Thankful Heart, Thankful Season

Thankful Heart

I know it’s the time of year when everyone is sharing their “thankful” posts. So my thoughts may get lost in the world of social media but I wanted to write a quick blog post anyway. Even during the holiday season, it can be difficult to have a thankful heart. The holidays are supposed to be cheerful and bright but some families are going through very dark valleys. Whether the loss of a job or the loss of a loved one, every day can be a struggle to have a thankful heart or even put on a smile. May our thankful hearts spur us to be empathetic and kind to the people around us this holiday season. Instead of focusing on sales and gifts, may we see the hearts of people around us.

As we close out the month of November, I can’t help but think about my amazing clients over the years. My heart is truly thankful for each and every one of you. When you hire me as your photographer, you are entrusting me to capture a time in your family’s life that you will never have again. You are investing time and money in photographs that will be in your family for generations to come. This is a great privilege so from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you.

Here are some pictures from a recent session I did with the Shields Family! Jennifer runs her own event planning business and venue in downtown historic Roswell. If you are planning a party, she is your lady! Check out her venue, The Gilbert House, on Facebook or their website.

Her adorable children have been models for me in the past so it was fun to see how much they’ve grown! I thought they looked so festive in their black and red outfits. Thank you for allowing me to capture this time in your family’s life!

thankful

thankful heart

roswell children photographer

family photographer roswell

mother and children

thankful

 

 

Inspiring Families

Inspiring Families | The Willis Family

Some families will always hold a special place in your heart. Families who have invited you into their home and into their lives. The Willis family is one of those families to us. They have been kind, fun, and helpful friends ever since we first met them. Jey and his wife Casi, have been great examples for my husband and me especially in regards to marriage and raising children. Even during the difficult trials that they have faced, their faith has challenged and inspired us. Just over two years ago, their son Matthew was diagnosed with cancer and had to have surgery to remove the tumor. He was only fourteen years old. We saw God move in miraculous ways during this time. In this blog post, I decided to include an update that Casi wrote regarding where they’re at now on the other side of their journey.

Good News Again!

“Matthew’s 20 month scans and appointment were last week and we praise God that he is still cancer free! Not a day goes by that we do not thank the Lord for what He has done. Our family verse during this journey has been Psalm 109: 26-27 “Help me, O Lord my God! Oh save me according to Your mercy, That they may know that this is Your hand-that You, Lord have done it!” The Lord continues to give us opportunities to share what He has done in our lives. Since our last post Matthew has been the honoree at Polo in the Pines, an event that raises money for CURE, which raises money for research for Childhood Cancer as well as offering assistance to families experiencing childhood cancer. You can check out their website and the tribute video here: http://www.polointhepines.com/Tribute-Videos.html


Please continue to pray for a cure for this disease and also pray for Matthew as he continues to live life a little altered from normal. He has a great attitude and enjoys working on the grounds crew at Towne Lake Hills Golf Club. Footjoy provided him a pair of golf shoes and LaRossa fitted them with his shoe life! Matthew’s scans did show some changes in his bones in both hips. We will see our orthopedic oncologist on our regularly scheduled 2 year post surgery checkup in December to be sure the changes are “normal” and to be sure we are doing all we can to help Matthew be pain free as he grows. Please pray that he would be free from all long term side effects! Thank you all for your continued support!”

Thank you Willis family for being such loving friends and of course, for allowing me to photograph your family!

families

families

father and son

mother and daughter

sister and brother

families

 

 

 

 

National Adoption Month 2016

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month and even though we are already a week into this month I wanted to take some time to share about this topic on my blog. Adoption is a daunting concept for a lot of people. It is for me even though I have been praying about adoption and would like to adopt one day. Adoption involves a lot unknowns and risks. It requires opening your life to more heartache and tension. I have several friends who have adopted and their journeys were far from easy. But their convictions and beliefs behind adoption helped them stay the course. Adopting a child goes beyond a charitable act. It is acting on the belief that human life matters, that every child matters. Can you imagine growing up without any family? Every child needs the love and support of a committed family.

adoption

How To Help

Before you stop reading and say, “This isn’t for me,” please keep reading. Even though you may never adopt, you can still make a difference in a child’s life. There are several ways you can contribute to the efforts of helping children without families or homes. Here are three ways you can help:

  1. Foster- Did you know that there are over 7,500 foster children in Georgia? Most training that is required to become a foster parent is free. Click this link to learn more about foster care organizations.

