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August 2018

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My Online Photography Workshop

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Mary Ann Jenkins

I've wanted to take your class FOREVER and would so love to win, but I know there is someone who needs to win it more than I do!
Don't enter my name in the giveaway, I just wanted you to know how much your post has inspired me today.


Thanks for reminding me how fortunate I really am and as always thank you for being so honest in your blog. I don't want to be entered in your giveaway since I have already taken your class which I think is very good and well worth the money, but can you please enter my friend Lisa? She would really love to take your class! Thanks again!


Such a beautiful and amazing post, Karen. Thanks so much for sharing with us. And thank-you for the chance to win a spot in your class-I've had it on my wishlist since you first started doing them, but haven't yet been able to afford it.

Jona Panesa

this is just so great!!!! Chalin is really spiritual. He reminds me one of the stories in the bible.
My father died of a cancer. Your student is really awesome. I'll pray for her recovery and what a blessing she is to others. Pls don't include me in your giveaway. I would love to join in your classes someday, there are more who needs it more than me.


Hi Karen, I would like to nominate my friend L.B. for your class. She is single now and takes care of herself by working very long hours and just plain walking away from any "extras" that are not necessities. I know she loves photography and has a talent for it. Your class could be a great blessing to help her through some difficult times. Thanks for offering this opportunity. I will be sending prayers and positive thoughts for your student, Chalin and for you. I know that good things will come to all through giving!


So beautifully written, and oh the gift you've given to your kids by sharing your big ol' heart. Praying for Chalin and the sweet mom who's giving away her class. I've been blessed to take the class already, and I KNOW that those two spots will go to just the right people.

teresa meadows

Karen, I must say you are amazing... I was honored to take your class about 3 years ago and I can not tell you how much I learned from you... I would like my friend Ashley to take your class so I am nominating her... Thanks for sharing your story...


Thank you so much for sharing this post Karen. Really. It is obvious that you really touched a chord in so many people by relating this story. I'm not hoping for consideration in winning a spot in your class because while my husband just had to go on disability and our finances have already been tight with medical bills, I know there are others way more deserving of winning a spot in your class. I just wanted to take the time to tell you that when you do share these moments of your life with us, it matters.

I've been following your blog for a couple of years and while I've cut back on so many and have wondered why I still read yours (only because I really need to cut back on the time I "waste" online while other stuff isn't getting done), it is posts like this that give me chills, make me cry, touch a chord, and allow Jesus back into my life, that make it clear why I keep coming back. It feels good to read a blog that shares real moments, and I love that you love God and aren't afraid to share it!


I love these stories. I've been trying hard to do one good thing everyday for the month of March as a personal challenge and have been moved by the opportunities for kindness out there, if you open yourself up to them. And I love the beautiful spirits of Chalin and this amazing Mother, and they are an inspiration I am going to draw from as I continue to do good every day. Thank you so much for the opportunity to learn and especially for sharing. You filled my bucket up this morning.


This is a very inspiring blog is so easy to look the other way or just keep driving. I'm glad you took the time to stop help someone out. I have volunteered at a food kitchen, and it is amazing the different type of people who come in,even people who have a job that you would never suspect as having trouble making ends meet.

The two ladies who donated a spot for your workshop have amazing kind hearts. Your class has always been on my wish list, but with my husband still looking for work, we have not been able to afford it. I'm sure who ever gets chosen for the 2 spots will truely appreciate their kindess and it will brighten their lives in what is currently a tough economy.

Kimberly K.

Wow. Every single time I read your blog I am touched.

I would love to take your class, but I can't justify the extra expense. Like so many other people we are trying to live on a budget, get out of debt and make better choices.

Thank you for showing me goodness in this world.

Nicky from Canada

Nothing like having a good cry first thing in the morning.
Many blessings for paying it forward and teaching your children what the important things in life really are!!
God Bless

Danielle Johnson

Karen, I read your blog all of the time! I applaud you, not just for helping Chalin, but also for showing your kids that homeless people aren't throw-aways who are undeserving of our time and prayers. I would like to offer up the name of a mom I know who really wants to learn the photography industry inside and out. She has the drive but, like a lot of us in this day and age, not a lot of disposable income. Her name is Caya and I think she'll do great things and this class will help her tremendously!

