In Category: ‘random’

September 21, 2012 Decade of Love

September 21, 2002 – in an instant the world was made a better place because one of the most amazing people ever to breath had arrived.

It’s hard to believe how fast a decade can go. In one way I’m sad that Madison is now ten years old – never ever again in her life will she be single digits. (As I typed that a large lump formed in my throat… swallow the tears Krista). But it is such an amazing thing to watch her turn into the beautiful, caring, compassionate young woman she’s becoming. What an incredible honour to be her mom.

Here’s a few photos from the last week….

Here she is today with the horse she cares for through 4H… she was thrilled to be able to spend her birthday with her horse. Even if it meant washing the horse and doing chores. She was in her element and so happy. Love this kid.

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And one from last weekend I just love. This was after her first day of showing her horse at a fall fair. She was exhausted but so happy.

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Madi’s unique fashion sense.

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Madi wanted to go on a “real” camping trip for her birthday. Last weekend Mark and her canoed 25km and had a fun camping trip! Great memory for both!

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(I gave her a big kiss good-bye)

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Madi got bearded dragons for her birthday. She is sharing them with Eden – they each have one and are so thrilled! (bed head and PJ’s – ha ha)

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Happy birthday, Madison! I love being your mom!

Celebrating life and love,


August 12, 2012 Lemonade Stand

My good friend Jocelyn (and extremely talented cake artist at Sugarbelle Cakes!) listened to her daughter persistently ask to do a lemonade stand. Like all us moms do, Jocelyn smiled and nodded. Finally after Ava asked and asked… Jocelyn questioned what she wanted to do with the money. “I want to donate it to charity, mom!” Out of the mouths of babes.

So, Ava and her friend Alyssa began their plans. They made bracelets, cookies, Christmas ornaments, bookmarks, magnets and of course lemonade. They worked and worked on preparing for today.

And the result?

$835 raised for research for women’s cancer.

Two 9 year old girls. One lemonade stand.

Makes me dream about the difference I can make,my girls, my family, my network of friends… if this is what two small girls in a very small town can do… what can I do?

Thank you Ava and Alyssa for the inspiration! We’re all so proud of you both!

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“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” Helen Keller

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“We have it in our power to change the world over.”Thomas Paine

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“When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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Celebrating life and love,


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.

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Celebrating life, love and Eden!


This Father’s Day seems extra special after the last few months. You may remember my blog post last July when we celebrated my dad’s first flight in the plane he made himself. Took him four years – but he did it! We are all so proud – check it out HERE.

Then in February my dad was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to have emergency brain surgery to remove it. Within hours he went from a healthy, active man – to hospitalized and fighting for his health. It was a scary week but also beautiful (you can read that HERE). He came out of surgery great but with the loss of use of his left eye. We’d take that if it meant having dad around.

Fast forward a few months – dad’s eye is now doing great! He can see from it – still a bit foggy but it is doing great. And the exciting news is… not even three months after his brain surgery he was up flying again.

So, the last few months has made me realize how much I love the crazy, old guy. He has taught us all so much. His persistance and dedication in everything – like building a plane for four years! Or trying to do exercises and work to strengthen his eye when doctors weren’t hopeful. His calm spirit as questions about the future swirled around and dad was peacefully steady. Still telling stories, cracking jokes and loving people.

Dad – I love you and am so thankful for you this Father’s Day!

Thankful also for my amazing husband who says “Go!” when I tell him about a trip to Africa. Or El Salvador. Or Haiti. He stays home and loves the girls, and tells me how proud he is of me. Thankful for my two amazing father-in-laws who are so generous, loving and constant. Thankful for my Grandpas. Thankful even for my stinky old brother. I am blessed to have great men in my life who have loved me, and shaped who I am… and who my girls are.

Today we celebrate you all!

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Celebrating life and love,


As most of you know, I am headed to Uganda, Africa this Sunday. I’ve had lots of questions about my trip – so wanted to write a bit about it and answer for everyone.

