harnessing the power of photography for good

Guest Blog Wednesday

{Heart Surgery then… Haiti!}

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” {Psalm 73:26}

The distractions after wilderness didn’t get much better these past couple of weeks, but what I have learned through this time is invaluable.  More and more I am realizing how comfortable and predictable my actions have been the last 25 years.  The struggles I have continued to go through were only because I wasn’t willing to completely surrender them to the Lord.  We are going through the Experiencing God study in IMPACT and at the back of the workbook there are two pages of names and characteristics for the Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit.  While doing the study early one morning I came across a Psalm I had never heard, Psalm 73:26 {see above}.

I was reminded how the longings of my flesh and the emotions of my heart will always fail me, but God will be my strength in those times.  It was such an awesome realization to know that this was truly the first time I was going to heed wise counsel, seek the Lord and listen to what and where He wants me to be, not the other way around.  My prayer was that the Lord would take away this obstacle from me, but just like in Daniel when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were about to be thrown into the furnace they responded,”…the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods…” {Daniel 3:17-18}.  Even if the Lord doesn’t take this away from me, He is still God and I will surrender and obey Him through this trial.

I spent the afternoon at Balboa taking some pictures and reflecting on what the Lord has been doing over the last 24 hours, but before I get to that, I want to take you back to about a year ago.

“I pray that you will continue to reveal awesome truths in Your name and time.  Lord, help me to live my life for You and use me to bring others to you without them even knowing what happened.  Lord, I want to be used by You in a mighty way to impact my world around me.” {June 7, 2009 @ 12:33am}

I share this with you to show you how specific God has been in answering my prayers totally unbeknown to me until the past couple months.  Not only am I in a 9-month discipleship program called IMPACT, but the Lord has in the last day called me to Haiti.  Just like IMPACT I was set on not going and already had my mind made up about the upcoming missions trip.

Money is always my “excuse” but even I can’t deny how unbelievably amazing God has provided for me in the past day.  Once I actually came around to the idea that God wanted me to go to Haiti within 2 hours I already had $950 plus what I have been saving and support checks coming in, so I have a total of $1337 out of $1500.  I write this not because of the amount, but to testify to what GOD has done totally apart from anything I have done, which is NOTHING but respond when He called.   I still need the $163 by Tuesday and eventually money to cover my time away from work and 2nd & 3rd quarter of IMPACT {support night details to come}, but little by little the Lord is growing my faith and it’s exciting to proclaim His goodness and power through it all!

If you feel called to support me, please email at n.adres@hotmail.com, but more importantly please pray for the following things:

  • Provision for the trip overall, for those students that are being called to go, but cannot afford to or do not have passports, etc.  Also, for the supplies and materials we are bringing over.
  • Spiritual warfare, Haiti is a country that practices voodoo.  Not only are we going in after the devastation from a few months ago, but there is going to be a battle for souls going on and we will be on the front lines.
  • Leadership of our group as we have less than a month before we leave for 2 weeks.
  • Preparation for those that we will be ministering to and the city of Jérémie where we will be.

This is my first opportunity to serve on a missions trip and I am getting more and more excited to be used in this way!  While talking to my mom earlier today even she is surprised that I am doing this, but the Lord is changing my life literally by the day.  I knew He was going to be rocking my world this year and not even being halfway through 2010 I am believing it more and more each day.  Prayers are my #1 need and I know it’s only because of prayer that I am who I am and where I am today, you are my beloved friends and family, THANK YOU!

“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” {Psalm 37:23-24}

{Shepherd of My Heart}

I got back from Wilderness on Catalina Island about a week ago and since that time it has been non-stop busy, it’s amazing how much we need and desire to do on a daily basis.  After being away from most of civilization: no phone, work and the same group of people for 5 days the second I got back to San Diego I felt as if I was bombarded with so many things!  Wilderness wasn’t a “mountain top” experience for me as I was being told it would be, but more of a time for the Lord to shake my cup and see the overflow of what is really in my heart.  While there were some good things that came out, I was struck how much muck is coming to the surface while I am in the Refiner’s fire these 9 months.
One word I would use for the trip overall was challenging; mostly physical than anything else.  We hiked 22 miles over the course of a week with a backpack filled mostly with camp food and in the heat as well as rain and wind.
At times I truly felt as if I was the Von Trapp family in The Sound of Music at the end of the movie where they are walking through the beautiful Alps (I think it was the Alps!).  When I wasn’t mentally willing myself up each hill it was nice to take in the natural beauty of God’s creation, something totally God made and not man made!  During the hardest part of the first two hikes I was really struggling and my own strength just wasn’t enough.  It was at that time the Lord taught me a lesson as I was huffing and puffing up the mountain… My “weeds partner” from one of my first posts, Travis, grabbed my hand even though he was struggling as much as I was and literally willed me up the hills.  It struck me as I was giving him a hard time earlier about “toughening” him up that he was the very one supporting and encouraging me up those hills.  We each have strengths and weaknesses, but all are just as important in the church as well as to each other.

