Thursday, September 27, 2012

To All New And Old Bloggies

So, how can I stay up to date with so many new people following this blog every day? Well, let me tell you how I got a few of these wrinkles and all this grey hair that I am sporting.

First, ... this blog started simply because my family wanted to see some of the photos I had been stock-piling on hard drives for years. I had zillions of photos hidden away that were really only seen by me. Sometimes, I would show some photos to my wife, Susan, ... only if I thought they were good but many times they just disappeared to hard drives never to be seen again. After some arm twisting, I finally figured out how to posted them on a blog. Seriously, ... that's all this blog was intended to be. But, MUCH to my surprise, people started to follow the blog. After a few dozen followers outside our direct family joined the blog, I began to write a little bit. I never thought this would grow to this many followers. With this in mind, let me tell you a bit more of my background.

I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in July 1958. My parents dropped me a lot as a baby and I ate more than my fair share of lead-based paint chips.

My parents moved to Chicago, IL so my Dad could attend the Moody Bible Institute when I was about a year old. I had two younger brothers born into the family during these years, Daniel of Oakville, Ontario and Peter of Leander, Texas. After my Dad graduated in 1962, our family moved to Dallas so that Dad could continue his education at the Dallas Theological Seminary and after his graduation in Dallas in 1968, when I was approximately ten years old, we moved back to Chicago where my Dad became a teacher at the Moody Bible Institute.

In 1973, at nearly 15 years of age, our family moved back to Canada where Dad became the Senior Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Oakville, Ontario. I finished high school in Oakville in 1976 and began training in Mechanical Design Engineering in a four year apprenticeship program with Mannesmann Demag and Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto.

In 1980, my wife Susan and I were married and our oldest daughter and oldest son were born in Oakville by 1984. I had begun to work with the youth ministry in the Calvary Baptist Church during the early years of our marriage and we later decided to immigrate to the United States as a family of four so I that I could attend Moody Bible Institute and continue employment in Mechanical Engineering in the Chicagoland area.

After three tough years of school and full-time work, we decided to continue down the engineering vocational path. We continued to be active in youth ministry during these years in our church in Wheaton, IL. Several years and another daughter later, we decided to pack up and head North to a town called Woodstock, IL. We began to attend Woodstock Bible Church and we continued to work in youth ministry for a few years. We moved to Woodstock as a result of an employment opportunity with Web Printing Controls that became available in 1987.

We rounded out our family of five with another son and another daughter. Each of our kids were born with about 33 months between them in age. It went girl, boy, girl, boy, girl. Doesn’t that sound orderly? Well, it was orderly ... in a three-ring circus sort of way. We have been witnesses to God’s faithful hand of provision throughout all these years … even when our needs were great. My wife and I experienced 17 consecutive years of high school parenting. THAT’s totally NUTS!

All five of our kids grew up in the same house we live in today. I was employed at Web Printing Controls until mid-September 2011. I am now working for Joule Technologies in McHenry, IL after a 14 month period of unemployment during which we saw God's mighty hand sustain us through the hardships.

Our oldest daughter, Erin is married to Sean, with five darling little girls. They live just a few miles from here. They are doing great at winning the parental job of raising these little girls God has entrusted to them.
Our oldest son, Joel is married to Chelsea, with a newborn boy for his big sister. They also live a few miles from us. It is amazing to see how much these little ones have enriched their lives. They are great parents.
Our middle kid, Tara is a member of the Army's 101st Airborne as a Combat Field Medic. She is our first-born American and is now at Fort Campbell, Kentucky after a year stationed in South Korea. Tara was always our peacemaker in the family. She has recently came home to Illinois from her home in Clarksville, TN with a newborn son. She will soon return to the military to complete her last year of service.
Our youngest son, Kyle recently graduated a Masters Degree program in Engineering Management at Northern Illinois University. I am so proud of his ability to overcome adversity. Kyle worked as a Teachers Aid in AutoCad and SolidWorks while at school and for WT Engineering in Schaumburg in any available free time. Kyle is now engaged to Courtney Bledsoe of Blair, NE and moving to the Omaha area soon.
Our youngest of five, Leah is nearly 22 and still with us. She is now in her third year in our local community college. Leah is very unique and special to us. In many ways, Leah has been the focus of our day to day life. Leah has severe Narcolepsy and through this difficult experience she has been a champion. We have learned so much from her as we have continued to see God’s caring hand help her cope and thrive with the struggle. She has recently complete Nurses Aid training and is continuing down a Nursing path while working with Woodstock Parks & Recreation.

