God’s Gift – Natural Light

Sometimes we need to look past the dust of our lives to find the treasure ...


... the treasure of friendship ...


... and knowing those who love you and letting them know it right back.


We need to look outside of our own world ...


... and reflect on the things around us we see daily but don't always appreciate ...


... sometimes asking God for answers to things we don't understand ...


... then pondering His response.


When we do that, it's then we'll have the joy -- the joy in the big things and in the little things as well.









Megan - January 13, 2011 - 9:41 PM

Awwww, two things- what a sweet, sweet boy and such a perfect, perfect message…thanks for helping me remember to trust God and thank him for all things!!!

Linda Johnston - January 14, 2011 - 9:22 AM

Oh, how precious those pictures are and what lovely captions–they tell truth in a beautiful way. So sweet Mary.

Aubrey Archuleta - January 14, 2011 - 3:17 PM

Squeeeeeeee! That baby boy is perfect! That blonde hair & chubby cheeks…HEAVEN.

fairlycandid - January 14, 2011 - 3:20 PM

He is Heaven … when he’s not teething. ūüôā These photos were taken almost 2 months ago when he was 13 months. He’s all grown up now. ūüėČ

Marilyn Senn - January 28, 2011 - 7:11 AM


fairlycandid - January 28, 2011 - 7:15 AM

Awww, Marilyn, how sweet was that. Thank you ! (For those of you wondering who this is, it’s MJ’s great-grandma in Maryland.)

Happy First Birthday to the New Year's Baby!

Sydney was¬†born in Honolulu, Hawaii at 11:09 PM on New Year’s Day, 2010, making it another one of the happiest days of this Grampa¬†and Gramma’s lives. With MJ (our first grandbaby) and Sydney being only two-and-a-half months apart, we have lots of joy in our lives.¬†God’s awesomeness is proven once again when you realize what a beautiful gift the human heart is that it can stretch so far as to contain all the love these babies create.

Here is a recap of some of my favorite candid shots of Syd’s first year from¬†our first¬†trip to Hawaii two weeks after she was born, to the kid’s vacation here in July, and then again in Hawaii in December. She is a collection of sugar and spice for sure, but also¬†of beauty and amazing blue eyes,¬†friendliness,¬†tenderness, patience, and endearing quirkiness¬†with her high pitch shrills, pity giggles, fake coughs, and wild hair. ¬†She is a logical thinker and so¬†full of expression.¬† She loves to walk, wave at people, carry things, and put everything in her mouth! ¬†She’s a lover, that girl. ¬†Happy birthday sweet girl from some of your biggest fans!


Megan - December 31, 2010 - 11:05 AM

Oh gosh…our baby is ONE…what happened??? Thanks for such a sweet recap of the last year…some of the most adorable and beautiful pictures were taken by you…thank you for that also!!! Here’s to another year of adorableness (and no tantrums, please!)

Aubrey Archuleta - January 2, 2011 - 10:47 AM

The sight of those 2 blonde babies together melts me! Happy Bday Syd!

botut - January 3, 2011 - 9:11 PM

Wow, New Year’s Day?! How special and what a great collection of moments….LOVE it Mary!

Hawaii Sights

The above picture was taken from the 41st Penthouse Suite of Megan and Robby’s building overlooking Honolulu. ¬†The kids live on the 14th floor so while they have a view, it’s not like this!

While in Hawaii, we took a nature walk almost every day and one morning we got a rare sighting when a big ol’ cockroach come running toward us.¬† Of course I screamed because Megan’s conditioned me to believe they are very¬†bad creatures. ¬†I screamed, it stopped, then Megan pointed to the right of me so I turned, then screamed again when a big ol’ gecko (maybe it was a lizard) came running out from behind me then stopped only feet from the cockroach.¬† A few seconds later it ran over to the cockroach, took its face in his mouth, ran off to the flower bed curbing and proceeded to eat his breakfast.¬† It was pretty cool I must say. ¬†As we continued on our walk we saw a white bird seemingly chasing a couple walking. ¬†On further observance we realized that the people were scaring the geckos in the flower beds and the bird would rush in and eat them! ¬†Kind of sad because Megan has also conditioned me to believe that geckos are good creatures since the Hawaiian people believe they bring good luck. ¬†Geckos eat cockroaches, birds eat geckos, and people eat birds … the circle of life Meg says.

As Megan has blogged, the North Shore is a beautiful place and it was my mom’s first trip to Waimea Bay so she got to experience the fun of the waves. ¬†That’s her in the photos below with her legs straight up in the air and Robby behind her laughing! Such a sport, my mom.

We went to the Valley of the Temples. ¬†The Byodo-In Temple was built in the 1960’s to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant workers in Hawaii who came to work in the sugar plantation fields. It is a replica of the 950-year-old Byodo-In Temple located in Uji, Japan on the southern outskirts of Kyoto. ¬†The Temple was a filming site for the first season of LOST. ¬†It was a very pretty place, even with the mosquitos.

In past years we have visited more traditional sites whereas this trip we enjoyed a more relaxed pace with Sydney. ¬†I took random photos along the way wishing many times I would pull myself out of bed early in the morning to catch some of the beautiful early morning light. ¬†In the end, there was lots of wishing but not much doing — that blow up mattress was more comfortable than you’d think!


