My Photo

August 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

My Online Photography Workshop

This is how I learned to edit my photos

Join Clickin Moms

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 11/2005

« The Birthday Party (Part II) | Main | A Family Portrait »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I would like to "nominate" my friend Kori for the seat in the workshop. She is a hard working teacher with 2 kids who would never in a million years dream of spending money on herself. Ever. She works so hard to do what is best for her family and friends and I would love for her to have a chance to do something for herself.

Incidentally, your post has my crying hysterically on the couch next to my husband. He thinks I'm a freak.


This broke my heart. I mean tears in my eyes and sniffling kind of broke it. I feel so shallow and whiny after reading it. My family has been through the a tough couple of years with downsizing and pay cuts. I've felt sorry for myself on certain days when I can't afford anything for myself. Yet, here I sit in my nice warm home, I have food in my belly and my health is great. I feel so ashamed. He is right knowing the Lord is enough. I'll be praying for both of them tonight...and then I'll thank the Lord for all the gifts that I occasionally forget about.

heather garl

After reading your blog today this gives me a new outlook on my night...I've had a terrible disagreement with my husband and I'm just angry right now. All the things that go through my head when I'm angry..."Why don't I change things"..."Why are we together we are both miserable"...of course I'm dwelling on all the negatives and it is not a realistic view of our relationship. But, your message tonight through Chalin and your amazingly strong "student" makes me realize there are more important issues to spend my time on.
Although I would love to be a student in one of your classes...I just wouldn't feel like a winner with the situation as it is.
I'm sure you'll pick the right person.


Paying it forward Karen. Inspiring thoughts and message tonight. Thanks as always for the sharing.


This story really hit my heart. I have always had a soft spot for the homeless.
I would like to request the spot. My husband is a firefighter, and I run a non-profit that takes care of the families of fallen firefighters. Most often we have to use funds from my husband's paycheck to cover some of the costs of running this non-profit. On top of that we have a little 4 year old. I have always wanted to take your course but I just can't ever find the funds to do it since we live on a public servant's salary and also support my mission in life.


Hi Karen! I'm sitting here crying my guts out- such a genuine post. Makes me want to be a better person- and I get that feeling a lot reading your blog, which is one reason I love it so much.
I know it sounds a little selfish but I would love to take your class. I have two young daughters; a 3 year old and an 18 month old. I love being able to stay home with them- but in the last year my husband started his own business -- needless to say, things are so tight and it would be such a blessing to us - to me - if I could contribute in some way, while still being able to stay home. I have wanted to take your class and develop my photography skills for a long time- and would go crazy for this opportunity!

PS thanks for being so freakin awesome and sharing your life in the blogosphere. You're hilarious and real and I love it.

lance mcdaniel

I'd like to nominate my girlfriend Brianne. Shes has a bit of a rough year this year, with two knee surgeries but was looking forward to going back to work. This week however, we found out that she didn't get the medical clearance she needed to return. Now we're both searching for a new job for her, and while I wish she would start taking her gift as a photographer seriously (shes good!) she feels like she needs to contribute to the family. Shes a wonderful mother, and partner, and friend, and sister and she loves her camera more than most things. I would love to be able to surprise her with this... and then pass on the good fortune someday. Thank you.


Hello! I would love to take your class! My husband & I decided years ago that we would always live within our means and stay away from debt. With 7 kids - some married, some in college and some still at home immersed in sports - our disposable income is limited. It is not a hardship at all however, as the decisions we make are ones we make for the best of our family. I always do so with a happy heart and thank the Lord that He allows us to be so blessed. I study online camera tutorials and spend time with my manual - and of course frequent your blog. I would love to absorb even a little of your knowledge to become a better photographer. Your photos are amazing. On a different note, I am constantly inspired by your honesty and willingness to share your story.

ana roat

Hi Karen-I have wanted to take your class for the longest time now, however, it's just not in the budget. Now I have a chance to win a spot. How amazing! So, if I should win, please do me a favor and pass it on to the next gal (or guy) in line. They need it more than I do right now. I can feel it. I truly believe that God is good and he will see me through to your class one day soon. Untill then I remain faithful and thankful for all he has and continues to provide! God's blessing for a speedy recovery and healing to one awesome sister in christ....



I am sitting here in tears...I not only love what you did but what you are sharing with your kids about giving back. I love how you are sharing with us how someone touched your life when you were just trying to help touch his life.

very sweet and generous of someone to give their spot to someone else. I know there are many deserving people out there. I would love to request a spot. I have wanted to take this workshop since the first one, but sadly its not in this sinngle mom's budget. My SLR would love to be used more again. thank you :)

Charlene Austin

Oh My Word....I laughed and I cried reading this. See? This is why I love your blog and love your little family.

