Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Littlest Soldiers

I couldn't help but take a few pictures of the littlest soldiers. They were there for hours waiting patiently. They ran around, played and had fun. I didn't hear too many meltdowns. It's like they all "knew", even the littlest one's that were too little to know. These pictures did.me.in. The one's left at home, keeping the home fires burning, praying for the safe return of their mommy or daddy.

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Knowing how much my boys enjoy fishing with their daddy made me want to cry when I saw this sign! I sure hope they get plenty of fishing done in the next few months!

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"Daddy's home and he'll fix all boo boo's"

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Not the greatest picture because I was across the hanger, but it got me. I could see those hands patiently (and probably not so patiently) praying each night for daddy to return home safely.

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Is there anything sweeter? I can sleep now, daddy's home.

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Holy moly. This one did it for me. Those big, brown eyes, safe in daddy's arms.

There were 3 planes this week with almost 600 coming home...that's a lot of fishing dates, tea party dates, and date dates to catch up on! Welcome Home Soldiers!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thankful pt 2 l OpLove ReUnited

My second homecoming was the homecoming that almost didn't happen. They request that family/friends be there 2 hours early. I'm sure this is because the flight could be early or late. The 1st one was about 30 minutes late and I was there 2 hours early with no problems. The 2nd one was on the day before Thanksgiving. It was a sunny, beautiful (but cold) day. As I was getting on the highway and about 40 minutes from arrival, I saw a highway sign that said the highway was closed at exit 18...I have to go to exit 1. This is not looking good...on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, with a lot of people traveling.

I had an alternate exit in mind and got as far as exit 24 before we came to a grinding halt. Now, due to my 2 hour early window, I had plenty of time...or so I thought. An hour of sitting in traffic on the detoured route and I decided we had to find a way around or we would not make it. We were still 15+ miles away and had an hour and 20 minutes before the scheduled arrival. I still had to get to the base, stop for a pass and make my way to the shuttle area. This was not looking good.

Thank heavens for smartphones and accurate maps. After 15 minutes of winding my way through backroads, we landed back at exit 18. Either traffic was now getting through slowly or people were turning around, but there wasn't much traffic coming from the direction of where the highway was closed. We hopped on the highway and put the pedal to the metal. After all was said and done, we made it 20 minutes before the "scheduled" arrival, which ended up being 20 minutes late. Too close for comfort.

This arrival was in the dark, so unfortunately the arrival pictures are just too dark. The excitement bursting...

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One of my favorite pictures...anticipation

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Sometimes, there are just no words...

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He's been gone 17 months...they've been married 8 months...this homecoming was a long time coming!

Welcome Home Soldiers! I have 1 more scheduled before Christmas. I am blessed to be a part of this organization.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thankful pt 1 l OpLove ReUnited

Thanksgiving week was super crazy this year. This was the first year we didn't spend with family. I missed our annual black Friday crazy shopping with my mom, but it was ok. I have A LOT to be thankful for.

First off, I am thankful for a loving and supportive husband, that puts up with me and my craziness. I am thankful that he served our country and that he got out before we were married. I had 2 OpLove homecomings Thanksgiving week. 2 different ladies waiting patiently for their Soldiers to come home from a war-torn part of the world. Many months of separation, nights of sleepless worry and they were finally coming home.

Homecoming #1 was on Monday and turned out to be a snowy return. Beautiful and cold. Laughter calms the nerves of the late flight.

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Welcoming committee

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Welcome home!

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Unshed tears

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Takes my breath away every time

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The End

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fall 2013

Fall is quickly leaving us. We've had amazingly beautiful colors and I will be sad to see it go.

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Someday I hope to be lucky enough to have a driveway like this one! So beautiful any time of the year, but more so in the fall!

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I just love the barn!

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Way in the distance, you can see the deer crossing sign...perfectly placed!

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Just beautiful!

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Friday, November 8, 2013


It was supposed to be a simple family shoot. And as we began, I remembered what it was like to have an 18 month old...that would not cooperate for pictures. :) Any other time and they are a ham for a camera...now that we're "officially" doing pictures, all bets are off! What was my first clue you ask?...

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And it continued from here. But all in all, as quick as it was, we did get some good shots.

