Why?

Many times I have been asked what got me into taking pictures. Why do I love it so much and what is my motivation….yadayadayada! Well I always have a difficult time fitting it into a perfect answer. Not long ago I came up with it. It starts in the form of a picture.

This is a family I love with all my heart. Since we moved to Georgia in 2001 we have been extremely cared for by this family. Earlier, sometime in the spring, they asked me to take their family pictures. I was extremely excited, and of course I said yes. Then Carey Resnik got sick with cancer, and she told me that as soon as she got better I could take them. Shortly after Carey passed away somewhat unexpectedly. For many reasons our families hearts were broken. One thing I could not help but think is that I never got to take their family pictures. Well a couple weeks back we did get those shots, only it was missing something very important, Carey. Of course this close family carries her in spirit and you get the feeling that she is never far away.

As I was editing these pictures I began thinking, THIS is why I take pictures. So we remember. We are never promised tomorrow. Pictures (still or motion) are our connection to the past. They are our only source, besides our memory, of what was.  They give words a whole new meaning and they represent many things. Pictures are my way of holding on to the best times, and sometimes reflecting on some of the not so good times. Things change, people change, but pictures freeze the time so many of us hate to see pass by. I am sad that I never got to take Carey’s pictures, she was an amazing woman. I am however glad that I got to capture her spirit through the lives that she has touched.


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“I’m just so heart broken!”

There is this house. It lives on our street. In our almost 8 years of living here we have seen many families enter and leave for various reasons. Some are wonderful, others I have never met. A little over a year ago something wonderful happened for my son. BOYS moved in. Not just any boys, but boys that would play with him….and fight with him…and imagine with him. Not only were there boys, but also to my daughters delight there was a spunky girl, with charisma, AND the ability to sing all the Hannah Montana songs.

Throughout the year there have been many days when they would play at the house. Cobe was in heaven. Cayden thought she had arrived. They taught my kids many things, good and bad. Most importantly though, they taught my children about friendship. My kids even got to see these children every day at school. Many times they would walk my children to their class.

Today was a sad day. Anthony, Dylan, and Alexa said good-bye to the house that lives on our street. They said good bye to my children who love them dearly and as a mother I wish I could have magically waved some wand to make this day disappear. After hugging and saying their good-bye’s Cobe walked inside and was distraught. Tim ran him a warm bath and as I baked supper I listened to the sobs coming from the tub. Cayden was doing all she could to contain her composure. I found myself with tears as I cooked the broccoli thinking about how in many ways I could relate to their sadness. Memories of 5th grade rushed back as I remembered how I said good-bye to my best friend, Megan Bloch. We had her over for a slumber party and actually recorded ourselves crying to the trailer song for Mac and Me then we played back the recording and cried even harder. I also thought about losing my best friend in 6th grade to a complication to diabetes. That was real hard. I knew today my kids were feeling some of those sad emotions. The ones when you think that your heart cannot hurt any more and you wonder if your sadness will end. Even if they are just in Kindergarten and First grade, tonight their sadness is the worst they have ever felt.

When I brought dinner to Cayden I found her sobbing uncontrollably. I asked her what was wrong and she said “I’m just so heartbroken!” I looked down and saw that she had drawn a picture of her, Cobe, and the neighbor kids playing. On it was written “I love thim and I will miss thim” (not quite in order but still written).

I swept  Cayden in my arms and held her tight as tears rolled down my cheeks. Oh why do these little painful moments have to exist. Why as a mom can I not do something to make those little broken heart change. But I just have to hold them and let them cry. Love hurts and this is the many realities of life.

As I am writing now I hear cries coming from the bedroom as my kids try to fall asleep. I just went in there and told them they needed to try and stop crying and let their heart sleep tonight. Cayden said “But mom, my heart and my brain can’t stop thinking about Anthony, Alexa and Dylan”.

Tonight I am reminded once again of how short life is. There are many people that will enter our lives for just a short time, just as these neighbor kids have. We have to make the most of the time that we are given. I pray that in this short time Anthony, Dylan and Alexa saw love in us. I hope they felt cared for when they entered our home and I hope they felt safe. I want to always provide that to anyone who ever enters our home.

We sure are going to miss Anthony, Dylan and Alexa. Our house won’t be the same without them.

The ONE!

When I was a little girl, like many little girls, I watched all of the classic movies. My favorite was Cinderella. If there was a Cinderella version of a movie I watched it. The whole fairy Godmother thing and mice captured me and the mean stepsisters, at times I could really relate. The fact that something so beautiful could happen for this poor girl just made me wish for wonderful. Cinderella waited with grace and patience and got the best thing in the end. I  also could not help but wonder what my prince charming would be like. What kind of family would we have together? Would we really sit outside when we were old and rock on our chairs?

As time grew on and I became older, I started to wonder several questions. First of all, what was wrong with me? Then I wondered if my day would ever come, would my “prince ever come”. That was all in 6th grade. High School was worse. I did date some pretty decent guys…but high school was high school. Then when it couldn’t get any worse, college hit. My dating life was slim to say the least. It just was not happening for me. In my junior year of college I dated one of those guys who was “a toad”. You know the saying “Sometimes you have to kiss a few toads before you get the prince”. He was everything I would never want my daughter dating. But I thought this has to be it. I wasn’t happy, in fact I was quite blinded. I never knew the entire time we were dating that he was writing a love sonnet to another girl. Meanwhile I was just trying to make this relationship work and wondering what I was doing wrong. Knowing that relationships weren’t “perfect”, I thought well this has to be what it was about. I was wrong. During this time I met the middle school intern.