About a month and a half ago a friend told me about a photography contest Watoto was having to send three photographers to Uganda. My dream has been to go to Africa and photograph their people – so I had to enter! AFter that, pieces have been falling into place and I was beyond shocked to receive word I was one of the three winners! I had a month’s notice to get ready and go! And now the time is almost here.

My team consists of 6 photographers including myself. To say I am humbled to be in their group is an understatement. No, I’m not just being polite – go check out their links below. There are the three of us winners – Devin, Cam (both from BC) and myself and three photographers who will be mentoring us – Tyler, Paul and Darren. I haven’t met any of them yet – but will meet Cam and Devin in Amsterdam Monday morning after my red-eye flight there. Then we will continue to Nairobi, Kenya and then on to Entebbe, Uganda together.

Let me introduce my team. Prepare to see why I say I’m humbled to shoot alongside them….

Cam – his earthquake and tsunami photos from Japan are so moving. I also love the idea of his family project – documenting his own extended family – you can see on his blog.

Devin – the anthropologist in him makes his work that much more powerful. And THIS series of his takes my breath away.

You can follow our trip on Devin and Cam’s blogs also!

And our three mentors…

Paul, Darren and Tyler.

We will be photographing for Watoto and the different aspects of their organization… homes for orphaned children, care for people with AIDS, former child soldiers, their baby homes and more. Here is a video that shows some of what they do… LINK.

So… I prepare to go. I will be gone for two weeks. I will miss my husband and girls immensely – but thinking of children who never knew parents to miss, and wives who have not known a loving husband… leaves me realizing I have had more blessings in my life thus far than many will ever know. I can handle two weeks without, when too many go a life time without.

As I go, I wonder what it is I can offer Watoto, the people of Africa, and the things I will see. I am reminded of a conversation with my girls the other day while we were out for a walk. I asked them why they think photographs are important. Eden shared how it helps her remember things and people. And then Madi said it can teach her about people and places. We chatted a lot about that. Eden said how she never had even heard of Haiti before I went – but now she knows the needs there, about the people and their situation. And that’s just it.

My goal is to tell the stories. We can not all go – but that does not mean we don’t need to know the stories of those who are in need. Every one of us has a story – and some demand being told. I’m honoured to be chosen to tell the stories of the people of Uganda. Not just the stories of horror, sadness, Kony, and sickness… but the stories of HOPE. Watoto’s mission is to Rescue, Raise and Rebuild. This excites me.

I will be leaving Sunday – but hope to take this weekend to be with my family. I will be gone for two weeks – I don’t want to be “gone” this weekend also – I plan to be very present with them. I have no idea what the internet will be like – but please check back for images and stories from Africa. I return home end of June. While I am away my blog will have some great posts by past clients and there will still be a post on Father’s Day!

Celebrating life and love,


A couple weeks ago a friend emailed me about a photo contest through Watoto and British Airways. When I read the prize, my heart skipped a beat. I had to enter!

What was the prize you ask?

A trip to Uganda, Africa to photograph Watoto’s projects… and to be mentored by three top photo journalists.


This to me is my dream trip of a lifetime. I don’t dream of all inclusive resorts… I dream of Africa. Of meeting people and hearing their stories, seeing how they live and sharing these moments with my camera. I dream of bringing awareness to issues and people – bring a voice to the voiceless – through my camera.

Tonight my dream came true.

One month from today, I leave for Africa. I still can hardly believe this. I was sure it was a typ-o in the email sender line or that they had misdialed my number (awkward!). But they have assured me that it’s for real. Myself, and two extremely talented other Canadian photographers were chosen to travel with three of Canada’s top photo journalists to Uganda. While there we will be visiting Watoto’s projects… child sponsorship villages, homes for women with HIV, meeting former child soldiers, homes for babies… and more. We will be documenting these projects and sharing with you. What an absolute honour.

