Lane Andrew Boicelli 3/12/19

Sometimes you never think that the things you hope for will happen. My friend, Cathy and I have always talked about photography as it is a common passion we both have. Back when I started she and I would joke that if she ever had another baby I wanted to be right in the middle of her birth experience with my camera ready. It of course was a joke but little did I know that our joking would come to pass with her getting pregnant. That I would be prepared in my photography journey to document the birth. So as the count down began I had been prepared for the call since the end of February. Checking in once a week and watching her progress. So when I checked in earlier this week I was excited that she was preparing to be induced if progress had stalled. I checked in with her at 9am on Tuesday and they had just checked-in at Sutter-Roseville. She said she would check back with me in 30 minutes. Inductions normally take some time so I waited to check back in about 10 am.

I got no response from her via text. When I finally got a hold of Brandon at 11:15am he informed me that the baby had already arrived. I had missed the birth…so I jumped in the car and headed to Roseville to capture the rest of the day. Lane is a sweet baby with blond hair and the sweetest disposition. He is a momma’s boy although he calms right down at the sound of his daddy’s voice. He was alert and never once took his eyes off Cathy. He has a big brother, who was cautious at first but before too long was wanting to hold him and a big sister who I believe will nurture and care for him in ways only a big sister can. Lane will have a host of family and friends that will love and care for him always and forever.

Welcome to the world Lane Andrew Boicelli. I am so thankful to celebrate your arrival with your family.

Creation has always been the thing that connects me to the Lord. Since starting to do birth photography it has always been my desire to capture the first sunrise and the first sunset on the day that a baby comes into the world. Sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn’t…God was faithful to provide the opportunity on the day that would be Lane’s birthday.

Righteousness will go before Him to prepare the way for His steps. Psalm 85:13

For now that is enough...

I’ve been away from my blog since before Christmas. Most days are filled with job responsibilities and regular household chores there is something in me that seems different not all together me. I keep thinking that things will get back to how they always were. That life as I’ve known it good or bad will return, and all will feel normal. Then I realize my life isn’t normal. It will never look like it did. My life will never have Evan in the spaces he usually occupied. EVER. I go back to those spaces hoping to find him…to sense his presence. It’s hard to describe to people how your mind works after your child has gone. I look at photos and think to myself it feels like he is here. But there is such an emptiness. There is such emptiness in the spaces he once inhabited. There is an emptiness in the world since he left. My words feel hollow…without real form or bones to help them take shape. I was driving this morning, and I had this feeling of everything continues, but yet my heart wants to go backward. I want to recapture what once was and bring it into the future to live with me here. I want Evan to come home. I’m learning to navigate the parts of me that are healing and the parts that are gaping wounds. I’m trying to find and listen to my voice and yet I want to be a voice for my son too so that he is not forgotten. Saturday mark many anniversaries-it’s my Dad’s 2nd birthday in Heaven. It also is 822 days since Evan was taken off life support to give life to 5 others. As I've walked out my journey, I also realize many parents/siblings that are walking out the same feelings, anniversaries, the same emptiness, the same longing that our family has. I say this for understanding. That I can bring you along with me as a conscientious/thoughtful/ observer.

To be mindful that we miss our person(s). That we want to hear their name. That you can't stop our pain. (IT WILL BE FOREVER) That we're not stuck. We are living each moment of each day with a wound that is healing but will always be there for us. Even if you can't see it. That you can show us love by sharing stories about our person. We're doing our best, and sometimes that may not be enough. For now, my soul is healing along with the soul of our family, and that is enough.

What I've Learned...

