The Not So Nice People at Photobucket

I once loved this company called Photobucket.  I have thousands of images stored there and for many years they were my favorite place to shop for photo gifts, but sometime this past year they decided to ask us to pay $500 per year to have our photos appear on our blogs (third party hosting).  No warnings…they just literally killed so many blogs with one decision.  Now my corner of the world is pretty small but this blog pretty much has recorded my children’s lives for years.  Yet now you see all the horrible squares with Xs on them because of one company’s greed.  There are folks who have travelled all over the world blogging whose blogs now sit in the desert of third party hosting hell.

This amazing shot was from a dance shoot on the beach a few nights ago.

Aren’t they stunning?

Dancers on the Beach

Integrated Impact – LearningRx

Months ago LearningRx called to check in on our kids.  It’s been almost five years since we trained with them.  My youngest, Danielle, was homeschooled and in second grade at the time of our training, but she’s a seventh grader now.

We are in full court press with all teenagers now, and the days of homeschooling seem far away.  Next year, two boys graduate high school.  Has our training helped longterm?  Am I still seeing the months of work we put in?

The answer is yes; however, it wasn’t an easy answer because the skills have been integrated into the lives of our children. How to communicate this took a lot of thought and some very direct questions.  Instead of a lengthy list, I will share the video we made for them, and I hope this gives some of you hope.

They Call Me Sarah

Aubrey and Josh Wedding

“They call me Sarah”


She’s a quiet passionate young lady forging through this thing we call life.

She’s beautiful in every way.  She loves.  She hurts.  She’s strong.

Stronger than she thinks.

I was so blessed to have this young lady enter into my life several years ago.  She tagged along on one of my Senior shoots.  When she first appeared through the lens of my camera she was breathtaking.  Since that time she’s been my photography student, model, friend and assistant at several weddings.  I am amazed by her;  in part because she is so unaware of the beauty and the depth that lies within her being.  At times pondering if she realizes just how lovely her story is becoming….

I pray.  I watch.  I see.  What God has in store for her is amazingly powerful.

My dearest Sarah.  They call you Sarah.  He calls you beloved, child of the KING, daughter.

Desiring to hug her tightly and tell her all is well I often sit and pray for her.  In my mind’s eye she is a wild flower just beginning to bloom.  And in that time when her pedals open fully to the Son, she will be all He has called her to be.  You are part of my heart sweet girl.

Ramblings of a photographer….

I have to admit.  I love shooting sports as much as I do weddings.  The fast pace of a basketball game or the thrill of a football game is as exciting as making a bride feel beautiful on her wedding day.  But there are times during sporting events when my mind slips, the game is not close and I look for other things to capture with my camera.  Normally it is parents or coaches, but sometime it is the cheerleaders or another photographer.

My boy goes hard all the time.  He plays hard.  He fights hard.  He loves hard.  He’s just that way.  God made him with a passionate heart.  So after last week’s game and and injury I got a little side tracked.  After all, we’d been up and down the court a gazillion times.

He tweaked his leg during the game and then hurt it and had to be helped off the court.

So my attention wained.  I love my team but I love watching my boy even more.

So Coach Dre drew my attention….. (sorry in advance Coach)

The many faces of Dre…..


I wonder what he is thinking……

Certainly here he is praying!!! 🙂

So here is to a great season guys!  Ms. Julie loves ya!!

You too Coach!!

Death, Resurrection and Life Everlasting


The call came on the day we were leaving Wisconsin.  I had a wonderful trip with my daughter to visit her best friend who had just moved.  It was an unexpected blessing to leave the heat of Florida for the fall-like weather of Wisconsin.  The salty ocean was replaced with the cold waters of Lake Michigan and nights were spent sleeping with the windows open.

We had a late flight that day but the call came early that morning.  Dad had fallen and was being taken to the hospital.  He had spent a day and a half at home alone before calling 911.

The second call came shortly after the first.  Dad had fractured his neck and had a small internal injury that was expected to heal.  The doctors thought he would spend a few days in the hospital and go to rehabilitation before returning home.  My thoughts turned towards dad going home alone.  Mom had died just a year before so he spent his days alone at home.


And this is where home took on a completely new meaning.

After a week in the hospital and a few small complications I left Florida to go home.  My sister needed a break.  My brother had to return to Ohio.

