“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8.

Freedom X operates on a shoestring budget in order to keep overhead down. We recently sent out a solicitation for year-end donations using the graphic above depicting me as a bobblehead figure next to a Nativity Scene. We want to be good stewards of the donations we receive and paying for stock photos or hiring artists and photographers just isn’t in our budget. So I conceived, designed and created the graphic as a way of keeping costs down.

In lieu of paying for stock photography or using a professional photographer to take professional portrait shots, I taught myself a few years ago to operate a Canon 80D DSLR camera. Instead of hiring graphic artists, I learned Adobe Creative Cloud, including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

For our Christmas graphic, I was inspired by the bobblehead my wife gave me. My wife had a tree display in one of our bathrooms and some small ornaments on another tree. After I had litigated the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes lawsuit several years ago, a friend gave me an old plastic child’s replica of a Nativity display, which I keep on a bookshelf. Eureka! I had a picture of what I wanted formed in my mind. I hurriedly grabbed some white sheets from the pantry and covered a dresser to stage the background and a hamper with something flat lying on top of it for the foreground. I dressed the foot of the tree and the base of the bobblehead with Kleenex.

I set my camera on aperture priority to get a bokeh (blur) effect in the background and brought my wife in to hold an iPhone flashlight over the right side of the tree to add a light source that was missing. Here’s how it was quickly staged:

I then took some shots and chose this one:

Next, I opened the shot in Adobe Photoshop and searched the web for “Photoshop snow” and “Photoshop vignette.” YouTube delivered the tutorials I needed to create the snow effect and the freehand vignette (the oval didn’t look very good). I adjusted the color and contrast, cropped the photo to remove the edges of the sheets, and added the snow effect and the vignette. I then modified our logo in Illustrator and added it to the photo in InDesign.

This took about two hours. The camera and the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription have saved us quite a lot of time and money. Imagine hiring someone to do this and delegating it to a marketing associate!

God blessed me with the gifts of helping others with my legal training and with much more. We want to serve God’s glory in everything we do using all the gifts he gives us. May God richly bless you this Christmas as the story of God’s Creation unfolds.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6.

Bill Becker, president/CEO/chief counsel