the gift of imagination & creativity

celebrate the gift of the human careful that you use this gift wisely. see your children's creative capacities for the richness that they are. see our children for the hope that they are. educate their whole being. we may not see the future but they will! our job is to help them make something of it. - adapted from ken robinson's TED talk

hearing these words gave me chills and made my heart race. sadly, my little ones do not have art at school. gratefully, they have an absolutely amazing art instructor that they see once a week after school. my goal is that my children never lose the creative freedom they currently possess. i cherish and celebrate the creative gifts they deliver to me regularly and yesterday brought me this...

A VIDEO THAT SKYLER MADE  on her ipod touch.  be sure to have your sound on.  i didn't even know she was working on this, let alone know how to use this app.

and an art project my daughter did in her creative journal, which she suggested i also have.

i get asked a lot about who or what inspires me and i always say that my children do.  but no kidding -- THEY WHOLEHEARTEDLY DO!!  i'm now planning to work on a collaboration with kiele directly related to her art collage above.

and if you haven't heard of the company sevenly, here you go.  they have the most amazing t-shirts EVER!!  and you can't go wrong because with every purchase, part of the money goes back to the week's cause.  i own two of their shirts already and will be purchasing this education tee (beyond being cool, they are great quality).  what great christmas presents too!!

canadian workshop | june 22nd - 24th

i am absolutely thrilled to be holding a 2-day photography workshop at the beautiful oakwood resort in ontario canada.  together, we will discuss, share and explore.  we will laugh.  some of us might even cry (good tears, of course). we will learn.  and in the evenings, we will relax and share some more, on the beach by the bonfire. you will receive an intimate look at my photography and business (and even my life; i'm an open book).  you will be encouraged and inspired to find and embrace your unique photography voice and path.  this workshop will not only foster enlightenment, creativity and growth, but also promises to encourage and challenge you.  while the core information has been set, this workshop will be custom-tailored to the unique desires, needs and wishes of the group in attendance.  i hope you'll join me for this amazing experience!  please find all the details below.

RETREAT INCLUDES: • june 22nd - 24th 2013 | 2-1/2 day instruction by deb • 2-night lodging at the beautiful, serene oakwood resort • dinner friday evening • breakfast saturday and sunday morning • snacks & drinks during workshop • inspirational retreat photo book

TOPICS: PRE-RETREAT: access to private online group exercises to work on in advance, to bring to retreat

DAY ONE: Saturday, June 22nd (6 PM - 9 PM) dinner, followed by welcome mixer on the beach

DAY TWO: Sunday, June 23rd (10 AM – 9 PM) discussion • strong images & portfolio • inspiration • creativity • voice & vision • meaningful shooting & storytelling • natural light (discussion & demonstration) one-to-two outdoor family shoots (weather permitting)

DAY THREE: Monday, June 24th (10 AM – 3 PM) discussion on organization & workflow processing of images from previous evening’s shoot open Q & A optional open-discussion portfolio reviews (starting at 1 PM)

while some aspects of technique will be discussed, this retreat is not centered around learning the basics of camera technique or image processing.  you should already have a good understanding of the use of your camera (shoot in AV or manual mode) and image processing (PS, LR, etc.).  if you have any questions if this workshop is the right fit for you, please email me.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: DATES: June 22nd - 24th LOCATION : oakwood resort, ontario, canada TUITION : $1950 ($1800, if paying in full, at time of registration) RETAINER: $750 deposit to reserve your seat. remaining balance due no later than may 15th. CLASS SIZE: limited to 10 photographers TRAVEL: london, ON, canada (YXU) is approximately 1-1/4 hours from resort. toronto, ON, canada (YYZ) is approximately 2-1/2 hours from resort. if traveling from USA, you will need a passport. participants are also responsible for vehicle transportation to and from airport.

TO REGISTER: please email for payment information.

