Friday, September 6, 2013

I've MOVED Blogs : This one will no longer be used ... EVER!

I am happy to announce that I have MOVED BLOGS 
& am onto new & better things!

Please join me over at
to continue the journey on knowing my heart behind the art, 
as well as seeing more of my child & family portrait photography 
& how I design books for Tyndale House Publishers!

I am so thrilled with my new blog. Please follow me there.
I will no longer be posting here. EVER!

Grace & Peace,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Custom Art: Children

I created this custom Life Verse Design art for our friends & I am happy to report it brought tears to the parent's eyes. YES! My job is done. It is the highest compliment {I think} when my art makes someone cry.

I love immortalizing not only an image, but a moment & feeling in time to create a memory forever. Though their kids will grow {& grow quickly!}, I hope their closeness, bond & direction in life will remain the same, as shown in this image.

If you have an image of your family that you would like created into a lasting memory, contact me & I would be honored to create it for you. You can find more information here.

Grace & Peace,
p.s. LOTS of good stuff going on over here... cannot wait to share it all with you!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our Road Trip: Part 4

 Many people have asked me how on earth did I {a midwest girl} attain an Amish friend?! Well, that Amish friend of ours started as a business partner of Life Verse Design. He is a framer and contacted me to see if I would partner with him to frame my art & sell it to Christian bookstores, gift shops & furniture shops.

 I love the above 2 photos of the frame shop, Beechdale Frames, as it shows the heart of the business: family. It is run by the Millers and is definitely a family affair! They work hard together & play together.

 The showroom is filled with my art and the reason we went was that they had an open house to meet the artist and allow buyers into their showroom.

 Meet Mr. Miller! He has a heart of gold: wanting to encourage others with the beauty of art, the truth of the Word of God, and always keep family first.

 Our work is currently featured in the catalog that arrived in the mailbox the other day! {Funny God story: I normally flip through the first few pages to see what's "hot" in the book industry since I design books for Tyndale House Publishers, but this day I kept flipping & ta-da! I got to see my artwork! What a blessing to see my little nephew's feet featured in a catalog}

 At the open house, they offered free lunch & fresh lemonade! Their oldest son {who is all of 14} manned the grill all by himself!!!! He is also able to create a frame & plaque from start to finish all by himself!!!! What a mature & responsible young man. And so humble also.

 If you are ever in Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania during the summer & meander down Beechdale Road, you will come upon the sweetest bunch of kids selling THE BEST fresh squeezed lemonade you have ever sipped. Trust me, you'll go back for more.

 The other fun little surprise I got while at the Beechdale Frames open house was that I got to meet author Ira Wagler who drove a half hour just to see me! Turns out Mr. Miller is friends with Ira! Ira wrote his memoir "Growing Up Amish" a few years back and Tyndale published it!

My best friend at Tyndale designed the book and he claims she has "sold him many copies" {as he knows people pick up books often due to their covers... music to a designer's ears!}

I JUST finished the memoir the other night & I highly recommend it. If you love auto biographies as I do, you will love to get a glimpse into Ira's world as he grows up Amish & struggles with the desire for freedom in the "outside" world, yet constantly feels pulls back to the safe & secure world he knows. It is a story of identity struggle, yearning for freedom, and finding the truth that alone can set our hearts free.

Grace & Peace,
p.s. Only store retailers can buy directly from Beechdale Frames {not individual customers} If you want to buy our beautifully framed art, go to

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Our Roadtrip: Part 3

 This may be one of my favorite photography posts ever! Oh, how we love this family. Part 3 of our road trip brought us to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania {Bird in Hand, in fact} to see our Amish friends in person.

 We went to church with them {3.5 hours of singing, preaching, devotional, prayer, testimonies, & do it all over again; sweet little toddlers passed out on their mama's laps all around us, large families coming together into real community}. After church, I drove "B" & their 5 kiddos in our minivan to their home while "A" drove Sam & our 3 kiddos in the horse & buggy!
{btw: can you imagine a family of SEVEN fitting into that buggy?! well, they do!}

 meet the youngest son, a 4.5 yr old sweetie. quiet & kind.

 meet the only girl, a 6 yr old darling with spark in her eyes.

 meet the 10 yr old son, who instantly bonded with our 10 yr old!

