She’s two and will only eat from a bottle. It isn’t an issue of stubbornness. It is the result of things from her first year ~ before she came home last September. Her progress has been slow in the eyes of some. Sometimes it is discouraging, but then I step back and am in awe of just how far she has come. So I won’t give up. I’ll keep filling her up with nutrients the only way I can. One day, in her time, she’ll take a bite and swallow. One day the seemingly impossible will be her normal. “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, ‘My times are in your hands,'” Psalm 31:14 In this time, this struggle, I cling to that truth and hope. Her times are in His hands too.

I wrote those words almost exactly 3 years ago as part of a post regarding not giving up. The post continued with:

I know feeding my daughter what feels like a million smoothies a day is not really a big deal. But for me, there are days I am just worn out from it and it feels like a big deal. There are days I just want to leave the house for 5 minutes without packing a cooler of bottles first. There are days I don’t want to explain why she still takes a bottle or why I can’t ‘just force her to eat’. BUT. I won’t give up for a million reasons. She is healthy. She is strong. We have the best doctors and therapists and support walking her through this journey. We’ve got an arsenal of tips, tricks and methods – but ultimately it is all in her time.

And quite frankly, if we have years of smoothies ahead – that is just fine. This isn’t an issue we will force because it is not in the best interest of her overall healing and health. I pray one day she will be non-stop talking at the dinner table and I have to tell her to slow down between bites. But, if that doesn’t happen, that is perfectly okay too. I’ll just become the first person ever to wear out a Vita-Mix motor!


Four years. Four years of smoothies, pureed food, mashed food. Four years of never leaving the house without packing food for her. Four years of struggles. Tears. Fears. Questions. On her part and ours. Saturday I was visiting with a friend and my youngest daughter’s diet came up. I told my friend that there has not been much progress and how it is quite possible she just may never eat the same foods that the rest of my crew does…and that it would be just fine if that was the case.

For four years we’ve bounced between wondering if we are pushing her too hard or not pushing her hard enough. I’ve read the books. Ordered the curriculum. Consulted the experts. We’ve gone from being proactive to being exhausted to proactive and back to exhausted…on repeat for four years. She reached a point where we knew she had all the tools she needed (learned to chew, built up jaw strength, etc.) and it was all just mental and emotional left.

Sunday night we crowded into a booth at our usual pizza place after church. I left my phone in the car. My camera was at home. The last thing I was expecting was a monumental event for our daughter and family. As I unloaded the car I asked Chris if he remembered to grab her dinner from the house. There is a grocery store nearby that I have often ran over to get her dinner while the rest order pizza. Luckily, we had a few things for her.

She finished her applesauce right as our pizzas arrived. She looked over at my plate and asked, “Do you think I would like that?” Confused. Shocked. Stunned…I said, “Yeah, I think you would.”

“Do you think I should try it?”

“I think that would be a great idea.”

I cut a tiny little bite off mine and put in on her plate.

“No, not a little bite. I want a slice.”

I looked at Chris. Tried to stay all cool, calm and collected. Tried to be all smooth and act like my 5 year old eating pizza was a totally normal thing.

She took a bite. “I like this.”

She ate the whole thin slice I cut for her. As she ate she kept looking between Chris and I. We were beaming. She was beaming. If I was the loud scream from the rooftop kind of person, I would have been screaming. Instead there was one massive smile on my face and one rocking party going on in my head. For the first time EVER our family all ate the same meal! I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal to most, but for us it is nothing short of miraculous!

I will never look at pizza the same.

2 years ago she asked us to get her a Rubik’s Cube when she ate ‘big food’. We drove straight from the pizza shop to Target. With 6 beaming family members behind her, she led us to the toy aisle and found her Rubik’s Cube.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

rubiks“One day, in her time, she’ll take a bite and swallow. One day the seemingly impossible will be her normal. “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, ‘My times are in your hands,'” Psalm 31:14 In this time, this struggle, I cling to that truth and hope. Her times are in His hands too.” 9.19.2013


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  • Christi {Jealous Hands} - Oh, Little One – we are so proud of you! ??

  • Ramona - So touching. My eyes are on tears… God bless her. <3

  • Oceana - Thatโ€™s great! What an amazing journey for all of you. Patience wins out in the end! :) Hopefully there will be many celebratory pizza nights to come!

