Tuesday, November 30, 2010

cirlce of life, love, family

Last week, I left Oklahoma around 1:00pm to make the oh-so-familiar drive up I35 to Iowa. I have driven that route so many times in my life that I could navigate it in my sleep. And sometimes I do. ;)

Thursday was Thanksgiving Day, and it dawned cold and clear in Iowa. My mom's side of the family gathered at a local church, as we have been doing the past several years...ever since we outgrew my grandparents' farm house. We always form a {giant} circle before we eat. We count how many are there, and then we pray. It is a sweet, sweet tradition, and I know every single one of my relatives would agree in saying that The Circle is a special place with a special feeling of love and safety and family.

{my grandparents are on the left above}

This year there were fifty-five people in The Circle. I believe a few more may have come in later. This represents only my mom's parents' direct descendants. Just them, their ten children, their grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Oh, and the fifty-five people there weren't even a full showing. We're a large family.


Of course, after we pray, we eat.

{My aunt Cindy baked this delicious pie! I ate a piece before I even fixed a plate of food. Because that's how I roll. And that's why I roll...}

Before and after the meal, there are always multiple games of Rook going on around the room. My grandpa is better at Rook than your grandpa. My nine year old cousin is better at Rook than you are.


After the meal, I conducted an impromptu engagement session for my sweet cousin Anna and her fiance Michael. They braved the cold and totally rocked it for our quick shoot. It doesn't hurt that they are adorable and completely and happily in love.


To say that I had a wonderful Thanksgiving would be an understatement. I missed my dad's side of the family, because I had to get back for a wedding here on Saturday. But I did stop and see my grandma {dad's mom} on my way out of town, and she gave me a bag filled with homemade cookies and zucchini bread, to enjoy on the drive home. I love my family!!!

Hope you have all recovered from the holiday weekend. :)


Monday, November 29, 2010

Oklahoma has coolness to offer

So, if you are looking for a good read this week, I've got a great recommendation for you. Head over to one of my favorite blogs, Jeremy & Kathleen, and check out Kathleen's riveting tale of their Everest Base Camp Trek.

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Kathleen is an excellent writer and illustrator. She is living, blogging proof that Oklahoma is capable of producing some of the coolest people on this planet! I am warning you now, her blog is addictive!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

I am thankful that I was born into a family who are strong believers.  My parents came to Christ before I was born.  Their lives were completely transformed by God.  Faith has always come easily for me, because it has always been a part of my life.  I don't know who or where I would be without the spiritual foundation my parents formed for me.

I cannot imagine my life without my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The freedom, joy, and peace I experience through my relationship with Him is so amazing.  I would be a complete and utter dismal mess and failure without God.

I am thankful for my wonderful family, immediate and extended.  My grandparents on each side are a supreme example of true love and dedication to their spouses, of hard work, commitment, and good character.  My aunts and uncles and cousins constantly cushion me with love and support and camaraderie.

My parents are both the hardest working individuals I know.  My dad has always worked hard to support his family.  He is constantly repairing things for us, whether it be around the house or on our vehicles.  My mom always puts her family first, quick to sacrifice her own wants or needs or desires in order to give us more.  My brother Abe is funny and gifted.  He is passionate about his beliefs and has the most tender heart of anyone I know.  My sister Mandi is the definition of a survivor.  She has battled through some crazy circumstances and has kept her head held high when most others would have thrown in the towel.  My sister Amber is wise and pure and good.  She is the perfect one. :)  She is an example to me in every aspect of life.  My brother Jack was hilarious and brave and intelligent.  He loved his wife with a love more amazing than I have ever witnessed elsewhere.  My sis in law Ashley is broken yet strong.  She is weathering the loss of her soul mate, her true love.  She brought so much happiness into Jack's life, and she continues to bring joy to my family.  My niece Laila has influenced me to be a better person.  She has so much depth to her character.  When you look in her eyes, you can see her past conflicts overcome by her inner strength.  My nephew DJ is so intuitive and such an understanding individual.  When he was born, he changed our family in such a positive way, as only a first grandchild/nephew/niece can.  My nephew Jace is so smart and funny and has all the ingredients to be hugely successful at whatever he chooses to do in life.  He has a sensitive and caring heart for others.  My nephew Daxon is the wild man who is always guaranteed to make us all laugh.  His spirit is unbreakable, which is awesome.