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Because how can you not with smiles like this?!

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And because I love a good black and white...

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All she wanted was a picture with her dolls...and how can you say no?! (I just love her boots with the plaid shirt!)

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Love it as a black and white!

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And not to be forgotten was this beauty! She stood still for a couple cute ones.

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We did finally grab a few family shots also...

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Because sometimes words can say it all!

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I just love her expression!

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As quick as it was, I think we took some good memories!

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And just because I can, I flipped it for a different (but same) view. :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013


There is a little redded boy that we've nicknamed "Firecracker"...he wears most of us out within an hour. He's like the little energizer bunny. The first time I actually met him, his daddy was walking him into church and I noticed he was holding his hand rather tightly. He said to him "if I let your hand go, will you run?" I will never forget his answer..."yes"...a ball of energy, but completely honest in his answer. I laughed and laughed and laughed.

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I took this a few weeks ago at a football game. He stood still for a microsecond and gave me a precious smile. He still wears me out though! ;)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Food Drive fall 2013

We had our fall 2nd Harvest food drop this past weekend. What a beautiful day to bless some needy people. This was our 5th drop that we've participated in and it is an awesome mission. The amount of people that volunteered was a blessing. The amount of food that was delivered...staggering. I had never seen that much food at a drop before. None of us had. It was awesome.

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It was a FULL semi!

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They started the line early...that is heartbreaking...and yet they received so many blessings that day.

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Our youth worked hand in hand with the high schools Interact club. We had 50# bags of carrots that had to be rebagged into smaller portions.

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Food box table. Sliding the boxes down the line for deliver to the vehicles at the end.

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Carrots and cabbages galore!

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Everything on this side was "extra". It was not on the shipping manifest. This would be stuff donated from grocery stores and bakeries. The amount was staggering. We had a pallet of grapes. Beautiful, tasty grapes. A pallet of roma tomatoes. A pallet of mangos. It was such a blessing to give everyone so much food. The boys that were loading would do something special also. When a car had a small child, they would pull something special to give to just them. Whether it be a princess cake or cupcakes, they would find something just for that child. It just warmed my heart at their thoughtfulness.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fall and football

Fall and football go hand in hand. I was asked to come take a few pictures of a friends boy as he played. Since I had not been to a youth game, I thought why not. Boy did I get some good action shots. Something she'll treasure forever, I'm sure.

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I hope it's something they all remember...especially after hearing one state just banned hand shaking after all sports because too many fights were breaking out. That breaks my heart.

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Worn out after running for a touchdown!

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His brother is one of the coaches.

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I really like how this turned out. I know she does too.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I've been working at getting our new church directory done. (LOTS of fun...not!) We had a few that could not make it for the scheduled picture appointments, so I offered to take a few of their pictures. I was expecting this...

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Because between Tyler and my son, they are always trying to sabotage or photobomb my photos. I am grateful for my quick shutter button. The only thing that is funnier is that momma was beaten to the punch with the tongue out.

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And yet I still got a good one! Nice try Tyler!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


We have just started sophomore year and he's already talking about college and the Air Force. Nothing scares a momma more and makes me want to cry. Where did time go? Where did my baby go? He's turned into such a fine young man. (Still mouthy once in a while, but that's a requirement of being a teenager!) ;)

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Please stop growing...even though you're already taller than I am!

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Don't ever stop being you...may you always stay true to yourself, love God and family, be a good friend and have peace in your heart.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


The phone call you never want to receive..."You need to get back here asap, your son (from his daddy ;) is going to require stitches." I was on the church van picking up kids for our Wednesday night activities and we were coming through town heading to get another set of kids. After getting dropped off and talking to the Pastor's wife (who's a nurse), we left for the emergency room. I had 2 things going for me...1, I did not witness it and 2, I did not witness all the blood. Had that happened, I might have been more upset. After we sent all the kids back inside, I hugged him and said it was ok to cry. He squeaked out 2 tears, that's it! My tough boy!

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2 hours later we were home, with 3 staples and only a minor complaint that they pinched. He was a trooper.

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The first thing he did on our return home...put his metal detector to his head to see if it would go off! THAT is my child! :)