  • AndreaB - Amazing! you go girl <3

  • Libby - What a great story! Good for her, and for you!

  • Jacqueline - She’s such a little warrior!

  • Kristin - I’ve only been up 15 minutes and young girls have made me cry twice already. Congratulations!

  • Tammy - In tears here. The Good Lord knew just what He was doing when He brought you two together.

  • kate - Oh my goodness, Ashley!
    This is one of my all time favorite posts!! I could not be happier for your entire family! She so deserves the joy she is feeling by taking this wonderful step! Yay!!

  • Heidi E - Congratulations!!!! God is so so good. I’m in tears SO happy for you all. And I can’t believe it’s been that long. I started reading your blog right before you brought Little One home and your story and your love for your children is so inspiring to me. Thank you for sharing so honestly.

  • iana lua - what a great accomplishment!!! I could feel the love and the happiness from here. amazing job from her and the whole family!

  • Kelly J. R. - Goosebumps and tears this morning here on my end in happiness for this huge milestone! How awesome!

  • Lisa K - This made my day. Congratulations to both of you!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tessa - Wow! I am so happy for you guys. I may never look at pizza the same either. :) I can so relate to the struggles you shared – everything from packing alternate food to questioning how hard you should push or back off. My daughter is autistic and has developmental delays. I question myself all the time when parenting her, because it is so different from my 3 other children. However she has shown us time and time again that patience wins – and she will get there “in her time”. One example – she was completely dependent on her pacifier for comfort and we finally gave up on taking it from her. When she was just over 3-1/2 years old, one day she completely did it on her own without any reward system, plan, etc. I blew me away! It was nothing short of a miracle, and I knew it was one more way that God was telling me everything will be okay.

  • Kristin S - Oh, Ashley, your Instagram post made me teary but the “whole story” and perspective from your post three years ago made me weepy! Way to press on Little One… and Campbell family!

  • Mary - Brought tears to my eyes.

  • TLL - I don’t know you, other than through this blog, but i have been reading for years. This blog post brought tears of joy to my eyes. So happy for your family and the feeling of joy it brought you all!
    Hugs from NH!!

  • Iara - I have tears in my eyes, you go little one!

  • Anne Marie - YAY, LITTLE ONE! YOU GO, GIRL! This made me cry! I still remember that post you wrote several years ago (about not giving up) inspired me to keep on with something that was tough… So glad you’ve gained so much ground!!!

  • Nancy - Oh Little One! You put a Song in my heart!

  • Kristen - Hooray to your little one for being brave and taking that first bite! I have a daughter with autism who also does things on her own time. Reading this story was just what I needed today. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Allison Gottlieb - Happy Tears!!!!!! Such an amazing moment – and it’s almost better that you don’t have a picture. Your words are picture enough.

  • Trista - I just love this, and I’m so happy for your family. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jenn - what an amazing post. such happy times for your family. congrats.

  • SentSue - I have read this twice and cried happy tears both times. So happy for you and your family. Way to stick with it and be patient.

  • Lacey - Yay!! ‘Congratulations’ seems like a silly thing to say, but it seems appropriate, too! I can totally imagine how exciting this is and what better food to start with than pizza?? ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Sundee - Cheers, shouts, and joy from New Hampshire!! God’s time, her time….doesn’t matter…just so excited for you all.


  • Janine - Yay for pizza! So happy she is taking the next steps in eating. And just a tip. You mentioned that you forgot your phone and had no way to photograph the event. That may be why she took the chance when she did. Just something to think about for future eating milestones with her. Good luck and way to go little one!

  • Hailey - So so so proud of you girly :)

  • Hayley - Wow! I don’t normally comment on posts but have been a long time reader! This post moved me to tears! So fantastic…you must be so very proud of her!

  • Gretchen - Crying here as well in Nebraska! Woo Hoo!!!!! Way to go, Little One! Pizza for the win!

  • Krista - Best post of my week! Yay, little lady! Way to go!

  • Amanda - Wow, wow, wow! I am beaming! I love that she wanted a whole slice! Love it!

  • Crystal - Oh Ashley, I’m teary & so happy! This gives me hope for our daughter. She’s not as severe as Little One, but I’m weary of therapists & baby food & smoothies. Thank-you for being a good example of perseverance & acceptance for me.