I read some statistics tonight on Watoto’s website I have to share…

stats Dreams do come true

I believe in dreams coming true – but I also believe in answered prayers. I prayed and believed and hoped… and am so excited! It is so amazing the timing also and how it is all coming together. And right after I got the confirmation on my cell, I walked into the store and the song that was playing was “Wavin’ flag”. The song that was written for Haiti, that I used on my slideshows for my Haiti images… and a song I associate with the hope of a generation being rebuilt and renewed. Much like is needed in Uganda. To me it was a sign and I got a bit choked up.

I will be leaving one month from today… and gone June 16-28. I can not wait to share with you all!! Keep your eyes here for more about this dream trip! Also, if you know me, you know I hate flying – but love traveling. Would appreciate your prayers as it’s a long flight!

Celebrating life and love,


April 23, 2012 Saying Good-Bye!

Years ago I babysat my little cousin Kathryn and her siblings. Since then Kathryn and I have moved to a close friendship. It has been great to watch (and document!) Kathryn and Aaron as a dating couple, engaged, wedding, newlyweds, maternity, newborn and now their little family. They have also become fast friends with our kids and they have so many good memories of weekends with Kathryn & Aaron playing tickle monster, watching as Aaron and dad built their treefort, enjoying Kathryn’s yummy cake pops and so much more!

Well, on Tuesday Kathryn and Aaron (and Hudson) are moving to Thunder Bay. Close to 1500km away from us! We’ll miss them so much! They came over yesterday so we could say goodbye. Here’s a few photos from saying goodbye yesterday.

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Hudson not so sure about the kiss from Eden.

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Eden reading him some Harry Potter.

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Madi snuggling with Hudson.

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Hudson’s so shy with all this attention….

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The family!

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Hudson waving good bye!

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Madi chasing the car down the road… we’ll miss you!

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Celebrating life and love,


April 16, 2012 Family Vacation

We are home from a great week away in Florida visiting family! Such a great time… here’s a little video to share our adventures! This trip I left my “real” camera and just relaxed…. and now I feel rejuvenated and ready to go!

Celebrating life and love,


March 14, 2012 Lucky to be alive

Tonight I was mulling over the last few months in my family’s lives. Around Christmas time my brother had a viral infection that attacked the lining of all his organs. He spent Christmas day and the days around it in and out of the hospital and on bed rest. Then a couple weeks ago as you may have read HERE we were shocked to discover my dad had a brain tumor and the whirlwind week that followed with his surgery and ongoing recovery. This Sunday, my niece Hannah and her other set of grandparents were in a serious car accident – they were all okay but no one ever wants to hear the words “you’re lucky to be alive.”

And that’s what I was mulling over tonight.

I hope that I don’t need another illness or accident to make me realize, I am in fact lucky to be alive. We all are. Each day is a gift. I think of my kids opening gifts when they were a couple years younger. You knew immediately what they thought of the gift. There were the gifts they opened, mumbled a “thanks” for and threw over their shoulder without a second glance. (Thankfully, as they grow older they learn tact!) And there are the gifts that when opened, their whole faces light up to, they jump up and clutch the present and squeal in delight! They spin around and offer the giver a huge hug and thank them repeatedly. The joy of the gift is so evident in their response.

And I think back to myself. I too am given the gift of life. Do I mumble a thanks – or do I live out my thanks?

As I was mulling this over tonight, the lyrics to a Tim McGraw song kept going through my head. In the song a man who is dying, is asked what he did when he heard the news… I love this portion of the response:

“I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”
And he said: “Some day, I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dying.”

And then just before I posted this, I saw a tweet from one of my favourite authors, Donald Miller.

“Right before you die, you’ll realize this whole life was about loving people. And you watched too much television.” @donaldmiller

Tonight, I choose to live like I was dying… because I am truly lucky to be alive.

Celebrating LIFE and love,