Cool Stuff To Think About

You have reached The Blog. I am glad you're here. Grab a cup of coffee, browse around, leave me a comment. Hopefully you'll find lots of cool stuff to think about and even better stuff to look at.

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Life in the Arctic Tundra

It was -26 here this morning. Enough said.

At least she looks warm.....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh My Sweetness!!!

Is she not the sweetest little princess? She almost had me wanting another....almost. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

From the Heart of an American Soldier

This is our friend, SFC Alan Cotton. He is serving his third month of a twelve month tour in Iraq, where he is training Iraqi soldiers. I told him I wanted to do a little blurb about him on my blog and asked him if we wouldn't mind sending me a few Alan words of wisdom that he might like to share with the world. I asked him because he is one of those people that inspire me. He is a Dad of two gorgeous little girls, Allee and Jenna, and the husband of my dear friend Stacy, who I admire as much. They live just outside of Austin Texas, which seems light years away from us here in New Hampshire, though not as far away as Iraq is I suppose!

So, Alan obliged my request and gave me this tidbit of inspiration and a short lesson in simple mathematics. (Well, maybe not simple.) Here you go...

"Dear Alli,

I have thought for a few days about what information I have to share with other people. And the truth is I have nothing to offer... other then myself! (Doesn't this sound familiar?) In fact I'm not sure if I'm the right one at all.

For starters Proverbs 27:17 always makes me want to be a better person, Christian, soldier, man, father and husband. I share this verse as often as I can, not by my words but by my actions. Most importantly I have found that for this verse to fully work on you the person you must have at least three people in your life. This will ensure you become the best person GOD wants you to be.

First, everyone needs someone that they look up to in life. When you communicate with this one person they always give you something profound and new to work on. This one person is never short on words and gives the best advice both directly and indirectly to you. There counsel is always spot on. For me it is my Pastor Paul Kemp. Thank you Paul.

Secondly, you need someone that you are equal to in life. This person can be your best friend, your spouse, anyone that you can share ideas and thoughts with. This one person also doesn't have any problem telling you how bad your ideas really are and that your "great ideas" are weak at best. For me this person changes frequently, however most of the time it is my wife Stacy Cotton. Since I have been deployed my equal to has been Captain Joe Hess. As far as my great ideas go.... well they won't work unless ' I ' do.

Lastly, you need to find someone to mentor. Someone that perhaps looks up to you as a role model or someone you seek out to make better. My children fall into this category. I sought my own daughters out to mentor because I love them and I don't want them to make the same mistakes I have made. Allee and Jenna was just a starting point. My daughters will be someone whom I chose to mentor daily not as a daddy or a father. It's more like being a "Christian Tour Guide" for life and it's expectations life has on us as people. The real testament of who God wants you to be is a when someone seeks you out. You know the, "ONE." ....we don't have time for. The one you see clearly needs helps. The one who is hurting or in need. It has been my experiance that this person will come to you when you least expect it.

Here are some simple rules that apply to your three people when challenged. They are also rules in life that just simply work. "If you tell the truth you'll never have to remember anything." Mark Twain. I lie the loudest when I lie to myself. At one point in my life I lived as though the 10 commandments were multiple choice. Be thankful for how you grew up, even if it wasn't the most pleasant experiance. Get over yourself! Life isn't about looking back or waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain. "You learn more from your failures then any single success." Senior Drill Sergeant Cotton. During a difficult time in my life, Stacy got a Hallmark Card that stated, "Those who achieve success are those who have a dream and make it come true." Perhaps, I didn't reach my own personal goal and the hurt of my own failure defined my true character. The second part to that is, if I want my dreams to come true, I mustn't over sleep. The quality of my life depends on the quality of my thoughts. (Alli's emphasis- I couldn't resist- this is just SO true!!!)

Finally, the key is to listen to other people. You'll find your three people and they will multiply. But really focus on your, THREE. I like to think of them as the three wise men. My three people have mulipled a few times just because of some of the jobs I have done in the Army. Here is some simple math that proves my scientific theory why you need to at least three people in your life to become better. 3+3= 6 Six, the age of my youngest daughter Jenna. She has 5 letters in her name. 5+3= 8 Eight, the amount of sleep doctors recommend we have in one night. 8+3= 11 Eleven, the age of my oldest daughter Allee who just placed second in a science fair in Austin Texas. 11x3= 33 Just a random number to most people, even to me! BUT, if you subtract three from thirty three twice you get the number 27. Now remember the number 27. And then if you divided 27 by 3 you would get 9. At age nine I found myself in some very bad situations that caused me to pray. 9+3= 12 The number twelve. What a wonderful number! In fact my family loves it because when 12 months are up I can return home from Iraq. 12+3= 15 Most soldiers are on a 15 month deployment and I find if very difficult to find the right words to share with them, mainly because I am on a 12 month deployment. When you add three to fifteen you get 18 every single time. 15+3= 18, 15+3= 18, 15+3= 18. And I'm not real sure why?

