Friday, November 20, 2009

Snowball Fight!

I couldn't sleep, so here's the result. You're only allowed to choose up to 5 heads, so poor Gavin is left out. I'll have to do another one soon with him included.

I do wish it said 'Merry Christmas' at the end, instead of happy holidays. {Is that too much to ask?!?} And, it's not as cute as the one my friend Valerie did for Halloween last month, but hope you enjoy it!

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chloe reaches new heights

This girl is always getting herself into trouble.

Hard to believe, right?
Doesn't she look sweet.
And innocent.

Looks can be deceiving.

We've learned that if Chloe is behind closed doors, there's something fishy going on.
Chloe holds tight to the 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality.
Like yesterday when she closed the door behind herself after she went into the boys' room.
I gave her the benefit of the doubt, but after about five minutes, I go into the room and I don't see her.

"Chloe," I call out.
And then I hear, "I'm up here mom!"
I turn my head and see this...

{I know, probably should have gotten her down right away instead of pausing to grab the camera and take some pics. But would you expect any less from me?}

You may recall that she has scaled the boys' shelves before. At least, I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this very thing before, but I was unable to find it in the archives.
Regardless, the other photo I have from several months back shows that Chloe climbed to the first set of shelves before getting caught, er I mean, before stopping.

But as you can see, she's definitely reached new heights.
There's never a dull moment with Chloe around!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cha Cha Cha Cha Changes

First off, did you 'get' the blog title? Are you singing it in your head? Not really a big David Bowie fan myself, but I do admit that's a catchy song :-)

Secondly, I changed the look of the blog a bit. What do ya think? I've actually already gotten a lot of good feedback about the new look on Facebook, especially regarding the header photo. So glad you all like it, and thanks for the nice comments!

Third, I have an announcement to make that many of you are already aware of but I figured I'd make a formal announcement anyway...

As many of you know, I have my own business. It's appropriately named, 'Angie Sanders Design,' and offers the services of graphic design and commercial photography. What exactly does that mean you may ask? Basically, small businesses hire me to take photos of their businesses and/or create brand identity materials, such as brochures, advertising, mailers, newsletters, cards, invitations, etc. I've been in business for myself ever since my oldest son was about 1 year old, so that means about five years. My clients have included everything from a hospital, a trucking company and an auto dealer to an ice cream truck delivery service and a clothing company. I love it because it enables me to stay at home with the kids while earning some income and meeting people from various walks of life.

In addition to graphic design and commercial photography, I have been taking portrait photos for people over the past year or so. It started with family and friends, taking photos for families, children, infants and engagements. But when I began getting calls from friends-of-friends, neighbors, even strangers asking me to take their pictures, Jason suggested I add photography to my business name and start a website. After a lot of thought and prayer, and the fact that Jason bought a web domain with a new business name, I decided to add portrait photography to my list of services. After all, I love photography. It really just makes sense to make it a larger portion of my business.

So, my new business name is 'Sanders Photography and Design.' The web address, thanks to Jason, is But it won't be up and going for a bit...I have been working on designing our church website and I have to finish it before I can start on this one! I'll let you know when it's officially up and going!

I also started a new business blog. Click here to check it out! I'd love it if you'd all become followers of the photography blog as well, and share it with you friends and family. It will be a nice place to preview the latest client photos, and to let everyone know about upcoming special events and promotions. So instead of having their family's photos appear on my family blog, they now have their own blog!

Of course I have also had to change my business cards, which came in the mail this past week...

I used various photos of the kiddos on one side, and my business information was printed on the other side. The kids were pretty excited to see their faces on what they thought were 'playing cards.' Ha ha.

As you can imagine, with all of these changes I've been extremely busy. But the reason I'm sharing this is not only to inform everyone of this new facet of my business. More importantly, it's to ask for your prayers through it all.

Please pray that this will be just another opportunity for the Lord to use me and this business in any way He can. It is so easy to become self-focused when you are working for yourself, especially when your work comes from you. But my first and foremost prayer is that this business be the Lord's, not mine. That everything in my life, including this business, be about Him, not about me. That He is able to use it to glorify Himself and that the art I create is a reflection of His beauty. I pray I constantly reflect less of me, and more of Him, and that this will be another way to reflect the beauty of our Lord...through everyday moments captured in pictures.