I am thankful for my church family.  For Scott and Anna for believing in me always, more than I even believe in myself.  For Deidra, who always genuinely wants to listen to what is going on in my life and as a bonus always has great advice for me.  For Robert, whose spiritual insight and wisdom he offers freely and humbly.  For Vince, who calls me Miss America and makes me laugh.  For Kendra, who truly shows her appreciation for me.   And for all the other lovely LC staffers who make N-Dub the best place ever! :)

I am so thankful and amazed by my fabulous lifegroup. The faith and love and support and growth demonstrated by this group of people just astounds me and encourages me. You are all such a blessing to me! I will have to do a more in depth post on this in the future!

I am forever thankful for all of the beautiful souls who I am fortunate enough to call my close friends. This also will be a future post, or more likely several posts. There are so many wonderful people who have impacted my life!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!!!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Today I don't have many clever thoughts to share.  I am drawing a bit of a blank.  I am in a pre-Thanksgiving-food-coma or something like that.  The only interesting thing I can think of is this handwritten sign I have seen close by my work.  It keeps popping into my head.  It just says "Chimney Sweep" and it lists a phone number.  Did I mention that it is lettered by hand?  So charming.  I just want to call the number so that I can hang out with a real live, modern day chimney sweep.  When you think chimney sweep, you think Bert from Mary Poppins, right??  Admittedly, Bert freaks me out just a little, so I am not sure why I want to meet this homemade-sign-maker chimney sweep.  I guess it is my eternal fascination with the human race.  And I have to think that someone who would choose chimney sweep as a career would be somewhat interesting.  Add onto that the fact that he/she makes their own signs and puts them out to advertise on street corners, and I'm sold.  And you know what?  There is actually a fireplace in my house, so I would have a valid reason to contact this fascinating individual.  So, we never actually make a real fire in it...maybe it's because we need to have the chimney cleaned first! 

Anyway, that's all I've got.  A chimney sweep who hand letters signs.  Hmm.

So I guess I will share a photo from a recent session that I absolutely adored!  This little fashionista is Layne.  She has a better wardrobe than most girls my age.  She's nine. 


I will share more of this shoot in the future, because it's just too much fun to keep to myself!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

dealing with grief and giving thanks

Yesterday was a busy day...as was the day before that...and the day before that.  I have been going at a seemingly nonstop pace, and I pretty much love it.  One negative aspect of my recent jam-packed schedule is that I tend to forget stuff more often than usual.  Okay, so I am always pretty forgetful, not just when I am extra busy.  Maybe it's because I am advancing in years.  Or maybe it's all the drugs I did in my past.  Oh wait, I never did any drugs.  So much for that dramatic tale excuse.

I even forgot a photo session this past Sunday.  Yep, I just admitted that on my blog.  Fire me, kill me, or whatever.  I am human.  And hey, it wasn't a wedding, so we just rescheduled for this Sunday.  My client was very kind and understanding.  Whew. And just fyi, I tend to remember weddings...and this session had been moved around a few times to different dates... Okay, I'm done with the explanations.

Now we've established my busy-ness and my forgetfulness.  So, when my mom called me yesterday to see if I could attend the OKC Thunder game with her and my dad, I wasn't all eager and thrilled like I normally would be.  First of all, I had completely forgotten that she had mentioned it to me previously.  And secondly, I had stuff to do.  You know, because I am busy.  I told her that if one of my siblings were able to go instead, that was fine with me.  She responded that my sister Mandi and my nephews were going, and that my brother Abe couldn't go because of work.  I knew that my sister Amber was out of town watching my niece Laila play basketball, so they were out.  That left one ticket...and me.  So I was in.  And I am so glad I was able to go, because this thanksgiving week, it gave me a great reminder about being thankful!