Megan - December 29, 2010 - 5:40 PM

Hawaii always looks so much different through your lenses…more beautiful. Funny how you can look at these pictures without ever being here and think- ‘WOW…that place is so gorgeous’…and then you get here and see all the junks everywhere!

Hawaii: Marathon Madness

In the last post I told you that my husband surprised the kids with his visit to Hawaii. Well, part of the reason for doing that was so that he could join us in watching our daughter run her second marathon – 26.2 miles — on December 12.¬†¬†

We are extremely proud and impressed with Megan — and Robby for that matter. Even though he had to bow out of this year’s race, he completed the past two years and did very well. Megan is humble and if you read her blog, she skips right over all the fine details that I’m going to share with you. Sorry Meg, it’s a mother moment.

There were 21,700 people entered in the Honolulu Marathon and she came in 645th overall; she came in 20th out of 1,815 women in her age group; she was the 108th woman out of 9,710 women overall; and she was 211th out of the top 500 Hawaiian residents that got their names in the local paper. ¬†Her time was 3:42:27. ¬†See why we’re proud?!

The race started at 5:00 a.m. so we were up and out of the house early. ¬†I was able to get some pictures of the racers from the second story of a nearby mall — with Santa watching too — before the fireworks start time, but wasn’t able to get as close as I would have liked. ¬†At mile four the racers come right in front of the kid’s apartment building so Megan ran right by us. ¬†After we watched a while, we made our way to the apartment, got cleaned up then headed for the finish line, another experience in itself.

There are a few people who like to stand out in a crowd and will do just about anything to do so. Take for example the man who ran BACKWARDS 26.2 miles. Megan said he bumped into her one day in training, and never looked back to apologize — I mean look forward — I mean look back? Others ran in full costumes and masks or in tights. ¬†My camera was clicking away during and after Megan finished. ¬†A young local boy ran it barefooted and I asked him afterwards how he was doing. ¬†He said fine and his feet seemed to prove it — they were very pretty! Megan said the oldest competitor was 92 — although I was told Yoda was 800! It was quite the experience to say the least and we were so fortunate to have been a part of it. ¬†Congratulations Megan — you did it girl!


Megan - December 28, 2010 - 5:49 AM

Well, gee, thanks Ma. ūüėČ Gosh, reliving it through this post makes me even more glad that it’s over!!! It was so wonderful having you here to experience it and root me on…and now to have such cool pics to look at- thank you!

Aubrey Archuleta - December 30, 2010 - 12:51 AM

Yea, what to say about this insanity! Having a bay is a marathon in itself! You go Megs! You are amazing ūüôā

Aubrey Archuleta - December 30, 2010 - 12:52 AM

*baby* not bay, although that would be challenging too ūüėČ

"It Never Hurts to Ask" Family Portraits

Sometimes you meet the nicest people at the most unusual places.¬† Take for example the Hilton Hawaiian Village playground.¬† I was photographing my daughter’s family and we stopped for a few minutes to let Sydney play¬†on the slide when¬†a lady came up and asked if I was a photographer and could possibly photograph her family.¬† They were there from Washington DC and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone from Washington DC so I had to do it, right?!¬† ūüôā¬† I met up with them the next day … dad and twins first while mom got ready, then the whole family for a few minutes, then mom and twins after dad had to return to his conference.

The funniest thing happened while I was photographing dad and kids at a little sleigh station the hotel had set up.¬† As I was shooting, I turned to see a group of Chinese and Japanese women gathering¬†and they were taking¬†pictures too — of dad and his kids!¬† One woman even went so far as to run up and get in the picture with them.¬† It was definitely a first for me and probably them as well.¬† It wasn’t really a good location as the kids were a bit¬†hesitant of the giant snowman’s hand waving up and down, the light was terrible,¬†and all the spectators watching the kids didn’t help¬†so it was time to move!¬† We moved but that didn’t stop some of our friends from following us¬†as new ones gathered.¬† It just goes to prove that children bring a joy to people’s hearts that can’t be touched in other ways.¬† It was wonderful meeting you and your family, May. ¬†Aloha and Mele¬†Kalikimaka the DC way!

Portraits of My Hawaiian Kids

My mom and I spent 14 wonderful days in sunny Honolulu the first two weeks of December¬†with my daughter, Megan,¬†son-in-law Robby, and granddaughter, Sydney.¬† A week into our trip Grampa¬†showed up at their door surprising everyone but me (since I was in the loop from the get-go) so it was fun to see the kids and my moms reactions.¬† Syd let Grampa¬†pick her right up and later when Daddy came home and was trying to get Syd to come to him, she was mesmerized¬†by the man hiding in the kitchen¬†instead of toddling off to her daddy.¬†¬†It was cute.¬† The kids live in a little apartment but we couldn’t have been more spoiled¬†with hospitality, wonderful meals and fun adventures.¬†¬†We were surrounded by love and the joy of seeing Sydney in all her daily activities was so precious.¬† What a sweet granddaughter¬†we have!

Trust me when I say I have hundreds of photos of Sydney on my computer!¬† That girl rocks my core!¬† She is so sweet, so friendly, so dang cute! … BUT for this post I will contain myself and stick to a few photos¬†from their family photo session concentrating mostly on the lucky parents … there¬†was just too many distractions for the little one.

fairlycandid - December 18, 2010 - 2:58 AM

What a sweet post- it was a pleasure having you here and I love the pictures!!!

Linda Johnston - December 19, 2010 - 7:38 AM

How cute–I just love babes in stripey bottoms! Megan and Robby look so happy, job well done grandma X 2.

Aubrey Archuleta - December 19, 2010 - 9:23 PM

Oh man! I LURVE these!!!

Hawaii: Ko'Olina

The kids took mom and I to a new place I’d never been … to Ko’Olina¬†Beach Park which is on the southwest part of the island.¬† There are resorts all around but this is a tiny public beach sandwiched in.¬† It has parking for about 8 cars and if you are lucky, like us, you get one!¬† It has a small lagoon with beautiful sand and shallow waters for kids to play before it drops down into deeper water for snorkelers.¬† Robby taught me to snorkel at Shark’s Cove, then Waimea, and now here.¬† Lots to be seen on the ocean floor but this time I saw the sea turtles.¬† Turns out I didn’t even need to snorkel to see them because a few hours after we were there, they all started coming out of the deeper areas into the shallow sandy areas in search of nice people who might have picked some kelp for them (of which my kids did).¬† I will admit¬†it was¬†a little unnerving to have a huge sea creature touching my skin!¬† Apparently the rule to not touch them does not apply to them touching us …. I literally had a huge necks and flippers circling my body.¬† It was truly amazing.¬† At one point there were four turtles around me being fed, then one swam off and crawled (shimmied?) up the beach for a warm nap in the sun.¬†¬†¬†Such a great Hawaiian day.¬† Thanks kids!


Christine Ellis - December 11, 2010 - 12:56 PM

How amazing!! I think I would scream if the turtles were that close to me though. Beautiful pictures as always!

Aubrey Archuleta - December 13, 2010 - 10:15 PM

JEALOUS. So jealous. And…lookin’ good Granny! ūüėČ

botut - December 14, 2010 - 5:16 PM

I love turtles – how awesome! What great photos!!!

fairlycandid - December 16, 2010 - 8:16 PM

Gosh, can you believe the entire two weeks is already here and gone? ūüôĀ At least we are left with awesome memories and some AMAZING photos. Love you Mom!

Aloha from Hawaii!

The cold and snow hit Boise, so my mom and I headed for warmer weather — Honolulu, Hawaii!¬† Okay, we had it planned before the snow fell, but it sure was good timing on our part!¬† We’re¬†here visiting my daughter, son-in-law, and adorably sweet, funny, smart, cute granddaughter, Sydney,¬†of 11 months.¬† She met us at the airport, walked over to us and¬†became instant buddies with my 83-year-old¬†mom.¬† Great-Grandma gave her a homemade Raggedy Andy doll and it was just¬†one of the¬†sweetest sights ever.¬† I¬†¬†simply cannot¬† get enough of her!!!¬† Here are a few pictures of our first days here, but there will be more to come for sure.

Below is Sydney giving her mom a hug.

Syd has some wild hair for sure.  It has a mind of its own at this point in life, and it just gives the girl character if you ask me!

Aubrey Archuleta - December 5, 2010 - 11:00 PM

Love it! So jealous, I wish I could escape to Hawaii ūüėČ And your mom! Wow, she looks great.

fairlycandid - December 7, 2010 - 6:58 AM

I’d be jealous too if I was home in the cold and snow. It’s beautiful here and Mom and I are having so much fun with Sydney. What a silly sweet girl she is. I gave your compliment to my mom — thank you.

Company Coming? Need Portraits?

It’s holiday time and when that happens good friends and family come to visit, as in the case of Barb’s family who had extra guests for Thanksgiving. ¬†Babies bring a special joy to a family and this one is no exception — what a cutie! ¬†She has two cousins that I think are pretty fun, and ones I’ve had some great adventures with (like getting the three of us lost in the woods while camping — but all’s well that ends well, right?!). Happy holidays to all of you and great job on the color coordination gals!


The Barker's

Boise’s first snow brought frigid temperatures in the 20’s, but it also brought some beauty to God’s nature. This is my niece’s family and they were¬†willing to hit the snow to memorialize the first snowfall of winter. Winter? Well, not officially, but it sure feels like it. I love how the snow accents the greens and browns and lets the playfulness of people come out. It was snowing as I photographed and every one of us got wet but we had a great time nonetheless.¬†I will give you a tip from a photographer’s point of view, however,¬†and that is while the falling snow is fun and added depth to the photo, it didn’t look so good on faces.¬†Oops!¬†While it’s a bit time-consuming to remove it all in Photo Shop,¬†the payoff is worth it.¬†A big thank you to all the family¬†for never complaining and to my sweet daughter-in-law for giving me a hand with the reflector. One thing about something like this is it sure makes you appreciate the love of family and the warmth of a fire awaiting at home! Love you all!