Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk and Art DeTour, Noelle Bell Photography

Last weekend was a beautiful, bright and sunny Saturday.  It was the perfect day for the Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk and Art DeTour.  Downtown in the heart of Knoxville, Market Square, was an amazing display of all the artists that had spent hours of the day working on their chalk art masterpieces.  I was amazed at the color and the detail that so many of these artists could accomplish with chalk, which was in no way simple at all.  It was nice to look at other artists work as well and be inspired by their creativity.

The day was special because it was a nice afternoon where my husband and I spent the afternoon together walking around.  We ran into some friends, had a few good laughs and then sat out on porch of Blue Coast Bar and Grill and had some amazing food.

Here are some of my favorite images that I captured from the Chalk Walk and a few from our drive around the Dogwood Arts Trails.

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There was another reason to get outside that day and that was so that I could try out my brand new Spider Holster for my camera.  I have to say I’m in love!  No more back pain as the camera is now on my waist.  It did take some getting used to for me to hook the camera in and out, and to get used to being “wider” in a crowded area as the camera hangs off the right side of my waist.  I used it for my first senior session this Saturday and it only confirmed how awesome this belt is for my back!  Getting the weight off my shoulder which has issues anyway is helping immensely.  Now do they have one for a laptop???  😉

Hope you have a chance to get out and enjoy the sunshine today!  Happy to see it peek out between all the rain we have had.

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A 5:00a Start to the Week, Mexico Team Send Off

This morning it was dark as the alarm woke me at 4:30 in the morning.  I haven’t used my alarm months, but this morning was special.  I needed to be at the airport to send off two of the girls from my Life Group and the rest of the team from the Foundry as they embarked on a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico.

I jumped out of bed, changed and headed out the door with my camera to Pilot for some coffee and then enjoyed an almost empty highway drive to the airport.  There are so many going on the trip this year that I didn’t manage a team picture with the chaos of getting everyone through the ticket counter, so here are some of the smaller group pics that I was able to capture.

Mexico Mission Trip, Fellowship Church, The Foundry Youth Group, Team, Service, ServingHere is a Mallory’s travel group
Mexico Mission Trip, Fellowship Church, The Foundry Youth Group, Team, Service, ServingBethany’s Travel Group
Mexico Mission Trip, Fellowship Church, The Foundry Youth Group, Team, Service, Serving

And the men of the trip (minus Blair and Will).

Mexico Mission Trip, Fellowship Church, The Foundry Youth Group, Team, Service, Serving

And here are a few of my girls, Katharine, Addison and Isabel!  Don’t we all look pretty good for 5am?!  By the way, my toes are almost the same color as your nails Addy!

Mexico Mission Trip, Fellowship Church, The Foundry Youth Group, Team, Service, ServingIsabel and Katharine are both in my life group and I know they have been excited for this for a long time, as I’m sure half the team has been.

Mexico Mission Trip, Fellowship Church, The Foundry Youth Group, Team, Service, Serving

And here is a quick pic with Blair before they went through security.  May God give you amazing presence of mind and wisdom as you lead and are lead in Tijuana!

Mexico Mission Trip, Fellowship Church, The Foundry Youth Group, Team, Service, Serving

Safe travels!  You will all be in my prayers this week as you serve and are used by God in Tijuana Mexico!  May the love of Christ shine in your hearts as brightly as your smiles shine on your faces.  Can’t wait to hear all about your trip when you return!

 

Always learning. Never settle. Be open to change.

Just a month ago one of my dear friends left her full-time corporate job and has begun to do freelance work in her field of expertise. She has a background in communications and PR and has worked mostly for the entertainment industry. We finally have time together to catch up and it has been fun to work at the office, aka. Starbucks. The first time we chatted for hours, and the times after we have been working. Every time I have learned a little something new about the world of business and communications and that leads perfectly to what I was reading this morning in my devotions.

This morning I was lead to read Proverbs 12. For years now I have read the Proverb that corresponds to the day of the week, not always religiously, but many times a week. This day I read Proverbs 12:1a in a new light. “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge”. I am soaking up all that I have been learning about writing and wording things in a professional manner to unknown parties, but have I been embracing it? Have I been “loving” it and been passionate to change the old way I have approached this? To some degree, but I don’t know if I can put the word “passionate” to my dedication to learning this new and better way to proceed in business.

