On the red carpet

I had the pleasure of being the behind-the-scenes still photographer for the upcoming movie “Do You Believe,” produced by Pure Flix and 10 West Studios of Manistee. Last Saturday night, the movie had its Michigan premiere at the historic Ramsdell Theater in Manistee. Click here to access the images. Use the code: Believe-89056. You may purchase images from that site.

Just the right light

Many people often think that sunny, bright days make for great picture-taking weather. But, the opposite is really more of the truth. As outdoor portrait photographers, we love days that are cloudy, with diffused lighting. Such was the case Monday. I just arrived in Shelby to photograph Matt at the football field. To the north, back in Mason County, about 30 miles away, a storm was moving in. The lighting was perfect. So was our timing. Three minutes after we took the last photo the rain came down! – rob

Of hops and senior portraits

I can easily say that after photographing professionally for 25 years, this was the first time I ever held a senior portrait session in a hops field. This is Bethany from Grand Rapids. Her family owns a centennial farm on the eastern Mason County line in what is commonly known as Carr Settlement. They also own Carr Creek Hops Farm. It’s great to see the generations taking stock in the heritage of their family’s land.  – rob

Growing families

One of the most rewarding things about being a portrait photographer is to see families grow. We photographed Cory and Heather’s wedding in 2003 on the beach in Buttersville Park. Six years later we gathered to that same spot and photographed their young family. This month, just a day before they celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, we met again. It’s amazing to see their children grow up. Can’t wait to meet at the beach again in a few years!

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A Christmas miracle

Our journey of infertility and God’s amazing promises

On Sunday Becky, and I posted a photograph on Facebook announcing Becky’s pregnancy. We also shared this news with our church family at Prayer and Praise Assembly of God. We normally don’t make our personal life very public, but believe this story of God fulfilling his promises needs to be told. 

About 10 years ago, Becky had a cyst on one of her ovaries causing emergency surgery, leaving her with only one ovary and one fallopian tube. We have been married for six years this coming Jan. 4. After about a year of marriage we started trying to have children, but with no success.

Finally, we started seeing Dr. Dodds, one of the best infertility doctors in the nation, based in Grand Rapids. Dr. Dodds diagnosed that Becky’s tube was blocked and he attempted twice to unblock it, with no success. He said that the tube was basically more than 99% blocked, meaning there was less than 1% chance of an embryo making its way into the ovary. Our only choice of having a biological child would be through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

We attempted IVF five times, with no success.

I have always felt that I would some day adopt a child. I think part of this is that I was raised with the knowledge that my dad was adopted and it just seemed like such a blessing to provide a child with a home.

After much prayer, we decided that this would be our next move and we chose Catholic Charities to assist us in adopting a baby born here in Michigan. We were approved for adoption at the beginning of summer and we continue to wait for that process to take place.

Now, I want to back up a little bit. After a year of marriage we took a trip to Argentina. This was a mission trip where we provided media support for missionaries based in Buenos Aires. Among these missionaries were our good friends Kim and Shari Babcock, who introduced us to their close friends Gladys and Jorge. One evening, in the Backcock’s kitchen, Jorge said he felt the urge to pray for us. Now keep in mind that Gladys and Jorge do not speak English and we do not speak Spanish. Plus, they only met us a few hours earlier and knew nothing about us. This took place before we knew of our infertility issues. Jorge felt strongly from God that we would have children. This was his prayer.

Gladys and Jorge have actually prayed this prayer for many other couples who have faced infertility. Those couples later would go on to have children.

Life went on and our infertility journey escalated. During this time, many other people would give prophesy about us having a biological child. We knew, without a doubt, that God had intended for us to have children.

At no time had either of us ever doubted that God would provide us with a child or children. But, we both had given up on thinking we would ever conceive a child.

Then, about eight weeks ago Becky started having severe abdominal pains. She called her doctor who immediately ordered a blood test. Pregnancy was not really something we even considered any more.

When the nurse told Becky she was pregnant, fear was the first emotion. We had been told that there was a very high chance of having an ectopic pregnancy if we were to conceive, meaning the embryo would get stuck in the fallopian tube, a dangerous situation.

The doctor ordered an ultrasound. The results showed the start of the formation of an embryo, right where it was supposed to be! Follow-up exams with the doctor re-affirmed this, plus another ultrasound at 8 weeks showed the embryo forming.

Now, as we enter the 13th week, we are excited to announce our Christmas miracle. We know our God is good and he fulfills His promises. They may not always be on our time or by our expectations, but He will fulfill them.

This is our journey. It will continue because we know we are promised an adopted child as well. Life just got interesting!

God bless you and Merry Christmas!