“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”

{Romans 12:4-5}

Once we finally made it to the top, Blackjack to be exact, I was relieved to know we would setup camp there for a couple days.  After emotionally and physically charged days of hiking everything came swelling up and I lost it, I just sat there in one of my friend’s arms crying and crying.  It wasn’t so much the broken kind of Jesus crying, but more of the selfish kind of crying!  I was wet, cold, utterly exhausted and so over being on an island.  It was then that the Lord began to show me how much I love to be comfortable, that I constantly seek comfortable situations, relationships and journeys.  As I sit here and write about this, even more is coming to mind.  My identity has been completely wrapped up in being comfortable…  Jesus didn’t come to bring us a comfortable life, He actually called us to an uncomfortable life.

“…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

{John 16:33}

Our last full day on Catalina we had solo time with the Lord, we were woken up before dawn in complete silence and dropped off one by one just as the sun was breaking through.  It was such a sign from the Lord as all we had seen and experienced in the past few days had been wind, cold and rain.  After getting setup in my “tree fort,” where I would be for the next 10 hours, I immediately fell asleep (I was happy to know I wasn’t the only one later that day!).  Honestly, I slept for about 8 of the 10 hours, but in those times that I would wake up the Lord was faithful to meet me.  Here are some of my insights from that time:

  • Lord, be the Shepherd of my heart (Psalm 23)
  • My prayer going into Wilderness was asking the Lord to break down my walls and heal the hurts in my heart.  This had been my prayer for awhile, but I finally came to a point where I was ok with whatever that looked like to the Lord and not to me.  I knew the Lord didn’t need my permission to do anything, but knowing that I was finally ready to be broken was freedom.
  • Right after that revelation a chirping bird flew into the trees of my solo spot and after a few moments flew off, this represented true freedom and flying free and this verse came to mind, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?” {Matthew 6:26}
  • Ready not to live in the pain of my past or the fear of my future, but in the patient present… willing to be used!

Friday, the last day of Wilderness, was probably the best day of the whole week… showers, civilization, food, my phone and my queen sized, down comforter bed!  And the best part was that there were no uphills in our hike that day, just allllll the way down the mountain.  I was finally able to enjoy conversation with people and take in the beauty around me.  Just as we began our journey with sun, we ended it the same way.  Hiking into Avalon, the resort side of Catalina Island, was crazy!  Other than being so anxious to take a shower it was weird hearing cell phones, seeing cars and people dressed up from their vacation weekend.  I thought I was ready for the world again, but this past week has really proved that to be different.

It became very clear to me how many distractions I have on a daily basis and it isn’t so much with work and IMPACT, my commitments, but more what I do when I get home after a long day.  My life is filled with many mindless distractions and the one thing that comes to mind is: Facebook!  There is absolutely nothing wrong with Facebook and I’ve actually started treating it as an evangelism tool, but I was spending precious time online rather than with my Savior.  All things will pass away, but my relationship with Jesus won’t.  Having an eternal perspective seems easier being out of the world for a week and then being swung right back into it in a matter of hours!  So, I decided to go on a Facebook and distractions fast.  People have asked how long my Facebook fast is and I’m really not sure.  There isn’t a set time period for anything, just until I know my cup is overflowing completely with Jesus and not with Facebook, mindless distractions and the like.

So after that mini novel, thank YOU for all your prayers, encouraging words and verses, support and most of all LOVING me!  I wouldn’t be on the journey I am with Jesus and my IMPACT family if it wasn’t for each of you.  Our theme for Wilderness was loving relationships, so I’ll leave you with this…

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

{1 John 3:1}


It’s the night before I leave for wilderness and I have 13 minutes before I would like to get to bed!  My alarm will be sing songing away at 4am and we have to be at our meeting point by 6am.  Wilderness is code for: 5 days, Catalina Island, backpacking, hiking, camping and contraband (no razors, makeup, deodorant, phones, clocks, nuthin’!)  Needless to say and most of you know first hand, that I’m not exactly the poster child for “Man vs. Wild” although Bear has quite the accent…

We went around during wilderness prep yesterday and said our name and one word to describe how we are feeling about going on this trip and mine was apprehensive.  I’ve a ton of prayers over the past day and feeling a little better, but truthfully I’m still a bit scared of what this next week will bring.  There have been so many people that I know that have done this trip before and while most of them are jealous that I get to go I just think they are plain crazy!

