Simplifying: Making Room for Joy


“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”                   ~Hans Hofmann

As I am going through each room in my house this month to declutter and organize, I am becoming more and more of an advocate for simplicity.   I do believe that when we declutter and get rid of things we don’t love or need, we make room for the important things in our lives. ….and that can  only lead to great things, right?

I came across a great article on a blog and this perfectly sums up my philosophy of making room for joy!!!  “I’m sure I’ll purge some of my material belongings, but I am also planning to declutter my mind and free up some space for more joy. I want to throw away regret and the last little bits of bitterness that are hanging around gathering dust. I’m also going to toss anger. Sometimes I put that in the recycling bin and nobody needs that in a new form! I think I’ll also trash jealousy, spite, and critical thoughts. I’ll happily donate compassion and kindness, patience, and understanding to those who need some. I have more than enough to spare. Giving away smiles and good wishes seems like a good idea too. That should give me a lot more places in my life to store up happiness, good memories, positive thoughts, and joy.”

What are your goals this year? Are you ready to purge and simplify?  I am ready to make more room for joy and surround myself with people and things that really matter.



Picture Perfect Family::Elkhart Family Photographer::


 “The love of the family is life’s greatest blessing.”

~Author Unknown

I have the pleasure of meeting Lisa when I was doing Kickboxing. I liked her instantly!!! She is very friendly and so knowledgable with health and fitness.  Both Lisa and Mark are owners of Natural Health Family Chiropractic.  If you get a chance, make sure you hop onto their website and check it out.   And oh….while you are on their website, you have to make this recipe for Teriyaki Turkey BurgerIt is soooooo yummylicious!!  You won’t be sorry!!

Ohhh…. the Turkey Burger got me off track there for a bit because I am drooling thinking about it ….

As you scroll through these pictures, there is  not a doubt that this family has the most A.M.A.Z.I.N.G  eyes!!   It is a fact!

Thank you, Lisa  and Mark for trusting me with your family photos. What a blessing  and was a real treat for me to spend time with your  special family that day.  The kids were so polite and what a joy it was for me to have one on one time with them during our session. You have a beautiful family— inside and out!  I hope that your experience that day was just as joyful as it was for me!!

Jake:: A New Dream:: Elkhart Photographer


“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”.

~C.S. Lewis

A beautiful quote given to me by his mom.

This was one special session for me because Jake’s parents are long-time friends and such dear friends of ours. Also, a special session because the locations were carefully planned out and Jake’s mom chose places that would be meaningful to Jake. We came up with 2 special places and I added in a  3rd location that I thought would be a fun and different to try.

It had been raining quite a bit during the day of our session.  Couple of hours before the session, it finally stopped and turned out to be the most gorgeous day. When I showed up at our first destination, I realized that the rain created a new perspective–it painted an incredible backdrop to this vacant building.   I had been on this location before but this time the building emitted  an industrial feel and couldn’t be better for a High School Senior boy to partake.

Indeed, it sure captured Jake’s attention when he arrived —what a great way to start his session because I knew Jake was dreading this photoshoot.   :-)

The second location we went to was a very special place to his family. It was a place where his great-grandparents met on their first date over 70 years ago!!!!!  It used to be gathering area by the river with friends.

The third place we went to was ofcourse his most familiar place, his High School football field.

The thing I remember most about this session was that we had the most incredible day full of laughter!   I loved that both his parents accompanied him and it made the session that much more fun!!  You could feel the great support system that Jake has from his parents.

Now this Fall, Jake is set out to dream a new dream.  As you venture out to this new path, I hope you always remember the above quote from your mom.  I know you will do great! The best of luck to you, Jake and excited that you  have chosen to go to Indiana University!!

Thank you Jenny and Mike for trusting me with Jake’s Senior pictures.

Before I post pictures of the session , I also want to add that Jake’s mom, Jenny Nolan is an incredible writer/author.  Her recent published novel, “Bearing Up Horseshoes” is  a wonderful book full charms, adventures, and life’s anecdotes that will make you laugh and cry.  She’s incredibly talented and I am so proud of her!!  This is a must-read book.  Jenny is now working on her second novel and I cannot wait for that to be done!

Here is a full session video of the day:












Monday: Joyful Note! {Michiana Photographer}


Happy Monday! I have been missing in action in the blogging world.  I am doing a little catch up the next couple of weeks so make sure to check back for blogging of sessions that I haven’t had a chance to post.

Here is quote I came across and LOVE!!  I hope you find this as inspirational as it was for me!



