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My Norma Jean

“Look, mommy! Look! Look at my dress!”

My first thought is, How absolutely adorable! I must take a picture! My second thought?  Please, God, don’t let her turn out like Marilyn Monroe! I often think about them all grown up.  Who will they become?  What am I doing now that will make them who they will become?  And while the look of Baby Love standing in front of a vent with her chubby little legs posed perfectly in high heels and her dress flying up is the sight of innocence and life and all things wonderful, I worry where that innocence will go…and when.  And I pray.  I pray a lot.  And for a lot of things.  But I probably pray the most for my girls…especially now.

I used to think being a part of the beautiful people would make my life so much better.  There would be so much less that I’d have to worry about.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that the beautiful people weren’t all that beautiful anyway and they had the same struggles and problems that I did.  In many ways they had even more.  I hope that my girls will be blessed by their beauty and that their “beautiful people” will be on the inside.  Surely, no other beauty really matters.




Young Love

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way.”

Pablo Neruda

As a photographer, it is my job to watch people, to anticipate their expressions, their interactions, in an effort to capture even a minute glimpse of who they really are. I’ve been watching this couple from afar for a while now. For a while I wasn’t even sure they were a couple.  I’ve seen them in church and at the pool and, while they do act lovingly towards one another, it is so subdued that it hadn’t really occurred to me that they really are more than friends.   And since these two were leaders at our church’s Vacation Bible School recently, I watched more.  On the last day of VBS, they wore these shirts.  You can’t tell it from the pictures (which I hope they will not be too disappointed about), but when they get close together, the hearts on their shirts light up!  When they are apart, the hearts’ lights go out one by one the farther apart they get.  I couldn’t take it one bit longer.  I boldly asked them both if I could take pictures of them that day, and they gladly agreed 🙂

What’s important about this story, though, is that I realized that the reason I didn’t initially see that they were in love isn’t because it was that subdued.  It is because what I see every day (or many days) as “in love” is physically displayed between two people.  Kissing, hugging, flirting.  Those are all characteristics of a couple in love.  These two are so very inspiring to me because they don’t do those things, at least not in public.  And that, my friends, is a godly relationship.  Whether they know it or not, they are representing God with their relationship in a way I haven’t quite seen before in such young people.  The exude love for one other, but it seems so pure and sweet and clean.

So none of this really occurred to me until I had them in that little alleyway behind our church.  For 10 minutes I was in their world and it was such a privilaged 10 minutes.  I got to see up close and personal something I never had as a teenager, something many many people never have, a young, godly relationship and love.   It is always amazing to me that there are young men like him and young women like her still in existence in today’s world, and they give me hope that my girls can have what they have one day.  These two may get married.  They may not.  But what’s important is what they are reflecting to the world right now.    They love each other without pride or mystery or lies.  They love each other because they just do.  They love each other because they know no different, because they know no other way.  God loves us because he is love and knows no other way.  And I’m sure his heart lights dim when we are not near him, and, believe it or not, ours do too.

It’s Independence Day!

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I couldn’t write about today (July3rd).  It was so wonderful and there are so many words and none of them are right to describe this day.  I did, however, write some thoughts I had tonight on the way home from the fireworks and finished it off with quotes that represent how I feel about our country.

On the way home, it was dark, and the wind was cold in the bed of that truck.  As I laid down in the bed, I put my head in Sam’s lap and looked up at the stars as we sped down the back roads of our small town.   No street lights, no noise.  Just stars and pastures, fields, interspersed with houses with little lights glowing in the windows.  Wood smoke in the air and the smell of a summer eve, and for a very few brief moments it was perfect peace.  For a few moments life slowed down.  Even though we were traveling fast, for me the world seemed to almost stop.  All was right with the world and I thought that there is no place on earth where the smell is so sweet, where the wind whispers my name so fondly, or where country roads go on forever as they do right here in America… my home.  I can visit a thousand countries, the most beautiful of lands, travel the seven seas, see the Northern Lights, the Seven Wonders.  I can watch volcanoes erupt, swim with dolphins, and eat all kinds of delicious exotic food.  But I don’t think I would ever want to leave my home, my country, America.

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

Erma Bombeck

Yes, my friends, that is my husband.  He is wearing England’s rugby jersey with the English rose on it….while we’re celebrating independence in America.  It’s a free country.  🙂

“The true meaning of America, you ask? It’s in a Texas rodeo, in a policeman’s badge, in the sound of laughing children, in a political rally, in a newspaper… In all these things, and many more, you’ll find America. In all these things, you’ll find freedom. And freedom is what America means to the world. And to me.”

Audie Murphy

“I believe with all my heart that standing up for America means standing up for the God who has so blessed our land. We need God’s help to guide our nation through stormy seas. But we can’t expect Him to protect America in a crisis if we just leave Him over on the shelf in our day-to-day living.”

Ronald Reagan

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”

Winston Churchill

“We’ve gone astray from first principles. We’ve lost sight of the rule that individual freedom and ingenuity are at the very core of everything that we’ve accomplished. Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”

Ronald Reagan

The girls were pretty bored waiting for the fireworks to begin, but I think they felt it was worth the wait!!

I love this man!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness….”

Declaration of Independence

The Good Ol’ Days

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Me as I gave Bloke a wet hug in the pool: Ahhh, this is nice. Just like the good ol’ days.

Bloke hugging me back: Who’s to say these aren’t the good ol’ days?

Yesterday, Bloke came out to the pool to hang out with the girls and I for a while. He doesn’t like the water all that much per se. But he will come out in the evenings when there’s hardly anyone there…more so now than before.  Yesterday right when he got there, a storm cloud passed over.  For about an hour the rain came and went.  We had to get out of the pool.  Then we could get back in the pool.  Bloke stuck it out.  Normally, he would have said we should leave.  I’m so glad we didn’t because our evening out in the quiet of the water, out in the country was another perfect moment.  We don’t experience many moments that we consider perfect.