I have looked over and over at your website for the photography classes ever since I found you. I have just have never been able to take the plunge. I'd be nervous but I sure would give it my all to learn. I am in awe of your photographs and if I could come away with just a tiny bit of that I'd be thrilled!!


Hi Karen! I am AMAZED at your talent to make me cry......
I would LOVE to nominate a mom whose husband is deployed and she is at home, holding down the 'fort' while raising the kids on her own...
I do not have a person in mind, but I'm sure that one of these WONDERFUL ladies must read your blog on a regular basis... Either that or a single mother (like myself) who receives no support from the father, that is struggling to just make ends meet at the end of the day... AGAIN, not for myself, but for someone else... I am saying a prayer for both the wonderful lady and for Chalin as well.... I wish this world had more people like you... or who we all want to be... It would be a better place to live for all of us....

wendy c

Hi Karen,
Thanks for sharing your story and vulnerability in how the Lord's convicting you. I'm often humbled when others (my husband included) are so willing to go out of their ways to help someone else at a cost to themselves when I'm just thinking about how it's inconveniencing me. Just yesterday, my husband pulled over to help a lady push her car off the road while I sat there and complained that we had to get home.

I would love to win this drawing if possible, but also know there are lots more deserving people out there. I actually signed up as an audit student maybe 2 years ago, but due to finances had to see if I could refund the class. You graciously gave me a refund and for that I am thankful. I still have that giant empty notebook though sitting there on my shelf :)


Karen, I have read your blog daily for the past few years, but I just haven't had the time to read any blogs for the past few months - lots going on in my life. I find it extremely cool that I chose today to head back over to your blog. Your post was so very meaningful and heartwarming. I have missed keeping up with your family and your stories. Your blog about Chalin and the fabulously generous mom who faces surgery just warmed my heart in a way I can't put in words. I hope the spot will go to someone completely deserving!

Oh, and the last post I read was the one where the woman in the post office paid for you to ship the ukelele to Josh Downs! Another amazing story! :)

Jamie d

Karen, I just wanted to tell you thank you so much for sharing this story. You know when things come along just when you need them? I am in bed and had been feeling frustrated because I burnt a batch of cookies and it basically ruined my night. I was thinking how I could have done other things with the time it took to make the cookies and how miserable I am. Along comes this story and BAM. How ridiculous am I being! I have a place to live. I have an oven among so many other things! I have NOTHING to feel miserable about. Chalin is really having an effect on many people through your story and caring. Thank you so much for sharing.

Ann T

Thank you for sharing that wonderful story. I always try to stop and give whatever cash I have on hand to someone on the side of the road. My cash would just go to some sort of waste like Starbucks or more junk from Target I don't need. My grandmother did it when I was little and it's like continuing a family tradition. (although it scares my husband to no end)

I would love to take your class. I've always watched the registration come and go. I thought I was close to saving up enough to audit your class, I started saving when you started offering your classes online, then my husband got a great job offer, across the country from our hometown. My savings went to all those little relocation costs you don't think about. I hope to someday have enough saved up again to someday learn to take beautiful photos with my dslr that I love.

Tammy  Kay

Hi Karen,

I've been sitting here wondering if I am worthy to enter this giveaway. I know I spend money on senseless stuff way too much. Going out to eat or a coffee here or there. My husband works very hard for all of us. I honestly feel like we are very rich in many ways.
I just welcomed my fifth blessing. She is beautiful. Dark eyes and dark hair. I'm so thankful to be able to stay at home with all of my children. That husband of mine is a keeper.
I love photography although I've had a hard time understanding it. I took some classes in photoshop a few years ago and feel like I'm pretty good at that but the taking pictures part well...I'm stuck. Every time your class opens I think to myself I would really love to take that class's a lot of money for me to spend and I could not justify spending it on a hobby at this time in my life. I've never asked my husband but its because I know it wouldn't be right. I'm not saying that your class is too expensive or not worth it because I'm sure it is but financially it isn't something that I could do. I hope that makes sense. So when I saw this I said "Yes" but also...maybe someone else needs it more than me. Someone deserves it more than me but I will at least throw my hat in and hope.
I really loved this post. :)

Tina Espinoza

Thank you to my cousin aurora for sending this blog post my what a story. my prayers have been said and i know that the lord will hear them.

Heidi Sharpe

I would like to nominate my friend S. She is a wonderful woman and friend. She's having a tough time recovering from brain surgery. Life has thrown her some extra challenges, and she deals with them all with such dignity. She can't work, or live life as it was, and mourns the person she used to be - which must be such a hard experience, I can only imagine. She has shown me such huge strength, she never complains about the pain she is in, but I can sometimes see it in her eyes. She has good days and bad days. She has developed a passion for photography, it's something she can do in short spurts, the results are immediate, but she's struggling with the basics. I think your course would be ideal for her. The modules split into bite sized manageable chunks won't overwhelm her, but are just enough to inspire her positive thinking. She's a busy thinker......! The jolly interaction with the group too would be a wonderful healer, and help her soul get strong again. She's one of life's 'givers', it would be splendid to see her flourishing with something like this.