  • Michelle deBaroncelli - I’ve lurked on your blog for years, but I had to comment today. HOW WONDERFUL! I’m so happy for you guy and so proud of your daughter. I’m fairly convinced most of parenthood is just mindless repetition on our parts with the hope that some of it sticks. Looks like it stuck for you. :)

  • michelle - Go, Little One!! You are a rock star and a warrior through and through, but the fact that you chose Pizza as your first “big food”, well, that just brings an extra tear to my eye :)

  • Sayonada - Congrats to her! She’s so lucky to have a momma that’s supporting her through this long journey with food!

  • Shelly Cunningham - You got me sitting here crying. I am so happy for you. You are an amazing mama and I am so glad that you knew God would be faithful. You’re such an inspiration!

  • Jillian - This brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful for you all! So neat to see the older kids so excited for her too.

    What a first food to pick! So happy for y’all.

  • angie webb - I want to shout from the rooftops for you, yaaaayyyy! So so exciting!

  • Emily Bartnikowski - I got all teary when I saw your instagram and I’m tall teary again reading this. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m so excited for all of you! <3

  • Tiffany - One rocking party going on in my head – ha ha I love it! And your oldest with “the gun show”, too funny, roll that one back in 4 yours, I bet that muscle will develop too :)

  • Phoebe K - You inspire me to be a more present, patient mama. Good for you, Little One. We’re proud of you out here in blog-land!

  • Cassidy - This story is so beautiful, thank you for sharing. Even though you didn’t have your camera there to document the moment-you now have the perfect memory written so that her story will always be available anytime.

  • Naama - What a great post! I’m so happy for you!!! Such a journey.

  • Chrissy - I had tears in my eyes. Congratulations to all of you. I hope this is just the start of many family meals.

  • Lizzie - Ashley, I’ve been reading your blog for a while but have never quite gotten round to commenting. Today, though, this story made me smile so hard at my desk and was so exactly what I needed to hear that I couldn’t NOT write! I love the fact that despite all this uncertainess and hysteria in the media, the Internet can also a place where you can sit at your desk, rooting for a little girl on the other side of the world to eat a piece of pizza, and rooting for her parents as they try and act cool like this isn’t the exact thing they’ve been praying for for four years. Thank you for your words and your encouragement, and for reminding me that while I sometimes doubt it, my times ARE in His hands.

  • Kimberlee Jost - My times are in HIS hands. What a beautiful reminder today. :)

  • Romina MacGibbon - I’m crying so hard!!!

  • Sarah B - LOVE this. So many things we take for granted and eating is one of them. Sending to my mom the OT/Feeding therapist who will love this as well.
    Keep enjoying pizza and so many other delicious things.

  • Diana - Oh, so exciting! Virtual high five to her (in a non-creepy way). So happy for you all!!

  • Amanda C - When I saw your Instagram post, I cried. When I read this, I cried a little more. Your little one has such a huge cheering section, made up of so many people from around the world! Just know that she has a fan in Arkansas who is crazy proud of her. So happy for your beautiful family! ??

  • Laura Kohler - Bawling. My own kiddo has feeding issues (different, but the same) and this just resonated. I’m so thrilled for her, and you, and the whole family. Keep up the good work!

  • Monica - Thank you for sharing your story with us. Reading this was just what I needed to feel encouraged to keep going!

  • Sandy - Oh HAPPY day!!

  • Melanie - Sitting in front of my computer, tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my arms. I’m so happy for her.

    Congratualtions from Germany!

  • Jaclyn - Oh my I have been reading your blog for Y E A R S but I’m not a massive commenter, sorry.
    But today from Australia I am rejoicing with your gorgeous family and I couldn’t help but tell you!
    What a star she is so very thrilled for you guys
    Sooo much love xx jac

  • Fianca - Awesome, inspiring story. Yes, we are often judged but as parents we have to be humble and remember it’s all in their time.

  • Kathy - So happy for your family getting to celebrate such a huge milestone! Thanks for letting us follow along on the journey and celebration.

  • Liz - This is so, so wonderful, brought tears to my eyes.