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned over the last two year since Evan’s death. The 2nd year has been one of the hardest as I’ve come out of the fog of the first year to find that time and people keep moving. Leaving me far behind and at times unable or wanting to catch up. I’ve learned that grief has no timeline for those who are grieving, but it does for those who aren’t. I’ve learned that everyone grieves differently and as much as you might want to be understood there will only be a few that can walk along the path with you. It takes a lot of work, patience, and love. It’s not for everyone, and most of it is yours to own. I’ve learned about myself through group and individual counseling that grief has a way of shaking up our lives and through the help of others taking the brokenness of our past gives us hope for the future. I’ve learned the incredible void that has been left in my life now that Evan is not physically here. I see that void in others as well, but that’s not my story to tell. I’ve learned that the 2nd year is by far harder than the first and the further away I get from my real/earthly time with Evan the space between the then and now becomes quieter. What’s not quiet are my thoughts…pictures and memories are never silent. They are the things that keep you in the present, and I desire to keep you present. I'm your mom, and you’re important to me so I will ALWAYS want to keep you present and I’m giving myself permission to do so. I’ve learned that the Lord in the midst of our yearning and longing gives us Hope and comfort. That He allows that space between Heaven and Earth to come together so that we can be comforted by not only those around us but also by those who we have released to His loving care. I’ve learned that who I was before Evan’s death has changed and that I will never be her again. Grief and loss don’t define me but they’ve changed me. That who I am now is different…and who I was will not return. That person I was is missed at times, but she no longer fits in the space that I now currently occupy.

Tonight we will come together to remember and to use the spoken word to do that. You now become a part of the great cloud of witnesses who contiues to cheer us on and remind us that you are not that far away.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

The Gift of a Family Through Adoption

Just about a week ago I had the unique opportunity to capture the adoption proceedings for a new friend. This particular adoption was unique in that the family of the adopted child was part of the process and it was something I have always wanted to participate in. The adopting family, The Hemsley's, have two biological children and now with this adoption, they have three adoptive children two of which are siblings. The whole family took an oath of commitment and it truly was an awesome experience. 

One of the sweetest parts for me...well there were a few really...was that UC Davis has this program called Princess Pals at UC Davis check them out on Facebook. These are undergrad med students who dress up and attend special events for kiddos. I've posted the Facebook link here: https://www.facebook.com/PrincessPalsUCD/

The other sweet thing is that Renee Hemsley, Executive Director, of https://www.hopes-anchor-inc.org/about which is a group that Encourage, Equip, Educate, Engage the Foster and Adoptive communities in Yolo County. She is passionate and fully engaged. Putting hands and feet to the needs of foster and adoptive families. It was a blessing and honor to serve their family as they do what they are called to do. Yolo County has been doing some great things and I'm grateful for my connections in this community.   

Lastly, what made this extra special for me is that this all happened on the day that would have marked my Dad's 89th birthday. It was pretty amazing!!

Reflections, wondering and pondering....On the 4th Day of Christmas.

The holidays are always a time for reflection...as the year comes to an end and you look expectantly towards the New Year. I’m not really sure if I’ve lost the expectant part at times it feels like it. I am definitely reflecting and pondering. 

Mary pondered these things and kept them in her heart…. Luke 2:19

Mary pondered these things and kept them in her heart…. Luke 2:19

 

The story of the birth of Jesus is so large but these words of the ponderings of Mary and the insight they give to her in those first moments bring together so many feels. I believe that if Mary was a ponderer at this young age she did not stop her ponderings as she became a mother to the son of God and watched him grow. I think of myself as a ponderer. I remember so many moments as I looked at my kids at every season of their life and thought…. what are they thinking? What will life for them look like? I always was pondering for the todays and tomorrows. Was Mary any different? Did she ponder what her other friends were doing? Did she wonder if Jesus was eating enough? Gaining enough weight for his age? What friends would he make?

 

I do not want to come across as flippant because that is not my heart. The story of Jesus is both beautiful and holy. I do see so many parallels to my life experience and hers as a mom. I see her eyes as she watched her son carry his cross down the Via Delarosa. Do you think she saw the eyes of her infant son looking back at her? I don’t know but I can tell you she saw the depth of his soul and that is something I know she had pondered. When you raise your child you know them…. you see them. I don’t think Mary was any different. She saw Jesus. She knew him as only a mother could. I love that part.