Good luck one and all......


omg... it took me too long to read it all as I had tears in my eyes... thank you for sharing this story. I have a similar one but I'll just say... giving feels always better than taking... as for your student I wish her strength and getting well... it was 2 years ago we had a situation like this in our family. all is ok now (not good but ok) and we still fight and stay strong.
p.s. your class is on my wishlist for waaaay too long...thank you both for the chance and wishing luck to everyone


Wow- this was all kinds of beautiful. Beautiful like you. Thank you for having the compassion to really get to know Chalin & the courage to share your story, share your vulnerability and share your story with your readers. I think it's too easy to brush off the marginalized in our society & you made an effort to make him human again. I hope that people will read this & just have a dash more empathy and awareness for each other, even if only for today. I know the right woman, who really needs this course, will find a a way to make it & I'm excited to take the class with such a wonderful person, whoever she may be :)

Laura C

moved & praying!


This was perfect for my TAWG this morning. HE moves in GREATNESS.

Maria Paris

I would like to nominate my daughter. She is the mother of three beautiful children. Her first daughter is an angel in heaven and since the birth of her second daughter has been struggling with postpartum and renewed feelings of loss about Sophia. After her loss the one thing that seemed to give her some small measure of happiness was photography and she slowly started building a small network of friends that would have her photograph them because her work is really good. I can only imagine how great her work could become if she were to take your class Karen. I have taken it and I can honestly say that it's awesome and teaches you lots, Her husband is the only one working since they want her to stay home with the little ones so no way could she afford to take your class. I think that if she were to be able to do this for herself that it would help with not only her business that she is trying to start...but with her confidence and well being. I loved your made me cry...but I have to say I was not surprised at what you did. After getting to know you a little bit...through your blog and the one time that I met you I know what a big heart you have for people and this sounds exactly like you. I will be praying for the mom who has given her seat up in your class for someone and of course I will also be praying for Chalin. Hugs!

Heather Topich

You inspire me, Karen (and make me cry early in the morning). Don't enter me in the giveaway... I just wanted you to know how awesome your post was.


Oh Karen, I needed this post today. And now I'm sitting in a puddle of tears! Please DO NOT enter me into the drawing for your class as I've already taken it online and in peson. God Bless You!

Corrine A.

As always your post leaves me reflecting on how I might be a better Mother, Wife and/or Child of God. Thank you for sharing your story of Chalin. You never cease to amaze me in your ability to be so genuine in your love and teaching your kids really important lessons. I have been wanting to take your class for a long time as my photographic ability is just not where I want it to be...and not even close to yours, but have not been able to manage the expense while dealing with the rising costs of raising a family. I would love a spot in your class...and would be so honored to know that it came from such a selfless gift. I will pray for her that she has a swift recovery and that someone can repay the gift to her when she is able.


What a great story Karen! I took your class last fall and I know my sister would love to have a seat (after all my raving :) but stays home with her three girls and they just don't have the money. So I'm nominating her! Whoever wins the seat will be one lucky person, you're class is the best!!

Amy Coose

This post is so inspiring, in more ways than you know. I think that you did such a wonderful thing by praying for Chalin, and I will be praying for him as well. On to the student that is offering up her class spot. When somebody does something like this, I fully believe that good will come in return. I will be praying that her surgery goes well, and that cancer will be a word of the past for her. Thanks for the inspiration, Karen.

Vera Matson

Hey Karen! I took you class two years ago, and I've been singing your praises ever since. I'm now a new pro photog, and a good friend of mine is my assistant for newborn shoots. She's the baby whisperer. She's fantastic! She took one of your one-day workshops in Houston, TX years ago, and I keep telling her that she's got to take your online class to really understand exposure and shoot in manual. She has had a lot of health issues this past year, so her budget is very limited, plus she has a daughter graduating from college this May and getting married next year AND she has a son graduating from high school in May. So, she's been putting her kids first and herself last. (we all do, right?). She is a perfect candidate for your class and for this giveaway.



THIS is why I read your blog. Not just for the great photos, the lovely family stories, the Josh Downs deployment and return updates - TODAY'S POST is why I read your blog. Because you are a good person, you're married to a good person, and you're raising good people. And you're not afraid to show us, not to brag, but I think to inspire. You're right, I'd only waste that $46 too, so I'm going to look around real hard this next day or two and find a place to donate $46 in your name... Consider it done.


