He's home!! | A happy Lynchburg Photographer

Ahhhh... it is SO GREAT to finally have Tommy home again!! Just to have him near me has lifted my spirit a ton. (Whew, being alone is NO fun. Being alone while also being concerned about your husband's safety. Even less fun.) We are enjoying our time together and I'm trying to adjust to having a bit of a messy house again. Juuust kidding... ;) (Okay, I'm halfway serious... haha.) Today we are heading out to get him a haircut and some new clothes for a job interview on Monday! (If you would, please cross your fingers for us... this is the only one he applied for here in Lynchburg.) It's so great just to do normal things again with my amazing partner in life! BIG big thanks to my amazing sister who drove 2.5hrs to capture this whole process (prep and reunion) for us, and Sam Stroud of SSP for volunteering to also capture this awesome moment in our lives. The reunion actually happened at about 9:15pm and both of these photographers have a spouse and children at home. We are so grateful that they took time away from their families just to capture this moment. They are both awesome people that we are so grateful to have in our lives!

Okay I am going to wrap up a few things here and then take off for the day! Happy Friday, friends! The photos below are courtesy of the awesome Sam!

Happy 4th of July! | Operation: Love ReUnited

Happy 4th of July!

Today is one of my FAVORITE holidays... I love everything about today. The summer activities, the fireworks, the cheesy attire I can get away with wearing once a year, the hot dogs and picnic blankets and bluegrass concerts! (I know, that's random... but for some reason I hear more bluegrass music played on this holiday than any other.) My family and I celebrated the holiday yesterday at a local festival. I am getting ready to head out here in a bit to go enjoy a big family cook-out with my sister and her kiddos, also. So fun!

I just wanted to take a moment real quick and draw attention to an organization I am proud to be a part of. I have been a vounteer photographer for Operation: Love ReUnited for over a year now and it has been such an awesome experience. This organization brings together photographers who are willing to donate their time and talents to give back to the troops and their families. If you or someone you know has a loved one that is deployed (or is getting read to deploy), you may qualify for up to two free professional photo sessions! This is a great way for photographers everywhere to give back to those who sacrifice so much for us.

Check out my website here for more information, or click over to the OP: Love website to find a photographer near you!

If you are a photographer and you are interested in getting involved, click here for more information.

Yay! I am so proud to be an American! Happy 4th of July, ya'll!

p.s. I miss you, Tommy!

Happy Father's Day

As a child, I knew my dad was smart. In fact, he was so smart he was that nerd in high school. (We tease.)

I knew he had a good job.

I knew he loved me very much.

I knew he was kind.

I knew he would support me, no matter the direction I decided to take in life.

What I didn't know as a child was how much he had accomplished in his life.

I didn't know how proud I should be of who he is.

I didn't know that he would surprise me over and over with his loyalty and unconditional love.

I didn't know that we would be such good friends as I grew up.

Now.... now I know.

Now I know that his career is beyond impressive.

Now I know he is one of the most loyal and committed persons I have ever met.

Now I know the smile across his face when I am being my silly self is adoration of his grown child. And that he is proud of me.

Now I know that even though I have another man in my life, the relationship my dad and I have is irreplaceable.

I am so proud that he is my father.

I admire his hard work and loyalty towards life: career, family, and marriage.

I love him very much and I am grateful for the way he raised me: with unconditional love, support, and pride.

I love you, Papa.

Happy Father's Day.

remembering | Memorial Day Weekend

Today is Memorial Day. The last day of a 3-day weekend. The day that kicks off the summer season here in the United States. It is a happy, carefree day. But, it is not carefree for everyone. And that thought is exactly what has been on my heart recently.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have caught on that there was a bit of a scare last week regarding Tommy's deployment and his safety. Relief flooded my mind when I heard from him, but sorrow was soon to follow. One of the soldiers in his sister unit in Iraq was tragically killed while on a mission. While this does occasionally happen for units that are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is the first time that it has hit Tommy so close to home. Unfortunately, I have experienced the loss of a friend because of war and I hate that now Tommy has had a similar experience.

I wanted to take today to thank those who have sacrificed. Before this deployment I always thought that the sacrifice was safety. That they were risking their lives to fight for our country. And please do not mistake what I am saying, they absolutely are. But there is so much more that each of our service men and women sacrifice daily than just their safety. They sacrifice time with their babies, anniversary celebrations and long hugs during hard times. They temporarily do without the physical affection of their family and their favorite meals. They give up the comfort of a soft bed, clean sheets, and a comfortable temperature in the room. They deal with the longing of home on a daily basis. I know these are small things... but these things add up. Not to mention that some of them sacrifice their healthy mental state the day that they experience things they thought only happened in hell.

They sacrifice so much. And I was so naive before to think that they simply risked their lives... and when they returned home all was well again.

I say it again - please do not discount the sacrifice of safety. It is huge. It is life. But the sacrifice is so much more.

So today I want to say how much I appreciate our service men and women. I respect your service very much. I am grateful for each and every one of you.

And to our friends... Nick Mason... my cousin Chris Samson... and to the recently deceased MAJ Culver... I thank you. For sacrificing more than your life.

image credit: cwellsphotography

Gratituesday | Reconnection

Today I say goodbye to Tommy, again. On one hand, I sure appreciate that the Army gives these little breaks in the year. A 4-day pass here, 2-week R&R there... it's a nice way to break things up and to give us a little something to look forward to. At the same time, it sure is hard saying bye again. It is always the first few days after a goodbye that are the hardest , so this day is extremely bittersweet.

But, we've had a fantastic weekend together. We travel and experience new things very well together. When we're both living under the same roof and our priorities get skewed or we aren't connecting well, we take off for a weekend together and reconnect. It's something that works very well for us. And this weekend was no exception.

Todays' Gratituesday is simply a gratefulness for reconnection. It is refreshing, hopeful, and healing. This weekend was all of those things and exactly what we both needed. It has been heavenly.

So I'll leave it at that. I've got about 9 hours left with this man before he's off for 9 months. I gotta go soak it up!