Trying to Measure Up

December 8, 2010

It has been a long time since I have blogged or posted on Facebook or Twitter.  My life priorities have just been such that this was not important to me.  But tonight I had a flash of realization that I started to think of who I should share it with and I realized that this would be a good medium for sharing.  If these thoughts minister to just one person it will be worth making myself vulnerable by sharing.

I was recently asked to lead worship with one of the guys at work for our devotions at some time in the future.  Now, while I love to sing, it is an entirely different thing to sing in the car or in the midst of the congregation than to sing in front of a group of people I work with, using a microphone so everyone can hear me well.  My older sister, Diana, is the one with the gorgeous voice. 

Tonight I started thinking about my nervousness about this.  Now, I am an extrovert, but I am also shy and a little insecure.  I hesitate to put myself forward unless it is to help.  I enjoy being in the background helping things happen and prefer not being in the limelight too often.  I tend to get nervous about doing things in front of others for fear of not doing well, getting tongue-tied, looking foolish, and I guess ultimately the reason for that is fear that somehow people won’t like me if I don’t do well. 

As I pondered all this tonight, I realized that there is not a person I like that I like because of what they do; I like them for who they are.  Whether they are beautiful or talented or smart is completely irrelevant to how I feel about them.  I don’t pick friends based on these things; it is about what is inside, how they think and feel and behave.  I have never yet rejected a person because they aren’t a good enough mechanic or because they can’t play the saxophone well or because they can’t run a marathon (which is good – I can’t do any of the above so it would be very hypocritical of me!) or any other talent or ability-related thing.  And so why should I fear that others would do this with me.  (And, incidentally, if they did reject me for this, they probably aren’t the type of friend I want to have.)

The funny thing about this is the context of when I was thinking of this.  I was driving to a violin concert featuring elementary-age students that a friend’s young son, Caleb, was playing in.  The message was reinforced to me several times once I got there. The first time as Caleb’s sister, Tia, came to greet me with a huge smile, love in her eyes, warm hugs and words that melted my heart: “I missed you when we were gone on our trip”.  Tia could care less what I can do and she probably does not even know that I’m a brilliant computer programmer and a talented photographer.  She loves me for me.  It was reinforced again as the first young boy got up to play his solo.  Now, he wasn’t terrible; he also wasn’t a concert violinist.  But when he finished, the audience erupted with applause and cheers.  He had a lot of family in the audience and honestly, I don’t think they really cared how well he played.  They were thrilled that he played and that he belonged to them.  As each child got up and played, some squeaking through more than others, each one was rewarded for his efforts by wild applause and appreciation, again, not because of their skills but because the audience loved him.

God’s love for me is similar.  It isn’t about my performance – and what relief for that!  My best performance and best behavior are not anywhere up to the standard that Jesus set.  God loves me because He created me and because I am His child.  And as I focus on that and revel in His love, the rest isn’t really all that important.

Back to the worship request.  As long as Bob doesn’t change his mind as we start to rehearse and decide he really doesn’t want me to sing with him, I will lead worship with him.  After all, it isn’t about me and my singing ability, it’s about worshipping Jesus and helping others focus their hearts and minds on Him to give Him praise.  What could be better than that!!

    Linda Menkes posted the following on December 9, 2010 at 6:26 am.

    I guess the fact that there are tears in my eyes means that I was impacted by what you said! (grins) Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable. I don’t talk to you very often, but I love you very much!

I had the pleasure of taking senior photos of Nathan yesterday.  I met him a year ago when taking senior photos of his sister, Sarah, and was glad to see the family again.

Nathan enjoys photography.  His favorite subjects are landscapes.  I haven’t yet seen any of his landscapes but I am looking forward to seeing his work.

We met in downtown, Orlando, at Church Street, for the start of our session.  There is a great locomotive there, and that was our initial target.  After our time at Church Street, we headed over to my favorite park in Orlando for the rest of our session.  Here are some of my favorites from the day.  To see more pictures you can visit the gallery at Nathan’s Gallery

Nathan, I had a great time with you on Saturday.  Thanks for laughing at my corny jokes and for being so pleasant.  Have a great senior year!

(Be sure to go to the bottom for the video of our session)

Nathan's Senior Pictures, Church Street, Orlando, FL

 Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL  Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL  Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL

Nathan with his parents and brother. 

Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL

Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL Nathan's Senior Pictures Church Street, Orlando, FL

I was thrilled to be asked to take photographs of Lauren.  She is a friend of Linnea, who you might remember from last November.

