Friday, May 22, 2009

Priceless sacrifice....

Hot dogs, burgers, charcoal and the fixin's: $35.00
(If I DON'T go to the store hungry...)

One gallon of gas today as the "official" start
to the Memorial Day Weekend: $2.34

The freedom to enjoy the grill, drive our cars, worship as
we see fit and numerous other wonderful things
we get to do as Americans: PRICELESS.

My grandpa was a veteran of WWII. He landed on Normandy Beach as a medic. He saw things that were inhuman and unmentionable. He fought for his country and lived to tell about it. Only he didn't. And I understand why.

As a senior in high school I had a chance to sign up for the trip to France with my french class. We had NO money and there was no way I could go. At my grandparents house one day my grandpa wanted to see the itinerary when I told him they were going. He reviewed it, looked at me square in the eye for what seemed like eternity and said nothing. He then looked at my grandma and said "Write her a check." I was shocked....and so excited.

He said he'd pay for me to go on one condition. I had to take pictures of certain things. He wanted to see how those places had changed. The big one? Normandy Beach. He wanted to see it in peaceful times. Without the soldiers and the yuck.

So I went. A naive 18 year old kid without a clue in the world about what I was really seeing and what I was giving back to my grandpa. I took pictures as he asked. I was in awe of the cemetery at Normandy Beach and the thousands of white crosses all lined up in perfect order. I had no full understanding of what I was seeing.

My grandpa did.

He knew some of those buried soldiers, no doubt. He may have played cards with them or drank a beer or two with them. He may have laughed with them and no doubt cried with them. I will never know. He never said.

When I got home I showed him the pictures. I can still very clearly see him sitting in his beloved Lazyboy pouring over them. Without a sound he would flip the pages of the photo album. Once in a while he would look a little longer....pausing on something he saw. He never really said what he was thinking as he looked. But I could see the tears, ever so small, in his eyes. I could see the look on his face. He was remembering. He was reliving. And I truly believe that he was healing.

I was so lucky to have the experience of going to France for three weeks that summer. Until now, I never realized how lucky. I miss my grandpa very much. He was an ornery old coot but I loved him.

My grandpa was a soldier in the United States Army. My grandpa is my hero.

And you know what's funny? Mark was also in the United States Army. He was also a medic. I wonder how much influence my grandpa had on putting us together from heaven! :0) He would be so proud.

To all the soldiers who served in war time and in peace, THANK YOU. For all you've done, for all you're doing and all that you are going to do, THANK YOU.

(picture by Linda Garrison,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

They call me....Click.

Funny.....I have a new nick-name. Better than many of the other things I've been called in my life so I'll take it.

At a photo shoot this morning at The Pulse 99.5 radio station, I was taking pictures of my homeys from "Run For The Pines" doing a radio interview. As I was talking the pictures they were able to pick up the click of my shutter on the mics. Needless to say I stopped clicking and either took some shots from outside the studio window or waited until the end and did some posed shots. :0) So hence....the new nickname Click.

Here are some shots from the photo shoot. If you are interested in reading about the "Run For The Pines" check out their blog (you can donate if you want on the site as well). Good stuff right there.....just a few people running (314 miles in 5 days to be exact) to make a difference in the world. Can't beat that.

Mr. Brad Dains....he is always talking. :0)

Brad, Andrew and Justin....

Brad again....

Bernadette, the DJ....

Andrew from outside the studio window....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Laughter like this is all anyone should EVER do! OH, my side hurts......snort. :0)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mighty to save....

It's crazy how far one can come without really even noticing it on a day to day basis. It's the middle of May and while my journey to find the real me has been on going for several years, it really only kicked into high gear last fall.

A string of unfortunate, but most certainly God-inspired events started the ball rolling. At first that "ball" was chasing me. I didn't want to find ME....I was so much happier pretending. Eventually God, as He so elequently does, woke me up and I found myself exhausted by my constant running away. I was finally in agreement that it was time. Time to search, time to reveal and time to accept.

Yesterday at church was the first time that I TRULY realized how much I have changed. It was during the service that I finally see how far God has brought me. It's been a long, exhausting journey but I finally see the fruit of that labor.

I have a softer, gentler, kinder heart that used to be black and hard. With that I now have forgiveness in my heart that used to hold much bitterness and pain. I have new, brighter eyes with which to see the world....eyes that used to stare at the ground for fear that someone might see the real me. I am so very grateful for God's molding and shaping of my personality and my thoughts. He was mighty to save me and save me He did.

My very favorite verse of all time is Phillipians 4:13 ~ "I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME."

And I can.

Because He does.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Have you ever.....

....laughed so hard you thought you might wet your pants? Or laughed so hard your side hurt for HOURS? I LOVE laughing like that. Wish that happened more often. Seems, though, that laughter like that, the kind that starts in your toes and works it's way up to a full snort, happens more often than not these days around my family. Many, many reasons for it really. I just know that at the core of it is a wonderful, loving God who has blessed me in more ways than I can count.

This past weekend was no exception...beautiful weather, my most favoritist people in the world, a small bonfire and laughter. Can't beat it.

This is my dog buddy. I think he looks a little like a snob here, don't ya think?

Alli and Taylor....lovin' each other. Carli was gone with a friend and while we were waiting for her to come home I took some shots of these two.

The lilac bushes that literally stretch the entire length of two full sides of my property. They are beautiful and these pictures do them NO justice. I wish they would last a little longer than what feels like 2.6 seconds each year. The smell....incredible.

Mr. Ramsey. He was laughing as I took this picture and I KID YOU NOT as soon as he looked at me, he stopped. Not sure why he does that!

Being silly because I gave him a hard time for not smiling in the last picture....

Our small bonfire. I love me some bonfires.

Alli had my camera and she was being sooooo silly. She really does crack me up. Can you see how my side hurts? Makes me laugh just looking at these pictures!

Ms. Sarah....texting. I'm not sure how teenagers do it but they can text several people at once while appearing to be fully engaged in a conversation happening around them. It's sheer talent if you ask me.

Alli....also texting.

I love this kid. My first born. The very first LOVE OF MY LIFE.

Shortly after these pictures were taken, Carli got home and we had our very first "family talk". We announced.....


The girls were all very excited. Took Carli a few minutes....she was worried about having to wear a dress! :0) When she said that Mark told her, "Listen. I told your mom, 'If I don't have to wear a dress, Carli doesn't have to wear a dress'". To which Carli let out a big sigh and a large "WOOT, WOOT!". It was hysterical.

August 29th is the big day and I could NOT be happier. I DARED God....seriously double dog dared show me what a REAL man looked like. "Bring him to me, God. Put him directly in my path and I will do as you wish." careful what you ask for because God sure does listen. I have a feeling he LAUGHED hard at my dare. He knew what He had planned and I did not. He knew what was coming and I most certainly did not.

"Thank You, God, for Mark, Sarah and my girls. It will not be easy moving and combining households and learning to live together and love each other, but we will seek You first in all things. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You."

The sunset to end the day on Saturday. Alli took this picture. I think it turned out just fine....