Where do I even begin. As I sit here looking at the blank page, I am thinking to myself, how do I even begin to explain this journey. I guess you could say it started as a thought…a slight whisper to my soul with a someday attached. Adoption.
Over the past year, it felt more and more apparent. So much that at first I found myself asking “God, are you really telling us to adopt?” I was praying for clarity, for a sign…I learned pretty quickly when you start paying attention, instead of discounting what you see or hear, you will see how God can work. Praying for a sign….then, a song would come on the radio about orphans, an article on the internet would pop up about adoption, a friend would share something with me, a beautiful adopted family would be right next to me….over and over and over, and those are just the small things. At what point, do you quit thinking that things are coincidence and believe that this is part of God’s plan. Then in January of this past year, I went on a mission trip with Uncharted International to Myanmar. I was there…I was present…I was looking into the eyes of beautiful orphans. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life….so much that my husband, kids and I are planning on going back in December. Something completely changed in me on that trip. I knew that we were being called for more. As I was boarding the plane, I could literally visualize myself walking hand in hand with one of the kids as my own. Unfortunately, at this time there is not an opportunity to adopt from there…the country doesn’t allow it. But, I still knew that something had changed and God was leading us to do more. In fact, the first night I was home, as I laid in bed, I told my husband….I think it’s time. I’m ready to adopt. I think he had been on board before I had. We talked about it over and over again and just started praying for more direction. We didn’t know what we were saying yes to, but all we knew is that we were saying yes. “Ok, God…we will adopt. But, from where? The US or International…it doesn’t matter to us…what do YOU want us to do?”
We prayed along each step of this journey. We have a really amazing story to tell as to how God showed us exactly where were supposed to adopt from…the Philippines. It was not something we just came up with on our own. And, if anyone would really love to hear it, I would be happy to sit down and tell it. Right now, it’s something that is near to our hearts and I believe it is as real as me typing the story out right now. As amazing as it is, I know many people won’t understand and will question our decision…some may even think we are just crazy. I know…I’ve already had some tell me that The only thing I can tell you is that I am tired of just living the normal American dream. I’m tired of being in my comfort zone. I wanted something more. I asked Jesus into my heart years ago, but was I walking in faith? Was I willing to take crazy steps of faith out of my own comfort for the kingdom of God? Was I willing to walk the walk? Was I going to say yes to something we were being led to? It would be easy to ignore everything that was happened, but we can’t. If not us, then who.
We have a new journey ahead of use and we would covet all the prayers you can offer. And, if you have questions, we don’t mind to answer. We know that this road will not necessarily be an easy one and may present challenges…before and after. But, God is good. I fully believe that if we are following what He is leading us to do that there is a plan and there is goodness to come.
Right now, we are in the overwhelming paper trail, but every step is a step closer. Of course, along with the mountain of paperwork comes the amount of checks we have to write out. I’ve been making some framed scriptures and other sayings and selling them to help with our mission trip fundraising. This will now be going towards the adoption. I will post updated designs from time to time. If you are interested in one, please let me know and I would be happy to make something for you!
Thank you so very much for your support and prayers!
If you made it this far in reading….thank you. Much love to you!
It’s been a while since I posted, sometimes I think I have nothing to say and other times, so much to say, but no time to say it. The past year or so…oh, who am I kidding, more of the past decade, God has been putting me on a journey. It’s been a journey to grow closer to Him. We are all capable of accepting the ticket to go on this journey, but not everyone notices it or wants it. I wanted it, I guess I just didn’t fully pack my bags for it until recently and sometimes, I’m still trying to pick up my bag and go. This is all figuratively speaking, of course. Walking with faith is something that’s easy to say, but not always easy to do. I am not completely sure that I have ever even put myself out there enough to say that I am completely walking by faith. It’s a daily choice. Little by little, I have been saying yes more to what God is putting on my heart instead of backing off in fear. And, I will say, I have seen more amazing things since doing that….why am I even surprised about that?
