Saturday, February 13, 2016

~ Nature Photography for Sale ~

Hello all!

I have participated as a vendor in Southeastern Seminary's Craft & Bake Sale for two years now. Thank you for showing an interest in my photography!

I am not yet equipped for shipping photos - what you see below I am making available for folks in the Wake Forest/Raleigh area who I can connect with easily. 

All photos below were taken at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, except for Photo M, which is Binkley Chapel on Southeastern's campus. At this time, I do not have duplicates but please share with me any requests and I may be able to help.

Mats are included, with 5x7 photos using an 8x10 mat and 8x10 photos using an 11x14 mat. All you need to add is a frame! 

Comment below if you would like to purchase a photo, or email me directly at I am excited to share my photography in this way, and I hope to hear from you! 

5x7 photo // $10
8x10 photo // $15

Click on the photos below to get a better look, and see the captions for wording details.

5x7 prints

Photo I: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
Photo J: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
Photo K: You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine. Leviticus 20:26

Photo M: Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Isaiah 1:18
SOLD: Photo M

SOLD: Photo Q

Photo R: The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8
SOLD: Photo R

8x10 prints

SOLD: Photo V, W

Photo Y: Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! Luke 1:45

Friday, January 22, 2016

What the Holy Land Reminded me

Our recent trip to Israel was memorable for reasons you might expect, but it was also bittersweet in some ways I was not anticipating. The reminders I received from the Holy Land are oddly elementary, and yet I was struck by these truths in a new way. It’s like the first time you visit the home of a childhood friend and perhaps spend the night – they are still the same person, and your relationship continues as normal, yet you can’t help but see them in a new light. The trinkets in their room, the mannerisms of their parents…seeing such tangible, intertwined characteristics of their home and personality bring greater understanding to your friendship. Below, I will attempt to describe some of the ways my faith was deepened.

1) Jesus was an Israelite, and I am a Gentile.

In Christian circles today, we roll our eyes and shake our heads at the blonde-hair, blue-eyed Jesus often portrayed in art. However, touring Israel really opened my eyes to that very significant aspect of Jesus’ humanness: his nationality and ethnicity. The Son of God did not come to earth as a Chinese man or a Native American; he was an Israelite! As I saw Israeli people, listened to them speak, tasted their food and walked down their streets, I felt like I was getting a more intimate look into Jesus’ earthly life – but I also became keenly aware that I was a foreigner. I walked where my Savior walked, but I was so different from the people of his nation! This rekindled thankfulness in me that, although Israel has a special place in God’s plans, Christ’s saving love has been extended to all the world – even to a 21st century American girl like me!  

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him"...And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 

2) The gospel of Christ is needed, praiseworthy, comforting news!

We visited the Western Wall, also known as the “Wailing Wall.” It is a remnant of the wall that surrounded the Temple Mount, where God met with his people before sending Christ and the Holy Spirit. Jewish men and women come here daily to pray, believing God’s presence is still connected with the wall (they cannot go to the actual mount as it’s now covered by a Muslim place of worship, the Dome of the Rock). To see their fervent praying, rocking back and forth with their hands on the wall, surrounding it from the outside and even underground…and to know they are praying for the Messiah to come, and for a restoration of the Temple – it was a bit confusing and heartbreaking. The Messiah has come, and sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within each believer; we no longer need the temple as Jesus has bridged the gap between God and man. To walk beside people who are begging God to send the Savior, when I know he has already come, I’m not sure how to describe the feeling. May we not take the good news of Christ for granted, and may we share it boldly! [Luke 19:41-441 Corinthians 6:19-20, John 1Matthew 16:15-17]

3) The life of Christ is infinitely more important than the ground he walked.

I reminded myself of this before the trip, not wanting to get carried away in all the excitement and subconsciously believe I was closer to God while on Israel’s soil. However, like all the other points I’ve made, this truth became more fully realized once there. Josh and I were discussing one night our surprise at not having more emotional reactions at certain cites. Don’t get me wrong, we felt many emotions – but shed few tears. Why did we not break down crying at such historically and spiritually significant sites? The freezing rain and jet-lag didn’t help, but really it comes down to this reminder. I can sum it up best via Josh’s written reflection: “We remember what Jesus has done, and we worship him for those gifts, but salvation is not tied to the road he walked or the stone he was prepared upon. Justification is not tied to the cave he was born in, or the tomb where he was buried…we worship Jesus Christ for his work done for us; we don’t worship the places these events took place. There is no power in these artifacts; the power is in his blood. We worship a risen Savior!”

