Damon + Erin: Blog https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog en-us (C) Damon + Erin [email protected] (Damon + Erin) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:35:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:35:00 GMT https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/img/s/v-12/u432666589-o734745082-50.jpg Damon + Erin: Blog https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog 90 120 Thanksgiving https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/12/thanksgiving Here are a few shots of our family's kids' activities over the Thanksgiving holiday, as well as a handful of some the views of nature that caught my eye.

The kids got to hang out with the cousins from Canyon, always a highlight of their holiday:

Hanging out on the couch with my cutie:

Making a fruit-kabob turkey at GG's:

The view from behind...because you can never be too careful with Orcs roaming the hillsides:

The finished product:

Later the Orc hunter took to the trees:

Some of my favorite backyard shots:



When all the snow has melted except one small drift in the shade, and Uncle Dustin makes a snowball and smacks a tree with it, this is what you get:

Finally, the kids had the camera for a few minutes...this was one of the keepers.  And by "the" kids, I mean "Erin's" kids, as you can clearly see:

Thanks for reading!


[email protected] (Damon + Erin) Lubbock Texas photographer children photography family photography holiday photography nature photography https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/12/thanksgiving Wed, 11 Dec 2013 04:47:52 GMT
Snow Day! https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/11/snow-day A week before Thanksgiving, we had our first (and let's be honest, possibly our only) snow of this winter season!  As I told a friend this week, our kids are at a fun age when it comes to the snow.  They're young enough that just getting out in the snow is still exciting to them, and yet old enough that a little bit of cold and wet doesn't send them running back in the house in the first five minutes.  It's one of life's great little frustrations when you spend 15 minutes gathering sufficient clothing and then bundling up a little one only to have them in tears three minutes after stepping foot outside because "it's coooooooooold!"  

As you might expect, Cayden's first idea was to have a snowball fight with his sister:

Believe it or not, she quickly resorted to her secret weapon, the Whine of Death:

"Caaaaaydeeeeen, I don't waaaant to have a snowball fight!"

So, with that in mind, what's the worst that could happen here?

But all was well, because Cayden was actually gunning for Lily, and Avery was heading to the safety of the fort:

And speaking of Lily, she was STOKED to have company out in the midst of the cold white stuff, and bounced back and forth between whoever wanted to run or roll in the snow, including the guy with the camera if he whistled at her:

Everybody had to taste some of it:

Straight from the source:

And when I say that everyone wanted to eat the snow, well, everyone means everyone:

The tongue poking out is my favorite. :)

Avery wanted to make a snow angel, and as we all know, the quickest way to ruin a snow angel is to trod through the perfect snow in and all around it with footprints.  With that in mind:

The photo is a little bit like the old joke about a picture of a polar bear blinking in the snow, but you get the idea.  And you'll notice the only footprints are the two size 12s to the left. :)

And what's cooler than a trampoline?  Why, a trampoline covered in snow of course!

Cayden wanted to try a jump from the fence...here's every step of it:

Finally, some other favorites from the day, in no particular order:

Hope you and yours enjoyed the snow as much as we did!  Thanks for reading!


[email protected] (Damon + Erin) Lubbock Texas photographer children photography family photography playing in the snow snow photography https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/11/snow-day Wed, 27 Nov 2013 05:20:44 GMT
Avery's Party https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/11/averys-party Our daughter turned six this past weekend.  I don't know how birthday parties work around your house, but our children generally begin planning theirs about ten months out.  Nothing good comes from waiting until the last minute, after all.  Now don't misunderstand me here, it's not like we're planning "My Super Sweet 16" here; really it comes down to a question of having a party in the church gym or having it at another facility, renting a bouncer or riding bikes, having a Batman or Lego theme.  In Avery's case, she decided a while back that her party would be a "Tea Party."  She LOVES having tea parties with her mom when Cayden is at school and Daddy is at work (and even more so when Aunt Cindy would come and take them to the Tea Room here in town!), and when she got a super-awesome flower girl dress from Cousin Lorrie, well, that sealed it!  

For a while we planned on inviting boys in and letting them do...something.  That something was always a little vague, and always was made very clear that it would land squarely on my shoulders.  And while there are many things in this world that I can do, and honestly believe I can do well, entertaining a group of five- and six-year-old boys for an hour and keeping them out of the girls' tea party is not on that list.  So, we decided to make it a girls-only party (kind of like the He-Man Woman Haters club, only without the He-Man part...or the Woman Haters part).  

Here's a little bit of the setup:

Craft materials (because what's a Princess Tea Party without Crafts?!) for "make-your-own party favors:"

Photo Booth (Avery wanted a picture of each girl, and then her with each girl, and those would go in the frames you just saw)

And here's a few shots of what came out of the Photo Booth:

And lots and lots of goodies!