Thank you Karen for such an inspiring post. I have been thinking about over giving ( wondering if I use it as a way to seek validation but you put a new spin on my thoughts and my giving practices.
Thank you for making me think deeper...
I am the praying type and will keep the givers in my prayer :-)

Please don't include me in for the give away drawing, sorry if it messes up the random number generator or something. :-(


I love reading your blog, such honesty. I meant to post awhile back when you talked about not wanting to be one of those bloggers where eventing seemed perfect in their lives and come across as are not that at all! You are one of the few I still read. I loved this story and that amazing woman as well. My dear friend just lost her battle with cancer this week, this is something she would have done. A much as I'd love your class, give it to someone who deserves it.
And keep writing, I'm reading.


I don't need a seat in your class. You were too amazing the first time. I do however know someone who can't afford it. She would be in tears if she won. I would like to enter her. Thanks for making $3.00 seem like the whole world. This was a beautiful post.


Thank you for a reminder to serve God by serving others.

I would love to take your course. Long time admirer of your work, Karen!!

Colleen Barron

Karen, I know we don't know each other but I look for your blog every day and enjoy it so much. I'd like to nominate my daughter, Meagan Starks, who just got married 2 months ago to a wonderful man (after a not so wonderful first marriage). She is a budding photographer and has a great talent for it. Neither she nor I can afford the workshop but I would love it if she won this. She is a young mother - was a single parent until 2 months ago. I believe your workshop is just what she needs to give her pix the extra special touch to put her work out there to the public. Okay, I've rattled on enough. Thanks for the consideration!

Renee S

Amazing story...what a lesson that Chalin taught you and your kids, and now hundreds more by reading it in your blog. It really puts life in perspective... I've been wanting to take your class for the last couple of years, but just haven't had the "extra" money to do it. Hopefully in the next year or so I'll be able to - can't wait!

Fee K.

I've been on your list to take the class for a long time....last year my time came up from the wait list and I had to pass on the class because my husband lost his job and I was in college full time. Everytime I get the emails about a new session I want to sign up but just can't justify the cost. Not because I don't think it's worth it...but because I'm thinking of all the other money for bills and things the kids need. I'd love to be entered in the giveaway. But I also thank you for the was needed today. Thanks.

Kelly Boettcher

I would like to nominate by friend April for this opportunity. While I would absolutely LOVE to take your class, and do not have the ready cash.. I too spend way too much on frivolous things and if I actually stashed that $ aside for a few months could make it happen.
April on the other hand is a single Mom who recently lost a job with a company that she had been with for almost 10 years due to cutbacks. She found another job, but it does not pay as much.. and was just told that due to the contract ending she might be out of a job again in a few months. She just started to go back to school to finish her degree and would never be able to afford your class. She does have a great camera (Canon 7D) that she bought for herself before finding out that she would lose her job, and she really needs to get off auto!


I am speechless.You are indeed an inspiration. God bless you.

Keri Jarvis

I have been developing my photography skills but still feel lacking. I want to start to do more for the people around me but have not found the confidence to. I know I might not be the most deserving person for the spot but I feel like I am ready to pay it forward if given the chance. Thanks for being a good example even if you don't want praise for it.

stephanie ackerman


Terry Gardiner

HI Karen, While I am no financial position to take your class, I also wouldn't have the time to commit to it at this time either. I just wanted to thank you for the reminder and to let you know there will be extra people in my prayers tonight. I hope she gets to take your class in the future when she is well. Sending out prayers and love.


you rock sistah!!!

Becca W.

I'm so happy you shared this. I didn't see it as soap-boxy at all, but inspirational!

I would love a spot in the workshop. I almost didn't comment because I feel unworthy of this huge blessing this mom is giving... but, I know I would not be able to afford a class like this anytime soon, and it would be so cool to learn more about my favorite hobby! Maybe even give me the confidence I have been looking for to go pro ;)

I am praying for all of you!


I would LOVE a chance to be in your class. I have been a single stay at home mom of two for seven years now, struggling to run my own business, just so that I can continue to be home for my kids. Staying home with them is all I've ever wanted to do and while it means the world to me to be able to do it, it also means I have to do without a lot of things for myself. I've always wished I could afford your class, but there's always groceries to buy and bills to pay. I'd love to have the opportunity to take this class!

Juli P

Karen, this post is just what I needed today!
"$3 feels like everything, if you had nothing."
I will pray for all mom battling cancer and for Chalin. As the song goes, you are teaching your children well.


Karen Russell. Thank you for inspiring me, humbling me, and helping me realize that who we are and what we do with this precious life that God has given us MATTERS.


Karen, this post gave me goosebumps and more than a few tears. With all of the world's well-publicized BAD . . . it's such a blessing to read about so much GOOD. And for that reason, your blog is amongst my most favorites! I've prayed for your family, especially when Josh was away . . . and I will continue to do so. But now I'll add Chalin to my list, as well. "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2

As far as the seat in your class . . . oh my word -- I'd love it. It's definitely something I've always wanted to do . . . but although my financial situation isn't exactly dire, I've never felt comfortable spending that kind of money on myself when there are always more important things to dedicate funds to: my kids' education, household maintenance, etc. Reading the other responses, I see that there are others so much more worthy of that gift! But know that someday I WILL attend your class! Sending virtual hugs and prayers to you and your student!

