he is their son...gotcha day 06.14.17

so many blessings...

again, i sit in front of my computer and shake my head at the way God has orchestrated people and events in my life.  

this one is a tear jerker.  that's your warning :)

the holes family lived across the street from us for about 6 or 7 years.  

during that time, their daughter, gretchen, became an important extension to our family.

after having our 3 babies in 3 years...i needed help!  

gretchen would watch our kids and help out with me.  

when she would babysit, we would come home to a cleaned up house, dishes done, cookies that had been made with the kids, and cards and pictures that she helped them with.  she NEVER ever ceased to amaze us with the responsibility she showed and the love and care she gave to our children.  and she was just a teenager!  we loved her so much, we wouldn't share her name with anyone, because we didn't want our beloved gretchen "taken" by another family for babysitting :)))

the holes family moved...not far away, but when they aren't across the street anymore, it was easy to just lose touch.  

a little bit ago, (the mom), suzi, contacted me.  after raising 5 girls, her and her husband austin, had opened up their home to foster children.  they were getting to adopt their first son, and asked if i could be there to memorialize it.  

yesterday was "GOTCHA DAY" for one very special little boy. 

and after all of this time, again, at such a pivotal time for this family, we were re-united again. 

introducing to the world:

 

 

what does one say at a time like this?

these past few weeks, and especially days,

have been hard.

emotional.

hard.

uplifiting.

hard.

full of life.

hard.

good-bye's, not whispered, but courageously spoken. 

hard.

wonderful.


as our bill prepares to begin his journey to his heavenly home, he and my mom's home here on earth has been filled with so so many visitors, so much prayer, so much singing, and with overflowing love.

two times now, my charlie has sat and blessed us all, with hours of his music.  

playing hymn after hymn, the great Cathedral songs, Andrae Crouch and more. 

we have sat around bill's feet and sang, cried, talked, and prayed. 


cancer is HORRIBLE.

the pain and suffering - despicable. 

to watch someone you love (honestly, how many of you out there KNOW this firsthand?), suffer at the hands of this body eating, bone breaking disease, is horrific.

but when there is hope.... 

no, not hope.  

...when you KNOW where and what you are going to, when your last breath leaves, i believe much more than hope enters in.  

an understanding....a peace...YES, even in the suffering.  


so the music, and words and visits have been amazing. 

and bear with me as i and my family try to heal as we journey, and i share much of what we have experienced. 


but today....i learned, as much as it is important to serve and give to bill....

my mom, has suffered as well.  

she would never tell you that.

she would tell you that it is an honor to get up at he break of dawn...to bathe bill...to shave and dress him, and to put cologne on him.  

to make him feel as if he is living, not dying, regardless of what his body feels like.  

to wake at all hours, to care for him to serve and keep him comfortable...yes, my mom needed "fed" in a huge way. 

today she was. 

cindy and joe...our blessed cindy and joe came to visit...from arkansas. 

cindy and my mom have been friends since 7th grade acapella chorus.  

i've often shared, that our families created the very first "life group."

we spent every important date together, and too many to count in between. 

cindy, joe, and their 3 children, dawn, tim, and joanna, were more like siblings to us than friends. 

to cut things short, life happened. 


in '83, my family moved from pitt, to the dubois area. 

while we still visited almost as much, in '88 joe, cindy and their family moved to arkansas. 

no more visits. 

the adults still talked, but us kids, we, were growing up. 

as God orchestrated, when my dad passed in 2006, he was living in the same city as cindy and joe in arkansas, and they along with their oldest daughter and my precious friend, dawn, were there for me to walk into the funeral home for the first time with my dad there. 

joe sat behind me at my dad's service in arkansas, as i spoke...

 and as we prepare to say goodbye to our bill, cindy and joe made it back to dubois.  the first time since 1988...for my mom. 

what does one say about a friendship like this?

what does one say, to look at the people that felt like another set of parents for more than half a life? 

no words...only tears...hugs, laughs, and prayers...

as cindy loved on my mom, joe grabbed my hand. 

the hand of a man that i TREASURED...who watched me grow, prayed with and for me, played, sang and danced with me, and now, holding my hand, loved me. 

and cindy, who saying goodbye, held my face as my mom does and whispered her prayers and love. 

what does one say?

when the people who love your mom so, thank and bless the man who has loved her?

i have no words...except..