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I Heart Faces:: Hands


“Joy is Everywhere! Capture Yours!”

This  is my tag life because life moves so fast and sometimes it is nice to slow down and soak in the beauties that God has created around me.

The reason I love my job so much is that these sessions are a nice reminder for me to slow down and feel the joy that is all around me!
Towards the end of this High School Senior session, we stumbled upon this beautiful and fragile monarch butterfly in the most unexpected place.   As I am feeling overwhelmed lately from the hustle and bustle of life this was just a great reminder for me to feel the joy!!

Dear Blog, Sorry I have been neglecting you….


Dear Clients and Friends,

Happy Fall!!!  Thank you soooooo much for your word of mouth, support, and for filling my photography journey with so much joy and friendships.  Because of your awesome support,  I am now booked for 2011 and my season will start back up in the Spring.

This Winter, I will be doing only Newborn Sessions, taking on special projects and working with  few clients that have already pre-planned their creative Winter sessions with me.

Also, the next several weeks, I am trying to update this blog….I have ALOT of sessions to update on the blog (how about sessions all the way back to June!! Yikes!!!!  I  apologize for neglecting this Blog and not updating it with my recent sessions the last couple of months when my Season got incredibly busy.

In the mean time, if you want to see my latest sessions and see of my work please follow me on JoyfulHeart Photography by Uyen Facebook .



I Heart Faces: Theme White


This week’s photo theme challenge is “white” and this is the photo I am submitting. I love the purity and simplicity of this photo of these 3 sibblings.

If you get a chance, hop on over to I Heart Faces to see other “white” submissions.





:: Bashor Children’s Home:: {Goshen Photographer}


“Help for Today… Hope for Tomorrow”

This is the beautiful mission statement of the Bashor Children’s Home.  In a nutshell, Bashor Children’s Home ” is a residential treatment facility offering “Help for Today and Hope for Tomorrow” to abused, neglected and troubled young people
since its inception in 1923.”

This past Saturday, JoyfulHeart Photography had the opportunity to collaborate with this great cause to bring awareness to the center.   It was held at the Lerner’s Theater and 8 groups of the most talented performers participated in the “Elkhart has Talent” Show.  All money raised from this benefits goes to the Bashor’s Children’s Home.

As I took on this project to create a video to be shown at the fundraiser, I realized that there were a few stumbling blocks.  One of the biggest roadblocks was that the children at the Bashor’s Home are under strict privacy court order; therefore, I could not use any pictures of the children to represent the center. Not being able to use their faces, this really presented us with a big challenge. This means the video was no longer a possibility.

As one of the fundraiser committee members positively said, “When God closes one door; another one opens.”

How true this statement was!

If you remember from my blog journal a year ago, a dear friend of mine asked me to photograph her family using the Pekarek Action Course.  The course was dedicated in honor of her late husband, Joe Pekarek.  This was the first time the family had the opportunity to use the course.

Joe Pekarek had died in a plane crash and the course was “dedicated in his memory-by the Thomas Family… The course represents Joe’s love for the outdoor and his dedication to young people.”

I was honored when my friend included me in this process and asked me  to photograph her family using this course dedicated to her late husband, Joe.  Needless to say, it was an emotional and an unbelievable day for everyone!  I was touched  by the experience because you may not know this but I also knew Joe from college.  He was a good friend of mine.

It was a special day and the experience of that day touched me in so many ways.

When I mentioned to the family of the constraints we were facing of the Bashor’s Home video for the event, they immediately and generously allowed me to use the pictures from their session to help deliver the message we needed for the fundraiser.  The PAC course has become an important therapeutic recreation tool for the children at the Bashor’s Home.

Here a year later, how blessed it was that we were able to use the family’s video to bring awareness to the PAC course to help spread the message of the Bashor Children’s Home.

I don’t know if the family realizes this but the video would not be possible that night if it wasn’t for their thoughtfulness for allowing us to use their session pictures.  Now the community has a better understanding of this worthy cause.

Click the link below to view the video that was shown this past Saturday at the “Elkhart Has Talent” Fundraiser benefiting Bashor Children’s Home held at the Lerner’s Theater.


Click here to view the full session from a year ago:





I Heart Faces:: Beautiful Eyes:: Elkhart Photographer


“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips,

speak only words of kindness;and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

~Audrey Hepburn



I am participating in this week’s photo challenge at I Heart Faces:  Beautiful Eyes.

For more beautiful eyes submission from other great photographers….hop on over to

 I Heart Faces!

I Heart Faces - Photography Challenges and Photo Tutorials