At the beginning of my math problem I jumped from six to five. Discounting the multiple of three theme. And if your a math geniuses you caught that when I counted out how many letters that are in my daughters name which is five that I didn't use the number six. I like knowing that it only takes one to change things. In fact you can also subtract one from eighteen you'll get seventeen every time. Now remember the number 17. The truth of the matter is... it does only take, "ONE." The one person who died on the cross for my sin. The one person I chose to write to and email to tonight. The one person in fact is YOU. You are that one person that can make a difference in someone's life.

Back to the two numbers I asked you to remember. Twenty Seven and Seventeen. (27:17) And if you were listening, I stated that my favorite verse in the Bible is Proverbs 27:17. When I am in prayer I always ask, "GOD, I want you to be more inside of me then of myself." It is never too late to become the one with God. Be the ONE God has made you to be. Isn't it funny that is only takes one.

Alli, Thank you for reminding me that I am a Christian.

Alan Cotton"

Alan, You rock!

Thank you for this, I love you, Man! :)

Feel free to leave Alan any words of thanks for his sacrifice for freedom and the spread of democracy.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Have a Crush...

Yup, How could you NOT have a crush on this handsome little guy? Look at those lashes and his sweet little half smile!! What a cutie!! As if his good looks weren't enough, he is also quite charming, can follow directions perfectly, and is a most delightful little soul.

He is the big brother of 7 week old twins, a girl and a boy. He has a lot of work ahead of him, all of the teaching, sticking up for, and picking on that he will do with his teeny brother and sister. I am sure he is up for it though!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I am a photographer...what a surprise....

I don’t know when it happened exactly, the first time I could say that without feeling like I was lying to the world. It came on suddenly, the realization that I had become something. It feels like sweet relief to know that I won’t leave this world without a tag, without an identity of some sort. And the very best part is this: the pure, unencumbered, undeniable joy that comes from knowing that I have something to give, something to offer to the world. You know what the funny part is- I had that something all along - the main ingredient- ME.

Yup, Meeeee. So in realizing that my gift to my dear hubby, my kiddos, my friends, my family, and even my clients is ME, I figured I needed to start working a little more on making ME the ME that God intended. Now THAT seems like one overwhelming task. Luckily I have God’s promise that I can do all things through Him, (thank you, God,) or I would be in big trouble. BIG trouble.

So I thought I would share every so often some of the things that God is showing me, like all the “stuff” in my head that I believe, like “I am a failure and always will be.” See, we’ve worked through that one a bit, making some headway. I can see that I am not a failure as a photographer, though on some days I might FEEL like a failure. I usually feel like the biggest loser when it comes to my weight, and I mean biggest loser in the worst way, not like the tv show way. I still have seen no success in this department. Suddenly though, I am learning to be thankful for the challenge. It will make me rely on God’s strength, it will make me seek His Face, and expect Him to keep me going. That’s a good thing. Unfortunately in this fallen world, the challenges are what make us better.

And hey, gratitude is better than chocolate.

My new SP, what fun this was (that's a joke)
I wanted something fun and funky. For all you action junkies out there, I used Ren's "Julie's Curse" for this one and added some texture from Feature Pics (I'll get the link for this later)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and Man."

This quote is by King Solomon, found in Proverbs 3: 3-4. King Solomon has been widely regarded as one of the richest and wisest men to ever have walked this earth. Definitely a guy to listen to! He once asked God for wisdom to build his kingdom, not riches, but wisdom, and God blessed his selfless request. You can read that story in 1Kings 3 and 4. VERY cool story.

Have a beautiful icy day!!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

First Annual Picture of the Year WINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!

A HUGE Congratulations to the B-L Family for their big win in the first ever Picture of the Year Contest!! They earned 281 votes out of a total 979!! Wow!! That's a lot of voting going on!

I've had a blast with this, and I hope you all have had one too. It was fun to watch those votes pour in day after day and I could hardly wait to see the final outcome, especially since it was neck and neck there with Sweet Cheeks until the very end!!!

Congrats to everyone!

If you would like to leave a comment for the B-L Family, you can do so by clicking the comments link at the bottom of this post.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Girls and other Tidbits for a Valentines Thursday

My Girls decided they wanted to dress up and play model last night, so we did! Aren't they so elegant and lovely? Well....sort of..... My friend Laura Stetser pointed out how fun it will be to share this last gem with her boyfriend someday! LOL!!

Today is the last day for the vote.."Sweet Cheeks" and "I am a Dreamer" are running neck and neck! How fun is this???!!!???

Have I told you about The Pixel Chicks blog? Check us out, we are ten women photographers from all over the world. I feel extremely priveleged to be considered one of them. Have a browse around some of their websites.
A quote for today by George Sheehan: “Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be”
Have a LOVEly Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Photo of the Year

Scroll to the Bottom and Click OLDER POSTS to view the finalists!!