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{my super-crazy-fun nephew Daxon, breaking it down on our way into the game}

Because let me just tell you about those tickets.  They were special.  No, they weren't courtside seats or anything like that.  They were up in Loud City, which was very fun; but the location of our seats wasn't what made them special.

This is what made them special:


The above image is part of a letter sent to my mom along with the tickets for my family to attend the game.  As I have mentioned, my younger brother Jack was killed last year while serving in the Special Forces in the Philippines.  And ever since then, I have been overwhelmed by the remembrance and support of others.  Like these high school students, who just wanted to do something for families who have suffered a military-related loss.  Wow.

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{my good looking, good-hearted parents}

When my mom explained to me last night where the tickets came from, I was touched.  Really touched.  My busy schedule and list of stuff to do went out the window.  I was thankful.  Thankful for kids who are aware and want to help in some way.  Thankful to be spending time with my family...something that has been all too scarce for me lately.  Thankful for the amazing family I have.

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{my hot and clever sister Mandi}

See, ever since Jack died, I have struggled a little with family get-togethers.  In the past, before, family time was one of my favorite things in life.  But since Jack is gone now, even when we are "all" together, we aren't...  So it has been strange.

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{my too-cool-too-cute nephew DJ}

But last night, my heart was warmed by my parents' witty repartee.  My soul was comforted by the casual conversations with my sister.  My inner child was entertained by my nephews' awesomely hilarious remarks and my spirit was buoyed by their laughter.  We cheered and yelled and screamed together.  And we weren't complete, but it was special and it was fun.

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{my smarty-pants-cutey-pants nephew Jace}

And I am thankful.

People never ask me what it's like to experience the unexpected loss of a sibling.  They probably don't want to bring up a painful subject.  Plus, who really wants to talk about tragic death?  But if someone were to ask me, I would say it's something like this:

You might go to a basketball game with your family, and have a great time.  And then, on the way home, you realize with a jolt that the reason you were able to go to that game that night is because some high school students in another state wanted to reach out to people who had suffered a loss.  And even though it's been over a year, you experience a bit of shock once again as you realize that you are that person who has suffered a loss.  Your younger brother is dead.  And then the familiar and yet strange emotions of loss, grief, pride, comfort, hurt, healing and even thankfulness wash over you in waves, all within a brief moment.


Monday, November 22, 2010

if you are like me

If you are at all like me, you mostly watch award shows just to see the fabulous clothing, right?  For me, the real appeal of being a celebrity wouldn't necessarily be the screaming mobs of fans or the huge paychecks, it would definitely be the opportunity to wear amazing dresses, shoes, jewelry, hair and makeup to award shows and galas.  I wish we lived in a grander time period or society, where we had the opportunity to dress for balls and formal events on a regular basis.  Of course, then I would need to be part of the high society set, for which I surely don't qualify.  Alas, a girl can dream, right?

And speaking of dreaminess, since I no longer seem to have time in my life to watch award shows, I just turn to one of my very favorite fashion blogs to get a fix of the glamor, elegance, and drama on the red carpet that I crave.  The lovely and hardworking Fashion Critic over at Red Carpet Fashion Awards is always up to the minute on the beautiful, quirky, or insane styles worn by celebrities to all the major and not-so-major events.  If you missed the American Music Awards last night like I did, check out this link to view all the styles on display there.

After all, why consume a few hours of your life watching an award show, when you can just see all the highlights online the next day {or even that same night}?  You know the famous Kanye/Taylor Swift moment awhile back?  Was I watching that award show?  No.  But thanks to Twitter, I was aware of the incident immediately, and was watching it on YouTube within minutes.  Oh, internet, what would I do without you??


Friday, November 19, 2010

busy busy-ness

Sometimes I get in this bizarre zone where I am editing photos like crazy, and I feel all scattered even though I am concentrating.  It's usually when I am determined to bust through some shoots and get them done and sent out to people.  I work best under pressure, so I give myself deadlines and work like mad. 