What do I want them to know, when they think of their Pop? I want them to know that I love them! But, ... I want them to know that God loves them way way more than I have the capacity to love.

When I speak of God on this blog … I don’t want you to think I am so heavenly minded that flies don’t land on me. I have had many trials. I don’t know your pain, nor I am able to speak of your struggles … but I DO know pain and struggles. I am not religious in the sense that I am trying to DO something in order to earn heaven. However, I DO know I am going to heaven! Not because of anything I ever did … but because I have simply accepted what Christ has done for me already. I pray that the message of Christ softly speaks to you through the words shared on this blog.

I have never really grown up in the full sense of terms. I have only learned how to pretend that I have when I am in public. And I often disregard any need to pretend. This gives me GREAT joy!

I am a blessed man who has seen some very tough stuff. My wife Susan is my compass during these experiences. I feel like God gave her to me specifically for these days. We have been blessed with 5 kids and their spouses, 8 glorious and sometimes goofy grand-children and great parents who faithfully stayed together during the tough times they encountered before us.

My love for photography began when our oldest child was born. I need photography because it allows we to really get alone with God in my thoughts. Sometimes, I see things that are so beautiful … that even the best of cameras can’t do it justice. When I see things this beautiful I continue to shoot in order to get something … but then I can set the camera down and just watch. These are often moments when I feel the deepest form of worship. I hope you enjoy what you see and are challenged to dig out your camera and take it with you. Only you can photograph your world for those who will follow you years later.

My life dream would be to be able to somehow work teaching others about photography and growing together with them in our love for God! Is that kind of living even possible? Nothing in my life comes close to Jesus. He is my only oar in the water on tough days. I can say that I have been able to live a bit of a photographers dream ... BUT knowing the Creator is WAY more important than anything I have experienced.

I know this sounds strange to many of you. Sorry! But ... I can only tell you what I know from experience. There is a God. He cares for you! He sent His Son, ... Jesus. Believe in Him.

This is a general background that I bring to everything I touch.

Thanks for dropping in on NikonSniper.com. I hope you will tell your friends and come again!
NikonSniper Steve

26 comments:

mmw said...

Thank you very much! It is really interesting better understand background of your photo.

Our photos reflect personal lifestyles and experiences and photographer's eyes become respective. That is why we see the world in a different way.

Best withes in photo and blog!

Judy said...

A remarkable life that's been well lived; what's better than that? Thanks for sharing your world.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Thanks Steve for so many insights about your growing up years and your life. How great that your Dad was a teacher at Moody. My daughter working in Chicago for four years for the Institute in Basic Life Principles (Oak Brook), and my hubby was an Area Coordinator for 10 years in Central Florida. May the Lord continue to bless your work and ministry.

Natasha said...

That was really great to read. Thank you for sharing your story! What a wonderful family you have.

Best wishes,
Natasha.

Pieces of Sunshine said...

Thanks for sharing more of yourself Steve. My husband was also born in '58 and his father started bible college in Sydney when he was one and moved around with several pastoral locations.
We met in YWAM, married and had our first child before we had to leave due to DH's ill health. We now have 8 children but our oldest is 18, the youngest nearly three. DH still struggles daily with his health but has managed to keep a regular job for many years now. Photography is wonderful therapy and focusing attention on the beauty and wonder around us.

Lynda said...

What a great bio!!! You need that on your profile. Moody Bible - - - - their broadcasting radio station is one of the main factors that grew me spiritually! Isn't it neat to be able to look backwards and see how God worked everything together in our lives to get us to the places HE wanted us to be?!!
Thanks for the mini message and testimony. It's great!

Patrina's Pencil said...

awww .... Steve... to know you is to appreciate you even more - & the hand that holds your camera - the hand that holds you dearly in His tender care. I praise the Lord of our lives - that you have truly given your talents for HIM and that you use them to worship HIM... How that makes Him sing. He rejoices over you with singing...you have heard His song, haven't you ?

