October 29, 2012
Adam Westenhofer, Alabama, “Precious Life”
The photo is of my daughter, Ali, holding my finger while she was in the NICU. She was born at twenty-eight weeks and weighed two pounds, six ounces when she was born. I was currently working thirty-one hours a week and going to college full time. Everyday I took photos documenting Ali’s progress and challenges as she was away from us for the two months in the hospital.
My daughter’s premature birth was challenging both for my wife and for me, and there were many who prayed and fasted for Ali and for us. We felt the spirit from those who prayed for us, and this picture has always summed up the experience and emotions I felt during those times. The picture reminds me of how precious life can be, of the love of God, and of the power of prayer and faith.
October 22, 2012
Angela Person, California, “Bridal Eyes”
The eyes of this gorgeous bride were captured outside the Fresno California Temple. She requested that I get a shot of this particular pose with her bouquet held just under her eyes. Of course I was happy to let those beautiful eyes be the entire subject of an image! I knew she was excited about this one, so I spent a little extra time on the post-processing of this image to give it the polished, fashion-photography studio-lighting look.
October 15, 2012
Lorie Burningham, Florida, “Birthday Wishes”
This is my seven-year-old granddaughter, Alexa. Her mom, who is my third daughter, is a single mom in nursing school and lives with us. Because my daughter works and goes to school, she only gets to see Alexa on weekends. When she stays with us on the weekends, Alexa gets the opportunity to go to church with us.
I feel blessed that Alexa thoroughly enjoyed her birthday party and invited friends she met from her Primary class that she plays with in church. They are the only children she knows in our town, and she was so excited to invite them all to her birthday party!
October 8, 2012
Robert D. Johnson, Utah, “Beauty of Nature”
This picture was taken in Logan Canyon while on a hike to Jardine Juniper Tree. It is estimated the tree is over 1,500 years of age. And of course hiking with a camera has many photo advantages. I hike to enjoy nature, enjoy the companionship of my wife, and enjoy capturing nature, knowing the earth was created for man to enjoy and pay tribute to the greatest artist in the universe, who has organized and created nature for the enjoyment and re-creation of our souls. In meeting people on nature hikes, they seem to be more friendly, relaxed, and inspired by its grandeur. Vision is a great gift for us to savor.
October 1, 2012
Lindsay Walden, Texas, “Squishy Love”
Pictured here are my mom and my daughter. We’d spent a long day at the zoo and were waiting, experiencing varying degrees of exhaustion, at the small train station to take a ride back to the front of the park. On this day I convinced my mom to go out in public for the first time without wearing a hat to cover her short hair, a side effect from chemotherapy. She was self-conscious about it, but after some convincing I think she delighted in the freedom—freedom not only from an injured self-image, but a reprieve, even if temporary, from the ravaging effects of a relentless disease.
This visit by my parents to our home in Texas was such a joy. A year earlier my mom had been diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. We were informed that the disease was very advanced and had spread throughout her body, including her organs. Even with the perspective that the gospel can provide, the news was devastating. Shortly after her diagnosis, we were talking on the phone. She was struggling and was sharing her hopes and fears with me. I think her motherly instinct was very alive because she said something which prompted me to start to speak on a different subject. I found myself pouring out my heart about a serious and heartbreaking issue of my own. I felt so selfish in that moment, sharing my own heavy burden when hers was, in my mind at the time, so much greater. But she listened and counseled and showed forth compassion and charity.
Over the ensuing year my mom went through a number of debilitating rounds of chemotherapy. We live far from each other, but we spoke on the phone countless times. Both of us openly shared our worries, our failings, and our desires to do better and be the daughters of God that we are meant to be. We shared with each other the insights we gleaned from our daily scripture study, as well as lessons learned from Ensign articles and conference talks. She encouraged me to turn to my Savior for answers, and I did the same for her. We both found solace and healing through our Savior, and I’m happy to report that her cancer is in remission.
When I look at that picture of my mother, adoringly squishing noses with my daughter, I think of the kind of mother I want to be—one who is a good example but also authentic and real, willing to admit her shortcomings yet always striving to be better. I love my mom and am grateful for her example. I’m also grateful for the many people in my life who exhibit that same compassion and Christlike, unconditional love that we all need. I call it “squishy love,” when you want to grab someone and squeeze them so tight to you that they can’t help but feel just how much you care about them. When we fail, are faced with immense obstacles, or are feeling less-than-worthy of that kind of love, that’s when we most need squishy love.