Doctor’s Day

March 31st, 2019

I have been thinking about Doctor’s Day quite a bit today, my husband’s journey into this field, and the impact this job has on family.  It is probably because as I write this, I have too much time to think,  as he is doing what he is committed to doing, taking care of the people of this community.


Al’s education was 11 years in the making.  I came into the picture in his 3rd year of reaching his goal.  Being a doctor was on Al’s radar since he was young.  When his baby sister was born, he asked his dad about his mom’s blood pressure.  He never really veered into considering another field, except maybe while experiencing the stress of the first 2 years of medical school, but by then we were too far in to look back.


We married in August of 1989, 2 weeks before medical school started.  To say that this time was stressful is an understatement.  He was committed to studying in an area of our apartment.   Being newly married,  it was hard being in the next room and feeling like I couldn’t talk to him.  I would try to keep myself occupied with cross-stitch, reading, exercising, or watching t.v. on a 13″ screen with no cable.  I kept myself busy working 2 jobs.  We had no money, a load of debt, no family, and few friends in town.


I remember one day about halfway through medical school, I was thinking about the responsibility of being the wife of a doctor.  I was already struggling with all of the times I was by myself.   I said to Al, “I don’t know if I can do this.”  He looked at me fearfully and said, “But this is what I am going to be…”  That was a wake-up moment for me.  I loved this man more than anything.  I knew I wanted to spend my life with him.  And that meant I was going to have to learn to manage everything his career would entail.


The past years have included missed weddings, graduations, special occasions, and sporting events due to Al being on call.  We have spent holidays eating as a family at the hospital cafeteria when he had to work.  I have brought him dinner to KRHC when he was stuck at the hospital.  I thought if he doesn’t have time to take care of himself, how can he take care of others?  That was my responsibility to be there for him.  (Although, honestly that isn’t a whole lot different than when we took dinner to Dad in the field.)  I have taken my children for a break at the hospital when they were small and missed seeing him.  He has had so many nights with little or no sleep over the years and worked the next day.  I know that I am years ahead of him on sleep.  And because of sleep deprivation, I have seen him fall asleep at Christmas and birthday gatherings with family, even as gifts were being opened.  I hold my breath and pray whenever I hear an ambulance and I know that he is on call.  He has missed pivotal moments in my children’s sporting careers while he assisted another participant who was injured.  Fortunately, he had a wife who took pictures.  If he says he’s going to be home at 6:00, I can guarantee you it will be 6:40 because someone asked another medical question.


Neither one of us would ask for sympathy.  This is just the way it is.  This is the life of a physician.


Now on the flip side….  I have had people come up to me and tell me how my husband has saved their life.  He has held hands with a patient,  having to relay to them that they are sick.  He has comforted children who were getting their shots.  He has assisted in bringing new life into this world.  He has been present with families after the loss of a loved one.  He has stitched, set broken bones, removed lesions, rounded on patients, and performed a multitude of other medical tasks.  This job of his is truly a calling.


I signed up to support him with this career.  Our children did not.  But I believe… I hope… that they also learned some valuable lessons as they grew up.  They have truly witnessed us for better and for worse, in sickness and in health.  I know that on the day that each of them come home and say that they are getting married, the first question, even before the availability of the church, will be, “What’s my call schedule?”   I believe that my kids have had a solid education regarding the sacrifices that are involved in supporting your husband or wife.


Today, I honor not just my husband, but all of the doctors who have contributed so much to our communities.  May God continue to bless them in their professions!


The Power of a Letter

March 27th, 2019

Yesterday, someone told me about a card that they had received that touched their heart.  I have been thinking about that conversation ever since…


Do you remember the time when you were so excited to receive an email or a text because it was something so foreign and new to you?  That was the day when we tossed cards to the side that we received in the mail. We looked at them later in order to read a message on these new digital platforms first.


Well, times are reversed.  The notes we receive on our computers and phones are now common place and more rare and precious is the hand-written card or letter.


How amazing is the art of letter writing!


I have been blessed with a husband who has never been afraid to put his thoughts and feelings in writing to me, when we first dated and still today.  I receive the nicest, well-thought out sentiments from him on my birthday, our anniversary,  for Valentine’s Day, when I’ve had a bad day, and sometimes for no reason at all other than to tell me he loves me.


