Because I Cannot Contain It.

A few weeks before Christmas I spent a couple of Saturdays taking free portrait sessions for people of various walks of life.  The first  Saturday I spent downtown Pontiac taking pictures of families from an elementary school that our church mentors and helps out and for individuals and families of Grace Centers of Hope.   Grace Centers of Hope is a place for the homeless, the addicted and the hopeless to find new life.  I met some amazing people that day.  I will not post any images of these people, to protect their privacy and this post really isn’t about that at all.

This post starts, really with the second Saturday.  Awhile back I heard about this guy, Michael, who decided to move into a trailer park across the street from a dump.  He did this because he felt God telling him to.  And God made it all happen. I had the opportunity to meet Michael and many of his friends in the trailer park on that Saturday.  There were all sorts of characters I met, but Michael has the most lasting impression on me.  He has become a tutor, a big brother, a mentor and a life saver to so many people there.  He is a combination of Fozzy Bear, Animal and Kermit all rolled into one.  I am sure he would not relish in that comparison, but who doesn’t love the Muppets?   He is an inspiration and really just a totally rad dude.  Not just cool, but Radical.  Jesus was Radical.  can’t quite wrap your head around what Radical looks like?  Read Michael’s latest blog entry:

I told my husband recently that I just wanted to be a bit more Radical.  I think Michael will have to be my earthly representative of what that looks like.

Victoria and Dana

Sometimes God creates opportunities, well always, but sometimes we actually act on those opportunities.  I met an incredible pair of people.  Incredible because of their life stories and the story they are now writing together.  Their paths in life were not the same, but they held one thing in common, hurt.  Whether it neglectfulness, physical and emotional abuse, or self inflicted, they had it.  When you hit the bottom of the barrel, there is no way but up. They both found themselves, and God, at Grace Center’s of Hope.  A place to rehabilitate your mind, body and soul.  A place where you are given a new lease on life and supported all they way through it and thereafter.  After they both had graduated from the program, they found each other.  Fell in love. Got married.  Through all the chaos of planning the wedding,they ditched it, eloped, but never had photographs to celebrate their love and their new lives.  So three years later, I was honored to spend time documenting all of that and more.  They adore each other and it is so obvious.Light shines brightly, life breathes life and love expands the soul.  Thank you Victoria and Dana!

Part of the Picture

That is the theme for this past week.  Sometimes I need guidelines.  Does this mean I crop a picture and then post it, do I crop the subject and only photograph part of it, or do I take a photo of part of another image….Anyways, I had a photo shoot for some wonderfully deserving people.  Who through adversity in their lives came together and fell in love and are enjoying a new lease on life.  their wedding turned into a whirlwind.  Quick, inexpensive and done.  With no images.  They have no true portraits of themselves.  So, I found this among my images.  It does not tell the whole story, its only part of the story, of those moments that I was capturing.  But isn’t that what photographs are suppose to be?  Storytellers?  Instead of “Part of the Picture”, I am going with part of the story….

The Reveal!

We thought we would have missed the reveal, but still would be able to enjoy the celebration.  After a long week of hard work, time and dedication, it was finally done, and finally here.  The neighborhood came out to enjoy the celebration and welcome their new neighbors.  But when we got there, we recognized that we had something in common with the owners.  They run on Pinkel time!  So we had some time to wait for the reveal!

Part of the Kensington Community Church tradition, whenever they break ground for a new church, is to drive a stake into the ground to claim the land for God.  That day, they along with volunteers and a new pastor in the area, trying to start his own church, drove a stake into the ground of the park.  The same park where they host free bbq’s in the neighborhood, establishing that they are committed to helping and giving to a community that so richly needs it.


Jim Pritchard was the director of the house build.

Larry Allen of Grace Centers of Hope.  A wonderful organization and a wonderful guy!

The new pastor in the area!  I can’t remember his name. Ugh.

It was just like on tv!  Only without Ty Pennington!

I was lucky enough to be right in front of everyone to get their faces when the trucks moved and try and capture their emotions.

Behind the trucks were multiple family members there to welcome to their new home and join in on the celebration for and with them!