4) Our greatest war is against the real enemy: Satan.

Our visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust history museum, was devastating beyond all measure. Room after room, we read newspaper articles, letters and journal entries. We watched videos of Nazi propaganda and survivor testimonies. We saw photos of families torn apart, and a memorial to all the children killed – with an audio of their individual names, ages and cities that plays 24/7. An atrocity recognized by all, and astonishingly close to us in time. Some of the things I read even reminded me of things going on today. I could go on for too long, so I will just say that this verse was ringing in my head and heart that day: 
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” 
Ephesians 6:11-12

Friday, December 18, 2015

Reflecting on Year 1 of Marriage

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I hope that I have loved others well and I hope that I will grow in humility the rest of my days. However, to be frank, before getting married, I spent 24 years doting on myself. I know my likes and dislikes quite well by now! Really, I have it all down to a science it seems. My mom is probably most familiar with the intricacies of my self-centered heart, but even she is often left guessing. Suffice it to say, the man I dated for 2 years and have been married to for 1, does not necessarily love on me in the ways I choreograph affection in my head. During the first months of marriage, I would find myself befuddled as to why Josh had not done this or that.

Why didn’t he buy that stuffed animal I was gushing over? Doesn’t he know that would have been the perfect way to love on me in that moment?

Why did he not get me flowers for that special occasion? Isn’t that what men are supposed to do?

When he got home early, why did he play video games instead of doing my least favorite chore? Doesn’t he know a surprise like that would make my day?

Disgusting, right?? I would actually get upset that Josh was not showing me love in the ways I expected or wanted. Now, let me state the obvious before moving on: 1) Communication, even about the little things, is vital in marriage. 2) The things I wanted are not wrong, but in my case were rooted in superficial and selfish desires. 3) Marriage’s purpose is not to keep another person happy.

I am thankful that Josh does not satisfy every secret whim of my heart; to do so would not be in line with his God-given role as husband, and would not be beneficial to me in any truly positive way. To “love your neighbor (or spouse) as yourself” does not include the sinfully selfish ways we put ourselves first. Josh has a great concern for my spiritual and physical well-being that goes far beyond material trinkets. He seeks to consider me more significant than himself. The patience, grace and love he shows me are astounding, and very much undeserved. God asks husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church – sacrificially and with the motive of purity. This is not how the world naturally thinks of love, and the same goes for me. I am forever grateful then, for God’s higher purposes, and for a husband who desires to love me the way God loves me rather than the way I have tried to love myself.

So ladies, pray that your husbands would love you faithfully and passionately as God does, not worship you shallowly as we often do of ourselves! I’m not saying husbands should stop loving through spontaneous donut runs and chick flick nights, but we must turn away from feelings of entitlement and control. Recognize, respect and appreciate the new ways you’re shown love in marriage. Your husband provides a unique glimpse of how God loves you!



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Gender is not a choice.

 The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

Regardless of who we are or where we live, the categories of right and wrong always exist. God sets the standard for goodness because he is entirely good, eternal and unchanging, and Creator of the universe. While God is concerned with truth, Satan is the father of lies (a once good creation, turned against God). If we believe lies and negate such a basic truth as gender, nothing else can hold up to reason. [Genesis 1:26-31; John 8:42-45; 1 Corinthians 3:18-20]

If gender is a flexible choice and sexual preference is an inflexible passion, where do we draw the lines, and who gets to draw them? Most do not condone adultery, polygamy, pedophilia or bestiality, but why? If you have a kind, generous life-long friend who happens to find immense pleasure from child pornography, what right do you have to stand in the way of her happiness? If we can self-identify with a different gender, shouldn’t we also be able to choose our race or species? If not, on what grounds is this wrong?

