Anna and Elizabeth

May 2012

I just returned from Yakima, Washington having been with my daughter Emily and her husband Andy and their beautiful twin baby girls – Anna and Elizabeth who were born on April 17, 2012. The moments vanish quickly getting back  “normal life” so I thought it might be a good time to reflect and write about this precious time for myself and you my friends and family.

This precious time has been a time of coming alongside Emily and Andy to give support to their family. Of course, it goes without saying that holding and caring for the babies are at the top of my list. I loved waking up with the thoughts of stroking those soft fuzzy heads and the smelling their breathe. The first day was a little awkward getting to know the baby’s  – Anna was easy to hold, Elizabeth is a little smaller so I was cautious at first – within a few days however, this became easy and feeding and holding Elizabeth easier. A friend shared with me that by being with her children at their home she became part of their lives and truly was a great blessing.

On Mother’s Day Andy’s sermon was entitled: Served by Jesus. Andy’s sermon was based on scripture from Mark 10: 32-45.  Andy spoke of Mother’s sacrifices as servants to their children and to their families. I loved being able to serve my daughter and her family as the twins are settling into life in a family – their family.

Now at home, I have called and emailed Emily this week to see how the girls are coming along. She reported in the following on May 25.

“New Weights:
Anna is 9 pounds, 1 ounce (was 8 pounds, 7 1/2 ounces on May 17) – UP 9 1/2 OUNCES IN 8 DAYS!!!
Elizabeth is 6 pounds, 8 ounces (was 6 pounds even on May 17) – UP 8 OUNCES IN 8 DAYS!!!”
The birth of Anna and Elizabeth is a great praise. Our family prayed with Emily and Andy for this blessing knowing that God wants to bless his children. Soon they will be with us in Michigan – not too soon for me. I miss them!
Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend with your family and friends.

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Getting Organized

Just for a start, “Doing Something with my Pictures” is the second most set New Year’s resolution every year – just behind getting in shape and losing weight! What does that tell us? As a Photo Organizer and Creative Memories consultant it tells me that people want to get their photos organized in order to do something with them and they need help! My help!

At the beginning of the year, I concentrate on contacting my clients for planning and organizing. That might mean sorting and organizing their printed pictures so that they can be scanned in order to create photo books or other photo celebration projects for the year – posters, page prints, canvas prints, framed pictures, and more.  It might mean installing Memory Manager Software to sort and organize, edit, back up and protect all your photo images. Remember your digital images are NOT PICTURES. They are images that until they are printed in some form remain images. That is why they MUST be protected with a great backup system (Memory Manager has that built into the program!) The great thing about your digital images in the things you can do with them!

What would you like to do with some “Let’s call them the BEST” of your pictures this year? I am all about helping you get your “best” organized, protected and celebrated – that means printing them into something – a Storybook photo book, a photo panel, a mug, a poster, a calendar, etc.

I like to hi-lite my “best” in several printed projects. Last year our entire family got together just once – to reunite, for a meal and for a picture. I used that “best” picture on my Christmas Card, the first page of our 2012 Calendar and on a photo panel for everyone as a gift for Christmas and will use it in our 2012 family Storybook.

What milestone events are being celebrated in your family this year? A significant birthday, a wedding, anniversary, retirement, a new baby, a new home, a special trip? These are the “moments of our lives” that we want to remember. Let me help you remember and celebrate those special moments in 2012. Let’s get started!

Looking forward to connecting with you!


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Our Family 2011

Our Family 2011

One of our “best” in 2011 used for my Christmas Card, 2012 Calendar, Photo Panels for myself and as Christmas presents and will, of course, be used in our 2011 annual Storybook Photo Book.

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Digital Retreat 2012

We just finished our first Digital Retreat – all right we invited two Scrapbookers but we did convert them to Digital Divas by the end of the weekend. Just a few thoughts on our weekend – what made it work and how we will grow it and make the next one even better.

While we didn’t have as much time as I would have like to get people registered, we went directly to our Divas and invited them to attend our weekend. And . . . we planned the weekend around them. We had held two successful one-day training seminars and trained as a group. At our retreat we broke training into beginning and intermediate and advanced. Because of the room set-up; everyone attended all sessions. I looked around many times to see who was paying attention and it was everyone! Whether beginning or advanced, everyone learns something and improves their digital album making skills in the process.

We invited a local photographer (Kenny Price from Jackson, MI) to open our retreat with a training on taking better pictures. While Kenny got a little technical, we all gleaned great info and are looking forward to doing a photo walk with him in the spring. I referred to many of his tips throughout the weekend!

Our theme for the weekend was project completion. We worked Friday evening to get our “Best of the Best pictures” ready for our weekend projects using Memory Manager. Trainng included both the basics and improving our editing skills.

On Saturday we started off with some basic Storybook training and everyone selected a project to focus on for the weekend. We focused on answering questions on Storybook 4.0 and how to covert projects from 3.0 to 4.0 and where to find all the tools we were used to in 3.0. We found that by giving smaller pices of training and then letting our people work, they learned the skills to master the program and create great looking pages.

Our advanced training in Storybook focused on perfecting the “Mango Globe” introduced by Pixels2Pages. This is their signature training piece and we worked through it step-by-step until each person had completed a GREAT looking globe!