"Fireman's Daughters" Sneak Peek

These girls rock! I am so impressed with them- we shot in an open bay of the firehouse yesterday when it was only 15 degrees and they did not complain once! And look at these fun shots... they were made to be models! Great job girls, your Dad is going to LOVE these!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

Okay so maybe I won't be submitting a quote EVERY day, but I will try to get one in once in awhile. I love quotes. They inspire me, push me, drive me to be better than I am. This one is one that I am thinking of having made into wall writing for my exercise room. It is by Og Mandino.
(Whenever I post a quote I wil try to give you some background on the author. It makes a difference who says what, I think. )

"I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy."

Love that! Have a great day, and keep voting on those Photos of the Year!!!

This is little "C"- he was having a bright idea when I snapped this shot of him at his session last month.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

My first born is EIGHT today! I blinked, she grew up....

Here she is EARLY this morning, opening her presents.

She got to "bedazzle" herself for the occassion with some Hannah Montana bling!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I changed the music on my site!

Check it out... I just love this song!
Buy her album Here.

A Little Tidbit

So I thought I would share with you what it was in particular that made me choose the top ten as the top ten. In all honesty it had nothing to do with the technical merit of an image, though most of these are decent enough. It had everything to do with emotion, how each image made me feel when I saw them. Here goes:

Mom's Bliss: The title probably tells a lot about why I picked it. As a Mom, it absolutely delights me when my own children enjoy each other and show love to one another. Those two are soaking each other up at that moment, in their "I don't want to admit it but I like my brother/ sister" way. It makes me happy.

"I am a Dreamer": I really think she looks like she is dreaming, like all the world around her is just at a standstill, and she is there, in the moment, dreaming like all girls her age do. I wonder what she is dreaming about, I wonder what her future will bring, and I appreciate what a quiet sweet soul she is.

"Once Upon a Dream" Doesn't she just look like she is making a wish in a magic wishing well? It is fantasy, and for a moment she gets to live in another world. I love her hair blowing in the wind, too, and how she almost glows in her pure white dress.

"Sister Secrets" Maybe because I am so fond of these two sweet sisters I just love this image. I think it so beautifully illustrates their relationship and their personalities, and it embodies the joy of being a sister for anyone who has one, or anyone (like me) who always wished they did.

"Kinetic Joy" I think I want to dance when I see this, dance and be full of joy, laughter, and all that being alive is all about. It moves me, energizes me, and makes me want to be present. I just love it.

"Sweet Cheeks" What can I say about this one except, hello, is she not the cutest little thing you have ever seen? Look at those eyes, and truly, she is this serious every time I see her. It's just her.

"At Day's End" This little one just moved at a hundred miles an hour for this entire session, he never stopped, that is, until this moment. It was like his gas just ran out and this little weed got his attention on the ground and he plopped down to study it in his intense toddler way. I was delighted to discover that he plopped down in the most beautiful setting sunlight, the best light we had that day. It was beautiful up there at the Rocks Estate, and he was as precious as any little boy could be.

"2008 and Beyond" I LOVE this image. I think she looks drop dead gorgeous and there she is, right in the middle of her own little town that will change so much over the years to come, just as much as she will. This girl is a Believer in Jesus Christ, so I see her future is in good hands.

"A Part of Her" I feel like I can look into her soul. Aren't her eyes so beautiful? She is so young, yet somehow her eyes have something wise behind them, and playful and fun all at the same time. Sweetness, pure sweetness. Plus, I love the crop!

"The Good Boy" He started out the session very shy, and his Mom even said that he did not like his picture being taken. It was amazing to see him relax and gradually he even acted as though he enjoyed himself. He really put his heart into his pictures, like he was doing it for his Mom. He's a good boy, and I can see it in his eyes in this image.

Here's another favorite of mine from the year...Look, they're having fun together!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Meeting David Jay

I spent the day today gleaning all kinds of brilliant words of wisdom from THE David Jay, world renowned wedding photographer, in his marketing/ workflow seminar in Concord. And though I have said many many times in the past that I will NOT, no way no how not ever do weddings, I might now be persuaded to do a bitty one. Maybe. He is so flippin amazing!!!!!!! Check out his site but bring a tissue, b/c if weddings make you cry, his site will make you sob.....

And as if meeting David Jay wasn't enough, I also got to spend the day with another of my favorite photographers of all time, my good friend, Megan Peck. She drove in from Massachussettes. Luv ya Megan!!

Here we are... (this was taken w/ a camera phone)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Calling All Babies...

Yoohooo...Babies!!!! If you are a beautiful Baby, not yet crawling but sitting up, OR brand spankin NEW, I've got a deal for you!:)

My normal session fee is $75 but for the months of February and March, I will do babies, in those age categories, for $25, and I will give you a free 5x5 styrene mounted "petite four" - a new product that I will be offering in the coming weeks. This is a small square tile that is displayed on a desk or shelf with an easel. VERY COOL!!!!