How do you give a child the hope of a future who wants nothing but the past?
Here, sit the remains of a battle that has been lost. Hurting children, broken parents, and bewildered foster families. All of us wondering how restoration can ever happen.
In an ideal world, families would be whole. Just as God designed them to be. Saying a biological parent can't love their child because they have messed up is the farthest thing from the truth. I truly believe that love between parents and children exist. The WAY that love is demonstrated (or not) is normally what we have such a problem with. As a foster family, we see this brokenness every day in our home. We see children who long to be with their parent but for safety reasons, can not. It has absolutely nothing to do with love. These kids LOVE their parent and their parent loves them. It's just not a matter of whether love exists in their relationship.
Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a world that is just limping along, seemingly on it's last leg. This is evidenced by the sheer number of children who are in foster care. Almost 500,000 in the US alone. Did you hear me? 5 HUNDRED THOUSAND. Let me put this in perspective for you. The entire population of Wyoming is around 577,000. Are you seeing it now? These little humans? Children who have been taken away from the only life they've ever known? They could fill an entire state in our country.
Can I take a second and just tell you where the remedy is? In our county alone there are 80 (ish) kids in foster care. 14 foster homes. Over 200 Christian churches. This would almost leave me speechless if not for the fact that it breaks my heart so badly that I have to speak of it.
If we are the feet and hands ... the BODY of Christ ... WHAT are we doing?
WHY are families failing or literally being ripped apart?
There is only one way to win this WAR on families. Unconditional love. It's for people to love the parents who have lost their children. HELP them. It's for people to love the children who have lost their parents. HELP them.
Not every one is called to foster, but we are all called to help. I can't relate to having lost my child but I can relate to growing up without a biological parent. That's where I've been and where I feel like God tells me I can help the most.
Have you been released from the bondage of addiction? Where have you been?
Has God guided you to a healthy mental state, through mental healthcare or spiritual renewal? Where have you been?
Were you the product of a broken home and then God came along and gave you the family you always wanted but never had? Where have you been?
The pastor of our church is known for saying "I can only take you as far as I've been". Well, where have YOU been? Can you reach out through the brokenness and restoration of your past to help someone else? Meet them where they are?
The answer is that we come alongside biological parents, foster families, welfare child workers, the legal system (that's another post in itself); And we meet them where they are to show them where we've been and how we got where we are. It's only then that there will be the hope of restoration of the family.
#bethechange #fosteringishard #bethevillage
How can you help support foster families?
Not everyone is called to foster, but we are all called to help.
"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." -James 1:27
As a foster parent, I am trying to grow my team for the 12th Annual Walk Me Home Walk for Foster Families. Dena Howard Portrait Design is offering Spring Mini Sessions absolutely free of charge. The sessions includes one free digital download from your session. To take advantage of this amazing offer, you just need to make a donation of at least $25.00 to Walk Me Home (registration forms will be available at the studio the day of sessions). Your $25 donation will allow you to join my team, get a free event t-shirt, as well as take advantage of the free mini session plus digital image.
Sessions are available in 10 minute time slots on March 22-23. Sessions are limited to children age 18 and under, up to 3 children per time slot. To book your FREE session, click the "Book Now" button below.
I am SO ready for the holidays!
Do you want to know what I plan on doing this year? I am spending time with the littles and the bigs. My family. It's crazy mixed up but it's mine. Recently we just had a little one leave us for a new home. Fostering is such a hard thing. Hard on the kids, trying to fit in and not really knowing how to do that; and just about the time they adjust, everything changes again. But I digress. There are no easy answers in foster care but the one thing we can do is make life consistent. For us? It means Thanksgiving dinner with family, followed up by dragging out all the photo albums then watching Christmas movies. Thus starts the Christmas season. Crammed into my tiny house will be our 3 grown children with their families, our (currently) 2 foster children, my husband and I. 16 of us in total. Complete and total chaos will reign. Our grown kiddos will tease each other, we'll probably let the little ones stay awake a little longer, we'll pop popcorn and have soda and then "the village" will take over. Baths, night-night story, prayers and bedtime ... a flurry of activity with cribs and pack-n-plays everywhere; pallets in the floor. Honestly I can't imagine one thing more important than being HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS.
Take the stress out of Christmas pictures and let us handle the family portraits
I would LOVE to help you celebrate your family this year in a unique Christmas petite portrait session. We are offering 2 unique sets, you may choose one or both. We will have a farmhouse holiday set with old plastered brick and a wooden mantle OR you may prefer our Timeless Gray set. Session times are in 30 minute increments so that will allow for a maximum of a 5 person family. I do have a tiny studio so sessions are for immediate family only. Packages are priced from $95-$375 with Christmas cards, wall portraits, mini books, prints and digital collections available.
So when is all this happening?
