I'm a wedding and portrait photographer living in Vancouver, BC with my husband Randy.  I photographed my first wedding when I was only 17 years old - and I've photographed over 200 weddings since! I am an avid bookworm, lover of green tea, pretty nail polish & my Labradoodle Harley. Thanks for visiting!

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Favourite Books of 2017

December 22, 2017

personal

I love reading and I’m passionate about more and more of our generation becoming readers! If you don’t know where to start, pick up one of my favourite reads of 2017. And if you’ve read any of these, I’d love to know what you thought. Enjoy!

In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope

“In Shock is a riveting first-hand account from a young critical care physician, who in the passage of a moment is transfigured into a dying patient. This transposition, coincidentally timed at the end of her medical training, instantly lays bare the vast chasm between the conventional practice of medicine and the stark reality of the prostrate patient.” –Amazon

Picked this book up on a whim from a featured shelf from the library – absolutely loved it. Awdish’s writing is authentic, heart-breaking and what she has accomplished in her industry since (and through) her illness is inspiring. A must read for anybody in the health care industry.

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country

“When she was suddenly given the opportunity of a new life in rural Jutland, journalist and archetypal Londoner Helen Russell discovered a startling statistic: the happiest place on earth isn’t Disneyland, but Denmark, a land often thought of by foreigners as consisting entirely of long dark winters, cured herring, Lego and pastries.”–Amazon

Totally fascinated by this tiny island of a country up north! Love learning about how countries and cultures all around the world are doing things ‘better’ than US/Canada and what we can learn from them. Found myself very thankful for many of Canada’s social programs but fascinated at how Denmark takes things ‘to the next level’ of socialism. A book that makes you feel like you spend two weeks in Denmark. :) And a lot cheaper than a flight!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

“Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).”–Amazon

I avoided this book for so long, because I consider myself quite knowledgable when it comes to cleaning, de-clutter & organizing. It’s basically my hobby. (Wish I was joking.) I didn’t want to buy into the hype, but friends, I BOUGHT INTO THE HYPE. I have fully implemented Marie’s folding system, held each item to see if it sparked joy and dangit, this ‘ish works. Absolutely deserves to be on my Top 10 of the year list!

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan

“In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child–a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.”–Amazon

Books by investigative journalists have my heart. This book will stay in my heart for years. Incredible work by Jenny Nordberg and I’m forever grateful for her work allowing me to learn more about Afghan culture. How much we have to be thankful for!

The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege

“It’s clear that issues of race and equality have come to the forefront in our nation’s consciousness. Every week yet another incident involving racial tension splashes across headlines and dominates our news feeds. But it’s not easy to unpack the origins of these tensions, and perhaps we wonder whether any of these issues really has anything to do with us. Inequality and privilege are real. The Myth of Equality opens our eyes to realities we may have never realized were present in our society and world. And we will be changed for the better as a result.” –Amazon Description

I’m deeply passionate about issues of racial inequality. The unfortunate truth is that ‘white evangelicals’ are often the most ‘out of touch’ with the truth of privilege. I will not be one. A fantastic overview to these issues, written primarily to an evangelical audience. (Start here, but then move to Bryan Stephenson’s “Just Mercy” and Michelle Alexander’s, “The New Jim Crow Era.”)

Lab Girl

“Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds, and soil.Lab Girl is her revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drive every scientist. In these pages, Hope takes us back to her Minnesota childhood, where she spent hours in unfettered play in her father’s college laboratory. She tells us how she found a sanctuary in science, learning to perform lab work “with both the heart and the hands.”–Amazon

Guys, I really love learning things other people are passionate about – and Hope is passionate about plants. I loved being swept into her world, learning the intricacies in the field of geobiology. I’ll never forget ready about how trees can communicate with one another. (!!) You’ll love it, if you love a good memoir. (Which I definitely do.)

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

“‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others.”–Amazon

Thank you to my mother-in-law for sharing this with me! Ann’s words broke me and made so much sense. Her call to ‘give thanks’ in all things and reading about how she practiced this in her life, life-changing. I purchased this book for myself after borrowing it and I look forward to re-reading in 2018.


Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

“Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.”–Amazon

I’m a big Trevor Noah fan! I find his stand-up comedy hilarious, and love watching him on late-night TV. This book blew me away. I had no idea Noah was such a talented storyteller and writer. You will seriously love this book and again, so thankful for the way I was transported to another country for a week or so. God bless memoirs.

Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want

“In a life that may seem to be all fun and games with an endless supply of balloons, author Maria Goff shows how this life is also lived with intentionality, passionate purpose, and a little planning—all of which make a life rich in legacy. But she had to figure out the help she needed first in order to live the beautiful life God wanted for her and wants for us. 

Love Lives Here is a collection of stories that include the ways Maria and her husband, Bob, navigated family their way, without clear instructions or a road map. It’s about what they learned to make their lives meaningful and whimsical and how they created a space for their family to grow together while they reached outward.”–Amazon
 
Oooh Maria and Bob. This sweet couple are definitely role models to us in our lives. I don’t know either of them well, but reading this book in early 2017 was soothing to my soul. We stepped into a lot of new things in 2017. Terrifying, change-ridden things. (For me. Randy takes it in stride.)
 
Randy and Bob are so similar – their energy for people, their dreams, their ‘outwardness.’ I’m inward. I’m introverted, I like to create an environment at home. Maria and I differ as I don’t imagine dreams of being a full-time stay-at-home mom, but the personality parts of her book I related to hugely. How does one be the ‘support’ to a man like Randy or Bob, hahaha. My heart related with her ‘way of life’ when her husband is across the world, and Bob’s promise to always be ‘on his way home.’ (I know this for a fact. When he visited our church golf tournament this past summer, he wanted to fly in and out on the same day just to be home!)
 
I appreciated Maria’s honest conversation about learning those differences in their marriage and balancing their out-of-the-box lives. Somehow, I’ve become that woman who’s husband can say, “I may go to Somalia next year,” and I just think, “Bless. Plz come home alive.” 

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

“In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.”–Amazon

Read this book way back in January! ‘Riveting memoir’ is right – it’s fast-paced, but also painfully slow in the sense of how many roadblocks stood in Nike’s way until they achieved the crazy success you see now. The book left me thinking, “Woah, I don’t know if I got that in me for my own business – but kudos to you all.” Haha! If you’re an entrepreneur, I know you’ll enjoy it.

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