Miranda’s Wedding

My niece, Miranda, got married last month!  Here she is with her dashing Colton on the steps of the beautiful temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, where they were pronounced husband and wife for all eternity.

Though I was among the wedding party, not one of the official photographers, I took a few shots at times… of course!

Miranda was a particularly interesting bride–not only because she’s my niece, or because she’s so pretty.  Below you’ll see Julie–long-time friend of the bride’s mother and very talented photographer– helping to get Miranda safely down many steps.

Miranda’s sister Stacey is carrying the crutches.

That’s why!

About two months before this big day, Miranda had surgery on her left knee. Major surgery. As a member of Utah State University’s gymnastics team, she’d taken a terrible fall from the higher of the two uneven bars on which she was practicing a routine. That didn’t stop this sweet couple from keeping their wedding date as planned!

As guests waited for lunch during the couple’s photo shoot, a few of them enjoyed the rest and even amusement provided by the wheelchair.

Jeff, Miranda’s dad.

Miranda’s mom Tamera (seen below) is Kerry’s sister.

A behind-the scenes look with the dome of the Utah State Capitol Building in the background.

The Salt Lake Temple. Its construction was begun in 1853 and completed in 1893.

Here are a few more shots, including some from the luncheon at the gorgeous Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

Grammy gets a moment to chat with her granddaughter the bride.

All the Finlinson clan cousins (minus the bride) sit around the table.

A kiss from a newly-acquired relative on the way out.

Have a beautiful day!


Vintage Lovelies

On August 3… 2012, I said in one of my very first posts that I should show you the vintage typewriter I had bought recently. Here it is!

I’ve paired this treasure with the one I acquired this month, August of 2017. The gorgeous clock dial is resting on the floor before it gets hoisted up onto a wall. It seemed perfectly pleased to be photographed today right where it sits.

With the tripod out, the clock dial still in a good mood on the floor and the round glass table (one of my favorite things to photograph items upon) cleared of any of the papers, Legos and what-not that tend to travel from near and far to find their way onto it, I brought together my vintage cameras.

Have a lovely day!


Operation Back to School Chandler

One of my favorite roles is as a volunteer photographer for For Our City Chandler. A few times each year, various churches, non-profits, businesses, municipal agencies, schools, families and individuals work together on a big project to do as it says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

Whether religious or not, volunteers with Operation Back to School Chandler share their time handing out thousands of donated items because of love for all the children of God.

In these first three photos, you’ll see a woman who didn’t know if she and her children would be welcome at the Back to School event. A volunteer (my friend Azita) assured the woman in the Arabic language native to them both… that they are.

You can see several of these photos in the September, 2017 issue of Chandler Lifestyle Magazine. http://www.chandlerlifestyle.com/2017/08/30/fifth-annual-operation-back-to-school/

Can you imagine what the world would be like if all of our children and youth regularly took time to help others in need… because they had learned to love doing so?

It’s easy to find smiles at this event… from the givers and the receivers.

Aren’t we all givers and receivers at times?

Kids played as their families waited in line. Barbies and bubbles were particularly fun to photograph.

I was delighted to use the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens that I rented for the second time. Several of these photos were taken with it, including “bubble girl” above and the “woman in green” series below. I used it indoors quite a bit too, with my Speedlite flash. Subjects include the Arabic speakers and children wearing backpacks. The crisp focus in front of or even mingled with a delicious blur is what thrills me about that lens.

Besides getting a backpack filled with supplies, children received new shoes, socks, underwear, a toothbrush, and even a haircut if they wanted one.

Several agencies had representatives on hand so children and their parents could learn about water safety, the importance of literacy, nutrition, the brain…

A couple of local news crews came to the event.

Elementary-age children in need were also given a new school uniform (shirt & shorts or skirt) at their schools’ Meet the Teacher events earlier in the week. Nearly a thousand had been donated by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chandler as part of Operation Back to School. Each stake (geographical area) of the church here collected uniforms for one of Chandler’s six Title 1 schools.

I was in charge of the uniform drive for my stake, so my family took all the clothes home to sort and prepare it. Then we hauled it off to our assigned school (which received it with much gratitude). Another family we know and love met us there. They helped get the 214 complete uniforms (plus 7 extra shirts) neatly into a room where yet another set of volunteers would handle the uniforms the next day… filling orders for Meet the Teacher Night the day after that. Countless volunteer hours go into such a project! What would we do without so many volunteers?!

Have a lovely day!


Back to Bikram

After the Bikram Yoga studio in my neighborhood closed, I went to another one for a little while. Then that one closed. I quickly put new tasks on my priorities plate, and even stopped doing regular exercise. Now after about two years of not practicing hot yoga, I finally made the good decision to start again.

I signed up and went to class today, and did better than I thought I would with my out-of-shape body! As soon as I stepped into the studio, I felt better about myself. Lately, with only a few cute things that fit me, and mostly wearing frumpy shorts and large t-shirts, I’ve been really, really wanting to return some of my attention to my health. I realized that I now think of myself as a frumpy fatty.