Today is like that.  I am leaving in a few hours to go to Dallas.  I have a couple of shoots there tomorrow, and I will get to spend time with my best friend Jen. 

God has blessed me with a lot of photography sessions over the past couple of months, and I am putting in the hours of back end work to get them processed and put on disc or emailed to people.  So, today I am just writing to say that I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I pray that you experience the blessings God has for you.  I hope you will get to spend some time with family and friends and that you will be refreshed.

Love to you all.


Thursday, November 18, 2010


What is it that makes your heart pound and your pulses race?  Most of you are probably thinking about a person of the opposite sex after that question.  And trust me, I've been there.  But, as a single girl, what gets my heart throbbing on a regular basis is not some hot guy...It's photography.  Waaah-wah, I know.  But it's true.  My photography not only provides me with a creative outlet, it is also the perfect tool to connect me with others.  People.  Because photography might be my passion, but people are my true love. 

I can't even explain the thrill I feel as I look through my camera and see someone's heart.  And when I am looking through the photos after a successful shoot...well, talk about pulses racing.  I get so excited that it's just dumb.

This bridal session of my friend Jade was one of those shoots that really delighted me.  When I first got to know Jade awhile back, I knew immediately that I wanted to photograph her and became better acquainted with her from behind the lens of my camera.  I convinced her last year to let me do a very fun shoot of her out at the state fair.  I guess she liked posing for me, because when she got engaged, Jade contacted me to photograph her bridal portraits and wedding. :)  We did her bridal session this summer, out on some gorgeous land in Binger, OK {thanks to the Opitz fam!}. 

Now that Jade's {beautiful} wedding day has come and gone, I can show off these photos!  Two factors made this shoot amazing for me.  One, Jade completely trusted me and was willing to go wherever and do whatever to get good photos.  And two, she worked it like a model!  Seriously.  Check it out...














You are sweet and good and beautiful, and I love you!  I am so happy that we became friends.  I am so happy for your happiness with Vincent!  I am so happy that you chose to have me be your wedding photographer.  In fact, everything about you makes me happy. :)



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

personalized shoes

Last night I got too little sleep.  It had nothing to do with my somewhat recently discovered Gossip Girl obsession, and it in no way involved me staying up and watching the episodes I had on my dvr.  Today, my eyes are bleary.  And I didn't get out if bed until 7:45 this morning, even though I am supposed to be at work at 8:00.  {I was only 12 minutes late.}

To treat my Gossip Girl hangover, today I wore the most ridiculous pair of shoes I own.  They are orange suede platforms with a blue butterfly--and if that's not enough, last year I added purple sequins to the heels.  I am not lying.

Let me attempt to explain:  For my birthday party last year, I threw myself the prom I never got to have.  {There are pics on my Facebook page, if you are curious.  Guess what the theme was???  NYE in NYC! Ha!}  And I added the purple sequins to go with my purple-accented tutu.  Again, I am not lying.  I don't really know what's wrong with me.  But I do know that these shoes make me laugh.  And who couldn't use a shoe that brings cheer?

I guess when I did it, I wanted to document my insanity creativity, so I photographed the process of adding a strand of sequins to the heels.  Hmmm.  Well, here is some never-before-seen-behind-the-scenes photographic proof of the questionable way my mind works...

Step one: apply glue because everyone knows that glue is a lazy creative person's best friend.  Step two: use tweezers to guide strand of sequins into pattern of your choice.


Step three: photograph the finished product.  From two angles.  {Eek.  Can you tell which shoe I did first?}


And hey, if a bottle of glue and a strand of sequins isn't your thing, you could always personalize your shoes with shoe bumper stickers.

