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.

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


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……

…the cat’s tail

I was fine today.


I read Scooper’s post – Living Free Through Our Unfixable Days


I found my mom’s obituary in a pile of photographs from NC.  Her face smiling up at me from a piece of newspaper torn from it’s page.  The ache to reach through the veil and touch her hand is all consuming in my deepest grieving.  Knowing I could touch her and see her while in the hospital brought a morbid and twisted, yet sweet sort of comfort.  Until her last breath……when I realized our bodies, no matter what we think of them, are just shells.

Shells on a beach without life inside.

Empty.  Used up.  Done.

And the concept of eternity hits home.  Our lives are just a blink.

Nothing in this world matters except the lives we touch.  The people we help.  The paths we cross.

And the pain spills from deep within me.

It’s a gut-wrenching, unfixable pain.

There is no way around it.  I have to walk smack-dab through it, trusting that on the other side is something besides a balled-up broken woman reduced to a child crying, “I want my mommy.”

The grief is more like a wail only explained and expressed in God’s written Word.

The wailing wall.

I’m there.


It’s there too.  Somewhere.  Calling.  Waiting.  Soothing like a mother’s touch.

I ponder God’s choice to willingly give us Christ.

I wonder how Christ willingly agreed.

The pain and the ache fill every corner of my body.  It’s felt in my bones, muscles and heart.

It’s expressed in solitude when only God watches.

It can not be controlled.  It will not be brushed away.

For this path, I’ve been asked to walk it.  Knowing He only gives us what we can handle.

He must think a lot of me.

And the cry is, “God, my God…..why?  I wasn’t ready.  I needed more time.”

The flood pouring from my soul inexplicable.  All of it boiling down to TRUST:

Day 15 on Facebook:

Grief is indeed a strange animal. It’s back. It’s like my cat’s tail. Sometimes it’s calm and other times it whips violently. In these times gratefulness is something I cling to with my fingernails. My memories of mom are sweet but they have a bite at the moment. I miss her so much.

Tenderness – mom was tender. She was loving. Her touch was tender and filled with love. I’m learning that nothing can replace that touch. I am a better person because of it. I also know that I would have never been ready to lose my mom. Never.

And I have to trust Gods perfect timing and pray for the work he is doing because of her death. I trust.

So I cry out to God and He comforts and loves me.  And the sun shines in the next hour.

For He is good.

What a difference a month can make!


On January 4th of 2014, just about a month ago, we celebrated as the first grandchild in the family got married.  Nana and Grandbo (above) were hamming it up for my camera as I shot candids at the rehearsal the night before.  We spent Christmas at home in Florida and then packed up to spend almost a week in Burlington, NC with my family.  My mom and sister worked tirelessly as they prepared for the wedding.

Two weeks later I got a phone call that mom was in the ER.  She was sick and her tummy hurt badly.

The next day they performed emergency surgery to see why her white blood cell count was so high.

She never woke up.

My mom passed from this world into Eternity with our Lord on January 27, 2014.

One month and I no longer have my sweet mom here to talk to, call on the way to pick up my kids, or to whine to when mommy-hood gets the best of me.

The first week was spent with my family doing all the things one does in preparation for a funeral.

The second week I flew home to Florida.

What I did not know is that I was flying home to a black hole.  One that called to me from a place I’d never been – a place of deep, bottomless grief.

Losing my mom has been the hardest thing God has asked me to walk through thus far in my life.

My reflections on her have become different in the light of God’s goodness and love.  What I once thought of as weakness is now strength.  Silently she walked out Jesus before me.  Often I did not see.  She loved without words.  She loved by serving and doing and being the best mom ever.

How did I ever miss that?

But I did.  Sometimes it was just what moms do.  Other times it was what I had gotten accustomed to and took for granted.  I never want to take kindness for granted again.

I’ve decided to chronicle parts of her life in a small celebration on Facebook.  It’s allowed me to think and write just a little at a time.  I’ve not had the brain power for a full blog post.  I still don’t.  So here is a few FB posts for those of you who haven’t read them:

Monday marks the two week mark of mom going to live with Jesus. So I thought I would try to write something great about her for the next two weeks. Please join me in praising our moms! My Mom was the kindest woman I have ever known. She always put others first.
Day 2 -Today marks two weeks since mom died. Today I remember selflessness. Mom always took the time to play board games with my kids. Whether we were at the beach or visiting Burlington you’d find her taking the time to soak up her grandchildren. Mom, thank you for loving them!
Day 3 – I’ve thought about what to write about mom a lot today. No particular word has come to mind except the overwhelming feeling of LOVE she imparted in my life.Mom loved. She loved gently, silently at times. But always with the peacefulness and quietness of Christ. She was a behind the scenes kind of worker. This is seen in her dedication to the church’s Altar Guild. She got things ready for Sunday morning, only a few knew she did it. She went to the grocery store every Friday. She cooked for our birthdays. She sent cards. She bought me a Holly Hobbie doll figurine on my adopted birthday just because I wanted one. I miss you mom. You made my life better


