Sunday, August 30, 2009

catching up with some cuties

i'm sure you all know maddie and marley by now (of letter fame) and today, i got do a photo shoot with the girls and their buddies colin and drew. it's late and i'm sure i could add lots of cute captions, but honestly--i'm a little tired and i think some of the photos speak for themselves.

(i will add here--i love this photo, including the fact that it looks like she's ALMOST picking her nose. but not quite!)

(ahh--a good shot of drew. he was tough to please but we finally got some great smiles with one of my dollar tree playground balls. it's a good thing i work out of my car :) )
(serious look for colin. and i love it.)
(so sweet...)

alright, it's time for bed. more editing to do tomorrow, but i figure this is a good start!

Friday, August 28, 2009

on a lighter note...

i want to thank everyone for their kind words about the last few posts--i'm simply happy to be able to share my pictures and thoughts with those who weren't able to attend the service or who don't know the jones family. images are powerful to me--they have always invoked emotions, brought up memories, captured those moments for others to see and experience. the images from yesterday--they're incredibly powerful and it hurt to take some of them. i had to compose myself a couple of times to keep from shaking the telephoto lens (i was a good 30-40 feet back from tent when i took the majority of those pictures as to not intrude.) but again, i appreciate the comments, the prayers for the jones family, the amazing support of our church family and our brothers and sisters in Christ who have reached out to this family.

so, on a lighter note, there has been other stuff going on that i thought i could share. it's a bit of a hodge-podge, but you're used to those posts by now, right?

i lost my keys twice last week. each time with about 15 minutes spent looking for them. i decided that i needed to bigger keychain, and found this one at kitty hawk kites when i was down at the beach last weekend.

it is quite large, quite "me" and i love the message. live simply. and don't lose your keys, cause now you have this big 'ol keychain attached to it.

on sunday evening, we had a banner painting party to promote a new activity our small-group is heading up. it will be called "sunday on the lawn" and we want people from the community to come hang out, play kickball or frisbee and be able to socialize without the pressure of a "church" activity. i got nominated to take care of the banner painting/design, and the girls stayed inside to paint while the guys ransacked the storage building and then stuck posts in the ground for the banners. we got done a little early and one of the girls decided to do some cleaning in the kitchen (note--i did not propose this idea. i was still painting. obviously.)
she pulled out one of the bottom drawers in the fridge and found this goopy, syrupy brown substance that smelled funny and stuck to everything. needless to say, it took us a while to clean that fridge. we also disposed of condiments and containers with dates ranging from 2 years past date to six years past date--yes, six years! and when all was said and done, we ironically read the sign on the front of the fridge that said, "please label personal items. refridgerator will be cleaned periodically and all past-date items will be thrown out."

monday was justin's birthday, and we had a great dinner at home and then went over to his mom's house for dessert. she had baked gingerbread, but got cupcakes as well, so he had candles to blow out all over the place!
and on tuesday, i had the great mud encounter of '09. the yard behind us for the house that is still being constructed had turned into a big mud puddle with rain from the weekend. on tuesday, as i walked pepper out back, she was exploring and i thought it had firmed up enough to walk on. FAIL.
my feet sunk down several inches and i completely lost my rainbows in the mud and had to fish them out. then i had to wash off all of the mud and clay that had caked on them and leave them outside to dry. not pretty, but they have survived.

and finally, robin has given me another great cut and color. a little darker than what i've had this summer, but i love it for the fall. and we added some bangs and some more layers. i've been really happy with it and have an easy time styling it in the morning.
and now begins a kinda crazy weekend as justin heads to the beach with his family from west virginia, i make a quick trip to fayetteville to celebrate my mom's birthday, and i get used to flying solo all next week. so if you've been wanting to get together--call me! we'll make plans :)

alright, i hear some pre-packing laundry calling me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

a celebration of life

ayden's story has touched so many people and continues to reach to those around us. there have been numerous "small world after all" moments where i've realized that my friends in different groups knew ayden's parents, were involved on tuesday, or have a tie to them in one way or another. and then there are those who have no connection and have never met them, but have been deep in prayer for them this week.

tonight, we celebrated his brief, but amazing life. we figured there were over 550 people who showed up to support their family, with standing groups in the back and along the side.
one of the coolest things was having jeremy's football teams--both current and past--in their jerseys, lining the room.

and again, i'm so glad we took family pictures a couple of months ago, but i hate that my pictures have to be used this way. similar to the photos used at gabe's funeral--it's bittersweet.