And the cake (a cupcake princess dress); Respect to Erin for doing this all by herself!

It was later converted to a mini-skirt:

We hung out with the family and opened gifts with them first:

And then the girls began arriving, and the Tea Party began:

I know Erin and Avery had an absolute blast planning this thing, and Avery (and all the girls, it seemed) really enjoyed getting to dress up and have a tea party with friends.  And, to top it all off, Cayden was even able to make the most of his time there as well...

Thanks for reading!

[email protected] (Damon + Erin) Lubbock Texas photographer children photography event photography family photography party photography https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/11/averys-party Thu, 07 Nov 2013 18:33:44 GMT
A Short Memory https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/11/a-short-memory With the NBA playoffs in full swing, it reminds me of how much I enjoy watching sports. The catch for me is that those sports have to matter. An 82-game NBA season is just silly if you're looking for a sport where every game matters (although it seems like a sprint compared to the marathon of the MLB season), but the NBA playoffs are a fantastic mini-season where there are actual consequences to winning and losing a couple of games in a row. And, incidentally, the decision makers of professional athletics are not looking for games that matter, but only for games that people will buy tickets for, eat concessions at, and pick up souvenirs from, so the more the better, right?! I digress...

The mind of the professional athlete is an amazing thing. Specifically those athletes who find themselves in high-pressure situations. And more specifically, those athletes who don't do well (you might say “choke”) in those situations, and yet come back to overcome those struggles to ultimately succeed. You've seen it. The golfer who misses the tournament-winning putt, but is able later on to sink a similar putt to win a different tournament. The receiver in football who drops the pass that would have won the big game, and the next season comes out and proves his critics wrong with critical catches in critical situations. And, in basketball, it's the shooter who misses the big shot (or worse, the layup) and finds his team on the wrong side of the scoreboard. See, for me and my pickup basketball career, if I miss a couple of shots, I run a good chance of being done shooting for that game. And even if I do continue to shoot, I won't be terribly confident about it, and likely won't shoot very well from there on out.

The great shooters (and athletes, for that matter) are known for having short memories. They rely on what they know, not on what they've just seen. If one shot (or two or three) doesn't go in, they fall back on the knowledge that they hit 100 jumpers during warmups, and eventually they'll make it. If they have three strikeouts in a game, they fall back on the knowledge that they're batting around .300 on the season, and so they're due for the next one. If they miss the putt, they think of all the putts they've made, rather than the one they've missed. I could go on.

In life, I often make the mistake of relying on what I see in front of me rather than on what I know. If circumstances seem to turn against me, and nothing that I'm hoping for seems to be working out, I generally assume that things won't ever work out in a positive manner. If I fail at one project or course of action, I attribute that to my inability to successfully accomplish any project or course of action. If one person is negative about me, they represent the opinion of everyone around me.

So what do I know that runs counter to these thoughts? I know that God promises to work through every circumstance to ultimately bring about my good (Romans 8:28).  Not necessarily my comfort, or my wealth, or even my health, but He promises to worth through all things for what is best for me. I know that God calls me his masterpiece (Esphesians 2:10 NLT), and not succeeding in one area simply means I either need to try harder in that area, or move onto an area where I will be more successful. In the same way as a painter's masterpiece wouldn't win a sculpting competition, or a “masterpiece” of a Spades hand isn't going to get very far playing Go Fish with my kids, so I know that just because he calls me a masterpiece doesn't mean that everything will come easily for me. And finally, I know that ultimately the only thing that Jesus promised about others' opinion of me is that it probably wouldn't be very positive (Matthew 10:22). Perhaps instead of expecting everyone to think my every move is wonderful, I should realize that Jesus never intended this life to be a popularity contest. The more often I'm reminded that my first call in life is to please Him (while not intentionally alienating those around me), the more I'm able to adapt, adjust, and move forward rather than feeling defeated when I fail to please someone else.

As I said in the beginning, it's amazing how quickly the greatest of athletes forget their recent history in favor of those things that they know to be true from their practice, training, and repetition. If all they ever focused on were their failures, they wouldn't make it very far in their chosen sport. In the same way, my life simply can't be a constant stream of replays of my failures and shortcomings. Sure, there are plenty to focus on, but when I do that, I shortchange the God who created me and do my best to get in the way of the amazing things He wants to do in and through me in this world. Instead, if I'll let my mind dwell on the truth that I know and shake off those things around me that don't jive with that truth, I'll find myself in a position to follow His calling and leadership, no matter where He may take me.

