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Waiting on baby “Rosie”…{Lithia FL maternity photographer}

There is a new baby coming to our family and we are all so excited to see her sweet face! My girls bounce back and forth between names they’d like for the baby and “Rosie” seems to be the most popular. We’ll see what her actual name ends up being once she is here.

The majority of my family is spread out all over the country because they are or have been military, but most of them come “home” to Tampa for a visit and we cherish our time with them and soak in every moment when they come. Elysia is one of 5 nieces my dear sister has given to me and she is so precious to my heart. She and Thomas are already wonderful parents. We can’t wait to meet “Rosie”!

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Ashley & Nathan-She said YES!…{Tampa FL/Curtis Hixon Park engagement photographer}

Nathan pulled it off and of course Ashley said yes! The Tampa theater was the perfect setting to ask her to be his bride. The location of their first date. Ashley was so focused on Nathan, that I don’t even think she noticed the marque walking up to the theater until after he proposed!
After the initial shock and awe (and Ashley spotting me from behind the bushes), we walked over to Curtis Hixon Park and took full advantage of the storm clouds that loomed above from an entire day of gloom. The Florida winter sun couldn’t have peeked out at a more perfect moment. Just enough to set the mode for snuggling in and absorbing all that just took place.
Congratulations Ashley and Nathan!!

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Walter and his bride…{Brandon Fl lifestyle photographer}

I am always honored to document the “beginnings”. Engagements and weddings, births and family life. But there is no greater honor than documenting the “endings” (which is really a new beginning again).
I am no stranger to what death brings upon a family. I have witnessed loved ones passing and felt the ache. I remember seeing my father’s strong hands neatly folded over his chest as they closed a casket and the physical pain my soul endured of never being able to touch those hands again. I remember my brother’s frail body being wheeled from his home and into a truck to take him away-relieved he would no longer suffer but sadden by all he endured. I remember standing in the bedroom doorway witnessing my mother draped across my grandmother’s body-sobbing tears of grief and joyous relief that my grandmother finally let go from the ugliness of this world. I will carry these moments in my heart and mind forever, but what I wouldn’t give to have it documented in a photograph-even if it would be painful to look at again- the pain reminds me I’m alive. I’m human-and it’s alright to feel sad. Sadness brings grace and mercy and those bring healing {If we let it}.

It’s an extremely sensitive and intimate time for families-bittersweet goodbyes while still remembering and honoring the person’s extraordinary life.

It’s humbling to be ushered into a room as part of the family and with each click of the camera, I listen to stories about the person’s life. The couple’s wedding day and first home together. The stories of combat in WWII that he would repeatedly tell over family dinners and gatherings-everyone wanted to hear again like it was the first time.

This was a rare love indeed. With each sign of death approaching for Walter, Ida’s body mimicked his symptoms. She refused to be separated from him. Constantly with her hand upon his chest-and when his hand slipped to his side during sleep, I personally witnessed her tapping his chest to remind him to bring his hand back up for her to hold it.

Pastor Walter Chapman and Mrs Ida Chapman had been married for 65 years. He preached until 86 years of age and went home to be with Jesus on Sunday, January 11, 2015 with his beloved bride close at his side. Years of sickness have weakened Ida’s body, yet her main cause of weakness is grief and it appears she will be joining her beloved soon. Please keep this family in thought and prayer over the next few days and weeks to follow. Mrs Chapman is eager to be with her groom once again.

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