What I had to do was see myself as the healthy, fit woman I can and want to be again… and COMMIT! Dishing out some dough for several months of yoga classes means commitment. I’ll be okay with a little less dough in the wallet since it will mean a little less dough around the belly.

Bikram Yoga is Hatha Yoga–the original type. Here’s a bit about it from Bikram Choudhury himself, taken from his book, Bikram Yoga. He says, “I dispense yoga, the natural medicine for the human body that will heal and protect you for the rest of your life. I always say, ‘What’s right is what works.’ And yoga has been proven to work for some 5,000 years.”

Each of the 26 postures has its specific benefits. For example, Bikram writes, “Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose trims the abdomen, waistline, hips, buttocks and thighs. It massages and compresses the thyroid gland, which helps to regulate the metabolism and the immune system.”

Of Triangle Pose, Bikram declares, “It improves every single bone, muscle, joint, tendon and internal organ, and it revitalizes nerves, veins and tissues.” He adds that it “can alleviate crooked spines, as well as rheumatism and lower back pain.”

If you are ready to feel better, I challenge you to challenge yourself and try Bikram Yoga at least several times. It’s tough at first. But as someone who has gone from often getting sick to being confident that my body will fight off nasty bad germs thanks to consistently doing yoga (even just once a week), I say it’s worth it. Plus, it gets a lot easier as you build muscle strength and endurance!

Have a healthy day… every day!


Lincoln Day Luncheon

I love being in a room full of Republicans— people who typically love God and country and have respect for all life.  People who enjoy hearing every side of an issue, but seek to know what is true, honorable, supported by facts and beneficial to everyone. People who tend to be generous, good-natured and happy.

Sometimes we’re so content and so willing to let others live however they find happiness that we don’t get involved politically.  Several of those who do are recognized each year at award ceremonies such as the Lincoln Day Luncheon.

I was invited to be one of two volunteer photographers at that event this year, at which the special guest/keynote speaker was Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.  Here are some highlights.

Governor Ducey addresses the audience.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery receives a standing ovation as Governor Ducey reminds the crowd of grateful Republicans how hard he worked to keep Arizona from legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. I would have been clapping uproariously myself, but I was photographing this moment.

I couldn’t resist snapping a shot of this when it flashed on the screen. Jeni should have been listed first, though. She invited me to help photograph!

Legislative District 17 Precinct Committeeman of the year… Me! Truly a nice honor.

Oh my! There’s my name again. There are 20 Legislative Districts in Maricopa County. My district’s new chairman, Bert Moll, nominated me for county Precinct Committeeman of the year. Though I didn’t win that award, being nominated for it meant that I was officially the PC of the year for my district.

President Abraham Lincoln, father of the Republican Party, also instituted Precinct Committeemen. I love being one! We are the grassroots people who get informed about issues and candidates and encourage our neighbors to get out to vote. We have many opportunities to meet with our local, state and federal elected officials.

We need this land of government of the people, by the people and for the people to remain a beacon of light, hope and real strength against tyrannical oppression that is seen constantly around the globe. The world wouldn’t be better off —richer, freer, better-fed— if America were to be brought down. Instead, even more oppression, poverty and human suffering of every kind would exist.

Longtime Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell was respected and praised by Republicans and Democrats alike because of her trustworthiness and excellence in handling elections. She was honored with the Barry Goldwater Service To Arizona Award.

Maricopa County Republican Committee Chairman Chris Herring announces the winner of the Lincoln Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017.

Joseph Abate has volunteered much time over the years helping in the cause of freedom by his service in the Republican Party. He is announced as the award winner.  [I like the 1960’s vibe in this shot, rendered by the man with the camera. And the mysterious clapping hands on the right… Whose are they?]

U.S. Congressman David Schweikert presents the Lincoln Lifetime Achievement Award to Joseph Abate.

Dr. Kelli Ward (center) served in the Arizona Senate and is running for the U.S. Senate.

The table in the forefront seats a few stalwart Precinct Committeemen from my district, including Gilbert Town Councilman Eddie Cook (smiling), Nasima Akter (making peace sign), and Raphael Ahmed (expressively conversing).

Irina Baroness von Behr (left) is running for U.S. Congress in Congressional District 9. Jana Jackson (right) is an author and educator who ran last year for Maricopa County School Superintendent.

Representative Steve Montenegro (left), AZ State Treasurer Jeff DeWit and his wife Marina DeWit (right) listen to AZ Senator Debbie Lesko.

Many people gathered on the patio before the luncheon began, including LD 17’s 3rd Vice Chair Farhana Ahmed (left, in red), who is full of both sweetness and gusto, and President Abraham Lincoln himself! 🙂

Dr. Kelli Ward and MCR Chairman Chris Herring.

God bless America!


