Monday, April 29, 2013

identity crisis

Do you ever look around at your siblings and wonder if you were secretly adopted?

Good thing that my mom has pictures of me and my twin brother from day 1 at the hospital.
Of course, there is always the option that my mom was told that she was carrying twins and then when the big d-day arrived only one came forth. To cover up his mistake, the Dr. quickly grabbed the closest baby and threw her (me) into the incubator along with my mom's one lonely baby boy.

I mean, aren't twins supposed to look alike?  What does fair skin, blond hair, blue eyes and a lean build have in common with dark hair, ruddy complexion and a roly-poly physique? He, running his mouth all the time??? And I, stubborn and often silent? He, the class clown? And I, the one who would rather melt into the woodwork?

And you see, my cause for concern has had reason to grow with the passing years, especially as one after the other of my siblings have taken up the art of running. They run for fun. To unwind.  "It's so relaxing," so they claim.

My brothers run marathons. My sister likes to run too. I have aunts who are well over the proverbial hill who run marathons and break records. I have cousins who live to run and run to live. My dad loved to run in his youth and he has been talking about training to run in a marathon to celebrate his 60th birthday.

Shannon, my twin brother (the one I resemble the most in looks and actions)

My aunt Lisa and her daughter Melissa

Lisa and her two daughters, Tara and Melissa

My brother Kyle is training the next generation in this world of running. He was the first of my siblings to get into running. I remember how I almost cried with pride when he broke record after record in high school track and field.

Check out his hilariously moving video here.

My twin brother is on this photo. I can't find him, but he's there....all set to run in Poland. He's the smart, good looking one with his mouth wide open.

As you can see, I'm proud of my family of runners, even though it causes somewhat of an identity crisis for me.

Me?? Well. I ran in high school because I had to. I'm not quick to admit weakness or failure. Sheer determination, will power and pride got me through each and every obligatory 1 mile run at the beginning of P.E. class. However, I failed to find any pleasure in running. By the end of 1 mile, my heart would literally be pounding out of my chest, fire licking my lungs and coming out my throat and sweat was squirting out of every pore in my body. I'm pretty certain I  caught a glimpse of the pearly gates a time or two as my body slid towards the grave in the after math of the run.

I just don't like to run.

I'll walk and I'll walk fast, but please, don't make me run.

I use the excuse these days that I've been pregnant or nursing an infant over half my days in the last 10 years.

I'll carry and birth a baby, but....please....don't make me run.

See why I wonder sometimes if I actually have blood ties to these people that I've called 'my family' for nearly 32 years??

Good thing I have a robust voice and know how to use the art of exaggeration in any given conversation and that I always think I'm right. Otherwise, this slight identity crisis could morph into a full blown identity crash.

Just call me "Franklina"

p.s. I really love my family.

p.s.s. Maybe I can't run, but I think I take better pictures than they do.

p.s.s.s. I stole these pictures from their facebook accounts

Friday, April 26, 2013

Baby Arizona

Yesterday I got to meet and interact with littlest, cutest person ever. Meet baby Arizona.

Arizona is 7 weeks old and "finally reached 5 lbs" so her mama says. She was a preemie. I felt like I was handling a doll baby. So fragile. So delicate. So miniature. So perfect. So very pretty.

Arizona is the daughter of a cousin of my friend Sonya. (hey, did you follow that??!) Sonya asked me to do a joint photo shoot session with her. My friendship with Sonya goes way back to my high school days. We attended a small high school together for 3 years. After high school she ended up moving in with my family for a while. We shared a bedroom and lots of dreams together. We both fell in love (with different men, of course!) about the same time, got married within months of each other and had our first babies within months of each other as well. Her husband whisked her off to the state of New York and eventually on to Maine. We do not see each other very often these days. However, she is visiting her old hometown this week which also happens to be my current hometown. Hence, the miracle of us doing a photo shoot together.

I was disappointed that the morning was too cold to work with the natural light that I love to use for infant photo shoots on my front porch. We were forced indoors where we had to work with limited sun light coming in through the windows and pathetic flashes. Oh, well.

The most interesting aspect about the co-shooting was the totally different styles that became evident. Sonya and I have always been two very uniquely different individuals. Working together in this way highlighted our differences again.

 I'm traditional. I care about a good sharp image. I stay very basic with backgrounds. I primarily use either a black or white back drop. I close up shots that capture the unique features and expressions of the subject. My pictures lack smack. :)

Sonya is creative. Her mind works overtime, I'm pretty sure. :) She walked in my door with a bag full of cute props and zany sheets. She was immediately scanning my house for other things to use for props. Her photos are popping with color and personality.

Any guesses on which of us took the first photo in this post?

Here's some samples of our work.

Handiwork of Sonya:

And now, here's my perspective of this little cutie pie:

This Little Lady gave me some serious baby fever.

14 more weeks!!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Petersheims

It was fun to spend some time with Reuben and Patty and their family last weekend. Patty ask me to do some shooting for her while we did a some sight seeing and picnicking together. She wanted mostly candid shots of her and her kids. What fun. We started out with a few whole family shots on top of Federal Hill. What a beautiful place to view the city and harbor. What a windy place. It was, in fact, too windy and therefore a little too cool to get any great shots this time of year. All of Patty's careful color coordinating was for naught when Reuben forgot to take off his coat for the pictures and Ben refused to take his hood down. I think they're still a right good looking bunch despite the whipping wind and jackets.