 

I’ve been quiet the last month. November was hard in ways that could not be expressed in a quick post, Instagram or Facebook story. I’ve pondered many things as I’ve moved through this last year. I’ve thumbed through old journals, photos, schoolwork, and notes. All of my ponderings over all of the 26 years of Evan’s life have been so that I had those to last me the rest of my life, as he would not be here to live them out. That on some level has brought a bit of comfort but the sadness of it has been evident to my momma’s heart. I’m grateful for all of the other folks I’ve met during this year of mourning. I have felt so accepted by those who are in similar circumstances…I’ve especially appreciative those who have lost their adult child and the similar ways it has connected us. 

Glimpses of Me

For me, it seems that most days are not without some degree of sadness. I try hard to be who I was before Evan died and at times I think that person is still there. Grief has a way of changing who we once were. Oh, I see glimpses of her….some of those glimpses are good some of them not so much. All of the same hurts, insecurities, simple pleasures and wonders are present but all of them are now sifted through grief. I have watched people and places that have always been solid places for me begin to disappear before me. As I learn more about this journey none of this is unusual. It is actually very common. People scatter….places that held happy memories become a wound that is often times too large to bandage. The very things that you thought you knew are now vague memories or are completely forgotten. 

Not too long ago I was explaining to a dear friend through tears that there is something in me….it almost feels like I’m expectant…edgy…watching but with this restlessness in me I want to see progress…I want to push. She said that it sounded similar to that of a mother birthing a child. There you have it. That is exactly how I’m feeling. It’s hard for me to rest..to practice pausing…waiting…to lean in. I’ve been listening to a lot of worship music since Evan’s death. Some of my favorites are Elevation Worship. The words are so powerful. I read an article about their song “There is a Cloud” and the meaning of the song. Such a great article I've included the link here. http://www.newreleasetoday.com/article.php?article_id=2112

One of the many verses they talk about is Hebrews 11:1. "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." I’ve included one of the verses of the song in this post. This is from Elevation Worship “There is a Cloud”.

On this Day....One year ago

Today November 9th, 2017 is the 365th day of not having you on the planet.  As I look back over the days leading up to this I'm amazed at how the Lord prepared me. Our community would spend days petitioning God for a miracle...to give you life but instead the miracle was that you would give life to others. That selfless act is so much a part of who you are and of the people that you associate with. I remember the hours and moments as they ticked away and we waited for them to come and take you to the operating room. They came to your room at 2:14am and I see so vividly all of us walking you to the door of the operating room and of us standing in a huddled clump, Dad, Alex and I.... with all of our friends watching us watching you. What I remember the most is the silence. Almost as if at that moment the world had forgotten it's voice. A silent cry. Not a sound was made. All I could hear were our tears. We asked Dr. Gaborko if he would go with you...as a prayer covering and a witness that you would be watched over. I can honestly say that knowing he was going in with you gave us peace.  Jeff's kindness to us was a selfless act and one we can never repay. The other thing I remember is looking back at all of the people who stayed till the end and seeing their faces. Such brokenness. So many tears. I shall not forget those moments...never ever. Letting you go was so, so hard. Even to write this brings great big tears.

Oh, how we miss you. The thing that is hardest is your voice. I can't hear it. Your ridiculous laughter is silent. Your words live on only to be read in a voice that is not yours. Most days we do what we have always done. We wake up, drink coffee, go to work, come home, eat, go to bed. Time has marched on and the seasons have changed and the world has not stopped. We have not stopped. I'm one year older, we still wonder about the holidays and what we will do, we still talk about life and truly most days I still feel your presence. Maybe it's the familiar things that make you seem close...my daily journeys to Peet's where I keep expecting you in the afternoon to come up behind me and say "Hey! Mom!"...maybe it's driving by Best Buy and thinking of all the time you spent there and the holidays you missed because of the craziness of the seasons...maybe it's the train at the Nut Tree that for years we spent EVERY WEEKEND during your train faze as a young child...maybe it's the sound of your friends at our house to commemorate a birthday or to just play a card game...or maybe it's what I see through my lens that brings me into close proximity to your presence...the more familiar the location the closer you are to me....I'm learning to look for the things that the Lord is showing me because that's where you are....with that said you're missed...every day by us. 