3 days only ... Saturday sessions; $50 session fee Monday & Tuesday sessions; $30 session fee.
Saturday, November 24, 2018 10am-3pm
Monday, November 26, 2018 3pm - 7pm
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 10am - 7pm
What to expect
Expect great images at a great price! Our petite sessions are an affordable way to get quality images at a fraction of the cost. Take advantage of these great offers while they last! Sessions last approximately 30 minutes and are held in our Murphy Studio located in the Ranger Community. Images will be back in time for Christmas gift giving as long as you return to place your order before December 10, 2018 (appointments will be scheduled before you leave your portrait session). All orders must be picked up by 12/22/18 as our studio will be closed from 12/23/18-01/02/19. Happy Holidays! We can’t wait to see you!
Those first few weeks with your new baby are exhausting. You may pray they go by quickly so you can get some relief from the spit up, dirty diapers, crying & sleepless nights. I truly believe Trace Adkins said it best with his song, “You’re gonna miss this”.
You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days
Hadn’t gone by so fast.
It really does go by in the blink of an eye. Everyone says it & you may not believe it yet, but you will. I’ve been there too. My kids are all grown up & the moments that they actually need me are rare these days. I constantly question where the years went since I brought those sweet babies home from the hospital.
Why am I telling you all of this? …
There are some moments in life where hiring a professional is the best decision you can make. At DHPD, we primarily photograph babies from the newborn stage throughout their first year. This year holds some of the most important milestones in their life. Your baby will grow & change so much… She will learn to roll, sit, stand, walk & talk… her little personality will develop into the future woman she’ll become…
This is the beginning of her entire life… How will you remember it??
I encourage all new parents to invest in professional photography. Professional photographers offer quality imagery in a safe environment. Safe, beautifully styled & edited images to remember these moments are what you should be after. How many of you hate or regret your wedding images? How many of you have never printed the first wedding image from your disk? I would dare say very few. I hear that over and over in this business & it breaks my heart… the most important moments in your life are the ones that you should have hanging in your home. Something to wake up to in the mornings and go to bed to at night. Something that makes you want to thank God for the blessings he's given you.
Here in our quaint little boutique portrait studio, we focus on quality rather than quantity. I’ve spent over 10 years in training to “get it right” & I take the time that is needed to give you my very best. I realize custom photography can be a bit pricey, but I promise you this ... it’s totally worth it!
Budget friendly options DO exist. If you want the full experience & have to have all of your images, payment plans exist… if you’re happy with a handful of high quality images to remember this stage, there are shorter sessions for that too. We can capture the moment, or we can capture the whole story… that decision is entirely up to you. Regardless of which option you choose, know that you will always get our very best.
Love & Blessings,
So much fun!
I thought it would be fun to play a little game over on our facebook page. I had no idea it would get so many guesses! It took almost 2 hours to go through them to make sure I found everyone who had guessed the correct weight. 385 comments later, we have a winner. ONE winner was chosen for the $300 gift card and TWO runners up who will receive a free Simply Session ($50 value). Names were drawn from my Vision Award box (more on that one later).
The weight I wrote down was the weight of the kiddo who made me a mom. (Love you Courtnie!).
NOW, before I announce the winner. I really do want to thank ALL of you for taking a guess and sharing with me so for today only I'm offering half price Simply Sessions! That means you can book your own Simply Session for only $25! Simply Sessions are for one subject and we photograph newborns through adult.
With no further ado, our grand prize winner of the $300 gift card is LAURIE TAYLOR! Congratulations Laurie and I can't wait to meet your little girl!
Runners up are CRISSY RAXTER & TONYA QUEEN. Congratulations ladies! Contact me to redeem your gifts!
It's that time again!
Time for our annual One Great Shot portrait event. For the first year ever, we will be offering a studio setup so no matter the weather, we are solid on date and time. I released this to my current clients before releasing it for public booking and immediately booked 22 sessions. We now have openings for 6 morning and 2 early afternoon sessions. That's 8 guys! And that is it.
The theme for this year is Modern Farmhouse back to school. Think creams, whites and rustic woods. Any clothing color will match this set. To book your session, call 828-835-2088 or shoot me a message here.
September 2, 2017 ~ One day only
Session fee is $20, packages start at $25 and are shown below.
Last month I had the pleasure of documenting Miss Kennedy's journey into the world. I am always so honored and humbled to be a part of something so miraculous, big, and grand. To think that someone would ask me to photograph their first moments with their new baby? This is something I don't take lightly and every single birth is just as precious as the one before. And every single birth takes my breath and leaves me with a tear in my eye at the miracle of it all.
After a false start and 6 hours of hard labor, Miss Kennedy finally made her entrance. Enjoy.
Hello Friends and Favorite Clients!
