november 22, 2018

posted in: photography | 2

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but grateful for those which he has.” ~ Epictetus


gang of four


Once more Aunt Lois opened her home to the family so we could enjoy Thanksgiving dinner together. Last year we had over thirty of us. Mike Moore’s brother came along. This year we had a smaller crowd, no less grateful mind you, and Aaron Watkins brought his grandfather along. I love it that folks once removed join us for dinner. For instance, Lois’ neighbors, Vidia Marshall and her son William, always join us. They’re just delightful as can be and I look forward to being with them every year. The more the merrier I say, but actually, we all say that. There’s close to 100 of us in the immediate family, so we do the-more-the-merrier better than just about anyone. Plus, they let me make the ham and pies; recipes I’m perfecting with every holiday. I had a great time and I especially had a good time with cousins Renee, Jessica, and Missy. We howled with laughter more than once. All reasons to be thankful.



july 2, 2018

posted in: photography | 0

“Everything comes to you at the right time. Be patient.” ~ Unknown


without (photo by Lois Wilson)


Tony and Charlene are having a large yard sale tomorrow in West Liberty. At the last minute, not wanting to miss out on the upcoming holiday extravaganza, they threw a summer dinner for the family who could get to them in Lexington. It was a great way to spend a Monday evening, and the food was, as usual, fantastic. If I haven’t mentioned it, my aunt Lois Nell makes the best baked beans in the world. She’s also not at all afraid of my camera (see above photo). She’s getting a lot better with it, too. I better be careful or she’ll be taking all the pictures before I know it, and that can only mean one thing: I’ll be in them. That will never do. HA! I sure enjoy this bunch, and I’m really lucky they let me hang out with them.



may 25, 2018

posted in: photography | 1

“We do not have to improve ourselves; we just have to let go of what blocks our heart.” ~ Jack Kornfield


the latest couple


While the newlyweds were off being photographed by the professionals, a much shorter and younger couple was being photographed by everyone else. Remember I said Lucy loved everyone? She may have loved her cousin Jackson Bick a little more than the others during the wedding reception, Gigi notwithstanding. It was the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen. She wrapped her little arms around him and they seemed to dance a slow waltz without music. “The look on his face is like he’s not sure if this is okay,” giggled Jackson’s proud dad, Brett. 


come with me


Everywhere Lucy went, she had hold of Jackson’s hand and took him along. Not too reluctantly, he followed. And when she stopped to get Gigi for a walk (last night’s opening photo), Jackson grabbed his Gigi, Pam, too. The four of them walking down the hallway was just about as beautiful a thing as I’d ever seen (photo below). Pictures couldn’t do it justice, mine certainly don’t. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful thing to see adults and children engaged in soul-level bonding, and it should not be overlooked that most of my favorite men also have/had important grandmothers in their lives. It’s not a girl thing. It’s a grandma thing. 


cute overload


I gotta say that photographing tiny people is hard when you’re not a tiny person yourself. They’re really tiny and I’m really not. But, boy, what fun!


let’s get our Gigis

march 17, 2018

posted in: photography | 0

“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

january 30, 2018

posted in: photography | 0

“Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself.” ~ Unknown




I love it when the Universe conspires for good. About ten days ago there came a comment on an outhouse post from Lori Sanford (center). She found me through an outhouse image that Google indexed of the Patrick and Rebecca Risner headstone. Lori was researching her genealogy. After finding the tombstone, and reading the post, she assumed we were related. She assumed correctly. The Risner’s had five daughters and one son: Daisy, Chester, Minnie, Hester, Ada, and Hazel. My great-grandmother was Minnie. She married Douglas Adams and they had seven children: Eugene, Orville (my grandfather), Edna (Lori’s great-grandmother), Wick, Opal, Mildred, and Randy. We exchanged a few emails and hit it off right away. Tonight, with her mother Sharon (right), we met for dinner. Sharon’s mom, Imogene (mom’s first cousin), is now 87 and in poor health, so sadly she couldn’t join us. Mom and Sharon hadn’t seen each other since Edna’s funeral in 1985. (As an aside, I called Edna ‘Banana.’ Nobody knows why.) We all learned things about the family we didn’t know before we sat down together. Marriages, deaths, affairs, quirks, similarities, differences: we ran through the list. Perhaps the most interesting thing of all is that Lori is also a drummer. Both she and mom played drums in marching band. Imagine three female drummers in one family. How awesome is that? Plus, mom and Sharon have birthdays just four days apart (Jan 24 and 20 respectively), so tonight we celebrated them both. Mom and I had a fantastic time, and I’m pretty sure Lori and Sharon did, too (poor dad was outnumbered). We vowed to meet again, and it’s a dinner I look forward to. Thank you, Universe, for helping Lori find me, for Sharon, for mom, and for a really colorful family history. 