  2. Give- Did you know that many orphan care organizations will do matching donations throughout the year? Even a small donation can help organizations provide effective care for children. Click this link to learn more about how to give.

  3. Share and Support- As you do your own research, you can share about adoption in your circles of influence in conversations and social media. If you know of someone who is adopting, show your support directly by bringing a meal or some diapers. More on this idea below!

For more ways to help, please visit: http://www.adoptuskids.org/adoption-and-foster-care/overview/ways-to-help

Diaper Drive & Raffle

Children are expensive, can I get an amen?! Diapers, wipes, clothes, and food can add up quickly. I remember being so grateful for every box of diapers someone gave me. This month I will be hosting a Diaper Drive for a local family who is in the process of adoption. I will be revealing the family in another blog post next week. Every person who donates diapers will be entered into a raffle for a free portrait session! All of the diapers will be donated to this precious family and the raffle winner will be announced on November 30th. All diapers must be delivered by this date. I will personally be collecting the diapers so the drop-off location will be at my home. You can email me at katharine@capturinghope.com for more info and the address.

diaper drive

Thank you for reading and considering how you can be a part of impacting a child’s life.

How To Have A Successful Cake Smash

How To Have A Successful Cake Smash

I have to be honest. A successful cake smash cannot be 100% guaranteed. If you decide to do a cake smash for your one year old, you’re taking a gamble. There is a fifty-fifty chance that your kid will want nothing to do with that beautiful cake you spent hours making by hand. (Or spent a lot of money on from that cute bakery.) Speaking from recent personal experience, as soon as my little boy’s finger touched the icing, yummy homemade icing I might add, he refused touch it again. We tried and tried but the stubborn birthday boy wouldn’t budge. Eventually he ate some which I will share how in my tips below. We did a large cupcake instead of a cake and I am really glad we did. Even though I knew he may not be interested, I think I had my hopes up that my son would do a face dive into the cupcake. A mom can wish right?

Obviously, every child is different and so you will just have to be ok with whatever the outcome. Here are my tips on how to have a successful cake smash:

  1. Set realistic expectations. Just remember whatever the outcome, you tried and hopefully got some funny memories out of it.

  2. Don’t spend a lot of money on a cake. Unless you want to. But just remember you probably won’t be serving this cake to your guests. So get a separate cake or dessert for them.

  3. Try a cupcake instead! I did homemade cupcakes and icing which saved me a lot of money.

  4. Avoid red or brown icing. Trust me when I say these colors will not look good in pictures. Think blood or poop. Enough said.

  5. If you don’t want stains and don’t mind your child having no clothes on in pictures, strip down to the diaper and sit on a disposable tablecloth. It makes clean up so much easier.

  6. If your child doesn’t want to eat the cake or cupcake, try cutting it into a smaller piece. This is how my son eventually took some bites. He didn’t like the icing but enjoyed the cupcake part.

I hope these tips are helpful for you mommies out there planning a cake smash. Whether you’re doing a big or small party, I think your child’s first birthday is worth celebrating. Making memories is worth the effort even when it feels chaotic and you didn’t get the exact outcome you wanted.

If you have other tips or experiences, share them in the comments! Here are some pictures just to give you a visual from my son’s first birthday. Please notice the look of disgust when he first touches my beautiful, handmade icing. We managed to get a smile at the end though!

birthday party

smash

cupcake smash

smash

birthday boy

cupcake smash

birthday party

baby's first birthday

 

Benefits of Planning Ahead

Benefits of Planning Ahead

Planning ahead can seem like a daunting task. There are always going to be unexpected surprises or last minute changes that come up in life. However, I believe there are many benefits to planning ahead that make it worthwhile. Perhaps it is the control-freak part of me that believes this. My easy-going husband has learned to tolerate, maybe even appreciate, this quirk of mine. I will say becoming a parent has made me (or forced me) to become more flexible when it comes to planning.  There are some weeks and months we can only plan a few days in advance. With the holiday season quickly approaching, I thought it would be helpful to remember these three benefits as you do your best to plan ahead!

planning ahead

Reduce Stress

Who else would like to lower their stress level? (I am raising both hands right now.) Balancing work, activities, and relationships is hard enough as it is. When you’re planning things last minute, everything feels like it’s an emergency. No one likes to live in constant crisis-mode. Unless you’re the complete opposite of control-freak and like the adrenaline rush last minute things. Whether it’s tasks or meetings, dinner or play-dates, knowing your schedule ahead of time can greatly reduce your stress.