*all payments are non-refundable; however, if cancellation is necessary, you may sell your seat to another photographer.

image below taken last year at the oakwood resort by our workshop host, hilary camilleri.


october online workshop | early registration

BREAKING THE MOLD a two-week online workshop october 1st -17th space is limited registration details below

some topics that will be discussed are: inspiration creativity thinking outside the box finding your style creating strong images building a strong portfolio

participants will receive the following: an honest and intimate look into my photography daily, interactive communication three assignments followed by feedback an inspirational e-book a few special giveaways and more!

details for early registration: 1. this workshop is held via the bloom form & therefore, all participants MUST BE bloom forum members. if interested in registering for this two-week online workshop but are not a yet a member of bloom, you can join the forum (for 3, 6 or 12 months), by clicking the bloom logo below... The Bloom Forum 2. once a bloom member, EMAIL ME and i will reply with the registration payment link (please include your bloom username in the email). 3. the workshop will run from monday, October 1st - 17th, with posts | interaction daily (except 13th, 14th, 15th will be days off). 4. active seats are $225.00 per seat. 5. silent/read-a-long seats are $175.00 per seat. 6. the private workshop information will be available for one month after the workshop ends. 7. there is also a private section for all past breaking the mold participants, to continue  interacting and sharing with one another.

and here's what a few former breaking the mold participants had to say when the workshop was done:

I am sad that our time has come to an end in your new workshop ‘Breaking the Mold’. I have enjoyed it immensely.

We so often second-guess our instincts and I have learned lately that mine are very loud and rarely go away. It is funny too, I don’t often shy away from it, unless there is fear involved – fear of rejection, fear of not being validated, fear of moving forward, fear of dwelling too much on the past, fear of trying something new, fear of the competition. Your workshop has not only validated me, my strengths, my weaknesses, but it also brought my journey to a whole other level. I hope that I will continue to adapt and transform and ask myself all the questions you asked of us in your workshop. It was fast moving, made me reflect and helped me see things way more clearly. That is a gift.

There are very few people in my life who have truly given me inspiration, made me want to move forward and try something new. But you sure have! You have allowed me to let loose and share in a comfortable and giving environment. You were warm, generous and giving!!! I so appreciated all your candor. In our short two weeks, you have definitely given me confidence, helped me make sense of the issues and doubts I have been feeling for awhile and made me want to be a better me, for my clients and for my family and friends. Everyone needs that someone to get you “unstuck”. Your words, your exercises for us, and your explanation of your own photography has heightened my love and passion for photography so much more than I ever thought possible. - SARA

i’m so sad that our workshop is over, but i just wanted to take a minute to send you a quick note. this was the very first workshop i have ever taken, i had no real expectations. i can tell you that the last three weeks were unlike anything i thought i would experience in a photography workshop… it was almost like therapy for me, really! i am self taught, and have struggled with the mentality that i’m not up to par because i don’t have the piece of paper to prove that i deserve to be here. i finally think i’m starting to see that i don’t need to be technically perfect to be great at what i do. really, i could ramble on forever but i really just wanted to say thank you! thank you for helping me believe in myself, for bringing so much passion and inspiration to me in a short time and thank you for taking the time to teach us all and for being you!! i have never really surrounded myself with a group of my peers, it’s been an amazing ride. – Lila

I can’t thank you enough for your amazing workshop. It went above and beyond anything I had ever expected. I came into the workshop hoping to learn more about photography, I never dreamed of the personal journey it would take me on or the growth I would have. I have come away appreciating my vision as an artist and not worrying about others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so open and honest. I have grown leaps and bounds and look forward to continuing to grow even more. - STEPHANIE

fav finds | twenty-four

dream house

although love the thought of living in a shipping container home too

remind yourself

need to organize electronic drawer cords

new at IKEA

longing to go tubing as a family

carrabba's bread dip recipe

a privilege, for sure

dinner party tips

and great party supplies source

frozen chocolate covered bananas and peanut butter -- yum!