 meet the 12 yr old son, i cannot get over his freckles... so cute!

 meet the 14 yr old eldest brother, who is the sweetest most respectable teen i have probably ever met who has a hunger for knowledge and a heart of gold, selflessly serving & quietly leading his siblings.

 we came at a good time: 
the mama cat just had kittens about 3 weeks ago!

 and the bulldog mama had puppies about 6 weeks ago {i think}.

my kids were in animal HEAVEN at their home: my favorite little mister caught bugs & toads all day {the boys said, "they had never seen anyone go crazy for bugs before" ... my poor city boy} & the girls chased kitties & puppies for about 5 hours straight! {I am allergic to both, so the fact that they were free to play with animals in the barn was the best part of vacation for pumpkin-poos. it was a hot day & of course, no air conditioning in the barn, so they would periodically emerge red-faced & sweaty, with big smiles on their faces.}

 I was THRILLED to do their family portraits!!! 
{maybe their first, in fact?!}

 I did all my typical poses.

 I think it is safe to say we all had a great time.

 There are so many fun out-takes of these progressions... 
maybe I will post another night.

I plan to make a little Life Verse Design custom art with this piece! 
{to be continued...}

It was a true joy to spend time with their family, learn more about their culture, and just see how God has given us all instant friendships. What a blessing.

Grace & Peace,

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Our Roadtrip: Part 2

 Our next stop on our road trip was Niagra Falls. We arrived early in the morning (there were literally 2 other people at the USA Horseshoe Falls lookout & as we walk up, it takes my breath away & Pumpkin-Poos response to the beauty is, "Mommy, can we go to a hotel now?!"

 At least the 2 big kids appreciated the beauty!

 We went on our 16th wedding anniversary. Sunshine Girl took the photo above.

 The wind was AMAZING. We had so much fun & laughed so hard.

 I love this shot cuz Sunshine Girl looks like a super-hero... maybe Storm from X-Men?! The WIND!!!!

After spending the day on the American side hiking the falls, going on the boat ride (which I could NOT believe how close we were taken to the falls), the historical movie, & the aquarium, we decided to walk Rainbow Bridge to Canada for dinner. I was freaking out a bit, as I have discovered I have a slight phobia of walking across large bridges. (I blame my father who "faked" picking me up to "throw" me over a bridge into the Rock River while I was young.)

Anyways, we made it & while entering a restaurant a crazy storm came out of nowhere. We were stuck in Canada a little longer than expected, walked back in the rain & camped that night in a torrential downpour & wind that felt like we were in a hurricane.

My hubby (& hero) literally held up our tent for part of the night the wind was so strong.

Nothing like making fun memories for the kids!

More to come...

Grace & Peace,

Monday, July 29, 2013

Our Roadtrip: Part 1

 I would rather spend money on traveling the world than most anything else. One of my philosophies in life is that God created this big, majestic planet, so why not experience it in our lifetime? Drinking in nature & learning about other cultures will never get old for me.

My family just returned from a 10 day roadtrip out east. Final destination: Lancaster County.

First stop on the agenda was to Ann Arbor, Michigan to visit our dear friends whom my children adore. University of Michigan is a beautiful campus. My friend is getting her PhD in sociology & social work & they depart for her research overseas next month, so we wanted to spend some quality time with them.

We went to the Ann Arbor art fair & the U of M Natural History Museum (AWESOME specimens of owls, btw). We also got to go swimming. It was so great. I am SO PROUD of my friend & all she has already accomplished in her life. She is simply amazing.

Next stop: The Branches of Niagra Campground in Grand Island, NY

What a beautiful campground filled with fun family activities!

Here are some of my favorite shots of the day, taken at dusk. The light was so beautiful & warm.

More on our adventures soon!

Grace & Peace,

Monday, July 1, 2013

First Cake Smash {Downers Grove Photography}

Let him eat cake! 

Oh, this was my first "cake smash" photo shoot & was so much fun! What a sweet little man. I love his clear blue eyes against the balloon bouquet. His mama was brilliant buying a cake with rainbow colored frosting so that his face could be painted with color. He was "all boy" & obsessed with the handle of the wagon {future physicist apparently!}

It brought back memories of my kid's first cake experiences as well as that toddler-new-beginner-walk with hands up for balance.


Grace & Peace,