Gather: Lesson Sneak Peek



I keep saying it but it keeps being true!  I am truly SO excited about Gather, my online class coming up in just a few short weeks.  In case you're still on the fence or don't know what I'm talking about, let me fill you in quickly. 

Gather is an online course written and recorded by me.  The focus is on "praise, prayer, and photography in your everyday life"....gathering each of these areas of our lives into an artful life.  The course is hosted on a blog you'll have access to once the class goes live which is Monday, April 18th.  

There will be a supply list, "extras" like a tour of my studio and free art downloads, and lessons/videos that include the following: 

*Art Journaling Techniques with video
*Photo Walk videos where we learn together what to capture and how. All camera types (yes, even phones!) welcome!
*A video photo tour of my own home...what to do with your photos once you take them! 
*Watercolor Canvas tutorial video
*Prayer flag tutorial video


There will also be a FB group where we can discuss and learn from each other and once you sign up for the class you have unlimited access!  No expiration date at all.

This class will require the use of basic art supplies that you can purchase at Wal-Mart or from any craft store like Hobby Lobby or Joann's.  Blick.com is also another great resource to order from!

(this is one of the free downloads as part of the class)

I think this class would be such a blast to take with a friend! 
To sign up, simply use the "Buy Now" button below and you'll be directed to PayPal! 
The early-bird price is $25 which is an amazing deal for such a video/photo rich course! 
(Once class starts the price goes up to $35)



Sign-up today and I'll see you in class soon! 
We're going to have so much fun!

Offer your love language

I used to view my love language as dollars and cents.  When I thought of utilizing my creativity I mostly only thought of paid photo sessions, my Etsy shop, or styling parties for extra cash.  Through a series of months God really began to whisper into my heart that He created me and He is the ultimate creator and that there are people within my world needing the very gifts and talents He's entrusted me with.  Whoa.  Talk about changing my perspective.  I began to see my family, friends, and ministries as vessels in which to pour out my creativity in order to share the love of Jesus.  

Ministry first,
money-making second (if at all).

That is the hard call I made for myself.  But really once my world turned around toward this kind of thinking, it wasn't so hard after all.  I began to hear the voice of God more clearly, prompting me to drop of food for a neighbor and send some encouragement in the mail.  Opportunities still showed up in the form of party-styling, art, and photography but this time it was much easier for me to know what to say "yes" or "no" too because I made sure my people were taken care of first. 

There is great ministry and love that happens when you offer your love language.  Whether it be listening, cleaning, organizing, cooking, or simply planning a fun outing for someone who needs their spirits lifted, we all have something to offer.
 This weekend I had the honor of offering my love language by hosting Easter!  We had 10 kids and 10 adults.  It was wonderfully fun, loud, delicious, and so good to all be together. 

I'll let you in on a peek!



















Who can you offer your love language today? 
Perhaps the cashier at the store, your family, a friend, or your child's teacher is a good place to start.

The world needs you and God's love.

the real life is the beautiful life

 Call it getting "older and wiser" (yes, 32 counts as older) but I can say with 100% honesty that I've learned now more than ever that the real life is the beautiful life.   I suppose the first inkling I had towards this revelation was a couple of years back when we had a duo named "Mark and Sunday" come photograph our house for a magazine shoot.  (side note: I heard the photos were published but haven't ever seen them, ha!)  Before Sunday arrived I had our house completely spotless.  She then pulled props from here and there within my home and worked her magic, leaving the photos of my house looking magazine-ready.  I have a deep appreciation for styled shots and this is even a creative outlet for me, as you'll see in the tablescape photos below! 
 However, most of life isn't photo shoot ready, at least according to the magazines.  It's better.  Our lives are all made up of a lot of mess, beauty, loud and quiet, questions and answers, highs and lows, doubts and certainties, love and loss, color and creativity.  Real, beautiful, sacred life.  
 I learned a few years back that if I didn't start appreciating the people and beauty in my life, no one else was going to do it for me.  The outside world certainly seems to tell us we need more.  To lose more weight, earn more money, be more involved with social media.  Yet when I began to look inward at what was right in front of me-those dimpled toddler hands, big grins, a best friend down the country road, little pockets of creativity ALL throughout my day, appreciation began marching in my life, one thought after another.  My hallejulah's come in the form of photographs.  


 I simply adore capturing real, beautiful life. It's an honor I think every family deserves.  





 With this newfound appreciation I've developed has also come the excitement to serve my friends and family with my creativity.  Of course, I must be honest and confess somedays my attitude absolutely stinks! I'm not appreciative of anything!  But a lot of days, I get it right.  I allow Jesus to make my insides come alive through Him and THAT is the key to really embracing my life as it is. 
 "You can't use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have." -Maya Angelou said this and as I reflected this weekend I had the thought the same is true of love.  The more I use creativity and love for those God has entrusted me with in this season, the more creativity and love I have! 

