june 5, 2018

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“In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.” ~ Dalai Lama

 

the kiss

 

For most brides, the most important picture of the entire wedding is the kiss. At least that used to be the case. I never understood why. I look at wedding photos and I can easily find a hundred other images more compelling than “the kiss.” I doubt that comes as a surprise to anyone. Today’s trend is to do a lot more kissing photos after the ceremony. Still, they’re not “the kiss.” I’m lucky I caught Connor and Corinne’s kiss because I had the worst lens, as I’ve said before, and it’s uncool to impede the official photographer, which I really wanted to do but good manners wouldn’t allow it. Even if I had missed “the kiss,” it was really the walk down the aisle as husband and wife that capped it for me. Could a couple look any happier? Well done, C-squared. Well done indeed.

 

mister and misses

may 21, 2018

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“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

 

altered selfie

 

I wasn’t the photographer for Corinne and Connor’s wedding, so what did I do? I took the worst possible lens along and then kicked myself for it the entire night because all I wanted to do was take pictures. But it didn’t matter what lens I had because nothing was going to be as good as the selfie the officiant snapped after the nuptials. The father of the groom posted a copy of the selfie today and it’s pretty funny. It sure set the tone for the rest of the evening, too. Lots of laughter. Lots of dancing. Lots and lots of love. Sounds like the perfect wedding to me. It was. 

march 17, 2018

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“Never assume that loud is strong and quiet is weak.” ~ TinyBuddha

 

song and dance

 

These Barnes kids. I don’t know what they were reciting, or whatever it was they were doing, but it was hilarious. They are such a tight knit family that they make being with them easy and fun. Connor is the only boy among them. He was joking about how it’s up to him to carry on the family name. I think Corinne, his fiancé, broke three or four ribbons from their wedding gifts. Unless they’re all girls, according to the ribbons anyway, there won’t be a problem with the name. Every family ought to do jazz hands at least once.

 

jazz hands

march 10, 2018

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“Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.” ~ Unknown

 

in a nutshell

 

The groom is not supposed to be at the wedding shower, but Connor Barnes is no ordinary groom, and this was no ordinary shower. The Barnes’ family don’t know the meaning of ordinary anything. It was a mostly all gal gig until the end when Connor arrived with his dad, Craig Barnes, flowers for his bride, and a smile that could light up Cincinnati. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a guy walk into a situation like this with so much enthusiasm. He was genuinely happy to be there and everyone was genuinely happy to see him. I snapped the pic above and showed it to Connor’s bride-to-be, Corinne. She said it was them in a nutshell. There’s no mistaking how happy Connor and Corinne are together, and there’s no way you could be in their presence today and not come away with a full heart. I did, and I’m pretty sure everybody else did, too. The wedding’s in May (same day as Prince Harry and Megan Markle). If it’s as awesome and fun as the shower, and all signs point to yes, we’re in for a good time and the new Mr. and Mrs. Barnes are in for a lifetime of happiness. What’s not to love?

 

also in a nutshell

november 14, 2015

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There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
~ Buddha

 

cousins
cousins

 

Meet Grier Ryan Whitehouse. Today, he’s nine days old. He spent two and a half hours being passed from person to person to person all while being photographed. He took it all in stride. He’s pictured above with second cousin (first cousin once removed) Connor Barnes.

 

grandson #2
grandson #2

 

Grier is my rent-a-great-nephew, son of rental niece Cassie and RNIL Jeff Whitehouse. He is the second grandson of rental sister Pam Bick and husband Joe. His great aunt Stacy Yelton and I got to meet him for the first time this afternoon. He is, of course, as beautiful as I expected he would be.

 

for scale
for scale

 

Grier is small. His facial features are chiseled, quite unlike other infants I’ve seen. His nose, lips, and chin are so perfectly formed I can see him as an adult already. His hair is thicker than most adults and shiny like silk. He is sweet natured and calm, not grumpy at all (unless he’s hungry, but adults are like that, too). I’m pretty sure if he could have stayed awake he would have conversed with us fully. Cassie said he was born talking instead of crying.

