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happy birthday, amber

I still remember it as one of the saddest days of my life. My parents and I had driven my sister Amber down to Oklahoma City to go to college. And we left her. For the first time in my entire life, I was not going to be living with my older sister and best friend. I cried. For a good portion of the 10-plus hour drive back up to our home in Iowa, I cried.

Amber and I had been through it all together, so far. We had shifted from homeschooling to a small Christian school, back to homeschooling, and into an even tinier Christian school, together. We had suffered through the same oppressive clothing rules and strict religious standards. We had the same friends, shared the same stories, laughed at the same silly things.

At the time, the day we dropped Amber off at college, it seemed like some sort of ending or separation. But really, despite my teenaged fears, that separation never occurred. Amber and I eventually moved into an apartment together, then rented a house with some other girls, and now we live in a house that Amber owns. She is still and always will be one of my best friends.

Today is Amber’s birthday.

I’d like to tell you guys a little bit about who Amber is, and just use my blog to publicly say a big Happy Birthday to her!

Amber is, first and foremost, a strong Christian girl. She has a close relationship with God. I often walk into a room and see her reading/studying the Bible. She has always been a good influence on me in this area.

Amber is a wonderful mom to my niece Laila. Laila is not Amber’s biological daughter, but the bond of love between them is stronger than blood. Over the past few years, I have watched {closely, since I live with her} Amber learn to parent a teenager. i would say that she has been highly successful!

Amber is fun and funny. She teaches/coaches middle schoolers, and she always has a humorous story to tell about their antics. She is the first to want to go on an adventure, whether it be camping or exploring an old abandoned house.

Amber is beautiful, inside and out. I have already mentioned her spirituality, but Amber also places a high priority on fitness. She works out on a regular basis, and attempts to keep the rest of us in shape, too! :)

Amber gives great advice. You might have to hit her to get her attention and make her listen to you, but once she does, she gives great advice. Just kidding about the hitting…We have lived together so long that she has learned to tune me out when necessary, since everyone knows I can talk..and talk..talk. I like to tease her about not listening to me.

All in all, Amber is an amazing human being. I am proud of her and happy to have her as a confidant, friend, and sister.

{Amber also models for me on demand.}

Happy Birthday, Amber!!! I love you so much!


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Kelly BeaneDecember 29, 2010 - 5:51 am

Amber is an amazing woman. I admire all she does in her life and the mother she is to Laila. Happy Birthday and lots of love Amber!

life lessons from a thrift store

Yesterday, I made my way over to a nearby thrift store to do a little shopping on my lunch break. This has become a normal way for me to pass the time and avoid the fast food trap during the noon to one hour.

My family is doing pictures today. As the unofficial stylist for my family, I chose the color scheme and decided to search the thrift store for appropriate clothing for all of us.

As I was browsing, I came across a dress with an interesting print in black and white that caught my eye. It didn’t fit the color scheme for our session, but I knew I had to have it for myself.


I could tell by looking at the tag that it was truly vintage. And when I looked it up later on Google, I was pleasantly surprised to read about the designer, Edith Flagg. According to Wikipedia, Edith was a survivor of World War II and was an active part of saving multiple Jewish people during that time. Her story is pretty interesting, and I even found a video with an interview of her by her grandson.

So, this is the dress that caught my eye with it’s interesting print, and then revealed a fascinating story to me…


I could get deep here, and talk about the life lessons that could be learned. After all, I was shopping for family, choosing to buy “used”, at Goodwill no less; and I discover the story of a woman who truly changed the world and helped others…

Pretty cool, huh?


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ScottDecember 21, 2010 - 5:29 pm

Very cool! – Sherie

Kelly BeaneDecember 21, 2010 - 6:44 pm

so very awesome!

we’re just moments

How often can one mention being “so busy” before it just starts to get annoying? In my opinion, it gets annoying pretty quickly. After all, everyone is busy. Well, maybe not my grandparents who live on a farm in Iowa…But then again, with well over fifty immediate descendants, even they seem to have a full calendar of birthdays, ball games, and the like, to attend. So, everyone is busy.

I work a full time job from eight to five Monday through Friday, combined with running a photography business on my own. I love it, I truly do. And I am Busy.

Today, I will head down to Dallas to second-shoot a wedding with my friend Kelly tomorrow. I will also get to do a portrait session for my dear friend Jen and her precocious, adorable daughter. Kelly and Jen are two of my closest friends in the world, and I love that my career of photography allows me to spend time with my friends.

The other day, my wonderful friend Kriea stopped by my work to get a disc of images from a wedding I had second-shot for her. {Kriea is a very successful wedding photographer, as is Kelly, and they both have families. I imagine my busy-ness doesn’t even compare to theirs.} So, when Kriea stopped by, it was a rare treat for us to be able to hang out for just a bit and catch up and chat.


The above photo is of Kriea, me, Kelly, and Jen. It was taken at my ten year class reunion last year. Jen and I were in the same class; and Kelly and Kriea happened to be shooting a wedding together nearby on the same night as my reunion, so they stopped by. I knew I had a photo of myself with all of them, but then I realized the class reunion photos are on an old hard drive somewhere {I fill up external hard drives pretty quickly.} So I grabbed this one from one of my Facebook albums. Have I mentioned how much I love Facebook?

I realize this is a random, rambling post. When I started writing, I was tempted to tell you all about how busy I have been, to explain my lack of consistent posting this week. But then, that seemed annoying. So, I shifted my perspective and instead, I want to explain how my busy life is a blessing straight from God. And when He gives me moments with friends and family, I am truly appreciative.


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Kelly BeaneDecember 20, 2010 - 9:29 pm

I absolutely love that we got to shoot together all day Saturday, and I appreciate all you are to me. I am so thankful that through both of our insane busy-ness we still make a way to talk or see each other, which is why you are my best friend. Love you girl!

this will make you smile

This holiday season, my heart is continuously warmed as I shoot and edit portraits for sweet little families such as this one…


Seriously, how precious are those twin babies?? Obviously, look at their parents and you can see that they have some good genes! So adorable! Makes me smile.


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Kelly BeaneDecember 29, 2010 - 5:58 am

PRECIOUS! Natalie is gorgeous as ever!

it’s as simple as something that nobody knows

Here are a few facts about living in Oklahoma:

1~Here in good old Oklahoma, it is not considered cheap or tacky at all to get a design on your toes when you get a pedicure. {Also okay: french mani/pedi’s–but I refrain from that.} ;)

2~Even though it might get bitterly cold here, we usually don’t get a whole lot of snow. So, you might be tempted to get a snowflake painted on your toes in order to increase the whole feeling of winter/holiday spirit.

3~In addition to the snowflake, you might want to wear your summery {and also not-at-all-tacky} toe ring year-round. Because really, today it might be 24 degrees in the morning, 60 degrees in the afternoon, and 75 degrees tomorrow. And we all know that 75 degrees is open-toed shoe weather. Perfect for showing off your pedicure design and your toe ring! ;)



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ashley o.December 15, 2010 - 10:54 pm

…that her eyes are as big as her bubbly toes.
You make me smile :c)

~abi~December 17, 2010 - 3:34 pm

ashley, YOU make ME smile! :)