I believe that letters and notes to our friends and family are every bit as precious!  I have taken time to write a note of thanks after being invited to a gathering, having lunch with a friend, following a conversation that I enjoyed having with someone, or receiving a gift….  Do I always remember?  No.  But I am making it my mission to be even more consistent in this area of my life.


I once gave someone the advice that talking to a person was better than letter-writing.  I kind of wish I could take that back.  Talking is always great, but there is something very special about having something in your hand that can be treasured, to relive the words of appreciation, the special memories, the love… again and again.


If you don’t have any stationary or note cards, I encourage you to think about picking up some.  While a letter or note on a blank sheet of paper is every bit as precious, I think fun papers make the experience even more enjoyable for the writer.


And if you receive an unexpected note from me?  Well, don’t be surprised!  🙂





Me… Only Better

March 26th, 2019

Retouching – it’s one of the the not so little things that I pay particular attention to when creating a portrait.  A beautiful portrait starts with beautiful light.  Why not finesse it to create the very best version of yourself?


I make no apologizes for the amount of retouching I have put in an image.  I honestly believe that when we look at an image of someone we love, we already see exactly what I have retouched.  Life, stress, and gravity take its toll on our bodies.  My pictures depict my clients as they would look on their very best days.  I actually enhance an image with many little details.  I think it has made my work look distinctive.  I believe it’s the sum of all of these little things that create a final image with a bit of “wow.”  🙂


I took some time over this last week to create a few “selfies” in my studio for some before retouching and after images.  (By the way, I have come to the conclusion that the more selfies you take, the more critical you get of yourself.)


I chose this image for a couple of reasons.  I usually have an open smile, showing my teeth.  This is not my typical self-portrait.  I looked at this image and I saw my resemblance to my dad and I also saw my daughter who often smiles this way.


First I start lightening circles & wrinkles under the eyes.  I slightly lighten the whites of the eyes, enhance the color of the eyes, and darken eyelashes.  These are pretty much standard with all of my portraits.  As I have gotten older, I have noticed sometimes I have visible veins on my forehead, I lightened these.  I reduced the reds of some skin around my neck and hands and removed a few age spots.  I wasn’t real happy with my neckline looking a bit rumpled so I fixed it.  I’m an “80’s girl” and I still like slightly bigger hair.  I “pushed down” the height of my hair, the product of too much backcombing that day.  Can’t tell?  I still have to stay somewhat 80’s-like.  🙂  I have a crooked nose, just like my dad.   🙂  It actually doesn’t bother me much but for these purposes, I straightened the shadow on my nose just a bit.  I smoothed the skin a little and then I adjusted the levels of light on the image.


I do not think that the average person would look at the after image and think, “Michelle really changed that picture!”  I think that they would be more inclined to think that the after version just looks better than the before image for some reason.


I have not photographed many head shots in the past.  I have a bit more time these days, so if you are interested in having a “polished” headshot  🙂  in this studio, please let me know.  I am now offering a digital only version that is emailed.





I always strive to capture my images as close as possible in camera, except of course  retouching.  But sometimes an image involves a little more effort to create what I had envisioned.


This is one of my favorite senior pictures from last year!  It’s also very meaningful because this girl happens to be a good friend of my daughter and spent hours upon hours in our home through the years.  🙂


Hailey is an amazing runner!  I thought it would be so fun to have a running picture on our track in her prom dress.   (I mean, how often is a prom dress ever worn again?)


The day was so gray and humid.  Hailey curled her hair before the session, but with every passing minute, her hair fell just a little more.  She was such a sport!  I was having a hard time creating a capture where my off-camera flash caught her at just the right moment as she ran and looked back at me.  Some images had hair across the face.  She came back to our starting point several times and ran for me.


Finally, I had an image with the flash exactly where I wanted it.  Mission accomplished – almost.  I knew I could make this picture even better.  🙂


So, I took out the fence in the background that was going through her head.  I changed out her legs from another image where I liked the running position just a little better.  I added some pieces of hair with pretty light from another picture.  I dropped in a prettier sky – the sky we should have had at this time on a day with a perfect sunset.  Then, I added some light rays.


Did it take a little time?  Yes.  Was it totally worth it to me?  Yes!


I love capturing a stunning image, but I also very much enjoy creating one!

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