Jan 30, 2011

A Book Review

    A couple days after Christmas, I opened a package from my best friend, and curled up with the treasure I found inside the box.

forblog 112

     Mary Whitney {my best friend from high school, sending Christmas gifts from Ft. Bragg, NC, where she serves in the Army} must be a mind reader. I tried to remember if I shared with her any of my struggles with photography in the weeks leading to Christmas. Nope, I no I didn’t..so I’ll happily blame this one on the Holy Spirit & a best friend’s intuition. I’m not ashamed to admit that I judged this book by it’s cover, and when I finished reading it an hour later, my first impressions were dead on. This book is wonderful. Food for my weary photographer’s soul. A collaborative effort from the Shutter Sisters, this book was split up into chapters titled Horizons, Portraiture, Nature, Spaces, Childhood, Stillness, Documentary, Creatures, Table & Togetherness.  Each chapter then highlights different photography elements such as lighting, composition, approach and perspective. Being the faces gal that I am, I quickly flipped to the chapter on portraits. Here I encountered photographs with soft focus, unusual composition, less than ideal lighting, and SO MUCH HEART. I read quotes like “what we are really looking for when we take portraits is a connection” and “there is no right or wrong way to process an image. You are the artist, so the final image should be to your own personal liking” The book focused on expression, emotion, documentation and inspiration. Technical aspects and {as the editor Tracy called it} the science of photography were a mere mention.

forblog 110forblog 109

     It is no secret that I have not been doing a lot of photo shoots recently. During my last year of college, I experienced what I call an early life crisis {which will be blogged about once I get the courage}. To distract myself, I began taking pictures with the Nikon D40 my parents gave to me for Christmas that year. I took pictures of kids, babies, friends, family. It WAS distracting, and therapeutic and instilled confidence in myself that had been lost. Then people started noticing my pictures and telling me they were good, then they started asking if I would take pictures for them, then I began to notice how some people make money taking pictures. So, the girl who went through what felt like an early life crisis says bingo! Enter portfolio building photo-shoots with family and friends, camera manual reading, learning to shoot in manual mode, learning photoshop, setting up a blog, reading, reading, reading,  and workshop attending. Enter bigger, better camera, new lenses, professional photographer online forum, photo-shoots with strangers, business- learning, finances-understanding, more reading and learning. At this stage you can now enter stress, fear, ignorance, insecurity, and discontent. So much so that unless I was going to do a photo-shoot, I never even touched my camera. My big beautiful camera that I saved up for. I never took pictures for my own enjoyment.

forblog 114  

     Then I read this book. And I couldn’t deny it anymore. Couldn’t keep pretending to be enjoying what I was doing, hoping that eventually I would like it or even know what I was doing. Here is the honest truth… To begin, I’m not a business woman by any means. I don’t care too much about perfect white balance, I like grainy photographs, I hate correcting color and skin tones, and me and photoshop ain’t exactly best buds. I was even nauseated by all the obsessively perfectly composed portraits, white balance, composition and focus on the professional photography site I was a part of.  In fact, all those factors were like big photography fun vacuums for me.  To go into business, you must provide your client with the best images, that are professionally retouched and enhanced..it is what they deserve and what they are paying for. Along with your confidence, skill, knowledge and consistent results. Me and photography business are no match right now. I know I can deliver great photographs, but I am doing any clients {and myself} an injustice when my heart is really not in it.

 forblog 115

      After reading this book, I am off to make use of my big, beautiful D300 for myself {and loved ones}. To learn how to shoot with my heart, prepped with emotion and memory cards~ to document the daily, snapping with my own artistic expression. Thank you, sweet shutter sisters, for teaching me what photography is really all about.

Jan 24, 2011

Because I am Cold..

forblog 158

and this picture warms me up.

Taken a couple days after Christmas, that is my mom drinking her coffee, and my curly red-headed sister looking out the window..as seen through the steam of pancakes cooking on the griddle.

Brrrrr…stay warm friends!!

