Monthly Archives: December 2009

Giving is Awesome {2010 WINNERS!}

Talk about grateful…

Giving is Awesome is one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season. Amid the hustle and bustle of buying and wrapping presents (which I still need to finish…), baking cookies and other treats, and decorating our house and tree, Giving is Awesome allows me some moments of quiet contemplation and thanksgiving. Quiet contemplation over how good life really is; not just mine, but for each and every person that was nominated (there were 6 nominations, by the way!) This year’s nominees span the gap, from mothers who are taking care of their parents to a family with 12 children (8 of those sweeties are adopted!) Each time a story landed in my inbox, I cried. Hey, what’s a pregnant lady to do!? And then I thanked God for each of their stories of love, perseverance, determination, grace, love, gentleness, and for the person who think so much of them that they would take the time to nominate them for something like this.

Choosing this year’s winners (yep, I said winners!) was no easier than last year. I can’t do it alone, and so I am again thankful for those who helped the indecisive photographer make a great decision. I cannot wait to capture this year’s winners with my camera, and to share those images with all of you.

(drum roll please)

With no further ado, the winner of the 2010 Giving is Awesome package is:




Monica and Jim, parents to 12 fantastic children, 8 of whom are adopted! Christall nominated Monica  and her family, and I was so truly moved when I read her story. Christall and her family have become more than clients to me, they are friends (and fantastic people themselves!) So when I heard what Christall had to say about Monica, I knew she was a front-runner for sure!

“Monica (the mom) is the kindest, most caring, loving and patient woman I have ever come into contact with. She manages all 12 of her children with grace and respect and in turn they are all beautifully kind and loving children. Obviously being a mom to 12 children means there isn’t a lot of $ to go around. The family always has food, they always have clothes (never new – always handed down or from the thrift-store) but again, you will never find a family who is more thankful for what they do have – and know that the true measure of richness is 100% in how much you love Jesus and your family.

I have learned so much from just watching this family and have often wished there were a way I could give back to them just a small  portion of what I’ve gained through our friendship. Monica is the person I call when Ava is screaming and I don’t know why. When being a mom to two 8-year-old girls feels like more than I can bear, I call Monica. She is there, without question, and always with words of wisdom – she is truly the hands and feet of Jesus in my life.”

Monica, Jim and family: I cannot wait to meet you all! Christall said that you have not ever had a family portrait done with all 12 kids, and we’re about to change that!




NOW, like I said above, this year we have winners, plural. When it came down to choosing a winner, it was a close vote. Because of that and because it’s my giveaway and it’s Christmas time and I can do what I want :) I am crowning a second Giving is Awesome winner! This person will receive a free session and my $550 collection!

so…congrats goes to…




Shawn and Justin Fisher! The Fisher family was also nominated by a past client, Laura. Again, this was another story that really resonated with me. Shawn and Justin are young parents to an adorable little guy Micah (I know because Laura even sent me a picture!) who have had their fair share of life’s bumpy moments. Laura shared with me how inspiring Shawn and Justin are, and how much they really deserve some fantastic pictures of their little guy, and I couldn’t be more happy to be blessing them with that exact thing this Christmas season!

Again, I want to thank everyone who makes Giving is Awesome possible: my awesome past clients, everyone who made a nomination this year (you all rock!) and the fantastic people they nominated, anyone who passed along my e-mail or blog post to someone they thought might be interested, and the original Giving is Awesome guru, Kristen Kalp!

May you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy (and safe!) New Year!

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Sneak Peek: The Putman’s {FAMILY}

I have known this family a long time, and my family has known them even longer. I met Tim, Deanne, Desi and Derek years ago at church. I have babysat both kids, my brother and Derek play ball together, and I even had the pleasure of doing Desi’s senior pictures not too long ago. When Tim called and said all his mother and MIL wanted for Christmas was a family picture, I knew I was in for a good time! Well, Saturday morning arrived, and it was COLD outside…27, to be exact! Talk about brr! They were such troopers! We jumped out of the car, got some great family shots, and then went right back to the warmth of our cars!


I love this one! Even though it was COLD out, I think it was worth braving the weather to get such a perfect Winter Wonderland portrait!


I do love these tracks, the trees are just so pretty! They did a great job of coordinating just enough, but not being over the top matchy-matchy!


Aww, now doesn’t that look like sibling love? :)

Be sure and add a comment below to help the Putman Family win a free 8×10!

If you are interested in booking a session with Mandi McDougall Photography, e-mail me at If you are a friend of the Putman’s and mention that when you book, you both receive a $20 print credit.


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Sneak Peek: The Crosby’s {FAMILY}

I am supposed to be headed out the door as I type, but I had to put up a few from my first Deluxe Mini Session today! Look at this cute family, that is getting ready to add another new edition just a few weeks before I am!



Melissa, thanks for choosing me to capture your growing little family!

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