New Blog Address

Our blog site is moving!  The new address is blog.rinamarie.com, so if you’re a subscriber please remember to subscribe to the new address (links are located in the top right corner just like they are here – the structure of the blog hasn’t changed), and don’t forget to change your bookmarks!  Thanks!

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To those boycotting Goodwill….

I wrote in my recent update that I’ve been re-purposing some skirts from Goodwill for the girls and I, and that reminded me of something that’s been bugging me, lately.  I’ve heard of a lot of people boycotting Goodwill and refusing to donate to them because of how much money the corporation makes.  I don’t want to get into a debate as to whether a corporation is entitled to make money off of a business – (in short: they absolutely are,) but what I really want to say is that I personally don’t care that the corporation managers are making large amounts of money – they are also one of the only major organizations helping families in need.

In a not-so-rare twist of irony, I find that many of the very people who complain about Goodwill have no problems whatsoever taking their clothing or kids used toys to consignment stores to sell.  So somehow it’s okay for us to make money off of our used clothes (where they’ll be sold from $5 – $25 a pop,) rather than donating them to families in need, but it’s not okay for Goodwill to make money off of the clothing they sell???  This doesn’t make sense!  (For the record, I don’t see anything wrong with either one, just the mindset that says one is okay and the other is not.)  And the churches?  In my opinion, and with very few exceptions, they’re even worse.

Let me give you an example:

Several years ago, I contacted a pastor at my (very huge, very popular) church and asked him if we could set up a goodwill type of store that would be FREE to the people who needed it.  The pastor I spoke with told me this was something that he’d been wanting to do for a while, but had been told repeatedly that there just wasn’t money “in the budget” to do it.  A few months later, my choir director told us that they would soon be installing giant screens in the back of the church so that the choir members would no longer have to hold their music!  If we want to look for examples of misallocation of funds, we really don’t have to look any further than our local churches.  The way I see it, Goodwill is meeting a need that the churches, with a very few exceptions, are not meeting… so good for them, and thank God for them, because we could not afford to pay $25 for a pair of jeans, brand new, and with seven kids even spending $5 – $10 at the consignment store (vs. $1.50 – $3.00 at Goodwill) is just insane!

But perceived hypocrisy aside, here is what I really want to say:

Goodwill is meeting a need that almost no one else is meeting – it’s a very real need and a very necessary help to a lot of families.  If Goodwill were to shut its doors tomorrow, I shudder to think of what our clothing bill would be, even if we were to shop at the very cheapest of consignment stores.  To give you a further example of this:

A friend of mine recently bought a bunch of clothes from Duck Duck Goose, a huge consignment event that happens once or twice a year and is supposed to be known for their amazing deals.  She bought roughly 25 items for her 3 year old son for about $70 and was crazy excited about it.  I was happy for her, too.  But here’s the thing… for roughly $40, I could have bought the same number of items at Goodwill.  Now multiply that by seven (soon to be eight.)  That’s $560 vs. $320.  When you have a very tight budget (and kids who play hard and need new clothes often!) that’s HUGE! 

So please… to all of you who are angry that the Goodwill corporation makes a lot of money… I understand – I really do – and I have a suggestion for you:

When every church has a clothing distribution center in its basement, THEN let’s boycott Goodwill.  When every family is sending all of their gently used clothes and toys to those in need, organizing free-for-the-taking yard sales, or opening free consignment stores of their own, THEN let’s boycott Goodwill.  But for the sake of families like ours, until the Churches and members of our society are willing to take up the slack and do something better, please don’t stop donating!

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A commenter on facebook brought up a great point… there are other (if not many!) places that are doing the same type of work that Goodwill is doing and may not raise the same ethical questions that Goodwill does.  Personally, I appreciate Goodwill because of its large size and widespread distribution, but if more people donated to these organizations, they would certainly get larger!

Posted in PERSONAL, Politics | Leave a comment

Quick Takes – Sept 10, 2014

It’s been a looooooong time since I’ve posted anything and mostly that’s because A. I haven’t been feeling particularly well and B. I’ve been wanting to get together a few pictures to post from around here (pictures of our newest baby goats, for instance!)  I’ve finally come to the realization that if I wait until I have pictures, however, then I’m never going to post an update.  So, this will be an extra long post, sans pictures.  :)

— 1 —

I know most everyone wants to know how I’m feeling (that’s the number one question we pregnant ladies get, right after “when is it due” which, for the record, I have no idea because I’m horrible about keeping track of those things [which I’m sure drives my midwife crazy.]  We think I’m due sometime in December, which means I’ll probably deliver in February.)  ;)