Jan 23, 2011

Coolest Uncle Ever

     My little brother became an uncle at the ripe old age of 10. In fact, the day our niece & nephew were born, he was not even old enough to be  allowed in the hospital room to visit {the hospital’s rules, not my family’s!} Patrick is 13 now, and as far as Thomas & Cecilia are concerned, he is pretty much the coolest uncle ever. Thomas is especially enthralled with Pat {and Pat’s legos, matchbox cars, basketballs, etc} One night as I sat down at the dinner table next to Thomas, he looked up at me and said “I want to sit next to Uncle Patrick, not you, Aunt Laura” I can’t say I blame the him.

forblog 152forblog 155forblog 145forblog 153

forblog 151forblog 148forblog 149forblog 144

And, can I just fill you in a little more on the coolest uncle ever, AKA as my youngest brother, the baby of our family?  This kid rode his bike down the street, violin in tow, to play in a nursing home on a Sunday afternoon. No words. Except I need to go start a charity or something. How many 13 year old boys do that?! He truly is the coolest ever. Shoot, and while I am bragging, this kid also played a solo in the atrium at Chrysler Hall before the Virginia Symphony played last night.  {I hope he forgives me for my lack of video-recording skills}

I love this kid.


Patrick’s big sister

p.s My nephew is pretty cute, too!

Jan 21, 2011

Friday Night Thoughts

     I am the least cool 24.5 year old I know. Very un-cool. Embarrassedly un-cool. I have no cool to claim. {Okay, now the word cool is just starting to look weird} Take tonight for example, it is Friday night, and I am home. Not just home, but home wearing slippers and bunny rabbit pajamas. I am a homebody. I love to be at home. I am blessed with fun friends who just shake their head at me. When Marcus became a youth minister a year ago, his evenings were soon filled with Confirmation classes, meetings, prayer groups, band practice, parish council, youth group and volunteer fire shifts too. The first year we dated he was my constant evening companion, so it was quite an adjustment. Interestingly enough, I began to love the alone time. I got used to entertaining myself in the evenings..reading books, chatting with friends who live far away, scrapbooking {yeah, I am THAT cool}, learning HTML coding for this here blog, eating chocolate, and being happy in my Ugg slippers and bunny rabbit pajamas. In that first year of Marcus’ new job, I fell in love with the homebody life. Don’t get me wrong.. I love all my friends and parties and weddings and young adults groups and such… I just love alone time too. I love not having an agenda. I love quiet evenings.

     It was in one of those quiet evenings that Marcus and I prayed evening prayer together over the phone as he got off work.  {A couple of years ago, my mom got this for me. It was such a blessing in my life, that I got Marcus a subscription for his birthday. Praying together at regular times day and night has been such a source of grace for us!!} So, like every other night, we read evening prayer together and these are the Living Words Jesus comforted us with:

Psalm 25~ To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. I trust in you, let me not be disappointed; do not let my enemies triumph. Those who hope in you shall not be disappointed, but only those who wantonly break faith. Lord, make me know your ways. Lord, teach me your paths. Make me walk in your truth and teach me: for you are God my Savior. In you I hope all day long because of your goodness, O Lord. Remember your mercy, Lord, and the love you have shown from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth. In your love remember me.


Jer 42:3~ Let the Lord, your God, show us what way we should take and what we should do

And if those words weren’t enough…. we sung one of my favorite hymns, calling on the “God of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy”   {5 cool points if you can name the hymn!}

We were so humbled as we prayed together at the intimate ways God lets us feel his Holy Presence. Marcus and I are looking for a place to live when we are married. We’ve started the hunt! And discouragement had already set in. So to hear the psalm, the hymn, the verses.. I knew God was preaching a message of hope and trust to us. We were lifted up, renewed in confidence for His plan for us. I can’t wait to see where God will provide our new home :)

hoping & trusting in His Provision,

P.S. I bet y’all allllll want to see a picture of my bunny rabbit pajamas now

P.P.S We need a place to live!! Keep your eyes and ears open for us! Or add us to your prayer list! Please & thank you :)

P.P.P.S God bless any readers I have out there! I loooooove you!

Jan 20, 2011

Cecilia meets Max

     Turns out, I wasn’t the only one enamored by Max when he came for his Christmas visit. For my niece Cecilia, it was love at first sight. Well, for Cecilia anyways.

forblog 166forblog 165forblog 163forblog 164

I’m not quite sure if that is love in Max’s eyes. It looks something more akin to fear. panic. claustrophobia. pain. A plea for help. As in..”lady, put down your big camera and save me from this strangely strong grip belonging to a angelic, white-haired, cherub child.”

but it could be love.