jeremy and lindsey both got up to speak, and each had their own message to give--reading from their journal to ayden, a passage from tony dungee's book, and sharing their hope for how ayden's life will be glorified--by bringing those who hear his story closer to Christ and strengthening their family relationships.
when jeremy spoke, he said that if even one person comes to Christ because of ayden, then his son's death will not be in vain and they might start to understand the "why"s. jeremy and lindsey will see him again one day, because they know where they're going. but they want to share that hope and that security with those around them.
they are such amazing examples of strength and faith, even though they are also quite honest that they are broken, empty and simply taking it one day at a time.

at the end, the men's group at our church, "band of brothers," came up and surrounded the family for the final prayer.
amanda made sure i captured the football teams joining in on the prayer as well.

i just love this--the connectedness, the brotherhood.
following the service, i offered to go with the family to the graveside service to take pictures. they agreed that it would be good to have the pictures some day in the future, and i was just glad to be able to capture a few of those moments for the family.
the floral arrangement were beautiful--they also have had donations made to a scholarship fund that will be created in his name.

these were some of the hardest pictures for me to take--and there are more that i just don't feel comfortable sharing. too personal, too... too much. too much. they'll be lindsey and jeremy's to share if they want to.
and now the day is coming to a close. tomorrow is another day--and i'm thankful for that day. i'm thankful for my amazing church family, for the faith i have to hold on, and the knowledge that we'll get to see ayden again...


this world is not my home...

this world is not my home, i'm just passing through
my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
the angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
and i can't feel at home in this world anymore

o Lord you know i have no friend like you
if Heaven's not my home then Lord what will i do?
the angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
and i can't feel at home in this world anymore

just up in glory land we'll live eternally
the saints on every hand are shouting victory
their song of sweetest praise drifts back from Heaven's shore
and i can't feel at home in this world anymore

this world is NOT our home.

but in His arms, we will find rest. peace. love. everlasting life.

welcome home, ayden.

welcome home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


it's not often that i don't have words, but i honestly don't this time.

my friends jeremy and lindsey rushed their son, ayden, to the hospital this morning. he apparently rolled on his stomach (while he was sleeping, we think) and stopped breathing. and this morning, Jesus called ayden home.

so many of us that are close to jeremy and lindsey are stunned. speechless. not sure what do to help. we're reminded that everything will fall into place in due time, and as a loving community of Christian believers, we will help one another through whatever life holds.

please pray for this young family. pray that they find strength and peace in this incredibly devastating situation. lift them up as they return to their home, their jobs, their family and friends.

lindsey has a blog where she's been writing since her pregnancy. if you feel so inclined, leave her love. i know many of you who follow my blog have lost children, loved ones or miscarried--and understand where they are right now.

and above all, let us pray that the wisdom of our God who knows and sees immeasurably more than we can even hope to comprehend--shows us His eternal plan.

Monday, August 24, 2009

i heart faces: nostalgia

every day, we're asked to be mature.

grow up.

put your big girl panties on and deal with it.

suck it up.

roll with the punches.

go with the flow.

move on.

but every now and then...

wouldn't it feel good?

wouldn't it be cathartic?

to just have a big ol' crying fit like we used to?

now that's nostalgia :)

check out other nostalgic entries over at i heart faces this week!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

a few beach pics--

on saturday morning, after we all got up and had breakfast, we trekked outside to check out the waves. i just had to take some pictures, though they don't do the waves justice.

for that matter, neither does this video.

but the waves were huge. and i can imagine that the storm front that came through later on made them just as intimidating. needless to say, i was okay with coming back home around lunchtime.

not before i did one of my favorite beach activities, though.

and here's where some people might think it's weird, and some people may wholeheartedly agreed.

i LOVE the enclosed outdoor showers at beach houses.

love 'em. always have. i told lynn, it might be because when we were kids, we'd have a kiddie pool on the back deck that would turn into a bathtub in the evenings. just made sense :)

at any rate, i'm not sure exactly what it is, but if i'm staying at a beach house that has an enclosed outdoor shower with both hot and cold water, i will set up my shampoo and conditioner down there for the week, cause that's where i take my showers. there is just something so invigorating, refreshing, relaxing, just plain 'ol different--but the fresh air and still being able to hear the waves while i'm showering is just a quintessential beach experience for me.

so i had my shower in the outdoor enclosed shower, stopped by kitty hawk kites for a little browsing, and then determined that with the beach out, i would have to spend money to entertain myself and i might as well head on back home. (we just spent an unplanned amount on replacing my radiator on friday morning, for those of you who don't follow me on facebook.)

besides, i had a husband and three animals eagerly waiting back at home. last night, we went ahead and celebrated justin's birthday a little early. we went out for a nice dinner at rucker john's, did some shopping for random necessities, and then came back to the house to enjoy cheesecake and a movie.