Day 4 – I have missed mom a lot today. The weather is cold and the kids are home sick and I have wanted to pick up the phone and call her because it’s snowing in Burlington. There was a word on my heart this morning, but try as I may I can’t get it to come to mind again.
So today, I choose funny. My mom had the same quirky sense of humor that my grandmother (her mom) had. I remember at the beach this year that she put on a funny hat and walked into my sister’s room acting like a rapper. OMG did she make us laugh. I have the picture on my phone and everytime mom would call that photo would pop up and I would smile just remembering how funny she was. 
It was just like her to stick out her tongue and for dad to be looking away as I tried to capture a “sweet” shot of her at my niece’s wedding. But no, out came the tongue and dad looked away. OUTTAKE!  (photo above)
I miss your laugh mom. I miss your silliness and your smile. Danielle just said “I miss Nana greeting us at the door no matter what time we got to Burlington.” Thank you again for being such a special mom, grandmother and friend. We still really miss you Nana!!!
Day 5 or my Two Weeks of remembering my mom with thankfulness in my heart. No one can say it better than Kid President today. So go ahead, take a few minutes to laugh, cry and hug your mom! Loving you today mom.


Hug your mom today.  Or call her.  Or give her a kiss.  I was blessed with two moms.  One who gave me life and another who raised me.  Now I am without both.  I know there is a party going on in heaven, but one earth, this child’s heart breaks.

“Heaviness is not of My Kingdom”

“Heaviness is not of My kingdom.”

by Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (p. 9). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.


I read these words today and thought about how much heaviness I allow in my life.  Raising children is hard, teenagers even harder, releasing them into the world, trusting in the One who has given them to you for a time.  Even harder.

Life has been on superdrive for our family lately.  Activities and holiday trips, weddings, travel – it has all added up to be busy.  Good busy but busy nonetheless.  It’s been wonderful to see family and to celebrate a wedding in our midst.  I was honored and privileged to shoot my niece’s wedding.  It was an exciting day for me, as a photographer, and for her, as a new bride.  She was beautiful.  Light-hearted, in love, and kingdom-minded.

Jesse, the pastor who married them, has known my new nephew-in-law for many years.  It was an honor to watch him tear up as they read the vows they had written to one another.  I clicked away through tears, capturing moments that will last forever!


When does it enter our lives?  I believe it’s when I allow all that I’m dealing with to fall upon my shoulders and not the Lord’s.  I take up my mighty sack of stressors, problems and “big deals” and I tote them around wondering what to do about them all.  I pull one out every now and then and show it to someone.  We discuss it.  God shines.  Yes, I seek God’s wisdom in most of the issues, but do I lay them down at his feet and turn around and walk away, trusting Him to guide my mind, my path, my child?





Each of these words come to mind as I dwell on the word Heaviness..

“Heaviness is not of my kingdom.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  ROMANS 15:13

Somehow overflow and heaviness don’t fit together well.

I wish to choose the overflow, not the heaviness.  Will you join me?





Therapy Tuesday – San Marco, Florida

Today after dropping the kids off at school I needed to find something to do with myself for an hour or so before an appointment so I grabbed my camera as we headed out the door for school thinking I would go and explore San Marco a bit.  I have shot there a few times for clients but wanted to explore a little more.

I had no idea I was walking into a rest and a peace God had waiting for me.  There was something so serene about shooting for my own pleasure.  I think as photographers we sometimes forget how important that is.  I know I do.  We strive for the perfect shot, great composition and something that will please others.  But today it was all about me.

So here’s a trip to San Marco, Florida for you non-Floridians…

I love this house.   It has quite the story behind it as told to me by a neighbor today.  But seeing how I don’t know if it’s true, nor do I know who lives there, let’s leave it at VERY IN-TER-ES-TING!!! (insert Sesame Street Vampire voice)

Here is a close up.

Hmmmmm.  The texture!  I especially love the entryway.  This is one of the few houses that has fallen into disrepair.  Good bones though.  Good bones.  And from the front stoop you have this view-

Driving a few blocks down the street brought me to this beauty- (I love shooting here).

There is a well in the middle of the park across the street from this house with the most scrumptious brick sidewalk.  I’m still trying to decide if this is one last name or an initial and a last name –

Around the well I found a lone flower with it’s face raised towards Heaven.  Me and that flower, we were on the same page today!!

I drover further down the block, turned a corner and found this beauty.  I’m definitely knocking on this door for my next photo session.  I wanted to park the car and swing for a bit, but I settled on snapping a couple of shots instead.

I love everything about this house, especially the shutters.  LOVE!!!

San Marco is a wonderful place to dream –

And in doing so I discovered another well…..

Here is that same well from across the street –

I watched squirrels play and chase one another over acorns which are still green here!  EVERYTHING is green in Florida.  Can you find the squirrel?

I stopped for a bit of history…

And I found this sweet “fortress” for sale for a cool five million boasting 12,000 sq ft and 8 full baths!

Next was this sweet one car bridge over the canal.  I could just imagine the clomping of horses hooves as I walked across it…

This was my view from the bridge and between the concrete pillars.  While down on the ground trying to remain inconspicuous I found a bit of spanish moss beginning to grow.  It’s everywhere here, especially near the water.