"i'm blessed.  oh surely...i, she, he and we are blessed, over and over."

there is so much living to be found...

in the road to eternity that we call dying. 

thanks be to God and for the living.

 

 

 

introducing CLICK

Joelle Watt Studios

Student Ambassadors - CLICK

our Click group is a group of Seniors, but myself, along with  others from the area, will be mentoring them.

in turn, these students will accept to be mentors for girls younger than them as well.

we have a board of directors, events planned, and much more!

keep an eye out for our CLICK group!

 

 

mother's day...all kinds of mixed feelings...

growing up in church, for mother's day, must feel somewhat like the child of a hallmark store owner.  

you celebrate and capitalize on a holiday that not everyone receives happiness from.  

as a photographer over the years, i've witnessed much the same.  

i've photographed still born births...

images of moms who are are passing... 

children in foster care...

parents who have lost their beloved children...

and yet we try to wrap it all up in a bow and call it mother's day??

 

 

i think i still will...but no bow needed.  

there are all types of mothers....

 

mothers who birth us, raise us, and pray for us. 

mothers who step in with all the love as if they did do all of the above. 

there are mothers who smile, mothers who care, mothers consumed with too much life and problems and issues of life, to know how to care and love. 

 

but a mother is a mother.

and today, i celebrate the best of them.  

mothers that i have had the opportunity to witness being incredible, loving, WHOLE...and even more...

 

and even mine... she is PRICELESS. all i can do is stand and call her blessed. 

and my mother in law, who loves me as her own, and again, i find myself blessed. 

 

but mother's day is for the women who love the children with fierceness.  

with a strong, loyal and protective heart.  

and women, caregivers...mothers who above all....LOVE.

 

happy mother's day

 

 

 

 

Kati's story....the first in the "My Story" series....

 

Kati....who has lived in Hawaii for the past 3 years....

My shoot with Joelle Watt...

when I think back so many emotions run through my head.

Do you ever wake up and put your warm feet on the cold morning floor only to feel the warm breathe leave your body as you gasp feeling shocked and breathless? 

That's how I felt when I saw my pictures, awake, refreshed, breathless.

It had been a bit of a rough year and a rough Christmas when my very best friend and dear sweet brother called me. I was fighting back tears entirely overwhelmed and homesick as I scrubbed dishes and cooked Christmas dinner for those who are my friends at my base a million miles away from home, knowing I couldn't see my family that day and if tomorrow was bad, my birthday the next day would be worse. Much to my surprise my sweet brother called and wished me a merry Christmas and asked how much room I had in my suitcase....He paused for quite awhile and told me he'd just tell me the surprise he and his sweet wife sherri were getting me for my birthday:

a photoshoot with Joelle! Instant tears, squealing, running around the kitchen shrieking and crying. To say I was excited is a desperate underestimation. 

-Now back to the shoot.

My parents named me  Katelyn.  

Katelyn means pure.  

If there is anything I have been in life, it's not that.

I tried as hard to be exactly the opposite, and God let me run till I tired out...devastated and alone... because of my choices.  A million miles away from home and in my devastation, He calmly called to me.

He welcomed the prodigal.   

From then I've been slowly and surely growing and leaning on Him.

That has brought an understanding of how strength can be perfectly encompassed in a shell of weakness and how beauty is found in Him and not anything else.

To see myself through others' eyes is something special but to see myself through the eyes and lens of Joelle was unlike anything else.

God has spent a long time showing me my strength and worth that is found in Him... and that's something He'll continue to show me the rest of my life.

My mom and I talk almost every day which is truly a testament to God's changing power in my life. It's funny how someone I so entirely resented and disdained is now my best friend and one of my biggest role models.

My momma has told me since I got saved from my wildness and complete life of sinfulness that I'm a trophy of God's grace;

How undeniably beautiful is it to catch that strength and that knowledge of God's grace through the lens of Joelle's camera.

My photoshoot with Joelle was incredible.

Every woman should be able to see their strength, their beautify, their unadultured, raw womanhood perfectly portrayed in a picture... 

this was my session with Joelle Watt. 