Because of some previous “blunders”, I was invited to move up from the 5th grade youth group to Power Source. Tim Grandstaff Sr. told my mom not to worry about the past, that they “like them that way” in his youth group. My previous 5th grade girls were also moving up to 6th grade, so we were all in it together. Now before our first Sunday I had heard many things about this intern. How cute, how hot, how amazing this intern was. All from the mouths of babes…sixth and seventh grade babes. Well, I will be honest with you, I was not impressed.  I don’t know to me this guy and his friends thought a little too much about themselves.

( The intern is in the white and navy shorts. His friends and him are all in Florida doing the cool thing.)

I am pretty sure the intern thought the same of me. There was not really any interaction besides the youth group gatherings and any time I had to ask questions. In the mean time the intern started dating a pretty blonde and I was in my loser relationship. Things seemed to be what they were.

Then I had a hope, a glimmer, a “realization” if you will. I hated the relationship I was in. I didn’t care what I did, it was not worth being stuck in a miserable relationship.  So we ended it. I cried…not tears of sadness, but tears of joy. At around the same time the intern ended his relationship with “the hot blonde he thought he was going to marry.”

Glad to be out of the relationship, I was really not looking for anything else. Then one day I was having a conversation with a friend in my red t-shirt and smokin’ hot overalls, and my penny loafers WITH the pennies in them, when the intern came out to talk. Maybe it was the way he smiled at me, maybe he smiled at me because of my overalls, but something in my heart twitched. My thoughts then quickly brought me back to reality. He wasn’t my type. He dressed with style. He actually spent way more time on his hair than me, and he was popular. But as content as I was, I was  entering my senior year in college and I was hoping to one day find my “prince”, not just any prince though, I wanted a Godly man, one who cared about the lives of others. One who cared about middle schoolers and high schoolers. One who wanted to make a difference in the world. I hate surprises, but God must have been smiling down with excitement for the one he had for me.

Due to the fact that my 6th grade sister loved the intern’s hot best friend. She naturally tried to hook us up. So in doing so, they invited us to a pizza night. I brought my sister and some friends. This is a picture that my friend took when the intern turned. It is a dumb picture, but I LOVE it because it is the only picture I have of  the night that the intern started to have feelings for me…and realized that his hang up “if I date her I will have to marry her and I am not sure I am ready” disappeared.

(Yes I am pretend grabbing the interns bottom, WHICH I would never have done at that point, which is why maybe we are laughing as hard as we are).

We went on our first official date on June 12th 1999. Shortly after we went on the middle school summer trip. It was here he told me he loved me and wanted to spend his life with me…doing ministry together.

Shortly after that on Halloween, my moment came, in more of a Cinderella way than I had expected. My intern dressed up like prince charming (we have a video), and I like Cinderella. My intern/prince arrived at my house in his white honda (carriages were too expensive) to pick me up. He carried a lovely little prop. A shoe. My size. That looked like a glass slipper. My intern/prince always did creative romantic things so when he asked to see if the shoe fit, I had no clue that also inside the pillow was a ring. That night my intern became my prince, telling me that since my shoe fit he had to keep me!!!!

On October 7, 2000 we said our vows.

And kissed alot….WOOOOHOOOO!

And then my prince took me to the greatest place on earth where the mother of all castles resides…Disney World. Well mostly a Disney Cruise. Where the waiter brought us out a cute but tasteless cake. Everything was wonderful and magical and everything is what I dreamed my story, my cinderella story to be.

Now I wish I could say we lived happily ever after, but no one is that lucky. We have had many ups and downs. Many successes and many failures, but I am so glad that I had that intern by my side. We still struggle through moments, but we are surrounding ourselves with people who help us make it. I want my son to model after his father in every way. I want a girl to be as lucky as I to have him. I pray that my daughter marries a man that loves her in the way that this amazing man has loved me. When I was little and I dreamed of my prince, I in no way thought I would be this lucky. I still sometimes cannot believe that God allowed me to have the best. Just like in the movies I got the best.

Tim Grandstaff. I love you with all my heart. I am so glad we are on this life journey together. I have no reason to fear or be worried with you in charge. You are my everything. You are more than I could have ever hoped for. You listen to God and you obey him and I know because of this we are safe and in amazing leadership. I love everything about you! I am so thankful you didn’t marry the “hot blonde”. I am so glad that you chose me as your partner in ministry. I am so glad that God chose you to be my ONE, my prince, my love. I love the ride that we are on and I want to rock in those chairs when we are old, even if it is a lockdown nursing home. I want to be yours forever!  Thank you!!!!!!

Your Cinderella (even if that is corny, I still feel it)

My daughter wrote me a note!

Cayden…

…wrote this note today to me, and I thought I would share it!

O gRL mom! ya Rock. you fel sPehoL to me.

love Cayden

For those of you who don’t know Kindergarten writing, here is what it said:

Oh girl mom! Ya Rock! You feel special to me.

Love Cayden

It is just a reminder to me on how much I love having a girl. Some one who can say Oh Girl mom! Cayden is a handful and she is VERY dramatic, BUT it is everything I dreamed of when wishing for a girl. 6 years ago on Tuesday we lost our baby, and 6 years ago at the end of the month we found out we were expecting one of the greatest joys we would ever hold. I laid in bed the night we found out that the baby growing inside me was a girl and held my stomach wishing so hard that she were there with me in my arms, in a dress, right then. When she was a week old I took her to church for the first time in a white dress, a bonnet and her finger nails and toe nails painted. I am constantly surprised by her fashion sense and I am in constant LOVE with my baby girl.