Sarah H

Thanks for the great reminder.


I would love to take your class and have wanted to for years now. Unfortunately, with 4 children and a disabled mother to care for, this is not something that has ever been "in the budget".
However, after reading this blog (and crying at my desk), I don't feel right nominating myself for the class. There are far more deserving people than me and I wouldn't feel right. I know that you will find the right person.


You are so amazing!
Once I gave our dog leash to a homeless guy in the park because the law says dogs must be on leash and he didn't have one for his pup. NO big deal. But some guy saw me and was all over it. "Why'd you do that?" "Do you know her?" I just said "Why not?" and left. It saddened me that my kindness was questioned.
I think it's so great that someone is going to get the gift of your class!


Karen, What a beautiful story. While you might not have made a huge monetary sacrifice --although it's more than most people give--you showed someone kindness, when most people don't even bother. I was thinking that perhaps you should give the name of the church to your readers, and challenge each of your readers to send 5 dollars. Can you imagine the difference that could make to this church, and to Chalin? Also, prayers for the beautiful woman with cancer!

tara pollard pakosta

wow,that is GREAT, the lady & chalin will be added to my prayer journal, karen!
thanks for sharing. and you know what, I'm sorry, you don't want to hear it, but what you did was GREAT, not just for chalin, but for your kids
seeing you do it and for YOU! thank you for sharing!

I have given to homeless people before. and one time when I did it, I gave them like 30.00, all that I had,
and when I looked in my mirror all worried about them, hoping I did enough before I got on the freeway, I saw them LAUGHING THEIR A** off at me and I
vowed I wouldn't help anyone again. I was sooooo mad!
but you gave me hope that they all aren't scammers like that!
thank you!

♥ Debbie

You always know how to touch the heart!! I love you for that!!

Sending prayers for Chalin and the sick mama!


I'm not entering for the class - I've audited in the past. But I just want you to know that you ARE great, with a side of humble.
Thank you for being imperfectly perfect. :)
(And stop shaking your head - I'm not the only one who is saying this, for sure!)


It never ceases to amaze me, God's love. We give money to those in need with the idea that we don't want anything in return, but we receive so much more in return, if we are open to it. I think you are teaching your children an invaluable lesson, that each of us has true value and that God loves us one and all. The greatest commandment to love one another as He loves us are truly words to live by. Times for us have certainly been better and with the changes in the economy and personal struggles we have, I have wanted to take your course, but always find a more necessary way to spend the money. I have 4 kiddos & just found out my first grand baby will be here in November. They are just starting out and starting out with a baby ain't cheap (Ha) and so I am really focused on trying to buy what we can. To be able to take better pictures by the time the little angel arrives, would truly be a gift from God. The lovely mother who is struggling so much in her own life and is kind enough to pass it on to another person who is unable to afford it is incredibly kind and giving. The world is truly full of beautiful people. Good luck to everyone who throws their name in and and Thanks for the chance. Praying for Chalin and your wonderful family. God Bless.

Tanya Lundberg

I love how real you are! What a blessing this would be:) Prayers are being sent for Chalin and the amazing mom with all she is going through!


wow! what uplifting stories! thanks for choosing to share your story with us, I'm always inspired by you! And others like this sweet lady.
Honestly I'd LOVE to take your class. I love taking pictures but have never been able to afford training. My husband and I have been working on getting out of debt (using Dave Ramsey) for the last year and a half and while it's been very hard it is coming along great. Our biggest thing now is my husband school debt. I'm a stay at home mom and friends and family ask me on occasions to take pictures and I'm always worried that they'll be disappointed because of my lack of training.
My nieces wedding is coming up in a week and they are unable to afford a photographer so they asked if I'd be willing. I'm nervous as all get out, but something (me) is better than nothing. But this will just be practice because a friend asked me to take their daughters reception pictures in June.
Truly your workshop would be perfect timing for me to learn more for that wedding in June.
I've already said a prayer and cried for that sweet lady and for you (and Chalin) for your consideration. What a wonderful opportunity, I feel a bit selfish right but would love the opportunity. Thanks for being such an awesome example to me! I never miss a post.


I'm sorry for the previous comment! I know this is just a drawing, I don't know why I felt the need to go into all of that!


well, it's hard to write with tears in your eyes, but again i am humbled by the work people are doing...that's truly in God's name. we've been dealing with four unemployment years with my husband, and while things sucked, i can't say i was gracious enough to share what i had with someone who had less. now, that he's working as a temporary, i'm trying to remember that there's those that have much less. and do what i can to help them.

thanks Karen for sharing.