november 29, 2017

posted in: photography | 0

“It is possible to choose peace over worry.” ~ Unknown




If you haven’t figured it out by now, I have a pretty big family. Yesterday I said my Aunt Virginia’s oldest, Ann, brought her to the Saturday festivities. This is Ann (standing) with Uncle Phillip and Aunt Linda’s daughters, Renee (lf) and Jessica (rt). You first met Ann back in 2015 when her brother Richard got married. She was named after our great-grandmother Elizabeth Jones Terry (1890-1938) who died in 1938 just before her dad Greg was born. Ann and her husband Danny have two grown sons, Austin and Dylan. Austin just got married, so now we wait for the next generation to begin. If they’re anything like their Mamaw Ann, they’ll be gooduns! 

august 28, 2017

posted in: photography | 0

“Relish everything that’s inside of you, the imperfections, the darkness, the richness and light and everything. And that makes for a full life.” ~ Anthony Hopkins


the new elders


This is my oldest cousin, Michael. He’s a teacher and minister in Aiken, SC. He’s also a drummer. That’s not why I love him. I love him because he has deep faith and compassion. Plus he has super cool white eyebrows. I’ve been thinking a lot about the people around Houston suffering from Hurricane Harvey. My cousin Larry Evans and his family are there. My childhood friend Shane Manning and his family are there. My friend Andrea Trusty is there and made the evening news. They’re all okay, but so many are not. My dear friend Bev Howell, in Ennis, Texas, offered shelter to her daughter Amanda living in Houston. Amanda got away with a few clothes and her dogs, but lost everything else with her apartment complex now underwater. I don’t have any digitized photos of Larry, Shane, Andrea, or Bev right now, but the plight of their worlds put me in mind of Michael and the lengths he would go to help those in need. Without question he would open his church for shelter, feed those who are hungry, counsel those with heavy hearts, buoy those without hope. Larry, Shane, Andrea, and Bev will do the same because they’re like Michael that way. I’ve been surrounded by some of the best people on the planet. No wonder my life has been so blessed.

july 16, 2017

posted in: photography | 3

“Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.”
~ Jack Canfield


from the front


As I mentioned yesterday, I was tasked with photographing the wedding of my Aunt Charlene and, now, Uncle Tony. I wondered how I could do it and still be part of the ceremony, too. You see, all of Charlene’s nieces and nephews who were present (along with their spouses) were to line the aisle (a path cut in the hay field) to the wedding arch (also in the hay field) as she was escorted in by cousin Missy and Uncle Greg. Being one of the oldest put me at the front of line. So, as Charlene began her procession, I stepped into the aisle and did a selfie. I had a unique angle, so why not take advantage of it? Besides, it’s the kind of shot you’d expect from me in this situation, and that’s why Charlene wanted me to do the wedding. I’m not your usual wedding photographer. What’s funny about that is, when I got home and began to look at the photos, I found that Crystal had channeled my style throughout the day. It’s usually the other way around. By 3 a.m. I was giggling like a kid at her over-their-heads-punchbowl shots that sometimes had no one in the shot at all. My day, and the wedding photos, wouldn’t be half what they are if Crystal hadn’t helped me. There’s no way I could have done a 45 minute ceremony alone even if I hadn’t been in the party. There’s not enough money in the world or thanks in the universe to adequately convey how grateful I am for her. I owe her big time. Plus, she’s now an honorary cousin/niece.