If we base truth on individual preferences, there are no grounds for true discernment and discipline. Personal desires should not dictate our morality; our inner feelings are not inherently trustworthy! On a day to day basis, I personally desire many things that are not good. I try to resist temptations, but many times I fail. I do not hope to embrace these times, but repent (meaning, turn – away from sin and towards God).

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Just as you cannot buy love, you cannot buy gender. You can pay for a prostitute, or pay for hair extensions and implants – but it’s not the same. It is incredibly insulting to claim that a mindset and makeover make a person who they are. Being a woman or man is not about hair length, wardrobe or an inner feeling. Gender is at the very root of personhood, a God ordained trait that is immovable. Just as water is wet and salt is salty, men and women are designed in a timeless fashion with purpose, order and unique beauty.

We live in a world broken by sin, so what comes naturally is not always right. What is right is often difficult, requiring great endurance. But there is hope! God does not wait to love us and forgive us when we have accomplished some sort of perfection; he loved sinful humanity enough to send Christ to absorb our punishment. By faith we are saved, and by faith we continue forward in obedience! God is all-knowing and pure, entirely trustworthy and just. To submit to his design is not foolish, no matter what the world may say. [James 1:12-18; Romans 5:6-11; John 3:16-21]

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:13-14


Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Great Artist

One of my favorite NC spots is the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Even though I missed the prime Springtime show, my most recent trip was hardly a disappointment (aside from the parking ticket, haha!). My husband graciously walked alongside me down various paths as my tunnel vision kicked in and beads of sweat began to form. My love for nature and photography is amateur, but very real! I enjoy taking pictures that remind me of other things in life; see the captions below.

However, my love for the Creator of these critters and plants is much greater (although yes, in many ways just as amateur...). Photography may be considered an art, but it only captures a glimpse of the beauty. The veins in a leaf, the vibrant hues, the fuzzy bees, transparent wings - they are all designed by God! The textures and patterns, sounds and smells, all are a masterpiece. This trip and these pictures remind me how creative and detailed is my God. If his work is this complex and lovely in simply the picturesque backdrop of our lives, how much more involved is he in my own body and soul. As humans, we are special and unique creations - valuable because we are given life by a loving and intelligent Heavenly Father who does not work haphazardly (Psalm 139).

Just as the short lives of insects and plants are ordered to promote thriving, we too are made for specific roles and under certain structures so that flourishing might occur. God has supreme understanding and authority in regards to all of life, so may we cling to his word (the Bible) and follow Christ in faith - faith that reaches into every nook and cranny of our lives.

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.
Genesis 1:11
But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
    we are the clay, and you are our potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

That bee was digging away, like a woman scavenging through her purse!

Nature collage comes to mind...

Like a girl with a little flower tucked behind her ear.

Beauty is in the eye of the "beeholder" ;)

I imagine a little girl full of freckles.

Melting an orange creamsicle!

A shy child in a busy crowd.
Conquering Everest!

Reminds me of an older lady who still maintains that hint of glamour.

Like a homeless person, with so many passing them by.

Beauty of youth and beauty with age.

I just want to jump in and take a nap!

Tea party, gather 'round!
Like a sunny girl who has seen better days...chin up, radiance is around the corner!

 I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed...
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 34:4-5, 8
For further exploration:
Song - "Thrive"
Matt Chandler sermon series (HIGHLY recommend) - A Beautiful Design

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Carraway Adoption Story

Mike and Jane Carraway, and their daughters Melanie and Katie, adopted Eli into their family in 2007. He was adopted from Russia through a U.S. agency.

The Decision to Adopt

Mike and I had never really considered adoption because we already had two daughters. But, the desire to have a son never left me. One day I just realized that no matter how our children come into our lives, they are gifts from God. Their stories might vary, but they are entrusted to us just the same. It really just felt like a divine nudge!
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27

The Challenges & The Joys

The first great challenge was convincing Mike that this was something that God wanted us to pursue. It took some time, but once we were on the same page, it was full steam ahead. There were many challenges, but I guess the greatest was the need to be patient on God's timing. It did seem to take forever! Then of course, there were the travel woes, the language barrier, and the fact that Eli screamed every time we touched him while we were visiting him in the orphanage.