Julie Pilch

Just to share a slightly similar story. One day near Christmas right in the middle of London I was with my three little ones and my husband when I felt someone tapping me on the shoulder. When I turned round it was a homeless man holding something out to me. I wasn't sure what to do but when I asked him what he had said he was holding out a £2 coin and said "get some chocolate for the kiddies for Christmas". I kept saying I couldn't take it but he refused to take it back. I will never forget that someone who had nothing was so generous to give.


Love this post and, like many of the other commenters, am left in tears. Also, after reading through all the comments, I am not envious of the task of picking two deserving people for the spot. There are so many touching stories and I have no doubt that whoever gets the spots will be undoubtedly worthy :)

Aimee B. in Oregon

Its in the mail, babe! Thanks for being just who you are.

Jenny W.

Karen, all I can say to you is thank you.

teresa b

I'm such a sap...i'm all teary eyed!! Sending prayers..good luck to the nominees!!! Great share by the way Karen!! I'm so glad you did!!!


Beautiful story. Had to read through the tears.

I've always wanted to take one of your classes, but with 3 kids I could never justify spending the money.

Stacy Guthrie

Thanks so much for sharing your life on your blog. You have inspired me and made me feel like a perfectly unperfect normal mom. It is so nice to be able to come to your blog and read what you REALLY think or feel and it makes me feel like I'm okay. It's a wonderful gift that you give the world!


Don't enter me in the drawing just wanted to say thank you for the reminder. Don't know how I forget, but I do.


Karen - Inspiring blog post today. Thank you for sharing your journey, it certainly always makes me feel a little less lonely. Sometimes we all get stuck in our own heads that we aren't raising our children right, not being loving enough to our significant others....etc, etc..... but in the end we really are doing and giving our all and we are all trying to do "better" and trying to be "great". Anyway I would dearly love to take your class, I've wanted to ever since you started them but for a variety of reasons, it's never been within reach financially..... It has been enough just owning a camera (I saved FOREVER for it) worthy of utilizing the class. God bless!!!

mandy friend

the Lord is using little ol you to open the hearts and minds of us all. i'll be looking for chalin the next time i come through central point. thank you for saying yes to God when He asked your heart with His gentle nudge. thank you for sharing such a beautiful story! prayers for chalin~and the mama with cancer <3

Deanna M

Karen, I really don't know what to write. I'm speechless by your amazing acts of repeated kindness and if I'm being honest, I'm completely humbled. My "inner Josh Downs" would've prevented me from giving in the first place. I'm sure of it. And I would've chalked it up to keep my kids safe. But you didn't. And what a testament and story both you and Chalin have to share, to encourage others. And now this student, paying it forward. These are great acts of humility, and a reminder to us all. Thank you for posting!


Small things done with love ARE great things, and being humble about doing those small things is also a sort of greatness. Especially when those small things done with love touch and inspire others.
I understand a loving husband being worried about his wife and kids reaching out to a homeless man. But many were the prayers said for my brother, who was homeless and lost to us for times, that there would be a kind soul in the world to offer him comfort. He still struggles today, but I know that God watches over him and tries His best to help.
I also understand facing another surgery in a battle against cancer as my own mother went thru eight of them. By the grace of God and her own mental strength she's now cancer free!
This story, as so many before me have posted, brought me to tears. And reinforces that little voice inside me telling me to do good, help do His work in little ways and with love. I recall you posting a while back about how you've lost some blog-followers because you speak of God like you do. I'm glad you've kept true to yourself and to Him. Thanks!

Jac F

What a truly touching and amazing post, thank you so much for sharing!

I would like to nominate my friend Stef. She's a Momma of 2 precious little girls and has recently had surgery on her elbow. Right now her income is their only income. I love her to bits and pieces and this would truly be an amazing gift for her. There is more to her story, but I'm not at liberty to divulge that information.


I would like to nominate my sister, Katherine. Just over a month ago I lost my husband (horribly and tragically) and Katherine was the first person I called. She came to me right away and has rarely left my side since, completely putting her life on hold so to speak. I really think that something like your class would be such a wonderful distraction for her. A distraction that would surely bring a smile back to her face (her and my husband were best friends). I know that she has wanted to take your class for some time and hasn't been able to (her husband has been unemployed since 2008 and Katherine lost her job right before the holidays last year). This would be such a blessing for her.

God bless you.