Before we had children, he’d come out with me a lot and we’d play and frolick like kids….young people in love. It’d be quiet in our little world. No one could enter in. No children’s voices. No obligations. No worries. No one and nothing could penetrate the bubble that we were in while we were playing in that pool.  Sounds silly really.  The pool is not exactly a romantic place.  But for me, it’s not about the pool really.  It’s about that period of time when everything was right with the world.  Someone found me beautiful.  Someone loved me just because I was me.  Someone accepted me just because.  And I loved that someone just the same.

What Bloke told me made me think. What are the good ol’ days anyway? It’s relative really. The good ol’ days used to be when we were young and free and worriless with less baggage, less troubles, less responsibility. We spent money like there was no tomorrow. We did what we wanted when we wanted.

However, 20 years from now, what will we think of as the good ol’ days? Surely we will remember fondly our days of childless bliss, but we may in fact remember the good ol’ days as the days when we recognized daily that we are finally a family…a real family. We do family things. We eat at the table together. We go places together. We work through rough days together and rough situations together. We attend to one another. Our home is filled with love no matter who is angry, who is throwing a tantrum, or who is in a raunchy mood.  What may seem simply normal to everyone else is a miracle to us.  What a miracle it is from where we came.  Bloke told me a while back that he wasn’t afraid anymore when we have a disagreement or are distanced from one another.  He’s not afraid because he said he knows whatever it is we can work it out.  God didn’t bring us all this way, through all of those trials, for us to be apart again.  I agree.

So, after considering it, maybe the good ol’ days are a culmination of all the past good times in our lives.  Any period of time where we can look back and go, “Ahhhh, this is nice. Just like the good ol’ days”  and remember that that very period of time is also a period where all is right with the world, where someone still finds me beautiful, where someone still loves me just because I’m me, where someone still accepts me just because, and where I still love him just the same….maybe, quite possibly even more.

100 Post Hoorah

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I realized today that I didn’t celebrate my 100th post! It was actually 2 posts ago. It’s a big deal for me to stick with blogging since I (unfortunately) have a tendency to quit things when I get bored with them or am not good at them….something I’m constantly working on. So here’s some of my favorite posts from my 100!


Happy Valentine\’s Day! Love, God

A Mother\’s Day Indeed

War and Roses

Summer Smells and Seashells

I Remember

A Weighty Issue

Daring To Discuss

Small Town Girl

Another Valentine\’s To Remember

Magic Tricks – An Easter Story

An Anniversary: Nine Years and Counting

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I simply cannot believe I’ve been married for nine years.  NINE people.  That is a long time!  (I can’t imagine how my parents feel…they’ve been married over 30).  I am amazed that we have made it through the trials we have.  I am amazed at how God has changed us and where he has brought us in nine years.  I really can look on our marriage as a story of love…of persistence, patience, heartache, healing, a story of work, of ups and downs.  I know many people who would have given up on each other long before nine years if having to endure what we have endured.  There is absolutely no human reason we should still be married….but we are.  And I am so thankful and so happy!  I have learned to view marriage differently…more than just about being in love, but about loving when there is no reason to want to.  I think our anniversary is always going to be a celebration, a landmark of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.  Thank you Sam for all of your hard work in our marriage and for loving me in spite of myself!  I love you!

And to commemorate, I have posted some pictures of us from the early years and added some quotes that really express how I feel about my marriage 🙂

“They asked her (Ruth Graham) did she ever think about divorce and she said, ‘No, I’ve never thought of divorce in all these 35 years of marriage, but,’ she said, ‘I did think of murder a few times”

Billy Graham

2001 – before our first camping trip.

2001 – Honeymoon in Charleston, SC

2002 – Just a random shot.

I think this was 2001 as well.


Magic Tricks – An Easter Story

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6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Matthew 28:6

I am always impressed to hear how pastors retell the same old Bible stories in different ways and with different perspectives every year. The Christmas and Easter stories are the most widely known stories by Christians and non Christians alike.

Today I was touched and impacted greatly by the Easter sermon. It has never occured to me that the stone was not removed so that Jesus could get out. It was removed so that everyone could see in and to eventually learn that He had risen! It wasn’t a magic trick. It was the resurrection! Mary surely didn’t believe at first that Jesus was alive again. Surely she doubted until she actually saw the risen Savior. We all would. Any normal person would think that His body was stolen until we saw Him in person! When she saw Jesus, she knew He was (and is) the risen Savior! What a glorious sight that must have been!

What then shall we say of ourselves as Christians on Easter? Are we resurrected with Christ? Is that what people see? It never occurred to me really until today’s sermon that people don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ NOT because it’s so unbelievable but because they don’t see the resurrection in US . If you believe that Christ is your Savior who has rescued you from sin and slavery and death, your life should reflect that. But really, we so often do not reflect that we are Christians.

If you know our Easter story from last year then you will be happy to know that this year’s is SOOOOO much better even than that!  Our lives, our family, our marriage….all resurrected!  My husband…resurrected!  There are not many people in our lives that truly know what our family has been through, the hurt, the pain, the hatred, the ugliness that was our marriage and our lives.  Those of you that do know and those of you that don’t, know this – God is most definitely alive and real and Jesus most definitely saved us!  I know that He heals, that He changes, that He loves.  And if He can do it for us, I know that He can for anyone.

Here’s our Easter picture.  The girls just simply did not want to cooperate for photos today so I went ahead and posted our funniest one!

And the reason we are the above mentioned family: