Archive for Jul 2012

July 30, 2012 Beautiful Girls

Saturday was a big day – it was Meera’s “Chemo is done” party! I’ll share more soon – but wanted to share one image for now.

This photo is very special to me… I met Rebekah and Meera back in December. They both became good friends during their time at Ronald McDonald House in Toronto. Since then Rebekah has received a new heart and Meera has completed chemo. A teenager and a toddler, one from Ontario and the other from the East Coast… on first glance they have nothing in common. But these two warriors have more in common and a tighter bond than many. They know what it means to fight for your life. Love their friendship.

Two beautiful, strong girls I’m honoured to know.

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Celebrating life and love,


Eden’s name means delightful. And this kid has brought me more delight in her 8 short years than I could have imagined! Eden has a wild imagination – currently she thinks she’s turning into a centaur and daily checks for her new body to start taking shape. Recently she thought she was growing fairy wings – didn’t have the heart to tell her those bumps on her back were actually her shoulder blades. Eden’s imagination is always running wild. Her love for people and life is also contagious. We always tell her she’s a “professional hugger” as she gives the best hugs. She is quick with affection and compliments. She loves to love. It’s normal to have Eden crawl up on your lap, give you a squeeze and tell you she loves you and then just as quickly run back to her play. Eden is so much fun to parent. She teaches us so much about loving and life. And today we pause and specifically celebrate this little one. Happy Birthday, Eden!

Last week Eden donated her hair for cancer – here she is in her before and after….

IMG 9767 Happy 8th Birthday, Eden!

And here she is at her party yesterday in the dress she designed.

IMG 0359 Happy 8th Birthday, Eden!

Celebrating life, love and Eden!


Sometimes when I’m chatting with people about Uganda or Haiti I hear them say things like “I’d love to do something like that….” I know so many people who truly want to do something that helps others, makes a difference and matters. But often they don’t know what to do or what they can offer.

I’ve been mulling this over recently. I have met so many people lately who give generously in such creative ways. They see a need. They see their own strengths and abilities. They put it together and the result is beautiful.

And I just keep thinking we ALL have been given gifts. And it really isn’t a gift unless it’s given away. If you think of buying a present for someone, but putting it in your closet for safe keeping (and dust collecting) and never giving it to them…. it somehow can’t really be called a gift now can it?

Likewise I think about the gifts we have been given. Somehow our abilities and talents seem insignificant. We wonder how they can possibly make a difference.

And so I thought I’d share a few examples of people I’ve connected with recently who have inspired me with their ordinary extraordinary gifts…

-tonight I had the honour of photographing at a women’s shelter for their “Self-Esteem” day. They had people come in and do the women’s hair, makeup and nails. To see these women walk in feeling beautiful – women who’ve been abused and mistreated – was awesome.

-had a visit with a friend yesterday who had to go off work with health problems and now refers to himself as a “Professional Do-Gooder”. He checks kijiji daily now, and responds to ads for people looking for help. And he offers it for free. Helping single mothers, new immigrants, the elderly… people who don’t have friends or family to help them move or do an odd job. Love this.

-I know a few women who have collected milk bags and crochet them into bed mats to send to Haiti. Instead of people sleeping on the damp ground – this raises them, provides a dry spot and protects from bug bites. And helps recycle!

-there is a woman at our church who is baking banana bread and selling it – $5 from every loaf goes to help needy kids.

And the list could go on and on. What amazes me is these gifts that are being offered are not rocket science… they are taking ordinary abilities and hobbies and using them in an extraordinary way to meet needs. Baking. Crocheting. Carrying boxes. Hair dressing. For me, I don’t crochet, do hair and definitely don’t bake. But I do take photos. And I am committed to using my camera as best I can to make a difference in this world. One image at a time.

I love this quote by Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “The newspaper is God’s to-do list, delivered to our front door.” As we read the newspaper, listen to friends, read Facebook statuses and Twitter… may we be moved to dust off our talents, and give them away…. using our gifts to meet the needs of the world.

If you’ve read this far – I’d love for you to leave a comment about how you have seen someone use an ordinary gift in an extraordinary way. And perhaps – your comment will inspire another person to act!

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Celebrating life and love,


July 17, 2012 Liz and Dick

[No, this is not about the new movie called "Liz & Dick" - this love story is sweeter than Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's by far. :-)]

Liz and Dick are celebrating forty years of marriage. These two have raised 5 kids, worked hard on their family farm and have lived more generously than pretty much anyone I know. Everyone loves them and their kids and grandkids. They really are an awesome family. So when they asked if I’d come document their family celebration for their anniversary – I was honoured.

The celebration was on their property – but their kids had planned and decorated and put it all together – so they had no idea what to expect. It was fun watching them stroll over to the tent to see the festivities planned in their honour.

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As they walked, they accumulated granddaughters… it was very sweet!

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Liz was thrilled – and she should be!

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The kids had gone with a lace love bird theme. They did a great job! They also had everyone wearing turquoise or coral for the family photos – so it was fun to see that worked into the cupcakes from the Cupcake Diner too!

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When they got to the tent the music started – a first dance was naturally in order!

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And after dinner we went and did some family photos… not a bad looking crew.

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And all the families!

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Dick and Liz and their 5 kids….

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In front of their new pool house…

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And everyone had a good laugh over all the twins! Without realizing it a number of people showed up in the same clothes! Guess they have the same taste in stores!

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Then the kids had a presentation for “Beppe & Pake”

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And then they had a time of worship singing lead by the family… beautiful.

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And then it was time to sneak out… it was that magical time of day as I left and I couldn’t help but grab a couple quick snaps of the pool….

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And the sun was pouring across the porch and tree house….

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A beautiful celebration for a beautiful couple!

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Celebrating life and love,


July 17, 2012 Rob and Claire

I adore love stories that span the globe. I find it so interesting that two people from opposite ends of the world can meet – and find their soul mate. Beautiful. Rob is from here in Ontario. Claire is from Australia. But seeing them together – you know it was absolutely meant to be. Rob’s big laugh paired with Claire’s quiet demeanor is a perfect match! Not to mention their shared love of the outdoors, board games and zest for life!

It was fun to have a former bride of mine – who has since become a photographer – second shooting for me. Lexie did a great job capturing Rob getting ready here before the ceremony.

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Rob got his super cool wedding band in Huntsville when we met there for their engagement session. Love it!

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When Claire mentioned she got her wedding dress on etsy – I knew it would be unique and beautiful. I wasn’t disappointed!

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Claire’s dress was made by Rowan Joy – and was stunning and perfect for Claire!

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Claire’s two sisters form Australia and her good friend from Germany all flew in for her Big Day! They got their bridesmaid dresses and shoes from one of Claire’s favourite stores in Australia when she was home for a visit.

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Claire – you. are. gorgeous!!!

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Claire was so calm but as it got close to the ceremony – she just wanted to go and not wait anymore! I can remember that same excitement – not wanting to wait for my “Cue” to enter – but just wanting to get married!

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I think I mentioned earlier Rob’s big laugh and Claire’s quiet demeanor… these next two images display just that. icon smile Rob and Claire

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It’s always fun seeing Canada through new eyes – and loved the Australian’s excitement over the chipmunks and such!

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The Huether Hotel’s jazz room was a great spot for the reception. Loved the ambience!

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Guests wrote a message to the couple on the backs of puzzle pieces…

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And made Scrabble words to get them to kiss. They could earn more Scrabble tiles by getting trivia questions about Rob and Claire correct.

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The cake shows Rob and Claire holding their respective countries on the globe. And on the cake are flowers from their countries – the Ontraio trillium… and some flowers from Australia that I can’t remember what they are!

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And the cutest forks ever.

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Celebrating life and love,


July 4, 2012 Steve and Alicia

I’ve been sharing so much from Uganda and Meera… but I also have some beautiful wedding images from Steve and Alicia’s wedding in Fergus recently. You may remember their baseball themed engagement shoot HERE… they sure clean up good!

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Celebrating life and love,


July 3, 2012 Meera: June

With being gone to Uganda, I didn’t get the chance to share Meera’s June session yet. (Meera is a beautiful 2year old with cancer that I am photographing once a month for a year. You can see more about her here: December, January, February, March, April, May and her story in her mom’s words.)

June’s session was a really exciting visit – as it was Meera’s last chemo treatment! Yay! When I got to Sick Kids I found Meera with an old friend you may remember from my March post.

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Rose the clown definitely makes the journey more enjoyable for Meera. Meera went willingly to her chemo – if Rose was there. And it was so great to have Rose accompany us and keep Meera smiling and happy through it all!

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Meera and I had some fun too putting stickers all over ourselves!

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And let’s not forget her little sister Ameena. Always happily chilling out.

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And getting Meera to eat is always a challenge – and so everyone was surprised when it turned out she loves Chinese food! Mom and dad were happy to give up their lunch if it meant she’d eat!

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And then it was finally time…. last chemo here we come! Meera had a certificate and a gift from the hospital on completing her last chemo.

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One of the drugs she was on that day made her really giddy and hyper – it was quite amusing!

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Chemo is finished!!! July 28 there is a big party to celebrate – can’t wait!

Celebrating life and love,