don't be afraid to swim

someday i'll have a HUGE print in my house

who do you want to be?

been wanting a new umbrella stand

i am the queen of unnecessary holes in walls

my fav find this week of the littles on the couch

no clue who this guy is but love this


a weekend of inspiration

to say that this past weekend was incredible and inspiring would be an understatement -- i had the awesome opportunity to spend the weekend with jock sturges in palm neach, where he was there teaching at FOTOfusion. we arrived saturday afternoon.  my kids were modeling for his ‘the meaningful portrait’ demonstration shoot. it was wonderful to hear his thoughts on shooting people and so great to see him in action. one thing that i really grasped onto is jock’s deep respect for the people he shoots.  he also stressed the importance of getting to know your subjects – something that i’ve always believed as an essential part of making a great photograph.

my kids and i also had the opportunity to visit the ‘full of grace’ exhibit at the palm beach photographic center, with jock.  the exhibition was so well put together and it was incredible to hear jock’s knowledge and thoughts on much of the displayed photographs.  he also took the time to teach and inspire my kids, who are now asking to visit museums here in tampa. if you happen to live in florida and can make the trip to palm beach, i so highly recommend the ‘full of grace’ exhibition.  i guarantee you will not be disappointed.

on sunday, jock and i spent hours talking about painters and their influences, not only on one another, but also on various photographers.  we began with cave paintings and journeyed through time – discussing artists such as sandro botitcelli, hieronymus bosch, jan vermeer, eugene delacroix, van gogh, picasso, piet mondrian and mark rothko. it was fascinating and something i plan to engross myself in, in the coming months.

we [my kids and i] then watched a slideshow of jock’s work, from the time he was a child through last summer’s work, sharing his thoughts and stories along the way.  it was impressive that jock knew every person’s name and many of them, he’s photographed for generations.

throughout the weekend, we laughed and shared.  he took the time to teach my kids – not only about photography and art, but also a few magic tricks, which of course, they thought was the best thing ever.  we left palm beach sunday evening and the first thing my kids said was, we really like him; when are we going to see him again.

jock sturges is one of the most kind, caring, giving people i have ever met.  he selflessly shared so much time, knowledge and information, asking for absolutely nothing in return. to think he’s a master photographer pretty much blows my mind.  he inspired me and encouraged me.  i'm not sure how i got so lucky, but i am beyond grateful.  he shared with me that he sees something special in my work and well, i’m not taking that lightly.  he had some recommendations for me, which i am going to see through.  one thing for sure, i’m going to make his time and energy spent worth it – i will not disappoint!

jock -- i can’t thank you enough for your friendship and the gift you have given me.  i feel more than blessed and i will make you proud.  my children and i thank you for a most-magical weekend -- a weekend we will never forget.

and a few photos from the weekend...

santa's lap

just shared this with the littles, as they have NEVER sat on santa's lap. when we talked about seeing santa yesterday, ryder said, no way, i'm not seeing santa; you always say not to talk to strangers. skyler replied with, yea, i'm not seeing santa either. the littles have always been a bit scared of santa (and the characters at disney). and so it goes --  another year without sitting on santa's lap.

saw this improv on color me katie's blog, whose site always makes my day a bit brighter.


i remember seeing this dove video many years ago.

and now this, which i saw on facebook this morning and thankfully seems to be going viral.

the edit is ridiculous. the more i look at the before and after, it just makes me sick. and of course, to make things worse, what is one of their features -- the new skinny pills. we need to spread the word, especially to our children, that many most almost all of the photos we see in these types of magazines are NOT real. they are NOT something to aspire to. they are extremely retouched, airbrushed, liquified, etc. we all need to be teaching our children this, while they're young. and reminding them regularly.

i also came across this website today, OFF OUR CHEST, whose mission it is to 'make the world a happier place for women (and girls)'. seems very interesting and i plan to further explore for sure.  they support the self-esteem act, to protect our girls (petition found here).

