Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mamika: How Photography Heals

When a photographer named Sacha Goldberger realized his grandmother Frederika, age 91, was lonely and might be suffering from depression, he proposed an unusual course of therapy: a superhero photoshoot. "Super Mamika," as Frederika is now known, became an internet sensation thanks to the costumed photos, which show her in all kinds of exaggerated heroic poses. She's the grandma everyone wants to have, and she now has thousands of fans on MySpace.

Frederika is a hero in real life, too. Living in Hungary during World War II, she sheltered 10 Jewish people she knew from the Nazis. Later in her life, when Hungary was run by a communist regime, she fled to France under threat of execution. This is one granny who has definitely earned a superhero alter ego!

A few years ago, French photographer Sacha Goldberger found his 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother Frederika feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer her up, he suggested that they shoot a series of outrageous photographs in unusual costumes, poses, and locations. Grandma reluctantly agreed, but once they got rolling, she couldn't stop smiling.

Frederika was born in Budapest 20 years before World War II. During the war, at the peril of her own life, she courageously saved the lives of ten people. When asked how, Goldberger told us "she hid the Jewish people she knew, moving them around to different places every day." As a survivor of Nazism and Communism, she then immigrated away from Hungary to France, forced by the Communist regime to leave her homeland illegally or face death.

Aside from great strength, Frederika has an incredible sense of humor, one that defies time and misfortune. She is funny and cynical, always mocking the people that she loves.

With the unexpected success of this series, titled "Mamika," Goldberger created a MySpace page for his grandmother. She now has over 2,200 friends and receives messages like: "You're the grandmother that I have dreamed of, would you adopt me?" and " You made my day, I hope to be like you at your age."

Initially, she did not understand why all these people wrote to congratulate her. Then, little by little, she realized that her story conveyed a message of hope and joy. In all those pictures, she posed with the utmost enthusiasm. Now, after the set, Goldberger shares that his grandmother has never shown even a hint of depression. Perhaps it's because her story serves some sort of purpose. That through the warm words of newfound friends, she's reminded of just how lucky she is to be alive.

We got in touch with Sacha Goldberger, the grandson and talented photographer to ask him more about his background and creative process. He told us this: "I've been photographing for four years now and before that I worked as a creative director. My grandmother is very professional. I'd show her some poses, and she'd propose some of her own. I like to tell stories and I also work with some very creative friends."

Update: This post has gone viral. Read the latest news and see more photos of this super grandma, here.

Super Mamika's Super Diet

The Mamika-mobile

Monday, November 22, 2010

Random Acts of Culture

My father-in-law sent me a link to a flash mob singing the Hallelujah Chorus in Macy's recently and I loved it. It gave me chills and I wished the could have been there!

Then I noticed a "related" link to another flash mob in Belgium and I watched it and laughed so hard because it is adorable. Maybe that is the key to not taking life so seriously!? Just break out in singing and dance whenever you feel like it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Shall Not be Moved

God we can't always see what You're doing
But sometimes we can
I want to be one of those people who believe either way
Who is planted and rooted deep within the Truth
But I constantly struggle
I want to be like Your Word says in Psalm 62 that "I shall not be moved"
Speak to me Father
Show me all the Love I can experience from You
I Believe and Trust

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just Zooming on by!

They grow SO fast! Ilona and Bella zoom by on a ride! Aren't their faces just SO precious! I love these photos.

pimp your myspace at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Successful Violin Recital

Tonight was my very first violin recital with Soul Strings! I have been looking forward to this night and I am SO happy it finally arrived! I have been so blessed by playing the violin these last 2 months. In some ways it feels as though the violin has always been a part of my life somehow! I played 3 pieces. I started with a duet with Rachel and played "Holy, Holy, Holy" which is the very first song I learned on the violin. It is also the song I played at the Grand Canyon! Rachel did a wonderful job, yet sadly it was a rough rendition for me tonight. I commend Rachel for holding it together while I played the harmony the first time through. After that we switched and I played the melody, which is what I knew better. But wow, my bow hand was shaking!