  • Suzanne - Thank you Jesus! Wow, and so while you may not have been able or wanted to scream, I rejoice with you here in Virginia with tears streaming down my face. I have never faced your challenges with food (I am constantly reminding my oldest to stop, slow down, enjoy your food!), I ca only imagine your pure joy as you ate the same meal as an entire family! Congrats to you and your little one!

  • Barbara Janaina - Dear Ashley! I’m so happy for your family!!!! Childrens allways surprises us , don’t they? Big kiss from Brazil!

  • Nancy Delpha - And that is why we never lose hope!!! Such an awesome update. Thanks for sharing – such an encouragement to those of us with kids from hard places.

  • Kristen Kerwin - Bawling my eyes out here, just astounded by God’s faithfulness (and yours!), and my utter lack of trust in him sometimes. So crazy happy for you, for this amazing step. I loved pizza already…but not I’m loving it WAY MORE! Blessings!

  • Rachel - This brought tears to my eyes. What a joyful thing!

  • Erin - Oh, God is so good! Congratulations! What an epic accomplishment–here’s to knocking down barriers left and right!

  • Sharla Stockwell - Tears. So happy for you and your family!

  • Dori - Oh my gosh, YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! That is wonderful news!! So excited and happy for you and for your sweet girl. What a big day!

  • Libbe - This brought tears to my eyes! I just LOVE that the entire family was so excited for her! Our oldest daughter struggled to eat solid food due to sensory issues. We didn’t go nearly as long as you did, but I remember the thrill of realizing we could actually order food she would eat at a restaurant! She was 20 months. She’s now turning 16 (tomorrow).

  • Julie - How appropriate that she’s wearing her Wonder Woman tee!!!! She’s a WONDER WOMAN INDEED!

  • Kelsey - This made me cry! My daughter has Down syndrome and we have so many moments like this – things she fights to be able to do, milestones she works so hard for that most kids and moms don’t even think twice about. I knew her younger sister would surpass her in skills at some point, but I was taken off guard when it took less than a year for her to be able to do things that her big sis still wasn’t doing. Those battles are so hard to fight in the midst of them, but when those mountains are conquered, it’s the sweetest victory! Congratulations to all of you! I love that her family was celebrating that huge victory with her!

  • Kayla - Oh Congratulations!!! What a great job to her and to you! I’m in tears. What a special day and a special pizza!

  • Marie Entwistle - Wonderful news!

  • Jennifer - I just wanted to say how much I love and appreciate your blog. It is the only one I follow regularly. I can just relate to so much here! I have a sister that was adopted from Korea when I was 15. I was much like a mommy to her and she was born with cleft lip and palate. Then years later my own daughter was born with cleft palate. She is five. We are also a homeschooling family. This post about the pizza is my favorite so far. I had tears of joy in my eyes for you and your family.

  • H muse - Thank you for sharing this story and the beautiful photos. My son has also lived on smoothies for 4 years and just started eating “Mommy and daddy food” in August. We still are in awe and literally praise God for every bite he eats and every new food he tries! Such a long journey but such a great God.

  • Tracy - Ugly crying tears of happiness for you all… It’s the little things in life. ??

  • Jess - This made me cry…(in a wonderfully good way of course!). What a milestone! SO proud of her.

  • Kimberly Oyler - SO SO SO PROUD OF HER!! and you. :)

  • Jenny B. - Love, love, love! I remember your posts about the bottle feedings, and it’s hard to believe it’s already been four years! She has grown SO much. Yay! Also, I cracked up at Corbett flexing in the back of the family picture. :) My almost 12-year-old son was just flexing his muscles for me a minute ago. :)

  • Katie - My friend sent me this link this morning. My daughter is 2 and has gotten all of her nutrition through a feeding tube since age 5.5 months. We’ve traveled & have since moved from our generational farm home to the city so that we could be near therapists and a community who would help us, help her. The emotion you conveyed through this post is the exact emotion I’m living. We are currently in the Proactive/exhausted/proactive/exhausted stage. I’ve stuggled this past year of finding joy amidst the exhaustion and finding hope in the future & it’s so important for me to be reminded of how far she has come and that its in her timing, not mine (& ultimately The Lords) He IS for us and He IS good. I need not give up nor become discouraged (which seems to happen in the exhaustion stage …am I right?) Our story sounds so much like your story. I’m glad to know (what feels like we are on an island) there is a family who has been through something similar. I needed this post this morning. ‘Never give up’. I’m crying in my coffee cup.