Oh the colors!!!

I ended up here:

Which was really the oddest little spot.  One circle around this giant acorn (ICE AGE) and three parking spaces in a semi-cul-de-sac!  Yet, it is called Celebration Park.  Not quite a park.

However, this made me giggle.  I wish I had gotten the entire shark fin on top.  It was really cute and situated right by the river.

This was the sewer cover near the “park”.  Quite historical looking I thought.

As I looked out over the water I wondered what this woman was reading and what life is like living on the river.  A client told me that manatees often migrate through here.  I want to pet a manatee.  There is a serenity about San Marco because you can see the hustle and bustle of the city that is right across the bridge yet San Marco itself is remarkably quiet and quaint.

I loved all the textures and sounds.  I watched the mailman walking door to door delivering mail like we once had when we lived in Hopkinsville, KY.  I remember how I loved hearing the slot open and the mail drop onto the hardwood floors of our house.  I stood by one of the wells as grandparents left from visiting grandkids and listened as the recycle truck drove through dumping rectangular blue bins of paper and plastic.  I saw a man sitting on a bench.  I wanted to take his photo (like HONY – Facebook:  Humans of New York:  just a side note, if you do not follow them on Facebook it’s a FB must!  I think he’s my hero.  If you find his story and how HONY began it’s a good ‘un), but I digress.  I chickened out.  Several men were fishing.  The lady walking her dog told me about the first house you saw and it’s strange criminal history that made me want to knock on the door.  Maybe I will one of these days.

I got to experience life today just a little removed from it, as if I had taken one step back.  I observed other people’s lives in a remarkable hour of worship, thankfulness and quiet.  I had no idea my soul had been so restless until I felt the Hand of God usher me into this rest today.  I shot until my battery died.  No worries about smiles or closed eyes or blinks.  Just me, God and a cool Florida morning with shorts and a sweatshirt.

I was a happy and better person after being here today.

Thanks San Marco!  I will visit you again soon!




LaTasha’s LearningRx Story – Oct. 2nd 2013

Many who follow my blog know what a great impact LearningRx has had on our lives.  This evening I read the sweetest story from a mom I met at Jacksonville’s Magnet School Expo.  


Here are the words she pinned tonight on LearningRx’s Facebook page:

“No parent wants to admit that there child has a learning disability or may even know that is the main issue. However, I knew that I had to find some help for my son in order for him to be on the right track developmentally. In the beginning my family just assumed that I was not spending enough time teaching him, but I knew that it was more than just me not sitting down with him every night.


Here is where my story beginnings.  My older sister asked me to go to the yearly Magnet School Seminar for all the schools in Jacksonville, in which LearningRx was there. I truly believe that it was God who lead me to their booth and faith, that it was something out there that could help my son with the main issue and not just a temporary fix. While I was at the Seminar, I spoke with a parent that was a spokesperson for LearningRx and I was not sure if she would understand my struggle being that my son was held back twice and still was reading on a Kindergarten/1st grade level. However, she has 4 kids that had different issues, so I took some information home but I never called thinking that this was going to be some over priced place that was going to make all these promises but never give me any results.


But finally I went to get him tested and I sat down with Erin the director.  I finally understood what the real issue was by her explaining the way the brain works and what the test showed was the problem. I finally found out that my son had an auditory processing disorder and I researched that disorder and it describes my son perfectly.


My son started LearningRx in April 2013. He had a really bad attitude towards anything that had to do with school work, learning to read, sounding out words, he had very low self esteem because he thought that he was not smart. Now, he has done a complete 180, my son is now reading on his own and he has a passion for learning now. Everyday he has shown so much progress in school and out of school.

I am so thankful for God sending me to LearningRx and even though its a temporary sacrifice for right now it will be a long term benefit for my son’s future. If I could give anyone some advice it would be to at least go and see for yourself what Learning RX can do for your child because they have done wonders for mine.”


LaTasha, I so glad my story helped you in your journey to find LearningRx.  They have been a blessing in my life as well.  Thank you for sharing.  I remember meeting Latasha at Magnet Mania.  She was a mom determined to find answers for her son.  I applaud her sacrifice and courage.

To read more LearningRx reviews and stories from other parents visit:

Glimpses Towards Heaven

Glimpses towards Heaven


Every once in while God allows me to see into Heaven.  The moments take my breath away.



Blessings from Above

As I continue along the path God has set before me I am amazed at His perfect timing and will.  I’m never entirely certain I’m walking the path He has chosen for me, yet I find Him continually guiding, continually comforting, forever the voice from behind saying “this way”.

I have been so blessed lately to have been a part of a group of cheerleaders from a local private Christian school.  They have welcomed me like little birds seeing mom flying to the nest.  They are sweet.  They are kind.

Their spirits soar as do they.  I stand back in awe as I watch them.  I see God’s hand as he has woven my life with theirs intertwining a tapestry only He sees.

Thank you girls for welcoming me into your lives and into your school.  I love you all!

(Their precious leader with one of the cheerleaders)