After this I finally was able to let my surprise for Bryan be revealed! It felt SO good to be able to play this for him. I was keeping it a secret until tonight and it certainly turned out to be! He didn't even get to read the program and when I got up and announced my surprise and the song, he truly had no clue. And more than that, I ACTUALLY PLAYED IT WELL! Besides one minor little slip, I feel like I did a good job! Bryan was able to record it so I could show my family and it is posted here below! It is called "Israeli Songs."

Finally, directly after this piece, I was able to share another song I wrote on the piano. I walked into one of my lessons and couldn't resist the BEAUTIFUL thousands of dollar piano in front on me in the room and told Tighe I HAD to play it! Several weeks before, on Natalie's Angel Day, a song came to my heart for her and I played it that day and Tighe asked me if I would play it at the recital. She was having other students play piano as well to show other skills. I was so blown away that she would ask me to share this song. And to know that it symbolized something so tender and sweet that the Lord was doing meant the world to me. The song is about Natalie and the roller coaster I went through as I was so excited to be expecting her, then to find out the bad news, and ultimately lose her. The idea of a "heartbeat" is strong in the song. But, at the end, I want it to be known, the song offers God's Hope. I play a rhythm on one chord and then a higher, and that is the breaking free of possible Hope even when you don't understand. Below is me playing Natalie's Song at tonight's recital.

Bryan surprised me too! He bought me a beautiful boquet of flowers that smelled SO good!

Rachel and I!

Rachel, Tighe (our teacher), and I.

All of the students with Tighe! What an AMAZING Teacher filled with God's Annointing!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Gracey Update

I want to share some great news about Gracey! She had tests done a month ago and everything came back normal! Even her ALT enzymes were normal and not even slightly elevated! This is a HUGE deal. We have not seen these levels normal like this for about 2 years now. We've enjoyed the weather cooling off, have participated in PETS even more than we were doing before, have been able to go on long walks, and enjoy being outside.

She took these photos for Jenn's sister, Katie Anne, who is battling an aggressive cancer. She has completed chemotherapy treatments and now will undergo radiation. Jenn sold these support bracelets to help raise money for her sisters medical expenses. Katie's favorite color is orange, so Gracey incorporated that into her inspiration photo for Katie. Please keep praying for this precious 13 year old girl. Pray for strength, endurance, and HOPE. Visit her page: Katie's Page.

"My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am"
~ Author unknown

Saturday, November 06, 2010

You are Loved

One of the MOST powerful songs I know that exists on earth today is Josh Groban's "You Are Loved (Don't Give up)." I could listen to it over and over again for hours and have a different reaction each time. It is no doubt an annointed song, and it doesn't hurt to have A WONDERFUL voice! Anyone want to rent him for my birthday and have him come serenade me on my front porch in Bryan's arms? I would love you forever????!!!!!

You Are Loved

Josh Groban

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Antelope Slot Canyon, AZ

I often wondered if there were places such as these, a hidden beauty only admired because of the sun's Light. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't walk these sandy caverns, halfway feeling like I was not somehow on earth anymore. I wonder what it would've been like without a guide or a timed visit. I envy the National Geographic Team that took days basking in the glory of God's whispering hues of Love. Perhaps there are still places here after all that offer a tiny fraction of God's original canvas. If there ever was a place that did, I know it would be here.

Opening of the cavern. It looks like a simple crack in the desert rock, but that was hardly the case.

Inside the Antelope Slot Canyon. These walls were almost ribboned with every color of red, orange, and even purple.

The sand at the bottom of the photo is several hundred feet below the top of the sun shining rim.

Here is Bryan inside the cavern to show how deep and tall it is.

Look at those shades of PINK!!!!

This is one of the most surprising photos I got that day. It is in no way altered (none of these are). I used a different exposure on it and didn't know I captured this neat shade of blue until later on. The tour went really fast and I already was slowing everyone down, so I just snapped as fast as I could with my HUGE stand! I couldn't help it!!! I think the stand still has some souvenir dust in it!