Thank you!

Lila Knight

Your children are so lucky to have you as their mother. I cried like a baby while I was reading your post. You continue to amaze me!

stacy watson

Karen, thank you for sharing. i understand if it wasnt an easy choice.
i would so love to take your class, have always wanted to.
God is so good

Kari Ann

I need to stop reading your blog over my lunch break because I always end up crying. Sometimes tears of happiness when I see the happiness that shines through your photos. Sometime tears of gratitude and reflection. Sometimes all we need to feel truly happy is a little perspective. Thank you for providing today's perspective changer. Thank you!

Shannon L

This is an amazing story and I love how God works. I would love to ask for my sister to be in the drawing. She just got her DSLR camera and right now is a working momma but is sooo desperate to stay home with her little girl (9 mos. old) and she is already a really good photographer but if she got to take your class, it would make her an even better one and hopefully use that to make herself the boss so she can make her own hours and spend much more time with that little baby we all love so much! I believe in good people so much. You, Chalin, that amazing mom, Josh Downs and our service men and women, Sharon are a few of those "Good People", Thank you for sharing this story and so many you share. I love coming here :)


Oh man, your blog is SO inspiring in SO many ways. I feel like my little RAKs I do is nothing compared to this! What a wonderful story and more importantly, what an amazing life lesson for your children. Man, LOVE it! I will be sending $ to the church and yes, throwing my ring in the hat for your class. I have always wanted to take your course and every time I think my tax refund might let me do it, inevitably something breaks down or the gas is low at the house or blah, blah, life happens. I would be so grateful to receive a spot in your class! I will not only be praying for Chalin, but the two beautiful souls who are allowing the free spots in the class. What a beautiful thing!! peace and blessings...Cindy


And the other word that comes to mind is "brave."
Thank you.

tania willis

i would humbly like to throw my name in the drawing. i've longed to take this class for many years now, but the funds are never there. we've been living paycheck to paycheck after spending every spare dollar we have to pay medical expenses for myself and two girls. we've all been diagnosed with chronic medical conditions. our monthly pharmacy bill alone is equal to the cost of one spot in your coarse. winning this would be a dream. *fingers crossed* while saying prayers for chalin, and thanking God for humble people like you, karen, that teach me a little something each and every time i visit your blog.

emily kate

Wow, this post brought tears to my eyes. You are teaching your children (and all of us) some amazing lessons by your Christlike behavior.


Dear, Sweet Karen -

Today everyone is talking about the lottery and what they would do with the money if they win. You reminded me the true meaning of life and love -- to GIVE. I'm not interested in the workshop (I took it and it was BRILLIANT) but I wanted to let you know that today you reminded me of what was REALLY important in life. So I gave to Chalin's church -- in your name and his. I hope it helps! I don't know if you realise it but YOU are making a big difference in this world. Best of luck!

Becky (aka: beckywedd)


Beautiful and moving story...... Just PLEASE be careful.
I had a similar story of trying to help a homeless man years ago, unfortunately he did turn and began to attack me. To my good fortune, a man heard my screams and saved me. I also thought I was trying to help never thinking the worse could happen...and it almost did. We try to help others, but we must also be cautious of what can happen.

Monica G

Wow! What a post! Absolutely what my heart needed to hear today! I love how God works in our lives and by sharing what you have done makes me want to do and be better. Thank you for your honesty and truth. I really am so inspired!

Julia Spencer

Don't enter me in the giveaway... But, I wanted to share how I noted the same things when we help the Homeless here in Asheville. Men at the VA shelter volunteering in the kitchen to help feed the homeless who don't have a home themselves. Men who cry at the loss of friends, who drink too much beer and aren't allowed to stay at the shelter, men who would bless you with what they have before asking for anything. This part of humanity makes me cry that cry of joy and of sorrow. Sorrow because I'm not that kind of humanity. Joy because there is hope.

Jenn N

Hi Karen,

Loved, loved loved this story and thank you for sharing. I just read it out to my family and they loved it as well. As a family we take many opportunities to "give back" and help those in need but it is always good to have the reminder. Thanks.

Oh, and I am not writing to be entered in the draw. Just wanted to thanks you for this story.


thanks for the chance to win a seat.