  • Candice Forte - Ashley, that makes me so happy! I love how as homeschoolers we can allow our kids to develop in their own way and time. We are far from unschoolers here but I have to laugh at some of the developmental things we have had to wait for and wisely backed off for a time to allow our son to develop.
    We are back in Jenks and I hope we run into your clan at museums and the zoo and such again!

  • AngelaS - Bless her heart! That is so wonderful.

  • Jenny - Yay!!! What a beautiful story!

  • Ashley - Ashley, I’ve been reading along for almost 4 years and I think this has to be my very favorite post!! PRAISE the LORD!! …and not just for this miracle but for the miracle of your faith, endurance, perseverance, hope, patience, and ultimately His amazing power and powerful Word. I can’t even begin to tell you how close to home this all hits with me and the food issues we have with my six year old and the timeing of this post. Our story is so very different yet so similar too. Thank you so much for sharing and encouraging me today with God’s word and his promises and His FAITHFULNESS!! I will trust in Him.

  • Mel - This made me tear up, so happy for her and you guys – big milestone!!! Wooooohooo!

  • Alexis - I NEVER comment but have been reading forever, years and years. Tears. I guess I can check “Ashley’s little one eating real food” off of my prayer list. Awesome!
    (Sidenote-she’s staying on the list, I’ll just pray that she continues to grow strong in faith and body)

  • Kirsten - Tears of joy for you!!! I saw your post on FB when you first posted and I’m still crying! :) So proud of your girl and praising God with your family. She is amazing and God is awesome.

  • Cassandra - When I saw this post on FB it brought happy tears to my eyes! Reading the story here, even more happy tears!! Very exciting.

  • Monica Allen - I love that God whispered a promise in secret and you get to shout it from your rooftop because you waited patiently in His time. What a wonder, blessing, and gift your daughter is. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • Carrie Olsen - Ashley. I’ve been reading your blog for over a year. It’s always so real and so refreshing. Simple.

    I read your post yesterday morning. It was God’s perfect timing. Our family adopted two children from China in July 2014 and as you know and blogged about, there are struggles – some longer than others. We have challenges and there is one specifically that has been so hard with one of ours. I told the Lord that I didn’t know how long I could endure the hard it was bringing (really it is all about my lack of patience, I am sure). Then I read your post. I was bawling! So encouraged. Yes, we can do this. With God. Even if it takes 4 years… God really used your story to give me hope that this too will pass and the enduring will be worth it.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Janet Coffman - My heart is smiling & shouting with you!!!

  • Debi - oh, what a wonderful, giant step for your sweet girl!!! I am so happy for her, and for your whole amazing family. woohoo!

  • Trisha Doss - Thank you for sharing this–it’s so beautiful. In a world where awful things sometimes happen, it’s the small miracles that see us through. Thank you for sharing this milestone. Go little one!!! :)

  • Cheryl Grandy - How wonderful – your trust in God, your perseverance, your unconditional love, your family, your beautiful little girl. Congratulations!

  • Gris fleur - I couldn’t help myself but crying. Crying of joy ! I know the feeling as our 20 years old daughter is fed with a sonde for 4 years. You give us hope ! Thanks for sharing . Thanks !

  • jill - Hey there,
    My son has the same issue but favors crunchy things. He eats only carrots, celery, apple and grapes. That is it. He’s 3 almost 4. Would love to talk more about this with you. We have tried therapy and it was ugly and we didn’t have the money to keep doing it. Just want to hear your thoughts on things and what you’ve tried. I’m so excited for her. I can’t wait until that day!

  • Marissa - This was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. So happy for your daughter, for you as her mom and for your family. It really encourages my mama heart as I struggle through the tough parts of parenthood. It gives me hope and reminds me to trust in God’s plan and timing.

  • Keely Capel Teixeira - I have only recently started to follow you and this is one of the first posts I read. However I want to say I think you should be very proud of yourself mama! It takes amazing courage, strength and patience to raise any child but the obstacles you have overcome are tremendous so be very proud of yourself and your little girl. You are an amazing family xx

  • Bernard Farrell - You are Blessed, and your daughter is also. I can’t express how thrilled I am for all of you.

