Sunday, July 22, 2012

Photography and Life by dr Frank: Orange Lemon Drink - Bendtec - Vita Mix recipe

Photography and Life by dr Frank: Orange Lemon Drink - Bendtec - Vita Mix recipe

Orange Lemon Drink - Bendtec - Vita Mix recipe

Quick recipe for a refreshing low cost alternative to sodas.

Orange Lemon Drink - Bendtec - Vita Mix recipe

1 - Lemon - pealed (I include the seeds and white part of fruit and the Blendtec blends them with ease.)
1 - Orange - pealed (I include the seeds and white part of fruit and the Blendtec blends them with ease.)
4 cups water
Organic Coconut Sugar to taste (not much is needed) - I used the 'blonde' version
Ice - 1/2 - 1 cup ice
Blend until liquid (On the Blendtec I used Juice Button)

This Orange Lemon Drink is very satisfying after a hot day in the sun and a low cost alternative to sodas and expensive energy drinks.  The Coconut Sugar is loaded with nutrients - from their website -
Coconut Sugar offers a rich nutritional content that includes magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids (including glutamine). Coconut Sugar is also naturally free from allergens including gluten, is vegan, GMO-free, and Kosher certified.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Discover the Art of Photography by Trey Ratcliff - teaching series

Highly recommended - I have followed Trey's work for a long time and his work has inspired me in my work.

New Product, Discover the Art of Photography

We're excited to announce a new tutorial series by Trey Ratcliff called Discover the Art of Photography.

The tutorials are targeted at beginning photographers and enthusiasts. It will be launched via a four-part live webinar over four consecutive evenings, July 31 - Aug 3. Each webinar will begin with a brief introduction followed by a broadcast of a video followed by a live Q&A session with Trey lasting 60+ minutes.

Click here to view more details

 Webinar Schedule:
Episode 1: Getting Started (July 31, 7pm PT)
Episode 2: Photo Composition (Aug 1, 7pm PT)
Episode 3: Finding Your Own Style (Aug 2, 7pm PT)
Episode 4: Photo Editing (Aug 3, 7pm PT)
Registration: $149 per person -- OR -- Register you and a friend for just $199 (a savings of $50 per person) and become eligible to win a new camera valued at over $1,300!

Click here to view more details


High School Senior Portraits and Weddings by dr Frank
Seneca Valley Portraits
Montour School District
Black Hawk School District Portraits

Contact dr Frank to photograph your wedding, portraits, or special event.

Specializing in Wedding and Portrait Photography
Beaver County, Pittsburgh, and surrounding communities.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Yams - great tasting recipe - Low cost great nutrients!

Do you want to add more vegetables to your diet, to your families diet or have pounds of yams left over from a recent sale at the grocery store with no idea what to do with them?

Yams - great tasting recipe
Quick great tasting recipe for yams or sweet potatoes

2-3 yams
handful of raisins and/or a few chopped dates or figs
Pure maple syrup
1 cup water or apple cider

Cut up the yams into small pieces and put them into a pot.  Add the raisins and cinnamon and pour the water or apple cider over the ingredients.  Add a tablespoon of maple syrup and one of agave.  Cook slowly until the yams are tender.  Carefully pour the ingredients into a Blentec, Vitamix, food processor, or blender able to handle the contents.  Blend until very smooth and serve hot or cold depending on your families likes.  I enjoy this tasty treat cold or hot and as a great mid day energy boost.  

A variation to this recipe is blend 2/3 of the yams and pour over the other 1/3 and serve as part of the main meal.  

High School Senior Portraits and Weddings by dr Frank
Seneca Valley Portraits
Montour School District
Black Hawk School District Portraits

Contact dr Frank to photograph your wedding, portraits, or special event.

Specializing in Wedding and Portrait Photography
Beaver County, Pittsburgh, and surrounding communities.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

3 Quick steps to reduce frustration when providing instructions

Be specific and clear when giving directions or instructions. 

Too often, when giving instructions we are not clear with our expectations and then are frustrated when the other person does not complete the task as desired.  Think of the last time you were giving driving directions to someone and you stated turn left at the intersection, they respond stating, "Turn left" then out of habit you state "right".  "Oh, I thought you said turn left!"  "I did, and we get upset when they turn right.