Believe it or not it is time to schedule your "Fall Family Portrait" sessions!
Each fall there are a limited number of “prime” custom session time slots available to our clients and our calendar is filling quickly. We expect the dates to fill soon so please take a look at your calendars and get your fall family sessions scheduled. Last year we filled our calendar by early September and had several clients who couldn’t get in. So this year we are posting a little reminder so you can get your sessions scheduled early. Advantages of booking a custom session are: your choice of locations; a longer session time so no rushing; and an in-person consultation to go over outfit choices, location ideas and better customize your session to your home decor. You will also have 35-50 digital proofs to view in the studio and no limit to the types of items available for purchase.
As a custom client, we would like to offer you a very special early booking gift. If you book your session before September 2nd you will receive a complimentary set of holiday cards with your collection purchase (a $75 value).
We have the following remaining dates available for Custom Fall Family Sessions:
October 4th - 6pm
October 6th - 6pm
October 11th - 6pm
October 24th - 6pm
Ready to reserve your date?
Simply click on the link below and respond with your choice (a second choice will be very helpful in case your first choice is booked). We will respond to everyone in the order that we receive replies. Custom session fees are $125 / prints and products priced separately.
Not ready for a full session or just need a few prints and some Holiday cards?
Then our Limited Edition Fall Family Sessions might be more in line with what you are looking for but you better book fast! We are only offering 12 Limited Edition Sessions with special reduced package pricing!
2 Saturdays to choose from ... October 15th or October 22nd. The session fee is only $50 for a 30 minute session and packages start at $200. All of our packages include printed products and we are offering a couple of complete wall groupings this year for the first time ever! You will also have the option to add digital files or holiday cards.
Here is a little sample of package offerings!
Ready to book your session date? Click the button below to request an appointment time. Please indicate a second choice also. We will respond to everyone in the order that we receive replies.
Saturday October 15th
Saturday October 22nd
"What Do You Charge?"
WHAT DO YOU CHARGE?
I decided long ago, when I opened the studio, I would not take a photography job and then just hand out a disk. Why? Because I feel like it's a huge disservice to my clients. I have boxes of pictures from when my kids were little during the time when all you bought was a package of pictures. They are sitting in a closet on a shelf because I had 5,000 of the same picture and I couldn't throw them away. Even after giving grandmas, moms, aunts and uncles pictures I still had 5,000!
I look back and wish I had experienced a custom portrait session; that someone would have sat down with me and explained this ... "These are your children. These images are for you to enjoy. You don't need 5 8x10's and 50 wallets of the same picture. You need 1 or 2 beautiful portraits to commemorate this time in their lives. A piece that you can look back on, years down the road and be reminded of this age." I don't want you leaving with a disk that you put in a drawer and never do anything with. When you leave Dena Howard Portrait Design, you leave refreshed and reassured with a feeling of accomplishment knowing that art pieces were created representing your family and style. This all starts with the complimentary consultation.
Before you even decide to hire me as a photographer, I invite you to the studio for a complimentary consultation. This is when we discuss together, what you want out of your portrait session. We discuss the different products and what they cost individually. It's about more than just having pictures taken. It's about sitting down with me and discussing what type of portraits you want and designing a wall gallery for your home. It's about saying "I don't have much wall space, what else can we do?". It's about you leaving my portrait studio with something tangible in your hands. Even if that "something" is a digital collection, you will still walk out with a product we have created together and one that YOU have decided is best for you.
And then, 10 years from now, you will glance up at that space on the wall and you will remember "That was right before she lost her first tooth". You'll remember, "He had the funniest crawl! It was like a crab walk!". THAT is what I want my art pieces to represent; reminders of childhood. Only you can decide how you want to be reminded.
Back to the original question. WHAT DO YOU CHARGE? I get asked this question almost daily. I can't answer it. Honestly, I can't. I need more information. I realize you want to know how much you can expect to spend but the truth is, YOU determine how much is spent. As a full-service photographer, I offer albums, framed wall portraits, canvas gallery wraps, folio boxes with matted prints, large prints & fine-art prints as well as digital collections!
Think of my studio like you would any other retail establishment. Would you call a furniture store and ask "What are your prices?" What would you expect the answer to be? This is why I can't answer that question. There are so many different options!
Don't put another DVD in a drawer, cherish art pieces that fit your lifestyle.
To arrange for a complimentary consultation to go over products and pricing, contact me!
As promised in the last post, we have more to show you! Emma Lynn was in to help model some more of our drops and props for Spring. We didn't get quite as many setups due to the fact that she was 7 weeks old and had decided she no longer required sleep. :) We did get a couple of sleepy shots and most important, we got to try out the red backdrop! Yes! I used red, well kind of a burgundy color, on a baby and it was absolutely gorgeous. We also used a digital backdrop for this session. Enjoy!
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