-Kati

joelle's read:

it's odd first, to comment on what somebody has written to you about their life, their perception of their shoot, and lastly, how they ended up feeling.  

the other oddity- this is my brother in law's STUNNING sister, and his very best friend.

so my take...in honesty...and through my lens...

i knew gorgeous kati for many years...and of the struggles she so humbly opens her heart about.

what i did not know, was the strength, the humble heart, the depth, and the change in her. 

to see this incredible woman in front of my camera...confidant in every way, because of who only Jesus helped her to become, was like riding the best smoothest roller coaster.  

the emotions, truths, beauty, pictures, honesty, and FAITH, brought us to a point that, please don't think this is weird...we were one as we shot these images.  

 

kati girl...strong, cliff jumping, fearless, confident, humble kati....

I LOVE YOU

even more, i LOVE the story HE has written for you, and to have even a tiny part in it.

-xoxoox

joelle

baby girls...rosy cheeks, flower bonnets...and glue guns :)

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, 
How does your garden grow? 
With silver bells, and cockleshells, 
And pretty maids all in a row.

when i don't know what to do with myself, i either:

read my bible

cry and or sleep

and

get out my glue gun

my glue gun has been working hard as of late.

creating these sweet flower bonnets...and more...

gluesticks anyone :))))?

amelia rose...

isla austin...

camille elizabeth

the names, the cheeks, the flowers...

babies bring so much happiness to life.

and flowers...they bring life in their own way. 

how do YOUR flowers grow?

taking appointments for flower bonnets portraits now.

...With silver bells, and cockleshells, 
And pretty maids all in a row.

 

at home and forever...HE IS ALIVE

it's another one of those nights.  geez they are frequent lately. 

we went to church tonight in lieu of tomorrow. 

but honestly, we haven't been to church in quite a while.

no, we aren't one of those, "only go easter and christmas families," but for various, and complex reasons, we have not gone - in too long. 

we listen online....and on the radio to many pastors and messages....

but tonight, BEING there, and feeling the Holy Spirit in the presence of the place, moved me so much....about 10 tissues full much. 

the music, the authenticity, the truth, the honesty of what christ did for us - His children...

as chris (our pastor) was talking about the crucifixion of jesus and the details...i looked for my notebook that i always carry in my purse.  i'm a "write it down or forget it" kind of girl. 

i couldn't find it so i pulled out my phone and typed into my notes..


 

a month or two back, our bill, had undergone major surgery.  he had at least 3 HOLES/drains in his back to let out, ugh - i guess what needed to come out.  

one sunday afternoon my mom called, asking me to rush over....when i got there...bill was seated, with his back exposed in the the bathroom.  i will never forget what i saw.

to keep it simple, he had a hematoma, it had erupted and was releasing through one of those holes. 

the blood, the fear, the intensity of the moments....and bill sat quietly.  allowing us to dress his wound to get the hospital while reassuring my mom.  

as i  helped him, i remember thinking..."he can't do a thing!  he is relying on us.  he has NO REASON to deserve this.  the ONLY thing(s) he has ever given my mom or her children is love, support, strength.....WHY????   why is he suffering and bleeding like this so much?"

you know what i realized that day?

no matter what physical hardship i have faced, BLOOD has made it more real than ever. 


so back to chris at church tonight.

yes, Easter... Jesus on the cross. 

mary magdalene, His closest friend among others...peter, john...his mother.....all had to sit and witness that horrific suffering and blood.  

blood being poured out.

suffering...

of someone they loved..who had nothing but love on them and EVERYONE.  

blood being poured out...

because He chose to put Himself there.

for you  - for me.

when all He ever did was love and give. 


 

i know what my heart felt watching bill, who is a father to me on earth...

can you imagine watching jesus...a father to all ?


 

it brought me back  ONCE again to the red velvet couch....

my mom stroking my hair...

my dad mixing and adjusting the sound to the song...by don fransisco... dancing...hands raised, fingers pointed to heaven....

"HE'S ALIVE."

my mom and her sisters went on to perform that song at many concerts for years to come...

but this song , my memory and its message made the act and purpose so clear....

and now with bill...and tonight with chris...i see it in a new way.

a way relatable to all...but sensitive to he hearts of those that see and hurt....

and tonight...i'm so grateful that HE IS ALIVE!