2011 Year In Review

Looking through all the pictures from 2011 is a crazy thing for me. It reminds me of how awesome God is, how blessed I am in life, and how relationships are everything. In just one short year, my photography has changed a bit, I write differently, and so much has happened in my life. It’s great and it’s scary, but I love it so much.

With so much in life changing, God’s grace is always the same.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Here is 2011 in review. Make sure you let the whole page load before clicking on links or pictures so that they will display correctly.

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Help Portrait

Help Portrait started with an idea brought to light by a Nashville photographer, Jeremy Cowart. Help Portrait is the simple idea of taking a portrait of someone, printing it, and giving it to them. The purpose of this project is to build self-worth in people and to show them that they are worth spending time on and worth making a great portrait for.

The Searcy chapter of Help Portrait was sparked by a tweet to a few photographers that I’ve come to know in town. Since then, so many people have stepped up to make this project happen. It truly has been a blessing. First putting out an idea, receiving so much support by people willing to give their time and talents.

I love this group and have nothing but good to say. It’s truly been a blessing and an honor working with such incredible people.

This first year’s Help Portrait: Searcy wasn’t exactly a smashing success by terms of number of people coming in the door, but it was most definitely a success. The families that did come through were blessed in ways we don’t know. Here’s a behind the scenes perspective:

Here’s the main photographer group. Love them.

This guy is the boss.  :)

We had quite a bit of downtime, so since we already had everything set up… you know. :)

~ Jon


Croquet may be my new favorite sport. Creating your own course is pretty sweet and playing it with good friends in great weather makes for an amazing afternoon. Highly recommended. :)

All in a day’s work.

~ Jon

Flat Rock Fire Painting

The other day a bunch of guys from Harding headed out to flat rock for some camping and hanging out. Through the years, we’ve had a lot of good times out there. I’m a big advocate of getting outside of life’s regular routines and doing something memorable. A lot of times I don’t feel like doing something different, but sitting on the couch doesn’t make much of a story.

~ Jon

Help Portrait: Searcy

Basically, Help Portrait is taking a portrait of a family or someone in need (homeless, orphan, widow, etc.), printing that picture, and giving it to them.

This isn’t about promoting yourself or your business, the pictures don’t go anywhere but to people we’re photographing. It’s just about helping people through serving them. While the core of this project is very basic, I think it would be awesome to expand it beyond photography. If we could bring people in for a portrait, give them a meal (even if they just came for the meal), have a character sketch done if they’d want, do some other fun things where they’re getting attention and service that is so foreign to them… that would be powerful.

It’s happening. In Searcy. This is an opportunity for us to reach out to the community around us and to show God’s love to families and individuals that are less fortunate than we are.

About Help Portrait: Searcy

  • Date: December 10th (Saturday), 2011
  • Location: nothing yet.
  • Activities: Food, makeup/hair styling, portrait and print setup, character sketching, temporary tattoos, (more?)

This project is still in very early stages, but something this big will take a lot of organization and planning. It’s centered around taking portraits of people in need, but photographers are just a small part of what gets done. We’ll need people to staff throughout the day, hair stylists, makeup artists, people to edit/photoshop/print, people to visit with the people that come through, and so on. Basically if you want to help out, there will be something that you can help out with.

If you have any interest in being a part of this project, let me know! Also if you have other ideas for making this the Help Portrait event even more of a blessing to those in need, I’d love to hear from you!

[email protected] (or on facebook)

Relevant links:

I’ll keep this post updated as this project develops.
Through Christ we can do big things.
~ Jon

Fresh Eyes – Honduras

I’m back from the good ol’ Honduras. It’s been an amazing ride this past week and my mind since then has been constantly thinking of Honduras and the people we interacted with.

I have learned so much. Honduras has shown me some things that I’ve never seen before. I’ve been able to see first hand that God’s church goes much further than my small corner of the world. It’s pretty amazing.

I’ve been thinking about this place so much the last few days but I can’t seem to put these thoughts to words. Maybe I’ll come up with more complete thoughts sometime in the future.  :)  In short– God is good.

Here’s a brief synopsis in pictures of the week:

We became quite familiar with this bus by the end of the week.

Building a house for a family.

Oscar explaining the task at hand (painting) to the fearless co-leader Amy.

Painting… (before) / (after)

More painting.  What a great color.  :)

Driving away from the orphanage was incredibly hard. The kids were just amazing.

We did a lot with the students at the Baxter Institute.

What’s cooler than cool?

This group. :)

~ Jon

Honduras bound

In 28 hours, our Honduras group will be piling into vans heading to the airport to begin our week-long journey to Honduras. I’m co-leading a group of 22 super great people on a week-long Spring Break Missions trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

There’s been so many meetings, fundraisers, and letters sent and now the time to leave is almost here. It’s still hasn’t yet hit me, but I know it will be awesome. :)

Most of the people:

God has blessed this group so much through everything that goes into doing a trip like this. We’ve had to switch some plans and change details around a lot, raise a ton of money, etc., but here we are so close to leaving.

Keep our team and Honduras in your prayers this coming week! It will be a new experience and I’m hoping and praying that this trip will both be a huge encouragement to the people of Honduras that we’ll be interacting with while also showing us a more complete view of God’s love and the world outside our bubble.

~ Jon

…and of course there’s the obligatory crazy picture.  ;)


Pre-Thanksgiving Day Cider

A tradition that spans many years in the Yoder family is the making of apple cider.  Each year, we get a ton of apples from an orchard, bring them to a apple cider factory, have it go through the cider process, and then bottle it.

I’ve been gaining more appreciation for family traditions these past few years.  The making of apple cider is a neat fun thing to watch, brings a lot of the cousins together, and has become a thanksgiving day staple.  Delicious.

All the apples.

Putting together the apples to be crushed.

The juicing of the apples.

Bottling the cider.

Taste testing is always important.  :)

Happy thanksgiving!

~ Jon

Out with the old, in with the new

About a week ago PTP voted in four new beaux.  About this time last year I was all giddy with excitement and anxious for what the future would bring.  This time around was still really exciting, but instead of having a mob attack me, I was the mob, although I played the role of grandma and tagged along towards the back trying to get some video.  It’s just a lot of fun running around campus with 100 people.

Some frames from the videos I took. Might make a video one day.

Now, some stuff about my year as a beau.  It’s been a good time.  There’s been the ups and downs, but all in all it’s been a blessing.  :)

  • It’s sometimes a lot of work to be a beau, especially if you can edit/film videos and take pictures.  ;)  Editing and organizing the making of videos can also be a lot of work.  I learned to freak out less about it now, but I’ve spent up to 10 hours messing around on a single beau video.  The cost of being a perfectionist.
  • There are many different ideas about what your role as a beau is, but it’s definitely takes a lot of commitment.
  • I had pretty high aspirations about integrating Christ into more conversations, but for the most part this has been unsuccessful.  This has to do with everyone in general, but also ptp.

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