I can imagine sitting in here and journaling or playing music. I think I could totally live here! What do you think? It was nice and cool, but very dusty...Bryan would be dusting A LOT! And I guess I would have to be an Indian, since it is on an Indian reservation. Oh well...but I can still dream, right?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I Will Find You

Ok, so this has to be said and read before you listen to the excerpt below! This is not a professional fact it is completely UNPROFESSIONAL with my stirring of pasta as my background vocals!!! Ha-ha...ok, well it was cheese and spinach tortellini! I have been praying for a friend of mine and thinking about how sometimes we feel like we are lost, not just in a simple way, but sometimes even deeper to where we wonder if anyone even knows where we are. I have had many seasons where I have wondered if I even knew where I was. I didn't feel like myself, I felt a heavy pressure over my heart as I was trying to process things and events and it seemed that no one even understood how scary it felt to be lost. I even questioned if God saw me at all. Did He leave me, would He find me again and let my heart breathe in the peace of His comfort? It was when I thought of the times like these I started to sing "I Will Find You." It was as if I somehow already knew it and have sung it before. The only thing I had on me was my Blackberry (I LOVE ME BLACKBERRY!!!) and I voicenoted me singing it real quick as I was getting dinner ready. It is a horrible recording, but it is the meaning of that specific moment as the Lord was giving me this song for my friend, that is recorded here.

Have Faith in the times where you don't know where you are, because God knows, and He will find you and never let you go.

(make sure you hit "stop" on the player at the bottom of the blog, it plays automatically with the blog!, so you can hear "I Will Find you" from this post)

Monday, November 01, 2010


Gracey has been a part of the PET Therapy team for 3 years now! I am so proud of her and truly honored. There have been so many times I have come home in tears because the Lord brought someone beautiful into my life as Gracey snuggled by their hospital bed. I feel like I have been given this special gift: a glimpse of someones life at a moment perhaps they are not proud of, not entirely themselves, or even wondering what the future may hold. To be let into someones heart at their darkest hour shows me hope and propels me to continue even when I feel like giving up. Gracey is the perfect tool to do this. Bryan's Grandmother, Ge-Ma, was able to come up to the hospital one time with us because we were going to see our friends son, Isaiah, who was very ill. It was a special trip just for a couple of minutes and Ge-Ma came with us and she always tells me how different Gracey acted as we approached the hospital. She says Gracey stood taller, tail perked, and ears attentive! Gracey knows the hospital, but more than that she knows people and can sense their sadness and wants to love them even when they are sick, crippled, or may never leave the hospital again alive. I have often prayed for Gracey's calling and asked God if it is possible for a dog to be anointed, that He would allow her to Love people in His Name. I think it really happened last week when I took this photo of Gracey on this little girls lap. I am not allowed to disclose much information, but this little girl was very sick, and had been sad all morning and smiled finally when Gracey sat on her lap. Gracey sat with her for over 15 minutes, did a couple of tricks, and Loved her before she had to go and get more tests. I asked her Mom if I could take this photo and she consented. It is one of the most precious photos I have of Gracey helping someone.

There are many neat events we are a part of in PET therapy. One event we did a couple of weeks ago was the Paws for a Cure. It was a PINK day!!! Imagine how excited I....ummm, I mean Gracey was!!! We went to help raise awareness and money for Breast Cancer with the PINK firetrucks. The Cougarettes were there cheering them on and our sweet friend Hope was dancing and snatched Gracey! Hope and Gracey were our flower girls at our wedding, so they have a special bond. All the girls ohhh'd and awwwhhh'd at Gracey. She was passed along and cuddled the WHOLE time!

Gracey and the Cougarette's. Hope is holding her.

In the spirit! This photo is on the main page for this event on facebook! She is one famous Chawennie! She stuck her tongue out to make sure there was plenty of PINK!!!

Here is the PET therapy team posing in front of one of the really cool pink firetrucks! I think I need one of these!!!

That night Bryan surprised me with tickets for "Barage"! It was a contemporary violin concert that was incredible!!!!

Me and my sweet hubby! I LOVE YOU!!!