Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas and Thank You

AMA Merry Christmas HNY 
It has been quite a year for me personally and professionally. 
From the bottom of my heart, I just want to thank the amazing children
and families I've had the privilege to photograph this year. Thank you for trusting
me and letting me capture a little part of your lives.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and happy, healthy 2013!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Watching their Hearts Speak {An Orphan's Wish}

Ballerinas 1 

Before I traveled to Guilin in October, I was asked to take photos while
I was there that would be used for a Christmas card for An Orphan's Wish.
We wanted to create something that was "light, white and ethereal."
Keeping that in mind, I was inspired by two white/silver sequined ballet dresses
 that my daughter Grace had worn in recitals. 


She graciously allowed me take the dresses to China,
 so they were added to my suitcase with a few small props. 
I chose Ellira and Kalli to wear the dresses and hoped they would fit
(fortunately they did). 

Ballerinas 2

In hindsight,I honestly didn't know if either of them knew what ballet was,
or if they'd even seen a ballet dress.
Gabi and Lily Trower agreed to help me as they
were fluent in Mandarin and knew the little girls well. 
They were a huge help to me.

Ballerinas 3

Kalli and Ellira put the sparkly costumes on with a little bit of hesitation. I am sure
they weren't quite sure what to expect. Once
we brushed their hair and put the pretty headbands on, the girls
were positively radiant and they were all smiles.

Ballerinas 4

There was no stage to perform on but that didn't matter because we had a long hallway
with plenty of room to jump, move and twirl.

Ballerinas 5

Kalli was a little reluctant at first to join in but seemed to know
exactly what to do after Gabi and Lily showed her
how ballerinas dance and move.

Ballerinas 6

 I will let the photos tell their own story because
I really don't need many words to explain them.

Ballerinas 7

I think I'll always remember the sound of their voices,
 the giggles, and the melody of their beautiful language.

Ballerinas 8

 Thank you Ellira and Kalli for spending an afternoon with me.
You shared your heart and let me see who you are.
Thank you for the connection and for allowing me to
capture your beautifully sweet personalities.

Ballerinas 9

Thank you for sharing your love with a stranger and
I am so happy that we're no longer strangers. 
You both gave me so much, and it's more than I 
could ever ask for, or deserve.

Ballerinas 10

To me,
when I think of these three words, "an orphan's wish,"
I literally wonder what an orphan child would dream
or wish for?
I can only imagine that it's a family.
A forever family of their own where
they are dearly loved and cherished.
My prayers are that this will happen for both of these little girls
in the new year.

Ballerinas 11

"Dancing with the feet is one thing, 
but dancing with the heart is another."

~ unknown 

Ballerinas 12

AOW logo

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Welcome Little One {House of Love, Guilin, China}

I've been home only 3 weeks, and the memories of my time in China are still fresh... this was my introduction to the House of Love. 

Philip 2 

We arrived at our destination bright and early on a Monday morning.
I was a little nervous, probably because I didn't know what to expect.
I didn't know(at the time) that my first experiences with several of the children
at the House of Love would be profound. 
This was one of them. 

Philip 1

You enter this place through a front gate that leads into a courtyard and
there are beautiful green doors on all the rooms facing it.
You could hear the sound of children laughing nearby.
We were led into the office where we were 
surprised to see 2 caregivers from different orphanages sitting in chairs,
each holding a young child (one a toddler, the other an infant).
Two new little ones had arrived at the House of Love!

Philip 3

Lee Ann and I followed Kirsten (the House of Love's director) and her daughters
Gabi and Lily upstairs to observe the process of 'admitting' a child.
I followed the baby boy.
His vital stats were taken, including his measurements and weight, then
a physical exam, noting any medical issues and his nutritional status.
I was impressed by how thorough they were with the exam and 
how lovingly he was handled and held.
After he got settled I was asked if I'd like to feed this new
little boy and was handed a bottle.
Who would have thought that within 45 minutes of walking through the gates
of this place, I'd be feeding this precious baby boy his first bottle?
It was a moving experience and connected me to him immediately.

 I was humbled holding this child...

Philip 4

My husband and I already were sponsors to Brad and I asked Lee Ann
if we could sponsor this little one too.
Lee Ann asked if I'd like to name him - and as that is an important responsibility,
 I wanted 
to think of one that would fit.
After some thought, I named him "Philip," after my youngest brother.

Every day we were at the House of Love was a busy one,
but I always managed to find a way to go and check on little Philip.
He was doing great by the way!
On our final day there, I held him one last time.
I prayed that his clubfoot casting went well and that a forever family
would adopt him soon. He is a wonderful child and I believe that will
happen in time.

The House of Love exists solely because of donations and sponsorships
of the amazing children that live there.
Please consider sponsoring and make a difference in a child's life!

~ Thank you


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Love Story {House of Love in Guilin, China}

"I'm only one. 
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to
do the something that I can do."
~ Edward Everett Hale

Gail Blog Post 1

Gail Blog Post 2

Gail Blog Post 7

Gail Blog Post 4

Gail Blog Post 3

Gail Blog Post 10

Gail Blog Post 8

Gail Blog Post 11

Gail Blog Post 9

Gail Blog Post 12

Gail Blog Post 6

"Let go of your ambitions, 
Come, let's change the world." 

 ~ Saint Frances Xavier

Gail Blog Post 13

Can you fall in love with a person through a photo?

It was a year ago exactly that I was asked to be a photo editor for An Orphan's Wish.
Every month a pool of new photos come in from China that I choose from to post on the home page,and other areas of the web site.
 It took me a few months to put 50 children's names to faces, but
with time it was easy to see each child's individual personality shine through very clearly. In the last year
 I've grown to love these children...each and every one.

Last week I was blessed to travel to Guilin, Guangxi, China with An Orphan's Wish U.S. director, Lee Ann Mill. We spent the week getting to know
 the 52 children that reside at the House of Love.
 I saw that they really are one big family of brothers and sisters of all ages. 
They play, laugh, have fun, help one other, learn, sometimes argue (and forgive), and
they absolutely adore each other.
 I learned that each child's story of how they came to live
 at the House of Love was compelling
and one of survival, bravery and eventually healing of both their physical body and soul. 
They are loved deeply and are learning to love.

I think the surprising part (for me) was that I came to capture them with my camera and now they've captured my heart. 
They've given me a gift that is profound and life changing, 
and for that I'll be forever grateful.

I invite you to gaze at their faces and open your heart to your own love story 
with each of these amazingly beautiful children.

Thank you to Brian, Kirsten, Gabi and Lily Trower for all that you do!
I'll continue to post from time to time about the House of Love.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Beautiful Bella {Madison, WI Children's Photographer}

B blog

Beautiful Bella is pretty redundant to say, as the the word 'bella'
 in Italian means beautiful. 
My first extended session with this little girl and
she did amazingly well if I say so... 
B Storyboard

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Welcome little Nora {Madison, WI Child and Family Photographer}

C Family blog 2

Every child begins the world again….

 ~Henry David Thoreau 

C Family Storyboard

 A new family of four, with the latest addition of Miss Nora coming
by adoption.
Her Mommy, Daddy and big brother are over the moon
about this adorable little girl.
A big Congratulations to the C Family!!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to capture your first 
official portraits.

C Family blog

J Family {Madison, WI - Family Photographer}

J Family Storyboard

This is the fourth year that this beautiful family has asked me to take their family portraits. They make my job easy as a photographer, and they're 
some of the most caring, kind people I've met. And they are personal friends.
Thank you Glenn and Carla!
© A Mother's Art Photography

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