Image courtesy operationsports.com

[email protected] (Damon + Erin) https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/11/a-short-memory Tue, 21 May 2013 03:00:00 GMT
Will You Carry Me? https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/11/will-you-carry-me If you know my wife Erin, you know that she often has a 4-foot-tall, curly-headed shadow wherever she goes. This shadow is our 5-year-old daughter, Avery. And, not too long ago, I would have told you that Avery has a tendency to be a bit whiny much of the time. Now, whether this is attributed to my male-ness (and thus my inability to speak “whinese”) or the fact that Avery actually is a bit whiny I can't say for certain, but she always seemed to be disinterested in whatever the rest of the family had planned. As time has passed and we've dug a little deeper into how her little mind works, I would now daresay that Avery's whining about not wanting to take part in activities actually has less to do with simply being difficult and more to do with the fact that she really does put thought into everything she does.

For instance, as I mentioned before, Avery always wants to be with Mom. However, whenever Erin asks Avery if she'd rather go to the store with her or stay at home with me, Avery always has to know where she's going. And, if the answer is ever WalMart, Avery's immediate response is, “will you carry me?” Now, as I said before, there was a time when I would chalk this up to her simply being whiny. But the more I've talked to her about it and tried to keep an open mind about where she's coming from, the more it actually makes sense. See, when most folks think of going to WalMart, they envision parking far from the door, walking all over a huge store, and waiting in line at the check out for what seems like an eternity. For me, this is simply a fact of life. And for the legs at the bottom of my 6' 3” frame, covering distance isn't really a huge concern.  

For Avery, however, when she thinks about walking across that massive parking lot, she knows she'll be worn out by the time she makes it to the door. And that's before even making the great trek from the grocery aisle, to the clothes, and finally to the pharmacy section of the store. And to make matters worse, those same little legs will be asked to hold her up in the terribly long check-out lines before again transporting her across the vast wasteland that is the parking lot. To put myself in her place is truly the embodiment of “walking a mile in her shoes.” It helps me to realize that my little girl isn't just whining to whine, but is, in fact, being asked to walk what feels like a mile!

I'm just as slow to learn this lesson with folks outside of my family as well. I often assume the short-tempered waitress is just mean, the sarcastic store clerk doesn't have any friends, or the driver who just cut me off on the access road is an idiot. But, just like a glance at the world from my five-year-old's perspective tells me that the distances she has to walk require a lot more steps from her legs than they do mine, so too are the people around me struggling mightily with issues in life much greater than simply serving me food, answering my questions, or using their turn signal and checking their blind spot.

If I'm struggling or having a rough day, I'd hope that those around me would chalk it up as just that, a bad day, rather than an indictment of my character. And yet how quick am I to deny them that same courtesy. Jesus told us in Matthew 7 that the way that we judge others is the way we ourselves will be judged, and if I expect others to show grace to me, I would do well to give it to them first. And more importantly, a critical spirit betrays what's really going on in my heart: while giving lip service to the grace of God that forgives me when I fall short of perfection, I don't truly believe I have a need for it. If I did, I'd be much quicker to forgive the shortfalls of others and chalk them up to our shared human nature rather than holding others' offenses against them as though they were supposed to live up to my supposed perfect standard. It simply doesn't hold up.

So the challenge for me, the next time I expect perfection of someone around me, is to slip on some little pink tennis shoes and start trudging through that WalMart parking lot. Just as that walk would quickly show me how tough it is on a 5-year-old pair of legs, so too would taking on the perspective of those struggling around me. Instead of feeling slighted when a waitress, or store clerk, or another driver don't make me their priority, I can see it as an opportunity to be an encouragement in their lives and a means of shining the light of God's love into what may be a very dark world for them. And, who knows, just as my daughter asks us to “carry me” when she's got that long WalMart walk ahead of her, so too we may find opportunities to carry those around us through their struggles as well.

[email protected] (Damon + Erin) https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/11/will-you-carry-me Wed, 10 Apr 2013 02:45:00 GMT
Chancler Family Photos https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/4/chancler-family-photos Our cousins and friends (you can be both, right?) the Chancler family recently returned to the States from East Asia for a few weeks.  We had the opportunity to hang out with them over a Spring Break weekend, and were super excited to get to take their family photos as well!  This trip was their youngest son Caleb's introduction to American soil, and they hadn't had "official" pictures taken since he joined their crew.  We toured downtown Amarillo looking for 1) cool spots to take photos and 2) the weatherman who said it would be warm and the wind would not be blowing.  Our first mission was a resounding success, we gave up on our second because it was just too cold and windy to get out of the car again...

