Monday, January 28, 2013

{Fear, Inspiration & Lungleavin Day}

I find so much inspiration in this verse.  I for one, take the Bible at it's word.  With that said, I read this verse and know that God created me to be courageous and loving and determined.  How cool is that!?!  I love the thought that I was not created to sit on the sidelines of life cheering everyone else on.  I am meant to be knee deep in the trenches, acting as His hands and feet on this planet. 

That doesn't mean fear won't get the best of me at times.  It does...for sure!  One thing that terrifies me?  CANCER.  That word can stop me dead in my tracks, and make my heart ache like nothing else.  I have lost two grandfathers to cancer.  My grandmother and 2 great-grandmother battled and survived breast cancer.  Kevin lost his grandfather to brain cancer, and currently has a grandmother suffering with it as well.  The list just goes on and on.  So many people are affected by it, and it knows no boundaries.  It's easy to feel helpless, because the disease is just so vast. 

I have recently been feeling a tug at my heart, to volunteer with some organization that works with cancer patients or survivors.  I came across Magic Hour Foundation.  This organization's mission states, "We are a national network of professional photographers who want to serve the individuals and families who are fighting cancer by providing them with the ability to celebrate the truly important things in life through photography. These charitable portrait sessions will provide an opportunity to be normal - just relax, smile and have fun with loved ones. Above all, we will strive to express compassion and love as we support them and pray for God’s grace in their lives, no matter the outcome of their battle."  I am honored to now be a volunteer with this organization, and pray that my God given gifts will bring some joy into the lives of these brave warriors.  If you want to nominate someone, or are personally interested in applying for a session, please visit  We want to share this service with as many people as possible, so please help us spread the word!

Cancer is something I look at as a possibility in my life down the road.  With my family history, it's something I take very seriously.  But, it's not something I will ever allow myself to be fearful of.  My God is for me, and He is faithful!  Over the last few weeks, I have read so many stories of peers who have battled cancer, or have children or other family members facing down this disease.  So many of them are living out 2 Timothy 1:7, and I am in awe.

One story in particular touched my heart.  Heather Von St. James was just 36, and a brand new mommy to a 3 1/2 month old, when she was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.  This form of cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos and kills 90-95% of those diagnosed.  That's grim folks, and I cannot imagine baring that burden.  On February 2, 2006, Heather underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy...or the removal of her left lung.  Today, she is healthy, happy and CANCER FREE (to God be the glory)! 
On the anniversary of her surgery, Heather celebrates Lungleavin Day (I love the name of the holiday...perfection).  In a recent email to me, Heather said. "Lungleavin Day is a celebration of life and facing your fears. Each year we celebrate with nearly 100 loved ones. The idea of this day is for everyone to fill a blank plate with their fears and smash it into a bonfire at my Lungleavin Day party, symbolizing people throwing their fears to the fire. I also use Lungleavin Day as a fundraiser for mesothelioma research."

Wow!  My friends, that's how it's done!  I pray that I would be so brave!  Please take a second to visit Heather's blog post about this special day, and to donate to her cause.  I know that your time and/or contributions will be greatly appreciated.

On Saturday, after all 10 of my Valentine Mini Sessions are done, I plan to write out a list of the fears holding me back.  Christ died so that I did not have to be afraid.  I think this is a perfect time to take a moment and reflect on His grace, and send those fears right on up for the Big Guy to handle.  If you are really wrestling with something, maybe you should consider doing the same!  Celebrate Lungleavin Day and let those fears go bye-bye!

Friday, January 25, 2013

{Concert Crazy}

Kevin and I love concert...of any kind!  Hayden's very first outing was to the Highlands festival, where we sat and listened to the music for a couple of hours.  We have always enjoyed music as a family.  We might even have Sunday morning Burtch Family dance parties while we're getting ready for church.  It's so much fun to be able to share our love of music and concerts with the boys.  They are at an age now where we can load them up and bring them along.  Here are some of the shows we attented this fall and winter, along with all of the details:

Line-Up: Lonestar & Phillip Phillips
Review: This was a great FREE event!  I don't think a ton of advertising was done, because it was not crowded at all.  They was a lot going on downtown that weekend (football games, a baseball game, some comic book convention, etc).  I think it was just overshadowed by bigger events.  Either way, it was so laid back and so much fun.  We got to sit right next to the stage during the Lonestar set.  Kevin was even able to throw a football with Hayden and Colton off to the side without bothering anyone.  The park got a little bit more crowded once Phillip Phillips took the stage.  We decided to move back a bit so that the boys could see over the girls crowding the stage.  Even still, we were only 20 feet away.  Before PP got started, he was hanging out right next to us to the side of the stage.  He even waved to Hayden.  I got super excited!  Of course, Hayden acted 15 and told me it was no big deal.  I chose not to acknowledge that statement!  Several friends surprised us and joined us at the show.  We had a blast, and the kids were all able to dance and run around together while we had some adult catch-up time.  After the show, we were able to shake hands with PP and he gave Hayden a pat on the head.  I highly recommend this event and cannot wait to see who's playing next year!