During my recent trip to Panama and after unpacking my clothes, I stood there looking at a wrinkled mess in front of me.   I looked around the room and in the closets for an iron and ironing board but could not locate one.  Thankfully, I had time and after putting on some lightweight clothes, I headed for the lobby of the hotel to visit the city. The front desk attendant greeted me and I asked if guest services could bring me an iron.  He asked if I needed it immediately and I stated no since I was going out for a few hours.  Returning to my room a few hours later I found an iron sitting on a desk and realized room services followed my orders exactly but I was disappointed.  Why was I disappointed? They brought an iron but no ironing board. I had to laugh not at them but at me since they followed my instructions completely.  I envisioned ironing my shirts on my body (not a good idea) and attempting to iron the shirts on the desk (another risky idea).  Although I believed they would bring both an iron and an ironing board they followed my instructions to the letter.  Was the miscommunication a result in ‘lost in translation’ or me not clearly stating my need?  I believe it was my fault due to explaining exactly what I needed. 

How often do others follow our instructions to the letter but the results are not what we expected because we did not state what we want done?  This practice holds true regardless of the situation or the audience. 

3 Quick steps when providing instructions to reduce frustration

1.   Think out the instructions first
2.   Be specific in your instructions
3.   Have the recipient repeat the instructions or repeat them in a statement verifying the accuracy
1.      Thanks!  Housekeeping will have an iron and ironing board in my room when I return.

High School Senior Portraits and Weddings by dr Frank
Seneca Valley Portraits
Montour School District
Black Hawk School District Portraits

Contact dr Frank to photograph your wedding, portraits, or special event.

Specializing in Wedding and Portrait Photography
Beaver County, Pittsburgh, and surrounding communities.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

3 Tips for better parenting and grand parenting Read with your kids!

3 Tips for better parenting and grand parenting Read with your kids!

First tip – I am no expert :D

Second tip – Grandparenting is great. 

  I hear it all the time.  Being a grandparent is great because you can give them back.  Who are you giving them back to? God? That is a good idea – turn them over to God!  Grand parenting is great because it is a good chance to make up for all the goofy things we did when learning on your grandkid’s parents (your kids).
My youngest granddaughter

Third tip – Read with your kids! 

 If your kids are too young to read with then read to your kids.  I am referring to reading the same books your kids are reading.  Regardless of their age, take the time and read the same books your kids/grandkids are reading then talk to them about the books.

My wife and I love to read and my oldest granddaughter is the same and consumes books nonstop (thank God for libraries!)  One morning I was going through my list of books I wanted to start reading and a thought came to me, read the same books as my granddaughter.  I remember her talking about a series of books that she was reading and I decided to read the series too.  (My wife has read with my granddaughter before and always reads to them – [I am a little slower at catching good parenting tips.]  The book series started with The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau and it was the first of four books in the series.  (I get entertainment books from the local library and/ has a very large selection of ebooks/audio books that work on your e device or mp3 player and you can check them out for up to three weeks and ten books at a time.  My local library has a small selection but between the local library system, Pittsburgh’s system, and freelibrary, I can usually find what I want.  Now back to the main attraction.

It proved to be an interesting book and kept me engaged from start to finish.  Scattered throughout the book were various life lessons on morals, values, and various character traits (both good and bad).  There were times when the book seemed to go a little too dark for a ten year old and it seemed to ramble with no apparent direction but when I finished the book, many of the ramblings made sense.  Since my granddaughter was on book three, I immediately started on the second book, which is the People of Sparks.  While I was reading the first book, I began the dialogue with my granddaughter about her favorite characters, situations in the book, and the general plot.  The People of Sparks had a few sections that bored me but I am not the intended audience and the plot continued to build. The greatest value with both books is the life lessons scattered throughout the book as part of the dialogue and plot.

This dialogue between us continued into book two and three – The Prophet of Yonwood.  

She did not like the book nor did she fully understand it, which prompted me to finish it quickly to ensure I could discuss its plot and basis.  I found the book to be very dark and it was not until I finished the book did I understand its direction.  It is not a book I recommend for a ten year old (its rated 9 and above) since there are sections which paint a very dismal and odd look at certain items in life. I understand why Jeanne DuPrau wrote it and its conclusion is better than the majority of the book but I believe it should be written with a different stroke of the pen.