Freedom to Say No

While some people may think planning out your calendar is more restrictive, I think you gain a type of freedom. In a society that is constantly busy, we have forgotten how to rest. We can add things to our plate without even realizing we have no more room and it is spilling over into a huge mess. Planning ahead gives you the freedom to say no. What I mean by this is that you can look at what you have planned for the next week or month and then weigh your commitments. If you feel like you’re struggling to satisfy your commitments, then it is time to say no. Maybe it’s not a complete “no” but instead “not now.” Either way, planning ahead and knowing what your commitments are will give you more freedom.

taking the fear out of hiring a photographer

 

More Time for What Matters

The last benefit is basically a result of the first two benefits. When you eliminate unnecessary stress and aren’t drowning in busyness, you have time for what matters. This may require planning quality time. Yep, sometimes you have to actually put family night or date night on the calendar. If you don’t, it has a greater chance of being moved or forgotten. When you plan what is important, you will have time to enjoy it. What matters the most to you right now? Is there a relationship you’ve been neglecting because of stress or busyness? Review your schedule and commitments to see what can change! Don’t wait until things slow down. We all know once the holidays get here the end of the year will be close behind!

Plan and Save!

To honor your efforts of planning and making time for what matters, I am doing a limited time offer. If you need to update family pictures or want to do holiday cards this year, let’s get it on the calendar NOW so you’re not scrambling the week of Thanksgiving. I help you through every step of planning your session and ordering your products so you don’t have to worry about it. Taking pictures doesn’t have to be stressful. I’m all about more smiles and less stress. Will your kids misbehave? Probably. Will your skin not be as tan or glowing as you like? Perhaps. But none of those are good enough reasons to miss out on capturing your real life just as it is now. Years down the road, you will laugh at those frowns and wrinkles. This offer ends at midnight, 9/15/2016 so call or email me today! All you have to do is book* your session, not actually have your session done.

planning ahead

(*Booking will require my normal deposit fee of $75.00 which is applied to the session fee.)

 

 

 

Every Birth Is Beautiful

Every Birth Is Beautiful

Birth is truly incredible. I love reading birth stories. They are such powerful, life-changing experiences. So today, I want to share my birth story with you. But first I have to ask something of you. You can only read this if you promise me that you won’t compare. You should only read this if you believe that every birth is beautiful and every birth is different. No woman will have exactly the same birth as another woman. We cannot and should not compare our story with someone else’s story. I believe every woman is made in the image of God. Your body is an incredible creation. Regardless of how you gave or will give birth, it is an amazing act of strength and bravery.  If you want to continue reading, please keep this in mind. 

I was hesitant to share my story. The last thing I would want is for other mommies out there to compare our stories. Take whatever you want from my story. My desire is to honor God by sharing how He brought about this miracle of life. If you are pregnant, I hope it inspires you. If you are scared, I hope it empowers you. If you have already given birth to multiple children in different ways, YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR.

A woman’s body is an amazing creation and every birth is beautiful.

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Tips About Pregnancy and Birth

5 Tips About Pregnancy and Birth

Today I thought I would share 5 random tips about my experience regarding pregnancy and birth. They are completely random and mostly humorous. This time last year I was still pregnant with my first child. I was a whopping four days past my due date (gasp!) and about to lose my mind. More about due dates below. Throughout my pregnancy, I remember feeling overwhelmed by how much information is out there that you just had to know about. Sometimes too much knowledge can make you paranoid! Speaking of, here is a free extra tip for you: Research the things that are important to you and then don’t worry about the rest. 😉

tips

My 5 Random Tips:

  1. Your due date. Don’t get attached to it. I knew due dates were nothing official but once that date is in your head, it is so hard to forget it. Stay busy and get as much rest as you can. Prepping meals was a great way to stay preoccupied and it was very nice to have easy meals after baby arrived. 

