Quiet Creek Herb Farm - Mini Session/ families

the owners at Quiet Creek Herb Farm, are as sweet and welcoming as their beautiful farm.  Claire & Rusty just allowed me to make myself at home on their beautiful property, and what a beautiful "picture" it all turned out to be.  

these are some highlights of the first batch of special families that i got to shoot at the farm. 

more to come:!


the snell kiddos

the anderson family


and the martinis...

losing my lady like stature.

flippin' and freakin' have been the most used words in my vocabulary lately.  

as my sisters were growing up, (and as i was  a teen), i always thought and taught.."speak as a lady would speak...think like a lady would think."

when an uproar of pain hits your life...

"lady" flies out the window.


life is hard.

loss sucks...i mean stinks....

living through aftermath is crap.  

i'm here. 

i know.

i feel you.

you, who have lost their husband with two young babies left to raise....

you, who are a grandma, who is my age, and is faced with many physical challenges to deal with...

me...with issues, i've left unsaid, only to deal and pray for in my heart...


wednesday morning, i started out on " a mission" to help my london, and her "team" raise money for their mission trip to jamaica through Won By One. 

we were immediately overwhelmed with donations, bags and tasks to go through and a deadline to meet.  

our family, and church family helped greatly. 

i learned a few things:

your heart comes out when you are stressed.

laughing helps everything. 

when jesus is in control, you cannot lose. 

planning, and diligence is a rare and gifted trait. 

children with loving, giving, willing spirits are a gift, only to be used in greater ways for years to come. 

from wed-sat....we were swamped.  
our mission team raised enough money for 3 trips...Thank You, to dubois donators, buyers, and to jesus!

but i also learned, AGAIN, that reward does not come easy. 

because of many reasons, my body, physically is in shambles. 

but i worked my tail off, wed - saturday at that sale, with 4 shoots (including a wedding) in between. 

my arms, wrists, hands, fingers, and feet are still swollen. 

the pain is unreal. 

and i am stil able work, to be dedicated to it, and to complete it. 

what did i learn?

when you believe in something...you do it. 

when you can, and the pain is there....you push through it. 

when you aren't strong enough, YES you are. 

and when hope seems lost, HOPE is still there. 

and lastly, when you feel alone, without a smile in sight, look to those around you.

those who love you unconditionally. 

through their love and life and faith in jesus, they will bring hope, laughter, endurance and will stick by you through and through for results...

to my "family"...

i love you. 

don't you stray far from me.  

i flippin' need and freaking love you all!!





love speaks silently...and smoked almonds leave oil stains...:)

totally...no disrespect....

i went on a brief shopping trip with my mom yesterday and bought the most mismatched, but most comfiest pair of pajama leggings and shirt that i could find.  

i needed to treat myself.  ( i understand how sad this sounds!)

i wore them today until about...ummm...3pm. 

i showered, went to my meeting and came home to put them directly back on. 

i've eaten a few small meals, but mostly snacks with them on. 

coffee...(that counts as meal a right?) and smoked almonds. 

i've slept (yes slept into well past 9:30 or wa sit 10:30???...i was up until 2am editing!)  i did  edited, had a meeting, and then had a a dinner of almonds -smoked.  

i just looked down...(to my every growing un-bra'ed chest) - sorry people...i'm raw. 

it looked like i was a nursing home patient in need of a bib!!!

what the wha wha????

again, no disrespect. 

i've just lived through loving and losing a man who lost his dignity to a degree...

but me? 

what is my excuse?






ok, yes all of them.   

my new mismatched jammies get thrown into the wash tomorrow.


but until then, my mind has been swirling. 

i'm not sure i have a lot to say, but i have alot that i have observed:


love speaks silently. 

not with looks touches or words...but with actions. 

actions and pre-meditated thoughts of covering your spouse with care and love, even right before your "i do's" are muttered.

love speaks with preserved intimacy. 

asking others to leave in last moments of life..to be alone with your love...your spouse...

looking intensely and searching into your mate's eyes for understanding and reassurance....in last  moments. 

not taking your last breath until it is best (because you love her and know what is best for her), until she has momentarily stepped away from your bedside....

committing two families to be one...forever...and trusting those you love most to fulfill those wishes. 

speaking i love you's and wisdom to those you love most...even when it is dang stinking hard...

so truth... does not be left unsaid. 

and neither does living again...after the viewing, burial and days to come after....

all of this is silent love.  silent, but STRONG, and truthful love. 

this kind of love, forgive me, SUCKS like H. E. double hockey sticks (as my beloved 7th & 8th grade history teacher, Mr. Kim Gallagher shared with us).

walking into a house without HIM there...makes me weep. 

thinking of how i loved him...makes me bawl.

seeing things that would have hurt his feelings or pride, makes me wince, try, and yes, again...cry.

but seeing my strong momma...

spending time with her, 

hearing her wisdom, 

sharing her pain, 

trying to work out these feelings..

working on solutions, 

introducing her back into LIFE, not caring for someone, except Jesus, to BRING life...

it is NEW...

a bit happy...

and yes, joy is found there - here.

my comfy pajama top, embarrassing, i'm still wearing,  is still not looking like ME.

but it will wash. 

my heart is still struggling, not feeling like me, but it will strengthen and grow...

and even in these worst of times, i feel strength and hope.

i KNOW, only given from my heavenly father...

yes, life will find New again..hope, joy, trust and love.

it's just a matter of hanging in there...


and trusting.