Week two proved to be much more challenging.  Dad began to get weaker and his breathing worsened.  My sister and I spent days going back and forth to Duke visiting with dad.  On Saturday I decided to spend the day alone with dad to give my sister a break.  He got out of bed that day and sat in the recliner.  He fell into a deep sleep and I sat editing (I am a photographer) and watching him sleep.

A dear friend came to sit with me and we left dad to go grab lunch in the cafeteria.

Upon returning the entire team of doctors was waiting for me.  They could not wake my father.  He was rushed for tests and when he returned they had placed a mask on him to help his breathing.

As the mask and machine worked to pull carbon dioxide out of his body he began to wake.  The neck brace and the mask seemed to be fighting for space and dad had a hard time tolerating both.  I made several requests for assistance with the mask.  It wasn’t until evening that someone came.

My sweet friend left and I was alone with dad.  Alone with dad and a hidden book I had sent him over a year ago for his 80th birthday.  At that time mom had been alive and had hidden the book, awaiting his birthday.  She was in the hospital as we celebrated dad’s 80th birthday.

We had searched the entire house for the book, many times, without ever finding it.  I bought another book.  Mom went to be with Jesus and I hoped dad would find comfort through that new book when mom was gone.

Losing mom was so difficult.  It has been a very hard year.

Since my dad had been home alone for so long before calling for help we had to move his bed and a few other things in his room.  And under the bed my brother-in-law found a package addressed to dad and laid it on the chest in his room. This is where my sister found it.  The book we had searched over a year for had been found.  But it didn’t feel good.  That book is powerful.  God had left it hidden for a reason.  With Dad in the hospital and that book showing up, I had a sense of foreboding.

I carried it with me each day to the hospital.  I never opened it.  It never felt like the right time.  But that Saturday after my sweet friend left I began reading aloud to my father.  I read to him from the entry on June20th and then from the entry on January 27th, the day Mom died.

I cried and my dad cried.  Tears ran from underneath the mask on his face.  I began picking random dates and reading to him.  I told him that I knew he was tired.  He had said as much and I knew what that meant.  But I couldn’t be okay unless I knew that I knew where he would spend eternity.  I told him if he wanted to be in Heaven he had to ask Jesus to come and change his heart and his life.  As he cried and spoke through that mask to me he said, “I want to do that.”  And he did.

Dad asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior that night, in part from a powerful devotional called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, a book that I had sent to him a year earlier.  I read him his year-old birthday card that was inside the book and I showed him its original wrapping.  I reminded him how we had searched for that book for a year without finding it.  He nodded and cried.  I wept as he was born again right before my eyes.

And that day, more than a year ago, came rushing back. In the middle of Publix on a normal day: “Buy this for your dad.” I walked past the bookstand and the voice came again.  Still a whisper, but louder. 

In my walk with the Lord I have learned that when He wants my attention he gets it. 

All for my father’s salvation. 

For HIS glory.

A gift for my dad and a gift for me.  Intended for two.  Destined for Eternity.

That evening in the hospital as the pulmonologist tried to replace dad’s mask, my dad shouted “NO!” I looked at the doctor and told him my dad did not want the mask anymore.  I knew what that meant and so did Dad.

Everyone said goodbye to Dad and he told everyone he loved them and goodbye.  But he told my brother one thing more – that he was going to Heaven and that Jesus was his Savior.  That was the only person he told.  How special that his public profession of faith was to his only son.

My sister and her family arrived.  And then they all left except for my sister.  We sat with Dad until 2am.  He took his last breath at 11:22 that same morning.

On Father’s Day, June 21, 2015, my Dad met his Father.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:8

“I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  -John 11:25-26

I will see you soon, Daddy.  Hug mom and praise Jesus!  I miss you.

I wanted to add this from the funeral service program:

Memories of our dad:

 From the rides on the back of our riding lawn mower, Will’s first dirt bike, jumping in giant piles of leaves he somehow got the neighborhood kids to rake, and holding our horses at horse shows, our father loved us deeply.  We loved our Saturday morning trips to work with him and our super-special overnight business trips with Dad.

 As we grew into adulthood, Dad showed his love through the tears that filled his eyes as we left the house or the hugs he gave after a family dinner with him and Mom, letting us know how much love was in his heart.

 He enjoyed his tiny little office where he spent much of the last years of his life.  He painted.  He did crossword puzzles and read and read and read. 

 Just over a year ago, after 55 years of marriage, our mom died and he began to make biweekly trips to the gym, determined to lose weight and feel better.  On his 81st birthday, just 6 months ago, he did 81 crunches on his favorite machine!

