I’m a visual person, I love art and am drawn to beautiful things. Photography started out as a hobby for me and now has become a passion and a business. I take thousands of photos a year and love that I get to share a few here on my blog. But I wanted to take a little time to show you my favorite photos that I took in 2011. Now some of these are my favorites because they are some of the best photos I have ever taken, others are on this list because they tell the story of my life this year.
I have traveled to the other side of the world, made new friends, captured life’s special moments and learn a lot about who my God is and what His purpose for my life is. So take some time to see what has happened in my life in 2011, and you never know your photo might be on this list.
Here Are My Top 30 Photos Of 2011
1. January: One of the first photos I took this year. Taken at Point Dume in Malibu. I’ve done over 20 photo shoots at Point Dume, it’s just one of my favorite places to go. This staircase is the only way to get down to the beach from the cliffs above. If it wasn’t for this old rusted staircase, no one would be able to enjoy the beauty that is below.
2. February: Over 70 students came forward at United One out reach event to give their lives to Christ. It was an amazing moment to witness. Heaven went CRAZY that night! It has been a blessing to serve at Discovery Church in their high school ministry. Just a few years ago I was working in a youth group of 15 kids and now I get to be apart of this. Amazing!
3. February: I found this Black Eyed Susan while taking my kids on a hike in the hills I grew up in, in Chatsworth, CA. It was almost magical to watch my kids run on the same trails I ran on as a child.
4. March: One of the greatest things I get to do as a photographer is bless the people I love with capturing their life stories in photographs. Ruby (center-ish) is very special to me and one of the girls I disciple. She loves the Lord and lives a life of leadership and purity. So I was overjoyed when she asked me if I would do a photo shoot for her. This was taken on her 13 birthday with 13 of her best friends. It was fun to be a part of her day and give her the gift of this photo.
5. March: I love this photo for so many reasons. One it tells a story on it’s own. Christ love on the cross is the only label we need to wear. But the number one reason I love this photo is because my dear friend Brandon is in it. He is one of the few people I know who has the same passion for discipling teens as I do. Although he lives in St. Louis we are close and encourage each other in our ministries. I am super thankful for this brother in Christ.
6. April: This isn’t the greatest photo I have ever taken. However it is dear to my heart. This is my son Eli walking hand in hand with Cody one of the greatest guys you will ever meet who happens to go to the youth group I volunteer in. I hope my son becomes a Christ honoring young man like Cody. This is one of the reasons I invest in teens, because one day they will invest in my kids.
7. May: I was born and raised in Southern California and my favorite place is the beach. I could spend hours sitting next to the ocean talking to God, looking out onto the endless sea I feel closest to my Savior. I took this photo as a gift for someone I love who just moved to SoCal. But it truly is HOME to me! No matter where God sends me in this life, I will feel most at home on the sandy coast of California.
8. June: My sweet fairy princess Sienna. This was taken on one of our many family walks. Over the past few years I have become overly “busy” and didn’t have all my priorities straight. But I made a decision in January to make sure we had family time several times a week, uninterrupted, memory making time together and we have stuck with it. And it was the greatest decision I have ever made.
9. June: This was taken on the same walk as the above photo. These are my boys. My life is an adventure because of these two. They are so different and yet so similar. It is a joy to watch my husband with his mirror image, our son Eli. 10. June: It wouldn’t be a list of my photos with out a pic of a lock. If you know me I adore locks and have even had a gallery show featuring hundreds of my lock photos. You can also purchase several of my lock photos on the Eat Art website. This was my favorite lock from 2011, I love the color and the scares in the wood. This photo was taken at a school in the San Fernando Valley.
11. June: Hiking is one of my most favorite things to do with the girls I disciple. We get to be out in God’s creation and we get a lot of time just to talk without distractions. This is a photo of Hannah and I’s shadow. I’ve known Hannah for 3 years, she is amazing and has made me a better leader. I’m proud of the women she has become and can’t believe she is half way through her first year of college.
12. July: This is one of my favorite “band” photographs I have ever taken. Meet Ben Kolarcik, he is a good friend of mine along with an amazing musician and worship pastor. He and his band were on the CIY MOVE tour in CA. I was able to bring down about 10 teenagers from my church to come see him preform. We came on the night they did an acoustic set and I was able to get this shot during their rehearsal. It is one of my favorite photos of the year.
13. July: Self portrait with my daughter the day before I left for a missions trip to Poland. This photo was a accident, I was messing around with setting on my camera a long with playing with a new lens. Sienna jumped on my back and I quickly snapped a picture, not even knowing if it was in focus or zoomed out enough to get us both. When I got home and saw that this is what I captured, I printed it out and packed it in my bag to hang on the wall in my room in Poland. 14. August: Lodz, Poland. I volunteered in the city of Lodz in Poland for a week this summer. Working at an orphanage building a soccer field. Every evening I got to walk around the city and take pictures. I have so many but this one is my favorite. It’s a several hundred year old church in Victory square.
15. August: Lodz, Poland. I was on a team of about 10 people clearing a soccer field of 6 foot tall weeds so some amazing kids who live in an orphanage could play their favorite game, SOCCER! A lady on the team just happened to bring soccer cleats and jerseys on the trip. By Gods amazing grace there were enough shoes in the right sizes for each child who lived in the orphanage! She had no idea she would be working on a soccer field, but God did.
