Friday, September 26, 2008

When we are weak.....................

then He is strong!
This thought has been swimming around in my head for the past few days.

Death is hard.
Grief is hard.
Losing someone you love requires a supernatural amount of strength.
Dealing with this kind of sadness is just insurrmountable on our own.

As I have watched my mom these past few days,
I am amazed at her strength.
She is, of course, broken-hearted beyond words.
We cry a thousand tears together and weep over the loss of her beloved Paul.
But beneath those painful tears
is a strength that can only come from a God
who loves her so much and who promised to be her strength.
And He is!

God has been so faithful to surround my mom with so many
people who love her and care about her.
The outpouring of support has been overwhelming.
When I read through my comment section
I'm just floored that people we have never even met
have kept us in their thoughts and prayers during this time.

When we are weak, He is strong.
Isn't that such a comfort?
Knowing that we can crawl up in the lap of our heavenly Father
who knows the depth of our grief
brings such a peace.
When we cannot stand, He bears us in his arms.

Psalm 34:18 says.....
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
And he has been close.
We can feel his presence with us
through all of the tasks that need to be done after a death occurs.
He's going before us and making a way.

One of my favorite songs by Kirk Franklin
touches on this concept.
The entire song is not completely applicable, but the concept is.
"Hold Me Now" is an affirmation in song that
God knows our hurts and rushes to comfort us.
He loves us beyond measure!
The lyrics of that song are below.
"Hold Me Now"
The spring of April is gone
The leaves have all turned brown
The children have all grown up
And there's no one around
I'm looking over my life
and all the mistakes I made
And I'm afraid
Somebody told me that
You would wash all my sins
And cleanse me from the scars
that are so deep within
So I'm calling to You
If you can hear me
I don't know how
I was wondering
can you hold me now
You are the only one
that's patient when I fall
Your angels come to save me
every time I call
You don't laugh at me
when I make mistakes and cry
You're not like man
You understand me
See people change
one day They don't like you
the next they do
I wish that everyone
could love me just like You
So here I am this sinful man
peace won't allow
I was wondering can you hold me now
I was wondering can you hold me now
To every broken person that may hear this song
To every boy or girl that feels their smile is gone
I know exactly how it feels to lay in the bed at night
And cry
And cry
Don't you worry God is faithful and He cares
About the tears you drop
and the pain you feel
He's there
When you are weak that's when he's strong
Even though you don't know how
God can and he will hold you now
God can and he will hold you now
God can and he will hold you now
Don't you worry he can hold you now.
Turn my music player off so you can hear the song borrowed from youtube.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sending Reinforcements.....

My sweet, sweet husband
who called me as soon as he read my blog on Thursday
because he knew that I would be trying to make plans to get to my mom,
sounded so discouraged because he felt powerless
to be supportive during this time.
He discussed the situation with some of the guys he works with
and they advised him to route a leave chit
and request to fly home.
He thought it was a long shot, but on Friday he was approved for the flight home!
As I type this, he is in Guam awaiting a flight to Tokyo
and then another home.
He will arrive in Seattle at 9:30 am on Monday
and I will depart at 11:30 am on Monday.
We are praying that he can get through customs quickly enough
for us to grab 5 or 10 minutes together before my flight.
He will be home when the kids get home from school!!
Oh, I just can't imagine what a reunion that will be!!!
I've instructed Madison to take pictures of Bren getting off the bus
and seeing Daddy for the first time in 4 months!
David will be thrown right into our crazy schedule
with no buffer time.
He'll do wonderfully, I'm sure.
I wish I could see the look on his face
when he sees how much the kids have grown!
So many things are running through my mind....
Will Bren warm up to him immediately?
How will the relationship between him and the older kids be
after such a long separation?
Will he think I did a good job organizing everything from bills,
to the kids schedule, to the little changes I've made around the house?
Will he find his way around the area ok?
Above all,
my main thoughts are of complete gratitude
that I am able to go be with my mom
without worrying about how my kids will be cared for at home.
Today is his birthday!
I'm so happy that the kids will be able to celebrate it
with him tomorrow in person!!
I'm picking up a cake and balloons today!
Here is David ( and a monkey and a lemur) last week in Thailand.
That was the last port visit the Lincoln made
before starting on the journey back home to Everett.
I want to thank all of you
who have left such heart felt comments here
and have sent such touching e-mails.
I appreciate so much that there are people out there
with big hearts and giving spirits
that are thinking and praying about us.
Some of you I have never even met before, but I feel so supported by you.
Never underestimate the power of a kind word
or the lasting effects of one caring soul reaching out to another.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Absent from the body.....