 Just a few days ago, tears flowed from our father’s eyes as he called out to Jesus, anticipating an eternity in which we will all be reunited again.  He knew Jesus was waiting for him. 

Until we are together again Daddy, hug Mom and know we will be there.

 Your children, 

Julie, Will and Lyn


The Comfort Zone

My husband will quickly tell you that I like my comfort zone.  It’s, well, comfy.

My bed.

My pillows,

My fan blowing creating white noise.

Teenagers blow that out of the water…..

Not the sleeping part but all the rest of one’s life.  So we work to find ways to fit into their world and they into ours.  One thing we did this year that was TOTALLY different than anything we had done before was a ski vacation.  Utah, on top of that.  Because I didn’t grow up with such vacations I hesitated introducing our pack to said sacred “mommy/daddy” vacations.

Alas, we had a blast!  Fractured wrist and all.

More recently my daughter and I travelled to Wisconsin to visit her best friend as they have recently relocated because of careers.  Girl TIME!!!

I’m not a fan of airplanes but the two hour direct flight wasn’t bad and we had a great time.

I never knew that part of the country was so beautiful during this time of the year.

Lake Michigan…..

The lake looked like an ocean…..

And was clear and cold as ice!  Anna was the only one brave enough to touch the rocks.  I definitely got wet but it was because I slipped!  You won’t be seeing that photo!

The stones in the water and sand were as smooth as those you would find in a creek bed.

Those just had to make the trip back to Florida with us!

And these two had a blast together!  We miss you Anna!!!

We promise you can come to Florida when the snow is four feet high there!!!


Food Photography

Today in our Digital Photography Class we photographed all kinds of food, goodies and treats.  I had a blast with my class!!

I wanted a place to share with my parents what we did today so here is a small sampling of photos I took!

Master Chef Zach made us all types of pancakes.  I saw skittles, chocolate chips, and an array of strange things being cooked inside pancakes.







I love these guys!!!  They are my extended children!

Hello old friend…..

It’s been so long since I’ve had the time to sit and write.  Four kids in three schools this year has been crazy.

And I decided to teach a photography class.  (Let’s just make life a little more nuts!)

I am still working through the grief of mom dying 11 months ago.  We made it through Thanksgiving and now I’m staring down the barrel of Christmas.  Mark Schultz has a new song out.  “Different Kind of Christmas”  I cry each time I hear it.  I know mom is celebrating continually with Jesus.  Christmas in Heaven?  Does it even exist?

I pray that your heart and home is filled with the joy and love of Jesus this year.

I pray that you know God loves you this Christmas.

I pray that even if there is a loved one gone, you can celebrate the life that is missing at the table this year.

I pray that the legacy you have been left is celebrated, enjoyed and lifted up!

I pray God will dry your tears, wipe your eyes and lift your head.

All these things I pray for myself……

Life with Teenagers

Our lives are getting ready to encompass three teenagers.

One 15, one 14 and one 13.

Only our baby girl is hanging out at age 10.

I’m not sure there is anyting in life that prepares you for teenagers unless it is remembering back on your own teenage years and possibly talking to your mom everyday to remind you of what that was like.

Since mom is dancing happily with Jesus now I rely on my dad, my husbands memories, friends and God.

I thought three in diapers was hard.

There are football games, and homework and a new school to get accustomed to this year.  Football practice is five days a week.  Two of my boys leave at 8am and return around 7pm.  It is like having a job and more!



It’s a new season of our lives.  I’m proud of my kids and my two who play football starting as freshmen.  They are tough, talented and blessed.  They attend two different schools and play for two different teams.

HCS vs Westminster-12


It’s a crazy year.

But God always pulls through and provides for us.  Drivers.  Carpools.  Community.

How are you guys handling the new year with new grades and kiddos all over the place?

Winding up for Summer!

Life has been full of end of the year activities.

A football game that ended in a concussion for one of my boys.

A very hurt toe for baby girl.

And several weddings for me.

Today I took my camera out armed with a plastic bag over the lens just to have fun.  I left a small opening in the middle for focusing.  Here’s my setup:





Classy, huh?

And here are the fun photos this produced:

The top of a mushroom…


Our “very fast” guinea pig’s curious nose…


The perch coming out of our bird feeder…


and a closeup of one of those garden balls in my neighbor’s yard…


After a busy month is was nice to take a few minutes to play.  Speaking of which, I think I hear the pool calling!  Have a great day!