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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cutest Christmas Family of 2012

...In my humble opinion of course!

I love this family! I have known Amanda for a long time, and her family is just as awesome as she is! I love it also, when my awesome clients come up with awesome ideas for their sessions. Behold Amanda's genius idea...


If you are interested in a session with me, please contact me at susanmonsonphotography(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Hi you guys! Did you miss me? I assure you I didn't fall off the face of the Earth. I have actually been VERY VERY busy! (YAY!)

Do you remember last year when I announced that our family is adopting from Ethiopia? Well, a lot has happened since that announcement! We suffered some real lows. Our agency informed us that our wait time would be over THREE YEARS! So, we researched some other agencies, and I am almost 100% sure of the new agency that I want to go with, and their wait times are about a year! Yay!

So, we are back on the fundraising wagon, and yesterday on my facebook page, I asked for any help anyone could give me with ideas for fundraisers, and do you know what happened?! A very kind and generous person named Naomi sent me a message and offered to hold a Pampered Chef party where ALL THE PROCEEDS FROM THE ONLINE PARTY GO TO OUR ADOPTION FUND! How amazing is that?!

I haven't spouted a lot about how much I love PAMPERED CHEF, because well, this is a photography blog, but I LOVE PAMPERED CHEF! I have a lot of their products that I honestly couldn't bake without!

So, if you are reading this, and you are interested in helping my family reach our goal of becoming a complete family, here is the information that you need:

This online party is going on from NOW until AUGUST 17TH! 

SHOP FROM WHEREVER YOU ARE! Don't worry about having to come to a show! Shop from home in your underwear!

1. Go to Naomi's website here:

2. Browse through the amazing catalog of products.

3. Order the products you want.

4. When asked if you are shopping under a host, CLICK YES.

5. Enter my name, SUSAN MONSON.


I would love any support you can give to our family. And, any help spreading the word would be fantastic! Everyone loves food! And Pampered Chef makes it easier to make the things we love to devour! 

Thank you so much! And I am so overcome with gratitude that someone has been so generous and wonderful to me and my family, to give all the proceeds from the sale to our adoption. I am overcome.

Thank you so much!

Much Love,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Las Vegas Sessions

Here are a few of the families that I was honored to meet who stepped up and scheduled sessions with me for Erika while I was in Vegas this last month. You can read about my experience here.

Meet the Smith Family...

Such wonderful, generous, thoughtful people... I loved getting to know this sweet family.

Here are Jackie and Larry...

These two... Such a lovely couple! I was able to sit and talk with them after our session, and it was so nice. They have been together for so long. They had never met Erika, but had heard about her situation through a mutual friend, and were so moved to help, that they scheduled a session and asked me after how she was doing. Such compassionate hearts.

More will come soon so keep your eyes peeled!

With Love,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Charity never faileth...

I just got home from vacation. My little family was able to spend 10 non-stop days together. It was so amazing. The nice thing about being a photographer is I get to take my camera with me. Sometimes I set up sessions and pay for our trip with the money I earn. This time however, we started our vacation in Las Vegas, the home of my in-laws. And, this time, the money I earned went directly to a fund for my sister in law, Erika.

I haven't really had a chance to write out my feelings about my experience serving her in this way. And even now as I type this, I am overcome with emotion I honestly didn't realize I was feeling. I will try my best to be coherent.

Erika has been sick for a really long time. She was born with epilepsy, and because of the heavy amounts of drugs the doctors put her on, it damaged her liver beyond repair when she was just 7. She was lucky enough to receive a liver transplant (donated by a young man who died in a motorcycle accident) when she was 8. Her family sacrificed tremendously to see to it that their little girl lived and healed. And all through it, Erika smiled, and was so brave. Her outlook on life was never "why me?" or "poor me." She always stayed positive. Even when it was really, really hard. At some point during this time, (this was in the 80's) she received a blood transfusion that was tainted with Hepatitis C, and she contracted this horrible disease. So, they had to work extra hard to keep her liver from failing. The doctors expected her liver to last maybe 10 years.

