The O’Connell Family :: Okinawa Family Photographer

This post is LONG overdue!  I love this family 🙂  They were so much fun to shoot!  Beautiful faces and great personalities!  We headed to the Courtney Bowl (soccer fields) first.  This family spends a lot of time at a number of sports events!  Then we headed to this bright blue building right outside of my base for some fun pictures! 🙂  That’s when this family really shined!

Binding up the brokenhearted.

{Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with Photography, but with me!  I was going through my pictures and felt that I needed to share my experience with you all! }

By reading the title you think that I’m talking about others, but I’m talking about my heart.  God filled my heart with more love and kindness than I ever thought possible, and He does it on a daily basis.  My walk with Jesus officially began last year when God called me to go on a mission trip with my church.  You may be thinking, Melissa, how in the world do you even know that!

Well, I was at a loss last year.  God blessed me and my husband with a decent tax return.  Then, one Sunday, I went to church and heard about this trip to the Philippines.  At the same time, the BX was holding a Canon roadshow.  I went to the BX after church and looked at the cameras and BOUGHT a Canon 60D (side-note: I have only ever had a Nikon DSLR) with our tax return.  What was I thinking!?   I took the camera home (after much anxiety over purchasing it), opened it up, took a picture (died from the quality), and discovered that the charger in the box was entirely the wrong one.  Sigh.  Yes, Lord, I will follow you to the Philippines.

I understood after all the anxiety I had over buying this camera that was so wrong for me in many ways, that God had provided me a way to the Philippines – the exact amount that I needed to go there.  The Holy Spirit was warning me against buying the camera with my anxiety over choosing the camera over the Philippines.  I returned the camera and signed up to go on Mission with my Savior and a group who I will forever in my heart.

It turns out God sent me to the Philippines at the most needed time in my life.  I went with no expectations except to do whatever was needed of me.  I organized toys and puzzles, played with toddlers and school aged children, and eventually found my way into the Baby room.  It was so easy to love these orphans at Gentle Hands!!!

I believe that the main reason I was sent to the Philippines was to understand that God is working in everyone’s lives.  There is a purpose for each and everyone of us.  Life can be hard, but it is only with God that we can make it through in one piece.  God changed my heart for the better in the Philippines.  I believe in short-term missions because it awakens the soul to the world!  My life is geared toward God’s mission now.  Not my own.  I want to bind up the brokenhearted and free the captives.

You can read the stories from my adventure on my tumblr account because there’s so much that encompassed those 10 days that I can’t possible summarize it all here.

I will leave you with a verse from the trip and a few pictures from my point and shoot.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners…”

Isaiah 61:1

Kailie+Nate+Rocky+Zanpa = Love.

I think the theme of May is, “I wish I knew you earlier!”  Summertime is PCS season here on Okinawa and at most military bases.  I seem to meet a ton of awesome people right before they leave the island!  It kinda shows you how long I’ve been here – 3.5 years this summer.  Way too many awesome people that I’ve had to say goodbye to.

This particular couple, Kailie and Nate, go to my church (Koza Baptist Church), and they’re some of those awesome people!  They asked me to take pictures at Cape Zanpa where Nate proposed.  I had so much fun, except for the part where I got up on a wall to take pictures of the family on the edge of the cliff.  Um, have I ever told you, I’M afraid of heights, but I’m even more afraid of people near high places.  Plus, the doggies were getting SO close to the edge!  I was freaking out!!!  Anyway, I really enjoyed this shoot, and I hope you do too!  🙂

My most daring photo!

Alex :: Class of 2012 :: Okinawa Senior Portrait Photographer

I am so behind on all of my blog posts.  Ya know, life happens and for me it always happens all at once!  I am getting myself in gear to update my blog and website.  Hopefully, I can get it all done before we move back to the States!  🙂

Here are a few photos from Alex’s Senior photo shoot.  Isn’t he a handsome young man?  He’s headed off to college in the Fall, and I know there are great things waiting for him.  We took these photos at a local bull-fighting ring and castle ruins park, right next to where I live!  Pretty amazing, right?


Jenny+Justin+Bump = Love. :: Okinawa Maternity Portrait Photographer

First off, I have to tell you that this photoshoot was impromptu!  Meaning that we had set out to do it in the afternoon, but Okinawa’s weather had a different idea.  The rain started up so we decided to reschedule for the following day.  However, an issue arose.  We were hungry.  Thankfully Jenny and Justin are friends so we headed down to Macaroni Grill and had some dinner.  Afterwards, we walk outside, and it’s GORGEOUS.  The light just looked crisp.  I remembered a place to go take pictures, thanks to my friend, Michele (son – Shawn).  Here’s a few of my faves from our scheduled/nonscheduled/postponed, but not shoot 🙂


J+G+H^3 = Love.

I have a ton of favorite families, basically every family I meet is my favorite family 🙂  Here’s one of my most recent favorite families!  We had our session a few weeks ago, and it was SO COLD!  Everyone was a trooper, especially the kids…well except the little girl.  She was so happy to run around without a sweater!  These are a few of my favorite shots.



Project 365+1 :: Day 70 :: “Sweet”

I had to take a picture for my photography class (story of this year!), and the prompt was to create images using the third letter in my last name – “S.”  This photo is “SWEET.”  Sweet boy, sweet popsicle, sweet moment.  Sweet.  Plus those big ole eyes!

Project 365+1 :: Day 69 :: “Swing!”

I so love my mister 🙂  He took me to the driving range (my first time) and taught me how to swing a real golf club (not a mini golf club ;)).  He was so patient and sweet about it.  Then he got down in the grass and took some pictures of me swinging!  Gosh, I miss him!  It’s probably one of my favorite dates that we’ve ever had…right along side our first date – bowling in Oceanside!

Project 365+1 :: Day 68 :: “Easter Bunny”

I SO know this is WAY past overdue.  I mean, it’s almost May!  Anyway, the Easter bunny stopped by our house and left me some treats (even though he knows that I just started a new healthy lifestyle).  Needless to say, he also knows my hubby because he left me a really sweet card too.  There are also NO more Reese’s eggs – SO DELICIOUS, but I still have a discounted choco-bunny.