Since I read the book and its previous books, I was able to talk with my granddaughter about it and how it related to the previous two in the series;  helping her understand it and the life lesson in the book. 
Reading the same books as our kids/grandkids provides us opportunities to talk and dialogue providing tremendous openings to share our thoughts and values.  Do not stop reading with your kids when they grow.  Hopefully, they continue reading their entire life filling their lives with valuable books, stories, and life’s lessons. 

I love to read and talk to others about the books we read and what we learned from the book and if the book(s) has any value in our life.  There are many people in my life who love to read and we share our favorites and quick reviews as part of a regular routine.  Do you enjoy reading?  Please share your favorites with me!

 My final tip is to make your kids/grandkids part of your reading crowd, then read and talk with them about the books as you go through life together.  Ask them questions and let them talk explaining what they see and vision in the book.  Encourage them to read and build character images in their mind.  Ask them to describe the characters and discuss the characters together.  Do you envision them as tall or short, serious face or do they have a big smile always?  (Don’t make it a lesson but a chance to talk and dialogue with them.  Be a part of their life by getting to know their world and how they see our world.)  Ask them if their friends like to read and are they reading the same books.  Get them excited about reading and help them understand the value of reading books for many reasons.

(We are both reading book 4 in the series – The Diamond of Darkhold and we will discuss it when we complete it.)

Remember this: Life is all a matter of perspective so get out and enjoy the beauty of life!

High School Senior Portraits and Weddings by dr Frank
Seneca Valley Portraits
Montour School District
Black Hawk School District Portraits

Contact dr Frank to photograph your wedding, portraits, or special event.

Specializing in Wedding and Portrait Photography
Beaver County, Pittsburgh, and surrounding communities.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stopping short of our goals because of FEAR (false evidence appearing real) - Cinta Costera

In pursuit of a goal but stopping short because of fear and the unknown

My journey to Cinta Costera

How many times have we set goals but stop short of achieving them because of FEAR (false evidence appearing real) and doubt?  Often we state, “If only I knew the outcome” but many times the journey is what builds our character as much as us reaching our goal.  I heard an illustration once that bears repeating before I get to my story.  You miss your favorite team/sport’s game but record it for viewing later when you return home.  After avoiding the internet, forums, social media, etc all day, you drive home with your mind filled with anticipation and excitement for a critical game.  You pull into your drive way, open the car door and then your neighbor yells over to you, “can you believe the comeback our team achieved in the last 2 minutes of the game?”.  On no! you think knowing that you did not want to know the outcome and enter your home.  After tossing your keys on the counter and slip into your comfortable clothes, the anticipation of the game fades into the distant past.   Even at half-time when your team is down by multiple scores with no apparent chance for winning, the butterflies and knot in your stomach never appear.  Why?  Because you know the outcome and the journey isn’t filled with excitement and wonder.

During my recent trip to Panama City, Panama, I ventured out each night to explore the city.  I wanted to talk to local residents, shop owners, challenging my communication skill in a foreign country while enjoying the culture, sounds, and structures throughout the city.  One evening I asked for directions to Cinta Costera from the front desk personnel at the hotel.  They gave me the directions and I felt confident I could find this beautiful part of Panama.  Earlier in the week, I had a driver take me around the city showing me various attractions and landmarks.  He showed me in passing the Cinta Costera and also pointed out various parts of the city to avoid (for safety reason) and others to visit and enjoy.  During the day and with a guide, these areas where recognizable but at night, everything looked and sounded much different.

Earlier in the day, the weather was rainy and humid filling the streets and sidewalks with puddles and mud.  With my camera over my shoulder I set out for my goal of Cinta Costera believing that I would reach my destination easily and without any set-backs.

The journey –

The first block or two into the journey contained little excitement and interest but then I came upon a section filled with darkness and many unknowns.  I saw in the distance a lone man and wondered is he harmless and what is he doing on this dark street alone at night (but then again what was I doing on this street alone at night in a far away city).  Approaching him with caution, I decided to walk not on the sidewalk but walked between parked cars along the road and managed to step in a deep mud puddle filling my crocks with mud and water.  The mud caused the insides of the crocs to be very slick and awkward to walk in but I continued forward and arrived to the point where this man was leaning against the fence.  Dressed in a uniform type shirt caused some of my fear to dissipate and I greeted him in Spanish.  He acknowledged my greeting in Spanish and continued smoking his cigarette as I walked past him toward a darker section.

