Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bighorns 2007 and a Blessing

We actually had some time to take the kids camping in the Bighorns this month.
My dad and best friend both came up also and we all made camp together.
I think the most striking moment in the whole trip came one night when Abby asked if she could sleep in my friends camper instead of with us in the tent.
In the very middle of the night, about 3 am, she woke up frightened and decided she was going to leave the camper.
In the mountains there is no light. Nothing but what you see shimmering from the moon. In the inkiest black of night we heard her little whimper outside the tent and unzipped to let her in. She crawled in and went right to her sleeping bag to go to sleep.
I got up and stepped out of the tent to find out if she'd shut their trailer door behind her, and literally felt and stretched my way acrossed our camp. I found my way to the door and sure enough it was wide open. I shut it as quietly as I could to keep anyone from waking up, and then turned around into a darkness so thick my eyes could only make out my hand and nothing else. It was pitch dark and the going was a slow creep to get back to the tent.
When I finally made it back inside I thought Abby was already asleep, and I said to Kari, "I don't know how that little girl made it over to the tent. It's black as can be out there. I can't believe she didn't get lost!"
Then Abby piped right up, "It wasn't dark. I just followed the light!"
I said, "What light, honey??"
"There was a big light. It looked like an 'M'."
Kari said, "Was it outside or inside?"
Abby said, "It was inside. And I just went 'zoomp' from the camper to the tent."

We just sat there dumbfounded.
I whispered to Kari, "There is no light."
Abby whispered back, "Ya-huh! I saw it."

Needless to say there was alot of thankful prayer that night.

I told my dad the next morning, and he said we got very lucky. We were camped right next to a very steep bank that cascaded down the hill into a creek. Abby can't swim, and just the day before had fallen into that icy water. We were there when it happened and we dove in to scoop her out. She'd have certainly drowned, no question.
Dad reminded me that when most little kids get lost, they almost never walk uphill, they always take the easiest path, which would have led her over that embankment and right down into the water, at 3 in the morning. With everyone fast asleep, she'd have fallen right into an icy grave.

What I learned is that my God loves me and cares for my little ones in a way that surpasses understanding, whether I'm on board or not. He is there for each of us, always. When we don't see God around, at work in our lives, it's not that He is absent, its ourselves that are AWOL.
I wasn't spiritually focused on this trip... it was a "vacation". You know, one of those times that you put the brain on hold, unplug, disconnect, recharge.
I see it this way...The Maker of Heaven and Earth cared enough to watch over my little 4 year old, at three in the morning, enough to tell one of His Angels to light her path. She's here with us today by none of our own doing. God kept her in our arms with sheer grace.
It's not about what we do. There is no magical number of rungs to climb to somehow make it to the top.
It's all about Him, and what He did, and the rest is just icing on the cake.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Portner's

We almost called this shoot on account of rain but Dionne was determined, so we ventured outdoors anyway...and just look what we would have lost. I love these shots of this family. They are real and they smack of relationship and personality. That's South Dakota for you. Even if they call for rain, just wait 5 minutes... there's no telling what it's going to do.

Mom wasn't ready to be in the pictures, even though she knows I never let the mom's out of the shots. But just look at her. She's radiant and beautiful, and she's the Mom of these little rascals. How can we not take those shots. :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Nikki & Casey

We had a really great time with Nikki & Casey. I mean, c'mon, any couple that includes their puppy on their wedding day, well, they're automatically friends of mine. :) It was also a thrill for us to see 2 couples from the past 2 years whose weddings we had the opportunity to shoot, and being able to connect the dots, it's amazing. Word of mouth is literally about 95% of our work, and it's affirming to us that customer service and being remarkable are paramount in our business.
At the reception they had the rule that if anyone wanted them to kiss that there'd be no glass clinking. Instead the requesting couple would have to 'demonstrate' the kiss, and the newlyweds would have to mimic the form.
Well, as I'm shooting I'm always asking the bride and groom to focus in on eachother and just give a little Nikki and Casey turned the tables on me.
They grabbed the microphone and announced to a few hundred guests that the photographers were husband and wife, and that they would be now be demonstrating the kiss...
If you know me, I'm the guy who stays OUT of the limelight. I don't want a few hundred pairs of eyes on me, I like to hang back unnoticed, capturing the moments...not making them! So I have to admit I was a little shaken.
It was a good thing I had such a beautiful bride of my own, ready and willing, in front of everyone, to kiss me with all her love, and a bridesmaid with camera-ready, there to capture the one shot I did NOT get of Nikki & Casey's day. :)

See the fire alarm next to us...that was in case things got just a little too hot. :P
Just kidding.
Thanks so much for the fun!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy Birthday Abs

I'm a couple of days late, but I just now got on top of things enough to post a few shots of my Abs turning 4. (Actually she should be turning 2 in my book. I made a deal with her that she'd turn back 1 year for some extra ice cream. I'm not holding her to it though because it made her sad to think she'd given up being FOUR for a silly treat... darnit. Almost worked. Anyway,
I'll let the pictures do most of the talking. ;)

We went to the Steakhouse, as is now family tradition. Abby got her usual, cherries with just a splash of pop. :)

She pretended to order from the menu because her mommy was taking her order, and besides you know, she's FOUR, and grown up now...

She still thinks that sunflower seeds and bacon bits are the perfect Sunday appetizer...

Her big brother tried very hard to restrain himself on her birthday by NOT blowing out her birthday candles, while still managing to swipe a finger full of frosting...or two.

And I don't know where she goes to watch Happy Days, but there's a serious parallel to the Fonz here...heeyyyyyyyy.

Her mommy had the guts to invite 15 kids over for the party... that's it... she's tougher than me. :)

Happy Birthday Abigirl