Baby Bump Shoot

I was delighted last month for the opportunity to take “baby “bump” photos for Avinash and Ranjana, just before their daughter was born. This photo had a bit too much light streaming onto it. I toyed with it even more than I usually would in Adobe Lightroom, tweaking the exposure and highlights and increasing the contrast all the way up to 100. Then I found that I love it in black and white also. Why not have both?

Have a happy day!


Quilty Card


This is a card I recently made for a dear relative who is very ill. Though the paper wouldn’t be comfy to snuggle with, I hope that any of you out there in need of comfort may find a little bit with this card.

Have a restful day if you need one.  If not, I encourage you to make a card for someone who does.  There’s something special about receiving handmade things.


Black Backdrop Fun Photos

Kerry had the great idea of using my photo backdrop for our 2016 Christmas card. We set up the black cloth and the lighting, and my friend Michele Vandenbergh snapped some shots of our family (See last month’s post). Afterwards began one of my favorite photo shoots ever.

I asked the kids to let me take pictures of them before the backdrop came down and they changed into comfy clothes. Sydney opted to get back to playing as soon as possible, but Tanner happily let his hambone side shine forth. Here are several highlights of that shoot.

And then it hit both of us at the same time to…

… get my trumpet.

And then came my saxophone.

And our Appalachian dulcimer.

And Tanner’s blue lightsaber, which we discovered looks frozen wherever the flash hit it.

And here’s the elusive Sydney, caught on film in a few shots.

Hello, play clothes! Bye-bye, photo shoot.

Though I did do this chalk art, I can’t take credit for its design, which I copied from the Internet. See the February 14, 2013 post at creativelychristy.blogspot.com for the original. It’s much more professional-looking.

Have a fabulous day!



Photos in a Gallery + Being On TV

I was on local TV twice in November, and for different reasons!

1st, as a photographer:                                                                                                   Six of my photographs were on display from November 3rd through the 12th at the Vision Gallery – an art gallery located at City Hall in downtown Chandler, Arizona. The majority of the photos displayed there (20 of them) were taken by my friend John Power. He passed away on the 4th of July this year. I was asked to continue a very special photography project he had been working on.

The project will make more sense if I first tell you about I-HELP (Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program). You can’t take a snap shot of all the service rendered through this program, but please imagine for a moment this scene: Every night of the week in Chandler, one of now 18 different churches offers a place to sleep to several of the city’s homeless people. In addition, volunteers from one of about 15 other organizations – churches, businesses, etc. – plus individuals and families not affiliated with a particular group, prepare a hot meal for them and deliver it to them at the church whose turn it is to host. But that’s still not all. After serving the meal, volunteers sit down and eat along with these homeless souls. Chatting and getting to know each other, they enjoy the meal together. To me, that is beautiful living art.

Now we finally get to the photos. To bring further realization of self worth to those experiencing a rather desperate situation, John (and then I) photographed them individually, creating black and white portraits of all who wanted to be photographed.

Channel 10 news interviewed me at the gallery and ran a story about it on November 6th. Here’s the link to an article by KTAR News about the exhibit. They used a portion of one of my photos to accompany the article. That’s why my name (Robin Finlinson) is under it.


The above photos are 5 of my 6 that were exhibited. The one I’m not showing here is of a gentleman who worked for I-HELP.

Below, you’ll see photos I took that were not displayed. Only one photo of each person was used for the exhibit. Since John Power had already photographed a few of the I-HELP clients that I later photographed, his photos were rightly shared with the public.

Several times, this fellow put his hands together as if in prayer as he told me of his gratitude for the Savior. I had to get a shot of him like that.

I told this fellow with the smoldering look that I think he should be a model!

Through the opportunity of photographing these people–each incredibly and beautifully unique–I came to really see them and to know them a little bit. That’s all it took to love them. If you have the opportunity to help your homeless–those in your area–I hope you will. The best way to do that is through donating specifically needed items or money or your time as a volunteer to an agency that works with the homeless and is helping with their immediate and long-term needs. You can find opportunities posted at justserve.org.

2nd, as a Community Service Specialist for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:                                                                                                                                 I work with people from various churches, non-profit charities, senior and youth centers and other organizations to get them set up on justserve.org, a website that helps them find more volunteers for the many good things they are doing. The website is a free gift from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the community. One of the organizations I posted a service project for is FANS Across America in Chandler. Here’s the link to the news story about volunteerism that was filmed there by Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism. It ran on PBS (Channel 8 in Arizona) on November 23rd. The story begins about 4 minutes and 30 seconds into the broadcast. https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2016/11/23/november-23-2016-newscast/

I had been asked to simply greet the news crew and make sure they had the information they needed about JustServe. Jesse, the very nice young reporter/cameraman, wanted to interview me too, since he is supposed to interview three people if possible.

Interestingly, the person who taught me most of what I know about public affairs and how to post projects for organizations on justserve.org was… John Power.

Have a beautiful day!