The dark section contained fences of various types and sizes causing a magnification of every sound and then I started to hear a faint shuffling sound that appeared to come from behind me.  I quickly turned around but saw nothing but darkness and faint lights in the distance.  Cars passed me as I journeyed along the sidewalk passing a beautiful home with a stone and iron fence surrounding it.  The sidewalk made of pavers and stamped rain covered concrete provided a slick surface for my muddy crocs.  As I walked past this beautiful home, I could see people sitting at a table under a covered porch behind the beautiful fence with faint music playing in the background.  Then I heard the sound again, somewhere nearby I could hear the shuffling sound of someone walking and I spun around looking into all the shadows for what caused the sound.  Was it a stray cat looking for food or was it someone following me?  My mind began to race as my mind focused on “Yea, as I walk through the shadow of darkness, I will fear no evil!” Yes, I know that it is; Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: but my mind kept repeating darkness. 
I decided to move to the opposite side of the street and soon came upon a crowded block, which appeared to be a restaurant with cars parked all around and three large men standing in the short driveway to this restaurant.  Then my over active mind started up again, thinking was this a restaurant or was this something else and these men stood in front to get rid of anyone attempting to enter that didn’t belong.  Excitement and anxiety set in but neither stopped me from taking pictures along the way and I found myself in another section with stranger sounds and the familiar yet still eerie swishing and shuffling sound of someone walking.  After walking through more puddles and my crocs filled with more mud and water, my mind wavered from my goal and focused on my feet.  Wet and sloppy, my body convinced my mind that if a pursuer was lurking and decided to chase me and I attempted to run, I would no doubt slide out of my wet crocs and end up a statistic. 

Not long after this, I came upon a major road filled with lights and buildings. However, at this point my body wore out from an over active imagination (maybe too many war and spy movies) and my mind convinced that the goal was not within reach I decided to turn and head a different direction toward a section of town that I traveled earlier in the week. 

It was then when I heard stranger sounds, the sounds of frogs croaking and the familiar shuffling of feet and as I spun around, I realized who was following me.  It was me!  No, it was not some crazed drunk lurking in the shadows or a gang member looking for an unsuspecting target.  The shuffling sound that I heard was my wet pants dragging on the pavement and through the mud echoed off the vacant buildings, concrete, and fences.  I almost laughed aloud but at this point, I decided to continue my walk toward the section of town that I knew but did not investigate in too much detail earlier in the week. 

I took a handful of shots and talked to many people along the way.  Between my choppy Spanish and their choppy English, I conversed with a few locals including a cab driver and street vendor getting directions and then purchasing a few magnets from the street vendor.  I saw a restaurant that tempted me to visit (Mediterranean food served outdoors) but I did not want to stop to eat as I continued on my journey. 
I am not sure how many blocks I walked but I do know that I did not reach my goal of Cinta Costera and unfortunately did not get to visit it later in the week other than a quick drive by. Yes, I did see other sites and would not have seen them but FEAR (false evidence appearing real) stopped me from achieving my goal.  Will I get to visit Cinta Costera one day in the future?  Maybe and I hope so but I doubt the journey will be the same now that I know the path and the next day I checked on the map and realized I was very close to my goal but the journey wore me out and I stopped short of my goal.

How many times in our lives do we stop short of our goal without realizing that the goal is only a few steps away and only one more obstacle is in our path?  Is the journey as valuable or more valuable than reaching the goal?  Many times, it appears that the journey is more valuable than the goal itself.
Get out and enjoy the beauty and adventures that life brings!

 I did come upon this beautiful church which became part of a different goal for the night - keep on keeping on and always persist, finding opportunity in the midst of a humorous, over active imagination.  
Panama Church

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Panama City, Panama - My first visit in words and pictures part one

Panama City, Panama - Part one
I had the honor of visiting Panama City for business spending four full days in this beautiful city enjoying its diverse look and culture.  On the last full day of my trip, a very kind man attending the workshop offered to take me to old Panama City and give me a walking, talking tour.  Driving out of Panama City to old Panama City he gave me a quick history lesson outlining the work the country is putting into the restoration of this beautiful city and all of the money private investors continued to pour into this beautiful city.  They were tasked with restoring the city to its original charm ans style.

