Archive: July 2009   |   View all recent posts

Day 195 - A Memoire of the Mrs.
WHAT: For Clients, Project 365 (2009), Useful Stuff   |   WHEN: July 16, 2009
I've really enjoyed the new WHCC coffee table books.  Here's a few images of a 10x10 hinged custom image hard cover book I designed for Kylie's bridal images. I think they look great.  Then again, having Kylie in the book certainly dresses it up. 


Focus Sessions [Coming Soon]
WHAT: Mentoring   |   WHEN: July 16, 2009


Day 193 ~ The Oxfords {Prayer Request}
WHAT: Families, Kids, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: July 13, 2009

Last Thursday I was truly blessed and privileged to photograph the Oxfords.  While I really do enjoy all my clients, this family is particularly special and meaningful to me... and they need your help.  After reading about what this family is going through, if you're so inclined, please take a moment to say a prayer for this family and for complete healing for precious little Nate for God's word says in Matthew 18:19, "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven."

Wes and Jackie have three handsome little boys - 8 yr old Jake, 5 yr old Luke and 3yr old Nate.  Last December Wes and Jackie learned news that no parent ever wants to hear.  To summarize their story, here's an excerpt of their Journey from The Rockwall News:

Last December three-year-old Nate Oxford of Fate suddenly began throwing up each morning. Thinking it was caused by a sinus condition, his parents – local insurance agent Wes and Jackie Oxford – took him to his pediatrician, who recommended they immediately take him to the hospital.  An MRI revealed that little Nate had tumors at the front and back of his head, plus they were spreading down his small spine.

Doctors operated two days later to remove as much of one tumor as they could, but had to wait to start Chemotherapy until the small boy could recover from the surgery. In the meantime, the aggressive cancer spread rapidly, preventing Nate from speaking and walking. Now, thanks to a unique trial cocktail of chemotherapy drugs which only 13 other children across the nation are also receiving, the little boy is learning to walk and talk again, with the help of therapists and family members.

Nate has been diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Only about 500 cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, with a small percentage affecting children under 3 years old.

He continues to undergo extremely expensive clinical trials under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Bowers, a pediatric oncologist on staff at Children’s Medical Center, who said he is encouraged by the boy’s response to treatments.

Nate’s chemotherapy will continue for at least a year and he will have to undergo numerous forms of rehabilitation, including physical and speech therapy.

Since the news about Nate’s condition started spreading, family, friends and even many strangers have stepped in to offer an outpouring of support and prayers for Nate.

“We have received such an outpouring of love and support from the community, from so many individuals and churches, it is unbelievable,” said Nate’s grandmother, Lana Carlisle of Emory.  “We feel so grateful to everyone.”

“He’d originally only been given a short time by the doctors to be with us,  so we feel so blessed for every single day we can spend with little Nate. Now we’re praying for a miracle, because miracles do happen when you have faith and put your trust in God.”

At the beginning of this year, the Oxfords were nominated by a friend of the family for the "Giving Is Awesome" effort that thousands of of photographers around the world participated in to give the gift of custom photography to a deserving family.  After reading about what they were going through and with the help of a mutual friend, I got in touch with Jackie to let her know I wanted to extend this gift to their family.  She was so gracious, and we set out to work on a date for our session.  Unfortunately little Nate had to go through some pretty rough stuff for a while that left him very weak, but Jackie called a couple weeks ago to say that Nate was back at home for a while and feeling stronger, so we got together last week to create a few images of the boys.

We had so much fun, and the boys were fantastic, each one of them with their unique personalities.  We were able to go out to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve where God smiled on us with a relatively bearable temperature that evening while the boys were able to just relax, play, and, well, be boys. 

Nate has such piercing blue eyes that tell the story of his gentle soul.  And while he may be gentle, make no mistake that he is also a fighter.  On the inside he is still the playful, energetic boy he was before last December, and he's working hard for his body and mind to catch up and grow stronger and more healthy than before.

L A T E S T   U P D A T E

While I don't have any details or know the whole story yet, I did receive a news of a setback with Nate today.  Apparently he was unresponsive and would not wake up from sleep earlier today, so Wes and Jackie took Nate back into the hospital where Dr's have confirmed that the cancer has returned in a larger form that is causing Nate's response. They are discussing what to do and how to treat from here.  Later in the day Nate woke up out of his sleep and was able to answer questions with full sentences.  They are doing another MRI to confirm or disprove what the CAT scan found earlier in the day.  Please keep the Oxfords in you rprayers at this time.  Also, please visit to read more about Nate's story and how you can help.

Here are a few images from our session followed by a link to a slideshow at the end of this post.


Day 191 ~ Before & After (A Man Card Revoked)
WHAT: Dogs, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: July 11, 2009
I have never felt more manly than I do today.  Mia got her first hair cut today, and it seems the groomer felt 1 dainty pink bow just wasn't enough.  The 2nd one's a nice touch, don't ya think?  I seriously laughed out loud on the way home because, well, what else can you do when your dog looks so, ummm.... sweet.  I'm sorry, Mia.  Daddy's not laughing at you. I prom... okay, yes he is is.  He's laughing at you. 

The kicker is when Kylie got home and sounded bummed when she said she dropped Mia off for her appointment and the groomer told her they didn't paint doggy nails there.  Wait, what?


Day 189 - Tomato Harvesting: Birds 2. Matt & Kylie 0.
WHAT: Fun, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: July 9, 2009
The previous owners of the house were 'nice enough' to leave us no less than 8 bird houses hanging on or around the joint.  No biggee, right?  Sure, they're not exactly art pieces, but this problem is easily solved;  Step 1: Take down the bird houses.  Step 2: There is no step 2.

Well, after I first moved in, I got kinda used to looking out the kitchen windows into the back yard and seeing a few birds chillin' and singin' some tunes.  Kinda relaxing, actually.  Eh, I'll take down the bird houses in the spring.

Spring comes and low and behold our bird houses have become baby bird production plants.  Seems like every couple weeks there's a fresh batch of baby sqwaukers waitin' for momma to bring 'em some fresh, juicy worms.  [I'll skip over the unfortunate part about 2 or 3 falling out of their houses on windy days and ending up in Mia's stomach]  Well, I can't get rid of them now... there's babies in there! 

Fast forward to summer.  Kylie and I planted our first mini-garden a couple months ago with edamame (soy beans), green peppers, red peppers, and our most anticipated prize  - a roma tomoato plant.  We almost lost her a couple weeks back when we had some nasty storms and a tornado in the area, but we were able to do a little emergency surgery to get her back on her feet, and she's flourished.  Last week Kylie noticed a couple of tomatoes turning red and we were excited and a littel proud.  I could taste the bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and basil already.  Next day... red tomatoes were gone.  Apparently our fine feathered friends enjoy free rent and tomatoes.

Man down.

[insert photo of Kylie rolling her eyes at me and asking "Now can we get rid of the bird houses?"]  Not yet, honey... there's still babies in them there houses.  (Wow, I just got a hillbilly accent outta nowhere).  We'll get rid of them as soon as this next crop of little ones have moved out.

In the meantime, we've stepped up our line of defense by adding some netting over the plants.  Kylie also read in several places that hanging a CD will keep the birds away, too, because the movement and reflection scares them away.  I'm doubting that one 'cause we still see them hovering around the plant (probably checking themselves out in the CD), but we'll stick with it a little longer... besides, I've got plenty more back-up CD's with client images on them to hang out there if I need to. [grin]


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