I know you would be proud of us for putting one foot in front of the other....for pressing forward. Looking back only to remember with fondness and a little bit of angst. Today we will celebrate you with the thing you loved most....A Poetry Slam! to honor you and to keep a bit of who you are alive in our hearts. To celebrate a life lived and loved well and one that gave the gift of life to others. 

 

David Michael at Lagoon Valley

Just recently I was asked to do the one year photos for a little guy whose newborn photos I did. http://www.dawnkincadephotography.com/#/newly-born-1/ We ventured out to Lagoon Valley on a day that started out warm almost hot to overcast and for a brief time it rained while we were shooting. David was a bundle of energy and it was hard to keep up with him. He is such a deep thinker but also has such a sweet and infectious laugh. I love to see how much the littles I photograph as newborns change and how much their personality as newborns really follow them as they grow. Thanks Jessica and Ian for sharing David with me. Such a sweet boy!

Tuesday's Child is full of Grace.....Ily Anice Shorter 10/17/17

I had the privilege of photographing the birth of Miss Ily Anice Shorter today. Her momma started labor on Monday the 16th and progressed slowly until about 8:07am today, Tuesday the 17th. At which point progression only had gone to 5.5cm. Suddenly though there was a need to push and her water broke and she went from 5.5cm to delivering Ily at 8:26am. It was amazing and crazy and beautiful. Lori and Jason were the best team..with Jason winning the "Best Doula" award in my opinion. He was calm, loving and the best coach ever. Lori allowed us into a space that is normally reserved for just the parents and the medical staff. It was an honor to be a part of such a intimate experience and to share this moment with both of Ily's grandmothers. Ily was named by her brother Zeke who I might add was so loving and tender when he met his sweet sister today. the wonder, tenderness and kindness he showed to his Momma, Daddy and sister made me cry. I also found out today that she shares a birthday with her Uncle on her mother's side and a great-great grandmother on her father's side. 

I'm sure your folks can't wait to tell the story of the day you were born. It was a lovely one to say the least!

Happy Birthday, Ily!! You are so loved by your family.

 

 

Road Noise

As I continue down the road of grief I am struck by the things that take me from such great joy to weepy tears. I'm not even sure how to quantify it or give it a number on a scale. I spend a lot of time reading and listening to books. As I've shared in other posts I am listening to a book on Heaven and a book on waiting. Both of these areas in my life have been a struggle. Kinda like that kid that wants to be president at the place that they work even before they learn how to count back change at the register.  As I've said in previous blogs Heaven has always been abstract to me and because my faith points me to Jesus and the bible I don't really want to speculate about it. I want to know what the bible says as that is foundational...my center. On top of reading/listening to many books I am attending a faith-based small group on grief called Grief Share.  All these things keep me a float...keep me moving...processing. They keep me reaching out to grasp what is really not something you can grasp. So what it does is give me strength. It gives me Faith to look beyond what I can see and it gives me Hope that what I think and believe are Truth and that at some point it will bring peace and understanding. 

Roads are a funny thing. I've spent most of the summer on the road either on the east coast or west coast but always on the road. I went on a road trip this last weekend and we had times on this trip where the highway was smoothly paved. The road noise was minimal. You could hear the stereo in the car without having to crank it up and the skies were clear....smooth sailing so to speak. We then had places where the road was so rough from years of weather and chains from vehicles that you could not even hear yourself think. You couldn't hear the radio. You couldn't even have a conversation as the noise in the car was so loud and storms that nearly blinded you as you drove down country roads in the dark. Sometimes you turn down a road that you think is the right one and all of a sudden you are at a dead end. You make a plan that you are going to leave at a certain time. You stop just to get food and go to the bathroom no extra stops just to realize it took you about the same amount of time as it did when you enjoyed the journey. Stopped and looked at the sights. Made memories and took your time.