ETA:  adding pat's comment (from below) here in my post because i just love it so much...

Beauty is confidence. Beauty is someone who is unabashedly themselves. Beauty is knowing that being ‘you’ exudes an incredible power. Beauty lives in each of us – if we can just allow ourselves to let it shine.

Teaching this to my children is the most important thing I can ever do.

you must have a great camera

a photographer went to a socialite party in new york. as he entered the front door, the hostest said 'i love your pictures. they're wonderful. you must have a fantastic camera'. he said nothing until dinner was finished. and then said, 'that was a wonderful dinner, you must have a terrific stove'.

- sam haskins

a friend recently shared the above quote on my facebook wall and well...i couldn't help but share it here too.

you are what you see

okay. not really.  but, i saw this on pinterest the other day. not sure how accurate it is [LOL] but kind of fun. what are the first four words you see? i'd love to know; post your four words in the comments.

original source is here.

also, i've had a few people inquire about the smile photo seen here in our house entry way.  i actually took that photo, when we lived in kansas.  please email me if interested in purchasing a print.

BTW my first four words were... happy naive outspoken love

ETA -- i just did this with kiele and skyer. they found...

KIELE: happy patient prey peace

SKY: lazy happy sweet love

i'd pretty much say that the words they found are right on. prey through me off a bit but kiele is such an animal lover, so maybe that's where it comes from.

gettin' crafty

i've always loved crafty stuff [although when i recently texted my mom about what i loved to craft as a child, her response was, "you didn't like to do many things. you wanted to be with your friends and play."]. but, i remember loving to draw, doodle and cross-stitch...a lot.  i also remember getting very frustrated with tangled threads, when cross-stitching.  my mom later added that i did do a great job with those things.  as an adult, i've cross-stitched, scrapbooked and quilted -- all for random short periods of time. now, my kids so love crafting. they're drawing, painting and simply creating all the time. they have the best imaginations and the freeness to be...that only childhood offers.

well...pinterest has my crafting spirit really fired up. i feel the pull. and i long to start creating soon. very soon.

here's a few projects that are at the top of my list right now. projects that i long to get started on soon...very soon!

i love you collage [will take lots of time to collect all those letters. should start collecting today.]

silhouette picture of all three of my kids

our embroidered hands

animal topped storage jars [my kids love playing with the hard-figured animals. such a perfect project to celebrate their joy.]

create my own designs and cross-stitch my entire family

and i recently asked steve to get my brand-new-unopened-year-old sewing machine out of our storage facility, which he did.  it's now sitting in the corner of my bedroom, anxiously waiting for some attention.

bean bag chair cover [we have an ugly bean bag, which i would love to cover in some cool mod fabric.]

lounging mat [perfect for our hard wood floors and a couch that is too small for all five of us]

last time i got bit by the really crafty bug, i made these tents over the littles' beds [in our kansas house].  i hope someone who found them at goodwill appreciated them. we just didn't have the room in this house and i figured by the time we leave, the littles would be too old for these tents.

have you recently done a crafting project that you loved or are so excited about?  if so, i'd love to hear about it.  please share.


your time is don't waste it living someone else's life. don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. they somehow already know what you truly want to become. everything else is secondary. - steve jobs | 2005

rest in peace.


thank you steve jobs for being one of those to change the world.

are you my mother?

sweet baby bird so innocentso beautiful and wise the future rests within your sights hope fills your tiny eyes your body warmed by fluffy down shields your heart from the rain rest softly on the leaves of brown your life has much to gain. - jill eisnaugle

before i photographed the fischer family in wisconsin, i really wanted to meet tom and the kids. so sunday morning, we met at a park playground. i wasn't sure if i should, but decided to bring my camera with me to the playground. little did i know that there would be a couple of children there, with a sweet little baby bird.