So with that, I resolve to make changes. I resolve to learn to better my understanding of this craft and to use this to not only better myself, but better my skills as a person, a business owner and a teacher.

So a huge shout out to my dear friend Brandii and her awesome skills and gifting to explain things to me in a way that is transforming me. You are awesome, you are a great friend and I thank you for all the times we now get to spend together. Coffee’s on me next time.

And if you are looking for someone to write a press release or do any PR work, contact me and I will pass along her information. She truly is top notch at what she does.  Click here to view Brandii’s Linked-In profile.

Life Groups, Knoxville TN, HSM Fellowship Church

Tonight was the kickoff for this years small group’s that are no longer to be called small groups.  They will be now called “Life Groups” as we will be “doing life together”.   The past few years I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with the kids as they went through middle school and their freshman year of high school.  This year I’ll be co-leading a group of sophomore’s.  Some of these girls are kids I’ve known since they were rising first graders and yet as it has been 4 years since I’ve taught them.  I know so much of them each individually as a person has changed, shifted, matured, questions have surfaced and to some degree this will be a re-learning of them.  Others in the group I have just met this year and a few I have known, but not really known so I’m looking forward to our journey together this year and Lord willing the following two as they finish high school.

God has often frustrated me with His timing (mostly because it wasn’t when I wanted it, so selfish and obvious that God didn’t do the frustrating, but me).  He in turn has often surprised me with his timing.  He works in ways that I will never understand and He see’s the big picture for each of these girls in a way that I only hope He will lead and provide wisdom as the coming years are formative for each one of them.  I’m thrilled to be a part of their lives in a capacity of a teacher and a leader (as long as they don’t learn from my driving skills ~ confessions of a Jersey driver).  This year there will be challenges, questions and life changes that I know will bring a myriad of emotions, trials and battles that I can only prayerfully be open to the Spirit’s leading as we lead these girls.

I am thankful for two other leaders to share this responsibility and the chance to even get to know them further and be used in each others lives as we pray, disciple and equip this group of young ladies.  I know we will have a lot of fun as well as good times with this group and I am thankful for the group of parents that prayed over us tonight, as all three of us will need His wisdom to lead these girls in the coming year.

Tonight we entered into a time of worship with our groups, and it was such a sweet time together.  Rich hymns and praise songs were combined with voices both on and off key (yes I’m not always on key), but a fragrant offering was raised up tonight.  God whispered sweet confirmations and words of wisdom to me, reminding me to center myself always on Him and to not lift my voice to the worries of the world, but rest in Him, my solid rock!

So onward we go…I can’t wait to see all that this year will bring!

Family Pictures from the Holidays, Noelle Bell Photography

The Christmas holidays were so relaxing and allowed for some fun times with our families!  The fun times included some much needed R&R at Grady’s house and a Batman movie marathon!  Both Grady and I got the same movies for Lynn for Christmas, knowing he loves to collect the DC & Marvel comic movies, so now Lynn can watch them with his dad anytime, and he can watch them here anytime.  Lucky man…  🙂  We both had a wonderful time and here is a great picture I got of Lynn with his dad.  They certainly look like father and son don’t they!

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On Christmas day as tradition holds, the whole of Lynn’s family on his mother’s side of the family, all gather at his Mamaw’s house for Christmas lunch and time with the cousins.  It was a full house, although not as full as other years, and we got to catch up with everyone.  Jamie brought his almost one year old son and it was the first time I had seen Jackson, but let me tell you he was a cutie!  Just look at that grin!  He took center stage with all the girl cousins while he was there.  Dave and Lynn got to catch up and talk and of course they all got the same gifts, so they were sporting their scarves this year.  Mamaw took some time to open the gifts for herself, and of course I snagged a few pictures of the kids, Josh, Kendra and Alyssa!

We stayed afterwards and I helped put all the food away and clean up while Lynn stayed in the kitchen with his Mamaw to talk as he did the dishes.   We got plenty of loving in on the cats, if you read yesterday’s post, you saw Fluffy and Bitty, although we only saw her new cat for about 3 seconds as she darted to a new hiding spot!  It was a very good Christmas time with family indeed!