I share all of this because grief is very similar to the road trips I've been on and to be perfectly honest life is this way as well. It takes me to places I didn't want to go. Sometimes I enjoy where I'm going and the effects of it leave me refreshed and my burden is lightened. Sometimes the noise is so loud I can't hear what is being said to me and I zone out. Sometimes I just want to get home...to do it my way. I forget about all the beauty that is around me and if I had just stopped...walked around...and practiced pondering I would have gotten home in just the right amount of time and enjoyed the journey.

Evan, we love and miss you so very much. Every memory is bittersweet and filled with the what if's and why not's. As I travel this road I hope to have less of those questions but for now...It is September and that means that you have been gone 10 months....but really it is for eternity.    e·ter·ni·ty  əˈtərnədē/ ~  noun ~ infinite or unending time. 

http://www.visitcalifornia.com/attraction/sundial-bridge

https://www.amazon.com/Real-Heaven-What-Bible-Actually/dp/0801016134 

https://www.amazon.com/Wait-See-Finding-Peace-Pauses/dp/0781413559

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Amelia Laddie

Babies have a way of making us smile. They are squishy....they smell good...and for me they bring hope. I had the joy of going to Tahoe last week to photograph sweet Amelia who was about two weeks early. Not just that but this new family had planned a move the weekend that she arrived. I was still able to capture all of her newborn faces along with the joy and excitement of her parents. Oh yes and her furry brothers too. Best Wishes to all of you! 

Watching a wedding through the eyes of our son.

The day after our 27th wedding anniversary in July we had the honor of helping with and celebrating a dear family friend wed his beloved. It was fun, it was emotional, and it felt like family. It started days earlier for me and several other friends as we helped to prepare for this event. I am always so impressed with when a call goes out for helping hands that the Lord always provides what is needed. From prepping flowers, to gathering ice for the beverages...everyone came together and it made for a happy and joyous day for our friends. 

We have known Brock for most of his life as he and my son Alex have been on the soccer field from the time they were in elementary school. So many great memories of days gone by shuffling Alex, Brock and a bunch of their buddies to soccer games and school functions. It was a great day for all who joined and we are grateful to have been included. 

One of the most precious moment...was watching Brock and his brothers. Brock is the youngest of three and their love for each other and their parents really is a testament to them as a family. I had the privilege to watch this wedding through the eyes of my son Alex. I know in some ways it was melancholy for him as he must wonder about his own wedding and what will that look like for him. I can't speak to what he was feeling or thinking but I pray that the memories and love that he and Evan shared will be enough to sustain him when he does walk through the many life events he will experience. That the love of our family will keep him upright and looking forward. That the friends and relationships that have been the cornerstone of our lives will be what give him courage and strength.

For now I'm grateful for the tribe that God has given us and I am thankful to have shared just a small part of the journey that Brock and Kiana will venture down. So much love coming your way...The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

 

We love you and Best Wishes!!

Thank you, Mom. I can't wait to see what you capture next....

Last year I was challenged to take my art out into the world. This challenge came in the form of a letter written from Evan but I had also many friend who told me I should try. So I did and it was successful. I placed in many of the shows I entered and won small monetary prizes for those placements. I'm glad that I did it and it helped me see a different side of photography....

I was unsure if this year I would be up to the task of placing my photography in the numerous shows that I had last year. Some of my motivation was that Evan and Alex really helped to move me forward and honestly putting your work in shows is time consuming. But I felt that I had a few piece that I could enter and my motivation was different this year so I entered a few shows along with entering the California State Fair. I've included those piece in this blog post.

Being an artist is unique and beautiful. It can also be demanding and test you in ways that you thought impossible. Sometimes I think that it was more then I bargained for this thing I do. I want to say that since the loss of Evan my world has changed...I can't really describe it but I feel the full impact of my loss every single day. I was out yesterday and nearly every place that I went or drove past had a memory of something or brought back to me a conversation I had with Evan. The other night I was out looking for picture frames for photos that I was placing in an art show I ran into some dear friends who asked, How are you??? Well at that moment I was deep in the process of trying to get frames and I was great but as I talked further I was grateful to get through a conversation about how I was without tears. Please don't take that the wrong way...for me that is a step forward in my healing. I want to be at a place that the very conversation about Evan does not destroy me.....crumble me to a "bucket of tear"so to speak...."grief ambush" as it's called in my small group study that I'm doing. I want to be able to have conversations that invite people towards me...to not be afraid to see people or have them avoid me or feel awkward. To be real grief is scary....and awkward...and crummy but it is also part of the process of loving and being loved. I'm grateful to have loved Evan and that he loved me too. There is so much joy in that...if I hadn't loved there would be no sadness or this grief that I have. Maybe that is what is different is the full impact of our love is felt in loss. Yes...I think that's what is different is that I know that if I love fully the full impact of the loss of that becomes very clear and painfully real. It goes back to something I believe the Lord is showing me.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror.....1 Cor. 13:12. 