Anyway, as for how I’m doing, everything is well with all the normal things (blood pressure, iron levels, etc) but we recently had a bug go through the house which everyone else got over fairly quickly, but left me with a bout of bronchitis.  The doctor says it should go away on its own, but since then, in addition to being exhausted ALL. THE. TIME., I’m also having some trouble breathing, on occasion.  So I basically feel like a giant sloth who can’t even get up the energy to take pictures and write a blog post (seriously, I get tired just driving the car somewhere and grocery shopping is a nightmare, but I haven’t given it up yet because it’s one of the only times I ever get out of the house alone!)  I haven’t been completely useless, however.  I have managed to make a few maternity skirts (re-purposed from Goodwill for $3 each!), altered some skirts for the girls (again from goodwill, just adding elastic to skirts that would otherwise have been too big – super simple!) and Bunchkin and I made a jumper dress not long ago (I need pictures, I know.)  Sewing has been a fun project for me, lately… it’s something I can SIT and do, which makes it perfect for my otherwise lethargic life right now.  At least I feel like I’ve accomplished something at the end of the day!
(And speaking of Goodwill, if you’ve been boycotting them, or thinking about boycotting them, please read this!)

— 2 —

I’m going to see my brother soon!  My amazing brother (who lives in New York and I haven’t seen in roughly 11 years) is doing a bike ride from New York to California to raise money for Street Soccer USAan organization “dedicated to using sports to improve health, education, and employment outcomes for the most disadvantaged Americans.”  (You can keep up with the tour here and donate to support the team here.)  On the way to Cali, the team is going to be stopping by Nashville, TN to do some talks and I’m going to do everything in my power to get there while he’s there!  In other exciting news, he’s very seriously thinking about moving down south once the tour is over.  He has dreams of farming and agriculture, and it’s something he’s been thinking about for a long time now.  Very exciting!!!

— 3 —

The kids are doing great… music lessons have started back up, so we’re keeping busy with that, and they’re really glad to have regular lessons again!  The girls have completely taken over everyone’s (including Jon’s!) favorite farm job (milking) and are now teaching the next two kids how to milk the goats (but they only want them to milk ONE of the goats, and only a few days each week!  We may need more goats!)  ;)  With all these kids vying for their chance to milk, I’m not sure we’ll EVER need an automatic milker!  It’s really wonderful to see them enjoying something that might well been seen as drudgerous work to anyone else, and I feel like they’re becoming so much more responsible because of it.  It’s one thing to have “chores” to do each day that really can (and often do) get skipped for one reason or another, and something entirely different to have something that must be done every day.  Rain or shine, no matter how you feel or what is going on that day… animals have to be fed, goats and cows have to be milked, and that’s just the way it is!  I feel like that level of commitment has really spilled over into other things around here and it’s a blessing to see!

— 4 —

Speaking of loving the animals and the chores they necessitate, I often check up with the kids to find out if they still enjoy having all the animals.  It’s a big responsibility for all of us, and I always want to be sure that my dream doesn’t become a burden to them.  I think I can rest assured that we’re doing all right, though, after Bunchkin came to me with this to say the other day:

“Momma, I just love the goats.  I just love having them.  I can’t even describe how much I love having them.  I love taking care of them and milking them, and I just love everything about them.”

I think farming suits her.  :)

— 5 —

Sadly, the time has come for us to let our wonderful Lucy go.  We’ve been wondering what to do with her for months now, worried that she wouldn’t be able to handle being bred but still considering trying to AI her, or bring in a bull for breeding.  Unfortunately, she has recently started to limp on the same leg that had caused her problems during her pregnancy and we’ve decided that we just can’t risk it.  It’s somewhat of a mixed blessing, because we’ve been looking over our finances, realizing that there is simply NO WAY we can afford to keep all of the animals in hay this winter, plus pay rent on the field (that we don’t actually USE during the winter, anyway!)  Butchering her will not only supplement our grocery bill this winter, but will also enable us to drop the field payments and bring the animals into our yard during the winter… although we may not even have to do that, as our neighbor recently offered to let us KEEP the field – for free – during the winter months, if we pick it back up in the Spring.  We’re still praying about that.  Jon and I are both incredibly sad at the thought of losing Lucy, but I’ve been preparing myself for this for a while now, so I’m thankful it’s not a shock.  I’m also thankful we have her little calf, Gwendolyn, here to carry on in her stead.  (I really do need to take some new pictures of her, because she is getting SO BIG!!!)

— 6 —

In happier farm news… we’ve had FOUR new baby goats born since our last set!  One of the momma’s and her babies actually belong to a friend of ours who will be picking them up soon, but the other momma and kids are ours and they’re adorable!  Two baby boys (what IS it with so many boys this year??!!)  I’ll try to post pictures soon, and Bunchkin is working on writing about her experiences as a ‘goat midwife’ during the latest birth, so I’ll post that, too (you know… sometime in January after the baby is born.)

— 7 —

Thanks to the blessings of so many, we’ve been able to give a few goats away this season through the Milk Enough Project, and sell a few others to financially support the project!  We’re still waiting on one of the two girls we have left to give us some doelings for another wonderful family, but if we don’t get anymore girls we’ll be sending the two we planned to keep on to their new home in a few months.  It feels wonderful to be able to do that, and we never could have had it not been for the amazing support of our wonderful friends and family members who have made this possible!!!  So thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who have supported us through prayer and other means!