Here are few of the ones that make us smile the most:


Our favorite one of the whole crew:

And another one that's a favorite of everyone, but for an ENTIRELY different reason:


Finally, I can't help but think that sometimes folks from other parts of the country wonder if we exaggerate the level of the wind on an ordinary day in West Texas.  In the springtime, we have some calm and beautiful days, and we have some truly horrendous days in respect to the wind, but if it's a typical West Texas spring day and the wind is blowing, is it really blowing that hard?  Yes, yes it is:


Despite the weather (and I'm still a little bitter at the weatherman, because all I had packed to wear for the day was shorts and a T-shirt), we really did have a good time when it was all said and done.  The Chancler kids got lollipops for their cooperation, and Erin and I got some great shots of a sharp looking crew.  We'll miss you guys, but thanks for the memories.  Until next time!


[email protected] (Damon + Erin) Amarillo Texas photographer Lubbock Texas photographer family photography maternity photography newborn photography senior photography https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/4/chancler-family-photos Tue, 02 Apr 2013 00:40:56 GMT
Amy Kress Texas Tech Senior Photos https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/2/amy-kress-texas-tech-graduation-photos  

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen a few months ago that we had the pleasure of taking photos of a young lady named Kennedy (here are a few of our favorites if you missed them).  We had a great time and captured some great images of a beautiful little girl, and a good time was had by all.  Fast forward to now...  Kennedy's regular babysitter, a future Tech grad named Amy, receives a gift certificate for a photo session with us from Kennedy's mom, Kimbra.  So, after all that, we got to go out the other night to help Amy commemorate her upcoming graduation with a photo shoot!

We started out on the Tech campus as the sun approached the horizon:

And as we were taking that last shot, here's a "behind the scenes" I caught:

To me, the above image proves two things:
1) Two women can both be talking animatedly at the same time and still hear and understand what the other is saying, and
2) All those years of making short jokes about my wife has convinced her that she has to stand on a step ladder to talk to people.  
I feel horrible.

We then journeyed to Amy's self-proclaimed home for the last four years, her Ag Building!

Finally, we took Amy the Ag Major out into a field.  (As a sidenote, that wording of "taking her out into a field" reminded me of the story of Cain and Abel.  I like to think that our journey into the field ended better than theirs.)  It was really fun for us as photographers, because normally if we find our way into a field it's because it's got wheat or grass or corn or cotton that lends itself to some creative shots in the middle of that foliage.  However, with Amy's course of study, she knew she wanted a field whether it had a crop in it or not, and we wanted one that would have distinct rows, not just plowed under and waiting for the spring.  The aforementioned fun came in because the symmetry and length of the rows made for a cool, different background, or in the case below, a fun canvas to put Amy in for a few shots.

But first, Erin always fusses at me because I sneak shots of her working with the folks we have sessions with, and I never make it in these blogs.  So I'm throwing in the next shot of me helping her check the framing of the shot...she had a certain frame and perspective in mind going in, but wanted to make sure before we sent Amy trudging through the dirt that it was going to line up with what she saw in her mind's eye:

So after that, we got Amy out there for what I think turned out really cool:

So there's a few of our early favorites.  A big thanks to Amy for being super-cool and easy to work with, and for letting us be a part of helping her remember this time in her life.  We'll have more images from the evening on our Facebook page soon.  Take a second to click below to Like our page on Facebook and be notified when we do!



[email protected] (Damon + Erin) Lubbock Texas photographer children photography family photography maternity photography newborn photography senior photography https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/2/amy-kress-texas-tech-graduation-photos Mon, 18 Feb 2013 03:31:44 GMT
Valentine's Mini Sessions https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/2/valentines-mini-sessions To kick off the month of February, we offered Valentine's Mini Shoots, hosted by our friends the Teels at The Cakery (www.CakeryLubbock.com).  Erin has long drooled over the cupcakes and brownies walls, decor, and natural lighting at The Cakery, and has often said how cool it would be to get folks in there for a shoot.  So we did!

We started the morning with two families, the Donaldsons and Radles.  You may remember the Radles from our last blog, and we also had the privilege of shooting Brant and Amy Donaldson's wedding; this shoot was the kids (cousins) from both families.

We were a little nervous with this one what the babies would do with the cupcakes...clearly they were the only ones not interested in them!

Here's one of Erin working her magic with Brylee, chasing after that ever-elusive smile.  I realize there's no audio available here, but just imagine a high-pitched "Oobee doobee doo!  Obee doobee Brylee!" or some variation thereof, and it'll be like you're right there!

We also got the babies in the floor with the bear that Avery endearingly refers to as "Mr. Teddy."