At the root of it, I’m scared of the physical part, but really I know how much God is going to use this to bring deep healing to scars that have been there for so long.  I don’t think it’s something you are ever really ready for, so I’ll be as ready as I possibly can be.  If you are reading this post, please pray for the following things:

  • Physical health and protection for our group.  We have a few aliments going into this week, so that the Lord would pour out His supernatural strength on us all.
  • Spiritual breakthrough and healing.
  • Unity for my wilderness group, that we would truly become family and learn what the true meaning of love is through our 1 John teaching throughout this week.

I’m sure there is so much more that I could write about, especially about the Rock staff retreat that I just got back from and the awesome things the Lord has already taught me and worked on my heart with, but that will have to be written about when I get back.

Love you all and will update when I get back in a week, Lord willing as a changed woman!

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” {Jeremiah 33:3}

FREE! museum of photographic arts in balboa park

terry was kind enough to remind me that this tuesday, the museum of photographic arts in balboa park will be free to residents of san diego.  if you havent been there yet, go check it out.  cant beat the price. and there wont be the crazy crowds from this past weekend.  you can visit their website for more info HERE

this is from friday nite, balboa park, hayden taking his folks for a walk…

me goofing around, balboa park, near the museum of photograpic arts, friday nite

Guest Blog Wednesday with Dave Miller

When Brother Joe asked me to contribute to this blog as a guest blogger, I was at first excited.  Here was a chance to share a little of what was in my heart.  It was a chance to share a little of what makes me tick with some different folks.

And then I read the theme.  “Light.”  And then I started to worry.  What was a guy like me going to say to a bunch of photographers about light?  I mean, isn’t that a little like telling Michael Jordan how to shoot a basketball?

You guys with all your meters, lenses, filters, and what ever else, just intimidate people like me.  I am one of those point, shoot, and hope guys you make fun of when you get together. 

Guys like me are always shooting ten pictures of the same shot, hoping to get one that is good.  One that is not totally overexposed, too blurry, or has Aunt Mary only half in the picture.

So with all that as background, let’s get back to light, intimidated thought I may be.

I was singing in church the other day thinking about how to translate a song into Spanish.  It is just something I do.  After almost 20 years serving in Mexico, my mind has finally started to think in Spanish.

When I gave up on the song, my mind moved on to light.  And that is when it hit me.

The word for light in Spanish is luz.  When the room is dark, you turn on luz.  Our cars have luces. The sun gives luz.  In Christ there is luz. 

But here’s a twist for you.  If you come home one night to your nice suburban place here in America, flip the switch and nothing happens, we say the power is off.

But in Mexico, we say there is no light.  No hay luz!  Which we would translate in this case, there is no current, or power, because the connection has been cut.  Interesting isn’t it?

In Spanish, the absence of light, is literally, in one sense, the absence of power.  I love the analogy that when we are walking in the dark, in areas where there is no light, we are walking without power.  The power of Jesus.

When we are walking without a strong connection to Jesus, it is as if our faith meters, like the light meters of the photographer, are screaming that something is out of whack. And an adjustment needs to be made.

And that adjusting process is not a one time thing.  Just like you would never shoot an outdoor wedding with the same settings you use indoors, our faith meters need constant checking to make sure our light, our luz, our power, is good for where we are at any given moment.

So let me ask you, have you checked your personal light meter lately?  Is there enough light, or power in your life?

Perhaps, if your life seems a little underexposed, it is time to take a new reading and make some adjustments on the amount of light that is evident in your personal life.

Because you just might need a little more luz!


Dave Miller is the Executive Director of Adventures in Life Ministry, a receiving mission organization serving in Mexico.  Ive known Dave for some time now and appreciate his willingness to share with us all on our blog.  Thanks again Dave.

You can learn more about Adventures in Life Ministry at

Dave blogs personally at www.adventurenotes.blogspot.com
and on short term mission issues at

holy cow!

(holy milk comes from holy cows…)

its been non stop since last week.  shooting events at church and for rock academy every nite of the week.  felt like a hamster on one of those wheels, runnin and runnin…so havent had time to blog much.  will post on what ive been shooting later.

im excited to announce that Dave Miller will be posting for “guest blog wednesday.”  he is executive director of Adventures in Life Ministry, and an all around good guy. ive known dave for some time now, and it should be fun to hear what he has to say about our topic “Light.”  you can learn more about the ministry HERE or at his blog www.adventurenotes.blogspot.com.  make sure you check back here tomorrow.

