I’ve done my absolute best to narrow the photos down to a cool 50 or so. I’m a story-teller, and so I find it hard to tell a good story in just a few photos. Bear with me here, because this was such a beautiful, fun, and funny day with Paul and Corrie.

{You first met them here.}

The day dawned cold and grey. The good news is, less bright sun meant fewer lighting issues during the ceremony. But the bad news is, it was bitterly cold and our plan to go to another location for portraits was changed. Luckily, we had the warmth of their church to shelter us. Mostly…because some people’s photographers still want to TRY!

By the way, I knew their day would be fantastic because the rehearsal was hilarious!

Van Bemden Rehearsal

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Grow Anyway by Angela Giles KlockeToday I saw a tree that was pushed over and partially uprooted. And yet it continued to bloom. The trees around it had yet to understand that spring was upon us, but this tree, it pressed on, determined despite its obstacles. Where the others were still firmly rooted to earth and life, this tree was hanging on by very little, desperate to live, but not just live — committed to blooming.

This tree spoke to me, as nature often does. It reminded me with its one tiny little section of new growth of how many times life knocks us down, and how those who will have the courage to do so can stand up and grow again. It reminded me of ME, not just people. And not just getting knocked down, but rather navigating new seasons.

I’m in a new season of this great big beautiful life. One where the newborn to 18 stage ends and the next season of a child’s life begins. With two sons already grown — one married and one a new father — I am staring down the last few months with the last child. She is 18 and finishes out her senior year of high school in less than a week. Then she too will go off into her life, and the nest will sit empty, and here I will be, wringing my mama bird hands, crying out to all the new mothers, “Don’t blink! Don’t blink!” and they won’t listen, and they too will blink, and then…they will get it.

I think about the uprooted tree, the new season of its life where it must bloom again. Last year, it was firmly rooted in what it knew, what it was. It grew as it always did, but now the journey has changed. Through no decision of its own, life changed, and so it adapted and it bloomed anyway. I did not choose to already be here at the end of this stage of parenting where I have to ask myself “Now what?” but it came anyway. Oh sure, the choice was to be the mother and the goal is to raise the children, and while I’ve juggled things I like and want alongside parenting, it’s never fully been about me.

And now it is.

I stand uprooted from this place I’ve always known, and I feel the longing and hoping for what can be no more. What I know is that I must grow, I must bloom again. My choices are to live in yesterday or to move forward, pushing from the earth once again to stand up and move forward. So much in me screams to hold on just a little bit longer, just a wee bit tighter, but if I raised my children to fly, so I too must grow.

How do you know when it’s time to let go and march forward into a new season? Sometimes the decisions are made for you, and sometimes you have to decide. Either way, the season will change. Will you change with it?

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…even when there was just HOPE for you – we loved you.” -Unknown

This Family by Klocke PhotographyFamilies are delightful, wonderful entities. They can be small or large. They are sometimes made up of mom and dad and kids, or they’re a blended family – two brought together as one – or they are mom and mom, or dad and dad, and on and on.

But they all have one thing in common: love.

One of my favorite ways to see families grow is through adoption. I think adoption is one of the most beautifully hard experiences (like parenting itself, right), because there is letting go and waiting and hoping and wanting nothing but the best for children on all sides. I have never been on either side of this, but I have watched and supported friends who have. As I said, it’s beautifully hard. A birth mother makes a difficult decision, and parents wait, and so often I see it not work out at all.

Sometimes, though, it works out beautifully and you realize that it was just right on time, just as it should have been for the child to be with the parents. And such is the case here, where no better two parents could have ended up with this one particular gift of a boy.

I had the honor several years ago of photographing Mom and Dad for their adoption “about us” book. I got to walk a piece of their journey with them, and so I was just as excited as everyone else when this little guy entered their lives. It is just as it should have been…right on time. (Note: this is my best friend’s sister, so they are more than clients — they are friends!)

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  • Cathy Bok - This was awesome….LOVED your pictures. Luke looks like the next budding Tiger playing golf.ReplyCancel

A few things I learned –

Introverts will find each other in crowded writers conferences. Because, you know, they are the ones not sitting among the crowd.

A grandchild’s first year goes by a lot faster than your own child’s ever did.

When an empty nest looms, panic ensues.

You can say a lot in only 6 words. {Link}

Reminder from my awesome coach: “Don’t make it a thing!”

I can do many things well, but that doesn’t mean I have to all the things.

My story is important and valuable.

Snapshots of the month –

Looking back on April 2015
Looking back on April 2015
Looking back on April 2015
Looking back on April 2015
Looking back on April 2015
Looking back on April 2015
Looking back on April 2015

In April, I wrote the following {last posts} at MiddlePlaces.com

And the following post at Scars and Tiaras (Trigger Warning):

Did anything amazing, exciting, or beautiful happen for you in April?

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