Present with the Lord.

Surrounded by those who loved him,
Paul Mangione went to be with the Lord
at around 8:00 pm EST.

His smile will shine in the eyes of those who knew him
and his laughter will ring in our hearts.
My family and I will cherish the time we had with him,
will remember the lessons he taught us
and will be so thankful that we had the opportunity to know him.

Please continue to pray for my mother, Joyce.
She loved Paul with everything she had
and while she knows that Paul's work on this earth is done,
and she has faith in God to get her through this,
she still needs her heart filled with overwhelming peace,
lasting comfort
and supernatural grace
during this time.

My heart is heavy this morning......

Because my mom is hurting
and someone she loves very much is hurting.
Her husband Paul had a heart attack early this morning
and is now in the hospital in critical condition.

Paul brought new life into my mom's life
and showered her with a love rarely seen in today's world.

He's a gentle, kind man who loves his family very much.

If you pray,
please remember Paul and my mom
in your prayers for the next couple of days.
The next 48 hours are crucial for showing improvement.

Mom and Paul are christians and they know that God is in control.
They know that He gives and takes away life
and they know that He comforts those who need comforting
and wraps His arms around the grieving.
I wish I could be there in person to wrap my arms around them too.

Thank you for your prayers.

Check out number 18!!

That's my boy!!
Or as Zachary screamed from the stands during a particularly awesome play,
"That's my brother, baby!!"

Michael is starting defense this year for 8th grade football.
He LOVES it and is having so much fun being a part of the team.

Look at him about to wrap up number 37!

The Wildcats had their first game yesterday and won in overtime!

I just love watching him play!

We all do.

Zach, who is usually the one on the field
is video taping every game for David.

He got an awesome play on tape from a scrimmage the team did on Tuesday.
We are trying to figure out how to transfer the video onto the internet
so we can share it here.
I think we are missing a cord or something.
We'll figure it out, and then you'll all get to share in the excitement!

You go, Michael!!!

We are all so proud of you!!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Steal of a Deal!!!!

(Click on the above photo to see it larger.)
I just made this AD for Bren's school PTA handbook
and I thought I'd pass the offer on to my local blog readers.
If you are a military family and would like to schedule a session,
send me an e-mail for my special military family pricing.
I have some exciting seasonal mini-sessions coming up soon at great all inclusive prices!
Get those halloween costumes ready!
And congratulations to those of you who guessed
She is the fabulous designer of the
colorful sets featured below!
Go visit her site and treat a little girl in your life to a fun new outfit for Fall!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Need a Little Color in Your Life?

Well, you've come to the right place!!!

How's this for your dose of completely adorable today?

We did this shoot for a dear friend this afternoon.
She's just putting together her Fall line
so I wont tell you who she is yet until she gets the whole line up on her site!
Let this serve as a "sneak peek teaser "
for what I'm sure will be a fabulous showing!

I'll be back soon to announce the mystery designer!

I love this shot!
It's so kitschy and cute!
I'm thinking of enlarging it and putting it in Bren's bedroom.

This pose was Madison's idea who tagged along (reluctantly) on this shoot,
but who ended up having some really great ideas!

Another fave!

The "glasses" are Madison's.
Go on, admit it!
If you were a child of the 80's
you probably had a pair of glasses with plain plastic or glass lenses
that served no purpose whatsoever except to make you look
"like totally Gnarly, dude!" right?
Well, I sure did....fashionista that I am!
For a while there, I never went anywhere without them
or my swatch watch, of course!
I wish I could dig up an old photo of me wearing them.
I might work on that this week!

See, they even make five year olds look like
"totally tubular, for sure!"

Getting any hints of who this totally rad designer is?

Leave a guess in my comment box and
check back soon to see if you are right!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Feeling the love...........