One fun game for Saturday evening, a great massage therapist, good food and friendships completed what made our retreat really good. One of our customers became our best trainers so we kept calling on her throughout the weekend to help everyone and she so graciously responded to the challenge.

As we look ahead to our next retreat – while we want to increase our numbers, our weekend experience is what I will want to remember and continue giving to all. As Creative Memories consultant, Betsy Powers remarked several times throughout the weekend – “as long as we are having fun!” We did, and we will continue working on perfecting our skills and the rest of what goes along with putting on a great retreat . . . but for now – we had fun and a GREAT first Digital Retreat.

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Boaz turns 5!

Boaz turns 5!

Here’s the Globe I created during our Storybook 4.0 instruction at our Digital Retreat of pictures from Boaz’ Birthday and then created this “special page” around the globe

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Pictures with a Purpose


Marianne sampling Merlot at Airfield Estates


Cowiche Canyon Hike


Paradisos del Sol

Traveling this summer? I bet you are! Having just returned from a fabulous trip to Yakima, Washington with my daughter Emily and husband, Andy De Korte,  Senior Pastor at Summitview Christian Reformed Church in Yakima plus Andy’s mom, Carol De Korte and about 750 pictures later (albeit still part of my hard drive crash) I am going to give a few pieces of advice on what pictures to take – and maybe even how to get them ready for a photo book.

This is my first personal trip in years. Creative Memories has provided me with wonderful “all expense paid trips” over the past 19 years so I haven’t been  on other trips. Emily and Andy moved to Yakima after Andy’s graduation from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI  with a Masters in Divinity in May of 2010. They accepted the offer of Senior Pastor almost immediately. Washington – never been there. Yakima – oh yea, they made bike racks – my other son in law, Luman Strong purchased one for his first Ironman last year. And – wouldn’t you know that I had enjoyed a glass of Merlot from Airfield Estates with friends in Jackson, MI the year before (near Yakima). Sounds like destiny!

So here it goes! Emily had prepared an itinerary called “Moms in Washington, May 2011 for our visit. I loved each and every day because if it was Wednesday, May 25, we were going to take the Rattlesnake Hills Wine Tour and then visit assorted Wineries including “Airfield Estates!” And we did and we documented each and every place we went and everything we did. And, I made notes about what was wonderful, meaningful and what each of us liked for future reference and to remember – not on anything special just a small notebook.

Three short tips for taking pictures while on your trip

1. Take pictures each day – and take a group picture each day. Emily posted one of our best pictures on Facebook every day so friends and family could see what were doing and where we were and we receive lots of comments and likes.

2. Use several cameras and put your camera into someone elses hands. Emily took over when I was tired of shooting. I have a Cannon DSLR – I love it and it takes great pictures and I had just purchased a new lens in part for my trip. You get in the pictures when you aren’t taking them!

3. Back up your pictures daily. You all know by now that my hard drive crashed while on vacation. I had a portable external hard drive with me. We transferred my pictures to each computer and onto my EHD as well. Keeping organized and backed up will allow me to transfer all of my pictures onto my computer. It will also allow me to create a Photobook with ease. One of the reasons cited why people do not start a Photobook is that they do not know how to begin. So . . . here it is!

And – it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add just one more – look for the unusual. We saw beautiful flowers – I took pictures of them – close up using the macro setting. Emily loved touching all the starfish at the Seattle aquarium – I took pictures of her hands touching them. Birds flocked to their Sycamore tree in their back yard – I took pictures of them. We saw fish fly at Pike Place market in Seattle, I took pictures of them. We stopped at the original Starbucks – I took pictures there. And the list went on and those pictures will be both the heart (the pictures) and the soul (the story) of our trip.

I can hardly wait to turn those images into pages for a Photo book. What a cool remembrance for you and as a thank you gift for your host and traveling companions. Is there anything as wonderful as celebrating our photos through our albums and photo books other than the experience itself and when you create that book, those memories you experience forever!

So my friends . . . plan and enjoy your summer trips and outings. Tomorrow for us – it’s Binder Park Zoo. Three Grandparents, three grandchildren and three cameras!

Later . . . Marianne

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Thinking through a hard drive crash

While on vacation my hard drive crashed. Because I had been through this before, I was prepared. The steps that I had taken allowed me to take the immediate steps to start the recovery process and more important, allowed me to enjoy my vacation.  Here are the steps I took.

Back up, back up, back up. All my documents, photos, photo books, music, etc. are backed up – three ways. Through my Plum Choice subscription I have Carbonite – that means everything is backed up continually off-site (the Cloud). Second, I have two external hard drives in which I have manually backed up everything, one in my office, the other portable – I carry that with me in case of fire or other disasters. Third, my local computer company did a data recovery of my computer before sending it to Gateway to install a new hard drive. I would say other lesson is that I had purchased the extended warranty – I have had this happen with my last two PC computers. A principle that I have adopted is worth repeating – “it’s not if you hard drive will crash, it’s when!” All this being said I am confident that my computer will be up and running with all of my programs and data because I have taken the steps to ensure it!

How about taking those steps with me as you prepare for all of your picture taking events this summer.

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