Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh! To Be in High School Again

May is the month for Senior Proms and if you go out to dinner on a Friday night in May you are bound to see a group teenagers dressed to the T on their way to the most anticipated dance of their current lives. This year I have the opportunity to spend this evening with two groups. My first group was not the usual prom photo shoot. There was no multi-colored backdrop, no balloons tied together to make an arch (you know what I'm talking about if you're 30 or over) and no coined poses of the girl and guy. I pray I never have to do one of those :). I was blessed to spend the evening with a group of girls who had gotten it right; go with your friends, leave the dates for another time, and just have fun. And oh the fun we had!

During my time with these five girls I think I laughed the entire time. The session took place on the family farm and we had multiple resources to pull from; tractors, barns, the "General Lee" (you remember Dukes of Hazards), an old rusted out VW Van. And forget the limosine, the girls rode out in style in a Chevy Quad Cab pick up.

Thank you girls for reminding me why I love my job so much, you were awesome and I hope the prom is a memory you can keep for a long time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2010 Senior of the Year Contest Winners

I am pleased to annouce that our first contest, 2010 Senior of The Year, has two very deserving winners. Our first winner is a beauitful young lady from New Smyrna Beach, FL. Kayla is a teenager dedicated to the mission field and community service. Over her 4 years of high school she has accumulated over 375 hours of service; serving in a multitude of places here in the United States and during 3 mission to Brasil. Her heart is with the Brasilian community; she will be taking her "senior" trip back to Brasil to do some more mission work. Kayla will graduate from New Smyrna Beach High School this May. Congratulations Kayla!

Our second winner is a young man from here in Port Saint Lucie, FL. Kyle is a senior at Morningside Academy. Kyle is also dedicated to the service of others; attending mission trips and enjoys working behind the scenes on multiple projects. As Kyle may not desire to be the "Star" of the show he has a great quality that comes with working "behind the scenes" - he gets to be a part of the "body and soul" of each project he works on. Kyle has recently been working hard toward the path God has set out for him. He will be attending Mississippi State in the Fall. Congratulations Kyle!


Both Kayla and Kyle will receive a free photo session of their choice with complete photo rights. Thank you to all those whose participated in the contest, both entries and all the viewers.

I chose this our first contest, one for the timing, but mostly because teenagers have become dear to my heart. Before deciding to stay home with my children I taught math at a local high school for 5 years. Doing this, I was able to see how a teenager struggles daily with their identity and their own individuality. In this era our teenagers are facing so many pressures, temptations, and influences. What are we doing to help influence teenagers today? Sure, most of you know that I am a Christian, so my view on this is very strongly Bible driven. But, regardless of our individual views, are we just sitting back and ignoring the true desires of our teenagers.

Just this morning I read another friends blog, Go Ask Alice, where she is sharing a recent experience she shared with some college students. These college students were sharing what they needed and desired to see from the current, dominating generation (the X-Gen). Their answers may be surprising, because a lot of times we feel like teenagers are dancing to their own beat, but, who taught them how to be musicians - "The overwhelming cry of this age group is a desire to see modeled out before them lifestyles that are absent, but so desperately needed, in our society today. Pure, authentic, holy lives are what they are asking to see—no, I’m not kidding."   

Friday, April 9, 2010

If you can see the camera it can see you

For Easter this year I was asked to do a large family photo and to be perfectly honest I was a little nervous. I am always a little nervous when it comes to large groups. When asked to photograph large families I always imagine the worst:

•one or more subjects always seem to be looking away or in different directions
•subjects blinking (there’s always one)

•someone being missing from the photo

•different moods in the group (some smiling, some serious, some playing up to the camera etc)

•the group being too far away or not all fitting into the shot

As I know that sometimes I just can't escape one or all of these happening I have come to learn a great phrase to use during my next large group session; "If you can see the camera it can see you." Maybe I should get a t-shirt made.

I could not have asked for a better family to work with this Easter. Thank you to the entire extended Underwood family for being such great sports and for the little "one on one" time I got with the newest member of the family.