while baby bird might have thought this fabulous nest of brown was the perfect fit, sadly it just couldn't be so. i'm not sure what happened to the baby bird but i sure hope he was able to make it to rest softly on leaves of brown.

more tomorrow on the fischer family and my special days shared with them.

i ♥ mr. fischer!!

lol funny

okay, so i am really not very funny at all.  and i usually don't get jokes. but i LOVE practical jokes and could watch them all day. saw this on facebook today and just had to share here too.  i laughed so hard, i was snorting...and about cried.  and it's that much better that you can't understand a damn word they're saying. hope you enjoy...

meant to be

you know how you feel that you're just meant to do something? well that's how i feel about shooting polaroid. i'm not sure i can explain it. but it nags at me. to keep going. to keep shooting. to keep investing. of course, i struggle with my brain and waiver at times but ultimately, i'm always brought back to this darn polaroid camera.

but it's not easy. nor reliable (especially if you purchase 600 film off ebay, which i don't recommend). and it's expensive. and that can be frustrating.

i'm trying to figure out a way to incorporate polaroid into my client session because i think they're magical. and therefore, i think i should. i have some definite ideas.

here's a few shots from yesterday that have now become up there with my all time fav photographs.

yes, i believe it's meant to be. and well...that's good enough for me.

and of course, i have the 'remember who you are' polaroid, which i will forever treasure. and is now hanging as a framed 20x20 print right above my desk. maybe i'll enlarge and frame a few others and have a wall of polaroids.

friendship & inspiration

we met the C family when we lived on whidbey island, WA.  our husbands worked in the same EOD unit.  we lived on the same circle and our houses were separated by a playground.  and we fell in love with the C family the moment we met them.  our families were stationed together for two years and they helped us get through our own deployment (steve left when i was three months pregnant and he returned a couple weeks before ryder was born). and it just so happens that the C family now lives  only about 10 minutes from my friend, steph.  it had been six years since i last saw them and it was so, so awesome to see them again!!  they haven't changed a bit...except the girls are now 16 and 14 instead of 10 and 8.  oh my!!

also, i have to share that lou was my inspiration for starting crossfit.  we're friends on facebook and i had been reading her posts about how much she loves crossfit and how it was life-changing for her.  here's a before and after photo of lou.  the after photo is about one year later and 35 pounds lighter.  her strength, focus, passion and determination inspires me daily.

and here's some photos i took, while i was there this past weekend.  they sure did an amazing job at not looking cold.  it was 34 degrees when we were doing these.  i had on a parka; they kept running into the heated car to warm up for short bits.

and then lou's beloved dog, Pnut, joined us for a few photos...

i'm so looking forward to going back to virginia beach this april, when i'll be doing rachel's senior pictures.  woot woot!!  and of course, i'll get to hang out with this awesome family again.

oh my...

can't help but share, for those that haven't already seen it via twitter or facebook yet.  this guy is so funny!

and here's his video with the original SNL surprise party skit -- side by side.

his site says that he is in college in orlando.  and personally i think he needs some updated photos.  maybe i should offer?!!  it's only an hour away, you know.  :-)

helping kids with cancer

do you have your christmas cards yet?  need a few more? or want to buy some to use next year?  all while also supporting an amazing charity!! well...

here's some holiday cards featuring artwork of children with cancer.  you can purchase the cards on the CURE to the KIDS website -- and 50% of the purchase price goes to NMTRC, a childhood cancer research and clinic trials foundation.

card pricing (includes envelopes):

25-499, $0.90 500-999, $ 0.80 1000+, $ 0.70 minimum order: 25 cards

this is max's card. max's dad shared that max drew this snowman in december 2007, right before his cancer began exploding throughout his little body.

please consider supporting CURE to the KIDS and order a set of christmas cards today.  or if you'd rather just donate the money, you can do so here, at max's ring of fire foundation.

max -- the first time i met and photographed him, which just happened to be december 2007.