Over the past couple of years, my sweet sister-in-law, Nikki has been going on mission trips to some orphanages in Myanmar with Uncharted International. The first time she went over, she sent us pictures of a boy that needed a sponsor. We sponsored him and began receiving and sending letters and photos back and forth. She would tell me all about him (which by the way, I got to meet him and it was amazing!). I knew deep down that I always wanted to experience a mission trip overseas. Not necessarily because it was a bucket list item, but something that I wanted to do to help and open my eyes. So, I said yes. My adventure began at the beginning of this month and our group was gone for about 10 days. The funny thing is how you think you are going there to do something for them. I mean, isn’t that what a mission trip is a lot of times….to assist in some way, to show love, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ? Did those things happen….yes, but I think they did those things more for me than the other way around. Uncharted International is connected to a certain group of orphanages in Myanmar and that’s just a portion of what the organization is involved in. When you think orphanages, you usually think sad faces and starving children. I am certain they exist. But, there was something different about this place. There was LOVE there. I have never in my life seen so many children loving each other and loving us. I’ve never seen kids worship they way they do and pray with authenticity. It was amazing. It was refreshing. It was Jesus.
I’ve always liked the word simplify. Although, I will admit, thinking about having a sign with that word on my wall is a tad comical. I don’t necessarily live a simple life. I have a comfortable life…a nice house, a good job, good family, my physical needs are met. In the physical sense, it’s somewhat laughable to think about that. But, it is something that these kids and leaders taught me…simplify. America, we have it ALL wrong. More stuff, more programs, more whatever is not going to bring you happiness. These kids were laughing and smiling playing with marbles and trying to shoot them into a hole in the ground. They were laughing just being around each other, just being with us. They were smiling and hugging. And, that was just on a normal day and time. They taught me that it doesn’t matter the situation you are in, if you have Jesus, you can have joy. I am not saying that these people don’t need help and an easier life….but, they have the one thing lasting that we all need. They have faith in Jesus Christ.
I’ve been challenged. Do I REALLY have faith? I have faith that God is real and that Jesus is my savior. But, do I REALLY have faith? When I look at my life, I am trying to see…where have I not known how I was going to get through something and totally had to have faith that God had me? Have I? When I listen to the stories of some of the leaders I met, they convict me. The society that we live in is a lot about planning. If you are going to do something, you need to plan it out. You need to have your steps figured out and do each one and hopefully that will get you to your goal. Yes, this is true a lot. But, are you leaving room for God to work? Have you ever stepped out and said, “God, I am going to do this because you have put it on my heart….I have no idea how or what…all I know is I’m saying yes?” Oh, that’s tough. That’s scary. That is taking a step into the darkness and really trusting that God is going to provide? Do I have that kind of faith? It’s been eye opening. If there’s one thing I realized it is that God doesn’t expect you to have everything figured out before you do it….he just needs a willing heart. He wants us to trust him. My life has been changed since going on this trip. I am tired of just being a knee deep follower of Jesus. It’s going to be a daily walk, but I want to seek God whole heartedly and ask him to lead me….not just to lead me, but praying that I follow. I want to be authentic. There are already things on my heart that I am going to be honest with you…they aren’t things I am comfortable with saying yes to. But, they are on my heart for a reason and I have got to do what I say and be willing to take that step into the darkness. So, that’s where I am….stepping out. Will you?
If you would like to hear more about the trip or what Uncharted International does, please feel free to contact me. I am truly humbled by the opportunity to experience this and encourage you to experience it yourself! You can also get involved by sponsoring a child or a orphanage. Your help, big or small, really does make a difference!
The last time I posted, I mentioned that whoever signed up to receive our e-newsletter would be put into a drawing to win a $25 Gift Certificate. We randomly selected the winner and have emailed the lucky winner to notify them! Jenny Howard…you were the lucky winner! We have emailed you and you will be receiving your certificate in the mail very soon!
Many people have asked and we now have an answer…..our Easter Children’s Special is coming March 18th-21st. Like always, it’s a walk-in special with packages starting at just $25!
And……if you are wondering about what to wear, check out these beautiful outfits from The Attic children’s boutique in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. The Attic has the latest Mustard Pie outfits in stock now along with LOTS of other adorable spring outfits to look picture perfect! Seriously….they have a great selection! These girls did awesome for their photoshoot and I must say, they actually make it quite easy. That’s pretty big considering them being supermodels and all…. 😉 Mustard Pie’s outfits range from size 12 months to girls size 12….and, they also have an adorable vest and tie for the boys to coordinate! The Attic also has several other brands of adorable outfits….these are just a few to show! GIVEAWAY TIME!!!! Hope on over the The Attic’s Facebook page << click there – for a chance to win one of four $25 Gift Certificates!!!! Did you hear that? Another chance to win some great stuff!!!!