This weekend I had great fun naturally dyeing Easter eggs with the girls and forming a vibrant green wreath from branches found on the farm.  Both creative, both full of love. 





An honor I've been given recently is capturing other family's in their beautiful, real life.  I have a limited number of spots available for spring/summer and it would be my greatest pleasure to do the same for you. 

We can do a session at your house, with everyone gathered around the table,
playing,
reading books,
cooking together, 
going on a walk,
or doing whatever your family likes to do.  

We can also do a farm session with props like a picnic,
books and vintage quilts,
a tea set,
nature books and magnifying glass,
or any other idea we can come up with together! 

The whole theme of any photo session I do is "real".  These aren't sessions where we're constantly posing with arms and smiles just right.  These are laid-back, being ourselves, having FUN kind of sessions.  To book your own real, beautiful life session email:
sunshinebysara@hotmail.com





Offer your story

Some of the best words in the world are "me too."
Last week at church I met a family for the first time and as the mom and I exchanged small talk, adoption came up.  I've noticed as I introduce my family these days I say that we have two daughters and are adopting our third sweet child.  It feels strange not to mention our next baby, whom we feel so deeply connected with already even if we haven't met them yet.   The other mom quickly told me she had adopted children also. As she shared her story of long ago, waiting by the computer for an adoption email to come through and how hard it is to put that season into words, I found myself saying "me too."   

The truth is every time I bring up our adoption I try to gloss quickly over it so I don't tear up. One thing I learned very early on in this process is that it triggers tears in me I didn't know were even there.  Usually happy ones.  Sometimes hard ones.  So this Sunday I could have easily kept the talk very small and the other mom could have too.  No harm would have been done.  But what relief and strength comes when we share our stories.  I don't mean we have to go around unloading our personal lives on social media or even with those in our circles.  But I do mean being real with others and offering a window into our hearts and who we are is healing.  Our stories can encourage others, lead others to Christ, and banish the misguided stories of loneliness and discouragement.  So often the devil has tried to trick my mind into thinking I am completely and utterly alone.  That no one would ever understand my thoughts or even if I tried to explain them, they'd leave.  

It's been through sharing my story with people both very close to home and far, far away that I've learned the value in praying those thoughts away and then talking to someone about it.  No use in living a shut up, dark life with the doors closed.  Instead, let the light in.  I can think of numerous times my best friend down the road has listened  patiently to me and then quoted scripture back when I've needed it most.  The same goes for my twin sister.    All because they also see the value of opening the window of their lives and minds and sharing their gifts. 

Today, let the light in and share your story. 

Offer a plant

Good morning friends near and far!  I don't know about you, but we are a sleepy bunch today after sitting in the bathroom for protection from a tornado warning last night.  We are safe and sound and for that fact alone, I am so grateful. 

This week has been bizarre for more reasons than one, and someday when the time is right I'll share the crazy details with you and we'll laugh and simply shake our heads at how funny life can be sometimes.  For now because of this unusual week combined with the fact I'm working on finishing Gather, my online course starting in a few weeks, I wanted to jump back into our Offer series! 

Back in December we turned the focus around on others and I did an Offer series, where each day something was suggested as an offering. You can tell the series was dreamed up then because of the pumpkin on my coffee table. For the next week or so I thought we'd wrap up the series, starting with "Offer a plant." 

This time of year reminds me of new growth more than ever.  I gaze out the window at the once bare trees where I was just SURE nothing would ever bloom or grow again and see those tiny buds and marvel once again at hope.  At new growth, at life after winter with seemingly nothing in sight.  THIS is why I think offering someone a plant is not only a kind gesture but also one of hope.  My favorite?  Any type of succulents because even those thrive in your home in the midst of winter.  
Offering a plant and handwritten note reminding a friend that there is hope ready for the taking, new life and growth happening whether we see it or not....
that sounds like a beautiful offering to me. 

See you tomorrow for a new "Offering". 
(and you can still sign up for Gather, my online art/photography class starting April 18th! 
Details and sign-ups here!)

"I'd rather live a rosy life than not."










I said those exact words yesterday. 
"I'd rather live a rosy life than not." 
I'm living this hope-filled life not because I'm naive to the hardships and challenges of life but because of them.  Because Jesus is hope-filled and He knows situations are hard and I just believe He delights in me chasing the light, the hope, the rosy. 

How we live is a choice. Despite what goes on around or in us. 
I choose the rosier side of things to keep the darker side of things from getting in where it matters most-in my heart and soul.   

"I'd rather live a rosy life than not."
Join me?

Finding the rosy in real life: Week 2

Morning! Happy Monday friends! You may have noticed I made a few changes to the blog.  I'm rather pleased with the outcome and I hope...