Big Bird Returns

Many of you already know that my in-laws have an ostrich that escaped from his pen this past Sunday. Following his escape, there was an 'all points bulletin' (ha ha) out for this bird. Really, everyone has been talking about it...all three local news stations have covered the story, and The Sanders Clan can hardly go anywhere without being asked about Big Bird. Even Gabe was being bombarded at school with questions from his fellow classmates about Big Bird's disappearance. You'd think this Bird were human! But really, to many, he's like a member of the family. Sounds corny, yes, but this ostrich is so well known in the community by the flocks of people, young and old alike, who come out to visit the Sanders Pumpkin Farm each fall. He's kind of the farm's mascot, and to have him missing was sad for everyone.

Well, wipe those tears away because Big Bird has returned! Knowing that everyone would want details, Bonnie (my mother-in-law) asked me to write a press release for area news organizations. I also took a few photos of Big Bird safe at home. I thought I would share them on the blog, so in case you miss the news (which is pretty much impossible if you live around here) then you can read of Big Bird's happy return home.

Search For Runaway Ostrich Comes To An End

VINTON - The ostrich that has become a mascot of sorts to the Sanders Pumpkin Farm is home once again as the missing bird’s three day adventure ended Wednesday with Big Bird’s safe return.

The wayward ostrich’s owners Dwight and Bonnie Sanders, of 2449 63rd Street, Vinton, first reported the bird missing this past Sunday.

Dwight was driving a tractor when he spotted the bird running in the field. He thought, “There goes an ostrich.” After the shock of seeing an ostrich running through the field and the amazement of how fast the bird was running wore off, Dwight said that the realization came that this is in fact his ostrich.

A few other Big Bird sightings were reported over the next few days, but none yielded his capture. Finally Wednesday, the bird was spotted in a neighbor’s field less than a mile from home, where a gated fence was able to keep him confined until the capture could be made.

Although the owners were unsure of how they would manage to catch the ostrich, Dwight, with the help of his son, Jason, and farmhand David Kalina, were able to successfully round up Big Bird.

Dwight explained the round up. “I called to Big Bird and after a brief hesitation she ran towards me. I was able to hold on to her neck, but she got nervous. We had read some information on rounding up an ostrich that suggested putting a sack over the ostrich's head to calm her down, and that seemed to help.”

It took all three men to get her into the trailer, but once there she sat down and stayed there, with her owner by her side, until they arrived home. The hood was then removed and Big Bird got up and walked out of the trailer.

“The other animals seemed happy to see her,” Dwight said.

Both Dwight and Bonnie are thankful to have their ostrich home.

“I’m so glad she wasn’t hurt,” Bonnie said. “After her brief encounter with freedom, I think she’s glad to be home.”

Bonnie added, “I want to thank everyone for all their concern and willingness to help.”

As to how the ostrich got loose in the first place, the Sanders said it appears that Big Bird must have been pushing against the gate and broken the latch.

With Big Bird home and the latch repaired and reinforced, the hope is that the resident mascot will remain safe and sound with her other barnyard friends on 63rd Street.

Monday, November 9, 2009

{Whitney & TJ Engagement / Married Photos}

If you think the title of this post is a little strange, there is a story behind it...

Whitney had asked me to take some engagement photos of her and TJ before they were married this past Spring, but the timing never worked out. Finally this past weekend we got together to take some much anticipated photos! Better late than never, right?!?

These two are so much fun! And they were willing to do whatever I said in the name of photography, which of course makes for a great session :-) Here's a preview...enjoy!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Encourage One Another

Recently, I have had some disheartening encounters in my life where I was left with a feeling of discouragement. I felt hurt and sad, wondering why Christian friendship at times falls so very short of what God would intend it to. I was left seeking refuge in God. And because our God is a God who is there for us in all times and who equips us with His Word, I came across some scripture in Romans 12 during my quiet time yesterday that dealt with the very feelings I was having. Funny how God does that, isn't it!?!