Well, sometimes life just happens. I guess I have this thing called a blog and also a business Facebook page that I need to be paying a bit of attention to. I promise I will try to be better! Truth is, I have two kids, a hubby, a home to keep up with and a business to run. That is just part of it. Throw in there trying to maintain friendships, help coach a basketball team, church stuff, going to photographing conferences to try to learn more and running kids to and from wherever they need to go….sometimes you just get tired. So, sometimes something falls behind and for that, I apologize…because I know how much you all want to hear from me. 😉 So, I’m going to try to do better this round! Be watching for things to come like the following:
- Examples of how to display your images in your home
- Behind the scenes pics/video of a session
- Clothing Ideas for your Portraits
- Upcoming Children’s Specials
- Randomness that you just don’t want to miss because it might make you pee your pants (that sounds promising)
But, for now…you just get this cute little comparison shot…. Oh, and one more thing….want a chance to win a $25 Gift Card from Kim Hinkle Photography?? See the part over on the side that says Sign up for our latest updates ——————–> Well, it’s actually up on the top right.
Sign up and you will receive a e-newsletter from us ever so often to tell you about special things coming up! I will add all the names of those who have signed up to a drawing and draw for a winner on Friday, 2/13!
Til next time, Kim
Aniston’s Story and how we can help…
There’s a beautiful little two year old I know that is fighting a big fight….a fight that no one wants to see their child go through. Her name is Aniston and here is her story (taken by permission from her mom’s blog)….
It all started on September 3rd. The day I got induced Aniston came to the hospital to see me. After being there a few hours, she started throwing up. We just thought she had the flu. After a few days, she was back to normal. When we brought Lawson home she started acting not like herself. I just assumed she was depressed that she had to share her attention with her baby brother. She started napping more, not wanting to play, and just didn’t look right. We went out of state for my sisters bridal shower on September 20th. Aniston had gotten so bad that she wouldn’t even walk, she was extremely pale, and wouldn’t stop crying. We decided to head back to Tennessee to get her to the doctor as soon as possible. On September 21st we took her to the clinic. They told us they don’t normally treat things like this, but since she looked so anemic, the doctor went ahead and did blood work. When the doctor came back in she said the words I’ll never get out of my head. “Her blood looks really bad. We think it’s leukemia.” My mom and I just looked at each other in horror and started screaming “No!” How could this be happening to my little girl? She’s barely even had a cold, there’s no way she could have cancer. I immediately called Tyler with the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make.
We had to go to Vanderbilt in an ambulance. Tyler, Lawson, my mom, step dad, and brother all followed behind us. I felt like I was in a nightmare. As we were heading to Vanderbilt, the EMT kept saying there are so many other things that could be wrong with Aniston. He said they shouldn’t have even mentioned the “L” word. He gave me hope. Hope that this was all a mistake. Hope that my girl was perfectly fine. Then we got to the emergency room. The doctor came in and explained Aniston’s blood count to us and how it was most likely leukemia. My hope was crushed, again. Even though they hadn’t diagnosed her yet, they went ahead and had the oncology doctors talk to us. Aniston had to get two blood transfusions and a platelet transfusion that first night. It made a huge difference in her appearance. She was starting to look like herself again. I was still holding onto hope that this was all a mistake. The next morning an oncologist came in and explained that Aniston has pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I lost it all over again. All hope I had was gone. My daughter has cancer. Why my little girl? Why does she have to suffer? Why can’t it be me?
The next few days were all a blur. We ended up spending ten nights in the hospital. While there she had two IVs, two spinal taps with chemo, one bone marrow biopsy, two chemo treatments, and a picc line placed. As a mom, it is the hardest thing watching your child suffer. Aniston was so strong throughout it all. I can’t get over how well she handled everything they threw at her during our hospital stay.
On October 1st we headed home. The nurses warned us that it would be like bringing home a newborn. Since I already have a newborn, its now like I have two. I don’t remember what it’s like to get more than two consecutive hours of sleep, I rarely get the chance to sit down, and you can forget about me having the time to get ready. Most days I just want to give up. Then I think…if she can handle all of this at two years old, I can make it through the day. That’s what we’re doing. Kicking leukemia’s butt, one day at a time.
So, you might be wondering how you can help. One thing…PRAY! Pray for this precious little girl. Jesus has the power to heal!!! They have already had answered prayers and we need to continue to lift her up.
Here’s the other thing…
Even when you have insurance there are still so many bills that can rack up (hospital bills, gas money, meals, etc). There is unfortunately a whole lot involved with this dreaded illness. So, I would like to help in one way or another. One of the things we will be doing this month is offering two items which make great gifts or keepsakes for yourself….and, it helps Aniston’s family!
