Bragging on Joyce!

Today I have hijacked this blog to brag on my wonderful wife, girlfriend, lover, and mother of my five children, four of which she had just recently bragged on.  Since she will not do the bragging on herself, I will have to do it for her as she naps on the couch across from me.

Joyce has been very active in building a wonderful home for her husband (thats me) and her five beautiful children.  She also is very busy homeschooling her children.  When she is out shopping and doing other activities outside the home, she tries to encourage and bring joy to those she runs into.  Today she was caught encouraging the cashier and grocery bagger at her favourite grocery store, Martin’s Supermarket.

Over the past few years, Joyce has been really enjoying the hobby of photography.  She developed much of her skills using a point and shoot Canon and recently has moved to a mid-level Canon DSLR.  She has also learned a lot in the way of digital photo editing to provide further uniqueness to her photographs.  Using her photography she has been able to encourage and bring joy to others by sharing photographs and providing photo shoots.

This past week, the Elkhart County Parks Department had their annual photo contest and Joyce submitted several photographs shown below.  Out of three categories and 178 photo entries, she received first and second place in two of them (see The Elkhart Truth article for more details on the winners).


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Bragging on Mark

Mark has been entering the Elkhart Park’s Photo Contest since 2009.Mark While he can spend hours photographing machine parts, such as this year’s Honorable Mention winner , “Whistles”, he enjoys photographing anything that catches his eye.  This year he also earned HM ribbons for his “Garter Snake” and “Boxed In” entries.

Chemistry is Mark’s favorite subject this year.  He is thankful for his daddy who can help him when it does not make much sense.  He enjoys the reading part of literature most of the time. When he finishes his book work for the week Mark likes to spend time programing with Arduino.  Right now he is working on an alarm clock.

Master McGuire prefers being outside, no matter the weather.  He is often found exploring the woods.  Mark also likes to work hard chopping wood,  shoveling snow, or spending time with “his” alpacas.  Most mornings, Mark is up before school so he can run three miles.

Mark would love to find a camera small enough that he can carry around to get unexpected shots but not feel like he has a camera attached to him. His favorite unplanned photograph was of a bald eagle he noticed flying after dropping his sisters off at a friends house.

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Bragging on Andrea

AndreaSince 2010, Andrea has been competing in the Photo Contest held by the Elkhart County Parks. While photography is not her favorite hobby, she enjoys going out and taking pictures.

This year Andrea was surprised to discover she won second place in the Capture the Cold division! While she did not win any other ribbons this year, all of her pictures are ribbon worthy.

Andrea loves math. She is eager to start pre-algebra soon. She also enjoys cooking and sewing. Even though she is taking a short break from soccer, she is looking forward to spring soccer starting up again.

When she grows up, Andrea hopes to be a home school mom. She knows that reading will be a challenge, but she is getting better and she knows that God will help her teach her children. But for now, Andrea will keep working hard at school, reading good books to her little sister, and practice her cooking skills to the enjoyment of her friends and family.

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Bragging on Audrey

AudreyThis is the sixth year that Audrey has entered photos in the Elkhart County Park Department Photo Contest.  Miss McGuire had six entries and earned an Honorable Mention for “I don’t Need Gates”. Each year her photographs show improvement in composition.

I was granted a quick interview with Audrey.  Audrey enjoys taking pictures of butterflies and caterpillars. She also tries to take pictures that make people smile.

When she grows up, she hopes to be an Lepidopterist, though I would argue she is one already. This year, Audrey plans to continue raising and photographing butterflies. She plans to get better close ups of different butterfly stages.  Audrey also hopes to raise and photograph Luna Moths.

In her free time, Audrey is often found knitting or studying another book about butterflies. She also enjoys the privilege of being able to teach a few classes, telling others about butterflies and how to raise them.

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Bragging on Adrian

Adrian 2nd Adrian entered 5 photos in the Elkhart Park’s Photo Contest this year.  He earned his very first ribbon!  He earned a second place in the youth division for his photo he named “Green”.

In an exclusive interview, I learned that Adrian enjoys taking pictures.  His favorite things to photograph are frogs and toads! He wants to practice a lot more this year so he gets better. When he grows up, he wants to be a zoologist, so taking pictures is very important for when he discovers a new species of animal.

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Sign of Spring?

SignThe weather has been warm during the day and below freezing at night.  On Monday, Mark started tapping our seven trees.  Adrian likes to check the buckets and said that our best tree has almost filled a half bucket already.

The kids and I are hoping for some more really good snow days.  We are not quite ready for spring!  We have not got our fill of snowmen, sledding or hot chocolate this winter.


When we have time, the children and I go exploring.  Often, we take the cameras and the morning is spent on photography.  Other times, they are out playing with the cameras. I do not set the camera’s settings for them or tell them how to take the pictures.  I let them experiment and find what they like. I am trying to teach them to take most of their pictures without major editing.

We have enjoyed participating in the Elkhart County Parks Photo Contest for the last few years.  As the children take better photos, they are allowed to submit more photos in the youth division. Their photos will be judged as part of the whole group and then judged again in the “16 years and younger” youth category.  This year there is going to be some stiff competition!

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If you want to check out all our entries–the five of us submitted 32 photos- they will be on display at the Concord Mall from January 24 – 30, 2015.