 

in the fold
in the fold

 

Grier has brought so much love to a family that just ten months ago lost a member. He is a healer. As true a blessing as ever there was. I look forward to watching him grow up. I’ll keep my camera at the ready.

august 8, 2015

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“The bad news: nothing is permanent. The good news: nothing is permanent.”
~ Lolly Daskal

 

cousins
cousins

 

I’ve talked a lot about Cassie Bick Whitehouse, but I love her cousin Taylor Barnes-Gilbert (left) just as much. I’m proud of her for many, many reasons. She’s incredibly smart. She could have been anything she wanted, but she followed in her grandfather Yelton’s footsteps and chose law. She’s got a huge heart, too, as you can see in this picture with her youngest cousin, Sophie Duncan. She’s a hugger with everyone she loves.

 

paying tribute
paying tribute

 

At Cassie’s shower we all got a good look at Taylor’s tattoo she had inked when her father Craig fell ill with cancer last year. Both he and wife Kelly are big fans of The Boss (Bruce Springsteen). So, it seemed only fitting that Taylor used Springsteen lyrics to convey her feelings about what he endured.

 

surprise
surprise

 

One of the things I love about Taylor is her willingness to be silly. I can’t walk up behind just anybody and snap a picture like this. We had a good laugh because she’s willing to go with the flow. Not everyone will do that. Her brother, Connor, is similar. The two are cut ups, which I find very refreshing. When they’re with their cousins (Kathleen Murphy and Sophie Duncan below with Connor’s girlfriend Corinne Elizabeth) they’re especially sweet. I love Taylor a little more every time I see her, and that’s not nearly enough.

 

what's so funny?
what’s so funny?

january 22, 2015

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“What is to give light must endure burning.”~ Viktor Frankl

 

just so long
just so long

 

I initially missed this day’s post because of late night visitation services for Ryan Paul Bick. People waited in a winter cold line wrapped around the funeral home and down the block for nearly two hours just to pay their respects. A two hour service turned into five. It was quite moving, and it lifted the family like little else could have done given the circumstances. Near the end of the night, when only the family remained, I was sitting alone at the back of the room. There were Ryan’s first cousins – Connor, Taylor, and Ashley – and brother Brett embracing each other, telling Ryan stories, crying and laughing all at once. And, just off to the side, as she had done so many times throughout the night, stood very quietly the love of Ryan’s life, Chelsey Robinson. So sweet. So hurt. So composed. The wonderful thing about the Bick/Barnes/Yelton family (and they do operate as a single family at times) is that they adopt people along the way. They’ve adopted Chelsey, and I have no doubt that she will bring them great joy and comfort, and it will be returned in kind. That’s the kind of people they are. What a blessing to be part of.

july 27, 2013

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There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.
~ Paulo Coelho

best friend
best friend

It’s positive reinforcement week for me and the outhouse. I went to a bridal shower for Stacy Yelton’s youngest niece, Taylor (whom I also claim as niece) and Ashleigh, and there I ran into Stacy Spell Jansen (note these two spell their names the same way). She was at once complimentary of the outhouse, which of course pleased me beyond words. I mentioned that two people likened the outhouse to a diary. She very quickly retorted, “Oh no! It’s much more a devotional.” The clouds parted, and the angels sang because I knew she was right (plus I was relieved it wasn’t a diary to everyone). I have proven to myself time and again that, no matter how crappy the day is, there is always one good thing for which to be grateful. Thank you, Stacy Jansen, for a truly enriching conversation.

who got the boobs?
little sister got ’em

Thank you rental sisters Kelly Barnes, Stacy Yelton, and Pam Bick, for always including me in your lives and the lives of your children, and for always, always, always making me laugh. Stacy got everyone’s share (draw your own conclusion about that <snort>).

Opal's legacy
Opal’s legacy

And finally, thank you Opal Evans. You inspire me every single time I am in your presence. You are a woman of great compassion, charm, and limitless appreciation. It would be so easy for you at 103 years old to be blasé or cynical because you’ve done and seen it all, yet you possess the fascination and zest of a young woman. Your great-grandchildren are shining examples of your indomitable spirit. Just look how beautiful they are. Well done, Opal. [L-R: Kathleen Murphy, Taylor Barnes, Elizabeth Murphy, Connor Barnes]