A dear friend of mine, Lisa of the little things, sent me this last week.
The idea is that if you receive this you are admired
and should find other blogs that you admire to give it to.
I've not had much time lately to visit some of my favorite blogs, but I will list a few here that are such good reads that I cannot pass up the chance for you to read them too!
I met Kelly through Beth Moore's blog.
Actually I found her blog though Beth Moore's comment section and enjoyed it so much that I left a comment.
She then visited my blog and left a comment.
And it's just gone on from there.
I love Kelly's writing style and her outlook on life
and I think if we ever met in person, we'd be great friends.
Second is Big Mama.
Same thing here. I found her through Beth Moore's blog.
I love her sense of humor and all of the cute stories about her daily life.
Third is Boo Mama.
This is the blog that inspired me to join in
for the American Idol live blogging that I did last season.
Her blog is hilarious too, so go read a bit if you get a chance.
Forth is Pioneer Woman.
This wildly popular blog is so full of stories, photographs,
recipes and contest that you could lose yourself for weeks!
You must read her love story called High Heels to Tractor Wheels!
I found her when I was in bed for 2 months after my ankle injury.
Her humor and stories kept me occupied when HGTV
just didn't do it for me anymore.
Fifth is Portabellopixie.
Sandy's entire blog is eye candy!
Just clicking on her link and seeing the gorgeous color she uses
makes me happy!
She is mega talented and has designed her own fabric line
carried by Michael Miller.
Not only is she super creative in all things fabric,
but she's a very sweet gal!
I'm so blessed to have such talented friends!
Sixth is Pear Blossom.
If I had to pick a photography mentor, it would be Shannon.
I absolutely love her style and creativity!
Some day I would love to be as good behind the camera as she is!
Check out the stuff she did for Matilda Jane.
It's amazing!
There are lots and lots of other blogs that I check in on,
but if I listed them all you'd be clicking links for days.
There is just so much talent out there!!
And while we are talking about feeling the love.........

This is my son Zach. He's almost 17.
He's awesome,
challenging, frustrating,
fun, hilarious,
talented, lazy,
motivated, conflicted,
confident, head-strong,
loving, athletic,
quirky, refreshing,
mind boggling, smart,
manipulative, selfish,
strong, needy,
giving, sweet,
harsh, proud,
insecure, loyal,
enthusiastic, opinionated
so many other adjectives that describe boys on the verge of becoming men
and kinda in limbo between the two.
He's all those things and more,
but he's definitely not one to tell me what he really feels about me as a mom,
unless it's that I am totally out of touch with reality and have no understanding of what it's like to be a teen and certainly don't have any good advice that he needs to hear!
Completely normal teen age behavior.

But this morning, I got a glimpse into what he might really think.
He had to write a short description of his family members for one of his teachers.
Here's what he said about me:
My mom is a professional photographer.
She loves to take pictures and edit them.
She is a life long soccer-mom
and she never misses a game.
She is 38.
It may not be moonlight and roses, but let me tell you why this was important to me.
I was driving to Michael's practice on Wednesday like a mad woman.
I certainly don't have to, but I go to all of his practices.
I bring my folding chair and a water bottle out there and enjoy every second of it.
Mondays and Wednesdays are particularly crazy though because we are so pressed for time.
Bren gets off the bus at 3:45.
We jump right in the van and drive to the middle school to watch Michael's practice
which ends at 5:00.
We get home by 5:30 and I throw dinner together
and jump back in the van to go to Bren's soccer practice
which starts at 6:30.
We get home by 8:00 and I rush to get Bren bathed and settled into bed by 8:45.
While I was driving to practice this past Wednesday,
I was thinking about how crazy things are during this time in our lives.
It's especially challenging while David is deployed because I'm it.
There isn't anyone else to help ease the pressure of our schedule.
Those thoughts quickly turned to thoughts of pure thankfulness that I get to do this!
It's an awesome priviledge to have the flexibility
and desire to be able to be there physically for my kids.
When I see Michael make a play at practice and look over to see if I saw it,
it just melts my heart
and it makes me so thankful that I am there
and that I get to give him a thumbs up to let him know that I think he's the best!
All too soon there will be no more practices and no more games to cheer for.
I keep this crazy schedule because I love my kids.
I run around like crazy during sports season because I want to be there for them.
I wouldn't dream of having it any other way.
So, the fact that Zach,
who has also been the one playing the sport with me on the sideline in the past,
notices that I don't miss a game (or practice),
means so much to me.
In my heart I read it as:

My mom is a professional photographer.
She loves to take pictures and edit them.
She is a life long soccer-mom
and I know that she loves me because she is there for me,
She sees my successes and cheers
She sees my failures and comforts me
She takes pride and joy in watching me do what I love.
She never misses a game.
She is 38.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails....

Ah, little boys!

Tiny, precious, little newborn boys.

Life holds no sweeter treasure than

the tiny folds of a newborn ear,
or the plump little toes of newborn feet!

I had the pleasure of photographing
Baby J yesterday at his home.

His Daddy serves onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln
along with my husband David.

He is such a sweet little guy.
Patient through an hour and a half long session and very easily soothed.

Mommy and Daddy are truely blessed!
Thank you for letting me capture these precious but fleeting moments!