Here she is, about to have her 36th birthday, (which is something that the doctors never quite expected) and she again is in need of medical intervention. Not only is her liver failing her, her kidneys are as well. She also was recently diagnosed with Pancreatitis, and she has bouts of infection which land her in the hospital every now and then. But lately, it seems to be more frequent. Because her liver is failing her, she is retaining a lot of fluid in her tummy. So much so that she looks about 10 months pregnant. I can only imagine that she feels embarrassed at the thought that people think she might be expecting... though she's never said anything to me about it. She remains positive and kind through all of this. She does nothing but serve others, and loves the Lord with all of her heart. She has learned to trust in His miracles.

I honestly didn't realize how severe her situation was, but I wanted to help. There is a medicine that has no side effects and doesn't hurt her liver that helps control her seizures. Her insurance doesn't cover it. Each bottle costs $150. I talked to my husband, and we agreed to buy a bottle for her, even though my mother in law worried about our finances. But what more could I do? We didn't always have an extra $150 lying around. So, I came up with an idea. We had a vacation coming up, and we could start out in Las Vegas, and I could do some photo sessions and all the money could go to getting Erika more medicine. So, Kathy, my mother in law, tried her hardest to spread the word, and a dear friend of hers sent out a mass email to everyone she knew trying to raise awareness for our cause. People who didn't even know Erika were so moved at her situation that they sent money even if they didn't need photo sessions. And some signed up for sessions. I personally was able to earn $375 for her medicine... Something that made me so happy.

I cannot express to you the awe I was in when I found out that so many people stepped up to help her. Even the families that I met, some knew her better than others, and some didn't even know her at all, except for the updates that they sometimes got through those emails. The hearts of these people overwhelmed me. So much love. So much kindness. So much generosity. So much concern.

I didn't do hard labor as a way of service. There were no trees to chop down, or firewood to cut. There were no yards to rake or fences to put up, or roofs that needed new shingles. I only had a camera and a willingness to do something good for someone who needed it. And I have to tell you that serving Erika in this way, helped me tremendously.

So often, I get caught up in worldly things. Things that are trivial but which seem important. In so doing this, I feel farther away from God. It's harder for me to see His hand in this world. Through this tiny act of service, the heavens seemed to open and my heart was so touched by sacrificing a little of my time to help someone else. And because of that, I was able to actually take a moment and breathe in His love for me. And not only that, but see the goodness in so many people. Some who wanted to stay anonymous, and others who could "only give a little." The outpouring of love was incredible. 

I will be posting photos in the near future of the people I was able to meet and photograph, but until then, I just want to say this, if there is anything that I have learned from Erika it is to trust in the Lord, and treat others with kindness and grace. To try to feel of God's love for you every day... and I suggest starting with serving those around you.

With Love,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Baby Safa

Oh my goodness... I was lucky enough to have witnessed this little dude's miraculous birth, and here we are 2 weeks later, and look at that face! So so so so sweet.

If you are interested in booking a session with me, please contact me at susanmonsonphotography(at)gmail(dot)com.

Baby Brock

I just want to squish this baby! Look at those cheeks! He is such a cutie! He was only 8 days old when we did this session, and his mommy told me that he was 10 pounds when he was born!

If you are interested in booking a session with me, please contact me at susanmonsonphotography(at)gmail(dot)com.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shumway Family

This family is AMAZING. Kenna and Josh are such loving and HILARIOUS parents to their sweet little Harley. And Harley... Couldn't you just die looking at those cute little dimples?!

If you are interested in booking a session with me, please contact me at susanmonsonphotography(at)gmail(dot)com.

Bockholt Family

I've known this sweet family for years now- Since Joshua was known as "Baby Joshua" around these parts. Now they have darling baby Jack too! It has been so fun to watch this loving family grow! Blake and Allison are such great parents and I am honored to have been welcomed back to take this years family photos.