    When we adopted our son from China he had a fairly profound cleft. Honestly, it scared me. But the good Lord helped me see that we’d be fine (after we landed in China), and we are. Thank God for His blessing.

  • Lindsey - Oh, Ashley! I’m crying in Starbucks. I am so proud of her, from a distance. And proud of you for your endurance. And praising Jesus for this sweet, sweet victory for your family. <3

  • Sarah - First time here. Came here from another blog. Congratulations mama! Good on you mama and daddy and family for never giving up. I love the part where you said “Weโ€™ve gone from being proactive to being exhausted to proactive and back to exhaustedโ€ฆon repeat for four years.” We’ve been there too. Isn’t it a joy when you can see progress that maybe nobody else sees and you know that God is with you and your daughter. I thank God everyday for my kids and for answering prayers.

  • Kim - I followed the link from the Lazy Genius newsletter to this post, having never read your blog before. What a beautiful story and the photos are amazing. Crying happy tears for your family!

  • Lindsey - I have been following your blog for a few years now. Not because I’m crafty and want ideas. Not because I want to learn how to use my camera. But because I fell in love with your adoption story. And when you shared pictures of her, I fell in love with her, too. I was enthralled with her journey, with your journey, with the journey your other children were on with her. I LOVED how your other children loved her from day 1 (I bawled at the airport pics). I LOVED that Firecracker was such an amazing big sister to her. It was inspiring and captivating. And her journey with eating has kept me coming back for more. I go a few months without checking in, then come back to see what milestones she has hit. I’m not a mother. I don’t know when kids “should” be doing certain things, but I never doubted she would overcome this. And I know you and Chris never doubted either. Prayer and patience! I’m sitting at my desk at work with tears in my eyes all over again for this child. I’m so happy for her. For being brave enough to eat that slice. For being proud of herself for doing it! I’m so happy for you and Chris. You’re right, most people wouldn’t think anything special about her eating that slice. But for those of us who have tagged along are SO PROUD of her, right along with you! You shout from that mountain top. You guys have earned it just as much as she has! His timing never fails!! Thank you for continually sharing your beautiful family and Little One’s milestones.

  • AshleyAnn - Lindsey – thank you so much for taking time to leave a comment and share that with me. Thank you for cheering for my girl and encouraging me. Thank you for coming back, for checking in and celebrating with us!

One of my favorite times to pull out my camera is when rain falls on a sunny day. It makes me all giddy inside. Last week we had just pulled into our driveway after a long day and it began to rain while the sun was still pouring down. I asked if anyone would let me take a few pictures of them outside because I am much more a people photographer than a landscape photographer. My eldest daughter volunteered, as she always does.

We each grabbed an umbrella and rain boots. She led the way, I followed behind clicking my camera with a big smile on my face.

Photo tip: When I am photographing falling snow or rain, I look for a dark background. The dark background makes the rain/snow pop out. If you use a light background, the rain/snow will just blend in since it is so light (clear). As you look at the photos below, make a mental note of how the rain shows up against the light and dark backgrounds. Each of the photos below were shot using my Canon 85mm lens and these settings: ISO 100, 1/1250, f/2.8.

8-16rain-018-16rain-028-16rain-038-16rain-048-16rain-058-16rain-06If you are interested in learning more about your camera, how to use the Manual settings, tips for phone photography or general photography lessons, check out my SnapShop website. It is a subscription based photography website with anchor courses and new lessons added each month. SnapShop is for the person looking to capture the beauty of their days through photography.

I am so excited to announce a new addition to SnapShops. Starting today guest photographers will be contributing their own lessons based on their expertise. The very first contributor lesson is by my friend Ann Bennett. Ann is a Tulsa area photographer specializing in newborn, baby, and maternity studio photography, as well as, outdoor, natural light high school senior portraits. Ann’s style is simple, clean and timeless. In her lesson, she is teaching basic tips and tricks for newborn photography.

newbornphotographyYou can find Ann in the following places:

Website | Instagram | Facebook


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  • Ethel White - Love the way you compose your pictures and your family make such awesome models ( subjects)

  • Brandi - These are awesome! Sounds like how things go around here, I always find it more interesting with someone in the picture, and luckily, I usually have willing volunteers. I love a little rain (or soon snow for us, too) in the photograph. Now I find myself wishing for it. Especially for my son’s cross country because the sun has been so bright for his meets I can’t seem to find the right way to photograph it. Perhaps I need a snapshots course in my future.