We walked through many streets and he talked to multiple city workers asking which roads were open that we could walk use in our journey.  I could spend months if not years photographing this historic town and realized immediately that I needed to do everything possible to capture a piece of this city's splendor.  We walked to this street initially to tour and photograph the monastery (left side of the frame) but found it closed and locked for the night.  However, I couldn't pass this beautiful view and immediately set-up my tripod to begin composing the scene.  As soon as I began setting up a lady walked into the scene and sat down.  At first I thought (please move one) but soon realized she was staying to feed some stray cats.  In post processing I went more for the painterly look and the lady feeding the cats fit perfect in this stepping back in time look (the only thing out of place are the light post along the roadway (or are they)).  Within the scene is another person - can you see him?  He is not hid and in the near center of the image.

Old Panama City, Panama
Wouldn't it be great to shoot portraits or a wedding party in this grandeur old city?  Can you imagine the shots possible for high school senior portraits?  I wonder if the inhabitants of the area do the same thing that we do concerning the beauty in our back yard?  Overlook it?

Its summertime in North America and time to enjoy the beautiful countryside.  Take the time to visit old cities in your area and step back in time to days of old.  While visiting these cities, do not forget to take your camera, note book documenting your visits as you record memories for future enjoyment.  I state this often during a wedding or portrait session.  Although these images are taken for your enjoyment, the real value is to capture this moment in time and for future generations to enjoy and cherish.

High School Senior Portraits and Weddings by dr Frank
Seneca Valley Portraits
Montour School District
Black Hawk School District Portraits

Contact dr Frank to photograph your wedding, portraits, or special event.

Specializing in Wedding and Portrait Photography
Beaver County, Pittsburgh, and surrounding communities.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Northern Connection Cover - Wedding Edition - Pittsburgh North

Last summer we had the distinct pleasure of photographing Danica and Nick's wedding which made the cover of Northern Connection's June 2012 Wedding edition and a photo on the inside of the magazine with a summary of the wedding.

The Northern Connection is distributed throughout the north hills of Pittsburgh with a readership of 60,000 and is distributed in many businesses, malls, schools, and other places of interest throughout Pittsburgh,  There are always interesting articles covering a myriad of topics to interest a wide range of readers.  Click here for a link to a PDF of this month's edition.

If you would like the Northern Connection Magazine delivered monthly to your home or business, click here for more information.

Danica and Nick's wedding was very fun and they were an amazing couple to work with and photograph.  Their wedding ceremony was at Memorial Park Church near North Park (North Pittsburgh) and their wedding reception was at the Crowne Plaze in Moon Twp ( Near the Pittsburgh Airport).

Northern Connection Magazine Pittsburgh PA
One of my favorite images from their wedding is inside the magazine accompanying the summary by Danica and the image displays a reflection of their love in many ways.  

Reflections of Love
When we arrived to the hotel, I immediately started to look for some fun picture locations and reflections are always a favorite of mine.  The shine from this black piano immediately caught my attention and the image was processed in my mind.  The challenge was getting it done quickly (to ensure the couple could get back to their guests) and not be in the way of others. I shot two vantage points of this image and included both in their wedding (heirloom) album.

Reflections of a bride and groom
We took these images and added a few others later and this one of them relaxing is one that I am sure they will enjoy for many years.

If you would like to discuss your wedding and/or portrait photography needs, please contact me for a no obligation appointment.  We cover Pittsburgh and surrounding communities including Beaver County, Butler County, and more.

Bible Wedding Rings and heart
Northern Connection Cover - Wedding Edition - Pittsburgh North
Wedding Rings

Friday, June 1, 2012

Life - Its all a matter of perspective

Nearly everything in life is all a matter of perspective.

A newborn baby has its bottom slapped by the delivering doctor and the baby cries out to the world - here I am!  

For the mom and dad dreaming of this day, tears of joy flow from their face as they look on their beautiful child.  For the unwed mom who is scared, alone, and not sure what to do, tears of fright and disbelief flow from her face.

 For some, a cool summer day is filled with joy and for others, they complain they cannot believe how cold it is in the summer.  In the middle of a hot 90+ day, some will complain it is too hot while others remember a few months earlier these same folks complained it was too cold.  Life - its all a matter of perspective.  