Kelli Thomas

Wow. Just wow. What a powerful post. You really touched me. Especially your reflection of how you AREN'T great because your $46 was nothing because in the grand scheme of things, it would have no effect on your life, so really, how great was it? Vs. Chalin's act? Really made me think. I consider myself a very caring, giving person, but now I must reconsider. I think I only give when I have have - but that is easy. It is easy to be generous when you are fortunate. But things have been tough the last few years, and I have had to cut back on my donations etc. Well - SHAME ON ME! Thank you for such a wonderful example of a new perspective!!

BTW, if I win, just pass it on. Not entering contest - just commenting on your post!! I know there is someone dreaming of your class with no other hope of getting in! Good Luck to them!!!


What a wonderful story! As I was reading, I was thinking how I would have been too scared to do what you did. I would love to nominate my friend Janelle for your class. She is already an amazing photographer and she took your class that you did at Sisters in Montana. But I know taking your full class has always been a dream for her. I would really love for her to be able to take your class.


Karen, thank you for this. I have been following your blog for years and have lived getting glimpses into the spiritual journey you have been on. I have praised God more than once for the work He is doing in your life! We live in a military community and many of my dearest friends are army wives... I have prayed for you, your precious ones and Josh often.

I would humbly ask that my name be entered in the drawing. My husband is a pastor, togetjer we run an adoption/foster ministry st our church and I am the stay at home, homeschooling mom of three young children, one of whom joined our family through the miracle of international adoption 2 years ago. There is no way I could ever justify the cost of the course- our finances don't allow for luxuries like that. I would love to give my family, and let's be honest, myself, the gift of more beautifully captured moments and the gift of a mom who is exploring one of her secret passions :).

Blessings on you. And I will most definitely be praying got Chalin.


PS- I really can spell... Serves me right for typing such a long comment on a touch screen :).

Jen K

I have wanted to take your class forever! It's not something in my budget right now but it's not that I can't afford it either. That being said, after reading this post it made me think of my sister who has been going through some rough financial times for quite awhile now (she can't afford the class). I would love to nominate her because she is awesome, I love her and it would be such an encouragement and blessing to her! She sacrifices everything for her family and spends what little they have on them. I would love to see her have something for her that she deserves so much. What an inspiring post this was to read....such a great reminder of what we have and how we can help others. Thank you for that!


Thank you for being brave enough to post this Karen. Sometimes its hard to be bold. But you did it, you were bold! Such an inspiring story, and such a great way to teach your children about human compassion. Thanks for sharing~


Thank you to those who have provided this opportunity and the lesson they have taught us by doing so. Your generosity is appreciated! I would like to nominate myself. Mom of 4 who has the main bread winner of our home and unexpectedly laid off. My husband has been unemployed for over a year since his industry farmed out his job overseas. It's been tough financially struggling to keep our home but God has provided provisions each month. With the birth of our last daughter we spent four months in the hospital due to prematurity and a life threatening illness which lead to surgery at the tender age of 8 weeks. During that time a volunteer photographer came to the neonatal intensive care unit to photograph sick babies. The photo I was given was the first that was taken of me and my daughter. It captured a special time in our lives were we both lived on pure faith. In the four months we were in the hospital the volunteer came only once so many new families never got this gift. I made a promise with myself that I would take my genuine interest and talent in photography to bless families in this way just has I once was. I would love to take your class so that I could start volunteering at the NICU and finally take my camera off of auto mode. Thank you!

erin yamabe

Karen, thank you for sharing all that you did! Thank you for being a good role model to your children, your family, and to all of us who just shared in your experience! What a gift to give and how very generous of the ladies who stepped up to offer such a gracious gift as well:) I'm happy to pay my way, when my turn comes up. Just wanted to say a BIG, HUGE, ginORMOUS thank you for what you just shared!

Ellie A.