This week (Wednesday-Saturday) is our Christmas Special at Kim Hinkle Photography. Here is a link to our event page on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/756114937777248/
We will be offering the Christmas Ornament and Key Chains for purchase. They will include a photo from the special and the proceeds will go to Aniston and her family. If you don’t make it in for our special and you have had a picture taken by me this year, you can also purchase these!!! The deadline for purchase is November 28th in order to receive them before Christmas.
If you are interested, you may add one on to your order at our Christmas Special or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618.599.0819.
In the meantime, Miss Aniston, this scripture is for you –
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Get your outfits ready and mark your calendars! Our Christmas Special is coming!!! We were working hard on our sets and now have samples to show. We have two sets this year, so you can choose one or both!
Wednesday, November 19th – 10am-6pm
Thursday, November 20th – 10am-6pm
Friday, November 21st – 10am-6pm
Saturday, November 22nd – 9am-1pm
No appointment necessary! Choose from packages started at $25 (one package per pose). Photographer chooses the best expression/image and will use that for the package.
No session fee for four or less people in the picture! Families are welcome, but must be limited to immediate family only (parents/kids).
The prints from these sessions make great keepsakes and gifts! If you are looking for Christmas cards…we’ve got you covered! We have a book full of samples that you can choose from.
I loved photographing this family! Jessica is a fellow photographer in Southern Illinois….so, let’s just say, I might have been a wee bit nervous! You know how it goes, you always want to make sure you do a good job for someone else that is in the same line of work. At the same time, I’m also glad that she is the business, because she could just roll with the punches. We may or may not have discovered the fact that there was a HUGE hornet’s nest above us in one of the trees! EEK! And, then there was a nearby electric fence that one of her son’s slightly touched with his foot…oopsie. He was a tough little guy and it just surprised him, but he was fine. It’s real life people! The photoshoots may look magical, but then there are those moments….but, guess what, we still caught a lot of magical moments. This family LOVES each other! It was so obvious! I love being able to capture real life moments. The perfect smiles are great, too….but, those real cuddles or even moments of chaos…..they are perfect. Those moments where kids are being kids, where the little guy doesn’t want to let go of his best friend, the monkey and then the real true authentic joy that they have….they are ALL worthwhile moments that make photographs so special.
Just wanted to give everyone a heads up on some stuff that is going on around here!
Our HALLOWEEN SPECIAL is still going on! Make an appointment with us to bring in your little one(s) in costume and get one digital image for only $25….that is a super special!!
FALL SPECIAL – THIS IS A LAST MINUTE OPPORTUNITY!!!!
I am offering a Fall Digital Special for those who want a quick and easy session. There are limited times available for THIS SATURDAY – October 25th!!!! $350 gets you a 20 minute outdoor photo session (weather permitting) and 8-10 digital images. This is a great opportunity for those who like to print their own Christmas cards/gifts. Do not wait! Once these session times are gone, they are GONE.
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL – COMING IN NOVEMBER!!!!
Back by popular demand, we will be doing our walk-in Christmas Special next month. No appointment is needed for this special. We will have packages starting at $25! Watch for set samples and times coming soon!
Oh my goodness…these pictures make me smile. We had the most beautiful evening with cooperating children and husband. Wives always cooperate, it’s the husbands that reluctantly come along…but, Billy knows the drill by now. When mama is happy, everyone is happy.
The Lewis family has been coming for pictures for the past few years, but this is the first time in a while that the weather has been good enough to go back outside. We were able to get a lot of great images and let me tell you…their album looks AMAZING! I love albums! It’s such a wonderful way to be able to get all your images to keep. I can promise you, that album will be something that is looked at for years to come. Thanks for the great session!!
Haven was a real trooper on this photoshoot. Sometimes, the best places for cool images aren’t necessarily the prettiest. While, we still got lots of beautiful images (pretty hard for her not to take a good picture), we went on a little adventure which led is to an alley or two, a junk yard, some random road, some old buildings and of course, the studio. When I scout out for a session, I’m often times not looking for the actual picture perfect look we might have in our minds. For seniors or even kids, we can find some pretty cool places in the most unexpected spots. I really love textures, layers and color, however being able to find the right light or to create it is what really makes a difference.
I really loved Haven’s outfit choices…she did an awesome job picking her clothes…stylish and classy! I love it when clients put a lot of thought into their outfits. It was a pleasure to work with you and I hope you have a great senior year!!!
I’m still accepting appointments for 2015 Senior Sessions, but they are limited. If you are considering it, don’t wait! Once they fill up, I won’t be accepting anymore for the year.