Praying for Max’s forgiveness,


Jan 18, 2011

Meet Max

     I have no words to describe how adorable he is. See for yourself.

forblog 143forblog 147forblog 157

forblog 146

Well, I lied.. I am never without words {okay, maybe once..after my Renaissance Man proposed marriage to me} so you’ll have to listen to me gush about Max. But I will keep it short. This little handsome kitty man is my Aunt Mary’s new cat & he made the trek to Virginia with her for the holidays. He is playful, he is funny, he is cuddly, he is everything a kitten should be. He entertained us mostly by driving our other {grumpier, older} cats mad.  He was photogenic, too!

Going through Max kitty withdrawal,


Jan 17, 2011

An Absence Explained and Looking The Part

     Sorry I have been missing in action on the blog y’all. It feels like it has been so long since I’ve been around. Don’t worry—I can easily explain. I got some ‘work’ done earlier this week, so I have been spending the last couple of days recuperating and healing. You can see my new look below:

forblog 159 

Yes, it was a hard recovery, but I am finally feeling natural in my new lips. As you may or may not know… I am getting married late this spring and will become Mrs. Laura Croft. So, naturally… I just want to look the part. Don’t know what I am talking about?! Meet Lara Croft: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lara_Croft  Now, meet the actress who plays her: miss big lips. And don’t worry.. I am working on my muscles too.


The future La{u}ra Croft

Jan 8, 2011

To all my Enablers

I just want to thank you. Namely, those Crofts. They just seem to get me. No judging, just chocolate. So a big thank you to Marcus, Isaac, Jillian & Emily {cause every chocoholic wants to eat her chocolate from a beautiful plate & mug!}

forblog 117forblog 116

And if anyone else is interested in being my supplier, don’t hesitate to contact me.


A  Dark Chocolate Addict

Jan 7, 2011

A Black & White Bowling Bash

     My older brother, who I admire and love, was on a bowling league when he was younger. While I know that may encourage you to draw all types of conclusions about the type of person he was, let me just assure you that he is one of the coolest people I know. Anyhow, he won a trophy one year and when he showed it to me, I joked him for being on a bowling league. Then my mom grounded me. Not one of my finest childhood moments, just being honest around here. I HATED bowling when I was growing up. I struggle with whole ‘patience is a virtue’ thing, and had a hard time waiting for my turn. It is a looong wait when you have as many siblings as I do. Plus, I was horrible at bowling. And no matter how much I begged, my dad wouldn’t let me use the bumpers. Something about me being too old. I was 15! I needed all the help I could get!  Yes, bowling is a painful memory for me.

     When my aunt came for her annual after Christmas visit, everybody wanted to go bowling. {Well everybody besides me, but I’m the middle child and don’t get noticed much around these parts} I decided to make the best of it & brought the beloved D300 to keep myself entertained. Well, bowling was a ball, pun completely intended, {only because i am really impressed I came up with that} and I’ve got the pictures to prove it!

Bowling shoes & skirts. They just go together, right?

forblog 128

Check out our forms!! You can obviously tell I am a professional!

forblog 127forblog 133

Wow, Dad….dainty hand there

forblog 130forblog 134

Could he be any cuter?!

forblog 132forblog 138

forblog 135forblog 140

My cute little niece & very cute sisters {my mom on the right, my aunt on the left}

forblog 129forblog 137

forblog 125

Being an aunt is the best thing ever! And they don’t judge me for my bad bowling

forblog 126forblog 123

And what is a trip to the bowling alley without getting some candy from the quarter machines?!

forblog 131forblog 136

We saw this beautiful sight {minus the Mickey D’s} when we left. We went bowling on base, and I love seeing the ships against the sunset

forblog 141

forblog 142

oh! I should mentioned I bowled a 106! This was a huge improvement than my normal 40. There is hope for me yet!



Jan 5, 2011


Whew! I am exhausted. I spent all afternoon cooking in the kitchen. I would list all the things I baked, but I am WAY too tired to brag. Since I am preparing to be a good wife, learning to cook is essential. My fiancée eats approximately 9 meals a day {no exaggeration} So, like I said..I have been getting very Domestic. My grandmother must have heard about this, and that is why she sent this adorable apron to me for Christmas. Thanks Nanny! It’s beautiful :)

forblog 119forblog 122

It has gotten A LOT of use. Barely taken the thing off. Cook, cook, cook. Bake, bake, bake. I’ve sent my mom into retirement. Below is a picture of me resting with a cup of tea after a long day of cooking.

forblog 120

And below is a picture of me laughing at you if you believed anything involving me and cooking in the same sentence. forblog 121

But I tell a good story right?! Okay..so I have not had the courage to break the apron in yet, but I like strutting around the house in it. It is getting me in the mood to start thinking about maybe learning to cook. Baby steps.