I really think I was meant to read this post & I can not thank you enough for sharing this. This is my "hard" time of the year and truth be told I do admit I get grumpy and down although I have learned our Lord does everything for a reason and he has shown me time & time his grace and actually 6 yrs ago next week (3/7) was when he showed me the power of his love for me which till this day I am still in awe that his love for us is more then anything we could ever imagine. We just have to let him show us his love which I know I didn't let until then. Each moment that I went through where I thought my world came tumbling down he was there to pick me up when I thought I could not do the next step he showed me he was there & helped me take the next steps. My life has changed as I have. Never in a million years I could have guessed I would be a stay at home mom as my life was always so go,go,go. Yes it is VERY tight and hard at times but again w/God's grace we get by and I am forever thankful & this post reminded me that it is so. For me next week is hard as I near the 7th but I know his everlasting love is in me & I know that one day I will once again see the smile of our Pretty Girl. Thank you so much for posting again. :)

Heather Ales

I am SO glad I read your post this morning! I feel so inspired to go and do something to help in my community - thank you! I'd love to take your photography class, but my husbands employer is laying off most of their mechanic staff - and my husband is a mechanic. We're 14 weeks pregnant with our second child and are putting every thing we can into savings to prepare "just in case" he is part of the group that gets laid off. I know the Lord will help us if we prepare and help both ourselves and others. I have great faith in that.

God bless you and the message you sent today. It has turned my heart!

Karen S.

Dear Karen, How lucky you are to have taken the opportunity to meet someone who could make you feel the joy in really making a difference. I am a childrens' counselor and I share how filling buckets is the best way to bring joy to their lives. I am so glad that you used caution in a very scary world but so amazed that you gave the gift of compassion and empathy to your children and found such joy in your heart as well. Of course I cried, of course I would love to take your class (I met you at a CKU in Provo many years ago), but I will wait for an open spot next time you offer. I sent a donation to the church and I pray that others do as well. And I hope that someone meets my son, as he is struggling with issues that only God can cure, on the street someday and does the same for him. Love and thanks, Karen


wow...truly life changing! i have always loved your work and have dreamt about taking a class. but being the only provider for my family things are tough. and yet i look at other people's tough and realize that mine only really seems that tough because i am in it. you truly are an inspiration - when things get really bad i can head over to your blog and there is always that one little sentence that makes it all seem so much better. touching lives all over by just being you. i would love a spot and if not...then i continue to dream about being a brilliant photographer like you to make some xtra cash. thank you for being you and continuing to share your life and photography. God Bless!


That was such an inspiring story. It's amazing how something that means so little to us can mean so much to someone else. While I'll be sending $5 to Central Point Assembly of God, this is such a good reminder to take care of those close to home, as well.
Your photography is amazing, and what drew me to your blog in the first place, but as a student it's not a course that I can afford to take. I love taking pictures for friends and family, and it's something that I would love to get better at and understand more fully.

Barb Robson

As I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks, all I can say Karen is 'Thank you'......for showing the rest of the world there are good people still left in this world. All we ever see and hear are the bad things people thank you, thank you, thank you!!


What an awesome post. I would like to nominate my daughter who is a wonderful 18 yr old who is working hard to pay for her college. She has always wanted to be a photographer and talks constantly about taking your class but says schools comes first and hopefully she'll still be teaching the same class in a few years.


What a moving post. You made me cry. It's a great lesson that you have shown your children...and yourself! Sometimes there's so much bad in the world it's hard to see the good, much less experience it. I will include Chalin and your student in my prayers. Thank you for the reminder about what is really important in this world. And thank you for the reminder to be grateful for how much I have and the opportunities I have to share it.

(I'm not posting for a chance to win the class...time is a bit tight for me too and the couple friends I know who would love this class, but I couldn't read this and post how it touched me).


this post just consumed my thoughts for the day.....I actually couldn't even write a comment until it all settled in. Goodness. And greatness. Oh how I love your transparency , thank you so much for sharing. And both your student in treatment & Chalin are in my prayers.
I am so blessed to be a current student & mourning that its almost over! :(
And as I am racing through all the tidbits of this amazing class, I can't even tell you how much I am going to miss the discussions. I don't have anyone to talk camera/photos with like this class has given me. I love it so much!!

That said, I'd love to nominate my friend Joy. She loves her camera like I do & would flip at this opportunity! She most definitely has the natural "eye" for photography but like myself, not all the technique stuff. I never told her I was taking this, because financially they could never do it (though it is SO worth the money!!!) and I didn't want her to be envious. Her husband is a youth pastor & with 3 kids and youngest being a special needs child her hands are full & bank account empty. And selfishly I'd LOVE her to take it so I had someone to talk it all over with!

Bless both your friend & your student for offering this. Amazing hearts........