  2. Eggplant Parmesan doesn’t work. Maybe for some of you it helped things start moving but in my experience it did not. Sometimes you have to try anything to help your sanity. I scoffed at trying acupuncture but I was ready for things to start moving and 48 hours later I was in labor. 

  3. Comfort is important. Bring old comfy pajamas and slippers to the hospital. I say old because you don’t want your nice, silk pajamas to get ruined if you know what I mean. You will have to get up from the hospital bed to use the bathroom and slippers are just easier. If you are picky about your pillows or get cold easily, bring your own pillow and blanket. Your hubby might need them anyway if he stays overnight with you!

  4. Early Hospital Discharge. Don’t be afraid to ask for an early discharge from the hospital. They may act surprised but they can totally make it happen. If your baby has passed all the tests and you are feeling good, why not get back to the comfort of your own home?

  5. Hospital Goodies. If you give birth at a hospital, take whatever bags of goodies they give you. The disposable “underwear” they give you is pretty hideous but convenient. And ice packs ladies, use the ice packs. They are bulky and awkward but will help with all the swelling aftermath of giving birth.

For all my pregnant ladies out there, hang tight! You can’t stay pregnant forever. If you just had your baby, congrats! I have decided to finally share my birth story. My son’s birthday is Friday so in honor of his birthday, I will be sharing that story exactly one year later. Be sure to come back to the blog to read about it if you are interested!

To close, I thought I would share this video that I watched during my pregnancy. I may or may not have cried a little bit. Being a parent is such a privilege!

Volunteer Photography Work

Volunteer Photography Work

In a society where everyone is trying to make an extra buck, it isn’t very common to see people who will volunteer their work. As a small business owner, I understand the difficulty and pressure of bringing in a steady cash flow. But a few weeks ago I was thinking and praying about how I could volunteer my photography services to my community. It’s funny how opportunities will find their way to you when you open your hands and offer your talents or time to help others.

A mutual acquaintance happened to email me out of the blue and connected me to a woman who runs a special needs care facility in Roswell called Corrigan Care. She had been trying to get photography services lined up all summer but everything had fallen through. This was her last effort to get photographs done before their annual fundraiser. Thankfully our schedules lined up and we were able to get photographs of the children just in time!

volunteer work

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Celebrating Marriage

Celebrating Marriage

Even though I am not a wedding photographer, I’m a huge fan of celebrating marriage. Life is just better when you have someone to share all the big and small moments with. Marriage takes a special kind of love; a selfless and sacrificial love. It’s a journey full of opportunities to grow stronger as a person and as a couple. And a key ingredient I believe is…. LAUGHTER.

One of my favorite romance comedy movies is The Princess Bride. Such a classic movie. Anyone else know the marriage scene quote?

marriage

So treasure your love… Well, I had the opportunity to photograph a couple that is celebrating their 25th anniversary this month! What an honor to capture such a wonderful milestone in their lives. During their session, Diane told me that they were doing something everyday for the 25 days leading up to their anniversary. I thought this was a great idea! Check out one of the things they did:

25 DAYS to CELEBRATE 25 YEARS – Day 7…Write thank you cards to couples who have encouraged and inspired us. Over the years God has brought couples into our life that were steps ahead of us to encourage, understand, give advice and follow after. There have been several of these over the past 25 years and we are ever grateful for them! Thank you for the prayers, hugs, words of encouragement and biblical advice. It inspires us to be ‘that’ couple for others!

marriage

This is just one of many wonderful ideas this couple had to celebrate their marriage. You don’t have to wait until your anniversary to celebrate. I think showing appreciation and affection every day, no matter how tired we are, is important to keeping a marriage strong.

And now, here are some of my favorite pictures from their session. I am so glad I had the opportunity to be a part of this celebration. Thank you Chris and Diane!

celebrating marriage

husband and wife

anniversary session

anniversary session

celebrating marriage

anniversary session

roswell photographer

roswell photographer

anniversary pictures

 

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