"But blessed is the man who trusts God, the woman who sticks with God. They're like trees planted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers - Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season. " _Jeremiah 17:7-8








the day after. loss..hope...living..thanks...

 today is the day they talk about.

the day after the friends come and pay their respects and the services are done. 

i've been in the prescence of heaven's gates opening for "a soldier coming home."

i've seen, watched and heard things that i wish i hadn't and they have changed me forever.

but again, it's ok.

my family has been poured into, prayed for, loved on, and has been blessed with an abundance that leaves us speechless (well, except me ::)

emotions, places, people, age, life experiences, and the fact that i have my mom's heart on my mind and in my heart...it is all different. 

but its ok today.

i've learned an abundance over the past few weeks.

today's the day that "normalcy" is supposed to begin...or at least try to. 

things won't be "normal" for a very long time.

and yes, that is ok too. 


there are so many things to share....

so many things i want to shout from the mountaintops...but then again, hold closely & privately to my heart...

in the raw, truthful, only way i know how to say it, i want to tell you this:

my stepdad bill, whom i was blessed to inherit as my own on may 23, 2008...he made an INCREDIBLE difference in this world. 

his faith, humble heart, wisdom, and unfailing love to those he loved (especially my mom), has left an everlasting, deep impression on not only my soul, but those who have known him.  

how BLESSED i am to have this heritage and legacy in my life...

bill and my mom built it with the most simple tool of all...faith in jesus.  

and now...thanks...

thank you friends.

who have loved us, emailed us, facebooked us :), texted us, hugged us, prayed for us, visited with us, and treated bill like a hometown hero. 

thank you specifically to dr. kruk and his pa, chelsea.  

although bill doctored for his cancer in pittsburgh, dr. kruk and chelsea were ON CALL, showing support, loyalty and an empathy that you crave in healthcare.  how appreciated these two people are!

thank you to home health.    specifically Kathy Graham.

kathy, you are loved and treasured by my mom and us. your support, friendship, care and protective care for bill has meant so much.  and thank you for being someone for my mom that was only a phone call away.  

thank you to dubois hospice.  

diane, debbie and michelle.  your on call support and care is GREATLY appreciated. 

thank you to jennifer jackson of Brady Street Florist.

we know that you went beyond and above for us.  the roses that adorned bill's casket, we had no idea that they would be so symbolic and would touch us so much.  they were MAGNIFICENT.  we appreciate you, your friendship, your expertise and talent. 

and thank you Baronick funeral home and crematorium, inc. 

jeff, you and frank - i have no words.  you came to transport our beloved bill, with a hug, and a beautiful quilt to cover him.  that alone was touching.  but the DOWN TO THE DETAIL service you provided for us, there are no words that could express our appreciation.  jeff, you were on our side, when we didn't realize we had a side.  what i mean, is that you would not settle for anything less than what out hearts needed and what was the absolute most organized, beautiful, and for lack of a better word - presentation, than we could have ever hoped for.  

to the city of Dubois, and 3rd ward hose house firefighters, and women's auxiliary...

i know that bill served with you and were friends of yours, but thank you for extending such kindness to our family.  the the firemen, thank you for your presentation and condolences.  your good-bye's and respects brought us to tears.    to the 3rd ward women's auxiliary, you touched my mom and us in your service, in ways that i may not ever be able to articulate.  you served our family, gave to us, cleaned up after our meal, and were so patient and kind....thank you thank you thank you...

to reverend dave naugle and pastor tim micheaux, 

thank you for your support, visits, friendship, support and prayers.  

and to my family and our beloved friends...

nays, bill, aunt michelle, uncle mike, aunt darla, mum mum...kim marie, kay kay...the extended swingle family, and to the betz, salvi, watt and ramsey families...thank you.

for your visits, love, food, prayers, visits, prayers, and more prayers. 

nays, bill and aunt michelle, thank you for sharing your talents and music so freely and beautifully.  you made a HUGE difference in our lives and in our goodbyes. 

a chapter has ended in a way...

but only in a way, that a new one has begun.  

never forget that our God is faithful.

and when you relive is lived dedicated to Him...

lessons and blessings are overflowing...

Philippians 3:7-14The Message (MSG)

7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.  

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.