Blessings to you - for blessing us with God's view of ordinary LIFE - through your camera lens.

as always,
Patrina <")>><

mollygolver said...

Steve, thank you for putting up that blog post and for sharing something of your life too. May God bless you and all your family in all that you do.

Patrina's Pencil said...

On the other side of today...
Yes...Steve, In GLORY, we will exchange Hugs for the Joy of knowing the ONE who holds my pencil and your camera...in the palm of His strong right hand.

Thank you for your voice today! Thank you for allowing God to use your words to speak to me today. It brought a tear... a smile...a needed lift... an answer to a pressing decision. God used you today - of all days - to write His answer.

He is always looking for an open heart - to cooperate with His plan - His way - and in His time.

Again... God continue to bless you and yours, Steve.

HUGS
Patrina <")>><

Heidi said...

This is beautiful! I can relate to alot of what you said here!

Beedeebabee said...

Hi Stephen...That was really interesting. I come from a family of engineers myself, although I need my fingers and toes for any math, so engineering was never a choice for me! :D I also was born in 1958...Your photography is beautiful. Your photo below, in the post titled Defining The Word "Soft", couldn't be more perfect! Yes, horse noses are as soft as velvet, and so kissable too!...So nice to meet you, and I know I'll enjoy visiting time and time again. Paulette

Montanagirl said...

Terrific post, Steve. It was nice to read about your life and background. I had to look up Narcolepsy. I didn't know what it was. That must really be a "challenge" as you put it. Thanks for sharing with us.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi Steve, I am a relatively new follower, so reading your bio was very helpful and informative as to knowing the person behind the posts and wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing more of yourself and I personally did not feel that you were preaching in it.

Tracy said...

Thank you so much for the story...I've been following for a couple months now but it was a delight to hear of your life. Thanks so much; it's always a wonder to meet others who love the Lord!

Judy said...

Hi Again,

This is an awesome story! I loved reading it. You had and continue to have such an interesting life. And it's nice to know that Jesus is the captain of your ship. May God bless you and keep you and your wonderful family. Your blog is so awesome, Steve. I aspire to have a blog like yours one day. Please visit my photo blog at http://judysphotogallery.blogspot.com and feel free to follow it.

Blessings,
Judy

Lorena G. Sims said...

It is so wonderful to know you Steve. God bless you as you continue to serve God and blessings to others.

Barb said...

It's great to have a little background info, Steve. I've always loved your blog and, cos I'm internet challenged of late, I don't get to visit as often. Thanks for making it worth the effort to visit.

Mark said...

I can relate to the grey. My 3 daughters,(enough said)had me enjoying 10 years of consecutive High School years.
Really enjoyed reading your post.

Donna said...

It's great to know more of your story; thanks for that. I love your pictures!

Laurie and Bill said...

Your posts just get better and better, Steve! Thank you for sharing your life story - it does help to know where all those gray hairs come from:) LOL!

God has given you a wonderful gift, and it's so refreshing for you to share that with all of us by means of your blog. Thanks again!

Ree said...

Thanks for sharing your story. We are brothers and sisters in Christ! I am an amateur photographer, but like you said, I try to capture God's amazing beauty out there, in everything, but sometimes it isn't possible, so I just take it in without the camera.

Dean Spencer said...

Steve -

Thanks for sharing. It's great to see God using your talents (or rather talents He gave you :) ) to share with others! What a wonderful gift!

And I like you mention when you're done shooting pictures, that you put the camera down and experience a deepened form of worship. That's a blessing from God!

Here's hoping that your dream of teaching and sharing come true. God bless!

Dean

The Director said...

Lord bless, Mr. Steve :) I really appreciated this post. :D

nannykim said...

Hi. Sounds like a very interesting life! In reading about your love for photography I immediately thought of a video I listened to by the author of the Happiness Project. I thought you might like to see it--it is short and on youtube. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHWQZJhVIkA

Flutterby said...

Thank you Steve. I feel like I know a little about you just through your photographs. Your love of beauty and eye for the world is kind and fun. Getting to know more about your family is a real gift. I appreciate you sharing.
Ruth

Debbie Haughland Chan said...

Steve, it was nice to read a bit about who you are and what your life has been like--certainly not without adventure, it seems! Thank you for sharing.