Everything was going fine until they realized that they actually had the bear outnumbered, and Addison asked the question (in her mind, of course, because she can't talk yet), "Are you talkin' to me?  Well, are ya?!?"

The situation got ugly before we were able to step in and regain control, with Addison ultimately pinning the bear and looking to the ref for the 3-count that was apparently too slow in coming for her taste:

We soldiered on, however, and although the rest of the day was much less eventful (or maybe I just didn't snap as many random shots at the rest of the sessions), we still had opportunities to get images of sharp-looking kids and their parents.

And, just so no parents feel left out, the sharp-looking kids had equally sharp-looking parents.  Lots of sharp-looking-ness. :)

Next were Makayla and Weston, who we got to know at our Fall Mini Shoots last October, and were excited to get to see again:

And although they did a fantastic job, Mr. Teddy was once again the victim of infant-on-bear violence:

We got to him before he was able to move much past the ribbon.  Which brings me to our next shoot, the Dowgar family.  We went out last fall and took family pictures with them, and were thrilled to have them again.  So in contrast to Weston, who was thrilled to chew on the prop we gave him, Colton would have other ideas.  Even when we tried to fill his hands with our foam hearts, he was more than fine with his own chew toy:

Oh well, as long as he obliged us with a few shots of those big blue eyes we called it even:

Yep, those are the ones.  And here's the whole crew:

And that brings us to Bre Casey and her son Braxton.  Bre was one of our students in the student ministry at First Baptist Wolfforth several years ago, and her family was one of the very first families we had a photo session with when we first started this whole photography gig.  I personally hadn't met Braxton before, but he was a super-cool little dude, and we had a blast with them:

And this one was just before he actually did start chewing on the foam hearts:


Finally, I'm going to go back to the very beginning of the day to close out this blog.  We started that morning as we usually start a shoot: by checking light on our favorite test subjects...the West kids!  The general rule is that they don't have to look and smile until we're ready to check lighting on faces, so for the most part they just keep doing what they were already doing to stay entertained...

And sometimes, after confirming they don't actually have to smile at us, they ask a followup question:
"Daddy, can I do this?"
We never know what "this" is, but generally "this" is not this:

And let the record show that Erin remains against the sharing of this picture in a public forum.  Avery and I outvoted her.  And plus it's awesome.

Avery wanted the now-famous (at least in this blog entry) Mr. Teddy to help set lighting as well:

And, to close us out, a couple of our favorites from the real photo session with our kids:

Thanks for stopping by.  Let us know when we can meet up with your family to capture your memories and help you always remember this time in your life.  

And you should eat more cupcakes!

[email protected] (Damon + Erin) Lubbock Texas photographer children photography family photography maternity photography newborn photography https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/2/valentines-mini-sessions Sun, 10 Feb 2013 04:38:04 GMT
Radle Family https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/1/radle-family We had the joy of going out with the Radle family recently for a family photo shoot.  You can never be sure about trying to do that in January, but it was a beautiful evening, and they are a fantastic family to spend some time with.  We had the opportunity to take pictures of them back when Brittany was expecting, and have since had a couple of shoots with baby Brylee, but this is the first time we've had the whole family again since she became part of the family.

So, I did a search of our photo archives (it's kind of like those movies where they go down into the basement where the filing cabinets are, and they run the risk of being discovered by the bad guys, so they quickly find what they need and snag that one sheet of paper out of the file that has "Classified" written on it and sneak back out just before the door opens and they are discovered...except I had to click my mouse a few times through the files on our computer and there wasn't any scary music in the background and we don't have a basement).  I'm starting this post with a few images from previous shoots, as well as some of our favorites from this most recent one.

First, the family last year before Brylee entered the world:

Later, Brylee as an infant/butterfly...or is that a bumblebee?:

This last fall, Brylee and her cousin Addison shared a photo shoot with us in their lamb Halloween costumes:

Brylee wasn't always a big fan of the situation...and Addison's "Mom, you've got to help me!" face is priceless:

Which brings us to the present.  Here are a few of our favorites from the most recent Radle session:

And, finally, a few shots that WON'T make the highlight reel at the end of the day, but that at least made me smile...

First, there's Erin, who is always willing to jump in the middle of the pose to help folks understand what to do:

But, every now and then, I have to explain to her that the shoot is not, in fact, about her, and she can't always be the center of the shot:

Then there's Sean, who's always in control of the situation.  Here he was captured with our son Cayden exploring the wilderness when he had the chance:

Then there was the time that I had Gabby and Sean sit on the edge of a rock formation...not realizing that just behind them was a pool of water.  It didn't bother Sean to know that all he had to do was lean back a little and he'd fall into near-freezing water...Gabby's face, on the other hand, tells a different story:

And lastly, there's proof that even when the rest of the family is distracted, bothered, and otherwise-occupied, Sean Radle is ready to focus on the task at hand.  "I don't know about the rest of these jokers, but I'm here to look good."

