it’s hard! Yet, with it all, I think God is trying to give us an idea of what we TRULY have, what we should TRULY be thankful for…

We try so hard to attain success, yet what really is the meaning of that word? As children we think having money is the key, or maybe making it to the 'big town' to make a name for ourselves is another thought…I don’t know really…I just know that as I’ve grown up, I’ve come to the realization that it doesn’t matter what ‘stuff’ I have, or if my name is plastered across the front page of the newspaper in recognition of something, but it’s who I am as a person that really matters…

Think about it…MOST people in the world who have EVERYTHING they’ve ever wanted are the most miserable people dwelling on the face of the earth! As the saying goes, ‘Money can’t buy happiness’; yet I also believe ‘Stuff’ can’t buy happiness either!

I’ve been BLESSED beyond measure with the many people in my life who have chosen to be a part of it...and despite my dreams of my younger years, and the hard times that life can sometimes bring, I think my life, to this point is perhaps what it should have been all along…and for that, I truly am BLESSED…

Monday, August 9, 2010

Models | Nick | Downtown South Bend

Embracing the differences that make us who we are is sometimes a difficult thing. While I believe everyone has beauty in their own, unique ways - many of us don't really recognize it in ourselves.

My sister Erin and I recently had the privilege of photographing Nick. He has a unique condition called Heterochromia Iridis, which basically means he has two different color eyes.

While some might consider this trait a 'mistake' in the genetic pool, we kinda' think it's no mistake at all. It's rather fascinating - and really, quite beautiful.

You might think there is something about you that might not be the BEST quality - or something that perhaps stands out among the masses that you wish didn't - but remember, you were crafted in such a way that you WOULD stand out. You're beautiful and unique, just the way you were intended to be. After all, God NEVER makes a mistake.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dreaming ...

An idea? Hmm … what is it really? Is it only a thought? Personally, I think 'raw ideas' are essentially, dreams that are resurfacing ... it's kinda' like when in our youth, we have these profound ideas, an epiphany if you will, of our lives when we are ‘all grown up’.

We dream big when we are younger … when we have NO idea whatsoever of what it will take to make that dream come true … yet, as we get older and life complicates things, those ‘dreams’ or ‘epiphanies’ seem to resurface because someway, somehow, they make life worth living … they make mornings worth waking up to … and they surely make for something to fight for … to hope for … so come on already! Stare up at the vast sky, and start dreaming again! Who knows … that ‘idea’ could just turn into what you’ve always ‘dreamed’ for!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Downtown Beauty | Robert C. Beutter Park | Mishawaka, IN

We enjoy scouting out new locations to photograph our clients. And while South Bend has its beautiful spots, it's nice to venture outside of South Bend to scope out other locations.

I was recently in Mishawaka and decided to stop by Beutter Park. I had never been there - but we planned a shoot there in a few weeks and I decided to check it out before the shoot. Boy, am I glad I did. It was BEAUTIFUL. It's magical really. The flowers, the water, the art ... rather gorgeous in EVERY way.

It's funny ... when you actually stop to look and take the time to see the beauty that surrounds you, you somehow realize that this world really isn't so bad. It's actually quite breathtaking.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Couples | Briannia and Josh | East Race | South Bend, IN

We held a drawing a few weeks for a free photo session. Just a way to give back to our patrons and take a few more pictures in the process!

The lucky winners were Briannia and Josh! They are dedicated parents and deserved a little break to enjoy some time together.

We snapped their photos down by the East Race - and while the sun was blazing, this adorable pair were troopers. They had some great fun striking a pose too!