The greatest joys were the moments he began to let us in emotionally. He allowed us to just pick him up and walk out of the orphanage with him. It truly was a miraculous moment! He had literally screamed every time we tried to love on him before we took him with us. I think he realized that we meant what we had been saying. He was going to be our son!


I don't think adoption is for everyone. I don't think having children is for everyone. But, if you even are remotely open to the idea, adoption is such a wonderful opportunity to be a parent! We've had so many people through the years say what a blessed little boy Eli is, but we think it's the opposite! We are so blessed to have a healthy, smart boy as our son. He has taught us so many things. Adoption is such a beautiful picture of salvation. And, what finally got Mike on the same page as me was the verse James 1:27. He said he just couldn't get past the fact that we are called to do something for the orphans. God doesn't call everyone to adopt, but we certainly aren't supposed to turn a blind eye to them!
(Southern Love Photography)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Turnbo Adoption Story

Adoption is a loving choice made in the midst of, perhaps, bittersweet circumstances. It provides an illustration of the gospel, as God adopts into his kingdom those who are united with Christ through faith (John 1:6-13, Galatians 4:4-5, Ephesians 1:3-14). God extends eternal love, compassion and refuge to a broken world. I am excited to see similar love poured out through families around me, and I hope you will be encouraged as well!

Brandi and Rob's adoption of 7 year old Aidan was finalized this year. Brandi has kindly shared a glimpse of their story below.

The Decision to Adopt

We pursued adoption because God gave us the heart. For years I had it set in my mind that I didn’t want kids.  I loved my life the way it was and never felt the need to share it with anyone else.  I liked kids but I liked that I wasn’t responsible for them more!  Yet a few years ago my heart started changing. 
Telling my husband was the hardest part because kids were never part of our conversations.  He had two girls already and was content with that.  We had the conversation one day while eating dinner in Afghanistan.  The crazy thing was he felt it too!  We were definitely not alone in this decision.

The Challenges & The Joys

One of the greatest challenges is waiting!  You definitely have to learn to be patient through the process.  We spent about 8 months filling out paperwork, going to classes, making phone calls, etc.  When you’re finally done…the waiting begins.  You can do nothing to speed the process except know that God is bringing your child to you.  We were fortunate we met Aidan pretty quick and he moved in right away.  We then waited for over a year and a half until the adoption was finalized. 

As happy as this moment was for us, it was very sad for Aidan.  When we told him the adoption was finalized he put his head down and cried.  He said, “I just always thought I could go back (meaning his previous family) and now I can’t.”  Those are hard words to hear from your child.  I know he needs to mourn his many losses so God strengthens me when I hear those words.  It’s hard to think there were so many “moms” in his life.  I was not his first for many things and I do not have any idea of what his journey was like.  

Aidan's adoption was much different than the typical way, but unfortunately not totally uncommon.  He was originally adopted through international adoption from Columbia.  Sadly, the adoption disrupted and we ended up getting him through private adoption.  Disrupted meaning they adopted him but then chose to put him back up for adoption. Fortunately, we have become very close with this family and God has blessed Aidan with two families who adore him!

Our son has changed our lives.  I now know the joy of being a mother.  He has brought us so much happiness!  Our relationship with each other has changed for the good.  We’re closer to each other and we’re closer to God.  God is teaching me what it is to be there for others instead of being there for just myself.  Aidan says the best thing about being adopted is having a mom and dad who love him.  He's so happy to belong to a family! 

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10


Mercy for America's Children has been a huge blessing.  I would recommend anyone to find an organization like theirs for support.  We felt we were as prepared as we could possibly be by having others to share our experience. 

You will be told that “you will just know when you meet YOUR child.”  This is the truth!  God has a plan for your family and you will be together for His purpose.  Adoption is not easy.  It comes with challenges.  Every child being adopted has trauma.  They are separated from their birth family and they will always wonder how they fit in.  Some children’s trauma is more significant than others, but they all have it.  Be patient and understanding with your child.  They are worth it.