  • Beth - Thanks for the great tip! Do you have any tips for keeping your camera dry in the process? Weather always provides such a great backdrop for photos, but I’m always worried that I’m going to damage my equipment with the moisture.

  • Kimberly Oyler - these are absolute magic.

When our neighbor asked her if she wanted an old piece of wood flooring, she jumped on the offer. I asked her what she planned to do with the heavy wood and she told me it would make the perfect stage. She’s loved a good stage since she could walk.

A little porch paint and DecoArt Outdoor Living paint in hand, she worked diligently on her stage.

9.16HerSong-1Her brother was itching to help her, so she conceded and let him paint a little bit.9.16HerSong-29.16HerSong-39.16HerSong-4In between painting her stage, she rehearsed a song to sing at her Great Grandpa’s 90th birthday party. Every day she went outside to her stage and practiced. She asked her dad to play along on his guitar. Her brother typed out the song for her so she could read the words over and over again.

The day of the party came and guests began filling our backyard. When nearly all the guests had arrived she whispered in my ear, “Mommy, I don’t think I can do it. There are too many people here.” I talked with her for a bit and did my best to encourage her, but I could tell she was not convinced she could do it. A while later I was talking to my friend Rachel. Rachel has been in my life since 6th grade. Unlike me, Rachel loves a stage and shines when she is in front of a crowd. Knowing Rachel probably gets nervous too, I asked her to talk to my daughter.

I’m not sure what all was said, but I know the result of that conversation.9.16HerSong-69.16HerSong-79.16HerSong-9“Mom, when I was done I loved it! Just like Rachel said I would.”

Thank you Rachel….for being her encourager and mine.

9.16HerSong-10*song was adapted from one we found online, her brother typed it ๐Ÿ˜‰


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  • Southern Gal - That picture of her hugging him nearly brought me to tears. I’m so glad she took the plunge and put her fears behind her. Yay for encouraging friends!

  • Christi {Jealous Hands} - How precious!

  • Callie - Teary over here! This is beautiful! It takes a village and this is such a tender representation of that in so many ways.

  • Diana - She did a great job on the painting! How precious and special that she wanted to perform for her great-grandparents and had the guts to do it!

  • Amy - That is so special! What a sweet memory for all of you!

  • cindy - so very special! brought me to tears!

  • Michelle - wow! A little teary- eyed over here. so beautiful.
    I know you always mention that your photos mostly highlight the good days of parenting…and boy do they look GOOD!
    God bless your family.
    p.s. non related but worth mentioning, I have been sponsoring a child via Compassion since your advocacy posts earlier this year, and I just received an updated photo of our little guy! Best feeling ever to know he is doing well, growing healthy and being the best he can be.
    Thank you for having this little space here so we can learn and grow from each other.

  • Leiann - Add me to the mix of people who go tears reading this. How sweet is this?! What a great memory and a great friend. I’m sure your little girl will remember this forever.

  • Emily - Crying in Boston and remembering my own great grandpa and the time I had with him. This is, simply, beautiful. Thank you for sharing these glimpses of your life.

  • Lindsey - Made me cry, but I love this!! So sweet, and I love the picture of her smiling at Chris as he plays the guitar for her! :)

  • Laurie P - I’ll bet that was the BEST Birthday gift he has ever gotten in all of his 90 years.

  • Debbie C - Oh, I’m melting here, how sweet she is! What a wonderful gift for Grandpa, better than anything she could buy. Love this!

  • Jessica P - I love every bit of this! What a sweet moment!

  • Elizabeth - I am a homeschool mom too. I love that your daughter did this. For the most part we are unschoolers. It AMAZES me what my kids will do when I let them run with their own ideas. Fantastic post.

  • Katie Thomassen - Oh my gosh! That totally made me tear up!!

  • kaitlyn - Oh my goodness, this post has me all teary eyed! That picture of her hugging him is so sweet and then the song. This is definitely the good stuff in life right here. xoxo

  • Emily Bartnikowski - Oh, I just love everything about this!

  • Byron - Late to this post (catching up a bit) but wanted to say it is quite wonderful!