 

Hiding in the Cave.

Tonight our family had the honor of watching my son, from another mother, preach his first message. It was from Psalm 57 about David hiding in a cave to escape as his enemies pressed in from all sides. So much truth in all that you expressed tonight. We are so proud of you and how you are walking out your calling. I share in your suffering just as you have shared in ours. I loved the truth you spoke of when you said when you are in the cave...lean into the Lord. He is there. Love that so much. 

As it says in Hebrews 12:1, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." I'm glad that Evan is a part of that cloud of witnesses. So very proud of you and for now I will rest in the cave. We love you all so much and pray always for you. 

P.S. Get to church y'all!!!

The Places You Will Go........

Last week was filled with much celebrating as many friends that I know had their children graduating. There was a variety of ages as we had the future Class of 2029 graduate from kindergarten and the next generation of young adults graduating from high school, the Class of 2017. In between these two graduations I also was a part of a 6th grade promotion ceremony.  It was a weekend filled with bittersweet memories and just a few tears as friends and family gathered to cheer their graduates on to the next chapter of their lives. To the families who I had the pleasure to capture these moments for you...Thank you! I've loved that you have included me in your journey. I wish you a summer full of new adventures and fabulous memories.

I love this quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt.....The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. 

Congratulations and Best Wishes!! Go live your dreams!!!

Snapshots and Memories.....

Today as I do every day I'm always looking...watching to see what the Lord has for me. Sometimes it's something very small. Sometimes it's more of a feeling or a calm that comes to me in the midst of a crazy day filled with busyness. The thing that I find so comforting is that there is always something. This last weekend has been filled with running. Graduations, proms, parades, celebrations and BBQ's. As I've moved through all of these "life" events I was amazed at how often you came to mind, Evan. It was as if you traveled with me to all of these events. If you had been here I know you probably would have had your own things that you would have done. You wouldn't have gone to all of the same things I did but the great thing about now is that you're ever present with me. Even in places that you wouldn't normally be. As I stepped on to the field to watch the graduation of a dear friend from Vacaville Christian Schools; I couldn't help but sense....the senior sunrise and all of the other things that I was so privileged as your mom to experience with you. How lucky I am that I was available to be in those moment with you and Alex. So thankful for your Dad who has always allowed me such freedom to be fully engaged with you guys as you were growing up. To walk along the pathway were your name is forever placed with your class. It was a bundle of emotions and tears but Jesus met me and carried me. He placed me in the path of those who knew you and had fond memories of you. It was a great comfort.

From there to kick off the Memorial Day holiday with the Fiesta Day Parade.....again not someplace you would have hung out with me but I saw and connected with so many people and in those moments of connection and friendship I saw you there. I can remember so many parades you would have been marching for band at VCS and I would walk along with the group screaming and yelling. Such great memories....I treasure them...holding them so tightly. I went from the parade to Prom to photograph some of the seniors as they embarked on their last formal gathering before graduation. It was filled with silly traditions and beautiful guys and gals and it brought about such feelings of nostalgia for me that I thought my breath would catch. So many great memories I have from your high school season....limo rides....gathering of friends...laughter that was heard through out. It was rather melancholy. I was glad that Dad took me out for dinner at Mikunis so I didn't spend too much time in my head. 