Lisa Wyckoff

I just got a serious case of the chills! Literally 30 minutes ago I pulled a 5.00 bill out of my vest pocket and said out loud, "Where did that come from?" I may not know where it came from, but I know where it is going, straight to Chalin's church! Our God is so good!!

Char Lee

I'm a single mom. I have 3 kids, no child support, I work two jobs and have bought my orthodontist a really nice car. I would love to be entered. Thanks for the opportunity and the inspiration.

--Char Lee

Janet K

Thanks so much for this post.....I needed to hear this! I will add Chalin and the church to my prayers...
I do not need to be in the giveaway....but what a great gift for someone!! Thanks to you for being so real!

rebecca keppel

I know I have taken my situation for granted before. I know there are many people who have it worse than me. I try to be thankful for the roof over our heads and our health every day. Your post reminded me to be grateful for all those things. I have been on the wait list for a long time and have not been able to afford it. Not because we are destitute, but because my kids needs have to come first. Field trips, friends' birthdays, new clothes each season because they just keep growing!! I am about to start a second part time job and juggling being a mom and two jobs is going to be tough, but I know how easy we have things relatively speaking. I have tried to work on my photography by reading blogs, books, and any online information I can get my hands on. But I would be ever so grateful for the chance to win a seat in your class :)


That is very true! giving away all of what you have is GREAT! People like him are very rare!

Laura S.

You are such an inspiration. I would love to win a spot in the workshop - thank you to those that have given me the opportunity to win.

Jami Young

In life we all travel different paths. Some just lead us in the same direction if we chose to follow Gods great plan for our life! 3 years ago my dearest friend (Rhonda) and I were called to make a difference in the lives of homeless - Some say wow that is great! - We just said OK and moved on the prompting that God placed in our hearts! I believe that greatness is achieved when we go above and beyond our ordinary lives to achieve something that others are unwilling to do - I am thankful for your heart to help and the path that led you to Chalin! I hope someday to meet you and your family! The blessings that you have given to Bethlehem Project and the impact that has been made for homeless right here in our own community are priceless! We work hard to get them off the streets and its nice to see that others share in the same compassion!

Mary Claire

I might be too late? I signed up and then had to cancel due to another engagement. In the middle of that some unwanted life changes occured and money will be tight for a long while. I'd love to take the class and of course pay it foward sometime in the future when I can!

Rachel Millington

What an amazing post. It made me well up and then made me laugh about the beer! I definitely believe in paying it forward when you can but I've been a bit slack lately so you've given me a prod to look for opportunities to pay it forward where I can. Loved this post! xXx

Twila Hansen

Karen -

Prayers to you and all you do... I would love to win the drawing. I am a licensed Foster parent and I try to make the kids have the most positive experiences while in our care. I try to create a scrapbook for each of them with all the things they get to do with us. I also work for special olympics a non profit organization. So Paychecks are not large. I do what I do because I feel for the ones needed it. My Husband and I have 4 children of our own and the lessons that are taught to us by the foster kiddos and Special Olympics athletes are priceless to us.

God Bless you for all you do and Thank you to your family for being so amazing.
Twila Hansen

Judy R

You are one fabulous lady! I've been wanting to take your class for a few years now, but after reading thru' this post + entries, I was so moved by several of them. I can't afford to take it right now, but don't enter me either. We are on the DR (dave ramsey) plan and in a year or two, I WILL be signing up. And, maybe someday, I'll be able to pay it forward as well. Thanks so much for living upright & honest...and teaching your kids to do so as well. They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease and this society seems to have TOO MANY squeaky wheels!

I love your blog and check it often...and appreciate immensely how you keep it real.

Special thanks to your husband for his service (my BIL is over seas right now) and you -his family- for standing by. Military families are so very inspirational to me.

Janelle Shultz

heart strings pulled....amazing! god is good, god is great! and prayers to the gal who is giving up her seat to your class. what an amazing gift. i have longed to take your class & like others, not in the family budget. there is always something more pressing & important it seems. and as mothers...we always put our families first, ourselves usually last. hugs to you & your family!

Alissa H.

You make my heart sing. I just love your blog and the little glimpse into your life. You are the bomb. Thanks for reminding me that maybe I could be great once in awhile.


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