In these verses, Paul talks about the gift of encouragement...

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:3-8, NKJV)."

As I thought about the word 'encouragement,' I wondered what exactly this word encompassed. So what does Mr. Webster say about the word 'encourage'?

"To give courage to; to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; to raise, or to increase, the confidence of; to animate; enhearten; to incite; to help forward; -- the opposite of discourage."

As I look around in my life and in the church body, I see many people who have been given the gift of encouragement. They are people who aim to lift their brother or sister up. They are people who unveil our eyes and help us to see the potential we have in Christ. And they are people who make us better people ourselves, giving us courage and hope, and helping to increase our confidence, just as the definition says.

But as I look around, sadly all too often I also see people of discouragement. And to the shame of the church, I have seen discouragement running ramped among believers. People using other people as stepping stones for their own advantage. People aiming to make others look bad, and people who try to discredit fellow believers in order to promote themselves. People whose goal seems to be pulling other people down for their own selfish motives. People in competition with one another, instead of trying to help and encourage one another.

When we have encounters with these people, we are left feeling worse about ourselves, and ultimately feeling less confident, less capable, less important.

How sad that there are so many people who feel that they need to compete for a place in this world, for a position 'over' a fellow brother and sister. I truly believe that God's heart is breaking as He sees His children tearing one another down in order to achieve more confidence for themselves. And really, when it's all said and done, those 'discouragers' are left not filled, but empty. They are left with nothing but a trail of people they've stepped on along the way to get to what they've perceived as the 'top.' And as they look around, I'm sure it's a lonely place. Selfishness and self-concern above all others is inevitably bound to breed loneliness.

Although it is true that those people of discouragement can't 'make' us feel bad, that we ultimately choose the way we react to their words and actions. At the same time, it's also true that they can 'help' us feel bad, just as they can 'help' us feel good.

Don't get me wrong, I have some people in my life who embody what it means to be an encourager in Christ. But I also have experienced the hurt that comes from people who instead offer discouragement. And whether their motives are that of competition, or of feeling threatened, or of selfishness, the result is the same: it's all sin that leaves our brother or sister feeling hurt.

I have to tell you, I struggled writing this post. As a sinner and a stumbling believer who so very often falls short of the example of Christ, I above all would never want to appear that I was claiming to be anything higher than I am. I make mistakes and I fall, and I am left seeking forgiveness from the Lord for those mistakes and stumbles. No, I am not pointing a finger. I am merely sharing something that God has laid on my heart, and something that I have experienced first hand in my own life. I am not perfect, but I have been blessed with a desire to lift others up. And in turn, I desire to be surrounded by those who will lift me up and encourage me in my faith as well.

So I humbly ask that you join with me in the pursuit to be an encourager! While I know that there are people who are given a supernatural gift of encouragement, we are all called to be encouragers of one another. To put aside our self-absorbed world and to love on one another. To not put ourselves more highly than another person, but to be humble.

Aren’t our hearts too easily brought down into the depths, even at times to the point of giving up hope and doubting whether we will ever be delivered from the frustrations and difficulties of life in this hostile world? I don’t mean hostile in the sense that our lives are threatened, but hostile in that this world is no friend to us. To be followers of Jesus Christ means we are counter-cultural. Only amongst ourselves can we find a sympathetic ear that can listen and truly understand the troubles that come with being a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Only within the family is there comfort that comes from those that have experienced the comfort of God Himself.

We don’t dare withhold such a blessing from one another. But I think we often do. And how much unnecessary suffering do we experience simply because we neglect to encourage one another in our troubles?

Look at Hebrews 3:12-13
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort (or encourage) one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13, NKJV).

We are actually given the responsibility to prevent one another's spiritual regression by means of encouraging one another in the faith daily. Not just on Sundays, and not just in special seminars or conferences, but in our everyday lives. This faith in which we live is to be spoken of amongst ourselves perpetually, for our own spiritual good. Like Naaman who would have died physically if he had not listened to the encouragement of his servants, we need to heed the encouraging words of one another so we don’t begin to die spiritually.

Let us encourage one another to be encouragers!