— 8 —

In other farm news, we’re going to be getting bees soon!!!  We have a friend who is looking to downsize and another friend who is gifting us with a hive, so I’m not sure how many we’ll have in the end, but going from none to ANY number is sure to be exciting (and in my opinion, the more the better!!!)  I know absolutely nothing about bees, so this is sure to be yet another huge learning curve for me, and one I’m super excited about!

— 9 —

There are big changes coming to the blog!  A friend has been helping me navigate everything over to a new site so that I can start to promote and possibly sell things right off the blog.  I’m currently working on a story book for children (awesome story behind that, I’ll explain later), the girls think they would like to start making and selling soap and possibly dresses, and I’ve been toying with the idea of selling a few prints from pictures I’ve taken over the years.  Moving to a non-wordpress supported blog will enable me to promote those things right from the blog, and hopefully allow us to bring in a little extra income.  So I’ll keep you posted about that, but from what I understand coming here will automatically redirect to the new site, so the few people who are still reading this after my long absence won’t miss anything!  :)

Posted in Daybook, Farm & Garden, Seven Quick Takes | 2 Comments

Photogenetic!

Usually when I’m going to be photographing young boys, I know I’ll have my work cut out for me.  I mean, really, does any boy like having his picture taken?  Well, apparently the answer is yes – at least in this case!  Not only was Logan up for everything (smiling, in fact, before I even had the camera focused on him in some cases!), but he actually has an interest in photography himself!  Between his eagerness and his sister, Leslie’s, sweet personality and ease in front of the camera, we really could have called it a wrap after only about fifteen minutes of shooting!  We didn’t, of course, because there isn’t much I enjoy more than taking pictures and with two such willing participants, it was only proper that I make them keep posing for me.  ;)  What a fun session!

Jon and Renee, you have a beautiful family!  Thank you so much for allowing me the privilege of photographing you and your children!

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***If you have been thinking about having family pictures done while summer lasts, or would like to have some taken this fall, please consider signing up for one of our mini sessions!  Mini Sessions include a one hour session in Brownsville or Smiths Grove, a high resolution CD and full printing rights – all for just $100!  And mini sessions can actually be booked for ANY TIME within the next 24 months, if they are paid for during August of this year. If you would like to present a friend or family member with a mini session as a gift, we have beautiful gift cards that make great birthday and Christmas presents and they can schedule a session at their convenience!  Our work has been published in both national and international magazines, and been featured on the covers of Bowling Green Parent Magazine and Cross Country Magazine (UK)  You can see a portfolio of our work at www.RinaMarie.com. Please pass this information along, and share with your friends!***

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Sisters, Past and Present

I’ve been photographing Elizabeth and Rebekah since they were babies, and it’s been so fun to watch them grow up!  Now they have welcomed a new little sister to the family and we’ve gotten to photograph them all wearing the same little dress, and gotten some of the same poses with each baby over the years.  Here are a few of my favorites, from past and present:

Elizabeth, as a baby (one of my very first photo sessions):

LR 7 copySister Rebekah in the same little dress:

LR 9910 copyAnd now we have sweet Susannah!

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Here’s another of my favorite series of baby pictures:

Untitled-1And look at them now!…

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Thank you, Jon and Katie, for allowing me to photograph your beautiful girls!

 

These images were shot as part of a special Mini Session package we have going on right now!  Mini Sessions include a one hour session in Brownsville or Smiths Grove, a high resolution CD and full printing rights for $100.  Mini sessions can be booked for ANY TIME within the next 24 months, if they are paid for between July and August of this year. If you would like to schedule a mini session as a gift, we have beautiful gift cards you can present to friends and family members that make great birthday and Christmas presents and they can schedule a session at their convenience. Please pass this information along, and share with your friends!

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Zane has a sister!

You may remember Zane from this post, and this one and this one, and now this handsome fellow has a new little sister in his family, Aven!

Isn’t she beautiful?!

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And, of course, we had to get a shot of Zane with his frog.  He wasn’t quite as interested in taking his picture with the frog as he used to be.  I have a feeling it’s going to be especially difficult when he’s a teenager.  :)

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Posted in - PHOTOGRAPHY -, Children, Newborns/Babies, Portfolio | Leave a comment

The Pegues Family

Normally, I like to put a little blurb up about the families I photograph, but if I did that here, it would easily turn into a novel!  Manuela and Patrick are my family in every important sense of the word.  Patrick introduced me to Jesus almost 15 years ago and Manuela has become one of my very best friends in the world.  Truly, our friendship is a story that deserves to be written about, and perhaps some day it will be.  In the meantime, thank you, Patrick and Manuela… for everything.  I love you both so very much, and even though I don’t get to take pictures of you very often, it’s always a blessing to me when I do.  So thank you for that, too.  :)

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Posted in - PHOTOGRAPHY -, Adults, Family, Portfolio | Leave a comment