If you are interested in booking a session with me, please contact me at susanmonsonphotography(at)gmail(dot)com.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Inspired by Art

I have long been inspired by art. When I was a little girl, I would spend HOURS and HOURS drawing. I was convinced that if I practiced enough I could make my dream of animating films for Disney a reality.

I was also OBSESSED with photo books. Particularly photo books that had a photojournalistic approach to pictures. I LOVED seeing life captured. I loved imagining who those people in the portraits were. I was always so moved by photography.

When I was 8 I fell in love with Pierre-Auguste Renoir. I loved his paintings and wanted to be just like him. I remember going to the local library and checking out a GIANT book filled with his paintings and going home and trying to duplicate his work. My favorites were the paintings of people doing ordinary things, like having a picnic. Just moments that are seemingly uneventful captured and immortalized forever. A mere glimpse in to the lives of others. I found it profoundly beautiful. (Of course I didn't know why I loved them, but I really did).

I always have been affected by art, and have striven to create my own. I am still trying.

I want to share with you some images that I find inspiring... Images and paintings created by artists.

(I do not have permission or copyright for these images, all are listed by name as I want to give credit where credit is due).

The Swing by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Migrant Mother by Dorthea Lange

The Tetons and the Snake River by Ansel Adams

Dali Atomicus by Philippe Halsman

Picasso draws a Centaur by Gjon Mili

Now, don't you just want to go out and CREATE something?! So much beauty and creativity!

With Love,

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hazel and Justin Sneak Peek

Tonight I met the lovely Hazel and her sweet fiance Justin. They are so in love, and I am lucky enough to be the photographer they have hired for not only their engagements, but for their wedding as well! I am so excited!

Without further ado...

If you are interested in booking a session with me, please contact me at susanmonsonphotography(at)gmail(dot)com.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Scarlet and Raphael Sneak Peek

I was so excited when Scarlet contacted me about hiring me to photograph her upcoming wedding to Raphael. Here is a sneak peek at their engagement session...

If you are interested in booking a session with me, please contact me at susanmonsonphotography(at)gmail(dot)com.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A little inspiration...

I wanted to share a little bit of some things that have left me inspired as of late. The first is a video of two of my favorite musicians, MATT COSTA AND JACK JOHNSON. I have long admired both of their music and Each of them separately has lifted my soul with his music. Music moves me and inspires me in a way that nothing else can. I am deeply affected by music, and when I find a personal connection in the music, my heart rejoices and I am left feeling completely and utterly inspired.

I have had the privilege of seeing both of these men perform, but never together. Well, when I stumbled across this video yesterday, you have to understand how happy it made me. They each have a different style that is unique and beautiful in it's own rite. However, when the two styles are blended, you have complete loveliness that to me is just about as perfect as you can get. Their voices together are so incredible. It seriously gives me chills. (Yes I love them that much).

The second is also a video, but it isn't a MUSIC video. It isn't about listening as much as it is about watching. Beauty is all around us, and sometimes we're lucky enough to see it. But we have to look and WANT to see it. I have to add a disclaimer in that I am TERRIFIED of birds. I think this experience would be frightening, and yet, I STILL found beauty in this. So much beauty. This is one of the greatest gifts we are given: LIFE. Living, breathing, life. This video brought tears to my eyes as I watched something I will probably NEVER witness captured on film. This very short film left me inspired to capture beauty and those fleeting moments that, if we hadn't witnessed them ourselves, we wouldn't believe.

The last is a link to a movie called I'm Here, that is about 30 or so minutes long, but I find SO beautiful. I first saw this a few years ago, and it left me feeling psyched to capture what it made me feel. The story of giving yourself completely for love, because the opposite, (loneliness) is much worse than losing yourself. It is a quirky, odd film by Spike Jonze, and as I have already said it is so beautiful. I cry every time I watch it, and even now, as I just think about it I start to feel a little emotional. I love everything about this movie.

I'M HERE (you must have the latest version of flash to enter the site).

So, those are a few things I have found inspirational, and I wanted to share them with you. What inspires you? GO FIND OUT!

With Love,