All in all a great time with great friends.  Thanks for letting us be a part of your memories, Radles!


[email protected] (Damon + Erin) Lubbock Texas photographer children photography family photography maternity photography newborn photography https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2013/1/radle-family Thu, 24 Jan 2013 04:05:17 GMT
The Race https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/9/the-race Several weekends ago, I had the opportunity to run a 5k race.  Turns out it is NOT, in fact, a 5,000 mile test of endurance as Michael Scott had once assumed on The Office.  Yeah, I was just as relieved as you are.  I've always enjoyed running, but for whatever reason I've never actually run as far as a 5k (which, a google search told me, equates out to 3.1 miles).  Actually, for the last few years, that "whatever reason" is that I'm not getting any younger.  Actually, most of me is aging at the normal rate of one year over the course of one year (makes sense, right?), whereas my knees have aged at roughly the rate of the evil fake mom at the end of the Tangled movie (for the uninitiated, that's from 40-ish to a pile of dust in about 9 seconds).  So the rest of my body has arrived at a truce with my knees: I put them through basketball once a week, all my other cardio exercise takes place on a (low impact) elliptical, and they agree to carry me up and down stairs and rise up out of a sitting position on command during the course of normal day-to-day activity.  However, with the 5k, we agreed that there could be more days of rest before and after the race, and (so far) it seems that my knees have begrudgingly agreed to my terms.

So, back to the race; it was a new experience for me.  It was a "fun run" (I know, Erin asks if such a thing could possibly exist, but I digress), which means that there were no trophies or official times or anything.  It was put on by Trinity Church as a fundraiser for the A21 Campaign, which is aimed at putting an end to human trafficking.  Word they gave us (as best I remember, anyway) at the start of the race was that about $15,000 had been raised at that point, which is just nuts.  So with that purpose in mind, it had attracted all sorts of folks.  As we milled around waiting for the race to kick off, there wasn't a single "mold" that everyone fit into.  You had school-aged kids and their parents.  There were people pushing strollers.  There were parents with (presumably) their adult children.  Some folks looked to be in "running shape" and seemed to have all the gear and trappings of someone who did this on a fairly regular basis.  Then you have that one guy with the sleeves on both of his calves and straps around both of his knees, who's either a) really serious about this or is b) just shy of looking for a roll of duct tape to hold his legs together.  Oh, sorry, that was my reflection in the window...it's definitely choice (b).

It really was a lot of fun (again, Erin rolls her eyes), and I think probably most folks involved would have walked away with that impression.  See, I believe we were all there for some combination of two basic reasons.  Participants wanted to raise money for a worthy cause, and have the opportunity to get some exercise and fresh air while doing it.  But within the framework of those two reasons, people were free to pursue those things in their own way.  Some folks had raised financial support for A21 from outside donors, while others had simply paid their registration fee and called it good.  Once there, there were a number of methods available for completing the course: walking, running, pushing a stroller, one lap, three laps, further than that...it really was pretty open.  On the contrary, there were certain limits.  You didn't see bikes, cars, segues, pets, golf carts (well, there was that one guy, but I think he was an event organizer), roller skates, etc.  The event wasn't for all that.  You were more than welcome to ride your bike...just not on the race course!

I think the same picture holds true of the Church today.  In our quest as churches to "become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some" (I Corinthians 9:22), we can oftentimes lose sight of what we're trying to accomplish in the world.  It seems that the clearest scriptural picture of why the Church exists is to work together to bring glory to God (Romans 15:5-7), and to focus on raising up new followers of Jesus from outside the Church (Matthew 28:18-20) as a primary means of doing that.  Much like the race I described (where everyone is there to raise money and run the race within a certain set of parameters), when everyone in a church has the same general purpose(s) in mind, and sets out with an eye toward reaching that goal, amazing things can happen.  There was a reason in that race that people weren't allowed to bring barbeque grills and sleeping bags and set up shop in the middle of the course.  There are times and places for those things, but trying to use them in the middle of the path would have made life miserable for everyone involved.  

In the same way, when our churches become the hub, or possibly the 'source,' for everything in our life - sports, social interaction, free-time filler, discussion partners, etc., it can get as congested as the hypothetical race course I just described to you.  No one ever reaches the goal (bringing glory to God in the world by raising up new followers from outside the church) because all of the members of the church are trapped inside of it!  It's impossible to have a relationship with those who need to hear the gospel when all of our time and energy is spent with those who already know the truth.  And what often seems to happen within our local churches is that we get so used to making the church our social center that we forget a goal outside of the church ever existed!  It's like a runner who finds a cool, breezy, nicely-shaded spot on the course with no other competitors and decides to run in place there; lots of activity is taking place, with ultimately nothing being accomplished!