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A few days later we made it to mom and dad’s in VA for a few days stay and the nice thing was that this time we mostly hung around the house and relaxed, with only one day of going out to do a little shopping while the men went to some historical museum I think.  Time at mom and dad’s house was filled with fun and lots of laughter.  The night after we opened gifts we all sat in the living room in our new fleece pants!   In the afternoon dad had to watch the VA Tech game and mom was just finished drying the new fleece pants, so dad got in his fleece pants to help VA Tech win, and they finally pulled out of the hole and won, so I guess the lucky pants will now appear every time there is a game!  🙂

Saturday evening I decided to play the piano and wow, yes it was a small miracle I didn’t kill anyone’s eardrums, although I know I tested moms.  I used to play on our piano at home, well that was a long time ago.  Mom decided it would be good to have her play the bottom hand while I played the top hand….oh my goodness.  How horrible and yet hysterical it was to try that!  We got to laughing so hard!  Somehow the guys just ignored us and kept talking in the same room.

Then after mom played some by herself, I told her I wanted to play my favorite hymn.  Now mind you my bad playing was still ringing in her ears when she looked at the hymn and said “you are going to play that”?  Oh I could see it now….it was the one hymn I played for years and I loved it.  I used to be able to play it with two hands.  Well I started small and played it with just one hand, and then mom’s amazement grew, and so did mine a bit – I didn’t realize how well that my fingers remembered that song.  I not only played it well, but I tried it with two hands and didn’t do too bad, although I had to play it much slower.  So, now I want t a piano again.  I do enjoyed playing it, but would love to get better at it.

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And finally the pictures of the pants!  We tried to line up so we would not clash, So here we are, mom with the owl’s, Lynn with the smiley faces, Me with the snowflakes and dad alternating with his VT pants and his blue pants.

Overall it was a wonderful vacation and very relaxing.  Thanks to everyone it was great to have the time to relax!  I hope you had a very relaxing holiday as well.

A Cat filled Holiday, Noelle Bell Photography Knoxville TN

What a Christmas it has been!  Finally time to relax with our families and our friends.  We spent Christmas eve with Lynn’s dad and we brought Lynn’s cat Guinevere to visit “Grandpa Grady” for a few weeks.  She just loves the hardwood floors and the fun she has as the only cat in the house!  We had a great time relaxing and a little time playing with her.  She really enjoyed when the bags and the boxes were open!  The only thing she likes more than that is catnip!

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On Christmas day we got to see Lynn’s 93 year old grandmother, and his cousins.  It’s such fun to see everyone and how they have grown.  And it’s always fun to see his grandmother’s cats.  The tabby, Bitty is over 20 years old and a sweet cat, but most of the time this year she slept.

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A few days later we made it to my parents house and there we got to see the mother of my two cats whom my parents affectionately named Zip.  Zip is gray and white, and although all of her children came out black or black and white, they look just like her.  My little tuxedo Oreo is the spitting image of her just in black and white.  She is about 7 years old now or somewhere about there.   Here are some of the fun images I captured of her.

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Stay tuned tomorrow and I’ll have the second half of this post which includes some great family portraits from the trip.  I so love capturing images of cats…I think the yawn – the last picture of Zip was my favorite!  🙂

Back from vacation!

My husband and I just took a quick little holiday to get away from the world and celebrate 4 years of marriage this year.  We wound up going to Hilton Head, SC and Savannah, GA for a three day getaway.  We had a wonderful time, and when we recalled our favorite time/memory from the trip, we both had the same answer, the late night moonlight walk on the beach in Hilton Head.

And our second favorite part of the trip was the visit the same beach again in the morning after 5 hours of sleep and breakfast to see the sunrise!  It was definitely a time to stay close and cuddle, but totally worth it!

More images from the trip will come later, but I’m working hard on edits for my clients, so posts of them will come next!

So if you haven’t gotten up early to watch a sunrise with your special someone, make a plan and do it!  You won’t regret the memory you will make.

Fun afternoon with Miss Emily, Christmas Pictures

Yesterday was a good day to catch up emails, create a long to-do list and then check it off one by one.  I also had a great visit from my good friend Becky and her daughter Emily.  It was fun to capture some great pictures of her having fun with all the decorations and the Christmas ornaments  while Becky and I caught up.  I can’t say that I have a totally child-proof home, but we did put the Christmas tree ornaments through the ringer today!  🙂

Here are some of my favorites from today!

Emily is growing up so fast!  But boy is she adorable!

Thanks Becky for a great visit.  I look forward to catching up again soon.

 

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