(his birthday is officially on monday, so feel free to wish him happy birthday tomorrow!)

finally, an update on the cat litter situation. (i know, just what you wanted to hear about, right?)

so we put another litter box in the middle of the game room, right on top of the spot where grace appears to be going. this one is a plain jane litter box--no cover, no hood, just your ordinary litter box. that way, if it's the smell that's bothering her (as some friends have suggested), it's not as intense. one of them had used it last night, so i thought maybe we had solved the problem. but i just got home and found that our problem is not we're going to continue trying some options. i'm just not sure what else to do. they have three litter boxes, all with clean fresh litter in them--and this new stuff is so much better! but i guess i can't exactly explain that to them, so if it really is just a reaction to the change...i'm not sure if i should wait it out and just continue cleaning up after them, or cave in and put out a litter box with the old type of litter in it. anyone had issues with switching litter like this before?

alright, i've got a couple more hours before i return to church (just had a long youth planning meeting--but man, i'm fired up about the coming year! it's going to be an awesome program) so i should be productive :) later, y'all!

(p.s. this is one of the blogs that i follow that was also in the OBX yesterday and got better pictures of the waves. wow!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

a little jaunt to the beach

a trip to the beach is a common occurrence for me, whether it be for the weekend, a short overnight trip or the day. so when lynn and david's family invited me to the beach to take pictures--AND offered to host me overnight, how could i refuse?

plus, as soon as i pulled up, i knew i'd feel right at home :)

i don't often spend time on the outer banks this far north. "my beaches" are the southern outer banks, or the crystal coast. we don't face the ocean right on--we're sorta tucked away at an angle. these beaches--well, this is the real ocean. more accurately, the real ocean with a category four hurricane churning away somewhere off shore.
i'd never seen the waves that big before! definitely intimidating--and i assured my mother that i had no plans of going into the ocean this time. didn't even pack my swimsuit.

so after a delicious dinner, we all packed up and headed to coquina beach, just a little ways down the cape hatteras national seashore. this beach attracted surfers, boogie boarders and a wide range of professional and amateur photographers with their subjects. we saw one couple posing in their wedding attire (after which lynn promised me a "trash the dress" session one day--hold her to it!) and many many families. i had a blast with my group--and i think we ended up with some fabulous photos.

lynn has two younger brothers, and they LOVE to pick on her!

we also did several poses with lynn, david and joshua. josh was cooperative most of the time, and we did get some adorable shots of him!

(this is one of my faves. pioneer woman's b&w action--so perfect for this.)
joshua is growing right up--his big trick this weekend was learning he could push up on his feet and have others help him "stand."
both of lynn's younger brothers, matthew and robert, had their lovely wives there, too.
and of course, lynn and david know how to work the camera for me :)

the surf provided a beautiful backdrop and a great conclusion to their week together at the beach...
here's to the end of this summer vacation, and many more to come...

tonight, after we got back from the photos and a must-have stop at dairy queen for blizzards (we worked hard, ya know?) the guys built a fire out on the beach and everyone trickled out of the house to roast marshmallows and look at the stars. with the storm brewing out in the ocean, there was this amazingly cool breeze coming across the sea that was easily 50 or 60 degrees--so different from the humidity and warmth we'd experienced all day.

we had a great time sitting by the fire, watching meteors fall (which lynn and i thought was a flare--we were concerned about possible stranded boaters where we could be their only hope! then lynn's dad told us it was a meteor and that was even cooler) and chatting in the surprisingly chilly evening air. what a perfect way to end the day...

speaking of which, time for bed :) night, y'all!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

quick notes:

these two are such mortal enemies that sometimes it's funny to see them cooperate with--or really, just tolerate--one another long enough to enjoy a common love.

like looking out the window. 10 months ago, i would have never believed this could happen.

(milo's ears are flattened back because he was slightly perturbed with her. as always.)

and we've had a baby in the office this week before school/daycares officially start up. and i LOVE it. we all help out, passing her around and getting our baby fix in when we can. here i am, trying out the flat belly hold on miss marley. she wasn't so sure about it at first...
but then she thought it was pretty cool.
i'm super excited to have a photo shoot planned with her and big sister maddie in a couple of weeks!

and even more excited to be joining joshua and the rest of the white/hand clan for a beach shoot on friday--as long as bill doesn't disrupt our plans. i've only done a couple of beach shoots, but i've learned a lot since then and i also have some fun couples poses i want to try. and this is one family that will go along with whatever, so i plan to get creative with them and have a good time! can't wait to share those with y'all this weekend :)

finally, a few more of silas from yesterday, in case you didn't click through to flickr. don't these just scream "summertime" to you?such an adorable little guy!

and certainly ALL BOY! (this one made me laugh! i don't think he was doing it on purpose, but lindsey and i were snickering from our vantage point...)
alright, that's it for now. off to take a nice walk with pepper-dog :)