Praying for the gift of domesticity,

Jan 4, 2011

A Reflection

A very, very cute reflection of Marcus & I in the living room window on one of the last days of the year :)

forblog 160

Jan: Started of the first day of the year in North Carolina for my cousin, Kelly’s wedding. My sister began a radioactive Iodine treatment for her Thyroid cancer, spent time helping to kick-off a new Catholic young adult group, enjoyed 8 inches of snow, got my first root canal

Feb: taught lots of swimming lessons to preschoolers at work, celebrated Marcus’ 24th bday, prayed during Lent, went to baby shower for Marcus’ first nephew, and got my brand- spanking new Nikon  D300 DSLR

March: more chilly swimming lessons, more Lent fasting & praying, did my first maternity shoot, enjoyed the daffodils,  saw Marcus off to a conference in California, visited my aunts in Williamsburg, spent time with Brian home on spring break, began working with a girl who had a severe brain surgery & was re-learning to walk & talk {best part of March—she amazed me!}

April: Wonderful Easter, Baby Jack made his appearance, friends married, visits from grandparents & uncle, bike riding at Sea Shore State Park, visit from best friend from high school, Marcus begins applying for local fire departments, did a senior photo shoot, Mindy’s birthday

May: first beach trip of the year, Dad & Brian get older, helped with a photoshoot for Regent University, had fun at a friend’s bachelorette party, another friend’s bridal shower, celebrated my mom, danced at a wedding in The Gardens, took pictures of a sweet baby girl, took pictures of a dimpled baby boy, celebrated 2 years with Marcus, rejoiced when my best friend from high school got engaged and spent more time at the beach,  had my first Memorial day weekend off from work since I was 16!

June: I turned 24 {my favorite birthday yet!} celebrated with both Marcus’ family & my own..and ice cream cones from Doumars :) Took maternity pictures of my beloved friend Whitney, spent lots of time at the beach, spent lots of time with Marcus on a bicycle built for two, got tanner & tanner from work & play

July: Marcus gone a lot on missions and conferences and retreats. Lots of dinner dates with girlfriends, got some use out of our new canoe, gave a talk to the pro-life group I work with, celebrated with friends at more weddings, visit from my Dad’s family, took more senior pictures, played late night Scrabble,  had an amazing visit from my dear friend Heather, visited handsome Marcus at the firehouse, watched old movies with mom at the Naro

August:breakfast date with my dad, lots of babysitting, photo shoots with various little ones, had blog & logo designed, watched a movie outside at the Hermitage, spent a glorious week with my grandparents & cousins in Ohio, more canoeing

September: Got chicken pox for the second time in my life, watched my handsome man play softball, watched my friend Sam get married, went of day dates with Marcus, gave another pro-life presentation to my little sister’s girls group, Marcus sold his SAAB, Marcus’ sister, Becky get’s engaged!

October:did a photoshoot with baby Pierce, wandered around Williamsburg with Marcus, said YES to my beloved boyfriend when he asked for my hand in marriage, then spent the weekend in the beautiful mountains camping with our close friends, Marcus interviews for fire depts, I spent a week watching the kids I used to nanny for a couple years ago while their parents went out of town..this included lots of walks on the beach, went to weddings, engagement parties, two more photoshoots, and watched my niece & nephew trick or treat. {{OCTOBER, you  WIN!}}

November: engagement dinners, photo shoots, wedding dress shopping, teaching lifeguarding classes, Marcus says goodbye to his big truck, watched OSU kill Michigan, ate TWO thanksgiving dinners, basked in the happiness of being a fiancée,  Mindy’s thyroid cancer is gone, felt grateful

December:worked lots, fell in love with blogging,  marveled at the snowfalls, Christmas caroled, Christmas shopped, White Christmas, my aunt’s annual visit. AMAZING

If you read this far.. I am SO impressed. 2010.. I loved you! 2011—while I am partial to even numbered years, I’ll give you a chance ;)

Blessings for your New Year,



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...