the week as i saw it

the rock photographers began guest blog wednesday…with trevors dad graciously posting as our first guest blogger.  thansks again dan.  you can see his blog HERE.  we have spoken with a few folks about guest blogging in upcoming guest blog wednesdays, so stay tuned, were gonna have a nice mix of non photographers sharing their thoughts on LIGHT.  goin along with the light theme, if you havent had a chance to see the francis chan video from earlier this week, its humbling and worth a look.

rock academy willy wonka performance was hi-larry-ous fun.  for such a small school they always put on big productions.  a sign of a great drama and arts program.

things of note from the whirled wide blog o sphere…

scott kelbys 2nd annual worldwide photowalk contines to grow. there are now 3 san diego walks, you can go to his site to read up and join.  moose peterson revealed “nikons best kept secret” on his blog.  for you folks who shoot nikon, you may want to check this out.  go to MOOSE.

the july consumer reports  just came out, they do their annual review of digital cameras.  they tested 77 point and shoot and digital slrs, giving their picks in various  categories.                                               sony cybershot                                                          canon g 10 

they rate the sony cyber-shot dsc-w300 as the best rated subcompact point n shoot (pns) camera.  followed by a canon power shot sd880is elph and a nikon coolpix s610.    in the compact pns camera category, they rate the canon powershot g10 best.  followed by the canon powershot a1000is, canon powershot a590is, and nikon coolpix p6000. the last pns category, superzoom, the canon powershot sx10is is on top.  with the casio high speed exilim ex fh20, and nikon coolpix p80 rounding out the top 3.

                       canon power shot sx10 is

for digital slrs.  in the basic category, the nikon d90 was rated best, followed by the olympus e 30 and pentax k200d.  the canon eos rebel xsi and rebel xs were 4th and 5th best in category…

  nikon d 90

in the advanced dslr, the nikon d300 was rated best, followed by the canon eos 40d and olympus e3 and canon 50d.  if you get a chance to pick up the consumer report july issue, its an interesting read.  if you want more info on any of these cameras, dpreview.com is a great source for unbiased info. 



                                                     nikon d 300

its gonna be another busy weekend of shooting, should be fun.  go and shoot!

Guest Blog Wednesday with Dan Stolebarger

this wednesday marks the beginning of Guest Blog Wednesday!   we got the idea from scott kelby’s blog, where he invites folks to guest blog on wednesdays, on any topic they wish. most guests blog about something photo or photoshop related.  so we figured, lets try something different….

LIGHT is absolutely necessary when it comes to photography.  photography translated means “writing with light.”  but LIGHT also has spirtitual implications as well… this is why we chose LIGHT as our topic for Guest Blogger Wednesday’s.  each of our guest bloggers will tackle the issue of LIGHT from their unique perspective, and hopefully illuminate and enlighten us as they share with us all.

we are blessed to have Dan Stolebarger as our first guest blogger on Guest Blog Wednesday. Dan has spent the past 4 years working with Chuck Missler at Koinonia House and has helped start the Koinonia Institute. Dan lives with his lovely wife Sharon in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and together they take groups over to Israel twice a year. Dan loves being a “Saba” to his 2 grandsons, Jackson and Hayden, and Dad to his three sons, Lucas, Trevor and Jesse. You can learn more about the Koinonia Institute at http://www.studycenter.com/.

Dan and Sharon in Rome

Hayden and his Goblin


Home on Hayden Lake (the bright one)

Home away from home, Israel

Performing a wedding on the Mount of Olives

– – – – – – – – – – –

by Dan Stolebarger

At the core of its meaning we all know that LIGHT provides illumination, whether it is either in the physical or spiritual realms.   We know that in the physical realm light dispels darkness and in the spiritual realm we know that light provides enlightenment.  Jesus Christ spoke the following words in Genesis, at the very beginning, and said “Let Light be” and it was!  (Genesis 1:3)  Darkness from this time on would always have an enemy!  But besides the physical, Jesus, as the author of the Word of God, provides spiritual illumination as well … see Psalm 119:105

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

Jesus best summarizes both of these categories with His statement in John 8:12 –

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying,  “I am the light of the world. He who  follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

As I travel around today, the ONE thing that I notice is how illiterate most people are concerning the Word of God!  Again, it is the Word that provides LIGHT and illuminates!  Last week while I was in Israel I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the quantity of God’s Word that was hidden in the heart of our Guide!  We need to be the PEOPLE OF THE BOOK (you probably know that is the title the Muslims have given to both the Jews and the Christians).   I pray that the shoe fits!  Please take the following verse to heart (Psalm 119:9-11) and APPLY it – we live in dark times and it will be getting DARKER!  What better time for us to be the Children of the Light, so that those in darkness can be illuminated and come to know the LIGHT OF THE WORLD!

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.

10 With my whole heart have I sought Thee:
O let me not wander from Thy commandments.

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.