Some will sit at a softball game and enjoy the time watching their child or grandchild, soaking in the time while others look at their watch (do people wear watches) and think of all the things they missed doing while sitting at the game.

Some will listen to the birds and see them fly around while others complain about the bird 'poop' on their lawn furniture.  

Some will complain about the traffic to work and others enjoy it because it gives them time to think, listen to audio books, or enjoy time.

Some will complain about their old car (that runs) while others wish they had any car.

Some complain about being in a valley and wish they were on top of the mountain while others realize that the nutrients roll down hill into the valley and the valley provides the greatest opportunity for growth.

Some complain they cannot get their favorite beverage while others wish they could get fresh water.

Life is a matter of perspective.

There is an old story of a man who visited a psychiatrist stating he was a corpse.  Regardless of what the psychiatrist stated or asked the man kept stating he was a corpse.  The psychiatrist asked him this question:
Do corpses bleed?

The man stated emphatically, NO!  Our blood is drained before we are embalmed.  We don’t have blood!

The psychiatrist opened his middle drawer on his wooden desk slowly and searched around through a pile of paper clips and other items until he found a nice silver safety pin.  After releasing the clip on the pin he reached out and grabbed the man’s left hand and with a quick jab stabbed the man’s pointer finger.  Out of the jab flowed crimson colored blood and slowly poured over the edges of the man’s finger.  The man gasped with horror and grabbed his wounded finger with his right hand.  The psychiatrist felt bad at first because of the look on the man’s face and the sounds he made.

The man began to state over and over again, “I was wrong! I was wrong!  I cannot believe it but I was wrong!”
The psychiatrist sat back in his high back leather chair with a smug look on his face thinking, “I convinced him that he is not a corpse!”

The man cried out in horror, “I was wrong, corpses do bleed!”

The next sound heard is the psychiatrists’ head pounding off his desk blotter.

Life - 
Its all a matter of perspective –

High School Senior Portraits and Weddings by dr Frank
Seneca Valley Portraits
Montour School District
Black Hawk School District Portraits

Contact dr Frank to photograph your wedding, portraits, or special event.

Specializing in Wedding and Portrait Photography
Beaver County, Pittsburgh, and surrounding communities.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The grass is greener where you water it! - Simple thought for today!

The grass is greener where you water it! - A very simple quote until you think about it.Often we hear the phrase, the grass is always greener on the other side.  However, the grass is greener where you water and tend to it.  Just like life, the areas that we water and sow our time into will flourish and grow.

Simple thought for today!

By dr Frank – 
High School Portrait Photography
Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

10 Ways to have the most wonderful wedding imaginable

 Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

Have fun at your wedding!
Wedding Fun

                By dr Frank –

  1. Relax – Your emotions will show in your pictures and to your guests.  Relax and enjoy your day!
  2. Hire a professional wedding coordinator.  Put the pressure and stress on a professional who understands the inner workings of a wedding.  Their role is to take the burden of coordination off you and/or a family member or friend.
  3. Hire a professional wedding photographer and ensure you get along well with your photographer.  You will spend many hours with them on your wedding day.  The expertise of a professional helps reduce the stress of the day.
  4. Reception – special songs by a guest or two.  If you have family members who can sing (especially young family members), their singing a song to the bride and groom always brings tears and laughter to the guests. I will never forget when my granddaughter sang L.O.V.E. to her aunt (bride) during my youngest daughter’s wedding reception.  Tears of joy flowed throughout the reception hall.
  5. Honor others during the reception.  If there is a guest that has a significant anniversary or birthday, dedicate a dance to them.  It always brings tears to my eyes when the bride and groom dedicate a dance to family members with 30, 40, 50, 60+ years of marriage.  I always cry when the couple brings a cake to a (great) grandparent for their birthday. 
  6. Plan on the variable and ensure there is enough time for stuff to happen.  Please understand delays happen during the day.  Traffic delays cause bridal party members to arrive late and/or cause delays between the ceremony and reception hall.
  7. Provide maps and directions for your guests.  Although many folks have GPS devices in their cars, smart phones, etc., a printed map is always handy.  I doubt that I will ever forget the time I was in an area with very limited GPS coverage and how valuable the printed map proved to be for the guests.
  8. Emergency Kit – A small kit with needle, thread, pins, handy wipes, mints, etc for those emergency situations that seem to appear at the craziest time during a wedding.
  9. Eat – Yes, many brides and bridesmaids refrain from eating but remember the day is long and the opportunity to eat is limited.  I always suggest keeping an energy or fruit bar in the ‘emergency kit’.  Although chocolate is enjoyable, it might not look great if it melts on a dress or is in your teeth for pictures.
  10. Relax and enjoy your special day!  Permit others to help and honor you during your day!
Fun Wedding in Beaver County

10 Ways to have the most wonderful wedding imaginable

Keep in mind that the most important tip is to have fun, relax, and enjoy your day!