One thing that is always certain with you and Alex is that when it comes to family you always are present. This weekend was no different. On Sunday we celebrated your cousin's graduation from high school. Interestingly when I looked up to see people arriving I thought for a split second that I saw you....same hair color...same facial hair...even a shirt the same color as you had but to my great disappointment it was not you. It caught me for a moment and in the hope that others not deem me crazy....it was only my mind taking me to places that it often does only to slam me back to the world in which I am here and you are not. I like for just that brief time to believe....to be in that moment of thinking maybe....... After we got home I went out driving as that is always when I find the most beautiful things...just before sunrise or sunset. Earlier this month Alex took me out to see the sunflowers and although they hadn't bloomed they had sprouted. I was checking on them to see their progress. Just a few more weeks and they will be ready.

Monday was a day of remembering...Memorial Day. We went to see grandpa at the cemetery and I can't help that when I go see him that a piece of you is also with him. The services at the cemetery were lovely...moving...honoring and I'm grateful for all who gave their lives for our freedom. So many emotions as I thought of my dad and really thought a lot about you. I think of so many similarities between you and my dad. As I come to the end of this month I am really filled with a lot of emotion. I've cried so many tears and I don't really see an end to that anytime soon. I keep them in check more...the world is not ready for all this emotion...when tears are tied to sadness and grief there isn't much room for that in this world.  So for now I will continue to be looking...watching....and waiting for the God of comfort to give me purpose in my pain. 

Gwen Turns One.

Little Gwen was one of my Fresh 48's that I did in 2016. Her momma was a trooper as she labored many hours before this princess decided it was time to arrive on the scene. I was so impressed that both Natalie and Aaron seemed at ease during the first few hours after Gwen's arrival. I was thankful for a healthy birth and for two parents who I knew would be all about parenting this little. Fast forward to this year and time has gone full speed ahead and Gwen will be turning one in May. Thank you~Aaron and Natalie for including me in this special family event. There is nothing more special then seeing one of the newborns you photographed turn ONE!! 

Mother's Day for those who are bereaved.....

Today is International Bereaved Mother's Day https://goodmenproject.com/families/the-importance-of-international-bereaved-mothers-day-bbab/ 

As I think about Evan and the loss of him I can't help but think of all the other parents but especially Mom's who have lost a child. It is never easy..it continues to hurt...but we keep moving inch by inch..moment by moment. The immense love that we felt is only made harder but the immeasurable sadness we feel with our loss. 

Yesterday when I got home from work we had received a letter from the Donor Network. The folks who connect donor families to the people who have received their loved one's organs. In God's great mercy and because of His great love for us...this letter arrived this week. The great excitement that this recipient has experienced from receiving Evan's heart....that it has brought him back from the brink of death has made it is so very bittersweet for me. I'm so glad that he felt safe enough to contact us. That he has shared how his life has been immediately changed. How he is doing all that he can to live a health life and use the gift that he received to tell other to give the same gift. I can't help but be so overwhelmingly mournful of our great loss. 

With that said...We would not change the course that has taken place with Evan doing what was in his heart....and that was to be an organ donor. I'm proud of him and his very clear and direct decision to donate his organs. We continue to see God's hand in all of it and never once have thought this was not what Evan would have wanted. So as I close out this blog on this day that many are struggling to understand why and what can this all mean...let me encourage you. Hold your head up as well as you can...I know from experience it is not always easy...be present in the everyday...and if you can, think about giving the gift of life through being an organ donor. You could change the course of someones life. I know that it did for Lee.  https://www.donornetworkwest.org

Sharing her story from long ago.....

Just a few week ago I was invited to come to Napa to hear the parent of a dear friend give a talk about being a holocaust survivor. I've known this family for well over 20 years but I had never heard this story in its entirety. We joined them and for our first time heard her tell the story. These snapshots are what I captured during The Holocaust Remembrance Day, Beit Abba at The Father's House in Napa. Nadine Sacha http://artistsacha.com is an artist and was originally from Paris, France but now resides in San Francisco. Her story of survival was moving and I'm so glad to have been able to hear it. She has written a book that you can read more about her story.  http://artistsacha.com/my-book/