Lauren is also from Ohio, and is a senior in High School.  She is also the first person to ever take me up on my suggestion that the light is beautiful at sunrise, and while on vacation, she and her entire family got up before the crack of dawn to meet me a half hour before sunrise.  Wow!  The sky was quite cooperative and there were very few people there at Jetty Park, Cocoa Beach, FL.  Amazing!

I really enjoyed getting to know Lauren.  She has a very gentle and kind spirit and loves to dance.  Though she isn’t positive about what she wants to do when she graduates, she is thinking about going into teaching.

Without any further ado, here are some favorite pictures from our day together.

Lauren Senior Pictures

Lauren Senior Pictures

This huge lifeguard chair was so much fun!  I think maybe they put it there just for us.  Thanks for being a good sport and climbing up on it, Lauren!

Lauren Senior Pictures

And for being a good sport to get into the water at such an early hour!

Lauren Senior Pictures

Lauren Senior Pictures

I think this is my favorite picture from the morning.  Isn’t she lovely?

Lauren Senior Pictures

Lauren Senior Pictures

Lauren with her sister, Kalie.  Kalie not only got up early for her sister’s photo shoot, but I didn’t hear a single complaint.  What a great sister!

Lauren Senior Pictures

Lauren Senior Pictures

Lauren Senior Pictures

Lauren Senior Pictures

Lauren Senior Pictures

What a fun way to spend a Saturday morning!  Lauren, I really enjoyed our time together.  I wish you the best senior year and hope to see you again.

To see the rest of the pictures from our fun morning together click here.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C.  Though I wasn’t there for touring, I was able to take a full weekend and sight-see.  Fortunately, I had a dear friend who was able to meet me there for the weekend, and we had a blast together!

We visited the Museum of Natural History first, then the American History Museum, and from there visited many of the memorials.  The following day, we visited Ford’s Theater and then visited some more memorials.  That afternoon we spent some time at the Air and Space Museum at the Dulles Airport.  I’ll share pictures and a story from there later on.

My time there in our nation’s capitol, remembering the men who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom, was sobering.  I have such a strong respect for those in the military and appreciate all they do.  We have such an incredible history here in the United States and I am so proud to be a part of that history. 

One of my goals while there was to not take photographs simply to record the places we were.  There have been so many pictures of Washington D.C. that it just seemed unnecessary.  Instead, my attempt was to take pictures that gave a more unique view of the places we visited.  Here are some of my favorites from the day.

This Canada Goose had a hurt leg.  He was in a pool at the World War II Memorial.

Canada Goose

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial – the above pictured wall reflected in the pool

World War II Memorial 

A view of the Lincoln Memorial from the World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

Another view from the World War II Memorial

 World War II Memorial

These eagles holding the wreath were in the World War II Memorial as well. 

World War II Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial. 

Lincoln Memorial

Another angle on the Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

I love this one with the guys reading the text of the speech on the wall.  This one is Lincoln’s March 4, 1865 Second Inaugural Address

Lincoln Memorial

I think this one is from the Vietnam Memorial

Vietnam War Memorial

Another shot at the Vietnam Memorial.

Vietnam War Memorial

A view of the Washington Monument from the Vietnam War Memorial

Vietnam War Memorial

I’d love to see the picture he took!  This was at the Roosevelt Memorial

Roosevelt Memorial

This was the coolest wall!  It was also at the Roosevelt Memorial

Roosevelt Memorial

One of the waterfalls at the Roosevelt Memorial

Roosevelt Memorial

This was the ceiling of the Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

The Washington Monument seen from the Jefferson Memorial

Washington Monument

The Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

    allie bartelski posted the following on September 20, 2009 at 5:44 pm.

    love these, phyllis! beautiful!

James and Laura are such a fun couple!  They met each other while doing mission work for The JESUS Film Project, recording the JESUS film into other languages.  Laura has been all over.  Russia, Africa, Asia, and various South Pacific islands.  James has also traveled all over.  South America, Africa, Thailand just to name a few places.  They each have some great stories to tell of their adventures. 

I was so glad that they asked me to take their engagement pictures!  They have enjoyed kayaking on a particular lake and so we ended up there for our session.  Here are some of my favorites from the day. . .

James and Laura Engagement Photos

James and Laura Engagement Photos

James and Laura Engagement Photos

This was one of my favorites from our time together. . .James and Laura Engagement Photos

James picked Laura up and was swinging her around.  Sure made for some fun pictures!James and Laura Engagement Photos

Eskimo Kisses:

James and Laura Engagement Photos James and Laura Engagement Photos    James and Laura Engagement Photos  

This picture was just screaming for texture and playing with color.  I love the way this turned out!