My favorite photo shoots, without fail, must include baby & mommy shots

I love all the joy captured
on this one!

Our delightful photo shoot was cut short by one of the Littles who suddenly needed "to go". No public rest rooms within sight or walking distance..........
Sometimes you just do what you gotta do. This time it meant leaving the park and going back to their school for a potty break. We enjoyed our picnic supper in the school play ground, which was just fine and dandy...but not such a hot spot for taking pictures. 

New Life

I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature's rebirth?  ~Edward Giobbi

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Know what that is???

I think I have it.

Just a week and a half ago My husband  was called by God, through the lot, to serve our church as head pastor.  Church leadership is not a new idea to us since Amos was commissioned as an assistant pastor 6+ years ago. We're not sure exactly what all will change with the responsibilities of being head pastor, but inevitably, there will be some changes.

We have been blessed with the abiding presence of Jesus, which is giving us both peace and courage about the future. We're also incredibly blessed with a wonderfully supportive church family, friends and relatives. We're so blessed.

Pinned Image

We celebrated our 10th anniversary a few months early, thanks to the expected (and greatly anticipated!!!) arrival of Ittsy in early August. We spent 3 delightful days at my brother Kyle's cabin. We didn't leave the cabin during our stay, save for a short walk and to carry in some wood. I always imagined that a 10th anniversary celebration would surely include something  grand, like a trip to Europe or the New England States or a cruise to who knows where. What I didn't imagine was that we would go through an ordination 1 day before our anniversary trip. I didn't know that we would be in the thick of parenting and paying school tuition and buying a house and feeding this beautiful growing family. I didn't know that a quiet 3 day vacation at a rustic cabin just a couple of miles from home would be feel so absolutely luxurious and wonderful. It was perfect for us at this time.

We spent the bulk of our time sitting in front of this lovely fireplace. This fire provided the primary heat for the cabin. My dream home definitely includes a real wood burning fireplace.

Hot drinks and fun treats. {Thanks to our mystery friend for his particular pastry} No sticky faces to wipe or spilled hot chocolate to clean up.

Good books and good conversation. I would highly recommend this particular book. This is not your typical 'how to improve your marriage' kind of book. It's a call to personal holiness and how God wants to use your marriage as a tool in this growing process. Good stuff.

This is our definition of a perfectly delicious supper. We did all our own cooking, which was relatively little for just two people.

Relaxing. Relaxing. Relaxing.
This shot is taken from the loft room down into the main living room area.

And this one was taken from the living room up into the loft area. The loft area includes a large master bedroom and bathroom.

View from living room area into the kitchen. Don't mind the sheets of dry wall...he's still renovating. This is going to be quite the sweet cabin when he's done!!! If you're interested in renting it for a week or weekend you can contact my brother Kyle. ( you're welcome, Kyle, for the advertising)

Less than 24 hours after returning home from the cabin we were packed up again and headed to Baltimore to visit some of our favorite missionaries. This time the tribe went with us. We stopped en route to visit Amos's parents and meet a brand new nephew.

The Petersheim family is currently living in the city of Baltimore. They are in the middle of starting a Christian school in the city. (think. HARD WORK) Their vision and the way they live out of that is an incredible inspiration to us!

Our history with Reuben and Patty goes back quite a few years to our earliest days of marriage. Well, even further than that actually. I knew both Reuben and Patty when they were still single. Reuben was a student at Faith Builders and Patty was a teacher.  But back to our connection with them in our first years of marriage...We were part of a urban ministry vision group which they started. They're done with vision group thing now, they're putting it into practice.

I love this picture of Reuben and Patty because it just fits them to the T. They're probably brainstorming about which curriculum they should try next.
Amos got to help with some renovation work at their school building on Saturday. They are expanding their facility as their school grows. Exciting. But like I already said, lots and lots of long hours are being put in by Reuben and Patty and their fine staff at Hampden Christian School.

Spending time with this fine lady was of highest priority. It was a joy to see Rosanne's life in Baltimore. I enjoyed walking the streets with her, visiting some of her favorite shops and having a cup of coffee along The Avenue.  Christopher claimed her as his new best friend.

Saturday evening Rosanne and Katrina took us on a pleasurable sight seeing tour of Baltimore. The kids loved riding the train and bus.

We hopped off the train for a pizza break.

And enjoyed a beautiful walk along the harbor.

Our train ride back to Rosanne's neighborhood turned out to be rather interesting when the train had to stop due to an accident on the tracks. Apparently a drunk man was walking on the tracks and got hit. {shivers!} We sat on the stationary train for a while and then finally were directed off the train and on to a city bus. We then commenced to sitting and waiting on the bus for a while. We were eventually delivered to our desired destination, just an hour or so late.

On our way home from Baltimore we stopped one more time to visit  few of our friends at SMBI. The time there was short but extremely sweet. Amos and I keenly feel our youthfulness as we think about our role as leaders in our church. It was comforting and encouraging to be surrounded by  mature friends who have already walked this road.

And now. We're home again. And very happy to be here. It may take us several weeks to recover from this whiplash.