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 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

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, 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.

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 was… John Power.

Have a beautiful day!


Happy Halloween 2016

At Halloween, why not slip over to your neighborhood park for a photo shoot?

I didn’t get Tanner’s face quite in focus, but this photo must be shared anyway.

Harry Hambone.

I had a blast photographing Sydney and Tanner as they got into character as Harry and Hermione. They chased each other around, casting spells. They chose all the poses. I merely said, “Yeah! Hold that for a moment!” This pose was Sydney’s idea. Tanner didn’t mind. They have their occasional argumentative moments, but they truly are great friends. Tissue, please!

Happy Halloween!


Harry Potter – Hogwarts Castle


As we approached Universal Studios in Orlando (yes, back in December), I caught a glimpse of Hogwarts Castle. I thought it was probably just a facade, like a huge cardboard cutout.  I was so utterly delighted to find that not only is it a real building, we could go inside! It’s home to a great ride. I was as pleased by the line waiting for the ride as I was for the ride itself.  The line weaves through rooms and hallways of Hogwarts. Pictures on the walls speak to you.

I had fun enhancing my photos of the castle.

Have a delightful day!


More Harry Potter!

A cozy booth at The Three Broomsticks restaurant.

Sydney, enjoying a butterbeer (cream soda, butterscotch and a few other ingredients). Yummy!

I could spend all day simply existing at the two Ollivanders wand shops. The stark differences in their charming architecture make it well worth a long visit to both.

Whether you like the character of Narcissa Malfoy or not, you must admit that she has a wonderful wand.

Harry Potter-Universal Studios Orlando

Happy birthday, J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter!  We are big fans.  Here are photos of our mind-blowingly wonderful trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida in December.  My favorite part of our week in Florida was spending time in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.  I never wanted to leave.  

The Three Broomsticks is now my favorite restaurant in the world.  We spent two whole days at Universal Studios and happily lunched there both days.

Honeydukes candy shop put an even bigger smile on our faces.