Line-Up: All of the 2012 American Idol Finalists
Review: If you love the show, you will love the concert!  I gave Kevin tickets for Father's Day last year.  We loved the 2012 season, so there was no way we were missing the show.  I have to be honest, I was not on the Joshua bandwagon during the season.  But, MAN, can that boy sing.  TV does him no justice!  I was blown away by Colton Dixon.  He sang his song Never Gone from his new album The Messenger.  I had chills as he stood in front of the arena praising Jesus for never leaving his side.  And kudos to AI for allowing him to sing a gospel song...totally caught Kev and I off such a great way.  The crowd gave him a standing ovation and everyone was screaming and cheering him on.  AMEN!  I would have loved to see Phillip Phillips a little more, but he had just had kidney surgery, so I gave him a pass.  Plus he sang Usher's Nice and Slow.  That's one of favorite old school Usher jams and PP threw his flavor into it. word...I'll leave it at that!

Line Up: The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Colbie Caillat, Katherine Jenkins, Lady Antebellum, John Legend, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Scotty McCreery, Keith Urban and host Jennifer Nettles
Review: Kevin and I got to have a Mommy/Daddy Weekend in Nashville (what! what!).  When we headed to the strip on the first night, it was CRAZY packed (the Chicago Bears were in town to play the Titans).  We ended up parking near the convention center and discovered that the CMA Country Christmas was being filmed.  We scalped tickets for $40 and walked our happy tails inside to watch.  Since this was a filming, the musicians interacted with the crowed, and even re-sang their songs when they messed up.  I mean, who would complain about listening to Martina McBride sing O Holy Night twice?  Not this girl!  The filming took a long time, but we got to see so many incredibly talented artists, and we got into the Christmas spirit a little early (the filming was before Thanksgiving).  Awesome show and everyone had great seats, since we all had to pack in to the lower rows for the cameras.  I am not so sure the boys would have been able to handle the long down time between artists, but it was very cool to see how it works behind the scenes.

Power 96.1's Jingle Ball - Phillips Arena
Line-Up: Austin Mahone, Bridgit Mendler, Owl City, Enrique Iglesias, Flo Rida, Ke$ha, and Justin Bieber
Review: I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  Props to 96.1 for putting on an A List show that was family friendly.  I mean, Enrique pulled a 6 year old on the stage to sing and dance with him.  Flo Rida, was loving on toddlers.  Ke$sha even kept it PG.  Kevin and I really enjoyed Enrique's set.  He just seems like the kind of guy you want to be friends with.  He was just having a ball and we knew all of the songs he sang.  For the boys, it was all about Bieber!  By the time he hit the stage, the boys were barely hanging on, but they LOVED it.  Colton was laying in Kev's lap, clapping with his eyes closed.  The show did run a little long for their attention spans, but the performers were incredible and very entertaining.  Not to mention, the tickets weren't outrageously priced.  I think I paid $28 each for our original seats.  I say original seats, because our nose-bleed section was closed due to a repositioning of the stage.  We were directed, upon entrance, to a table where they issued us 11th row tickets.  Yeah, I didn't have to zoom all the way in to take the pictures below.  It was unbelievable luck, and a great experience for the boys' first arena concert.

Line-Up: Cody Simpson, Carly Rae Jepsen and Justin Bieber
Review: Kevin's parents bought these tickets for the boys last May when they went on sale.  We had to keep it a secret until Christmas, and it's a miracle I didn't let it slip!  I didn't take my camera to this one because I really wanted to be present with them.  I LOVE taking photos at concerts...all of the lights and people and dancing...I get caught up in it.  The show was everything we were promised it would be.  It was one heck of a production!  Bieber closed with Baby, and Kevin and I both got a little chocked up.  That was the first song I can remember Colton singing.  Baby, Baby, Baby, Ooooooooh (in his sweet scratchy baby voice of course).  We have danced and sang to his music endless hours over the past 3 years.  I am sure I will get a ton of eye rolls for that, but the music made the boys so happy.  Anything that puts smiles that big on their faces is OK in my book.  Watching an 18 year old JB sing that song, kinda made us realize that our babies have grown up too. I think the boys were more prepared for this concert.  They are vets at this point and know what to expect.  Colt fell asleep again about 3/4 of the way through the show.  He is probably a little young to sit through these concerts.  But, we would rather have him there and asleep than not there with us.  It really was so much fun for our little family to get out and act like crazy kids together.  We stayed out WAY past our bedtimes, but it was so worth it!!! 

Welp, that's our recap!  I plan on adding Thanksgiving Christmas and New Years in a few days, so check back!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

{Burried Alive}

I know, I know!  I have been a horrible blogger!  I have literally been buried under photography work since November.  I am just really getting to come up for air, and have my first weekend off in almost 3 months.  That's great for business...not so great for a blogging hobby or keeping track of all of the fun things we've been doing lately!  I am playing catch up over the next couple of weeks, and am going to try to post all the goods.

For today, I am going to post a little eye candy (i.e. the cutest little boys I know).  These are the Christmas photos I took (Angel Kisses Photography).  We had so much fun!  We headed over to Moreland Ave in south Atlanta.  The area is being spruced up by some awesome artsy folks, and they are creating some pretty amazing spaces for photographers.  Kevin and I goofed around with the boys, so the photos this years are not super serious.  I think they were perfectly "us".

TaTa for now!  Hopefully I will be back tomorrow!

Oh yeah, we did!  HeHe!

There were our Christmas Cards that I designed.


And here are some fun shots I got of the boys and their cousins, Cale and Sadie-Clark.
All Photos Are Property of Angel Kisses Photography, Inc.  Please do not copy, print, alter or use without the written consent of Brittany Burtch and Angel Kisses Photography, Inc.