you can see more photographs of max on the blog that max's dad set up for me, when we first started our journey together -- mashed potatoes for breakfast.

our adventure

while our adventure has already begun -- being out of our house -- i feel it officially begins tomorrow morning, when we depart kansas.  and i'm going to really try and embrace this journey, from kansas city to tampa.  i'ts much more than a beginning and an end.  it's a pretty fabulous adventure... special time with the kids.  being together.  seeing, experiencing and embracing new places and things. 

while no one can deny that moving is stressful, we're pretty damn lucky to have these travel opportunities.  i mean from this point on, it's a vacation...right?  the hard part is over (until we get to tampa and the house hunting begins).  oh wait, we do have a carsick dog, but we'll ignore that part of the adventure for the moment. 

anyways, we've done our best to teach our kids how very lucky we are, as a military family -- to see, experience and live in different states, meet new friends, etc.  and with this trip, i'm hoping to (i mean, going to) have my camera by my side to document it all -- something i haven't done in the past.   we'll see how it goes but i'm optimistic...and excited.  :-)

my dear friend, erin darcy, posted this on my facebook wall a while back and it sends shivers down my spine.  such beautiful words.  such beautiful thoughts...

the story on your quilt is unfolding beautifully... torn threads that have to be pulled and re-sewn. new pieces brought in that make the rest of it come alive. worn patches with loving fond memories. you bring it with you every where you go. along the road. from one home to the next. ...always wrapped in love.

inspiring giving

saw this on facebook and then followed it to her blog -- inspirational australian photographer, sheye rosemeyer.  her words are just too awesome not to share... Giving-ness {The Me I Want To Be}

In my new Universe, I’ve met some amazing people who truly do give. In so many person and via the written word, in thoughts and acts, big and small. From a personal perspective and a professional one. Just this week, I’ve seen the most selfless of selves, handing out their knowledge and passion and enthusiasm so plentifully. With unfaltering support and pure intentions. No expectations of a return, generous simply because they don’t know how else to be. And while I was noticing the selflessness, I was also noticing the happiness that seemed to radiate too.

And then, because people are not made perfect, I’ve sometimes glimpsed the opposite of that.   Random acts of unkindness and selfishness that come from a place of fear.  Reactions to events that were never intended to be hurtful or harmful.  Poor assumptions.  An inability to remember that we are all just making. our. own. way. there.  As we should.  As we are entitled to. Don’t we all dream as children of becoming something special?  Of making our parents proud? Don’t we all grow up and wake up each day with the hope that we will become what we long for, either through hard work or luck or a portion of both? Isn’t it okay to want to be just a little bit amazing?  Even if it means the fragile, hopeful person next door is sometimes amazing too? We all yearn to reach our full potential yet it’s easy to just become lost in worry that someone else might just do it first.  Or better.

There are opportunities every day of our lives to either be giving, or be resentful. To open our hearts and freely give without expectation and to be amazed at just what comes back. Or to expend so much energy in trying to hold tightly what we see as ours and ours alone that we’re completely consumed by fear, missing out on the chance of so much beauty and thankfulness in return.

I know I always try to teach with this approach but I want it to be more than that. I aspire to live with giving. Whether it be knowledge or support or concern, or whatever else it might be, I am striving to give with a whole heart. Every. Single. Day. To live by the idea that something cannot be taken if you give it away. And if I do happen to slip, as I no doubt will, I’ll forgive my human-ness and try better next time. I will give myself leeway.

To those who I’ve shared beautiful conversations with this week regarding this very thing, thank you. To Fran, for giving me the “pretty” in the picture (and so much else), thank you. To Ava,  for always providing the inspiration to be the me I want to be (and the you I think you would have been) darling, thank you.


in celebrating giving...i would love to give an 8x10 print (of your choice) to one commenter, of this post.  simply comment and you're in the running for the print :-)  the winner will be randomly selected this friday!