(I've signed the comment with her name and e-mail address)

Lea Anne Genesse

Thank you for another great blog post and another reminder of keeping love in your heart/life. I have read your blog for a long time and love your stories but esp your photographs. I went to school as a photography major but then switched to an art ed major. I became pregnant in my last semester of school with my beautiful daughter. I then had my son. Photography is been on the back burner and I would love to get more creative again. I divorced 3 years ago and have lost some of that spark. I would love to pick up the camera and capture images like I see on your blog. I would love to be considered for a spot. Thanks! :)


Wow. God sure knows how to work through people, doesn't He? Your story came on a day when I really needed to be reminded just how good my life is, and just how selfish I am being about some really petty stuff. Keep posting what God puts on your heart, Karen, because He is reaching a lot of people who need it through your blog. And I'm right there at the top of the list. Sincere thanks to you.


I've been dreaming of taking your class since my son was born 18 months ago and I was gifted a Canon 30D (the one our wedding photographer used to shoot our wedding, actually). But it's not in the budget, and I don't see how it ever could be. Winning a spot would be simply amazing.


Thank you so much for this opportunity! I have wanted to register for your class for a long time now to strengthen my skills. Add me to the list of those praying and while I can't afford the workshop at this point, I can certainly afford to send a little something to a Church doing great work. Great idea!


You are great!

I just donated some money to the church. They are doing good work.


I can't stop blubbering. Huge tears. I'm at work just ready to head out the door but thought I'd take a peek at your blog beforehand. God bless Chalin, and God bless the sweet woman who can't take the class due to her illness. How amazingly thoughtful of her to give up her slot like that. Wow, this blog post lifted me up beyond belief and I really needed that today (need it every day, really). Love you Karen. Pay it forward.

And getting a place in your class is not why I wrote this comment. I wrote this comment because I wanted to tell you how happy this post made me today.

mrs. dunbar

Hi Karen! I am just so amazed at how God is using you and your family. I love to hear (or actually read) the stories of how you are changing and growing and seeking Him. This story just moved me to tears and to remember to pack up some "Joy" bags for my car. (Gallon-sized baggies filled with essentials for the homeless.)
I'm a stay-at-home-mom, so right now all of the extras are just little dreams. But I'd love to win a seat in your class.
And now I'm going to wipe away the tears and put a smile on my face because we have so much to be thankful for. Thanks again for the inspiration.


My teenage daughter and I love your blog! I love your honestly and wit. You are so sincere and I really love how you and your family love God so much! You make me want to do good things too. I get selfish and caught up in my own family and I need to focus more on others. Your story is wonderful and that woman is amazing to give up her class - I will be praying for her and Chalin.

Thank you for always inspiring me with your words and photos! God Bless!!


I've been debating back and forth on commenting all morning, but decided to go ahead and do it. While I definitely don't *need* photography class, I do have a fancy-ish camera and I don't know how to use it properly. I know I won't find the money to take this (or any other) class for a while, and my four and three year old get older by the day.

I had surgery for cancer in August (melanoma). I was terribly blessed and besides a scar and some facial nerve damage, I've been okay. But I see one of my doctors again on Monday and it gives me butterflies to think about "what if" situations. I pray for that mama, and God bless the doctors who are working on her treatment team.

Your entire post has gotten me to think about helping in those small ways that might make a huge impact on another's life. So, regardless of whether I win a spot, I'll be keeping myself more aware of how to help those who need it, or like me, even if they don't *need* it, but it would really make their life a little happier. Thanks for inspiring me to be a better person!

Vicki-UP of Michigan

What a great story, thank you for sharing. My kids and I recently helped at the Salvation Army through our church serving a lunch to the less fortunate. It was good for myself and my kids and we plan on doing it again. I would love a spot in your class. I'm a single mom of 2 and know I could never afford it. I've been interested in photography my whole life and have done a family wedding and will be doing another family wedding this summer. I would love to know how to take WOW pictures for them. Thank you and your friends for this great opportunity. I will keep her and Chalin in my prayers.

P Boudreaux

What a generous offer from such generous people. I would like to nominate a friend (of a friend) of mine, Linda. We don't live in the same city, but our small group meets a few times a year for a weekend of scrapbooking. I've gotten to know Linda over the years through her photos, projects, and blog. She is a special education teacher with a big and generous heart. Through her photos I've seen love and passion for everything she does - with her special students and her family, for her church, even in her many crafty projects. Linda had an accident last summer that caused a broken wrist, which she is still trying to rehabilitate after 2 surgeries, but that hasn't stopped her, just slowed her down a bit. She has a great photographer's eye (IMO) and just got her first DSLR camera. As a past student, I recommended your class to her, but as a single woman on a teacher's salary, it was not in her budget. I can't think of a more deserving person than Linda.


Have you read Jen Hatmaker's new book 7---An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess? If not, you must read's terribly convicting and inspiring at the same time. I don't even know you (I've taken a class taught you in Houston and I read your blog), but I know you'll love this book that will stretch you spiritually.