So, if you're reading this as a believer today, look around at the race course that is your local church.  Are you stuck running in place, letting your church serve as your social center to the detriment of relationships outside of the church?  Make the resolution to get back in the race today, and start looking for those opportunities to engage the culture around you.  You have a light to shine, and if your light only shines in the midst of other lights, it'll never be seen!

And if you're reading this as someone who doesn't call yourself a Christian, I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know; it seems that the popular conception of Christians is that we like to retreat to our "holy huddles" and try to keep the big, bad world locked out.  It shouldn't be this way, and you'd think that if we really believed we've found life, hope, and purpose we'd be anxious to share that with whoever we can.  Sorry we typically stink at it.  But if you're so inclined, and know someone who calls himself or herself a believer in Jesus, feel free to ask them about it.  I think you'll like what you hear in response.  And if you don't know of anyone who calls himself or herself a believer, drop me a line and let's talk!

Thanks for reading,


[email protected] (Damon + Erin) https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/9/the-race Sat, 08 Sep 2012 02:23:34 GMT
Slip N Slide https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/6/slip-n-slide Two things happened this past week that converged to produce the following blog post:

1. The kids wanted to play on the slip n slide in the front yard
2. We got a new (used, actually, but you get the idea) camera that needed to be tried out.  Supposedly one of its strengths is tracking moving subjects, so what better way to test that than with fast-moving half pints sliding across the yard?!?

So we begin with a face of sheer joy headed in for a landing...

My turn, my turn!!!

This series made me laugh, beginning with a pink blowout on the runway...

Here's where you can tell that things are going downhill fast...

And finally grinding to a halt on the edge of the runway...

A couple of airborne shots...

Thanks for checking in, may your sprinklers always be refreshing and your slip n slides always be fast!


[email protected] (Damon + Erin) https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/6/slip-n-slide Sun, 17 Jun 2012 21:00:56 GMT
Backyard Swimming! https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/6/backyard-swimming For Memorial Day, our crew headed to Plainview to see Erin's folks, Gammy and Papa.  They have a pretty good sized above-ground pool they set up if the kids are going to be around for a few days, but it's not worth messing with it just for one afternoon...it takes that long just to fill it up!  However, they hated not to have anything for the kids to swim in.  The solution?  Well it's a horse tank, of course!  Eddie has a small tank he uses to hold the fish and plants from their pond when he cleans it, and also, apparently, to put the kids in when they're just in town for the day.  :)

From swimming...


To shooting each other with water guns...

To pouting because "she didn't stop shooting me when I told her to stop"...

To "you guys just shoot out into the grass because I'm tired of listening to you whine about getting shot" (making a face optional)...

To blowing bubbles...

To coming up gasping for air...


They loved every minute of it!  From there, they dried off and we went inside.  Cayden has been all about the game of Hangman lately, and we found it on the tablet and he and Papa played against the girls...

And then games and videos entered the picture...

And finally, a couple of shots of the Memorial Day projects the kids and Erin did for Eddie and Sue in memory of their dads...

Thanks for reading, have a great week!


[email protected] (Damon + Erin) https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/6/backyard-swimming Mon, 04 Jun 2012 00:39:03 GMT
Thinking Out Loud https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/6/thinking-out-loud A few weeks ago, Mike Watt and I had the privilege of getting to attend the Catalyst Conference in Dallas courtesy of Anthony Watt, who had come into free tickets from someone else who couldn't go.  It was a last-minute whirlwind of a trip, but one well worth taking.  Most conferences geared toward ministers (church professionals?) focus in on the nuts and bolts of what it takes to "run" a ministry.  Techniques, practices, problem-solving, delivering your message effectively, those sorts of things.  And while there were certainly hints of those things at this particular conference, the stated theme of the weekend was "Be Present."  Whether referring to ministry in our churches or our personal lives in the communities God's put us in, we far too often have a tendency to retreat within ourselves, to seek out comfort and smooth-sailing, and fail to make the impact that God's called and equipped us to make.