only breeze of the day



august 2, 2016

posted in: art, photography | 2

“You do not have to be good. / You do not have to walk on your knees / for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. / You only have to let the soft animal of your body / love what it loves. / Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. / Meanwhile the world goes on. / Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain / are moving across the landscapes, / over the prairies and the deep trees, / the mountains and the rivers. / Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, / are heading home again. / Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, / the world offers itself to your imagination, / calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting— / over and over announcing your place / in the family of things.” ~ “Wild Geese” by poet Mary Oliver




Some days are just better than others, and today, I got one. From start to finish it’s been awesome, and one of the reasons is because I got a hand written letter from my cousin Eunice Ambrose. You met Eunice (above right) and our other cousin Drucilla (left) back in 2015 at the Terry Family reunion. Then, in June of this year, when dad and I had our daddy/daughter day, we stopped to see Eunice and her husband Johnny. Eunice saw the many posts I did after that trip, and it turns out that I got a lot of information wrong (I never could trust dad to tell me who was who). So, in her sweet letter Eunice told me the truth. Dad got Eunice’s mother, Elva Jane, mixed up with Drucilla’s mother, Sylvania. He probably confused them because they were twins. At the Ary cemetery for my July 3 post, I thought we were at Eunice’s parent’s graves, but it was Drucilla’s – Sylvania Terry and Silas Grigsby. Eunice’s mom, Elva Jane, was married to Wise Arnett (isn’t that a great name, Wise?). But I got more wrong than just names. I thought the old company house was Uncle Rufus’ because Papaw Terry took me there to see him back in the early 1990’s. (I have a picture of them on the front porch) The house belongs to Eunice. Rufus stayed with Eunice and her mother in that house for some time even before Eunice married Johnny. They, of course, moved out, and Rufus continued to stay in the house even after Elva Jane died in 1977. He eventually bought a house on Main Street in 1994 (and that explains why dad insisted all day that Rufus’ house was on Main Street), and lived there until he died in 2004. Now, see, I would have never known any of this if I hadn’t gotten it all wrong to start with! Not that I make it a habit to be wrong, I don’t, but it just shows the power of talking to one another, of being close with your relatives, and learning who your ancestors really are. I’ve had a lot of conversations lately about truth, and how we retell a shared event in completely different ways because we experience that event from our unique perspectives. The real truth, such as it is, only begins to show itself when everybody’s story is heard. I’m so very, very, very lucky to have relationships with my family and that they’re still on this planet to talk to me and teach me about who I am. I’m going to write Eunice back right now and tell her how much I love her.


next time, less me, more Eunice
next time, less me, more Eunice

june 5, 2016

posted in: photography | 0

“Listen to the wind. It talks. Listen to the silence. It speaks.
Listen to your heart. It knows.” ~ Unknown


granny and her babies
granny and her babies


This afternoon Marie and Robert Dale threw a high school graduation party for their oldest grandchild, Alexis (left). This young woman has endured a lot in her young life, and yet she has graduated with a scholarship to Campbellsville University. She’ll start in the fall. She’s pictured here with Marie, her brother Isaiah, and her first cousin/sister Skyla.


there's one in every crowd
there’s one in every crowd


Isaiah smashed cake on Alexis’ face, and someone repaid the favor. The last time I saw Isaiah he was a short, chubby little guy. Now his voice has dropped, he’s grown at least six inches, and he’s on the high school wrestling team. Marie and Robert gained custody of all three kids several years ago. The five of them act as a singular family unit so that you’d never know they weren’t parent and child. And they’re happy – all of them! Becky Ryder, Crystal Heis, and I carpooled to Paris for the party. They were a joy to be with of course. Seeing Marie with her family was a joy, but most of all, I was so proud of Alexis. She’s a beautiful, kind young woman who is going to do great things. Doggone it, I love a happy ending, and today was one. I was honored to be part of it.


1 2