Here's the link on Christian


I would love to be able to afford - or win - a spot in this class. I admire you and your work so much. My fiance and I can pay the bills, but only barely - there's certainly nothing left for "extras" while trying to save for our wedding as well. I'm trying to find a way to eventually take some college classes, but I think I could learn more from you than I could anywhere else!

tammy t

I am not writing to be entered in your drawing or to nominate anyone but to thank you yet again for sharing an important life lesson. Your writing always hits me right in the heart, and leaves me in tears. It is never preachy, and in fact I always want to forward it to our Pastor (which I still intend to do with your Praise awesome!). Thank you for being so transparent and so wonderful. I feel like you are right beside me on this road of life!

Tammy T

Pam Dean

This was a great post! My husband and I try to help out the homeless when we can-some of our family feels the same as Josh we've heard the "you did what?" before too. I've always wanted to take your class and have not been able to afford it yet. I just wanted to say I'll be praying for all parties shared in your post.

Angela N

Whether you believe it or not, I think you are great and you bring out greatness in others!

A Facebook User

Thank you so much for sharing! God shows himself everyday and unforunately I generally miss it. A wonderul reminder that God uses all of us… dispite ourselves! I will be praying for all!

Laura M

You always seem to move to me to tears. I love reading your inspire me with your kindness and honesty.

I will keep you and your family, Chalin and the mom with cancer in my prayers.

(I also don't need to be entered, I just wanted you to know how moved I was)


Your blog is wonderful- just what I needed to hear tonight. I prayed for both of God's children you spoke of and I'm sending my $5 from 3,000 miles away. Keep sharing what God is calling you to share- you're an inspiration!

Jessica Legg-Bagley

Hi and your family are so amazing and what you did for that man is likely something he will never forget...I know I won't. My husband and I donate toiletries and such to the local homeless shelter, and collect old cell phones for the local womens shelter, but that hardly compares. Your kids are going to grow up to be amazing people...moreso than they already are.

I've been wanting to take one of your classes since you started having them, but unfortunately have been unable to because financially, something has been going on every time that registration came up. My husband is from Canada, so most of the time it was immigration this or that (and trust me, that gets expensive....especially when he couldn't work for nearly a year because of the process). Most recently, I've been diagnosed with an auto immune disease that's slowly shutting my kidneys down (totally not going for the sympathy vote here...I'm relatively at peace with it), so the medical bills are through the roof. It sucks, but I know it will get better some day...and maybe we can do something kind and amazing for someone.

Cindy Welch

Your great Karen, full of sunshine, hope and goodness.


Thanks so much for the story Karen, It is so neat that you are honest and real with your readers. I don't usually comment or even try to win things, I don't want to be a bother.... I have been reading your blog for a few months now and LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I would like to nominate my friend's daughter, Karley. She is a senior this year and has a passion for photography and art. She is such a thoughtful and grateful girl. Money is tight for their family right now, her step dad has ALS and not much longer to live (there isn't a cure for it) and without insurance, everything goes towards medical bills. She has such compassion for people and their circumstances and is always talking about how BLESSED she is for all the good and bad in her life... because GOD doesn't give you what you can't handle. She is truly an amazing girl and I would love to see her win.

Scott Covey

Thank you Karen for telling the story of how light shines in dark places, but there wouldn't be a story if you weren't the light in the first place. Jesus said in Matthew 5 that it wasn't about hanging around the light it was in becoming light. From my vantage I can see the pieces of a beautiful picture puzzle coming together and as each piece finds it's place it begins to look more and more like Jesus. I'm one who has had the opportunity to eat with those who come to Central Points dinner nights for the homeless, I've been able to pray with Chalin as well as be a part of the dream and vision of the Bethlehem Project. Thank you for seeing a need and meeting it, you are an inspiration. Scott Covey - Lead Pastor, Central Point Assembly


What an incredible story... so touching and moving and inspiration and the list goes on. I would love to take your course... I have always admired your photography and also your writing and how your photos and your words always tell such beautiful stories. However, I am a full-time wife and mama to a 2.5 yr old and a 1 month old... and with my husband working 1 full time job and 2 part time jobs to support our family, I don't have it in me to ask him if I can take your course.... even though I would love to be able to take better photographs of our little ones. Money is always tight, so I'd love the opportunity.


The saddest thing i have ever seen in my life was a homeless man who was walking in the rain with his homeless dog next to him on a rope. I cried for days after I saw that.

Your story resonates with me and I was thinking that if you ever see him again, perhaps you could donate food for his dog, since he probably doesn't have any money to buy any. I volunteer for the humane society and they do have various programs that help people who need food for their dogs. Perhaps you could direct him there if there is one nearby.

Oh how my heart aches over this. I wish I lived near you so I could drop off food and blankets and other things for both him and his dog..

Thanks for doing such a nice thing. It reminds me that there are still good people in this world, even though they are sometimes hard to find.


The comments to this entry are closed.