10 Tips to have wonderful wedding images from your wedding photographer.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews My reading life series by dr Frank

Book Review
The Final Summit: A Quest to Find the One Principle That Will Save Humanity

By Andy Andrews
Published by Thomas Nelson

My reading life series by dr Frank

The main character in one of Andy Andrews’ earlier and tremendous book (The Traveler’s Gift) is the main character in this book.  David Ponder is a successful businessman in his seventies and is struggling with the loss of his wife and best friend when archangel Gabriel appears to David and whisks him away to The Final Summit with many historical leaders where they are tasked with finding the answer to save mankind. 

Initially, when I read this book, I did not like it because I approached the reading of the book in a theological review manner.  However, knowing that many books have a hidden meaning and oftentimes requires multiple readings, I decided to read this book for the second time with an open mind and heart.  It is with this second reading that I write this review.

 Similar to other books by Andy Andrews, this book builds upon each chapter and contains tremendous insight, wisdom, hidden humor, and quotable quotes.  Many historical leaders are in the book such as Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, King David, and Thomas Edison.  Every character adds their distinct characteristics and ideas in an effort to assist David in finding the answer to the main question of the book.  In two words, “What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?”  This complex yet simple question creates the basis for questions amongst the travelers and their sometimes witty yet provocative answers.  

As with all of Andy Andrew’s books, there are multiple hidden and oftentimes direct challenges presented to the reader and this book is no different.  I recommend this book for many reasons especially if the reader enjoys learning practical life’s lessons while learning some historical facts.  This book is available in an audio format which adds a unique aspect to the presentation.  Although this review is based upon the written version, I recommend the audio version too. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Choir - Victory Family Church Celebrating the Resurrection of Christ

Victory Family Church
Victory Family Church

Easter at Victory Family Church

For more than ten years I have had the distinct honor of photographing events as a volunteer for Victory Family Church and every year my enthusiasm and excitement grows more and more.  There are many events that take place throughout the year celebrating holidays, baby dedications, water baptism but my favorite holiday of the year is Easter as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. The choir did an amazing job Saturday night (and I am positive they did the same for Sunday AM).  I never grow tired of hearing the Gospel of Christ preached.  The ultimate sacrifice for sin was paid but the resurrection is the victory over death and the grave. 1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  Many times last night I was moved to tears listening to the voices singing praises to the Lord and seeing the hands raised to Him.

Glowing cross
Glowing Cross

As a photographer, light is very meaningful to me and last night the lighting and sound team did an amazing job accenting the singers and adding emotion through light and sound.  From my vantage points (as I moved about the church), the sound and light seemed to come alive as the light danced around the singers and sent accents throughout the crowd.  Moving about the church, I could see others moved to tears of joyous emotion as they worshiped the Lord and praised Him for salvation, healing, and life. 
Singing with lifted hands of Praise
Singing with lifted hands of Praise. 
 After the tremendous singing of praise, Pastor John preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ - Our Risen Saviour.  Throughout the message, my eyes and heart were filled with tears of joy and celebration!  They were celebrating the fact that we are not redeemed by our works but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Singing Praises with lifted hands
Singing Praises with lifted hands
Today many families (including ours) will celebrate this amazing event with a meal of roasted lamb.  I find it amazing that this small simple animal represents and signifies an amazing truth.  When it is served, it is called by its name.  Lamb.  Unlike many other meats when served, its name is simple.  It does not have an over complicated name hiding its origin but it is served in a simple fashion.  Just like the Gospel of Christ - very simple.  Salvation through Christ is not over complicated nor is it filled with a special code.  Receive Him as your Saviour today! 

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Pastor Peter Penrose
Pastor Peter Penrose
Matthew 28:6-7 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.