16. August: Lodz, Poland. Here is the soccer field! When we first arrived on the site you couldn’t see that goal post, it pretty much looked like a forest. It seemed impossible, only about 10 of us with only one hoe and our bare hands to pull and dig out some of the biggest weeds I have ever seen. But God worked a miracle in the 5 days we were there. Some how we finished. Every single weed was pulled, the ground was leveled and we planted seeds for fresh new grass. It makes me happy to think that it’s a lush field by now and the kids have enjoyed many fun days playing on it.
17. August: Lodz, Poland. This was taken on my last night in Lodz. During the day we worked hard at the orphange, but at night we got to enjoy night life and listen to some amazing performers. This is Kameron Boedeker from American Idol. She was part of the Kontak Lodz team, her heart for Christ and amazing singing talents blessed many on this trip. It was a joy to meet her and a honor to photograph her.
18. August: Krakow, Poland. After a little over a week of serving in Lodz we had the blessing of traveling around Poland and visiting some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. This is a 1,000 year old church. You read that right 1,000 years old. This photo does not do it justice, my breath was taken away when I stepped into this church. AMAZING!
19. August:I have taken hundreds if not thousands of pictures of couples in love. But by far Kevin and Kali Lewis are my favorite. I have the honor of serving along side these two amazing people at Remedy Student Ministries at Discovery Church. Kevin is passionate about preaching the gospel to teenagers and Kali is his perfect support. Getting to shoot their wedding was a joy, their love just jumps right off the picture. I can’t make couples look like this.
20. September: This year Daniel and I celebrated 9 years of marriage. This photo was taken on one of our favorite hiking trails. I love instaxs and got this idea from Dear Photograph, I thought it would be a great way to capture our anniversary.
21. September: My daughter Sienna turned 5 this year. I can’t even wrap my mind around the idea. She has brought so much joy into our lives and has been one of the greatest gifts we could have ever asked for. This photo was taken on her birthday. She had a tinker bell party and I love how this photo captures the magic of that special day.
22. Ocotber: Eat Art Launch! Our friend and pastor Todd Clark started a non profit organization that uses art to feed starving children around the world. I am a featured artist and my husband helps on the tech side of things. On the night of our first gallery show we were able to sell enough art to send 30,000 meals! God is good! It is an honor to be on the Eat Art team, but it brings me so much joy knowing that children are going to sleep with a full tummy tonight because of this amazing organization. Help artfully end hunger and check out their website.
23. October: This is the only photo on my list that was taken with my cell phone. My husband and I got to be apart of a new campaign by People of the Second Chance. The campaign is called “Labels Lie: Don’t Accept Them, Don’t Use Them.” We’ve all been labeled by someone and it hurts. It’s time to tell the world the truth and that the only label we need to carry with us is “Loved” we are loved and cherished by a great God. The campaign launched last week and will run for the next three months. It was an AWESOME experience that I will never forget.
24. Ocotber: The Knight protecting his Queen. This photo was taken on Halloween just before we went trick or treating. I love everything about this photo, from how Eli is holding the sword to how Sienna is sweetly smiling. It was a perfect capture of a memory I want to keep forever.
25. November: Over the past five years some of my closest and dearest friends have moved away. I have been broken hearted of the lose of so many friendships, we still stay connected but it’s not the same as getting to see them all the time. However my God is good and He sent us The Grubbs. This family has become part of our family and it feels like we have known them forever. I got to take their Christmas photos this year, and this one was my favorite. It’s just so them; crazy, real, lovable and fun. It makes me smile and I just had to have it on this list. Thank you Sarah Lynn and Matt for loving my family so much! YOU ARE A BLESSING!
26. November: I am trying not to cry as I type this description. This is a photo of The Kyle’s. They have become a big part of my life this year and are truly family. There are not enough room on this blog post to tell you how much they all mean to me. God has been so good to have brought them into my life and my families life. But it saddens me to think that God only gave us a year to live close to each other. A few days after Christmas they will be heading to OH to start a new adventure. You would think I would be used to saying goodbye, but I’m not. Just love this family too much.
27. November: What I am most thankful for this year and every year. I never knew I could love so deeply, but these two little ones have captured my heart and take my breath away. I would do anything for these two. They are my heart and worth everything. I am in awe that God would let me be their mother. This photo was taken on Thanksgiving day.
28. November: Even though this picture looks like it should have been taken in December it was taken the day after Thanksgiving, which is when we decorate for Christmas. It is one of my favorite family traditions. I was able to catch this sweet moment right after we were all done decorating and my kids were enjoying their Christmas tree. There’s something so magical about see Christmas through the eyes of your children.
29. November: This is a photo of my mom and her six grandchildren. Although life has thrown my mom some curve balls, she has always stayed tough. She raise four girls on her own and loves each of us deeply. She is passionate about life and loves the Lord. He story inspires me and has made me the woman I am today. It is a joy to see her happy and enjoying her loves, her grand kids. Plus it was a miracle that I was able to get all six kids to look at the camera at the same time.
30. December: This photo is what Strengthening the Chain is all about. This photo was taken this past weekend at a Christmas party for all the teenage girls at Discovery Church. Sixy teens and leaders tried to squeeze into one picture. And here it is. Amazing women giving their time and energy to love teenage girls and tell them about Christ. This is my PASSION and my PURPOSE. Each face has a story and I look forward to telling you about them all. What a perfect way to end my list of photos. I hope you enjoyed coming along on all my adventures and I hope you were inspired to live a life that is actively chasing your Savior. 2011 was awesome, I can’t wait to see what God has in store for 2012!