{image via Refinery 29}

Ohhh, the possibilities!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

this is a public service announcement

Okay, so maybe this is more of an I-am-the-worst-planner-ever-and-my-30th-birthday-is-just-a-month-and-a-half-away announcement.  Here's the deal:  I am going to be in NYC for my 30th birthday this NEW YEAR'S EVE!!!  Standing in Times Square, watching the ball drop, celebrating a new year and a new decade for me!!!  And you are all invited!  Seriously.  See, I figure that most people who read my blog actually love me {and by that, I mean you probably know me personally or are related to me}.  And I want to invite any and everyone who loves me to come celebrate with me.  Since I do not possess the capabilities of planning a trip like this for a group of people, I am just extending the invitation.  So, meet me in Times Square on New Year's Eve.  Bring your family, come with a friend, or alone...


And actually, my wonderful friend Brandie did take charge when I procrastinated and she found us a room to stay in just a few blocks from Times Square.  Right now, there are four of us girls who are going and will be staying in the room...But I am quite sure we could fit in two or three more girls!  I am not joking when I say that I have seriously already considered buying an air mattress once we get there, if we need to accommodate more people in our room.


Please don't feel hurt that I didn't invite you personally and maybe you are just hearing about this for the first time here.  Let me explain.....Most of my close friends are married with families, so I just assume that they won't want or be able to ditch their families during the holidays for a {not so} wild trip to New York.  So, instead of inviting people and making them have to say no to my face, I'm putting it out there, here on my blog.  Smart, huh? ;)

Who's in???


{photos of me in nyc were taken july 09 by my fabulous friend kriea}

Monday, November 15, 2010

good morning

Since it is Monday morning, and it is a bit dreary here in Oklahoma City today, and because I love you all so much...I decided to give you little treat this morning.  Meet JeRayle {aka Rayle}. 


I had the pleasure of doing a second photo shoot of him this weekend.  {You can check out the first one we did, in Dallas, on my old blog here.}

Doesn't your morning look better now?

You're welcome.


Friday, November 12, 2010


Now that my hair is red, maybe I should try this hairdo for my THIRTIETH birthday this NEW YEARS EVE! :)  Exciting plans are in the works for celebrating it.......

via one of my favorite blogs, A Cup Of Jo.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

not just a day that the banks are closed

To the veterans:  THANK YOU!!!

And to you, the citizens of this nation:  If you can, if you are able to today, please wrap your arms tight around a veteran and thank them.

I hesitated to post this photo, but I want to make it real to you.  This is an image of a mother wiping away tears after her son earned his Green Beret.  The tears are tears of pride and joy and also fear.  This is an image of a son smiling after embracing his mother.  He slight smile is meant to reassure her.  He has completed the most difficult training and is ready to serve.  This is an image of a Special Forces soldier on his graduation day.  This is my mom.  This is my brother.

jack sf 093

My brother Jack went on to serve on two deployments.  On two missions as a Green Beret medic, he fought and he healed and he administered care to countless people.  He made a difference in this world.  He also never came home from his second deployment. 

Thousands of men and women are willingly serving and have served in our military.  Please, remember them.  Thank them.  Pray for them and their families.  Not just on Veterans Day, but every day.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

saving daylight?

True story:  On Sunday, I mistakenly thought for a few moments that the time change for Daylight Savings would actually, I don't know, give me some more daylight.  Every spring and fall, I get confused and then annoyed about Daylight Savings.  It just doesn't make sense to my brain.  I know that back in the day, they established Daylight Savings for farmers and such.  {Actually, I don't know that at all...it's just what I've heard.  So to be clear, I did zero research on this matter.}  And I do love the farmers.  My grandpa farmed his land in Iowa for years, and several of my relatives still farm.  And I love The Pioneer Woman, she's one of my favorite bloggers...I know that they technically are ranchers, but I'm just saying...I love these people and think they're great, and if Daylight Savings helps them, then I guess it's not so annoying.

But, lord help me, is it not depressing that it gets dark at 5:30pm now?  And it certainly doesn't help me out when I am trying to schedule photo shoots.  And by 8:30 last night, I was just ready  to crawl into bed and sleep.  Grrr.  My productivity is not assisted by darkness at 5:30.