James and Laura Engagement Photos

James and Laura, thank you for a fun evening! I’m so happy for you and pray God’s blessings on you as you prepare to enter into marriage.

    Abigail posted the following on July 20, 2009 at 9:28 pm.

    Awesome Job Phyllis! The pictures are super cute and fun!

I was thrilled to be able to attend the inaugural Fast Track Photographer Workshop, even though it meant jetting across the country to get there.  (Actually, I love reasons to fly to Orange County, California because that is where I grew up and where some of my family is!)  And who wouldn’t want to go to Newport Beach?

Dane Sanders is an amazing guy, with lots of energy, wisdom, kindness and fun.  He is a fantastic teacher and gets everyone involved.  The workshop was action-packed and though we all had our cameras, I don’t think anyone was taking pictures during the workshop, because we were all so focused on every word that was spoken.  (Pun intended)  In addition to learning about how to change things in our lives so we can bring our photography and our business to the next level, we learned workflow, branding, and were challenged to think more creatively. 

In addition to the things we learned and the great experience of the photo shoot, we also developed some great friendships.  I know the folks from Southern California have gotten together again since the workshop for a photo shoot and plan to get together again.  I highly recommend this workshop to anyone considering it.

Wynn and Lindy are a couple who got married almost a year before our workshop.  Dane was their photographer and invited them to model for us for our workshop.  We were each given 5 minutes to be the “main” photographer for the mock engagement session and to direct them as we would.  Each had to pick a different place than the others who had gone before them.  Here are some shots from our shoot.

Well, this was actually from before our shoot.  I had arrived early and was scoping out “my” location when I saw this little bird. . .

Fast Track Photographer Workshop 

This was one of the rare times that I will ever look down on Dane. . .

Dane Sanders

Fast Track Workshop Fast Track Workshop Fast Track Workshop IMG_6029

 Fast Track Workshop Fast Track Workshop Fast Track Workshop Fast Track Workshop

Fast Track Workshop Fast Track Workshop   Fast Track Workshop

    Dane Sanders posted the following on June 14, 2009 at 9:59 pm.

    Such a great blog post! I’m so grateful to know you Phyllis. Lead us!

    Michelle Guzman posted the following on June 25, 2009 at 11:50 pm.

    I love California!! Dane Sanders is awesome!!! That’s so cool that you got to attend his workshop!!

Paul and I had the opportunity of taking pictures for Juan and Becca’s wedding last Saturday.  The ceremony was held at Faith Baptist Church in Winter Haven, FL.  Here is a sneak preview of some of the pictures from their wedding

Wedding Dress Picture








Brent and Christina got married yesterday.  I didn’t tell Christina, but I was a little concerned when I looked at the weather report.  The wedding was at 7 (outdoors), and all day they were expecting mostly cloudy EXCEPT at 7 pm when they were expecting thundershowers!  I prayed and posted on Facebook about it so others could pray as well, and pray everyone did.  And the weather turned out to be just beautiful.

Before I continue, I just have to tell how special Brent and Christina are to me.  Over the past four years I’ve had the privilege of working with both of them.  And I’ll confess that before they were dating, I hoped for the two of them to get together.

Christina is a great hostess.  When we were first getting to know each other, I had mentioned to her that I was going to be spending a Sunday afternoon with a couple of intern girls and she asked if she could have us over for lunch before we went on our way.  We had such a nice time with her that it was hard to pull away so we could go to our planned outing.

Brent is a nerd.  And I mean that in the nicest possible way.  :-)   He is also very entrepreneurial.  While he was in high school and all his friends were working at McDonald’s, Brent was making big money helping people with their computer needs.  He is the type of guy who will spend days and weeks researching the very best of the best before he invests in things so he won’t be wasting his money.  And he is very generous with his knowledge and is always willing to share the results of his research.  About a year after I moved to Florida, I received the nicest card from Brent just thanking me for what I do and telling me how I’m appreciated.  I had mentioned the card to someone and found out that this is simply something Brent does.  Many of the folks in the office have received cards from him to encourage and to bless.

I could go on and on, but I won’t.

Brent and Christina have a very sweet story, as well.  Christina has confessed that when she very first met Brent she didn’t like him much.  He seemed very bossy to her.  She then found out that it was because he WAS the boss in that situation!  Brent knew that Christina was “the one” for him quite a bit before she did.  He very patiently waited for her until she was ready and never turned his eyes to any other women.  They are so great for each other and compliment each other so very well.  I’m excited to see them married and look forward to seeing how God uses them in their lives together.

Now for the pictures you’ve been waiting for.  This is just a sneak peak of a few of my favorites.