And it's out of this line of thinking that this blog post has emerged.  I've blogged sporadically in the past about things outside of sharing photos of events and family happenings, and as I go back and look at those, I don't really see that I added much "for the good of the group" as we often say in our staff meetings (and you'll notice I'm not including links to those blog entries for you to read and agree!).  I believe what I have to offer pales in comparison to those who are stronger, faster, and/or smarter than I am and thus that I have nothing to offer...which is a misunderstanding that I tend to operate under in regards to how God uses people.  See, I generally wait to be asked, or at least to see some sort of need, before I take action on most things.  Specifically when it comes to sharing thoughts, I strongly believe that there are plenty of folks out there more than willing to fill the internet (no small task, mind you) with their own thoughts, and many of them are infinitely more qualified than I am to speak.  So why add mine into the mix?

One of the things that came from spending a couple of days at the conference was a calling to share.  There will always be others who know more, have more experience, or have a better understanding of whatever might be the subject at hand.  That's ok, though, because my calling isn't to know it all, do it all, or understand it all.  Instead, it's to do what I can to seek out the truth, know how it applies to the present situation, and humbly share that (II Timothy 2:15).  The fact is that no one may ever read these words, or maybe just one person (hi honey, glad you could stop by!), but that's not what this is about.  It's about being faithful to share what I'm called to share.  My hope is that someone would receive benefit from this, or, if nothing else, would realize they can do a much better job than I and then go out and do it.  However, even if they don't, that's not my business, I'm simply called to be faithful in responding on my end and God will handle the details beyond that.  That's what I'm discovering about divine calling (and it's certainly not anything new, it's just been easy for me to forget), is that it doesn't always make logical sense, or even seem terribly effective, but the point is that I follow what I'm called to.  What about you?  Is there anything you're feeling a calling to that you just need to be faithful to?  How are you talking yourself out of it, and what needs to be the first step of faith you need to take to follow through on that calling?

Thanks for reading-



Photo Courtesy BradLomenick.com

[email protected] (Damon + Erin) https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/6/thinking-out-loud Fri, 01 Jun 2012 17:05:20 GMT
Seventh Birthday! https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/5/seventh-birthday Cayden recently turned 7, which called for the most awesome Lego Party ever of all time!

Erin working that morning on creating a lego cake, complete with marshmallow studs on top.  The videos on youtube gave some great tips that made the whole process really smooth and simple.  No, wait, that's what they said they would do...in reality I came in that morning and just tried to keep some distance between her and me, at least as long as she had the knife in her hand.  It was not a positive experience for her...but it sure did look cool!


"Hey Avery, lemme take your picture and see what the light's doing in here."

"Do I have to smile?"

"No just stand there."

"Can I smile?"

"Sure, if you want to."

"I think I wanna smile."

"That's pretty sweetie.  Can you bring your smile over where I'm pointing to?  Ok stand still...[click]"

"Was that a good one?  Can I see?  I wanna see!"

"Yeah sweetie, let me take a couple to get it set everything like I want.  Go back over there for just a minute, then you can see all of them.  No...stand right there...perfect [click]...baby, I need you to stand still [click]...perfect!"

"Can I see?"

"Yeah, that's fine, come here."

"I don't really like that one, can I take another one?"

She kills me, she really does...but she takes cute test-shots!


Family gathered first, and he opened gifts from them, ever under the watchful eye of his little sister and number one fan:

Family entertained themselves for a bit after that...

Eye on the ball, baby!  And pay no attention to Isaiah, who may or may not have stormed the castle immediately after this shot was taken...


And what's the worst that could happen here?!?


After that, Cayden had a few friends from school, their siblings, some cousins, and his fellow church brats...er...staff kids start out with a high-intensity Lego toss:

Next was the great Lego Build of 2012!  Erin laid out the guidelines...

The girl in the middle is clearly more interested than Nathan is...it takes a lot of focus to get your teeth kicked in by that many different people at Words With Friends...


And so The Build began, as each participant drew from the pile of pieces to build what was listed on their top-secret card...with help from some Mommas of course:


From there, it was on to gifts and cake!


At the end of the day, I believe a good time was had by all!  It's still just a little ridiculous that he's already SEVEN YEARS OLD!  Seven years, man!  Along those lines, we are currently taking offers for arranged marriages, and prefer to deal in cash and automobiles if at all possible.  Just let us know, and thanks!



[email protected] (Damon + Erin) https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/5/seventh-birthday Fri, 25 May 2012 05:18:00 GMT
Looking for the Old Blog? https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/2/link-to-old-blog

Hey, random red-headed cutie, the old blog's not over there!  

Now that the site is offering a more streamlined blog, I'll be putting my posts in this fancy new-and-improved format.  To access previous posts, click here.  Thanks for stopping by!



[email protected] (Damon + Erin) https://www.westtexasfamilyphoto.com/blog/2012/2/link-to-old-blog Wed, 22 Feb 2012 05:02:23 GMT