If you are like me, you have probably wished that you could just make the sun stand still for a few hours on some days.  Wouldn't a couple more hours of daylight come in pretty useful at times?

This matter is on my mind not only because of Daylight Savings, but also because of a book I am reading right now.  The title happens to be Sun Stand Still.  It's written by Steven Furtick, and my lifegroup {small group from my church} is reading and studying it together.  We have almost come to the end of it, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone searching for their purpose in this world and the faith to pursue it.  {You can totally borrow my copy, if you don't mind lots of highlighted passages.}

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{phone pic.  excuse the poor quality.}

The title is drawn from the story in the Bible where God makes the sun stand still for Joshua, giving him a few more hours of daylight in order to win a battle.  Can you imagine?  First, can you imagine having a task worthy of that kind of action from God?  Second, can you imagine praying boldly and believing that God would actually make the sun stand still in order for you to accomplish that task??

It is difficult for me to wrap my mind around that.  Even more difficult than understanding Daylight Savings.  But, through time spent reading this book and praying and immersing myself more in the Word, I think maybe I am starting to get it.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

resisting temptation

This might seem shallow to you, but in the interest of keeping it real around here, I thought I'd share.

I have this problem...a shopping problem.  I just adore pretty, cool, or unique things.  I also adore fun, quirky, bright, shiny, cute, interesting things.  And by things, I mean shoes.  And bracelets.  And shirts.  And skirts.  And shoes.  And sweaters.  And earrings.  And scarves.  And shoes.  And boots.  And hats.  Oh, and shoes.  See, it's a problem.

Let me explain it just a little further, so I can really feel ridiculous.  Lately, in order to curb my shopping impulses, I have sort of made a law unto myself that I can only shop at thrift stores.  Because, really, not only are they generally cheaper, but let's face it: it's hard to find stuff that fits properly, doesn't have any stains or rips, and that I actually "love".  {I fall in love very easily with clothing items.}  Plus, when I do find something that meets the aforementioned requirements, it is usually way cooler and more unique than anything I would find in a regular store.

But wait, let me define my normal, when it comes to stores.  I don't shop at Macy's or Bergdorf {not that we have that in OKC}, or even the mall.  I used to venture into the mall sometimes, but then I discovered Ross...and Burlington Coat Factory...and Marshalls.  And all the lovely, cheap-o stores that perfectly fit my desire to hunt and find treasures at a really low price.  Almost as good as thrift stores.  Oh, except that it is waaaay too easy for me to find things I "love" at stores like Ross.

Here's a perfect example...A few weeks ago, I allowed myself to go to Burlington, because I needed to get a flowy black vest.  {This is false.  I don't need anything when it comes to clothing.}  And I did find and purchase a flowy black vest, for a great low price.  I also found and purchased a cream colored vest, a green vest, a black sparkly hat, a black fedora, and a purple hat.  Oh, and a pair of earrings...or two.  Seriously.  And I didn't even let myself look at the shoes, because I was terrified of what gems I would discover that I couldn't live without.

As much as I joke about this little problem of mine, it has actually been a big problem.  My lack of self control when it comes to buying, has led to financial struggles.  I drive an ancient, crappy car...because I buy shoes.  So, I am using this post to test the theory of "admitting you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it."  Now I've put it out there for all the world {okay, for my twelve readers} to see.  I feel exposed and a bit ashamed.

But wait, I can't leave it on that note.  I want you all to be proud of me.  Because yesterday, I resisted temptation.  I went into the evil place of temptation Ross on my lunch break to buy a birthday present for a friend.  And what do you know, I found an adorable animal print fedora and some snuggly-looking clogs that would look oh-so-fab with the fedora...What's that you say?  You didn't know that clogs could look snuggly?  Well, they can and these ones did.  Look, I have proof...

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I loved these so much that I just had to.....take a picture of them.  That's right, friends.  I set them on this shelf, snapped this photo on my phone, and walked away.  See, aren't you so proud of me now?