Virginia Wear is a great wedding coordinator.  This is the second wedding we’ve done together.  And she is a great cook as well.  Here she is cooking the breakfast that Christina had for her roommates and some of her close friends.  I told you she is a great hostess!  (Though no one would let her work!)

Schmelzle Wedding Pictures

Schmelzle Wedding Pictures

A few shots of Brent and Christina before the ceremony:

Schmelzle Wedding Pictures Schmelzle Wedding Pictures IMG_9516

The beautiful rings.  The diamonds in her ring were taken from a ring that Brent was given when he turned 21.  The gold was used to make his ring.

Schmelzle Wedding Pictures Schmelzle Wedding Pictures

Father and Daughter

Schmelzle Wedding Photos

Schmelzle Wedding Photos

Schmelzle Wedding Photos

Schmelzle Wedding Photos

Schmelzle Wedding Photos

Schmelzle Wedding Photos

Schmelzle Wedding PhotosChristina being welcomed into the family by Brent’s father

Schmelzle Wedding Photos

Schmelzle Wedding Photos

Those serving the cupcakes had specific instructions, and I quote from the schedule “anyone named Brent gets two”

Schmelzle Wedding Photos Schmelzle Wedding Photos Schmelzle Wedding Photos Brent has always wondered why they never serve milk with cake at weddings and made sure that there was plenty of milk to be served with the cupcakes at his.

Schmelzle Wedding Photos Maybe I shouldn’t show anyone this one, but I really do love the way it turned out despite the extra slow shutter speed! Schmelzle Wedding Photos

That’s all for now.  I’ll have the rest of the pictures posted on my website no later than May 25.  If you want notification when they are ready, please either send me an e-mail or drop a comment here.  And feel free to comment about the pictures.

    Janell Searles posted the following on May 17, 2009 at 6:48 pm.

    Oh happy day! You did a great job Phillis.

    sue burke posted the following on May 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm.

    Wow – how special! Great shots!

    Bri posted the following on May 20, 2009 at 8:49 am.

    Great shots! Beautiful work :)

Juan and Becca are a fun couple I met through my friend Paul.  They went to college together, but never dated while they were there but were friends.  After college, things changed and though Juan lives in Miami and Becca lives in Winter Haven, they got together, fell in love and are now preparing to get married.  I’m looking forward to photographing their wedding in a couple weeks, along with my friend Paul.

For their engagement session, we went to the beautiful Bok Tower Gardens.  This was rather exciting for me because I had never been there and it is a place my parents went frequently when they were dating and newly married.  The grounds, the tower, the gardens, the Bok Mansion were all gorgeous and we had a great time there.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the day.

I love the beautiful textures of the tower in the background on this one

uan and Becca Engagement Session

Juan and Becca Engagement Session

uan and Becca Engagement Session

Isn’t the light simply gorgeous!!

Juan and Becca Engagement Session Juan and Becca Engagement Session

Juan and Becca Engagement Session

After we left Bok Tower, we went to downtown Lake Wales to get some shots before we lost the sun

Juan and Becca Engagement Session

Juan and Becca Engagement Session

I love the looks Juan gave the camera throughout the day!

Juan and Becca Engagement Session

Juan and Becca Engagement Session

Juan and Becca Engagement Session

And that’s all you get for now!  The rest of the engagement pictures are on my website here – then use access code ff175507 or scroll through the galleries to find theirs. . .

Juan and Becca, it’s only two more weeks and a handful of days!  I’m looking forward to your wedding and pray for rich blessings on your marriage!

    Paul Cleveland posted the following on May 14, 2009 at 7:37 am.

    I love these pictures. My favorite is the silhouette shot with the watter in the foreground. Also really like the B&W of Becca looking down at Juan. Keep up the good work.

I had the privilege of spending more time with my friend Stephen taking pictures of his family.  The day was Valentine’s Day and the occasion was the birth of his son.  ‘Lil Z was born just a few days before this in Orlando and is doted on by his entire family.

As a side note, Stephen has quite a sense of humor.  He loves playing practical jokes, and in fact, it is even better if the jokes are impractical!  His job is to watch movies all day, and he also moonlights as a chocolate tester.  Thanks to his diligence, no one at the office has gotten sick from tainted chocolate.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from our time together.  Enjoy these photos of this sweet baby boy!

IMG_5193 IMG_5028 IMG_5043 IMG_5094 IMG_5111 IMG_5124

IMG_5138 IMG_5139 IMG_5166 IMG_5168 IMG_5169 IMG_5170

More pictures of Lil Z are available at

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