Thursday, July 18, 2013

Survivor Photo Shoot ~ "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer"

I want to write while this is all still fresh on my heart. This particular evening was a tremendous blessing to me, on several levels. Let me explain.

This was a photo shoot designed to capture the beauty of 5 lovely ladies who have battled, or are still battling breast cancer. Not too long ago, Kim, from Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, emailed me and asked if I could help out with this. I must admit, I did hesitate... I am busy these days. And the turn around for the photos is super fast - but I said yes. You see, I lost my Daddy to brain cancer almost 12 years ago in August, and although I have wanted to do something to get involved, I just haven't  - till now. And I know that taking pictures last night does not help brain cancer fighters, but it's CANCER... I don't care what part of the body it invades. It's bad, it must be fought, and it must be overcome. Sadly, my Dad didn't get to fight his cancer for very long. From diagnosis to his final going home was only about 4 weeks. I don't know why we didn't have to opportunity to really go to war against this invader, but according to a plan already laid out by God, our family had a short journey in our battle.
Getting involved to help others is about the only thing I can do now.  So, when I was approached to do this, I just had to say, "YES!"

We had very enjoyable time getting to know each other on this hot, July evening. We decided to do pretty, outdoor, summery photos for this fabulous group of 5 women.  When the ladies began to arrive, I had my kitchen filled with refreshments and snacks (thanks Mom!!)...   they each needed a little time to share a bit about who they are, and where they came from. Val, Debra, Gail, Melanie, and Tina. Each with an individual journey. Each with a story of survival to share. It even turned out that Val was a student of Gail's ~ way back when...
There were only a couple of tears, but lots of laughter in the works for this evening. There is a matter-of-fact spirit that I noticed, each just shared openly  - "this is how I dealt with it, this is where I am now.." all that good stuff. But the overwhelming thing about each lady was a positive spirit. Evidence, that a merry heart does make good like a medicine! (Proverbs 17:22)

I can't say enough, how wonderful and inspiring this photo project was for me to do. I am reminded that, cancer or no cancer, we have been given the gift of a certain number of days on this Earth. Are we using them wisely? Are we loving on our family? Are we enjoying what we do for a living? Are we making a difference in someone else's day? Are we laughing?? I'm all for that last one... There may be dark valleys along the way & I've been through some of those myself, in different ways. My precious Momma has fought a different health battle, but she is a survivor too. So, I guess I've been reminded of something here:  we don't just survive to get through it - we survive for a reason:  to inspire and bless others... kinda like these ladies just did for me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Abby Stuck ~ Class of 2014

Watch her video...

 I totally enjoyed spending time with this jewel of a Senior... She is talented, joyful, giving of her time and energies, & she is a runner, too! Amazing & wonderful. I'm so thankful she is a good friend to my girl, too! Enjoy your photos, Abby!

Abby Stuck ~ Class of 2014

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

8 Weeks to Fitness!

This blog is obviously not entirely about photography, it is also very personal. Dig back through the archives and you'll see what I mean. So, once again,  I am going to be transparent here and totally open up to what's going on in my head these days. You may just discover that you can relate...

The GOAL is set. Incentive is chosen. Now is the time to put action to this plan. I may choose to share the details of this goal later in my fitness journey, but for you that really doesn't matter. We each are different. We have different health needs, different schedules, and different strengths & weaknesses. What matters is that I take action and do something. And I must succeed. Whether or not I achieve my goals is entirely based on consistency and accountability - thus I blog. I know the good habits that need to be embraced. I've read the books, watched the news, & started countless times.  Why will this time be different?  I want it badly enough. Plus the incentive is pretty nice.
    In case you are wondering what I'll actually be doing, here is my plan for July 7th - Sept 1...

#1 ~ God is always concerned most with our hearts... so I'll start there ~ Get in the WORD. The first & most important part of total body fitness is what's going on inside the heart. If this doesn't work right, many negative issues will develop.  If you disagree with this, it's OK, feel free to skip ahead. But please, hear me out. I plan to read, memorize, & pray daily. Truth is, I am so dependent on God that I don't want to skip an opportunity to spend time with Him. He is real, and He is good.  I believe in him and I believe He has something to say.  I find that in the Bible, and it does apply to me, to all of us, today.  So  #1 in this plan, GET IN THE WORD & get to know more of God.

#2 ~ Exercise every day. Often 2x per day. Record all my activities in Runkeeper.
          Cardio: walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc...
          Strength training: Ab work, push ups, & free weights. Also I do love yoga!

#3 ~ Nutrition:  1200 calories (or less) a day.  {this is hard for me!}
                         Record everything in the app My Fitness Pal -
                         Utilize the rules in Jumpstart To Skinny by Bob Harper for 3 weeks.
                         Go with organic & whole foods as much as possible.
                         Limit carbs to things like fruits, nuts, quinoa, & oatmeal.
                         Take a good multi vitamin.
                          Drink LOTS of water daily!

Now, for my own little pep talk  ~ this is an 8 week plan! This is the best time of the year to get healthy, work out in the wonderful warm weather, and eat the wonderful fruits and veggies of the season! I can do this. Every time I want to be lazy or indulge in wedding cake, I will think of my prize that is waiting.  
     That prize is both tangible, as well as sentimental. But even if there was no carrot dangling before me, the benefits of accomplishing these goals are personal.  Good health is a GIFT. Every breath I have is made possible by my Father in Heaven. I want to be able to do great things for Him well into my old age.  So I need to be taking care of this body and this mind now.  My soul is sustained and fed by Him & only through Him can I accomplish anything at all in this life.

      Walk with me on this journey? Pick your plan, set your goals, and do it today! 


Sunday, July 07, 2013

Rocky's Italian Restaurant Branson, MO

Dining Review:
While enjoying a day in Branson yesterday, my husband and I stumbled into Rocky's Italian Restaurant right by the Branson Landing, to try a new place in Branson for our anniversary - only to discover that they have been there for 32 years (longer than we've been married:)! They must be doing something right...  I loved the atmosphere, not fancy, but not too Branson Redneck. We visited on a Saturday evening at 5:30pm, were seated easily, and the service was excellent. Bread was soft and warm, with olive oil and vinegar already on the table (thank you!). The house salad was so good I wish I could have 2 of them, just wonderful! I chose the Chicken Scallopini, and my husband went with the Chicken Picatta, both were $14.95 which included a pasta side, the bread and salad. As far as the main entree is concerned, we both loved it, but noticed they were almost identical in flavor. Both sauces were great, but could've had more kick. The fettucini was creamy thick, and the linguini with marinara was just perfect. Great food, for a great price, I highly recommend trying out this time tested restaurant in the heart of Branson, right next to the Branson Landing. I will most certainly visit again soon.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Kristyn Young ~

A couple of weeks ago, we had a beautiful summer evening session with the incredible Kristyn Young ~  I just finished editing all the pictures and wanted to share a fun little video before the gallery is ready! Just click on her name and ENJOY!