And yes, I know that I should have returned the hat to it's little hook at the front of the store, but I was secretly hoping that some fabulous girl, who wears a size 8 shoe and could rock an animal print fedora, would come along after me and scoop them up and give them a happy home.  Together.  Forever.

Did I mention I have a problem?

I'm working on it...


Monday, November 8, 2010

Marine Corps Marathon 2010...a spectator's perspective

I must confess that never before had I been a spectator of any marathon, but I imagine that this particular one would be difficult to top...The Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, on Halloween day.  Even though I enjoy writing, and sometimes feel that I do an okay job expressing my thoughts and feelings, some things are just better told through images.  So this post will consist mostly of just that.  And I dare you not to experience goosebumps, smiles, and maybe even a lump in your throat while viewing...

The night before, Betsy pinned Nate's bib number on the front of his shirt.....and a photo of my brother Jack on the back...


Betsy and Toryn created a sign to hold for Nathan.  The morning of the race arrived early and chilly.


After riding shuttles to the Pentagon parking lot, everyone made their way over to the runner corrals and the starting line.  As the start time drew near, this man right next to us reenlisted in the Marine Corps before running the marathon.  Awesome.


One last hug from Betsy before joining the other runners waiting to start.



Did I mention it was Halloween?


Even without a costume, this guy stood out to me in a sea of runners heading toward the start line...



The course of the marathon was amazing...It began at Arlington and ended at the Iwo Jima Memorial, after winding through the heart of DC.  Betsy and I had decided to make our way first to the 10 mile mark, behind the Lincoln Memorial, to try to see Nathan there.  On our walk there, I took a few photos that captured the beauty of the race day and scenery.  After seeing the runners, I was caught up in the excitement of the race, and I didn't take any more "scenery" images.  But these will give you an idea of the setting.





I would like to direct your attention to the 2 runners right behind this car.  Just over 50 minutes into the race, they had already passed the 10 mile mark.  Did you hear me??  They had run 10 miles in about 50 minutes!!!  I was astounded!


I was in awe of some of the runners, like this lady on the right below.  And okay, I was in awe of all the runners!


This guy's awesome hair was real...


This guy's was not.  But he was running in a kilt!


"To infinity...And beyond!"


Oh, hello, Marine Corps One.


Lady Gaga and The Mario Brothers were there.


My favorite...


These guys were awesome.


And this guy deserved mad props.


This was our first glimpse of Nate, 10 miles into the race.  I was all, "Really, Nate?!?  Really??  You've been running for 10 MILES, and you wave and smile and stick your tongue out???  How do you do that?  How do you manage to look as though you are actually enjoying this?"  I was impressed, to say the least.  Of course, these were all just my thoughts, since he didn't stop to chat. :)



After that, Betsy, Toryn and I found a good spot somewhere between the 15 and 16 mile mark.  There, we saw this crazy guy...He earned himself a spot in the Guiness Book of World Records by running the entire marathon while wearing a gas mask.  Seriously.


And then, before we knew it, Nathan was happily jogging by again.  Insane.  He still looked like he was feeling great.



From there, we made our way to somewhere around 20 miles.  The Washington Monument stood as a backdrop for the runners.  Nathan was cruising right along until our yelling caught his attention, and he ran over to say hello.


A hug and a kiss, and he was on his way again, down the final stretch.



We hopped on the subway to make our way toward the finish line.



But alas, this was the closest we would get to the finish line.  I guess when you have 30,000 plus runners and 100,000 plus spectators, it can become a mob scene at the end.


So, we made our way to the predetermined meeting spot and waited patiently for Nathan.  There was lots of laughing and hugging when he found us!



You did it, Nate!!!


I was so very impressed, Nathan!  You made it look so easy running your first marathon.  I am so proud of you, and I am so incredibly happy I could be there to watch you run and cheer for you and congratulate you in person.  Thank you for running in memory of Jack.  That meant so much to me and my family.  You know Jack would have been impressed by your training and your run.


As I mentioned before, the entire trip was an amazing experience that I will never forget.  I want to thank God for blessing me with friends who have become family, and for precious times spent with them.